Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (2024)

Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Egg-citing start! Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 2: Eggsplanation please? Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 3: Responsibility is Egghausting. Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 4: Protective T-Egg-dencies Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Chapter 5: P-egg-nguin Problems Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 6: Cr-Egg-tive Thinking Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 7: A fr-egg-ndly conversation Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 8: An Eggnygma Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 9: A mysterious Eggscape Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 10: An Egg-aging Conversation Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 11: A Change in Persp-Egg-tive Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 12: Jason's Eggscapades Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 13: Gr-Egg-yson's peptalk Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 14: Training Egg-cises Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 15: Eggcademy Drama Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 16: Eggents of Chaos Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 17: An Eggstravagant Halloween Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 18: Eggcuse me? I'm the Ghost King? Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 19: Cons-Egg-quences Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 20: Eggspressing Emotions Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 21: Eggsposition Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 22: Teaching Eggnorance Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 23: Farm Chores Eggnd Trauma Bombs Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 24: Anti-Eggto Acts for the Holidays? Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 25: An Eggregious Holiday Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 26: Sl-egg-h Bells Jingling. Ring-ting-tin-gl-ing too. Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 27: Hol-egg-day woes Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 28: Forg-Egg-fulness Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 29: Pr-Egg-sents galore Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 30: History L-egg-ends Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 31: Eggtimidating Constantine Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 32: Inv-Egg-stigating Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 33: *Egg-pril Fool's day* Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 34: Fear and Eggnxiety Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 35: Open Mind-egg-ness Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 36: Haunt-Egg-d Gotham Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 37: Ghostly Goth-egg-m Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 38: Who did it?! Egg isn't Damian! Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 39: Clowning Egground Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 40: Eggt's Happening! Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 41: Complicated Eggmotions Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 42: N-eggling Nightmares Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 43: A long Br-egg-fast Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 44: Not an Eggsact Science Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 45: Animal Eggspert Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 46: A Small Space Eggventure Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 47: Only For Eggmergencies Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 48: Let Us Go, Const-egg-tine! Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes: Chapter 49: Eggxamination Summary: Notes: Chapter Text Notes:

Chapter 1: Egg-citing start!

Summary:

Damian finds Danny in a dangerous spot. will he help him out?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The darkness of Gotham was always a little darker than normal. It was something that was easily missed by those who have lived within the town for a while, but it was always there. Off to the side. Right on the edge of peripheral vision that made it so that a person would be on edge yet not know entirely why. However, it could be easily dismissed by those who are used to it, and for Damian who had faced far worse in his life… it was odd how… off Gotham seemed to be tonight.

Tonight had been pretty calm during his solo patrol (all things considered): stopped a couple of muggings, pet a stray puppy he had found in a side alley (he also had fed the pup as well with some treats he kept in a hidden pouch on his utility belt. Batman and the others didn’t need to know about that or else the teasing would be endless. Thankfully, Alfred never commented on him taking extra treats when he went to give some to Titus.), prevented a drunk man from being squished by an oncoming vehicle, and lastly, stopped an attempted robbery of a small pawn shop.

Almost all of these instances had happened early on in his patrol, which had excited him because it had been a while since he was allowed out on patrol alone after the last incident… Yeah, he still didn’t regret stabbing that child trafficker in the shoulder with his katana. Even if, the guy had already surrendered and was begging for his life. Bruce had said that he had been “excessive” and had been grounded for 2 months with no patrols then an additional month of supervised ones. The man had deserved at least that much suffering for all of the hell he had put the kids in his care into.

A sudden cold chill had the vigilante skidding to a stop atop one of the many Gothic buildings that Gotham was known for. It wasn’t because of the weather nor was it a gradual change like most weather is like. When he had vaulted onto the current roof, it was as though Damian had hit a wall of frozen tundra. The chill made it feel as though it was going to snow at any moment. Yes, cold and heat spikes in cities were a thing depending on the district but this wasn’t normal. As well as how on edge he had been feeling since this night began, maybe there truly was something more going on.

That was when he heard it.

A whine and a gasp.

As if someone was having trouble breathing.

Running to the edge of the roof, Damian looked down towards the alley where he had heard the noise come from only to have his eyebrows shoot up in surprise.

Towards the back of the alley was a kid, only a few years older than he was by the looks of it, clutching his torso as if his life depended on it as an eerie glowing green substance seeped out between the cracks. A green substance that looked oddly like Lazarus Pit water. Following the substance’s trail, it looked as though the boy had maybe been attacked halfway down the alley and had dragged himself into his current position. A trail of the neon green substance led right to him.

Damian took another moment to look around for any signs of an assailant before using the fire escape to get down to the injured boy, only to see that this looked a lot more serious than it did from above. With the skill of years of experience as a League assassin, he crept up to the possible meta from above and assessed the situation. As Damian approached, an unending feeling of dread and death grew on the 11-year-old vigilante the closer he approached the other boy. It was unnerving and the closer Damian got the feeling of death grew.

He took in the boy from his perch on the fire escape a few feet above. The vigilante had been correct in his original assessment, the boy looked to be about 14 or 15 years of age. Lanky and skinny in a way that looked unhealthy but with the boy covering his torso the way he was, Damian couldn’t tell if that was accurate or not. He wore a black hazmat suit with white gloves and boots that matched his wispy white hair. Though both were stained heavily with the green stuff. Upon closer inspection, the green substance wasn’t the only thing that glowed… the boy’s entire body did. However, it seemed to be flickering and fading as if it was struggling to remain present. Whoever this was clearly wasn’t human but that didn’t really matter at the moment.

And with this massive feeling of death that filled the alleyway… it was obvious what would probably happen next to the boy below him. When the boy hissed in another pained breath, Damian took that moment to hop down next to the teenager while ending in a crouch. “Who are you?” the youngest Robin growled out causing the boy in front of him to jump in surprise.

A wave of pain crashed through the injured teen and he let out a long groan until it subsided. Lazarus green eyes looked at Robin with guarded fear before relaxing a small bit when he seemed to recognize the hero uniform Damian wore. “Geez, dude… you almost scared me all the way to death…” the teen said before wincing when his chuckles did more harm than good. “I would ask who you are… but I think that is kind of obvious.”

Damian arched an eyebrow but didn’t say anything. Instead, he took the moment to assess the other child’s injuries, and needless to say, it wasn’t looking good. Even if, he managed to get the boy to a place to treat him, the odds he would die en route were too high.

The teen fought back another chuckle at Robin’s stiff expression. “Danny Phantom… Danny or Phantom is fine. Thankfully, your presence already answers my next question…” His need to completely hide his identity was lost about half a year ago. The glow of the teen diminished even further as he was sent into a terrible coughing fit. When he recovered, he eyed the young vigilante with a small pained smile. “I’m in Gotham, right?”

“Yes, why are you here..?” Damian asked before dropping from his crouched position to sit across from Danny. Making sure to give the hurt teen some space because there was one other thing that was strong other than the feeling of death.

It was fear.

And this kid was terrified if the ambient aura was anything to go off of.

Though despite it, Danny was doing a good job of not showing it on his face. The white-haired teen looked at him curiously before shrugging it off. “Honestly? I’m not entirely sure how I even got here…” A sad look overtook the brief brightness in his eyes and Damian knew there was a story there but Danny didn’t seem to want to elaborate. “The whole journey to this point was a blur… I just had to… get away…” Another horrible coughing fit cut the teen off and Robin quickly closed the gap between them to catch him from falling over. Only to jump back to give Danny space again when the fit abated.

Danny arched his brow curiously at how Robin (who was known for being unnecessarily violent and seemed to lack in noticing certain social cues) seemed to be treating him as if he was some injured stray cat that he had found in the alley and was trying to coax out.

It was slightly demeaning considering how strong he normally was… but also a little amusing.

“Well, it looks like you succeeded. I didn’t find any signs of an assailant nearby.” The teen nodded his head at what Robin said and seemed to relax a little more. “So… what kind of meta are you?”

This got a bark of laughter out of Danny that he immediately regretted as he clutched his sides harder in pain. “Oh, I’m not a meta though,” he stated with a mischievous smirk once the pain calmed back down to a more tolerable level.

“How are you not…?” Robin co*cked his head at Danny in confusion while gesturing wildly to the boy’s body in front of him. “You glow and are bleeding green stuff!”

Danny was having a hard time not laughing again and he felt as though Robin was going to put him fully in the grave at this rate because of how much he kept aggravating his wounds. “Simple. I’m a ghost.”

Damian’s eyes widened in shock for a good moment before a myriad of emotions flitted across the 11-year-old’s face before it settled on a look of uncomfortable concern. “I believe that to be partially true… However, with the massive aura of Death that is coming off of you, I’m more surprised that you are still here at all.”

“You can feel that?”

“Yes, though it is unnerving how strong the feeling is here without a pit being involved.”

The injured teen looked confused at Robin once more but shrugged it off again. Though he was slightly alarmed how Robin was able to decipher the half-truth with the only context being ‘aura of Death’ coming off of him. It was a bit unnerving how fast he figured that out. Not wanting to out his halfa status immediately after meeting the kid, Danny decided to play it off a bit. “Well… you are right but I hope you don’t mind if I don’t go into too much detail at the moment. I kinda need to piece myself back together-” When another coughing fit wracked Danny’s body, his arms flew up to his mouth to stop the bile and ectoplasm coming out and spraying everywhere. Which meant that his torso was in full view.

After the fit died down, Danny looked to Robin to see that the vigilante’s face had paled to the point that he could rival Danny’s in a pale contest. He followed Robin’s gaze and quickly wrapped his arms around his upper body so that the kid in front of him no longer could see the ghastly sight.

“Were those… was that… were you VIVISECTED?!” Damian practically yelled at the end causing Danny to give him a shushing motion. The last thing the ghost boy needed was the people who were hunting him or someone new to join them in the alley. There was no way that he could get away again. Not with how bad his current state of being was in. Damian was standing now and he looked absolutely furious. “Was that why you had to get away? Was someone experimenting on you? When you said you had to piece yourself back together I didn’t think you meant literally!”

Ah, if only the vigilante wasn’t so upset (though his emotions were justified), Danny probably would have laughed again. “It’s okay… I’ll be fine… I tend to heal quick.”

Robin’s eye twitched and he really wanted to say something else but for the moment he held back. “Tt. Tell me who did this to you. No living thing deserves to go through something like that and laugh it off like it’s no big deal.”

“Ah~ but I’m not living. I’mma spooky ghostie.”

The eye twitch returned before Damian heaved a heavy exaggerated sigh. “And I thought we established that ghostliness isn’t the only thing at play here, hm?”

“Touche.”

Damian facepalmed at how nonchalant Danny was being about this whole situation. The teen was laying on a filthy alley floor behind a dumpster in Gotham. Bleeding out from several horrible wounds that riddled his entire body and those didn’t include the fact that the entire inside of his torso had been in full view due to the teen not holding the skin pieces in place for a moment. Yet, he was laughing and treating it as though he was just on a nightly stroll in Gotham. “Is there anything I can do to help? We can get a hold of the Justice league or-”

“No! No, no, no! No, Justice League! Everything will be fine, I just need to-” The ghost boy was cut off as his entire being fluctuated violently. Silent screams escaped as waves of pain shot through his body for several moments until it seemed to stabilize. However, the already fading glow was practically nonexistent and it looked like Danny didn’t have much more time either. Truly unparalleled fear then replaced the snark that had once been the dominant feature on the ghost boy’s face. His breathing picked up as he began to hyperventilate and Robin snapped his fingers to get Danny’s attention.

“Hey, hey. Look at me. Take a moment and breathe.” Damian said as he started doing breath counts with Danny until it seemed like he had calmed down a bit. “Tell me what happened. What is going on?”

The ghost boy looked fearfully at Robin and then at his surroundings before settling on Robin again. He let out a bitter and pained laugh as what appeared to be tears trailed from his eyes. After taking a moment, Danny leveled a look so serious at Robin that it would have impressed his father. “What I’m about to tell you… is completely confidential. No one is supposed to know about this and if it gets out a lot of people could be seriously hurt in the future… similar to how I was. Promise me. Promise me that this won’t get out to anyone including Batman.”

Damian nodded his head but kept the fact, that depending on what it was… it may have to reach his father anyway, to himself. That was something he didn’t have to deal with at the moment.

Taking a deep shaky sigh, Danny rested his head fully again the brick wall behind him and closed his eyes. “You see… there are two main parts to a ghost. The ectoplasm that makes up the body and their core… A ghost’s core is… well everything. Brain, heart, personality, memories… Everything that makes a ghost is in that core. Ghosts can take a lot of hits because of this. If they get hurt bad enough then the core will generate more ectoplasm to heal the damage. However, in extreme cases, that isn’t enough. The ghost will lose their form as they go inside their core to heal… and I…” Danny’s voice was beginning to shake now as well. “Robin. I don’t know how much longer I can keep up this form. But if I go into my core then… the most valuable and vulnerable part of myself will just be… out here. For anyone to take or use.”

“I don’t know how long I will be in there. It could be a couple of days… it could be a few months. Who knows? Regardless of how long, I will have no say in what happens to me while I am in there…” Danny stated as he opened his eyes again and looked right at Robin. “You asked if you could help?” When Robin nodded in response, Danny continued. “Then… when I go into my core… can you take it to a safe place? Somewhere NO ONE knows about and honestly… no one should even know about me! At all.”

“That’s….” Damian narrowed his eyes. “That’s a lot of faith you are giving a total stranger.”

Danny laughed bitterly before giving Robin a smile. “Yeah, but I don’t really have a lot of options. It’s either beg the Gotham vigilante to hide me or be forced to sit here in this alleyway until someone finds me. Then who knows where I will end up during the time that I am asleep. So, please… Can you hide me somewhere safe? And not tell anyone about this? I can pay you back later somehow but I just need this one thing.”

Damian looks over the injured and scared teen and nods his head. The relief is immediate as Danny flashed Robin one of the sunniest smiles he had ever seen on a person. “Anything else you need to tell me before you rest?”

The ghost boy shook his head and closed his eyes again. “No… Thanks, Robin.” With that said, Danny’s form began to fluctuate at a much more fervent pace as a bright light broke through his chest and consumed his entire body. Robin covered his eyes as he was blinded by the sudden flash and when he looked back, as the light dimmed, all that remained of Danny was an orb. It rested on the alley floor. Shining and ethereal with a mystic blue color that looked natural but it still felt like it would be something that wouldn’t occur in this plane of existence.

Taking a couple of cautious steps forward, Damian knelt and gently picked up the orb and held it in his palm. It was cool to the touch, as though someone had stuck it in the freezer for a while for some reason. Careful not to drop or harm it, he put the orb in one of the more secure and sturdy pockets on his utility belt.

Once the core was secure, he stood up and grappled up to the roof of the nearest building to resume his patrol. Thoughts on how to hide the core without anyone noticing or finding it was put to the back of Damian’s mind as he traversed his way through Gotham. The chill in the air was gone. The aura of death was gone. Even the unnerving edge that Gotham had about it all night seemed to have recessed to its normal. Something horrible had happened that night. That much was certain and Damian couldn’t wait to find out just who he got to stab in the shoulder this time for causing it.

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (1)

Notes:

Well somehow the original note for this accidentally got deleted sooo..... UPDATE!

Edit: Now with cover art thanks to doodlesforfics

Chapter 2: Eggsplanation please?

Summary:

Robin makes it home with the core in tow and quickly realizes this wasn't something as easy as he had originally thought.

Notes:

Hello, everyone! So... I gotta say... thank you all for the support and holy jebus there are a lot of you o.o

I did not realize how fast chapter 1 would blow up in 24 hours !!!
This is quite frankly amazing, and I plan on doing my best with this story!

On another note, this will be the last chapter for this week. I basically wanted to get a couple of chapters out to start and then update on a weekly basis from there. So starting every Monday, there should be a new chapter up every week... Now as for what time on Monday, that would depend on the Monday XD

So thank you all for the support, I hope you enjoy this chapter as well. there was one reader in the comments to thank for an idea they stated, and that reader is EternalQuestForGoodFics. I liked it, so I hope you don't mind that I added it in ^ ^.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Damian swung into the Batcave and made his way over to one of the locker rooms so that he could change out of uniform before reporting what happened on his patrol. Other than the shocking encounter with Danny, the rest of the night was rather bland. He had stopped one more mugging, and that had been it. Which, to be honest, he was rather grateful for. However, he would never have admitted it out loud.

The pocket of the utility belt had been designed to be sturdy and to protect whatever was inside of it... but that doesn't mean that it was perfect. Other fragile objects had broken in them for various reasons, despite the added protection, and Damian didn't know how strong the core was. With the way Danny spoke, it seemed like it was exceptionally fragile on top of being his most vulnerable point. The vigilante didn't really want to make a point of finding out.

Before taking anything else off, he secured the utility belt on the top shelf in his locker (making sure it wouldn't move for any reason. The last thing he needed was one of his adopted siblings barging in and knocking it to the floor on accident while they rough housed with him for some reason or another.). Damian pulled on a loose t-shirt and sweats, then set his uniform in the designated area for Alfred.

Once done, the youngest vigilante gently grabbed the core out of his utility belt and made his way out onto the central hub of the Batcave. Damian looked over the orb to check for any noticeable cracks or damages it may have gotten due to the minor scuffle he had gotten into prior, then quickly hid it in his balled fist once he realized that he wasn't alone.

"Heya, Damian. How'd patrol go?" Barbara asked from in front of the Batcomputer. The large monitor held the locations of the rest of the bats and whatever else she felt the need to look into at the moment. She swung her chair around to smile at him while the person beside her stirred to life when she spoke. The familiarly exhausted look of Tim Drake slowly sat up from his hunched-over position and turned to look at him as well.

"Nothing of note. Just some random muggings and a robbery." Damian stated as he continued to walk past them towards the manor. "Police already have them in custody."

"Hold up, gremlin. This was the first time in a while that you got to go on a solo patrol... If there wasn't anything of note, then why aren't you more disappointed?" Tim asked as a yawn escaped. He glanced at Damian's enclosed fist and arched a brow at his younger brother. "Whatcha got there?"

Well, that was found out rather quickly. Damian had been depending on his over-caffeinated brother to be too exhausted to notice but here he was. Time to play it off and hope for the best. Sometimes hiding in plain sight was the best kind of hiding after all.

Without batting an eye, Damian held up his fist and opened it to reveal the pretty blue stone that lay within. "It's an egg, Drake. I laid it." He deadpanned without hesitation before closing his fist, turning away from the two, and heading up the stairs. Barbara's laughter followed his ascent, but the “Since when did he know how to tell jokes?” that Tim said did not go unheard by Damian. He prickled a bit but kept his temper to himself. Damian could get back at his sibling in other ways.

The kitchen lights were off when he approached, but snacks were already laid out on the counter for those who hadn’t had a chance to eat before going on patrol. Alfred truly knew about and prepared for every possible outcome. Damian swiped a couple of apples and made the rest of the journey to his room unhindered. Everyone else was either turned in for the night or finishing up their patrols.

Though it made him wonder… did the others feel how off Gotham had been tonight? If he hadn’t found Danny when he did, would it have continued until the ghost reformed? What would have happened if one of the others saw him first?

It was something to think about, but unless everyone else was already talking about it… then it wouldn’t be good if Damian started the lead in that conversation. Everything would eventually lead back to the cool blue orb in his hand. One way or another.

Damian headed into his bathroom (after tossing the apples on his bed), out of habit, to take a shower, then froze. What… where should he put the core? He peered back into his room but immediately shook his head at the thought. All it would take was for any of the other birds to pop into his room for it to be noticed. Right now, Tim and Barbara probably wouldn’t mess with it. That didn’t mean Cass, Steph, Dick, Jason, Duke, his father, or Alfred wouldn’t investigate if they saw it. However… even though the core had been on his person for hours, it still hadn’t lost its chill like any ordinary rock would have. Meaning it was naturally cold, so would that mean heat would hurt it?

He clicked his tongue to himself and peered around the bathroom, thinking. Would taking it into the shower with him… hurt it? Not that Damian minded taking cold showers, but who would pass up hot water if there was an option? His eyes landed on the sink, and an idea began to form.

The young Wayne carefully cradled Danny’s core to his chest as he gathered a small array of towels. He soaked some in ice-cold water from the sink and wrung them out so they wouldn’t drip. Then he wrapped a dry towel around the core, stopped the sink, and placed the cold, wet ones within while arranging them around Danny’s core in the center. That way, even if it got steamed up a bit in here, the core's temperature shouldn’t rise too bad. When he stepped back to view his handy work… he couldn’t stop the eye twitch at the fact that he had made a nest in his bathroom sink. The karma of his own words reached full circle, and Damian just accepted it. Danny’s core was his egg now. That’s all there was to it.

Damian’s shower was relaxing but brief. He only did what he had to and got out as fast as possible so that the steam couldn’t accumulate too much in the room. There wasn’t a lot he knew about Danny, and he wasn’t going to risk it just for his comfort. Quickly, Damian stepped out, dried, and changed back into his previous clothes. All the while, he kept peeking at the core to ensure it was still cool. Once finished, he fished out the core from the nest, only to be surprised that almost all the towels had been frozen.

It took him a few minutes to gently separate them from Danny’s core, and soon he was sitting at his desk looking at the blue core in closer, gentle detail. Even with the night vision his mask provided him; it did not give the beauty of Danny’s core justice. Now that it rested on a brand new towel that wasn’t wet (like the previous ones), Damian gingerly turned the core in the light so that he could see all sides and aspects of it.

Unlike earlier, when Danny just went into his core, the swirling blue had settled, and now it was a beautiful soft blue. The surface had a slightly iridescent sheen, with the texture as smooth as glass. Damian tried not to touch Danny’s core more than his initial curiosity allowed. All the other times had been out of necessity, but now it was not. If what the ghost had told him was true, then touching a ghost core was akin to trying to touch someone’s soul directly. It is unlikely to happen usually but is awfully inappropriate, inconsiderate, and dangerous (there was enough stuff that he has experienced with the Justice League that it wouldn’t surprise him.). He didn’t even want to think of how it felt to have his most vulnerable weakness out on display for all to do whatever they wanted with and have no say in the matter.

For a teen who looked like a stiff breeze could have blown him away, Danny had surprised Damian with how he blew off his own wounds in an attempt to appear more okay than he actually was. There was no doubt that he had been in excruciating pain, yet he kept making jokes… terrible ones at that. It also took a considerable amount of trust for Danny to tell him what his core was, to begin with. Whether it was blind faith, desperation, or a mix of both (probably both if he had to guess.), it had taken the teen a lot of courage to talk, and Damian had to admit that he felt a tiny bit of respect towards him. But that leads to the next question… How did Danny end up in Gotham? How did he end up in that atrocious state?

Danny had said that he was a ghost, mostly one, but most ghosts weren’t like Danny. Deadman was a prime example. Only those who could use magic could see him until they cast a spell to make him visible to others. Even Damian, who had a vast amount of influence from the Lazarus pits, couldn’t see him. Let alone any other ghosts. Jason, who had also taken a dip in the pits, couldn’t see ghosts either. So Danny was already an outlier when it came to what the Justice League knew about these supernaturals, and that was before he confirmed that something else was going on but hadn’t said exactly what. It looks like he would have to take a page from Tim’s book and dig up some research on ghosts. Surely, there are some articles out there that might have a better grasp on what Danny actually is. Maybe even more information about ghost core’s in general.

He was a little unsettled about how little he really knew about it.

Maybe he could stop by the library tomorrow to do some digging. It would be easier than trying to use the supercomputer or his home computer without his search history being hacked by his brother.

Then there was that feeling of death. It had been overwhelming to the point that Damian had thought that a new pit was forming right there in a back alley of Gotham. The green of the teen’s eyes also confirmed the pit’s influence; however, there was no madness. No aggression. All Danny wanted to do was protect himself in his injured state, and he was as lucid as he could be in the current situation. If Damian hadn’t already been familiar, then there was no way he would have been able to put those two facts together.

If the Lazarus pits were involved somehow (it would be tough to say that they are not at this point.), then that was a whole other issue that would be very difficult to hide from his father. It would be even worse if Ra’s found out about the ghost boy… if he didn’t already know about him.

Grumbling to himself, Damian laid back against his chair and sighed. Eyeing the troublesome blue orb glimmering innocently before him then, he sighed again. There was so much he didn’t know about what was going on. It was honestly… a little overwhelming now that he had given himself the time to sit and think about what he had agreed to in that alley.

Just who was so horrible to cut open a teenager like that? Even as an experienced assassin, that sight had caused Damian to shudder. It didn’t matter if Danny was ghost… ish. He was sentient. He felt pain. Someone had cut him up like it was their right too, which bothered Damian more than anything. Who was to say they wouldn’t do it to someone else? How many people have they experimented on this way? There were so many questions and so little information that it was beginning to make Damian’s blood boil.

He took another deep sigh to calm himself. Not to mention… where was he going to hide Danny until he could safely reemerge from his core? There were a lot of hiding places in Gotham, but once one person hides something… it's very easy for others to find it as well. Whether it be his own family or super villains, any other suspicious movements would bring all of Gotham on the dormant ghost kid, and Damian didn’t want it to come to that.

When he went to school, there was a chance he could sneak away out of town and hide Danny somewhere… Damien immediately shook his head at the thought. If something happened while he was away, then there was no guarantee he could get to the location in time before the trail went cold. The distance would be too great… but other than taking the core up to his room in the Justice League Watchtower… there weren’t many options that Damian agreed with. The only way his mind would be at ease about it was if he just carried Danny’s core with him… Wait.

The most protective hiding spot was with him. No one would dare try to take the core away from him if he carried it everywhere.

Damien took a bite out of one of the apples he brought up and groaned to himself. Of course, Danny would be best protected if he was always with him. Why didn’t he realize that sooner? All he needed was a more secure way of carrying the core around his person without it being evident to his family and enemies alike. It was such a simple solution. Not that the core gave off vibes that it could be anything more than a pretty stone at a glance, it was better safe than sorry.

He polished off his apple and started on the other as he looked around his room to see if he had something that could work until he made something better. That was when he realized something else rather crucial. Though being on Damien’s person was probably the safest place, his room, on the other hand, was not.

Several weapons lined the walls, from axes to swords, to beautifully made daggers. Some decorative most were not. Damian's room was filled to the brim with sharp pointy things that could probably hurt Danny’s core in some way if they fell off the wall or the like. Not to mention the traps he had set up for intruders. His room was a veritable minefield, and Damien sighed again. He finished the last of his apple and stood up determined.

To begin with, there had to be something in his room that could protect Danny’s core temporarily. Damian tore apart his room in silence until he came upon something that might work for the moment (the mansion was big, but he didn’t want to advertise his odd behavior to the others). It was a small leather drawstring pouch with an inner fabric lining. The original purpose of the bag was to hold shots for a slingshot that he had gotten as a gift a while back, but he had yet used it for its intended purpose. Damian took the bag to see if the core fit.

Thankfully, it was perfect.

For the moment.

This would work for when he was in his civilian life, but all bets were off when he was out on patrol. Something more reinforced would be needed then, but for now, a good chain that he could attach to the drawstring would work. He could wear it as a necklace under his shirt, and no one would be the wiser. Satisfied for the moment, Damian grabbed the towel off his desk and carried it over to the bed with him. He got himself situated and let the core fall out of the pouch and gently onto the fluffy towel. With a bit of finagling, the pouch was pulled inside out, so the fabric was on the outside. It was tucked behind Danny’s core like a pillow with the towel wrapped around it. Tucked away in his own little blanket. He wasn’t sure if Danny could feel things at the present moment, but who's to say that he didn’t? It’s better to make the injured boy comfortable and not need it than the opposite. Damien closed his eyes. There was so much on his plate.

First thing tomorrow, he was going to have to danger-proof his room in a way so that if the core accidentally got away from him for any reason, it wouldn’t trigger any traps that could harm it. Then he would have to triple-check to make sure all his weapons were secure and that their mounts were still appropriately affixed to the walls. After that, he needed to stop by Gotham library to do some research on ghosts. Hoping against all odds that he can find something about the kind of ghost Danny was or, at minimum, how to take care of a core. He was flying blind, and it worried him that he could accidentally harm or even kill(?) the kid hibernating inside.

Then he hoped he could do some research on how Danny even got to Gotham, and hopefully, there would be some clues as to who had harmed the ghost boy in the first place. After that, he could probably find a pretty sturdy necklace chain somewhere in the Batcave and something that could carry Danny’s core during missions. No one would notice that. Because figuring out how to bring fragile objects on the fly is always beneficial, and everyone changes their supplies every once in a while.

Damian sighed again.

There was so much to do.

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (2) Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (3) Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (4)

Notes:

Edit: NOW WITH ART COURTEST OF TRICKSOVERTREATS ON TUMBLR!! Their Tumblr
More Art!!!!
Minicomic by doodlesforfics
Damian hiding danny by: thephantomlizard

Chapter 3: Responsibility is Egghausting.

Summary:

Time for Damian to put his plan into action.

Notes:

This... story straight up blew up, and I love every one of you for it <3

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Even if he was seeing it in front of him, Duke still had to pinch himself to see if he was dreaming or not. The young meta stood in the hallway looking through Damian’s open door as he went about measuring, grumbling, and nailing things to his walls. Several sharp weapons were strewn about as the youngest Wayne was ensuring there were safety attachments to sheaths and much more. The cookie in Duke’s hand was long forgotten. Lost for the fact that his little brother was putting safety foam to cover the sharp edges of his favorite katana. That way, it still could be on display, but if it fell from its stand, no danger would befall anyone who could be struck by it.

The whole situation was… astounding.

Duke couldn’t look away.

Loud yawning broke the productive silence as Tim made his way out of his room. He noticed his meta brother staring at Damian’s room a little further down the hall. “What’s up? Y’know, if you keep staring into the abyss, the abyss will probably throw something sharp at you.”

“Dude, you have to come see this….” Duke said without moving his eyes away from the impossibility before him. “I think… I think Damian might be broken.”

Tim snorted a bit as he came up on Duke and peered into his little brother’s room. “What gave it away? The fact that he grew up as an assassin or that he is a self-centered brat with a superiority complex?” As he spoke, he wrapped an arm around Duke’s shoulders and took in the chaotic room before them. The only safe place was by the headboard of the bed. Sitting proudly on Damian’s pillow, there was none other than the rock that Tim had seen last night. Only now, it rested snugly in a plush towel with every sharp implement several feet away from it. Damian had even taken down his favorite katanas that usually hung on the wall mounts above the bed. The boy sat at his desk, cutting several different foam shapes and fitting them onto an array of bladed weapons without sheaths. “Is he… is Damian safety-proofing his weapons…?” Tim asked incredulously.

“Yep.”

“Willingly?”

“It appears so… wait, Tim!” Duke’s eyes finally broke away from his little brother to the other black-haired teenager in the hallway. “Don’t touch the doorframe-”

There was a startled cry as Tim was thrown away from the open door and smacked into the hallway wall on the opposite side. The wood where Tim’s hand had touched crackled with electricity, and both boys heard the slight snicker Damian made from within.

“OKAY! What is up with that?!” Tim cried as he scrambled up from the floor. “He’s safety-proofing his entire room, but the door frame is trapped!?”

“That’s not the only part of the door that is dangerous,” Duke said with a smirk while giving a cursory glance at the doorway as a whole. “Though you did manage to find the one that would hurt you the least, so good job…? Silver lining?”

Tim ignored his brother with a roll of his eyes and focused on what Damian was doing. “You think Alfred put him up to it? I remember he kept having his knives confiscated for attacking us all willy-nilly for a while.”

“And Damian is just now listening to him about it?”

“Nah, you’re right. Damian would hide them in better spots rather than put actual locks on his swords.” They both fell silent and watched their brother in amazement for a few moments before Tim spoke up again. “So… how long has been doing this?”

Duke looked at the clock on his phone. “Well, at least an hour because I left my room about an hour ago but judging by that newly acquired glass cage on the wall… he’s been doing this for a lot longer.”

“I think you are correct, dude. Something broke, Damian… more so than he already was.”

“Ha. Ha. You two sniveling idiots do realize that I can hear everything you say, right?” Damian growled out as he popped his head into view.

Tim smirked. “Absolutely.”

“It’s considered rude to talk about others when they aren’t listening,” Duke responded with a nod and a smile. Damian scoffed at his brothers and went back to work. “So, what has inspired you?” the meta asked while gesturing to the new safety features.

“Why would you care? I would think that out of everyone here; you two would be jumping for joy that my room is less of a hazard.” Damian sneered as he stood up to put some of the weapons into their new safety cases. He paused for a moment to look over Danny’s core and continued putting his room back together when he was satisfied the core was safe.

The two boys shared a look in the hallway when Damian had his back turned. Because of Damian’s rather violent… first impression, Tim couldn’t lie that seeing almost all of his little brother’s weapons in proper safety cages or locked up relieved him a lot. The same could be said for Duke, who had also faced a rather violent first impression. However, the change was entirely out of the left field, and when Damian becomes determined about something… then there should be cause for worry. The boy has gotten better at being aggressive toward others, but he still has a long way to go. However, compared to what else he could be doing now, this was pretty chill for Damian.

Even if it was still weird.

“We were just wondering. You know that almost all of your weapons are not so easily on hand now… right?” Tim said as he looked around the room again before settling on the blue rock resting on Damian’s pillow. “Are you doing this for someone or…?”

“No.”

“Did someone ask you too-”

“No.”

“Then why are you-” Duke began but was cut off by Damian.

“Look, I have a lot to do today, and you two are bothering me.” the youngest Wayne walked up to his door and stared down at his two siblings. “So, if you don’t mind?” When Damian gestured down the hall, and both boys’ faces followed, he slammed the door closed. Leaving two distraught and concerned teenagers in the hallway, Damian began putting the rest of his stuff away. Anything dangerous was officially safe. “Now, once those two idiots are gone, I can head down to the Batcave to find a reinforced chain…. I can’t believe it’s already 11. I don’t think I will make it to the library today.”

The two black-haired teenagers lingered in front of Damian’s doorway for about another ten minutes, then left. Their muffled words about his well-being descended into silence until they were out of range.

This was not how he had planned his day to go. Damian had vastly underestimated just how much dangerous stuff was in his possession when he started organizing it all at 7 am. It was all done now; it was time to head down to the Batcave. The young vigilante carefully put Danny’s core in the pouch and headed down to the underground base without running into anyone else.

He then wandered over to where all the prototype and loose equipment was held and began to go through it. Surely, there was a perfect chain or rope that he could use that the links weren’t as big as his fist. His father had reinvented just about everything. Anything that could be useful or give an edge during crime-fighting work was created, and even then… some things were developed and invented that had him wonder what Bruce was thinking. But planning was pretty much all the man knew, and if a bat fly swatter helped the man sleep at night, then Damian wasn’t going to say anything about it.

You would think that Damian would have found something after about 2 hours of digging through old and new supplies. Nope. Nadda. Nothing. He found an old batshield and a chain that could drag a flying Superman down to earth but nothing that could be used as a necklace. “What is with all of this junk?!” Damian growled out of frustration and kicked the batshield so that it skittered out of sight.

“Master Damian? Mind telling me why you have decided to take it upon yourself to rearrange the armory?”

Damian fought down a surprised yelp and whirled around to see a rather unimpressed Alfred looking at him from the entrance. “Yes? Um- I mean, hello, Pennyworth. I was trying to find something, but I'm not having much luck.”

“Something? Master Damian?”

His internal thoughts warred with each other as Damian debated whether he should show Alfred Danny’s core. If he didn’t, he would look suspicious, but if Damian showed the butler, then odds are he could assist in some way. Alfred always knew what everyone in the house needed and what to say when it needed to be said. His father may run the company, but this one man ran the entire family.

Damian squirmed for a moment while Alfred patiently waited for the boy to decide a course of action. He dug the pouch out of his pocket and showed Alfred without taking the core out. The shape was pretty obvious, and he let the butler make his own conclusion on what was in the pouch. “I’m trying to find a chain or something reliable to carry something fragile,” Damian said while fumbling with the pouch a tiny bit. “Honestly, a good case would work, too, but I haven’t been able to find something that works. This pouch helps carry but not protect.”

“May I, Master Damian?” Alfred asked with his hand outstretched. The boy handed over the pouch with Danny’s core, and Alfred hefted it a little in thought. However, he did not open the bag to see what was inside. “I agree, but I don’t think we have a case small enough, at the moment, to house your treasure. As for a chain…” the elderly man dug into his pocket and pulled out his pocket watch.

“This is something Master Bruce has given me, and I have a few more, so do not worry,” Alfred said as he unhooked the chain attached to the watch and replaced the pouch's drawstrings to turn it into a necklace. “The chain and clasps are made entirely out of tungsten. Not even Mr. Freeze’s rays could shatter it, and Bane couldn’t pull it apart no matter how much he tried. The leather pouch is the cause for concern at the moment.” The butler handed the newly made necklace to Damian, who promptly put it on. The coolness of Danny's core permeates through the pouch with ease. “However, that can wait. I expect everything back in its proper place Master Damian and you up in the kitchen, post haste. You already missed lunch.”

“Yes! I’ll be up in a few minutes, Pennyworth… Thank you.”

Alfred straightened up and gave Damian a wink before leaving the boy to clean up his mess.

The clean-up didn’t take nearly as long as making the initial mess. Danny’s core lightly bopped against Damian’s chest occasionally, and it took some practice to move around without it swaying too much. But the practice was a must if he was going to get used to carrying it with him out on patrol, which he had to do tonight. So Damian tucked the necklace under his shirt and ran upstairs towards the kitchen.

Gotham’s night crept up on the Wayne household. Soon it was time for bats and birds to take up their capes to begin their nightly protection of the populace. Three vigilantes sat atop a roof overlooking an abandoned warehouse below. Red Robin lowered his binoculars with a sigh as he hadn’t seen any new movement since the three had arrived. Robin and Nightwing sat on the roof's edge on either side of him. The three were looking into a drug ring case that the Penguin was running, but it appeared their target hadn’t shown up or moved locations.

“Should we go to the other side? Maybe we can get a better view of what’s going on from there?….” Tim asked as he looked at his two brothers, only to stare at the youngest with a curious eye. “Robin, what are you doing?”

Damian held back a flinch and kept his eyes on the warehouse before them. His hand was idling, playing with the pocket on his utility belt that held the pouch with Danny’s core. He needed to find a better way than the pocket for patrols, but for now, it was better than nothing. “Nothing. Just watching the warehouse.”

“You brought it with you, didn’t you?”

“Robin brought what now?” Nightwing asked. He used his height to peer over at the two teens next to him.

“Some stupid rock that he found out on patrol yesterday. Called it his egg.” Tim muttered, making Nightwing snort. “You should have seen it, displayed so lovingly on his pillow this morning.”

Damian bristled and stood up with a start. “Hey! It doesn’t concern you! Why would it matter if I brought it with me anyway?”

“Awww, baby bat is being protective! Can I see it?”

“Hell, no!”

“Language.”

“It’s this perfect sphere that can fit in the palm of your hand. It’s not stolen.-” Red Robin continued ignoring Damian’s loud “HEY!”. “I looked up the database for stolen gems and the like. It looks like nothing is missing that matches the rock's description. It’s a pretty soft blue color-”

“...would you go so far as to say… that it’s robin’s egg blue?” Nightwing asked with a smirk.

“Y’know? I would say that would be perfect….” Tim started to nod his head, then sent the eldest a glare. “Oh hah hah. Hilarious, Dick.”

The older hero was nearly doubled over on himself as snickers erupted from him. “Are you telling me that baby bat found a pretty rock that he is now carrying around with him? And he carried it with him all day too?”

“Yes.”

“What of it?” Robin glowered at his siblings. “It’s not like we haven’t carried weirder stuff with us around.”

“That’s adorable!” Nightwing exclaimed as he pulled Robin into a tight one-armed hug. “So, what do you think will hatch from it? Oh! Will I get a niece or a nephew?”

Red Robin balked. “What are you going on about?! It’s just a rock!”

“He said it was an egg, right? His egg?” Nightwing smiled while gesturing to Robin under his arm. “Then who is to say that it’s not?”

“Because I saw it. There isn’t anything special about-”

“Apparently, there is, or else he wouldn’t have become attached to it.” The taller vigilante released his little brother and knelt beside Red Robin’s ear. “He’s still an eleven-year-old kid. If he calls it an egg? It’s an egg. Just roll with it. Let him have this.” Nightwing whispered before standing to look at the warehouse again.

Tim grumbled to himself but didn’t say anything further on the matter. Further ignoring Nightwing’s comments on nieces and nephews when he catches sight of movement from the building. “GUYS, GET DOWN!” The three vigilantes drop flush with the roof as several bullets fly from the ground below.

Nightwing clicked his tongue in annoyance. “Well, this is rude. We were having such a nice family discussion too.”

“For the love of God, could you please just focus.” Red Robin grumbled as he crawled his way over to the opposite edge of the roof. “Can’t you see we have something more important to deal with?”

“Something more important than finding out if I’m getting a niece or nephew? Not likely.” the elder vigilante stated with authority before looking around to look for the youngest. “Uh… where is the other Robin?” Cries of outrage and pain sounded from below, and Nightwing peeked over the roof to see the youngest rinsing through the men on the ground with his katana. “Never mind, found ‘im.”

Red Robin groaned but went down with Nightwing to help his little brother take out the goons on the ground. Their stake-out mission was entirely up in the air now that they were exposed. “Bats isn’t going to be happy about this.” Together, the three vigilantes made their way through the warehouse with minimal injury… only to find out that the smuggling ring wasn’t even in this building. “Great. We just wasted a lot of time for nothing.”

“Nonsense! We cleaned up the streets a small bit. That has to be a win, right?” Nightwing stated with a smile while zip-tying the last man in place. “Yo, baby bat, how’s my niece slash nephew doin?”

“Did you really just say ‘slash’ out loud?”

Robin rolled his eyes. “Do you think I am that incapable? No one touched me that entire fight.” Still, when he didn’t think the other two were looking, Damian peeked at Danny’s core and nodded to himself when he saw it was fine.

“Well, Gotham police are on their way, but I doubt we will be able to locate the actual ring now that the cover has been blown so spectacularly.” Red Robin said as he kicked a rock on the floor.

“Probably not, Red! But… all is not lost tonight.” Nightwing pulled out a flash drive that one downed man had on them. “At least we have grounds for a possible new lead.” The three made their way out of the warehouse as sirens began to close in. “So, baby bat, when do you think it will hatch?”

“I swear to all that is holy-” Red Robin stopped himself before he said something crass. “Y’know what? I need coffee.”

“I have no idea,” Robin said with a shrug, only to get a bark of incredulous laughter from Tim. “What?”

“Don’t humor him! It’ll only make it worse!”

Nightwing’s grin grew impossibly wide. “No! Humor me! I want to know more about Robin’s egg!”

“I swear, the first chance I get, that rock is going in the tra-OW!” Red Robin’s head sailed forward, and he almost ate brick when Damian smacked the back of his head. “What was that for?”

“You aren’t touching him,” Robin growled at his adopted brother before sailing over to the next roof to start the trek home.

Nightwing patted Red Robin on the shoulder with a snicker. “As I said, T. Let him have this.” Then the eldest sailed right after the youngest, calling, “Wait for me! So you think it will be a boy?”

Tim groaned loudly to himself.

He was going to get a coffee.

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (5)

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (6)

Notes:

Edit: now with art!!! Mini comics by doodlesforfics

Chapter 4: Protective T-Egg-dencies

Summary:

Unfortunately for Damian, he still has to go to school, and some people are just jerks.

Notes:

Just a heads up, I did unleash my inner Damian a bit in this chapter. It gets a little dark towards the end.
So warning!

Chapter Text

Between patrols and dealing with the antics of his family, Damian’s weekend flew by, and the next thing he knew, he was sitting at his desk in English. Wishing for the day to end so that he could go back home and attempt to do some of the research on Danny. Gotham academy was boring, to say the least. The assassin had learned most of the subject material ages ago, but his father had deemed it necessary to be in school with his peers. Though he was up about three grades compared to the age of his actual peers. “You need to get used to more social interactions. Not everything can be solved by swinging your sword at it.” Bruce had said in his authoritative ‘no buts’ tone.

Damian’s eye twitched in annoyance when one of his fellow classmates brushed by the aisle to go to the front of the room. He didn’t hate his peers, per se. They just annoyed him with their innate ramblings of useless gossip and their shallow attempts at wanting to be his ‘friend’. Most have learned to steer clear of him for the most part, but there are others who try to take up the challenge to talk to Damian Wayne.

It really did annoy him to no end. If only he could bring his sword to class. Almost all of the other students would stop talking to him if Damian would be allowed to bring that.

The bell rang over his teacher’s droning words, and everyone made their way to the next class. For Damian, it was the final class of the day. Study hall. He really didn’t see the point in having it as his last class of the day. His teacher really didn’t care what the black-haired boy did during that time, so why not just let him leave after English? It was a waste of time… normally.

Damian gathered up his stuff and headed to study hall. He got permission to go to the library and made his way over to the computer lab adjacent to it in the same room. The assassin grabbed the computer that allowed him to have his back to a wall while having optimal visibility to the rest of the room, as well as having sight on all of the nearest exits. Just in case. It wouldn't be the first time his school was attacked by someone. His school held almost all of the children from Gotham’s rich elite class. There was at least a student getting kidnapped once every few months. So far, none have fully succeeded in their endeavors.

He sat down with a sigh and pushed his backpack under the desk. Damian then slid the necklace off and placed it between the computer monitor and keyboard. He felt a little bad about what he was about to do, but he really needed to know more about Danny. Any information was better than none. His hands flew across the keyboard as he input his credentials. Then he hacked the computer so that he was no longer locked by the school’s network and firewall.

Tim was much better at this kind of thing than Damian was, but a school computer was a snap.

Soon he was using a VPN and delving deep into the web to find anything on the ghostly boy. Which, wasn’t much. Damian began by searching for possible missing children with the first name of Danny, only to find there were way too many. He added the description of white hair and green eyes but got nothing. So he opted for putting the entire name in… only to get a few small snippets. It was as though someone had scrubbed the internet clean of this person’s existence. With a little more digging, Damian broke through an unnecessarily strong firewall, and a slue of information came forth.

Several pictures of the green-eyed boy filled the screen, along with a few articles talking about a local hero named “Phantom” in Amity Park, IL. However, the search pretty much ends with these news articles. Some are good, some are bad. Damian could tell how biased the reporters were based on how they wrote the articles, and even with all of that… All Damian learned was that Phantom was some ghost/meta kid protecting a town. The articles do confirm that the kid was a ghost which led to some local experts called the Fentons.

The Fenton’s were local ectobiologists and ghost hunters who had a vast array of inventions under their names. Whether they made sense or not was irrelevant. They had everything from a baseball ball that ghosts couldn’t phase through (whatever that meant) to a dimensional portal to the ghost zone in their basem*nt. With schematics to the designs and everything else that involved their research out on the web for the world to see. It was just rather unfortunate that the website, itself, looked like it was made by a cult in the 90s. There were many cheesy ghost graphics and facts that it was rather overwhelming to look at.

Though their inventions were sound, the Fenton’s research was not. Damian decided to ignore the research for now. He took notes in a notepad to bring back home to look further into and instead focused on recent news articles that involved the Fenton family. There were normal, significant, updates about Jack and Maddie Fenton until a final article showed up on the screen from six months ago.

FENTON FAMILY INCINERATED BY EXPLOSION.

Local ghostbusters were found dead at the scene by local police after a giant explosion had shaken the entire town of Amity Park. A lab owned by AxionLabs had exploded due to some volatile chemicals. Several bodies were found, including Jack and Maddie Fenton, their oldest daughter Jasmine Fenton, their son Daniel Fenton, and two family friends: Tucker Foley and Samantha Manson.

Vlad Masters, Mayor of Amity Park and owner of AxionLabs, gave a tear-jerking report and condolence about the deaths of these beloved locals. Taking charge, the Mayor claimed he would begin funeral preparations after a proper investigation into the explosion was confirmed. “Oh, this is a hard day for everyone here in Amity Park. We just lost four children with bright futures as well as two people who kept the town safe despite their… eccentricities. I vow to find out what caused this horrible tragedy so that it never happens again.” Mr. Masters stated in a press conference held at town hall to the mourning people of Amity Park.

The article continued on, but Damian had read enough. That explosion had to be one of the reasons that Danny had found his way to Gotham. Only, he now knew that the explosion hadn’t been what turned the teen into a ghost. Danny had been a ghost long before it. The oldest news article on Phantom dates back to a little over two years ago. What was odd, was that this was news to Damian.

Something this big would have hit national news on the smallest scale. AxionLabs was a rival to LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises, so an explosion that claimed the lives of 5 people just went unnoticed?

Impossible.

Someone was covering it up. There was more going on here that Masters did not want the world to see, and now Damian was going to try and find the root of it all. Well, try was the keyword.

No matter what Damian did, he could not breach AxionLabs’s cyber security, and he ended up having to shut down the computer because he was beginning to be reverse hacked. This was a school computer that only provided the most basic internet protections, not the supercomputer of the Batcave. He did not need someone linking Gotham Academy to AxionLabs. To close to home.

Damian leaned back in his chair and sighed. A chance encounter on patrol would lead to him discovering a conspiracy around a rival company. However, he may need to get Tim’s help in looking more into this matter. The issue was how to bring it up without looking suspicious. With what Damian found, you had to hack the server in order to get the information that he had found initially, and most of that was news articles and research papers. It was important but at the same time not as relevant as finding what Vlad Masters appeared to be hiding.

Not to mention ghosts.

The ghosts mentioned in the news articles were completely new to him. The Justice League has an occult division. They even have a ghost on the team, Deadman. But the superhero needed a spell to be seen, whereas these ghosts could be seen by anyone plain as day. Not only that, but they also wreaked havoc on the town of Amity Park. So they weren’t something that goes bump in the night and goes unnoticed. These beings could be dangerous and a force to be reckoned with.

How had something this big escaped the League’s notice for so long? It didn’t seem possible, but it had for over two years.

Damian grumbled to himself. “How am I going to explain this to father?”

“How are you going to explain what, shrimp?”

The black-haired boy scowled as he looked up to see one of his classmates hovering over him. “What do you want, Mike?” Damian growled. Mike Thompson, notorious bully of Gotham Academy. The muscle-thick brunette had tried to put Damian in his place the day after he enrolled and had learned the hard way not to mess with the young Wayne. He had been the main reason why he had to go through a security scanner before leaving the house for half a year when Damian first arrived.

Still didn’t regret it, though. The kid was a jerk.

Mike grinned. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, shrimp. So what are you going to have trouble explaining to daddy, hm? Is it the fact of how ugly you turned out to be?”

Damian rolled his eyes at the childish taunt. “At least, people want to look at my face, unlike yours. Good thing is, at least your mother will still kiss your cheeks. Can’t say the same for Amanda, though.”

“What do you mean by that?” Mike growled back as his face started to turn pink. The guy was really easy to lead on. Why had Damian fallen for his simple tricks when he first started?

“Amanda won’t give you the time of day and, instead of trying to make yourself less like trash in the shape of a human, you’re trying to take it out on me. Quite frankly, she has some brains if she won’t go on a date with you. Unlike you, Mike.” Damian chuckled to himself a small bit before looking at the taller boy again. “That reminds me, how do you live with just one brain cell? One would think it isn’t physically possible, but you seem to have proven scientists wrong.”

Mike’s eye twitched, and he clenched his fists in rage. “Shut up! What the hell do you know-”

Damian shushed the teen before he could continue. “We are in a library, Mike. Be more respectful.”

The taller boy growled again while giving a cursory glance around the room to see if he was attracting the attention of anyone else in the vast room. His eyes fell on the necklace that was resting on Damian’s desk, and he snatched it before the young Wayne knew what was going on. “Well, well, what’s this, Dami? It’s kinda girly for a man to wear a necklace, don’t you think?”

Damian stood up and grasped at the necklace with Danny’s core while full-on glaring at the other boy. “Tt. Give it back, Mike.”

“Y’know what? I think I’ll keep it. It’s kind of cool to the touch.” Mike smirked in triumph at finally getting under Damian’s skin. He started to take a peek into the pouch. “What do you have in here? Dry ice?” Damian lunged at Mike, who barely sidestepped out of the way. “Aw, is little shrimpy mad because I took his necklace? Well, too bad! It’s mine now!” With that said, Mike ran into the aisles of books with Damian in hot pursuit.

The boys dodged around a few other students as they both delved deeper into the library. It wasn’t until Mike was cornered by a wall and two giant bookcases did he realize that Damian had chased him exactly where he wanted him to go. They both no longer had prying eyes on them and stood at the end of the aisle. Damian’s stature was straight, and his scowl looked as though he was ready to murder the kid in front of him. Despite his height, Damian oozed an intimidating aura so strong that Mike was having trouble not hyperventilating.

“H-hey, you can’t just block the aisle-” Mike began as Damian stalked forward and grabbed the wrist of the hand that held Danny’s core tightly. He twisted hard, and the necklace fell into Damian’s other hand with ease.

Damian put the necklace back on as he continued to twist Mike’s arm until it was pressed against the older boy’s back at an odd angle. One good tug and that arm would be out of its socket. The boy now forced to face the wall or have his arm dislocated. “Now, now… I told you to give it back, and you didn’t. Seems like you didn’t learn from the last time I sent you to the hospital.” Mike whined in pain a small bit when Damian applied pressure to the teen’s arm. “Ah ah. None of that now. Wouldn’t want to get noticed by someone, now would we?” So he untied Mike’s tie from around his neck and reached around to shove the ball of fabric in the boy’s mouth. Pushing him hard into the wall face first for good measure and the bully was officially trapped.

“Y’know, Mike? You really are trash. It’s no wonder you can’t catch Amanda’s attention. At least, she is a good person. You, however? Not so much.” Damian said as he tightened his grip on Mike’s wrist, and he could feel the bones begin to give under the pressure. “Theft is a crime, you know? Pending on what is stolen, you get a small fine to some jail time. You stealing my necklace? The most you would get is a suspension, and that was AFTER my father hears about it. At most, you would just get a slap on the wrist and a ‘Don’t do it again’.”

“But you know what a REAL crime is, Mike?” Damian whispered into the taller teen’s ear as he continued to gradually increase the pressure while pushing up on Mike’s arm, making the teen cry in pain, but it was muffled by his own tie. “Embezzling the funds of a cancer charity that was held last month. Not to mention the around $75 million in money laundering that is sitting in a shell company in the Philippines. Then there is the drug trading ring in San Francisco…”

“I don’t know anything about that!” Mike cried out through the fabric in his mouth.

“Of course, you don’t, Mike… but your DADDY does.” Damian hissed into the boy’s ear, feeling the shoulder pop, and the boy writhed in pain against the wall. “The Thompson company has had a lot of shady business dealings in the past few years, and these are the biggest ones at this point in time. So you are going to shut up and listen.” He slammed the kid’s face into the wall again for good measure.

“You are going to walk away from here ten minutes after I leave. You are going to go to the bathroom and clean yourself up because, quite frankly, Mike? You are a mess.” Damian said while looking at that crying sniveling boy in front of him. “Then you are going to go home and maybe think about bettering your life. Maybe then Amanda will notice you. However, you will NOT tell anyone about this. You will NOT tell a teacher, a friend, your parents, whoever that I threatened you. That I dislocated your shoulder. That I shoved you into a wall.”

“Because if you do then I will make sure that your family’s dirty secrets will be made front and center for everyone to hear on the news tomorrow. Do you understand?” When Mike took a moment too long, Damian slammed him into the wall again, and the boy was nodding like a bobblehead. “Also, you will NOT talk to me. You will NOT touch my stuff, and most important of all, you will NOT touch my necklace ever again. Do you understand?”

Mike nodded his head fervently, and in one swift motion, Damian popped the bully’s shoulder back into place with a muffled scream. Damian released Mike and took a couple of steps back as the boy slid to the floor, crying in fear while holding his relocated arm to his chest. The sleeve of Mike’s jacket rode up and revealed hardly any bruising on the teen’s wrist despite how hard Damian had held it previously. “Now, just because I walk away doesn’t mean I won’t know if you told. If you do. I WILL know. This is your one and only warning. Use that one brain cell of yours for once and maybe protect yourself and your family with it.”

Damian left the injured boy to continue sniveling and crying on the library floor. He went back to the computer, reset it back to factory settings, then grabbed his stuff from under the desk and made his way out of the library. However, the young Wayne decided to take his own advice and stop by the boy’s restroom on the second floor (It wasn’t the closest, and he really didn’t want to encounter Mike again so soon.). He stepped into the handicapped stall and pulled out Danny’s core to check it over.

The core tumbled gently out of the pouch and into his hand with the coolness seeping into his skin. Damian gave the core a once over, and when it appeared to be alright he put it back into the pouch securely. He straightened out his uniform then his hair and smirked at himself in the mirror. Damian really hoped that Mike didn’t use that brain cell. He wanted an excuse to pummel that boy into the dirt. The last bell chimed for the school day, and Damian went to his locker to get his things.

“Hey, Dami! Wanna come over to the dog park for a bit today?” A tall boy with black hair ran up to Damian while flashing him the sunniest smile he had ever seen in his life.

Damian cringed a little but slammed his locker closed with a long sigh. Knowing that he wasn’t going to say no, he sighed and turned to the taller boy. “Sure, Jon. Lemme text Alfred to let him know.”

“Yes!” Jon Kent exclaimed in excitement as the two boys exited the building. Damian wondered if he had time to grab Titus or not. Puppy love was always a good time.

Chapter 5: P-egg-nguin Problems

Summary:

After much sound planning, it was time to take the Penguin down...

*Warning for mild bad words?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Everything seemed to calm down for a bit, and Damian was swept up in living his two lives. Over a week passes through the constant draining struggle of school and patrol. Unfortunately, the young vigilante didn’t have a lot of chances to look into Danny’s life more than that one instance in the library.

Good news was that Mike seemed to take Damian’s words to heart.

Bad news was that Jon Kent seemed to notice the bully’s odd behavior around him and had taken up trying to figure out why. The half-Kryptonian knows something happened but has yet to put it together. More than likely, he never would.

If Mike stays quiet, that is, and he will. Damian made sure of that.

But all of that was minor compared to the recon work he had to do for the past week on the Penguin. After losing the trail at that abandoned warehouse, all three boys had gotten an earful from Batman for not being more stealthy on patrol. Damian had been stuck running drills in the gym with his brothers in their downtime as punishment. All in all? Not too terrible of a sentence. Damian had fun sneaking up on Dick and Tim and scaring them.

When it came to stealth, Damian was king.

This is why he found himself in a crucial position awaiting orders from Batman to infiltrate the Penguin’s newest headquarters. The villain had taken over an old ice cream factory and refurbished it. Their initial intel implied that it was just a drug ring, but upon further investigation, the drugs were a cover for a horrible new chemical being manufactured. Penguin was trying to create something more powerful than the Joker’s laughing gas and stronger than Scarecrow’s fear toxin. The vigilantes hadn’t found a name for it yet, but they didn’t want to find out if it worked.

“Is everyone in position?” Batman’s gruff voice cut over the coms from his position on a nearby rooftop.

“Affirmative,” Damian replied from his spot on the fire escape.

Nightwing peeked from around the corner from his spot on the factory roof. “You got it, B.”

“Ready when you are.” Red Robin whispered, and Damian could see him in the alley from his perch.

“Okay, shift rotation is about to begin. Robin, do you have visuals on the target from your position?” Oracle asked through the coms, and Damian slowly peered into the window above his head.

Inside, it no longer looked like an ice cream factory. Conveyor belts pushed this weird substance in vials down the line as several of Penguin’s men (wearing winter gear) patrolled the vicinity. The middle of the room had been converted to a large pool, and several penguins were swimming around the freezing waters with THE Penguin sitting in a chair overlooking operations. Damian never understood the man’s obsession with the animals, but he could respect it.

If he got the chance to pet one of the penguins, he would take it.

“Negative, Oracle. The Penguin is in the main room with about ten distractions.” Robin whispered as he continued to look around the room. “It looks like the target is in an ancillary room behind the main chamber. The experiment is coming out on conveyor belts from there.”

“Copy that, Robin. We proceed on Oracle’s count.” Batman said, and all of the younger vigilantes readied themselves.

The coms crackled a bit, and Damian couldn’t help but narrow his eyes in suspicion. There shouldn’t be any kind of static on their coms. Their lines are usually perfect. What changed?

Oracle’s voice cut in over the static. “Shift change in 3….”

“...2”

“...1”

“GO!”

Nightwing sprung off the top of the factory with an elegant leap as the guards by the front doors turned their backs to head back inside the facility. He landed silently and rolled right up behind the guys, grabbed their heads, and smashed them together in one fluid motion. Red Robin took his cue and ran up to the doors setting up small charges around them while the older vigilante dragged the two unconscious men off to the side, taking their weapons and zip-tying them for good measure.

Red Robin finished his task and dashed to the opposite side that Nightwing had taken. He readied the detonator in his hand and looked to his brother for confirmation. When he was given a thumbs up, Red Robin smirked. “Let’s make ourselves a dramatic entrance.”

He pressed the button.

The small charges exploded. Blasting the doors across the street with a loud bang echoing throughout the factory district. Shouts of surprise were raised inside as men started filing out to try and find the source of the commotion. At the same time, Robin smashed the window next to him and grappled up to the rafters, with Batman doing the same from the opposite side. The explosion at the front doors had all of the men running from their positions towards the front, thus emptying the central chamber.

Penguin was growling as he stood up from his chair. “What are you lot all doing?! Get back here and into your positions-” He didn’t get to finish as Robin swung down from the rafters and kicked him straight in the chest. Sending the man flying a few feet away from the pool.

Nightwing artfully dashed around the onslaught of enemies. Escrima sticks out as he kicks one man's gun out of his hands. He flipped into the air with a spin and nailed both assailants in the back of the head. Electricity pulsed their bodies while they cried out in surprise. They crumpled to the ground unconscious, and Nightwing moved on to the next goon available. “Is this all you got? C’mon, this is just sad.” He called tauntingly, only to dodge behind some boxes when gunfire fired his way.

“Hey, now. It’s rude to point guns at others!” Red Robin called as he swept the feet out from under Nightwing’s gunman with his bo staff before twirling it around and hitting a guy that had tried to sneak up on him from behind. He made his way towards the pool, successfully cutting off the henchmen’s escape to the center of the factory.

While the Penguin and his men were distracted by his children, Batman swung down to the main floor and started making his way towards the backroom Robin had mentioned. He dashes over with his cape billowing behind him and kicks the door hard, knocking it off its rusty hinges.

Penguin notices. He gets up from the floor and brandishes his umbrella in Batman’s direction. “Not this time, you bat wanker!”

“Do you need a new monocle, old man? Your opponent is over here!” Robin growled as he drew his katana out of its sheath and sliced it at Penguin’s outstretched umbrella.

The bullet from the umbrella misses Batman by a mile, and Penguin practically screams in frustration. He pressed a button on the umbrella's handle, and a blade shot forth from the tip. “Boy! Can’t. You. See. The. Adults. Are. TALKING?!” With each word, Penguin swung his umbrella at the youngest vigilante, who parried with practiced ease.

Batman watched the two dance around each other for a moment, then ran into the room towards his objective, satisfied that Damian would be fine for the moment.

Robin couldn’t help but puff his chest out a bit in pride. It felt good to know that his father trusted him with such a task after being grounded for so long. However, he didn’t let it go to his head… for now. It would be unprofessional to take his attention away from his opponent. Damian swung his blade in an arch towards the Penguin’s side, and the stouter man barely had time to block it. The villain’s lack of training was apparent, and Robin was going to take full advantage of that.

On the other side of the pool, Nightwing and Red Robin were finishing up their loose ends. Most of the henchmen were out for the count, and it was a matter of time until all of the criminals were in hand. The two vigilantes were back to back as they took out the remaining men with a few finessed moves. Grins stretched across their faces from the exhilaration of the fight.

Penguin was not backing down and began to advance on Robin with his perfectly intact umbrella. Somehow, it had been reinforced for it not to be sliced to ribbons. The boy was inching closer and closer to the edge of the pool. Damian may not be as graceful as Dick, but that didn’t mean he couldn’t dance around an opponent. He spun on his heel and took a mighty swing to knock the Penguin out for the count when one of the pet penguins (they had decided to flee when all the commotion began) walked into his downward swing.

“Tt!” Robin managed to pull out of the maneuver last minute, but his momentum continued. Penguin took his chance to take a jab at the young vigilante with his umbrella as the child started to fall towards the pool. Instead, Damian grabbed the non-pointy part of the umbrella and used his momentum to pull the Penguin into the pool with him. The two crashed into the freezing waters with a loud splash.

Nightwing and Red Robin called out to him from the other side in concern, but somehow, Damian managed to keep his head above the water. The water only reaching to his lower chest. “You little whelp! Let go and taste my blade!” Penguin snarled while water splashed around as the two struggled for dominance in the pool. Their weapons slipped and slid against each other until, in one swing by Robin, both weapons were clattering towards his brothers on the edge of the pool as they slipped from their hands. Sword fight quickly turns into a grappling match.

With a grunt, Robin kicked Penguin away from him, and the man floundered as he fell backward off balance; only his head was above water. Damian panted from the excursion, taking the moment for what it was, and breathed. The cold waters made him tremble in his uniform. It was cold resistant, but that didn’t help when you were almost submerged in freezing water. After allowing himself that moment, he moved towards Penguin… only to realize that he couldn’t move his legs… or arms.

Robin looked down in surprise, and his eyes widened. The pool water around him was solid. He was frozen in place. Ice crept out from his hip at a vicious pace until the entire pool was frozen solid, with Damian trapped from his elbows down and Penguin’s head being the only thing visible. The man cursing the vigilantes all the while.

Confused, Damian tried to feel the utility pocket where Danny’s core was in concern. However, his eyes widened in realization when he felt the cold radiating into his hand from his hip. It felt like it was pulsing out into the water, and he remembered what happened that first day when he had put the core in his sink. The pocket that Danny’s core was in was protected but not waterproof. As soon as the cold water touched the ghost core, it spread out like a freezing wildfire encasing anyone inside.

At least the pet penguins got out okay. Robin was sad he didn’t get the chance to pet one, but how was he going to explain this to the others?!

“Um… what just happened?” Nightwing asked as he and Red Robin watched the pool ice over in seconds, trapping the villain and his brother in the process. The two vigilantes watched the other two struggle in the ice for a few moments. “Did someone lower the temperature too much? That seemed like it froze way too fast for it to be normal.”

Red Robin couldn’t help but blink at the absurd sight and gently tapped the pool water with his foot to see if it was indeed solid. “I mean… it’s not impossible. If the water was super-cooled, then all it would have needed was a catalyst to incite it to become ice. Have you never done that experiment in science class? It’s called Nucleation. After they fell in, maybe when Robin stood still and created a rough surface area in the water, it triggered it?” Tim asked as he fully walked out on the ice towards Robin, and he couldn’t help but smirk. “If only we had thrown all the bad guys in there first. It would have saved ourselves some zip ties.”

Damian kept a stern poker face. If that’s what Tim wanted to believe, then he wouldn’t argue it.

“GET ME OUT OF HERE, YOU WORTHLESS PESTS!” Penguin cried out with venom while trying to wiggle out of the ice to no avail.

Nightwing also tested the ice before skating out onto it with a smile. He did a figure eight around Penguin’s head, much to the villain’s annoyance, as he screamed obscenities at the young vigilantes. “Nah. I think you can stay right where you are. Maybecooldown a bit, y’know?” Nightwing said with a grin far too wide for it to be innocent.

Tim couldn’t help but snicker at Dick as he knelt down to Damian and poked the ice next to his left elbow. “Yeah, Robin. When I ask you tochill out. I didn’t mean for you to take it literally.”

Robin rolled his eyes. “Tt. Are you going to get me out of this or not?” He growled but slowly accepted that he was at his adopted siblings' mercy.

“Yeah, yeah. Hang on.” Red Robin said and dug for what looked like a laser pointer out of his utility belt. “Gotta ask, are you standing straight up and down or…?” when Damian nodded, Tim started up the laser, and it began to cut through the ice about an inch from Robin’s arm. “Nightwing, can you come over here and try and pull Robin up by his shoulders? If we separate enough from the rest of the ice, we should be able to pull him out fairly easily. Robin will be able to free himself once we get his upper body out.”

The oldest of the three skated over from irritating Penguin and gently lifted his little brother by his armpits. Robin slid up about an inch, then stopped. Nightwing couldn’t help but chuckle at this entire situation. “I’ve heard of frozen turkey, but I’ve never heard of frozen Robin.”

Damian groaned in dismay. Tim chuckled alongside Dick. “Just shut up and get me out already. My fingers are starting to go numb.” Speaking of, he began slowly wiggling his limbs to create friction against the ice. Hoping that it would weaken it a bit so that it could aid in his attempt to slide out.

“Is everything alright? What’s the situation?” Oracle chimed over their earpieces, and a new wave of snickering from his brothers had Damian groaning again.

“Everything is good, Oracle. Just have to thaw out a little bird.” Tim stated with glee and leaned back when Damian tried to headbutt him. “The Penguin and his men are apprehended. You can go ahead and tip off Gotham PD so that they can be on their way.”

“Roger that. Though I want to know the full story when you get back.” Oracle replied, and all three boys could hear the smile in her voice. Damian knew that he would never live this moment down. Tim then focused on his task, with Nightwing continuing his.

They get to Robin’s hands on the side where Danny’s core was when Batman waltzed out of the back room with the target in hand. He stopped short at the sight before him and arched a brow at his three sons. “What happened here?” The three birds looked to Batman and shrugged. Well, Damian tried to, but it looked like it got across.

Tim started to explain about nucleation again while continuing to chip away at the ice as Batman made his way over. It was at that moment that Dick felt the ice give significantly. He gave a strong heave, and Robin popped out.

Nightwing flew back from the sudden force and spun on the ice, so both of them didn’t eat it. At the end of the spin, Dick held Damian aloft towards the other two vigilantes with a cheeky grin. “Fly, Robin! You are now a free bird!”

“Put. Me. Down.” Robin growled with his eye twitching. His tolerance for his brothers’ bullsh*t was just about at its end. Heads were going to roll if they didn’t back off. Nightwing chuckled again, set his brother down, and only let go once he knew that Robin wouldn’t slide off. Grumbling to himself, Damian stalked over to his sword. He grabbed it and, with a flourish, slid it into its sheath on his back.

Ignoring the amusem*nt of his brothers, Robin stepped onto the poolside and started to brush the ice off his clothes. Since his back was turned, he pried the pocket of his utility belt open and pulled out the core-turned ice cube. Damian furrowed his brow in concern, but thankfully he didn’t have to think too hard about how to chisel out Danny’s core from the ice. When he applied the slightest pressure with his thumb, the ice gave way, and in moments it was the light blue sphere that he was used to… it just had a little bit of frost still on it.

At least something was going his way.

Robin put the core back into its designated pocket and continued his show of brushing ice off of him while his family made their way over to him. Batman approached and then put a concerned hand on his son’s shoulder, giving the boy a once over. “Are you alright?” The caped crusader asked, and Damian couldn’t help but scoff.

Even though his father looked concerned, there was a hint of amusem*nt in the man’s voice that did not go unnoticed. “Fine. Nothing a hot shower can’t fix.”

“Good. Everyone did well today… despite the odd occurrences.” Batman replied. He looked up towards the blown-out entrance as police sirens made their presence known. “That’s our cue. Let’s head out.”

The group of four ran out of the factory, once again ignoring the Penguin’s screams for them to free him. They grappled to the nearest rooftop and began to make their way back towards home. Nightwing and Red Robin heckled Damian until he began to chase the two down with his sword brandished and Batman rubbing the bridge of his nose in slight annoyance.

Damian’s patience was up.

Heads were rolling.

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (7)

Notes:

I never realized how much I would have to google about the batfam...

I knew so little...

Honestly, I'm glad that you all love this story so much. It has been a ride to write so far!

Edit: Now with art! Mini comic by doodlesforfics

Chapter 6: Cr-Egg-tive Thinking

Summary:

Damian is being suspicious. Tim can't be the only one who sees that, right?

Notes:

Some fun things in the end notes!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Duke watched as Tim sipped his coffee and peered over the rim to scrutinize Damian, who sat on the opposite side of the kitchen table. The youngest ignored the gaze while continuing to eat his breakfast, unfazed. Bruce had already been in to hastily grab his breakfast before making his way out for a day of endless meetings. Surprisingly, without Tim for once. Cass sat next to Duke and did the same thing by looking between her adopted brothers.

Damian finished his breakfast quickly, carried his dishes over to the sink for Alfred, and then made his way out without a word. Duke watched until he couldn’t even see Damian’s light anymore with his powers before he turned to address Tim with an eyebrow raised. “So… what was that about?”

Tim took another long sip of his coffee before turning to his two siblings. “You were right, Duke. Something is up with Damian, and honestly? It’s beginning to weird me out more than normal.”

“You mean besides the fact that he safety-proofed his room?”

The teen nodded in response. “I mean, that should have been a red flag from the get-go. Damian. Locking up his swords? Then there is the fact that other weird things are happening. Have you heard what happened when we took down Penguin two weeks ago?”

Duke and Cass couldn’t help but snicker a bit. “You mean that the pool froze over with Damian still in it?” When Tim nodded, Duke continued. “Yes, we have heard about it. Honestly, I think the only one who doesn’t know is Jason, and that is only a matter of time, and you know it.”

‘I thought you figured out why the pool froze over already?’ Cass signed to the boys and then took a bite of her toast.

Tim’s eye twitched, and he rubbed his shoulder in remembrance of getting smacked by Damian on the way home from the mission. “Yes, I think. I wouldn’t put it past that because of how cold the room was, but something still feels off about the whole thing. Not to mention the other things I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks.”

“And those are…?” Duke asked with a raised eyebrow at his brother.

“Whenever we go out on patrol, Damian’s coms become filled with static. Both Oracle and I have checked the lines and his equipment over a hundred times at this point. There is nothing wrong with them, but when we go out, they mess up without fail. It only started happening when he started carrying that rock around.” The black-haired teen said as he took another swig of coffee before standing up to get another.

‘Egg.’ Cass signed to them when Tim sat back down.

Duke chuckled at Tim’s groan. “Not you too.” Cass smiled at them and gestured for her brother to continue, knowing he had more to say. “Well, the other day, I was heading to the library in the east wing to do some research, and I heard Damian talking. When I peeked around the bookcase, he was reading a book out loud. Guess what was sitting in the chair next to him, laying on a towel?”

“The egg?” Duke couldn’t help but laugh at what Tim had just said. “He was reading to the egg? In its own chair?” Cass’s grin grew at the news.

“YES!” The young CEO cried as he threw his hands up into the air. “Honestly? It was kind of cute. It was a sight I never thought I would see in a million years, but there he was. Reading to the rock. I think the book was for an assignment in Damian’s English class, but I could be wrong.”

Amusem*nt shined in Cass’s eyes. ‘That’s adorable.’

“You aren’t wrong. But… it’s Damian.” Tim stated as he gestured to the air in front of him. “This is so far out of left field like… why is he just now getting an imagination? Something is going on with that rock. I just don’t know what. It’s odd that he carries that thing everywhere. Even that pouch is starting to show some wear on it.”

Now it was Duke’s turn to laugh. “Man, you are starting to sound like a conspiracy theorist.”

“Well, excuse me for being worried about the brother of mine acting weird after he tried to kill me once.” Tim deadpanned as both Duke and Cass chuckled at him. He wasn’t wrong, but the fact that Damian wasn’t doing anything inherently wrong was amusing.

“If it will put you at ease, Tim, I could take a look at the egg for you?” Duke offered with a smile, and he stood up when Tim nodded his head vigorously. He seemingly gave up trying to correct them about what to call the stone. “Alright, hang out here, and I will check it out.” As quietly as possible, Duke followed the light to where Damian was currently at.

The boy was sitting in the bay window seat of the library, appearing to be doing homework as books were scattered around. His self-proclaimed egg rested in the seat before him, basking in the sun. Damian was muttering to himself, and Duke couldn’t help but pull his phone out and snap a picture. He ensured that the volume was off, so the shutter didn’t alert the youngest to his presence. Duke really didn’t want to play dodge the katana today.

Wholesome side mission out of the way, Duke took his time to look at the soft blue rock resting in the sun in its own little nest. He ignored the light that was filtering through the window. There was a soft light that the rock was giving off that had Duke raising a brow in surprise. It shimmered just above the iridescent sheen of the stone. The issue was that he couldn’t tell if it was a light that accumulated because the stone had been resting in the sun for a while or if it just had that light naturally. Some rocks had the ability to store light if left out, and he didn’t know what kind of rock the egg was. There could be something about the egg, or it could be just a pretty rock. It was hard to say at the moment. The meta was tempted to manipulate the light to test his theory, but he knew that Damian would know something was off immediately.

It was right in his line of sight. Which was something Duke knew that the youngest had done on purpose. It was rather cute how protective Damian was of the rock he had found. Satisfied for the moment, Duke returned to the kitchen where Cass and Tim awaited his verdict. Their breakfast was practically finished, and they both looked to him immediately when he entered the room. “Well, it does seem to have a light aura around it though it is fairly weak. It could have just been because it was sitting in the sun for a little bit, but I will try to keep an eye on it when I have the chance.” the meta said with a shrug.

“Please do,” Tim said as he put his dishes in the sink. “I’m gonna check something out on the Batcomputer.” Cass and Duke said their goodbyes and left Tim to head down to the underground base with a fresh cup of coffee.

No one else was in the Batcave at the moment. Tim took the chance to take a breath and relish in the silence of the massive cave. No matter how many times he was in here, it was kind of cool to have the special base of Batman to himself. After that, he went to work on researching his own cases as well as a little bit of groundwork for some projects at Wayne Enterprises. A pretty important board meeting was coming up, and he was not going to let the rest of the board walk all over him. They have tried before, and he always proved them wrong. Just because he was sixteen did not mean that he did not know what he was doing regarding the company. Bruce had made him co-CEO for a reason, and those old jerks would learn it one way or another.

Hours flew by as he worked, and eventually, around one, Tim decided to take a break. He closed out of the important documents and, for fun, decided to see what everyone else in the house was doing. The blue-eyed teen idly flicked through the home security cameras until he stopped on the one that showed the massive backyard.

Two people were chasing Titus as the dog gleefully ran around with something in his mouth. When Tim zoomed in, it showed that the two people were Damian and Alfred, with the item in the dog’s mouth being the leather pouch turned necklace. It looked empty though, and Tim noticed that the stone was in Damian’s hand as he chased after the dog, trying to call him back. Usually, Titus was pretty loyal to Damian and listened to what the boy said, but the dog had his playful side. He looked like he was having the time of his life.

Tim chuckled to himself as he watched the two chase the dog. Titus finally got trapped in the hedge maze by Damian. The youngest scolded the pup, but even from here, Tim could see the endearment of it. However, the pouch now looked like it was on its last legs from the game of tug-of-war it played. The boy was able to push his fingers through several new holes made by courtesy of Titus’s teeth. Alfred seemed to be trying to come up with another solution, but Damian wasn’t happy and had the right to be.

The teen watched his little brother grumble and just take the chain off the pouch and throw the useless bag in the trash. Alfred spoke again, but Damian shook his head and made his way back into the house. He looked like the prideful Damian, but Tim could see that he was a little put out now that he had lost the one thing that was protecting his precious rock. Tim grumbled to himself as he began to flick through the rest of the cameras. Honestly, the fact that Damian seemed so put out by such a small thing shouldn’t have bothered him so much.

But it did.

After a few minutes of looking through the cameras, Tim stood up abruptly. “Ah, screw it. Surely, we have the stuff on hand.” He made his way over to the lab.

Tim sat at a drafting table and used some spare blueprint paper to draw up a design. He knew roughly how big the stone was; that was all Tim needed to get started on his impromptu project. It needed to be durable on the outside while being soft enough to not harm the stone on the inside. He scrapped a few designs until he finally settled on one he liked. Then Tim set the blueprint on a work table and went about gathering materials.

That was another wonderful thing about the Batcave. It held a lot of strong loose materials for whatever the vigilantes decided they needed to create. Tim didn’t have to go out of his way to buy or order things because of it, and he really didn’t feel like advertising what he was doing. The teen gathered the metals, velvet, and several other materials for his design and then set to work. He set up the souped-up 3D printer to start creating the base shape with the non-volatile promethium that Batman had on hand. That printer was a blessing with the number of weapons they lost in fights or broke during training. Instead of recreating it all by hand, it had several preset settings for the vigilantes’ most used weapons. Making all of their lives infinitely easier in the process. The number of special metals it could use was astounding, and it was amazing that promethium was one of them. After all, promethium was a little hard to get, but Tim’s project wasn’t very big, so he doubted that Bruce would mind too much.

It was for a good cause, after all.

At least, Tim hoped it was.

By the time the bird had put the finishing touches on his project, it was time to suit up and head out for the night. Tim heard the telltale signs of his siblings heading to the locker rooms to suit up for their own patrols. Though he was somewhat surprised that no one had decided to bother him the entire time, he was in the lab. Bruce had been out, but it was odd that Alfred hadn’t popped his head in to check on the teen. This meant he was probably still trying to find a solution for Damian’s pouch issue. It was a rare time, indeed, when the butler couldn’t help one of the vigilantes out. Tim sighed as he soldered the final piece into place and held it up for a once over.

Once satisfied with what he had made, the teen headed to the locker room that Damian frequented the most. His younger brother was already geared up and about to head out. When he turned around and saw Tim blocking his exit, the boy seemed to tense while narrowing his eyes at his adopted brother. “What do you want, Drake?” Damian asked in a gruff tone that used to intimidate Tim, but now he kind of brushed it off. The kid was more on edge than usual, and the elder knew it had been how he had acted at breakfast combined with how Damian had lost the pouch earlier.

“Catch, gremlin,” Tim replied, and he threw his hard work at his little brother, who caught it with ease. Damian arched his brow at the other bird, bringing the object up to his face to see what he had been given.

It was a fairly large locket in the shape of a pendant. The silver of the promethium gleamed under the light as Damian turned the circular locket in his hand. The back was solid metal, but the front had a little window made of reinforced glass. When he pushed the hidden button on the bottom, the locket clicked open to reveal a soft black velvet interior that lined the entire inside except where the little window was.

Damian’s eyebrows shot up in surprise as he dug Danny’s core out of the utility pocket, gently placed it inside, then snapped the locket closed. It was a perfect fit. “Where did you-”

“The metal is made of non-volatile promethium, roughly the same thing that Cyborg’s mech body is made of. It has reinforced glass similar to what was installed on the Batmobile with the inside being padded for ultimate impact protection.” Tim explained, effectively cutting Damian off. His little brother’s eyes grew wider in surprise with each new thing the teen said. “Also, it’s waterproof when it’s closed like that. So you won’t have to worry about it turning into an ice cube like it probably did in Penguin’s pool.”

“What? How did you know that I needed-”

Tim shrugged. “I saw Titus accidentally turn your pouch into a chew toy on cams when I looked through them earlier.”

“Where did you... wait, did you make this?” Damian asked. He brought the locket closer to his face to look at the craftsmanship. “Is that why Alfred had told us all not to bother you? Was that what you were making in the lab this afternoon?”

“No, I just had it on hand. Figured you would need something better to carry around your… egg. Now that the pouch was gone. That’s all.” Tim denied it immediately. The teen did not want this to go to Damian’s head. Sure, he had made things for his siblings before, but they were for actual crime fighting. They were things that could aid in keeping his family alive if need be. Not protecting a stone found in a back alley of Gotham. Tim was more surprised that Alfred had checked in on him without the teen realizing. The butler had noticed what he was making and had just left him to it. Okay, then. Well played. There is no need to look for a solution when someone else is already doing it for you.

Damian looked skeptical as he replied. “So, somehow, you found a protective reinforced pendant that just so happens to be the perfect fit for a stone that you’ve seen only a handful of times? Right when I needed it the most? That seems awfully coincidental.”

“That’s just how it worked,” Tim stated with a nonchalant shrug.

“So if I go into the lab and look at the print history on the 3D printer, I won’t find this.” Damian gestured to the pendant in his hand.

The older brother’s body froze. Tim knew he had forgotten to do something but couldn’t remember what. However, he quickly recovered and took a step backward. “Nope. Of course not. Why would it be there when I found it in my room? Anyway, I gotta head out and get ready myself.” Tim took a couple more steps backward with an impressive poker face. “Just wanted to make sure you got it if you were bringing the egg on patrol again. So, gotta go! Bye!”

Damian watched as Tim booked it back towards the lab and allowed a smirk to rest on his face at his brother’s retreat. There was no doubt in his mind that Tim had made the unique pendant for Danny’s core. The adopted brother cared for all of his big talk, and that was good enough for Damian. Whether he wanted to admit it or not.

However, the youngest Wayne would keep this a secret for now. Returning to his locker, Damian quickly pulled out the chain Alfred had given him and combined the two. Danny’s core was put back into his designated pocket, and, for the first time in almost a month, Damian felt relieved.

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (8) Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (9) Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (10)

Notes:

So I'm horrible at making my own memes. Could someone PLEASE make a conspiracy theorist Tim/Red Robin in front of the murder board or something along those lines?

I need it in my life.

You can't deny that Batman wouldn't have souped up 3d printer. Especially with Tim on his team.

Please @ me on Tumblr here with it! Come say hello!

Also, this story got a review, and I think that it's super cool! It's by Ana Cecilia, and you can find it here: Robin's Egg Review

Edit: Art added! Sketch by maddie-the-booty-crusader
Minicomic and Damian in window by: doodlesforfics

Chapter 7: A fr-egg-ndly conversation

Summary:

Out on patrol again, and Damian runs into some issues.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The streets of Gotham were buzzing. Sitting on the ledge of the clock tower, Robin overlooked the darkened city below with a concerned gaze. The buzzing wasn’t the same ominous feeling that the vigilante had when he found Danny but the fact that Gotham was feeling off again so soon made him feel on edge. He wasn’t the only one that thought it either. Damian could hear his siblings commenting over their comms, so they didn’t feel alone. Usually, Robin would grumble at the inane chatter, but he let it go today.

Though he did turn his comms off for the moment. Steph and Tim were talking about something from when they were dating, and Damian did NOT want to hear that. Instead, he focused on his surroundings now that the silence of the night was returned.

Many people were milling about in the streets despite how late it was. It was only a matter of time before something went down. Now, which of the batclan found the problem was the question. There have been several minor skirmishes, but it was in the air. Something was going to go down. Robin’s hand idly made its way over to the pocket with Danny’s core. The cold pulsed out from the core, and it helped Damian to relax a tiny bit. At least something was normal tonight. Since he received that case from Tim, patrols felt a lot calmer since Robin wasn’t afraid of Danny getting hurt by accident. Also, it was waterproof so that the Penguin incident wouldn’t happen again.

Hopefully.

Robin watched below as a family of four dashed to their car from a local restaurant. The children giggled happily while the parents eyed the dark alleyways in worry. “Tt. What are they doing out so late? It’s like they are asking to get jumped.” Damian muttered to himself. His eyes were glued on the family. This may be the nicer end of town, but that did not mean it was safe at night. Nowhere was safe at night in Gotham.

Speaking of, the hairs on Robin’s neck stood on end as he felt someone come up from behind. No footsteps. No sound. The light of the moon cast its shadow over the young vigilante who was already preparing to take this person down. So when a hand reached out to touch his shoulder, Robin grabbed it and threw the person over his head. Which also meant that he threw the person off the clock tower. However, Damian had his grapple at the ready and aimed it towards the body sailing towards the ground… only to stop and scowl at the laughter that made its way up to him.

Superboy caught himself quickly in the air and laughed at his friend’s face. “Man, how do you do that? I’ve never been able to sneak up on you once! Ah!” Jon laughed as he flew to the side of the grapple hook that Damian shot at him anyway. “Hey now! That’s rude! Is that how you greet a friend?” He flew to the ledge and sat next to Robin with one of his signature sunny smiles on his face. “What are you lookin at, Robin?”

Damian put the grapple gun away and situated himself back on the ledge. Trying his best to ignore the smile directed his way. “Just some civilians who seem to want to press their luck tonight.” He replied while gesturing to the family, who were now driving off into the night. “Also, I never said you were my friend.”

The two boys watched the car drive off, and Jon dramatically fell back against the clock tower wall as if he had been shot. “Robin! How could you say that? I… I thought we were… besties!” When all Superboy received was a scowl and a “Tt.”, he laughed again and sat back up. “So we aren’t besties, eh? Is that why you brought someone else with you today?”

“What are you talking about?” Damian asked, thoroughly confused as Jon finally got the other boy’s attention from the streets below. “I’m the only one here?”

Jon arched a brow at his friend. “Uh… no, you’re not? There is someone else right next to you… Are they invisible?” The taller boy leaned toward Damian as if he was listening to something closely. “Actually, not next to you. More like they are on you….” His eyes trailed to Robin’s utility belt. “Are you keeping another animal in your pocket again? Didn’t you get in trouble that one time you tried to bring kitten Alfred on a mission once? That little guy is vicious, but I don’t think he could take common criminals.”

“Hey! Alfred has amazing potential at being a sidekick… He’s just better at being Titus’s sidekick instead of mine.” Robin defended his pet with a scowl at his friend, who chuckled at him again. “And no, I do not have an animal in my pocket.” Which was true. Danny was a ghost, or at least part one.

“Then what is in your pocket?”

“What are you hearing that makes you think there is a living thing in my utility belt?” Robin asked while bringing up a hand to protect Danny’s pocket, out of habit. It was more a reflex than anything. He knew Jon would never intentionally harm the core, but how could he tell there was something in there? The only weird thing the core gives off is the cold that has grown stronger as time passes. Damian was hoping that it meant Danny was getting better and not getting worse. His sparse readings on ghosts had not yielded any information on ghost cores, so the boy was still flying blind. If the half-Kryptonian could sense something, then he wanted to know. Also, if Superboy could feel it, there was no point hiding. Damian couldn’t think of an excuse for a second bodily sound coming off him for no reason.

Jon co*cked his head at Damian’s protective stance, then shrugged. He closed his eyes as he focused on the sound. “It… sounds like there is a heartbeat. Then like a hum? Though it’s faint, and there are long pauses between them. It’s there, though. Actually, now that I think about it….” Superboy’s eyes widened as he looked over Damian. “I think I’ve felt the same pulse before. It came off of that pendant you started wearing under your shirt. The one you wear every day. I thought it was hitting your chest or somethin since the beats used to be much farther apart. At least, when I first heard it.”

Robin hummed in thought. If the heartbeats were becoming more frequent, then that meant that Danny must be getting better. The heart slows typically when it’s injured or due to lack of blood, and with all that green stuff in that alley… needless to say, it made sense. The teen had been on death’s door in more ways than one, and it was a blessing to know that Damian seemed to be doing something right. It worried the vigilante more than he would be willing to admit.

When Superboy didn’t get a response, he watched his friend sift through his thoughts for a few minutes before asking, “So, are you going to introduce me to your new friend?” Damian paled, and Jon narrowed his brows in concern. “Hey, are you okay? Is something wrong?”

The younger vigilante pursed his lips before making sure that his comms were still off (Thankfully, Oracle hadn’t hacked them open again. Damian could only assume that Steph and Tim were still going on about that relationship stuff. She loved listening to that.). He then whirled towards the taller boy and pressed his hand to Superboy’s mouth in a practiced move. “What I’m about to say and show you stays between us. I can’t hide him from you. But none of the other bats know about this, so what happens in a few moments you have to keep just between us!” Robin whispered harshly, but Jon didn’t feel threatened in the slightest. This wasn’t the first time Damian had roughly asked him to be quiet about something. He knew it wouldn’t be the last.

So he nodded his head, the twelve-year-old vigilante’s smile growing when Damian pulled away to take out the pendant. “What is that?” Superboy asked as Robin gently held the charm in his hand between them. The light blue of the core peeking out from the little window.

“This… from what he told me anyway, is a ghost core.” Robin began before stopping to think over his words carefully. He knew that Jon would keep this a secret, but that didn’t mean Robin had to tell him everything. Not right at this moment. He popped open the pendant so Danny’s core could be fully viewed. “About three weeks ago, I found this heavily injured teen while out on patrol….” The young vigilante explained how he couldn’t find the boy’s assailant and how there wasn’t a safe way to get him to a hospital. That Danny had to retreat into his core because of his injuries. That Danny had been scared. However, he did not give out Danny’s name. He also didn’t fully detail how vital the ghost core is to Danny, but it was implied. All the while, Jon listened to his friend in solemn silence.

“So, I’ve been carrying the core with me since then because I figured this was the safest spot.” Damian ended the explanation by snapping the protective pendant closed and putting Danny back in his designated pocket. Jon hummed in confirmation as he lapsed into his own thought-filled silence. The two boys went back to watching the streets below. There was a significant drop in people wandering about compared to earlier.

“And none of your family know about him? That you are literally carrying a person around your neck every day?”

“None. Surprisingly, I think my father is the least informed at the moment.” Robin replied as he leaned back against the clock tower. “The core has caused a couple of odd incidents, but somehow it's been explainable. He’s been so busy with other cases that the little pendant I wear hasn’t roused any suspicion. Drake seems to be catching on, though.”

Superboy’s brows shot up in shock at that. “How long do you plan on keeping this up? If he keeps getting stronger, he will be harder to hide from those with enhanced senses. I only noticed because I see you almost every day at school.” Jon’s concern for Danny was showing through, and Damian appreciated it.

