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Cohabitation

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Danielle had met a lot of ghosts: old ones and young ones of every shape, nationality, and species. Still, even with the sheer amount of ghosts she had encountered it was rare to see them cohabiting a space knowingly and peacefully with humans. Which was why the three different times she ran across it were so memorable.

///

Billy and Spencer were an odd duo. Spencer was barely afraid of anything, to the point that he specialized in horror movies. Billy was young. Like, really young. Most ghosts take decades after death to reappear with a corporal form; Billy had been back within the first year. As such he seemed to have had a harder time than most adjusting to being dead, partially due to the fact he barely was. When you reappear and everything around you is the same as you left it except without you in it, it makes death kind of underwhelming.

...Sooooo they definitely made an interesting duo.

Billy also made for an interesting study. Most ghosts had time before coming back to the living world to figure out their powers and skills. Billy was so new he couldn't even remain corporal in front of regular humans. They needed something he previously owned on them so they had an emotional connection to him to see him. He could barely go through walls, he had no personalized powers, and he could only show himself to regular people through affecting the environment around them.

Danielle of course hadn't known any of this the first time she flew into him.

"Ow! Seriously dude, watch where you're flying! Sky whammies aren't fun." She grumbled loudly, rubbing her forehead.

"You're a ghost!" He squeaked, backing up.

She opened her eyes, finally looking at him as the impact shock faded. "Well duh, so are you!"

"Yeah, but I've never seen another one! This is awesome! Do you play music too?" He was bouncing mid air at this point.

"Wait, you've never seen another ghost? This is Beverly Heights, California! Surely there are a million other ex rockers and stars roaming around."

He pouted. "If so, they must be avoiding me. But seriously, you play?"

"...a bit on the base, I'm not that great though." She begrudgingly admitted.

"We can fix that! Come on, Spencer should be getting off school about now, I was heading out to get him. We can meet up with him then head home for some music lessons. Ghost rock style!" He said with a cocky grin and an air guitar strum, so sure that she would follow him that he didn't even look back when he took off again.

"Wait, out of human school? You hang out with humans?" She did follow, curious. She'd never seen peaceful cohabitation between humans and ghosts anywhere but Amity Park, and even there it was rare still.

"Well duh, they my peeps! Spence and I share a pad, and his friends are chill. I can't wait to introduce you, they've never seen another ghost either!" He said this all with exaggerated motions that he seemed to think we're cool.

Danielle quirked an eyebrow but followed him anyway. If nothing else, this trip would be interesting. Making new friends couldn't hurt, right?

---

Yes it can, turns out. At the very least it hurt her head.

One week, fifteen music lessons, and a giant headache later, Danielle was back on her way. They were definitely entertaining and good friends to have, but she didn't think she would be visiting Billy and Spencer often. As much as she loved music, her poor eardrums couldn't take it. The music or the lingo. Besides, she was more of a country girl anyway.

///

The next time she ran into a situation of cohabitation, instead of friendship it was romance. Vivi, Arthur, and Lewis had one of the most tragic back stories she had ever heard.

Arthur had been romantically interested in both Vivi and Lewis, but had ignored his affections for the sake of their happiness. He went on long trips with them for their club while ignoring this, and the alone time and proximity to them only increased his heartache. While exploring one of the more corrupted caves they were working on, those anguished emotions attracted a demon that latched onto him and used part of his body to kill Lewis. Their protector Mystery promptly bit Arthur's arm off after that to prevent the spread of the demon and at least save Arthur.

Vivi, who witnessed Lewis's death from below, suffered a major case of amnesia in an attempt to protect her shattered heart. She forgot Lewis completely, but loosing all memories of such a large part of her life made her mind look more like a cheese grater. Arthur, who passed out from the pain of his amputated limb, only forgot what happened in the cave - that they weren't in when he came to, as mystery had drug them to safety. He as such spent the next several months recovering from the injury and trying to locate their missing friend, in hopes that finding him would restore Vivi's memory and mind back to full power. And hopefully his missing part as well.

Once they did locate Lewis's ghost, neither of them recognized him. Arthur didn't think he was dead, and Vivi just didn't know him at all. This lead to them running from him, then him tracking them down in hopes of revenge, thinking they didn't regret or care about his death. Thankfully, Mystery did intervene in the end before the whole thing ended in bloodshed. This ended with everything getting explained and all memories being returned. And absolutely everything was revealed, including the fact that they had both been secretly interested in Arthur too, but had never had a chance to explain it. They had been planning to talk to him about it after the cave, but...they never quite made it that far.

