• Published 14th Aug 2017
  • 5,748 Views, 86 Comments

Ghosts of A Different Kind - TerraeAntiqua

Celestia watched as an injured colt was rushed to the hospital wing of the castle, clinging to life by a thread. Luna battles her demons as she tries to help the colt heal from his, all so that he may continue to live.

  • ...

From The Distant Land We Fled

Year 7, Return Of Luna
15th of Discordia
Canterlot Castle, Hospital Wing
Mid Morning

To say that Danny was scared upon regaining consciousness would be a gross understatement.

His mind was flying a thousand miles an hour the minute he woke up to the beep beep beep of a heart monitor and the smell of antiseptic, cleaning supplies, and cheap air freshener that drove him up the wall. For five months he'd lived in that smell and the choking scent of sickness and The Stench That Shall Not Be Named. For five months he'd been in his personal hell, the GIW having been just shy of tearing him apart after throwing him into a portal they built, stealing the design from his parents. If it weren't for Clockwork's intervention and him being at the other side of the portal when it opened, Danny would have died then instead of, you know, becoming a half-ghost.

He didn't know why they did all they did to him. He didn't know why they thought churning out not-actual-clones only for said babies-toddlers-children to grow far too fast too quick was a good idea. Their minds couldn't catch up with their bodies and their bodies hadn't been able to handle the strain.

Only Danielle, or Dana as she was known now, survived.

He still hadn't quite gotten over the fact that the other fifty-four had not.

Danny had only been able to spend maybe the same amount of time away from his personal hell -not a lot of time if he were to be honest with himself- trying to recover mentally, emotionally, not to mention physically from the ordeal when suddenly, Pariah woke up.

Pariah Dark, the King of All Ghosts, Tyrant, Mad Man, and Slayer of Ancients. The first time he'd rose to power he'd ended Lux and Nox, the Ancients of the Day and Night respectively, twisted the atmosphere of the Ghost Zone to cloud its sun, ring system, twin moons, and everything else in the night sky from sight. He had shattered the lands and scattered them to the winds[1].

He had almost taken one of Clockwork's eyes, before the Ancient Ghost of Time turned around and took one of his instead.

It took the remaining Ancients, six of the original twelve, to seal him in the Sarcophagus of Forever Sleep. Since then, the Observant Council had forbidden the Ancients from having any other children[2].

Yeah, finding out that he was technically Clockwork's son and that he had older half-siblings had been a shock. Finding out that Lux and Nox were two of them gave reason to why Clockwork looked so sad whenever Danny asked about the constellations seen from the Zone -Thaluhasa as the ghosts called it-, or how the ghost plants survived without sunlight if they didn't resort to being parasites like the so-called ghost plants on Earth.

It was not as much of a shock, though, as finding out that his sister had gone down to the ghost portal in their parents basement after he'd "disappeared" and turned it on. From the inside. On purpose. All in the hopes of becoming a half-ghost like him, either to help find him or to help protect the city while he was gone and at his side in the event that he came back. Which he did. And boy was he a whirlwind of emotions when she'd told him what she had done.

Jazz knew very well that she could have died. She knew from the memories of the previous timeline -memories she shared with him and memories he didn't remember but she did yet couldn't tell- that the experience had been beyond painful[2]. Jazz had told him time and again that she didn't regret what she'd done, becoming Neon, because Clockwork had saved her to, she hadn't died, and that had to mean something.

Danny had just put on a smile and pretended that he wasn't concerned because what else could she, as Neon, tell the masses of how she "died", other than that it hadn't been an accident? That she'd done this to herself with full knowledge of the slim chance of her "coming back" as a ghost? No way. Better to omit some of the details and leaving people guessing the rest.

Before he could get lost on memory lane any further, his mind snapped back to the present where he was, as far as he could tell, in a hospital bed.

The one thing that kept him from performing a perfect pirouette off the handle was one particular sensation that threw off his mind's frantic attempts to get him the hell up and moving to escape this was a hospital room or the GIW had gotten to him again and both were equally bad bad bad.

