Concept: an ordinary student from Amity Park graduates, and goes to Gotham University. It goes pretty well. She wears an anti-possession bracelet from Fentonworks, and carries a gas-mask made by Wayne Industries. She keeps a small shrine to Phantom in her dorm, and leaves regular offerings of candy on the Batman-shrine found on the roof of the Science building, and she respects the rules about going out after dark, and not straying into certain haunts territories. And then Jazz Fenton becomes a freshman at Gotham U, and her friends realize that something is going on.
Hmmm, vague enough that I don’t know the direction your heading but interesting that I would want to think of how this would go.
There’s definitely ghosts in GU. Low level but this ordinary student (let’s call her Apple for Amity Park Local) know they’re there. Just small imprints. Apple’s respectful, by all means, and avoids them. She also thinks Batman is their protector, just as Phantom was, and there are traditions to uphold.
Of course she doesn’t want to cast away Phantom, so she keeps a shrine to remember him. It’s only a metal box, constantly open, with an emblem engraved into the lid and a newspaper cutout of Phantom. There’s some trinkets too, with string lights and candles and dried flowers. Her roommates think of it as strange but as long as she doesn’t go supervillain in Gotham, they don’t mind what she does.
There isn’t a single rebellious bone in Apple’s body. There’s regulations to follow if she wants to stay alive. Never go at dark. Always carry on gas mask. Pay attention to when the temperature shifts. Never say wish. Always follow evacuations.
Again, her friends find it weird, even for Gotham. They’re used to having their lives thrown about. They sneak out to go the clubs and drag their feet at evacuations.
“The Riddler? Again? Do we really need to cancel Movie Night for this?”
(But they only had encounters once a week or so. Apple had to do this everyday for years. Apple had to survived things that she shouldn’t have survived in.)
When Jazz comes around, Apple’s friends notice the same patterns. The same bracelet. The same weird walking.
And when Apple sees Jazz she looks happier than ever. She actually looks close to crying. She throws herself for a hug and says the things she only ever whispered beneath her breath aloud.
“There’s ghosts here too, Jazz. And they’re so sad. Can you help them?”
Jazz pats her back consolidating. “Of course. I’ll clean up the entire school. I’m going to study here, after all.” And they almost thought that she was playing into Apple’s delusions if there wasn’t such a serious and honest face on Jazz.
Within a week the University feels lighter. Like something finally released their grip around the air itself. Apple no longer swerves around weird spots in the hallway or goes the long way to class to avoid specific buildings. They have no reason to think it was because of Apple’s talk but they can’t help but connect to it.
They follow her and Jazz’s actions more closely. Apple never lit the candle in the box, even during a blackout. They don’t know if Jazz has the same box too. But there’s the same alertness of preparation and rulekeeping. And they both leave things at the Batman shrine (the one put up as a joke but kept because it felt awful to tear down) and kept it maintained.
They don’t know why. They don’t ask why. You don’t ask why in Gotham. They’d all be insane if they did.
But they keep it in the back of their mind. Sometimes they replace the flowers in Apple’s shrine. Sometimes they leave things at the Batman shrine too. Sometimes they curve around empty space without knowing why.
Causally forgets tumblr is a thing…oops.
Anyway here it is: the first in the Phantom Elf Au i have planned.
The Fae Scientist
The Justice league was reaching the end of their hope.
Six months ago, the Green Lanterns sent word that the Xelgaki, who lost their world two years ago, have fallen to their desperation. No longer were they trying to peacefully search for a new planet to colonise, instead, the Xelgaki have decided to simply choose a planet with conditions that meet their needs and then kill off the top species and take its place.
They choose Earth.
The warning, however, was too late and Earth’s defence system was not prepared for how they’d attack.
A disease that is highly contagious and starts off mild so that it will be overlooked until it has infected the greatest amount of people. Killing the largest chunk of the population it can and making it easy to kill off the rest afterwards.
“Status?” Batman grunted. His voice was rougher than usual and Clark couldn’t be sure if it was due to the sickness or due to the fact that he hasn’t been sleeping since Jason, the last of his family awake, fell into a coma like so many others.