The younger of the two sighed and idly kicked his dangling legs. “Until he can reform? Something horrible happened to the kid, and I want to ensure he is in a safe space when he does. I’ve been trying to figure out what happened to him but haven’t had much of a chance to.” Damian sighed again, then looked up at the sky. The moon was out with no cloud coverage, which was rare in Gotham. “So you said that the heartbeat has gotten stronger?”

“Yep.” Superboy replied, popping the ‘p’ at the end. “If it hadn’t, then I probably wouldn’t have noticed. So at least he is healing. Though it is taking a while, how long does it take for a ghost to heal?” At this, Damian shrugged. His knowledge of ghosts was a little better than before but was significantly lacking in many areas. It was a bit relieving that someone else knew, and now he had a gauge on Danny’s progress towards getting better. He also had someone to drag down with him once Batman found out he had been hiding an injured child in his own home for weeks.

That was a terrifying thought to have.

That was a repercussion that he didn’t want to think about.

Damian stood up on the ledge. “We’ve been sitting here for too long.” He stretched his limbs and made to grapple to the next building.

“Just hop on! I can soar over faster than a grapple.” Jon smiled and pointed to his back as Damian scowled again.

“I’m not doing that.” Robin launched the grapple and sailed over to the nearby rooftop, with Superboy following with a laugh.

The two raced playfully across the rooftops until they settled atop an old apartment building that overlooked a park. Their patrol had crossed over with Steph and Cass’s. They watched as several of Joker’s minions tried to take the two out. The two boys nodded to each other before joining in the fray.

Gunshots broke the silence with Spoiler dodging around a nearby tree, so she wasn’t lit up. Orphan took her chance to dive into a group of three wannabe clowns. She whipped out her sword and took out their legs, jumping back into the shadows when they tried to recover.

Superboy swooped down, taking two men out with a single punch. They were sent sprawling into a nearby building only to slump over unconscious. Robin used his grapple gun to trap another who was about to fire on Spoiler and hit the button on the gun to pull the young vigilante to the poor man. He used the added momentum to kick the guy in the face, and another was out for the count.

“Hey, guys! How’s your night going so far?” Spoiler asked sweetly while she took out a few batarangs and launched them onto the crowd. Her throws were rewarded with cries from those who were caught in their path. Orphan nodded at the two new additions but was bodily tackled from behind to the ground.

Robin freed his grapple and then pulled out a Batarang. Throwing true, he hit the clown pinning Orphan to the ground in the shoulder, giving his adopted sibling a chance to shove the goon off and knock him out with the hilt of her sword. “Tt. The town has had an odd air about it. I was wondering when something was going to happen-”

“We need to retreat! This isn’t worth it anymore!” cried what appeared to be the group leader. The masked clown man grabbed a couple of his closest colleagues and booked it towards the nearest alley. “Cover our exit!”

The one closest to the back pulled out a canister that all the vigilantes recognized. Robin grappled one of the downed men closest to the ones escaping and dragged the body towards him while pulling his gas mask on. The others were also trying to pull the Joker’s men to safety. Spoiler and Orphan were quick to dawn their gas masks as Superboy flew towards the escaping villains. Only to pull up short and dart high into the sky when the goon threw the canister at him, and it exploded, covering the immediate area in the toxic laughing gas. Thankfully, there were no civilians nearby, but several of the unconscious men were not as lucky. Chaotic maniacal laughter filled the silence as the Joker’s men, who were left behind, breathed in the laughing gas and succumbed to its deadly effects.

“Tt. They used it anyway despite their own teammates being in the blast radius.” Robin growled after he turned his comms back on. “What is going on here?”

“It appears to be just some of Joker’s men getting bored and wanting to terrorize some people tonight.” a staticky Oracle spoke over the comms. “There have been no other sightings of Joker or Harley, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t out doing something.”

“So they acted on their own? Yikes, I feel worse for the ones that got away. Once Joker hears that they decided to go freelance with his laughing gas, they’ll be lucky to escape with their lives.” Superboy called out while circling the immediate area to ensure no one accidentally walked into the infected park. His super hearing allowed him to hear Oracle with ease from above.

Everyone collectively shuddered at the thought. It was never good when a henchman tried to harm Batman without the Joker’s consent. Harley had almost succeeded in killing the Bat once, and she had nearly paid the ultimate price. Quinn had only gotten away because she was resourceful and intelligent. That and Joker had still considered her useful to him. On the other hand, any lackey was going to meet a gruesome demise by the laughing gas they tried to use on the young vigilantes.

“Is everyone alright?” Batman spoke over the comms. His gruff voice pulled them out of their thoughts and pushed them into action.

The bats teamed up to pull all of the men hit by the gas out of the affected zone. “Only a few bumps and bruises. Nothing a bandaid and some sleep can’t fix. How much of the antidote do you guys have on hand?” Spoiler asked while digging through her utility belt. “Looks like we will need about 15 doses of the stuff if we don’t want them dying within the next 24 hours.”

“Odds are sooner. Twenty-four hours is only if the person is in peek physical condition, and I highly doubt that these guys are.” Robin replied, checking his supplies. “I have four doses on me.”

Orphan made her way over with a bottle in her hand. “Five.” She whispered just enough for the comms to pick it up.

“Okay, and with mine, we have thirteen in total. Red Robin, you are closest to us. Did you bring any with you tonight?” Spoiler said as she pulled her own supply out.

Tim snorted over the comms. “Never leave the cave without it. We’ll have enough when we meet up. Oracle, can you give me the coordinates?”

“Sending them to you now.”

“Which direction did the ones escaping run off to?” Batman asked, and they all could hear the wind whooshing by.

Superboy flew higher and looked in the general direction while narrowing his eyes. “It looks like they ran towards the Narrows.” Robin relayed this, and all of the bats heard their leader grumble.

“Oracle, what is Hood’s location?” Batman’s gruff voice asked, not liking that the accomplices had escaped his jurisdiction.

It was silent save for the sound of a keyboard for a few moments before the red-head spoke up. “Looks like Hood’s already found them and is in pursuit. It won’t be long until he has them in hand. At least, that’s what I got before he turned his comm off again.”

Spoiler cringed. “Which one is worse? An angry Joker or getting caught by Hood as one of Joker’s gang?”

No one wanted to answer that.

Notes:

I'm really glad that you all love this story! It really warms my heart to see you all so enthusiastic.

Also, someone made the meme! THANK YOU!
Please never hesitate to message me on my Tumblr! My Tumblr

Chapter 8: An Eggnygma

Summary:

Gotham is still feeling off, and it turns out to be more than Joker's men...

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Almost everyone gathered in the gas-infected park to administer the antidote to the contaminated henchmen while Superboy made quick work of the remaining gas. The half-Kryptonian borrowed a gas mask from Robin and flew in a large, repeated circle around the toxic cloud. Leading it higher into the atmosphere before allowing it to disperse safely. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. The bats, however, did not remove their masks. Almost all of the antidotes had already been used, and no one (except Damian since he gave his to Superboy) wanted to risk breathing in the laughing gas.

Paranoia runs in the family.

“Can this night be over with already?” Spoiler exclaimed as she finished lying the last of Joker’s men against the brick wall of a nearby apartment building. She rubbed her arms nervously as she shivered in dread. “Sorry, but I know I’m not the only one who thinks tonight feels off. Robin already admitted to it when he joined the fight.”

Both Orphan and Red Robin nodded in agreement. Damian hunched his shoulders, but he couldn’t deny that she was right. His father stood up from looking over a couple of unconscious men. “The last time Gotham felt like this, there was a massive breakout in Arkham. It just means we need to be even more vigilant than normal.” Batman stated, walking over to his children with his fingers flying across his wrist computer. “Oracle, has there been any new movement or changes-”

“Oh no. No, no nonono!” was all the redhead replied. All of the bats and Superboy shared a look. Those words had never boded well for the vigilantes. A flurry of key smashing came from the coms before Oracle said, “Batman, point your projector at the wall. This is something you have to see. This is airing across all TV channels.”

He did just that and outstretched his wrist computer towards the nearest building. Oracle was already in. The building lit up from the projector's bright light and showed a face that all the bats were familiar with.

“Riddler,” Batman growled, narrowing his eyes.

A bright, toothy smile pulled back from the camera to reveal the question-marked villain in all of his green glory. Riddler tipped his bowler cap to an unseen audience. “Good evening, ladies and gentleBats. Gotham, tonight you are all in for a treat!” He began with a flourish. The green-suited man twirled his cane before pointing it directly at the camera. “Tonight, you will all witness the death of Batman and his ragtag bunch of sidekicks!”

Robin bristled, and he knew that he wasn’t the only one. “Must he be so overly dramatic?” The youngest growled, which earned him a chuckle from Superboy, who had flown to stand next to him. Batman shushed his son as the Riddler continued his monologue.

“So, without further ado, let’s start with the rules. All the bats must do is head to four locations hidden throughout Gotham. They must solve the riddles before the clock tower strikes five am. If you run out of time or fail to solve the riddles, well… the bats will become trapped in their rooms and die. Then the clock tower will be no more! It’ll be quite the… explosive scene.” Cackles of laughter left Riddler, and Robin watched Tim roll his eyes.

“Is he trying to rip off the Joker? Didn’t something similar happen a couple of months ago?”

Spoiler groaned. “Why is every rogue fixated on the clock tower? I swear each one has tried to blow it up at least once.”

“Can the snide remarks wait until the end of the movie?” Oracle asked, annoyed over the coms, promptly silencing her fellow teammates.

“However, each building has a timed lock. So if you all go to the same location and enter, the other sites will lock up, and no one will be able to get in. Thus, you will lose.” Nygma said as a series of photos flew across the screen. Each one paused for a few seconds before switching to the next. They showed obscure images of various buildings in Gotham. “Here are the locations, but there are some decoys out there. I would be careful now! After all, you only have fifteen minutes to decide!” The feed cut out with more laughter and looped from the beginning.

“I’m already running a scan to see where those buildings are,” Oracle said to everyone before they could ask.

Red Robin looked around the group in thought. “So, how are we splitting this? We have enough people, but someone will be the odd man out if we include Superboy.”

Said super exclaimed to the group in general. “Which you definitely are!” He was not going to be left out of this.

“I don’t want anyone entering one of these places alone,” Batman stated with authority as he turned the projector off and lowered his arm. “We don’t know what kind of traps are waiting for us, and going in alone without backup could end badly. Oracle, try and get a hold of Red Hood. Nightwing, did you hear all of that?”

“On it, B.”

“Yep, who do you want me to go with?” The bluebird responded.

There was a crackle over the coms and an exasperated groan. “Hey, I turned this thing off for a reason. What do you guys want?” The new voice of Red Hood broke over the frequency.

Oracle let out a slight hum of victory. “I’ve got the coordinates, Batman. Sending them to you now.”

There was a ding over the coms, and Batman read the information to himself before addressing the group. “Red Hood, we have an emergency situation. I need you to meet up with Nightwing at these coordinates. You two are the closest to it. Nightwing fill him in on the way.”

“You got it, B!” there was the sound of a breeze that filled the coms for a moment as the oldest made his way over to his target.

“Orphan and Red Robin, I want you to go to the one that looked to be in the residential district. Spoiler, and I will get the one on the docks. Robin and Superboy, you two will hit up the one in the shopping district.” Batman commanded while sending out the necessary information to the paired-off vigilantes, hiding the smile at Jon’s whoop of happiness at being grouped with Damian. “Keep your coms on at all times. I don’t want any surprises.”

Everyone nodded their heads and split off towards their intended buildings. Superboy was flying circles around Robin as he grappled and jumped from rooftop to rooftop. The older boy’s excitement was slightly infectious. Damian had figured that he would have been paired with his father, but he knew that he had ended up with Superboy for a reason. It had been a while since the two had gone on a proper mission together. It’s also been a bit since he had gone with a team that didn’t include one of his family members. It was nice.

“Robin! Hop on my back, already. We can get there faster!” Superboy called to him, somehow not getting dizzy despite the many circles he was making above the smaller boy.

“Tt.” Damian shot his grapple to take him towards the darker end of the shopping district. “I told you that is not happening.”

Superboy slowed his flight to hover alongside his friend. “So slow!” the boy drawled, and Damian was tempted to try and hit him with his grapple for the second time tonight. “I think I now understand how the Flash feels.” Robin just rolled his eyes as he continued to lead them to the roof of what appeared to be a dive bar. Because, of course, it was. Death traps are never in pleasant places.

The two young vigilantes quickly sweep the outer perimeter only to find that the only entrance was the front door with a timer attached. It was counting down, and they had only four minutes before they were locked out. “We are in position. Ready to begin when you are.” Robin whispered into his com, not wanting to chance one of Riddler’s men overhearing. It wouldn’t be the first time he had people hiding somewhere.

“Yeah, we’re in position too. I’m not exactly happy about it, though. This place is creepy. Hood should be right at home, tho-OW! Don’t hit me!” Nightwing replied to them, with Hood grunting in the background from his brother’s retaliation.

Some nervous chuckles came from Orphan and Red Robin. “We just arrived. There isn’t much time left,” Tim said from his end with a sigh. “Though I gotta agree, our building is pretty creepy too.”

“Same here.” Robin agreed with his family’s assessment. The dive bar looked like it was about to fall over. This was not a working establishment. Grime seemed to cover the entire building and had a musky scent. Not to mention that the building just felt… off. Damian scrunched his nose in disgust. Something was setting off all of his senses, but he didn’t know what.

Superboy narrowed his eyes as he used his x-ray vision to try and get the lay of the land before they were forced to enter. He paled. “Um… Robin?” He didn’t continue until the small boy turned to his friend and arched a brow. “There… there are bodies inside. One still has a heartbeat, though….”

Robin’s eyes widened marginally. “Did you guys hear that?”

“Our buildings probably contain hostages as well. Be careful; our lives are not the only ones on the line here.” Batman’s voice carried over the ominous silence. “we enter when the clock says one minute.”

Superboy glanced at their clock, and Robin put his hand on the handle. The two boys watched the timer tick down, then open it quickly but quietly. Robin moved the door far enough that it couldn’t lock itself when the others opened their doors but not all the way. The young bird peered through the crack for any immediate threats. When he found none, Robin led both boys into the building. Their door slammed closed and locked itself the moment they were clear. The door had an odd mechanism that made the door impassable. They were officially trapped.

Sort of.

Unless Riddler had accounted for Superboy, then all they had to do was break a wall with the kid’s super strength. The others had various means of breaking windows or walls to escape as well. That would be the last-ditch effort, though. Riddler was notoriously vengeful for those who broke his rules. Even if he hadn’t said that, they couldn’t break out. The guy could be petty when he wanted to be.

Robin turned away from the door and finally got a good look at the room they were now stuck in. Half of the lights were dim or broken. Dust filled the room, and looked like it had been abandoned for years. Stools were strewn about; some upright, others knocked over. The same went with the tables placed around the dining area. The windows were boarded up with some kind of locking mechanism on them as well. To the right, there were some old slot machines. A cleared pathway led from where they were at the front door straight to the bar, which held the main concerns of this room. Damian now understood why Jon looked so apprehensive right now.

Two men sat on bar stools with their upper bodies strewn onto the marble counter. A third sat next to them, trembling. His body was entirely tied up with a weird device strapped to his chest, and his mouth was muzzled shut. Several glasses with an amber liquid rested in front of the men, and, even from this distance, Robin could tell that the men lying on the counter were dead… and that they had been dead for at least a day or two. The stench was slightly overwhelming, and Robin did not envy Superboy's enhanced senses at that moment.

“Does anyone else have a couple of corpses and a person hooked up to a weird device?” Robin asked over his com only to receive a garbled reply full of static. It was so bad that it was utterly incomprehensible. He mentally cursed and flicked his comm off when the noise subsided. “Looks like we are on our own,” Damian called his friend as he walked over to the bodies.

Superboy stood in the center of the room, taking it in for a moment, before begrudgingly getting closer. He kept a wide distance from the corpses, and Damian couldn’t blame him. “So what kind of riddle is this? It just looks like there was a kidnapping that ended in murder for two of them.”

Careful not to touch the bodies, Robin walked behind the bar counter. The boy finally came into view of the living victim, causing the man to cry in relief. The poor guy couldn’t speak with the wired muzzle on his face clamping his jaw shut. Who knows how long this man had been trapped like this?

Ignoring him for a moment, Robin looked for clues on the bar counter only to find an envelope resting next to the dead men. He opened it up and read the contents to himself. “Well, that may actually be the case.” the boy said, then read the letter aloud:

Three men drank their sorrow,
For the one, they love knew no tomorrow.
Two with whiskey on the rocks.
One quickly drank five approx.

The two then promptly died,
While the third watched on and cried.
How could something so horrible be?
Yet, one still lived of the three.

Superboy was now looking over his shoulder at the letter in scrutiny. “So we really do have a murder mystery on our hands. The goal is to find out how two died and one survived?”

“Looks that way,” Robin replied, turning to address the living victim. “I wonder if the others have their own murders to solve.” He walked over to the victim and looked at the device on his chest. It had a small screen with a keyboard input for a small phrase. “Yep, looks like we have to figure out what killed them and how this one survived.” Though Robin already had a hunch. There were times when being raised by assassins made investigations easier.

The twelve-year-old looked at the bodies and stuck his tongue out, appalled. “It was a bad idea to give murder mysteries to a family of detectives. Also, I am not touching them.”

“I don’t think we’ll have to.” Damian turned back to the dead bodies and looked them over. He lightly lifted their clothes a tiny bit to inspect for any type of injury that could have been fatal. Save from entirely stripping them; he couldn’t find anything of the sort which brought him back to the glasses filled with alcohol resting in front of the three men. One in front of each of the dead men and five in front of the living. The liquid looked the same in all of them. “Everything is right in front of us. We just have to figure it out.”

Not wanting to miss anything, the two boys spent about an hour thoroughly checking the room. Only to find that the Riddler did not lie when he meant they were trapped. All exits were sealed shut. There were also these weird nozzles hidden in the room, which could only mean something terrible if they failed. They looked at the letter while the two sat behind the bar counter. “Any ideas? It has to be some kind of poison if we go by the riddle. I just don’t understand how one of them survived.” Superboy grumbled, looking at the paper intensely.

Robin nodded in confirmation and pulled out a silver needle from his utility belt. This was the conclusion he had gotten to before reading the letter. That was only half the battle, though. He tested each glass, and sure enough, the silver needle turned black each time. “Every single glass of whiskey had poison in it.” He replied as he put the needle away. The young bird tried his coms again only to immediately regret it. It was still a garbled mess that gave him a headache. Best to try when they weren’t in the building.

“Then how is this guy still alive?!” Superboy exclaimed, gesturing to the living man whose name they did not know. “He actually drank MORE than the other two. He should be super dead!… No offense. Glad you’re still here.” The boy quickly amended when he heard his words out loud. The man just shrugged, resigned to his fate.

Robin looked between the glasses and the letter until he let his head hit the marble of the bar counter with a groan. “Ice.”

“What?”

“It was ice!” The bird exclaimed while gesturing to the glasses. “I don’t know many adults who drink whiskey straight. The poison wasn’t in the alcohol. It was in the ice. The reason why he’s alive is that in the time these two drank one, he drank five. They let the ‘rocks’ melt in their glasses, but he drank his so fast the ice didn’t have a chance. There isn’t any ice in them now because it melted before we got here.”

Superboy blinked at his friend. Letting his friend’s words roll in his mind before saying, “That’s insane… and very simple.” Damian decided not to tell him that most assassinations are. His friend was already traumatized today from the dead bodies; he didn’t need to break him even more.

Maybe another day.

Robin stood up from his seat and went to input their answer into the keypad. “Let’s get this over with and meet the others at the clock tower.”

“Wait… can we double check the riddle first? I don’t want to mess up….” When Jon got an annoyed scoff from Damian, he sent the young boy a glare. “Not all of us have been raised to be detectives! I do not doubt your judgment. I’m just asking to be thorough!”

“Fine. Bring it over here.” Robin said with a roll of his eyes, and Superboy flew over. He held the paper between them. They both look down, and everything freezes.

Nothing moves.

It’s as if time itself glitches.

Then just as quickly as it happens, the odd sensation ends. Robin and Superboy look at each other alarmed. The looks on their faces confirmed that they both experienced the weird phenomenon. A red flashing light filled the room, and the keypad had a glaring red ‘X’ on it. “Um, Robin… where did the hostage go?” Superboy asked with his eyes wide.

The keypad was now set up on the back of the bar stool, with the man nowhere in sight. No ropes on the floor. No sounds. It was as if the man ceased to exist right before them. Confusion and dread spiked within Robin as his eyes scoured the room, finding no trace of the man they had spent the better part of two hours with. “What… what’s going on?” He looked back at the keypad and growled. Choosing to get mad at the one thing he could control. “There was no way that my answer was wrong! The ice is the only answer….” Robin trailed off when he looked at the letter that Superboy held. He paled.

The riddle had changed.

Robin snatched the letter out of Superboy’s hand, bringing the older boy back out of his frantic thoughts. He looked at the letter and paled as well. Together they read the words written in an odd cog shape out loud.

I am something everyone must experience in time.
Especially for those who fight crime.
Each rescue causes the chances to inflate.
Yet, we all know what rue ending awaits.

“What is this?!” Robin hissed in anger as he turned the paper over in his hands. This wasn’t right.

“Robin, that wasn’t our riddle. Where did that come from? Where did that guy go?” Superboy’s eyes looked around the room frantically. Panic is beginning to set in from the odd turn of events. “What is the answer to that?”

The bird stopped looking over the paper and looked his friend in the eye. “Death. The only answer is death.” Damian touched Danny’s pocket on the utility belt, and a hiss was let out from the vents in the room. Both boys looked towards the sound to see an ominous mist begin filtering into the room. “I don’t know what happened, but something changed, and we lost because of it.”

“So what do we do? Should I bash down a wall?” Superboy demanded, and he started towards one of the walls when he was pulled back by Robin, and the gas mask was slapped onto his face.

“Don’t go near the gas! We don’t know what it will do to you.” Robin held his cape over his mouth, trying to find a quick solution. All nearby exits were locked and blocked by the encroaching mist. He pressed closer to Superboy as it wafted closer. “I think we’ll have to go through the roof-”

“Bark! Bark!”

...since when was there a dog in here?

Notes:

Sorry that this one was a little dark. I'm just surprised that the Riddler has never actually used a murder mystery format against the bats before. He mainly just uses silly riddles and then kills a person if they fail it. sometimes he kills them if they get it right. The latter doesn't happen as often, but it depends on Nygma's mood, it seems.

Also, the Drink Riddle was not an idea I came up with. It was a very popular one across several riddle websites; I just rewrote it so that it fits more like a riddle than a paragraph murder mystery. I did write the second one, though! I hope you all like this because the next couple of chapters hurt my brain planning out and setting up x.x

Now for fun things!!!

LOOK AT THE FAN ART!!! Damian with Danny!!!!

Chapter 9: A mysterious Eggscape

Summary:

Jon is confused. Damian is confused. Everyone is confused /o/

Notes:

There is some cool info at the end of the chapter! It will be too long if I put it here.

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

Toxic gas slowly filled the room, but the two boys ignored it. Instead, they stared in shock at the creature in front of the entrance doors, wondering how it had gotten inside in the first place. A small neon green bulldog puppy with black ears barked cheerily to them. Its small tail was wagging a mile a minute. Robin’s eyes widened at the absurdity of it all. The past few moments have been nothing but a whirlwind of confusion so why not add a glowing dog on top of it all?

“Um… is that a dog? How did a dog get in here? There wasn’t another heartbeat when I checked earlier.” Superboy asked, pushing back the slight panic at their dire situation to focus on the little creature before them. Robin had absolutely no idea. He knelt down while pocketing the letter and beckoned the pup over. It bounded over happily. There was a black collar with a silver tag on the dog’s neck, and when Damian flipped it over, he found a name.

“Cujo?”

The dog responded immediately. It ran around in several small circles barking excitedly. The gas appeared to have no effect on it. Not that they were going to test that theory. Robin offered his hand to sniff before petting the excited puppy with gusto. The pup especially zeroed in on his utility belt. Sniffing all the pockets and even licking the one Danny’s core was in. Robin wished that he could take his gloves off, but the gas was almost on top of them. “Well, isn’t he a happy thing?” Superboy chuckled behind his gas mask. “Now, we should probably figure out how to get out of here. The human hostage may be gone, but a puppy dying with us doesn’t sit well with me either. Also, I think you are right about the gas… I feel my powers weakening from the little bit I breathed before.”

Robin’s eyes narrowed at the news. Pulling the little dog close to his knees with one hand and using the other to cover his mouth with his cape, he took to looking around the room again. “It appears like the best exit is through the ceiling. Could you make a BIG hole-” Damian didn’t get a chance to finish.

Cujo wiggled out of Robin’s hand with an excited yip and dashed in front of them. The cute yips morphed into a terrifying bark as the little pup shape-shifted into a massive bulldog that stood taller than Superman. Robin gave a startled cry when Cujo bit his cape and started carrying the boy by it, above the gas, toward the front doors. Superboy only had half a second to think and quickly grabbed his friend’s foot. Carefully pulling himself up so that he could hold onto Robin’s shoulders. Both boys were carried above the gas towards the doors at a fast pace, and the dog showed no signs of stopping. They braced for impact.

It never came.

A swirling blue portal formed in front of them, and they were pulled through right before they smashed into the building. Freezing temperatures had the boys shivering in their suits as they were carried from a dusty bar into fluffy snow. The portal closed behind them, and the vigilantes were now in a completely different plane of existence.

“Uh… where are we…?” Jon asked. The freezing winds caused him to shiver harder, but he refused to let go of Damian. No matter how hard he wiggled in frustration, trying to get the dog to release his cape. It wasn’t working out that well. “Did Cujo take us to the Antarctic or something?”

Robin flailed futilely for a few moments before giving up. The dog was only going to let him go when IT decided to. “I don’t think the Antarctic has a swirling green sky.” Damian pointed out as he scanned the sky above.

It was a vivid green that was almost too bright. Somehow it glowed even though there was no other frame of reference for it to do so. Instead of clouds, a vast array of purple doors and islands dotted the skyline, making Robin feel like he had fallen into wonderland.

“Um… Damian…”

“Before you ask, I am just as lost as you are.” Robin deadpanned as he continued to watch the sky. He activated his coms to try and contact the others, only to switch it off as fast as possible. The interference was even worse than it had been in the dive bar. Robin groaned. His head was starting to hurt from all the weird unexplainable things happening at once. Being raised by assassins and Batman did make his life more extraordinary than most, but this was beginning to be too much. What else was going to happen within the next few minutes?

The vigilantes weren’t given much time to fully process the dimension they had been dragged into. Cujo let out another joyful bark and barreled forward into a portal that appeared in from of them just a few feet away, taking the two boys with him. This time the destination was a lot more ominous. Snow turned into concrete, and the portal's glow seemed to be the only light in this room. The boys looked around their new environment, and Robin thought he had been taken into a war zone.

They were in a large sub-basem*nt. Scorch marks were everywhere: on the ceiling, the walls, the floor. Nasty cracks broke into the foundation, and one of the walls had caved in from the lack of structure. Machinery filled one wall entirely, and it looked like some sort of broken frame. Globs of a softly glowing green substance were smeared around the entire room. A substance that reminded Damian of the liquid that leaked between Danny’s fingers when he tried to hold himself together. He frowned. If he wasn’t already having a hunch when he saw the dog, then this place almost confirmed it. Whatever was going on had to be related to Danny. This room might be a clue as to what happened to the ghost boy. Weapons and gadgets littered the floor with a thick layer of dust on top of them. Proving that whatever happened here had conspired a long time ago.

It lined up with the news article Damian found.

Now he really tried to free his cape from Cujo’s jaws. He needed to investigate this room no matter what. Almost forgetting that Superboy had been carried along for the ride. Unfortunately, the two didn’t get a chance to rest, and Cujo was not bothered by Robin’s escape attempts. An alarm blared and various weapons of all kinds came out of hidden spots in the walls, aimed right at the trio.

Before they could ready themselves into a futile defensive stance (They were hanging in the air by Robin’s cape. Stances were going to be tricky to do.), a new portal appeared in the broken frame. The bulldog did not hesitate to run through it with his two charges in tow. From there, they didn’t stay long in the odd swirling green dimension; the dog carried them through another portal on that side and stopped on a grassy plain right outside of a small town.

His job done, Cujo dropped Robin and Superboy onto the grass and turned back into the size of a cute puppy. Both boys groaned in relief, hoping that whatever was going on was ending. They were happy they were saved, but at the same time, dimension-hopping to do so seemed excessive. The pup ran up to them both, gave them some sloppy dog kisses, then disappeared right in front of their eyes. Leaving them… wherever this place was.

Robin lay on the grass and stared at the sky. It was still dark out with stars scattered across it instead of doors. “I think we are back in our dimension.”

“Thank God for that,” Jon replied with an exhausted sigh. “I hate to ask this again, but where are we? If we can see a beautiful sky like this, there is no way we are near Gotham.”

Superboy was right, eliciting another groan from his smaller friend. Robin sat up and looked around his surroundings. His mood soured at the loss of such a vital clue shoved right in his face, only to be snatched away. It looked like there were in the country. Long plains with patches of forestry were all about. The pup had dropped them off near a road leading into town. A giant billboard with a gaping hole in it said, ‘Welcome to Amity Park! The most haunted city in the US!’.

Robin sighed. He was right. All of this was somehow related to Danny. “Looks like we are in Illinois. Almost halfway across the country.” He replied, taking out Danny’s core to check on it. The soft blue orb seemed to grow brighter. Hopefully, that was a good sign.

“What?!” Jon exclaimed, jumping up and flying around a tiny bit. “Just what are we doing in a small town in the Midwest?” when the half-Kryptonian saw what Damian was holding, he settled down. “Do you think it has something to do with the ghost kid?”

“I don’t think so. I know so.” Damian replied. He debated whether or not to tell Jon the truth. To be safe, he checked his coms, and they were still garbled. It was better than when they were in that green dimension but still useless. He put Danny’s core back into his utility belt. “This is the town he protected before he somehow ended up in Gotham.”

Jon looked alarmed, and Damian couldn’t blame him. He wanted to investigate the town. He truly did. The odd green dog, which had to be a ghost dog (if the information he had looked up earlier had shown), had dropped them there for a reason. But they didn’t have the time too. The Riddler had already had them on a time crunch, and now Robin wasn’t sure if his family was dead because the coms had been down since just before Cujo showed up. They couldn’t be dead, though. His family had gone through worse.

Not to mention, how was he going to explain how they ended up halfway across the country?

“So… what’s the plan? We can’t exactly contact the others, but the good news is that it’s only 2 am.” The older boy smiled, trying to stay optimistic as he checked his phone.

“As much as I want to stay and figure out what happened, it will have to wait for another day,” Robin said while pulling out his phone to try and figure out where they needed to go. “If we don’t show up by 5 am, Gotham will possibly get a new supervillain, and his name is Batman.”

This got a chuckle out of Superboy. “I think you will already be in trouble because you turned your coms off.”

“Well then, you can listen to constant static in your ear.” The younger retorted without much venom to it. His phone took a bit to connect to the internet, and he was beginning to wonder if another ghost was around. It was bad enough that the one in his pocket interfered with his gadgets by accident (That’s the only explanation for why his coms messed up when he started carrying Danny around.). He didn’t need more, rendering them completely useless. “How fast can you fly again?”

“You already know the answer to that. Why do I need to tell you-” Superboy’s paused, then he zoomed into the air excitedly and flew right up to Robin’s face. “Wait! Does this think what I think it means?!” Damian grumbled an affirmative, and the boy easily lifted his friend onto his back. “FINALLY! Which way are we going?”

“That way,” Robin responded by pointing in a general direction with one hand. “It’s pretty much a straight shot if we go at this angle.”

“Alright! Let’s go!” Superboy kicked off and darted into the sky in the direction his friend pointed. “We’ll be there in no time!”

Damian smirked. “At this rate, it’ll still take us about three hours to get there. We’ll be late.”

“Is that a challenge?”

“I’ve already got the timer going.”

Jon laughed and suddenly sped up even faster. “Well then, prepare to be blown away!” The smaller boy on his back whooped as the two flew off at top speed back to Gotham.

Landscapes and buildings blurred by. It wasn’t until the sky started to lighten did the boys begin to see the familiar skyline of Gotham’s Gothic architecture. Damian turned his coms back on when they entered the city limits to the cacophony of chatter. It still had a bit of static to it, but not like before. It seemed being closer to home gave a better signal.

“Oracle, have you gotten Robin’s location yet?” His father demanded in a tone that all of his children knew that he meant business. Damian held his breath, not wanting to out himself to his family just yet. Before jumping into the lion's den, he wanted to see how bad the situation was. Superboy continued towards the clock tower. It was the unofficial meet-up point since the Riddler had planned to blow it up.

“I doubt she has found him in the past three seconds since you last asked.” Hood growled, annoyed.

Spoiler sighed in exhaustion. “I’m still confused. The hostage was already outside, but all exits were locked without them inside. They had to have gotten out. That gas wasn’t acidic, so there would be remains-”

“Steph, please stop talking. B is beginning to make a terrifying face.” Nightwing’s voice was raised an octave, implying that he was actually scared of what he saw.

Oh, that’s not good.

Robin tapped Superboy’s shoulder, and he readied for descent as they neared the clock tower. From a distance, he could see that the tower was still whole and that all his family were on the building. Relief filled Damian, even though there was no way that he would admit it out loud.

“AH HA! I found him!” Oracle exclaimed in delight.

“Better yet, I can see him,” replied Red Robin turning behind to see the two boys flying towards them. All of the bats turned to the new arrivals. Superboy slowed and landed right next to Nightwing. Robin hopped off his friend's back and stopped the timer on his phone. He would show Jon the results later. “Where have you been? Actually, better question, what happened to you?”

The bats took in the two boys’ appearance. Both had windswept hair, minor scrapes, and a slightly haunted look about them. Robin’s cape was torn with a slimy green substance dried on it. When the eyes lingered on the cape, the boy lifted it to see what was wrong and groaned at the memory. Cujo’s jaws were strong. His slobber is even stronger. “You don’t want to know.”

“Yes, it was a journey… but what was that about a hostage being outside the bar?” Superboy asked with a chuckle. Ignoring the slight smack he received from Robin. “Also, what happened? Why did an alarm go off?”

“There was no way that my answer was wrong….” Damian muttered to himself, also wanting to know what happened in that weird moment.

“That was my bad!” Nightwing piped up. “Apparently, the Riddler didn’t set those weird terminals up with autocorrect.”

“He misspelled hors d’oeuvres.” Hood said as he twirled a gun in his hand for fun. “Believe it or not, it does not contain a w.”

“Why does it have so many unnecessary letters?!”

“You added one.”

“Sorry that I tried to type it how it sounded!” Nightwing exclaimed, much to the amusem*nt of his siblings. “I don’t understand why they are all necessary.”

“You can’t comprehend it because you are uncultured.” Hood laughed and dodged to the side when Nightwing sent a kick his way. “Needless to say, it was considered a wrong answer, triggering the trap for everyone. Not just us.”

“So I was right! Wait, how is the clock tower still here?” Robin asked, looking up to his father for answers.

“It was never rigged to blow in the first place,” Batman stated with his face returning to a neutral state now that he could see that all of the children were safe and sound. “Riddler’s target had always been us. Not the tower. Orphan and Red Robin apprehended him at the news station since they got out first.” the fact that both boys’ shoulders drooped from relief was not lost on him.

Loud gongs from the tower signaled that it was now four am. Red Robin yawned loudly. “As much as I’m glad we are touching base, can this wait until tomorrow night? I’ve got a board meeting in three hours.” Everyone seemed to agree with Tim’s statement. An idea dawned on Damian.

The young bird wrapped his arm around Jon’s upper arms (it was the highest that Damian could casually reach.) “Father, it has been a rather… long night. Is it alright if Superboy stays with us?” Robin asked, attempting to do his best puppy eyes. There was a lot that he needed to discuss with Jon. He wanted to fill him in a bit more on what had happened so that they could discuss possible theories as well as make sure they get their stories straight. If Oracle lost his location because of the several portal changes, then there was a chance she didn’t see them suddenly blip into the middle of nowhere. There was a chance they could get out of this unscathed.

It was slim, but there was a chance.

“You mean a sleepover?” If Jon were in a manga, the boy would have stars in his eyes right now. Damian kept his on his father. However, it didn’t take much. Everyone looked exhausted after the night’s events. Batman sighed, and it was right then that Robin knew he had caved. “Of course, he can. Let me call Clark, so he doesn’t worry about where his son went.”

“Thank you, Batman! C’mon, Robin! Let’s go!” For the second time tonight, Superboy grabbed Robin, pulled him onto his back, then shot off towards one of the entrances to the Batcave.

“I expect actual sleeping, you two!” His father said over the coms knowing Robin’s was still on. Both boys’ voiced their promises (that they would immediately break upon arrival.). Damian allowed himself to relax at the sight of the manor coming into view.

Finally, this odd night was coming to an end.

Now he just needed to figure out what just happened.

Notes:

Hello, everyone! I wanted to start off with a big thank you to everyone! I really didn't expect this story to blow up like it did, but it really means a lot to me how all of you have shown it so much, love. You have no idea how happy it makes me to see your comments. I swear I check them about every hour I'm awake. These past two months have been a blast, and every Monday, I'm super excited to see how every new chapter is received. Truly, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for your support and love. It means the world to me and renewed my want to write again.

So thank you! <3

In other news... honestly, this won't affect you all much, but I'm going to tell you all anyway, just in case something happens. So there is going to be a DP x DC crossover event on Tumblr that will last an entire week in November. It is being put together by Zenith on Tumblr, who writes the fanfiction Phantom Children: Redux!

Anyone can participate, and it isn't just for writers! Any medium is fine! If you want to write a story? Write a story! Wanna make fanart? Make all the fanart your heart desires! The only two stipulations are that it has to be a DP x DC crossover and fit with the themes that are listed. Which there are two listed every day. You can make something for every theme, you can skip a theme/day if you don't like it, or you can combine them!

It sounds like a lot of fun, and I plan on writing a one-shot fanfic series that will update every day that week in accordance with the themes. Since each chapter in that story will be standalone... chances are they are going to be longer than I normally post, and it will take some time. Meaning, that I may end up taking a break from this one.

Now you are probably asking, "How does that not affect me? You'll be taking a break from this one to write the other."

That's true. I might be taking a small break.

...but I have written out chapters all the way to chapter 17 for Robin's Egg. Not all are necessarily edited, and some points change as I go along or realize loopholes when I go back to proofread. But! That means you will still be getting one chapter a week all the way until October 31st. So even though I'm working on something else, you won't notice! Actually, I've been prepping chapters ever since Zenith announced that they were going to host this event, so I can be prepared for a break to work on it if it's officially announced (and it was).

If you want to join the event or learn more, here is the link to Zenith's masterpost. Whenever new information comes up, they are very good at updating and taking any questions you might have. I hope that this event is a resounding success with as many people joining in on the fun as possible!

Dp X DC Crossover event masterpost: CLICK HERE!

My Tumblr if you wanna say hi or show me something you made!: Click here :3

Also Happy Labor day! Since I'm off work you get this chapter early <3 Hope you all enjoy!

Chapter 10: An Egg-aging Conversation

Summary:

Wayne manor is really just an Air BnB for all the adopted children. Change my mind.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

There was only one time in his life that Damian had obtained true superpowers. It was when he had been revived after being killed by his clone, Heretic. The technology made by Apokolips in his body had given him temporary powers, and to say that he didn’t abuse them was a lie. They didn’t last long, but he had used them to the fullest in battle and for mundane things. His abilities had been similar to those of Jon and Clark. Both were more than happy to help the young bird with his fledgling abilities. Damian remembered racing through the skies with Jon and on the ground. They weren’t as fast as the Flash, but they still covered a lot of ground in only a few seconds.

Though those superpowers had left him a long time ago (yet he believes a slight healing factor might have stayed. His wounds don’t heal instantly, but they do heal faster than average.). However, with how quickly the two boys changed out of their uniforms, showered, and booked it upstairs to his bedroom, Damian was tempted to think they had returned. Ten minutes after they arrived at the cave, Damian was ushering Jon into his room and closing his bedroom door behind them.

The boy had to drag Jon away from the kitchen entrance because Duke was there. The half-Kryptonian waved to the meta as he was willingly dragged up the stairs by the collar of his shirt. Duke watched the curious scene with a raised brow and slowly waved back, not saying a word.

Jon situated himself on the end of Damian’s bed. All of the sunshine and smiles turned serious. He knew Damian well enough that he wouldn’t spring a sleepover out of nowhere without reason. It would have taken the super only a few minutes to get home despite how early it was. So he waited with a patient smile on his face as he watched Damian load up his laptop.

“There is so much I need to tell you, but we don’t have much time.” Damian started as he logged into his laptop and connected to the Batcomputer. He started looking through his files to try and find his location data and comm logs from last night. It wouldn’t look weird for him to look it up since something strange happened. Investigating strange happenings while on a mission or patrol was just protocol. “To summarize, ghosts are real. Something bad happened about two years ago that caused the town of Amity Park, Illinois, to become the most haunted town in the US. Literally. Around that time, another ghost, Phantom, showed up and protected the people from ghosts who decided to attack the town. Did a pretty good job of it with the little bit of info I was able to dig up during my initial search. Also, your time flying back to Gotham was an hour and a half. Not bad.”

He brought up the comm logs and hit play on them only to hear his family perfectly as they solved Riddler’s puzzles. Only Robin’s were affected. None of their words reached him, and the same went the opposite way. Garbled to the point that recovery was impossible. He also checked the footage that had been streamed to everyone’s television. Tim had already downloaded the files, and from what he could see, Robin’s and Superboy’s feed was also messed up beyond repair.

Well, it was a start.

Damian could work with this.

“Nice! I beat my record since last time!” Jon fell back onto the bed with a loud ‘fwump!’ but Damian didn’t even look his way. He was focused entirely on what he was doing on the computer. “Initial search? I’m surprised you haven’t learned everything on the subject yet.”

“Tt.” Was Damian’s response. The location data of the night was brought up next. He looked through everyone else’s first before slowly going through his own. His location disappeared around the time the world seemed to freeze in place, and Cujo appeared. It didn’t show up again until they were flying back home on the outskirts of Gotham, which was odd given the circ*mstances but not unheard of. Weirder things had scattered the bats throughout their home city. It wouldn’t be the first time. “With everything happening with school, Penguin, my family being too nosy for their own good, and now Riddler, I haven’t been able to do a proper investigation. All I have is the stuff I got from when I was at school, but the information on it was pentagon-level protected. Someone is regulating the data coming out of Amity Park. I just don’t know who.”

“Do you want me to ask my dad?”

The younger boy looked thoughtful at that. Damian logged out of the Batcomputer and pulled up the files he had made about the general information on ghosts, Amity, and Phantom. “Not yet. If I bring Superman into it, it will only be a matter of time before my father finds out. I will keep it in mind.” Damian then explained to Jon about ghosts and Amity Park. He finished a quick summary before going into one of the main reasons he had called this sleepover. “There is no doubt in my mind that Cujo was a ghost dog. I think he may know Danny or is Danny’s dog. He was fixated on my utility belt where the core was. As for the dimension, we were pulled too… I have no clue. But that basem*nt had to have been one of the reasons why Phantom was in Gotham… that green stuff smeared on the walls; it looked like the stuff he was bleeding when I found him.” He took the pendant off and set Danny’s core in the little nest that was now a permanent feature on Damian’s desk.

“Now I see why you tried so hard to get Cujo to let you go. You almost kicked me in the face when you did that.” Jon hummed in thought. The smile on his face was now replaced with a firm line. “If what you say is true, then we were brought there for a reason. We have to go back.”

Damian nodded. He just had to figure out how to do it without raising suspicions. “Think we could-”

“We are not ditching school. Both our dads will find out within a few hours. Then we would be grounded and questioned.” The half-Kryptonian cut him off before he could finish the thought. Damian clicked his tongue in annoyance. His best excuse for getting out of those worthless classes is now thrown out. “Actually, can I see Danny for a moment? I want to see if I can get a feel for him.”

The smaller boy eyed his friend warily for a moment, then handed Danny’s core over as gently as he possibly could. Jon beamed at the trust Damian had given him and took the core just as gently. If not, more so. Though Jon didn’t realize how cold Danny’s core was until it touched his skin. He brought it up close to his face and let the rising sun's light fall across it from the window. The iridescent sheen shone beautifully. Then Jon closed his eyes and concentrated. Focusing on his super hearing, he began to count the seconds between each heartbeat. When Jon opened his eyes, a knock on the door startled him, and it took all of his willpower to keep perfectly still. He did not want to drop the ghost kid and possibly kill him again accidentally.

Maybe.

Can ghosts die again?

The two boys quickly looked to the doorway to find Duke standing in the open space with an odd look on his face. Damian’s eyes narrowed at his adopted sibling. “How did you get my door open?” the door had several traps attached to it, and only Alfred knew how to get in without harm.

Duke’s eyes glinted as he gave his little brother a smirk. The odd look disappeared with it. “Isawthat it wasn’t locked, so I opened it?” The meta chuckled at his little brother’s groan. His powers had some benefits, for sure. “Now, I was told by B to make sure you weresleepingbefore I head out. So get to bed, you two, before I tell Alfred.”

Damian stood his ground defiantly. “You wouldn’t.”

Duke narrowed his eyes with his smirk growing bigger at the challenge. “Oh… but I would.” the two stared each other down with Jon’s head swiveling between them like he was watching a tennis match. After several seconds, Duke turned and looked like he is about to call down the hall, and Damian immediately caved.

“Okay! We’re going to bed!” the youngest grumbled as he shut down his computer. Partly because of the Alfred threat but also because he didn’t want Duke to see what was currently displayed on it. Jon chuckled at the two, holding Danny’s core with his hands in his lap. All the while, trying to ignore the side-eye that Duke kept giving the super because he was holding the mysterious ‘egg’. It wasn’t weird that he had it. Damian had given permission!

Jon watched his friend flit about the room to prepare for bedtime while idly swinging his leg off the side of the bed. Damian seemed to debate something when he looked at the pillows before grabbing the pendant and holding his hand out for Danny’s core. He put it back inside, snapped it shut, and put it on again. While beckoning to Jon, Damian slid under the covers on one side of the bed, and his friend curled up on the other. His bed was big enough for three people, so both boys had plenty of space.

“Aw… I was kinda hoping to see you build a nest for your egg like you usually do.” Duke said with a cheeky grin, only to catch the pillow thrown at his face.

“Go patrol already! And close the door on your way out!” Damian scowled at his adopted brother and caught his pillow when Duke threw it back.

The meta gave Damian a two-fingered salute, doing just as he was asked. He headed back down towards the kitchen, where the others began to make their way to their rooms. The peculiar sight of Jon holding the egg no one else had been able to even look at wouldn’t leave his mind. That and something about the egg was different.

The light it had was brighter.

What did that mean?

“So if they ask us where we went during the radio silence, tell them that we escaped through the sewer system,” Damian whispered, knowing that Jon could hear him clearly. “We pulled the hostage to a safe location that was noticeable but went back in because it looked like our puzzle led us under there. It’ll explain how we got to the outskirts so fast and why the hostage was left outside when the exits and entrances weren’t tampered with.”

“Was there even a way to escape into the sewer system in that place?” Jon whispered back from his side of the bed. “What about your cape? It had bite holes in it and green stuff on it.”

“I’m thinking that was how Riddler was able to fortify the bar so well from inside. If he hadn’t given himself a place to escape, he would have trapped himself. Besides, I doubt they will look too much into the specifics since Nygma was caught.” Damian replied. He moved the pendant so that it was lying in front of him a bit. That way, he wouldn’t roll over directly on it. “As for my cape… it’s the sewers. While pursuing the lead, my cape got caught in some rubble. When I tried to get free, it got worse and ended up like that. The slime kind of explains itself from the sewers. With everything that gets dumped in it from the population and rogues… who knows what could have ended up on it.”

“Yeah, that’s fair.” Jon stiffened when he heard the telltale signs of Alfred’s footsteps from down the hall coming their way. “No more chatting. Duke sent Alfred.”

“Tt.” Damian pulled his side of the blanket over and closed his eyes. He did not want to deal with an angry Alfred.

Not long after the check-in, Jon and Damian passed out completely. Both were thankful that it was the weekend. It wasn’t until dinnertime that they woke up to the protest of their stomachs. They changed and made their way down to the kitchen. Danny’s core bounced against Damian’s chest in the pendant as he trudged along. However, they stalled in the doorway… because the kitchen was packed. Everyone was here.

Including Jason.

“Hey there, baby bat! It’s about time you woke up. I thought you were trying to be a good example for your egg? Sleeping in is a bad habit.” Dick called from his side of the table next to Bruce. He had a big grin on his face.

Damian rolled his eyes but made his way to his seat anyway, with Jon popping into the empty seat next to him. Jason sat across from Damian and arched a brow at his little brother’s lack of response. The youngest loaded his plate from the large salad bowl in the middle of the table. Damian wasn’t awake enough to deal with his siblings.

However, they were more than awake to mess with him.

“So, demon brat, what’s up with the Pokeball hanging on your neck?” Jason asked, making Tim almost choke on his coffee.

“I’ll have you know that it’s a fantastic design! They look nothing alike!”

“Paint the top red and the bottom white, and it’s a Pokeball, Replacement.”

“It’s silver!”

“It’s an EGGstra special carrying case,” Dick replied, making the other siblings groan.

Bruce watched all of his children from the head of the table, arching his brow at them. “It’s for what?”

“Damian’s precious rock.” Tim supplied, hitting his chest as he recovered.

“Egg.” Cass corrected with an innocent smile sent Tim’s way, who only glowered back.

“He found a cool rock while on patrol, and now he takes it everywhere. When the old one got too ratty, Tim even made a handy dandy carrying case.” Barbara stated, giving Tim a mischievous smirk.

Drake narrowed his eye. “You have no proof of that.”

“Are you sure?” She responded as she leaned towards him a bit. Her eyes dared him to challenge her. When Tim pulled out his phone and began frantically typing, she grinned and turned back to Bruce with a smile. “He called it his egg and that he laid it.”

“I did.” Damian didn’t hesitate in replying and then took a bite of his salad.

Jon laughed and dug into his plate. “It’s true.” Also not hesitating to back his friend up. The more witnesses, the better.

Bruce’s eyebrows shot up in surprise at the exchange. Everything about the egg was news to him. Damian couldn’t help but preen internally for keeping something from his father for so long… and even then, the distributed knowledge wasn’t accurate. Things were going well. “Can we see it?”

Damian dropped his fork, covered Danny’s core with both hands, and scowled at everyone around him. “No.”

“But I want to see my nephew!” Dick pouted and reached over Cass to lightly poke the top of Damian’s head. “I’ve never seen a Robin be such a mother hen.”

“Oh, and you’re one to talk?” Steph cut in with a smile. “Who is the one here who will drop practically everything to help us out at a moment’s notice? Also, since you are the oldest, you’ve given the most shovel talks.”

“That is my right as the oldest!”

“Pssh… I can see it now,” Jason said as he leaned back in his chair. “Nightwing’s new moniker… THE MOTHER HEN!”

“Nah, that’s Robin’s new moniker. Hands down.” Duke chuckled and dodged a grape thrown his way by catching it in his mouth. “He has a literal egg.”

Damian turned his attention to Jason, ignoring his other siblings’ inane chatter. It was subtle, but the youngest was sure that he saw a green flash in his older brother’s eyes. He followed the gaze directly to Danny’s core hanging around his neck. Without making the movements obvious, Damian swung the core to the left, and Jason’s eyes followed. When he moved it to the right, they followed again. Almost as though he was trying to hypnotize his brother. Damian flicked a grape at Jason, who caught it without looking away from Danny’s core.

It was almost like he had broken a spell. Jason blinked, looked at the grape in his hand, then leaned back in his chair and ate it like nothing had happened. “The fledgling is too young to have his own chick. Why do you think it’s going to be a boy anyway?”

“Because he called it a ‘him’ when Tim threatened to throw it away once. That’s a big deduction in uncle points right there.” Dick answered with an innocent smile, earning chuckles from his siblings.

“Uncle points? I am not an Uncle to a rock!” Tim almost choked on his coffee again.

“Oooooh… I’m afraid I’ll have to deduct some more points from you, Timbers.”

Jason raised his hand without hesitation, a sh*t-eating grin on his face. “What are these uncle points, and how do I get them?”

“How does one accumulate Aunt points?” Steph asked with a matching grin and hand raised.

From then on, everything got more heated, and Damian finished his dinner. Jon completed his third plate, and the two watched the siblings argue about the rules of Aunt and Uncle points. Which didn’t really make sense; if Damian was the father, then shouldn’t HE be the one giving them out? Not that he wanted to join the craziness.

Bruce just sat at the head of the table, quietly watching them all with a fond smile. Alfred was doing the same from behind his ward.

Since the debate was not going to end any time soon, the two boys snuck out of the room into the main foyer, away from the Wayne family's noise. Jon’s phone went off, and he checked it to see he had missed several messages. “Sorry, Dami. I gotta head back home since it’s a school night. I’ll try and see if mom and dad have any information on Amity when they aren’t around the house.” Damian nodded, and they parted ways. He returned to his room only to quickly close his door as quietly as possible.

Sitting on Damian’s bed in all of his tail-wagging glory was Cujo. The pup yipped to him happily and dropped an envelope on his bed. He flew up, licked Damian’s face, and vanished into thin air. Damian wiped his cheek while eyeing the envelope warily. He pulled out the riddle that had changed from his pocket and compared the two. The paper looked to be the same. The young detective put both letters on his desk, then took off the pendant and set it in the nest. After taking a moment to deem the new addition, not a threat, Damian opened it.

My name is Cujo, and I’m small and brave.
Running around and playing FETCH are some of my favs.
When people are mean, I grow fearsome and BIG.
When I’m happy, I do a wiggly little jig.

Sometimes being big isn’t as fun as I think.
That is why I tend to also SHRINK.
I love my friends and COME when they call me.
Starting with my name is always the key.

He reread the words that were once again in a cog shape. The handwriting matched the one riddle where the answer was death. If Cujo was a ghost, then that meant a ghost was using the pup to contact him. The question was, who?

Damian looked around his room and peered into the hallway to see if one of his siblings was around. When the coast was clear, the eleven-year-old dashed into the bathroom with both letters and closed the door. He set them on the sink and called out. “CUJO, COME!”

Within seconds, the young Wayne heard the familiar yip of the ghost pup as it phased through the wall of his bathroom to greet the boy enthusiastically. Damian couldn’t help but smile.

Somehow he had obtained a ghost dog.

Notes:

Hello, everyone! I hope you all enjoyed this chapter. I don't have nearly as much to say compared to last time. But I have 1 chapter and a half done of the new story so far! So 5 and 1/2 chapters to go!!!

Chapter 11: A Change in Persp-Egg-tive

Summary:

:)

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Saturday night started off like normal. He woke up in the late afternoon, took a shower, ate some microwave ramen, then cleaned his guns until it was time to suit up and do his nightly rounds in Crime Alley and the Narrows. The usual.

Jason’s night got immediately better when some of Joker’s men walked into his open arms. They had escaped into the Narrows, trying to get away from the batclan only to aid Hood in some much-needed anger management. The cheeky bastards even tried to gas him with Joker Toxin.

If a few of them no longer had kneecaps that was their problem. Not his.

Oracle had hacked open his comms again during that joyfully aggressive therapy session, to which he promptly turned back off. Whatever Batman wanted from him could wait until he was finished giving Joker’s men a well-earned thrashing. It had been a while since he had worked out his aggression, and Jason was going to take full advantage of the opportunity. They would escape with their lives but not much else.

However, Jason’s night turned for the worse when Oracle reopened the comms about fifteen minutes later and hacked it so that they would STAY open. From that moment on, he was begrudgingly pulled into Riddler’s stupid game. Hood followed the coordinates Oracle gave him and met up with Nightwing right outside an abandoned building with a weird timer on the front door. The eldest filled him in, and Jason did not like what was happening.

Jason would never admit it out loud, but he didn’t mind that he was paired up with his older brother. It was better than being paired with Steph, Tim, and the demon brat. All he had to deal with was some bad jokes which he could counter with his own dead ones. Watching Dick get uncomfortable whenever he brings up his death was rather funny. It was a little petty but sue him; he hadn’t entirely forgiven his older brother for how he was treated. The same went for Bruce.

The fact that he allowed them to add him to the comms was worlds apart from how he pushed everyone away previously. Things weren’t going to be able to return to the way they were… but it was a start.

Baby steps.

Soon it was time to enter the building, and just like Superboy had stated and Batman theorized, they had a room full of dead bodies. Significantly more than the two youngest of the team. It looked like a party gone wrong with several people sprawled out on the floor and furniture. At the head of the long table was a woman in a wedding dress, tied up, mouth muzzled shut with tear tracks trailing down her face. Her gaze looked straight at them but not. Looking far beyond at something the two vigilantes would never see.

The other groups confirmed similar morbid scenarios over the comms save for Robin’s. All they got from him was static, and it unnerved them all that they lost contact with the youngest in the group so quickly. There was nothing they could do for now until they were freed from these real-life murder mysteries that the bats had been tasked with.

The night couldn’t get any worse right?

Wrong.

Red Hood was facepalming hard as the alarm blared above them, and a mysterious gas began filtering into the room. “Why.”

“Why, what?” Nightwing responded as innocently as he could but the guilt showed through in his facial features.

“Why did you add a w?!”

“Why ISN’T there a w?!”

Jason heaved an exasperated sigh. “I can’t believe one of the best detectives in Gotham and Bludhaven failed a riddle because he SPELLED THE ANSWER WRONG!”

“Oh, come on! French is full of unnecessary letters and stuff. It was an honest accident!” Dick exclaimed and then froze in dread. “You aren’t going to let me live this down, are you?”

“Absolutely not.” Hood grinned like the Cheshire cat under his helmet and knew his brother could sense it.

“If I get you that new pistol being issued to police officers, will you drop it?”

Oh my, that was a tempting offer. Sure, he had a lot of good, illegal stuff, but police typically get some pretty good government-funded weapons.

But at the same time… blackmail.

Jason thought on it for a moment before shaking his head. “Nah. No dice. By the way, we should really get out of here before the two of you die a horrible death and I die for the second time.”

“Oh! Yeah! Right! We should do that. I got it.” Nightwing pouted at his failed attempt to bribe his younger brother but turned into slight surprise when he looked around. The gas had encroached on them the entire time, and it was getting a little too close for comfort. Dick pulled out three explosive batarangs and threw them at the ceiling. The explosion created a sizable hole for both vigilantes to grapple out to safety with the living victim.

Judging by the frustrated voices over the comms, everyone failed since Nightwing messed up. They were all dealing with their own issues to pay attention to the conversation the brothers had a moment ago. Batman ordered them all to fall back to the clock tower. Hoping against all odds that they could prevent the fallout before it happened. Everyone arrived at the tall building within minutes and worked together to sweep it for any kind of explosives… only to find the clock tower completely clean. They reconvened on the roof to discuss possibilities.

Nygma had already been caught and was on his way back to Arkham with a significantly higher kill count. The only thing strange about everything was that Superboy and Robin hadn’t shown up yet. Oracle tried Robin’s comms only to get static like earlier. So Spoiler and Red Robin headed over to their last known location to find their hostage safely outside with the two boys nowhere to be found.

Thus the already bad night was getting even worse as Batman got more pointedly aggressive at losing contact with his youngest. The others tried their best to appease the man but only marginally succeeded. Robin would be in for a world of trouble if he didn’t have a reasonable excuse for his disappearance.

They didn’t have to wait too long. After about forty-five minutes of Batman demanding to know where his son was, the two boys flew towards them, looking a little worse for wear but not too bad overall. There was a story behind their looks, but neither seemed like they wanted to divulge yet.

But that was when Jason sensed it for the first time. Robin hopped off the back of Superboy and was talking to Batman. He appeared like his usual self… but there was something else. The pit seemed to flare for a moment only to settle in a way that he hadn’t felt in years. It wasn’t overwhelming. It was subtle. Whatever Damian seemed to be giving off was setting a deep innate sense off within him, which was odd because the boy had never given off that kind of feeling before.

In fact, the opposite was usually the case.

Something changed. Something happened to his little brother, but he didn’t know what. Judging by how everyone else was acting, they either already knew about it, or Damian hid it very well. But this new feeling was worrying if it somehow involved the pit. Jason needed to investigate. So when Bruce offered to come to the manor for the night, he didn’t say no.

However, he didn’t get a chance until dinner on Sunday. Damian didn’t leave his room until it was evening. Taking full advantage of the fact that it was the weekend. Jason felt it almost immediately when the two boys stepped into the kitchen. The weird sensation tickled the back of his mind, and it took all of his willpower not to stare at his little brother as he made his way to an empty chair. The new jewelry hanging around Damian’s neck caught Jason’s attention immediately.

Todd bantered with the others to appear like he was normal. He took in all of the information they were telling him about the stone and stored it away to sift through later, but the entire time he couldn’t take his eyes off the soft blue rock protected by silver. It… it was as if the stone was calling to him. He could feel something coming off of it but he couldn’t decipher what. A grape zoomed at his face and Jason caught it without thinking. He blinked and then leaned back in his chair to ignore the scrutinizing eyes of the demon brat. So he continued to mess with his siblings while keeping a side eye on Damian. When the boy snuck out with Jon, he was about to jump up and follow.

Tim leaned in, having seen the interaction, with a nervous chuckle. “I know that look in your eye. Just some friendly brotherly advice… don’t.” He whispered behind his coffee in a way that only Jason would hear.

“And what is that supposed to mean?” Jason quipped back just as quietly.

“Exactly what I said. Don’t.” Tim replied. “Damian is super protective of that thing, and if you so much as touch it without his permission, you are going to end up impaled with something sharp. When that happens, don’t come crying to me.”

“I doubt it’s that bad.” Jason huffed under his breath but turned back to Duke to argue something about Uncle points.

Tim shook his head in amused dismay. “I warned you.”

Jason ignored Tim’s comment and went back to arguing with Steph, Duke, Barbara, and Dick about the point system. Cass was looking at all of this amused. He continued it for a tiny bit before roping Tim into it and sneaking out of the kitchen when Jason deemed it was appropriate. No one seemed to notice his departure, so he took it as a win and made his way over to Damian’s room.

The door was closed, and thanks to Duke’s warning, Jason knew that it was trapped when they arrived back at the manor. Carefully, he opened the door from the instructions the meta had told him and peeked into his younger brother’s room. Surprised to find it empty of the small child. Slowly, Jason fully opened the door and stepped into the room.

It was bizarre.

All of Damian’s weapons were now in display cases or had some sort of protective foam covering on them. Every. Single. One. Jason began to worry even more for his little brother due to this abrupt personality change. This wasn’t normal. The bathroom door was closed, meaning that was where Damian was… but the feeling the pit was giving him was pulling him in another direction. There wasn’t much time. Jason turned his back to the bathroom towards the sensation and saw his target resting in a makeshift towel nest on Damian’s desk.

The feeling was more potent now that he was closer to it.

What would happen if he opened the pendant?

If he held it?

There was only one way to find out.

Without making a sound, he headed over to the desk and picked up the pendant with no hesitation. The moment he did, a wave of calm washed over Jason. Quelling the pit to the point that he felt like it was never there in the first place. That feeling only intensified when he popped the pendant open and held the beautiful stone in his hand. The direct skin contact seemed to make the feeling more powerful. It was also freezing. Did Damian stick this thing in the freezer when no one was looking?

Marveling in this newfound feeling of inner peace, Jason looked over the rock, wondering just what it was. Why did this stone affect the pit? Did Damian know about it? Where did he even get it? More questions began to form than answers, and he couldn’t ignore the feeling anymore. Jason had to take it with him to figure out what it was. For his own self-interest as well as Damian’s safety. That’s all there was to it. He snapped the pendant closed.

The bathroom door flew open.

“Todd. What are you doing?”

Jason turned to see a look on Damian’s face that he hadn’t seen since the boy tried to kill everyone to prove his worth to Bruce. So maybe Tim hadn’t been joking about the ‘stabbed with something sharp for touching it’ comment. Oh, joy. “Ah, nothing. Just taking a good look at my future nephew.”

“You’ve looked enough. Give him here.” Damian demanded from his estranged older brother. The look on his face was thunderous. His right arm outstretched towards Jason, and the left reached towards the wall where a katana rested snugly on a wall mount in foam.

“Now, now, little demon. You can’t stop an Uncle from trying to bond with his nephew. Could stunt his mental growth, y’know.” Jason said with a smirk, twirling the necklace in his hand and making Damian’s eyes narrow even further while taking a couple of steps back towards the hallway. “Don't want to be a helicopter hen now, do you?”

“Last chance, Todd,” Damian growled, his hand wrapping around the hilt of the katana. “Hand. Him. Over.”

Jason hummed in thought as though he was considering it. “Yeah… about that….” Then he flashed his little brother a smirk and booked it down the hallway. “Not gonna happen!”

With a frustrated growl, Damian pulled the sword off its mount and flicked it hard, so the foam flew towards the opposite wall. The steel of the katana gleamed in the light, and the boy took off after his older brother with what appeared to be murderous intent. “GIVE HIM BACK!”

“Never!” Jason yelled back without breaking his full-on sprint. Adrenaline fueled his feet forward, knowing that if Damian caught him, that blade was going in his body somewhere. The man ran through the empty halls of the manor, diving into any and all hidden passageways, using his memory from the time he grew up here. That didn’t deter Damian. Jason wasn’t the only one who knew the manor like the back of his hand. The boy was hot on his heels, katana at the ready. It was only a matter of time before Jason met his untimely demise for the second time.

Was it really worth trying to steal the rock?

Yes.

Yes, it was.

Damian was gaining ground despite his smaller stature. Jason needed a plan. If he could get outside, there was a chance he could lose the demon brat in the dark… but that could also be true of his little brother. He was a trained assassin. Okay, getting outside would probably be a bad idea. If he were out of sight of Bruce, the injuries that were likely to happen would probably be worse than they usually would be. The kid was learning restraint, but he wasn’t quite there yet.

Jason barreled around a corner that led to the grand staircase leading to the foyer. His only chance was if someone intervened; unfortunately for him, everyone was downstairs in the kitchen. He doubted that Tim, Steph, or Cass would stop Damian’s warpath but the others probably would.

At a minimum, Jason wouldn’t be beheaded.

Taking his chance, he headed towards the stairs and jumped to sail over them just as Damian threw his katana with all his might. It flew through the air and embedded itself into Jason’s right shoulder. The sudden impact threw off Jason’s trajectory, and he flailed in pain, letting go of the pendant on the upswing. The necklace went high into the air straight up as Jason plummeted to the foyer floor.

He hit the marble floor as though he was trying to do a belly flop in a pool face first, not wanting to roll and dig the blade even further into his shoulder. Instead, Jason took the full impact across his entire body with a pained groan.

Damian’s speedy momentum never slowed. He jumped when he reached the top of the stairs, his eyes never leaving Danny’s core as gravity brought it back to earth. With the grace of years of assassin training, Damian landed with one foot on the katana's hilt and used it as a launching point to send himself back towards the falling necklace. His weight and strength pushed the blade all the way through Jason’s shoulder and embedded itself into the marble floor. Pinning the older brother until it was pulled out.

The eleven-year-old rolled his body forward, reached out, and plucked Danny’s core out of the air. Damian continued with the forward momentum into a flip that landed him gracefully on his feet a few feet away from Jason. He popped the locket open to check on Danny, then put the ghost back around his neck once he saw that no harm was done.

“I thought you were over fratricide.” Jason groaned from the floor. “I think stabbing your brother in the shoulder counts.”

Damian rolled his eyes as he turned to his older brother. “Please, Todd. You are already dead. I don’t think killing an already dead brother counts. Besides, I didn’t hit anything vital.”

“It sure feels vital.”

“We wouldn’t be having this conversation if it were.” Damian shot back as he approached and knelt by Jason’s face. “If you had given him back, then this wouldn’t have happened. Next time, I won’t be so nice.” He harshly whispered before standing up and heading back to his room.

Jason lifted his head but didn’t move his shoulders for fear of worsening the wound. “Hey, wait! I’m bleeding out over here! You’re just going to walk away?!”

“Oh, stop being a baby, Todd. That wound will heal in two days, and you know it.” Damian rolled his eyes, but his steps didn’t falter. “Also, yes, I am. Deal with the consequences of your actions and figure it out.” He left with a wave leaving his older brother impaled on the entryway floor.

A slow clap came from the kitchen, and Jason slowly turned his head towards the sound to see everyone smirking at him. Tim stood at the forefront with a toothy smile as he clapped for the show he had just witnessed. “Well, Jason. It looks like you were having fun.”

“How much did you see?” Todd asked while glaring at his family. Everyone had various looks of amusem*nt, save Bruce and Alfred. They were looking at him in mild concern. He was leaving a decent-sized puddle of blood on the floor.

Tim hummed to himself, but Steph stepped in before he could say anything. “From the swan dive into the floor. You two weren’t exactly quiet with all that running around upstairs.” Duke snorted, and Cass was silently giggling behind her hand.

Jason groaned and let his face hit the floor again. “You aren’t going to let me live this down, are you?”

Dick’s smile turned devilish. “Absolutely not.”

Todd’s words were thrown right back at him, and he heaved another sigh. Yeah, he deserved that one. “Okay, fine. Is anyone going to help me here? I don’t want to make a bigger mess than what is already growing.”

Alfred sighed as well. “I’ll go get the first aid kit.”

Tim smugly made his way over to his older brother while the others continued laughing at Jason’s predicament. Bruce was trying to get everyone back in order with little success. Drake bent over and grabbed the hilt of the blade. “Jeez, you really are making a mess. Why are you inconveniencing Alfred like that?”

“Haha, just pull the damn thing out already,” Jason grumbled. “The demon brat actually stabbed me in the shoulder.”

“Well, considering what you did, you should have expected this to happen. I’m honestly surprised you made it to the foyer.” Tim replied as he braced himself. He pulled hard, and the katana slid free with a little effort and a grunt of pain from Jason. “Don’t whine to me about it.”

Jason rolled his eyes and sat up. Applying pressure to the bleeding wound, so it didn’t get worse. “Why not?”

Tim smirked. “Maybe next time you should heed my warnings.”

“Maybe next time you should watch your feet.”

“What?”

Jason pivoted on the floor and sweep-kicked Tim’s legs out from under him, making the teen fall on his ass with a cry of surprise. Yeah, he would listen to Tim a bit more when it came to the gremlin but that didn’t mean he would allow him to be smug about it.

Notes:

This story has already hit 50k hits. This is officially the biggest story that I have on this website. Holy shnickies thank you so much. This has been so much fun and cool. I honestly don't know what to say. Thank you all so much!

*turns into happy author puddle*

Chapter 12: Jason's Eggscapades

Summary:

Believe it or not, Jason does care about his brother.

Now, why can't Damian realize that?

Shenanigans.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Damian’s eye twitched.

He stood out in the pasture with Batcow, munching away at a tasty treat of fresh watermelon while the boy brushed his beloved pet. One would think that everything would go back to normal after Nygma was caught and all of the family was okay, save for some minor scratched and gas inhalation. Turns out that wasn’t the case. One would also think that after being stabbed in the shoulder and threatened with an even more severe punishment, one would take the hint and leave Danny’s core alone.

Once again, that wasn’t the case.

Damian stopped brushing Batcow and went to grab the shovel used for manure cleanup to set about cleaning the pasture. He scooped some up and headed to the drop-off spot next to the barn… only to stop short by ten feet. With a grunt and a powerful swing, the boy launched the manure high into the sky towards the barn's roof.

He was rewarded with a “What the Fu-?!” and a frantic scrabbling from up top as someone lost their footing. Jason slid off the roof and had to grab the gutter before he fell off the barn entirely. The man hung in the air by one arm about ten feet off the ground. Damian planted the shovel in the ground next to him while giving his older brother a smug smirk.

Batcow continued to enjoy her sweet treat, not bothered at all by the human’s antics.

“Dude! Who f*cking throws sh*t at the roof like that?!” Jason growled as he frantically wiped at the offending material that rested on his clothes. It looks like the attack had been a direct hit, making Damian’s smirk grow even wider. He hadn’t been aiming.

“Maybe if you weren’t acting like a creep on a roof for the past four days, someone wouldn’t feel the need to make you feel at home up there,” Damian replied with an amused arch of his brow. “Alfred told me I should be considerate of others, after all.” Jason flipped his little brother off with his free hand, who rolled his eyes at the childish display. Instead, Damian put the shovel and brush back where they belonged, gave Batcow another loving pat, then started back towards the manor.

“Hey! You’re just going to leave me hanging like this?!” Jason growled out in surprise.

Damian didn’t even bother to turn around. “Yep. I’ll help when you stop being a creep. So figure it out yourself.” He continued his trek back towards the house as he called back. “Oh! And don’t forget to clean up after yourself up there. We don’t want to have Alfred clean that up after it’s been sitting in the sun for a while, right?” With that, Damian sauntered into the manor to leave his adopted sibling to his fate.

Ever since the incident at the impromptu family dinner almost a week ago, Jason had started following Damian around. There was no doubt in the youngest Wayne’s mind that his older brother was suspicious of Danny. Something had happened that night that had incited Jason to try and take the core from him. He just didn’t know what, and it was annoying.

There was no way that Damian could ask without confirming Jason’s suspicions in some way. The only thing he could think of was that both had died with possible pit involvement, and maybe there was a connection that only they could feel. If Danny was awake, he could ask the ghost boy, but there was no way he could confirm anything at this moment. So not only was Tim trying to figure out what was going on with the core, but he had another older brother attempting to take the core from him at any available opportunity. The only times Damian was not being stalked was when Jason had to head back to check on his turf. Hood seemed to pull in some favors because Jason suddenly had a lot of free time for his new hobby. It was amazing how bold his brother was being, too. Damian could almost respect it.

Almost.

About two days later, Damian was sitting in his history class (wishing against all odds that a rogue would attack so school would be canceled) when he noticed a strange movement out of the corner of his eye. Subtly, the eleven-year-old looked out the classroom window to see Jason watching him from the courtyard in dark clothes and binoculars. The boy wanted to roll his eyes at Jason’s antics when an idea struck him.

Damian raised his hand and asked to go to the bathroom, with Jon arching his brow at him in confusion. The fact that Jason was on the school premises was not lost on him, and he knew his best friend was up to something.

Oh, how right he was.

The smaller boy returned after a few moments with a grin that made several other students in the room shudder. Damian sat at his desk by the window, and Jon made to ask him what was going on when an expletive had the half-Kryptonian looking out the window as well. Campus security was chasing Jason across the courtyard with tasers at the ready. Police sirens soon joined in, and Jon turned fully to Damian, who was watching it all with amusem*nt.

“What did you do?” Jon asked as several of their fellow students stood up to look outside, along with the teacher. The super sons stayed in their seats.

“Oh, nothing much,” Damian responded without looking away from the window. “Just teaching Todd some manners.”

Not long after that, the school let out early after notifying the parents that a suspicious individual was on the premises. Said individual had gotten away by escaping into one of the buildings. The school didn’t want their students at risk. When Jon and Damian arrived at the manor with a confused Alfred, all Damian did was smirk when the butler asked if they were all right. “the authorities arrived rather quickly. They will probably catch the culprit soon. Todd seems to be helping them out.” Jon rolled his eyes but said nothing.

The fact that Damian was waiting for Jason with a huge smirk in the Batcave when he arrived four hours later had the others realizing that this wasn’t going to end anytime soon.

“So, who do you think is going to win? Jason or Damian?” Steph asked as she watched Jason skulk by while giving them all a deadly glare.

Tim hummed in thought. “Win what, exactly?”

“This silly little standoff they are having! Jason keeps trying to take Damian’s egg, and Dami keeps throwing him for a loop.”

“So what is the bet for?” Duke asked as he wandered over from the training rooms.

Steph chuckled when Damian stood up to follow Jason upstairs. “Which will happen first; Will Jason give up? Or will Damian fail and Jason gets a hold of the egg?”

“My money is on Damian. Hands down.” Tim responded without hesitation.

Duke arched a curious brow at him. “You sure about that? Jason can be pretty hard-headed when he wants to be.”

“Hard enough to face off an angry gremlin?”

“I also bet on Jason,” Steph responded with glee. “Oh! Lemme make a new group chat with the others. Let’s get everyone in on this!”

Tim rolled his eyes but kept his mouth shut. He knew he wouldn’t be able to talk her out of it and that a competitive show was about to begin. Sure enough, the next attempt was later the next day.

Damian sat in his room finishing his homework with Danny’s core nestled comfortably in his nest. Ever since Jason bypassed his defenses, all of the traps had been changed and renewed so that even Duke didn’t know the answer… unless he used his powers. Last time Duke had watched the whole process as he safety-proofed his room. That had been a crucial mistake. Damian had thought Duke feared him enough not to blab the safe way to enter his room to his siblings, but that had backfired. It was time for new traps.

So when a sudden scream followed by a ‘thunk’ came from the hallway, Damian knew that he had been right in changing it up. “Go away, Todd!” the boy called from within, only to get a curse in response. Jason’s heavy footsteps trailed away from the door.

It wasn’t until later, when Damian was in bed, lights off, with Danny on his own designated pillow, that a charge went off along with several expletives as someone fell from the second floor to the bushes on the ground floor. Damian sat up and pushed the window open above his bed carefully and peered out to find Todd in his full Red Hood get-up below. “Go to bed, Todd. I thought aiding the cops by chasing that pervert at school would have taught you not to follow that creep’s footsteps.”

“Oh, screw you, demon brat.” Jason hissed from below. The man rubbed his back as he picked his way out of the crushed bush. “Wait… it was you who called?!”

Damian just smirked at his adopted sibling below. “Good night, Todd!” he closed his window and curled back under his covers.

It was evident that Jason was beginning to get more desperate. A few more days of practically constant stalking led to the moment on patrol where Hood and Robin were running through the winding alleyways away from Condiment King.

CONDIMENT KING!

“I can’t believe you jeopardized the mission to try and steal my utility belt! I thought, with all of the reading you do, that you would have at least ONE brain cell, Hood!” Robin hissed as the two darted behind a dumpster to avoid some shots of paralyzing mustard.

Jason crouched down next to Robin and reloaded his weapons. For once, he had to agree with the kid. Trying to steal Robin’s utility belt while they were in a stalemate situation had not been one of his best ideas. However, it wasn’t like he could resist! It had been the best opportunity since he had started this crusade. “Yeah, yeah! I get it! Do you want me to say sorry?”

Robin rolled his eyes and clicked his tongue derisively. “Tt. Not like you would mean it anyway.” He scanned their location only to realize that the only way out of the alley was the entrance (where Condiment King blocked the way) or to grapple to the rooftop. That was if they were going to be passive about their approach. Damian was done with being passive.

At least with Jason.

It was bad enough when his mother sent assassins after him; Robin didn’t need an adopted sibling added to the mix.

It was funny at first, but it had been two weeks since this behavior had started, and Damian was just done with it all. He hadn’t been able to research anything to avoid suspicion. Hiding Cujo was an outright taxing endeavor. The pup only listened half the time. There was so much that he needed to do that was being prevented because of Jason’s stalking.

Damian quickly dug a smoke bomb out of his utility belt with one hand and the grapple in his other. “Hood catch!” Robin hissed to his brother as he threw the smoke bomb at him. Pulling out the pin before it left his hands.

Red Hood caught it after a moment of fumbling before looking at Robin, puzzled. “What is this for?”

“A distraction.”

The bomb went off in Red Hood’s hands with a bang, and a massive cloud of smoke encompassed the entire alley. At the same time, Robin activated his grapple and pulled himself to safety, leaving Red Hood sputtering behind his helmet. “Hey! Get back here!” Hood called back to Robin, who only looked down at him from the safety of the rooftop.

“You messed up. You deal with him.” Robin yelled back just in time to see Condiment King run into the alley and fire his condiment-themed guns randomly into the smoke. The only one who could see anything was Robin, and that was because he had the advantage of the high ground.

Some of the hits were true. Hood groaned in dismay as he was drenched in globs of red and yellow. The shocks caused his muscles to spasm, but it wasn’t the worst he had ever had to deal with. “Oh, come on! This stuff is a bitch to get out!”

“AHAHAHA! That’s right, Hood! Fear the Condiment King!” The cheesy villain laughed at the vigilantes.

Robin couldn’t help but snicker at his brother’s predicament. “Have fun!” He ran off, abandoning Hood again, leaving him to deal with Condiment King alone.

“Oh, but I already am! Run in fear, for I am the true prince of crime!” the villain kept firing in all directions hoping to hit one of them, at the same time, not knowing that one had already gotten away.

Grumbling in dismay at his luck, Hood snuck up behind Condiment King and knocked him out with the butt of one of his guns. “Oh, shut up. You’re lucky Joker didn’t hear that.”

After the stunt with Condiment King, Jason seemed to back off a small bit. The others had also given the two a lot more attention, and Damian knew some sort of bet had been made. They kept trying to provide ideas for Jason or aid Damian in thwarting Todd’s attempts at theft. It wasn’t until Alfred put his foot down did it go back to just Jason and Damian being involved in… whatever weird game of cat and mouse this was.

Two days later, Damian took Titus and Ace to the dog park, with Jason graciously asking if he could join. Oddly enough, the younger one agreed, and the two sat on a bench watching the pups run around freely. Damian really wanted to summon Cujo to join the fun but knew that wouldn’t be something he couldn’t explain yet to Jason.

The two siblings said nothing to each other. Instead, it was a silent battle of pickpocketing. Jason would pluck the pendant off Damian, only for Damian to steal it back. All the while, both show nothing but poker faces. It wasn’t until Damian got bored with this sneaky face-off did he decide enough was enough.

When a big group of dogs ran by, he took one of the more pungent-smelling treats and snuck it into Jason’s pants pocket. Then Damian stood up with the pendant in hand and booked it across the grassy plain. So when Jason started to pursue… the group of dogs came with him. Jason was tackled to the ground by a great Pyrenees, leaving Damian to gain ground with Titus and Ace in tow.

At this point, it was Damian’s five to Jason’s zero. Duke and Steph were not happy with the current odds. Around the end of the third week, Jason had another attempt to get the stone. While heading home from another student’s house for a group project, Damian is kidnapped by a rather old nemesis of Batman.

Egghead.

The boy sat tied to a chair with the chrome-domed man, which made Lex Luthor's head look small in comparison, strutting in front of him like the cat that caught the canary. His bright yellow suit was blinding to the point that Damian wished he wore sunglasses. Despite the annoying situation, the biggest thing that made the young vigilante mad was that Egghead had taken Danny’s core.

Egghead twirled it by the chain in his hand. Doing it on purpose to antagonize the kid. “Beautiful. Truly Egg-cellent.” He stopped his twirling to look in the little window. “Such a stunning color. What kind of stone is this? Pah! Actually, don’t answer that. If you knew, then I would have found out by now.” Damian was waved off before he could even say anything and instead opted to give the man his most murderous glare. “I was wondering what the other birds were talking about when they referenced your ‘egg,’ but now that I’ve seen it… as pretty as it is, I’m not impressed.”

“Why would anyone even reference it as an egg? It’s a sphere! Not at all egg-shaped! Now the color I’ll give to you but come on, the shape is essential!” Egghead ranted as he set the pendant on a table and grabbed a hammer. “Someone needs to teach you what a proper egg is! And this, my dear boy, is not that. So let’s destroy this pathetic attempt and work on getting you a new one, hm?”

“Don’t you dare-” Damian growled as he leaned forward against his restraints. The ropes binding his arms had long since been undone. He was holding them to keep the element of surprise, but that was all about to change as Egghead raised the hammer, ready to strike. Damian didn’t care about compromising his identity. The pendant would protect Danny, but Egghead didn’t know that. He didn’t even know how to open it. He went to stand up and take down the villain when the windows behind him exploded into a shower of glass.

Red Hood swung into the room and fired a non-lethal bullet at Egghead, forcing him to drop the hammer with a pained cry. “It’s been a while, Edgar. I thought you finally used that big brain of yours and decided to lay low.”

“Well, I had to figure out what the egg business was all about.” the brightly-clothed villain smiled. “It just Egghausted me to think someone was trying for my gimmick!”

“You know him?” Damian asked Hood incredulously.

“Unfortunately. Hang tight, pipsqueak. I’ll get you home in a minute.” Red Hood sighed through the modulator. He started to advance on Egghead with guns raised.

“Wait! Get the pendant away from him!” Damian yelled while gesturing with one foot towards the necklace on the table. “He was trying to break it!”

Hood glanced at the pendant and couldn’t believe his luck. For the first time in three weeks, the rock was readily available. “Wait, did you kidnap him just because everyone calls that an ‘egg’?” he played it off as he slowly advanced on the villain. Just because Edgar Heed had been quiet for a while didn’t mean he wasn’t dangerous.

“Well, I thought it odd that the youngest Wayne would take an interest in something like this. So I had to find out for myself….” Egghead took a couple of steps back as Red Hood continued to advance. “But I can tell that I have kept my guest too long… I suppose it’s time for my Eggsplosive exit!”

“Damian, get down!”

Hood snatched the pendant off the table and dived behind it as Egghead threw five egg-shaped projectiles the two brothers' way. Damian launched himself behind a nearby couch as the eggs connected, and a chain of explosions shook the foundation of the building. They waited until the room stopped shaking to peer out from their respective hiding places.

Egghead was long gone, not that either of them cared.

Jason looked down at the pendant in his hand. Now was his chance; he could ditch Damian right now since the police were already on their way. At long last, he could research just what this thing was and why it affected the pit so much. Maybe even protect the demon brat… not that the kid would ever admit it. So he stood to leave when he caught a glimpse of his little brother from the corner of his eye.

The kid was frantically looking around the destroyed room. Damian hadn’t seen Jason grab the pendant off the table, and the boy was scrounging through the debris for it. The look on his face was neutral, but his eyes displayed the sheer panic he was actually feeling.

Ugh, that wasn’t fair.

He watched for a few moments at Damian’s desperate struggle. The pendant cooling his hand through the leather of his glove. It was… alarming to see Damian this way. He was a boy still learning who he was in this world, and the boy had never shown this kind of emotion for an item. He never… cared about material objects like this before. At least, not to this extent. Jason didn’t know if Damian knew if there was something off about the stone. It’s not like he had told the kid what he had felt when he held it… but if it had a calming effect on Jason, did it also have one on Damian?

Was that why he always kept it on him?

Did it help him in some way?

He couldn’t keep the stone from Damian if that were the case. Just because he could use it doesn’t mean he could deprive Damian of it. Jason heaved a sigh and turned towards his younger brother, defeated. Three weeks of pulling in favors and being humiliated for nothing. “Hey, demon brat, here.” He tossed the pendant over to Damian, who caught it without hesitation. The boy arched a brow at him in confusion. Surprised that Jason had so readily given up the prize he had been trying to get for almost a month now. “What? It’s what you were looking for, right? Let’s get out of here before this place collapses.”

Damian followed his brother out warily but put the necklace back on without complaint. He didn’t know what changed Jason’s mind, but he wasn’t going to argue.

Notes:

I'm halfway through the new story for November!!!! Eggcitement!!!!!

So Egghead is a villain from the 1960's live-action TV show! Here he is in the show:

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (11)

And here he is in the comics:

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (12)

Funny thing is, he is supposed to be extremely intelligent and actually knows that Bruce Wayne is Batman. He figured it out by logic alone. So yes! Jason would know who Edgar Heed is but Damian wouldn't since he mainly does cameos now. So now he isn't much of a threat.

Just some Batman information

Chapter 13: Gr-Egg-yson's peptalk

Summary:

Who won the bet? Will they be paid?!

Who will be the ultimate aunt or uncle?!

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“Why?! Just WHY would he do that!” Steph exclaimed in dismay, falling backward onto the couch in the gaming room. “He had it in his hands! Are you sure that’s what happened, Barbara?”

The redhead chuckled as she popped a piece of popcorn into her mouth while watching all of the batclan who bet on Jason go through the five stages of grief over their loss. “I didn’t see it happen but I did hear it over Jason’s coms when he went to retrieve Damian. The fact that they came back without fighting as soon as they entered the Batcave is more proof of that.”

“Yeah, if Jason had stolen the stone then he probably would have lost his other shoulder,” Tim replied as he leaned to the left in an attempt to get his character in Mario Kart (Toad) to drift in the same direction. He cried out in outrage when Cass hit him with a red shell and flew past him taking first.

Duke was laid out on the ground by Steph’s feet. The loss of the bet getting to him as well. “But he had it in his hands! Why would he give it up so easily?”

Leaning back in his chair, Dick took a sip of his coffee as he watched his siblings complain about Jason and Damian’s latest escapade. It had been a couple of days since Damian was kidnapped and the fact that the two weren’t at each other’s throats when they got home had been a surprise. Instead, they had seemed to reach a mutual understanding and had returned home amicably.

Well… somewhat amicably.

Jason had not let it go that Damian had been kidnapped by Egghead, of all people, because he had an egg of his own. Other than some snide comments, Damian hadn’t really lashed out which had the rest of the bat family perplexed. Barbara had hacked into Jason’s coms and body camera to see what had happened. The simple task had turned into a chore because the video and audio were corrupted at points. The audio was recoverable though and everyone had been dismayed by the outcome. Dick was just happy that whatever was going on between them had been solved without further bloodshed.

Honestly, he was happy with how everything was going on with his family, in general. The manor had become a lot livelier. Originally, it was Bruce, Alfred, Tim, Damian, and Duke living in the manor with the others coming and going as they pleased. Now it was almost as if everyone had decided to come back, himself included. JASON included. This would normally mean one of two things: something world-ending was happening and everyone needed to gather together in one place or, something traumatic happened and everyone gathered together for support. Just wanting to make sure the ones involved were okay. It was rare when they gathered together for long periods of time for anything else.

So Dick hummed to himself with a smile on his face. Thanking the stars that Damian had found that stone when he did. It had been the trigger that had helped pushed everyone together as a family instead of trauma. He would take that win any time.

“Oh, stop grinning like that Dick. Just because you won the bet doesn’t mean you get to be so smug about it.” Steph groused from the couch.

There was also that.

Primarily that for today but he was still very happy with how close his family had gotten in the past three months.

“It’s not my fault that I was the only one that bet that Jason would give it back if he ever got a hold of our nephew.” The oldest responded with glee. “Speaking of, I take cash only, no credit.”

“AGH! Would you please stop calling it that?!” Tim cried then dropped his controller at his feet as Cass won the round. “I swear that it’s escalated to this point because you keep indulging Damian.”

“Says the sweet, caring brother who made a case for it.” Duke chuckled having to roll out of the way when Tim threw his controller at him.

“You have no proof!”

Dick chuckled to himself. “Your reaction is proof enough. Honestly, you have a much better-schooled expression when you are in costume. Also, point deduction.”

“Is anyone even keeping track of that?!”

“I am.” Barbara raised her hand with a smirk. “You are almost back to zero, Tim. And you worked so hard gaining those extra points when you made the locket.”

“Why does he get extra points? He’s been calling it a rock from the beginning!” Duke exclaimed from his downed position on the floor.

The redhead popped another kernel into her mouth. “Because despite that, he did an actual act as an Uncle. He made sure the child was protected. The most the rest of you have done is encourage the estranged uncle to try and kidnap him.”

“Hey! My bet was that he gave him back!” Dick clutched his heart in mock offense. “I would never put my nephew in harm’s way! I even warned Damian sometimes!”

“And that is why you, Tim, and Cass didn’t get a deduction. All you did was bet or tip-off Damian when Jason had a new scheme. You didn’t actively TRY to kidnap the ‘egg’. With all of the recent events, Dick is in the lead with fifteen Uncle Points in total.” Barbara couldn’t help but smirk at Steph and Duke’s groans. “Well, if you hadn’t tried to catch Damian in a net trap in the backyard or try to switch his utility belts with a fake in the locker room, you wouldn’t have lost anything.”

“Shouldn’t I be the one giving out these ‘points’ you all are obsessed about?”

Everyone turned to the doorway to see Damian leaning against the door frame with an arched brow. His backpack was still on his back from when he went to a fellow student’s house for a group project. Just because he was kidnapped did not mean he could get out of homework. “Since I am the parent, shouldn’t the points be given out as I deem fit?”

After recovering his controller and starting another round, Tim laughed as he nailed Cass with a blue shell in retaliation for his previous loss. “If you were giving them out then nobody would get anything.”

“Also, Dick would always be in the lead.” Steph sat up with a smile. “We all know he’s your favorite.”

“Hey, I’m also the only one that has been completely supportive since the beginning.”

Damian clicked his tongue and rolled his eyes at them all. “So has Cass.”

All of their attention turned to the silent one in the group who smiled sheepishly back. Barbara’s smile grew then turned back to Damian eagerly. “What did she do?”

“She got him a blanket,” Damian replied. He reached into his backpack and pulled out a pretty blue baby blanket with yellow stars.

Everyone in the room (except Tim) cooed and gave knowing looks to Cass who fidgeted under their gaze nervously. ‘The towels didn’t look comfortable. That’s all.’ She signed with a shrug.