What in Clockwork's name happened to his hands? His feet? He tried moving a finger but his whole hand -or whatever it was he had now- moved instead and there was a heavy soft blanket on his back and either side of him that wasn't there before. Around and around his thoughts swirled in his mind, trying to make sense of the new and foreign sensory input that he was registering all without even opening his eyes yet.

He somehow had both legs -hurrah, even if they were different now- and a tail -different from his ghost tail but still able to control it in a similar manner- as well as something on his head that he couldn't get a read on without opening his eyes.

There was the distinct feeling of a needle in one of his arms, to. One that stayed there without the aid of someone near by because there wasn't anyone in the room yet. IV drip maybe? Plus he was not completely uncomfortable, if the mystery blanket-weight that felt feathery -could be wings, would be nice to have them actually, now that he was calming down and thinking things through- was any indication.

Hospital it was, then.

Bad, but not the worst case scenario if the doctors and nurses hadn't figured out his half-ghost status. If they had figured it out and knew what it was or what it meant and they hadn't flipped the fudge out? He'd have to meet them, applaud their adaptability, and then promptly ask what the hell they'd gone through that they could weather this level of crazy.

Next on the agenda: open his eyes and figure out what he was before someone walks in and finds him in a delayed freak out.

Danny blinked his eyes a few times, having to adjust to the bright light even though he'd already been expecting it. He turned his head, taking note of how it felt to do so, from one side to the other and then down at his former hands. Wings and a tail, check. Hands have become hooves. Good to know. So he was a quadruped if one did not take the wings into account and not normally capable of standing up on hind legs. Laying on his back, he figured, in this form would be problematic.

He could work with this though. Hopefully. Maybe. It wasn't as if he had a choice in the matter.

Was he scared still? Yes, a thousand times over. Was he going to let anyone that was around here know that? Hell no.

Danny had initially decided to throw caution to the wind and try to move because he'd never actually seen a horse in person -ghost horses and those skeletal horses at Pariah's command he hadn't counted- so he only had the equivalent of text book knowledge on how one would even move. However, the fine hairs on the strange weight on his forehead -hey, he could pinpoint where it was now- rose as he detected something what was it he couldn't tell what it was.

He had no warning whatsoever to the doubled doors opening not even a moment after they were covered in a silvery light.

Two horse creatures walked into the room, both bearing horns on their heads -oh so that's what the thing on his head was- and the taller of the two bearing wings.

Both of them had been talking to each other and despite the little translation thing that his brain liked to do where he could understand them but in a way that made it harder to actually learn their language, he couldn't make heads or tails of any of it. Had it just decided not to kick in this morning?

On Jazz's account, it had only done the whole silent treatment for Latin which, as a dead human language, was easier to learn than pretty much every other living language that humanity had. Oh, the things that half-ghosts had to deal with.

Which meant, what exactly? Something he'd have to solve later. For now, attempts at communication shall be made so long as he doesn't focus on the white medical lab coat that the unicorn -Sam was the mythology expert but he did know a thing or two- was wearing or the too clean smell that this place had.

Goal number one was to get out of here as fast as possible. Consequences of not being healed enough be damned. There was only so much he could take before his brain taunted him with memories he'd rather forget.

The half-ghost rested his head on his hooves, assessing the two before him and the situation he was in. He was healed, for the most part anyway. Danny would have to find a way to thank these beings for that later. The shorter one looked older, was a girl, a mare, and had red fur and darker hair and tail color. Over all she seemed nice enough. He couldn't sense any negative emotions from her aside from the worry-concern that he thought might be directed toward him. He was the patient here so those two emotions made sense.

Danny deliberately decided to not think about how it was that he ended up here, for now. The whole memory surrounding Pariah's awakening and the subsequent battle with the now former king was not something the half-ghost wanted to relive anytime soon.

The taller of the two...mares. Yeah. The taller one had dark blue-grey fur, a mane and tail that looked like someone cut out pieces of the night sky, and had black shoes covering her hooves, an equally dark colored necklace of sorts -what were those things called, when on horses?- that had a silver crescent moon, and a black colored crown. A crown. Holy shit he was in the presence of royalty. Again.

