I will never get over how secret identities (more specifically, Danny's secret identity) are handled in the show. Although I gotta give them kudos for often lampshading the sheer ridiculousnes of the whole thing.
Because, on the one hand, you have Danny Phantom, who not only looks exactly the same as his human counterpart except for a tight suit and a slightly altered colour palette, he even has almost identical names. I mean, Danny Fenton? Danny Phantom? Hello? Could there possibly be more phonetically similar words????
And literally everyone in Amity Park but Team Phantom and Vlad Masters, people who are well aware of the crazy inventions and shenanigans the Fentons get themselves into, are legit like, "Danny Phantom? Inviso-Bill? Who could he possibly be? Certainly not scrawny, awkward, always-has-some-kind-of-weird-excuse-or-is-seen-running-away-whenever-ghosts-appear Danny Fenton! Of course not! Wes, don't be ridiculous!"
And on the other hand, you have Valerie. Valerie too-busy-with-work Gray. Valerie, who always wears a fully concealing outfit. Valerie has-her-face-completely-covered-by-a-mask/dark-visor Gray. Where-would-she-even-get-ghost-hunting-equipment-anyway? Valerie Gray.
Valerie, who gets immediately outed and recognised by Sam merely because she called her and Danny 'losers'. When in all fairness, that description could've applied to any A-lister in Casper High. Paulina literally said the exact same thing in the next episode.
But nope! She calls them losers once, and Sam immediately goes: "Hm, that mysterious new hunter whose identity is completely concealed by her outfit, which doesn't even follow any colour scheme we've seen before, sounds a lot like Valerie. I would recognise that particular disgusted tone anywhere!"
I swear to God, this just cracks me up every time I think about it. Peak comedy here, y'all!
Chapter 3 of "I'M GOIN'..." is done! Here's the AO3 link. Or read it below. (...Or don't read it at all. I'm not your mother. Do what you want....but don't forget to brush your teeth. And get a decent amount of sleep. And brush your hair. And-)
I'M GOIN'... Chapter 3: "Friendship"
Danny went home after a couple long days in the hospital. He was glad to be home. The very first thing he did was run to his bedroom, jump onto his bed, and look up at the stars on his ceiling. He heaved a heavy sigh, naming the stars, looking for his favorite constellations. Maybe things would be back to normal soon.
He was just beginning to believe that things were still normal, that things were safe, when suddenly his arm fell through his bed. A yelp escaped him as he pulled his arm back out of the mattress. "Danny? Are you okay?" Jazz poked her head into his room, her eyebrows knit in concern. "Is something wrong?"
"Everything's fine Jazz." Danny scowled lightly and crossed his arms over his chest. He really hoped that she didn't see anything. "I just want some time alone if you don't mind."
"O–okay." Jazz's eyebrows somehow managed to knit together even tighter. "I'll leave you alone for a bit then." She looked a little hurt, and plenty worried. But Danny didn't really care. He was too caught up in his own panic, because as Jazz left the room, his legs both seemed to vanish.
He stopped himself from screaming, and tried to make his lower-half visible again. The issue was, that Danny didn't know how to control what was happening to him.
Danny was panicking. He changed. He was different. He wasn't himself anymore. There was a flash of white light, and then he was different. He could feel it. See it. And sense it all at once. And he didn't know how to change back.
He was practically touching the ceiling and curling in on himself because he was freaking out.
Then his bedroom door opened. And shut. So quickly he almost didn't notice. There in front of him stood Sam and Tucker, looking concerned.
Danny suddenly turned back to normal, and fell hard on his bed. His panic didn't die down though. "Guys! I….it...just"
"Danny, calm down. It's okay. We're here to help." Tucker sat on Danny's bed, and put a hand on his knee. "Best friends don't leave best friends to deal with sudden mutations on their own." Danny looked over at Sam who nodded her agreement.
"We're not going anywhere."
"W-what am I?" Danny's choice cracked. "I'm not–not completely human anymore. I can–I can tell. I can feel it when I change. So what am I?" Sam and Tucker shared a concerned look.
"We'll have to figure that out together." Tucker scooted closer to Danny, and elbowed him lightly. "I'm sure your parents have something that can tell us what's going on."
"Y-yeah. You're right." Danny nodded.
Tucker handed him a small acrylic pin. It looked like a classic alien head, and the bottom said 'out of this world.'
"I thought you were gonna stop with the pins for a while Tuck?"
"After everything that happened, I think this is a justified purchase." Tucker said with a shrug. "Plus Sam brought you a couple things too." Sam stuck her tongue out at Tucker before tossing a plastic shopping bag at Danny.
"Here. For your collection." Danny looked inside and saw four 'Ghostie Energy' cans in bright colors.
"Thanks. You guys rock." Danny smiled softly at his two best friends, and gave Tucker a half-hug. "Let me put these away, then we can raid the fridge downstairs."
Getting downstairs proved to be a slight challenge, when Danny's left leg suddenly fell through the second step. He almost fell all the way down, luckily Sam and Tucker had fast enough reflexes to catch him before any real damage was done.
Danny's parents were both in the kitchen working on some new project. It looked like a handheld computer of some kind. "Hey Dad, we're gonna get some snacks from the fridge and play some video games in the living room, okay?"
"Alright Danno. Just try not to make a mess okay?" Dad looked up from the blueprints he was studying.
"Sure thing Dad." Danny flashed a smile at his Dad as he opened the fridge up.
"Danny, could you Thank your friend for calling an ambulance for you after your accident, for me?" Mom had her goggles pulled down but Danny could still tell she was looking directly at him.
"Okay. Guys my mom says thanks." Danny said distractedly as he grabbed more snack foods from the cabinets.
"No, your other friend. The athletic one." Dad chimed in while writing a note.
"Athletic one?..." Danny almost dropped his armload of snacks when he realized who his parents were talking about. Then it hit him, he realized the one thing he had been trying not to think about. Kwan. Saw everything. Kwan saw what happened to him! "You mean Kwan?" Danny managed to choke out. "He's not really a friend. He was probably here looking for Jazz."
"Still. Make sure to thank him for us." Mom smiled sadly. "I don't know what we would have done if he hadn't called for an ambulance." She shuddered, and Danny nodded.
"Yeah okay." Danny nudged Tucker on the arm and handed him some of the snacks. "We'll be in the living room. We might head back upstairs in a little while though."
"Alright. You kids have fun!" Dad said, with a slightly distracted wave.
Meanwhile, Kwan tried not to think about everything that had happened at the Fenton's. Over the past few days he had been mainly attempting to pretend that it hadn't happened, and that he has been in no way involved. Although that didn't really happen, because The A-List inadvertently "adopted" Jazz into their group...at least tentatively.
Kwan looked up as Dash entered through his front door, dragging along a slightly confused looking Jazz. "Hey, Kwan." Dash tossed a football softly at him. "You wanna hang? The other girls already packed an entire picnic." Kwan couldn't help but grin at that.
"That sounds great actually. But, when did Star have the time to pack a picnic?" Kwan and Dash both knew that Paulina wouldn't pack anything herself unless she was forced to, and Val was absolute trash in the kitchen. Dash shrugged.
"No clue. 'Lina just called me about half an hour ago, and asked if we could all hang and have a picnic, I said sure, got Jazz, and now I'm grabbing you." Dash grinned as they started making their way toward their usual picnic spot in the park. (Luckily Kwan lived close by.)
As they reached the picnic spot the rest of the girls were all doing their own things. Star was weaving together flower crowns, Paulina was reading a fashion magazine, and Valerie was laying on her back on the picnic blanket, watching the clouds.
"Hey! Did we miss anything exciting?" Kwan skipped a little bit as they got closer.
"Nah. Star made PB&Js for everyone except 'Lina." Val said, sitting up to make room on the picnic blanket.
"No worries though! I made her a very nice sunflower butter and honey sandwich." Star dropped the flower crown she was working on and leaned over to hug Paulina.
"You guys do this kinda thing often then?" Jazz asked as she sat down.