“Dr Fate and Captain Marvel are searching the multiverse to see if any of them have come up with an antidote but…” John sighed and tapped his unlit cigarette on the table, “ the Xelgaki made this disease completely harmless to them so they never made one. Fate and Marvel haven't found a universe where we’ve survived through the use of a cure, the only ones we survived, we ended up fleeing before we got infected or it never managed to hit us in the first place.”
The comment brought a round of angry grunts, sighs, and swears from those still present.
Most of the human heroes, who aren’t actively magic users, fell to the disease first. Metas got affected even faster than the regular humans. Batman was the last, non magic, human hero standing.
“We’re short on time.” A fact that Bruce, not Batman, needed to address to those he knew were going to survive longer than he was. Clark, Wonder Woman, Martian Manhunter, John Constantine, and Zatanna flinched. They knew they weren’t fully included in that “we”.
“Aquaman and I will not surrender this planet to them.” Wonder Woman had a look of pure rage that called for blood in her eyes. “The Xelgaki will not live past the fear they’ll feel when their limbs greet Earth and meet our armies.”
There was no rebuke for her threats of total annihilation. The Xelgaki were already in the process of genociding the human race and Clark knew that even Batman agreed his ideals didn’t matter as he watched his kids slowly die.
Aquaman is currently quarantining the Atlantians under the sea since they were lucky enough to not to be affected by the airborne disease when it hit Earth and even luckier that the Justice League managed to notify them fast enough that they stayed put.
Aquaman had already sent word that if he comes to the surface and isn’t greeted by mortal humans then he’ll make sure the Xelgaki become an endangered species before chasing them from the planet. Clark knew he would help the Atlantians if he’s still around
“I need you all to come with me to visit Central City’s Star Lab,” Batman continued, ignoring the threats in favour of getting to then point, “if the scientists fall it will be your job to get their notes to Aquaman’s people.”
Grim nods followed. Clark could only hope that his friend would hold out until a cure is found.
That hope was nothing but desperation and Clark knew that in roughly two days time the first of those asleep would start dying off. Tim being one of them.
The time it took to travel to the lab was quiet and sombre. The streets of Central City reflected that.
However, when the last standing of the Justice League made it to Star Labs they were met with a… unique? sight.
Zatanna and John froze. A choking noise came from one of them while the other gasp
“Is that an elf????”
In the middle of the lab, the most ethereal creature Clark has ever seen sat in a rolling chair wearing a pristine white lab coat.
It was also halfway through shoving a six inch bun full of plain mushrooms into its mouth as if it was the most delicious thing it has ever come across and completely defying what Clark knows of human anatomy.
It all started with a mistake.
Well, not really a mistake but more like a series of mistakes made while sleep deprived and sick.
Mil contemplates as they shove the entire… veggie burger? Maybe. Doesn’t matter, it's food and free.
An awed gasp is barely audible as Mil continues to shake the carbon mixture they finally got balanced. The gasp was probably due to how much food they could shove into their face without choking since a mixture as basic as the one in their hand wouldn’t gain such a reaction.
Or maybe it would? Who knows maybe the rest of these poor saps were just as sleep deprived and sick as the poor dude Mil’s covering for.
The thought brings Mil back to how they managed to get stuck in this situation in the first place.
Mil had been enjoying their month-long vacation away from Amity Park. It had been a good 40 years since they’d last visited the outside cities and frankly the quiet and peacefulness of places that weren’t wrapped up in ghost fights and undead and immortal politics was a great break.
Though it WAS a lot quieter than they remember it being.
On their walk through a quaint little city called Central City, Mil knew they were reaching the end of how long they could be away from Amity without feeling the effects of Ecto-withdrawal. They had about a week before it started to kick in. They could, of course, use the Ecto-booster that they bought to extend that time but wanted to keep it in case an emergency situation popped up that forcefully extended the time they were out of Amity.
So, thinking about the drive back to Amity that Mil was going to have to start, they may have completely failed to notice the zombie-like scientist that stumbled towards them in the empty street.
“YoU!” The scientist yelled, though the word came out like it had been through a blender due to how sore his throat sounded, as he stumbled his way over. Mil could tell this man had maybe like three hours of sleep and it didn’t help that he looked sick as death. “You look like me, are you a chemist? please tell me you're a scientist of something at least, you look like me,” he basically sobbed as he got close to where Mil had stopped.