Why was it always him?

And why in Clockwork's name was she raising an eyebrow -how was she doing that how was that possible- at him? Was she expecting him to speak? Or bow? Did he do something wrong? Was she mad at him for something he wasn't aware of doing[4]?

The red mare had come closer without him realizing it, her horn alight with a gentle-soothing-pretty fuchsia glow that wrapped around the needle in his, well, he supposed it was a foreleg now. The prickling sensation along his neck and horn started up again, this time as she pulled out the needle.

He definitely did not flinch and he sure as hell didn't let out any sort of frightened sound or back away as much as the hospital bed allowed. Nope. He was denying it til the day he became a full ghost. He was not letting those five stupid months get to him again, damn it.

For what felt like that longest minute of his life, Danny shuffled his way off the bed and tentatively stood -albeit shakily- on all fours. Good, now all he had to do was put one foreleg forward and...

Ow. Ow. Ow. Okay, so he knew how to move, theoretically and yes, in practice, on all fours. It was just that, now, there were stitches he didn't want to rip and everywhere ached to the nth degree. So...not unlike those other times, then. Except without the stitches because the GIW were pretty much all bastards.

"Just so you know, I didn't understand what you were saying earlier and I'm fairly certain you have no idea what I'm saying by that blank expression on your face so I'll just shut up now that you're aware of that. Okay? Okay." He muttered, more to himself to make sure his voice still worked properly than anything else.

At least those two were nice enough to not have a full conversation with idle chit chat about the weather and everything in front of him when he couldn't understand them.

The half-ghost moved, gingerly, over to the dark colored mare and raised a hoof to point to the door. So far he hadn't moved his wings because he didn't trust himself not to pull a muscle or tear his stitches with them, but that did not deter him in his goal. Nor did it deter his want-need to fly somehow someway when he was able to.

Catching on to what he was trying to ask, the two had a quick conversation -he heard a shit ton of e's, i's, ei's, and u's but rarely any a's or o's- before the royal one moved to stand right next to him, a wing over his back, and made the motion of walking again.

Seemed like he was free to go. Maybe it was under the stipulation of not straining himself and coming back later for a check up. That's what Sam usually said when fixing him up. Well, that and to eat more than he usually did to help his healing and make sure he got a decent amount of sleep over the next few days.

Danny might've been scared waking up, but somehow, whether it was the positive emotion pouring in waves from the royal being -directed at him no less- consisting of comfort, peace and a feeling he could only describe as warmth, or the fact that neither of them had tried to hurt him, the half-ghost hero found himself relaxed and ready to face whatever awaited him as they both walked out the door.

Author's Note:

Danny, at least in this chapter, refused to clean up his vocabulary. :facehoof:

Anyway. This, ladies and gents, aliens and humans, is how one begins to condense 35,000+ words over 17 chapters of content (some of this stuff actually being in more spoilery territory for the main fic) into, well, a trip on memory lane for Danny boy here. Poor baby, he's been through a lot in this AU.

[1] - Ghost Zone Mythology, everyone, and this is just scratching the surface. Also gives an explanation to why we only see a swirling green sky and scattered, floating islands (below is the now singular ocean).

The Zone in this AU is a planet of its own, light years upon light years away from Earth and yet somehow connected to it.

[2] - Half-ghosts had been their only way around that, which at the time, the Observants didn't know about.

[3] - Jazz doesn't share Danny's memories, but has her own memories of the previous (show canon) timeline. They both, because of how half-ghosts work in this AU, are pretty much Clockwork's kids now. Hopefully this clears up some confusion.

[4] - Those five months messed him up bad...at least in his mind. He wasn't kidding when he thought that staying in that for any length of time while conscious would not be the best idea.

He's also just kind of rolling with things, trying to process both his thoughts and sensory information around him at this point can be pretty exhausting so Danny may not notice some things at first, like how he isn't wearing anything or that the doctor just let him go when you'd usually have a final check up and be signed out by someone (At least I think that's how it works. I tend to avoid hospitals and getting sick/injured in general).