"Not all the time, but whenever we get the chance." Kwan told her, he sat next to her and smiled. "How's your brother doing?" He didn't want to think about all the things that happened, but he did want to make sure that the Fentons were all doing alright.
"He's doing better, thanks for asking. He's back to kicking me out of his room, only talking to his friends. So that's a big plus." Jazz gave a half-hearted shrug.
"I'm so glad things are getting better!" Star beamed. "If you need anyone to talk to, you're welcome to talk with us." As if to prove her point, Star placed the crown she'd been working on, on top of Jazz's head.
Kwan looked over at Dash and Paulina, he knew those two worked hard to make sure the A-List was only the most popular kids in Casper High. Dash looked uneasy, and Paulina looked like she was working out who could possibly be bumped out of the group. While Jazz and Star kept talking about the picnic, Kwan pulled Dash and Paulina aside to discuss it.
"Guys. I think it's fine. We don't have to be an exclusive group. Plus, we all know that Jazz is cool. No one would question her hanging with us." Kwan kept his voice low.
"It's not her that we're concerned about." Dash admitted softly. "Her parents really take her down the social ladder." The football star sighed. "I just don't know if she's got enough to stand on her own in the social climate."
"Plus she's just a tad nerdy." Paulina wrinkled her nose. "We don't want nerds. That takes us from the A-List, to like… the F-List."
"Guys. She isn't that nerdy. Plus we've all needed her help with homework plenty of times." Kwan defended. "She's good at moving between social groups anyway. So we don't have to make her an official A-Lister. We just need to be open to talking with her in public." Dash and Paulina still looked unconvinced. "We have been hanging with her for the past few days already. We brought her along on a picnic for goodness sakes! Get a grip! We're the only ones who care about social standing!" It took everything in him not to yell. Kwan had to stop and take a deep breath, otherwise he might have snapped.
"Kwan. We can let her join peripherally. Anything more than that and...you know how it is." Dash held his hands up in surrender sign of mock surrender.
"Dash. You're my best friend. I would jump off a bridge for you." Kwan narrowed his eyes. "But if you're lying to me. If you don't put your best effort into making this work out. I'll step down and let her take my spot on the A-List." Kwan didn't know where this was coming from, but he did recognize that Jazz needed friends. Especially right now.
"I'll do my best. Let's get back to the picnic and have some fun." Dash lightly punched Kwan on the arm, and Kwan relaxed. He knew Dash would keep his word, he may have overreacted a bit.
Properly rested from my vacation and feeling at least somewhat rested and ready, haha. Already working on the next HoeDash chapter and a few more to boot. Got some rough outlines started so look forward to it!
In the mean time, feel free to send more asks or headcanon questions my way, it gets the juices flowing.
Danny Phantom: Danny, Dash
Blurb: The Ghost reflects the person. Dash had heard that somewhere and after tonight...the thirty-sixth freaking time he’d been turned green...he knew it was right. There was something fundamentally wrong with him.
Fic Type: Hurt/Comfort
Overall Fic Warnings: Past Bullying Talk, Mind Control mention
Dash had no idea how long the hole in the fence of the Fenton’s backyard had been there and at this point he didn’t care.
Considering he’d found it back in the beginning of sophomore year...and it was still here nearly two years later...he doubted the Fenton Parents even knew it existed since it was hidden behind their shed.
After all, ghosts didn’t exactly need holes to get anywhere. They could just phase through solid objects--ones that didn’t have a ghost shield protecting them at least.
He hissed under his breath, shoving himself through the opening, purposely ignoring how his shoulders--which had nearly gotten him stuck in the hole a month ago at his last visit--didn’t stop him this time.
Dash gritted his teeth, shoving his way along the gap between shed and fence into the main backyard.
He knew there would be no one home even with the late hour, considering the Fentons were still dealing with the aftermath of yet another ghost army invasion that had compromised most of the student body at Casper High. Fentina--Danny should also still be somewhere on the school grounds with his two weirdo friends, and with his old tutor, Jazz, off at college...it would be quiet here for a while yet.
Not that it would have mattered if they had been home. He’d yet to see anyone come back here unless someone was trying to get Fentroid fit enough to pass yet another fitness test. And that had only happened twice.
Dash reached the brick wall, his fingers--still green tinged from his unfortunate...change today--brushed the rough surface before he placed his back to the wall, sliding down so that the overgrown bush nearby hid most of him from view.
He let out a slow breath, ducking his head against his knees, feeling the hum of whatever protective shields the Fentons had on the building resonating through the wall and matching the burning throb in his chest as he ran slightly pointed nails through his hair.
Another ghost invasion. Another...transformation where the attacking ghost had done something to bring out the more ghostly natures of the student body to make things all the more difficult for Phantom.
And once again...Dash had been changed into that horrible green skinned gremlin ghost creature.
“It’s not fair.” He whispered, fingers flinching away from the pointed tips of his ears.
The Ghost reflects the person. He’d heard that somewhere...probably from Mr. Lancer, and after like the third incident where he’d ended up green...Dash had begun to think there was something to that thought. After tonight...the thirty-sixth freaking time he’d been turned green...he knew it was right.
There was something fundamentally wrong with him.
None of the others, in the dozenish times they had been affected, held such a consistent ghost form when they were altered, changed, or manipulated to be something else rather than human. Whether it was becoming like ghostly Vampires, Sirens, Multi-Colored Blobs, Cyborgs, or various WereCreatures, his classmates had experienced it all.
He remained the green gremlin.
Nothing more. Nothing less. Sure the size of his gremlin form might shift depending on the ghost doing the changing and his...well...anger issues that day.
But overall...Green. Green. Green.
The Ghost reflects the person.
And since halfway through sophomore year Dash had been trying to change that reflection. Be better.
He’d stopped taking out his...issues on the dweebs at school--especially Fen--Danny.
He’d gone to see a therapist.
He’d worked on improving his grades and study habits.
He’d tried to branch out in his hobbies. Sewing, Screenwriting, a disastrous attempt at Acting and yah, just trying anything else he had a slight interest in that wasn’t a sport. That wasn’t football.
He dropped a hand to his chest, rubbing at the burning sensation that no amount of Tums or Tylenol could get rid of and only seemed to grow stronger with every ghastly change he’d been forced into.
He closed his eyes, running his tongue over his sharpened teeth, feeling most of the points finally beginning to shrink. “One more year.”
If he could just survive senior year in this hellscape then…then....
He didn’t know. Colleges only wanted him for his football skills.
Football skills that he should just stop using because that seemed to bring out the worst of the Green Gremlin when the ghosts attacked.
He’d destroyed yet another uniform -his third this year- today at the game when he’d become the freaking Hulk and smashed his way through the bleachers to try and catch the annoying fly that he hadn’t realized was Phantom until after his Hero had burst free from his grip and sent him flying over the school to land face first in the grass by the flagpole.
It was a move that had placed him far out of range of the ghostly lady-like creature who had changed him in the first place, freeing him from her control. Allowing him to run like the coward he was away from the fight and his classmates and get...human again.
Dash let out another shuddering breath, trying to focus on the hum coming from the Fenton’s home as he rested his head on his knees. Trying to ground himself like the therapist had suggested.
He was safe here.
No ghosts dared to attack Fentonworks directly. Not when it housed the only stable portal in the area.
No one would come here to hurt him. To hunt him.
He just needed to wait until the last dredges of these ghost alterations left his body and then he could go home.
Go home to where his Dad would be furious that he didn’t stick it out. Didn’t win the freaking football game.
Like a ghost attack wouldn’t have forced them to reschedule anyways.
It wasn’t like that mattered to his Father though. He only ever cared about football when he wasn’t off traveling for one of his stupid work trips. Nothing more. Nothing less. His Dad hadn’t even noticed that Dash had grown out his hair to cover his ears because they’d remained pointed since Thanksgiving break and he couldn’t hide them any other way. He hadn’t noticed how Dash barely smiled anymore to hide the stupid fangs that had stuck around after the last change. He hadn’t noticed---alot. He’d come home once with his skin still green tinged and his Dad thought he’d been trying to fake an illness to get out of practice instead of recovering from another Ghost Attack.