“HAH! I WON!” Tim cheered, effectively gaining everyone’s attention. On the screen, Toad was doing a victory lap and Cass let out a sigh of relief. She didn’t care that she lost, she was just glad that everyone wasn’t looking at her. “Do you just keep that on hand now?” Tim asked while gesturing to the blanket.

Barbara hummed in thought. “I think that puts Cass right under Dick but not by much.”

“Why is everyone in here?” The voice of Jason called out as he stood in the doorway behind Damian.

Steph launched her pillow at Jason from across the room. “BETRAYER!”

“I mean probably but what did I do this time?” the older man asked as he let the pillow hit him in the face.

“I lost Aunt Points because of you!”

“And money,” Duke added.

Jason quirked an eyebrow at the two distraught vigilantes. “Because of what?”

“They had a bet that you would steal the egg successfully from Damian while Cass and I bet that you would give up because Damian stopped you each time,” Tim explained.

Jason smirked. “That’s your own fault for thinking kidnapping was a good thing to bet on.”

“I have to agree with Todd on that.” Damian nodded his head, putting the blanket back in his backpack.

“I do have a question though, how is the bet over?” the second oldest asked while looking at everyone in the room. “If we didn’t know about it how could you confirm who won?”

Steph threw another pillow at Jason dramatically. Her ammunition now depleted. “Why? Why did you give the egg back?! You had it, man! You had it!”

“How did you know about the Egghead incident…” Jason looked down at Damian next to him. “Did you tell them about it?”

“And have to deal with Richard’s inane wordplay and Brown’s incessant teasing? Do you think I’m an imbecile, Todd?”

“Most of the time.” Jason had to dodge out of the way as Damian swung his backpack at him. “They hacked my coms didn’t they?”

“That appears to be the case.”

Jason nodded his head, begrudgingly accepting it. “So where do I rank on the list?”

Barbara smirked right back at him. “You are negative points.”

“WHAT?! But I saved it from being hammered to pieces!”

“That still doesn’t make up for the fact that you actively put the egg in danger by trying to steal it- multiple times by the way- in the first place.”

“I think I should at least break even since I had a redemption arc at the end!”

Dick snorted, his shoulders shaking as he held back more laughter. “Oh my God…”

Damian tilted his head to the side in thought. “I agree with, Todd. He should be reset to zero.”

Barbara’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “Really?”

“Everyone here has experienced a ‘redemption arc’ at least once. Yes, Todd was annoying but when it counted, he came through despite his own self-interest. He did not actively try to harm it even though he did put it in dangerous situations. That’s why I put up with this stupid little game for as long as I have. If he had malicious intent then he wouldn’t be standing here. So, yes, I believe he should be reset.” Damian said while looking down at his feet. No doubt remembering his rather awful first impression with his family. Everyone paused and stared at the small boy until he looked back at them with a scowl. “What?”

“That was… surprisingly mature of you, brat,” Jason answered slightly taken aback at his younger brother’s moment of vulnerability.

Damian leveled his scowl right at his older brother’s face. “However, if you so much as lay a hand on him again without my consent or for protecting him from a deadly situation, your other shoulder is next.”

Duke snorted from the floor and sat up. “And heartwarming moment broken. I think that was a new record.”

“It lasted for about a minute… so yeah, I believe it is.” Tim chuckled, giving up on playing another round of Mario Kart with Cass. She seemed to have hidden herself somewhere in the room so that she couldn’t become the center of attention again.

“Tt.” Damian rolled his eyes and left to drop his things off in his room. Leaving Jason to deal with the rest of the family alone and the man tensed when he realized this. He still wasn’t the best at communicating with them yet.

Dick stood up and gave everyone a salute as he decided to go after Damian. When he arrived at his little brother’s room, he knocked on the wall since the door was still open. There was no way he was going to touch the door or the frame. Tim had warned him the first time around and he had witnessed Jason falling for the traps when Damian changed them the second time. Dick was not going to be the third.

The youngest looked up from his desk and narrowed his eyes for a moment. “What do you need, Richard?”

“Can I come in?” When Damian nodded his head, Dick moved to sit on the edge of the bed only to fall dramatically on top of it. “I don’t need anything. Just wanted to say that I’m proud of you, baby bat.”

“Can you please stop calling me that?” Damian bristled but there was no real threat to his words.

Dick seemed to be able to read his little brother the best out of the rest of his siblings. So all Damian got in return was a smile. “No can do, baby bat. As the oldest, I enact my right to give my younger siblings cute but embarrassing nicknames and call them whenever I see fit! Just as you will forever be baby bat, Jason will be little wing. I don’t care how many times he tries to shoot me for it.”

A hint of a smile ghosted on Damian’s face before it hardened again. “It is normal to feel like that. To be proud… I’m the best of our siblings after all, but… I must ask you to clarify.”

His older brother’s smile grew but happily read the hidden meaning in Damian’s words. “That is very true though don’t let them know I said that.” Dick winked conspiratorially then continued. “I’m proud of how far you’ve come along. I know it hasn’t been the… easiest transition since you joined our family a year ago but it’s rather amazing all the same.”

“Especially these past few months. Yes, you stabbed Jason the other day but the fact that this is the first stabbing in about half a year, even then it wasn’t over the top, it was controlled and you stopped before you took it too far. Honestly, it was similar to what the rest of us do to each other on occasion. I still have a scar on my bicep for when Steph rigged the Batmobile to shoot a Batarang at anyone who did a backflip in front of it. What I’m trying to say is that what you accomplished takes a lot of discipline.” Dick leaned forward closer to Damian who still seemed unsure of himself behind the poker face he held. “I know it feels like Bruce is extra hard on you compared to the rest of us. You have to deal with a lot more criticism and it probably feels like the hard work you’ve put into moving beyond your past is being ignored. All I can say is, I know that he is proud of you. Just like me. He’s just severely lacking in the ability to discuss his emotions and often times the praise he thinks he is giving out comes out as something more like he’s criticizing you. When in fact the opposite is the case. You’ve made a lot of headway from the little assassin boy trying to cement his place in Bruce’s heart. It’s commendable.”

Damian looked to the ground and idly played with the pendant. To be honest, those were thoughts that had been on his mind for a long time but tried to never acknowledge them. Talking to his father could be hard. They were very different people with very different principles when they first met. Ever since Damian had been trying to renew himself by renouncing the League and following his Father’s footsteps. But his first impression had left a huge impact. One that he was still trying to overcome a year and a half later. There were times that Damian thought it was futile. They both could be bullheaded so it wouldn’t surprise him if he could never truly be what his father expected.

It’s not like Ra’s had treated him any better.

So the fact that Dick was acknowledging his efforts loosened a tight knot in Damian’s chest that had formed when he had resolved himself to change. “You’re not just saying that to try and get more Uncle Points since it seems like I do have somewhat of a say in the matter?” Damian deflected when he turned to look at his older brother who froze.

“That hurts, Dami! I really am proud of you! How could you think so lowly of me!” Dick clutched his heart and flailed out dramatically across the entire bed. Damian just rolled his eyes at his brother’s antics. The fact that he was smiling was beside the point.

“I don’t think offering advice to the ‘parent’ counts as earning Uncle Points.”

A mischievous grin graced Dick’s face. “I don't see why it wouldn’t. It takes a community to raise a child. Just because you are a single parent, Damian, doesn’t mean you have to do it all alone!”

“Are you volunteering to babysit?”

Dick sat up eagerly. “Am I finally going to see my nephew?! Actually, how do you know it’s a boy? What if the child hatches and it's a girl instead?”

“No. I can’t trust you to keep him away from the others. At least one of them will get a hold of him and then who knows what happen to him.” then the younger shrugged as he said the last part. “And I just know.”

“Ooh! Is it a father’s intuition?” the older almost fell off the bed when a knife was thrown his way. The mischievous grin was still there. “It’s adorable how protective you are of him. Honestly, I’m a little jealous. Would you stab Jason in the shoulder if he tried to kidnap me?”

Damian felt like his eyes were going to roll out of their sockets since he has rolled them so much in such a small amount of time. “For one, Jason would probably rather die again than kidnap you and deal with your incessant wordplay until one of the others comes to your rescue. Secondly, you would probably get him back way worse than I did since you have childhood blackmail on him. Lastly, who says I haven’t done so already?”

“No way! You really did?!”

“I have the picture on my phone.”

Notes:

Hi, everyone! I won't be on tomorrow so you all get this chapter a day early!

Enjoy <3

Also, I am 6/8 chapters done for the other story!!!

Chapter 14: Training Egg-cises

Summary:

Bruce has some thoughts. Damian enjoys some puppy love.

Nothing weird happens :)

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Something was going on with his children. More specifically Damian. Bruce sipped his coffee slowly as he watched the cameras in his house from his office. The impromptu dinner that was held after Riddler’s capture pretty much confirmed his suspicions. Though it had taken him a lot longer to realize that there was a possible issue in the first place.

Bruce would admit… he hadn’t been there for his youngest over the past four months. Wayne Enterprises and case files took up the majority of his time. Not to mention these new players who seemed to want to make themselves known to the Justice League. Everything seemed to work against him and the result was Damian had been primarily left to his own devices.

Sure, he had been slightly disappointed when Damian had stabbed the trafficker in the shoulder but he would also admit that he wished he could do the same. However, these past few months had thrown Bruce for a loop. With Damian’s violent track record, it was only a matter of time until the kid snapped and took something too far. It didn’t matter if it had been in his civilian life or vigilante one. The kid was going to cave and Bruce expected it. His youngest had only been living at the manor for about a year and a half. It would take a lot longer than that to curb the ideologies that the League had ingrained in the boy since birth.

He knew this and it hurt that Bruce felt the need to be so hard on his son in the first place. It was a position that he hated to be in but also knew that it was required. Damian could be bullheaded. He was smart and strong. The child was trained by the best of the best. So most times Damian was right when it came to detective work. It was his method of execution that was the issue. He took a lot of Jason’s tendencies of ending the threat for good instead of not killing. Even if the crime had been minor and if not killing then maiming in some way. Whatever violence was needed to end the threat before it could come back.

So he was rather surprised when the opposite happened.

Damian still threatened his other children or anyone who pushed his boundaries too far but he had only truly harmed someone once. Yet, even then, the attack had been controlled to just a single stab. A stab to the shoulder (which is rather concerning with how many important arteries and tendons were in that spot but, sadly, Damian knew what he was doing. Even if it was unnerving.). One that only required a few stitches and Jason was right as rain. The bruised ego from the faceplant had done more damage than the actual blade.

The change in his son seemed to happen about four months ago when he was finally let loose after his punishment. Since then, Damian began to fight differently while out on patrol. Before, the eleven-year-old would be the first to go on the offensive. Partly because he loved to fight and also so that he could quickly gain control of a chaotic situation. Damian had become very protective of his right side as of late, and now Bruce knew that was where he carried his ‘egg’. It was rather cute how protective of it his youngest was.

Still, it was such an abrupt change that Bruce had looked into it that night of the dinner. Magical artifacts could appear harmless at first only to grow in power and maliciousness later. So, Bruce, had low-key questioned his children for information that they hadn’t leaked during the dinner conversation. From Tim’s initial findings, there wasn’t anything odd about the stone. It had some odd qualities to be sure but if Duke wasn’t worried about it the ‘egg’ was probably just that. A pretty thing that Damian had gotten attached to. It was just surprising how quickly he had gotten attached. Bruce could almost say that he loved it more than the arsenal of weapons the kid had in his room. If the fact that his youngest had safety-proofed his room was anything to go by.

Bruce set his cup down on his desk and leaned back in his chair. Maybe Damian had regained a small part of his childish whimsy? Maybe it had been buried very deep under everything else he had been through and just needed something that sparked the child’s interest to ignite? It was a wishful thought. Something that Bruce truly wanted to be the case. He would pay or give up just about anything if Damian was going to act like the kid he actually was instead of the trained mature assassin that he was molded to be. He deserved to be able to be a child.

Looking back to his desk, Bruce eyes a rock that rested atop some contracts like a paperweight. It wasn’t as perfectly shaped as the ‘egg’ was but the texture was nice to touch and the colors swirled a bit to make a black-and-white vortex. The rock was a piece of polished marble he had found and, for a moment of impulse, he had picked it up wondering if his youngest would like it or not. Children normally collected things like this so maybe Damian would want to start a rock collection as well?

He picked up the rock and made his way out of his office, heading towards the last location where Damian was seen on the cameras. If that was the case, then maybe when Damian was older and moved on to other hobbies, Bruce would get a hold of the egg and have it turned into a proper bracelet or necklace. Only with Damian’s explicit consent. It had been the first thing in the collection and as such the egg would be the most memorable. For such a simple thing, the egg had pushed his son to be better. If Damian wasn’t going to keep it then Bruce probably would. The stone already held many heartwarming memories within it and he was sure there would be many more. His son wasn’t one to cast something aside if it was precious to him.

“Brown, if you do not cease this stupid display, I’m going to make you and Jason scar buddies.” Damian’s eyes narrowed at the blonde who was sitting atop a bookshelf in the library. Hanging upside down with a children’s book in her hands.

“I’m not doing anything wrong! I just wanted to provide some literary enrichment for the little one. They say reading to a child or listening to classical music before they are born will help them be smarter!” Steph smiled from her upside-down position and flipped to the front page.

Damian rolled his eyes at her but kept a protective hand on the pendant around his neck. As if he was expecting her to try and take it from him. “The reasoning is sound but I know that you are only doing this because you want to try and match Cass in Aunt points. Now could you move so that I can get the book I need for my report?”

“Only if I get to read to the child!”

Before the argument could escalate further, Bruce knocked on the frame to get the children’s attention. “Steph, please get off the top of that shelf. If it falls you are going down with it.”

The blonde pouted but did as she was asked and Damian took the opportunity to grab the book that he needed. “Thank you, Father. At least, she listened to you this time.” The boy smirked when the teen just stuck her tongue at him before heading off somewhere else to scheme.

“Which is rather surprising in itself,” Bruce stated as he watched the girl leave. Normally, it took a lot more to get Steph to listen to him, and even then she still did things her way anyway.

“Is there something you need from me, Father?” Damian moved towards the older Wayne with his eyebrow raised.

Bruce chose to ignore the slight bite that Damian had put on his words (because he did deserve it) and instead offered his son a small grin. “Actually, it’s the opposite. I have something for you.” He held out his hand and when Damian mirrored it, he dropped the rock into his son’s open palm.

Both of Damian’s brows shot up in surprise at the unexpected gift and he turned it over in his hand slowly. “...thank you?” the youngest asked, slightly confused about the gift that he had received. The pattern was definitely different but he wasn’t sure what he had been given this rock. Normally, his father’s gifts were more practical in nature. Not something random as a rock found on the side of the road.

“I thought your little egg could use a friend. I hope this one will suffice.” Bruce’s smile dropped a small bit due to Damian’s lack of a reaction. Maybe he didn’t like this one? Beauty was subjective and it was possible that he didn’t view it the same way that Bruce did. Surely, he could find one that his son liked?

Realization seemed to dawn on the boy and he closed his hand around the rock before Bruce could take it from him. “Thank you… Father. I’m sure that he will appreciate the company.” Damian said as he clutched the rock to his chest. Bruce’s smile grew and Damian offered a very very small one back. “Excuse me, I have a book report to write and a new bed to make.” The youngest Wayne stepped by his father. Purposefully pausing when he reached Bruce’s side to lean against his father and Bruce ruffled his hair softly. He allowed it for a moment. Basking in the affection that Bruce was giving him. Then Damian leaned away from the touch and headed back to his room. Leaving his father smiling behind him in the hallway.

Once the door was closed behind him, Damian let out a groan and dragged his hand down his face, lightly tossing the book onto his desk. He opened his other hand to look at the pretty white and black marble in his hand. Just what kind of situation was that?! First, Brown was getting in his way as he tried to research more on ghosts (in the guise of a book report) and then his father stops in to try and give him a gift? Did Bruce think that he wanted to start a rock collection? His father looked truly proud when he handed the marble rock to him thinking that Damian would like it.

That was why he had accepted it in the first place. Bruce was trying to relate to him. Tried to give him something that he thought he might like. It was true that Damian was still figuring things out like that but it felt like this situation stemmed from the fact that everyone thought that Danny really was a rock that he found. Damian moved to flop onto his bed and held Danny and the marble up above him.

It was obvious that other than giving Damian the rock, Bruce didn’t have any other plan to talk to him. So instead of letting the awkwardness settle in, the boy had opted to leave before it got worse. But again, Bruce was trying. So he leaned against him because Damian acknowledged that. The sudden display of affection had been a surprise. One that still had warmth blooming in his chest and hope that maybe someday they would see each other eye to eye.

Damian blew out some air and let his hands fall back to his bed. Now wasn’t the time to dwell on that weird conversation. He had plans today and he needed to enact them now while his father was looking elsewhere. So the boy got back up, gathered everything he needed, and made his way outside to the forest that made its home just beyond Alfred’s immaculate garden. He headed to the part of the forest that he knew wasn’t being monitored and triple-checked to see if his siblings had followed him.

It was one thing to explain away a rock, it was entirely another to try and explain a glowing green dog that flies.

“Come here, Cujo!” Damian called out with his voice echoing into the greenery that surrounded him. The boy felt the hairs raise on the back of his neck and he ducked just as a green blur sailed overhead. Cujo stopped on a dime in midair and redirected to pounce Damian to the ground. The boy squirmed as the pup tried to drown him in sloppy kisses, eliciting a giggle from the kid. “Okay! Okay! It’s nice to see you again too. Down, boy!”

At his words, Cujo stopped licking Damian’s face and sat on his chest giving the boy a happy yip. Damian wrapped his arms around the ghost dog and held him close while ruffling up Cujo’s fur. The two lay on the forest floor for a few moments just playfully cuddling. The pup nudges Danny’s core with a solemn whine every now and again.

“I know, buddy. You miss him. But from what Jon tells me, he’ll be waking up soon. We just gotta keep him safe until then.” Damian gave the pup a small smile and Cujo yipped again. He didn’t know if the dog could understand him but he talked to him like he did anyway. Damian sat back up, letting the dog slowly slide off his body because he refused to move. Eventually, Cujo plopped onto the grass belly up with a sad whine. “Enough of that, it’s time for some training.”

Ever since Damian had received that paper with the commands, he had been working with the pup. Exploring opportunities that normally wouldn’t be available with a living dog. He didn’t know where Cujo always disappeared to but the ghost always showed up after a few seconds, without fail, when he called. The hard part was getting him to go back… to wherever that was. Cujo knew a lot of commands but there were a few that still needed to be taught.

Trying to hide a glowing green dog had been an outright pain. All Cujo wanted to do was play and rub up against Danny’s core. He also appeared at the most inopportune times. Twice while he was at school, three times at home, and four times while out on patrol. Each one had been unprompted and had given Damian a heart attack. Somehow he had succeeded in hiding Cujo but it was only a matter of time. So the first thing that he taught Cujo was Return.

Now, whenever Damian says ‘return’, Cujo will go invisible and go back home. It had been an arduous task since Damian didn’t know where the pup returned to but he had managed it nonetheless. Shrink, Big, and Fetch were all self-explanatory. Right now, the biggest thing that Cujo needed to learn was to heel. The pup liked to run headfirst into things without fully assessing his surroundings and Damian trying to stop it was a fruitless endeavor. Cujo only stopped when he decided to. Something that Damian thought was cute but also a pain.

He didn’t want the pup putting himself into dangerous situations. Cujo was a ghost but Danny had already proven that ghosts could get hurt. There was no way that Damian was going to put him at risk because of that alone.

Cujo was a good boy and anyone who hurt him was going to end up a ghost as well.

So Damian spent the next couple of hours trying to teach Cujo… with minimal success. There were times when it looked like the pup understood.. only to steal the treat before Damian could do anything about it. Then Cujo got distracted by a squirrel and Damian had to corral the dog back to a safe space. He did not want to have to explain to his father why he was chasing a glowing green dog in the forest.

There isn’t much that needs to be explained. Damian loved all animals and Cujo was rather unique in his own right. So weird as it would be to bring a ghost dog home, it wouldn’t be something that his family would think was odd. However, it might raise questions about how the pup showed up, and then the rest would follow. If Bruce didn’t investigate then it would be Tim.

With his last treat stolen by the clever dog, Damian slumped down to the ground exhausted and frustrated. Cujo did not hesitate to curl up into the boy’s lap. Damian idly scratched him behind his ears. His frustration melted away a bit because he couldn’t stay mad. There was always the next time.

The sun was beginning to set and Damian wondered if he should head back in when Cujo’s head shot up with his ears perked. He looked around the empty forest until he fixated on a spot to the left and started to growl.

“What’s wrong, boy?” Damian asked as he stood up and Cujo positioned himself between the boy and whatever he saw. Instead of calming down, Cujo’s growls got more intense. Then he took off into the forest with Damian hot on his heels. “Cujo, stop! What are you doing?”

The boy was ignored as Cujo barreled through trees and overbrush making it an effort for Damian to keep up. Suddenly the dog stopped and the growling intensified to the point that Damian thought that Cujo would morph into his big form. A massive blue portal formed in front of the two and Damian recognized it from the time Jon and himself were in the dive bar. Originally, Damian had thought it was Cujo who had formed the portals but now he wasn’t so sure. The pup hadn’t done anything but he seemed to know who did. Only this time the boy wasn’t being dragged through it.

Cujo looked up at Damian as if he was waiting for him to do something but he was conflicted. Damian was currently in civilian clothes, not his Robin ones. There was a big chance that someone would recognize him if the portal led to anywhere in Gotham. Honestly, there was a high chance of him being recognized anywhere in the US. The Wayne family was always in the spotlight and even though he didn’t participate in as many galas or the like, Damian Wayne was well known.

It didn’t appear as though he had much of a choice because it was doubtful that the portal would stay long enough for him to run back to the manor and change. With a long sigh, Damian bent down and picked up Cujo in one arm and pulled Danny’s core under his shirt with the other. He wasn’t going to chance anyone noticing the pendant if he could help it. Then with a deep breath, Damian stepped into the portal.

The portal felt weird. It tingled against his skin almost as if it recognized him in some way. Like it was greeting a friend it hadn’t seen in a while. Damian expected to step out into that odd swirling green dimension with purple doors in the sky but that wasn’t the case. Instead, he stepped out onto a roof of a building that he was familiar with. The sun cast long shadows as it began to set upon Gotham. Cujo’s growls returned and pulled the boy from his thoughts.

Damian gently scratched the dog behind his ears in an attempt to calm him down. This was one of the buildings on his patrol route. Even in daylight, Damian could recognize it anywhere because he ran across it just about every day.

Right below was the alley he had found Danny in.

There was a reason he was brought here. Just like when Cujo had brought him and Jon to Amity. Dread formed in his stomach as he walked toward the edge and peered down. Below, the alley was trashed just like the last time he saw it. Danny’s ‘blood’ still covered the spot beside the dumpster with a trail leading to it. The glow had dimmed significantly in the four-month timeframe but it still held an eerie quality to it. But that wasn’t what was unsettling about the alley.

What was unsettling was the two white vans with no markings parked on the road so that they blocked the entrance and three men in perfectly pressed white suits that were taking samples of Danny’s blood. They all had earpieces and were talking amongst themselves in hushed tones so Damian couldn’t hear it because he wasn’t in his Robin gear. With their backs turned, he couldn’t read their lips either. Damian pulled out his phone and snapped several pictures while clamping a gentle hand around Cujo’s muzzle to keep the growling to a minimum.

A weird gadget that one of the men held started to go off and Damian ducked backward as the men turned to face in his direction. Having gotten what he needed, the boy set Cujo down and pocketed his phone as shouts of the men below reached his ears. “Cujo, Big!” Damian whispered and without hesitation, Cujo transformed. He climbed up onto the large dog’s back and gripped his collar tight. “Return to the manor, Cujo! Return to the manor!”

Invisibility spread from Cujo to Damian and he couldn't help but shudder slightly. It was an awkward feeling to be turned invisible. A feeling that he would never be able to get used to. With a powerful lunge, Cujo took off in the direction of the manor just as men clambered up onto the roof from the fire escape.

Damian wanted nothing more than to go after these men because they seemed to know something about Danny and odds are they were the ones who had hurt the teen so badly in the first place. If only he wasn’t dressed in his civilian attire. Those men will wish they never wore those white suits. The manor quickly came into view and Cujo turned them intangible to go straight through the walls to his room.

The dog shrunk back down as Damian hopped off and pulled out his phone. Invisibility and intangibility faded the moment they were no longer in contact. Damian scrolled through the photos that he took, zooming in on the badge that was on the lapel of a man named Agent K. his blood began to boil at what that name could mean for Danny’s past.

He didn’t know who the GIW were but he was going to find out.

Notes:

I am officially only 1 chapter away from finishing the other story! then I can come back to solely focus on this one.

On another note, LOOK AT THIS AMAZING FANART! LOOK AT IT! Robin's Egg Art

I legit cried when I saw it. They are so well made! T_T

Chapter 15: Eggcademy Drama

Summary:

School and Damian don't mix.

Neither do pencils apparently.

(No pencils were harmed in the making of this chapter... some bullies probably were. I plead the fifth.)

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

A snap broke the silence of the classroom making several of the students jump at the sudden sound. Damian ignored the looks of his classmates as he tossed the pencil he had unconsciously snapped in half into the waste bin. The tenth one in the span of a half hour. It didn’t help that Damian was on edge and it was triggering everyone else’s flight or flight responses. The boy couldn’t help it. He felt like he was going to go off and the next person to cross the youngest Wayne was going to get it. Hopefully, Jon would stop him before there was a murder.

Hopefully.

Last night had been an enlightening experience. Damian had stayed up all night trying to research more about the GIW after scouring through the photos on his phone for any kind of detail he could get. Which wasn’t much other than the badge number. The vans had no discernable qualities and the license plates hadn’t been visible. Damian had wanted to go to the Batcave to run facial recognition on the ones he had gotten a good visual of but the others had been down there the entire time.

Plus he couldn’t explain how he got the photos if he never left the manor grounds.

So instead, Damian had taken to the internet to try and find out what those men were doing only to be blocked once again. The firewalls were similar to the ones that had prevented him from looking up Amity Park. Things were lining up way too cleanly for the two not to be involved with one another. The rest of the night he tried to get past the system but it kept changing and morphing as if he was being reverse hacked. So he backed off and tried to find general information about the GIW… and what he found was unnerving.

GIW or Ghost Investigation Ward was a federally funded government ghost-hunting agency. One that started in Amity and has since branched out across the nation. It was a big group but the people involved were ambitious. Stating that they were protecting the world from the dead trying to take over. From the few news articles that leaked through the cracks, they didn’t have a good reputation. Property damage and no regard for civilian safety were just the start. There was no doubt that they were doing significantly shadier things behind closed doors.

Damian snapped another pencil in half and everyone flinched, except Jon. Those agents were probably looking for Danny and if the ghost teen hadn’t run into him that night then they would have found his core among the trash. Who knows what those men would have done? The pencil halves snapped into fourths just as the bell rang for lunch. All of his classmates stood up as if the grim reaper was at their backs and booked it out of the room without another word.

Including the teacher.

“Now that we are alone… do you want to explain why you are giving off the intention that you are going to massacre the entire school?” Jon turned to give his friend his full attention.

“Tt.” Damian tossed the pencil fragments into the growing pile in the waste bin. “There have been some… developments.”

This piqued the half-Kryptonian’s interest. “What happened? I can tell from here that he has gotten a lot stronger. Was there a side effect of some kind?”

Damian shook his head and wiped the little splinters of wood onto the floor without looking at the older boy. “Other than being a portable AC unit, no. Have you heard of a government agency called the GIW?”

“How do you know that name?” Surprise covered Jon’s face and Damian pulled out his phone to show him the photos. “They are in Gotham? Does Batman know about this? Where was this taken?”

“...that was the alley where I found Danny,” Damian growled to himself at the reminder. There was no need to explain to Jon what the green substance was that the men were taking samples of. Jon had been there when Cujo had taken them to the lab. It wasn’t that much of a jump to figure out what it was. “You know of them?”

Jon looked ashen with each new photo. “Let’s just say that super hearing is a blessing and a curse. Mom and dad have been talking about some stuff when they thought I was asleep. I haven’t had a good chance to look through my mom’s research but this group has a very bad rap. Bad enough that I think your dad has started looking into them for their blatant disregard for human life. Their ideologies are almost like that of a cult of zealot-like xenophobes. They say that they are protecting the world from ghosts but if anyone gets in their way, accidental or on purpose, they are run down. It was covered up but they have accidentally killed several people in their pursuit of eradication.”

If Damian had been holding another pencil then it would have joined the others in the trash. This was more information than he had managed to dig up about the GIW. If they had killed humans that they were supposed to be protecting then what did that mean for Danny who was part ghost? More and more evidence was pointing to this agency being the one who had cut Danny open. If only Damian had the time to change into his Robin gear. Even his old League outfit would have worked. It didn’t matter if Bruce grounded him again, he would have beat those men into submission and trapped them until they gave him the answers he desired. There were plenty of torture methods that didn’t leave a mark. You just had to know what you were doing.

Jon looked at his friend as his face darkened from the news. “How about we discuss this more after school? It’ll be suspicious if we don't show up for lunch and I don’t want a teacher walking in on this conversation.”

Damian agreed, standing up a little too quickly for him to be calm. His fingers twitched into fists at his sides. Itching to be used and he hoped that there would be a lot of activity tonight on patrol. “Fine, but we are going to the roof because I have other things to discuss. Damian headed out into the hallway only to dive-roll across it as a bucket of ice water was thrown his way when he exited. Mocking laughter reached his ears while he slowly stood back up to get a good look at the people who wanted to enter an early grave today.

“Why did you dodge out of the way? We were just trying to help out by cooling you off.” Mike Thompson stood tall in front of the group of two other boys holding an empty plastic bucket. “Your rock didn’t seem to be doing its job so we thought we should take matters into our own hands.” The other two were laughing, albeit warily. They didn’t seem to be as on board to mess with Damian as the ringleader was.

“If it isn’t Mike…” Damian began while lightly dusting himself off. “So it seems the one brain cell that you had has finally died. How does it feel to no longer be considered a sentient being?”

The brunette just looked at him mildly confused. “What?”

“That would go over your troglodyte-like mind,” Damian whispered quickly but it was still loud enough for everyone to hear. He sighed and gestured to Mike while enunciating very slowly. “It means, how does it feel to no longer have a brain? And since you don’t have a brain, you are no longer a human?”

Even with the explanation, Mike didn’t seem to get it but knew he was being insulted so he was getting angry anyway. “Shut up! I am a human!”

“It’s amazing that the main point of my words still went over your head.” The smaller boy rolled his eyes. Damian relaxed his shoulders in preparation for what was to come. Not only was he going to destroy Mike right here and now but his family was going down with him. The news tonight was going to be a lot of fun to watch.

The taller boy growled and stomped forward a couple of feet as his entourage gave them even more space, throwing the useless bucket to the side with a loud clatter that echoed down the hallway. At least they knew that nothing good was going to happen in the next few seconds. Damian did take note of who they were so that he could get them back at a later date.

“If I’m not a human, then what am I?!” Mike closed the gap between him and Damian, then grabbed the smaller boy by the front of his uniform. The locket getting bunched up in the wad of cloth.

Damian smirked menacingly, amusem*nt dancing behind his green eyes. “Garbage.”

“Uh… Mike? You don’t want to do that-” Jon popped his head out of the classroom intending to try and intervene. Knowing that Mike had already signed his social death sentence… in more ways than one.

The half-Kryptonian was ignored. Mike pulled hard with his fist reared back to hit Damian in the face. The boy grabbed his assailant’s wrist and twisted hard before the fist had a chance to connect. Mike cried out in pain and ripped his arm back, taking a chunk of Damian’s shirt with it. A clicking sound was heard as the pendant's mechanism was accidentally triggered and everyone watched as a beautiful stone rolled gently down Damian’s leg from under his shirt onto the floor toward Mike.

Stumbling back a couple of feet, Mike clutched his wrist while he seethed with anger. He raised his foot as the stone rolled closer. “We’ll see how high and mighty you are when your rock is nothing but dust!” Mike stared down Damian, challenging the youngest Wayne to stop him as he brought his foot down towards Danny’s core. Damian started to lunge forward but knew that he wouldn’t be fast enough but he didn’t need to be. It wasn’t Damian who took up the challenge.

It was Jon.

Mike was sent sprawling head over heels from a direct hit straight to his stomach from the half-Kryptonian who was looking at the teen with barely concealed fury. The two boys in the entourage screamed and ran down the hallway, leaving Mike to roll on the floor clutching his stomach and gasping for air. Jon picked up Danny’s core as gently as he could and placed him back into the opened pendant that he had grabbed off of Damian’s neck in a moment of super speed (that went unnoticed since everyone was focused on Damian and Mike), closing it with a decisive click.

“I warned you not to do that,” Jon stated, standing over the bully to his full height. He was still shorter than most of the teenagers in their class but for his age group, he was tall. “I wouldn’t do that again. I was being nice by stepping in.”

“Oh, screw you…” Mike wheezed from the floor as he continued to roll around.

“What is going on here?!” a flurry of footsteps had the boys looking to where the two had run off to see three teachers running toward the commotion. Mrs. Scherer stepped forward with wide eyes when she saw Mike on the floor with Jon standing over him. “Jonathan Kent! Did you hit that boy?”

“Mike started it by trying to throw ice water on us.” Damian made himself known with a small wave towards the puddle of water and ice melting on the floor.

“That doesn’t make it okay to hit someone!” Mrs. Scherer put herself between Jon and the bully, noticing that the half-Kryptonian held the pendant aloft in his hand. “What is that?”

“He’s lying!” One of the boys who had fled earlier poked their head out from behind the other teachers. “They were fighting over the rock in that locket and Jon punched him for it!”

“Because Mike was trying to break it and it’s something very precious! It's fragile! He doesn’t have the right to do that!” Jon exclaimed as he pointed at the other boy who hid back behind the other teachers.

Damian rolled his eyes and gestured to his ripped shirt. “Then maybe Mike shouldn’t have started with violence. All Jon did was protect a victim.”

“You know what? All of you are getting detention today.” Mrs. Scherer said as she took the necklace from Jon and held the pendant up. “And I am confiscating this since it’s the cause of everything. You’ll get it back at the end of the day.”

“But-” Jon stepped forward to try and get the pendant but Mrs. Scherer held it out of his reach with a firm look.

“No buts, Jon. You are lucky I’m not calling your parents for your behavior. However, I know you wouldn’t act out like this without a good reason. Come by my office after your detention and you can get your necklace back.” Mrs. Scherer looked from Jon to Damian. “Am I clear?”

“Yes, ma’am.” The boys acquiesced but never took their eyes off Danny’s core. Damian didn’t like this situation. Not one bit. But compared to what could have happened, things could have gone significantly worse.

Mrs. Scherer nodded her head to the boys and made her way down the hall two doors down. Damian ran after her with Jon not far behind. She placed the necklace in her desk drawer and locked it with a key. “You two should head to lunch. Class will start sooner than you think.”

Begrudgingly, the two boys nod to her and head back down the hall past Mike on the floor and the teachers. Mike looked smug and the only way Damian was able to hold back from pummeling the teen into a meaty pulp was for the revenge he was going to enact later that night. The jerk could be smug all he wants right now. It was Damian who was going to win in the end.

They headed to the cafeteria, grabbed their lunches, and found a secluded spot in a stairwell where nobody could see them. Anger was rolling through Damian’s veins but he kept himself calm. Jon was pretty mad in his own right but was having a harder time keeping it under control. “I know he doesn’t know that the rock was a person but how could he just try to break it like that? What is wrong with him?!”

Damian took a long sip of his water before answering. “He was born without a brain. A walking meat puppet is all he is and all he will be. Don’t worry, Mike had already been warned for touching the core once. He won’t be an issue after today.”

“...was that why he gave you such a wide berth like you were going to unleash the plague upon his family?” Jon seemed to relax a small bit since there was a plan. Some of the normal sunshine returned to his serious expression.

The younger boy smirked. “Maybe. I guess I didn’t give him enough head trauma the first time I dealt with him.”

Jon sighed and leaned back on the steps of the stairwell behind them. “No killing, right?”

“Ignoring the fact that Mike almost accidentally committed murder, no. There will be no killing.” Damian mimicked his friend with his smirk growing. “Though, after I am done with him, he may wish that I have given him the easy out of death.”

This time Jon hid the shudder that trickled down his spine. Damian was a powerful ally to have and an even worse enemy. “So... I highly doubt that you are going to wait until the end of the day to get Danny back… What’s the plan?”

“It’s not like it’s going to be hard to sneak into a teacher’s office to pick a lock. Those drawers have the most basic setup. All I need is a bobby pin and I can get in.” Damian hummed to himself in thought. “I just need a small distraction to get her out of the room for about one minute. I’ll go in from the tree outside the office window.”

“The window is on the second floor.”

“And? The tree should be able to provide ample coverage for me to get in unnoticed.”

Jon just shook his head with a smile. “Fine, I’ll distract her for you but I don’t know how observant she will be.”

“Then let’s enact the plan when classes begin to switch over. It’ll be the most chaotic then-” Damian was cut off as an explosion rocked the building causing all of the students in the cafeteria to scream in terror. All of them got up and ran towards the exits. The vigilante boys stood up quickly and overlooked the chaos before them.

Teachers were calling over students to the emergency exits. The building shook from another explosion and the boys wondered just which of Gotham’s rogues was attacking the school so hard. It would have been better if they had trapped the cafeteria because that was where the majority of the school currently was.

Damian and Jon remained in their spot to avoid being noticed by the teachers and forced to evacuate. “Shall we see what’s going on? Signal might need help by the sounds of it.” Jon asked, using his x-ray vision to see if everyone was getting out safely.

The smirk on Damian’s face returned anew. “Meet me at Mrs. Scherer’s office and then we can aid the others. What better distraction can we get than this?” Jon just rolled his eyes and started removing his uniform to reveal his Superboy costume underneath. Damian was already up the stairs headed towards the second-floor janitor’s closet where he had stashed one of his costumes within. He donned his equipment in record time and made his way towards the teacher’s office, making sure to keep to the shadows so that he wouldn’t be noticed.

Heavy footsteps from behind had Damian hiding in a nearby classroom and peeking out from the window to see who was possibly pursuing him. There were several angry shouts as two men in pure white suits ran by pointing overly futuristic-looking guns at anyone in their path. Robin practically kicked the door down and ran in the opposite direction to a shortcut. Damian’s prior theory was confirmed as he took down a couple of agents (slightly more aggressive than he normally would have) stealthily on his warpath. The GIW were here.

They were looking for Danny.

Notes:

Hello, everyone! If you want to read some more dp x dc stuff I made well I made a mini-fic based off of a tumblr prompt. It's short but if you want some fluff with Danny and the bat bois then it's right up your alley.

Le fanfic: Safe House

I might add to it again if I'm feeling it after I finish the final chapter for the November event and the Ask game prompts people have been giving me on tumblr. Oh! That's another thing! So I found this little prompt game on Tumblr called the Ask Game.

The rules are simple:

1. Give me the first sentence and I'll write a short piece for it. But it's gotta be in my ask box! That way I'm guaranteed to see it.

2. Also it is one sentence maybe two sentences for added context if need be. (I've had people give me entire paragraphs which should be fics in their own right. That isn't the point ^ ^;)

So If you wanna give it a try then here is the link to my box: Cali's Ask Box

I can't guarantee that I will get to all of them but once I get enough going I will probably make a one-shot booklet on here with them. I've just been in a zone and having a lot of fun with everything! Anyway, this is a little long, so I hope you all have a good day and see you in the next chapter or on Tumblr. Whichever happens first!

Chapter 16: Eggents of Chaos

Summary:

Look out GIW, Damian isn't happy.

*trigger warning* Because a school is attacked and there is a brief description.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Something was on fire. The smoke was beginning to billow in from the other side of the school and it would be a small miracle if no one was caught in the crossfire. Robin used the cloak of the smoke to sneak up behind two more men in white suits. Their unconscious bodies were starting to fill the hallways as he made his way over to Mrs. Scherer’s office. It appeared that the news articles and Jon’s parents were right when it came to the GIW. Not even Gotham’s rogues attacked Gotham Academy often but here these men were doing it as though they were entitled.

“I think I’ve found the source of the ecto-contamination. Moving in for extraction or eradication. Stay on the line in case I need back-” The agent didn’t get to finish. Robin sailed in with a fantastic jump kick that had the man flying several feet down the hallway from Mrs. Scherer’s door. His body fell prone the moment it touched the ground.

Robin kicked the door in and slammed it closed behind him when he saw that the room was empty. He ran over to the desk and made quick work of the cheap lock that was separating him from the ghost kid. The inside of the drawer was completely encased in ice as though to protect Danny from whatever outside forces threatened him. There was no water or liquid to cause it like what had happened in Penguin’s hideout. The only explanation was that Danny could somehow sense what was going on. There were several theories that ghosts could feed off of strong emotions. Maybe that theory had more merit than Damian had given it credit. If Jon hadn’t told him that the teen was getting stronger then this was proof that he was.

Gently, Robin picked up the necklace from the pile of ice. The cold retreated from his hand so that he had easy access to the core as though sensing that a friend is near. Damian put the necklace on and slipped it under his Robin uniform, breathing a sigh of relief when he felt the familiar weight settle against his chest. Nerves that he didn’t even know he had calmed just from having the core back in his possession.

Mrs. Scherer’s door was kicked in again and Robin just barely stopped himself from throwing a Batarang at Superboy, who was standing in the doorway. “Did you find what you were looking for?” Jon asked as he flew the short distance over to Robin. His eyes scanned the smaller boy until he honed in on the little lump on Damian’s chest. “Oh thank god. Was there any damage? Did someone try to take it…?”

Robin fixed a semi-impressed look at Jon. The boy was doing a phenomenal job of not discussing Danny outright when there could be ears everywhere. “None and there was only one but they are out of commission. Now tell me, what is going on?” when they had split, there was no doubt that Superboy had done a quick once-over to see if everyone had evacuated safely or not.

“We aren’t entirely sure.” Superboy kept staring at the spot where Danny’s core was as if to reassure himself that the ghost kid was okay. “It appears as though the GIW were trying to infiltrate the school but the guards weren’t letting them in. They didn’t have a warrant and they just kept claiming they didn't need one because this place was severely ecto-contaminated. Then the Joker came storming up and took out the west wing of the school with explosives stating that ‘He wasn’t a ghost and how dare they try to take out his headquarters’. The agents took advantage of the chaos and entered the building.”

“However, from what I heard from the agents talking back and forth, this was planned.” Superboy stepped into the hallway and purposefully knocked out the agent Robin had taken out a few moments ago when he heard the person starting to move, then walked back in. “They went after the Joker because, out of all the rogues, he’s the most likely to attack a school without warning.”

That was low, even for a government agency. “So they pissed off the Joker and got in during the explosions. Well, it’s a good cover. They can say that they ran into the building to help the children who were under attack.” Robin growled at the news. To go after an entire school was ambitious. Even if they tried to cover it up, there was plenty of evidence to prove the opposite. The GIW wasn’t going to be able to get away with this easily. Also, they were tracking Danny somehow. It didn’t matter if he called for Cujo to take him back to the manor (which would raise a lot of questions with his family), they would hunt him down again. “You said that Signal is here. What is the current status?”

Superboy looked up and squinted his eyes. “It looks like almost everyone has been safely evacuated. There are some ambulances outside but I don’t see any bodies in the debris. There is a high chance that there are only people who got injured and no deaths. Signal seems to have the Joker contained… Uh… well he isn’t the only one here.”

“Who else is here?” Robin crosses his arms with an eyebrow raised. There was no way that his father and the others could be here that quickly. If anything they would be just arriving in about ten minutes.

“COME BACK HERE YOU ECTOPLASMIC SCUM!”

“YOU WON’T GET AWAY GHOST!”

Gunshots were heard as Red Hood barreled down the hallway with three men in white, hot on his heels. He slid perfectly around a corner and fired back at the men who were aiming their green lasers at him. Damian pulled Superboy behind the teacher’s desk and positioned it so that it lined up with the doorway. When Hood ran past their room, Robin waited until the men in white got closer and, with the aid of Jon’s super strength, they shoved the desk into the hallway. The men cried out in pain as they ran into the mass of wood and metal.

Robin and Superboy were quick to jump over the desk and knock out the men with Red Hood skidding to a halt a few feet down. He closed the distance while looking the two preteens over critically. “What are you two doing here? Are either of you hurt?”

They shook their heads. “Why were these men chasing you?” Robin asked, taking the time to search the men who were going after Jason.

“Also you got here really fast,” Superboy stated while he pushed the desk back into the office.

“Was already being chased by these guys when I noticed Joker was on the move and followed. Glad I did.” Red hood reloaded his pistols and put them in their holsters. There was no way he was going to allow the clown prince to harm other children. The man scowled down at his pursuers with great disdain. “These guys do NOT know when to quit! They have been chasing me through Crime Alley for the past week and now they are raiding a school. They keep calling me a ghost!”

Superboy rubbed his chin in thought. “Well, there was that one time you died…”

“Yes, but do I look like Casper to you? I prefer zombie, thank you very much.”

Robin pulled out an odd device that seemed to emit a green pulse. He held it away from his body and the pulsing dimmed then he pointed it toward Jason and the pulsing picked up again. “They can track you.”

“It looks like they can track you too, brat,” Hood stated when the tracker did the same thing when Damian brought it closer to his own body. Robin tossed the tracker to Superboy and it immediately dimmed. So it only worked on Jason and Damian. This was how they were able to track Danny but why was it honing in on Jason?

More men in white blocked one end of the hall with their guns focused on the three vigilantes in front of them. “Stand down! We have two ecto-entities. Surrender or be arrested for violating the law for aiding and abetting a ghost.” An agent who looked very familiar to Damian stepped forward from the group. Then it clicked. That man was Agent K. He was one of the men taking samples of Danny’s blood from the alley.

A sinister smirk made its home on Robin’s face. These men weren’t going to let Jason and him leave. Well, if they were going to insist on being training dummies then Damian could use a little sword practice. “Superboy, go help Signal and the emergency services. Your ability to locate others will be crucial if someone is stuck.” Robin made a show of pulling out his sword and brandishing it to the group of agents.

“But it looks like you guys need help here…”

“Nah, go help the light of Gotham. We have this handled.” Jason dropped his hands to his sides. His fingers ghosted over the handles of a couple of pistols.

Superboy looked between the two brothers and then sighed. “I’m coming back in ten minutes if you don’t call out all clear.” The young vigilante waited until he got an affirmative from the other two and flew up and over the group of agents. They ignored him, keeping their weapons trained in front. Superboy wasn’t their target.

The two children of the bat were.

They stared each other down, both groups assessed the other cautiously. “Seems like we both have a personal grudge against these guys.” Red Hood dropped his shoulders into a more casual look. “What’s your beef with them?”

“...would you believe me if I said it’s because they attacked the school?”

“Not in the slightest.”

“Then it looks like you still have something in that skull of yours.” Robin crouched with his body at the ready. “Let’s just say, you aren’t the only one who had been having to deal with them lately.” Which was sort of true. Damian had run into the GIW directly once but he had probably seen the aftermath of their crusade on a much more personal level than Jason.

Hood growled lightly to himself but stored that little bit of information away for later, not at all comfortable about the information that these men were chasing down a child. The fact that he was a demon brat was beside the point. “Well then… I hope you can keep up because I don’t plan on sharing.”

Damian smirked darkly. “Likewise.”

The two brothers stared at each other, then Robin sprang into action. He charged at the group of agents, zeroing in on Agent K. They pointed their guns to fire at the child but were forced to scatter when Red Hood was quicker. Pistols were drawn, and non-lethal rounds were fired toward the group, several hitting their marks as Hood covered his little brother. The boy assassin serpentined to avoid several stray blasts but ended at his intended target.

Robin sliced the air in front of Agent K, effectively cutting the man’s weapon clean through. He dropped low and used the agent’s body as a shield from his allies who took their aim toward the child vigilante regardless if their comrade was in the way or not. Several green charges struck the agent in the back who only managed to grunt but the look on his face told Robin that it hurt a lot more than he was showing. Changing tactics, Agent K bent to grapple the small boy who countered by quickly hitting the pressure points in both arms so that they fell limp. Robin stepped back and thrust his blade into the man’s right shoulder using it to puppet the man backward toward his comrades.

Red Hood ran forward, shooting the weapons out of the agents’ hands. He ran right up to the closest one and jacked him right in the face. “For a short thing, you sure do make for an excellent distraction.” Jason grinned manically under his helmet. He bobbed to avoid a strike and thrust his elbow out to nail his attacker in the stomach then turned to uppercut another agent who got too close. “That’s three for me. Are you sure can keep up little demon?”

“Tt.” Robin rolled his eyes and used his leverage to throw his meat shield into another agent that had snuck up behind Hood. Ducking down, Damian swept out the legs of three more agents with the flat end of his blade then commenced to kick each one in the head so that they were down. He may have done it more than once. As long as they lived, who was counting? Hearing the heavy footsteps of another assailant, Robin twisted his body and threw several batarangs that pinned his target to the wall. “Looks to me that I already have five.”

“That one hung on the wall doesn’t count. She’s still conscious.”

Damian picked up a taser that one of the other agents dropped and threw it hard without looking. There was a cry and the woman’s head flopped forward. Robin arched his brow at his older brother in a challenge. “Five.”

The two fell into a rhythm. Red Hood used his pistols to take out any agent that was a distance away while Robin took down anyone who dared to get too close for their own good. Both were quick and efficient… however, they still took some extra shots on the downed agents anyway. Robin looked at his adopted brother curiously when he took out the kneecaps of one called Agent T before knocking him unconscious. Hood locked eyes with him and shrugged. “What? If you won’t tell B then I won’t.”

“Deal.”

A new group seemed to emerge from the opposite hall and Damian was beginning to wonder if they were going to have to fight the entire English alphabet at this rate. “Hey, take these.” Grabbing a couple of weapons that were now scattered around, Red Hood thrust two sticks that doubled as a taser into Robin’s hands. “What day is it today?”

“Uh… Monday, October 24th… why are you giving me these?” Robin asked confused but humored Jason by sheathing his sword to take the electrified sticks. “WHY ARE YOU PICKING ME UP?!”

“This day just went from horrible to amazing.” Hood lifted his little brother by his sides above his head and ran at the oncoming group of GIW agents. “I’m celebrating a national holiday!”

“WHAT THE..? WHAT NATIONAL HOLIDAY?!” Robin flailed for a moment until he got into a semi-okay position to possibly attack the newcomers if they got in range. Jason wasn’t making it easy. He flicked the switches on for the sticks and they crackled to life with electricity. Maybe he should hit Jason with them instead. “PUT ME DOWN BEFORE I TAKE YOUR OTHER SHOULDER OUT!”

Red Hood skidded to a halt with about a ten-foot distance between himself and the agents. “It’s national…” The tank of a man reared back with Damian above his head. “THROW SHORT PEOPLE DAY!” Robin was thrown high enough that he could touch the ceiling right at the new group of agents.

The boy sighed and rolled his eyes. Readjusting in the air, he let loose on their enemies as they neared. Screams filled the silence as the group was felled in a matter of seconds. Each one took a powerful hit at crucial points on their body. After a tasteful landing, Robin stood in the middle of a pile of unconscious bodies, poking each one to make sure they were out with a kick added for good measure. Jason was cackling in the background to the point that his modulated voice sounded like white noise. “Did you enjoy that?” Damian asked in a dry tone not wanting to admit that although it was unorthodox, Jason throwing him had been effective.

“10/10 would yeet again.” Jason looked around at all of the unconscious bodies that filled the hallway. “I think we got them all.”

Robin followed his brother’s gaze and nodded his affirmation. There were a total of twenty people all dressed in white on the floor or pinned to the walls. Each one had a badge with a different letter on it. His prediction had almost come true. “Shall we call it?”

Hood hummed in thought. “We should but he’s probably going to come anyway. Not that I would complain. It would be easier to round all of these guys up.”

Jon was the kind of person to check on his friends with his super hearing after they had confirmed that they were fine. Both bat children yelled “All clear!” and in a few moments, Superboy made his appearance from the same hall he had exited a few minutes prior.

The preteen overlooked the outright destruction of the GIW before looking at Robin and Red Hood with an arched brow. “Satisfied?”

Damian couldn’t help but smirk. “Very.”

“Mind helpin’ us gather everyone up?” Red hood started separating the agents from their weapons. “They aren’t hard to beat but there are a lot of them.”

Superboy nodded and together the three made quick work of rounding all of the agents up against the wall. At Jason’s insistence, they were lined up in alphabetical order for the sole reason of figuring out which letters were missing. Odds are, those letters were the ones who were higher up on the food chain. That or they hadn’t shown up yet or were downed by Joker’s men. It would be found out soon enough. “This… is a lot of weapons. What do half of these even do?” Jon gestured to the massive pile of technology that they had confiscated. Other than the ones that were blatantly guns, tasers, or remodeled weapons, Damian only had a slight idea. They reminded him of the blueprints he had found on the FentonWorks website. Why was the government manufacturing weapons based on two dead scientists?

“We’ll need to take these back to the cave,” Robin said and collapsed the two stick tasers. They held a wonderfully powerful charge and were rather durable for their light weight. These ones in particular were going to be his. Hood huffed behind him and Damian fixed his adopted brother with a glare. “Batman will probably let you keep one of the guns once we know more about it. We don’t know what that green plasma stuff is and how they work.”

The older brother sighed but knew that Damian was right. “Then let’s move this pile of junk then so no one else can get their hands on it.” He gestured to Superboy and the preteen gathered up all of the gear in a curtain then took off to hide it for later. “As much as I don’t want to leave these guys here, we are going to have to. The police will be over here any moment.”

“Tt.” Damian couldn’t agree more. He wanted to take these agents to an undisclosed location and make them give him the answers he needed. It didn’t look like he would be allowed to do so. Robin glanced out the window and he could see the news vans parked next to the blank white ones. To take an agent would require being discreet which would be rather hard with all of the chaos that was currently going on. “We have another problem on our hands that you will have to help us with.”

“And what would that be?” Red Hood followed his little brother as he walked back to the janitor's closet that he had changed in earlier. Leaving the agents resting against the wall even though he didn’t want to.

“The teachers are probably keeping a head count of all of the students when they evacuated the premises. Jon and I have yet to make an appearance.” Damian stated as he stepped into the closet to change and re-hide his Robin uniform. “It’s not impossible for us to be hiding the entire time but it would be bad if we do not make our faces known and yet magically show up at home.”

That was a good point. “And it will give me a reason to be at the other end of the building.” Hood hummed to himself in thought. “Didja hear that lil’ supes?”

“Yep, I dropped the tech near an entrance to the cave.” There was a whoosh of air and Jon was standing next to Jason in his school uniform just as Damian stepped back out fully dressed. “I’m ready to make an entrance once you are.”

The two boys looked at Red Hood who started walking toward an emergency exit. “Well, c’mon then. Our audience awaits.”

They were careful to avoid any area that seemed to have a lot of smoke and debris. Stepping out onto the quad, the three finally got to see the extent of the chaos. First responders were running around checking people over with Signal talking with Police Commissioner Gordon. Red Hood led the boys over to the paramedics to get looked at then left when the principal took over.

Despite the massive amount of damage to the school, no one died. Several were hurt but only one person was in critical condition. For an impromptu Joker attack, this was one of the better outcomes. Soon the other bats arrived and added themselves to the cause. Alfred pulled the car up to pick up Damian and Jon tagged along so as not to be left out. Upon arriving at the manor, the two boys booked it to the Batcave with Damian taking over access to the Batcomputer and Jon grabbing the weapons he had stashed outside.

There was no longer any point to hide the fact that Damian had come in contact with the GIW. He brought everything up that his father and siblings had on the group. Tim must have been doing overtime because the massive amount of data was a little overwhelming. News articles, government contracts, facilities, the Batcomputer had it all. Time flew by while he gave everything a cursory glance. Just how had they gotten away with so much?

Damian sent copies of the files up to his computer just as his father, Duke, Jason, and Tim made their way into the cave. “It’s good to see you two all right. I see you already found the files.” Batman took his cowl off and raised an eyebrow at the pile of tech that sat off to the side. “What is all of this?”

“They were taken from the agents who stormed the school. They run on an unknown power source and seem to be quite powerful.” Damian pulled out the collapsible tasers and turned them on. “They had no regrets trying to use them on us. What happened to the agents?”

“Currently, they are being held at Gotham PD but since they haven’t really done anything wrong, they will probably be released,” Duke replied with a hardened look. “I could see the trail they made in getting the Joker to attack the school but with no proof, they are probably just going to walk away from the whole thing.”

“Tt. They have no regard for the lives of the innocent.” Damian practically growled and Jon patted his shoulder in an attempt to calm him. “What about the cameras in the school?”

“Haven’t had a chance to look it over yet but I get the feeling that it’ll take more work than you think. Jason gave us a brief run down but how did they know where you two were?” Tim asked while looking through the ghost tech sorting by weapon category.

Jon pulled out the tracker he had kept on him since Damian tossed it to him. “With this.” He said then commenced to show how it worked by walking around to everyone in the room. For some reason, it also reacted to Bruce. “They called Damian and Jason ecto-entities, whatever that means.”

“Can I see that?” Tim asked and the preteen handed it over. “I’m going to take these to the lab. If they can track us in costume then they can track us without. I’ll try to see if I can reverse-engineer a way to block whatever signal is leading the GIW to you.”

Duke watched the teen walk off and grabbed another tracker from the pile. “How come it only focuses on you three? If they wanted to track the batclan then surely they would set it up to track all of us somehow?”

“Hn.” Bruce, who had been silent during this exchange, looked up at his children. “They call themselves the Ghost Investigation Ward and are hell-bent on the persecution of ghosts. There would be no point in tracking a living person if that were the case. We have several common factors between us but the one that makes the most sense is the fact that we have all died once.” He eyed the tracker in Duke’s hand with a calculating gaze. “Somehow they have figured out how to track that and if that is true…”

Jason growled and pulled off his helmet. “Then they can practically track almost every single one of us.”

Notes:

I couldn't yeet a short person in real life so I yeeted a fictional one.

Happy Throw Short People Day Everyone!

Chapter 17: An Eggstravagant Halloween

Summary:

Halloween in Gotham.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The laughter of children rang out into the night while adults watched on from the safety of their vehicles or at the ends of streets. A few would accompany the younger ones to the doors of strangers but that diminished with the older the children were. Gotham’s streets were full to bursting from the festivities and all of the bat family were out in full swing. Where there was light, there was darkness, and hidden behind the joys of celebration were shady deals and horrible crimes. It was a night that was blessed as much as it was cursed.

Halloween just had that kind of charm.

Robin overlooked the revelry from above. His hand idly played with the weird gadget that Tim had forced upon everyone in the family. Even the ones who hadn’t died and come back. It was some sort of off-brand signal jammer but instead of jamming electronics, it negated some sort of weird aura. His adopted brother had stayed up for four days straight to make heads or tails of the trackers until he realized that the only way to negate the tracking was to use the same thing that powered them.

Damianmayhave been the one to point out that the GIW stuff looked similar to Fenton tech when Tim was on day three of his coffee binge.

The older child had been so focused on figuring out how the devices worked that he didn’t bother to look to see if there were blueprints in places other than the GIW database. Strangely enough, there wasn’t anything on that database but the need to have these jammers done was great and Tim didn’t have the time to think about why that was. Several of the guns had lost their power sources to these new things. The little devices worked enough to deter the other trackers they had in the GIW pile but if they upgraded or have something more powerful, there wasn’t a guarantee it would work. As long as it kept the men in white off of their backs then everyone was happy. Because as much as everyone wanted to figure out what the deal with the GIW was, Gotham had a more pressing issue coming up.

October was a month that everyone in the Wayne family dreaded. All because of the last day of the month. Halloween was one of the worst nights for Gotham’s vigilantes as it brought out the worst that the city had to offer. Everyone felt the need to celebrate the creepy holiday in their own way and the backlash to weeks of researching prior and days after to clean up. Oftentimes Scarecrow was the one leading the charge to strike fear into Gotham on the holiday. If the vigilantes had to dodge around some idiotic ghost-hunting agency on top of everything else, then someone was going to be seriously hurt. Whether it was one of the bats of a civilian was anyone’s guess.

Now that everyone had a jammer, the GIW hadn’t been seen but that also could have been because most of the agents in the area were in the hospital. Several had been admitted for concussions and the ones who had been detained at GCPD had been released due to lack of evidence. The only proof was the Joker showing up to attack the school but Joker had attacked people for stupider reasons. It wasn’t a valid enough testimony to hold up in court. If there was video or audio evidence proving that the GIW had instigated the rogue that was another story. That was why Duke teamed up with Jason to try and find a lead. The second oldest had been actively pursued and Duke could see where the point of origin started. Things were not looking good for that agency.

At this rate, their downfall was only a matter of time.

Robin pulled the locket out from under his uniform to look over Danny. The iridescent sheen had grown more pronounced and the chill seemed to have leveled out… at least when he was carrying it. The ice seeped out in waves when he placed it down on any other surface. It was like Danny was protecting Damian from the cold his core gave off. Now was it because Danny was starting to become conscious or not?

Without standing up, Damian flicked the jammer high into the air. He grabbed the hand that was just about to touch his shoulder and threw that person over his head. As the jammer descended, he plucked it out of the air while watching the person he threw off the building get closer and closer to the ground.

Until the body stopped midair.

“How do you always know?!” exclaimed the figure dressed like the grim reaper, scythe and all. He flew back up to hover in front of Robin and pointed his blade at him. “I was careful with my shadow that time!”

“There are other tells than someone’s shadow,” Robin smirked as he put the jammer away. He lightly tugged the hood of the grim reaper down to reveal Jon in full skeleton makeup. “Maybe next time, don’t wear something that catches the wind easily.”

Jon pouted but moved to sit next to his friend regardless. He set the scythe to the side and pulled out a bag from underneath his robe. “So what are you doing here? Surely, you hit a couple of houses while patrolling?”

“Is that why you were late?”

“Of course! It’s Halloween! I’m not going to miss out on free candy.” Jon dug through the bag and pulled out a popcorn ball. Tossing it to his friend, he dug into the bag again for himself. “I would say as child heroes, it is our duty!”

“Dick put you up to this didn’t he?”

“Maybe, but that is beside the point!” The twelve-year-old found a chocolate bar and popped it into his mouth as soon as it was out of the wrapper. “Do you know how many opportunities bad people have in harming kids on this holiday? Kidnapping, poisoning candy, putting traps in candy, kids getting mugged…”

“Wow. Did he make you memorize an entire speech? Also the poisoning and traps are often a myth-”

“As such, it is our civic duty, being child heroes, to go trick or treating to as many houses as we can to ensure the safety of all kids!” Jon puffed out his chest and saluted the air in front of them.

An awkward silence descended between the two while Damian just stared at his friend unimpressed. “So, in short, you are saying… get candy, stop crime.”

“Yes!”

Rolling his eyes, Robin heaved a heavy sigh and rubbed his temple. “If I don’t agree with this, you’re just going to use your super strength to drag me along anyways, aren’t you?”

The look on his friend’s face turned feral. “Absolutely. I don’t care how many times you stab me with a birdarang. It’ll only make my costume look cooler.”

There was no way he was going to win this. Point to Grayson for using the sunshine boy against him. Now it all made sense as to why the comms had been quiet since he had left with the others. They didn’t want to involve him since they wanted him to trick or treat. Damian tucked Danny back under his uniform and reluctantly stood up. “Fine. But if there is even one suspicious adult, I’m enacting my right to punch them in the face.”

“I wouldn’t expect anything less. Now let’s go!” Jon grabbed his scythe, hooked the bag of candy to a utility belt under his robe, and pulled Robin to his side as he jumped off the roof. “I hear the next street over has full-size candy bars!”

The half-Kryptonian wasted no time. Together the two boys stopped at almost every street in Gotham with the aid of super speed. There were a couple of hiccups at the start when a few Gothamites recognized their local child hero. Jon was quick to liberate a white sheet from the manor and throw it over Damian for a cheap imitation ghost costume. It was only when Damian was glaring daggers at him did the boy realize what he had done. Robin sent the look of murder through the newly-made holes in the bed sheet. “Don’t say it. Don’t you dare, say it.”

“But I was just trying to…”

“Don’t.”

“...lift your spirits.”

As the night got closer to the witching hour and a new bruise in the shape of a scythe on Jon’s back, the boys retreated to the rooftops with their haul. A total of ten bags overflowing with candy were laid out before them with Jon’s eyes sparkling with glee. “I’ve never gotten such a large amount of loot before. Halloween in a big city rules!”

It was a rather impressive pile of sugar. “Would Alfred even let me keep all of this…?” Damian muttered to himself. The butler had a knack for keeping junk food out of the manor.

“Why wouldn’t he? It’s Halloween and you worked for it!” Jon grabbed the nearest bag and started going through the treasure inside. “He might moderate how much you eat but it’s not like you wouldn’t steal some if you wanted more. If anything, I would think he would be proud since you lasted the entire time without stabbing someone.”

“True.” Robin turned back to look at the street below. The revelry was still going but the children that once swarmed the sidewalks were gone. Thankfully, they hadn’t run into anything suspicious from the houses and apartments they stopped at but there had been some older kids trying to steal candy. Those teens learned rather quickly not to mess with the cheap ghost and grim reaper duo. “We should probably take this back before coming back out…” Damian trailed off and brought a hand to rub his chest under the sheet.

Something was wrong. The hairs on the back of his neck were standing and the smell of ozone was permeating the air. An unknown feeling crawled over his entire body that had Damian subtly looking into the shadows. A cold wave pulsed out from Danny’s core across his chest and Damian hissed in a breath from the sudden shock.

“Why don’t we call it a night and just have fun checking out our loot? If something serious happens the others will let us know… hey, are you okay?” Jon stopped when he looked up at his friend when he heard the hiss.

Another pulse of cold had Damian pulling out the locket to look at Danny’s core. A horrible static broke through the comms and he quickly turned it off. The sound was reminiscent of the moment right before Cujo had taken the boys on a cross-country tour. Frost spread out across his palm as Danny's core glowed a bright blue in a truly dazzling display. This wasn’t normal. Something was happening. “Do you hear anything odd, Jon?” Damian lifted the sheet so that his friend could see the necklace. The light grew even brighter with a smoky scent starting to join the scent of ozone.

The half-Kryptonian zeroed in his senses onto Danny. “The humming is more prominent but there isn’t anything else that is raising a red flag. What’s wrong? What’s happening to him?” Panic was edging Jon’s voice and it was growing in Damian as well. Neither boy knew what was going on.

“I don’t… I don’t know…” Damian switched the locket to his other hand to give the other a break from the cold. “This has never happened before. I mean… he’s been icing over things a lot lately but the glowing is new.”

Jon frowned in thought. “Do you mind if I popped open the locket? Maybe it’s muffling something…” his fingers lightly brushed the top of the pendant when the light grew blinding and a fierce wind buffeted the two boys. Jon clamped his hand entirely over top the pendant in an effort to protect Damian and himself.

The light breached through the cracks of his fingers and enveloped the two boys in bright light and smoke. Weird sensations moved across their bodies as they felt stretched and pulled in various directions. It reached a peak and the bright light blinked out of existence, leaving the darkened afterimage of the rooftop in its wake.

Damian dropped his hands under the sheet, coughing lightly into his hands from the smoke that seemed to fill the whole room. This wasn’t like Cujo. Whoever had teleported them in Amity was not the same person who had done this. The two boys moved so that they were back to back. They were no longer outside but in a building. The wind didn’t blow freely and the air was stale. Jon pulled his hood up. Damian put Danny back under his uniform and grabbed the hilt of his sword. His senses were slowly returning and he was not liking the situation one bit.

The two boys had been transported to some kind of warehouse but that didn’t mean much. They could be anywhere in the world, not just in Gotham. It was also ominous that they were not alone. Beyond the smoke, Robin could hear the shuffle of feet, the rustle of fabric, and the heavy breaths of people. “How many of them are there?” he said just above a whisper, knowing full well that his Kryptonian friend could hear him just fine.

“Twenty… maybe thirty? Sorry, this smoke is messing with my eyes a bit. Regardless, it’ll probably be a fight.” Jon whispered back, brandishing his scythe and Damian wanted to reach over and fix his posture. If he was going to fight with that thing then he needed to hold it right. Robin’s eyes finally adjusted to the darkness of the warehouse as the smoke began to clear.

“BEHOLD MY BRETHREN! TODAY OUR PRAYERS HAVE FINALLY BEEN ANSWERED!” A booming voice echoed throughout the room. “TONIGHT WE SHALL FINALLY BRING AN END TO THOSE WHO ARE UNWORTHY! FOR THE KING OF GHOSTS HAS ANSWERED OUR CALL!”

The smoke fully dispersed and beyond were about thirty-five people in long black robes with masks. One was at the forefront with a significantly more elaborate mask which meant that they were probably the leader. Robin took a good look around the room as gasps and the sounds of muttering spread like a wave through the crowd.

It was still night out as the moon and stars were on full display beyond the warehouse windows. Unfortunately, that meant they were no longer in Gotham. It was a rare night if the sky was clear. The cultists formed a half circle in front of the boys who stood in the middle of a satanic-looking circle. However, it was significantly more elaborate than a pentagram meaning that it was some kind of summoning circle. Several small water basins were placed around the outer circle. Each one had a floating red candle in it.

...In the shape of a duck?

“We were summoned with ducks?” Jon asked and dropped his scythe. “Because honestly? I love it. Cutest summoning ever and this is my first one.” Damian couldn’t help but agree. Would it be possible to sneak one home with him?

The leader seemed to still be shocked by the ridiculousness of the whole situation. “Who are you?!” he demanded and the two boys snapped their attention to him.

“Well, that’s just rude. You should be the ones introducing yourselves not us. You’re the ones that summoned us.” Jon swiped his scythe in the leader’s direction. “Just what were you trying to summon anyway?”

“This is the summing circle for the GHOST KING! A powerful being who could destroy the entire world if he wished. Not two kids in cheap Halloween costumes! So which one of you is it?” the leader growled in anger and held his hand above the circle. His magic reacted to the runes, making them glow a toxic green.

Jon and Damian shared a look as Danny’s core began to glow with the temperature beginning to drop. The amount of concerning information they were learning about their unconscious ghost teen was starting to become just a tad bit overwhelming. First, the kid almost died again, was possibly experimented on, and maybe the king of an entire species. Joy. It’ll be a small miracle if Damian’s body is found when his father finds out about this.

Halloween was turning out to be such a great day…

Not.

“Then how did we end up here? I’m not even dead.” Jon looked himself over and poked himself and Damian a few times. “Are you sure you culty-guys know what you are doing? Stuff like this takes precision, doesn’t it? Maybe it was the candles.”

A person in the crowd let out an indignant squawk before stepping forward and pointing an accusatory finger at the children. “Hey! Do you know how hard it is to try and find summoning-grade ritual candles the day before Halloween?! It’s near impossible!”

Robin rolled his eyes and tsked. “Doesn’t this kind of thing take time to plan? You have to get the robes, ceremonial masks, draw the circle perfectly, and all of that. Why would you wait until the day before Halloween to buy ritual candles?!” From what little he knew about magic, these guys were far from professionals but, somehow, their summoning had worked.

“Hey, man! You said it yourself that it takes time! We all have work schedules outside of this.” The cultist, who had supplied the candles, argued with the preteens adamantly. “Besides they worked! What does it matter if the shape is cute?”

“Enough!” the leader yelled and the entire circle flared up. A layer of frost spread out from under Damian’s feet causing the kid to shudder from the sudden cold that traveled down his body. The leader laughed triumphantly. “So it is you fake ghost! Reveal yourself my lord and we shall claim the world in your name!”

“Yeah, that’s not going to happen.” Damian leveled a glare at the leader. He stood to his full height and pressed a reassuring hand on Danny’s core. It was flaring wildly under his uniform in a way that it looked like the circle was causing the ghost teen some kind of distress. He threw a birdarang that sunk itself into the leader’s palm who let out an anguished cry. The magic stopped and Danny’s core settled. Ripping off the sheet, Robin stared down the group of people before him with a snarl.

All of the cultists froze. Several stepped away from the angry vigilante before them. The air was so tense that you could cut it with a knife and Jon was having a hard time keeping a straight face from watching the two groups. Then just as quickly as the silence arrived it was broken by several cultists screaming.

“ROBIN’S THE GHOST KING?!”

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (13)

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (14)

Notes:

Happy Halloween everyone! I hope you all have a blast, stay safe, and get all the delicious goodies you could ever want!

Did you all catch the reference of the duck candle from Cielle_Noire's If you Give a Bat a Burger ?
It's a fun story I hope you all get to read!

On that note, here are a few other recommendations from the stuff I have been reading recently that deserve more love!

The Bat Trap by Threee. It's a fun play-off of the parent trap with Danny and Damian. It's super cute!

When the SideQuest Gets Real by whitebeltwriter. The bat bois go to Amity on vacation and Jason gets confused as Jack Fenton. Shenanigans ensue.

I Just Wanna Talk by foldingfacets. Constantine basically is finally caught up for ghostly tax evasion and Danny is the collector. It's rather funny so far!

I still have one more chapter to go for the November event and I can finally take a small break. Anyway I hope you all have a good day!

Edit: now with art! Sketch by daredevil-vagabond
Boys on a roof by thephantomlizard

Chapter 18: Eggcuse me? I'm the Ghost King?

Summary:

Just two boys on a Halloween adventure :3

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Ghost King.

They thought he was the Ghost King.

That was a lot to unpack. Not only was the GIW on the tail of the leader of an entire species but you could, apparently, summon that leader with the right circle and some candles. If the GIW hadn’t picked up Danny’s core that day then these guys would have summoned it to them. It hadn’t mattered if Damian had found a good hiding spot. The teen would have fallen into unknown hands regardless and Damian wouldn’t have been any wiser.

When Danny woke up, he had a lot of explaining to do. The fact that he could just be teleported away at any time was concerning on multiple levels and there had to be a way to stop it. Maybe Danny could resist the pull but couldn’t right now because of his current state. Regardless, these cultists were involved in an attempted kidnapping of an injured kid, for all Damian was concerned, and they were not going to be let off lightly.

That didn’t mean he couldn’t use this situation to his advantage and mess with them though.

Danny seemed to interpret Damian’s conflicted emotions as a possible threat and iced over the entire circle. It crept up the sides of the basins, effectively putting out the flames of the candles. The wax on the duck heads was only slightly melted. These candles were designed to last apparently. However, the sudden frost only aided Damian’s case as several cultists were now bowing to him and others were beginning to chant in reverence.

Robin steeled himself and settled into a relaxed pose with a stern glare. They didn’t need to know their summoning had worked but the person of interest was wrong. “That’s right, I’m the Ghost King!” Robin declared and he elbowed Jon in the side when the kid snorted. “I’m also called the demon prince, who did you think you were going to summon?” He took a couple of steps forward and several of the cultists mirrored them backward. Damian growled, trying to ignore his friend’s snickering behind him at the display.

Jon was floating above the frost so that it didn’t creep up his body as well. Barely contained laughter shook the boy’s frame. “I can’t believe that you are doing this-”

“Silence!” Damian hissed at his friend before whirling around to the cultists again (who were freaking out about Jon's show of power with the floating). “Did you really think that by summoning me, I would just do your bidding?”

“The circle! The circle should have you contained!” cried the leader who was still attempting to stand his ground, clutching his bleeding hand in the long sleeve of his robe.

Robin looked at the circle and back up at the leader with a dangerous smirk. He purposefully stepped out of the circle, much to the dawning horror of the people before him. “Did you really think that a circle made of chalk could keep me contained?”

At this point, the leader was trembling where he stood. “That chalk is made from those who have died within our number! It’s the most powerful talisman we have!”

“Aw, gross! This is made of dead people?!” Jon made a noise of disgust and started to wipe his shoes on the wall nearby. “Eww… I stepped on it. I. Stepped. On. It!”

“They were willingly donated to the cause!”

“That doesn’t make them any less dead!”

Robin rolled his eyes and watched as the light of Danny’s core dimmed since he was out of the circle. “Are you trying to tell me that my own subjects are more powerful than I am?” He leveled a glare at the leader, slowly stalking forward like a predator eyeing up its trapped prey. “I am the Ghost King! The moment they leave this mortal plane, they are in servitude to me forever and you have the sheer audacity to tell me that lowly peons like yourselves… are stronger than me?”

The leader scrambled back to make some distance between himself and the encroaching vigilante. He tripped over his robe and scrambled away until his back pressed up against a support pole. “A-apologies, my lord! I meant no offense. We all were just so joyous that you have answered our call-”

“Shhh… now, now. It is not you who is in control here. I am.” Damian pressed a finger to the leader’s mask to quiet the man. “Here is what is going to happen. First of all, you are going to tell me where we are.”

Shoving several of her fellow cultists out of the way, wanting to take this chance to prove herself, a smaller person in the group made herself known. “A storage facility outside of Metropolis! We wanted to do it in Gotham but with the Order of the Owl, we would have been killed before we had the chance.”

Well, that was certainly some good information to learn. Also, they were just across the bay. The boys could say they wanted to hit more houses before coming home and wanted to try their luck in the next city over. “Wonderful,” Damian said as he straightened and addressed the newcomer in the conversation. “Next, if you want me to help you then you must first give me a reason to help you. So listen well… There have been these… pests that have been running around Gotham attacking your fellow subjects. I was simply going to kill them all but now… I’m feeling merciful.”

“No… you are not-” Jon tried to cut in but Damian talked over him with an evil smirk.

“I’m giving you all the chance to prove yourselves. Rid Gotham of these pesky people dressed in white suits…, they have a badge that says GIW on the lapel, and I will consider you worthy of a request.” Robin looked over every cultist. The anger returned to the boy's features, making the adults cower in his presence. “However, if you fail, then all of this will simply be a massive waste of my valuable time, and if that happens…” Robin chuckled darkly. “You’ll wish you all had never summoned me in the first place.”

“Of course, my lord! We will not fail you!” the leader scurried into a deep bow with his forehead hitting the filthy floor. “Please forgive this worthless mortal but how will we know that we have succeeded?”

Robin stood up and walked back over to the circle. He called Cujo’s name under his breath when he neared Jon, who was still floating above the chalk not wanting to touch it. “Oh, you will know when you have earned my praise.” Another pulse of cold erupted from Danny and Damian frowned now that his back was turned to his audience. It was odd that he could feel the difference when Danny was being protective and when it wasn’t within his control. He didn’t like how the summoning circle affected the ghost teen. It was time to leave.

Feeling the room get even colder and figuring that their time was just about up with the way his friend was acting, Jon grabbed the sheet Damian had discarded. “Oh! Oh! There’s one more thing!” Jon flew to a frozen-over basin and freed a couple of the duck candles from the ice. “Do you have more of these? Any that aren’t slightly melted? These ones now look like they have permanent angry faces.”

The one who had supplied the candles moved to a pile of boxes to the side and grabbed the top one. “Yes, my lord. Do you mean something like these?” they offered the box to Jon who took the entire thing with glee.

“Yess! I’m taking these!” The boy stuffed the sheet into the box just as the massive form of Cujo stepped through the wall behind the two boys, growling menacingly at the group of adults who were already trembling in fear.

“If you fail…” Robin began as he reached up and lightly scratched the top of the dog’s head when he lowered it. He couldn’t help but smirk at Cujo’s perfect timing. What better way could there be for a dramatic exit? “Well, my dog could use some new chew toys.” Jon flew up and rested on the dog’s back with his new treasures. Robin made sure he had a firm grasp on the large dog’s collar. Growling deeply, Cujo’s bark shook the entire building. He turned them all invisible and intangible when Damian whispered the word ‘return’, carrying the boys with ease out of the building and bounding off towards Gotham.

The half-Kryptonian was cackling delightedly as he pulled Damian up to sit comfortably next to him. “I can’t believe you did that. What are you going to do if this somehow works its way over to Justice League Dark?” When all he got was an unimpressed look from the younger boy, Jon rolled his eyes. “Don’t give me that look. I know you wanted a duck candle and now we have enough to give one to almost everyone in your family.” To prove his point, the boy tossed one of the candles Damian’s way, who caught it with ease.

He looked it over before tossing it back into the box. “It will be a while before Dark gets notice. The community is tight-knit but groups like the cultists keep to themselves more often than not. Unless they do something world-ending or the like, it will be a bit before they show up on Dark’s radar.”

“You mean like… trying to summon the Ghost King?” Jon asked and he looked at the spot where Danny rested in his pendant. “...Are you sure it’s just a kid healing in there?”

“Yes,” Damian stated adamantly. There was no doubt in his mind that Danny was a kid. One not exactly human but a child no less. One who had been scared and just wanted somewhere safe. There had been genuine fear behind those Lazarus green eyes and it was a look that was hard for Damian to forget. Now was Danny a powerful enough being to be considered ghost royalty? Well, that wasn’t something that he knew. There was a lot that he didn’t know but the one thing he knew for certain was that Danny was a kid in over his head and needed help.

Jon frowned softly and looked towards the Gotham skyline. “Then this is getting complicated.”

Robin smirked. “Since when is it not?”

“True… so do you think they will actually go after the GIW?” the older asked while he settled himself down against Cujo’s fur.

“If they are the loyal cultists that they believe themselves to be… yes. I just have to make sure that Father and Drake don’t wear pure white suits for a while. Don’t want them getting in the crossfire accidentally.” Robin’s smirk grew menacing. “I hope I am able to see it.” He took a hold of Cujo’s collar and gently guided the dog toward the rooftop they had been spirited away from. Surprisingly, all ten bags of candy were still there. The wind that had summoned them had knocked a few of them over but the bulk of the candy loot was still there.

“It’s still here!” Jon exclaimed excitedly. Quickly flying around, the boy cleaned up the candy and all of the bags were full once more. He flew around them in small circles completely giddy. “I was worried that all of our hard work was just blown away!”

It was rather surprising that it wasn’t. Cujo barked happily as Damian hopped off. The pup deserved a treat for finding them in a different city in record time. Unfortunately, Robin hadn’t had a chance to replenish the dog treats he usually kept in his utility belt. So he dug through one of the bags for something safe that a dog could eat. It didn’t matter that Cujo was a ghost, he was not going to give the pup chocolate. Settling on a small bag of skittles, Damian opened the bag and tossed the candies into the air. Cujo’s tongue launched out and snatched the little candies out of the air with a happy bark. “You know what? I think we should just head back to the manor.” Even though he hadn’t dealt with too much crime, Damian was a little bit Halloween’d out. He wasn’t social on a normal day and meeting just about everyone in Gotham as well as an entire cult had the youngest Wayne a bit on edge. Home was sounding rather nice.

“Okay…. But you don’t get a duck candle unless I get first pick of the loot.” Jon swiped up the other nine bags into his arms with the box of ducks.

Damian bristled. “What? But they came from MY cultists!”

“DANNY’S cultists. For shame, Robin. Taking advantage of an injured child- AAH!” The half-Kryptonian was dragged back down by Robin who grabbed the grim reaper robe. “You’ll never take me alive!”

Jon launched into the air, taking Robin with him. He flew in a zigzag pattern trying to get Damian to release his grip. Cujo shrunk down in size and yipped, happily chasing after the two. They continued this mad flight until they neared an entrance to the Batcave. With another sugary treat, the pup turned invisible on Damian’s command and the two boys almost crash-landed on the podium that held the Batcomputer.

With a successful aerial flip, Jon sent Robin flying into the air. Aiming his grapple at the ceiling, Robin fired and the hook wrapped itself around one of the stalagmites so that he hung in the air. “You will not win, Kent!”

“It’s a fair trade!”

“We worked together on both.”

“Good evening, Master Damian and Master Jon. I take it that you had a wonderful night trick or treating?” Both boys looked down to see Alfred and Bruce smiling up at them. Bruce was already out of costume and was lounging in a chair with Alfred standing next to him.

Damian scoffed and lowered himself to the ground. “Of course, Pennyworth. The only scam artist I encountered tonight was Kent.”

Jon gasped in betrayal. “You wouldn’t have gone trick or treating if not for me!”

“You wouldn’t have got the ducks, if not for me!” Damian called right back without any hesitation.

Alfred and Bruce shared a look before asking. “...ducks?”

The half-Kryptonian brightened. He flew down, dropped the bags of candy on the floor, and removed the sheet on the box to reveal the ducks perfectly lined up. “Yeah! We got duck candles! They float in water!”

“And… who was giving out candles?” Bruce asked as he eyed the ducks skeptically. Some people did get creative in what they handed out on Halloween but this was a first.

“Cultists,” Damian responded without looking away from Jon. “cultists who would not have given them to you if it wasn’t for my quick wit! So by default, the candles are mine and it should be you allowing me first pick if you want one!”

“Wait, wait, can we backtrack a bit?” Bruce was now out of his seat and approaching the two boys. “What cultists are you talking about-”

Jon dug through one of the bags and held up a package of warheads. “But we got all of this loot with my powers! There was no way we could have hit so many houses within the time limit otherwise- CUJO NO!” The package of sour goodness was snatched out of the boy’s hand with an excited yip. Appearing out of thin air, the small green pup ripped the packaging to shreds and devoured the sour treats before either child could stop him.

“Cujo, no! Spit it out!” Damian was by the pup’s side in seconds. The poor dog whined from the sour taste as his snout puckered up so much that he looked like he swallowed his own mouth. It always amazed Damian how expressive the ghost dog was. Cujo looked like he jumped right out of a cartoon sometimes. “You’ve already had two sugary things today! Any more could be bad for you!” Damian tried to pry the dog’s jaw open with little success. The pup swallowed and swished his tongue around his mouth for a second then turned to Damian with a happy bark, pouncing the boy to the ground and licking his face.

Quickly swiping up the ten bags of candy off the ground, Jon flew toward the ceiling of the cave and got to see (with no small amount of amusem*nt) the surprised looks on Bruce and Alfred’s faces. The butler was the first to recover and cleared his throat, gaining the attention of the youngest Wayne trapped by a ball of ghostly adorableness. “Master Damian… and just who might your friend… be?”

Damian held the dog up and away from his face. He wanted to scream. This was not how he had wanted this introduction to go but Cujo had other ideas. Though Damian highly doubted they would do anything to the ghost dog, it would have been better if he had the chance to set up the meeting on his own terms. It wasn’t odd for him to bring animals home but still. That didn’t mean that his Father always said yes. “Father… Pennyworth…” Damian began, standing up so that he was no longer on the cold floor of the cave. “This is Cujo… he’s a ghost dog.” the boy held the pup out so both adults could get a good look. Cujo yipped happily with his small tail wagging a mile a minute. His snout was still slightly puckered.

Bruce’s eyebrows shot up in surprise at the admission. They quickly narrowed as he scrutinized the pup in front of him. “And… how long have you been hiding him from us?” his father asked and Damian could see the gears turning in his head.

“A few weeks. He kind of comes and goes on his own.” Damian stated with a shrug, letting Alfred hold Cujo when he held out his arms. The butler gently scratched the pup right behind the ears and Cujo rolled over in Alfred’s arms for a belly rub. “I don’t know where he goes but he always comes back. I have been trying to train him… he still has his moments.”

Bruce watched Cujo in silence for a few moments before caving and giving the pup the belly rubs he demanded. “So when you said in that team-up with Red Hood that you’ve had some run-ins with the GIW… was Cujo around?”

“He was there for a couple of the instances. There were a few where he wasn’t. Regardless, Cujo has been around me quite a bit as of late.” Damian responded and pulled the ghost dog back into his arms protectively. Cujo had been there for one instance and he wondered what would have happened if he had been there the other times. He hadn’t shown the GIW any love when they ran into them in the alley. “As you can see Father, Cujo is hardly a threat to anyone. Unless you are a piece of Halloween candy, you are quite safe.”

It didn’t look like Bruce believed him but seemed to give Damian the benefit of the doubt. “He is still an unknown entity that we know very little about but since you managed to hide him from us for a few weeks and nothing was destroyed… He can stay for the moment. We need to run some tests to see if any of the GIW files have any merit… nothing harmful or invasive of course.” His father quickly remedied when Damian took a step back protectively.

“Thank you, Father.” Damian stood a bit straighter and hugged Cujo closer. His shoulders relaxed. His was something he no longer had to hide from his family. It was just a little surprising that his father caved so easily.

Maybe Bruce was worried about the pup wandering Gotham alone with the GIW around. It would make sense.

Alfred seemed to read Bruce and Damian’s minds as he stepped forward to make his presence known. “I do not doubt that you have further questions, Master Bruce, but it is rather late. Since our newest resident isn’t leaving so soon, shall we call it a night and let the boys bask in their treasure?”

Bruce looked up at Jon and then at Damian who was still in full Robin gear. “That sounds like a plan. Try not to eat too much candy before bed.”

“It’s a good thing I have an alien stomach!” Jon cheered from above and flew towards the steps that led into the manor.

“You are not eating all of that yourself!” Damian yelled running after his friend. He grabbed the duck candles, handed one to his father and Alfred then charged up the stairs with Cujo in his other arm yipping in excitement.

“Master Damian no capes upstairs!”

Notes:

Hello everyone! I am so happy that you all loved the last chapter. I actually had to disable notifications for this on my phone because it kept going off. Next week is DP x DC WEEK! I hope you all are excited for it because I am. I still have one chapter to complete but it should be done within the next few days! That story will be updated every day that week! :3

Also LOOK! Fanart of the boys in Halloween costumes! The BOYS!

Anyway, I'm going to continue on with more recommendations like last time!

Anima, Animus by ectoentity (IgnotusSomnium)
A cool story with a different premise with Danny and Jason communicating through dreams!

what was lost, found again by halfa*gone (milkywxy)
Danny finds a child buried alive and takes him home. It's very sweet. Very well done hurt/comfort.

I Am Not A Vessel for Your Good Intent by TheWritingOwl
This is the latest installment of the series of one-shots called But I Want To Be Let In, Not Out. Danny goes back to Amity but at what cost?

I'm going to be very busy next Monday x.x

So many things to post!

Chapter 19: Cons-Egg-quences

Summary:

When Damian makes a promise, he means it.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Boredom.

A word that was annoying as it was dangerous. To some, it meant the dragging of time and for others, it was the lack of mental/physical stimuli. For Damian, it was being banned from patrols for a week because he did something bad. The boy didn’t think he had but Bruce thought he did. His siblings didn’t care either way on the matter. It wasn’t really any of their business. But they were on edge now that Damian was trapped at home 24/7 since school had been canceled for the foreseeable future thanks to the building being rebuilt.

To say that Damian was a little stir-crazy was an understatement.

“This is your fault, you know.”

“Silence, Thomas. I am aware of my current situation.”

“Ok. Just making sure you are aware because you look like a frustrated cat.” Duke shrugged at his little brother who sat on the other end of the couch watching Gotham news. “I don’t know what this kid did to you but outing his entire family wasn’t cool.”

Damian tsked and kept his attention on the TV. The cops were at the Thompson estate dragging out the head of the family, who was still in his pajamas, to an awaiting vehicle at the end of the driveway. The youngest Wayne sipped his tea, leaning back into the cushions with a smug smirk. “I gave the Neanderthal a fair warning. He was the one who refused to take it to heart.”

Duke rolled his eyes at the younger’s satisfied expression but wasn’t surprised by it in the least. “That family will never be able to come back to Gotham. Anyone who is anyone will never want to associate with them again. Don’t you feel bad for the mother and sister?”

“No.”

“But they were innocent in this? Even Mike didn’t perform the bad deeds that the father did. You can’t put the sins of the father on the child.”

“Mike had his own sins to answer for,” Damian growled. The boy may be innocent but he still almost accidentally killed someone. Not that he knew that Danny was in the stone but still. Mike had been warned once for touching the core and now he paid the price. He was just lucky that Damian had taken a step back from the murder side of things, or else there would be a different news story going on right now. If Duke knew that, odds were that he wouldn’t be making snide comments about Damian’s act of sabotage.

Damian’s mood soured with each little comment Duke made. There was no point to it as the damage was already done and Damian had been grounded for it. Why couldn’t he be allowed to bask and savor the glory that was his revenge? Not to mention, it was beginning to unsettle the boy with how his adopted brother kept looking at Danny’s core that rested under his shirt.

Usually, Duke wouldn’t try to sit alone with him. It wasn’t as obvious as it had once been but Damian still scared the meta and he often wondered if it was because of the possible futures that he saw or from the stories he heard from the others. Maybe it was a combination of both. Damian felt a little bit of pride that he had that kind of influence on his siblings. So it was rather surprising that Duke was sitting in one of the many family rooms watching the news with him. No one else was there, he was pretty sure. (Cass would have made herself known by now if she had.) He didn’t go out of his way to hang out with Damian. There was a reason. That was the only explanation and if the fact he kept looking at the pendant was what Damian thought…

Then Duke was suspicious of Danny’s core.

Honestly, this was something that Damian was expecting. He had thought that it would happen a lot sooner (because the ghost teen had already been outed by Jon and his super hearing) but the two hadn’t seen each other over the past six months. Duke’s eyes were special. He could see things that a normal person couldn’t. So what did the meta see when he looked at Danny’s core? Did he just see light or were there hints that a person existed within? Duke was still learning his powers and they changed depending on the day. Out of all his siblings, the one who was the most likely to find out about Danny was Duke.