Mil did not, in fact, look anything like the dude other than having the same hair colour. Sure they had roughly the same body type but Mil’s body was built more for speed from 245 years of running and was a lot more slim than the obviously sick and sleep deprived scientist.
Ignoring the pointed ears and slight fangs of course, ecto-contamination at its finest.
They also weren’t quite sure why looking like him was a requirement to being a scientist and they can’t help but honestly wonder if it was just a desperate guess or if someone “look-like-me” means there is a higher percentage chance of the other person having at least a similar job.
Since the poor dude was correct on the scientist part.
Definitely a theory Mil wants to look into on their free time.
Regardless, Mil remembers the days of sleepless all-nighters and the barely comprehensible babble that lab work brought with it. They definitely remember the logic that comes to a scientist when one hasn’t seen a bed in over 72 hours. Mil can definitely relate.
“I’m not a chemist, but I am an epidemiologist with some experience with lab work. I specialise in breaking down a disease into its most basic form and creating direct counters.”
“So lab scientist?” Mil sighed, the dude was definitely on the end of his rope if he only caught that much of their response.
“Yes I’m a scientist and can work in a lab.”
The relief that hit the dude was visible to anyone bothering to watch but before Mil could even ask why this was important, the guy shoved a Star Labs chemist ID into their hands and had his bag off his shoulder and offered out to Mil.
“The labs at the end of this street. I made sandwiches and you can have all the food if you help cause I can’t no more.”
Mil had a week before they absolutely had to leave. Preferably leaving in three days to get back before the worst of the Ecto-Withdrawal hit if they weren’t leaving immediately.
So, helping a fellow scientist (Jack Whitemen if the ID is to be believed) out and acquiring free food while doing so or start the long ass drive back to Amity?
Mil chuckled as they added the infected blood sample into the nicely shaken carbon mixture. They can’t believe that Jack’s plan to introduce themself as him to get into the lab worked. Although, considering the fact that the lab had an active count down timer, Mil couldn’t really blame them for not noticing. Everyone in the building looked run down to some degree and it was probably due to some stuck up prick CEO who threatened to cut their funding if they didn’t get this project done before the clock ran out. The prick was probably hoping to get the finished product without paying the scientists who slaved away to make it.
Not on Mil’s watch.
Sure, Mil MIGHT be projecting just a little but not a single person has corrected their angry mutterings about stupid deadlines made by stupid fucking stick-up-their-asses pricks who deserve to be wiped off the face of all existence.
In fact, all Mil has received are nods and grunts of agreement so they reserve the right to say their ‘projections’ are correct anyways.
The solution on the stand in front of Mil finally turned a lovely shade of red and with it came a complete pin-drop silence.
This was definitely a hard task to complete for that stupid time limit the staff were given, but luckily for them Mil worked on the ecto-nerve-flu of 2153 which looked very similar to the blood samples Mil had been given. They remembered how a vaccine derived from pinapple juice saved the city from taking a stupidly long nap and it was all because someone accidentally spilt their breakfast on one of the samples. (Ecto-diseases are just weird.)
Frankly it didn’t hurt to try it out and see if the vaccine for E.N.F. would work for this too.
Which it apparently does.
Of course it’s not the full E.N.F. vaccine but Mil did their best with the lack of ectoplasm and simply stuck the pseudo vaccine in the microwave to get effect close enough to what they were aiming for.
The cheering and sobbing finally started up and Mil took that as their cue to leave. That and the fact that the Ecto-Withdrawal was hitting earlier than expected if the hallucinations of cosplayers standing in the corner were anything to go by.
As Mil slips through the crowd of cheering and crying scientists they glance at the clock that still has 50 hours left before it runs out and smiles.
All in three days work.
This will definitely make for an amusing story to tell their coworkers when they get back home.
A week after the Justice League witnessed the creation of a life saving cure that shocked and rattled the world, they still have no fucking clue who and what had created it.
The camera footage of the time is gone as if it never existed.
Zatanna and John could only tell it wasn’t human.
The scientists refuse to admit it wasn’t Jack because “we aren’t stupid enough to piss of the ‘scientist’ who made the cure”.
Jack Whitemen admits his last memory before he lost consciousness from the disease was of him bribing a fae-like-creature with a sandwich.
They know nothing.