Dash pressed his hands to his chest, again fruitlessly massaging at the burning ache there.
One more year.
One. More. Year. And he could move out of this place. Get far away from his Dad. From the Ghosts. And hopefully forget this whole gremlin nightmar---
Dash jerked at the unexpected voice, hissing as he smacked the back of his head against the bricks. Great. Hello headache. Not that he didn’t already probably have a concussion from how hard he’d face planted in the dirt earlier. But still.
“...Dash?” The voice was softer. More cautious. Like the tone you’d use to try and soothe a wild animal trapped in a corner. “You...uh? Okay?”
Dash snorted, resting his head back on his knees so he could better rub the back of it and avoid looking at the speaker--at Danny. “Sure.” He gritted his teeth at the demonic growl that still was his voice. Please let that not be a permanent change this time. “I’m. Just. Fine.”
“You uh...don’t look fine.”
Nooo really? He hadn’t noticed. Dash flexed his fingers, feeling the claws still present, which meant his skin was probably still ghost colored.
Great. Fenton probably thought he was still mind controlled. Why was he even home? Or better yet. Out here? There was no reason to come back here at night--even so, he’d thought that he’d be hidden from view!
Dash exhaled, turning his head to the side, looking up to see his one time punching bag sitting on the back steps, bright blue eyes staring right at him. “I’m fine.” He repeated, hiding a wince as his chest burned hotter for a second. “Just….catching my breath.”
Danny frowned, slipping off the side of the steps to crouch in front of him. “Here? Why? My parents--”
“I KNO--” Dash flinched, groaning as Danny jerked back. He half uncurled, lightly tapping his aching head against the bricks as he closed his eyes. “I know.” He repeated in a softer growl. “They haven’t looked back here yet though. I’ll be...fine...in a minute. I won’t attack you.”
“Here yet---wait you’ve come here before? Why?”
Shouldn’t Fenton be more concerned about Dash still being well….ghostly? Or hurting him? Sure, Danny had stopped running away at the first sign of a ghost attack forever ago, finally taking after his parents in a way. He’d often seen Danny running around with Sam and Tucker helping Phantom with capturing ghosts---liked they’d done tonight. The three of them working together in tandem to keep the football team from rampaging off the field before the Fentons got there.
...Maybe Danny being back from the game already wasn’t that odd actually now that he thought about it. If Fenton was returning with a full thermos of spirits to send back in the Ghost Zone and one of his parent’s devices happened to sensed a ghost nearby---
Dash gave a one shoulder shrug, opting to look at his green tinged hands instead of at Fen---Danny’s face. “Feels...safe here. I guess. No ghosts attack it at least.”
“It feels safe.” Danny repeated an odd note to his voice.
What was he? A parrot? “Yes.” He bit out, clenching his hands before relaxing them. Anger wouldn’t help. It would only make him revert. He drew in a slow measured breath. “What’s the big deal Fent--Danny?”
Danny chuckled and shifted so he too was sitting with his back against the wall of his home. “The fact that you feel safe at my house? The place practically screams stay away to people, Dash, what with the big old Ops center on top and the threat of my Dad causing something to explode here every other day.”
Okay...yah...that...yah. Dash made a face, rubbing his aching chest. “Your sister tutored me here twice a week until she left. Maybe I’m just used to it.”
Danny made a skeptical noise, drumming his fingers on his knees. “It’s probably the increased ectoplasmic radiation here.” He remarked conversationally. “My parents thought they had it contained to the basement...but I can feel it seeping through the bricks. A neutral source of energy coming from the portal, like a recharging station at a cafe but for ghosts instead of laptops.”
A recharging station? For ghosts? Was that the humming sound? Not a shield? No. No. It couldn’t--and he--he---Dash shot to his feet, nearly stumbling into the bushes as his shredded sneakers briefly lost contact with the ground. “NO. I can’t--”
Danny reached out with a surprisingly firm grip, pulling him back down. “Hey, hey. It’s okay--”
Dash growled, hating how feral he sounded as he jerked free, backing--floating--away from Fen--Danny and the house... “I’m not a Ghost, Fenton! I can’t recharge--I can’t--” Crap. His voice was only getting more demonic because he was getting upset. He grabbed his football jersey as he roughly hit the ground, falling to his knees by the shed, clawed fingers digging into the ruined fabric as he struggled to breathe. Ectoradiation. Had he been making the problem worse this entire time? He thought hanging out here was safe! That it would help him get back to normal!
“Hey.” A cold hand squeezed his shoulder.
Dash growled, hunching further in on himself. “I can’t--I don’t want to be this! I’ve been trying to change! And it’s not working. I’m just making it wors--”
“Dash.” Danny placed his pale hand over Dash’s green one before moving it to rest on his chest, right over the burning ache like a cooling balm. “Hey.” He repeated softly. “You’re okay, you’re not a ghost.”
Wasn’t he though? After thirty-six freaking alterations, was he even human anymore? Dash gave a ragged laugh, chest burning hotter under his touch. “Fe--Danny, I’m green.”
Danny hummed, hand feeling all the colder as he tilted his head, frowning as he gave him the once over. “Not your best look, I agree, but you’re not a ghost.” He gave him a half smile, eyes sparking with silent humor. “Trust me. I’d know.”
“Ha.” He couldn’t though. Dash squeezed his eyes shut, focusing on Danny’s hand on his chest, on just breathing. “You can’t know that.” He whispered. “It doesn’t all just go away when the ghost does, Fenton. Not anymore.”
Compared to the rest of the student body, Danny had barely been changed a handful of times. How could he know how ghostly or not ghostly Dash was? Even Fenton’s parents had been wrong more than once on that account.
Danny’s fingers twitched. “...What doesn’t go away?” He asked, an edge to his voice that hadn’t been there before.
Dash flinched, pushing Danny’s hand away, ignoring how his chest twinged as he moved back to his feet. He had to get out of here. “Nothing.” Fenton was the son of Ghost Hunters after all. He now helped Phantom capture the bad ghosts. How would he react if he saw how Dash had changed? The pointed ears? The fangs? The whatever else tonight’s attack would permanently alter. Maybe his skin would stay green this time. “It’s noth--”
“It’s not nothing.” Danny’s voice was quiet as he too stood, flexing his fingers. “There is an echo to you. Not enough to be ghostly, but far too much to be just regular contamination like the other students have.”
Dash gritted his teeth, shaking his head. He already knew that.
“Dash.” Fenton’s voice was soft. “I can’t help if I don’t know what’s wrong.”
“Why would you want to?” Dash retorted, glaring at the shed, claws digging into his palms as he clenched his hands. “I’m just the bully am I not?” He hadn’t shoved a nerd into a locker in forever, but that didn’t stop them from side-eyeing him and shying away whenever he walked by...especially on a bad day.
Danny huffed. “You’ve hardly been that. We may not...hang out...but I have noticed the change. You’ve been...well...” He stepped into view rubbing the back of his neck, “good, man.”
Ha. “Not good enough.”
Danny raised an eyebrow. “What do you mean?”
Dash made a face, gesturing to himself once more, though he could already tell his skin was returning to its normal color. Finally. “I’m always like this, F--Danny. Thirty-six freaking times,” His chest burned as Fenton’s eyes widened. “I’ve been altered by ghosts and I always look like this. None of the others do if you haven’t noticed. They always look different with each attack. But me? I don’t--I’m just---Green.”
He should stop talking. Let it go. It wasn’t like Fenton cared what was going off with his one-time bully.
Yet...He needed to tell someone. Anyone. What he was dealing with. It wasn’t like he could go to Star or Paulina. Not even his best bud Kwan. They couldn’t understand this. They didn’t have to live with the permanent weird.
Fenton did though. His parents had been weird his entire life with their ghost obsesion.