As much as he wanted to continue watching the Thompson family’s downfall, he had to leave. Damian didn’t want to give the meta the chance to figure out what he was looking at. Dammit. It was just getting to the good part with the camera zooming in on Mike’s crying face too. Growling to himself, Damian stood up with his tea and watched as Duke’s eyes followed the pendant without fail. “Thomas, my eyes are up here.” He said pointing to his face with his brother floundering from getting caught. “Record this section for me. I have to do some research.” It was an as good excuse as any. All of them had several casefiles floating around so it wouldn’t be too weird.

“Sure…” Duke hit the button on the remote to start recording the program. “But why now? You seemed pretty satisfied watching this family burn.”

“Just remembered an important detail and I wanted to see if it was relevant.” Damian headed towards the hallway to his room. “Since it’s recording, I can watch my enemies’ downfall in 4k whenever I want.” He left Duke to ponder whatever he saw on Danny’s core. Hopefully, it wasn’t anything too damning. He wasn’t sure if his brother would report the anomaly to Bruce or not. Duke respected his father but he also sided with the siblings when it counted. If someone was doing something strange but no one was getting hurt, then odds are he wouldn’t say anything. But if it put someone at risk… there was no guarantee.

After a detour to drop off the cup in the kitchen sink, a happy bark greeted Damian when he closed his bedroom door behind him. Cujo ran up to him from the bathroom to jump around his legs. Damian picked the pup up and hopped onto the bed. He took the pendant off and put Danny in his designated spot on the other pillow. Frost immediately took over the entire nest. Seeing that his two ghosts were fine, Damian grabbed his laptop and pulled up the files from the GIW database. Cujo yipped happily and settled himself by Damian’s legs with his tail becoming a small blur.

At the moment the only ones who knew of Cujo’s existence in the manor were his father, Alfred, and Jon. The others had been off doing their own things and this time, when Damian introduced Cujo, it would be by his terms. Though it wouldn’t surprise him if Duke had a hint about the pup running invisibly around the manor as he does. Once everyone’s cases had died down, he was going to let the pup run into the cave with him before patrol. Just about everyone would be there and he also planned to show him Cujo’s big form at the same time. Surprises weren’t generally well-liked in his family because of the implications they could have… also they were kind of hard to do with a family of detectives. Seeing the cute pup turn into the big scary dog would be better than just seeing the big scary dog in your home base.

Damian scratched the pup behind the ears as he looked over files that the GIW had on ghosts. Which was… not very informative. The research was very reminiscent of the articles on FentonWorks. Meaning there were a lot of theories and hypotheses but not a lot of evidence to back them up. The only articles that had any facts to them were the ones on how to eradicate ghosts. There were hundreds of experiments. Some had video, others did not. The stronger the ghost was, the more the video was distorted to the point it wasn’t recoverable. It started with blob ghosts (that was what they were labeled and the name was accurate) and progressed to more human-like beings.

The beings screamed and fought against their captors. A few managed to escape but with each escape, another safety procedure was put into place. The complexity of the ghosts got to the point that the GIW had given up on video and was solely using audio logs. Which was understandable but poor practice. Anything could happen during these tests and no one could prove if what happened during them was true or not. Damian clicked on one of the last audio files to be recorded. If buffered for a moment, then an ear-piercing scream broke the silence that made Damian’s blood run cold. It devolved into pleading with a voice he hadn’t heard since he was entrusted with their very life.

“Please! I’m real! Why can’t you believe meAAAH!” The voice was garbled but the emotion hit home. Danny screamed again, followed by heavy panting when it gave out.

“This is Ghost Log: Phantom. Experiment 25. Scientist A with scientists M and U. Today we are expanding on finding the weaknesses of ghosts. This is experiment 6 in this current ongoing series. Judging from the reactions, we may have finally gotten a breakthrough. Unlike lesser and previous subjects, Phantom still manages to maintain its shape no matter how many times we harm it. The dissection scheduled later this week should provide some fascinating information on this specimen but for now, we will test for various environmental weaknesses. What caused the screaming was electricity.”

“It might be a mix from the subconscious that imprinted onto the ectoplasm but the reaction had a significant effect compared to the other stimuli. We’ve already proven that ghosts can’t feel pain but even despite this, Phantom retains the play of being a normal human. It’s rather convincing, proving that he has been parading as a human for a long time. The ghost almost seems afraid of it-” Danny screaming again in the background overpowered the voice of Scientist A. It was haunting. The agony and fear that the scream expressed proved the opposite. The boy was in pain and the people in the room were ignoring it.

Suddenly, Damian is dragged off of the bed by Cujo. The laptop was pulled with him as the dog bit his pant leg. He held the laptop aloft so that it didn’t hit the floor like he did as he lightly glared at the small pup who was looking back at the bed with a sad expression and a whine. Damian lolled his head back to see what the ghost was looking at to find that his bed was entirely encased in ice. Quickly standing up, the boy watched as the ice slowly crept out toward Cujo and himself. This wasn't normal.

Even with the ghost being unconscious, Danny never tried to harm Damian. If anything, it was the opposite. Ice would flare out if he felt danger and he never froze Damian. It would spread across his body but he could still move and it wasn’t cold… Well, not terribly. It was ice. Danny would ice over furniture lightly if he was placed on it but if Damian was near, it was contained. The ice wouldn’t touch him. Now, the bed was frozen over as the temperature dropped at a drastic pace, to the point that Damian could see his breath.

What was happening? What was wrong? There wasn’t any danger nearby and the only feeling Damian had been giving off was anger. That wasn’t new. What caused the reaction-

Another scream erupted from the laptop and Damian was quick to silence the audio as the ice expanded rapidly up the walls. Was it the audio? Could Danny hear it somehow? Was he awake? The ice continued to grow even though the source was no longer on. Damian set his computer on his desk and looked over at Danny’s core. Blocks of ice were beginning to make a wall around it and soon he wouldn’t be able to reach Danny at all. Cujo whined again and backed further towards the door. Damian didn’t know what to do. He didn’t know what was happening with Danny.

The only other time the ghost teen had done this (to this extent) was when the GIW had attacked the school. Was it fear? Was Danny afraid because he heard the voice of one of the scientists that had caused him harm? Was he really awake? Damian looked between the core and the encroaching ice then steeled himself. He wasn’t the best when it came to comforting others. Whenever he saved a civilian, Damian often left the emotional support to the others. They were better at it. The best he could do was stand still as someone cried on him and even then… he couldn’t stand it for long.

Damian was much better at removing the source of the problem than dealing with the aftermath. But his siblings weren’t here to help him and Jon had gone back home after Halloween. There was no one he could hand this off to and even then… for once… Damian didn’t want to. Danny was Damian’s responsibility. He had carried the sleeping teen with him everywhere for six months. Who, in this house, knew the ghost better than him?

Well, Cujo probably but the pup was too scared to hop on the bed to do anything. If he could do anything.

“Danny…” Damian began while taking a small step toward the bed. Cujo whined his opinion and gently tugged the boy’s pant leg. Damian ignored it and took another small step, the pup being gently dragged along with it. “You are safe. The only people here are me, you, and Cujo. The person you heard is not in this room. They are far away and soon you will never have to see that person’s face again.” He took another step and the ice parted for his foot. Damian took it as a good sign. Cujo released the fabric and backed up to the bedroom door with his head down and tail between his legs. The ice continued to grow but it created a path when Damian stepped into it. Danny still didn’t consider him a threat. It was a start.

“We have access to their files and made themselves known in a horrible way. Their downfall is just a matter of time.” Damian started slowly edging up to the side of the bed. His body was shivering violently as the room descended to below-zero temperatures. This seemed more than conscious fear. If Danny was fully awake and listening, the ice would have stopped and, possibly, started to recede. Did that mean… was Danny having a nightmare triggered by that scientist’s voice? If that was the case, then he could undo it if he spoke well enough. Even asleep, the mind still hears things.

Damian hummed to himself before continuing to talk to the ghost. “I know that they hurt you. You have a right to be scared. They treated you as if you were their toy. One that they could abuse until it broke. But you are not in that lab. You are in my room. You found me in the alley and I took you home. You are in one of the safest places that could exist in the entire world. The only ones who could break in are my… siblings. But they have all already adopted you (they didn’t even know that the rock was a person and this rang true) so the most that would happen is you would just go from one protector to another. They would never let anyone dare lay a harmful hand on you.”

“Any person who dares to try will be wishing for death as they will be put through a hell the likes no other has ever witnessed.” That wasn’t just a happy thought. It was a promise. Once Danny was awake, everyone would be jumping at the bit to give those GIW agents a taste of vengeance. Damian was only a few steps away from being able to touch Danny. He continued to project calmness even though rage bubbled underneath the surface from what that audio had told him. “You are safe. No one can even come close to harming you. Everything is all right.”

He closed the distance and slowly reached out. The ice blocks had grown in the time that Damian had taken to approach. His fingers brushed up against the ice that almost completely covered Danny. It gave under his touch until his entire hand breached the frozen wall. Being as gentle as he could, Damian slid his hand under the blanket, brushing his thumb in a soothing gesture on Danny’s core-

Fear. Pain. Hurt. Fear. Fear. FEAR.

Feelings that were not his own overwhelmed Damian as he gasped in shock and dropped the core back onto the bed. The moment that he lost contact the connection was lost. The youngest Wayne stared at the frozen mound in surprise. This was the first time that something like this had happened. Fear. Danny was terrified and Damian didn’t know how to help. Gingerly, the boy picked up Danny’s core with the blanket, careful not to touch it directly. He brought the core close to his chest, where the ghost normally rested, and the ice started to retract around the room.

He eyes the core in concern. The cold that pulsed out slowly started to match the rhythm that Damian recognized as his heartbeat. Danny was syncing to it through the blanket and the boy adjusted his grip so that Danny was closer. “It’s okay, Danny… you’re safe…” Damian whispered, unsure if the ghost teen could hear him well or not but he knew that the feeling more than likely got across. There had to be something more that he could do.

Damian lightly brushed his finger over Danny's core again and the fear spiked through him just like the first time. Yet, it had diminished a small bit. The feeling wasn’t as powerful. Damian worked through the foreign feeling, moving to rest against his headboard, ignoring how cold his bed was. He continued to stroke the ghost’s core in what he hoped was a soothing gesture. The fear was all-encompassing and it was frustrating the child assassin couldn’t do more…

Or could he?

Maybe the shared feelings were a two-way street. If Danny was projecting to Damian, then maybe… Damian could do the same. He settled himself amongst the pillows and tried to evoke an aura of calm and safety while he continued to softly pet Danny’s core. The effect was immediate.

The ice that had almost taken over the entire room pulled back leaving behind the frosty air. Cujo hopped up on the end of the bed and warily crept forward. His eyes were on Danny’s core. Looking ready to snap Damian up again if Danny’s ice exploded again. Damian couldn’t help the small smile as he continued to comfort the half-ghost. “That’s right, Danny. You’re safe.”

FEAR. Hurt. Hope. Tired. Safe? Safe. Safe.

Damian let out a sigh when he felt that Danny had calmed down but continued his ministrations in case it happened again. “That’s right. Safe. They can’t get to you again.” It was a promise.

Notes:

Hello, everyone! Happy DP x DC week!

I can finally show you all what I've been working on for the past two months! So here is the link to the new story that will be updated with a new one-shot, every day this week. I worked really hard on them so I hope you like reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.

So this time it's a little self-promotion:

Look at the Possibilities

A series of one-shots created for DP x DC week 2022! Updated every day from November 14th - November 20th!

So Many Stars

A ficlet booklet full of the Ask Game stories from Tumblr! Some will have more than one part.

Safe House

All Danny and batbois fluff and cuddles. Prepare to just feel warm inside.

Chapter 20: Eggspressing Emotions

Summary:

Damian is learning to eggspress himself more. With a little help.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Darkness.

A deep expanse of nothingness that seemed to stretch on forever. Time was irrelevant for there was no way to tell. However, it wasn’t just the darkness. Sometimes there were flashes of color, weird shapes, sounds, and most important of all… emotions. Most of the time they were calm. Content. Then there would be moments of strong emotion: worry, concern, righteous anger, fear. There were others but they melded so much with the darkness that they disappeared before they could be figured out.

Worry was the dominant one. It was always there. The others would come in spurts with the worry always there as an ever-present undertone. Darkness was something that usually was scary. It was ominous, unknown. It set off the base instincts of a person when anyone has to go out at night or into a space lacking light. Bad things happened in the dark for there were too many opportunities to catch someone unawares. This darkness started off similarly. Fear was the predominant emotion that encompassed it but there was nothing that could be done. The darkness was everywhere. There was no escape. The only thing to be done was to give in or wait.

So waiting it was.

It didn’t take long for the fear to dissipate. It made sense as to why it did. Because despite the constant worry that was around, there was another feeling that drove the fear away. Safety. Even within the unknown that the darkness held, the constant reassurances of safety pushed away any lingering traces of fear that managed to sneak in. Whenever the surrounding foreign feelings of fear, anxiety, and more were around, safety squished them down as it combined with the pure will that was protection. It made the darkness not scary and instead, the darkness was welcomed. A respite.

Eventually, the darkness began to fade and the emotions were starting to get stronger. There were more of them and they were getting harder to sift through. The shapes became more prominent. New sensations also started to filter in. Textures. Most of the time the world was soft. Other times there was a rough kind of softness but it wasn’t unwelcome. Whenever that texture happened, the feeling of safety and protection was strongest as it pushed its way to the forefront of anything else. This sensation was the most favorite by far. It felt like a heavy blanket was being wrapped around it.

Then… there was a change.

Fear.

Fear was the only logical reaction to have. Familiar voices… familiar sounds… memories that held nothing but harm broke through the darkness. Horrible things had happened. One of the voices was here. It was speaking. He could hear himself scream and he waited for the pain to come. It always did. There was no escape. The darkness wouldn’t go on forever. Eventually, it would go away and then the pain would return. He didn’t want it to happen. He wouldn’t let it happen.

The darkness shuddered and grew as the fear took over. A draining sensation hummed under it all but he couldn’t stop. That person needed to leave. To go away. He couldn’t let that person touch him. They had already gotten close once. There was a good chance that he would fade if they had the chance to do it again. The person wasn’t the only one there. The presence that provided safety was there too. They spoke over the other voice, eventually silencing the one who hurts completely.

That didn’t matter. It was only a matter of time before they came back. They always came back. As stupid as his captors are, they are insanely persistent. They would only stop if they died… or he did. The protector was speaking again but this time they sent out a wave of calmness that had the fear stuttering. The one who harms remained silent as the presence of the protector continued to get closer. The protector could come closer.

No one else was allowed.

Strong feelings of hope, protection, and safety swarmed the senses, pushing back the fear that was threatening to overtake everything. They disappeared for a moment only to return anew with the soothing voice. The feelings came in waves. With each rough but soft texture, the strong feelings along with the repeated thumping banished the fear. Each repeated motion was soothing. Calming. Until the fear that was so powerful before was simply a thought. The draining feeling stopped and settled.

A haze started to move in with the darkness returning anew. The shapes, sounds, and everything else became muted. This wouldn’t do. The darkness was a sweet escape but the person who harmed could be nearby. He needed to know more about his surroundings. He couldn’t hide in the darkness anymore. If only he could break through it…

Damian yelped as he was suddenly covered in a thin layer of ice that stretched up to his neck with Cujo barking off to his side. The young boy looked down at Danny’s core and watched as the iridescent sheen swirled in a soft glow. Night had long since started with the stars peeking betwixt his curtains. Damian stretched his neck and sighed when he felt the tension begin to release from falling asleep in an awkward position. It looked like Danny wasn’t out of the nightmare woods yet. He stroked his thumb across Danny’s core just like before-

Where am I? What is this place? Who is holding me? Is that Cujo? Why is he here? How did he get here?

Foreign thoughts invaded Damian’s mind, making his own thoughts come to a crashing halt. His thumb lifted off of the ghost core and the invasive questions ceased. He gently placed his thumb back on Danny’s core and the questions returned anew. Damian sat frozen (literally) for a moment longer before saying in disbelief. “Danny?” Now it was the ghost’s turn for his thoughts to come to an abrupt stop. It would have made Damian happy if he wasn’t worried that he had scared the teen.

...Hello? Can… can you hear me?

The thoughts were stuttered but Damian could work with this. “Hearing would imply that there is sound. This is more like your thoughts are being projected into my head but yes… I can hear you.” He could almost feel the eye roll that he got from the ghost teen and fought back a smirk. If the teen could snark then he was definitely getting better. “I’ll answer your questions but could you retract the ice? It’s starting to reach the floor and Father has heat sensors in the house. I would rather not alarm him for the second time tonight with a random cold spike in my room. I doubt that you want to attract further attention to yourself as well.” Shock and surprise were expressed across the connection.

Oh! I’m sorry! You should have told me sooner! I could have turned you into a popsicle!

Ice crept back up the comforter from the floor as the room started to return back to a normal temperature. Damian sighed in relief once his skin was no longer covered in the frozen crystals. “It’s fine. This is not the first time you've iced me over. It’s cold but it’s obvious that you never intended to harm me. I can survive a little cold.”

I’ve done it more than once?! Just how long have I been with you?

“Since we met. You have hardly left my side since I found you.”

...and where… exactly, did you find me?

Danny sounded apprehensive which was understandable. This was the first time he was ‘awake’ in six months. Damian would be concerned as well if he was in the ghost boy’s position. But this was not a conversation that he was ready to have yet. He had hoped that there would have been more of a warning for when Danny regained consciousness. Then Damian could have had time to plan out what he wanted to say. Now, the only reassurance he could give the teen was to admit who he was. Which also meant that he would be outing his entire family to an unknown. Something that his Father rarely condoned.

Damian let his head hit the headboard as the feeling of apprehension continued to grow from Danny. Oh well, he was already in trouble for hiding an injured child from Bruce, why not add another transgression to the mix? “You were bleeding out behind a dumpster in Gotham,” Damian replied and waited for Danny to piece it together. He didn’t know how much the ghost boy remembered of the moments before he regressed into his core.

Danny had been severely injured and wasn’t entirely lucid toward the end. Trauma was also a thing and there was a good chance that the teen’s brain had repressed the memories so that he could heal. If Danny needed a further explanation, then Damian would provide it. The last thing he needed was to be accidentally frozen again. It didn’t hurt but it wasn’t exactly pleasant either. There was a pause and then a huge spike of disbelief and surprise shooting across their connection.

The last person I talked to was Robin. Are you…? Did you take me home with you?!

“When did I say that I took you home?” Damian asked in curious suspicion, trying to suss out what Danny had just said. The ghost boy didn’t have eyes in his core form. There should be no way for him to tell what was going on around him unless there was some sort of magical or supernatural thing afoot.

...You are laying on a bed in a room filled with weapons that… are they safety-proofed??

“You can tell? You can see the room?”

Seeing is a bit of a stretch. It’s more like I can… sense it? I must have rested in this room a lot because there is a lot of ambient ectoplasm in here. If I stretch my senses out, it helps me figure out the shape of the room. Like an echo location but with ectoplasm. Didn’t know I could do that. You didn’t answer my question. Since when did Robin safety-proof his weapons? Everyone knows that he is a stabby child.

Interesting. How could he tell there was ectoplasm in here? Damian looked around his room and saw nothing out of the ordinary. Was it something that only ghosts could sense or see? “Since he acquired a very injured child that hid inside a stone that could have been as fragile as glass for all Robin knew,” Damian growled lightly without any heat to it with a roll of his eyes.

...You really did keep me with you the entire time? … why? It would have been much easier on you if you had hidden me somewhere.

“I considered it. I know of several hiding places but as with all hidden things, eventually, they will be found. If one person found the spot then somebody else will. Considering your horrendous luck, it would have been one of Gotham’s rogues, and then who knows what could have happened.” Damian positioned himself more comfortably on the bed and used his free hand to idly pet Cujo. The pup had calmed since the conversation started and was now curled up against his leg. “If I hid you somewhere, there was no guarantee someone else would find you by chance and if I wasn’t there right when it happened, then the chances of finding you again would be slim to none. Thus, I deemed the safest place for you to be was on my person.” Damian opted to not tell Danny of the appearance of the GIW and the cult just yet. The boy had just awoken. There was no need to stress him out more than he already was.

At the moment, Danny was an open book. With practice, he could probably hide his emotions through this odd connection but right now everything the boy felt was projected across. Whether he wanted to or not. Damian would only take advantage of it for this moment. He needed to know how Danny felt to gauge how he should answer.

Wait… on your person… you CARRIED me with you?!

Damian reached over to the nightstand and held the pendant up for Danny to see. “Correct. For the first week or so, you were in a velvet bag and, when it accidentally got destroyed, Drake made this for you to be safely transported in. You were not in the bag when the incident happened.”

Drake?

“Timothy Drake-Wayne. One of my… many adopted siblings.”

Timothy Drak-… Wait TIMOTHY DRAKE-WAYNE?! As in CEO OF WAYNE ENTERPRISES and adopted son of BRUCE WAYNE?!

“Yes. He seemed to notice that I cared about this new rock that I found and designed a pendant to ensure your safety. It has become your main mode of transport when I’m not in my room.” Once again, Damian was struggling to hide the smirk that wanted to come out at the sheer amount of disbelief that Danny was throwing at him.

Whoa! Whoa! Back up! The pendant is cool and all but you called Tim your brother! Am… I… are you, Damian Wayne?!

Damian couldn’t help but puff his chest out a small bit, proudly. The ghost boy knew who he was. “That is correct. We are currently in my bedroom at Wayne manor. It is by far one of the safest rooms in the house.”

Wait, if you’re Robin… then that means Bruce Wayne is Batman?!

“Yes.”

And you just told me?! What if I’m a bad person and I outed your identities?!

“That is highly unlikely. In the state that I found you and the fact that you only showed me your true self due to desperation, shows that you would keep a secret to your grave. You know what it’s like.” The fact that Danny was a ghost hero and had to hide his identity remained unsaid. “Besides, I could have been a horrible person who took your core for my own gains. Instead of freezing me solid, you retracted the ice when all I did was ask and then you were aghast that you could have possibly harmed me before. Despite this bravado, you are, literally, at your core, a good person.” a variety of emotions were expressed by Danny before settling on what felt like hope. It was very faint.

Did you just make a pun?

“I don’t pun. That is more Richard’s thing.” there was a bit of laughter from Danny and Damian took that as a win. He was deflecting a bit but Damian would allow it for now. The ghost boy’s emotions were finally calming down.

Okay. Fair. So… when will I have to meet him?

Damian arched a brow at the orb in his hand. “Meet who?”

Bruce Wayne? Batman? I bet he hasn’t exactly taken kindly to me being here… even if I didn’t really have a say in it.

“Well… do you remember what you said to me before you went back into your core?”

I said a lot of things and honestly, it’s a bit hazy still. So remind me.

Damian sighed. “Right before you left your core to me, you said, and I quote, ‘When I go into my core, can you take it to a safe place? Somewhere NO ONE knows about and honestly… no one should even know about me. At all.’”

Okay… I would say that. So…? What does that have to do with me meeting your dad?

"It means you don’t have to meet him.”

Why???

“Because he doesn’t know about you.” Damian fought the urge to roll his eyes again. There was silence from Danny before an explosion of surprise, shock, and confusion… with a dash of incredulous respect was sent his way.

How? What? Isn’t he the world’s greatest detective? How long have I been with you?

“Six months.”

You’ve managed to hide me from Batman for six months?!

Damian didn’t stop the smirk on his face this time. It was an impressive feat to hide something from his father for so long. This wasn’t the first time it had happened but it certainly was a rare occurrence. The respect from Danny grew and Damian preened a bit from it. “Not just Father, but everyone else as well. They all think you are a pretty rock that I got attached to on patrol. Though Tim is suspicious and Duke is starting to catch on… the others are pretty lost in the dark.”

That… you… you really kept your promise? To someone you just met.

“Tt. Of course, I kept my promise. Do you think of me as someone who betrays others?” Damian growled with a small huff that made Danny laugh again. Any laugh was a win.

No, but you stab people a lot.

“Only when they deserve it and attacking someone is different from betraying someone.” Danny laughed again and he settled on an emotion of contentment.

That’s true. That’s true… Thank you, for doing that. You didn’t have to but you went the extra mile. That means more than you will ever know. I think I know who my new favorite superhero is.

Damian had a small idea. Their connection through touch told him just how happy the fact that Robin had kept his promise like that was. He didn’t comment on it. “It’s only natural to think Robin is superior. After all, he is the most capable out of all of Batman’s wards.” He could feel the smile Danny wanted to give if he could.

So… has it really been six months since you found me?

“Yes…” There was another pause and this one started to turn somber. The night darkened upon the two but Damian didn’t feel the need to turn on the light. It was as if Danny was sharing his senses with him because he could see everything in his room just fine. The moment lasted for a few minutes then Danny's emotions perked back up.

Okay. Soo… How is Cujo here? I know that he likes to come to find me but I wouldn’t think he would have been able to when I’m like this.

“Yeah, about that… You have some things to explain to me, Daniel Fenton.” Damian dropped the full name and he felt the ghost kid’s thoughts freeze. Even though there was a body at the scene, Damian had his suspicions. There was something more going on with this boy’s death and his reaction confirmed as much. He wasn't going to question that further right now but a small test such as this would be fine. “Some weird things have been happening and you are going to explain them. A lot has happened since you decided to take a nap.” This got a snort from the ghost and the apprehension subsided a small bit.

All right, I probably do need to explain some things. Where do you want me to start?

Notes:

Happy Early Thanksgiving everyone!

The boy is awake \o/

Sort of...

Fic Reccomendations~

A Halloween in Amity by petitchatonne
This is a hallmark movie with Tim being a bi mess. GIVE IT LOVE BECAUSE IT'S GREAT!

what was lost, found again halfa*gone
Danny needs a safe space and finds his twin. Now if only he could be honest with himself.

Chapter 21: Eggsposition

Summary:

A father/son talk

I didn't mean to post early but.... Well you get it all early then!

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Damian walked around his room setting things up. Danny rested upon his little star blanket with Cujo curled up next to him. He couldn’t see patterns, just shapes, and solid things. Details were lost. So to him, it was just a blanket. Facial features were also hard to place unless they were very pronounced. Everything was shades of the same green hue, it was better than seeing nothing at all. It was just weird that everything looked like he never took a set of night-vision goggles off.

The youngest Wayne was by his desk loading something on his laptop. He wasn’t blocking the screen but it was still hard to discern what was on it. Whatever it was, Damian didn’t seem to mind if he saw it… did he know that he couldn’t see it? Well, whatever it was, it was frustrating the boy to no end as he fought against the technology. Danny watched for a few moments. There was no way that he could ask what Damian was doing without some part of the boy touching his core. Currently, he could only see when he expanded his senses… so maybe he could do the same with his voice? Or thoughts? Whatever this weird BS that was going on when there was direct contact? Did it only work because Damian had held him for so long? Would it work on others? Since there was no one else around, now was a good time to see if he could communicate from a distance. Constant direct contact would be a pain, might as well give it a try.

Um… what are you doing?

“Putting on background noise.” Damian did not jump when he heard Danny’s thoughts from across the room as though he was right next to him. He was just overly alert. Anyone who said otherwise would get stabbed. Damian quickly grabbed the laptop before it could slip further from his fingers and made his way back over to the bed. “It is late and I am currently banned from patrols. That doesn’t mean one of the others isn’t in the house. They find it fun to listen to others’ private business.”

And you don’t do the same?

The ghost boy was snickering and Damian flicked the blanket next to Danny’s core so it jostled him lightly. “I’ll have you know that, when I do it, it is out of necessity. My siblings are prone to many inane antics and I would rather be ready than give them an opportunity.”

Hmmmm… I think what you described there is stalking.

“Tt. Reconnaissance is the correct term.” Damian flicked the blanket again before settling back onto the bed next to the core and Cujo with his laptop. He pressed a button and a news anchor started talking about a breaking story about one of Gotham’s elites. The volume was loud and carried throughout the room. “I do not know if the others can hear you or not. Since you seem hesitant to want to speak with others, this is not something that I wish to test yet. So to avoid prying ears, as well as avoid anyone assuming that I am speaking to myself, some background noise is a must.”

That makes sense. What are we listening to?

Even up close, Danny could only see the glow of the screen and some slight movement. Maybe he could see it if the technology was infused with ectoplasm. Damian smirked as he got to re-watch Mike’s destruction all over again. “Just something relaxing since some of the stuff that we discuss may be hard to talk about.” Right at that moment, the camera was focused on the blurred image of Mike who was crying and screaming at the camera. Apologizing over and over, that he was wrong and begging someone to fix it. He was blubbering so hard that when he said Damian’s name it was botched and almost completely incomprehensible. Damian smiled, looking far too pleased with himself. Could Danny only hear this? This was going to be such a good show.

Looks like he would have to invest in some audio stimuli until the ghost boy was fully formed. Surely, there was a podcast he liked.

… You’ve done your research huh?

“Naturally. You are an unknown with foreign physiology, I was woefully under-informed of how to care for you since you passed out before I could ask. So that left me to research and other things came up because of it.” The apprehension returned in the ghost boy and Damian couldn’t blame him. This was a conversation they had to have though.

I should have expected as much… you are a bat, after all.

“For now, I will not ask how you ended up in Gotham. You have just woken up and I just got warm again. No need to have my room turned into a freezer for the third time tonight.” Damian smirked and ignored Danny’s attempt at protest, slightly relishing the embarrassing feeling that the ghost was sending across. It wasn’t as strong compared to touching Danny’s core but it came across well enough. With all of the grief he had gone through the past six months, Damian was allowed to mess with the ghost boy a small bit. He dug through his nightstand and pulled out a list. “We will start with need-to-know things. To begin with, how are you feeling and what is a good way to judge that when you are unconscious? Several things have happened that I had no frame of reference for. As much as the Fentons talked of ghosts, their cores were not addressed.” There was a sharp spike of sadness and pain that felt like it pierced Damian’s heart but he managed to keep his face neutral.

You found the FentonWorks website?

Damian nodded. “The one that looks like it was made by a cult in the 90s? Yes. Though for all of their innovative inventions, their research is heavily biased with little support for those facts.”

Yeah… they were pretty dead set on thinking that all ghosts were evil and non-sentient beings. They were pretty stubborn about that…

The ghost trailed off and Damian allowed it for a moment. Feelings of grief were mixed with regret and a little bit of… relief? Guilt was quick to stamp down that relief and that was when the boy decided to say something before Danny started a spiral. “Well, that just proves they were poor scientists. So you need to answer my question. I would rather get the answers from a reliable source than someone who bases fact on mere speculation.” This seemed to work as the guilt lessened and Danny hummed to himself in thought.

My pare-…. The Fentons wouldn’t have known about ghost cores. They did hunt ghosts but any ghosts they caught were rescued before they could go that far. I made sure of that.

There was a resoluteness in the teen’s tone and Damian couldn’t help but feel a little proud at the confidence that Danny was displaying. “Then please explain it. I would like to be prepared instead of flying blind as I have.”

All right. I can say that I’m doing immensely better than before. You said that I’ve iced things over before? That was probably my subconscious trying to protect myself. Which is good and bad. It’s good because I had energy enough to do it. Though it’s bad because instead of storing that energy and becoming stronger it was used. So it made my recovery longer. Ice is one of my more taxing powers because it doesn’t melt unless I will it to.

That made sense. The officers had a field day trying to get Penguin out of that pool but it had eventually melted. Yet, in every other instance, the ice had formed directly from Danny’s core and didn’t piggyback off of water that was already there. So, when it melted, there weren’t any puddles left behind. Interesting. “So the fact you were icing things over more often meant you were gaining energy at a fast pace… probably too fast and so your core expelled it as a means of getting rid of the excess…”

Just how many times was I icing things over?!

“You were icing entire pieces of furniture over whenever you weren’t being carried by me. Right up until you woke up. By your explanation, it was a means of slowing down the energy build-up so that you healed properly.” Damian said as he hummed in thought. “There were a few times that you did it when I was in danger or you could have been. I am still unsure how you knew that when you weren’t awake.”

That was one thing the Fentons got right about ghosts. Ghosts are very emotional beings. In order to create a ghost, someone has to die with extreme emotions around a lot of ectoplasm. There are other ways ghosts are formed but this is the most common. So we are very in tune with our emotions and those being given off around us. Those ghost stories that tell of ghosts who feed off of emotion? Those have some merit! However, it’s not as scary as the tales say it is. Actually, it can be rather helpful. When a ghost feeds on emotion, the people nearby aren’t affected by it as much. It’s not fun when a ghost feeds on good emotions but it’s great when they feed on negative ones.

So if there are a lot of negative emotions, such as fear, a ghost can help by absorbing them. The ghost gains energy and the people are no longer bogged down by it. In a high-stress situation, this can help people by keeping their heads clear and giving them proper threat assessment to get out of the situation instead of rooted to the spot unable to move. Another example would be sadness. Experiencing and processing grief is a good thing but sometimes it can be too much for some to handle and people resort to possibly life-threatening alternatives to make it stop. If a ghost absorbs that sadness then the person would feel lighter and not trapped. We’re basically emotion sponges. Speaking of emotions, Gotham is STEEPED in fear.

It’s insane how much there is and we aren’t even at the heart of it all.

You said you carried me on patrol right? That probably aided in helping me recover faster because I was surrounded by that intense emotion and my core just absorbed it naturally since there wasn’t a lot of ectoplasm around. Not that I know if there is a lot of ectoplasm. I’m not strong enough to sense further than this room at the moment. As for your other question, I guess a good indication that I’m healthy is if I have a nice icy coolness to me. My body is naturally lower in temp so if I reach room temperature then something is wrong.

Damian nodded to himself at Danny’s info dump. He pulled the laptop close and took notes in a separate app for future reference. “What about heat? If you are touched by fire or warm water would it hurt you?” This was one of the biggest ones that Damian wanted to ask. Danny had always hung out in the sink for his showers but that didn’t mean that the steam wasn’t doing harm.

I mean it would depend on how hot. If you light me on fire, I’m going to burn and if you throw boiling water on me it’ll hurt as well. If it’s just like taking a bath or something I should be fine. I have an ice core but it won’t melt like normal water.

There was a hint of amusem*nt in Danny’s tone but Damian ignored it in lieu of typing the ghost teen’s answer. “Are there any other environmental hazards that I need to look out for? If I accidentally drop you, is your core going to shatter?” Danny laughs at how serious the youngest Wayne sounded.

Unless you drop me from an extremely high spot or onto something sharp, my core should be fine. It’s not as fragile as glass and won’t chip easily. Just treat me like another limb. If it hurts you, then odds are it hurts me. I guess… there is mainly one thing that could do serious harm. It’s… not something that is common but this is Gotham so I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s here somewhere. As you said, my luck is horrendous.

“It’s not all bad. You wouldn’t have ended up with me otherwise.” Damian leaned back against the headboard and looked down at the cool blue orb next to him. “So what is it?”

You have to promise me that this doesn’t get out to anyone. If someone wanted me dead, this is the easiest and most surefire way to do it.

Damian gently placed his finger on Danny’s core and he felt the hesitation and slight fear directed his way about the information he didn’t want to say… yet needed to. He repeated what he had done prior, during Danny’s panic attack. Sending waves of calm, reassurance, and determination to the ghost boy. “I will not tell anyone and, as long as you are in my care, they will never have the opportunity to use it on you.” Danny shuddered as he felt Damian’s will transfer across and the teen let out a shaky sigh. Damian continued until the hesitation was gone and removed his finger when he felt Danny was going to speak.

Blood blossoms. They are a plant that was thought to be extinct but it wouldn’t surprise me if Poison Ivy got a hold of some somehow. I can survive a little bit of direct exposure when I’m healthy… I don’t think I would last a second in my current state since my core is entirely exposed.

Typing temporarily drowned out the sound of the news station as Damian looked up the flower in question. It was a viciously red flower with purplish-black stems. A truly beautiful flora but it looked like poison incarnate. Yeah. It wouldn’t surprise Damian either if Poison Ivy had this somewhere. He took a moment to memorize it and then exited the tab to return to the news. “Noted. Now that is out of the way, would you like to ask me any questions? There is more I would like to ask but it is late and it is only a matter of time before Alfred or one of the others stops by to see what I am up to if I am still awake.” Danny went quiet in thought and Damian took the opportunity to watch the end of the Thompson family downfall before restarting the clip to the beginning again.

To start, why is Cujo here?

It wasn’t the first question that Damian expected but answered regardless. “He appeared during a mission that I was teamed up with Superboy… and then kind of stayed. I assumed he was yours since he honed in on the pocket in my utility belt that held you. He also nuzzles you every chance he can get.” Damian reached over and scratched the pup’s head, who was sleeping contentedly next to Danny’s core. “I don’t think he found me though. There was this weird reality distortion and a new note appeared.”

Note?

Damian reached back into his nightstand and pulled out the two mysterious notes he had received. “Yes, we had received a riddle from Riddler but it changed to this weird cog-shaped one after the distortion. That was when Cujo made his first appearance. The second one was after we got home and told me how to command him. His training is much more refined now.”

Did you say cog-shaped? Was there a clock nearby?

“There was a timer that changed from having plenty of time to none. Then Cujo showed up and took us on a cross-country tour through portals.”

...Is the paper green? Wait, cross-country tour? Portals?!

“Yes, he took us to this swirling green dimension with floating purple doors, a frozen tundra in the green dimension, and a few more places before ending outside Amity Park.” Damian opted to leave out the detail about the basem*nt for now. It is likely linked to the death of the Fentons or the main reason Danny ended up in Gotham. This was not a good time to bring up to an emotionally compromised teen who had yet to come to terms with being in a coma for six months. The ghost boy was dumbfounded at this news. It took another moment for the teen’s brain to restart before he asked.”

What color were the portals?

“Blue and the ink is green if that helps?” Damian arched a brow at the orb with his curiosity peeked. What did the color have to do with it?

It helps a lot. That’s wonderful news. The only person who would be cryptic like that is Clockwork. If he is interfering then this timeline isn’t doomed yet.

Now it was Damian’s turn for his brain to reboot from the bombshell that Danny just dropped. “I’m sorry, what?! Who is this Clockwork?!” Danny chuckled a bit at the younger boy’s reaction.

Clockwork is kind of… my mentor? He also goes by the Master of Time. His primary job is to keep watch of the time stream to ensure that we don’t cease to exist. So if he is still here then that means we are still in the clear… despite what happened prior.

Sadness seeped from the ghost boy and Damian shook his head. Still trying to wrap his head around what he had just been told. “So… you are saying that he sent Cujo to me?”

Probably. As I said, it would be surprising for him to find me in my current state. I do have a unique ecto-signature but with how weak I was, I doubt he could have picked it up. He’s got a strong nose but there are limits. The main question is why did Clockwork send you Cujo?

He had no idea and a quick google search had nothing on this ‘Master of Time’. The GIW database and the FentonWorks website had nothing either. This must be solely occult or ghost knowledge. Damian looked at the time and lowly growled to himself when he saw that it was four am. It was only a matter of time before everyone started returning from their patrols. He made a note in his word document, saved it, encrypted it, and closed it out. “The others will be back soon and I do not wish to tempt fate. It’s late and even though you just woke up, it would be beneficial if you rested.” Damian replied when he felt Danny’s confusion as he turned the news off and powered down his laptop.

I have more questions. I KNOW you have more questions.

“It’ll have to wait until tomorrow.” Damian set his laptop on his nightstand and re-hid the two riddles as well. “There is also someone that I wish for you to meet later. I did not tell him of your existence but he did figure it out on his own when we went on patrol together. I kind of used him as a health check since he was able to hear your core humming. He is the only one who knows about you other than me.”

Oh… okay then. Who would that be?

“Superboy.”

WHAT?! SHOULDN’T YOU HAVE LED WITH THAT?!

Notes:

Sorry, there was a lot of chatting and not much else. Things will be a lot more fun next chapter!

O Brother, Where art thou? by HalfBlackWolfDemon
A LONG one-shot fic with Danny reconnecting with Damian! It's so good <3

Little Baby Man in Big Gotham City by MiniOsprey
If you know anything on tumblr, TourettesDog created the Danny Babyman design of an adorable little gremlin. Now Osprey is making a fic based off of it!!

Press Heart to Subscribe by Die_Erlkonigin6083
A Danny/Damian fic where Damian falls in love with an undead streamer

Danny's Waddle by petitechatonne
Danny has a bunch of assassin ducklings following him :3

Chapter 22: Teaching Eggnorance

Summary:

Damian is still grounded but it's not as bad as it seems.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Anger rolled off of Danny in waves and the only thing that kept Damian’s face neutral was his years of training as an assassin and now as Robin. If not, then he would have long been kicked off of the zoom call for disrupting class. Damian sat at a desk in one of the lesser libraries of the manor, his laptop open with Danny resting in his open pendant right in front of him. Just out of sight of the webcam. Several books were piled up on both sides of the laptop, so the only way for anyone to see the ghost core was to somehow sneak behind Damian or peer in from above. Considering that Damian’s back was against the wall and he could see the single entryway into the room, that was unlikely to happen.

There was primarily one person in the house that he was trying to keep Danny away from and, unfortunately, Duke had decided to keep close to home for the past couple of days. So the news that Gotham Academy would be hosting classes again was welcomed as much as it was despised. It had taken the school a bit to set up but, with Gotham Academy closed due to repairs for the foreseeable future, classes could now resume with the aid of modern technology. Much to Damian’s dismay. Of course, classes would begin taking place again during day four of his week-long patrol ban. It seemed like Danny’s luck was starting to rub off on him.

His science teacher cleared her throat and Damian refocused on the useless drivel that she had decided to teach them all today. He wasn’t the only one wishing that they weren’t there judging by his other classmates’ webcams. It wasn’t the lesson that was making it so hard for Damian to keep a straight face.

It was Danny.

“And this is why, if you are lost, you should look for the North Star to find your bearings. It is the brightest one by far and has been used since ancient times for people to find their way back home.” Mrs. Hilton wrote a bit on the dry-erase board as she spoke and it took all of Damian’s willpower to not snort into the hand that he was using to hide the lower half of his face when Danny practically screamed.

WRONG! LIES! THIS is the prestigious Gotham Academy? Where the hell did they hire their teachers? Yes, Polaris is often used to aid in navigation because the entire northern sky is centered around it, but it is not the brightest star by FAR. It just barely ranks at number 50. If you are trying for the brightest then you are looking for Sirius! The Dog Star’s name means ‘glowing’ in Greek! What is wrong with you lady? Have you ever heard of fact-checking?!

Damian could see Jon giving him the side-eye in his face cam as he carefully schooled his expression into the epitome of neutrality. Danny continued to roast his teacher with Damian as the only audience member to his righteous rant. He hit the mute button before attempting to address the angered ghost. “Tt. I doubt it. Most teachers only teach what they are told to. Whether it is true or not doesn’t matter.”

That doesn’t make it okay! It’s not even that hard to find out! A simple google search could tell you that!

Well, Damian couldn’t deny it. “A lot of people do not do the research and take things at face value-”

“Mr. Wayne, is everything alright? I thought you were all told to set up in a place without distractions?” Mrs. Hilton smiled sweetly at the camera and Damian rolled his eyes while unmuting himself. “Let’s see if you were paying attention. Why is there no gravity in space?”

THERE IS GRAVITY YOU DINGBAT! A small amount of gravity is found everywhere in space. How else is the moon still in the Earth’s orbit? If gravity wasn’t a thing in space, then the Sun would have moved out of place as the centerpiece of the Milky Way galaxy trillions of years ago and we wouldn’t even exist!

Okay, maybe class could be fun. Damian lowered his hand, ensuring that everyone could see his devious smirk. He was always down to put snobby teachers in their place. He would have to make sure that he got back at Mrs. Scherer at his first available opportunity. She had taken Danny from him and had indirectly put the boy in danger in doing so. In the meantime, he was more than happy to put Hilton in her place. “Actually, despite it being a vacuum, space does have gravity. It isn’t a lot but how else is the moon orbiting Earth? It’s due to the larger gravitational pull of our planet on the lunar surface.”

“Then why is it that astronauts are unaffected by gravity in space? If one isn’t tethered to the space station, they don’t orbit the earth, they go off in whatever direction they propelled themselves from.” His teacher was quick to quip back with a smirk of her own. The rest of the class had gone silent with their eyes bouncing from Damian’s webcam to their teacher’s. Danny was quick to correct her, even though she couldn’t hear him… but Damian could.

They aren’t unaffected by gravity, It’s called microgravity. It’s the condition that makes people and objects appear weightless or ‘floating’ in space. The reason why it’s misleading is that it is often called zero gravity. This isn’t true, it’s just… a terribly small amount being put on a person.

“Mrs. Hilton, why don’t you google microgravity before we continue this conversation? Go on. We can wait.” Damian leaned back in his chair with his arms crossed. His smirk deepened when the woman froze and then pulled out her phone to do just that. The silence was deafening as everyone waited with bated breath to see just which of them was right.

Their thoughts were answered a few moments later when Mrs. Hilton’s eyes widened and her face went scarlet with embarrassment. She looked from her phone and then to Damian several times before straightening up and clearing her throat in an attempt to save face. “Well, it does appear that you are correct but the fact that you can debate with me proves that you were paying attention. So we will continue with the lesson.”

Damian’s smirk turned downright devious as Danny laughed at how flustered she sounded. This was much better than trying to find a podcast for Danny to listen to so that he wouldn’t get bored waiting for him to finish up class. Though now he knew which ones to look for. Surely, there were some reputable podcasts about space that he could find. Everything the teen had said was true and was accessible with a quick google search. There was a sense of pride when Danny talked about space and Damian was more than happy to let him.

He was more knowledgeable than his teacher being paid to teach him anyway.

The class continued with Damian butting in on purpose to correct her whenever Danny went on another tirade about something Mrs. Hilton got wrong. It continued to the point that the woman simply gave up, emailed them all a packet of worksheets, and the rest of the hour was spent working on them. Damian may have taken a couple of screenshots of his teacher looking defeated as she sat at her desk. What could he say? He could be petty when he wanted to be and Danny had the right to see the results of his righteous chaos when he fully formed. Since this was their first day of online classes, they only had a half day so that everyone could slowly acclimate to the new schedule.

His other classes went much like the first. Though Danny didn’t have as much knowledge about history or literature, that didn’t stop the ghost from making snide comments at the teacher’s expense that only Damian could hear. Damian had learned that humor was Danny’s favorite way to deflect away from key issues or to try and break a tense situation. With the talk that they had this morning, if Danny wanted to make chaos for his teachers then Damian was going to let him. The conversation had gotten rather heavy.

Damian had avoided going to breakfast so that he wouldn’t be around his siblings. They had yet to try and see if Danny’s ‘voice’ could be heard by others nearby and sitting at a dining table with four bats wasn’t the best time to test that theory. Especially since Duke and Jason were two of the ones at the manor. Duke was still watching him and Jason had a reaction to Danny long before he had become conscious. Kidnapping Danny wasn’t something that Jason had done for kicks. He had done it for a reason, Damian just didn’t know what. There was a high chance that his older brother would be able to hear the teen because of that odd connection.

So he had breakfast in his room under the pretense that he had to set up for classes that would start later that morning. The school had sprung the reopening last minute so it was a valid excuse. Students wouldn’t be docked if they couldn’t attend the restarted classes due to the short notice for the first week, but with Damian being essentially grounded, he didn’t have that excuse.

The conversation with Danny was informative as much as it was concerning. He didn’t talk about how he ended up in Gotham. The teen wasn’t ready to broach that topic if the waves of anxiety were anything to go by. Instead, they had discussed more about Clockwork, Cujo, and ghosts in general all while avoiding the word FentonWorks. Whenever that name came up, it sent Danny into a spiral of sadness that had Damian scrambling to pull the ghost out so that he wasn’t dragged down as well. Damian had told the teen that Danny was projecting his emotions along with his thoughts and now he was practicing so that it didn’t happen as much. There hadn’t been a lot of time to make any real progress.

Damian learned a lot in the two hours before classes started but there was still more they needed to discuss. However, it didn’t need to happen all at once. They had all the time in the world. Damian made sure that Danny knew that. There was nothing wrong with taking breaks.

So how does it feel to finally be free from the shackles that is the American Education system?

“Tt. I was already raised in an environment where I was taught by the best instructors this world could offer. The main reason I am in school is to ‘socialize’.” Damian replied as he began to pack up his stuff. The schoolwork was frighteningly easy, like always. Even more so with Danny telling him all of the answers to the space-themed packet that Mrs. Hilton had sent over. He also pointed out several discrepancies in the questions on the work packet and Damian just filled everything in while listening to the teen rant passionately. It was the most animated that the ghost had been. Damian didn’t want him to stop. “It’s always a blessing when the massive waste of time, that is school, ends. I have much better things to do than being brainwashed into being a sheep for the government to exploit.” Danny snickered as Damian snapped the pendant closed and put the ghost core necklace back on his neck.

Well, now you sound like a conspiracy theorist.

“That is more Drake’s thing. The more unfortunate thing is that he oftentimes turns out to be right.” The boy grabbed his laptop and the books he would need for his next classes and then started to head out of the library. “Remember to keep quiet, Daniel. There is no telling who is in the manor currently.” There was a spike of disgust mixed with anger and fear that flowed from Danny and surprised Damian. A lot of people didn’t like how he called them so formally but it was the first that fear was involved. Annoyance, disgust, anger, and the like yes. Never fear.

Despite the emotion leaking out, Danny took the warning to heart. The teen was quiet the entire walk through the manor. Damian dropped his classwork off in his room and headed downstairs to the kitchen to sneak something for lunch. It was 1 pm, so the odds of finding someone other than Alfred were slim but that didn’t really mean anything. It seemed whenever Damian didn’t want his family around, they were always there.

Not wanting to look suspicious, Damian waltzed in as if he owned the place and made a beeline for the fridge where he knew Alfred had left something for him. There was a plate wrapped in plastic wrap with two veggie wraps on it. His name was written elegantly in marker and Damian couldn’t help the small smile. It wasn’t like anyone could see him do it anyway.

He would deny it if they did.

Quiet footsteps, which Damian noted belonged to Tim, made their way into the kitchen and stopped at a stool by the kitchen island. “How was class, gremlin?” The older boy asked as he pulled out the stool and took a seat.

Damian ignored the small spike of fear that came from Danny at the new arrival and straightened up with his prize. “Annoying as always. I still do not understand why all of you insist on such a massive waste of time. You know that my test scores rank at the college level. Just because I don’t get along with my peers well doesn’t mean I should have to deal with the useless academics shelled out by the school system.” He grabbed himself a glass of water and moved to eat his food at the family-size table set off to the side. Sure, there was a dining room but he didn’t feel like going that far. They had most of their impromptu family meals at this table anyway.

Tim hummed in response, spinning around in his seat so that his back wasn’t facing the assassin that was his younger brother. This was a habit that would probably never die, even if Damian fully leveled out and stopped his stabbing ways. “So you didn’t learn anything today? You brought the egg with you, right?”

Egg?

“Egg?” Damian kept his eyes on his food refusing to look down at Danny for his slip-up. Instead, he opted to look at Tim with an eyebrow raised in mild surprise. This was the first time that Tim had willingly called Danny an egg. It was suspicious. “I thought he wasn’t an egg but a rock?”

Tim shrugged and moved from his spot on the stool to sit across from his little brother at the table. Either not hearing Danny or Damian’s voice masked it since they had spoken at the same time. “How long has this been going on for? I’m pretty stubborn but even I don’t keep fighting something stupid like this if it lasts for six months. So I welcome my nephew. Since you brought him with you, did the egg at least learn something today?” The older boy held his coffee mug aloft as if he was paying tribute to someone for winning. The rest of their siblings’ insistence on the egg had finally broken Tim’s stubborn streak.

Damian didn’t believe him in the slightest. “I learned more from the egg than the teacher.” He took a bite from one of his wraps, pointedly ignoring the weird look that Tim gave him from the admission.

Tim’s eyes narrowed slightly in suspicion, proving that he hadn’t fully caved into the egg mania yet. “What could you learn from an egg?”

Why are you both talking about an egg? What egg?

Damian kept his face neutral by taking another bite. Why was Danny tempting fate by speaking? Thinking? Whatever this telepathic stuff was? He kept a subtle eye on his adopted sibling, looking for any tells that the older boy had heard Danny. When he found none, it was Damian’s turn to shrug. “A lot apparently. My science teacher would have gotten schooled by him if he could talk.”

Oh… oh ancients you are talking about me. The egg is me.

“...Did you just make a pun?” Tim looked at his younger brother horrified. This was not his little brother. Damian detested puns. He only put up with Dick’s because he was the favorite compared to the rest and even THEN… there was a limit.

“No, I was just stating a fact.” Damian rolled his eyes as he denied the accusation vehemently. It had been an accident but what he had said was true. Danny had given Mrs. Hilton a proper tongue-lashing through Damian as a result. The ghost boy would have given a proper lesson on space than that woman did.

“That was a pun.”

That was totally a pun.

Damian growled lowly to himself when he heard Danny side with his brother. “It was not! Mrs. Hilton has a lot to be desired as a teacher by spewing out information without checking if the material is still relevant or not. It’s amazing that she is even able to teach at such a prestigious place as Gotham Academy.” Danny was chuckling and Damian wished wholeheartedly that he could retaliate but couldn’t. Instead, he was stuck between both conversations by societal convention and the fact that Danny wished to remain hidden, which Damian was respecting.

Tim opted to ignore the rant about Mrs. Hilton, still focused on the more pressing matter. “Are you sure you aren’t sick?” He decided to take a daring step. Tim stood up a bit and reached across the table to try and check Damian’s forehead. Though he succeeded at a cost. Tim’s chest accidentally knocked Damian’s glass of water over. Splattering the two in the clear liquid. Ice spread out from where the water drenched the pendant and Damian barely stopped himself from hissing because of the sudden cold.

“What are you doing Drake?!” Damian took the opportunity to escape by leaning far away from his brother’s hand and wiping his shirt frantically where Danny was to distract away that it was solid. Tim had a rather serious expression on his face. The youngest hastily stood up and snatched the remaining veggie wrap off of his plate.

Tim withdrew his hand and brought it to his chest. “Seriously, are you okay? You were positively freezing. Was it because of those weird cold spikes the other night?”

Damian growled as he continued to pat around Danny’s core. There were soft spikes of anxiety and fear coming off of him. He needed to leave before the ice spread further from under his shirt and became noticeable. “I’m fine, Drake. Since you made this mess, you can clean it up. I need to go change.” He took the opportunity to leave and booked it back to his room before Danny’s panic attack hit in full force. Damian locked the door and ran into the bathroom, after placing the remains of his lunch on his desk. Clicking open the pendant, he gave the core a good once over. “What’s wrong, Daniel? You need to talk to me.” The disgust and fear added to the anxiety that was already present.

Please… please don’t call me that.

The ghost boy was only getting worse and Damian felt his own panic start to add to the volatile mix. “Okay, okay, Danny. That’s fine. We can discuss this later. Tell me what you need. Everything is fine.” When Danny didn’t respond, Damian gently swiped his thumb across the core’s surface in a practiced motion at this point. Sending reassuring feelings across in an attempt to calm the ghost boy down. It took a couple of moments but eventually, it worked. “That’s right. You are safe. Would you mind telling me what set you off?” there had been nothing wrong other than Danny speaking during that conversation. Sure, Tim was being odd but that was nothing out of the ordinary. The water couldn’t seep through the seal of the pendant so Danny had consciously frozen it when it soaked Damian’s front.

I just… the hand.

“The hand?” Damian echoed as dread and apprehension were sent across from Danny, making him shudder. “What about Drake’s hand?”

I… I remember someone reaching… towards me… INTO me…

Danny was gearing himself up to start another panic attack but Damian was quick to fight it back with his protective reassurances. Damian wasn’t liking where this train of thought was spiraling down. “You are not there, wherever that is. You are in Wayne manor. That hand was my adopted brother Tim. He is annoying at most but he would never try to harm you. You are safe.” He continued his ministrations until he could no longer feel the ghost teen shuddering under his touch. Slowly, he slid to the floor with Danny clutched to his chest. The implications of what the ghost boy had just said were making anger simmer deep within him.

Hands.

Danny was scared of hands. It probably wouldn’t be that big of a deal if he was at his normal height and body but with him being as vulnerable as he was right now… the perspective of a hand coming toward him was probably skewed to be bigger than it was. That combined with the trauma Danny already had created a horrible mix. A mix that Damian was still learning to traverse since he was not used to coaching someone through a panic attack. So the boy made himself comfortable by repeating the reassurances for as long as Danny needed.

The GIW just earned another reason for Damian to murder them all in their sleep. If only he could do it without his father noticing...

Notes:

Sorry, I didn't really have much time to edit this one. I plan on fixing all of this in the future. Also, my internet is messing up so I can't link anything right now.

Chapter 23: Farm Chores Eggnd Trauma Bombs

Summary:

Danny gets to meet some of Damian's pets... and more information is exchanged.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

I thought it was a joke.

“I assure you that it was not.”

Damian allowed himself to be nuzzled by Batcow as he went about the barn preparing it for winter. The first snow had already been scheduled and he was running on borrowed time. Jerry the turkey followed along loyally at his heels with Cujo right alongside them. Between classwork and trying to be careful in finding any other triggers for Danny, the care for his animals had been put to the wayside. Alfred did do a lot of the work but they were Damian’s animals so they were his responsibility. It was just… an adjustment with Danny. There was a lot he was learning about the care for another. But he wouldn’t ignore his animals and today was the last day of his grounding. After this, he would be immensely busy with patrols and cases again, so now was the time to get the winter preparations out of the way.

Batcow? You named her Batcow? That… how did you end up with a cow? And a turkey? I’ve never seen a turkey that didn’t try to claw someone’s face off. They are gremlins just like geese.

“Then Drake would probably find it fitting. A demon and his gremlin.” Damian smirked at the laugh Danny gave off as he went about insulating the barn. “While on a mission, I had to infiltrate a slaughterhouse. The conditions were horrible and the cruelty to the animals was unparalleled. I found Batcow in that place and rescued her. You probably can’t see it right now since you can’t see patterned details, but Batcow got her name from the bat-shaped pattern that stretches across her face like a mask. Jerry was in roughly the same kind of situation.” He paused in his work to give each of the animals a good pet before continuing.

Are you some kind of Disney princess for animals in danger? How come my missions hardly ever involved animals other than talking vultures? I want to save animals! I wish to pet. I wish to pet so bad!

Damian grabbed a hay bale and started throwing it into an organized stack. A fresh shipment had just arrived and it needed to be put in the designated spot. This was one thing that he never allowed Alfred to do. It was good strength training and the butler was getting older. He didn’t need an accident happening. “When you fully form, I’m sure that Batcow and Jerry will let you pet them as much as you wish. Despite being a gremlin bird, Jerry is very well-behaved. It’s Alfred the cat that you have to look out for. Besides, there will probably be another mission that involves animals and you can claim that one. Father won’t let me bring animals home anymore so if someone else does he is more likely to say yes. Cujo was an exception.” Danny was quiet for a minute. A slight unsettling feeling of nervousness replaced the amusem*nt he was feeling earlier. “What’s wrong?”

Man, that is annoying that you can feel that.

“The feeling was not as prominent as it was before. You have gotten better.”

It’s still annoying.

“I understand the sentiment but you have yet to answer my question,” Damian smirked when Danny grumbled to himself as he moved on to his next task. It took Danny a moment before he started to talk again, his emotions were muted even further than before but Damian could still pick them out if he wanted.

Why does it… why are you making it sound like I will be living here once I fully form?

“Because you are? Why? Were you thinking of vanishing once you are back in your normal body?” Damian stopped and wiped the sweat from his brow. When Danny offered nothing but silence, he tsked at the ghost and tossed his pitchfork to the side. “Where will you go? I have looked into your background and there is nothing left for you back in Amity. What are you going to do once you are free? Do you have a plan?” When all he got was more silence with a feeling of apprehensive sadness, Damian sighed. “Father is not one to turn someone in need a way. Have you seen how many adopted siblings I have? Each one came from some sort of unfortunate circ*mstance. Even I… his blood child am not exempt from this. Though it does not need to end in adoption, you will be given a room here if you wish it.”

But wouldn’t he see me as a meta? There aren’t supposed to be metas in Gotham.

“That rule doesn’t exist because Father despises metas. Though the populace does like to skew it that way and it is misleading.” Realizing this conversation was going to take a while, Damian finished setting up the new bedding in Batcow’s stall and sat down in it. The cow made her way from the yard into the stall and laid down with Damian happily snuggling against her warm stomach. “Father works with many metas and more with the Justice League. His best friend is Superman and he would bring the world down on anyone who grievously harms one of their members. Even one of the batclan is a meta, Signal.”

Then why is that rule there in the first place?

The youngest Wayne chuckled darkly. “Have you seen what Gotham has to deal with on a daily basis? Plants attacking humans, a homicidal clown, mad scientists, and corrupt politicians. All of them looking for ways to meet their goals. None of them are above using mind control to do it. That rule acts as a safety measure for the metas as well as for us. Gotham could be leveled in a day if one of the rogues got in control of a powerful meta. Doesn’t matter if the meta is willing or not. We know that there are probably metas living in the city. We run into them from time to time. But because of that rule, they are keeping their powers hidden and so they are less likely to be trafficked or kidnapped to do something worse.”

That… actually makes a lot of sense. I’ve been mind-controlled before and it was not fun… No one believed me when I tried to claim innocence either.

“So I’ve seen in some of the articles I’ve read. Your fears are unfounded. If you wished, you would be welcomed with open arms. Especially Thomas. He may not say it but being the only meta among normal people does get to him sometimes.” Damian sighed in relief when the apprehensive feeling went away. He was getting better at this. “And in the rare insignificant chance that Father says no, I will make him say yes.” The amusem*nt returned from Danny.

How would you go about doing that?

Damian smirked “I have my ways. Father is a lot of things but he cannot win against me if I truly want to get my way.” Danny snorted but didn’t comment. The two fell into an amiable silence and Damian closed his eyes, enjoying the brief break.

… I’ll think about it. Thanks.

It was as close to a yes that Damian was going to get. The boy stood up and brushed some stray hay that had stuck to his pants. “On this note, we need to discuss something. Previously, I always took you on patrol with me. You would rest in a pocket of my utility belt so you wouldn’t accidentally get hit or stolen if I wore you around my neck. Do you think you will be able to handle it?”

What do you mean? I’ve patrolled before. I used to patrol my hometown all of the time.

“Tt. That was before what happened to you.” Damian watched Jerry chase Cujo around the barn undoing some of the work he had already put in. Cujo would escape the turkey’s attack by phasing through the barn walls and popping up in a different spot. Jerry would squawk indignantly and the chase would begin anew. “You almost turned me into a popsicle when Drake tried to touch my forehead. Though I’m pretty sure he spilled the water on purpose for a different reason, there had been no ill intent and you knew who the person was. Out on the streets will be different. These people will try to harm me. I can’t have you freezing every available surface each time someone throws a punch in my general direction.”

“I also can’t say that I don’t want to come on patrol. It would be out of character and a few of my family members are already suspicious.” Not to mention, he really needed to see what had happened in the past week. Damian hadn’t even been allowed into the cave and he knew that there had to be GIW involvement or more. Which was another thing that he would need to tell Danny about. There was a good chance that they would encounter the jerks in white suits, not that the ghost could differentiate color right now. But they are a very obvious bunch and having them chase Damian across rooftops, calling him ‘ghost scum’ would be a dead giveaway.

There was no way that he would leave Danny at the manor. His room may be fortified but with Duke’s abilities, the meta would be able to get in with ease. Not to mention, Jason would be more than happy to take the opportunity to swipe the core without Damian noticing. There were too many threats in the manor so his only two options were to take Danny on patrol or not go. If he refused, everyone would be suspicious, and bringing Danny out unprepared could have him outed on accident due to his new PTSD. Neither was a good scenario.

Well… I could always just retract my senses? It would be the equivalent of closing your eyes. When a fight is about to go down that’s what I could do?

“I get the feeling that even if you could, you wouldn’t.” Judging by the way Danny was desperately trying to stop any emotion going through, the young Wayne was right. “I will try to keep a reasonable distance but it won’t be guaranteed. Also, you need to be prepared for what we may encounter out there.” Danny could feel that Damian was gearing up for something but didn’t know what. The apprehensiveness returned anew and Damian could feel his chest cool under the spot where Danny’s pendant rested.

I mean it can’t be any worse than ghost attacks, right?

Oh if only it was that simple. Damian climbed up to the loft of the barn and opened the hatch that overlooked the garden. Settling himself on the sill so that he could see if someone was trying to sneak up on him while he was doing his chores. This was not a conversation that he wanted to be overheard. “Daniel-” When the disgust and fear made themselves known, Damian corrected himself. “Danny. There is something I haven’t told you yet because… well, I didn’t think it would be a good idea to tell you when you just woke up. Honestly, I still don’t think you are ready to hear this but I don’t have much of a choice. If I’m taking you with me, then you need to be prepared because there is a high chance that we will encounter them.”

Encounter who?

The ghost boy demanded with him trying (and failing horribly) to hide the apprehensiveness that continued to grow with every word that Damian said. The boy sighed and prepared himself for the cold that he knew was going to engulf him. “The GIW is in Gotham, Danny.” As soon as the words were out of his mouth, ice spread out at a rapid pace and Damian shuddered. It wasn’t as cold compared to the previous times but it wasn’t pleasant. Especially since it was only 20 degrees outside. “They were in the alley I found you in and the reason why my school is closed is that they, indirectly, bombed half of it. Most of them were put in jail but, at this point, they should be out. The only ones still holed up are the ones in the hospital.” The cold kept growing and Damian was beginning to feel his body stiffen up.

“They seem to think that Red Hood and I are ghosts. Drake reverse-engineered their ectoplasm detector to create a jammer because they were using it to track us while we were out on patrol. So there is a chance that we will encounter them out in the field…” Damian brought his hand up to trace the edges of the pendant. The emotions sent across weren’t as powerful as a direct touch but Damian didn’t want to have Danny out while he talked out in the open like this. “They are rather persistent.” The ice continued to grow as Danny fought for control while his mind raced from this new information.

When did they get here? How long has it been? How were they tracking him when he was just in his core? Were they scouring Gotham right now? Was that why Cujo was here? He couldn’t go back. He can’t go back. He can’t go BACK-

“DANNY!” Damian yelled before the teen could spiral even further. “We are already looking into it. You are not going to go back to them. I won’t allow it.”

But-

“They may have been smart enough to find you but they are NOT smart enough to get you away from me. Their blood will wet my blade long before one even comes close enough to touch you.” Damian’s voice was resolute leaving no room for argument and Danny’s fear cowed under the raw determination that the boy was radiating. “Ever since you have come into my care, they were no longer a threat to you. I became a threat to them.”

No, Damian, you don’t understand. They may be stupid but they are so stubborn. They are like roaches! When you think you got rid of them, they keep coming back! Do you know what they have done to ghosts? To me?

Growling, Damian flexed his arm a small bit when the ice started to recede. “Roughly.” He refused elaborate further. The boy’s scream still haunted him at times and Danny was dealing with enough as it was.

Then you know that they won’t stop! The worst part of it all, nothing they have done is illegal!

What?

“What do you mean that what they are doing isn’t illegal?” Damian couldn’t remain sitting anymore. He stood up abruptly, the ice that covered him crackled and fell away, melting long before it reached the floor of the loft. Anger had the boy pacing to burn off his excess energy. “They are performing inhumane experiments on those who should be classified as metas. They fall under the meta rights act. How can you say that they are legally in the right?”

Look it up! They were enacted about two years ago now. The Anti-Ecto Acts state that anything that creates or needs ectoplasm to survive is dubbed non-sentient. Any entity found needs to be handed over to the GIW for research or extermination.

He did just that. Damian pulled out his phone and was looking at the anti-ecto acts with all of their unethical clauses for himself. He gripped his phone so hard that the edges of his phone case cracked. “This needs to be addressed. These laws directly violate the meta rights act and will not be tolerated.” Damian forwent the ladder and jumped down to the ground, tucking into a perfect roll that had him back on his feet without losing any momentum. Once Jerry and Batcow were set, Damian broke for the manor as fast as he could.

Wha- wait! What are you doing?!

“The others need to know.” If they didn’t know already. Damian threw the backdoor open with such force that it took him a second to realize that it had been trapped. Water soaked the boy from the bucket above and the flash of a camera had him glaring in the direction of Tim who was looking a little too pleased with himself. “Drake… what are you doing?” His words came out measured and clipped in a way that had the older boy immediately tensing.

Tim stayed behind the end table that he had decided to hide behind and looked at Damian sheepishly. “Um… you see… I thought… This wasn’t what I thought would happen.”

“Then, please, elaborate on what was supposed to happen, Drake?” Damian stalked forward with Tim scrambling to get out of his vulnerable spot before his younger brother trapped him.

“Okay, Damian, you see um… You know what? I was in the wrong here. I’m very very sorry. Lemme get you a towel-” Tim was blocked before he could make a hasty retreat by Damian who looked murderous. Now for multiple reasons.

Damian’s look morphed into a smirk that Tim did not like one bit. “If you don’t want to become a pin cushion then you are going to take me down to the cave.”

Tim paled. “Your grounding ends tomorrow. I can’t take you down to the cave! Alfred would kill me!”

“Well, then you have a choice. Die now by me.” Damian pulled out a hidden knife from his sleeve and tossed it in the air. Easily catching it again without taking his eyes off of his adopted brother. “Or die later by Alfred, who would probably be a lot nicer about it. You choose.”

There wasn’t much of a debate. Tim sighed heavily and held his hands up in surrender. “Okay, fine. I’d rather not be stabbed today, thank you very much.”

“Good choice. Also, give me your phone.” Damian held his free hand out with his smirk growing.

“Uh, why?” Tim brought his phone to his chest protectively and Damian just arched his brow at him.

“There is no way in hell I’m letting you keep that photo you just took.”

Notes:

Hello everyone! I hope you are all having a lovely December so far! I just wanted to thank you all because this story had passed 150k hits! LIKE WTF WOW! Thank you all so much for the support <3

On another note, I should start talking about this now, but I will take a brief break from this story in January. You'll get a chapter on January 2nd but then I will be out of the country for 2 weeks on vacation and I plan on taking the rest of the month off to basically, edit the story as it stands and fine-tune the stuff that I want to post going forward. I've hit the end of my current outline and need some time to figure some things out. I can't guarantee on having internet where I am going, so I'm not going to promise updates that I can't post. It will be back just in time for February :)

Here are this week's recommendations:

Dad from Mars by Animefangirl1221
The rare and elusive Martian Manhunter finds and adopts Danny! This one is so cute and deserves all of the love!

Life Alert (PeePaw please. I'm begging) by foldingfacets
This is a hilarious rendition of Danny trying to take care of his elderly ghost mentor Clockwork(PeePaw) while simultaneously trying to stop him from destroying the world by accident. It's great!

Chapter 24: Anti-Eggto Acts for the Holidays?

Summary:

The Anti-Ecto acts are discussed as the holiday season comes around!

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“… is this real?”

“Unfortunately, yes. It is.” Damian said as both he and his brother were looking at the article that the younger had pulled up on the Batcomputer. Thankfully, no one had been in the cave at the moment so the sneaking around had been worth it. A frown grew on Tim’s face the further along he read about the new law: the Anti-Ecto Acts. Without context, the acts looked like another stupid law that the government had passed just because they could. Like the law in Chicago which states that it is illegal to eat inside a building on fire or how it is forbidden in Illinois to fish while sitting on a giraffe’s neck. Who would believe that ghosts would actually exist? If Tim hadn’t been looking through the GIW files they had stolen, he would have been skeptical to believe it too.

Tim frowned even further when he saw that the law, itself, wasn’t that new as he leaned back in the big chair. “No wonder they are being so bold. If they deem someone a ghost then they have full legal rights to apprehend that person and do as they wish. How the hell did this slip by us?” Damian only shrugged in response but he was clenching his hands tightly. His anger was barely restrained. “We need to tell B about this- AHH!” Tim was sent THROUGH the chair he was sitting on by a green puppy jumping through the computer monitor right at him. The older boy crashed to the floor trying to fight off the sloppy kisses that the puppy was attacking him with.

Damian’s anger dissipated as he turned to the pup with a smirk. “Good boy, Cujo.” He knelt down and pulled the pup off of his brother, who turned his kiss onslaught on Damian instead.

“Cujo? CUJO? What?” Tim scrambled up from the floor wiping his face incessantly. “What… what is that? Why is it green?!”

“And just what are you two doing down here, Master Tim? Master Damian?” Both boys froze and slowly turned towards the stairway to the cave, where Alfred stood in his usual immaculate appearance with an eyebrow raised. “I believe your grounding was supposed to end tomorrow?”

“I’m sorry, Pennyworth but this couldn’t wait until tomorrow.” Damian held his ground and would have come off rather serious if he wasn’t being licked to death by a glowing green puppy.

“And what would that be?” The more intimidating form of Bruce stepped out from the armory with some new Batarangs in hand.

The youngest simply pointed at the screen that he had been reading prior to Cujo’s sudden entrance. “Read for yourself.” Both of the adults did just that with Damian following their example, ignoring Tim who was still staring at the glowing green dog incredulously.

Bruce’s eyes narrowed the further along he read. “How did this get passed and over two years ago as well?” He turned his head to his youngest who returned it with a determined expression. “Where did you find this?”

“I was trying to find more outside sources on ectoplasm and it came up after a little digging.” Damian lied smoothly while putting Cujo down. The pup yipped excitedly at all of the people in the same room. “As you can see, it states that all beings that create or need ectoplasm are not sentient. Meaning if the GIW deem us as such then they are in their full rights to catch us or others as they see fit. Do these ghosts look non-sentient to you?” Damian pointed to the ghost dog, who once again yipped happily.

“I mean, he looks like the definition of ‘no thoughts, head empty’ but I see your point,” Tim said. His eyes still haven’t left the glowing green dog next to his brother.

Damian rolled his eyes and moved Cujo so that he was a few feet away from everyone. “Cujo, big.” The pup immediately morphed into his monstrous size making everyone in the room, except Damian, jump back in surprise. “Can a non-sentient being do that?”

“Since when can he do that?” Alfred asks before Bruce could.

“Since I met him. He mainly does it when he wants to be noticed or if he needs to be protective. He has given Jon and myself a few rides around town before. We’ve been practicing so that he does it on command but he still transforms when he wishes at times.”

Bruce nodded his head in acknowledgment once the initial shock wore off. “You’ve done a good job training him I see.”

“Thank you, father.”

“…so no one is going to bat an eye at the large apparently DEAD dog that Damian brought home?” Tim gaped at the dog’s larger form and squeaked a bit when Cujo decided to give him a good lick that practically had him lifted off the floor.

Alfred didn’t smirk but everyone knew that he was in his own way. “I would not expect anything less from Master Damian.” Tim blinked but sighed heavily. He couldn’t deny that. Damian just pet the dog as high as he could reach while Bruce turned his attention back to the computer screen.

“Looks like I’m going to need Dick to cover for me for a small bit. This is something that the Justice League is going to need to look into.” Bruce read the article with the look that every bat knew as his detective one. “I might have to include Dark as well since they will probably know more on the matter than these charlatans ever will.”

“Okay, I’ll help you make a report after patrol-“

“On the contrary, you can make up the report now. Since you won’t be leaving the cave for a small bit.” Bruce cut Tim off and the older teen’s eyes widened at the implication. “I understand why you came down here but the fact remains, you helped Damian get into the cave despite him being grounded.”

“But… we need more information…”

“More information that you could have easily gotten from your computer upstairs and then called Master Bruce about once you confirmed it.” Alfred piped in and the boys knew they were doomed.

Tim and Damian shared a look. “…does that mean I’m still benched?” The youngest Wayne warily eyed the two adults who were giving the boys knowing looks.

“Not entirely. You did well in finding this law but you do need to face some repercussions for violating your grounding while somehow dragging Tim into it.” Bruce said with a small smirk. Not helping to ease the anxiety of his children in the slightest.

Tim resisted the urge to pet the large dog or use Cujo’s leg to hide behind. “… what are you going to do?”

“Oh, I’ve already got a good idea.”

Tim was having a very bad time.

Noted, most of it was because his urge to not leave things well enough alone had been clouding his judgment. But who could blame him? It was almost seven months to the dot that Damian had started acting weird… and now there may be something more going on with him. The first instance of icing could have been a fluke. The pool in Penguin’s hideout could have been super-cooled for the pet penguins’ enjoyment but the other instances didn’t add up.

Several times there would be temperature glitches in Damian’s bedroom. At first, they had been small. Located in one spot in his room but that wasn’t necessarily odd. Cold spots happened and it wasn’t like the infrared showed it in the shape of a person. If anything it would look like someone had frozen the furniture in his brother’s room. When Tim went to check it out, there had been nothing out of the ordinary. So Tim had chalked it up to Damian messing with some new traps in his room and left it at that. Then there were the massive temperature changes.

At first, Tim had thought the Batcomputer had glitched out. There had been no lead-up. No cold spots or excessive hot spots throughout the manor. One moment everything was fine, the next the alarm for Damian’s room was going off, and for good reason. It was like Mr. Freeze had iced the entire room. By the time anyone went up to investigate, the instance was over and Damian had just looked at Bruce like he had grown a second head. Once again, nothing was out of the ordinary.

Then it happened again.

This time Tim didn’t raise the alarm. He used the cameras around the house to try and get a good look into the room to no avail. None of the tech that was near Damian’s room worked. It was as if the weird jinx that he had on patrol had extended to the rest of the house. That meant the only thing he could do was investigate directly… and he really didn’t want to. He had already been zapped really good once, he did not want a repeat. Tim knew that the traps had been changed since. He didn’t want to tempt fate. Pulling out a little notebook that he always had on hand, Tim timed how long the cold occurrence lasted. It was significantly longer than the previous instance but then stopped just as quickly as it started.

Tim had so many questions.

There was no way that any of the tech was faulty, so just what was going on in Damian’s room for this to keep happening? He would never admit it but he was starting to get a little worried. This wasn’t normal and added to his personality change, there was definitely something going on. He just had to figure out what. So when he found Damian rummaging through the fridge after his classes alone… now was as good a time as any to sate his curiosity. All of these facts were leading to one thing. Which still didn’t make sense from a genetic perspective but Tim had seen a lot of weird stuff that shouldn’t have worked but did. He wouldn’t put it past the world to throw more curveballs at his family.

Damian was developing ice powers.

It didn’t make sense because Damian wasn’t a meta. Neither of his parents carried the gene for it. Yet, the amount of chaotic BS that goes on in the young boy’s life made it so that Tim couldn’t rule out the possibility. The number of chemicals that they have all been exposed to could have many adverse side effects. Not to mention the boy was raised in a lab next to the Lazarus Pits until he was ten. Maybe he was developing latent abilities from that alone. Jason didn’t have anything too far out of the ordinary from his dip in the pits but he was stronger and his body healed at a faster rate. But Damian had been exposed for far longer even though he wasn’t dipped into the pits directly. Now all he needed was proof.

Spilling the water on Damian was an accident. He was rather worried at how cold his little brother had become and simply wanted to check… even if he got a butter knife stabbed in his arm. So when Damian’s shirt immediately stiffened and radiated a cool chill, it made Tim freeze as well. It wasn’t solid proof but it was a start. It was also weird how quickly his brother had escaped the situation. Instead of yelling at him, talking down at him, or just physically attacking him in any way, Damian had retreated. His brother was hiding something and he was going to find out what.

Now if only his test hadn’t backfired so hard.

Tim eyed his little brother as they sat in the middle of a food court, shopping bags of Christmas decorations and more covering their table. Alfred and Bruce had caught them heading to the Batcomputer almost immediately and now Tim had been punished for bringing Damian down before his sentence was up. It didn’t matter that the boy had found a crucial piece of evidence as to why the GIW was being as bold as they were, now they were both in hot water. So now Tim was stuck to Damian during patrols (not that they were allowed to patrol. They had to stay in the Batcave and help guide from the computer. Damian had been oddly complacent about it all.) and the two had been volunteered to gather supplies for an upcoming party that Bruce was holding.

Bruce even had gone so far as to clear Tim’s schedule so that he couldn’t use Wayne Enterprises as an excuse to get out of it. Tim had been forced to be stuck to Damian like glue for the past couple of weeks. Christmas was only a couple of days away and, even though the manor was perfect, the prep for the party was not. Looked like he would have to pull out all of his planning skills to make sure that it went off without a hitch. There wouldn’t be any problems because he was putting it all together but still. Since when did things work in their favor for so long?

Damian ignored his older brother’s stare and continued to subtly people-watch while sipping on a smoothie. Their trip was practically over but it hadn’t been without its ups and downs. It was a Christmas miracle that Tim was still alive. He had been walking on eggshells ever since he had drenched Damian and his little brother was having a little too much fun with it.

“I believe we have gotten everything on Pennyworth’s list. We should head back to ensure we don’t get inconveniently stopped and then have to do this all again.” Damian finished his smoothie and expertly tossed it into the trashcan that was halfway across the room. Earning several impressed claps from the people who saw.

Well, that was a nice way to say they would probably be mugged.

He was probably right. It was getting pretty late and they had a lot of stuff. It didn’t matter that they were in the richer part of town, there was always someone looking to make a quick buck. The fact that they were both Waynes was only a bonus. “Yeah, yeah. I’ll call Alfred to pick us up-” a green blast sailed a bit too high and hit the water feature that their table was next to. Screams of civilians filled the room as panic spread out.

Two men in familiar white suits stood in front of one of the exits to the mall. One held this weird device with the other aiming an ecto-blaster at the boys. “End of the line, ghost scum! You won’t be haunting this mall anymore!”

Before Tim could react, Damian dived across the table, pulling him down and dragging him to the edge of the food court just as a beam of green light exploded their table to bits. Tim scrambled up and ran in the opposite direction of the shouting agents, cursing under his breath. “Do you have your jammer on you, Damian?!” The GIW was still crawling the streets like co*ckroaches though their favorite haunt was Crime Alley. Poor Jason has had to deal with these guys nonstop since they showed up but the good news was that they weren’t that tough to beat. There were just a lot of them.

“Of course, I have it, Drake. They already chase me while in costume, I don’t need them chasing me out of it.” Damian ran alongside Tim and dodged behind a vending machine to avoid a stray shot.

Tim growled. Then they either updated their tech or the agents had found them by chance. Unfortunately, crazy people opening fire at a mall in Gotham wasn’t that uncommon. It was just their luck that they ran into these guys out of costume and thus had to act like the weak civilians that they were not. Unless they got out of sight somewhere. That was a different story. “Okay, okay. Then all we gotta do is lose them. We’re in a mall so it shouldn’t be hard-”

Damian was, once again, the more perceptive of the two. He grabbed his brother and hauled him into a nearby clothing store right before an explosion shook the mall’s entire foundation. The exit that they had been running toward had been blasted open with a blue beam that froze everything in its wake. Including the two agents that had been pursuing them. Mr. Freeze walked in, the ice on the floor not bothering him in the slightest with his heavy boots.

The two boys hid within the racks of clothes as they watched the rogue silently head toward the center of the almost vacant mall. Good news, the agents firing at them moments prior had made everyone flee already. Bad news, now they were trapped with Mr. Freeze, at least the agents had been turned into popsicles. They could stay like that for a while for all Tim cared.

Mr. Freeze was humming to himself while he fired his ice beam at all of the Christmas decorations. Purposefully beheading a Santa Claus mannequin. “Jingle bells~.” He took out an ornament display that was hanging from the ceiling above the food court. “Batman smells~.” The large Christmas tree was turned into a giant icicle. “Robin laid an egg~.” A pile of fake presents was the ice beam's next victim.

Tim snorted and Damian gave him a dark look. “Don’t you dare.”

“But… but it’s true.”

“You better think very carefully about which one of those statements is true.”

“….you’re right. Batman does smell.”

“That’s what I thought.”

“The Batmobile lost a wheel~” Mr. Freeze continued his carol smiling in satisfaction at every Christmas thing that was destroyed. “And the Joker got away, hey~!” He turned up the setting on his ice beam and fired it in the direction of the two boys. They dove out of the way but from opposite sides. The powerful beam created a wall of ice that separated them from each other.

Alfred really was going to kill Tim this time.

“Damian, are you all right?” Tim ran up to the ice wall that separated them and frowned. He was trapped on a side that didn’t have an exit. He had a partial window, a wall, and then the fitting rooms. Tim could break the window but the ice wall still cut off the hall from the food court. This wouldn’t be a problem if he had his gear but Tim Drake-Wayne wouldn’t have things like that.

“I’m fine, Drake,” Damian called over with slight irritation in his voice. The thumping of Mr. Freeze’s boots echoed throughout the spacious room. Tim could see the man’s distorted shape as he slowly approached his younger brother on the other side of the ice. “It looks like I have some problems to deal with. You should go get help if Gordon doesn’t already have someone on the way.” Mr. Freeze sent another blast in Damian’s direction and Tim could hear him rolling across the floor to avoid it. “However, if you could pick me up some warmer clothes then I would appreciate it! Now go!” His little brother’s voice started to sound farther away as he ran out of the store using the food court stalls for cover.

Tim quickly put a comm in his ear as he ran towards the exit. He didn’t want to leave Damian alone like that but he was right. Tim was cut off from him without the proper means to get to his brother. Any way that he could might out him as someone else. “Oracle, can you hear me?” Tim took an abrupt turn when the normal exit (that Mr. Freeze had exploded) was completely iced over. There was a security closet up the stairs with a vent that led outside. This was a mall that they all frequented quite a bit so he had the layout memorized.

“What’s up RR? How’s your brotherly bonding time with Damian?” Barbara’s voice sounded a little smug as she spoke. Of course, she knew what he has been dealing with the past few weeks.

“Oh, it’s been great. We bought Christmas presents together, got some snow cones, and bonded over trauma. The biggest issue was some ghostbusters firing at us in the food court and Mr. Freeze going on his yearly humbug tour of Gotham.” Tim reached the security closet and kicked the door in with practiced ease. One of his safe houses was only a couple of blocks away and he was pretty sure that he had a spare Robin outfit in there as well. Maybe. It’d been a while since he had been in that particular safe house.

“When did the attack happen? From the plans he had, he was going to start by trying to take out the light parade tomorrow.” All of the amusem*nt left Oracle’s voice as the sound of typing filled Tim’s comms. “Is Damian still with you?”

“Negative. We got separated while Mr. Freeze was cutting off all of the exits. He’s still inside.” Tim crawled through the vent and was out of the mall within a few moments. “I don’t think there were still a lot of civilians left since the agents scared them away when they fired at us but that just means that Damian will be his sole target.”

More typing was heard and a slight curse from the redhead’s end. “All of the cameras are down in the mall. I don’t have a visual and of course, Damian’s comm isn’t working. How have we not figured out why tech doesn’t work around him anymore? It’s been seven months!” Barbara was fuming and Tim couldn’t blame her. It frustrated him just as much as it did her. Even more so because now they couldn’t see what was going on and if Damian was in trouble or not. The ex-assassin could handle himself but he was still a kid and life happened. They never knew what a rogue was capable of when they were on the attack. Underestimating them was a surefire way to getting killed.

“He’ll be okay, O. My safe house isn’t far. Fifteen minutes tops.” Tim’s sneakers thudded hard as he ran down the pavement, keeping to the shadows so that someone on the street was less likely to recognize him. The last thing he needed was a wayward fan getting in his way or worse, someone trying to kidnap him.

“I know. I just don’t like being unable to contact one of you. Most generally it’s never a good sign when that happens.” Oracle sighed as she continued to type. “Black Bat and Spoiler are en route. ETA: Twenty minutes. Thirteen if Spoiler gets out of her date early. Batman will be on his way once he’s home from the meeting at Wayne Enterprises. If all else fails, I can get Duke up or rope Jason into a rescue mission. He told me that he and his nephew needed more bonding time anyway.”

Tim laughed as he rounded the corner and jumped onto a fire escape. “I would have thought Dick would be the one saying that.”

“Unfortunately for him, Bludhaven is too far away though I made him aware of the situation. Looks like you are in a prime position to earn yourself some uncle points.” Tim could practically see the worried smirk on Babs’s face as she said it.

“You know I don’t even want those points.” Tim rolled his eyes as he reached the roof and started making his way across them. “But I guess, I could save my brother for them. JUST to see the look on Dick’s face when I surpass him.”

Notes:

Hello everyone! I hope you all are having a wonderful holiday season. Those laws that I told in the beginning are 100% real btw.

MORE FANART!
Halloween by DareDevil-Vagabond.

I love Jon's skull makeup and how he is floating around in the background looking confused about the situation. It's so cute! I need to put this in the Halloween chapter.

Here are the fic recs for this time:
Another Duckin' Day by TheStarFishAlien
A cute BrainDead fic about Tim moving in with his boyfriend Danny :)

Can I have this Dance? by petitechatonne
A cute oneshot for the new space princess ship which is Dani and Mar'i Grayson (Kori and Dick's daughter)

X's and Oh's by GoldTouched
Danny's taking a little vacation from being a hero (read: forced to take a break) and he's gonna take that chance to be a menace and have fun as much as he can. If that fun includes pulling on Nightwing's acrobatic pigtails, well, no one can really judge him, can they? (they can)
(I copied the summary :3)

I'm going to put this in the next few chapters in case someone missed it. I will take a brief break from this story in January. You'll get a chapter on January 2nd but then I will be out of the country for 2 weeks on vacation. I plan on taking the rest of the month off to basically, edit the story as it stands and fine-tune the stuff that I want to post going forward. I've hit the end of my current outline and need some time to figure some things out. I can't guarantee having internet where I am going, so I'm not going to promise updates that I can't post. It will be back just in time for February :)

Chapter 25: An Eggregious Holiday

Summary:

The holidays continue on. Why can't Damian catch a break?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“I’ve been meaning to ask. Is this because of you?” Damian hissed under his breath as he stared down at Mr. Freeze. The man of ice continued his slow pace toward the boy.

What’s because of me?

Damian dodge-rolled to the right when the rogue sent another ice beam his way and the boy was starting to feel claustrophobic as each new wall shortened the amount of space that Damian had to maneuver. He turned off the comm in his ear that was spewing nothing but static. “Ever since I started carrying you around my comms no longer work. The others can’t track my location but I also can’t call for help if it is needed.” Damian ran out of the clothing store and started using the food stalls for cover. He had to stop himself from getting overly fancy with his movements. It was one thing to be athletic, it was another to show off the training that he had.

Yeah, that’s me. Sorry about that. Ghosts aren’t exactly known to be photogenic. When I’m at full power, I can control it a bit better but regardless I always show up fuzzy or distorted. The more emotional I am, the worse it gets.

Well, it was good to know that. “Is there a way around it?” Damian skillfully slid on some ice to reach the other side of the food court. There was another exit there that he could take if it wasn’t already blocked.

You would have to infuse the tech with ectoplasm. Like that jammer your brother made. Be careful though, too much and it will come to life and try to kill you. I’m surprised those jammers turned out so well. Tim did a good job.

“Is there a way to do it without telling Drake about it? I may have hinted about the trackers but this is a different matter. This was happening before the GIW showed up and he is quick about connecting the dots.” Damian snuck into a Build-A-Bear and crouched behind bins of soon-to-be plushies.

If you held your comm up to my core, I could theoretically inject some of my own ectoplasm. I’ve done it before so it should be fine. I’ve had practice since the first time I accidentally made a smartphone sentient.

There was an explosion in the distance as Mr. Freeze overlooked Damian’s position and focused on the other stores. Unless there was someone else hiding like him, then the youngest Wayne appeared to be the only hostage save for the GIW agents. They could stay frozen for all Damian cared. “We’ll have to do that when we get home. It would look weird if my comms just started magically working again right now. Does this affect technology from a distance like security cameras?”

Yes. Unless the tech has ectoplasm infused then the same thing will happen. Sometimes audio gets through but it’s distorted and corrupt. If someone is trying to see in here, it won’t work. Not until we leave.

“Perfect.” Damian worked his way to the back of the store where all the Christmas-themed plushie skins were at. “CUJO!” It didn’t take long for the glowing green pup to appear. Yipping happily to the boy and wagging his tail so fast it was a blur. “Good boy, Cujo. It’s time we got out of here.”

Wouldn’t Tim want to know why you vanished?

“Tt. He knows about Cujo. He’ll figure it out. It would be more concerning if someone saw me summon him but your latent ability to mess with electronics aids with that. Now we can get out of here-” Damian cut off when Danny let off a sudden cold spike. It wasn’t like the others. It wasn’t as powerful compared to the other times and now Danny was completely on edge. “What’s wrong?”

Ghost.

“Well, yeah. Cujo is right here-”

No, a different ghost! Behind you!

Damian whirled around while dropping into a defensive stance. Floating a few feet above the ground was a man with gray skin and green eyes, which looked similar to Danny’s before he retreated into his core, shone behind rimmed glasses. A dark gray scarf and long purple trench coat floated in a nonexistent wind over a simple shirt and jeans. His black hair floated without wind as well. Damian pulled out one of the electric sticks that he stole from the GIW but didn’t turn it on yet. Just how did this guy get behind him? Cujo looked up at the new arrival and growled.

Oh no. Not him.

“Do you know who he is?” Damian asked under his breath unsure if the newest arrival had the same kind of hearing Danny had or not.