By the time Danielle found them, they were living a peaceful, domestic life. Everyone around them had accepted Lewis's absence as some wild, self discovery trip and didn't even realize he was dead. They had been pissed at him, but did overcome it and never needed to know what he was now hiding behind a projection and a pair of sunglasses. They all continued their regular jobs and explorations, though now with more caution and a stronger understand of the world and each other.

Danielle was just happy with how quickly they had offered her this explanation and a place to stay; once she explained her own odd situation that is. She had been drawn to the ghostly energy like usual, and the more peaceful atmosphere she found at the end was a pleasant suprise.

Lewis had proven to be stronger than most ghosts that came out so young, far stronger than Billy. That had to do with his anchor though, his powerful connection and obsession tying him to the living. Love was his connection, and it powered him quite nicely; far better than a basic music obsession would, that is. He was also quite caring, treating her as if she was a long lost cousin coming for a visit. She was more than happy to part with some ghostly information to make their lives easier; like the fact he could further solidify his form if he went to the ghost zone regularly and absorbed extra ectoplasm. Ectoplasm is the blood of ghosts, after all. A regular supply is preferable.

When she left, it was with a full belly, good memories, a well rested head, and a happy heart. Seeing such a well settled ghost always helped her mood, but the food and sleep was icing on the cake. She would definitely visit Tempo again the next time she passed through Texas, just to see them at peace once more.

///

The only other time she had seen ghosts and humans sharing living quarters it hadn't been romantic or friendly, it had been familial.

Little June Crocker was a rare case. Loosing parents at a young age is a tragedy, but not a particularly special scenario. Loosing them at the cemetery however, was. Her anguish at being orphaned had roused eight of the ghosts, who promptly adopted her as their own and raised her there at the cemetery, going so far as to hide her existence until she felt ready to interact with other living people again. Danielle didn't know if that was ethical, but June seemed happy so she let it slide. When Dani found them, June had just started high school.

Both she and the ghosts had acted like Danielle's presence was nothing special, like random ghosts wondering in and out was a common thing. It soon became obvious it was. This was a hot spot, though a small one. Traveling ghosts gathered at this graveyard to rest and recover before heading back to their journeys. This area actually had a decent amount of naturally occurring ectoplasm, though it lacked any solid portal. It was a rare occurrence, but a useful one for the ghosts with obsessions that involved movement. Danielle herself basked in the fresh ectoplasm while she had the chance.

Still, June was the most surprising part. No ghost responded negatively to her presence, even the more violent visiting ones. For that matter, no one responded violently at this hot spot at all. At first she had thought it was the location, but it was quickly proven to be more of June's doing. It was almost like she was extended family to them all, and no one dared stir trouble near her. When questioning the passing ghosts, that theory was affirmed.

She asked an old (black and white stripped) inmate who came through first. He had responded with a disparaging chortle. "Newbies newbies, always so curious. Careful, that gets many a ghost drained if not smart." He heckled her with before answering. "Of course we behave for June, what other human would clean our bones or listen to our tales? She cares for us, we protect her. Fair is fair. She keeps this place safe, so we keep her safe." The cackling dies out as he nears Dani's face, whispering closely. "You will keep her safe, too, right?" He wasn't joking, he was threatening.

Dani only nodded her assent, worried a verbal response would lead to an aggressive lashing. This place was peaceful, she would prefer to keep it that way, threat or no. He glared but backed away after that, ending the discussion there.

Questioning other passers ended mostly the same, though usually with less threats throughout. It seems ghosts showed loyalty quite well, particularly when it involved care for their corpses. It was an interesting side rarely seen, one Dani was proud to witness.

June's response to her own situation was interesting too. She was open and cheerful about and around the ghosts, never embarrassed by their presence. No, she was far more embarrassed by her own personal oddities that had appeared due to her living with them; little things like talking to people the humans couldn't see and preferring quiet places to lively venues. Minor things, really. Around humans she was shy, withdrawn. She wasn't a pushover, but preferred to avoided being the center of attention. Maybe all the attention at home had lead to her trying to avoid it at school, trying to use high school as a sanctuary. She would learn quickly why that was a bad idea, Dani guessed. Still, it seemed that in time and with all their support, she would be just fine. So at the end of the day, Dani enjoyed the ectoplasm, thanked June and the locals for their hospitality, and headed on her way. They would be fine here, they could keep the peace. Even if the peace was crazy in itself.