Danny frowned. “So? It’s not like it’s perm--”
“Permanent?” Dash gave a bitter laugh, brushing his hair away from his ears to reveal the points. “Tell that to my ears. To my fangs.” He bared his teeth, ignoring the shiver that ran down his spine as Fenton bristled and bared his teeth right back.
Were Danny’s teeth more...pointed?--No. It was a trick of the light. Fenton couldn’t have fangs too.
Dash growled, hands clenching as he heard a slight rumble come from Danny in response. “If those have already changed in me then how much longer before the ghost’s contamination permanently changes my voice, Fenton? My eyes? Will I keep the green skin next time?! Will I permanently remain a ghost and never change back one day? I don’t freaking know and it scares me!”
Because he was the only one. No one else could understand.
Danny shook his head, his defensive stance relaxing as he raised a hand. “Dash, I--”
Dash crossed his arms, glaring at his one time punching bag. “Don’t you dare tell me you understand or some sort of sentimental crap! You’ve been altered by ghosts like what? Three times? How could you even understand? How could anyone understand when none of the others have to deal with this either? Even though they’ve been changed a dozen times, they’re still able to be normal because they never look exactly the same under the various ghosts attacking us. Nothing sticks for them. But me?” He kicked at the grass, already regretting letting his emotions get the better of him, for revealing his...fears to Danny of all people. “I’m always just a violent green gremlin and I hate it, Fenton. I hate it. I’ve tried to change to stop it. Be a better person. And yet I always end up looking exactly--” he swallowed, roughly brushing over his eyes, hating how hot and wet they felt as he finally broke eye contact. “The same.” He whispered.
“It’s not--” Danny cleared his throat, stepping forward to place his hand back over the ache in Dash’s chest. “It’s not...bad to have a consistent ghost form, you know.” He said, giving a one shoulder shrug. “To have the same abilities. To not worry about what power you might accidentally unleash next.” His hand seemed to grow colder on Dash’s chest, drawing the heat away. “I’ve heard people talking. In school. About how they hate that they don’t know what they’ll end up being when the next ghost comes.”
Dash shakily exhaled, leaning into Fenton’s hand despite himself. Kwan had mentioned something like that before today’s game too. How he wished he could just stick with duplicating as his power like Dash was stuck with being a gremlin.
“You’re lucky in that sense.” Danny said in a low voice. “Even if you don’t like being the--” He raised his free hand to make quotation marks. “‘Green Gremlin’ At least you know what to expect when a ghost attacks. It gives you the uhh...field? Yah. Field advantage.”
He--he had a point. Dash did know what to expect. The only thing he had to adjust for was his size. Otherwise...everything else remained the same. He slowly looked up. “Doesn’t mean I like it. Or that I’m any good.” Dash grimaced. “I mean, I attacked Phantom! My hero! Who does that?”
Danny smirked, eyes glinting, reflecting the green glow coming off of Dash’s skin. “You were mind controlled. The entire football team went after him in case you didn’t notice, you just happened to reach him first. I think he understands.”
Dash scoffed, resting clawless fingers on Danny’s hand. “Does he?”
Fenton hummed, surprisingly at ease for being in the presence of his one-time bully. Of course, Fenton had bulked up a bit since freshman year. Gotten taller. Become more of a fighter with Phantom. He wouldn’t be that easy to push around anymore on a normal day if Dash were still the type to shove nerds into their lockers.
“You didn’t continue attacking. You left. That says something.” Danny said, putting slight pressure on Dash’s chest, urging him to take a step back.
Back towards the Fenton’s home. To the...freaking recharging wall.
Dash tightened his grip on Danny’s hand, the ache in his chest fading more the closer they got to the red bricks. “That I’m a coward.”
He shook his head. “That you’re smart. You got out of her control. You came to a safe place to recover.”
Like the Fenton house was actually safe. Danny had been right in pointing that out. No one in their right mind would come here.
So why had he? He shook his head. “If I was any good then I should have fought with Phantom, Danny. Not gone running off!”
Danny raised an eyebrow, pulling his hand free. “Then why don’t you?”
He shrugged, moving past Dash to scoop up a familiar battered Fenton Thermos from the steps, fiddling with it. “You know what’s going to happen to you right? You Hulk it out. Why don’t you use that knowledge to help Phantom fight other ghosts next time?”
Dash frowned, absently rubbing chest as he looked up at the shadowy ops center perched overhead. It wasn’t like he hadn’t thought about it multiple times. It just-- “I...figured I’d just get in the way.” He admitted, running fingers through his hair, relaxing as he felt the last of the ghostliness leave his body. “I mean, you know how it is, Danny, if we’re altered then it usually means we’re controlled in some way. Sent to attack. Cause destruction and chaos. Why would Phantom trust any of us, let alone me, to help?”
Even though they’d all taken ghostly defense classes. Even though most of them carried a Fenton weapon of some sort that could take down the weaker ghosts. Even then, only Fentina and his friends were allowed by Phantom to get close in a major ghost fight and even so they ran mostly interference. Damage control.
Danny hummed, bouncing the thermos in one hand as he rubbed the back of his neck with the other. “Point. He does tend to...work alone.”
“Exactly.” Dash took a seat on the steps, hunching his shoulders as he felt the hum of the building resonating through his hands. “And me bumbling into a fight with fists swinging would hardly help him.”
“Well…” Danny settled on the steps next to him, placing the Thermos by their feet. “No...probably not.”
That’s what he thought. Still...it was something to reconsider. Especially if he could convince Fenton to give Phantom the heads up that Dash wanted to try and help--
He exhaled, running fingers through his hair, lingering on the tips of his ears. He’d have to check in the mirror when he got home, but it didn’t feel like anything had permanently changed this time.
“Do they hurt?”
“Mmm?” Dash tilted his head.
Danny gestured to him, looking for a moment like his old awkward freshman self. “Your ah...teeth? The ears? You said both had changed right? Do they hurt?”
Oh. Right. He had brought that up hadn’t he? Dash exhaled, resting his head on his knees. “No. Not now. In the beginning, sure. But not now.”
“That’s...good. That they don’t hurt anymore. I--umm...what did you...ah...use for them? To stop the pain?”
Why did it matter? It wasn’t like they hurt anymore. It wasn’t like anyone else--Dash blinked, breath catching in his throat as he abruptly sat up, whirling to Danny. His teeth. He knew they hadn’t looked normal. But how?! “Let me see.”
Danny stiffened, a wary glint of green in his eyes.
Only Dash’s skin was no longer green. Where was his green glow coming from?
“See what? I was just asking a question.”
“One you shouldn’t care about unless you are having the same problem, Fenton.” Dash said, jabbing a finger at him, heart pounding like a drum in his chest.
Not alone. Was he seriously not alone in this? If Fenton!! If there were two of them instead of just him--even if it was Danny, it was someone else. It was-- Dash raked his eyes over Fenton, taking all of him in. Noting all the little changes that he hadn’t noticed before. That no one seemed to have noticed, like the fact that his hair was shaggier than it used to be. Not quite as long as Dash’s hair, but definitely hiding the ears. “Kwan, my best friend, never ever asked me what I used to stop it when I casually brought it up. Why would you ask me unless you have the same problem?” Dash said, trying and probably totally failing at keeping the desperation out of his voice. “Show me.”
Danny bit his lip, deliberately not showing any teeth with the motion, his eyes darting to the darkened yard, then away. “Seriously, Dash--”
Dash growled, hands clenching on the stairs to keep him from hitting something. “Please, Danny. Show. Me.” He had to know. Know he wasn’t the only one. “It’s not like anyone comes back here. Trust me. I know. Besides, your parents will be off decontaminating the school for forever again, if you’re that worried about them seeing.”
Ah. So it was something like that then. Dash leaned forward like a bloodhound sensing...well blood. “My Dad doesn’t know either.” He said, quietly. “I get it. Like...how do you explain this to them? Especially when they refuse to listen. If it’s not about football my Dad tunes it out.”