Yes, and it would be safe to say that we need to run. I don’t really feel like listening to some tall tales today.

“What?” Damian hissed and then growled, brandishing his weapon when the ghost got closer.

The ghost overlooked the destruction of the mall and its holiday decorations while clicking his tongue. “Well, if it isn’t a couple of scrooges in this lovely holiday season. I would have thought that you had learned your lesson the last time you tried to destroy other people’s holiday spirit?”

This wasn’t my fault this time. Mr. Freeze is doing that on his own.

“Oh, but if you had a body, I know you would gladly join him.” The ghost grinned bearing his sharp teeth.

“You can hear him?!”

You can hear me?!

“Of course, I can. Well… not directly. You have to be close to a ghost for a while or in direct contact with the core to hear direct thoughts but I’ve been an interpreter long enough to get a good idea.” The ghost leaned back a bit and rubbed his chin as he spoke. “Also you aren’t denying what I said.”

From the feelings that Danny was giving off, Damian could tell what the ghost said was right. It seemed that he shared something in common with the ghost teen. Christmas, in thought, is wonderful but with how it’s done most times it is dreadfully annoying. Other than Halloween this was Damian’s least-liked holiday. It didn’t help that there were a lot of things he didn’t understand about the holiday as a whole. “Tt. So what? Not everyone has to like Christmas.”

“True, there are several other big holidays celebrating around the same time. Christmas is just the biggest due to its popularized religion.” The ghost nodded his consent.

“I’m not a fan of any of it.”

“Now that’s just sad. Surely, you like something about the holiday season?”

“The only thing that is acceptable is the reindeer that are mentioned but even that is not portrayed correctly. Most of the deer in the art or in movies are just normal deer that would have long ago died because of the tundra’s harsh climates. It is rather annoying the number of inconsistencies this holiday has due to the fact that it tried to wipe out paganism and other non-Christian religions. This holiday eludes me in more ways than one.” Damian stated blatantly and watched as the ghost’s smirk drooped into a frown. Danny seemed to be rather pleased with what he was saying though.

The ghost just rolled his eyes and muttered. “Everyone’s a critic.” Then he straightened up and loomed over Damian’s smaller form. “It looks like you two need a lesson on the joys of the Christmas spirit.”

Or you can go to Walker’s jail again for violating the Christmas Truce. I thought you learned that from last year.

“Oh, but Danny that’s why I decided to visit you today.” A ring of keyboards and monitors surrounded the ghost as he affixed a smirk at the two below him. “It’s two days before Christmas. The truce isn’t in effect yet.”

….You wouldn’t.

“Oh but I very much would. Now let’s see… last time you were in a modern Christmas story…” The ghost looked around the room until they settled on a bin filled with holiday plushie skins. His sharp-toothed smile turned threatening. “Why don’t we try a classic this time!” His fingers started flying across the keyboard and the dread that Danny was giving off was putting Damian on edge.

Well, crud.

Before Damian could do anything, he blinked and suddenly he was no longer in the mall. A brisk wind blew and the boy shivered as he took in the snow-covered forest where he found himself in. “Danny… what is going on? Who was that? How did we get here?” His eyes scoured the landscape in an attempt to get a better handle on the situation. A cave sat behind them and they were at the top of a mountain. If this was an illusion or a hallucination then it was very convincing.

You see… that ghost is called Ghostwriter… and he has the ability to trap people in his narratives. Last Christmas he trapped me in a story because I accidentally destroyed his other one. I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas.

At this point neither was he. “Tt. So where did he deem to put us…” Damian frowned as he clutched his arms around him closer. He was not dressed to be out in this kind of cold. Below the mountain lay a town. A town with bright lights and weirdly shaped houses. The entire place looked like Christmas threw up on it.

I’m not sure. All I remember was that he said he was going to put us in a classic story. We probably won’t know until he starts narrating. Red, green, and snow are all pretty common across all old Christmas stories.

Damian huffed and looked down at the pendant only to have his eyes widen in shock. “What… What is this?!” The clothes that he had worn to the mall were gone. In their place were a poorly made Santa coat, green pants, and heavy black boots. When Damian reached up to the top of his head and sure enough, a matching Santa hat rested on his head. He yanked it off and threw it into the wind only for another to pop into existence in the same spot. “Why am I dressed as Santa?!”

It is a Christmas story… would be kind of odd if Santa wasn’t involved somehow.

Every time Damian wrestled a piece of clothing off and discarded it another took its place. “This.” Damian threw a boot off the cliff but another replaced it before his foot touched back down. “Is.” The jacket was thrown into the wind and he felt the weight of a new one before it vanished out of sight. “RIDICULOUS!” He stood in the cold huffing from the excursion of trying to de-cloth so fast. “I refuse to wear this awful outfit!”

Unfortunately, you don’t seem to have a choice.

Damian growled. “It’s not like you are any better!”

What does that mean? I can’t wear clothes right now.

“You weren’t left out.” Damian slipped the pendant out and popped it open. He pulled a small elf hat off of Danny’s core and held it up to him to see. Another replacing the one that Damian had just taken. “It appears that you have been deemed, my little helper.”

…is that a tiny elf hat?

“Yes, and it fits your core perfectly.” He snapped the pendant closed and slipped it back under the Santa coat. “I can’t believe this is happening. Why isn’t anything happening yet? Surely, a narrator wouldn’t take so long to start a story.”

It’ll happen don’t worry. Ghostwriter is just a teeny tiny bit dramatic.

The young vigilante huffed and wrapped his arms around himself again. “Tt. You don’t say?” Just what else could go wrong? “So how do we get out of this?”

Best way to do it is to follow along with the story. But he does like to take some… artistic liberties.

“What kind of-“

Every Who down in Who-ville liked Christmas a lot…

Oh no… here we go…

But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did NOT!

That was when it hit. Damian looked down at the outfit he was wearing and he threw his hand up into the air in indignation. “No! I refuse! I am NOT doing this!”

Why? What’s wrong…?

Danny couldn’t see any color other than green so his confusion was lost on his protector. Damian sent a nasty glare up to the sky to where he thought Ghostwriter could see. “Are you saying that I’m the Grinch?!”

There was a pause.

Then Danny just started busting up laughing.

Wait, what? How are you the Grinch?

The ghost teen was dying a second time with how hard he was laughing. “I look like Santa made from china in green pants, how am I not dressed like the Grinch?!” Damian yelled over Danny’s peals of laughter. The young assassin only knew the story because it was one of the Christmas stories Dick had read with him on their first Christmas. Something about teaching him the classics? Cujo yipped at Damian’s feet and the boy looked at him astounded. The pup had an antler, a single antler tied to his head. Was he supposed to be a reindeer? Was Cujo supposed to be Max? “You are just proving my point! As adorable as this is, this is a gross misinterpretation of a real reindeer!” Damian pointed at the glowing pup who was just sitting next to them.

The snowstorm kicked up and a face that looked similar to Ghostwriter’s appeared. “You seemed to like animals so I thought that it would be something you enjoy. So I brought Cujo into my employ. We needed a dog to make this classic legit.”

Don’t you DARE start the rhyming bullsh*t!

There was a pause as Damian stared at the pendant. “Danny… are you okay?”

Stop it, Ghostwriter! You can’t make my rhyme! No way!

Damian arched an unimpressed brow as Ghostwriter laughed at them. “I can’t tell if you are doing this on purpose or not.”

“Most Christmas stories rhyme in case you forgot.” Ghostwriter’s smirk grew menacing. “If you want to leave then you must play this story out. That way you both can learn what Christmas is all about.”

“Enough! We are not playing this game!”

“Then, I guess, Christmas for these Whos will not be the same.” The face disappeared in the snow, leaving Damian overlooking the town of Who-ville looking absolutely livid.

“I hate this. I hate this so much.” Damian growled and Cujo yipped up at him. “Can he not see we are already in a rush?”

It doesn’t matter. We’re stuck until this is done. This is not something we can simply outrun.

Damian sighed, completely done with everything. This was quickly wrapping up to be one of the worst Christmases he has ever had. Which really wasn’t many. He never really celebrated anything like that until he came to live with his Father. There was so much at stake. Mr. Freeze was still on the loose. Christmastime was when he was the most unhinged and it was understandable. It doesn’t help that he would be searching for Damian since he was one of the few hostages he would have had in the mall. His family would save the GIW agents but they would promptly be thrown in jail. They fired into the public with reckless abandon. They weren’t getting off without any repercussions.

Now he was stuck in some sort of an alternate reality with no form of contact with the others and no way of knowing when he could get home. Drake wouldn’t be gone for very long. His brother was efficient about things like that and if he didn’t show up quickly then one of the others would. It would look like he straight-up vanished from the mall. That or he’s passed out on the floor covered in soon-to-be plush toys. Maybe Mr. Freeze froze him solid and he is in a suspended state? Damian really didn’t know at this point. The only thing he did know was that Danny was along for the ride.

Which he was both happy and concerned about.

The Grinch hated Christmas! The whole Christmas season! Now, please don’t ask why. No one quite knows the reason.

“Well, there are plenty of reasons.” Damian moved to lean back against the wall of the cave entrance.

He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Whos-

“To be fair, I hate pretty much everyone it’s true.” Danny chuckled at Damian’s sass. The sky lightly rumbled as if there was thunder and Damian took that as a win.

And here I thought you were just a rich socialite, who knew?

The rumble returned and, this time, Ghostwriter’s face formed in the rock next to the cave Damian stood by. “Oh, so you think you are so clever? I don’t see how you could do much better! So, how about this! The Grinch wasn’t alone in hating holiday bliss. There was another all covered in ice. When Christmas came around… he wasn’t very nice.

There was a scream below that had Damian running to the cliff’s edge to investigate. Right before the town was a small clearing and the snowstorm blew away to reveal Mr. Freeze laying on the ground. Probably looking confused but from their current distance Damian couldn’t tell. He stood up and looked at the town and started advancing toward it.

The Whos all in Who-ville were all asleep in their beds. With images of Saint Nicholas dancing in their heads. With that in mind, none could ever knew! What horrible fate they were about to go through.

Ghostwriter’s cackling laughter trailed off leaving Damian overlooking the rogue who was making his way slowly towards the unsuspecting town. Seriously, what kind of town had EVERYONE asleep at the same time?! They were completely defenseless! “Artistic liberties? I wish he would just quit. If Mr. Freeze reaches the town then…”

Oh sh*t.

Notes:

Happy Early Christmas and Happy Holidays! I had to do a fun little Christmas arc. I just had to! Just in case anyone was confused. Italics are used for Danny talking and the BOLD ones are when Ghostwriter narrates the story.

I told myself that I was NOT going to fall into the Christmas cliche of making it rhyme... then look what happened. My brain hurts so bad rn x.x

Without further ado, I'mma share some fic links with all of you:

To Curate A Ghost by Snaileer
A completed Young Justice x DP fic where Danny gets adopted by the YJ group after pranking them a bunch.

30 Days of Kidnappings by Hyperintrovert
Danny is vacationing in Gotham and keeps getting kidnapped! Also why are they all calling him Tim!

Double or Nothing by lauraeb5
Another completed YJ x DP fic. They find Danny while on a mission and try to help him move forward. It's rather sweet!

Chapter 26: Sl-egg-h Bells Jingling. Ring-ting-tin-gl-ing too.

Summary:

Mr. Freeze is advancing on a town that Christmas threw up on.

Guess the Grinch has to save it.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

I can’t believe you are doing this. It’s actually happening.

“Yes, and it’s rather maddening. When you come up with a better idea let me know. This was the fastest way I could think of to get through the snow.” Damian stated with no enthusiasm for what he was doing. He was braced on a rickety old sleigh that Cujo was pulling in his big form. The antler tied to his head grew to match his current size and he was running down the side of the mountain at a very fast pace. Mr. Freeze was approaching the outskirts of the town. They had to get down to Who-ville fast but the distance was too great to go on foot. So sleigh and reindeer dog it was... Honestly, he could have just ridden Cujo like he normally did in his big form... maybe he was having a little bit of fun with it. Despite not wanting to play along with Ghostwriter’s plan, they were falling right into it. No wonder Danny hated this guy. Actually, hate was a strong word. The ghost teen seemed to view the other ghost as a huge annoyance more than anything and Damian was completely onboard. Was it possible to end a person a second time?

He loaded some bags and some old empty sacks. On a ramshackle sleigh and he hitched up old Max. Then the Grinch said, “Giddap!”

“Tt. For the love… could you SHUT UP!” Damian called out to the wind knowing full well that the ghost could hear him. Cujo hit a cliff and instead of keeping to the ground he just kept flying. Dragging Damian and the sleigh along with no problem. The boy held onto the reins for dear life as the momentum of the sleigh had begun to fail and they started to fall under Cujo like a dog running around with his leash. Cujo seemed to notice the shift in weight distribution and aimed back down to the ground as they neared the town. “No no no no! Cujo, stop! If you do this it will be quite a drop!”

Damian was ignored as the ghost dog landed on a large snowbank right outside of town. The sleigh pile-drove into the ground with Danny screaming and Damian diving off the sleigh last second to crash land deeply into the snow, about three feet. The boy groaned as he pulled himself out of the crater he made and glared lightly at the massive dog who was looking at him innocently. “Was that really necessary?”

Oh my Ancients, that was legendary.

Danny was having the time of his life at the moment. Damian just rolled his eyes. Brushing the snow off, he stood up and looked at the town. No screams (other than Danny’s) tore through the night. Other than the sounds of bells from Christmas decorations, the night was silent. All of the people were fast asleep. Mr. Freeze wasn’t one to attack without a plan but in an unknown town, he may be tempted to go all out. Now the main question was… were these Whos real? Was this place just the mall transformed into the town from the Grinch story or were these real people who were in danger? “Danny…. What are Ghostwriter’s powers? Is this a new place? Are the people here real or somehow replaced?”

When I was pulled into last year’s adventure, I was cursed in real-time. Everyone around me didn’t know and they were forced to rhyme. Whenever he wrote a change it affected the town. It didn’t stop until long after he was taken down. So this place could be real but I’m unsure. He could have taken us to another dimension or it could be something more.

“So… it’s safe to say that the Whos here are real?”

It is possible though it is less than ideal.

So they could be in an elaborate illusion or this place could be real. There wasn’t a good way to tell. Everything around them, though they looked odd, felt and appeared to be real. That meant he would have to treat this place as if he were in Gotham. Lovely. Damian unhitched Cujo and then started his trek into town. With the snow everywhere, finding Mr. Freeze wouldn’t be that hard. He caught his reflection in a storefront window, growling at how ridiculous he looked. Thankfully, the only green part of his outfit was the pants and his gloves. Damian’s face and hair color were normal. No weird makeup to make him look like the Grinch. At least, something was working for him tonight. But this wouldn’t do.

Mr. Freeze didn’t know who he was out of costume and it wouldn’t make sense that a random civilian could take him down… even if they were transported on some weird Christmas special-like adventure. Though the outfit was stupid, Mr. Freeze was not and would easily recognize him as Damian Wayne with his face on full display like this.

He felt across his body for the hidden weapons on his person. Finding none, Damian was forced to improvise by breaking into what looked like a sporting goods store. If he was supposed to be the Grinch stealing Christmas then he was going to steal what he needed. Going up against a Gotham Rogue with nothing was a good way to get yourself killed. Damian took his time perusing the store. Several knives that didn’t look like they should work filled the glass case. He grabbed the ones that looked like he was used to and hid them on his body.

Taking off the Santa hat, another appeared without fail. Damian took some leather straps to craft an impromptu face mask out of the soft red fabric. He reinforced it with leather so that it wouldn’t snap from the slightest bit of resistance. The rest of the suit would have been reinforced as well but there wasn’t much time to do anything other than elbow and knee pads. It was bad enough that he had stopped to make a mask, there was no telling how long it would take before Mr. Freeze started taking advantage of the situation.

I can’t believe that there is a sporting goods store with knives and stuff in a kids’ Christmas story.

Damian smirked as he finished gathering up a couple of more things. “That’s why they always bore me.” The snowstorm outside was finally letting up. He looked around with Cujo large at his side. “If I was Mr. Freeze… where would I be?”

Why not at the giant Christmas tree?

The young vigilante turned his attention to the town’s central plaza where Mr. Freeze stood. The man stood facing the gigantic tree solemnly, not saying a word. Damian got as close as he dared and crouched in the snow within an alley, keeping a close eye on his target. As far as he could tell, the rogue hadn’t done anything harmful yet. No need to give away that he was here until the man did.

Mr. Freeze’s gaze never left the brightly decorated tree. “I once loved Christmas rather sincerely. Now, all it does is make me weary. The bells, the ribbons, and the bows. All this does is aid my woes. Memories I wish I could no longer recall. If this is all Christmas brings then I would rather end it all!” He pointed his freeze ray at the tree and fired. The fifteen-foot tree was frozen solid within seconds. There was a tiny gasp and everyone was looking toward the sound.

Little Cindy Lou who had heard a noise and snuck on outside. Wandered the dark streets the quiet they belied. A small Who girl stood at the end of the street. Her eyes were wide at what she had just witnessed. Not moving at all, her body giving in to stiffness. “But why sir, why? Why would you do that to our tree? Why do so to such a degree?”

Now Mr. Freeze smiled a rather nasty smile. He pointed his weapon at the child and he began to speak for a while.

“Because Christmas is awful and it always will be. If you went through what I went through then you would agree. Christmas isn’t as innocent as it appears.” The freeze ray began to wind up with a bright blue light. It fired right at the small child as Mr. Freeze continued to rant. “If you looked closer at it then-”

“Hey, look! Santa’s here!” The little Who girl cut off the Rogue when Damian ran out of his hiding spot and snatched the girl out of harm’s way. Skillfully rolling so that his body took the brunt of the force. He rolled onto the balls of his feet, clutching the small girl close. Damian didn’t stop. He continued his sprint away from the threat. Mr. Freeze snarled firing several blasts in the child vigilante’s direction. Each one getting closer to their mark.

One of the blasts landed right in front of the boy causing him to slip. He skidded hard into the wall of a house and turned his back to the oncoming beam to shield the child in his arms. Mr. Freeze laughing. Knowing that his shot wasn’t going to miss. Damian braced himself to be frozen solid and this stupid Christmas story to be ended prematurely. It didn’t happen.

“Santa! I didn’t know you could do that!” the little girl exclaimed in wonder at the wall of ice that had come up to shield them entirely. Mr. Freeze’s beam was stopped in its tracks and so was every single one he fired after. There was a cold emanating from the pendant under his clothes. Danny had used his powers to save them. This fight wasn’t over yet.

Damian let out the breath that he was holding before turning his full attention to the tiny child in his arms. “Tt. You brat! What were you thinking? You could have gotten hurt! He is a very bad man that could have done so much worse!”

The little Who started to tear up and her lips started to quiver. Making the heart of the Grinch begin to waiver. “Do not worry little Cindy Lou Who, who is no more than two! I will protect Christmas today! I will stop that bad man, without delay!”

“Hey! Don’t put words in my mouth!” Damian growled to the sky, ignoring the giggling child in his arms.

“I will save Christmas. Of this, I have no doubt.”

I really want to punch Ghostwriter in the face.

So did Damian. It was bad enough that Ghostwriter had put him in this stupid outfit. Now he was being forced to rhyme AND save Christmas as if he was in one of those sappy hallmark movies that Richard watches during this time of year. Ghostwriter was going to have a very rude awakening the moment he gets his hands on the ghost. Damian was going to find out if ghosts could die again. For science. He needed to make sure that Danny would be safe if that really was an option after all. Damian turned his attention back to the little girl and set her down. “You are going to stay here in this little ice bubble. It will be safe and keep you out of trouble.”

When Cindy nodded her little head, the ice created a gap so that Damian could step out. It resealed the moment he was clear. The boy stood tall as he stared down at the man who was pointing a freeze ray at him. This story needed to end. If he had to protect the Whos then so be it. There was no doubt in his mind that Drake had returned to the mall only to find that not only had Damian disappeared but also Mr. Freeze. If they weren’t found in a reasonable amount of time then it was going to be really bad. Bruce wasn’t one to handle radio silence well and for good reason.

When he couldn’t get a hold of one of his kids, it was never a good sign. Either something bad happened or the child, in question, was doing something bad. Damian has had a lot of radio silence as of late thanks to Danny. Which was a blessing as much as it was a curse.

He needed a plan. Mr. Freeze was a distance away and there wasn’t a lot of stuff in the plaza to act as cover. If Damian could get close then he could easily disarm the man and the fight would be over. But even if he used evasion tactics there was a good chance he would be forced to slip again. Danny had saved him once but Damian didn’t want to rely too heavily on the ghost teen’s powers. The more he used, the longer it took him to heal.

A soft frost began to form on the tips of Damian’s fingers making the boy frown. “Danny, what are you doing? I can handle this.”

I just thought I could add something to the mix. If he wants to fight with ice then I’ll show him what I can do. He’ll be wishing he never tried once we're through.

Damian smirked while balling his hands into fists. “Just don’t go overboard. I don’t want you to get too tired.”

I’ll be fine. Now FIRE!

A powerful blast of ice shot from his fist when he raised it in retaliation to the ray that Mr. Freeze sent his way. The two beams collided and only fought for a moment before Danny’s power overwhelmed the weaker beam sending the man sprawling backward. Damian took the opportunity to close the distance, reaching for one of the knives that he had hidden on his body.

“Since when can a Robin shoot out ice? Just how did you get here? That wasn’t very nice!” Mr. Freeze took a second to recover. His heavy suit made it harder for him to get up easily. Damian used that to his advantage.

A shield of ice formed around his left hand and he used it much like Wonder Woman would use her bracelets to deflect bullets. Whenever Mr. Freeze got a shot off, the vigilante raised the shield stopping the beam in its tracks. With each deflection, Damian closed the gap between him and the man of ice. As soon as he was close enough, Danny dropped the shield to cover Damian’s fist in the protective ice. The boy swiped at Mr. Freeze with his knife and aimed punch after punch with his ice-hardened fist.

No matter how hard Damian struck, the ice didn’t crack. The same couldn’t be said for Mr. Freeze’s suit. The Rogue tried to create a distance between them so that he could use the beam again but the ex-assassin wouldn’t allow it. Damian bobbed and weaved with practiced ease around Mr. Freeze’s strikes. The boy couldn’t help the smirk on his face as he rained hit after hit on the bigger man. He could get used to this. Maybe when Danny was better he could have the ghost make him a set of ice brass knuckles.

Unlike Damian who had years of practice with close combat training, Mr. Freeze couldn’t keep up. He took a chance and swung too wide. There was no way that Damian would ignore that opportunity. The boy dipped to avoid the strike and sprung up to clock Mr. Freeze right in the face with the iced-over fist. He crashed to the floor unflatteringly and didn’t get back up. Damian didn’t relax until he had removed all of Mr. Freeze’s weapons and had used some holiday ribbon from a nearby display to tie the man up. Danny was giving off an aura that could only be admiration. If anyone noticed that Damian had puffed his chest out a bit he would deny it.

That was so cool! You didn’t get a scratch! Even without my ice, Mr. Freeze would have been outmatched!

The protective ice dome around Cindy Lou melted to reveal that she was perfectly fine. Dawn was beginning as the sun started to rise. Other Whos were starting to awaken and head outside. Ice covered everything. The massive tree was frozen solid. Damian panted slightly from the close fight, standing over Mr. Freeze in case one of them might try to free him. Night had just begun? How in the hell was it dawn already? Damian felt a weight around his leg and looked down to see little Cindy Lou giving him a hug.

With the bad man knocked out, Christmas was saved. As all of the Whos down in Who-ville looked on amazed. “I can’t believe it, the Grinch saved Cindy Lou Who!” One Who exclaimed. “He saved her despite what he proclaimed!”

“Oh for the love of-“

All of the Whos gathered around the frozen Christmas tree. They started singing with their hearts filled with glee. The Grinch had shed his angry little shell. His heart had grown at least two sizes bigger, they could all tell. They pulled him into all of the Who-ville holiday festivities ignoring all of his random hostilities. And at the end of the day, he earned the highest honor, to say the least. For the Grinch, himself carved the roast beast.

With each word, Damian was pulled into a whirlwind of activities. It was like a montage of Christmas cheer that would have been spread out over hours but was done in only minutes and by the end of it, he was brandishing the knife to carve the beast at any one of the Whos who would get too close. If any one of them tried to touch him again or tried to force another cookie down his throat they were losing that hand. Illusion or not.

The End

When Damian blinked all of the Whos were gone and they were no longer in Who-ville. They were back in the Build-A-Bear that they had been hiding from Mr. Freeze prior. The only difference was that the man was now tied up with holiday ribbon next to him instead of firing his ice beam on everyone and Cujo was puppy-sized with no antler on his head. The knives in his hands disappeared and he gave a quick look over his surroundings to see that the mall was still empty. The food court had been cleaned up though. There was police tape pardoning off the fountain that the agents and Mr. Freeze had shot at.

“Look at you being the little hero. Surely, you appreciate the holiday spirit a little better.” Ghostwriter materialized in front of them. Damian’s eye twitched. He said nothing. “Well, that was fun but I couldn’t keep you any longer than this. In thirty minutes it’ll be Christmas and I don’t want to be caught violating the Truce again. So I’ll be heading out-AGHK!”

Putting as much force behind it as he could, Damian jumped as high as he could and punched the older ghost right in the stomach. Danny’s ice allowed him to hit the ghost in the first place. Ghostwriter crashed to the ground and Damian pounced so that he was standing over him. “You ghosts may have a truce. But that doesn’t pertain to me.” He raised his fist to strike Ghostwriter in the face but all he managed to hit was the tile floor.

The ghost phased through the floor and popped back up behind Damian with his hands in the air in a kind of mock surrender. “Enough, enough! I had my fun.”

GW… did you really come all the way to Gotham before Christmas JUST to mess with me?

“Of course, I did. It’s not often that you’ve been forced into your core. When else will I get the chance to get you without being pulled into a thermos?” Ghostwriter smirked a bit and shrugged.

Damian readied his fists, now realizing that, though the weapons disappeared, the Grinch outfit did not. “So you were trying to harm him? A person who you knew was pretty much defenseless? What kind of coward are you to try and attack an injured child during the holidays?”

“Woah, woah, slow down. Stop. Roll it back.” GW flailed his hands with a roll of his eyes. “Since when was Danny in any harm?”

You pulled Mr. Freeze into the story-

“Yeah. Knowing full well that your guardian here had the means and know how to defeat him. Last year I turned an entire pine tree forest into ghosts and THIS is where you draw the line?” The ghost floated out of Damian’s range. “You know what? I was going to be nice and have CW bring you back home but nah. Why don’t you think about it on the walk home.” With that said, Ghostwriter vanished, and judging by Danny’s reaction, the ghost had left them completely.

Home. Damian’s anger faltered slightly as he frantically pulled out his phone to see if what Ghostwriter had said prior was true. It was. In fifteen minutes, it was going to be Christmas day. Damian and Mr. Freeze had disappeared for two days. There was no excuse for it. They just vanished. “Danny… can all ghosts manipulate time and space?!”

No. As far as I know, the only one who can manipulate time is Clockwork. So unless Ghostwriter was working with Clockwork then we were pulled into a different dimension before coming back here. Time in the Ghost Zone is funny like that.

A headache was starting to bloom behind Damian’s eyes as he sighed heavily. How was he going to explain this to his family? They had to be scouring Gotham top to bottom trying to find Damian’s whereabouts. Bruce might have even gotten the League involved. Just as he was trying to figure out what he was going to do, shouts outside of the Build-A-Bear had him looking up to see the now-empty food court swarming with GIW agents.

“Danny, close your eyes.”

Why…?

“Just do it!” Damian left Mr. Freeze’s prone form where it was and ran to a vent hidden behind some of the plushie boxes. He pried it open and found the hidden compartment that Tim had secretly built into it. His older brother had several of these throughout the mall. Before, Damian had thought that Bruce’s paranoia was rubbing off a little too hard but now he was thankful. He dug out the spare comms and shoved everything back into place before holding the gadget up to Danny’s core. “Can you make it so this comm works?” The boy crouched low behind the boxes and beckoned Cujo over to him as the footsteps started getting closer.

Sure? What are you thinking?

Danny’s core pulsed and something green went into the comms making it glow a soft green as well. Damian put it in and turned it on immediately. “Oracle, this is Robin I need backup.”

“DAMIAN?!” Barbara practically screeched in his ear and he would have said something if she wasn’t completely justified with her reaction. “Where on earth have you been?! What’s going on?” The sound of frantic typing filled his ear along with the familiar buzz of several comms turning on at once.

“Let’s just say Christmas is my new most hated holiday and leave it at that. Mr. Freeze and I are at the mall and we are being swarmed by GIW agents. I don’t have any of my gear on me.” Damian peeked over the boxes to see that the men in white were almost at the door.

“I’m on my way and you better have a good explanation for this!” Drake called over the comms with the sound of the wind in the background. Several others chimed in as well and Damian pulled the comm out of his ear. When the men and white breached the store with their voices screaming into the darkness, Damian stomped on the comm and picked up Cujo. Using the dog’s intangibility and invisibility, the vigilante stepped through the wall and out of the mall. Shivering violently from the sudden temperature change. He softly commanded the pup to turn big and had him traversing back to the manor. Damian even saw a couple of his siblings grappling across Gotham to get to the mall in time.

Do you really think this is a good idea? You essentially just led them on a wild goose chase.

“Did you have any others? Because the only one I could think of was to blame the GIW.” Damian sagged against Cujo. Mentally exhausted.

What do you mean?

The preteen took a moment before responding. “Those idiots in white have been trying to prove ghosts exist in Gotham for over a month now. They are just as bad as the rogues in their disregard for public safety. Their only goal is to catch a ghost though all they have grabbed are normal people… and a couple of rogues. It hasn’t worked well for them. It would not be… unlikely that I have been in hiding the entire time since the GIW was at the mall right before Mr. Freeze took over. I was out of costume and my comms weren’t working to get help. Is the plan foolproof? No. Do I care at the moment? Not really.”

So when all else fails, blame the GIW?

“Yep.” Damian blinked as Cujo phased through the manor wall and returned to the visible plane. He continued until they were right outside Damian’s door with Alfred looking at him with surprise and concern.

The pup shrunk down when Damian hopped off, earning him an arched brow at his current state of dress. “Master Damian… I am overjoyed that you have made it back to us. Do the others know that you made it back here?”

“No. I just managed to get away and get here.” Damian stepped into his room ripping the Santa hat off of his head and tossing it to the side as if it burned him. “I know Father will want a report but I would like to get some rest... it’s been a chaotic couple of days.”

Alfred’s eyes softened at his grandson when he saw the state the boy was in. Shivering from the cold in an awful Santa outfit. “That he will but just knowing you are home safe and sound should give him some peace of mind. I may be able to keep him at bay for now but you better prepare yourself for your next encounter. He has not rested since you vanished.” Damian nodded and Alfred made his way back downstairs. No doubt to announce to the others that Damian was home safe.

The youngest Wayne closed his bedroom door then tore off the rest of the stupid outfit and changed into something more comfortable. Damian flopped onto his bed with a heavy sigh. His brain going a mile a minute to try and figure out his excuse for vanishing without notice for so long. Cujo hopped onto the bed and curled up next to him. When Damian rolled onto his back, he grabbed Danny’s pendant and popped it open. A perfectly fitting little elf hat greets him atop the ghost core. “You sure that you are all right? You used a lot of power back there.”

Yeah, I’m fine. I basically used the excess stuff that was building up and had nowhere to go.

“Good.”

Can you do me a favor and remove this stupid hat? This is ridiculous.

“Nope.”

What? Why not?!

“Tt. If I have to be forcefully pulled into a Christmas story in a possibly different dimension. You have to keep the stupid elf hat on until after the holidays are over.”

That’s not fair! It’s not like I summoned Ghostwriter to attack me!

Damian got comfortable under his covers smirking at Danny’s indignant tone. “Punishments are often unfair. Goodnight, Danny.” He closed the pendant but didn’t take it off. Instead, let it rest next to him as Damian buried himself into his pillows.

You are only making me wear it because you think it’s cute, don’t you?

“Tt. Those are your own thoughts. Goodnight, Daniel.”

Despite the slight disgust at the name change, Danny’s smugness showed through. Knowing he was right even though Damian refused to confirm it.

Night, Damian.

Notes:

Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day today celebrating whatever with friends and family. I hope you enjoyed this little side arc and Damian's first ghost encounter (except for Cujo). You get this week's chapter a day early and now I'mma go and take a nap :3

Okay, so I feel the need to bring this up because this was mentioned a lot. This was just supposed to be a silly little adventure because I thought it would be funny for Damian to be the Grinch. Ghostwriter isn't being racist or intentionally racist in this little arc. Danny and Ghostwrite have a canon grudge against each other. He learned that Danny was weak, knew that he didn't like Christmas, and used that to mess with him while he could. He never tried to push religious ideologies onto Damian nor did he just assume that Damian was Christian. He doesn't know what Damian believes (if he believes anything). Ghostwriter wanted to mess with Danny. Damian was carrying Danny. So he pulled the boy along for the ride. Other than Mr. Freeze there was nothing there to harm them. Ghostwriter acknowledges other religions and even asks Damian straight up if he liked anything about the holidays, not just Christmas, in the previous chapter. When all Damian talked about was the reindeer, that's the only thing that Ghostwriter learned about Damian when it came to the holidays. There is also a difference in liking Christmas as an idea and then worshiping the religious connotations of it. The goodwill, people coming together, and general camaraderie of people during this time is amazing.

In summary, Ghostwriter is just a person who likes Christmas and the other holidays in general and wants other people to like the feeling too. Is he right in trying to push his holiday cheer on others without knowing the reasons why they don't like it? No. Does that make him racist? No. Will he continue to use Christmas as a way to mess with Danny because he still holds a slight grudge against Danny destroying his other artwork? Yes, and knowing other authors and artists I could see them doing the same. Ghostwriter had a right to be mad that Danny had no remorse for destroying his hard work just because it was a Christmas story in the original show. And that's the gist of it. Ghostwriter messing with Danny with Damian just being pulled along for the ride. Nothing further. If anything, Ghostwriter harmed Mr. Freeze more because he didn't know what happened to the man and then pulled him into a Christmas-themed story without reservations.

Chapter 27: Hol-egg-day woes

Summary:

You can only escape the Batman for so long...

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

How did he manage that?

Damian kept his mouth shut as he typed away at the Batcomputer but gave a small “Tt.” To signal for Danny to elaborate.

Alfred… he actually managed to keep Batman, THE Batman, off your back until after Christmas. Is he some sort of god?!

The youngest Wayne couldn’t help but smirk as he scanned through the GIW database in the hopes of finding what he was looking for. It wasn’t a guarantee but it was possible. Even Danny had admitted that there was a chance. “Pennyworth is the true patriarch of this family. Don’t let Father fool you otherwise.” The boy stated under his breath but the smirk remained. Alfred was one of the few people who accepted him for who he was from the beginning and who couldn’t respect a butler who wielded a shotgun as if it was an everyday occurrence. The mystifying awe that was rolling off Danny in waves just made the smirk grow more. If anyone deserved that kind of respect it was Alfred.

So… I know you had a day to think about it but what’s the plan? You didn’t really elaborate.

Damian ignored Danny’s question due to Bruce clearing his throat from behind the boy. There was no point in telling Danny anyway, he was going to hear it at the same time as the others. No point in explaining it twice. The boy kept filtering through the files until his eyes lit up at the one he was hoping existed. And it did. Subtly breathing out a sigh of relief, Damian swiveled around in the bat-themed chair like a supervillain to look at the majority of his family standing behind him. Cujo sitting happily on his lap. Cass, Bruce, Tim, Steph, and Dick stood before him with various looks of disappointment, annoyance, and neutrality. The only thing that had stopped Damian from getting jumped on Christmas Day was Alfred, who was standing off to the side awaiting Damian’s explanation as well. They all had a right to feel the way they did for his impromptu disappearing act which was why Damian wasn’t commenting on their looks. That wasn’t stopping Danny though.

Angy.

Carefully schooling his expression, Damian kept a level look at his family while ignoring the hesitant amusem*nt that was now replacing the awe. There was a bit of humor in all of this but Damian was already not looking forward to what was about to happen in the next few moments. So Danny could rightfully shut up at any time. Preferably now.

Look at how angy Brucie is. I don’t know why it’s so funny to see his normally goofy playboy face suddenly so angy. I can’t take it seriously. I just can’t.

Damian felt his lips twitch but hopefully, the others just took it as him thinking and not something else. If this was a diversion tactic by Danny to lessen the seriousness of the situation then he could rightfully stop now. Damian was thanking fate or whatever that Duke was out on post-Christmas patrol and Jason simply didn’t want to be anywhere near the manor during the holiday season. The only way to get him to show up at Christmas was Alfred’s homemade holiday cookies. Which was understandable. It was safe to say that just about all of his siblings would probably commit murder for a chance at Alfred’s delicious treats.

“So… are you ready to report what happened over the past two days?” Bruce asked with an aura that would normally have been intimidating if it wasn’t for the fact that Danny had taken to chanting ‘angy Batman’ like a prayer in anxious amusem*nt. It was taking all of Damian’s training to ensure that he kept a fairly neutral expression.

Damian brought his hands together in front of him. Flicking the pendant purposefully, making the ghost laugh as he took a deep breath and addressed the others in the room. “I was sent to another dimension by a ghost.” There was a pause among everyone until everything seemed to explode at once.

“A ghost? Here in Gotham?!” Dick exclaimed incredulously at the same time as Steph, who was watching him with wide eyes. Damian nodded his head, ignoring the surprise coming from Danny from the admission. “What kind of ghost was it? Was it another animal one?” At this, Dick pointed to Cujo who was now happily scampering around everyone’s feet looking for attention. After much deliberation, this was the only thing that could work in Damian’s favor. That was telling the truth.

Mostly.

They didn’t need to include Danny but the fact that Ghostwriter showed up couldn’t be ignored. Even though Damian could threaten Mr. Freeze to keep quiet it was highly unlikely that he would. The villain hadn’t seen the ghost who did it but the man was transported to the dimension as well and if Damian’s story didn’t match it would be odd. Mr. Freeze may have issues but hallucinations were not one of them. No doubt, one of the others had already gotten a statement from the man and Damian had no doubt that Mr. Freeze had told them everything. After all… who would believe it? One moment he was terrorizing a mall and another he is in the middle of a snowfield next to a Christmas town filled with Whos. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was pulled into the mess himself, Damian was likely not to believe it either. “No. This one was human-shaped.” Damian supplied evenly.

“That… actually makes sense…” Tim muttered begrudgingly but everyone seemed to have heard it.

“How? How does that make sense? Please explain.” Steph gestured with her arms sporadically.

Dick was very much in sync with her at this moment. “Seriously, how? The only known ghost that has come to Gotham is Boston; he can’t touch things without the help of a magic user. Let alone be able to transport two people to a different dimension.”

Tim walked over to a nearby table that held some of the ghost equipment that they had liberated from the GIW. “The trackers from the two agents in the mall were the same kind that we took from the ones that invaded the school. So unless they found us by chance that day at the mall they may have been chasing something else and found us instead because we were closer…”

“These ghosts seem to have some pretty obvious appearances…”- Understatement of the century. Danny chimed in almost making Damian break his neutral expression. Instead, Dick continued on. - “How would someone not notice a glowing green floating person?”

Cass looked at her older brother in amusem*nt and signed. “Because this is Gotham?”

“Duke flies around in a yellow and black outfit every day. Seeing a glowing floating green person isn’t that far of a stretch.” Steph rolled her eyes and Damian was glad that the majority of the room had adopted contemplative looks rather than the negative ones they had a few moments prior. He could do this.

This is working. How is this working? Why are they so quick to believe you?

Random dimensional travel was by far not the weirdest thing that the Bats had encountered. Damian wanted to respond but didn’t have the chance with so many eyes directed his way. “The ghost didn’t make his presence known until almost everyone had cleared out.”

“Wait, he snuck up on you?” Tim looked at Damian startled and it was understandable. Other than Cass, Damian was the hardest to sneak up on.

“It was like he popped into existence. I didn’t have a way to see if he had a thermal reading or not but to the naked eye, he was just there then not. There was no other indicator that he existed until he showed himself.”

“So how did he transport you to a different dimension?” Bruce finally spoke up after his children had calmed down. Years of learning patience with his wayward wards.

That… was a good question. All Damian had done was blinked and he was suddenly in the snow. There had been no lead-up. No magic word. No fancy lights or sounds. Just a single blip and he was somewhere else. “I’m not entirely sure how…” Damian half mumbled to himself and a half to Danny who only gave him the emotional feeling of a shrug. He turned back around and pulled up the file on the ghost in question. “This is him. The GIW calls him Bookkeeper but he actually goes by the name Ghostwriter.”

Oh god, it’s almost as bad as Inviso-bill.

Damian bit back on the comment he wanted to make.

There was a pause as everyone read the file that the GIW had on the ghost in question. When he felt like the majority had gotten decently through the article, Damian continued. “Though the GIW didn’t have a lot on him, it’s not surprising. They know he exists which is the amazing part. He has the power to pull people into his narratives. Whether it’s of his own design or a twist on a classic, all you can do is go along with it as best you can.”

“Wait, so what happened when we got separated?” Tim asked, stepping forward from the rest. Other than his father, Tim seemed to be the most involved, looking as though he hadn’t slept in days and he probably hadn’t. He was the last one to see Damian before he disappeared. Tim wasn’t good about taking care of himself when things happened to his family while it was his watch or if he was nearby. The teen probably scoured all of the video and audio footage multiple times before giving up and searching the mall in person. Tim wasn’t one to give up until he found whom he was looking for.

“Ghostwriter’s wrath seemed to be caused by Mr. Freeze destroying the Christmas decorations. He said we needed a lesson in the holiday spirit and pulled us into a classic Christmas story.” Damian subtly shuddered at what he was about to do next. The anxious amusem*nt that Danny held grew tenfold as the ghost teen realized it as well.

Amusem*nt started to dawn across all of his siblings’ faces except for Tim’s. “Are you… are you saying that you were pulled into a magical Christmas adventure?” Dick’s smile was taking up the man’s entire face and Damian growled lowly to himself in response. “Oh my God, you did! What story were you pulled into?”

“Also how did you know it was a different dimension? It could have been an illusion?” Tim asked as Damian turned back to the Batcomputer and dug out something from under the console.

The boy kicked the box that held the Santa costume he had been forced to wear toward his family. “Because I still have the stupid suit that the ghost forced me to wear…” Steph eagerly dug through the box’s contents. Her eyes alighting once she realized what it was.

“No way… you wore this?” she held up the green pants for all to see with Cass holding up the Santa hat and leather eye mask Damian had cobbled together.

“Damian… were you…” Dick’s mirth was radiating off of him at this point. “Were you stuck in ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’?”

When all Damian did was “Tt.” in response, all of his siblings were on the floor howling with laughter. Cass was trying in vain to cover her amusem*nt in the Santa hat to no avail. Dick was leaning hard on Bruce with Tim not doing much better. Since Steph was already on the ground, she just stayed there clutching her sides desperately. Even Alfred had a hint of amusem*nt on his face. Damian leaned back in the chair. Embarrassed but knowing full well it was unavoidable. The only good thing was that not a single one of them had photo proof he wore it thanks to Danny and his accidental jamming powers.

“No matter what I did. I threw the hat on the ground, I ripped it up, burned it… immediately a new one would replace it and I wasn’t the only one that got a costume change. Cujo had an antler on his head and-”

You are not about to out me like this to your family.

Damian’s lips twitched as he went to open the pendant and put Danny’s core in full view. There was a brief halt in the laughter as everyone watched the youngest show off his pretty rock that still had the tiny elf hat… only for it all to pick up again as it echoed throughout the cave. Tears were starting to fall down Steph’s cheeks as she rolled on the floor dying.

“Oahhaha! Oh my… look at my nephew. So tiny… so precious.” Dick was struggling to keep upright and Bruce was the only thing stopping him from hitting the cave floor.

Nephew?

Tim’s grin grew feral. “Wait… so does that mean you were dressed as the Grinch?” When all he received was another “Tt.” from the boy, the young CEO couldn’t stay mad any longer at his brother’s disappearance. Any punishment he could come up with would never be as good as Damian having to dress as the Grinch for two whole days. It was just a shame that there was no photo evidence… or was there?

This is cruel and unusual punishment. Just so you know.

Damian rolled his eyes and hid the smirk on his face by taking the tiny elf hat off Danny’s core. He snapped the pendant closed and tossed the hat at Dick who caught it without hesitation. When Danny hatched, there was no way Dick wouldn’t use that against the ghost teen for something, and if it was one thing that he learned in this family… you have to start getting that blackmail early. “When Ghostwriter realized that I wasn’t going to go along with the narrative the way he liked, he summoned Mr. Freeze to attack the town.”

“Wait, weren’t you in civvies when this all went down?” Cass signed to them all and everyone tensed at the implication.

“Yes, I was maskless initially but I wasn’t near Mr. Freeze right off the bat. I was able to make that mask before confronting him. After a quick fight, the town was saved and then I was back at the mall again. That was swarming with GIW agents that I’m pretty sure were trespassing. I notified you of my location and then used Cujo to get back to the manor discreetly. And now here we are.” Damian finished his tale and swiveled the chair back around so that he could update Ghostwriter’s profile.

“Oh c’mon! That was vague! You can’t just leave it like that!” Steph had finally managed to sit up off the floor with a shark-like grin that promised nothing but chaos.

“I very much doubt that you would like to hear about the meaningless fight of how I saved the Whos and the party after.”

“That’s where you are SO wrong!” The blonde called out from behind, determined to hear this tale to the fullest. “You saved Christmas for them! How can you-”- She had to stop as another bought of giggles wracked her body.- “How can you not want to tell it all?”

Dick released Bruce and sidled up to the chair to lean heavily on it. “Damian, please. You have to tell us. It’s like… some sort of universal rule. You have to tell what you learned at the end of the Christmas special. It’s a rule.”

Don’t give in. They already won’t let you live this down but if you go into full detail about the party it’ll haunt you into the afterlife.

For the first time since this conversation started, Damian agreed with Danny. The boy rolled his eyes again but remained focused. “Regardless of the how, this is undeniable proof that ghosts do exist. I do not know why he was in Gotham. I don’t know where he went or if he still is in Gotham. They are powerful. They are sentient and the GIW are getting away with things that would normally be considered war crimes for a human.” Damian stopped his typing to peek around the chair at Bruce who had been strangely quiet throughout this light interrogation session. The only thing he could think of was that Bruce could tell that he was telling the truth. It was also a lot to take in at once. “I hope that you have already started developing a game plan about those acts because if they are this bad in Gotham, just imagine how bad they could be elsewhere.”

Bruce was contemplative for a few long moments as Damian awaited his father’s verdict. He had told pretty much the entire truth and relayed some key information that they desperately needed. The boy had no choice in the matter when it came to his disappearance or the fact that he couldn’t communicate with them. The chances of his communicator working in another dimension were a far cry anyway even without Danny accidentally interrupting the signal. Damian had done his best with the materials provided and got back as soon as he could without stabbing anyone. This time. It would have been a lot of fun if he had his katanas with him covered in Danny’s ice.

That was a thought for another time.

“Okay, write up a full report and you have to attend the next gala Wayne Enterprises is holding in a few months. I need to add this info to the presentation for the League.” Bruce stated, his gaze softening at the end. “I’m just glad you are home safe and sound.”

Damian could feel the slight warmth and embarrassment those words brought, eliciting a small giggle from Danny. One that he would have thought was condescending a few months ago, now came off as endearing. He wasn’t making fun of Damian. He was happy for him. The youngest Wayne took a small breath and turned back to the computer in an attempt to look nonchalant in this sappy moment. “As if anything other outcomes could have happened.”

Notes:

And that is that! Happy New Year everyone! This will now be on hiatus until February. I'm heading out of the country!

To end off I guess I can summarize everything I've written for dp x dc this year. Let's go!

So Many Stars
A series of dp x dc oneshots mainly based on my ask game on tumblr

You Aren't Alone (and now you never will be)
A Danny x Duke fanfic where Duke tries helping at a suicide hotline. TW: suicidal thoughts and possible attempts

An Envoy for a Night
An anger management fic where Jazz goes to a party as Danny's envoy. Shenanigans.

Rehoming
The Justice League sort of believes what the Fenton parents are preaching and thus think ghosts are not sentient. This does not go well.

Look at the Possibilities
A series of dp x dc oneshots for DP/DC week 2022.

"Safe" House
Danny becomes the emotional support ghost for the batkids.

Chapter 28: Forg-Egg-fulness

Summary:

Damian is a busy kid. Sometimes important things get forgotten.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Damian typed away at a report while Danny hummed to himself. A new case had made itself known and the youngest of the batclan had been put in charge of it. A string of kidnappings had started to sweep across Gotham. There was nothing connecting them other than they all vanished at night after a brief scuffle. The others all had their own cases and, since Damian had a lot of free time recently, it had fallen to him, which he was grateful for. The boy had begun to become a bit stir-crazy due to the lack of action. Danny had been helping with those urges but it didn’t work all of the time.

“Age, gender, appearance… all of them are meaningless. Not a single one has a connection so why were they all taken?” Damian muttered more to himself than anything. It also didn’t help that the kidnappings were all across Gotham and not just in one section. There was no rhyme or reason and it was starting to annoy the young detective to no end. There was a motive. He just didn’t know what it was.

Danny hummed again in thought, unable to see what was on the screen but listening to his guardian’s words anyway. Damian had offered to look up a podcast or some music for the ghost so that he wasn’t bored but Danny had declined. He may not be able to read what was on the computer but he could still bounce ideas back and forth. This limited vision sucked at times.

They didn’t meet up at a party anywhere? Was there some sort of concert or were they hostages for a certain rogue?

The young boy hummed in response. “Almost everyone in Gotham has been held hostage directly or indirectly by a rogue. That would be too hard to trace unless that person appeared several times. If that was the case, then Drake would have noticed a lot sooner than this. His ability to detect patterns is unparalleled.” That made sense. Damian leaned back in his chair with a frustrated sigh. “There were a couple that were connected through social media or an event but overall they do not overlap.”

What about places that are less likely thought of? They might not know each other on social media and didn’t attend something as obvious as a concert but what about something from public services? Like a library, or a hospital?

More typing filled the amiable silence, as Damian started the tedious task of looking into each missing person’s medical records. There was only so many hospitals in Gotham so in a way, almost all of the people kidnapped were connected because of this. Which could be a lead, so he took note of which hospital each missing person went to last. Damian idly read aloud a few tidbits from each report for a while before a surprising feeling of realization came from the ghost boy. “What? What have you noticed?”

I have a hunch. Go back to that thirty-year-old who was last hospitalized for somehow swallowing a hot wheels car.

Damian arched a brow but did as he was asked. He had only mentioned that one because why would someone do that to themselves? “Okay, now what?”

Read through his full history. Not just the hilarious parts.

“All right, let’s see. There was the Hot Wheels thing… he was hospitalized for Joker gas a couple of times… Clean bill of health overall. A few years ago, he was hospitalized after an attack by Two-face. Got shot for failing the coin flip. He actually died on the surgery table for thirty minutes before being revived.” Damian scanned the sparse record and shrugged. “Nothing of note after that other than normal checkups.”

And there were no witnesses to these kidnappings?

“Surprisingly none. Which is impressive because there are at least twenty missing people that we know about.” It was unsettling. There were probably a lot more missing in Crime Alley due to the homeless nature of the community. But if someone went missing, they were unlikely to report it to the police. Damian might need to call Todd to see if there had been an escalation in missing persons reported in his area.

They all died.

“What?”

The connection. All of the missing people have died at one point.

The young vigilante froze at the realization before bringing up all of the previous files that he had been reading aloud for the better part of an hour. Danny was right. Every single missing person had died a minimum of thirty minutes before somehow being revived or their hearts starting again on their own. Damian frowned. A detail like this would have easily been missed. A bubble of anger made the boy’s eye twitch. There was only one group of people that he knew of that could track people who had died. “I would have thought with how boisterous they normally were, the GIW would be more obvious with their kidnappings. It looks like they are starting to learn the meaning of the word discreet.”

This was bad. If they were taking civilians in the night, there wasn’t much that the bats could do about it and it wasn’t like they could mass produce the signature jammers for the populace to use. The GIW would just invent something better and the cycle to keep on top of the tech would begin. Fortunately, they could keep a better eye out and he would have to give Barbara a heads-up. Now that they knew what was sparking the kidnappings, Oracle could run an algorithm to scan medical records for that variable. From there, they just had to do a slight change in patrol routes. With the citizens safe, now all they had to do was find where the GIW were keeping these people.

“Good catch, Danny.” The ghost teen preened a small bit under the praise as Damian typed a quick report and sent it to the hacker. Honestly, Damian had a hunch that this would happen. The GIW had no qualms about raiding a school and trying to catch known vigilantes for their own gains. Normal civilians wouldn’t stand a chance against their bigotry. Even when they saved the captured people, the GIW had the full right to capture them again as long as they thought those people could be ghosts. “I will also send a report to Father since this will further aid in our fight of taking down those Anti-Ecto Acts.”

This was very bad too. With the ways to check ectoplasm limited, they could technically target anyone they didn’t like and imprison them. Thankfully, the GIW didn’t seem to think that far ahead but if they got someone like Lex Luthor on their side then things were bound to go south fast. Bruce had to leave for the Watchtower a couple of days ago but one of the reasons he was going to the League was the GIW. Once those stupid laws were gone, there was nothing stopping the vigilantes from enacting vengeance on the ghost hunters.

Not that a law was stopping Damian.

If Danny had a safe space to rest then he would be the one running around Gotham letting the GIW know JUST how he feels about them.

Satisfied with the progress, Damian changed his direction to the GIW movement in the city. They would need a decent-sized building to house themselves and those people. Financial records are fairly easy to track once you knew what you were doing. The young detective couldn’t help but smirk as he was able to bring up all of the finances of the GIW with relative ease now that Drake had figured out how to hack into their system. Finding those missing people would be a matter of moments.

It’s quiet.

“You were the one who declined the offer for music.”

A spark of indignation was sent Damian’s way from Danny. No! No! I mean the Manor is quiet. You’ve been working on this report alone since this morning and not once has anyone come to bother you.

Well, now that he mentioned it… Damian stretched his back and stood up. That was rather odd. Normally at least Alfred would have stopped in by now. Not to mention, Tim and Duke, who were still treating him with suspicion. No one had stopped by.

Something was wrong.

Damian logged into the Batcomputer from his laptop only to find that his access to the home’s cameras was revoked. Drake had to be the culprit. His brother didn’t want him to see what he was planning. How convenient. He closed his laptop and put Danny’s pendant on making sure to put it under his shirt so that it wasn’t easy to grab. “I wonder what inane idea they are coming up with now.”

Maybe they were just busy?

“Busy attempting something against me. Trust me. When the manor is quiet, it’s time to worry.” Damian cautiously made his way out of his room into the hall. If he couldn’t watch the cameras then he would have to do it in person.

It can’t be that bad.

Damian chuckled darkly as he used his training to meld with the shadows of the manor. No goal on his mind other than ascertaining what it was his siblings was up to. “Never underestimate a Wayne family prank war. Most of those end, not because a winner was decided, but because Alfred didn’t want to clean up the murder scene. Which is understandable. Blood stains are pretty hard to get out.” The apprehension that was sent to Damian had his smirk growing wider. Only Alfred or his Father stopped the prank wars. Not one was stopped by the kids. Though he had never partaken in one himself. Such shenanigans were beneath him.

Danny remained quiet as Damian made his way methodically through the manor. There was no sign that anyone was even in the building. Despite the noontime hour, none of his family were in their rooms or in the most used living spaces on the second floor. He was just about to descend to the second floor when Duke walked by the stairwell and froze. The meta made eye contact with his little brother. The two boys stared each other down for a minute before Duke just ran back in the direction he came.

Well, that was not suspicious at all.

Damian kept on Duke’s heels with ease. Vaulting over the final steps to lessen the distance. “What did you do, Thomas?! Why are you home right now?”

“No reason. Just finished patrol early!” Duke expertly slid around a corner without breaking stride. Damian was going a little too fast and ended up springboarding off of the wall so that he didn’t run into it. Good news for Damian, the jump lessened the distance. Bad news for Duke, even with the lights flaring as he ran by didn’t deter the small child.

Are you sure this is a good idea?

“They are up to something and I will find out what!” Damian threw a couple of knives that he had on his person in an attempt to pin Duke to the wall but the meta expertly avoided them while dodging around another corner. “Tt. Why does he have the ability to see the future?”

He can see the future?

“Among other abilities.”

Danny made an impressed noise. So… I have to ask. Why is it a good idea to chase the future-seeing meta?

“Because he knows what is going on. Out of all of my siblings, he is the one that can’t tell a lie well.” Damian was gaining ground which only spurred Duke to run even harder.

Wouldn’t that ensure him to be the perfect distraction?

“Even if he was, he knows enough to lead me in the right direction. Why are you asking so many questions?” the youngest hissed under his breath. The odds of Duke hearing the whispering he was doing was small but he didn’t want to tip the meta off. Damian sped up to try and close the gap. They were reaching the back of the manor that opens up into a small sitting room and Duke would have a lot more room to maneuver than this hallway if he managed to get to it. This couldn't be allowed to happen.

Because no matter how hard you look at it, it feels like a trap.

Damian lunged and tackled the older boy into the room to the sounds of party poppers and confetti. They toppled in with the younger pinning his brother with ease as he took in his surroundings with wide eyes.

“SURPRISE!”

Confetti gently filtered down to cover the two boys on the floor as Damian’s eyes narrowed at what was before him. Cass, Tim, Alfred, Dick, Steph, and Barbara stood in the center of the room in front of a table filled with presents. The entire room had been redecorated with balloons, streamers, and more with everyone looking at the youngest Wayne with a fondness that only came out on rare occasions. A big banner saying ‘Happy birthday’ topped off the scene as Duke groaned exaggeratingly under him.

“I did it guys… I got him here.” The meta said with a voice muffled by the carpet. Several of the others chuckled and set off more party poppers, covering the boys even more in multi-colored confetti.

“That you did and in record time too.” Barbara grinned brightly at the day-hero’s suffering. “What method did you use?”

Damian rolled his eyes and released Duke so that he could get the little bits of paper off of himself. “He did not use any kind of method. He just ran from me as soon as we made eye contact.”

…and yet it worked. HEY!

The boy flicked the pendant as he finished brushing off the last bits of confetti with a frown. “What is all of this about?” Damian asked as he arched a brow at his family. They shared a look among themselves before Dick stepped forward with his own sunny smile.

“With everything that has been happening, it is a little late but we didn’t forget!” The oldest sibling knelt down to Damian’s eye level and his face softened. “Happy Birthday, Lil’ Bat. You’re twelve years old now. Well, you were a few weeks ago but it’s the thought that counts.”

“Yeah, lil’ man! We couldn’t celebrate properly while you were grounded but now that you are free we can party it up!” Steph called from the back with a smile that promised chaos.

Damian looked between each family member as they wished him a happy birthday as he counted back the date in his head. When he remained silent the others shared a look again and this time it was Tim who spoke up. “Don’t tell me you forgot your own birthday?”

He did. Mainly because Danny had woken up and the boy had been entirely focused on the young ghost’s recovery. But instead of just admitting it, Damian fixed a stern glare at Tim with an eyebrow raised. “Who was it that forgot his own birthday because he was hallucinating from a 72-hour stay-awake binge?”

“That doesn’t count! Scarecrow was on the loose at the time and we needed to find him before he did something horrible!”

“I was intensely researching the GIW due to the fact that they seem to now be kidnapping Gothamites simply because they have died for a small amount of time. I do not see how this situation is any different.”

“Okay, okay! Enough you two!” Dick stood up and kept himself between his two brothers so that a fight wouldn’t break out. “Today is Damian’s day and we are going to have a good day of family bonding. Now c’mon lil’ bat. It’s time to open your presents.” The oldest gently pushed his little brother toward the gift-filled table. Only getting a little mumbled protesting for his efforts.

Damian kept eyeing them suspiciously throughout the entire small soiree. They were all happy and joyful as he worked his way through his presents, which was normal. Birthdays were often a pretty joyful affair in this household. But despite everything, something was off. He blew out his candles to applause and everyone mingled with each other. He even got to test out his new throwing knives on Duke in retaliation for leading him into a trap. The only reason Damian was lenient was because this was a good kind of trap.

Other than the occasional emotion, Danny remained quiet during the entire thing. Which Damian was equally happy and worried about. The ghost teen did listen to Damian but seemed to always want to tempt fate by saying a snide remark here or there. However, this time he perfectly behaved and the only hint as to what was going on with the ghost was the small amount of melancholy that would sneak past to Damian. He wanted to ask but was currently unable to.

All in all, everything was pretty standard despite how suspicious everyone was acting. It was rather reminiscent of his first birthday at the manor, only this time he wasn’t gifted a puppy. He mainly received new weapons or paints for his art that he hadn’t been able to touch for the greater part of seven months. Maybe he could take a break and paint Danny’s core? Or would that be taboo in some way? Damian would have to ask the next chance that they were alone.

Blonde hair slipped into his line of sight and Damian looked up at the giddy expression of Steph, who had been oddly docile during the entire party. “Having fun?” she asked as the youngest Wayne leaned away from her a small bit but not nearly as far as he normally would have.

“This party was… acceptable. You all clearly put in a lot of effort despite the fact that this event would have gone unnoticed otherwise.” Damian nodded and took a bite of the cake that he had been given. The rest had been practically decimated by the rest of his family. Only a few pieces remained and one was being protected by Alfred for his Father. No one dared to try and steal that sacred piece.

The party was now winding down and the weird way his siblings were acting was beginning to become even more apparent. Especially Dick. He was doing the thing with his leg that he was anticipating something but couldn’t talk about it. Cass was giving him a stern look for this obvious tell and the others weren’t holding up much better. Steph moved so that she was fully in front of him with mischief sparking in her eyes. “Wonderful! Then I say it’s time to move to the next location!” The blonde called out to everyone in the room and they all were quick to start guiding Damian away from the party room.

“Next location? I do not need more than one party Brown. One is more than enough.” Damian fought valiantly against the pull of his siblings but failed.

“On the contrary, this had to happen,” Dick replied with a smile that matched Steph’s in a way that had Damian’s heart sinking. It was never a good thing for those two to team up.

“Christmas is over. You just held my birthday party. There is no other kind of yearly celebration for a few weeks. What kind of party could you possibly hold for me?” All of his siblings shared a look with matching grins as they pushed him into the sunroom that was deemed the secondary location. Inside, it was decorated entirely with the color blue as the theme. More gifts sat on a new table with cutesy stuffed animals and more filling every available space. Damian took in the room confused and turned back to the others with an eyebrow raised. “…and what is all of this supposed to be?”

Dick’s smile turned devilish. “Your baby shower, of course.”

Notes:

Hello, everyone! It's been a little bit since I posted. To start off with, my vacation was a lot of fun! I was on a cruise for about 2 weeks and we were primarily in the Carribbean and Mexico. I experienced a lot of new things and just had a fantastic time overall. However... it was not restful. We were constantly on the move and, since I didn't bring any tech other than my phone, I didn't have a chance to work on this at all. Then, when I got home, I immediately got sick. So despite taking a month off, I did not have time to work on anything like I had originally planned. Between running around in a different country to having a heavy brain fog from being sick.

Honestly, I barely got this done in time.

So because of this, I'm going to be extending this temp hiatus until March.

I'm going to take this time to do what I initially intended to do in January but didn't have the opportunity to do. Which was editing, planning out the next arc, and writing some chapters for setup. Thank you all for understanding and I'll see you in a couple of weeks! :D

PS: I will be adding fanart to previous chapters!

Chapter 29: Pr-Egg-sents galore

Summary:

Gifts that keep on giving :3

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

There was a pause as everyone stared at Damian expectantly. Each one had a look of pure mischief but the boy just kept his eyebrow raised. Even Danny had gone completely silent. No emotions. Nothing. Possibly in shock. They were waiting for something. However, they were going to be disappointed. Instead, Damian leaned back a bit and crossed his arms, then asked with complete seriousness, “What’s a baby shower?”

The pause continued on as a dawning realization spread across all of his siblings’ faces. Damian continued to look at them unimpressed before sighing and taking another look around the room. It was overly cutesy, obviously meant for very small children, which he was not. He was about to say something else when Danny finally broke his silence to just laugh so hard it felt like the ground was shaking underneath Damian’s shoes. The ghost boy’s amusem*nt was unrestrained as it completely enveloped the small Wayne through their shared connection. Somehow he managed to keep his face neutral awaiting one of his siblings to answer his question. Easily ignoring the mixture of laughter and babbling coming from Danny.

How… How can you not know what a baby shower is?!

“What… how? How do you not know what a baby shower is?” Duke asked clearly dumbfounded at this information, as well, because all of them could tell that Damian was being completely honest when he asked. The devilish smile on Dick’s face was replaced by something a bit more sheepish. Even Barbara rolled back so that Dick was alone.

“I grew up an only child trained by assassins and have only just begun my acclimation to the normal mundane world about two years ago. Since that time, none of the people we are close with have gotten pregnant or had a young child. So, no. I do not know what a baby shower is and I don’t think it would be safe for an infant to be ‘showered’ upon someone else.” Damian made sure to put double emphasis on the word showered and then gestured to the many gifts laying on display on the table. “If there are infants in those boxes, then please help me get them out. From here, I don’t see any air holes and if Father sees them then there is a high chance that I will be getting several younger siblings at once. I would like to avoid that outcome if possible.”

Steph snorted hard as she clutched her sides. “Wait… no... Damian that’s not-”

“There are no babies in the gifts!” Duke frantically debunked that theory before it could gain any traction.

“That… actually makes a lot of sense…” Tim muttered with wide eyes looking at his younger brother with newfound eyes. “I can’t believe we didn’t think of that…”

‘No children were harmed in the making of this party.’ Cass signed with the biggest smirk Damian had ever seen on her face.

Danny couldn’t even speak at this point. The laughter completely took over. How could a ghost core be out of breath? There were no lungs. How did that make sense?

All of the others were now looking at Dick and taking a step back, leaving the eldest to explain. Dick cleared his throat and ignored the heckling looks that the others were giving him at the slight blush that appeared on his cheeks. “It’s a party held by family and friends for a soon-to-be parent whether the child is adopted or birthed doesn’t matter. It’s a celebration for the newest addition to a family and the gifts given to the parents are often things that are needed to take care of or help raise the child.” Dick clapped his hands together with renewed vigor and pointed at Damian’s chest. “So bring out the nephew you are hiding and let’s have some fun!”

Danny’s laughter halted immediately as Dick’s words sunk in before the laughter came back louder than before. Wait? This is for me?! This baby shower is for me?!

Damian wanted the floor to swallow him whole. Just what the hell were they all thinking? He knew that they would mess with him at times but never in his wildest dreams would Damian have thought that this was what they would come up with. “This is… this is for the egg?” He swept a hand across the entire room of cutesy things. “All of this?!”

“Yep, now come on and sit down! There are so many gifts that we have to go through! And just like your birthday, everyone got you something! Including Bruce and Jason who couldn’t be here.” Steph practically dragged Damian to the sole chair that rested next to the table of presents. “Hmm… now that I think about it… did we ever hold a baby shower for when Damian arrived?”

“No, we were too busy trying to not be killed by him to do so. But now…” Tim trailed off and quickly jumped to the side as a new shuriken sailed past in the spot he was standing in prior.

Damian brandished three more with a murderous look in Tim’s direction. “Don’t even think about it.”

“I don’t think there has been a baby shower for any of us here at the manor…” Dick caught one of the tiny sharp stars that were thrown in his direction. “Ooooo! We should absolutely do it for everyone when we least expect it.”

“I will pay you to not do that.” Tim rolled his eyes with Duke nodding along next to him.

“Same. Please don’t.”

“I would LOVE a baby shower!” Steph smiled brightly with a decent-sized present in her hands. “Just to see the look on Bruce’s face. Wouldn’t it be great, Cass?” The raven-haired girl nodded along and Damian just rolled his eyes. If they were determined then he wasn’t going to be able to stop them. He might be able to stop his own fake baby shower but for everyone? No. It wasn’t his business anyway. “Now sit! We’ll start with this one! It’s from me and the best gift by far!”Damian eyed the two presents that Steph practically shoved into his lap with suspicion. It wouldn’t be surprising that whatever she gave him decided to attack. He gripped the ribbon at the top cautiously.

What? Do you think she gifted you a bomb? Open it already! I wanna see what they got me!

The youngest Wayne rolled his eyes and opened the heavier of the two gifts. “If anyone gifts me a glitter bomb, their Aunt or Uncle points will be in the negative for trying to teach the egg bad ideas.” Why was he going along with this stupidity?

“Why didn’t I think of that?” The blonde mumbled to herself, earning a scowl from Damian. He gingerly put his hand in the box and moved the newspapers out of the way.

“Show it off, lil’ bat! We wanna see what you got!” Dick grinned with a camera at the ready.

“Tt. Fine.” He hissed out and held up a case that held three beautiful rocks. A pink selenite, a quartz geode, and a green one that Damian couldn’t identify. They were truly a sight to behold but all it did was confuse him. “… Thank you? I’m not entirely sure how this would benefit a small child or a parent.” The boy said perplexed which was exactly what Steph wanted if her smirk was anything to go by.

Steph clutched her heart dramatically. “It’s lonely being an only child. He’ll need others that are similar to him so that he has someone who understands how he feels.”

Well, that hit a little too close to home. “You… gifted him siblings?” Damian couldn’t hide the disbelief in his voice and the blonde ate it up. “I just got this one. Why would I need more?”

“You’re a Wayne, Damian.” She replied with a shrug. “It’s only natural to accumulate a bunch more children after the first one.”

Wow. Brutal.

There was a flash from the camera as Dick took a picture of the blush that started to take over Damian’s face. “As funny as this is, I can’t tell if that was a crack at Bruce or us.”

“I’ll leave that up to you to figure out,” Steph replied sweetly before gesturing to the other package on Damian’s lap. “Now open the other one!”

Begrudgingly, he did as she asked. This package was smaller and in seconds he was pulling out a small frame with a tiny thing of fabric. “Tt. What is this?”

TINY HAMMOCK! IT’S A TINY HAMMOCK!

Ignoring Steph explaining what it was, Damian felt the happy giddiness coming off of the ghost boy as he set it up on the table next to him. Even going so far as to take the necklace off and place it on it. With a gentle push, Danny’s core swung slowly in the hammock. The ghost laughed with childish glee. “This shouldn’t be as amusing as it is…” Damian muttered before turning to address his unofficial sister. “Thank you… Brown.”

“You’re welcome! Who wants to go next?” Steph looked over at the others expectantly and Duke slowly raised his hand.

“Mine’s the one wrapped in yellow with a black ribbon.” He called from the back and Steph was quick to hand over to Damian with excitement. The boy looked the present over. Unsure of what lies within but confident that it wouldn’t be dangerous like Steph’s possibly could have been. He opened it and pulled out a monkey plush vest that had a leash attached. Damian arched an eyebrow at Duke who chuckled awkwardly. “Hey, if the kid is anything like you, I thought you might need some help stopping him from going out on his own.”

Ooooooooooo snap. He got you good.

The others reacted in a similar fashion as Danny but Damian didn’t rise to the bait. Instead, he smirked at the meta and set the toddler leash on the floor next to his chair. “Thank you, Thomas. I’ll make sure to use it a lot in the future.” Damian made sure that there was conviction in his tone and Danny’s laughter promptly stopped.

There is no way that you are getting me in that.

“We’ll see about that.” The boy whispered back as he set the wrapping aside.

I’m taller than you! It won’t fit!

Damian just made a thoughtful noise in response as he watched Cass gather up all of the stuffed animals sprinkled around the room and showed them to him. There were a couple of generic teddy bears but the rest were all stuffed ducks. Each duck was dressed like one of the batclan and the feather’s color matched each hero’s theme. She laid them out next to Damian with a smile as Danny gasped from his little hammock.

Those are all for me?!

“Thank you, Cain… just like the blanket, you choose thoughtful gifts.” The boy replied wishing he could tell his adopted sister what Danny was relaying. Happiness, joy, and excitement were sent across for the toys. Cass seemed to see something as she smiled brightly and nodded back to him. The next gift handed over was wrapped immaculately which only mean it could have been from one person. “This one is from Pennyworth, correct?”

“Yes, Master Damian. I do hope that you like it.” The elderly man stood in the doorway and watched everything with soft eyes. Damian didn’t know how the others got Bruce and Alfred involved but it was pretty amazing.

Also a little scary.

Damian slightly feared the gift that was going to be from his Father.

For now, he opened Alfred’s and gave a hum of surprise. It looked like a box carved from mahogany but, when opened, shows a bed. Just big enough for a certain pendant to rest. A side drawer contained additional pillows and tiny blankets. It was cute.

Does this mean I don’t have to sleep on your pillow anymore?

The boy smirked at the thoughtfulness of it and ignored Danny. Damian thanked Alfred and gently set the gift among the others looking at Steph expectantly for the next one. Though silly, most of the gifts were not that bad. He could handle this if this is all his siblings could do. He was wrong. He was very very wrong.

But in the best way.

The next gift was from Barbara and there were two. The first was a small rectangle that turned out to be a high chair for a small doll. Damian looked at the redhead who was grinning ear to ear. “I thought you would appreciate it. Now he has his own chair to join us at family meals.”

I am not sitting in that.

Damian took the high chair out of its box.

Don’t you dare.

Damian set it next to the hammock.

Stop it. Do NOT touch me-

Damian placed the pendant in the high chair and brought up the little tray so that Danny was less likely to fall out. It was a little snug with the pendant but without it would have been a perfect fit. Indignation was sent Damian’s way as the boy smirked slyly at Barbara and went to open her second gift. He had to hold back a laugh. She thought of everything.

It was a toy of a tiny butler. Complete with little plates and utensils for him to serve his doll masters.

AlfTwo was written in the corner.

He didn’t bother opening this one because he didn’t want to deal with all of the tiny pieces but he did set it behind Danny’s high chair so that it looked like AlfTwo was standing next to the core. It took a second for Danny to see what it was before a wave of amusem*nt drifted out. “Now he has his own little butler to tend to him as well. The egg is officially a Wayne.” Barbara finished with glee and the rest were giggling at the scene before them. Dick was having a blast with how many pictures he was taking. Damian couldn’t help but wonder how many would actually turn out.

Jason’s gift was next. These were two slim packages and one was definitely a book. It wouldn’t be Jason if it wasn’t. He was right. A brand new copy of Thumbelina sat on his lap with everyone roaring with laughter. Damian didn’t even bother to comment on it and since Danny couldn’t see details, all he could tell was it was a book. So he ignored the ghost teen’s curiosity and opened the second gift. It was a tiny toy katana. Damian held it up as the others cooed.

“Baby’s first katana! This is going in the scrapbook!” Dick smiled as he scrolled through some of the photos he already took.

Tim fixed his older brother with an odd look. “There’s a scrapbook?”

“Of course, there is! We must document everything. All of his firsts!”

Damian ignored their spat and tested the blade to find it was incredibly dull. At least, Jason had some kind of foresight when he sent it. Though he got the feeling that Danny would still find a way to hurt himself with it. That was just the vibe he got off the ghost boy. He set it next to the chair so it was easier for Danny to look at it.

“That’s perfect! Do mine next!” Dick exclaimed with excitement and Steph did just that. A package in pretty blue wrapping was plopped on Damian’s lap and he opened it only to groan at what it was. “You gotta hold it up!”

“I will not.”

“You have to! It’s part of the experience.”

“I refuse.”

“But then you won’t see the second part under it.” Dick took a couple of steps closer and trapped Damian with his puppy eyes. Now… it was amazing how a grown man could do such impressive puppy eyes and the boy was caving within seconds.

“Tt. Fine!” Damian growled out. He held the mug that said ‘World’s Best Dad’ on it and dug around until he found another tiny package. Danny was laughing at the mug when one of the others said it out loud but stopped when he felt dangerous energy coming from his guardian.

What… what you got there Damian?

In the boy’s hands was the tiniest replica Robin outfit he had ever seen. It wasn’t even made to fit a doll. It was spherical in nature and Damian eyed Danny who was sending nervous waves his way. “Shall I see if the Robin outfit fits?” A chorus of yes’s followed by Danny’s loud NO sealed the deal. He removed the ghost from the high chair and then the pendant and gently squeezed the core into the outfit. It was a little big but that was okay. When Damian affixed Jason’s tiny katana to it, the outfit was just right.

Danny sat mortified in Damian’s palm as everyone went nuts for the teeny tiny Robin. It was hard for Damian to keep straight-faced through the whole thing. He really hoped that the camera worked. He would love to be able to rub this in Danny’s face when he was normal again. Danny was set back in the high chair sans the pendant (still sending vibes of how embarrassed he was for wearing the uniform) and Steph handed him Tim’s present. Apparently, Steph wanted to save his Father’s gift for last.

Another book greeted him but this one was custom. It was a children’s book with a photo of Damian holding the core set in the middle with all of the pages on top so that his image cut through them all. When he opened to the first page he saw that where the photo was positioned made it look like he (well the egg) was the protagonist of the story. This was impressive because there was no way that there was photographic evidence of Danny’s core. It would be too distorted. So the only way this could exist was if Tim had photoshopped it in some way.

Damian looked at Tim who avoided eye contact. So he held it up so that everyone could see. “Thank you, Drake. I’m surprised. I would have thought Todd would have come up with this.”

Tim scoffed at the implication. “Have you seen his photoshop skills? They are abysmal. Can he fake an ID the old-fashioned way? Perfectly. Every time. But try to get him to do anything with a computer program….”

Barbara rolled her eyes good-naturedly. “You do realize that he was dead during most of the world’s biggest technological advancements right? He’s learning. Give him time.” Tension rolled in as everyone looked at Barbara and Tim before Steph clapped her hands to break the atmosphere.

“Okay! Time for the final gift! From Bruce himself!” the blonde grabbed, by far, the biggest box from the table and set it at Damian’s feet.

He had no idea what his father would have gifted him for it to be this big. His birthday present was two new ornate katanas that Damian had mentioned once or twice in passing. They were beautiful and fully functional. His Father had a habit of giving functional gifts when they didn’t outright tell him what they wanted. It was a smart way to go about it. Damian lifted the lid of the gift box to find children’s clothes of various sizes. Ranging from onesies to something an eight or nine-year-old would wear, there were also a couple of dresses thrown in for good measure. Everyone crowded around to look at the articles of clothing up close.

This… would actually be a good gift if this was a real baby shower. To gift a parent with clothes for several stages of a child’s life was a good idea and Damian liked most of the pieces he pulled out. Danny just seemed relieved that he was too small to wear them. Damian kept digging until his fingers brushed something at the very bottom of the box. He shoved a good chunk of the clothes to the side to reveal a blue folder sitting innocently at the very bottom. “What is this?”

“I don’t know. We came up with the idea but none of us knew what each other got you.” Duke replied as Damian pulled the folder out and examined it. Perplexed but intrigued, he opened the folder and froze. There was no way. It was impossible. Everyone looked at each other in mild concern.

It was Dick who bravely broke the silence. “What is it, Damian?”

Taking a deep breath, Damian flipped the folder over for everyone to see. There was a brief pause as his siblings read the papers within before they were dying of laughter. Steph and Duke were on the ground clutching their sides, Dick was using the table to keep himself upright. Tim was clinging to Barbara’s chair for dear life with Barbara doing the same to him. No one could talk.

What? What is it??

Despite his embarrassment, Danny’s curiosity got the better of him. Damian sighed as he turned the folder back over so he could reread it himself. Just to remind himself that this was real. That this was actually happening. “These… are adoption papers,” Damian replied as he read the fine print but smirked when Danny’s mind went blank.

ADOPTION PAPERS?!

And they were real.

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (15) Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (16)

Notes:

Hello, everyone! Did you all miss me? :3

For the foreseeable future, Robin's Egg will resume its weekly Monday updates! I also want to thank the Batpham discord server for helping me come up with the gifts that the birds give out. I was struggling a bit with it.

EDIT: FANART BY halfalix

Recommendations:

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Summon the Cat by elizabeththemerald
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Won't You be my Neighbor? by ArlieAshryver
Jazz moves to Gotham to get away from all the crazy ghost stuff! She wants to try being normal for a while. Is that a vigilante on her fire escape?

Chapter 30: History L-egg-ends

Summary:

Field trip!

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

He had forgotten that this was a thing. His father had signed the permission slip ages ago and with everything that had happened, it was understandable that it was pushed to the back of his mind. With the school still being closed, it was rather surprising that they were still holding this event but Gotham Academy had a reputation to maintain. So a field trip to the natural history museum was still on (mainly because it was already paid for and the school didn’t want to refund everything). Damian’s class had been combined with a couple of others and had been forced to meet up at one of the safer places in town.

The unfortunate thing was that his class had been split for the buses. So Jon was riding on the other bus and Damian had been sitting next to one of his female classmates whose name he never really bothered to learn. Her incessant talking to her friend across the aisle was only drowned out by Danny practically vibrating in excitement against his chest. The ghost had gone on and on about the Greek exhibit that Gotham had. Surprising Damian with how much he knew about ancient history. However, he hadn’t really had a chance to respond with so many people with eyes on him. Just because the bus was crowded and loud didn’t mean that no one would see him talking to himself. So Damian was content to listen to the ghost boy ramble about the constellations and the Greek stories affiliated with them until they arrived at their destination. Once he was off this claustrophobic contraption, he was finding Jon to ensure that he wasn’t paired up with anyone else.

Damian wanted Danny and Jon to meet anyway. The ghost had been showering him with awe that he knew a half-alien. They would get along well to be sure. All they had to do was sneak away when the moment was right so they could have some alone time to talk. Once again, Damian was very thankful for Jon’s super hearing. He could speak barely above a whisper and Jon would be able to hear it clear as day. Perfect for secretive conversations.

When the bus parked in front of the large marble building, Damian could not get off that suffocating bus faster. With the grace of an assassin, he fluidly made his way through the crowd and over to Jon who was waving excitedly from his own group. “The boy lives! I was worried I wouldn’t see you until you were an adult with how many times you’ve been grounded lately!” Jon clapped him on the back and Damian had the forethought to brace himself so he wasn’t sent sprawling into the person in front of him.

“Tt. You know as well as I that he got what he deserved. The grounding was more a slap on the wrist than anything.” The boy fixed his uniform and lined up next to Jon as the teacher started gathering the students to discuss the rules.

“It used to be something that was a great punishment though. You would throw the biggest tantrums because of it. I should know.” Jon fished his phone out of his pocket and scrolled until he found what he was looking for. “I have video.” He pressed play on a video of Robin ranting at Batman for benching him over something small.

Damian tried to snatch the phone but Jon was quicker. “Erase that! Why did you even record it?!” He tried to keep his composure with so many of his classmates around but was failing.

“Because it was funny. Don’t get me wrong, I side with you 100% with stabbing that child trafficker in the shoulder. But you ranting and raving at Batman is always a treat to witness.” Jon laughed as he kept his phone safely away from Damian’s grasp. Everyone else was so enamored in their own conversations to notice theirs.

The teacher paired them off and gave them a small packet of worksheets to go through. They could split off into groups of two and do what they wanted in the museum so long as they didn’t leave and they had to fill the worksheets out. Now that they had free reign, Damian grabbed Jon’s arm and practically dragged him into the museum to the Grecian exhibit. Partially to fill the majority of the packet out and also to have Danny stop talking about it.

Is there anything about Pandora? Asking for a friend.

Damian rolled his eyes but walked up to a vase that seemed to depict the goddess and her fabled box. Jon hummed along, quickly filling out the questions on the sheet using his sight. Thankfully, they looked to be the only ones on this side of the exhibit. “There is a vase but I doubt you will be able to see it in your current state.”

Jon caught his friend’s whisper and chuckled. “What do you mean? I can see just fine? I could probably see it better than you?”

“I wasn’t talking to you,” Damian replied, looking over Jon’s should so he could fill in his own answers.

This had the half-Kryptonian confused. “Then who were you talking to?”

With care, Damian pulled out the pendant and lightly tapped it before putting it back under his shirt. “Danny. He is awake. He woke up about five weeks ago. Since we’ve been homeschooled and I’ve been grounded, there hasn’t been a good chance to tell you in person. Danny this is Jon, the one I told you about. Jon, this is the my pain in the neck.”

Oh my ancients, did you just tell a joke? I AM a good influence on you!

Damian rolled his eyes as Jon also started to vibrate excitedly next to him. “He’s awake? He can talk? Is he talking now?”

“Yes, though it appears that you cannot hear it.”

I’m not surprised. You are the one that has been around me the most though there is more to it. We could try having him touch my core? That’s how it worked with you at first.

That was a good point. But Damian didn’t exactly feel comfortable having that as the catalyst for Danny to speak. Jon would have to touch what was essentially Danny’s soul and, though Damian did trust the boy, it felt wrong. Taboo. “Are you sure?”

You trust him, don’t you? That’s good enough for me.

Even with the consent, Damian didn’t feel too happy about it. He sighed and popped the pendant out and held it up to Jon. “We would like to test a theory if you don’t mind?”

“Of course! What do you need me to do?” Jon allowed Damian to grab his hand. He opened the pendant with the other and gently pressed Jon’s finger to the ghost’s core. Frowning all the while. It still felt wrong.

Hello! Can you hear me now?

They both waited expectantly for Jon to respond but it didn’t happen. Jon looked at Damian slightly confused as to what was going on. “Was something supposed to happen?”

Yeah. I figured this would happen.

Damian had an inkling it would as well. “When I touched his core one time that was when I could hear him. I needed direct contact. Now I don’t but close proximity and direct contact do make a clearer connection. However, it doesn’t seem to work with you.”

Jon’s shoulders drooped as he withdrew his hand. “Aw… all I hear is a humming coming off of him. It is getting rather strong by the way. Can he at least hear me?”

“Yes, he can hear you. I’ll just have to act as interpreter.” Damian closed the pendant and re-hid it.

That means you have to say word for word what I say right?

“I’m going to enact the right to edit if I deem it necessary.” The boy responded, quick to eliminate that train of thought. There was no way he was going to give that mischievous ghost that kind of power.

You are no fun.

The smirk on Jon’s face told Damian that he knew exactly what had gone down without needing to hear the ghost. “Anyway, I’m Jon Kent. It’s nice to officially meet you now that you aren’t asleep. I’m glad that you are starting to feel better.” Then Jon’s smirk turned devilish. “You can call me Uncle Jon.”

Danny barked out a laugh as Damian facepalmed so hard he thought the world would end. “Not you too…” Damian started but Jon cut him off.

“I’m the only one other than Jason to hold him. I get uncle rights. Speaking of… how was the baby shower?”

“Tt. Do NOT remind me of that,” Damian growled as they moved on to the next exhibit. The boys continued to heckle each other throughout the museum. Danny offered input and Damian relayed it. There were only a couple of instances where he had refused to relay what Danny had said but, unfortunately for him, Jon was good at picking up context clues and was able to discern what it was anyway. So he was tormented by them both for hours.

They were in the Egyptian exhibit when Damian stopped in his tracks and Jon had to stumble back when he realized his friend had stopped following him. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

Damian ignored him to walk with purpose over to the object that had caught his attention. There on an ancient slab of stone was an image of Danny in his Phantom form drawn in hieroglyphics. Ones that had been dated to have been written in 3200 B.C. “Danny. Explain.”

“What? What is he explainin- Oh.” Jon looked over Damian’s shoulder to see what it was. “Yeah, you know what? I need an explanation too.”

Confusion was sent Damian’s way from the ghost boy. What? What did I do this time? I can tell we are in an Egyptian section due to the Ra statue over there but I can’t see what is on that stone in front of you.

That’s right. He couldn’t see textures or details at the moment. “There is an almost exact image of you on a stone slab that dates back to the early years of Egyptian hieroglyphs. How is that possible?”

Aahh… I see. Well, what if I said I was actually a being that is thousands upon thousands of years old?

“I would ask why you are lying since I have proof that says otherwise,” Damian added after he relayed with the ghost said to Jon who laughed.

“Nice try, spooks. The only explanation you have is time shenanigans and those are often hysterical so dish!” Jon brought his phone out to take a picture of the slab.

Danny sighed dramatically. Well, you are going to have to be more specific about the era. I was sent back to Egypt multiple times.

“I’m sorry, what?” Damian demanded harshly under his breath. Noted, he had gone through his own time BS as well but it hadn’t been multiple times.

Remember that CW guy I mentioned before? The one who replaced Riddler’s riddle? Well, he takes care of our time stream so we don’t disappear and sometimes he needs someone to intervene. Most of the time, I’m the one he pulls in for the job.

“How many times have you gone through time?!” Jon asked incredulously at this information.

As of this moment… 17 times I’ve been to the past from dinosaurs to the Roman empire and I’ve been to the future once.

“Whoa! That’s so cool! What was the future like-” Damian slapped his hand over Jon’s mouth when he felt a wave of guilt, sadness, and pure self-loathing wash over him from Danny.

Sorry, I can’t talk about it. Besides that future doesn’t exist anymore. So there is no point in bringing it up.

Damian wanted to know what he had seen but it was obvious that Danny did not want to talk about it. Besides, it was not the time nor the place to do so. Jon was looking at Damian in concern but he changed the subject. “We’ve finished our packet and it is close to lunch. We should rejoin the others in the cafeteria. If we don’t show our faces then there will be trouble.”

The two boys made their way to the cafeteria where they were forced to split again to report to the teachers they had arrived with. Damian grabbed the meal with his name on it and found a table off to the side from everyone else when he felt it. A pulse of cold erupted from Danny, who groaned in response. He hadn’t done it on purpose. That meant one thing. “Who the hell is summoning you now?!” Damian growled lowly trying to remember the last time he had spoken to those cultists.

Is that what this is?! Ancients, this sucks! Another wave of cold escaped and Danny gasped with Damian that time. I didn’t even think that it was possible while I was like this.

“You’ve been summoned before?” Damian hissed under his breath as he tried to get to the bathroom or a secluded area as fast as he could without looking suspicious. This was something he had actually wanted to talk about but not like this!

Yeah… but it normally happens at night. Not at lunch! Also, how did you know that this was a sign for summoning?

Jon noticed Damian’s hasty retreat and was attempting to follow. “Because you were summoned on Halloween and both Jon and I were taken along for the ride.” He managed to find a bathroom that didn’t have anyone in it. Damian ran to the handicapped stall in the back and locked the door. “I have to ask. Does this hurt you in any way?”

Another wave of cold enveloped them both and Damian shuddered. No. Well, it depends on the summoning. The cruder it is the more painful it is but this one is surprisingly good. Whoever is doing this knows what they are doing. It’s just uncomfortable since I’m trying to resist it.

“Can you stop it entirely?”

It’s a battle of wills. Whoever gives first.

Damian clicked his tongue in annoyance. He couldn’t let Danny hold out if it could possibly become painful for him. But he was also in complete civilian attire this time. This could be bad. A decision needed to be made. “How long can you resist it?”

Not much longer. As I said, whoever is doing this knows what they are doing.

Sighing in frustration, Damian dragged his hands down his face. Preferably he would have liked to be in his Robin outfit but now it looked like he wouldn’t have the time to change. Decision made, Damian resigned himself to his fate. “Stop resisting. Let’s go.”

If I do that you’ll be transported just like this-

“Yes, and we will figure out what to do when the time comes. Now stop resisting. If we do this right then we can time it so that it looked like we got lost or something.”

Are you mad?!

“No, I am thinking entirely logically. I would rather you be in top form for whatever is on the other end. Now do it.”

Danny sighed but did what he was asked. Soon the familiar feeling of being stretched with a bright light appeared. Jon peeked his head over the top of the stall with his hand out. “Damian, I’ll come with you!”

“No time! Cover for me!” Was all he was able to get out before the light engulfed him and smoke filled his vision.

The smoke was just as overwhelming as the first time. Making Damian cough a bit as he swung his hand around to try to make it disperse. This was less than ideal. He was now in an unknown location with an unknown amount of people. Out of costume. However, Damian stood his ground and readied himself for when the smoke cleared. There was probably a way out of this if he did it right.

I can only sense one person here… but wow. There is so much magic around it isn’t funny. Be careful.

Damian couldn’t help but growl lowly at that news. Magic is one of the things that you couldn’t plan for. It had so many variables from the user to the composition that anything could happen. Even if a wizard cast a spell a million times if they messed a word up once then the spell may change. The only thing you could do was dodge and hope that he could find something that could repel magic in some way. Actually… “Does your ice repel magic?”

It’s not foolproof but it could work on minor spells. Unless they use a powerful kind of death magic then it won’t be able to break it.

“Then be at the ready to make me a sword if you can.” the vigilante whispered. The smoke was finally clearing enough that he could see a tall figure standing before him. Damian crouched low ready to strike.

“Bollocks, why do these rituals have to be so dramatic-” The figure stopped waving his hand to disperse the smoke and froze when he saw the small preteen standing in front of him. “Oh, bloody hell.”

“Constantine?” Damian looked at the man in mild surprise and then took in the room. It was one he actually recognized. He was in the House of Mysteries.

Constantine?! The guy who has sold his soul everywhere?!

Why didn’t it surprise him that Danny knew who the occult detective was?