“They only ever talk about eradicating ghosts.” Danny mumbled, running his fingers over his left palm, tracing some invisible pattern. “Never about studying them. Learning from them. Just...how their next greatest weapon will defeat them or permanently get rid of them. It’s not like they want to---”
“See that their son is becoming more ghostly?”
Danny stiffened, a flicker of green appearing around his fingers before vanishing as he let out a slow breath. “Sure...something like that.”
Oh. “That...sucks man.” Dash rested his chin on his hand, eyes flicking between Fenton’s face and his fingers. Ecto energy. Was that why Danny had said he could feel the ectoradiation coming from his home?
Or was it a new Fenton invention that they hadn’t yet introduced to the public to help fight against ghosts?
He frowned, looking away. “I...well I get it. Being scared to tell them. I’ve been on the wrong end of their weapons more than once. It’s not fun.”
Danny hunched his shoulders, rubbing at his own chest. “Yah. I--yah. Most days it feels like they only care that I’m following in their footsteps...hunting ghosts...but beyond that? Beyond the next ghost attack? It’s like good ectoenergy doesn’t exist to them. Or shouldn’t exist. That it’s just bad pretending to be good and should be torn apart. Molecule by Molecule. So it won’t hurt anyone.”
Dash shuddered. Oh yah. He’d heard that particular speech from Jack Fenton before. He’d had nightmares for weeks. How could he have thought that he’d had it rough with his Dad and his football obsession when Danny probably heard that speech on a daily basis? When Dash had seen how they had all those weapons lying around the house, ready to be picked up and shot in the blink of an eye at the merest hint that a ghost was nearby. And Danny lived there. If he was experiencing ghost changes too….How would his parents actually react if it came out that their son had fallen victim to the ectoradiation they, the number one Ghost Hunters of Amity Park, claimed they were protected from?
Not good judging by Danny’s reluctance to admit that there was anything wrong with him in the first place.
Or it could just be his bad history with Fenton. Showing your weakness to a bully--even a former one--probably went against instinct.
“Well...if you...ah...need to tell anyone. Or get some help.” Dash offered, rubbing at his own chest, at the hollowness he could feel. Maybe he had jumped the gun there. Desperate to believe that he wasn’t the only one. That there was someone else who would understand. “You already saw my fangs...so I kinda know...things. Like there’s some creams at my place you could grab...you know...if you are having the same problem. I’d understand what’s going on a bit more than your parents would.”
Maybe. He didn’t know them that well. Maybe he was just projecting his own problems onto Fenton again.
“Mmm. I---” Danny exhaled, rubbing the back of his neck, before nodding to himself, turning to face him. “You’re right, Dash.” He said, his eyes glowing a bright neon green as his lip slowly lifted in a half smile, revealing the gleaming tip of a fang. “You would understand.”
The Amity Park Haunting Part 3: Raising Your Spirits
The town of Amity Park is under attack by ghosts, but everyone knows that by now. For dozens of years, Amity Park citizens cowered away in their homes, hoping that they wouldn’t get haunted, until a hero rose up to fight against the ghosts, a hero by the name of Jason Baxter. As things begin to die down and the town returns to normal, Jason is suddenly murdered by a mystery ghost. Now, the torch has been passed on to his irresponsible, and newly orphaned son, Dash. To complete his ghost fighting training, Dash is taken in by the Fenton family, none other than his father’s former partners, as they teach him how to uphold his father’s legacy, but they unwittingly are harboring a ghost in their midst.
It’s day two of Dash living in the Fenton house and he is already getting more attention than Danny believes he deserves. But as his parents are distracted with their training, Danny is free to test out the limits of his powers against a new adversary: the famed ghost hunter, Skulker, who pledges to hunt down and kill Danny.
What a Day
The breakfast table is surprisingly empty as I sit and eat my breakfast, likely because Mom and Dash went to report their progress to the mayor this morning at 7 am, meaning that he’ll likely get to skip out on his morning classes. “The perks of being the town hero I guess...” I stir my cereal around in the bowl, watching it get soggy as my thoughts wander to yesterday’s events. I found out after I woke up that my dad suffered a concussion from the blow and my mother sprained her wrist, and though both of them were lucky to have gotten out with such mild injuries, they’ve still been put out of commission by the mayor for two weeks. Mom is at city hall now to contest that order, but I doubt it’ll be overturned. In any case, it gives the two of them a lot more time to train Dash, especially if they want him to be a ruthless ghost hunter like Jason. But, for some reason, my interaction with Dash yesterday is bugging me.
Why didn’t he shoot me?
I finally snap out of my thoughts, looking down at the mostly disintegrated cereal in my bowl, and toss it in the sink before heading to get ready, when I run into Jazz as she races down the stairs with a binder full of loose papers. “Watch out, Danny! I have to get to school.”
“What for?” I ask.
“My science club had to change rooms because the attack yesterday damaged property and now our meeting time moved from morning to afternoon!” She explains while racing around the room and collecting her things, before booking it out the door without so much as a goodbye.
“See you later?” I roll my eyes, turning and heading up the stairs to get ready for school. I leave the house about thirty minutes later and when I walk out the door, I see Sam and Tucker waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. “H-Hey.”
“Hey,” Tucker replies, but Sam remains turned away with her arms crossed, not wanting to make eye contact with me. I don’t say another word as I walk down the stairs to meet them. Keeping pace with their walking speed, we head towards the school, me not daring to say a word with out prompting.
“We heard that you got sick yesterday,” Tucker leads into a long string of questioning, like he always does. “Is it from the day before? You know, when...” he pauses, trying to think of how to put his words.
“It...” I don’t want to lie, so I don’t say anything more, just keeping my eyes glued to the sidewalk beneath me as I continue walking. On the opposite side of Tucker, who acts as a buffer between us, Sam scoffs, not hiding her annoyance.
“Of course he has nothing to say.”
“Sam...” Tucker scolds, though I doubt it’ll do anything. “He said he would tell us when he’s ready.”
“And when is that gonna be?” Sam stops in her tracks and we all follow her lead. “Danny, w-we saw... heard your screams. You were...” she can’t finish, which genuinely surprises me. Even more surprising are the tears that streak down her face as she cups her mouth, horrified and traumatized by what she saw. Tucker grabs Sam by the arm and pulls her into a hug, trying to comfort her in all of the ways that I’d failed.
“I’m sorry,” I can’t say anything to relieve their stress, all because of my fear. I’m a fucking coward. I clench my fists in frustration, secretly wanting them to ream me out.
“Danny, we just want to know what’s going on,” Tucker concludes. “We thought that you died in there and... we blamed ourselves.”
Hit that nail right on the head.
“I am just...” I try to tell them, force the words from my mouth, but all I can do is speak in sentence fragments. “I’m so damn confused right now. And I know that you guys wouldn’t understand cause I don’t even fucking understand. But...”
“What the hell could possibly be so bad that you can’t tell us?” Tucker shouts, still clutching Sam as she rests on his chest like lump of clay.
“If you’d just let me figure that out for myself then I would tell you!” I yell back, releasing my pent up anger from everything that has been happening onto them. “I need you guys to trust and support me right now! I need you guys to be my friends!”
“Well what about what we need from you?” Sam regains her strength, the cold anger of her voice just as terrifying as the other two times I’d heard it.
“I think I get to be selfish now,” I tell her and march off, not feeling particularly angry at them, more so myself for being like this to my best friends. Once I get to school, I put my things away in my locker and head straight to class, not waiting for them to join me. As soon as I get to English class, though, I kick myself for not having my friends for support when Mr. Lancer comes up to me.
“Mr. Fenton,” his voice echoes throughout the room in a taunting manor, as if begging me to act out. I turn around to face my teacher, noticing how intimidating he is as he stands over me, and struggle to come up with an excuse for whatever it is he’s yelling at me for. “You promised me last week that you would turn in your ghost safety protocol form.”
“Uh...” I try to think of something to say, but Lancer cuts me off.
“Yesterday we had a ghost attack, as I’m sure you’ve heard,” he lectures. “If you would have been at school, you would have detention right now.”
“But I don’t?” I ask in surprise.
“I’m still debating it,” Lancer replies, walking past me towards his desk in preparation to start class. “Have it turned in by tomorrow morning. And I expect you to be on your best behavior today.” He glares at me, prompting me to shuffle into my seat, where I stay seated quietly for the remainder of the class, avoiding eye contact with Sam and Tucker the entire time. After the bell rings and Lancer finishes assigning us the literature homework, I book it as fast as I can out of the classroom, but am stopped at the door by a terrifying force of strength that knocks be back before I am able to make my escape.
“Fenton.” I don’t even have to look up to know who is blocking my path. Just as I am about to respond, Mr. Lancer interjects.
“Is there a problem here?” I don’t even turn around to face my teacher, swallowing my pride and peering up into the face of my enemy, who glares back at me.
“S-sorry, Dash,” I stutter before nudging past the jock and rushing as fast as I can down the halls, feeling his eyes burning through the back of my skull as I scurry towards my next class.
After a few more miserable classes and a lunch period spent in an empty classroom, I am finally allowed to go home, deciding to walk back with Jazz for the first time in a while. “How was school?” She asks, and I know full well that she is wondering if Dash and I had another fight.
“Fine,” I say, but immediately regret it, as if my body is begging me to vent to her about my problems. “I just got reamed out by both my best friends and my teacher.”
“Wh-why?” She seems completely stunned by my admission.
“Well, Lancer almost gave me detention for not turning in my ghost attack form thing,” I begin, not stopping the words as they flow out of my mouth. “I know I should’ve had mom and dad sign it, but I don’t want to bother them with this with everything that’s been going on.” I pause, wondering when Jazz is going to scold me for ‘neglecting my responsibilities’ or something like that, but when I look over at her, she has her eyes trained forward, waiting for me to continue. “Um... and Sam and Tucker... they’re angry with me. And honestly I don’t blame them. After everything that they’ve been through I would be pissed at me too, but...” I sigh, unable to finish what I was thinking. “Are you really not gonna say anything?”
“Do you want to know what I really think?” She asks and I nod in response. “It was stupid of you to neglect your responsibilities just because you wanted to protect Mom and Dad’s feelings. I mean, it’s not like they’ve stopped fighting ghosts just because Jason died.” She makes a pretty good point. “And I don’t know what happened between you, Tucker, and Sam, but I do know what they said when they called me.”
“What do you mean when they called you?”
“They called me the night that you went missing for a while,” she starts. “When you went on your ‘walk’ around the neighborhood. They didn’t tell me any details, but they said that you might have gotten hurt and wanted to know if you were okay. When I told them that you were missing they seemed devastated, like they’d just lost you.” I stop walking, looking down at the ground with clenched fists.
“I know that,” I tell her through gritted teeth, my voice barely louder than a whisper. “I know how much I’m hurting them, but... they don’t know what I’m going through. They don’t understand what it’s like to be a—“ Oh my god, I almost told her.
“A what?” She doesn’t just let it go, which is pretty in line with her character but not exactly what I need right now.
“Nothing,” I brush her off. “My point is, I need time to figure things out. And...” Deep down, what I’m most worried about is that they’ll hate me when I tell them. “I just want this miserable day to be over.” We continue walking, the lull in the conversation making me feel a bit awkward.
“Um...” she seems to be choosing her words carefully. “Did something else happen today? Like with Dash?”
“Surprisingly no,” I laugh despite myself. “We only ever saw each other once, and that was hardly even an encounter compared to last time.”
“I’m still so pissed at that douchebag,” she says, clenching her jaw in anger. “He didn’t even wait to see if you were okay yesterday on the way to school; just darted off like a scared gazelle.” A flash of last night returns to me, Dash’s ‘feel better’ ringing through my ears. “God! What is his problem?”
“I was just wondering the same thing.” Our conversation sputters to a halt once we get home, where we can hear very loud and potentially dangerous banging noises coming from the backyard. We enter through the rear gate, looking to see what could possibly be making so much noise, and see our parents, as well as Dash, assembling what looks to be a target arena, with fake ghost cutouts to boot.
“Hey kids!” Mom yells, dropping a large steel barrel into Dad’s arms, who almost falls over due to the weight. She runs up to us and scoops us into a warm hug.
“Mom, be careful with your wrist,” Jazz scolds, trying to talk her way out of being crushed.
“Oh it’s fine, dear,” she says. “That coward mayor couldn’t be convinced though. So we’ve just been here.” Once mom releases us, we turn to watch Dad as he teaches Dash how to properly hold his gun.
“He’s here?” I ask, not taking my eyes off of them.
“Oh, yeah,” Mom says excitedly. “Dash gets to come home early from school everyday so that he can train. It’s part of the plan that the mayor put together for him. It’s so wonderful getting to train a newbie again. I remember when you two were kids just learning how to hold your ecto-blasters.” She sighs, reminiscing on the past.
“Okay, enough of that,” I say, turning my eyes away as Dash misses his shot, making him look around wildly at the shock of the recoil. “I’m gonna go do my homework. Oh, and I need you to sign something for me, Mom.” I don’t wait for a response before turning to head inside, pulling the form out of my backpack and setting it on the counter for her to sign, then steering out of the kitchen and trudging up the stairs towards my room, which has an impressive view of their backyard training session. I flop on my bed in exhaustion, feeling like I’ve aged a few years in just the span of three days and wondering if my heart can take anymore stress.
A New Threat
“Danny!” Mom yells from downstairs, breaking my attention away from my homework. I stand up from my desk and rush down to meet her in the kitchen, where Dash sits, recuperating from their intense drilling. He doesn’t even glance at me as I come into the room, which I am partially grateful for and partially annoyed about. “What’s this form here?” She asks, holding up the paper to me.
“Oh.” I scratch the back of my neck, glancing at Jazz who sits at the bar doing her homework, avoiding my gaze as well. “It’s the ghost attack protocol that our school has put in place. I just need you to sign it cause I have to turn it in tomorrow.”
“Hmm...” she mutters something inaudible under her breath as she reads, scanning every word to the letter. “What is this, Danny? ‘Leave all personal items and filter out of the classrooms in an orderly fashion, heading towards the streets and police barricades.’ That’s completely improper! What if the students were to run into the ghost?”
“Mom, I didn’t make up the rules—“
“If students stay inside the classrooms, doesn’t that then put them at more risk?” Dash asks, engaging in our conversation as if he has the right to butt in. “They could potentially be injured from the ghost, ghost hunters like yourselves, or even debris from the fight. Plus, being within the vicinity of the ghost puts you at more risk of being taken hostage or kidnapped, and ghosts can phase through anything so they could easily maneuver about the building to find targets and escape routes. Staying inside the building is likely only going to get people hurt, so it makes sense that they would want to get us as far away from the fighting as possible.” I stand there gaping at his words, trying to pick my mouth up off the floor as I look around to see my family’s reaction. Jazz sits stunned in her seat, glancing between Dash and my mom, who seems to be deep in thought, her expression unreadable, and Dash... he seems to have realized the gravity of his mistake, looking at me to help him rectify things.
Why do you always look at me for help? Goddamn my bleeding heart.
I turn towards mom, ready to defend Dash, for whatever reason, but before I can say anything, her face morphs into an obscure smile and she looks over at him with wild eyes. “How clever you are!” She laughs, her bloodshot eyes bulging from her head in interest, a look that dissuades me from speaking. “Oh! You are well on your way to becoming the finest hero this town has ever known! You’re acting just like your father would!” She beams at him stepping forward to pull him into a hug, leaving Jazz and I utterly floored. Dash gives her a light squeeze back, seeming a bit relieved, but something else is there. Something... sad, I just can’t figure out why. She pushes him away suddenly and returns to the counter, snatching the paper up and quickly signing on the line at the bottom, then hands it to me with a sweet smile, the craziness that she was displaying earlier vanished completely.