The blonde man in the trenchcoat sighed and reached into his pockets for a cigarette. “I didn’t want to believe them. I can’t believe this is real.”

“Believe what? Why am I here?” Damian dropped his defensive stature and opted to cross his arms at the British man before him. He could work with this. Constantine normally kept a healthy distance between himself and the young vigilante. Damian could use that.

Constantine took a long drag from his cigarette before responding. “Kid… why… why are you summoned as the Ghost King?”

Notes:

WOW! You guys really loved that last chapter! I think that last one blew up almost as big as the very first one. I could tell I was missed! For those who don't know. The update schedule is officially back on track and will be updated every Monday until further notice! Thank you all for sharing the love <3

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Chapter 31: Eggtimidating Constantine

Summary:

Constantine may be an ass but when he accidentally summons the stabby Robin... he is still slightly concerned.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“What do you mean-”

“Nope. No. You are not going to try and talk your way out of this.” Constantine cut Damian off before he could eloquently gaslight the man. “Tell me, why is it that the occult community has it in their heads that Robin, Batman’s sidekick, is the new King of the Infinite Realms? Why is it, that when I used the summoning circle to summon the Ghost King, you appeared?”

Damian stood resolutely with his mind racing. “The only conclusion I can think of is that you messed it up somehow. It wouldn’t be the first time.” There was a bite to his tone but Constantine looked unimpressed as he took another drag on his cigarette.

“Look, kid, you can’t lie to me. I can feel the death aura coming off of you. Noted, you had one beforehand considering you grew up near the pits and have died only to come back. But now it is significantly stronger. As in, death god/ancient of the Infinite Realms strong.” The blonde man finished his cigarette and pulled out another. “What happened? Does Bats even know?”

“No, and we are going to keep it that way.” Damian snarled at the magician. “He has enough on his plate as it is. I have it handled.”

“You do realize that the only reason why he doesn’t know about this is that I’m the only one that’s noticed right? Not many of the other JLD go deep into the occult like I do but it is only a matter of time before it leaks out… wait” Constantine trailed off as he leaned closer towards the boy with a frown. His eyes zeroed in on the spot where the pendant was. “It’s not you. What is it that you have? What’s under your shirt?”

Damian tensed and took a couple of steps back. “I have no idea what you are talking about. It’s coming from me.”

Constantine ignored him and instead muttered a spell with a twirl of his finger. The pendant floated up and out of Damian’s uniform. Growling, the boy snatched it out of the air but Constantine had already seen all that he needed to. “Kid… bloody hell, where the f*ck did you get a ghost core?” The magician looked positively mortified.

“And just why should I tell you?! Release him!” Damian snarled and kicked at the magician as the pendant floated higher so that he was hanging in mid-air.

“Kid… you don’t understand… this isn’t just some pretty rock. This is a person. A very powerful person at that.” Constantine dodged the kick but couldn’t dodge the small knife Damian sent his way. It embedded itself in the magician’s casting hand causing the spell to stop. “Agh, dammit. Bloody hell, kid, that thing is dangerous-”

Gracefully, Damian dropped back to the floor and brandished a second knife in Constantine’s direction. “It’s only dangerous if you try to take him from me.” The boy glared at the man before him. Constantine used a spell to heal his hand and Damian allowed it. His eyes narrowed. The man knew more than he had initially let on. “How do you know that this is a ghost core?” Damian demanded and judging by the feelings expressed by Danny, he wanted to know as well.

Constantine just rolled his eyes as he tossed the knife back to the boy. “This isn’t my first time dealing with the Infinite Realms. Won’t be the last, unfortunately. But I have learned some things and I do know that a ghost’s core is powerful. Especially in the wrong hands. Now, be honest with me, where did you find it?”

Damian scowled but remained resolute. He didn’t want to tell the magician anything. He didn’t deserve to know and worse, Constantine could out him to his father. “Why should I tell you?”

Seeing that Damian was not going to drop from his defense stance anytime soon, the magician pulled out a flask and took a long drink. When he finished, he backed off to sit in one of the chairs that seemed to suddenly exist in the room. “Because being around something as powerful as that can’t be good for your health. Also judging from the power radiating off of it, the fact that the core is here could mean an interdimensional war. It’s rare for a ghost to be forced into its core. It means that the ghost’s body sustained enough damage that the core couldn’t upkeep it anymore. I don’t mean the little guy harm but it’s not exactly good to be worn like fancy jewelry now is it?”

Damian hid the wince well but Danny noticed. Ice started to spread out from the pendant in his hand and Damian was quick to bring it to his chest so that the ghost could feel his heartbeat. “It’s okay. You’re okay. He’s not taking you anywhere.”

“So you know it’s a person-”

I’m fine, Damian. Danny replied as the frost continued to grow. But he isn’t.

Before Damian could ask what was going on, a blast of ice shot out from the pendant right at the magician. He was hit right in the chest and the ice spread out, freezing Constantine to the chair that he was sitting in. Stopping right at his neck. The man shuddered and let his head loll back against the headrest. “This is why I shouldn’t have bothered… why do I always go against my better judgment?”

“Phantom! What are you doing?!” Damian hissed as the ice receded on his hand and he could feel the energy of the ghost drop significantly. Worry edged his voice as it continued to plummet. “Hey! Talk to me!” He was ignored. Anger spiked through their connection as Danny growled.

I’m fine and he has no right to say something like that to you! You have done nothing but do your best to help me and he just basically claimed that you don’t treat me any better than costume jewelry!

“I mean… without context, I can see where he came from.” Damian didn’t remove the necklace close to his heart. The anger washed over him again as Danny snarled.

He still has no right to say that! Thought the anger was ongoing, but the ghost’s energy was not. Damian could feel Danny straining himself and sighed.

“Release the ice, Phantom. Besides I would rather not look like I’m talking to myself.”

Oh, you don’t have to worry about that. He can hear me just fine.

Damian looked to the magician who shrugged as best he could from within his ice prison. “One of the unfortunate perks of working in the occult. Now, do you mind, mate? I’m not going to try to take ya’ since I seem to be missing some important context here.” With a bit of grumbling, Danny relented and the ice dissipated. Constantine pulled out another cigarette but stopped right before he lit it to rub his temple exasperatedly. “Sit. Tell me what happened.”

Not really wanting to but not having much of a choice, Damian sat down and looked at Danny as if asking for permission. When the ghost relented, the boy looked Constantine in the eye. “I found him bleeding out in a back alley in Gotham.”

It didn’t take long for the story to be told. Though Damian had left out a lot of what had happened in between. Most of it really wasn’t relevant. Despite the rather rocky start, Constantine listened the entire time without cutting in. Danny had gone silent as well. The soft pulses came from him, telling Damian just how tired that one blast of ice had made him. It had been a sweet sentiment but unnecessary. Damian was fully capable of defending himself with words.

Constantine was silent for a few minutes longer after the boy had finished. The man’s eyes were glazed over even though he was staring directly at them. Then after a world-weary sigh, the blond dropped his head into his hands. “Now it all makes sense.”

“What does?” Damian leaned back in his chair and sipped on the tea that apparently materialized during his explanation. Danny’s hum confirms his curiosity as well.

“The summonings. Why you are being pulled through.” Constantine mumbled before looking back at the boy in front of him. “It’s because you are his guardian.”

My what now?

“Your guardian. A guardian is someone that is entrusted to protect or care for a young or injured ghost. Sometimes the ghost appoints them, sometimes it’s the family of the ghost that does. From the sounds of it, when you agreed to take on the task of protecting Phantom you became his guardian….” The blond trailed off for a moment and gave another long sigh. “Which means that you are the temporary guardian of the Ghost King.”

“And since he is too injured to go to the summons on his own…”

“You will get pulled along with him. It won’t matter if you are carrying him on your person or not. You could be on an entirely different planet and, if someone summons him, you would be pulled along until he is capable of handling himself.”

Huh… and I thought for sure that Clockwork was my guardian.

“It’s not hard to transfer guardianship if the old guardian accepts the new one.” Constantine leaned back and starts fiddling with his flask. “They would be notified of the attempted change to see if the person is worthy or not.”

Well… that was heartening to know. Damian hadn’t even met this Clockwork ghost but he had somehow gained their approval. “It seems he’s been keeping track of me for a while…”

Yeah, he does that. He has a way of being cryptic about things. He’s probably the one who led you to me or vice versa. He’s good about subtly guiding people without them knowing. It makes sense though. He’s been doing it for millennia.

“Okay, your highness. You have been sounding like you drank an entire bottle of tequila by yourself for a while now with that drawl. Do you mind if I check you over? For my own sanity’s sake?” Constantine asked still playing with his flask. “I highly doubt that the little bird here has been able to take you to a proper medical facility this entire time.”

Hey, don’t take it out on him! It’s not like he has easy access to the Infinite Realms. He’s done his best with what he had. Also, don’t call me your highness. That’s just weird. Besides, what can you do?

The magician held his hands up in defeat before he was blasted with ice again. Even though the ghost was currently weakened, he had no doubt that he would be blasted again out of pure spite if he felt like it. “I can, at least, check your healing progress and conjure up some ectoplasm to give back the energy you used by attacking me. That way you won’t pass into unconsciousness again. Considerin’ you just started talking again and all.”

Damian looked unconvinced. Constantine, more often than not, knew what he was doing. He also never willingly put a child in danger. But the man still did a lot of stupid and shady deals that kept the youngest Wayne skeptical of the magician. “How would you be doing that?”

“Simple health scan spell. It’ll actually work faster on his highness than on you since there isn’t as much to him right now.”

The boy narrowed his eyes before turning his attention to Danny. “It’s up to you. I trust him enough not to intentionally harm you but he doesn’t exactly have the best track record.”

Oh, trust me. As the person that currently has gathered 75% of his soul, I know.

“I’m sorry, what did you just-”

It’s like the ghost version of Pokémon. Gotta collect ‘em all.

Damian shook his head slowly. “That is mildly upsetting.”

It was only a matter of time. Most of the demons don’t even want to deal with him anymore because of all the paperwork involved and how much they hate him. So they willingly handed their contracts over for the smallest of things.

“Are you saying that my soul is being traded like cards because it’s so common?” There was a bit of hurt in the magician’s voice from that realization. Eliciting a laugh from Danny.

On the contrary, the simple fact that you are hated so much makes you unique.

Damian snorted and quickly schooled his expression into the epitome of neutrality. “We are going off-topic. Do you wish for his help or not?”

Sure, why not? I doubt it’ll be the worst thing that will happen to me.

Both Damian and Constantine frowned at that but did as the ghost asked. Constantine muttered the spell out while Damian held the open pendant aloft. Fighting the urge to pull the core away from the magic that carefully scanned the ghost. The magician stared at Danny intently as he read the magic. He muttered a few words and the magic’s color changed. He did this a few times before he leaned back and began rummaging in his trenchcoat. “Considering you have been inside your core for eight months, your healing progress has been rather slow but steady. Most ghosts probably formed by now but it looks like your form is more complicated than the others.”

Sounds about right.

“But as long as you don’t pull a stunt like blasting ice again, you’ll probably be able to reform in another month or so.” Constantine found what he was looking for and pulled out a long flask with a glowing green substance that looked like Lazarus water, only purer. He opened the flask and held it close to Danny’s core. The two watched as it seemed to disappear before their eyes. “This should be enough to give you a jumpstart but it would be better to continue to heal at the pace you are going. You took a lot of damage and it will take time to make sure everything is right again.”

What if I try to reform before that?

The magician shrugged. “I’m not sure. Not an expert on ghost biology. All I know is that there will be consequences. Could be your powers will be limited until your body catches up or you may reform wrong. Regardless, I would wait and not risk it.”

Danny hummed in thought as Damian closed the pendant and put him back around his neck. “There is no rush, Phantom. I’ve carried you this long, I think I can do it for a few more months. I would rather you form correctly than have all of this time wasted because you decided to push it too soon.”

“All right, well this had been a good tongue wag session but I should probably send you back before Bats realizes you are missing.” Constantine stood and made his way over to the summoning circle, making some small changes.

“About that,” Damian began as he stood to follow after the magician. “I would appreciate it if we keep this from Father for now.”

Constantine stopped drawing to fix the youngest Wayne with a look. “Kid… you know I can’t do that. The fact that you’ve managed to hide it from him this long is impressive. If I don’t tell him, it won’t be just you who will have to put up with an angry bat.”

“I’m not saying that you have to keep it secret forever.” Damian stood resolutely. “I’m just saying that you don’t really need to bring anything up until after Phantom has reformed. Surely, you can keep the summonings and this conversation on the down low for a month or two?” The magician narrowed his eyes at the boy who simply smirked back at him.

“I’m sensing a but here…”

Damian nodded his head solemnly. “Of course, if you don’t manage to keep this under wraps, then it may or may not leak out to my Father that the reason the Justice League keeps getting billed from other dimensions is that you keep using artifacts in the Watchtower as your own personal betting pool.”

Constantine fixed a glare on the young bat. “You wouldn’t dare.”

“I sold out a classmate’s entire family for the simple fact that he touched Phantom’s core and then tried to step on it another time. Neither times did he think anything of the core other than a pretty rock but still…” Damian leaned in close with a sinister smile on his face that was sending shivers down the occult detective’s spine. “Try me.”

There wasn’t much of a debate. Constantine sighed heavily, stood up, and offered his hand to Damian who took it without hesitation. “With this pact, I, John Constantine, do swear that I will not disclose the situation or information of the Ghost King or his Guardian until the King has regained his physical body. Do you, Damian Wayne, Guardian of the Ghost King, agree?”

“I do.”

A magic circle twisted around their hands in a brilliant flash and then it was gone. “There! Are you happy?” the magician retracted his hand as fast as he could and Damian smirked at him with a victorious glint in his eyes.

“Very much so.”

Constantine hurried the boy into the circle and moved to stand on the outside. “Begone, ye demon!” He mumbled the spell to send the boys back as Damian’s smirk darkened significantly. With a lot less flare and dramatics, Damian found himself back in the bathroom stall at the history museum. When he stepped out, he could see that it was still open and that his class was still there. Only about an hour or two had passed since the summoning.

So… was the news story about that socialite in Gotham that you had playing when I first woke up… was that the family you destroyed? When did that happen?

“Early on after I found you. He had a fair warning. I also threatened him, dislocated his shoulder then relocated it again. Trust me. It was only a matter of time before his family fell. I simply sped up the process.” Damian seamlessly merged with his classmates as if he had never vanished at all and started making his way toward Jon when he saw him.

Honestly? That’s a little insane but thank you…?

The ghost was perplexed but Damian just smiled which unnerved his classmates around him. “No problem. I’ll gladly do it again.”

Notes:

I ALMOST FORGOT TO UPDATE I AM SO SORRY I WAS SO TIRED BUT HERE IT IS!

Recommendations:

Rigor Mortis by Olive_of_Vanders
Despite Danny surviving the portal he still has times when his body goes through the stages of decomposing. How will Bruce handle it?

Recuperation by Olive_of_Vanders
After finding out what bad days for Danny are, Danny sort of explains why he gets that way. Sort of.

Foreboding by Olive_of_Vanders
Even though his foster family has offered nothing but love, Danny is still having trouble trusting them. Looks like a test is in order.

Chapter 32: Inv-Egg-stigating

Summary:

It's Robin's first real patrol with Danny. What could go wrong?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Constantine kept his word. Not that Damian ever doubted. So that magic wasn't just some fancy flare to appease him. What he didn’t know was that his Father was hot on the magician’s heels without Damian having to say anything about all the bills sent to the Watchtower. There was nothing in the agreement about Batman finding out on his own. Constantine also didn’t add the clause that Damian would have to try and protect his secret in some way. So the boy was content to let things unfold on their own. If Constantine whined to him about it, all he had to do was point that out. One would think that a conman who was constantly tricking demons and fey left and right would have thought their deal through a little more. Just because Damian was a child didn’t mean he should be underestimated.

They… really did that… didn’t they?

“Unfortunately, I wasn’t expecting anything less.” Damian sighed heavily as he adjusted the gloves of his Robin uniform as he stood before the displays that held all of the hero uniforms of his family. The old ones, anyway. Now a new one had been added right next to Damian’s old Robin uniform and inside the glass case was none other than the Grinch outfit. Brown had to be the one to have thought this idea up. The only way they could have gotten away with it is if Bruce had agreed. Meaning that they had somehow got his Father to agree to this. More than likely, it was seen as an addition to his punishment. It worked.

Damian wanted nothing more than to erase that stupid santa suit from existence. But he couldn’t do it right now. It would be too obvious. He would have to bide his time until something more pressing or hilarious happens to make the outfit mysteriously disappear… and did Dick really have to include the little elf hat Danny had to wear? He was going to wish he hadn’t put it in there once Danny formed.

When I get my powers back, I can make it disappear real easy for you.

“I might just take you up on that offer,” Damian whispered to himself as he grabbed a spare comm from the arsenal and started making his way out of the cave when Batman called for him. “Are you sure that you are feeling better after that… incident?” The pure ectoplasm had done wonders for the ghost boy. His voice was clearer and the aura he gave off seemed to be much more vibrant than before. Which was a relief to how dim it had become when Danny had fired that ice blast at Constantine. Damian was still concerned about the repercussions of that but Danny had reassured him for the most part. It just showed how much energy it took for the ghost teen to do something that would have been considered to be easy before all of this.

The ghost just laughed the vigilante’s concerns away. I’m feeling fantastic! It’s been so long since I got to feed off of pure ectoplasm! I feel like I just chugged twenty redbulls with a side of speed. This is the best I’ve felt in a while!

Damian sighed as he made his way to his normal patrol route. He could feel the ghost core vibrating within his pocket. “Well, since you have so much excess energy, when I get to my first lookout point, do you mind injecting ectoplasm into this comm? It wouldn’t hurt to have it just in case another Ghostwriter incident happens again.”

No problem! I bet I could reform right now!

“Don’t.” Robin vaulted up the fire escape of the closest building and ran to the edge to overlook the city below. “Constantine might be a drunk bastard but he knows what he is talking about most of the time. If you still feel this way after a couple of months, you can try it. But for now, just relax. We don’t want to end up rushing it and something worse happening.”

Wow. You really sounded like a parent there.

Robin smirked as he jumped to the next building. “Tt. That just means I’m right.”

Once they arrived at the first lookout point, Damian held up the comm to Danny’s core. Just like he did the first time, a glowing green substance transferred to the electronic, and it began to pulse an eerie bright green. When completed, he put it in a hidden pocket on his uniform. It was nice that he no longer had to worry that he could be transported anywhere in the world without support. It wouldn’t be his first option since Damian wouldn’t want to explain what had happened but the option was there in case he needed it. From then on, the night continued on like usual.

Was that man in a suit being chased guy three guys in robes?

“That it was,” Robin smirked as he watched the scene unfold in the alley below from the rooftop. The GIW agent was having a rather hard time as the cultists chased the man with bats while praising their lord. The boy made sure to get a picture on his phone as they made their way out of the alley and onto the street.

…and you aren’t going to stop them?

“The way I see it, they aren’t doing anything wrong. What is it that Brown always says… Ah! That’s right! Karma.” Robin stood up from the ledge he was sitting on and pulled out his grapple. He was tempted to follow the cultists’ journey but they were going in the wrong direction of his patrol route. Besides, if the cultists actually managed to kill the guy then his hands would remain clean. Danny hummed to himself but didn’t comment further as Robin grappled to the next rooftop. Overall, the night had been pretty quiet and the young vigilante didn’t mind.

Danny had encountered the GIW a couple of times now since he had awoken but didn’t have an adverse reaction like Damian thought. Maybe he actually listened to him and retracted his senses? It was highly unlikely but the boy hoped he did. Maybe it was because they weren’t around the agents for very long? Regardless, the ghost hadn’t really had a reaction and Damian didn’t really want to test how it would go if he was forced to fight them head-on. It’s not like the GIW would care about Danny’s triggers. But would he watch as the cultists carried out his orders faithfully? Yes. Yes, he would.

Tonight was turning out to be a good night. It also felt great to be out and about after being cooped up for so long. The young vigilante skidded to a stop when his comm went off in a burst of static. Robin lightly tapped the pocket with Danny in it and the static backed off a bit. It wasn’t perfect but at least he could hear what who was talking.

“Robin, do you come in?” Oracle asked and it really was shocking how clear she sounded compared to the months of garbled static he was used to. Danny really was getting better.

“I hear you, Oracle,” Robin replied as he crouched on the rooftop he was on to look at the streets below.

There was a surprised noise that came from the redhead at how clear his voice was. “I must have caught you in a good spot because you haven’t been this clear since the day you showed back up in the mall.” -Damian grunted in acknowledgment. - “I think I may have a lead on our missing Gothamites and you are the closest to the location. I’m sending the coordinates now.”

A message popped up in Robin’s mask and he looked through it briefly, memorizing the contents. “On it. Heading over now.”

“You are not to engage, Robin. Just observe.” The gravelly voice of Batman cut in as the young vigilante changed his course.

“Tt. Affirmative.” Robin begrudgingly replied but they all knew that if the situation was serious then that promise was going to be broken. It wouldn’t be the first time a Robin went against orders. It wouldn’t be the last.

The trek to the location took only a couple of minutes thanks to the grapple gun and a couple of shortcuts. Robin zoomed in on the abandoned building before him. It was right on the edge of Crime Alley in what was considered a neutral zone. If something happens here either the bats or Hood took care of the problem. Whoever arrived at the scene first. Indistinct white vans were parked in locations that made them less obvious but their clean appearance was a dead giveaway. “They are definitely here. But if it’s a decoy is anyone’s guess…”

There are definitely people in there. A lot of them.

Robin checked to see if his comm was on before replying. The static took back over due to Danny’s will. “How many? I thought you can’t see far?”

Well, that is the unfortunate good news about the GIW. They use a lot of ectoplasm to fuel their weapons and experiments. I use it to see so to speak. If we got a little closer, I bet I could see even better.

Robin frowned, unsure. He did want to do a thorough investigation but he didn’t want to put Danny at risk. The boy tsked to himself knowing that the ghost was about to press the matter judging by the determination he was pushing Damian’s way. Instead, he did as Danny asked and made his way so that he was on the rooftop closest to the building. A lot of the windows had long since been boarded up but there were a few toward the back that wasn’t. “How about now?”

I think Oracle is right. We found them.

“Where do you see them?”

Try and look at the top left corner. There appear to be rooms filled with people.

Robin used every filter and zoom option that his mask had to offer to no avail. “Tt. I see nothing but darkness in an abandoned building.” The ghost hummed to himself in thought as the boy continued. “We are going to need more proof than just a gut feeling if you want us to try and go in.”

Then hold me up to your mask.

“Why?”

I want to try something.

Rolling his eyes, Damian did as he was asked. Green light covered his vision as Danny repeated what he did with the comm to his mask by infusing ectoplasm into it. The ghost grumbled in concentration and let out a sigh when he was done. “I really hope this mask doesn’t glow in the dark now.”

Sorry… I can’t guarantee if it does or not. But how is your vision now? Can you see better?

After putting Danny back in his designated pocket, Robin looked back at the building and hummed in surprise. It was like he was wearing night vision goggles with an x-ray effect. He couldn’t see the entire building but it was good enough. Looking to the top left showed several rooms crammed full of people that had to be the missing civilians. Agents patrolled the halls with lines of bright green embedded in the walls to show ectoplasm circulating throughout the whole building. Was the building powered by it? “Just what are they doing, kidnapping all of these people.”

I have a pretty good idea…

The boy frowned but didn’t ask Danny to elaborate. He didn’t need to. The ghost’s screams still haunted Damian’s dreams at times. They stayed quiet and continued to observe the building when screams started coming from a different part of the building. It was a little out of range but it looked like there was a lab on the opposite side. There were a few people in what looked like lab coats with something on a table. These bastards were experimenting on innocent civilians.

Robin didn’t hesitate. He signaled for Danny to try and control the static as he turned his comm back on. “Oracle, come in. Oracle do you copy?”

“I hear you. What did you find?”

“I need everyone to converge on this location. The missing civilians are here and they aren’t alone… The GIW seem to be keeping up with their experiments but instead of ghosts they have moved on to the living. The building seems to be armed and guards are patrolling at regular intervals. With the number of people they have in containment, we are going to need everyone to help with this.” There were several gasps as the others heard what he said. A flurry of typing came from Oracle as she filled everyone in. “I’m going in. They are currently experimenting on someone right now and I cannot guarantee their survival from where I am at.”

“Negative, Robin. You are to wait until the others arrive. By infiltrating now, you may be putting them all at risk.” Batman denied and the boy growled when another scream tore through the night. A cold spot started to form in Danny’s pocket and he placed a comforting hand on it and projected reassurances.

We need to get in there. These people are normal humans. If they aren’t ghosts now, they very well might be if we let this continue. There was an odd air of determination and confidence that Danny was exuding. The need to protect also slowly grew stronger the longer that Robin remained where he was.

“I stand by what I said. I’m going in.” Robin responded and turned his comm off just as the static started to get overwhelming again.

What’s the plan?

Robin fired his grapple and swung into one of the nearby boarded windows. The ancient wood disintegrated as he kicked his way through. With a skillful roll, he ended in a crouch and melded into the shadows. Waiting to see if his presence had been noticed. Before he stood up, there was another crash as the window further down exploded into splintered wood. Subtly, Robin pulled out two daggers. If they were going to fight then he was going to give it to them.

“Seriously, Gremlin! He told you to wait!” The annoyed voice of Red Robin came from the new person who had just broken through the window. “I was literally a couple of minutes away. Did you really have to come in here by yourself?”

Robin rolled his eyes as he stood up but didn’t put his weapons away. “Tt. Judging by those screams, I didn’t have that kind of time.”

“What screams-” Red Robin was cut off as another desperate cry came from the floor below them and the older teen shuddered slightly. “Nevermind. That’s fair. I probably would have done the same.”

“From what I saw there have been two agents patrolling each corridor every four minutes. It has been about three minutes. If we want to keep going undetected then we need to move.” Robin took the lead with RR falling in step behind.

“Makes sense judging from the layout I was looking at. If we follow this hallway there should be a stairwell coming up on our right.” RR threw a birdarang into the darkness and there was a sizzle. The camera fell from its high position to the floor with a clatter, echoing throughout the floor.

Robin growled. “Was that necessary?”

“Not everyone has technology jamming powers that you seem to have developed, lil bat.” Tim shrugged and took the lead only to stop in front of the stairwell. “Where did you say the lab was at?”

“Two floors down in the back corner.” The boy replied as RR brought up a map of the layout of the building on his hollow glove. “From what I saw, there were five people in the room and several guards out front. They seem to have really learned from their last few escape attempts.”

The teen hummed as he plotted a route to where Damian pointed on the map. “Okay, this shouldn’t be so bad. If we head down the stairs here, we can take it all the way down to the first floor. Then we just have to take a right and it should be at the end of the hall-”

Robin stopped listening as the sound of footsteps began to get closer. He slipped past his brother and lined himself up at the end of the hall, switching his daggers out for tasers. When the two men in white suits rounded the corner, he slipped past them and jabbed the tasers into their backs. After a brief cry, the two men crumpled to the floor and Damian added an additional kick for good measure. Red Robin just arched a brow at the needless violence and just for that Damian kicked the downed men again. “What? They deserve much more than this and you know it.”

“Fair. Now come on. Our clock is really ticking now.”

The boy nodded and very quickly removed their weapons and tied them up before shoving them in a corner where they were less likely to be noticed. Time was limited because the moment those agents missed check-in, they would be exposed. Red Robin started down the stairs, taking out any suspicious devices as he went with Damian following close behind. The youngest used his new sight to take out the tech that Red Robin missed as they systematically started making their way toward the lab.

Brief cries of surprise were the only noise for a while once the two vigilantes made it to the ground floor. “I don’t like this… it’s too quiet.” Robin whispered as he used his taser to knock out another agent.

“Maybe they passed out from the pain? If that’s the case, then it was probably a blessing.” RR slammed his bo staff on the heads of two more approaching guards, slightly amazed that the alarm hadn’t been triggered yet. Robin stalled for a moment when he felt a wave of protective apprehension come from Danny.

I hope that’s the case.

Notes:

Hello, everyone! Next week's chapter will be a little early since I won't be home on Monday! Just letting you all know :3

Recommendations:

Holding Me Now In Hand by DisillusionedDeku
A Danny/Dick Grayson fic where it follows the "Danny is a chemistry teacher and his students think he will go rogue". It's super cute.

The Business of Family by Spaced_Ace
After the Fentons find out about Danny, they need to get away. Jazz can think of one person. Their cousin Oswald Cobblepot. The Penguin.

The way to get lost in you by Half-dead Ham
Danny accidentally merges with Jason after escaping. Shenanigans ensue. Brand new work but a great start.

Twin Stars by CrescentCyan
Demon Twins AU where they meet again at a gala! I love me a good Demon Twins fic <3

Chapter 33: *Egg-pril Fool's day*

Summary:

Hello! For future readers, this was posted on April fool's day as a joke and isn't canon. So feel free to skip over this chapter if you wish.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

It didn’t take them long to find the lab. The hallway was littered with knocked-out agents and broken equipment. For all of their fights, the two boys made a good team when it counted. With a couple of keystrokes, Red Robin had the door unlocked and they were busting in. Damian growled. “Danny, turn your senses off.” he hissed in a harsh whisper but the cold that was seeping into his hip told the boy that it was a warning too late.

Before them were five scientists holding various medical implements over a person strapped to the table. The poor man was no longer conscious. Then again, that was probably a blessing. Robin didn’t give them time to react. He had his sword out and was on the scientists before his brother could finish comprehending what he was seeing. “Robin, no killing!” was out of the older boy’s lips as he joined the chaos. Attempting to take out the scientists before his little brother could get his hands on them. He was being more brutal with his hits and more violent overall. Not that he blamed him, but it was a slippery slope that Damian had fallen down before. He had been doing so well but Tim didn’t want him falling down it again.

“Tt. I know! Why are you pointing out the obvious?” Damian growled as he broke the nose of one of the adults and with that, the last scientist was out for the count. He stood over his bloodied three with anger distorting his features. “They are hurt but they will live.”

“That was excessive-“

“THAT IS EXCESSIVE!” Robin practically roared while pointing to the Gothamite strapped to the table. “This whole facility is excessive! If I hit them a little harder than normal, then it is what these vermin deserve.” He knew he was being too much but Damian didn’t care. The ghost boy was freaking out in his pocket and it was making it hard to separate his own emotions from the ghosts.

Red Robin’s eyes narrowed at his little brother before sighing. “Okay… you clearly have some anger to work off. I get it. Why don’t you start clearing the floors of hostiles so that extraction will be easier? I’ll stay here and take care of this one.” Robin was out of the lab before the older vigilante could finish talking.

Danny’s emotions were running rampant. As if seeing the person strapped to the table had set him off. Which it probably did. He reached into the pocket to try and calm the ghost boy as he made his way to the stairs and descended to the lower levels. He didn't want to leave yet. There was some payback to be administered. When Danny's emotions seemed to have leveled out, he proceeded with the mission. If Danny had another freakout he would leave. Damian wasn't going to risk the ghost's mental state for some petty revenge. All of the dirty secrets were always in the basem*nt. However, he underestimated just how many more of the agents were down there. As soon as he stepped into the basem*nt floor, alarms blared and the door to the hallway behind him was blocked by a sheet of glowing green metal.

Several agents were on the boy in a heartbeat. He was swarmed but that was fine by him. It just meant that he could be more aggressive than he normally would be. The young vigilante had cleared out an office and was finally able to take a break when the glowing door was blasted open and Red Hood made his way onto the lower floor. “Demon brat! You should have waited for backup!” The hall looked like the beginning of a horror movie with all of the bodies lying on the floor.

Damian ignored him and pulled out the pendant with Danny. The ghost was getting worse. He could feel the core tremble in his hands as the cold spread out from his fingertips. “Danny… It’s okay. I’ve had my fun, we can leave.” The boy gently caressed the core but it didn’t seem to be helping. But now that Danny was at this stage, he wasn’t going to risk the ghost’s mental state any further. The alarms were still blaring around them and it felt like the ghost was hyperventilating… without lungs. It was still weird how that worked.

Nononononono, I won’t go back. I can’t go back. They’ll rip me to shreds. I won’t be able to survive if I go back. I can’t, I CAN’T

Red Hood stopped in his tracks and froze in the doorway to the room Damian was in. “Hey… what is that voice-”

I WON’T LET THEM CATCH ME!

“Danny, it’s okay! You are safe... DANNY NO!” Robin exclaimed as the beautiful core began to glow brilliantly. Looking around frantically, the boy shoved his older brother out of the way and ran back up the stairs to the ground floor. Red Hood was hot on his heels trying to get him to come back and explain what was going on. He was ignored as Robin broke out of the building through the nearest window and grappled to the top of the closest building. “Remember what Constantine said! If you reform now, there are probably going to be repercussions! Danny, it's okay! We aren’t in the building anymore. You are safe!”

Nothing was working as the core glowed brighter in the boy’s hands. He popped open the pendant and the core started to float above Damian’s hands as the light began to swirl about at a more fervent pace. “Damian, are you okay? What’s going-” Red Robin popped up on the roof followed by Red Hood and the two stood by the ledge with wide eyes. “Is that the egg?! Robin, what is that?!”

“Get away from it-!” Hood reached out toward his little brother as they were blinded by a brilliant flash of light.

Robin screwed his eyes shut in an attempt to save them but the light seared through his eyelids. When the light finally dimmed, he felt something curl around his outstretched hand as he frantically rubbed his eyes with the other. “Danny…? Danny, are you okay?” The weight on his arm wasn’t one that would be associated with a teenager’s arm. It was more akin to when he picked up Alfred the cat.

A cute trill answered him.

When his vision returned, Damian’s eyes went wide at the small creature that was on his outstretched hand. It looked like a smaller version of Danny. It had a shock of white hair in the same style, large luminous green eyes, little nubs for hands, and a noodle body that was wrapped around his upper arm. The boy gaped for a moment before hesitantly asking “…Danny?”

The creature chirped happily before biting the pendant that had held its core just a moment ago. It purred contentedly as it bit the metal several times. Happy. Safe. Content. With boy. Happy. Safe.

Damian sighed heavily as he brought his arm to his chest and tried to pet the top of Danny’s hair only to be batted away valiantly with the tiny nubs. So this is what Constantine meant by consequences. Danny had reformed too soon and now he looked like a tiny little pit creature and his intelligence had dropped to match. Was this permanent? Was the ghost boy stuck like this now? “Dammit, Danny. I told you not to reform yet.” The little ghost noodle simply playfully bit Robin’s finger in retaliation.

“What… is that?” Tim’s voice cut in and Damian turned to see his brothers eyeing the odd creature in his arms with wide eyes.

“My son? Obviously. What else would he be? His name is Danny.” Damian let the little ghost snag his free hand to chomp away harmlessly on it.

“Wha- wait… was that thing the voice I heard you talking to downstairs-” Red Hood began as Red Robin stepped closer with his eyes wide.

“ARE YOU TELLING ME THE EGG HATCHED?!” Tim’s voice raised several octaves as he took in the little thing in Damian’s arms. “It wasn’t just a pretty rock?!”

Damian rolled his eyes as he made his hand into a claw shape and gently grabbed Danny’s head making the ghost growl and bat at his hand to try and get it off. Biting all the while. The happy emotions coming from the ghost betrayed the false intimidation for what it was. “I told you that it was an egg. You all were the ones who misinterpreted it.” The boy couldn’t help but smirk at the actions of the ghost boy. It was reminiscent of kitten Alfred and he couldn’t help but find it cute.

“Wait… that wasn’t… then all of that… everything you’ve done…” Damian’s words seemed to have broken his older brother as Jason stepped forward, eyeing the creature in Damian’s arms warily.

“Are you sure this thing is safe? It looks like and feels like, it came out of the pit.” He reached his hand out to try and pet Danny only to receive a hiss and a swipe smacking his hand away as the ghost hid in Damian’s arms with his back arched.

The boy gently stroked Danny’s back, projecting calm and reassurance. “Shh… it’s okay. This is just your Uncle Todd. He won’t hurt you.” The soothing motion seemed to work as the hackles the ghost had raised dropped and allowed the man to stroke his white hair.

“I can’t… I can’t believe this.” Red Robin was now pacing the rooftop as the others began to descend on their position now that the mission was done. “But it makes so much sense! There was no way you would have been so attached to a rock you found one day! Only animals have a way of worming their way into your heart!”

“I HEARD THE EGG HATCHED! I NEED TO SEE MY NEPHEW!!!” Nightwing was the first on the scene, quick to shove Hood out of the way so that he could get a better look. The older vigilante cooed at Danny’s cuteness. “Oh, he looks like a little babyman! What was his name?”

“Danny.”

“Danny! That’s a wonderful name. I’m your Uncle Nightwing! Can I hold him?” Dick held his hands out but kept them at a respectable distance so that he didn’t scare the little ghost.

Robin readjusted his hold and looked at Danny who was looking at the man in blue and black with curious eyes. “I don’t see why not, but I can’t guarantee anything.” He held his arms out toward Nightwing’s so that Danny could decide for himself if he wanted to go over to his brother or not. The little ghost looked from Damian to Nightwing a couple of times before uncurling himself and floating across the gap with the pendant in his mouth and settling in the man’s arms. Promptly biting the pendant and resuming the play he had been doing in Damian’s. Nightwing gently petted and poked the ghost who batted his hands in retaliation and nibbled the fingers that got too close. The man cooed all the while. Suddenly, he clutched Danny close who let out a trill of surprise. “All right. That’s it. If this little guy is hurt in any way then that person is dead. I would die for this little man.”

That seemed to bring Red Robin back to his senses. “I’m sorry what?! We don’t even know what that thing is? It could be dangerous for all we know!”

“Oooo… that’s a loss of uncle points right there. How could you call Danny an ‘it’ to his face?” Nightwing held the ghost out toward Tim’s face. “And how can this little guy be dangerous? Just look at him!” Danny’s green eyes stared into Red Robin’s dominoed ones before he grinned and bit the boy on his nose, making Tim shriek in surprise and try to get him off.

Robin was quick to swipe Danny back into his arms before his brother could actually land a hit. There was no telling how fragile the ghost’s body was and he did not want Danny forced back into his core so soon after freeing himself… even if he was a little feral right now. “Danny, no biting Drake. You don’t know where he has been.”

“He’s DANGEROUS!”

“Oh no, he bit Timmerkins nose. Now he’s gonna die.” Hood rolled his eyes at Red Robin’s dramatics.

“Please don’t spread false information Red Hood. Red Robin simply startled him. Animals know when people don’t like them.” Robin held Danny close, who was quick to settle back into Damian’s arms with the pendant in his mouth. Purring contentedly. “He is not dangerous in any way.”

“I will be the judge of that.” The large dark form of Batman made itself known among the rest of his children. “We can’t keep an unknown creature with us until we learn more about it.”

Robin takes several steps away from his father and hides Danny in his cape. “Father! How dare you say such things of your grandson! He is only a few minutes old?!”

“Grandson? Where are you going?”

“Home! Agent A need to meet his great-grandchild.” Damian took off before Batman could say anything else and from there on it became a race. A race to who would get home first. The children who wanted to see more of this Danny creature, Batman trying to stop his child from bringing an unknown into their house, and Damian who knew that if he got Alfred on his side there was nothing Batman could do.

Every dirty trick was used. At one point, it looked like Batman was going to win when Nightwing saved the day by tackling his father figure mid-grapple swing. “Get my nephew to safety!!” Damian vowed to give Grayson several uncle points to put him in the lead as he swung into the cave. The roar of the batmobile was not far off in the distance.

“My word! Master Damian, what is going on-” Alfred was sitting at the Batcomputer when Damian ran up to him out of breath and held out tiny Danny for the older man to see.

Danny’s green eyes roamed over the pristine butler before him, honing in on a little chain that was sticking out of Alfred’s pocket. His little nubs reached out to try and get it but to no avail. “This… is your great-grandson, Danny.” The boy panted out as Danny had enough and simply phased through Damian’s grasp and floated into Alfred’s arms, which came up to catch him. Alfred held the small ghost gently as he stole the chain that held a pocket watch and commenced to play with it as well. Bite. Bite. Bite again. Tail whap. Growl. Smack. Bite. Repeat. The butler chuckled a small bit as he watched Danny energetically roll around in his arms. Not at all threatened to be held by a stranger. “My, my… So the egg has finally hatched?” Alfred fixed the youngest Wayne with a knowing look and the boy sighed in relief.

Of course, the butler knew something was up with the egg. He was by far more observant than the rest of the people in the house. Damian wasn’t even mad about it. The boy was relieved. “This isn’t his full form. The mission scared him and prompted him to form too early. I don’t know how long it will take for him to get back to normal.”

“No worries, Master Damian. I’m sure we will keep giving him excellent care until he recovers. Or at least figure out how to get him back to normal.” Alfred gently stroked the white tuft of hair. Danny trilled happily and nuzzled into the older man’s chest. The young vigilante’s tense stature relaxed as the rest of the family made their way into the cave. All bickering with each other. Alfred handed Danny back to Damian and gently retrieved his watch from the small ghost before ushering the youngest toward the elevator.

“Alfred! What are you doing?” Bruce demanded as he tried to catch up to his youngest only to be cut off by his father figure.

“Master Bruce, it has been a long night and the boys are tired. They deserve to get some rest.”

“But we don’t know what that thing is-”

“If that ‘thing’ had wanted to harm Master Damian in any way, he would have done so in the eight months the boy carried him around his neck. There is a time and a place, sir. This isn’t the time or place. Let the boy take care of his ward.” Alfred placed a hand on Bruce’s shoulder and smiled. “He has done an exceptional job in trying to keep that one soul safe. I think we can trust his judgment a little bit here. We can get a better look at your grandchild when tensions aren’t so high.”

Dick laughed in the background and cheered. “Yes! Alfred is on my nephew’s side!”

“That thing is not my nephew!”

“Ouch. I think you are in the negative with Uncle points now, Tim.”

Damian let the argument fade into the background as he activated the elevator and it took him upstairs. It was amazing that Alfred let him violate the ‘no capes upstairs’ rule for Danny but the boy was grateful. The ghost purred happily in his arms. Safe. Happy. Fun. Safe. Protected. Damian couldn’t help the small smile that made its way onto his face as he headed up to his room. He made Danny feel that way. No fear. No hatred. Just safety and happiness. Something that he never thought would be possible.

The boy walked into his room and gently deposited the ghost onto his tiny hammock, which Danny took to with immense fascination. He swung in it idly making happy chirps the whole while. Damian sat next to him and took his mask off with a sigh. Looked like he would be paying Constantine a visit sooner than he thought. That was okay. Despite the deformity, Danny seemed genuinely happy and healthy which is all he could have asked for. Danny reforming too soon could have gone much worse than this. He flopped onto his bed and Danny floated over to lay on his chest. Content. There was no need to hide anything anymore. His family knew. They were supportive and if they weren’t now then they would soon be.

For the first time since finding Danny, Damian truly relaxed.

Everything was going to be okay.

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (17)

Notes:

:3

*sips tea* It couldn't be that easy could it? Darn that lil babyman always messing with things.

Thank you, Susiron for this most beautiful drawing and for helping me come up with this.

Chapter 34: Fear and Eggnxiety

Summary:

Red Robin and Robin are invading the hideout with the missing Gothamites. What happens when Danny hears an Agent he knows?

Notes:

Hello, everyone! Thank you all for being such good sports for the April Fool's joke! I will be leaving it in. It just has a new name now. For those who were confused: that entire last chapter isn't canon. No lil baby man but there may be an epilogue later where Danny becomes him. It depends. Anyway.... onward with the story!

(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)

Chapter Text

“If I see another white suit it’ll be too soon. Do you think it would be possible to ban them from Gotham?” Red Robin struck an agent with his staff and maneuvered around the body without losing stride.

Robin expertly took out the cameras and ran at the two men guarding the door to the lab. “Tt. It seems we finally agree on something. I’ll make sure that all of the suits in the house are burnt.”

“If we could get the others involved, we could run a campaign with different suits. If done correctly then white would become a fashion faux pas for the next decade.”

“We could all show up at the next gala to speed up the process. We would just have to be good for once.”

“Would the others be able to do that?”

“You have the working comm. Ask.”

Is all of that really necessary?!

Considering there was a high chance of Danny getting PTSD from seeing anyone in a white suit? Yes. Yes, it was. However, Damian couldn’t say that out loud and chose to ignore the ghost for the time being. He better had his senses retracted. The hallway was cleared quickly and efficiently. Robin knelt by the doors and checked over the lock. Ectoplasm was being fueled to it by an external source. He could see the lines through the walls thanks to the mask. RR fiddled with the keypad and let out a frustrated sigh. “This tech is just like their firewalls. It’s like it’s alive. I don’t have the time to hack into it like I did their database.”

Robin clicked his tongue. Then the only way to get in was to remove the source of power. The young vigilante stood up and followed the line of ectoplasm down the hall. It kept going and then it sharply dived down to the floor below. “Hmm… looks like I’ll have to find a way down.”

Actually, that isn’t necessary. For one, if you turned off the generator to the whole building then a red alert would probably go out.

“I’m assuming you tried before?”

Maybe.

“Then what are you suggesting we do?”

“Uhh… gremlin? What are you doing…?” Tim asked but was promptly waved off as Robin continued to stare intently at the blank wall.

Just cut that line of power in the wall. They won’t notice anything’s wrong for a while if you are careful.

Well, that was easy. “Red Robin, do you have a laser cutter with you?” The youngest asked, turning to his adopted brother who had given up trying to hack into the door.

“Um… yes?” The older boy started digging through his utility belt when Robin held his hand out and made a ‘gimme’ motion. “Okay, Robin. You are being weird. Why do you need this?” Once found, he handed the tool to his younger brother.

Starting it up immediately, Robin began cutting a small square into the wall. “I can feel a vibration coming from this spot… If it’s what I think it is…” Damian lied with ease as he popped the section of wall out to get a look at the hollow inside. A long pipe that glowed a radioactive green lit up the other side like a beacon.

All you need to do is cut that pipe. Just be careful not to get it on you. You may be slightly liminal but that doesn’t mean it’s good if you come into direct contact. If you want, I could freeze it once you have severed the connection and I could absorb the ectoplasm that’s left behind still powering the lock.

“That is unnecessary. If this is pure ectoplasm it may be too much for you right now.” Robin muttered under his breath while he reached into the hole with the cutter.

Red Robin arched an eyebrow at his little brother. “What was that? I didn’t hear you.”

“Nothing! Don’t worry about it. This is just being annoying…” Robin growled while messing with the pipe.

“You never told me what ‘this’ is? I might be able to help?”

Don’t worry! This isn’t pure ectoplasm! It was given a job so it’s not as strong. Besides, if I use my ice, it’ll just refill the reserves that I used in the first place.

“Fine, fine! Just do it!” the boy hissed as his older brother leaned in closer to see what he was doing only to be bodily shoved to the side by Damian's shoulder.

Aye, aye, Robin!

Together, they made quick work of the pipe. Robin sliced it and Danny froze both sides, cutting the connection. Then the side of the pipe that connected to the keypad dimmed as the ghost absorbed the ectoplasm through the insulated pipe. Not even a drop escaped. Robin pulled his hands out and replaced the section of the wall as he stood up. “I think I was able to cut power to the lock. See if you can open it now.”

Tim nodded and dashed back to the door. His fingers flew across the keyboard on his arm. With a little readjusting, the door opened revealing a ghastly sight before them. A woman was held by restraints on a stainless steel table with three men in lab coats holding various medical implements. The woman wasn’t screaming anymore. She wasn’t even moving. Cold seeped into Damian’s hip from Danny’s core as the young vigilante snarled at the adults before him. The two brothers didn’t speak. They attacked.

Wielding his bo staff, Red Robin used the extra length to knock out the legs of two scientists who were right next to each other. Damian ran forward and vaulted over the table, sending the third flying with a powerful kick to the chest. The scientists screamed at the sudden assault. Robin didn’t give them any mercy. He was cold and slightly brutal with his strikes, ensuring that each fist that connected broke something. But despite the anger boiling through his veins, the fight was over too soon. The boy stood among the broken bodies of the scientists while his brother looked on with concern. “... They got what they deserved, Drake.”

“Not saying they didn’t,” RR replied while holding his hands up. He took a quick look around the room and zeroed in on the computer. “How about you take care of the patient while I steal all the data off their servers? With this being recorded, they’ll never see the light of day again. Besides, you are better at first aid than me.”

Damian took the distraction for what it was and nodded. The two split off to take care of their designated tasks. “Close your senses.” The boy whispered but he knew it was pointless but said it anyway. The wounds on the woman were awful and the cold that was seeping from Danny’s core was getting worse.

A little late for that.

“Close them. It’s not going to get any better.” Robin checked her pulse and breathing, frowning at how faint both of them were.

She’s not a ghost yet… but with everything that has happened she could turn into one easily.

“I thought you said that you would need a lot of ectoplasm to form?”

Look around! You have the ability to see it now! If she dies then she will absorb everything in the walls and in this room and then all bets are off. She’ll probably attack you both without warning and I don’t know if I will be able to help you.

“Then I’ll make sure that doesn’t happen. Now close your senses. You’ve seen enough.” Robin grabbed the medical supplies from around the room and set to work. The two vigilantes worked in tense silence with only the sounds of typing and the occasional snip of scissors being heard.

Just as Damian finished wrapping the abdomen after taping it shut, (They weren’t perfect like Alfred’s but at least the wounds weren’t open to the air anymore and it would make transport easier) Red Robin finished typing, and pulled out the USB stick from the computer. “I’ve taken everything and left no trace. All of their records will be gone in just a couple of minutes-”

Red flashed throughout the entire room as an alarm blared. Robin removed the restraints from the civilian with a curse. “What’s going on? Surely, we had more time?”

“I don’t know… it looks like the alarm tripped from one of the upper levels…” Tim replied as he delved back into the computer only to stop with a sigh. “And judging by the cursing on the comms it was Nightwing.”

“Tt. He isn’t normally that inept.”

“Oh, it wasn’t him specifically. He and Batman were in the process of freeing the civilians on the upper floors and one of the civilians accidentally tripped a hidden alarm. This place is riddled with them.” He ran back over and looked over the woman on the table. “Think she is stable enough to move?”

“As stable as she’ll ever be.”

The sound of feet thundered down the hallway. Robin pulled out his sword, turning to face the door. Agents poured into the lab, arms at the ready. Damian really hoped that Danny had listened to him but judging by the cold getting stronger, he did not. Red Robin hopped over the table after laying the woman on the floor on the other side so that she was out of range. About fifteen agents blocked their path and more trailed behind in the hallway. A few hesitated when they saw Robin at the ready and the boy couldn’t help but smirk. They remembered him from the last time.

Good.

“How is it that there are so many of these guys? You would think that they had learned their lesson already.” Red Robin grumbled to no one in particular. “They aren’t hard but there are always so many of them!”

“Think of it as a training exercise. After all, you can’t have good practice without a bunch of punching bags.” Robin didn’t wait for the agents to make the first move. He needed this to be done and over with quickly before something possibly set Danny off.

Tim sighed as he watched his little brother go off on the government agents with gusto. He caught a couple of the weapons that were accidentally sent his way. “Remember, lil bat. No killing!”

“Tt. I know!” Robin kicked back and was forced to back off as reinforcements arrived. “Are you going to help or what-”

The back wall of the lab explodes with a massive cloud of smoke. Dark shadows crept in from the outside as Red Hood stepped in with guns directed at the group of agents blocking the hall. “So this is where the party is at. Why didn’t you guys invite me?”

“Because we were told you were busy. Actually, where have you been? We haven’t heard from you in a while.” Red Robin spun his bo staff in an intimidating manner as a few of the agents backed up at the newest arrival.

“Nowhere? I’ve been constantly chased by these guys if that’s what you mean. Looks like they need to be taught another lesson.” Red Hood fired and hit one of the agents in the knee. “Hey, demon brat, you wanna do the thing we did-”

“You attempt to throw me again into a pile of useless government agents, I am stabbing you in the other shoulder.”

Hood laughed and fired at another agent. “Aw, you aren’t any fun.”

“I’m sorry, what?” Tim smacked his staff on an agent’s hands to disarm him and then struck him again while he was stunned.

“It’s none of your business, Red Robin.”

“Yeah, Replacement, don’t worry about it. We have bigger things to deal with.”

The three vigilantes set to work taking out the large group of agents with precision. Robin managed to get out into the hallway and was cut off from the others still in the lab in the process. He brandished his sword and smirked at the agent coming at him. “Ah yes… I remember you. I used you as a meat shield last time.”

“It won’t happen again, ghost scum!” Agent K fired at Damian to make the boy jump back and then charged.

Robin smirked maliciously. “What makes you sure about thaaAAT!” Ice spread out viciously from his leg to the floor causing the boy to slip. With grace almost as good as Grayson’s, Damian managed to twist his body to turn the fall into a flip. Using the momentum to push himself even further away from the oncoming agent. “Danny, what’s wrong?”

Agent K…

Fear was coursing through Damian from the core as the ice continued to spread in a defensive manner. “What about him? Danny, can you hear me?”

Don’t come near me…

“Danny-”

Stay away…

“He isn’t going to touch you-”

I’M NOT GOING BACK!

Spikes of ice shot up from the ground right at Agent K. Stopping the man in his tracks. The ice clung to his shoes and slowly crept up his legs. “I knew it! You were just hiding yourself as a human! I WILL catch you!”

Robin snarled but reluctantly backed off. He ran down the hall a bit so that he was out of sight and pressed his hand to the frozen pocket. “It’s okay. Danny. That agent is not going to get you. If anything, he is going to be the one who is going to be begging me to stop. It’s all right! You are safe.” He tried to send reassurance to the ghost but it barely pierced the onslaught of fear. When that didn’t work, he clicked his tongue and crouched in the hallway, pulling the pendant out and popping it open so that he had direct contact.

The moment his fingers brushed the core, the boy almost crumpled from the sheer about of anxiety and fear. It was all-encompassing. Overwhelming. Damian fought against it with a grunt, somehow managing to remain on his feet. “Danny. It’s okay. You are safe. They can’t hurt you.”

Not safe. Never will be safe. They’ll just come back. They always come back. It’s only a matter of time. I’m worthless. I can’t do anything. I can’t PROTECT anything. You’ll die too. Just like the others. Not safe. Not safe. No. I won’t go back. I can’t-

“ENOUGH!” Damian hissed as he fought against Danny’s overwhelming emotions and pushed them aside. The ghost went silent as the boy sent his own emotions across. Protection, reassurance, determination, and confidence. “Danny, I promise you on my afterlife that nothing will happen to you. If you would give me the chance I will prove it to you.”

…how are you going to prove it?

Damian removed his fingers when he felt like Danny wasn’t going to spiral again. He placed the necklace around his neck and stuffed it under his suit. “Trust me. I’ll show you.” With determination, the boy stalked back down the hall to where Agent K was trapped in ghostly ice. When the agent noticed him he kept his stride, ignoring the jeering comments and threats. Focusing on quelling the trepidation and fear that Danny began to exude. The boy stared down at the man, who was taller than him, with a murderous gaze.

“You should have run while you had the chance. It’s only a matter of time before the others finish with the other two and they come back to catch you. I can’t wait to see you on the examination tabl-” Agent K was silenced by Robin backhanding him across the face. Ice spread from his gloved hands and across the man’s lips, sealing them shut.

“Quiet. You only get to speak when you’ve earned that right back.” The boy hissed dangerously that even if the Agent’s mouth hadn’t been frozen shut he would have bit his tongue with how fast it would have snapped shut. Damian hit the pressure points in the man’s arms so that they fell uselessly against his sides and then grabbed him by the cheap black tie to drag him away from his allies… and the other vigilantes.

Agent K was shoved into the nearest room with the door closing behind Robin without even making a sound. It was another lab. Though one that wasn’t used as much judging by the lack of tools and medical equipment within. The boy brandished his sword at the man. “On your knees.” The agent growled but refused which only prompted Damian to raise an eyebrow at him. “I will not ask nicely again. On. Your Knees.” When he still refused, Damian threw two small knives right into the man’s knees. Forcing him to fall to the ground with a muffled cry since his arms were currently useless.

What… what are you doing?!

Surprise shot across the connection that Damian ignored as he pointed his sword right at Agent K’s jugular. “This man has forfeited his life. He has harmed others due to nothing more than twisted xenophobic ideals without feeling a single ounce of remorse. He hurt you without remorse. I can kill this man right now. It wouldn’t be hard. This lab appears to have all the basic chemicals to make a normal untraceable poison. It would be easy to make it look like a lab accident caused by sheer stupidity and lack of safety standards. After all, all of the scientists here are inept so it would only be a matter of time. And since he is wearing a specter deflector, if he tried to become a ghost to exact revenge, he wouldn’t be able to form. Instead, his brief attempt at an afterlife would be nothing but pure agony as he was continuously electrocuted until he finally gave up. Thus Agent K would cease to exist in any way that truly matters. He would never be able to harm you or anyone else again.”

Damian could tell that Danny was struggling to comprehend what was happening judging by the array of emotions that were flittering across.But… wouldn’t Batman know? Don’t all of you have a no-kill code? Plus, aren’t you just a kid?!

“A child who has a higher body count than most seasoned assassins by the age of five. Adding one more to that count would not be that big of a deal.” Damian used the tip of his sword to remove the Agent’s sunglasses so that he could see his eyes. “Besides, as I said, it would not be hard to make it look like an accident. Unless one of the others decides to investigate thoroughly, I will not be found out.”

…You’re completely serious about this.

“Of course. I would not arbitrarily take someone’s life just because I can.”

The ghost went silent and Robin remained resolute with his sword directed at the man’s neck. Agent K’s eyes bulged with fear as he realized just how much his life was in danger from the one-sided conversation. How… how does this prove anything?

“You were worried that these co*ckroaches would come back. I am telling you that it would not be hard to remove the problem permanently if it came down to it. They will never be able to harm you again if they were no longer around.”

That… -Danny began but stopped. The swirling fear and trepidation had backed off and were replaced with apprehension.- I couldn’t… I couldn’t ask you to do that…

“You never have to ask me. I am just telling you that this is how far I am willing to go. If I kill someone it does not mean that you told me to or put me up to it. It was my decision to make, this would not be on you in any way.” Damian spoke resolutely as a thin line of blood trailed from the tip of his blade when the man subconsciously moved.

I still… you can’t just kill him… I… the poor ghost seemed stuck in wanting to defend the GIW agent but at the same time not. However, it worked. The apprehension was leaving as well and Danny was calm again. Just… could you knock him out for now? I’ll be fine with that.

With a swift kick, Agent K was out. “If that is what you wish. Just know that if they do somehow touch you, I will not be able to ensure their lives remain intact.” Robin retrieved his knives and started to make his way out of the room. To the boy’s surprise, Danny laughed.

You know what? With everything that is happening? That’s fair.

“Now, could you please stop overexerting yourself and retract all of this ice? I think you have used up whatever you absorbed from the lock and I don’t want you running thin.”

Yes, sir. Robin, sir.

Damian backtracked down the hallway to the spot where the ice blocked the path. It was already creating a giant puddle in the middle of the floor. The sounds of fighting weren’t as prominent meaning one side had won. Before he got to the end of the hall with the lab, both, Red Robin and Hood dashed around the corner. Only to skid to a halt when they saw that he was all right. Tim stood back as Hood approached and gave his younger brother a good look over. “Just what the hell happened back there? Where did you go?” Hood growled and Damian rolled his eyes.

“Tt. I simply go swept to the other end of the hall and, since you seemed to have the situation in hand, I decided to try my hand at interrogation… it wasn’t helpful.” Robin swatted his older brother’s hands away as Tim narrowed his eyes.

Though he didn’t get a chance to address his concerns as Batman chirped in the bird’s ear. “B has all of the civilians evacuated. We just need to keep this place on lockdown until the rest of the Justice League get here.”

“So just a few minutes. Then we should make sure the rats don’t get away. Let’s go.” Hood led the way away from the lab with the other two vigilantes following close behind.

Red Robin kept sneaking glances at Damian who chose to ignore them for the mission at hand. The Red light of the alarm continued to blare as they went about methodically sweeping the building. The ice that had been slowly growing the moment they had entered the lab had ceased and Danny had gone silent in contemplation. The ghost finally spoke again once Robin stood off to the side as the JL did their thing in arresting the agents.

Hey… Damian?

“Hm?” the boy acknowledged Danny without letting it show in his posture or his face. Too many eyes around.

As scary as that was… thanks. Even though, I don’t want you to kill for me… the thought that you would is creepily sweet.

Robin scowled a bit at the sweet part and huffed. “It was not sweet. I was just reminding you that there are other options out there.” The ghost sounded tired and to be honest, Damian couldn’t blame him. Danny had just gone through the Mr. Freeze equivalent of a panic attack and had used a lot of energy in the process. So much for that pure ectoplasm Constantine had given him.

Still… thanks. the ghost boy laughed tiredly. I think… I’m going to pass out.

“Then rest. You are in good hands.”

If Danny had a body, Damian swore he would have seen the ghost smile from the feeling alone. Yes… yes, I am.

Notes:

Again, thanks to everyone for being such good sports!!!!

Recommendations:

the Prettiest Star by DisillusionedDeku
Bruce marries Danny and now the batkids have an eldritch death go step dad! Tho for reals Deku.... how do you keep churning these out so fast???

High Spirits by Olive_Of_Vanders
The next installment to the Rigor Mortis series. Love all of them <3

Chapter 35: Open Mind-egg-ness

Summary:

Just some good ol training between two brothers. What could go wrong?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

When I get back to normal, could you show me how to do that?

Damian skillfully threw several birdarangs into a set of targets while doing a flip into the air. He landed gracefully and jumped back a bit to dodge another attack the simulation threw at him. He sweep kicked the hologram, dropping them to the floor. A loud voice called out “Level clear” from above. The young boy panted a little bit from the excursion and used his shirt to wipe the sweat from his face. “How to do what?” he muttered softly while keeping his mouth covered with the shirt. It had been a long while since had put in any kind of decent training.

THAT! All of that flipping and throwing! You were mid flip and still hit the bullseyes on those targets! I wanna know how to do that too.

The boy let his shirt drop as he smirked at the praise from the ghost. “I don’t see why not. If you wish to be trained how to fight properly, I will not deny your request.” Damian had seen some of the fights that Danny had been in throughout his small hero career. His technique had improved but it was obvious that the ghost had never received any formal training. That or the little bit of self-defense someone else taught him. Probably Danny’s mother, if her athletic prowess was anything to go by. Despite attacking her son in almost every video she was in, she did display a level of aptitude when it came to fighting. So if Danny wanted to learn how to defend himself properly? Damian was more than willing to teach him. Maybe he could rope Richard in for the more graceful maneuvers. The ghost kid would probably like that and Richard would be ecstatic.

It was good to see the ghost in higher spirits after they invaded the GIW base. Danny had slept for about two days before he spoke up to Damian again. The massive amount of ice had drained him and Damian wondered if, maybe, there was some regression to the healing. There was no way for him to easily check and it wasn’t like he had Constantine on speed dial. So to feel the ghost giddy and happy as he ran through his training routine was nice. It was a welcome change compared to the silence of those two days.

But it had been nice to have Danny asleep so that he could go through everything they had found with the rest of the family. Thankfully, all of the citizens were accounted for. Though some were in worse states than others. The woman they found on the table in the lab being the worst one by far. It seemed like they had found their base just in time before the experimentation could actually claim someone’s life. That was a small amount of solace after everything that has been happening for the past few months.

Also with this bust hitting the news, the Justice League has brought about their case against the government agency and the laws that they were using to their benefit. The crimes they seemed to commit were endless. Human experimentation, terrorism, property damage, and so many more were listed. The Gothamites were, thankfully, mostly unharmed. There was trauma but that was going to be a thing regardless of what happened or not. To help push the GIW’s downfall, Bruce even stepped forward as a socialite condemning the organization for kidnapping and experimenting on Gotham’s people. Even coming up with a charity fund to aid those who were taken so that they could get the help they needed.

While his father was doing that, the children had been tasked with parsing through the mountain of information that Drake had obtained from the raid they had performed save for Jason, Dick, and Steph. They had been tasked with finding any other GIW bases that were hidden within Gotham and any nearby towns which turned out to be a lot more than they had anticipated. The GIW was like an infestation. Once they set up a base, they just spread.

Tim and Damian had spent most of the last couple of days finding horrific documents and videos that were nothing but unethical and illegal experimentation on innocent civilians. Thankfully, everyone would live but who knew how many had died in different cities or states. Their primary objective with the kidnappings was them trying to prove that ghosts were a problem. That they were malicious. But none of the people they had captured were ghosts… none in their current possession anyway. It would all be uncovered soon and it had created a solemn silence between the two boys as they worked. There was stuff so bad that Bruce had banned them from watching more and told them to redirect anything like that to the watchtower so that one of the Leaguers could review it. As vigilantes (and an ex-assassin), the two had seen many horrible things in their lives but even then there was a limit and, as a father, Bruce had put his foot down.

So when Danny finally awoke, Damian left everything to Tim and decided to put in some much-needed practice. Drake was far better than him when it came to going through massive amounts of information and a break from all of that horror was definitely welcome. No one argued with the boy about it. Not to mention, listening to some of those videos were only going to be a surefire way to set Danny off into a panic attack and the ghost boy had just woken up again. He didn’t want to push him again so soon. It was bad enough that Danny had temporarily regressed, he didn’t want it to happen.

“Combat simulation disabled.” The voice overhead cut through Damian’s thoughts that he had drifted off into and he frowned wondering who had stopped it. Though thankful for pulling him out of his own head. He wasn’t like his siblings, he knew his limits. It had only been about an hour since he started for today so it wasn’t like he was pushing himself too hard (Unlike a few others he knows).

The sliding doors to the room slid open to reveal Drake in his own workout outfit making his way into the training room. “Hey, gremlin. I see you haven’t lost your touch despite not coming in here for a long time.”

Damian rolled his eyes at the implication. “Just because I wasn’t practicing here doesn’t mean I don’t get training in while out on patrol.”

“Hmm… I would take that for an answer if you weren’t practically grounded off patrols for several months, to the point that Gotham was wondering what had happened to you, and you still didn’t come down here.”

“That was because I was also grounded from the cave. There are other places to train your body here in the mansion, Drake.” The boy crossed his arms as he watched his adoptive brother do some warmup stretches. “Why did you stop the simulation? If you wanted to join in then all you had to do was say so.” Damian couldn’t help but narrow his eyes at Tim in suspicion. They had trained together before, sure, but it wasn’t often. It was rare for Tim to seek out him to be his sparring partner. The teen was up to something, he was sure of it. It was even more suspicious because there was no way that Tim was done going through all of the information he had stolen meaning he had stopped in the middle of his investigation to come here. An investigation that he, along with everyone else, was very invested in.

Now the question was what was the reason?

Tim kept doing his stretches in a relaxed manner. “Oh, really? That sounds good to me. Then let me turn it back on again.” He ignored Damian’s suspicious stare to head over to the console and key something in.

There is something off about this…

Damian grunted in agreement but continued to keep his eye on his adopted brother. It was good to know that he wasn’t the only one who noticed it. He would have to be wary… it wouldn’t be odd for the teen to change the settings of the simulation if he needed to. It had happened before. Now the question was why? What did he gain from fighting with Damian alone so suddenly?

Once done, Tim made his way into the center of the room where Damian was and pulled out his bo staff. The younger raised an eyebrow as the program whirred to life and soon they were surrounded by fake goons in a simulated warehouse. One of the more classic scenarios that were used. “So, think you can take down more than I can?” Tim smirked at Damian while twirling his staff expertly.

“Please. Is that even a question?” Damian pulled out his sword (one that was dulled for training purposes. He wasn’t allowed to use his real one in the simulator after he damaged it too much.). There was slight apprehension coming across from Danny but he kept his body language neutral.

“Then let’s make this interesting. Whoever knocks out more had to do something for the winner?” Tim asked as they positioned themselves back to back with the countdown starting from above.

Damian simply smirked, knowing he could win this easily even if Tim somehow cheated. He could prove it if that was the case. “Sounds fine by me.”

“Simulation commence.”

All of the holographic goons charged and the boys jumped into action. Within a few moments, Damian had already knocked out four thugs with ease but Tim wasn’t being left in the dust by any means. He had taken down two and was already on his third when he had to flip back to dodge a crowbar to the thigh. Right out of the gate, it was a close competition.

Danny hummed appreciatively as he watched the two work together to systematically take out a significantly larger group of adults with ease. This was something that he wished someone had taught him when he was still in Amity. To be able to do crowd control like this would have been a godsend when a ghost duplicated or there were too many civilians in harm’s way… not to mention if those civilians were overshadowed. Despite their brotherly animosity, the two young vigilante’s worked together very well. Covering each other’s backs when needed, stealing a knockout here or there just to mess with the other. The entire simulation felt like a glorified game and Danny was having a lot of fun witnessing it. The training reminded him of the runs he would do with Jazz, Sam, and Tucker. A deep ache formed at the thought that had Damian stumbling a small bit from the suddenness of.

The ghost pulled himself out of those thoughts and instead focused on the two boys as they played a slightly more dangerous game of VR. If he continued to think about it then Damian would cut the training short to take care of him. The pre-teen was always taking care of him but he deserved to have some fun for himself. From what Danny had seen, Damian didn’t really know how to have fun. He was amused at times but truly having fun? It didn’t happen that often. Hmm... that was something that he would have to change but for now, he enjoyed the fight and tried to memorize the moves they were doing for future reference. Ancients know that he needed the help.

Well, he was until everything changed in an instant.

All of the holographic goons suddenly stopped going after Tim and focused solely on Damian. The boy growled as he hopped up onto some boxes so that he could get the high ground. There were too many and not enough space. But it was a bit validating knowing that he was right. What he didn’t expect was for Tim to join in the fray. Damian skillfully dodged the bo staff his brother swung at him and twisted so that he could kick a hologram that was too close. “What are you doing, Drake?!” The boy hissed as he cleared himself a protective space and leveled his weapon at his brother, who looked nothing short of a supervillain standing atop the boxes with a hoard of holographic goons at his disposal.

Tim just smirked and dived at Damian. Their weapons clashed in the air as the smaller boy went on the defensive. So Tim didn’t want to explain, did he? Well, then Damian wasn’t about to back down from the challenge. He flung his brother off of him and started tearing through the goons with gusto. Several of the blows the holograms received were fatal. Not that Damian cared. They were fake and he didn’t need them coming back if Tim had programmed them to keep popping back up after a certain amount of time.

The fight was intense and it seemed like the enemies were never-ending. Even if Damian killed the hologram or knocked them out, another just filled that spot and all the while Tim was in constant pursuit. Pushing with the overwhelming numbers, further and further into a corner of no escape. Damian growled at the relentless assault. This didn’t make any sense. He hadn’t done anything to warrant this kind of attack from Tim, especially to this degree. The teen loomed over him and with a snarl, Damian pushed back.

Is this normal with your family?!

“No… it ISN’T!” Damian changed tactics and began his counterattack. Instead of focusing on the holograms that kept coming back, he honed in on Tim as their ring leader. If he beat him, then there was a chance that the simulation would be forced to end. It would be dangerous if it continued at this rate otherwise. At least he hoped. If this was Tim’s revenge for all of the times that Damian tried to kill him then why was he just now doing it? He had so many better opportunities before.

The new strategy was effective. Drake was forced to back off by Damian’s significantly more aggressive strikes. Ones that would maim with a real sword but would leave a pretty bad bruise with the dull blade. Maybe possibly break a bone, if he hit it at the right time. But at this point, Tim was asking for it and Damian didn’t care as much. The holograms couldn’t keep up being digital programs. A throwing knife here, a shuriken there, the goons couldn’t get close as Damian took out Tim’s legs right out from under him and pointed the tip of his blade right at the older boy’s neck. Sure enough, the winning sound dinged and the holograms began to disappear. Leaving the two vigilantes in an empty training room. Both of them panting from the intense fight they had just performed.

“I will ask again, Drake. What was that about?” Damian demanded as Tim let his head fall back to the floor with a groan.

“Why have my ideas not worked the past couple of times?” the teen muttered under his breath before looking his little brother in the eye. “I was trying to get you to trigger your ice powers!”

Damian froze as his mind came to a crashing halt. “My what?” He asked, trying to backtrack into how Tim could have come to such an outlandish conclusion.

Danny laughed incredulously. Oh no…

“Your ice powers! I saw you use them when we raided the GIW base the other day!” Tim threw his hands into the air as he continued to explain. “I mean… I had my suspicions for a while. Your body had been colder. There have been a few instances of unexplainable cold spots in your room. Liquids touching your body freezing… It was a slow build but the coincidences just kept piling up and up. This is the only logical outcome I could think of!”

…this is some conspiracy theorist-level logic.

“That’s Tim for you…” Damian mumbled under his breath, dropping his sword from Tim’s neck while pinching the bridge of his nose with his other hand.

“I don’t know how. I don’t know why, but you seemed to be struggling and were trying so hard to hide them from everyone. I knew you wouldn’t answer me if I just asked you outright and the only times you appeared to use them was when you were under extreme stress-”

“So you set up this simulation to push me into a corner so that I would be forced to use my powers.” Damian finished the explanation for him with a heavy sigh. Of all the things that Tim could come up with… Damian becoming an ice meta was not at the top of his list. Though now that his brother pointed it out, that wasn’t too far of a stretch.

Tim let his hands fall to the ground and pulled himself up so that he was sitting. “Yeah. That. You’ve changed a lot Damian and it seemed like you were kind of pulling away from everyone. You do know that, even if you develop powers, for whatever reason, we’re here for you right?” Drake made direct eye contact with Damian and the younger could tell that he was being sincere.

“Yes… I had temporary powers before. I know this.” Damian grumbled and looked away. His mind scrambled to come up with a way to get out of this and failed. There wasn’t any other good explanation for the ice that just suddenly spawned when Danny was set off. So far he had been lucky that it was explainable or no one had been around to really see what happened. He couldn’t deny it without suspicion but he couldn’t accept it because then he would have to show it off. Danny just woke up again and Damian was not about to have him use the ice again. Especially for something stupid like this. There was only one way out of this.

Silence.

Damian shook his head, stepping around Tim to leave the training room. Danny was starting to laugh at the whole thing and it wasn’t helping at all. His older brother watched him go with a contemplative look on his face before calling out, “Sorry! I shouldn’t have brought it up this way but whenever you are ready to talk about it, I’m here! I’ll keep it on the down low from B for you!”

Wow… that went from intense to wholesome instantly.

The boy just flicked the pendant making the ghost laugh some more as he made his way over to the showers. Yeah… silence was best for now.

Notes:

Recommendations:

Fate is a Bitch and Her Timing Sucks! by OnlyHereForTheSnacks
A Soulmate AU Danny/Damian pairing. Danny wanted a soulmate at least before he died and Damian felt he would always have to protect his soulmate. Things don't go as planned.

Little Baby Man Vacation by Mewzaque
Danny decides to take a vacation in a different universe for the summer. His plan? Being a leetle creetchur.

somehow whatever's eternal in me knows whatever's eternal in you by DemonicoAngel
A Jazz/Jason fic with one chapter currently but super long. Jazz finds a hurt Jason and tries to help!

Chapter 36: Haunt-Egg-d Gotham

Summary:

Where's Jason been this entire time?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

He was so tired of everything at this point. Jason skillfully dodged behind a stack of crates as several gang members decided to test their aim at their local Red Hood. Waiting for the gunfire to calm down, he took the opportunity to fire at the crate suspended in the air above the members on the other side. The men screamed as they dodged or got hit by the container when it fell. It was a quick round-up of the bastards once they scattered and Jason made sure they learned their lesson for next time. He grappled up to the nearest rooftop and jumped over a couple more before he stopped and let out a string of insults that got garbled by his modulator.

Why had it ended up that way?! No matter how hard he tried, without fail, something intervened. Ever since Jason returned the egg to his brother, he had tried to do a deeper investigation. It was suspicious, though harmless at the moment, but he needed to know more about it if his little brother was deadest on carrying it everywhere with him. But each time he tried to get to the manor, tried to catch the demon brat on patrol, hell, even try to stalk him at school (more stealthily this time. He learned his lesson from the last attempt.), something got in the way! One time a gang shootout happened right in front of him when he went to chase after his little brother. Another time, when he saw Damian walking near a history museum for school, there was a rogue attack and he had to play the helpless victim the entire time until the others took care of it. When he went to the source, the manor, all of the traps that Bruce had installed to stop anyone from getting onto the premises went off on him.

Which was odd. Yes, Bruce changed up the security regularly but Jason was on the accepted list (he checked). So why were traps that Bruce, the Dark Knight, made himself going off for absolutely no reason? Upon closer inspection of the devices, there hadn’t been anything wrong with them. No hardware was messed up and there wasn’t any software designed to attack him on sight. They just… went off. Because he didn’t want to have to traverse a literal minefield (or give the others blackmail for triggering the traps in the first place), Jason went back to avoiding the manor for now. But he knew there was something going on. He just didn’t have access.

Then there was the stupider things that just got in his way. Crowds of people would suddenly block his path, a mugging here, a robbery there, some screams that would lead him on a chase to nowhere. Key information about a case would suddenly fall into his lap. Not to mention those awful GIW agents making his life a personal hell by chasing him all across Gotham when they got wind of him. The jammer Tim had given him could only do so much. If they got within a certain radius, their radars went off anyway. A lot of the people they were kidnapping under the guise of the Anti-Ecto Acts were from Crime Alley and the Narrows. Sadly, it made sense. A lot of death happened in the poorer district of Gotham but that didn’t give them the right to just take the people because they could. Meaning the only time that he had been able to get close was when he joined the raid on the GIW base.

But even then, he hadn’t been able to investigate!

Damian had gotten separated during the fight and was gone for a good few minutes before returning as if nothing happened with Tim giving his little brother the sus look(TM). It was a little nice to know that he wasn’t the only one suspicious of Damian right now. Though for entirely different reasons. But before he could question the kid, he got pulled into help cleaning up the mess and making sure all of those kidnapped were okay. He may have gotten some vindictive therapy on a few of the agents he helped gather up. What Bruce didn’t know about wouldn’t hurt. Besides they would live. Mostly. After that, Damian was already back at the manor and he could no longer get close.

It was so annoying.

It was as though the world didn’t want him getting close to his little brother unless the younger was in danger. Jason sighed heavily into his helmet. This stupid shootout was the latest thing to stop him from going after Robin while out on patrol. Most gangs have learned by now to not try anything in his presence but something set the men off and he had to handle it before others got hurt. Now Robin was gone and so was his attempt at investigating. Why was this happening? All of these things were too coincidental but they kept happening so often that he couldn’t help but think that there was something else at play here. Jason either had really bad luck right now (or good depending on what happened. With the amount of trash he had been able to uncover in the last few months alone, most would consider it good.) or he was cursed.

Because everything started to happen right after he got ahold of the egg, he was thinking further along that he had been cursed. The only blessing was that he was allowed near Damian if he truly needed help and, despite all the bad things getting in his way, he hadn’t been hurt the entire time. Sure he got punched once or twice but anything serious? Nope. Something always prevented the bad injury from happening. At least, he had that going for him.

“Hey, Hood! You all right?” Signal made himself known by dropping down onto the roof next to him. Jason sighed again before turning to the meta as he approached. “We haven’t seen you much since before the GIW bust. You okay?”

“Just peachy.” The older brother responded as he stretched a bit to relieve some of the tension in his muscles. “Been busy is all. A lot of bad stuff came to light at once and I was dealin’ with all of that on top of running from those white-suited jerks. I’m so glad that those bastards won’t be runnin’ around like rats anymore.”

Signal made a noncommittal hum as he looked over Red Hood for any obvious injuries. “You and me both. I wasn’t exactly a fan of them chasing me while I was trying to protect the town either though… do you know what is up with those robed people going after them as if god had given them the mission?”

“No idea but honestly? If they want to keep giving those white-suited bastards hell then I say let ‘em. Only good cultists I’ve seen so far.”

The meta laughed. “You aren’t wrong. So long as they don’t kill anyone, I’m more than happy to let them run loose, as well.” He walked over to the edge of the roof to see the cops show up to deal with the gang members that Hood had just caught. Frowning a bit as he zoomed in on the scene with his helmet.

Red Hood followed where he was looking and just shrugged at the scene. “Yeah, some of Black Mask’s men decided it was a good idea to try and sell on my turf. It’s already been taken care of… a bit too easily, I might add.”

Duke ignored him as he kept his eyes on the scene below. There was something off about it. The people were fine. Just going about their jobs but… he could see it. Something was wrong. He squinted to try and manipulate the shadows only to be denied. The boy recoiled a bit from the force and he shook his head in surprise. He watched as something dark, blacker than the deepest abyss he had ever seen, unattached itself from the gang members and make its way over to them.

Jason arched a brow under his helmet when Duke scrambled away from him very quickly. “What? They are fine. No one died today.” Some of the gang members might have a concussion or a broken bone but they would live. He made sure to use nonlethal rounds today. They also hadn’t been in close enough range for the rounds to become lethal.

“That’s not…” Duke’s eyes widened as he watched the black mass attach itself to Jason. Its arms gently wrapped around the bigger man’s shoulders as if to hug the man gently. Jason just tilted his head at the meta’s actions, showing that, whatever that thing was hugging him, he couldn’t feel it. The deep shadow morphed and twisted behind Jason but made no further moves. “Um… you… you don’t feel that?” Duke asked as he tried to comprehend what he was seeing and failing. The darkness was too deep and any defining features were lost within it.

“Feel what?” Red Hood narrowed his eyes at Duke’s actions. This wasn’t normal. Noted, Duke was the more normal one of the family but he didn’t act like this without reason. “It’s a little cold tonight if that’s what you mean?”

The shadow appeared to have heard him as it lifted one of its arms from Jason to wave to him in greeting. A wave of nostalgia, fear, and something old, rooting the teenager to the spot. It was a weird combination. Whatever this thing was, it was powerful. Though it did not wish to intend harm... right now. “So… have you touched anything ancient and magical recently…?” Duke asked as the shadow looked like it was shaking… giggling? Before it released Red Hood and melded into the man’s shadow as if it was nothing. The only proof that the being was there was that Jason’s shadow was now a little darker. A little stronger.

“Not that I know of?” Jason turned his body every which way in an attempt to see what the meta is looking at. “What? Is something on me? Can you see something?” Oh, was he actually cursed? Did that pretty blue rock actually curse him because he touched it without Damian’s consent?

Duke pursed his lips as he kept staring at Jason’s shadow. “You know… it’s probably fine? I would give Zatanna a call though if you noticed anything weird going on recently. It seems you’ve got something… attached.”

“Something? Care to elaborate?”

“It’s kind of hard… it’s like…” Signal scrambled to try and describe the feeling that the being gave off. Nothing he could think of seemed to be an accurate description before finally settling on something. “It’s like… how Batman feels sometimes. Like when he just appears from the shadows as if he has been there all along. It’s powerful. Protective… and dangerous to those it thinks it’s an enemy.”

That didn’t sound good. “Does it think I’m an enemy?” Jason kept a calm demeanor but internally he was screaming. Out of all the things that Duke would say, he was not expecting that.

“I don’t think so. If anything it looks protective of you. That’s why I said it would probably be fine.” Duke shook his head to try and rid himself of the afterimage of the being. Looks like he was going to have even more sleepless nights if he was going to have to keep an eye on the thing that had attached itself to Jason. It was already hard enough to go to school, patrol, and try and keep an eye on the egg per Tim’s request. Now he would have to spend his nights on this as well.

Duke’s words did not make Jason feel any better. If anything, now the hairs were rising on the back of his neck as he felt as though he was being watched. It wasn’t a malicious gaze but it was there and he couldn’t do anything about it. Mainly because it was something that he couldn’t feel or see. “All right. Well. This has been fun but I‘m going to get back to what I was doing. I’ll keep you posted on any changes.” Jason started booking it away from the meta and he swore he could feel the hint of amusem*nt from somewhere. A feeling that was pushed on him by something else because it wasn’t his own. So he was cursed.

Wonderful.

After getting a good distance away from Signal, Red Hood backtracked to Robin’s most recent location. If anyone would have answers for him, then it would be the demon brat. He saw the boy perched on a gargoyle about three rooftops away. Jason went to jump across with practiced ease when he felt something snag his foot and suddenly plummeted toward the alley below instead of to the roof on the opposite side. He grabbed the fire escape before he landed face-first into the filthy alley and sighed. “Okay, look. Whoever or whatever you are, I don’t want to hurt my brother or the egg. I just have a few questions and then everything can go back to normal.” Jason said out loud. This was the only thing he could think of to do. Duke had acted as if whatever had attached itself to him was sentient. It was actively getting in his way so that he wouldn’t get close to the boy.

The first few instances of him getting a hold of the egg had been violent. The first time he had yoinked it from Damian’s room and the other time, the only opportunity he had touched it was when the boy was kidnapped. It was no wonder that whatever this was, was being protective. Jason wasn’t having the best track record with the egg, at the moment. So maybe letting the thing know his intentions would stop this stupid game. He waited on the fire escape for some kind of acknowledgment.

When nothing came, he stood up and grappled back onto the top of the roof to head toward Robin, who was still atop the gargoyle, when he fell flat on his face. Something grabbed his feet to prevent him from getting any closer. “Okay… I’ll take that as a no.” Jason sighed heavily as he pulled himself into a sitting position with the amusem*nt sparking through him again. This was getting him nowhere fast. “Is there anything I can do so that you will stop this? I just want to make sure he’s okay.” Once again, he received no answer and that was pretty much another no. “This is great… this is just great. I show concern for the demon brat and I end up cursed. Is it really too much to actually show I care?!” Red Hood grumbled to himself as he stood back up.

Robin was no longer on the gargoyle and the man sighed heavily. This was his life now, apparently. “Okay. Look. If I promise not to mess with my brother unless he is in danger, will you please stop with this nonsense?” The slight pressure he felt on his ankles disappeared. He would take that as a yes. Oh, how he wished that he could talk to this thing. He would have so much fun telling it just how he felt about everything that had been going on for the past few months. Also, thank it. Because it had protected him despite being a nuisance when it could have left him to clean up the mess.

Then a thought occurred to him. As unnerving as this was, he could just ask the being, couldn’t he? This was probably not the brightest of ideas. Constantine and many others of the JLD have warned against communing with unknown supernatural forces but the being was already attached and he wanted answers. Even if it was for his own peace of mind. “Okay, okay. How about this? Since you don’t want me to go to them then I’m just going to ask you.” Jason said as he placed a coin on the ground and a pen next to it. “If the answer is yes, move the coin. If the answer is no, move the pen. Do you want to hurt me?” Immediately, the pen moved and Jason felt himself relax a little bit. “Do you want to hurt Robin?”

The pen moved. No.

“Is Robin in danger?”

This time, both of the objects moved and he supposed that was fair. Being a vigilante meant you were always putting yourself in danger. “Is the egg a danger to Robin?” the pen almost was sent across the roof and Jason blinked at the hard no. Well. That was a pretty good confirmation. “What about the egg? Is the egg in danger?” He asked just for fun but neither of the objects moved this time and from the feeling he was getting it was because the being didn’t want to answer. Which was fair. It didn’t have to tell him anything. “Okay… This is the best I’m going to get, aren’t I?” the coin was flipped and Jason groaned.

He was going to have to take it at that. If this being was going to keep thwarting his attempts to get close to his brother then this was the best he was going to get unless he looked for outside means. Turning around, he picked up the coin and pen so that he could head back to Crime Alley. It was surprising that the others hadn’t asked him why he was on their side of Gotham anyway.

If the egg wasn’t a danger, then what exactly was it? To have a sentient curse attached, it had to be a pretty powerful object. Maybe it would be a good idea to give Zatanna a call just to see if she had ever heard of such a thing. Hopefully, the thing wasn’t lying to him. He wouldn’t have a way of knowing.

Notes:

Recommendations:

Destruction of Amity Park by Azreal_Arts
Amity Park is destroyed leaving only Danny as the survivor. The Justice League gets a notice that something is up and goes to investigate.

How to Make a Portal While Being Harrassed by Vigilantes by HoneyWitcher
Danny is just trying to make a portal and go back home. So what if he has to steal tech from big-name companies? These vigilantes need to leave him alone.

Deja Vu by ominousvibez
Damian and Danny are reliving their fifteenth birthday over and over like in groundhog day and meet by chance. Will they ever be able to stop the time loop?

Chapter 37: Ghostly Goth-egg-m

Summary:

Damian's side of things when spooks pop up.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“Is Hood drunk?” Robin asked as he watched Jason go to jump from one rooftop to the next, only to trip over his own two feet and fall into the alley below. Not a couple of minutes later, he grapples to the roof that he had tried to jump onto only to trip again and fall flat on his face on the gravelly roof. A pang of sympathy came from Danny from the display but the ghost’s amusem*nt far exceeded it.

Nah. He’s just being haunted right now.

“Are you sure it is not his ineptitude?” This time Danny laughed heartily at the young vigilante’s words.

No, no! He really is being haunted right now. Look at his shadow. You should be able to see her with your new mask upgrade.

Her?

Damian did as Danny told and was surprised to see a woman hanging out of Red Hood’s shadow, gripping his ankles so that he tripped in the first place. It was a bit unnerving. There was a woman’s figure completely wreathed in shadows making any discerning features from this distance indistinct. “…Who is that?” Damian asked as the woman noticed them watching and waved to them. There was something slightly horrific about seeing a woman’s torso appearing out of his older brother’s shadow. “and what is she doing?” He had never met her before. Had never seen her in his life… but there was something… the aura she gave off felt like he had known her for a long time. It was weird.

That’s Lady Gotham.

“Lady Gotham?!” a scream nearby had Robin growling to himself as he ran toward it. Leaving Jason to deal with the ghost attached to him. If Danny wasn’t worried about it then he wasn’t in danger. Probably. “Who is Lady Gotham?”

Danny hummed to himself as Damian made quick work of the mugging in progress and the young vigilante was back on the rooftops again in a few moments. She’s just that. Gotham. Not all ghosts are people or creatures that died and have come back. Some spirits are brought into existence by a large group of people believing that they are real. Like a curse. People believe that Gotham is cursed and she formed from the people’s belief. She’s the spirit of the city.

“So Gotham is cursed?” Robin looked in the direction of where Red Hood was seen last only to see him gone.

Originally? No. But technically now yes. Though, as I said, she is more of a spirit of the city than a curse. She protects the city and the people in it. After all, if Gotham ceased to exist then so would she.

This was interesting. “How long has she been around?” Robin asked starting back on his normal patrol route when the cops picked up the criminal.

It’s rude to ask a lady her age. I thought you had more class than that.

Robin rolled his eyes at the ghost’s sass. “You could have just said that you don’t know. I was curious because… when I saw her, it felt like I’d known her for a very long time… how can that be when I have never seen her before?”

Why don’t you ask her?

“I thought she was with Hood?”

Mm she might have gotten bored because she’s right below us now.

Skidding to a stop, Robin looked down into the alley below and saw the figure of a woman hiding in the shadows. Normally, this would be raising red flags left and right. A lone woman hiding in shadows waiting for him would be something that his mother would do. A trap. A deadly one. But it didn’t feel like this was the case. He felt like he would be safe if he hopped down there and with Danny being as calm as he was about the whole thing, it soothed his worries even more. Deciding to go for it, Robin made his way down into the alley.

He couldn’t help but stand a little straighter in this spirit’s presence. There was something about her that demanded that she be given respect. She chuckled a bit at him as he approached and gave her a respectful bow. “Evening, Lady Gotham. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

The spirit chuckled again as she moved through the shadows as if she was made of them. The darkness gave way to a regal-looking woman who looked like the women in some of the paintings in the manor of people his great grandfather’s age. The face was still indistinguishable. One moment it looked one way but in a different light Damian would have thought he looked like his grandmother Martha. “It is wonderful to finally meet my little Robin in person instead of watching from the shadows.” She reached her hand out and gently stroked Damian’s cheek like a mother consoling her son. “Thank you, my king, for allowing this meeting to happen.” She turned her attention to the pendant and Danny laughed awkwardly at the way he was addressed.

Actually, he wanted to meet you. I’m just kind of attached to him at the moment.

“But it is with the power you gave him that he can see and hear me at all. For as powerful as I am… I am spread much too thin to be able to be seen by the normal human eye.” Lady Gotham lowered herself so that she was at eye level with the boy. A kind smile on her face. “It has long been a dream of mine to be able to talk to the ones who valiantly protect the city at the cost of themselves.”

Damian felt himself leaning into her touch catching himself with wide eyes. He had never met her before but all of his defenses were down. It was terrifying but he felt entirely safe in this woman’s presence. “I… I-i…” he fumbled over his words unable to speak the question that he had wanted to ask.

You make it sound like something grander than it is. I would have been happy to help you talk to them if you just asked.

“I know, my king. Tis why I have tried my best to ensure that those who wished you harm or could get in the way of your recovery wouldn’t get near.”

“Danny, how do you know her?” Finally, Damian was able to speak again. Giving up on resisting and letting himself nuzzle his face into the spirit's cool hand. This should be scary. Terrifying. He shouldn’t be this relaxed but he didn’t care anymore. It felt nice… From the entire time that Danny was awake, not once did Danny mention or show Damian of Gotham’s existence. So how did he know her then?

Oh! Lady Gotham likes to come by the manor a lot. We’ve had many a discussion while you slept.

That made sense.

“It’s something of a habit of mine. To watch over my knights for they deserve their rest as well.” Gotham smiled gently as Damian pressed more of his cheek into her hand. “I am blessed to have so many protectors who do everything for those around them. You all are amazing and you, young one, have come so far in such a small amount of time.” She brought her other hand up to hold Robin’s face in both of her hands. “I know that the citizens are harsh when it comes to their criticism of you but you have done so much in a small amount of time and are constantly trying to get better. I am very proud of you and happy you were able to join my Knight’s flock.”

Damian shuddered a bit as he fought off the tears that wanted to fall. It was below him. Unsightly to cry over some simple praise. Instead, Lady Gotham pulled him into a hug and he let the tears fall as she held the boy close. It was weird. Her body was cold but he never felt so warm. It felt like Alfred was paying him a compliment. A grandmother who was telling him just how proud she was of him. He was ever grateful for Danny’s electronic jamming ability right now. He latched onto the spirit of the city, who was more than happy to wrap him up in her arms protectively.

Danny remained silent as the moment happened. Not wanting to be the one to break such a cathartic experience for his guardian.

“I have watched you for a long time. As I have watched your siblings. As I have watched your father. It has been such an honor to see you grow and prosper into the hero you are now. I was always in the shadows that seemed a little darker. Doing my best to help. A bullet pushed to the side here, a minion tripping there… I have always tried to do my best to help you all.” She continued to hold the boy until the tears subsided and he pulled himself back into the mask of Robin. Valiantly holding back sniffles. “The same goes for you as well, my king. I have done my best to send the men in white on wild goose chases throughout the town proper as well as any others that may do more harm than good while you are cooperating.”

“Wait… then why were you tripping Red Hood? Isn’t he one of your knights?” Damian said as he pulled away from the ghost, frantically wiping his face to rid it of the tears.

“Of course he is. Always will be.” Gotham gently helped the boy look presentable again. “But… he has… issues. The king is in a very vulnerable state right now. Normally being around Hood would be fine, if not better for Hood but with how weak the king is, and his penchant for protection, he would do more harm than good. It would be very easy for the king’s core to divert its healing to help another if they needed it and Hood does need it.”

“But Danny needs it more.” Damian finished the thought for her.

“That’s correct. So I have been… having some fun while keeping him away from you since he seems to have gained interest in the King’s core. I will continue to do so until his majesty has a body again. Only then should Hood not accidentally cause harm for just being near.” Lady Gotham straightened up and smirked a bit. “Speaking of… it seems that he has not taken my warning seriously. Farewell, my Robin, and young king. We should have another discussion soon.” She places a kiss on Damian’s forehead before melding back into the shadows and disappearing from sight.

I wish I could do that.

Robin pulled out his grapple and went back up onto the roof as if he hadn’t just met the spirit of the city. Her protective presence lingered and now that he knew what to feel for, he found that feeling in everything. She truly loved this city. “Do what?”

Traverse through shadows like that. With the amount of shadows that Gotham has, I could make it across the city unnoticed in no time flat.

He wasn’t wrong. That would be a rather handy ability to have. “You might yet be able to learn it. Who is to say that you cannot? You have quite the list of powers as it is.”

True. True. Danny went quiet as Damian finished up the rest of his patrol. The night was quiet until it was time to turn in. No doubt due to Lady Gotham’s influence. Soon the young vigilante was back in his room after giving curious looks to a haunted-looking Duke who was sitting in the dining room when they arrived home. So… did she answer your question?

Damian hummed as he went about getting ready for bed. Putting Danny in his little hammock since he liked it so much. The ghost would be moved to the little box bed once it was time to sleep. “Yes and no… it is true that I did not know her. How could I have? But I knew her presence. She has been around me since I arrived in Gotham and has looked after me ever since. It makes sense that I have become adapted to the protector spirit of the city if she is always around. But there is more to it… it’s a feeling that is hard to describe.” It really was. The entire time, it felt like he was in the presence of a powerful person who had been around a long time… while being a family member. Even then, that description didn’t feel right. Danny let himself fall into thought as Damian said “Though I do not know why she was pulling such childish pranks on Jason. There are better ways to get someone to avoid another.”

Where did that come from? You make it sound like you’ve never pranked someone before. Danny chuckled a bit until he realized that Damian hadn’t said anything and his amusem*nt turned into shock. Wait, you haven’t?! You have all of these cool assassin skills and you have never pranked someone once?!

“Tt. Intentionally? No. Such low humor is beneath me. Doesn’t stop the others from going off though.” Damian said with a roll of his eyes. Nor has that stopped them from trying to prank him. However, the many attempted stabbings had put off a lot of it. He plucked Danny off of his hammock and moved him to the little bed that Alfred had gotten made for him.

NO! No no no no! We are not just going to bed after this kind of revelation. You are the youngest in a family of rich heroes. The pranks you would have the ability to pull off would be legendary!

“That is a waste of resources that could be put to use for better things. Now rest, Danny. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow.”

NO! You are not allowed to rest until you prank someone.

Damian rolled his eyes as he got into bed himself and turned off the light. “You do realize that you are the only one in pranking distance?”

Please. You won’t do anything to me until I’m fully formed again. We both know this.

“Tt.” The boy scowled at the ceiling but didn’t refute it. Danny was right.

So! I am going to open your eyes to the magical and wonderful world of pranking! We could start with Tim. He needs payback for turning that program against you anyway.

“I will not partake in such a childish thing.”

Damian. As your fairy ghost parent, I am contractually obligated to remind you that you are, indeed, still a child.

“Say that again and I’m going to put you in a literal grave until you form.”

I’d like to see you try! There was a playfulness that Danny was exuding that had Damian’s lips quirking up a bit at how energetic he was being. So nope! You aren’t allowed to sleep until you have partaken in the sacred art of pranking your family. Its traditional.

“It sounds like you already have an idea of what you want to do to him.”

Whatever would make you think that? Danny replied innocently and the young Wayne knew that the ghost was far from it. If the mischievous feeling that the core was giving off meant anything. Come on! I know that you want to get back at him for hounding you because of me. Why not have a little fun with it?

Drake did deserve some karma. As nice as his intention may have been, he did go overboard when he set up that training drill to attack him. If he hadn’t figured out what to do then there was a good chance Danny would have been found out or he could have gotten hurt. Then Danny would have been found out anyway because he sustained an injury at the ghost’s expense. For someone without a body, he was rather protective of Damian and he appreciated it. Even if it was unnecessary. His original plan was to just jump Drake just like he had jumped him but he would probably end up grounded again.

It would be worth it though.

“Fine. However, it will not be done tonight. It would be better to plan and then act. What is this idea that you have for him?”

Hmm… he isn’t the only one that I have plans for.

…this didn’t sound good. “Just how many plans do you have?”

Danny cackled in devilish glee. Oh Dami… you have no idea. Ever since I became a ghost, pranking people has become one of my best hobbies. Being able to turn intangible and invisible at will makes it very easy. So! I have a bunch of little ones we can start working toward but there is one that I have been thinking about doing for a while that I would need your help with… honestly, you kind of inspired it.

Damian groaned. It felt as though the ghost was gearing up for a full-on prank war and he was going to be pulled into the crossfire. The manor was going to turn into a warzone. “What have I inspired in that non-brain of yours?”

Well… I should be waking up in a couple of weeks right?

“Only if you are feeling well enough for it. That little ice display you did last time is still affecting you now.” How could he not know? It would mean that he’s been carrying the ghost for nine months.

Yeah, yeah. I know. But! The entire family calls me an egg.

“They think that you are nothing but a fancy rock I found and applied sentience and importance to.”

Yes. Now… what if I actually hatched in front of them?

Damian’s eyes widened as he turned to Danny’s core. “Are you mad?!”

Actually, I’m pretty sane. So what do you think? We could find a time before you have to prep for that gala you are being forced to go to. Why not spice it up and have me hatch right in front of everyone and I become your son?

He should say no to this. That plan was destined to backfire. Damian knew his family and this was going to go one of two ways. Danny would be accepted immediately… or he would be attacked on the spot. Not that he would allow the latter to happen. He had worked for far too long to get this ghost to form only to have him immediately cored again.

But it would be funny.

Damian rolled over so his back was facing the box. “Let me sleep on it and I will tell you my verdict in the morning.” The ghost cheered and wished him a good night as the thought kept rolling around the boy’s head.

It was a no brainer.

He was going to say yes.

Notes:

Granny Gotham anyone? Granny Gotham :3

EDIT: Also you all can thank ayamori_no_goshi for me updating on time because she accidentally reminded me when I forgot.

I know.

I'm a terrible author for forgetting. But I had a bad day ;-;

Recommendations:

Chasing Shadows by ayamori_no_goshi
As Bruce Wayne begins to slowly recover from the loss of his son, two separate mysteries open up old wounds. Who is the unknown leaving clues hinting at a return to Gotham, and who is the phantom pretending to be his lost son? Is it just a coincidence they're active in Gotham at the same time? Or are they connected?

Its back <3

Im... um.. the ambassador? by tanglepelt
Dani misses a checkin and Danny is worried. He finds her and then manages to convince everyone that he is an ambassador. they don't need to know he is the king.

Royal Hot Potato by TorScrawls
The Justice League need help and call for the ghost king expecting Pariah Dark but instead get two snarky teenagers. Maybe Pariah Dark would have been better.

Chapter 38: Who did it?! Egg isn't Damian!

Summary:

Danny shows Damian the glory of pranking.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Tim sighs as he sat heavily at the kitchen counter with a fresh cup of goodness in his hands. So much had been done but there was still so much that he had to go through, even with an algorithm running through the files as well. Sometimes it still took a human touch. He grabbed the creamer and poured a generous amount into the coffee. Swirling it with his finger in lieu of a spoon before taking a sip… and immediately spitting it out with a gag. Tim looked into his cup to see that the milk he had already added was curdled.

Curdled.

There was no chance that the milk he had added was expired to that point. Alfred was methodical with his food prep and anything that was even close to expiring was either used before it could or thrown out when it was. Which meant only one thing, Tim dipped his finger into the creamer and licked it only to shudder. Citric acid. Someone had switched his creamer with citric acid so that it would curdle. Someone wanted to die apparently.

No one messes with his coffee.

No one.

Grumbling and exhausted, Tim pours out the cup, rinses it out, and goes to get the last dregs from the pot. He’ll have to make new after this and he hoped he would be able to sneak it by Alfred. There was no point in grabbing the sugar that was on the table. Odds were that it was tampered with as well and he wasn’t about to lose his last cup before he would be forced to wait for his caffeinated goodness. So he went over to the cupboard and pulled out the canister for sugar. He used the spoon already inside to pour some into his cup, stirring it with his finger again, taking a sip… only to gag hard at how salty the drink tasted. Now thoroughly ticked off, he poured his cup out, cleaned it, grabbed a new one and started making a new pot of coffee.

Whoever was messing with his sacred drink was going to have hell to pay. How else was he going to go through all of that information so quickly?! Why were they purposefully sabotaging him when there was so much he had to get done? Besides, if they just wanted him to sleep, it would have been easier if they had slipped melatonin into the mix. He would have been passed out by now! Tim tapped his fingers on the counter impatiently as he waited for the pot to mix the water with the lifesaving beans that were coffee beans. His eyes got heavier and heavier the longer he waited.

This was day three of his staying-awake binge and it was beginning to show. Good news was, he hadn’t started hallucinating yet. So he still had a few hours before someone (Alfred) would step in to make sure he rested. So whoever was messing with him now… they were going to get it. First, he would go to the batcave to see just who the wise guy was, and then, at his first available opportunity, revenge was going to be had. As Tim pondered the various ways he was going to get the person who had sabotaged his precious coffee, the pot went ding and he dragged himself over. He needed to get this in his system now if he wasn’t going to pass out.

Forgoing any additives for fear that something else in this kitchen had been switched (there was no doubt at this point. Even if he went to the little break area in the cave, odds were that everything had been switched there too. His family was nothing but thorough when it came to pranks.), Tim sniffed the sweet scent of the liquid that would wake him back up so he could get back on the case. He took his seat at the kitchen counter, brought the hot mug to his lips, took a sip… and screamed in frustration as the coffee that reached his taste buds was decaf. Tim stared at his cup in horror.

Switching sugar and creamer was one thing… but switching his coffee for decaf? Just which monster would dare do something like that? He didn’t think any of his siblings would dare betray him like this. Frantically, Tim dashed over to the spot where Alfred designated his coffee cupboard. Throwing open the doors only to let out a scandalized scream.

All of his coffee was gone.

He pulled everything out of the cupboard but every single one was a different variation of decaf. Tim remained on the floor surrounded by bags of coffee stunned. Someone was really trying to get him back for something… and as of this moment there was really only one person who had a reason… but it didn’t make sense. Damian didn’t play pranks. He thought they were childish. No, if the gremlin had a problem then he would have just stabbed Tim instead. There was no way that he would have given in to such a thing. The cameras. He needed to get down to the cave and access the cameras. They should be able to tell him who the culprit was.

Now all he had to do was get up off the floor and get down there. He just had to move his legs and pull himself up… Tim’s mind slowed as his eyelids drifted closed. No! He needed to stay awake. There was so much to do! The case he was working on, finding out who switched his coffee. Revenge!

Danny was laughing hysterically and Damian couldn’t help the small smirk that had worked its way onto his face. They stood in the corner of the kitchen. Invisible. Watching his older brother go through the five stages of grief at the loss of his coffee. Now Tim was passed out on the kitchen floor, having succumbed to his sleep deprivation. It was satisfying to watch the hope die in his brother’s eyes as each attempt to make his beverage of choice was sabotaged. Was it as satisfying as chasing Tim through the halls and throwing kunai at him? No. But he could get behind this as well.

I think he was plotting the death of the culprit by the end. He was acting like someone had killed his lover!

“With how much he drinks, I would believe it,” Damian muttered. Taking a photo for future blackmail and heading out of the room with the ghost boy dying a second time from laughter. Danny dropped the invisibility once they were out of the room.

So are you game for more pranks? I see that smirk on your face. Surely, you wanna mess with the others just as bad as they want to mess with you.

“Tt.” Damian scoffed as he wandered the halls of the manor for no real reason. “I only pranked Drake because he deserved it. He just gained the unexpected bonus of a nap afterward. Actually… I don’t think I’m through with him yet. Drake has a lot to answer for over the past few months.”

Let’s give him a break for now. It doesn’t look like he’ll be up in the next couple of days anyway. Who is next on your list?

“I have an idea…”

The next couple of weeks in Wayne Manor were hell. Well, hell for the siblings more than anyone else. Alfred and Bruce weren’t touched. While visiting, Steph’s Spoiler costume had been tie-dyed. Duke’s deodorant had been replaced with cream cheese. Dick wasn’t home at the moment, so he ended up getting a glitter bomb in the mail. Cass was the second hardest to prank but even she had woken up to her hair done up in very intricately small braids. Not a single hair had been left out. She hadn’t even noticed that it happened. When she came down for breakfast everyone had stared at her until someone snapped a picture and showed her.

She was a little flighty after that one and Damian did feel a little bit guilty for it. Cass was always very aware of her surroundings and to have someone mess with her hair, let alone her entire head, without her noticing? It spooked her quite a bit. Even Danny agreed that they wouldn’t do something like that again. She was the nicest of the siblings other than Dick and she didn’t deserve to feel that way. So they vowed, if they pranked her again, it would be from something that didn’t touch her directly. Now the one to get the worst of it other than Tim… was Jason. With Lady Gotham more than happy to send the vigilante on a wild goose chase through the city, Damian got to work per Danny’s instructions. Invisibility and intangibility were truly an overpowered skillset for this.

~*~

“Why were you so late coming out tonight… is your crowbar pink?” Spoiler watched as Red Hood knocked the kneecaps out of a gang member with a crowbar that glittered under the street lamps. It was painted pink with shimmery glitter coating the entire thing save for a few spots where it was stained red.

“It was like this when I found it! Honestly, this was the best-looking one compared to the others.” Jason tied up the downed man and turned his attention to his pseudo-sibling. “I should be asking what happened to you. Why do you look like a pride flag threw up on you?”

Spoiler looked down at her outfit and shrugged. She knew it was a prank but she honestly kind of liked how it was done. It was the only reason why she was still wearing it. Whoever decided to do it had taste. “Someone has been going on a prank spree and it looks like you weren’t left out. Besides, I think I look good!”

“Wait, so none of you know who is doing all this yet?” Jason turned and whacked another guy who got too close with some of the glitter falling off onto the ground below.

“Nope. Not yet. What’s happened to you other than the weapon makeover?”

What hadn’t happened to him? For two days he thought something was wrong with the water in Gotham because no matter which safe house he went to the next morning he awoke stuck to his sheets. His entire body was coated in some sort of sticky substance. It was only when he used one in a safe house that wasn’t his did he realize that something was up. When he popped the caps off the shower heads, hard candies fell out. The hot water had slowly melted the candy and covered him in sugar water and when it dried he was a sticky mess. When he checked his safe house cameras, he couldn’t find a culprit. The candy just magically appeared in the shower heads.

He had a thought that a certain sentient curse might have had something to do with it.

Then there was the sabotage of his weapons. Several of his guns looked fine in their displays and whatnot but the moment he picked them up they fell to pieces. Nothing was wrong with the guns, they were just missing the key components to keep the gun together. It was amazing that they didn’t fall apart where they were. So he had to go to every safe house and put all of his weapons back into working order. Though, thankfully, it was mainly his smaller weapons. His bigger ones remained untouched, mostly. A couple had been affected. That wasn’t including all of the blunt weapon redesigns. Every single crowbar was painted pink or green. The green was scarily close to the color of Lazarus water so he knew it had to be one of his family who had done this. Talia wasn’t one for pranks. Some had ribbons attached, others had glitter. Each one was overly cutesy and he had to admit that he liked how a few of them had been done up. He planned on keeping them that way.

The one he brought with him was the prettiest that was still functional and Jason had to admit he was having fun beating up these guys with a cutesy crowbar. There was just something about when you hit a guy and an explosion of glitter followed. So despite the fact he was being pranked to hell and back, some good came out of it. Jason shouldered the crowbar and co*cked his head at Spoiler. “A few things. Somehow all of my safe houses have been affected but it’s not all bad. I think this crowbar brings out my eyes. What do you think?”

Steph’s grin was feral under her mask as she laughed. “Yeah, babygirl. You slayin’ that look with that crowbar.”

“Damn straight.”

~*~

After getting everyone good a few times individually, Damian changed tactics so that he would get everyone at once, much to Danny’s delight. With the ghost’s help, they started setting off the temperature alarms throughout the house causing cold spots to keep happening. It was driving Tim up a wall because every time it happened, Damian made sure he wasn’t near it. Throwing a wrench in the older boy’s ice meta theory. Though now it had morphed into something else altogether.

Then, of course, Damian had to ‘prank’ himself in some way to throw off the others’ suspicions. He took Danny’s ‘siblings’ and hid them around the house. He then gathered the others demanding to know what happened to them and who the culprit was to take the other rocks. There was no evidence on the cameras of who took them but they helped the youngest Wayne search for the rocks regardless. One was on the chandelier which had several of the others putting Dick’s uncle points into question since he was the only one that would try to hide something up there. There were two in the cave, one in the library, etc. A massive argument broke out among everyone after that because all the pranks came to light with accusations being thrown left and right. Mainly because there was no physical evidence that one of them was doing it and it had to be. Because if not, that meant someone knew their secrets and was actively messing with them and that was not a thought that they wanted to think about.

However, it all came to a head when Bruce called a family meeting and made it mandatory for ALL to attend. Including Jason. They all sat in the dining room with Bruce at the head of the table. No one said anything but the room was anything but silent. A speaker playing Robin’s laughter filled the silence along with the rest of the house because somehow, someone had hidden speakers throughout the house so that it would play endlessly. Some of the speakers were in places that couldn’t be reached. Like IN the walls or ceiling. With no indication that a section had been moved to get it there in the first place.

Bruce overlooked them all and it would have been intimidating… if not for the stupid laughter in the background. “I do not know who started it or who is still involved. But as of this moment, this prank war is ending.” The man stated with so much authority that a few of his children sat straighter in their seats. “It’s one thing when you prank each other periodically but this is now affecting our work lives and our night lives and could put one of you in a dangerous situation. Especially when you have been sabotaging each other’s utility belts. Though seeing Duke covered in glitter from a glitter bomb was funny, he could have been put in a precarious situation if the people he was apprehending weren’t hit with it too.”

“So. Again. I don’t know who started it. I don’t know who is still involved or not. But I am ending it as of this moment, am I clear?” His tone had a sense of finality to it and everyone responded with ‘yes, sir’ or something of a similar fashion. Seeing that he got his point across, Bruce stood up and started to make his way out of the room. “I expect to have these speakers gone by the end of the day. There are a lot of them so you all had better get to work. And take down any other traps you may have set up for each other while you are at it. We have a big event coming up and if you end up dyed purple, you still will be showing up for it.”

A chorus of groans filled the room. Damian was fairly quick to follow as were the others as they scattered throughout the mansion. Bruce may not be the official head of the family but there were certain lines that they weren’t allowed to cross and no one wanted to deal with an angry bat. Danny, who had remained quiet through the entire conversation, finally started laughing once they were far enough away.

Oh my Ancients, he was so mad! I could feel the anger radiating from across the room.

The younger boy sighed as he began to go about dismantling the other pranks he had systematically put up around the manor. He would have to get the speakers later when the others aren’t out and about. Plus, Danny needed a break from using so much invisibility and intangibility as of late. It wasn’t as hard on the ghost to use as his ice was but it did wear him out. Damian was forcing the ghost to use it sparingly. “It has been… a rather enlightening couple of weeks to be sure.”

Oh, spare me. You had fun. I know you did because I felt it!

Damian sighed as he took down a rope trap above Tim’s room. Just because Danny knew it didn’t mean he had to admit to it.

Notes:

I want to thank the batpham discord server and stealingyourbones for the prank ideas.

Sorry, I haven't had time to get recommendations this past week. Way too busy x.x

So just a heads up, I may or may not miss a few updates in the near future since I'm also working on Invisobang with Tathartiel and there is a time limit with check-ins. Some things have happened in life so it might be tight trying to write this and the Invisobang at once with everything going on but I will try to make it so that doesn't happen. I joined kind of without a plan unlike prior when I had more time and had prepared something in advance. But again... this may not be an issue! Just giving my lovelies a heads up <3

Chapter 39: Clowning Egground

Summary:

It's Gala time! Nothing is gonna go wrong... right?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Grumbling in mild disdain, Damian messed with the tie around his neck as his father greeted some random rich couple who thought it would be a good idea to talk to Brucie Wayne. Danny’s core buzzed in his pendant underneath the boy’s dress clothes. There was an excitement in the air and it wasn’t just from the ghost boy. People milled about talking to people they knew or wanted to make connections with. Not to mention subtle underhanded dealings that always managed to work their way into these things. There was always at least one.

Normally, it wouldn’t have been a big deal but they had to change the location of the gala to the museum. Steph had set up a paint trap in the ballroom and it had accidentally been set off in the process of removing it. Needless to say, she was looking exhausted with paint splatters in her blonde hair as she worked her way through the room of socialites. It had taken her all night to clean half the room and it was still waiting for her once the gala was over. Damian didn’t envy her in the slightest.

So, normally, it would have been easy for them to eavesdrop on the conversations around them since there were hidden microphones everywhere in the ballroom. With the change of venue, they had to improvise. The entire batclan was here save for Dick, who had somehow gotten out of the boring soiree since he was more of a casualty of the prank war than a participant.

This time.

He often was the one to lead them in other instances. So, instead, he was out as Nightwing with the help of Oracle. That way at least one vigilante was out tonight.

At least, Tim managed to convince everyone to were a suit that wasn't white. Operation make white suits a faux pas was a go.

I didn’t realize that there would be so many people…

As excited as the ghost boy was to be here (and for what was to come), there was a hidden layer of anxiety that Danny was giving off that took Damian a moment to notice was there. The rest of his siblings were working their way through the room. None of them wanted to be there but this was their punishment and they accepted it. Tim actually looked well-rested for once since his coffee had yet to be replaced. So, hopefully, there wouldn’t be a repeat of his face in the dinner fiasco. But it was still early.

“This is a party held by the famous Wayne family. It would be weirder if less showed up.” Damian replied as his eyes scanned the room with a bored expression on his face. He knew that these stupid things were necessary for their cover but why did they have to be so awful? At least, none of the mothers had shoved their children his way in attempts to form a bond. Yet. It would happen at least once before the night was out.

Danny hummed in response before his semi-jovial, yet anxious, mood suddenly took a nose dive into depression territory. Causing the boy to stumble uncharacteristically as he schooled his expression into one of neutrality against the wave of sadness that came from the ghost. Damian scanned the room subtly trying to find what it was that set the ghost off. “What happened? Danny, what’s wrong?” He whispered blessed that any mic on him was being jammed by the ghost currently. The youngest Wayne rolled his eyes at Bruce when his father took note of his slightly odd behavior.

That couple that is over there in the corner... the wallflowers…

Damian turned his attention in the direction Danny suggested to see a solemn couple dressed all in black off to the side. He recognized them as frequent visitors to their galas but couldn’t place their names. He just remembered that they were more annoying than anything. “What about them…?”

That’s Mr. and Mrs. Manson… they are- uh were… my friend’s parents.

Manson. Sam Manson. She was one of the two family friends that had been found in the lab explosion that had taken the lives of Danny’s entire family. Now that he had the name, Damian recognized the overzealous parents of the goth activist that was always dragged to these things at her parents’ expense. They loved shoving her into his path in an attempt for them to get together or, at minimum, become friends. Sam was someone he approved of. She was vegan and didn’t take sh*t from anybody. Not even her parents.

When they weren’t trying to hook him or one of his brothers up with their daughter, they were trying desperately to get Bruce’s attention for one inane thing or another. So it was surprising to see the normally bright-colored couple wearing the shades and style that their daughter would while standing off to the side trying not to get attention. “…do you want me to go talk to them?” Damian asked ignoring the flicker of surprise that came from Danny. To be honest? He really didn’t want to but if this provided the ghost closure in some way then he wasn’t going to deny him that.

I… I don’t… Danny stumbled over his words as he tried to figure out what he wanted to do. This wasn’t exactly what he had in mind when they came to the gala. He was just supposed to keep Damian entertained while pranking some of the rich jerks that weren’t on the nice side of things. Then form in front of Damian’s family after the party was over. Thinking Sam’s parents would attend hadn’t crossed his mind. He hadn’t seen them since before the explosion. They had been on a rocky truce with them since he did care for Sam and had proved it by protecting her one time and they saw it. They didn’t necessarily like him but he was tolerated instead of despised. Which was an improvement! But he had been away from Amity Park for almost a year. A lot changes in a year. They were the first Amity Parkers he had seen since he awoke and there was a deep ache in his core in wanting to see if they were all right. Not that he could really do much for them right now. You know what…? Why not? It would be nice to learn what happened to the town in my absence.

With Danny’s approval, Damian took the first available moment to slip away while his Father was distracted. He weaved his way expertly through the crowd of people until he stood not far from the Mansons’ who were still in grieving if the way they were dressed and their expressions was anything to go by. Now… how did he start a conversation without making it awkward or worse by mentioning their daughter?

However, he was saved from having to do that when Mrs. Manson went to grab something from her clutch and noticed him. “Oh my! If it isn’t Damian Wayne. It’s positively lovely to see you again.” All of the sorrow that she held on her face was replaced with a carefully masked smile that only an elite socialite could create so fast. Yet just because she could hide the emotion on her face, she couldn’t hide the emotion in her eyes. The sorrow was there within them. Carefully tucked away to process in a place that wasn’t out in public. “It’s been a long while since you have attended one of these.”

“Yes… I may have gotten into some trouble a while ago that I am still trying to make amends for.” Damian replied more to keep the conversation going than to spare the woman’s feelings.

“Kids will be kids, eh?” Mrs. Manson’s smile turned kind as her eyes began to water. “How have your endeavors to help animals come along? When I last heard, you were volunteering in shelters and the like.”

The sadness that Danny felt calmed as they carried on. Just hearing the parents’ of one of his closest friends seemed to help soothe a pain that was deep within him. The conversation continued along these lines until Damian brought up some of the wildlife charities that he personally founded and funded. The Mansons’ shared a look before letting their smiles turn solemn. “Actually… that is why we are here. You see… our daughter was involved in an accident about a year ago. She didn’t survive.” Mrs. Manson’s voice choked for a moment but she powered through and continued on. “As we were going through her things… we found plans that she wanted to enact when she was older. Sam was always a strong, bold girl. She was always fighting to save the planet one way or another… Oh… we knew that once she got older, she was going to take the world by storm.” Her voice failed and Mr. Manson picked up where she left off.

“We came to this gala in hopes of finding investors to help start up some of the charities and programs that she came up with. Most of them were absolutely brilliant and even though she isn’t here anymore to fight…” Now it was Mr. Manson’s turn to take a moment before he could continue speaking. “We wanted her dreams to live on though but when we arrived…”

“We… were having trouble talking to our ‘friends’. Now we understand why Sam hated these things so much… most wouldn’t even give us the time of day.” Mrs. Manson turned her attention to all of the nicely dressed people milling about like nothing was wrong. “…we should have listened to her more…”

Damian had to fight back tears from the overwhelming feeling of sorrow that came from the pendant. He distracted himself by taking a drink from a waiter walking by. This is what he remembered of Samantha Manson. A goth girl with an attitude that wanted nothing more than to make the planet eco-friendly. It was her way or the highway on most things and more often than not, Damian was her accomplice in helping her sneak out of these stifling parties for greener pastures. He didn’t blame her.

I… I don’t know whether to be touched or angry…

The boy grunted to show he was listening but kept his attention on the two adults in front of him.

When Sam was alive, they hardly ever listened to her. They kept trying to mold her into this perfect little princess that she wasn’t. And now… that she’s gone… they support her? They want her dreams to become reality? Why didn’t they try while she was still around? Why after? Why NOW that she is gone do they suddenly care about the passions she held in life?

Why indeed? There were lots of reasons for this but Damian couldn’t voice them at the moment. This was a situation where there was no real good outcome. There also was no wrong answer. So Damian cleared his throat to gain the attention of the Manson’s again. “My father has a lot of environmental programs that he runs through charities in Gotham and other places. He would have a good idea of where to start. Why don’t I help introduce these programs to him?” They looked relieved that the prickly son of the Wayne’s offered and Damian ignored Danny’s slight outrage in helping the lost parents make their way over to his father.

Bruce arched a brow at his approach but that was the only break from his playboy persona. “Hey there, chum. Make some new friends?”

“Yes, Father. This is Mr. and Mrs. Manson. They have some programs to help Gotham and other cities to help them become more ecologically friendly.” Keeping his free hand low, Damian signed ‘Sam Manson’s parents. The one who died in the lab accident’ in finger spelling. Feeling slightly gratified when both of Bruce’s brows shot up in surprise. The Brucie mask broke twice in a matter of moments.

“That’s wonderful! I’m always ready to hear of new ways to help the planet!” Bruce took the lead and led the Mansons away a small bit to talk, leaving Damian the chance to sneak away from the stifling atmosphere for a little while.

Danny was still slightly mad as Damian made his way into a secluded hallway so that he could finally speak without looking like a madman. “What’s wrong?”

What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Why did you do that? Danny’s core was seething and Damian took a second so that he could calm himself as he walked through the empty hallways.

“I would have thought that you would like that I helped make it so that your friend’s wishes had a bigger chance of becoming a reality.” The youngest Wayne spoke with a calm reassurance to his tone. He didn’t fully understand why the ghost was angry but he did know that Danny was processing some grief right now. He just needed a moment to work through his emotions.

Of course, they deserve to be made real! But they don’t deserve your help! They ignored Sam pretty much their entire lives! Why couldn’t they try to make amends while she was alive? When it mattered?!

Damian was struggling a little bit. While he understood that the Manson’s were entitled to their right to grieve how they saw fit, he also could see why Danny was so frustrated by their lack of action until now. “…It’s easy to forget that most only have a limited time on this planet. Parents don’t often think that they will have to bury their children. Instead, they are expectant that their child will be burying them. So, more often than not, they try to raise their child to what they think is right. A lot of parents not realizing the actual damage they are doing to the child while doing so.” Damian frowned a bit. Knowing all too well how he was raised one way, only to be dumped on the other parent. Talia loved him but she definitely wasn’t a good mother. Not by a long shot and, even now, is still trying to unlearn the indoctrination of assassin code that Mother had beaten into him. “It is unfortunate but… at least, they are trying to honor their daughter’s memory instead of burying her from their lives for good.”

“As her close friend, you have a right to be mad. Your anger is valid but you must understand that odds are, their actions weren’t meant to be malicious. They clearly loved their daughter. Unfortunately, they only learned how to see her perspective after she was no longer there to say it.” Damian stopped in the Greek exhibit that he had spent a good chunk of time in prior on the school trip. Danny seemed to have simmered down. His seething subsided into frustration as he contemplated Damian’s words. The two boys remained quiet for a while. Danny while he finally grieved his friend after waking up and Damian keeps quiet and vigilant so that the ghost teen had the privacy to do so.

Why is a kid that is like… five years younger than me more mature?

There was a smirk on Damian’s face as he leaned up against the wall. Careful not to touch anything that would set off an alarm. The ghost teen’s emotions had finally calmed into dull neutrality. Tired in an emotional way. “I may be physically younger but my mental age is pretty high.”

…We were both forced to grow up too soon.

Damian was about to retort when suddenly the entire building shook violently. He quickly slipped the pendant back under his clothes and started running back toward where the party was. Screams of terror cut through the silence but a more chilling sound made itself known. The cackling laugh of the Joker filled the room along with the gas that was making its way through the massive crowd at an alarming pace. Damian couldn’t find any of his siblings or Bruce. Minions in clown costumes were blocking the exits and Damian couldn’t get any closer unless he wanted to subject himself to the Joker’s Laughing gas.

Feeling a presence behind him, Damian dropped down to avoid the grab of a goon in a gas mask. He swept the legs out from under his assailant and kicked the man’s head hard so that he was knocked out. The young assassin moved into the shadows. “Danny, I need you to-”

You got it.

Quickly, he fished out the comm that he held in his pocket and put the piece in his ear. Chatter was already filling his ears with the others providing status reports and their positions. “I have lost sight of the Joker. Everyone be on guard and your eyes peeled.” Dick called over the comms and you could feel the tension in the air at the admission.

“If you find him, do not move to apprehend. I don’t want any of you going after him alone.” Bruce cut in over the rest of the chatter silencing his kids with his authoritative tone. No one argued. Joker was always a sensitive subject when it came to going after him. Not knowing where the Joker was never ended well.

As he rounded a corner, Damian was greeted by three minions and the Joker himself. The adults all turned their attention to him. Joker’s smile got wider when he realized who he was. “Well, well! Look what we have here! One of Brucie Wayne’s gaggle of misfits lost and all alone.” Joker wiped a fake tear from his eye with a gloved hand. “Why weren’t you hanging around with Daddy? Is the party too boring for you?”

“Tt.” Damian bristled and he could feel the hackles raising in Danny as well. Which was intriguing because the ghost had never met the clown before. “I was simply taking a look around. There is more than just the party here.”

“Holy-, is that Robin I hear?” Tim asked incredulous that he could hear his little brother so clearly.

“Oracle, do you have his location?” Bruce asked with his footsteps being heard in the background.

“Yes! Thankfully, it’s working. I’ve already sent it to you all.”

“Hang on, baby bat. I’m on my way.” There was a sense of urgency in Dick’s voice. One that could be felt by everyone on the comm line.

Damian frowned and took a couple of steps back as Joker advanced on him slowly. “True. There are a lot of pretty things to look at here, aren’t there? Say… why don’t you come with me? We could play a game.” Joker’s longer strides meant he was able to get closer faster. With each step, something started to grow in Danny. Something ominous.

Not wanting to figure it out nor egg the Joker on, Damian turned tail and booked it down the hallway away from the villain. A chase began as the Joker found a new target to play with and the goons came along for the ride. The boy ran through the museum, knowing its layout far better than the average Gothamite would. He knew a good pinch point where the others would be able to take out the Joker without much trouble. Oracle noticed his route and relayed it over the comms to the others so that they could get into position.

Left. Right. Left. Left. Up a flight of stairs. Right again… Damian reached the end of a dead end and whirled around as the Joker and his men rounded the corner. They stalked forward, like a predator about to snag its trapped prey. “Awww… looks like it’s the end of the line. Guess we’ll have to play a new game-”

Glass shattered as Nightwing kicked in through the window and caught Joker in the chest. Red Robin followed not long after, along with Black Bat and Spoiler. Damian subtly relaxed now that the others were here but he couldn’t let his guard down completely. He had a ghost to calm. Danny was only getting worse and he didn’t know why. It wasn’t a panic attack but it felt like it could turn into one. Unable to voice it, he put a hand over his chest where the pendant rested. Pushing calming thoughts the ghost’s way.

LOOK OUT!

Damian looked up to see the Joker right in front of him, having wormed his way out of Nightwing’s grasp. He grabbed Damian and pulled him in front of him against his chest. “Ahahahahaha! This has been fun but… let the new game commence!” Joker broke the closest window and jumped out of it. Taking Damian with him. The fall was short and thankfully they landed in the well-pruned bushes outside. With a grunt, Damian tried to use the opportunity to get away but to no avail. The Joker held fast.

The clown stood up and ran away from the chaos he incited with Damian and Danny as his hostages.

Notes:

Hello, everyone! I'm sorry that I haven't updated this in a little bit. I've only really had time to work on one thing at once and since Invisobang has a time constraint I've been working on that. That isn't to say that this story (or any of the others) have been ignored but it has temporarily dropped on my priority list. At least, until Invisobang which is in the first week of September.

When I have gotten the chance, I've worked on Rehoming as well as You Aren't Alone. Not just this one. So, hopefully, those will be able to get updated soon as well! So thank you everyone for being patient and I hope you all are hyped for the fic that Tathy and I are working on together. We have put a lot of work into it and we can't wait to show you all. Our artists have come up with some amazing pieces as well and we are just excited for it overall!

Also happy early 4th and belated Canada day!!!

Chapter 40: Eggt's Happening!

Summary:

Joker has Damian and Danny trapped... will the others be able to get there in time or will Damian be able to get away?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“This is a futile endeavor. Batman already knows that you have me and that means it will only be a matter of time before you are found out.” Damian glared at the clown prince of crime who was humming away rather joyfully across the room. Somehow, Joker had eluded the entire batclan and managed to get the docks into one of the many lairs that Joker had throughout Gotham. Damian sat tied to a wooden chair in the middle of the room. Irritated and annoyed that he had to play helpless victim to this deranged man who could decide to kill him at any time. A few men in clown masks were wandering about and there were several crates filled with who knew what. Odds were it was weapons, explosives, or Joker gas. Considering what was happening, Damian was willing to bet it was explosives. The clown had a flair for the dramatics and Batman had been ignoring him in lieu of the white-suited agents for the past few months. Joker gets jealous when his rival’s attention is elsewhere.

Cold spread out on Damian’s chest from Danny’s pendant. The ghost had gone silent, which was rather worrying. He hadn’t said anything sassy since Joker had nabbed him and there was this feeling… that made his skin crawl. It was a silent type of anger. One that Damian knew rather well since he had been trained to contain his emotions. The kind that simmered and festered until it could no longer be contained. Often exploding in horrible shouting matches or drastic bouts of violence. This was the first time he had ever felt something like this coming off of Danny and it… was unnerving. The ghost boy was normally such a happy, sassy, personality that it felt like he could never hold this kind of feeling within him. Well, Damian was proven wrong.

The worst part was that there wasn’t anything that Damian could do. His hands were tied to the chair behind him. If he spoke then he would be noticed immediately. Despite Joker constantly being caught in his schemes, he wasn’t someone that you overlooked. He was a master manipulator who was insanely smart. He knew just what to do to push people’s buttons to get what he wanted from them. The only one he never truly succeeded with was his Father. Batman. So Damian was stuck hoping Danny wouldn’t reveal his powers or abilities but the frost beginning to creep under his shirt was telling him that wasn’t going to happen.

Joker laughed as he turned to the boy with a swagger in his step. “Who says that wasn’t my plan from the beginning? What is the point of putting on a show if there isn’t an audience?” The clown’s steps clicked on the cement floor as he approached the youngest of the Waynes with his signature smile on his face. “Batsy has a soft spot for children… You don’t have blue eyes but you are a Wayne spawn so that will work just as well.” With every step closer the Joker got, the cold crept up further and further. Damian had been wondering why Danny had been acting weird, guess he really didn’t like clowns.

Or the Joker.

Probably both.

The goons left the room when Joker snapped his fingers, leaving the murderous clown alone with the child. Damian just kept scowling because there wasn’t really much more he could do without giving anything away. “What about the gala? You had a rather large audience there.” the boy asked trying to make it so that his slight shivering wasn’t noticeable. There was no way in hell that he wanted the Joker to think he was shivering in fear or something like that. The man didn’t deserve such an ego boost.

Cackling, Joker put a hand on Damian’s shoulder making the young vigilante sneer at the white glove touching him right now. Straightening up in an attempt to dislodge the limb to no avail. “Those rich idiots? They are being entertained. Didn’t you hear their laughter as you were running away? They were having a BALL.”

Danny practically growled and Damian was so thankful that he was the only one that could hear Danny in any way or else he would have just given himself away. He felt the cold shift to aim for the hand on Damian’s shoulder and he twisted it hard so that the hand was thrown off before the ice could get a chance to touch. The shivering could be explained but sudden ice could not. “Then why didn’t you stay with them? Surely, they would have wanted an encore performance?” Damian hissed at the man. No, the only thing he could do now was try to get Joker to provide him with information about whatever plan he had. His family was listening in to the comm in his ear. There was no doubt about it. Though it was a little odd he couldn’t hear them right now. Normally, someone would have said a reassurance to him by now.

Was Danny’s high emotional state even affecting the comm that had ectoplasm infused to it? If so, then it would explain why they hadn’t stormed the warehouse yet. The bats had been hot on their trail. There was no way that the trail had gotten cold so easily. Joker straightened up. Not insulted by the fact that he had his hand tossed to the side like that. “Simple. This is far more entertaining! Not only do I get to give Batman the runaround but all of his little birdies are also fluttering about in fear as to what could happen. Just imagine the possibilities that they have running through their heads right now.” Damian went to retort when he noticed the shadows in the corners of the room get darker. Darker than should be feasible for the human mind to comprehend. The lights flickered above ominously and, for a brief moment, the Joker frowned. “Faulty wiring in these places… they do tend to have problems with how many times they get destroyed or blown up. Oh, well. This still works.”

Joker walked away a little bit and Damian released a small bit of tension that was set in his shoulders. An ominous feeling was beginning to make itself known and he was having trouble trying to pinpoint the source. Danny apparently had no problems with what was going on but he was still zeroed in on the villain they were trapped with. The ice receded a small bit the further away the clown got. When this was over, Damian was going to ask what happened for Danny to act like this instinctually. As Damian continued to try and get info out of the clown prince, the darkness in the room continued to get darker. The lights flickered a few more times and even Joker was beginning to feel unnerved by the aura in the air.

“Maybe you could have picked a better hideout. This is rather shameful.” Damian said with venom in his voice as the lights flickered again.

“Hmm… yes. You may be right but it still will be useful enough for its purpose. Batman sure is taking his time...” Joker hummed in thought with a slight frown on his face. Rubbing his chin for the full effect. He pulled out a remote control, hitting a button and the red light of a camera popped on within the darkness. Reaching behind a crate with the other, Joker pulled out a crowbar and Damian unconsciously stilled at the sight. Of all of the performances the Joker wished to recreate why did it have to be this one?

Damian…? What’s going on?

The ice stilled as Danny asked though the festering anger was still there. Slight confusion at Damian’s reaction prompting the ghost to speak for the first time since they had been kidnapped. Damian wanted to explain. He really did. But there was no way that he could and for the briefest moment, there was a flicker of fear that stuttered his heart as the clown advanced with the weapon in hand. The camera was live for whomever Joker wanted to see it. In theory. Damian had no doubt that Danny’s weird ghostliness was messing with the feed. Some images may get through but not what the Joker wished to happen. All emotion across their link disappeared as Danny felt the small flicker of fear that was transferred across.

Joker continued to advance until he was right in front of the boy below him. “Why don’t we play a game while we wait, hm? The last time I played this with someone… they had a hell of a time!” He raised the crowbar high and brought it down. Damian closed his eyes bracing for the impact hoping it wouldn’t hit the locket or his head. He needed to keep his wits about him for as long as he could-

DON’T YOU TOUCH HIM.

Powerful ice shot out from the pendant down Damian’s legs. It spread across the ground at an astounding pace. The boy kept his eyes closed waiting for the hit but, after a few moments of nothing, he cracked his eyes open… then they blew wide. Joker was trapped inside a block of ice as well as the rest of the room. The room was turned into a winter wonderland in moments. Not wasting any time, Damian freed himself of the ropes and stood up. Careful to duck under the crowbar that wasn’t that far from his face. Panic was beginning to filter through from Danny and Damian knew he needed to find a spot where he could calm the ghost down.

He stepped a few feet away. Thankfully, the ice had trapped the clown right as the man blinked but he was still very much awake if the movement under the Joker's eyelids meant anything. But given how cold the room is, that would change soon. Damian couldn't bring himself to care. “Danny… it’s okay. I’m safe. You stopped him. Are you okay? You used a lot of ectoplasm right then…” Damian whispered to the ghost but didn’t receive a response. Instead, Danny just felt like he was getting worse. Damian could feel the energy ebbing away from the ghost from the massive amount of energy he had just released at once. He needed to go.

Feeling a little bit regretful about suddenly ditching without telling his family where he was heading, Damian made his way out of the warehouse. Making use of the shadows that, now that he was paying attention, looked as though they were moving aside to let him in. Allowing him to hide in a way that no normal person would notice. “Danny, it’s okay. I’m out. We aren’t near him anymore.” He reached up to his chest to hold the freezing pendant but it didn’t seem to do much. The ghost teen was lost to the throws of something that Damian didn’t quite understand.

PROTECT. PROTECT. PROTECT. KEEP SAFE. PROTECT.

Danny's thoughts and the powerful panicked urge to protect were constantly being sent Damian’s way as he made his way over to a nearby alley so that he could make use of the fire escape to get onto the roof. The best way to get the others to notice where he was would be to do that. He also wouldn’t be easy pickings for any mugger who decided to take the opportunity to try and rob the rich kid.

He didn’t get that far.

Damian walked through a cluster of shadows due to the tall building above and he was entirely engulfed within them. There was a brief moment where it felt like he couldn’t breathe and as though he was being stretched too thin. Darkness completely filled his vision but he kept walking forward. Instinct spurred him forward telling the boy that there was nothing behind him if he tried to go back anyway. Eventually, the darkness parted and he was greeted with the familiar sights of the Batcave.

“B, I’m sorry but the feed the Joker sent us is so distorted. I can’t make it out-… Wait! It just cleared up!” Barbara exclaimed from her spot in front of the Batcomputer. The others were all there save for Jason and Bruce. All of them looked varying degrees of distressed as they didn’t know where their youngest family member was. Trapped with one of the most deadly rogues in their city.

Confused about how he had gotten there and just what had happened, Damian looked around until he saw the form of Lady Gotham from behind the dinosaur. The ghost nodded her head to him and disappeared once their eyes met. Her form fizzled and glitched a bit and it looked as though she was tired. Damian frowned, turning his attention to the pendant on his chest that was now beginning to shake a little as Danny began to freak out even more.

“Sh... Danny. Everything is okay. We’re home. You no longer need to worry. I’m safe. You’re safe. No one got hurt.” Damian whispered to the ghost teen who was proceeding to only get worse.

Dick turned around at hearing something from behind. “DAMIAN!” He charged forward with the others hot on his heels once the others noticed their youngest’s presence in the room.

“How did you get here?!”

“What happened?”

“Where is the Joker?”

“Were you hurt?”

A barrage of questions were directed his way as they circled him but he was careful to avoid being pulled into any hugs. He was cold. Too cold. The frost had stopped growing but it still covered his skin under his clothes and the moment any of them touched him they would be concerned. Danny was getting worse. Everyone was crowding him. All of them were asking questions so fast they were becoming nothing but white noise. He needed to get away. For just a moment. That way he could calm Danny down before he overextended himself more than he already had. They continued to press closer and Damian was about to stab someone-

“What the f*ck!” there was a loud thud that followed the exclamation that had everyone turning their attention away from Damian to the newest addition to the cave. Jason stumbled out from behind the dinosaur looking all sorts of confused. He had his guns out, and pointed right at the others until he realized where he was. “How the hell did I get here?” Jason asked completely confused. Lowering his weapons and holstering them. “I just got to that warehouse! Also does anyone know why the Joker was on ice? Literally?” The dark shadows once again returned to normal with Lady Gotham slinking off to recover. If Damian wasn’t so preoccupied with Danny and his family he would try to go to her and find out if she was all right.

“That’s what I want to know… but he isn’t the only thing frozen. The whole warehouse is.” Barbara replied looking from the feed to the group of vigilantes behind her. “Just what happened?”

“He was frozen?!” Tim exclaimed and Barbara pulled up the feed on the big screen for everyone to see. “Damian, what did he do to you? You’ve never frozen something like this before?”

“He’s frozen stuff before?!” Steph pushed Dick to the side to look at Tim. “Since when can he do that?”

“It’s unconfirmed-”

“But he’s done it?!”

The conversation devolved with arguments, statements, and theories being bounced around at a rapid pace despite Bruce’s attempts to get them all to calm down over the comms. Damian began to growl lowly in frustration. He just needed a moment alone. That’s all. When no one still paid him any mind, the boy stomped the ground hard and roared, “ENOUGH OF THIS INANE CHATTER. CEASE SPEAKING AT ONCE!”. Everyone quieted immediately looking at the youngest with a mixture of surprise and concern. “You all would have answers by now if you stopped talking for two seconds and let me explain-” There was a pulse. A strong one. That came from Danny’s core which had Damian stopping before he verbally tore his siblings a new one.

It felt like Danny was being summoned but at the same time not. The cold was consolidating in one spot and Damian had an idea of what was going on. He pushed his way out from the circle of the family he found himself in as he scrambled to pull the pendant out from under his clothes. The others huddled around behind him sharing looks that he couldn’t see. Unnerved by Damian’s sudden change in attitude.

“Uh… Damian? You okay, chum?” Bruce asked as he walked in from the entrance to the cave in the grandfather clock. He must have finally been able to escape the gala and the press as he was still dressed in the same suit that he had worn to the event. As much as he wanted to search for his youngest, the host of the event couldn’t just disappear.

Damian ignored him as he fumbled to get the pendant open. The ice doing more harm than good as the boy had to use significantly more force on it to get the thing open. The others came up from behind to see what he was doing but they didn’t surround him like earlier. Instead, they all moved so that they were in front of the boy by Bruce. Watching as he fought with frost until he finally got it to pop open and they could see the gorgeous blue stone within. Their concern only grew when they noticed that Damian was softly murmuring to the stone telling it that everything was alright and that they were safe. Another pulse was sent out and everyone could see as it rippled out from the center of the core outward.

“Uh… Damian…? What is-” Duke never got to finish his question.

A bright light began to grow in brightness as the core floated up from the safety of the open pendant. Growing so bright that most had to look away as it seared through their eyelids. There was a cracking sound. Like ice breaking away and shattering as it hit the ground. The light hit a point where it felt like it would be all-encompassing when suddenly it vanished altogether. Damian blinked rapidly in an attempt to get his eyes to focus again faster. He has varying degrees of success like the rest of his family.

The core was no longer floating in front of Damian. Instead, a small boy looking no older than five years old with glowing white hair and wearing a black hazmat suit with white gloves floated in its place. He had no legs. His body ended in a small wisp of black as the boy’s eyes cracked open to show the bright Lazarus green of his irises. He looked around small and confused before he began to float softly to the floor. Legs with white boots on them formed from the wisp that was his lower body before he touched the ground. His feet crunched on the shards that looked like the outside of the stone that Damian had been holding prior.

Everyone was frozen in shock. Their minds racing at what they had just witnessed. Including Damian. He had been expecting Danny to hatch today and it was after the gala… but he was expecting an entire teenager. Like the one that he met in the alley all those months ago. Not a boy who looked barely older than a toddler.

“Um… I’m sorry but what the f*ck is that?”

And just like that the silent spell over his family was broken by Jason’s words. Dick, Steph, and Cass began to coo at the new addition while Duke, Jason, Tim, and Bruce were looking at the boy with surprise and wonder. When a few took a step forward toward the small boy, Damian didn’t hesitate to scoop him into his arms and held him close. “It is a child, Todd. What else could it be?” Damian replied with as much snark in his voice as he could muster. Danny trembled in his arms and hid his face in Damian’s shoulder so that the others couldn’t see his face.

“We can see that but where did he come from?! How…?” Tim looked upon the odd nurturing side of his stabby little brother in bewilderment.

“From my egg. Where else?” Without missing a beat, Damian spoke and watched as the dawning realization of the past 9 months caught up to them. All of his actions. How protective he was of the ‘egg’. His words. The looks on all of their faces were…

Satisfactory.

“NO! No! I thought that was a joke! You can’t be serious!? That was a real egg?!” Tim was the first to break and the others were quick to follow.

“Tt. I told you that I laid it.”

“But how?! Wait! Can I possibly lay a pit demon too?!” Jason was having a meltdown and pacing behind everyone else.

“This can’t be real. No way.” Steph’s jaw was almost on the floor as she struggled to comprehend everything. Dick was vibrating in excitement with Cass trying to hold him in place but being forced to vibrate as well.

“Damian… You’ve been taking care of a child… this entire time?” Bruce asked slowly. His mind rebooting with his face slightly pained. A mixture of emotions flitting behind his eyes.

“Yes, Father. He was my responsibility.” And he still was. His siblings gaped as he allowed the small child to hug Damian even tighter and the older boy didn’t so much as flinch. The trembles were still there and Danny was so cold. He needed to get him upstairs to access the ghost’s condition without the prying eyes of his family. Danny was already exhausted emotionally and physically from the Joker encounter. He didn’t need to be overwhelmed by his family on top of it all.

Duke was having trouble with a variety of emotions flitting across his face. “No. NO. This is so wrong. Damian is a kid himself. He can’t have a kid. This can’t be happening.”

Bruce grunted in agreement. “We need to run some tests to see what he actually is-”

“You will do no such thing.” Damian turned away from his family to put himself between them and Danny. When Bruce went to protest, the boy just held Danny tighter. “No. I understand you want to know more but he just hatched and he is disoriented and confused. Whatever it is that you want to learn about him can wait until morning. It’s late after all and hatching is hard work.”

“I couldn’t agree more, Master Damian.” Alfred made his entrance by moving to stand behind his youngest grandson.

“Alfred-”

“No, Master Bruce. Tonight has been a rather intense night and no one is going anywhere. Also can you not see that you all are scaring the small child?” Alfred arched an unimpressed brow at them. He gently began coaxing Damian toward the staircase that led up to the manor. The others just now noticing Danny’s small trembles had their shock turned into guilt and concern. “Whatever is needed can wait until morning. Come now, Master Damian. Let us go make sure the new young master feels at home, yes?”

Damian let himself be pushed along away from the others with an internal sigh of relief. He could finally get away and give Danny the space he needed. “Yes, Pennyworth. He is a little cold… could you make him some hot chocolate?”

Notes:

Hello, everyone! It's been a long while since I last updated. I know a lot of you are worried but everything is okay!

So... the long and short of it is, that I overtaxed both of my wrists in February of this year. Partially my fault mixed with life in general causing it. I've been fighting with trying to keep up with writing and everything else since then while I rested my wrists. Only for life to happen and I would be pushed back to square one. I've been dealing with this on and off since February. So I had to put everything on the sidelines except Invisobang and that was because of the time limit. For the past 2 months, I was told to do NOTHING by my doctor and I followed it pretty well.

My wrists don't feel strained anymore and I am able to do things i wasn't able to. Which means i can write more! But with that said, Invisobang was last week and I wanted to have all those stories shine for that week. But at long last I can finally show you all the hard work of Tathy and I!

This is the link to our Invisobang fic: Contractual Obligations

Summary: Danny is doing his kingly duties when a demon breaks into a meeting demanding the king’s soul. Now Danny has only a few months to find his birth father and nullify this soul contract or else he becomes a slave to the demon on his 16th birthday.

This is a very Danny Phantom and John Constantine-heavy fic. We did a lot of research for it and we had a lot of fun! I really hope that you all enjoy it as much as we had writing it. I should be back to writing this normally tho I'm not sure it will be weekly updates. I'm going to try for every two weeks until I get the clean bill of health from my doctor and then we will go from there! :D

Chapter 41: Complicated Eggmotions

Summary:

Damian has to take care of his new little hatchling :3

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“You don’t seem to be surprised, Pennyworth,” Damian said while he rubbed soothing circles into Danny’s back. Since no one would dare to stand against Alfred, Damian made his way up to the manor proper with no resistance from the others. The trembling of the small boy in his arms lessened a bit, much to Damian’s relief, but it still remained. He flinched hard when Alfred went to put a hand on Damian’s shoulder but thought better of it.

Alfred had a knowing glint in his eye. “Whatever do you mean? Young children arriving randomly from dire situations would be the norm around here, wouldn’t you say?” He replied with a knowing smirk. The pseudo-grandfather walked with Damian over to the stairs and stopped. “I’ll make sure to bring up anything our new guest would need in a few moments. I want to ensure that the others give you two the space that you both need.” With that, Alfred split ways with the boys.

Damian watched Pennyworth go for a moment before he continued his trek up to his room. Danny was still trembling and the small boy was so cold. He didn’t know if this was normal or not and it was concerning. “It is okay, Danny. We will have to give them a proper explanation like we had planned earlier but they wouldn’t dare to try and bother us right now. Not without getting on Pennyworth’s bad side.” A derisive laugh that ended in a cough had Danny’s entire body rattling harder than before. Damian clicked his tongue and picked up his pace toward his room. “I need to look you over and you are freezing. Is it normal for you to be so cold?” Danny shook his head no and Damian felt it on his shoulder. “Would it harm you if I tried to warm you up in a bath?” Once again, the small boy shook his head. Relief flooded Damian as he opened the door to his room and set Danny on his bed.

He worked fast.

As warm water was being drawn in the bathtub, Damian left while it was filling to dig through his closet, pulling out the box of children's clothes that Father had given him from the baby shower. Who knew that these clothes would actually be used by anyone in the manor? He grabbed a space-themed shirt and pants that looked like they would fit. Complete with socks and a package of underwear. For a joke, Bruce had been very thorough. Which was just like his Father would do and Damian was grateful for it now. Damian set them on the sink, checked the tub to see that it was sufficiently full, and then headed back over to Danny, who was now curled up into a shivering ball on his bed. The small boy barely takes up a corner.

Damian kept his steps loud so that Danny would notice his approach but it didn’t seem to matter. Danny still jumped a small bit when Damian scooped him up back into his arms but settled immediately when he realized who was holding him. Damian closed the bathroom door and was just wondering how he was going to get the jumpsuit off when twin rings of light spawned around the little ghost’s waist and split up the boy’s body to reveal a black-haired, blue-eyed boy covered in a multitude of wounds. The NASA shirt and jeans were ripped to shreds and stained with both blood and ectoplasm. Damian had to fight to keep his expression neutral as he helped Danny out of the destroyed clothing and saw all of the wounds the boy sustained on full display.

Bruises covered Danny like a patchwork quilt in a variety of colors. Most of them were yellow in the final stages of healing. The Y incision on the small boy’s chest was practically healed over. It was an angry red that stood out against Danny’s pale skin and it was hard to believe that Damian had watched the kid hold the skin flaps together to ensure that nothing fell out. He helped the de-aged boy into the tub, who initially tensed from the change in temperature, only to melt into the tub with a happy sigh. The clear water nearest him turned dark as the grime began to break away from his skin.

The two boys were silent for a few moments. Damian looked over Danny’s wounds while Danny was stretching his small arms out and wiggled his tiny fingers. Taking in his little body. Neither knowing what to say or how to start this conversation. This was not how the ‘hatching’ was supposed to go. “…I’m small.” Finally, Danny spoke up and it was weird for Damian to hear it out loud instead of in his head. It was a higher pitch than the voice of the teenager he had met in the alley but the accent was the same.

“Constantine warned you not to form when your ectoplasm was low. You used quite a bit icing over that entire warehouse.” Damian reprimanded, grabbing a washcloth and pouring some soap onto it.

“I had to! Joker was gonna cave your skull in!” Danny splashed his hands in the water as his voice cracked from the higher pitch.

Damian just arched a brow at the dirty water that now covered the front of his suit. He really needed to change out of the dreaded thing. “The assist was appreciated and you did save me from immediate harm. But we both know that you did not need to freeze the entire warehouse. Just the Joker. You expended a lot of unnecessary energy and still are considering the ice still exists. Speaking of, how cold were you keeping that ice?”

“He won’t die from it if that is what you are asking and I’m not letting him out until one of you is there to go get him.” Danny pouted only for it to be lost in his messy hair when Damian started helping him. The younger boy took one of Danny’s arms and gently scrubbed it with the cloth until it was pulled away. Looks like he would have to message one of the others to go pick the Joker up. Even if the temperature wasn’t set to kill, being frozen all night would still be bad for the clown. “You… you are being awfully calm about all of this. HEY!” the boy yelled when Damian dumped a cup of water on Danny’s head.

“This, by far, is not the weirdest situation I have been in though it does rank toward the top.” He replied without hesitation. “You are talking to someone who is the blood son of Batman. A mortal man who can walk equally among Gods and make the Gods hesitant in their steps. Even if I was not Robin, it would only be a matter of time before my Father’s other life would bleed into his personal one. Making it so odd or extraordinary things would happen at times.”

Danny gave up fighting in trying to wrest control of washing his hair away from the younger boy and instead leaned back and enjoyed the gentle scrubbing he was receiving. “I guess that’s fair… but in all fairness, me icing the warehouse over wouldn’t have caused such a drastic change. It might have helped but it wouldn’t be the biggest factor.”

Damian hummed in thought, coaxing the half-ghost to lean his head back so that shampoo wouldn’t get in his eyes. “We will have to find a time to get a hold of Constantine then. I was going to suggest we do that anyway to ensure that everything is healing the way it should be since I doubt a normal doctor, or even a meta doctor, would be able to help in this case”

The little ghost boy overlooked his body again, ignoring the irritated tsk from Damian when he moved his head. “Yeah, no… my heart rate is already unnaturally low and so is my body temperature. All I would do is set the alarms off that I’m dying, which been there, done that, and I have the permanent Lichtenburg scar to prove it.” Danny held up his left arm for Damian to get a closer look at and the other boy’s green eyes followed the trail of marks to where they encircled around where Danny’s heart is. “Other than the Y scar… the rest of these will probably be gone by tomorrow. I’m kind of surprised they are still here.”

That didn’t make Damian feel any better. Though they were mostly healed now, they had once been so extensive that Danny was on the verge of a second death. He was so badly injured that he had to rely on a total stranger for help. He may not get to the bottom of this today but Damian would be finding out the events that led up to Danny bleeding out in an alleyway. Whether it was from Danny telling him or Damian following the trail that Cujo and the CW guy had provided. No one deserved to go through what Danny had.

Feeling his jaw clench tight, Damian forced himself to relax so that Danny wasn’t on edge. He didn’t know how receptive the halfa was to emotions in his human form and the de-aged boy didn’t need to be more stressed out than he already was. It was bad enough that he emerged from the hatching as a toddler, to a group of (somewhat) unknown people after being stuck in fight-or-flight mode for the majority of the night.

But if there was someone who caused all of Danny’s pain then that person would have wished that they never even met the ghost kid.

Damian would make sure.

From there, the two descended into silence again as Damian helped Danny clean up and checked his wounds to be sure there was nothing life-threatening. When the boys emerged from the bathroom, a silver platter was awaiting them on Damian’s desk along with a few other essentials. Opening it revealed two steaming cups of hot cocoa and a variety of toppings to add to it. There was also some fruit cut up in bowls on the side and a plate of Alfred’s famous cookies. Danny eyed the spread like it was the best meal he had ever seen. The smaller boy’s stomach gurgling loudly at the sight.

Damian pulled out the desk chair, gesturing for Danny to take a seat. “I will join you momentarily. This ridiculous suit needs to come off.”

“You sure? I think villains would be even more terrified if Robin showed up wearing a tux than his normal gear. No one would suspect it.” Danny stated with a mischievous grin as he dipped several marshmallows into his hot chocolate and just ate them.

Rolling his eyes, Damian lightly flicked the back of Danny’s head just like he would have done to the pendant when the ghost was being particularly ornery. “There may be initial fright but it would be impractical. Though I am pretty good at dodging, the suit is designed to protect me from more than just blunt force. Besides, I think Grayson did that once already. Also, I will not be heading out tonight. It would be like leaving an injured rabbit to a pack of wolves.” He stated in a tone that was only mildly annoyed then headed toward the bathroom after grabbing a change of clothes from his closet. When he got to the bathroom door Damian hesitated.

All he was going to do was go into the other room… but his gut was telling him to stay. That he had to protect the boy. That he couldn’t be separated from him because, the few times he had, something had always gone wrong. Damian frowned at this foreign feeling, huffed, and pushed past it to get changed in the bathroom. If Danny were going to disappear then he would have done it in the cave. He may be a smaller version of himself but he was fully capable if the ghost put his mind to it. That didn’t stop him from changing out of the suit as fast as he could and into his pajamas.

Danny was still sitting at his desk eyeing the cookie plate with drool beginning to drip down the corner of his mouth but he was refraining. All of the fruit was gone though.

“Did you manage to get a good look on their faces after you formed? You were most excited about it right up to the start of the gala.” Damian called out to make his presence known when he walked back into his bedroom. An attempt to steer the conversation to lighter things for a moment. Danny still jumped a bit but it was only due to his training that Damian was able to notice anything at all.

The halfa frowned. “No… forming was more disorientating than I thought it would be…” He slumped his shoulders in disappointment. Damian didn’t mention that Danny was having the ghost equivalent of a panic attack as well. The tremors were now non-existent and Danny seemed to have pulled out of it due to the bath. When the ghost was more settled, he would have to ask what set him off. “That was supposed to be the highlight of the night too.”

“Oh, it very much was,” Damian replied grabbing his cup of hot cocoa while pushing the plate of cookies toward Danny. “No worries, you’ll be able to see their expressions tomorrow morning. Which is something that we need to discuss. As powerful as Pennyworth’s influence is, he alone will not be able to keep the rest of the family at bay forever. It would be best to try and get a lot of this out of the way at breakfast tomorrow morning. From experience, it would be best to put an end to this prank and tell the truth. Things will go smoother that way.”

Danny arched a brow at Damian but took one of the cookies at the other boy’s insistence. He took a bite so that he didn’t have to answer right away and his eyes grew wide before shoving the entire thing in his mouth. “I thought you were exaggerating about how good these cookies are. You weren’t!” The ghost hastily grabbed another and scarfed it down just as fast with Damian giving him a knowing smirk.

“You thought we just fought over them after patrol for fun?”

“…Maybe. It looked like a lot of fun. Very chaotic.”

Damian shook his head as Danny snatched up another cookie. “We are getting off topic-”

The ghost boy quickly shoved two more cookies in his mouth so that his cheeks puffed out like a hamster’s. “Can’t tawk mowuth full.” Danny spoke around the cookies. Damian sighed in exasperation. A look of slight disgust on his face that had Danny preening that he had gotten such a reaction from him.

“Then chew slowly and swallow. I would not like to report to Pennyworth that his cookies are now lethal.” Damian sighed in minor annoyance. His lips quirked up a bit when Danny giggled but pressed on despite the younger trying to avoid what was to come. “However, we must talk about this while we have the chance alone. I believe we should explain our little ruse before it gets worse.”

Frowning, because he knew that he wasn’t going to get out of it, Danny carefully swallowed the cookies so that he didn’t choke and washed them down with some more of the hot cocoa. He looked into the swirling brown liquid before he spoke. “That would require me to talk about what happened.”

“Yes, it would.” Damian agreed. Kneeling down so that he was at eye level with the black-haired toddler. “But this manor is used to hearing sad stories and tragic backgrounds. It’s safe to say that all of its current residents fit at least one of those criteria. You will not be judged in any way.”

“But what if… what if I’m not ready to talk about it.” Danny looked Damian in the eye and he could see tears cresting the smaller boy’s eyes. “How am I supposed to tell others about it when I can barely comprehend what happened myself? Everything went so fast! One moment everything was normal, the next everyone was gone and I was fleeing for my life. One that I almost lost if I hadn’tve lucked out and ran into the most stubborn and steadfast vigilante I have ever met. Then I was in a forced coma for months only to wake up fun-size!” Danny was now standing on the chair as tears flowed freely down his face with his tiny voice beginning to yell. Damian remained where he was and watched silently while the little ghost worked himself up. “None of this feels real but this is my life! It feels like a nightmare and I wish that, if it’s Nocturne doing this, he would wake me up because this is cruel even by his standards!”

The poor kid devolved into sobbing through all of the emotions that he had been forced to bottle up this entire time unless he had pushed them onto Damian. Slowly, the youngest Wayne reached out and picked Danny up. He immediately latched on and curled into Damian’s shoulder. Danny’s tears soaked through the fabric as the boy sniffled in his arms. Damian put everything back under the silver platter and headed over to his bed. Rubbing small soothing circles into the little ghost’s back like Grayson and his Father had done for him in the past. He still felt awkward trying to physically comfort someone. It was one thing to overpower Danny’s emotions with his own, it was another to try and only use his hands and words.

That didn’t stop him from pushing reassuring feelings the halfa’s way. Even if he could only feel it a small bit, it would probably help. Damian moved the box that was once Danny’s bed to the nightstand and maneuvered himself so that both Danny and himself were under the covers. As much as he wanted to tell the truth to his family, Danny had a point. The ghost needed to face his past but he just came back into the waking world. Whatever happened wasn’t going to change overnight. Damian could give him more time if he needed it. “Then we will continue with the current plan. You will have to refer to me as your parental figure while dodging certain questions aimed our way. If you feel uncomfortable answering anything tomorrow, then feel free to use me to hide. That should be more than sufficient for now to get them to back off. But this will only be temporary, it will all have to come to light eventually.”

Danny’s sniffles began to subside from Damian’s soothing words and reassurances. “Thank you. I’m sorry, I’ve been such a pain.”

“Tt. You are nothing compared to Drake when he is sleep-deprived. Now rest. You will need it for tomorrow.”

Notes:

Hello, everyone! I hope you don't mind the bi-weekly updates. I actually almost didn't have time to do this one... I literally finished it today. A lot has happened the past couple of weeks... most of it not good. But I will keep trying to update this on the alloted days unless something comes up again.

Now, normally, this would be where recommendations would go but I'm going to self-promote my Invisobang fic one more time.

Contractual Obligations
Danny is doing his kingly duties when a demon breaks into a meeting demanding the king’s soul. Now Danny has only a few months to find his birth father and nullify this soul contract or else he becomes a slave to the demon on his 16th birthday.

It has two songs made for it and a lot of wonderful art! Tathy and I had two amazing artists this year! We all worked very hard and I just want to show everyone everything. So if you love a good Danny & John Constantine read then this fic is for you!

Chapter 42: N-eggling Nightmares

Summary:

Nightmares vs big brothers? Who will win?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

The acrid smell of burning chemicals made it hard to breathe. All of the angry shouting had quietened into an eerie silence. One that had the hairs on the end of his neck standing up. One that he had learned from years of experience, which meant something unfathomably horrible had happened. Whether it was done to himself or someone else had yet to be determined. He remained still with his eyes closed. Trying to ascertain his surroundings with his other senses. If he was asleep then there was less likely of a chance to be attacked and a better chance to take his enemies by surprise.

Everyone underestimated a small kid.

All he could hear was the sounds of flames and sparks of broken gadgets. The smell of the burning chemicals overwhelmed his nose so that he couldn’t decipher anything else. As for himself, he didn’t feel like there were any injuries, which could be good or bad. Good being that he actually wasn’t injured or bad with the injuries being so bad the pain didn’t register anymore. That or he was drugged. Which wasn’t a good thing either. There wasn’t much else he could do. It was so quiet. Deciding to test his luck, he opened his eyes, and the scene before him had his eyes shooting wide open in surprise.

Green flames cast the basem*nt in an ominous glow that made the shadows of the room bigger and longer. They moved almost as if they were alive when all it was, was the flickering of the flames. Lab equipment was thrown about the room. Destroyed during whatever had happened here. The portal in the background seemed almost insignificant for the massive part it had played for these events to even happen. However, this didn’t make any sense. He shouldn’t be here. He should be back home at Wayne Manor.

A dream? It had to be. It was the only explanation. Damian looked down at himself and found that nothing had changed for him. He was still wearing the night clothes that he had picked before putting Danny and himself to bed. Not to mention, the last time he was in the Fentons’ basem*nt, it had been long since destroyed with a massive layer of dust on top of it all. The scene before him looked like that battle was presently happening. It smelled and felt real but it couldn’t be. A dream had to be what this was… but it felt too real. Damian slowly pulled himself up into a crouch when a small explosion had him diving behind one of the work tables to avoid being showered in glass.

“Aww… look how cute and small you are… what happened?” A deep voice that was unknown to Damian broke the silence and it had a frown forming on the young boy’s face.

“Put me down!” The small and feral-pitched voice that Damian did know screeched at the other. “This doesn’t make sense! You weren’t even there when it happened? Why are you here now?”

Damian kept himself low to the floor so that he would be less likely noticed. He peered around the table at the two figures that had been hidden in the huge plume of smoke toward the back of the room. Small toddler Danny was being held up by the scruff of his white and black jumpsuit by a large muscular man… who looked like he could be an older version of Danny. His eyes were red, his skin a pale blue, and his white hair mimicked the green flames nearby rather than acting like normal hair. But even with the differences, the similarities in the man’s face were there. He had a gloating smirk on his face as he held his tiny counterpart as if he were a misbehaving kitten.

“Doesn’t matter if I was there or not. I’m here now…” The man pulled little Danny up until their faces were inches from each other. “It may not have happened the way CW had originally seen it… but I’m inevitable. It won’t be long now before I come into existence and this world will be annihilated. There is nothing you can do to stop it.”

Frantically, Damian looked around for anything he could use against this new opponent. If this wasn’t his dream then, somehow, he had gotten transported into Danny’s. It didn’t matter that this was fake, it felt real enough to him so that meant it felt real to Danny. The ghost kid had just formed, he didn’t need this going on as well. Grabbing a gun that was called a Fenton Blaster that he recognized due to the blueprints on the website, Damian jumped out from behind his cover and fired two shots right at the man’s heart. “He doesn’t have to. He isn’t alone.”

The man snarled and his red eyes bore into Damian as he took a couple of steps back from the blasts he took right to the heart. Damian didn’t give him a chance to figure out what was going on. He ran out in a serpentine pattern, firing the blaster all the while. Every electric green blast landed exactly where it should until the man released Danny and turned his full attention to the new threat at hand. A powerful blast formed in the man’s hand and launched Damian’s way.

He dodged with a cartwheel that would have had Richard tearing up proudly. Damian fired more blasts while mid-roll and hit the man’s kneecaps making him buckle to the floor. The flames on top of the man’s head grew fierce. “Just who do you think you are?!” He roared, sending several more ectoblasts Damian’s way.

“Simple,” Damian replied, running behind the nearest table for cover. Once the last blast landed, he vaulted over and closed the distance between himself and Danny’s attacker. Pointing the blaster right between the man’s eyes with a sardonic smirk on his face. “I’m his guardian.” He pulled the trigger and the man screamed clutching at his face. Damian turned to Danny who had watched everything happen with wide blue eyes and knelt down so that he was looming over the toddler-sized teenager. “Are you okay, Danny?”

“Y-yes…? But how...?” Danny’s voice trembled in a way that had anger rising up within Damian but he kept it contained for fear of scaring the half-ghost. Dreams were weird. Just because he had the mind of a teenager in the waking world didn’t mean that the Danny here did.

“That is what I would like to know. Just what happened here? Who was that?” Damian looked over the smaller child for injuries but didn’t find any. A small relief even if it wasn’t reality. He needed to get Danny out of there before the other guy recovered and if he could find out more about what happened to land Danny in Gotham? That was just a bonus.

Danny looked from Damian to something behind his guardian looking confused. “I…” a dark look took over Danny’s features as he kept looking behind Damian. “This… this wasn’t how this was supposed to go. He… you… neither of you were here. He shouldn’t even exist- DAMIAN LOOK OUT!”

Damian grunted as he took the full impact of an ectoblast to the back. The only reason he hadn’t moved was because, if he had, Danny would have taken the brunt of it. Damian stood up and brandished the gun at the man who was now smirking and looking as though he hadn’t been hurt at all.

Stupid dream logic.

“It doesn’t matter if I don’t exist right now… so long as both halves of me do then there is a chance that I will come to be.” The man’s smirk showed his fangs as he brought a hand up and pointed it right at Damian. “That’s all there is to it. Now that the others are out of the way, the clock is ticking, Danno. It’s only a matter of time before your true destiny comes to fruition.”

Before Damian could deny what he said, the man fired. Suddenly, Damian’s eyes shot open as he clutched his chest at the phantom pains that wracked his body. He sat up gasping. A cold sweat covered him from head to toe. He was no longer in Danny’s dream but back in the safety of his room at Wayne Manor. The sun was beginning to rise with its rays of light peeking into the room between the cracks of the curtains.

Damian just took a moment to calm down. Danny fidgeted every now and again by his side but other than that he seemed fine. But he knew what was going on in the teen’s mind. He had wondered if they were going to remain mentally connected or not and that was one hell of a way for it to be confirmed. There was a lot to unpack about the snippet of Danny’s dream that he had witnessed. None of it was good. Now that he was forced out, who knew what the halfa was dreaming about right now? So as much as he wanted Danny to get more rest, he knew that he had to wake the boy up.

It had only been a couple of hours of rest but it was better than nothing. Damian gently put his hand on Danny’s shoulder and shook him. When that didn’t work right away, he shook a little harder. He was about to blow a puff of air on his ear when there was a soft knock on his door that had the small boy jolting up. Their heads collided with a small painful crack. Damian hissed softly while Danny groaned, falling back onto his pillow and clutching his forehead.

There was another knock and Damian growled to himself before calling out in an irritated tone, “What is it? Is it not too early for social calls?”

“Sorry, Dami! I just heard some concerning noises and was checking to see if you two were all right.” The soft voice of Richard lilted through the door.

Damian frowned at having been vocal enough in his sleep for someone in the hall to hear it. “Everything is fine, Grayson. Our minds are simply not allowing us to rest as we need it.” That was a valid excuse, wasn’t it? He didn’t know what exactly his older brother had heard.

“Oof… I get that. Do you mind if I come in? It’ll only be for a moment. I promise.” Richard sounded sympathetic. Damian didn’t know what he wanted but knew it would be better to just let him in now instead of pushing him away. It would just come back to bite him at the family breakfast later. So he disabled what he needed to open the door. Grayson’s show-stopping smile greeted him when he opened it.

“Say what you want to, then leave. We need our rest for what is to come.” Damian stated with finality. With quiet feet, he moved to sit on the end of the bed. Giving Richard the ability to look at Danny, who was hiding almost entirely under the blanket at this point, but putting himself between them in case Danny didn’t want the man to come any closer.

However, Richard didn’t step that close. He stepped in enough so that he could close the door behind him and then approached until he was about four feet from the edge of the bed that Damian was sitting on. Giving the two boys plenty of room so that they weren’t intimidated by his taller figure. “I know that look. I’m not here for nefarious reasons nor to get information before anyone else, I promise.” Richard crossed his heart with a smile. “It just doesn’t surprise me that you are having trouble sleeping when you are going to have to face everyone tomorrow. You’ve had to do it before but even with a veteran… it’s going to be intimidating seeing all those new people who are going to be asking a lot of questions.”

“Grayson, you just said you wouldn’t-”

Before Damian could continue, Richard held his hand up so that he could finish. “And I’m not. I’m just stating the facts. I know how intimidating our family can be without realizing it. Though almost everyone going to be present is just going to be happy welcoming a new family member,” Richard looked from Damian to Danny who scooted under the covers until only the top of his head and eyes could be seen. Giving the boy a wink. Not even phased by the physical change in Danny. “There will be those who are going to overstep and say things, or ask things, they shouldn’t. You’ve seen how our family is when one of us brings a girlfriend or boyfriend home for the first time. I just wanted to help ease your minds a bit by telling you that I’m on your side. Whatever that is. If you need me to step in, I will. It’s not going to be you two against the family. I know I’m not the only one who thinks that either but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that you aren’t going to war… even if it feels like it.”

Damian looked back at Danny who was still peeking out but he could feel the anxiety ease a bit from Richard’s soft tones and reassuring words. He wouldn’t admit it out loud but sometimes that was how it felt when they had family meals, like they were going to war. You were going up against people who all had roughly the same opinion on things and you had to be prepared to fight for your side to be heard. Damian has gone up against them many times for various reasons ranging from keeping new animals to using more sharp weapons on patrol. Each time there was a bubble of anxiety in the pit of his stomach as he argued his case but this time was different. Even though he knew that Bruce wouldn’t kick Danny out, he still had a ruse to keep up and that was going to be hard. Especially with the entire family being home. Cain and Thomas being the two to keep an eye out for the most. Not to mention, this was their first time officially meeting Danny and he felt… protective.

The silence between the brothers lingered into uncomfortable territory until Damian looked Richard dead in the eyes and said, “You just want to get a head start on the Uncle points.”

There was a pregnant pause before Richard burst out laughing. The loud noise caused Danny to jolt a bit in surprise. The oldest Wayne child clutched his sides until he managed to wrangle the laughing fit in. “You gained a sense of humor ever since you became a father… I’m so proud!” Richard suddenly pulled Damian to his chest who let out an undignified squawk at the sudden affection. He fought against his older brother’s hold which only got worse as he used his natural athletic and flexible abilities to his advantage. The longer it went on, the more feral Damian got, until he was able to free himself when Richard froze.

Little laughter had the eldest freezing in place, allowing the youngest to elbow his way out of his octopus-like arms and put some distance between them. Danny was giggling at the exchange behind the comforter and the sound had Richard’s smile growing bigger. As if he had just seen the answer to the universe. Damian rolled his eyes but the ghost of a smile played on his lips. With just a little bit of time, Richard had broken the tension that had been building up since Danny hatched a few hours prior. “Are you done? If so, I must insist that you leave so that I can put the little one back down. There is still time before breakfast and I want him to be well rested for when we come down.” Damian said while pointing to the door. Not attempting to get closer for fear of being trapped in the noodle arms again.

“Okay, okay! I’ll go!” Richard stood with his hands up in surrender. “Just remember what I said, baby bat. The same goes for you, little guy. If someone bullies you, just tell me and I’ll put them in their place.” He opened the door and gave them both a final smile that turned soft toward the edges. “Get some rest, good night.”

There was a soft click when Richard closed the door and the two boys waited in silence as they listened to his retreating footsteps. After a few moments, Danny let the blanket drop so that he was fully revealed with a solemn smile on his face. “He’s a good brother… isn’t he?” Danny looked up to Damian when he asked.

Damian crossed his arms with a huff. “Richard is adequate. Out of all of my siblings, he is the one with the most emotionally competent and is the one who helps us all work on our own issues when they arise. All while being very bad at taking care of his own emotional well-being.”

“…sounds like someone I used to know.” There was a sad wistfulness to Danny’s voice and his clear blue eyes dimmed with a memory that probably wasn’t a good one. To pull him out of it, Damian cleared his throat and moved to sit on his side of the bed again next to Danny.

“Maybe we can talk about them sometime. In any case, are you actually going to be able to go back to sleep?” Danny shook his head when Damian asked and he nodded, figuring as much. If what he saw in the dream was only the beginning, he didn’t want to think about the rest. “That’s fine, we can try again in a little bit if you wish. For now, allow me to give you the rundown of my family so that you will be better prepared to face them. I will begin with Cain, she goes by Cass most times…” Eventually, Danny nodded off while he was describing Tim’s habits. He sighed and settled back against his own pillow. The sun was much higher than it was before. Damian let his own eyes close for a little bit. If they were a little late for breakfast, they’d just have to deal.

Notes:

Please don't be too harsh on grammar, etc... I literally wrote this today. October is turning out to be much busier than I thought!

Chapter 43: A long Br-egg-fast

Summary:

Damian finally properly introduces Danny to the family. Chaos ensues.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“If you do not wish to speak with them yet, I can request to have breakfast served up in my room.”

“Damian, that really isn’t necessary-”

“I am simply reminding you that there are other options. You may have been ‘awake’ in a sense for a few months but you have only had a physical body for less than twenty-four hours. I would rather not have you unnecessarily stress yourself out and cause possible problems before we have had a chance to talk to Constantine.” Damian replied with such authority that Danny couldn’t help the small smile that made its way onto his face. The two boys stood off to the side of the entrance to the dining room. Danny’s hand entwined with Damian’s at the boy’s insistence. Saying that it would sell their ruse as ‘Father and Son’ better. However, Danny was getting good at spotting when Damian was doing or saying things with bravado.

Just like the rest of the Bats, Damian was trained to spot microexpressions in others. Though that might also have been doubled with him being raised as an assassin. (He didn’t know how true that story was but, with the massive amount of weapons that Damian was scarily adept at, he was willing to put some merit into it) No doubt, the youngest Wayne had noticed the nervous energy that Danny was giving off. Whether it was from their emotional connection or something showing on his face, the halfa wasn’t sure but something had tipped the younger boy off. Now they stood hand in hand with the prideful boy looking as though this was something he did regularly. Even if it was silly, it did help calm his nerves.

“Thanks… but that will only make things worse and you know it.” Danny resisted the urge to peek his head into the dining room. There was a cacophony of noise coming from within and he was curious as to just what was going on.

“You are correct. With their annoying nosy behavior, they would be hounding you incessantly until you cracked or I did.”

Danny snickered. “More than likely you?”

“More than likely me, yes.” Damian rolled his eyes but their hands remained together. “Now do you remember what I told you earlier?”

“Everyone is highly trained but Cass is the one trained in body language reading and Duke can, at times, see the future due to his meta abilities. Bruce will be keeping a close eye on me the entire time and the others will be as well but are easily distracted if need be. Just play up the cute kid act and things should be fine.” Danny retold a summarized version of the speech Damian gave on his family. “If there is a question I don’t like or don’t know the answer to, then I’m to hide in you or play the dumb kid act. If they get particularly insistent, turn on the waterworks and activate operation Nightwing.”

Damian nodded his head, satisfied. “Good. Whenever you are ready, we’ll head in.”

Danny tugged on the space-themed shirt that he had picked out from the box of children’s clothes in Damian’s room. He had been awake during that whole thing but it still surprised him on just how thorough Bruce had been for a joke on his son. If he didn’t know better, Danny would have thought that the man had somehow predicted that Danny would form wrong. Eh, he was Batman. He probably would have. Taking a deep breath to relax his nerves, Danny stepped into the dining room with Damian only to be greeted with chaos.

The entire room just oozed old wealth but it was the people in it that brought it to life. Bruce sat at the head of the table with his head in his hand. Looking, for all intents and purposes, done with everyone else in the room. Which wasn’t surprising. Alfred stood just behind Bruce’s chair with an impassive look on his face. No doubt judging them all very thoroughly without saying anything. Jason was out of his chair brandishing his banana like it was a gun at Dick who was covering Tim’s ears as if he was a small child who had heard someone swear. Cass sat between Jason and Stephanie with a hand covering her mouth as she quietly giggled. Stephanie had no such qualms. She had thrown herself head first into the chaos and was using Duke as a hostage, the poor boy like a doll in her arms. Having already accepted his fate. Barbara was sitting next to him sipping her coffee like nothing was wrong.

Everyone was shouting and yelling so much that it was hard to figure out what it was even about or how it started. It was so loud that Danny tried to cover one of his ears with his free hand since the other was occupied. Damian was prepared as he just brought his own free hand up to cover Danny’s other ear. The young boy cleared his throat in an attempt to get everyone’s attention. When that didn’t work, Damian tried again but the others were focused on whatever it was they were arguing about. He knew that they had been a little late for breakfast because Damian had let them sleep in but Danny wasn’t expecting to see this happen.

Damian caught Alfred’s eye who gave him a warm smile and a nod. The butler clapped his hands softly. All of the ruckus stopped immediately as every head in the room turned toward the older man. “As riveting as this conversation is, it is rude to ignore those who have just arrived. Everyone should sit down so that our youngest doesn’t feel intimidated.” Alfred gently nodded his head toward the two boys that had just entered and all of the attention turned to them.

Danny had moved so that he was now behind Damian. Peeking his head around the taller boy with both hands on his ears. Damian had his arms crossed looking at the others with a face that was unimpressed with their first impression. Everyone scrambled into their proper seats, leaving two seats open so that Damian and Danny could sit together. They all stared in silence as the two boys made their way to their seats. All of them focused on Danny’s new form. Dick ruffled Danny’s hair when the toddler-sized teen managed to climb into the chair without help. Just because he was supposed to act like a small child didn’t mean he had to be entirely helpless.

When he got himself situated, he looked up to see Tim’s eyes narrowed at Dick who was smiling down at Danny as if he was the happiest man on earth. “You aren’t surprised. Why aren’t you surprised by the kid’s change in appearance, Dick?”

“Eh? Oh! I am surprised but that doesn’t mean that I am going to treat him any differently.” Dick turned his attention to Tim and just smirked. Making the teen’s eye twitch.

Before anyone could say anything else, a plate of pancakes was put in front of both Damian and Danny. “Well said, Master Dick, and growing boys need a good breakfast.” Alfred smoothly slid into the conversation and set down some maple syrup between them.

“Alfred isn’t fazed either. Why aren’t you fazed, Alfred?” Tim asked ignoring his own breakfast to scrutinize his brothers.

“Children have appeared in this household in weirder ways. Wouldn’t you agree, Master Timothy?” Alfred asked as he arched an unimpressed brow at the teen. The boy lowered his gaze back to Damian because he knew that the butler was not going to divulge his secrets. “Why don’t you give an introduction? As I’m sure everyone here is excited to meet the newest face?”

Damian sat straighter in his seat. “Danny. The man at the head of the table is Bruce Wayne, my Father. Sitting on his left is Timothy Drake-Wayne, next to him is Barbara Gordon, next to her is Jason Todd. Then there is Duke Thomas and lastly, Stephanie Brown. On our side starting close to Father, is Richard Grayson. On my other side is Cassandra Cain. Father, Pennyworth, everyone else, this is my son Daniel though I have taken to calling him Danny. He was born last night for the egg that hatched. Say hello to your family, Danny.”

“Hewwo.” The halfa replied with his mouth full of delicious homemade pancakes. He waved at them with the hand that wasn’t holding a fork. Several of the family members cooed at the cuteness and Danny’s smile grew wider. This might actually work. However, that one little action allowed the floodgates to break loose.

Cass was signing the word ‘cute’ over and over as Duke stared at Danny as if he could see into his soul. He had an incredulous look on his face from the whole situation. “This can’t be real…”

Barbara was trying to snap a picture of the small boy on her phone so that she could look him up with little success. Her frown showcased just how frustrated she was at Danny’s natural ability to hide from cameras.

“You… this can’t… I don’t get… just how?!” Tim was approaching a mental meltdown and fast. Even though Alfred had forced everyone to bed, it was doubtful that Tim had gotten any if his eye bags were anything to go by. Bruce remained quiet wanting to watch the exchange going on carefully.

“Hi, Danny~! It’s nice to meet you!” Stephanie waved back happily. She leaned heavily over the table so that she could get a good look at the boy who was half-hidden behind his pancakes. “It doesn’t matter which form he is in! He is so cute!”

Jason’s eyes also narrowed at the new appearance of Danny. “What happened? He looks like an inverse of his original look.” Danny squirmed a little under his gaze.

“Father Dami… what is inv-… inver… imbers?” Danny turned his big blue eyes to Damian who had to fight to keep his face irritated.

Inverse means the opposite of something. When they first saw you, your hair was white. Now it’s the inverse which is black.” Damian kindly explained, further surprising almost everyone at the table. The soft expression morphed into annoyance when he looked at the others. “What?”

Duke was trying to stifle laughter but failing horribly. The shock of Danny’s change in appearance was replaced by the small boy calling Damian ‘Father’. “Father Dami… it sounds like he is a part of the clergy-oof!” The meta took a biscuit to the head thanks to Dick who had thrown it when Alfred was looking away.

“F-father… Father Damian… Oh no. No no no no no…” Tim dropped his head into his hands and Danny was beginning to count how much longer it was going to take before the teenager’s brain broke. Damian was right, their reactions were delightful.

To add fuel to the fire, Danny stretched his tiny hand up to pull on his bangs and then lightly tugged on Damian’s hair that he could reach. “We match!”

“That we do. Now,” the youngest Wayne turned his attention to Jason and rolled his eyes at his brother’s accusatory tone. “Danny is half human. It would be weirder if he didn’t have any physical appearance that didn’t resemble me in some way.”