“There you go, honey,” she beams, sliding the paper into my hands when I don’t immediately take it. “You should thank Dash, otherwise I wouldn’t have signed this. Though I do still think I should be going over ghost safety procedures with Principal Ishiyama.” She turns away from the three of us and pulls out her phone, all the while muttering under her breath, rehearsing what she’s going to say to the principal. I turn back towards Dash, who sways where he stands, staring down at his shoes as he kicks them out anxiously.
“Uh,” I begin, not sure what I’m going to say. He looks up at me expectantly, seemingly prepared for me to lash out at him, but I don’t plan to. “Thanks.” I leave the room without waiting to see his response, my pride getting the better of me, but stop at the base of the stairs to look back, watching Mom and Dad as they set up more machinery outdoors, and feeling a pang of jealousy as Dash joins them.
Just as I am about to go up the stairs again, I feel the shiver run down my spine, fully expecting to have an attack like last time, and try to make it to the bathroom before anyone can see me, but only a small amount of smoke leaves my body this time, coming out in a small plume and immediately dissipating. It somewhat reminds me of when that Tentacle Ghost flew by me in the parking lot, almost as if my body picks up on the presence of other ghosts and alerts me. Wanting to test my theory, I lock the bathroom door in a rush, leaving me alone to focus all of my attention on turning into my ghost form, but nothing happens.
Come on. Why isn’t it working? I open my eyes, looking into the bathroom mirror at my, surprisingly, disappointed face, but I ignore my internal concerns, shaking my head as I refocus. Maybe I can cue it up somehow. I close my eyes again, concentrating as hard as I can on the image of me becoming my ghost self.
“Turn on ghost form!” I say. It doesn’t work. “Go, go ghost form!” Another failed attempt. “Come on ghosty! Uh, I’m turning ghost! I am going to become a ghost. Let me die.” I grasp my hands on the bathroom sink and let out a long, irritated groan. In a last ditch effort, I lift my head and think of one more phrase that might trigger the transformation. “I’m going ghost!” I suddenly feel my body start to tingle, and again my torso is encompassed by the bright blue light, this time, though, I watch myself transform through the mirror. My body starts to shift into the other form, starting at my waist and progressively working down towards my toes and up towards my head at once, all the while, the tingling sensation continues, spreading throughout my body as I change, once the transformation is complete, I stand in the white boots of the jumpsuit that my parents designed specifically for me, tugging at the fabric on my arms in assurance. “Of course I would have such a stupid ass catch phrase.” I sigh, settling to worry about that later.
I jump into the air a few times, trying to force my tail to form, then test out my phasing power as I float in midair, trying to gauge my speed and how capable I am with my abilities. This is actually pretty cool. Once I’ve had my fun with my powers, I focus as hard as I can and phase through the wall with no complications, emerging onto a backroad and regretting my decision immediately when a couple spots me and runs off screaming. Damn. At least it was just those guys. I focus as hard as I can and reform my legs, dropping down onto the concrete gracefully and feeling very proud of myself at the simple achievement. I don’t get much time to gloat though, because in the next instant, I hear a loud whirring sound followed by a gust of wind and electricity that whirs by my head in a bright green ball, nicking my shoulder and ripping through my jumpsuit as it passes by me, leaving me with a small gash. I whip around, looking for the source of the blast, when my attention is caught by a strange figure standing on the building across the street.
“Hello, Ghost Child.” He smiles dangerously at me with his metallic arm raised and a blaster protruding from the forearm, clearly indicating that he is the one who took the shot. “Come out and greet your audience, they’re all waiting.” I nervously step out of the alleyway and into a small crowd of people who have formed at the base of the building. They stand in awe below Skulker’s perch, parting cautiously as I make my way towards the red bricked building.
What are you idiots doing? Run away!
“I am Skulker,” he declares raising his arms theatrically as the crowd stares on in awe. “The greatest ghost hunter the world has ever known.” He turns to level his gun at me, making the crowd around me stiffen, but they still don’t leave. “And I plan to mount your head on my wall.” Everyone around us bursts into raucous applause, but I can’t help but be distracted.
Skulker. Why does that name sound familiar?
My parents burst through the door to answer my question, holding their blasters and aiming them towards me. “Skulker! What are you doing? Shoot the ghost!” My mom cries out to him, but he just rolls his eyes.
“But what would be the fun in that?” Skulker’s arm transforms into a claw looking thing and a giant net shoots out from it, collecting me within itself and forcing me off the ground to confront him. “I want a challenge. Can you offer that to me?” I can’t help but stare at the hulking brute in front of me. With an entire body made of metal, it forces me to wonder how he managed to survive getting his flesh replaced with hardware, and what kind of beast could’ve dealt so much damage.
“Stop playing games with it and kill it!” Dad yells from the ground, but Skulker completely ignores him, focusing only on me, with his glazed over eyes being the only indicator of his humanity.
“It seems that I will have to slay you before they can,” he smiles, his teeth covered in aluminum caps.
That’s right, Skulker is the guy who deemed himself my parents’ rival. I didn’t recognize him without any skin, though. Why is he targeting me? I’m hardly a threat to him, so what kind of challenge could I pose?
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” my self-defeatist retort takes him aback. “Aren’t you guys banned from fighting ghosts on order of the mayor?” I turn to look at them, a shit-earring grin plastered on my face, and the crowd follows suit. Both of them bristle at the attention, knowing that word has likely already made it to the mayor, and Mom drops her weapon.
“We will get you, ghost fiend!” she shouts before grabbing Dad by the collar and pulling him inside. I breathe a sigh of relief at their departure, but don’t have the time to relax, due to my metallic adversary holding me hostage.
“Now, I will give you a head start,” Skulker explains, then the net rips apart from the bottom, allowing me to escape and fly as quickly away from the area as possible. I manage to hide behind a dumpster as I try to collect my thoughts and calm my beating heart, but as the adrenaline dies down, I am quickly reminded of my injured shoulder. When I look it over, all I can see is bright green blood oozing out from the cut, a deep gash that might require stitches from the looks of it. The blood runs down my arm, staining the cloth bright green, despite my attempts to wipe it off.
“It’s official, folks, I am, in fact, dead.” I clamp my hand on my shoulder to slow the bleeding and continue holding onto it as I try to put as much distance between me and Skulker as I can.
After being chased around by Skulker for most of the afternoon, I wind up resting between two inconspicuous buildings on the bad side of town, though the events that lead me to wind up here are a bit hazy. It’s a strange feeling, being tired when you’re dead; it’s not as though I’m out of breath or that I’m sore, my body just feels like it is being slowly drained of energy the more that I move. To make matters worse, my wound only seems to be draining my powers faster, though it seems to be healing relatively well for how deep it was. In a desperate attempt to further protect my self by escaping from this endless cycle of fleeing Skulker and his arsenal, I try to come up with a plan. Skulker doesn’t know that I can transform back into a human, so now is the perfect time. I just have to make sure that he isn’t around here anywhere. As I scan my surroundings, careful not to be spotted by anyone, I hear a strange giggling sound come from behind me and startle in place, worried that Skulker, or my parents for that matter, might have found me.
“Ffff...” the voice coos and I spin around, terrified, eyes landing on a slumped over figure in the corner of one of the buildings, the bright blonde hair an unmistakable feature.
“Dash?” My eyes widen in concern as he whips his head up to look at me, as if he hadn’t realized that I am here. For a moment, he just stares at me, a blank expression on his face, but something washes over him and his face transforms into over-exaggerated shock.
“Fenton!” He gasps, but I’m the one left shook to my core. Forcing myself to stay calm, I try to come up with an excuse as I float closer to him, but he cuts me off. “What are you wearing? Some kinda costume? You got green eyes man!”
Hold on... does he not recognize me?
“Uh, Dash are you alright?” I ask him as I take in the surrounding area, dropping out of my tail and onto the ground with my human legs. There are bottles of beer scattered around him, all of them empty, and his breath reeks of alcohol. “Did you drink all of these yourself?”