“That… that doesn’t… that’s not how it works, Damian!” Tim practically pleaded when he looked at his younger brother. “You can’t just hatch a human through Lazarus water! It’s impossible!”

“And yet here we are. How do you know that it is impossible? Is it simply because it had never happened before? At least, recorded anyway. We thought the same about Todd and his pit madness. Normally, it goes away after a while but this is still very much a problem even if he is better at fighting it.” Damian was quick to refute Tim before he could continue that train of thought.

Danny peeked up from his stack of pancakes and met the eyes of Jason. They glowed a familiar green and Danny would definitely have to ask Damian about that because there was no way that was normal. However, that was future Danny’s problem. For now, he needed to get through this family breakfast. They continued to stare at each other and Danny could feel that Jason was beginning to get unnerved due to the anxiety that was prickling around him in the background of his emotions. Deciding to test his luck while testing to see just how liminal the man was, Danny flared his eyes green in response while sending across an emotion of greeting.

His green eyes got across but the greeting didn’t.

The next thing Danny knew, he was staring down the barrel of a gun with a bite of pancake halfway to his mouth. Damian reacted fast. A knife was thrown right into the nozzle of the gun. Embedding itself deep so that if anything fired would just get stuck. At worst, the gun would explode in Jason’s hand. “No no! For once, Tim and I agree on something. This is weird! It’s one thing for my pit madness to stick around. You said it yourself, others who were thrown in the pits experienced the same thing. Just not for as long as I have. This, however,” Jason motioned to Danny with the knifed gun until Dick took it away with a scowl, handing it to Alfred when he walked by. “Is not natural. If Damian could somehow pop out an egg then that means I could too!”

Oh… oh that was a thought. Danny had to hide his evil smile behind his pancakes as Dick reprimanded Jason for pointing a gun at a small child. Damian had moved so that he was leaning over the table in front of Danny. Carefully avoiding the pancakes so that the smaller boy could eat in peace. “How dare you point a weapon at your nephew. Just because his origins aren’t normal does not make his existence any less valid, Todd.” There was a threat laced in every word that the young assassin spoke and Danny was really happy that he was not on the receiving end.

“Jason, stand down.” Dick had his hand on Jason’s shoulder with a tight smile on his face but the tone of his voice had Jason raising his hands up in surrender and sitting back down in his seat. Jason glared at Danny who just smiled a pancakey-toothed smile right back at him.

Tim seemed to have recovered a bit in the interim as he looked at Danny and asked, “Just… just what are you?”

“I’m limin… liminim. I’m Limimimal.” Danny replied helpfully much to the exacerbation of the other teen.

“Did you mean ‘liminal’?” Tim corrected with his eyelids drooping.

Danny beamed. “Yeah! That’s it!”

“That explains nothing.” Tim groaned and Barbara picked up the questioning where he left off.

She leaned forward on her chair and gave Danny a kind smile. “Where are you from?”

“Father.” The half-ghost immediately pointed at Damian with his fork hand, who caught it before the prongs could do any damage. “He hatched me, didn’t he? I came from him.”

A round of giggles came from the more chaotic members of the family. Some exclaiming how cute it was the Damian’s way of naming people carried over. “How old are you, Danny?” Duke asked much to the amusem*nt of the others. Cass had both hands in front of her mouth clearly enjoying herself.

“I… I’m…” Danny tried to count on his fingers with the fork still in his hand. He looked to Damian when he couldn’t figure it out. “How long have I been alive?”

“It was around 3 a.m. when you hatched and it's close to eleven now. So a little over eight hours.” Damian provided as he sat back in his chair now that Jason wasn’t threatening the halfa.

“I’m eight hours old!” Danny exclaimed with celebratory enthusiasm. Thrusting his tiny hands in the air so that Damian had to lean back so that he wasn’t stabbed with the fork. Damian was probably going to get him back for that. Oh well, it was worth it.

The giggles from the family turned into laughter as the conversation devolved from there. Dick took over asking questions for a while that were less personal and more about getting to know Danny. Because he was so new, he had to come up with childish answers on the fly and only had to hide behind Damian a couple of times to get the others to back off. Gradually, the siblings were getting into the idea of having a nephew.

It was working. Somehow.

Barbara waited until the others were getting revved up when she looked at Damian with a conniving smile. “So... Damian… where does this put us all on the Aunt/Uncle point scale?” Shouts were made as the others got riled up, trying to defend their actions since Danny hatched.

Damian pointed to Jason and then Tim. “Both of them are in the negative. Drake for refusing to acknowledge his nephew’s existence and Todd for threatening a child. As of this moment, Richard is in the lead for defending his nephew and asking the more relevant questions.” He would give Grayson some pity and not mention the fact that he got a head start. If he did then it would become even more chaotic.

“Oh, it is on!” Stephanie declared as she slammed her hands on the table with a determined look on her face. “Hey, Danny! You wanna hang out with Auntie Stephanie? I’ll be sure to show you a bunch of cool things!”

Danny hid behind his food again when Dick stood up to challenge Steph. “Oh no! I will blow you out of the water! Let Danny get acclimated to everything first before you go jumping him!”

“Children.”

“You just think you’ll remain top dog because you always are! Well, not this time!”

“Children.”

“I’m the top dog for a reason! I’ll prove it again too!”

Children.”

“Try me golden chil-“

CHILDREN!”

Everyone turned their heads to Bruce, who finally spoke up for the first time. “As odd as this is… Danny will not be Damian’s son. If anything, he will be a new brother to you all as I cannot allow my youngest, who isn’t even of age, to claim to have a child of his own. The first thing we will do is a DNA test to determine just how true this all is and then we will go from there.” Dick and Stephanie deflated at the loss of becoming an aunt and uncle.

Damian simply cleared his throat so all of the attention was turned to him. “Actually, Father, he is legally my child.” When all Bruce did was arch an eyebrow, Damian stood up and ran upstairs. When he came back, he handed a fancy folder to Bruce and then went to sit back at Danny’s side. “For the baby shower, I was given adoption papers that were already signed by you. I simply sent them to the guy you used to adopt Cain and Drake. The official certification just came back a week ago.”

Bruce pulled out the documentation and scanned over it quickly. His eyebrows jumped up as he saw that it was all legitimized. After a moment, he gently put everything back into the folder, set it on the table, and put his head in both of his hands with a world-weary sigh. There was a pause before the dining room erupted into laughter at Bruce’s predicament.

“It’s legit… it’s LEGIT! Damian isn’t lying!” Tim screeched as he dug up the documentation with the help of Barbara.

Dick was holding his sides with tears streaming down his face. “I remember when you added your present to our party! You were so proud of yourself!”

Duke’s eyes were wide as he moved to look over Tim and Barbara’s phones. “There’s no way…”

Damian was preening over the chaos he caused when he felt a tug on his sleeve. He looked down and fixed a stray hair on the boy’s head. “Yes, Danny?”

“You called him Father.” Danny pointed to Bruce who was still dealing with the dread of his own making.

“Yes, that is because he is my Father.”

“Father’s Father…” Danny mumbled to himself and hopped down from his chair to walk over to Bruce. He had an idea. Was it a smart one? No. Would it be funny? Hell yes. As he approached and stood next to Bruce, cool blue eyes met Danny’s icy ones as they looked at each other. Danny made his face burst into a big smile as he held both of his hands up and exclaimed, “Grandpa!”

Bruce just stared at Danny. His mind rebooting from what had just come out of the toddler’s mouth. He wasn’t the only one. Everyone waited in bated silence to see just what Bruce would do. How would he react? After several moments of Danny laying it on heavy with his big blue eyes and tiny grabby hands, Bruce caved and picked the boy up and put him in his lap. Much to everyone’s amazement. Danny decided to go all in and gave the man a hug. Internally screamed because he was hugging Batman. THE Batman! What was this? How was this working so well?!

The others erupted into a combination of laughter and aww’s at the cute scene before them. Several pictures were being taken and Barbara was scrunching her nose in confusion as to why they were suddenly working. Not that any of them would help since she didn’t have a clear shot of Danny’s face. Bruce sat stiffly in his seat from the sudden affection. Duke leaned across the table to Damian who was currently taking a photo for his own records. “Uhh… Damian? I think… I think Danny broke B.”

Damian just smirked and put his phone away. “It would be more surprising if he hadn’t.”

Notes:

It finally happened! Also I don't know why some of you thought the story would end once Danny hatched. Kind of silly for me to leave all of this plot and hints around if I did. :3

I promise I will get back to recommendations again once I'm not as busy x.x

I haven't been able to read much as of late.

Chapter 44: Not an Eggsact Science

Summary:

A blood draw goes wrong.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“He’s over there! He’s over there!”

“No! He moved! He’s over here now!”

“Tim duck!”

Danny dived from the top of a bookshelf and landed right on Tim’s shoulders. Before the teen could grab him, he was launching himself away and rolling under a nearby table. Damian sat at the Batcomputer watching the absolute chaos unfold that was one Daniel Fenton (Now Daniel Wayne but semantics). He sipped on a juice box as he watched the rest of the family try in vain to catch the ghostly -powered toddler racing around the Batcave.

Barbara was enjoying this as much as Damian was if her subtly recording the entire debacle meant anything. “You know… you could probably help them out? Danny is your kid, isn’t he?” She smirked when she got a shot of Stephanie running straight into a wall, not having the time to stop her momentum, as Danny phased right through it like it was nothing.

“They were the ones that insisted that we did this right after breakfast. He knows nothing of this world and you all decide to take him down to the dark, gloomy, cave he formed in after being outright terrified. Please tell me how you thought this would have gone well?” Damian replied and then took a long sip of his juice box on purpose.

After breakfast was over, it was decided that a check-up on the half-ghost was a good idea. There was no one like him in the world and it would be hard to take care of a kid if you didn’t even have a baseline idea of how his health worked. Everything had gone well in the beginning. Bruce had Danny run some basic, noninvasive tests, that measured his heartbeat and the like. Quickly figuring out that, even though he was human, his vitals were scarily low for a normal person. This prompted Bruce to want to take a blood sample and well… here they were. Danny had been compliant with everything that didn’t involve taking something from him. He was being a trooper. Trying to follow the line of logic that he was new and didn’t know what was going on while having the mindset of a teenager who does. It was interesting to watch the teenage toddler juggle the act.

They had been allowed to take a hair for DNA testing, which was still running, but nothing else. It honestly surprised Damian that Danny had allowed Tim to take the hair because, if the DNA results came back, it would prove that Danny wasn’t Damian’s kid and the whole thing would be over. He must have known something that Damian didn’t if he had allowed it without such a fuss. But the moment Alfred came out of the medical bay with a needle, Danny was gone. As in, he disappeared right in front of everyone.

Panic ensued because not only was the small child invisible but no one could hear where he was. It was like Danny had just dropped off the face of the earth. Damian, who had experienced a few of Danny’s powers and knew roughly what he could do, was much more relaxed about the whole thing. Which he knew that several of them noticed but didn’t comment on until now. He didn’t know why Danny didn’t want his blood drawn but it must have been important if he was giving everyone the runaround so hard.

Barbara snickered as if she was expecting that answer from him. “It’s for his own good, y’know?”

“I do. But they didn’t have to be so shady about it. Instead of talking to him, everyone just assumed that I would hold him down or something but he has the right to be scared, if he is scared.” Damian replied while watching Danny run into the foot of the dinosaur and pop his head out of it’s mouth a moment later.

“Do you think he is scared?” the red-head arched an eyebrow at the youngest Wayne but kept her focus primarily on the others as they ran about the cave trying (and massively failing) to catch the overpowered toddler.

Damian hesitated for a moment before he sighed. “Yes. At least, a little bit. I would say that he is more overwhelmed than anything. He went from an egg, with only being able to sense the most basic things, to a full on child in the matter of moments. Surrounded by people and things that he knows nothing about. It doesn’t matter that he’s young. This is all new and its a lot. It’s easy to forget that what we consider normal could be overwhelming to someone else.”

Barbara hummed. They watched as Duke flew up to try and get Danny out of the dinosaur’s mouth. “Damian! Aren’t you concerned that he is up so high?!” Dick called from his spot at the dinosaur’s feet.

“No.” Damian called back with his own smirk starting to show on his face.

“Why not?! OH MY GOD!” Dick demanded. Danny fell out of the T-Rex's mouth and the oldest moved to catch the child before he went splat on the cold floor of the cave… only for Danny to start flying halfway down. He flew safely to the ground and took off away from everyone the moment his tiny feet touched the ground.

“Because he can fly.” Damian called back and his smirk grew at the dismay that showed on Dick’s face.

“That still isn’t very responsible parenting!”

“Are you sure? Actually, I think I am doing an impeccable job. Danny may be scared of needles but at this point this is nothing but a game to him. You all are doing a good job of wearing him out so that I don’t have to when it comes to getting him to bed tonight.”

Barbara snorted and Cass couldn’t keep a straight face from her spot perched next to Damian by the computer. She offered him a fresh juice box and he took it. He didn’t know when she had shown up to watch the chaos but she was here now.

Damian knew that Danny was just messing with everyone at this point. He was playing the scared kid act well but the amusem*nt he felt from the ghost whenever he ran past told him otherwise. Damian wasn’t about to ruin the teen’s fun. Plus, it doubled as a way for Danny to experiment with his powers in a safe environment. None of the others would try to harm him (if they did then there would be hell to pay). If Danny got injured, they had top of the line medical equipment in the medbay and, if that didn’t work, a quick trip through the zeta tube could get them to any Justice League base that would be better outfitted. So Damian was content to watch Danny give his family hell. Maybe feeling just a tiny bit vindicated for how some of them acted at breakfast.

Just a tiny bit.

Tim stumbled to a stop to catch his breath. The teen was already worn out and not a lot of time had passed. “This is stupid. Why don’t we just do this later? It’s not like Danny is going anywhere anytime soon.”

Bruce looked up from the DNA machine. A beep telling him that the results were in and he began to read them over. “I would rather know the baseline of Danny before something irregular happens and we don’t know about it. The last thing we need is a result we think is normal is actually something irregular and puts him in danger. Besides, its not like any of you have anything else to do today. I know you cleared your schedules for this.”

“They might have but I didn’t.” Jason groused from the entrance to the cave from the wall clock. “I need to get back to Crime Alley to, y’know. Unfreeze the Joker?”

“You are the last person I want near a vulnerable Joker.” Bruce nixed that idea before that could gain any traction. “If anything, we need to talk to Danny and ask if he could unfreeze the clown or try to figure out how his ice powers work.”

Jason’s face wasn’t showing that he was pouting but everyone in the room knew he was. Damian arched a brow when he realized that he not only figured out through his older brother’s micro expressions but he could also feel it. That… that was a new one. He wasn’t sure if he liked that one. But Bruce had the right of it. Though the ice Danny had the Joker in wasn’t lethal, it wouldn’t be good for the clown to be stuck like that for an extended period of time. Even if, they all low key thought he deserved it.

“Wait… where did Danny go?” Duke asked as he swiveled about the room. The shadows and light morphing as he used it to try and find the toddler. “I lost track of his trail.”

“Ohhh, that’s not good.” Stephanie muttered while rubbing her nose.

Judging by the amusem*nt that Damian felt from behind him, he knew that Danny was still in the cave. Considering Damian wasn’t concerned, neither was Cass who was looking around to see if she could spot whatever it was that Damian could see. “Relax, he’s still in here.” Damian said to alleviate the rising tension in the other family members. It was interesting that Danny had managed to lose Duke. He wondered how the ghost teen managed.

“How do you know that?” Dick asked walking over from the Batmobile. “He’s invisible.”

“Trust me, I would know if he went to far.” Damian took another sip of the new juice box while tossing his old one into the trash.

Well, he tried to anyway. Damian felt when Danny phased through his body to go and catch the juice box while it was in the air. Then commenced to chase Tim with it. All the while the boy remained invisible so it looked like a haunted juice box was chasing Tim around the cave. Several of the others were laughing at the display and even Bruce had a small smile on his face as he looked up from the results he was reading. It morphed into the stoic frown of the Bat as he got further along. “Hmm… It’s quite possible we may have to take him to the Watchtower anyway.”

“Why? What do the results say?” Tim skidded to a stop in front of Bruce to see what he was looking at and the juice box smacked right into him with Danny letting out a squeak as their bodies collided. “Gotcha!- Dang it!” Tim grabbed where he assumed the toddler’s shoulder was and managed to get a grip on Danny for all of a second before the boy made himself intangible. Freeing himself from the teen’s grip with a laugh.

“That’s just it. The results are inconclusive. Though his DNA has human traits, its damaged and changed to the point that the machine can’t properly analyze it.” Bruce handed Tim the papers and gently took the juice box out of the air when it came close enough to him to grab and put it in the trash where it belongs. “Danny, you don’t need to play with trash like that. We’ll get you some proper toys soon enough.” That sounded wonderful. If they could take Danny to the Watchtower then they could get a better grasp on Danny’s non-human traits but also… Damian could find a way to get a hold of Constantine without it looking weird. The sooner this happened the better.

“Toys! What are toys?” Danny faded into existence sitting atop the Batcomputer monitor with big eyes full of excited wonder. “Grandpa, what’s a toy?”

Dick stepped into the armory and came back with a ball. “A toy is something fun you play with. Like this.” He held the ball up for Danny to see and then tossed it at the ground so that it bounced high into the air.

Danny flew up and caught it before the ball could begin its downward descent. He brought the ball close to his face so that he could examine it really well before attempting to bounce it back at Dick. The oldest Wayne child caught it with ease and a game of catch started with Duke and Stephanie joining in as well. Damian watched as the others progressively got closer and closer to Danny and could see that this was more than likely going to backfire hard.

It would be worth it to witness.

Everyone went silent. Watching the game with bated breath as Dick, Duke, and Stephanie got within grabbing range of Danny. They were careful to bounce the ball lower and lower so that Danny had to get closer to the ground each time that the ball was sent his way or else he would have missed. Now he was surrounded with nowhere to escape. Dick gave the other two a subtle nod and the three of them launched in different directions, hoping to catch the child in whatever way he decided to go but… he didn’t move. He stayed right where he was.

Danny just turned himself intangible.

The three fell through the half-ghost on top of each other into a giant heap. Danny floated back up into the air laughing all the while and so was Barbara, Cass, Tim, and Alfred. Bruce was trying to hide his amusem*nt while Jason was trying to fight the smile that wanted to make its way on his lips. “How many vigilantes does it take to catch one super-powered kid?” Barbara snickered to herself.

“Apparently, an entire army.” Alfred finished for her with a small smirk of his own. “Now, as amusing as all this is, Master Damian, could you please attempt to wrangle your child so that I can get a proper sample? I’m afraid that I am with Master Bruce on this. I want to make sure the newest family member doesn’t have any problems or, if he doe, we can start finding ways to help before it gets worse.”

Damian looked to where the halfa was floating above the pile of siblings and called out. “Danny, come down here. We need to take a little blood to make sure you are healthy.”

Danny pouted with a whine. Flying higher so that he was out of reach. “No! Needle looks sharp and scary!”

“I know and it will hurt a little bit for just a few seconds and then it will be over.” Damian answered. He stepped forward after handing his new juice box to Cass so that he didn’t have to set it on the Batcomputer. He didn’t want Bruce to get mad at him for that. Danny’s pout got worse and he opened his mouth to whine even louder but Damian held up his hand before the teenaged-toddler could start. “If you are a good boy, and let us take a blood sample, then I will take you to meet Batcow and my other animals once we are done.”

This had Danny stopping from throwing another fake tantrum. His pout disappeared in an instant and he flew down so that he was eye level with Damian. “Animals? I can meet the animals?!”

“Yes, but only if you let Pennyworth take a small sample without any fuss.” Damian crossed his arms and arched a brow at Danny who now looked like he was pondering his options.

After a few moments of thought, Danny flew over to Alfred and de-transformed into his human side. The child dropping the last couple of inches to the ground. Offering his arm out to the butler. “Hurry! I want to meet the animals!”

Alfred chuckled softly and knelt down by Danny. Gently taking the boy’s tiny arm into his hands. “No worries, Master Danny. This will take but a moment I assure you. Then you can play with the animals as much as your father will allow.” Alfred readied the needle while Danny turned his head away so that he didn’t have to look. “Now, Master Danny, I want you to take a very deep breath and when I tell you to, I want you to release it. Think you can do that?”

Danny nodded his head but kept his head turned away and his eyes screwed shut. “Yes!”

“Okay, now go ahead and take that deep breath.” The toddler did as he was told and right when he thought his lungs couldn’t expand any further Alfred ordered him what to do next. “Excellent! Now let it out slowly, Master Danny.” He did as he was told and Danny felt something odd in his arm but no pain. There was a slight draining sensation and after a few seconds Alfred had him change back into his Phantom form. Alfred removed the needle and quickly put a cotton ball to the spot. “Wonderful, Master Danny, you are all done.” He placed a Justice League bandaid on the spot and straightened up.

Danny blinked. He looked at his arm to the two vials of blood that Alfred now held in his hands. There had been no pain during the entire thing. This was the first time that had ever happened. Just how many times has Alfred done this to be able to know how to extract blood without pain?

Tim groaned from across the room. “Seriously?! That was all we had to do?!”

Damian just smirked, picking up Danny. Handing him a juice box while Alfred handed him a cookie. “Of course, Drake. Almost every small child is infatuated with furry creatures. You did a wonderful job Danny. Why don’t we get ready to head out to the barn, hm?” He headed out of the cave with Danny waving over his shoulder with the hand that held the cookie. Once they were back in the main part of the manner and well out of earshot of everyone else, Damian sighed and shook his head. “Did you have your fun?”

Danny smirked. Smugly taking a long slurp of the juice box before saying, “Hell, yeah I did.”

Notes:

This just in... Danny is a massive troll.

Chapter 45: Animal Eggspert

Summary:

Damian introduces Danny to his pets. Giving his family a break from the tiny terror.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

It didn’t surprise Damian in the slightest that none of the others followed the two boys out of the cave. Danny had done a splendid job of wearing out the teens and adults of the family that everyone would want to take the moment for a breather rather than attempt to chase the superpowered toddler around again. The half ghost was still very smug in Damian’s arms as they made their way up to his room so that they could put on warmer clothes. Winter was still very much a thing right now and, half ghost or not, Damian wasn’t about to let Danny possibly get sick.

Not until they both knew more about the boy’s condition.

They quickly got dressed for the colder weather and Damian led them back downstairs with only a couple of pit stops before they headed out to the barn. The boys encountered Damian’s cat first. “Wait… isn’t that confusing?” Danny asked as he eagerly pet the black and white cat that was basking in one of the many windowsills that the manor had to offer.

“Alfred is a perfectly suitable name for a cat.”

Danny laughed as Alfred purred under his clever fingertips. Easily finding the spots that the cat loved to be petted the most. “Yes, it is. Perfect for such a handsome lad.” Alfred’s purrs picked up and he stretched so that Danny had access to his belly. Damian’s eyes narrowed a bit when the halfa was able to pet the cat’s belly with ease and no repercussions in the form of tiny teeth and claws. So far, the only person who could get away with that was Damian and human Alfred. Now another was added to that list. “But, most generally, when a pet is named after someone, that person is either dead or no longer around. Alfred is still very much alive.”

“Tt.” Damian huffed and crossed his arms. Looking away from Danny who was giving him a rather smug smile. “Alfred was named after the person who gave him to me. Pennyworth may come off as a competent butler, more than anything, but he is perfectly capable of defending himself and the manor from intruders. Alfred the cat has calmed down a bit after living here for a while but he is still very ferocious and will attack most strangers without a second thought. He has much potential in becoming a fierce warrior and it is an honor to be named after the man that protects Batman behind the scenes.”

Danny watched the younger boy with a small grin on his face. He looked back to the kitty puddle under his fingers and chuckled a bit. “You know what? You are absolutely right. ‘Tis one of the most highest of honors.” Damian nodded his head curtly. The two boys spent a couple of minutes spoiling the cat before continuing on to the next animal in Damian’s menagerie.

Titus was waiting for them at the backdoor of the manor. The doberman’s tail immediately began to wag at their approach. They stopped short and Titus closed the distance before obediently sitting down in front of Damian. “You actually have a history with Titus.” Damian said as he scratched the dog behind his pointy ears.

Danny crept forward and let Titus sniff his hand before lavishing the pup in love. “I do? How can I have history with this big guy when I was basically asleep?”

Damian smirked proudly at how Titus wasn’t even bothered by Danny’s added weight. Instead, he remained sitting, like a good boy, and let the halfa love him up accordingly. “He stole the pouch I carried you in when I first got a hold of your core. Thankfully, you weren’t inside at the time but the pouch became nothing more than a glorified chew toy and had to be thrown out.”

“I would happily die again to be Titus’s glorified chew toy. Anything for this good boy.” Danny had his face pressed right up to the side of Titus’s head. The small boy’s cheek smooshing against the soft fur of the dog’s head.

“Careful, he might still recognize you as that ball shaped thing I used to carry around. So, you just might.” Damian’s smirk grew when Danny pouted and held Titus closer. The dog undisturbed.

“He would never! Titus is a good boy!”

“That he is. Now come along, Danny. There is more to see outside.” Damian opened the door and Titus strutted out into the backyard with Danny eagerly chasing after him. He gave a cursory glance to see if any of the others had followed but found that they were still alone. That wouldn’t last long. It would only be a matter of time before one of the others showed up to try and get to know Danny better.

His money was on Grayson or Brown.

The two boys dashed out into the cold with the wind swirling around them. Titus happily ran alongside them, eager to stretch his legs. They arrived at the barn with Danny panting as though he had just run a marathon and Titus sniffing the smaller boy to see if he was okay. Damian, was hardly out of breath, let them into the barn and out of the frigid winds. Danny sniffed his nose loudly from the cold and took in the barn with a big grin on his face. “It’s amazing how different things look now that I’m not using the ambient ectoplasm to see. This barn looks way nicer than I initially thought- TURKEY!” Danny practically jumped out of his skin when Jerry popped out from behind a bale of hay and gobbled at him curiously.

Damian closed the door before the bird could get out. “Danny, this is Jerry. I saved him on one of my missions as Robin.” The turkey approached Danny cautiously. Not as ready to trust as Alfred and Titus had been. Danny also seemed to be regarding the large bird with trepidation as well. Jerry could be a jerk sometimes but it was most generally to the other members of the family who pushed the turkey out of his comfort zone. Damian stepped up next to Danny and Jerry backed off a little bit. “Do not be afraid of Jerry. If you show him fear, then he will take advantage of it. Jerry is what Brown would call a ‘troll’. He is more bark than bite but if you give an inch, he will take a mile.”

Danny took his words to heart and approached the turkey arm outstretched to pet. Jerry backed up a bit and reared up to peck. Fluffing his feathers to make himself look more intimidating. Danny jerked his hand back when a growl came from behind the boys. Phasing through them both, Cujo positioned himself between Jerry and Danny. Growling menacingly at the bird that was trying to intimidate his boy. Jerry did not back down. Instead, he advanced and gobbled at Cujo. Now, normally, Cujo would have ran at this point. It would trigger a game of chase me that normally left Jerry exhausted from running after the ghost dog.

“Cujo!” Danny called in surprise at the green pup popping in out of nowhere. The pup yipped in response but didn’t take his eyes off of the bird that was still trying to look angry and scary. The two animals stared each other down until Jerry ruffled his feathers and Cujo ran to the side. Jerry followed and the chase was on.

Damian took Danny’s hand and led him further into the barn out of the animals’ way. “Do not worry about them. This is how they normally play.”

Danny watched the two chase each other while letting himself be led away. “So… how long has Cujo been here? Do the others know about him?”

“Yes, he accidentally made himself known to my father and Pennyworth after Jon and I came back from trick-or-treating on Halloween. He has been a welcome member of the house since… though I am not so sure that Drake approves of him running around.” Damian replied, stopping in front of a stall. He had to think back to when the Riddler had trapped his family in those grotesque ‘escape rooms’. “Cujo has been around for a long while actually. He made an appearance within the first month of you being in my care. He has been by my side ever since and I have been training him in hopes that he wouldn’t get himself into trouble.”

“You’ve been able to train him?!” Danny looked at Damian in amazement and the younger boy preened just a tiny bit. “The most I have ever gotten him to do is play ‘fetch’. Fetch being that he comes and gets me when something dangerous is happening nearby.”

Well, that explained why trouble always seemed to find Damian when the pup showed up early on.

“You know him?”

Danny nodded and jumped back when Cujo came sailing by with an angry ball of feathers chasing right after. He shook his head with a small laugh at the two’s antics. “Of course, I do. I can’t really say that Cujo is my dog. I found him one time when he was haunting an old lab. He used to be a guard dog there and was looking for his favorite squeaky toy that he left behind.” When Cujo ran by again, Danny managed to pet him and Jerry before they got out of his small reach. Damian frowned at the implication that there was more to that story but didn’t ask for the halfa to elaborate. “From then on he just… adopted me as his human… ghost? Halfa boy? We’ve been buds ever since.”

“I see.” Damian hummed noncommittally and watched the bird and dog dive on and in various bales of hay only to pop out again and surprise the other. Despite the apparent initial, ‘aggression’ it was obvious that they were good friends. “Well, he is now a member of the family and kind of comes and goes as he pleases. Sometimes, he helps me out on patrol.”

Danny laughed. “I bet. He loves to ‘help’ out-” the teen turned toddler was cut off when a soft big muzzle nudged him from behind. He whirled around to be greeted with the large head of Batcow, who was watching him in interest. She gently nudged him again, only for Danny to wrap his arms around her and bury his head into her neck with a happy squeal. “Okay, I am officially jealous. Growing up, we were never allowed to have pets. The chances of them getting hurt due to our parents experiments or possibly making them experiments themselves meant we couldn’t have anything cute and fuzzy in the house. But not only do you have a dog, a cat, and a turkey… you have the sweetest and most adorable cow ever!”

Damian couldn’t help but feel proud over the compliments. As well as a little sad. It was a good thing that the Fentons didn’t allow pets in a home that would be hazardly dangerous but it was sad that Danny didn’t get to experience the feeling of animal companionship as he was growing up. Batcow laid down in her stall and Danny didn’t waste any time clambering up onto her back. His tiny body sprawling out on top of her with his little hands patting her wherever he could reach. “Batcow is the gentlest of souls. The fact that she was treated so horribly in that slaughterhouse was abysmal. She is much happier now.”

“That’s an understatement!” Danny grinned from atop Batcow, nuzzling his cheek into her fur. “I can feel how happy she is. She is loving the life!”

“I can understand why you can feel my emotions but how can you feel Batcow’s?”

Danny shrugged and continued to nuzzle her. “Ghost’s are just more naturally in tune with emotions in general and she is feeling really happy. She really loves you Damian.”

That… was a bit unexpected but it warmed his heart all the same. “Well, the feeling is mutual. If something were ever to happen to her then whoever was the cause would suffer a fate worse than death.”

“Ey, you and me both! Together we can protect Batcow from the living and the dead. Nothing will be able to touch her!” Danny giggled when Batcow turned her head and licked his messy mop of black hair. (Danny would definitely need another bath after this) He basked in the cow’s affection before humming and looking at Damian curiously. “Speaking of feeling… what is up with your brother, Dami?” When all he got in response was an unimpressed raised eyebrow with a look that said ‘which one?’, Danny chuckled again and elaborated. “The second oldest? The one with the white hair? He pointed a gun at a literal toddler?”

Damian scoffed at the reminder of Todd’s lapse in judgement at the breakfast table. “That would be Jason Todd. You are not the only undead person that I know in my life. I know several the more I think about it. Todd was and sometimes is estranged from the family depending on his relationship with my Father at the time. He suffered a rather traumatic death and then was revived via the Lazarus Pits that robbed him of his mind. Several of us had been revived that way actually. When you come out, there is a temporary bought of insanity that is so bad that you could kill others without thinking about it. But it normally goes away after a little bit as you come back to your senses… it never fully went away for Todd.”

Danny hummed in thought at this new information. “So, you are saying it still affects him now?” Damian nodded and a frown made its way onto the toddler’s face. “Yeah… that’s not good. I’m going to have to look into that. Did he ever act weird around my core?”

“There was a month-long stint where he tried to take you from me. I do not know what was going through his mind but he was very determined to separate us. He actually got a hold of you at one point as well but… for some reason, he gave you back. I’m still unsure as to why he had a sudden change of heart.” Damian watched as the frown on Danny grew and sighed because this was not the conversation that he was expecting to have right now. “Do you know something about his condition?”

“Possibly. I need to learn more about it to be honest. If it’s what I think then there may be a chance to get rid of that anger for good.”

That… was oddly good news. Damian wasn’t sure how Todd would take that information but anything would be better after having to deal with the Pit Madness for years. Never expecting it to go away. “I will look up the information on my computer before we head to bed tonight so that you can look it over for yourself. Now, you are going to want to fall back into the child persona as we are going to go back into the cave.”

Danny whined and hugged Batcow tighter. “Why? Batcow and I just got comfy.”

Damian’s smirk returned as he crossed his arms. “There are two more that you have to meet and, I can assure you, that they will not disappoint.”

Interest peeked. Danny carefully slid off of Batcow. Giving her one more pat and then moving to stand next to Damian. “Okay…” He mocked grabbing a bunch of stuff out of his head and handing it to the younger boy with a sigh. “Here are all my braincells. Make sure to take care of them. I’m going to need them back.”

“I will do my best.” Damian said, only grabbing one ‘braincell’ from Danny’s hands and pretending to put it into his pocket. Danny laughed and followed close behind as they trekked back toward the manor. Leaving Cujo to play with Jerry with Titus following them back dutifully. Damian took a side entrance instead of the normal one. There were many entrances to the Batcave and it would be good to start teaching Danny now where they were. He never knew when he would need it. Unzipping his jacket, Danny took Damian’s hand as they descended further underground in an ominous looking passageway. The half-ghost’s head was on a swivel. Taking in the new information as best he could.

Eventually, the small staircase opened up into a hallway that led off toward the training rooms and the gym. There were loud voices and sounds coming from the main hub of the cave. The voices of the others echoing down the various passages. Not wanting to deal with them yet, Damian led them the long way through the cave to where is more… less acceptable pets were kept. Danny was still absorbing all of the new stuff. The Batcave was small once you got used to it but for anyone new, it was a lot to take in at once.

They descended more stairs and, once again, the cave opened up into a huge open area. There was a large platform that led out into a massive dark abyss. Resting on the middle of the platform was a huge mass chained to the floor. Danny’s grip tightened a small bit as Damian walked right up to it and gestured to the huge creature that was beginning to wake up. It was huge. It almost looked like ManBat but wasn’t as sentient. It was bright red with bat wings and as it sat up, Danny got a good look at how big this thing really was. “Danny, this is Goliath. He is a dragon bat that I found while on a mission with the League of Assassins.”

“… you went on a mission and just casually brought a mythological creature home?” Danny whispered in awe. Goliath leaned down and gave Danny a tentative sniff then nuzzled the small boy with a happy purr.

“Yes, I’ve learned that if I can get them into the house first, Father and Alfred are less likely to say no.”

“Wait…” Danny turned to Damian who just arched a questioning brow at him. “That speaks of experience. How many mythical creatures do you have?”

Damian smirked at Danny again and whistled a specific tune. There was silence as the halfa looked around a little excitedly. A soft roar answered Damian’s call and the room reverberated gently from the vibrations of the sound. Danny soon learned why the platform led to a massive empty opening as the space was filled with the long serpentine form of a Chinese style dragon. Its large head looming over the small boys as it leaned in to see who was there. “Just the two.” The youngest Wayne stated simply, as though he was commenting on the weather.

Now, this wasn’t the first time Danny had seen a dragon. Dorothea and her brother could transform into them when the right kind of emotion was triggered. However, this was the first time he had seen just a dragon. Not a person cursed to be one, an actual dragon. Danny’s mouth dropped open in awe and wonder. “Is that… is that a dragon? You just calmly brought home a DRAGON?!”

Damian chuckled at Danny’s awestruck appearance and reached up to pet the snout that loomed close. “His name is Wiggles.”

Notes:

Was no one going to tell me that Damian had a pet dragon named WIGGLES?!

Chapter 46: A Small Space Eggventure

Summary:

Batman and Robin take Danny to the Watchtower.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“Ah, Damian, there you are.” Bruce looked up from the documents on his desk as his youngest made his way into the immaculate office. Damian kept walking until he stood dead center in front of the desk. Back straight, arms behind his back. Looking every bit formal in the assassin training he had grown up with.

“Yes, Father. You called for me?” Damian arched a curious brow. Trying to be subtle as he glanced at the closed door of the office. His body itching to fidget but he kept it professionally still. A few weeks had passed since Danny was announced to the family. Despite the chaos that was one Daniel Fenton, things were beginning to settle. The others still went out of their way for the teen turned toddler but Danny knew he had them all wrapped around his tiny fingers. So much so that he got away with a lot more than he probably should. But the others had proven that they could care for the halfa in Damian’s absence. Thus why he was able to go to his Father’s office without a tiny charge trailing after him.

Though his body was telling him to go run back to the kid. He was up to something…

Then again, when was he not?

What was surprising was that Damian had been called to his father’s office so late. It was almost time for patrol and Danny had gotten into the habit of trying to sneak out with him. Not on his watch. There was no way in hell that Damian would allow such a thing, even if Danny could go invisible and intangible.

Bruce smiled a bit but didn’t comment on Damian trying so hard to hide the fact he wanted to return to Danny. “We are not going on patrol tonight. Dick has come over to cover. You are to go collect Danny because we are heading up to the Watchtower tonight.”

This had Damian perking up immediately. “We are going to get Danny a proper checkup?”

“Yes, and I am hoping the fact that because the base is in space, it will go much more smoothly than when we tried to extract blood from him the first time.” Bruce stood up from his desk and gestured to Damian to follow him out of the room. “There are a few other things that I need to do while up there. So, I am expecting you to keep a close eye on him. Odds are, the testing will finish before my work. Go ahead and give him a tour of the facility, just keep away from the restricted areas.”

Damian nodded as he followed his father out into the hallway and walked with him side by side. “He is still very much a child but, when he needs to be, Danny can be very well behaved.”

“I concur, Master Damian.” Alfred agreed as he approached the two. “Whenever he is around me, he shows nothing but respect and good manners. No doubt taught by an exemplary role model.” He gave Damian a wink as he said it. “If you are looking for young Daniel, he should be terrorizing Master Tim in one of the living rooms.”

“Why don’t you go get him and we can meet down in the cave?” Bruce smiled at his youngest and pat Damian’s shoulder affectionately.

“Yes, Father.” Damian replied, unsure what to do with the more affectionate side of his father showing through. That was another thing that had changed since Danny’s ‘hatching’. Bruce was better about… expressing himself. He still had a very long way to go but he was giving out more praises and less criticisms and grunts as of late. It… it was nice. With a quick goodbye to the adults, Damian made his way to the living room that Tim favored the most. Listening for the telltale groans of the teen as Danny terrorized him.

Maybe he should tell Danny to back off a small bit. Due to Tim’s natural paranoid behavior, he was Danny’s favorite to tease with his ghostly powers. So far Tim had taken it all in stride but Danny only had the armor of being a small child for so long. If he pushed to much then Tim was bound to retaliate. Hopefully, he could get there before it came to that.

~*~

It didn’t take long for Damian to find Danny and to wangle him away from his ‘favorite Uncle to play with’. Seeming completely ecstatic when they were going down into the cave thinking he would finally be going on patrol with Damian.

Attaching the mask carefully to his face, Damian sighed in minor annoyance. “For the thousandth time, Danny. I am not taking you out on patrol with me.”

“Then why are we in the cave getting suited up?” Danny asked, the rings of light encircling him as he transformed into his ghostly side.

“Patrol isn’t the only thing we do as heroes.” Damian replied as he finished putting his suit on and began to head out to the Batcave’s main floor. “Today we are going to one of the Justice League bases to use their equipment in hopes of getting a better idea of your physical health.”

“Aaah… why? None of the stuff up there will be able to read my DNA n’ stuff, either.” Danny groaned in dismay. Floating after Damian like a sad puppy.

“If that is the case, then odds are they will try less conventional means.” Damian watched Danny stiffen when he said that and quickly elaborated. “What I mean is, they will try something more magical in nature or the like until they find something that works. If nothing does, then they will start working on making something that will. Other than another possible blood draw, the other tests will not be invasive if they can help it. They do not wish to hurt you Danny. They simply wish to make sure that you are healthy.”

Danny pouted but kept anything he wanted to say to himself because they were now nearing where the zeta tube was set up and Batman was awaiting them at its entrance. There was a hint of amusem*nt on his face as he saw Damian walk up with his tiny floating child following behind. “I know you don’t like checkups, Danny, but we want to make sure that you are safe. It’s better to catch things early than wait until it’s too late.”

It’s five years too late for that.

Damian turned his head to look at the half ghost floating up to his shoulder next to him. Despite the childishly pouty look on his face, Damian could feel the sadness that ebbed in the background. Without any warning, he grabbed Danny and held him like he would in his human toddler form. For a moment, Danny tensed but quickly settled. “We should go while he is still feeling cooperative. If he decides not to be, I fear it will be impossible to find him if he decided to run.” Damian said, stepping confidently into the zeta tube and turning to look at his father expectantly.

Batman grunted and set the zeta tube for his intended destination. Stepping in right before the door closed and the three of them were enveloped in a bright light. Within moments, they were at the Watchtower with an automated voice announcing their arrival. Batman stepped out first with Robin following.

Danny kept his head down. Trying to take in just where he was when they passed a window and his eyes went wide. “Is that… is that the Earth?” he said just above a whisper but Damian turned to follow Danny’s gaze to one of the many observation windows that the Watchtower had.

“Yes. The Watchtower is the Justice League base that is set in space.” Robin replied and ended up stumbling a bit when Danny flew out of his arms and glued his face to the glass. His legs having morphed into a wispy tail wagging like an excited puppy behind him.

“Hm… he seems to be pretty entranced by the view… think we will be able to get a proper blood draw without him noticing?” Batman thought aloud and Robin nodded. If the pure joy that was radiating off of Danny was anything to go by, now was the time.

“I will keep his attention on the view. You should grab a nurse before he breaks out of it.” Robin said and Batman left with a nod. Quickly striding over to the medical wing while Damian made his way over to Danny, who’s breath was fogging up the glass a bit. “Is this your first time being in space?” he asked once he was standing next to the half-ghost, overlooking the view with him.

Danny shook his head but didn’t look away. “No, I’ve been in space before. When you have a form that doesn’t need to breathe and, doesn’t need to maintain body heat, that can fly, means you can go to space anytime you want to without repercussions. I haven’t done it as often as I would like but I have done it a few times. But this is the first time I’ve been in space in a space station! Which is just as cool, if not cooler!”

Damian smirked, feeling the elation and joy coming off of the ghost boy in waves. “I’m glad you like it. I will try to convince Father to bring us up here more often then.” In the three weeks that Danny had lived as a toddler at the manor, it became apparent to everyone just how much he loved space. He always went for the space themed toys and clothes. Not to mention books, much to Jason’s dismay but at least the kid was willing to read something. It wouldn’t take much prompting to get Bruce to agree to such a small request. So long as Danny remained good and didn’t cause trouble for other heroes.

“Really?!” Danny tore his eyes away to float right into Damian’s face. His eyes blown comically wide that Damian was chalking up to his ghostly nature because a normal human would never have been able to achieve it. Not without some serious plastic surgery and possible loss of eyesight.

“Yes. So long as you listen to his rules, I don’t see why he would say no. Now come. I know of another window you can look out of.” Robin took hold of Danny’s hand and guided him toward the medical wing. Ignoring the looks of workers and heroes alike.

Danny remained looking out the window in the medical wing throughout all of the testing. He was completely compliant. Staying perfectly still as they took samples of his blood in both forms and ran various other tests while they awaited the results of the blood. Midway through, Batman stepped out to hold a meeting. Leaving Robin sitting in a chair next to the window while Danny floated next to him with nurses and doctors doing their thing, completely unfazed.

Once again, the tests were inconclusive due to a strange abnormality in the DNA. Whatever it was, it had restructured the DNA in a way that their computers didn’t recognize. However, the rest of the tests showed that Danny was a perfectly healthy toddler. His heartbeat and breathing were slower than an average human. He also ran colder. But that was his baseline and the doctors were surprisingly accepting of that fact. Though his existence did seem to perplex them.

“If you are done with the tests, I would like to take him for a tour of the station before we leave. He is quite excited to be here.” Robin said with authority when a few of the physicians tried to keep Danny longer than Damian was comfortable with. “The tests have proven that we need further assistance anyway. I do not see how running a bunch more of the same thing will change the initial outcome unless you messed up running the tests in the first place.”

Before the doctors could say anything more, Damian pulled Danny away from the window. Taking him further into the space station. He gave the halfa a brief tour of the places that they had access too. Danny drank all of the information in with starry eyes. Constantly looking around to memorize everything he could. That was why he ended up bumping into Damian when he suddenly stopped in the middle of the hallway. “Ow! Dami, why did you sto-”

“Shh!” Damian sidled up to the nearest wall and peeked into the window of a conference room. Several heroes were sitting around a table with Batman at the head, discussing something he had on the projector. The room was soundproof so they couldn’t hear anything. So, it was a good thing that Damian was good at reading lips. Danny immediately quieted and peeked into the room under Damian’s chin. It was a tense few seconds of silence as the two boys watched the heroes in the other room. There was no point in hiding their presence. They had already been seen on the Watchtower’s cameras and several of the heroes in the room can hear heartbeats. It was safe to say that the adults knew they were peeking in.

“What’s going on?” Danny’s eyes were darting to every hero in the room only to linger with dread on the powerpoint that had a photo of some GIW agents on it.

“Seems like they are having trouble convincing the US government to get rid of that shoddy agency.” Robin’s eyes narrowed as he spoke and grabbed Danny to hold him to his heart before he could see more. “The government is claiming that the agency isn’t real despite the mountain of evidence that says otherwise.” Damian couldn’t help but frown. This wasn’t good news. That agency was using some faulty wording to enact a massive siege of the American populace. So much damage has already been caused and there was only going to be more.

He stepped away from the window and began walking down the hall while holding the halfa to him. Danny had begun to tremble from this news and he couldn’t blame the ghost. If the Justice League was having problems then how was anyone else going to help? Whatever. That was a problem for later since there was nothing that Damian could do about it right now. It was good that his father was still in the middle of that meeting. That meant that he still had time to do the other thing he wanted to before Batman got suspicious.

“ROBIN!” A blur flew into the room along with the yell and almost knocked Damian to the ground. Damian deftly dodged. One hand holding Danny and the other going for his sword. He eyed his opponent, only to roll his eyes as to who it was. Jon Clark dressed as Superboy was showcasing his sunshine smile that was blinding the youngest Wayne. “I didn’t know you were going to be here today! Why didn’t you say anything?”

Damian dropped out of the attack stance he fell into. Sheathing his sword and standing straight, he glared at the half-Kryptonian. “Because I was notified last minute. I am actually not here for myself or Batman.”

Jon blinked and co*cked his head at his best friend. “Then why are you here?”

“I’m here for him.” Robin gestured with his free hand to the bundle of white and black in his arms. Danny peeked out at the newcomer a little shyly. Fully back into the act of a child for those around them.

Jon looked at the tiny child in Damian’s arms, then to Damian, back to the kid. This continued for a minute before his grin grew even bigger. Just as he opened his mouth, Damian slapped his hand over it and subtly gestured to the conference room behind him with a nod of his head. Jon picked up on what he was trying to say quickly and nodded in understanding. Only then was the hand removed. “Who is this little guy?”

“This is Danny. He has a unique physiology so we are here for a wellness check. Though, so far, we are not having much luck.” With some gentle coaxing, Danny turned around and looked fully at the other boy.

“Hey! Welcome to the club lil’ dude! And that sucks. Have any of the magicians tried anything yet?”

“Not yet…” A smirk formed on Damian’s face as he looked at his friend. “Because we haven’t had a way to contact them. You don’t think you could-”

One moment Superboy was in front of them and the next he was gone.

Danny blinked and looked around. Trying to find where the half-Kryptonian had gone, only to jump a bit when the other boy was suddenly back in front of them with a feral grin on his face. “Find Constantine’s emergency calling card? Sure! It’s kind of amazing that I just found lying around and totally not in the magical restricted section of the tower that he told us never to go into without supervision.” Superboy gestured to one of his pockets without pulling the paper out. “But most importantly… If you are going to do this, then I want in. You are going to help convince out dads that I am spending the night at your place.”

“Easy.” Robin turned to Danny, who was looking at the two friends confused as to what was going on. “Danny, you want Superboy, who is half alien, to spend the night with us so that you can learn more about him, right?”

The half ghost caught onto the boys’ plan immediately. He launched himself into Superboy’s arms and snuggled in close with big starry eyes. “Yes! Will Mister Batman say yes?” He asked Robin who was smirking at the display.

“As long as you lay it on heavy with those eyes… there is no way that he will say no.”

Notes:

I'm so sorry about not updating like I should have. This holiday season has kept me on my toes! So Happy Holidays everyone!

Chapter 47: Only For Eggmergencies

Summary:

Did the boys get their sleep over?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

It worked.

Honestly, it worked a little too easily.

All it had taken was one look from the combined baby blues of Jon and Danny and both Superman and Batman had caved to their whims. Actually, every hero in the meeting had caved. Was that really all it took to get away with things? Act innocent and cute?

If he could sigh out loud, he would have. But then that could give the others a hint as to what was actually going on. Damian led the way out of the cave wearing some loose clothing. Danny had his head resting on Damian’s shoulder as he was carried into the manor while watching Jon float behind them. The half-Kryptonian was too excited to keep his feet on the ground. If he didn’t have the natural ability to fly then he would be floating anyway due to how much he was vibrating.

Jon wanted to speak.

He wanted to speak so badly.

Damian was annoyed but at least Danny was amused. Given the feelings that were coming off of the ghost. They continued their walk in silence until Damian herded Jon into his room. He set Danny on the bed, then went about resetting the traps just incase any of his family decided to stop by. It was highly unlikely given that most were returning from their own patrols and missions… but they were an unpredictable lot. One of them popping in to see Danny was entirely possible. He triple-checked the locks and the soundproofing before finally turning to the other two boys. Danny was watching Jon with an eyebrow raised and Jon was looking as though he was about to vibrate out of existence in his excitement.

He sighed internally again before gesturing to Jon. “All right. Let it out before you send the manor into a different existence from your vibrating.”

“HE HATCHED?!” Jon exclaimed excitedly, once he got the permission to do so. The preteen flew in quick excited circles around the ceiling stopping right in from of Damian. Their faces inches from each other. The only reason Jon wasn’t slugged was because Damian was used to these kinds of antics from him. “When did it happen? Why didn’t you tell me? Do the others know? Why is he bite size?” There were more questions he wanted to ask. Damian could tell but he was holding back because he knew how thin his patience could get.

Danny was looking at the two boys, highly amused, and Damian rolled his eyes. “In order. Yes, he hatched as you can see. It happened around a month ago. It was kind of last minute and I wanted to get him better settled in with the others before bringing you in. On that same note, no. The others don’t know. Alfred knows a bit. Tim is suspicious but, other than that, the others believe that he is a child born from a Lazarus egg. As for why he came out small instead of full size… that’s why we needed the calling card.” Damian replied to each of the questions methodically and ended by pointing to the pocket Jon had indicated where the card was.

A lot of the excitement calmed with each question answered but Jon was still smiling very brightly. “Oh. Well, that makes sense. Your family can get a little crazy when it comes to kids with tragic pasts.” – “HEY” Danny called in the background but was talked over. - “But you should have told me! I could have helped with the fallout.”

“Other than Jason pointing a gun at me, there really wasn’t a fallout,” Danny answered with a cheeky grin. It grew wider when Jon turned his full attention back to the teen-turned-toddler. “Hi! So… how much do you know about what is going on…?” The half ghost appeared relaxed but he was feeling a little on edge. To an outsider, it would be well hidden.

“He knows almost everything,” Damian replied with a slight shrug. “I’ve told you about him. Jon here is the newest Superboy. With his enhanced hearing, he was able to pick up on your core’s vibrations while I was out on patrol.”

“That’s right! Damian was super worried because he didn’t know if he was actually helping you or not.” A lot of the excitement left Jon as he sobered up from the memories of that night. Only to hiss and rub his arm when Damian punched it.

“I was not worried. I was taking care of him very well.”

“Yes, you were! I had never seen you so far out of your depth before!”

“Tt! I was fine! You were just being nosy!” Damian threw a knife at Jon who avoided it with ease.

Jon’s sunshiny grin grew a little feral. “It’s true! He paled when he thought you could be in danger- Hey! No kryptonite! That’s cheating!” the boy growled when he fell to the floor after Damian produced a small sliver of the rock.

“There are no rules for this- ACH!” Damian was tackled by Jon and let go of the radioactive rock.

The boys began to wrestle. Rolling on the ground. Elbows in faces, hair pulling, only the finest of fighting moves were being used. Danny watched from his spot on the bed more than amused now. The sliver of kryptonite had landed in front of him and he regarded it curiously. This was the first time that he had seen it in person. The boys bumped into the bed hard and Danny scrambled to keep ahold of the rock. Jon may be half-Kryptonian but kryptonite still affected him. It wasn’t causing any problems right now since it was just out in his presence but he didn’t want to learn what would happen if it touched the kid.

Hopefully, it didn't have the same effect as Ectoranium.

Anything but that.

He let them roll around for a bit. This was the first friend that Damian had ever spoken about. More than likely Damian’s only friend. It was fun to see the two polar opposites in personalities mesh so well. Despite Damian’s prickly demeanor toward Jon, he could feel the friendly affection for the other boy he was hiding. It was cute. They reminded him of Sam and Tucker. Their personalities all had been vastly different but they had been inseparable… until now.

A deep horrible ache spread out from Danny’s core. He whimpered from the sudden onslaught of pain and curled up into a tiny ball as it made its way through his body. A wave of calm, reassurance, and worry was suddenly sent his way to combat it.

Hearing the whimper and feeling the sudden wave of sadness and hurt coming from the ghost, Damian kicked Jon off of him and was at Danny’s side in moments. He was rubbing gentle soothing circles onto the halfa’s back. “Shh… Danny, what’s wrong? What happened?” the seriousness in his tone had Jon hovering next to his friend in worry. All the jovial feelings from before were lost to a tense anxiousness and worry.

Danny took a moment before he responded. Letting Damian and Jon bask him in their concerned emotions to drown out the pain of his own. “I’m fine. I’m fine.” He grunted out while subconsciously seeking out the reassuring touch. Another hand started to card through his hair and Danny looked up to see Jon, with a soft smile on his face, to be the culprit.

“This is what my mom does for me when I’m not feeling good. I couldn’t think of anything else.” The boy replied with a slight shrug at Danny’s questioning gaze and the halfa settled.

He wasn’t lying but the words hurt a bit nonetheless. Thinking of his own mother causing a new wave of pain to make its way through his tiny body. There was a soft curse and soon Danny was being moved so that he was being held by Damian again. He could hear the other boy’s heart beating in his chest. “Danny, you need to talk to me. You are not fine. One moment you are amused, the next you are deflecting from the pain you are feeling. You don’t have to go into detail. A rough idea would be more than enough.”

Danny frowned but took a couple more minutes with both of the preteens doing their best to show their support to him. Unsure as to how they could help him. Once the pain was more manageable, Danny sighed and opened his eyes again. “Just… memories.” He began slowly letting out another sigh. “Seeing how you two acted made me remember some things I wasn’t quite ready for.”

“Weren’t ready?” Jon asked in slight confusion. Still gently petting Danny’s hair.

“Remember, ghosts are beings that are mainly comprised of emotions. When we think of something bad or painful then it will affect us physically.” Danny shuddered a bit then relaxed further into Damian’s hold. The pain being pushed away by the boys’ combined efforts. “This would have been a lot worse if I had been in ghost form. I really am fine… this is something that I am just going to have to go through. It’ll get better.”

From the look that Damian had on his face, he didn’t like that. At all. “Then we should stop playing around and do what we were intending to do.” He gently handed Danny over to Jon and dug the calling card out of the half-Kryptonian’s pocket. The teen turned toddler snuggling into the younger boy tiredly.

Damian read the card and looked about the room for what he would need. Everything needed was in his room. Unlike the stuff the cult detective dealt with, his own calling card was surprisingly simple. It was a circle made with whatever was on hand. It didn’t specify if it was chalk, blood, etc. So, Damian opted to use chalk from one of his art kits. One of the colors that wasn’t used a lot. Mainly because he had the feeling that he would be using it quite a bit in the future. He started to draw the circle on the card, and after a couple of minutes, Danny began to laugh.

“What? What is it?” Damian asked with annoyance in his tone but Danny could feel that there was no real heat behind it.

“That’s what is on the calling card?” the halfa pointed to the circle with amusem*nt dancing in his eyes.

“Yes…?”

“Constantine is ballsier than I thought he is.” Danny just replied with another small laugh but went right into an explanation before either of the boys could say anything. “That circle is nothing more than a pretty light show. Yeah, it’ll alert him that someone needs him but who knows when he will actually show up? Did he advertise it as some kind of last resort?”

Damian nodded. “Yes. He even went so far as to show father it would work by having him use it right then and there.”

Danny chuckled. “Clever. Let me guess… after he gave Batman the cards, they have just been sitting in that room untouched, in case of an emergency?”

“Yes. As far as we know.” Jon replied with a shrug. Danny shook his head in amusem*nt and then wiggled out of the preteen’s hold and walked up to the circle Damian was working on.

“Then, odds are, he switched them out with these duds. At most, he will get a note that says ‘Hey someone needs you!’ then it’ll be entirely up to him if he decides to answer it or not.” The halfa took the chalk from Damian’s hand and began to make corrections to the circle.

“Tt. Typical. That conman is always trying to weasel his way out of things. But this was irresponsible even for him. Father would never have used them unless it was an emergency.” Damian bristled in anger at having almost been tricked. Jon laughed lightly in the background.

“So, what are you doing?” Jon asked hovering above their handiwork. Trying to see if there was a difference.

Danny worked quickly and efficiently. “I’m fixing it. Knowing how a summoning circle works is something that I had to learn.”

“Yeah, I get that. Would make sense since you have your own.”

“How do you know about that…?” This time Danny froze and looked directly at Jon with an eyebrow raised.

“Enough.” Damian cut in before Jon went off on a tangent. “It’s a long story that we can tell you later. We only have a small window before Alfred notices that something is up and I would rather not have to explain to Father why the conman is in the manor.”

“I’m holding you to it.” Danny stared at Damian until the boy nodded and then went about finishing the circle. “There. All we need to do is touch it.”

Damian eyed the circle warily. “That seems too easy. Touch it with what-”

“ON IT!” Jon slapped his hand on the summoning circle and it lit up in a brilliant light. Damian cursed under his breath and ran to Danny. Positioning himself between the toddler and the circle. The light grew and grew until it was nearly blinding… only to disappear when a blonde man fell into the room with a pained grunt.

Constantine was sprawled out on the floor of Damian’s room. Holding his head while muttering curses under his breath. Jon was next to him, hand still on the summoning circle, looking proud at what he had just done. If he had a tail, then he would be wagging it a mile a minute. Damian was glaring at them both with Danny peeking out at the two from behind his legs. An impish smile on his face. “He really takes initiative. I approve.”

Damian squished the toddler’s head. “Please don’t encourage him. It was hard enough to train him to use the few brain cells he still has.”

“Hey! I have plenty of brain cells thank you!” Jon hopped up and flew over toward Damian ready to square up again.

“All of you are losing every brain cell if you don’t bloody shut up.” The blonde magician growled from the floor. Gaining the attention of all three boys easily.

Damian scrunched his nose at the man on his floor. “Are you drunk right now?”

“Since when am I not?” Constantine drolly asked. His arm was over his face to block out the little bit of light the window was letting in. He took a minute before sitting himself upright and taking in his surroundings. His blue eyes landed on the calling card that was still on the floor. “How in the hell were you able to summon me like this? That card was only supposed to notify me at best. Not drag me through time and space while giving me the world’s worst migraine.”

“Oh, I added that in so that you would be awake by the time you arrived.” Danny’s grin grew a little unnatural as he spoke. Watching the magician jump away from him with satisfaction.

Constantine took in the room again and then sighed heavily as to what he had been dragged into. “I thought it was just that one checkup and done. I’ve been good since then.”

“Normally, I would say yes, but I need you to do it again.” Damian straightened his back to make himself look taller and gently coaxed Danny out to his side. “We have run many tests and everything has been inconclusive. What I want to know is the reason why Danny formed as a toddler instead of his actual age.”

This had the magician’s curiosity peeked. He turned his full attention to Danny, who kept a creepy smile on his face even though he wasn’t really feeling it anymore. He didn’t really want to know what the magician was going to find out. It had been bad enough the first time, but it had been understandable. This time, he felt perfectly fine. The only thing wrong was that he was tiny. Why had he de-aged? Was this the repercussion that Constantine had tried to warn him about? Was it permanent?

Constantine looked over Danny with his eyes and sighed heavily. “Alright, get him up on the bed. I’ll do a normal health scan just like last time. Nothing invasive. You have your body back so I don’t need to see your core but it will take a little longer because of it.”

Damian picked Danny up and set him on his bed. Constantine took that time to slowly stand up before making his way over to the tiny child. He brought his hand up and muttered the spell under his breath. Keeping a close eye on what the spell was telling him and the child. Damian stood off to the side with Jon. The both of them were quiet while the magician did his thing. Danny stared right up at Constantine.

It did take longer than the first time but no longer than twenty minutes. When Constantine dropped his hand and the spell, Damian was right at Danny’s side. “So? How is he?”

“His heartbeat is a little low, he runs colder, but he is perfectly healthy. His ectoplasm levels are stable as well. My scan tells me that he is perfectly healthy. As for why he is small, I am not sure. It could be because he reformed too soon or some other reason. I don’t know. I’m not a ghost doctor.” Constantine told them with a shrug.

Damian and Jon frowned at the news. It was good that Danny was healthy but not knowing why he was small was a problem. But they didn’t know any ghost doctors. Nothing like that existed in their dimension. Danny watched the three get lost in thought as to what they were going to do now when he raised his hand and asked. “Do you have a reliable way to get to the Infinite Realms?”

“I know a few ways to get there. Why?” The blonde narrowed his eyes at Danny who just smiled innocently at the magician.

“Well, if you all are that worried about my health then why don’t we visit Frostbite?” A mischievous smile made its way onto the toddler’s face at the thought of them all meeting the yeti. “He’s the best ghost doctor I know.”

Notes:

Hello! It has been a bit since I posted. I've been so busy x.x

But I wanted to feral post so here it is!

Fic Recs:

Premeditation by Chromatographic
Is the Joker a half?!

What the Desert Gives (What it Takes Away) by Numinous_Scribe
When his best friend's past refuses to stay dead, Danny makes it his job to find the threat haunting Tucker and put it back in its grave. Meanwhile, Tim is sent on a mission to retrieve a book said to be capable reviving the dead, before it can fall into the wrong hands.

There's Something Burning in the Empty Room Inside My Head by The WritingOwl

He knew this. His siblings had each called him out on his extreme people pleasing at least once each. It was difficult for Dick to see somebody who needed help and just turn away. When Tim texted him on his one day off, asking him to investigate the Ghost Investigation Ward in his stead, Dick found himself suiting up. Sure, he rarely got a day off, but Tim had a fractured wrist and clearly thought whatever the GIW were doing was important enough to reach out to him about.

Chapter 48: Let Us Go, Const-egg-tine!

Summary:

Constantine doesn't want to take the kids. so the kids decide to take matters into their own hands.

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

“No. Absolutely not.”

“But you just said, yourself, that we need a ghost doctor to get a better idea of Danny’s health. Why would we not go and see this ‘Frostbite’.” Damian scoffed at the magician while tapping his foot impatiently.

Constantine gave up, pulled a cigarette out of one of his pockets, and lit it. Smoke detectors be damned. “No, it’s great that the little king has a doctor but my answer is still no.”

“Oh, come on! He is one of the ancients! He has been around forever! Frostbite would know what was wrong with me just with a quick glance.” Danny fell back onto the bed exasperated from the argument that had taken place when he mentioned going to visit the healer.

The blue eyes bugged in Constantine’s face as he took a steadying drag from the cigarette. “You do… you do realize that isn’t helping your case, right? You guys wanna see another ghost? Sure. Need to contact a demon? No problem. I am not about to take 3 children to see one of the most powerful beings in existence! With only a teenager turned toddler to vouch for them!”

“Hey! Frostbite is really nice!” Danny sat back up with a growl. A bit of green seeping into the blues of his eyes.

“See, Constantine? Danny knows him on a personal level! Besides, his name is Frostbite! Anyone who has that cool of a name can’t be all bad.” Jon popped into the argument to add his two cents.

“It is a rather well thought out name.” Damian nodded along with Danny in agreement while Constantine took another drag from his cigarette.

“No offense kid but I do not know you well enough to be able to trust if you have a good skill in picking out someone’s character.” The magician replied with a bland look on his face at the small intimidation tactic Danny was trying. “That’s not the only problem here. It would be one thing to pop over to a different dimension. Not the first time it’s happened but the Infinite Realms is as it is called. Infinite! Trying to find this Frostbite guy would be like looking for a needle in a 5d haystack.”

Damian opened his mouth to retort but then thought about it a bit more. “Actually, that is a very good point. Even if we get into the realms, how are we going to find him?”

Danny rolled his eyes. “I know where he lives? He lives in the Far Frozen. I’ve been there many times.”

“So, what you are saying… I have to rely on the directions and guidance of a kid who hasn’t been there in nine months while hoping that the spot we spawn into is recognizable enough for you to guide us where we need to go?” The laughing magician raised an unimpressed eyebrow at the three boys.

“Um… yes…?” Danny rubbed the back of his neck as he spoke.

Constantine just rolled his eyes at the display. “No.”

“Okay, okay, everyone just back up a bit. The main reason why you don’t want to take us is because you don’t know the location, who it is we are seeing, and that, if we get lost, there is a good chance we won’t be finding our way home. Correct?” Jon flew in between the two groups with his hands out in a placating manner.

“That pretty much sums it up. Yeah. Not to mention, if your parents ever find out about this, I will cease to exist and there will be no evidence to show that I had.” The blonde crossed his arms standing firm in his decision.

Jon turned to Danny. “Then isn’t there a way to like… summon him to us? You brought Constantine to us and you have your own summoning circle. If Frostbite is that powerful then surely he has his own kinds of summoning ritual we could do?”

“Yes, there is… but unlike Constantine… Frostbite is a bit… big? It’s bad enough his smoking will probably give us away. A giant 8-foot-tall behemoth will definitely ensure it.” The halfa’s brows knitted together in concentration as he spoke. “But that doesn’t mean that we could make a circle to just… send us there. That way we won’t get lost wandering around.”

“What about getting back, mate?” the British magician cut in slightly annoyed.

Danny brightened at the question. “Easy! We just ask to borrow the Infinimap! I can send it back to him after we get safely back home.”

There was silence as the only adult in the room processed these words before straightening his posture and putting his head in his hand. “I… Just… No! My final answer is no, to all of this.”

“Oh, well, at this point we weren’t really asking you,” Danny replied hopping off the bed and grabbing the piece of chalk that he had worked with earlier.

Constantine’s eyes narrowed as he watched the small child wipe away the old circle and start on a new one. “What do you mean?”

“You see, now that I know that all I have to do is make a circle to take us to the Far Frozen, we don’t really need you anymore. Anyone can do it as long as they know what they are doing.” Danny stretched his tiny arms to make as big of a circle as he could and it was impressive that it was perfect on the first try.

“Wait, you can’t be serious.” Constantine put his cigarette out and took a couple of steps closer to the kids.

Danny just shrugged at him without looking away from his work. “You said you didn’t want to go. We want to go and have the means too. So, yeah. I’m serious. Aren’t you, guys?” He asked as he started on the more intricate details.

“Yes. I want to ensure that nothing permanent has happened to you and if this is the only way to do it, then so be it.” Damian stepped into the bathroom and, after a few minutes, came out in his Robin gear. He took his time selecting his arsenal that he was going to take along with him.

“Yeah! This sounds like a cool adventure and I am not going to be left out of it! How many people have met someone named 'Frostbite'?” Jon also disappeared into the bathroom and came back out with his Superboy costume on.

Danny nodded in approval, seeing that the other two boys were geared up and not in their civilian clothes. Damian had explained to him prior how most of the suits the heroes used were made with the weather in mind. They didn’t have to wear bulky coats as long as they wore one of the temperature-controlled suits. It was also nice to know that it spanned across all of the heroes due to Batman’s funding. He finished the circle just as the other two boys stood behind him. “See? As nice as this conversation has gone, we don’t really have a lot of time before someone notices that something is array. So, see ya later, Constantine! You can see yourself out!”

With that, Danny took both Damian and Jon’s hands, then pulled them onto the circle that lit up with a neon green light. Constantine swore and jumped into the circle without a second thought as the light enveloped them all. Within moments, the familiar feel of the manor was replaced with a never-ending frozen tundra. They fell a few feet into a snow mound. Damian landed gracefully and Jon caught himself with his flight. Since both of them were holding Danny’s hand, he was hanging freely between them with a feral grin on his face. Constantine wasn’t so lucky. He ended up flopping into the snow with a groan as the boys began to take in their surroundings.

Jon let go of Danny’s hand, with Damian catching the boy with ease. He flew up a bit in slow circles. Taking in the swirling green sky, floating islands, and purple doors. Damian released Danny at the boy’s insistence. Rings of light spawned around his midsection and transformed him into his ghost half. He flew up to join Jon, releasing a relieved sigh at being in the realms again.

“Are you okay?” Damian asked, taking in his surroundings while being hyper-aware of where Danny was at.

“Never better!” the halfa replied with a long stretch. “It just feels good to be back after being gone for so long.”

Jon stopped flying in slow circles and descended until he was next to his friend. Constantine was muttering curses under his breath as he pulled himself out of the snow. “Hey, Dami? We’ve been here before, haven’t we?”

“Yes, we have,” Damian replied with a slight frown on his face. “It may not be the exact spot but we have definitely been here before.”

“Since when have you been in the Far Frozen? No, better question, how did you two end up in the Infinite Realms?” Danny asked at the same time as Constantine. The two shared a look before turning their attention back to the pre-teens.

Jon smiled brightly. “That’s how we met Cujo!”

“Tt. There was more to it than that but essentially yes. That was when we met Cujo for the first time.” Damian rolled his eyes at Jon but elaborated when Danny continued to look at him confused. “We were trying to solve one of Riddler’s riddles when a glowing green dog decided to take us on a multi-dimensional trip. He dragged us to several areas before ending his tour in Amity Park. This was one of those places.”

“Oh.” The halfa got a contemplative look on his face. “Where else did he take you..?”

“I will tell you later. Now where is this medical facility you were talking about?”

“It is right over-AGH!” Danny flew right into a barrier that formed in front of him when he began to fly off. He looked down, rubbing his nose, at a rather irate Constantine.

The blonde magician pulled Danny back to them with the barrier. Only releasing him when he was within grabbing distance. “No. No no. We are going to get our sorry asses back to our dimension.”

“But we are already here-” Jon whined.

“I don’t care.” Constantine cut him off.

“If you didn’t want to be here, then you didn’t have to jump into the circle.” Damian crossed his arms unimpressed at the magician who scoffed.

“Did you think I was going to let three children go galivanting across a dimension, that is ever-changing and expanding, on their own?!” Constantine growled out. “No! I don’t care if pint-size here is the king, this place is very dangerous as everything that dies could exist here!”

Danny whirled on the man with his own anger began to show. “Hey! I told you that it would be fi-INE!” the boy squeaked when Constantine suddenly pulled him close and jumped out of the way as an ectoblast was sent his way. It hit the ground. Harmlessly melting the snow.

All four turned toward the direction of the blast. Seeing nothing until the culprit’s invisibility melted away with a menacing laugh. “I thought I felt the signature of the whelp and it turns out I was right.” Skulker floated looming over them. One of his arms morphed into a cannon and pointed right at Danny and Constantine. “It’s been a long time since I’ve had the chance to hunt you. What better time than to make up for it now?”

“Skulker, go away!” Danny fought to get out of the magician’s arms. “I don’t have time to deal with you right now.”

“Funny, and yet I have all the time to catch you.” Skulker fired a barrage of blasts the halfa’s way.

Constantine kept a firm grip on the boy and teleported them all a good distance away. “See? This right here is what I was trying to avoid.”

“Oh, please. Skulker isn’t a threat. All you have to do is knock his head off and he’s harmless.” Danny sighed with a roll of his eyes. Allowing himself to be held by the magician.

“Is that all?” Damian eyed the new opponent warily. Trying to spot any weaknesses. There didn’t appear to be any at first glance. The ghost looked like a giant robot though the way it moved was a little to… natural. Robots weren’t that advanced in their dimension and it looked like Skulker had the normal range, if not more, of a human. But that didn’t mean that there wasn’t a weakness. “Danny, ice.” He pulled out his katana and grapple gun. Holding them out for the halfa to ice over. It had been bad enough that he couldn’t hit Ghost Writer easily but he had learned since. He wasn’t about to be caught unawares twice.

Danny iced over everything he was asked to. “Um, if you let me go, I could handle it? Seriously, guys. This isn't that bad.”

“And have you possibly get injured before your doctor's visit? I think not.” Damian turned his full attention back to the robot ghost. He placed the grapple back in his belt and held a hand in the air. “Besides, we got this. Constantine get him to Frostbite.”

Jon grabbed Damian’s hand and the two flew off toward their attacker. An amused smirk played itself on Skulker’s face but it didn’t last long. Jon threw Damian at the ghost and the katana impaled itself into the robot ghost’s leg. Sparks flew from the machinery. “Just what is this? Hiding behind two human children?" he kicked his leg and reached down with his free hand to pull out the weapon that Damian was hanging off of.

“We aren’t just kids! We are heroes!” Jon’s eyes glowed and he fired a heat ray at Skulker who flew back out of the way while Damian swung himself up and aimed a kick at the ghost’s head. Intangibility settled over the ghost and suddenly Damian was careening toward the ground now that the katana was dislodged.

Skulker fired more blasts at Jon to make sure the boy kept his distance. “Heroes? All I see are two kids dressed up for Halloween!”

“Constantine! Let me go! Damian is falling and Jon can’t get to him!” Danny watched Damian get closer and closer to the ground. He tried to phase out of the magician’s hand but the man was preventing him from doing so with a spell.

The blonde ignored the halfa who was struggling to get out of his grasp. Opting to find this Frostbite that had brought about this whole mess. “He’ll be fine, mate. Lil Birdie has taken worse falls before and it won’t be the last.” Constantine alternated between teleporting and running. Trying to find wherever he needed to go but not wanting to get too far away from the other kids. Before Danny could argue, the magician slipped in the snow and the two were sent sprawling down a massive snow hill. Landing right in front of an entrance to a cave.

Jon tried to get close to Damian but was constantly being sent further away by Skulker, who was laughing evilly. So, he doubled his efforts on the ghost. If he could take out the gun Skulker was using then he could go save his friend! Lights of red and green traded places across the sky as the aerial dogfight grew intense. But there wasn’t a lot of time, he had to hurry-

A grapple flew up behind the robot and wrapped itself around its neck. The iced hooks embedded deep into the metal. “What is this?! Just what are you doing?” Skulker roared grabbing the line that was pulling his trajectory off as he flew. Damian retracted the line before he hit the ground and pulled himself up onto the ghost’s shoulders. Yanking hard on the grapple line until the head of the ghost popped right off. “No!”

He grabbed Damian and threw him into Jon with one hand while reattaching his head with the other. The two collided in the air and crashed into the snow. Rolling until they were both covered. Damian kept going until he was on his feet again and brandished his katana at the ghost. A snarl making its way out. Jon pulled himself out of the snow, floating at the ready next to his friend.

“I’ve had enough of this. You two aren’t even who I am after. I’m finishing this now.” There was a click as Skulker’s head properly fell into place. Aiming his cannon arm at the two boys, it began to charge up with a powerful blast. An icicle in the shape of a spear impaled itself into the cannon arm. Causing several small explosions as the wiring malfunctioned.

“Skulker!” a deep roar shook the ground as a large figure made its way over the hill. A beast of white fur towered over Jon and Damian from behind. A blue cape blew in the wind behind him. Two horns of ice sprouted atop the giant’s head with one of his arms being solid ice rather than flesh. Danny was sitting on one of the giant’s shoulders looking way too proud of himself. Constantine huffing and puffing not far behind. “What did I tell you about attacking those who seek aid in the Far Frozen?”

The robot ghost froze under the newcomer’s gaze. “That… it is a neutral zone and no fighting is permitted?”

“That’s right.” The large white-furred creature held out his hand and a new spear formed in his grasp. “Now, unless you want to face dire consequences or a ban of possible asylum here if you ever needed it, then I suggest you leave.”

There was a slight hesitation on the ghost’s face before he schooled the fear away and pointed a threatening finger at Danny. “This isn’t over ghost child. The next we meet, your pelt will be on my wall!” He flew off after exclaiming that.

Jon floated down next to Damian who was looking at the massive yeti that was towering above them. They both stared in awe at the new addition as the yeti looked right back and gave them a big sharp-toothed grin. Damian was the first to recover. Keeping a stoic expression on his face, he looked to Danny with an eyebrow raised. "Danny? Who is your friend?" Jon was beginning in excitement like he had before the sleepover had been announced. Damian couldn't help but be excited as well but he kept up a professional air.

Danny waved happily from his perch. “Hey, guys! Have you ever met a yeti before?”

Notes:

Hello, everyone! It's been a little bit since this updated, hasn't it? Needless to say, this hasn't been forgotten. I have been working on it. I currently have 5 more chapters hidden in the wings besides this one. I've also redone my outline for this like... 3 times. Anyway, my life has been a bit hectic along with all of the events going on right now.
Once I have 10 chapters ready, I plan on setting up a weekly update schedule again and it should be like that until the story ends. Hopefully. My outline has changed many times before. (This will not end in 10 chapters. I just will have 10 ready to post.)

Speaking of events, I would like to talk about two that I am attempting to be apart of. The Worlds Collide: a DPxDC Crossover Zine and the DPxDC Big Bang.

Worlds Collide is a new Fanzine that is currently accepting applicants for both writers and artists! If you are interested then here is a link for more information:

World's Collide Tumblr
World's Collide Sign-ups

Next is the DPxDC Big Bang! Similar in style to Invisobang, this one is entirely focused on the DPxDC side. I have signed up with Tathartiel as my partner. We did Invisobang last year and that is how Contractual Obligations was made! We had so much fun that we are teaming up again but we want to give this new event a shot. Sign-ups for writers is currently underway and if you want more information then feel free to click the links below:

DPxDC Bang Tumblr
Writer Sign-ups

Thanks for being patient everyone and I hope to see you all with these events! Until next time~<3

Chapter 49: Eggxamination

Summary:

Danny finally gets to talk to Frostbite. Constantine wants to be anywhere else. But who cares what he thinks?

Notes:

(See the end of the chapter for notes.)

Chapter Text

Once Skulker was out of sight, Frostbite’s facial features morphed into a broad smile that took up most of his face. “Hello, young ones. It is wonderful to see more friends of the Great One.”

“HELLO!” Jon flew up so that he was eye level with the yeti. “I’m Superboy! Your name is awesome!” He buzzed in excitement earning a head pat from the large yeti.

“Be more respectful, Superboy. It is an honor to meet you, Frostbite.” Damian gave a small bow of his head out of respect. “I go by Robin. Is it true that you can tell us if Danny is okay?”

“More than likely but I will not make promises. Half ghosts like the Great One, here, are rare and not a lot is known about them. Not many have been seen with millennias happening between the last few sightings of them. It is rather amazing that there are currently three roaming about at the same time.” Frostbite bowed his head in response to Damian’s. “But I have and will always try my best. Now come inside. You three must be freezing despite the exercise.”

Frostbite held out his massive hand to Damian and put him on the shoulder opposite of Danny. With Jon flying beside them, he led the way back to the cave. Constantine joined them along the way. A new cigarette lit and it was obvious that the magician was just done with the whole situation. Jon was back to being an excited puppy. Asking the yeti a barrage of questions who was more than happy to answer each and every one. No matter how fast Jon asked.

He led them through the cave’s labyrinth, passing more yetis going about their day. They gave greetings and respectful nods to the newcomers but stayed out of Frostbite’s way as he headed over to his office. He held the door open for Jon and Constantine, then entered himself while gently setting Damian and Danny on the examination bed in the middle of the room. “You have quite the imagination young one and it will get you far” Frostbite chuckled at Jon when he finished a story before turning his attention to the boys on the table. “Now tell me, Great One, how have you been? It has been a rather long time since your last visit. I was beginning to wonder that something happened.”

Danny rubbed the back of his neck after being pointed out. “Sorry, Frostbite. Things have been a bit… insane. So much happened at once that its taking me a bit to accept it all.”

“Well, I’m just happy to see that you are alright though… I am curious as to how you ended up younger than you previously are. I know it’s probably going to be one of your parents’ inventions or something. They keep coming up with things that affect ghosts in the weirdest of ways.” Frostbite had his back turned to the small boy so he missed the subtle flinch when his parents were mentioned.

Damian saw it though.

“I’m also surprised that you aren’t here with Sam or Tucker. Not that making new friends is a bad thing, but you are always going off and having adventures with them-” This time he stopped speaking when a wave of sadness leaked out of Danny making the yeti realize that there was more going on here than he originally thought. “My apologies, Great One. I did not mean to bring up something bad.”

“No no, it’s fine. This is the first time that I’ve visited in over nine months. We have a lot to catch up on.” The smile on Danny’s face was brittle at best and Damian frowned at the way that the half-ghost was dodging around the subject. It had to be the story as to how the teen ended up in Gotham. He was sure of it.

But… he wasn’t ready to talk about it.

At least not with him, Jon, and Constantine in the room. Damian sighed and hopped off the table. Much to Danny’s surprise. “We should probably begin the check-up. Do you wish to have us in here, Danny?” he asked with an eyebrow raised. Hoping the halfa got the hint.

For a moment, Danny’s eyebrows were knit together in confusion until he realized what Damian was trying to do. “Oh um, yeah we should probably start it… um… do you mind waiting outside for a little bit? All of you? I don’t think it will take too long. I promise.”

Damian hid his disappointment before it could be picked up by the halfa. He nodded his head and grabbed Jon by the foot while pushing Constantine toward the door. “Then we shall leave you to it.” It didn’t take much to get them out of the office. The mage having picked up on the awkwardness the halfa had been giving off. It was only Jon who was a slight struggle. But he caved pretty quickly with one stern look from Damian.

With that, Danny and Frostbite were alone once the door was closed. The halfa gave the ancient a sheepish grin. “So… how much soundproofing does an ice cave have? Is it good enough to go against the enhanced hearing of a Kryptonian?” Anxiety bled into Danny’s tone as he spoke while trying to look like he was fine when he was anything but.

Frostbite smiled softly and put a reassuring hand on the boy’s shoulder. “Do not fret, Great One, for we have measures for that.” He walked over to a series of switches on the wall and flicked one on. All of the walls, ceiling, and floor, glowing a brilliant green before fading back to normal. “There. Now the only ones who can hear what is happening is yourself and I. Now tell me, Great One. What led you to being in this state?”

Danny went quiet as the yeti puttered about the room, gathering everything he needed for the exams. “It’s… it’s quite the story… I’m still struggling with… so much has happened- I don’t… I don’t know where to start.” He couldn’t help but stumble over his words. There really was so much that has happened. Some good… the vast majority was bad. Not bad, horrible. It was so horrible that it felt like he was drowning. Drowning in his own tsunami of emotions that had been held back only because he had refused to think about it.

He didn’t know what to do.

He didn’t know what to say to play it off like he normally would. To make Frostbite believe that he was fine.

It wasn’t until a giant furry hand lifted Danny’s face, so that he could look at the yeti, did he realize that he was crying. Frostbite didn’t say anything about the roiling emotions of guilt, grief, sadness, and loss that were coming off the small child sitting on the examination table. He held his arms open and Danny flew them. Latching on tight and burying his face into the familiar white fur with a wail. “They are gone. All of them are gone! There was nothing I could do!” Frostbite just wrapped his arms around his tiny king, allowing him to sob and cry to his heart’s content.

Outside of the room, Damian may not be able to hear what was going on in Frostbite’s office but he could certainly feel it. The sudden onslaught of emotion had almost brought him to his knees and judging by the yetis that had been nearby, he wasn’t the only one to feel it. Whatever was going on in there was a heavy conversation. Whether it was about the lead up to how Danny ended up in Gotham or how the exam was going, Damian didn’t know… and he hated it. Both were heavy topics but he hoped the most that it wasn’t about the exams.

Jon frowned after a moment when the door closed. “I can’t hear anything going on. Frostbite did something in the room.” He turned to Damian with concern in his eyes. “He’s going to be okay… right?”

“Tt. He will be fine. They clearly know each other.” Damian replied as he leaned his back against the wall next to the office door. “Whatever they do in there, I doubt that Frostbite will intentionally hurt him.”

“Course he won’t. That’s his bloody king. The only reason a ghost would want to do serious damage is when they are trying for the throne.” Constantine cut in. He stood a little ways down the hall from the preteens trying to look like he was okay with the current situation.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Damian couldn’t help the slight threat that leaked into his tone from the magician’s words.

However, Constantine just shrugged. “The only way to become king of the realms is trial by combat. Meaning pipsqueak in there managed to beat the previous king.”

That… that didn’t sound good. With Danny being small, would that hinder his abilities in any way? They haven’t really had the chance to try them out. It was hard enough to try and pry his siblings away from the halfa at every given moment. Let alone get Danny into the cave to see how much being small had affected him. If someone tried to go after the throne would Danny be able to defend himself?

“Hey, hey, relax.” Constantine snapped his fingers in front of Damian to snap him out of his brooding. “As of this moment, they can’t go after him since he is underage. They would have to challenge his guardian first.”

Damian’s scowl deepened. “Didn’t you say that I had temporary guardianship?”

“Yep. Meaning anyone who wants the chance to get to Danny has to go through you first.”

Okay, that was something he could get behind. Though it would have been something good to have known a long time ago. He was just now able to hit ghosts thanks to Danny’s ice. What if they had attacked before Danny could lend Damian his power? It would have been an insanely hard fight. He had no doubt that he would have won but it would have taken some strategizing on his part.

Jon looked back at the door with a frown. Letting his feet touch the ground for the first time since arriving in the Far Frozen. “How long do you think this will take? Aren’t normal visits only about fifteen minutes or so?” He then looked around and noticed that most of the yetis that had been nearby were gone or were a lot further away than they had been. Purposefully avoiding the hallway where they stood. “...why is everyone so far away? They seemed nice when we entered…?”

“It’s not because of us.” Damian closed his eyes and focused on the feelings that were still pouring from the other room. It had lessoned a bit but they were still overpowering… and he wasn’t a ghost. Just how strongly did the yetis feel it?

“How do you know?” Jon asked but kept his eyes on the office door.

“Because I just do. Now could you be less annoying and maybe go ask around about this place? We have no intel and it wouldn’t hurt to learn more about it while we are here.” If they were stuck waiting until the door opened then they might as well look for their own clues. Cujo had felt the need to drag them, literally, to this place before so it possibly had answers to Danny’s past.

Jon nodded his head, albeit reluctantly. “What about you? What are you planning on doing?”

He should join Jon in questioning the yetis. He knew this. But at the same time, something deep inside compelled him to stay right where he was at. Damian might not know what was going on in that room but he could still offer Danny his support through this weird link that they had. “I’m staying here in case I am needed.”

“Oh… okay. I’ll just… start over here then. C’mon, conman! You are coming too!” Jon grabbed Constantine before he could argue and the two were sailing further into the cave system to talk to the locals. Leaving Damian alone to contemplate what he was feeling on top of what Danny was.

After an hour and a half, Damian timed it, the door to Frostbite’s office opened and the yeti smiled down at Damian who hadn’t moved from his spot the entire time. “The tests are over. The Great One says that you all can come back in.” He looked around for a moment. “Where are the other two?”

“They will be along in a minute. Superboy was curious about your home and so he took our adult to explore.” Damian said as he moved into the office at Frostbite’s welcoming gesture. Danny sat on the examination table, no longer in ghost form, giving him a small wave when he entered. The boy’s eyes were ringed red. Once again, Damian had to quell the feeling of disappointment before it could make itself known. It was clear that Danny trusted Frostbite far more than he did himself. To feel disappointment would be unfair to the halfa. He had no idea how long they have known each other nor what they had went through. It was best to not expect anything until Danny was ready to talk for himself.

Frostbite smiled as he sat in a chair across from the table. Damian moved to stand by Danny who offered him a small smile but not much more than that. The yeti cleared his throat and grabbed a clipboard that was nearby. “Since the guardian is here and the patient has given his consent, I will go over the results.” He scribbled something down and then continued. “You probably know from the physicals and exams that you performed on him, Danny is essentially completely healthy. Due to his halfa status, his body always runs colder, heart rate is slower, and looks pale. Unfortunately, this is because he is in fact half dead.”

“Now you probably had problems trying to test his blood or any other samples you took from his body. That is because, unless a machine is enhanced with ectoplasm or, designed for it, ectoplasm tends to mess with electronics and disrupt how they work. If you managed to get a result, it no doubt would be very skewed. However, we have been developing medicine here in the zone for millennia and have ways to properly monitor a ghost’s health. In the most basic of terms, there is nothing wrong with Danny. His ectoplasm levels are perfectly healthy and he should be able to use the full range of his power set with the only handicap being that he has to get used to his smaller body compared to his teenage one.” Frostbite read off several different statistics and showed them with graphs and other pictures in comparison to other ghosts.

Seeing all of the data himself had Damian’s shoulders relaxing as the yeti continued on explaining the basics of ghost health to him. Trying his best to retain as much of the information as possible. “That is good news considering everything that has happened.” He took a pamphlet that Frostbite offered to him and looked through it. “Now that we know Danny’s baseline, we will know what to look for if there are any problems. So why is he small instead of the teenager I met him as?”

“Well, that was the result of the fact that the Great One had been forced into his core.” Frostbite’s smile fell as he spoke. “When a normal ghost is forced into their core, it is a rather bad thing. It’s considered a war crime. But the physical form of a ghost is essentially just ectoplasm. When a ghost is cored, they are forced to remain until they create or absorb enough ectoplasm to form again. How long that takes varies from ghost to ghost and the amount of damage done to them. But the Great One is not just a ghost, he is also half human. His human side is very much physical matter and couldn’t fit in his core properly because there was much more of it compared to how big his core was.”

“That’s… bad? Good?” Damian asked peeking up at Frostbite from the pamphlet.

“It is a mix of both. In order to properly retreat into his core, the core had to get rid of a lot of the excess physical matter to protect the important parts while they would heal. If the Great One had been born a half ghost then this wouldn’t have been a problem since his core and body would have grown at the same rate. Yet, because his core is younger and less developed, when he reformed, the Great One reformed at the same age his core would be.” The yeti flipped to a different page on his clipboard.

Danny frowned and looked from Damian to the ancient. “So I popped out looking like a toddler because my core is only five years old? Give or take?”

Frostbite nodded. “That is correct. It was what your core could handle at the time. But other than that you core is perfectly healthy and the only handicap is now you have to get used to being small. Now on the topic of your smaller form, no, it is not permanent. You will not have to grow up at a normal human rate to be your current age again.”

“Oh thank the ancients.” Danny sighed and fell back onto the table relieved and Damian could understand the feeling. He was rather relieved at this news himself.

“This is just an estimation. It may be sooner and it could take longer. This all depends on the Great One. For the next year or so, he will grow at a faster rate until, eventually, it will bottom out when he reaches the age he should rightfully be. This could change for a variety of reasons from not having access to enough ectoplasm to getting injured again. As long as you keep going the current course, I see you reaching your normal age again within a year.” Frostbite finished reading his notes and set the clipboard aside. “Do you have any other questions?”

“Is it possible that I can get a copy of all of this so that I can go over it at later time?” Damian asked immediately. He folded the pamphlet and put it into one of his many pockets on his utility belt.

“Of course, young one. I will see to it that you have all the information you need for the Great One’s condition. It makes me happy that he now has such a capable guardian compared to the last ones.”

Both of the boys flinched at the mention of the Fentons and Damian turned to Danny quickly. “Why don’t you go hunt down Superboy and Constantine while Frostbite gathers that information for me? Then we can see about how we are going to head back home.”

Frostbite looked surprised at this. “I figured you thought of that already?”

Danny rubbed the back of his neck. “Well, you see, we were going to ask for the Infinimap-”

“I thought that was why Cujo arrived?” The yeti pointed down the hallway to a familiar green dog running in circles around another yeti who looked very amused.

Bubbling laughter from Danny broke the tension that had settled upon the office while Frostbite announced the results. “That works too.”

Notes:

Hello everyone! thank you all for being patient for updates. Unfortunately, this story won't be getting regular updates again just yet because... I'm moving! Within the next month, I'll be in my new place and it may take a second to get the internet set up. I hope you all enjoy the chapter and see you all in the next one!

Robin's Egg - Calix - Danny Phantom [Archive of Our Own] (2024)
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