“Fenton,” he doesn’t respond but his demeanor is so casual and friendly compared to how he normally is that I can only assume that he is completely wasted. He reaches up to grab me, pulling me down to his level and staring me in the eyes. “Are you wearing contacts? Your eyes are glowing man.”
“What are you doing here, Dash?” I try to push him off of me but he holds me down with the strength of bodybuilder.
“I needed to come here to buy alcohol,” he admits. “Never been here before and got lost, so I just started drinking.”
“Dash, you shouldn’t be wandering around down here, especially if you don’t know where you’re going. Someone could try to mug you, or murder you, or kidnap you.”
“Ha!” He bellows right in my ear. “I would love to see them try that.”
“You’re the new symbol of hope for Amity Park, you can’t be running around recklessly like this,” I scold him, making his eyes change into a sad, darkened shell of their former selves.
“I know,” he admits, surprising me a little. “Ha. I thought maybe I could escape you Fentons for a bit. Your parents are so damn obsessed with ghost hunting!” He hangs his head, covering his face with his hands as he continues to ramble, and I can do nothing but watch the events unfold, equally confused and troubled by this side of Dash that I’ve never seen. “Why’d it have to be me? Why do I have to replace him? Damn. He’d be so disappointed in me right now, would probably knock me upside the head and tell me to suck it up. It’s my responsibility now.” He goes silent and for a moment, I can do nothing but stare at him with wide eyes, genuinely shocked that he feels comfortable enough to tell this to me, of all people. “Danny, you—”
A thunderous clanging sound cuts him off, and we both look back towards the main road, trying to deduce what’s going on, when I quickly realize that I’d been chatting away my opportunity to escape from that psychopath. I whip my head towards Dash, who looks at me with droopy eyes, as he is clearly on the verge of passing out. I can’t transform back in front of him. He’ll definitely notice something’s off if I do.
“Ugh, I don’t feel good.” I ignore his muttering and rush over to peer out around the side of the building, looking towards where the sound is coming from, to see Skulker pounding the concrete in underneath his feet as he walks, likely trying to conserve fuel for his thrusters.
“Dash,” I spring back over to him, putting my hands on his shoulders and bringing his attention back to me. “Listen, something is coming for us and we need to get out of here, okay?”
“I don’t have time to explain, but I need you to stand up,” I direct, pulling at his arms to try to get him to move, but he remains seated. “Dash—“
“I know you’re here, child,” Skulker’s voice sounds much closer to us, which incites a panic inside of me. “This has been quite the chase, I will admit, but you are nowhere near powerful enough to stop me. And I will keep hunting you until one of us is erased from this earth. Make this easier on yourself and stop running.” His words hit me hard, leaving me stunned in fear as I cling to the limp Dash’s sleeve, unable to think properly, unable to come up with a plan. I’ve almost resigned myself to my fate when I feel a hand on my forearm, and look down to see Dash pushing me off of him.
“Just go,” he whispers, head sagging towards the ground in defeat, as if he understands perfectly what I am feeling.
Why? You hate me, Dash, so why aren’t you being the selfish prick that you always are? Why aren’t you trying to protect yourself? His words ignite something in me, and I feel myself regaining the will to fight again. I look down at him as he rests limply against the cold concrete floor and realize what I have to do. Just focus on protecting him. Don’t worry about yourself right now. I lean down and grab Dash around the waist, heaving him onto my shoulder and almost collapsing at his weight.
“What are you doing?” He whines but doesn’t move a muscle to oppose me. “I don’t want to be carried.”
“We have to get out of here Dash,” I hear the metal footfalls of my opponent closing in and I feel my resolve strengthen. I can’t fly away while carrying him. He’s too heavy. But if I could just transform back... “Please just stay still, I’m gonna try something.” I try my hardest to float myself into the air, hovering mere inches off the ground so that I can make my attempt at phasing through the wall. If I can just make it through here, I’ll have bought us some time. I put all of my strength into phasing both of us at once, feeling my body shift in a different way than I had before, then force the power through Dash as I hold him up. “Dash, hang on.” He doesn’t respond, instead just grabbing onto the back of my jumpsuit, assuring me that he is listening.
Skulker’s footsteps begin to shake the ground, indicating that he’s only a few steps away from noticing us, so, abandoning my sense of caution, I plunge forward into the wall ahead of us, collapsing to my knees once I make it through with Dash still hanging onto my clothes, his grip far tighter from the traumatic turn of events. “Oh... god... I’m gonna be sick.” Dash releases my back to cover his mouth and I move quickly, trying to get him away from me before he pukes, setting him on the ground as gently as I can without breaking my back. “Ugh...” he groans in agony, still suppressing his vomit, while I rest on my hands and knees a few paces away from him.
“Are you okay?” I ask him after I’ve recovered enough, but he doesn’t respond, and when I look up at him, he’s slumped against the wall, unmoving. “Dash?” I cry out, weakly crawling over to check his condition, but my arms fail me and I collapse right in front of him. With all of the excitement, I hadn’t realized how exhausted I was, but now, my body is completely unable to sustain the ghost form any longer and I transform back into Danny Fenton. For a moment, I worry that I might faint, but I manage to remain conscious as I stumble over to check on Dash. He’s still breathing and he has a pulse when I check for one, but he’s completely passed out, likely because of a combination of the alcohol and the rush of adrenaline that he just experienced. Relieved, I sit down next to him on the wall, a flurry of questions running through my head.
Why is he even out here? Doesn’t he know how dangerous it is? And is Skulker going to find us? I don’t hear his footsteps anymore, so he must’ve passed by. Did he see us? No. If he had, he’d be here by now. But how the heck am I gonna get this dumbass home?
I feel Dash stir on my back, and his breathing becomes softer, alerting me that he is awake. “What are you doing?” He asks coldly.
Looks like the beer wore off.
“You were passed out in an alley on the west side,” I explain. “So I’m carrying you home.”
“Put me down.” I bend over and set his legs down and he staggers away from me, but quickly reaches a hand out, grabbing onto my shoulder to steady himself when he almost falls. He doesn’t remove it when he regains his balance, instead leaning in slightly, as if he wants to use me as a crutch.
“I’ll help you.”
“...I don’t need you,” he looks away, frustration building on his face as he leans on me for support, but I don’t respond, just letting us continue on in comfortable silence, the sunset lighting our way home.
Thank you all so much for reading! I’ve loved writing this series so much and I’m happy to see that people want to read it. So thank you again!
Fandom: Danny Phantom, Percy Jackson and the Olympians - Rick Riordan
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Major Character Death
Relationships: Danny Fenton & Tucker Foley, Minor or Background Relationship(s)
Characters: Danny Fenton, Tucker Foley, Sam Manson, Dash Baxter, Vlad Masters, Kwan (Danny Phantom)
Additional Tags: PJO AU, Alternate Universe - Percy Jackson Fusion, Camp Half-Blood (Percy Jackson), Percy Jackson References, Danny Fenton Needs A Hug, Hurt Danny Fenton, The Author Regrets Nothing, Capture the Flag, Tucker Foley has feelings, Non-Graphic Violence, spoilers from now on, danny dies, ok, i know that was canon, but still, no graphic stuff, Jazz is dead as of this chapter, Son of Ares! Dash, Daughter of Demeter! Sam, Son of Hephaestus! Tucker, Centaur! Lancer, Son of Hades! Vlad, Daughter of Athena! Jazz, Son of Hermes! Kwan, Son of Hades! Danny, Zeus kills Danny, Like a coward, Poor Danny, I did this instead of doing alive person things, Brainy told me to do this, so I did it instead of writing for my WIPs, no beta we die like negligent enbys
Series: Part 2 of DP PJO AU
Danny rested his head back against the trunk of the tree, breathing out. Did he teleport? What was that?
"Fenton!" He heard Dash scream and saw the jock under his tree, "Get back down here, you little coward!"
Danny stared at him, contemplating keeping quiet for once, but his mouth was quicker, "That doesn't sound very appealing, so no."
Some thoughts about the Trio / The A-Listers history with each other
I touched on some of this junk breifly in this post but I'm ret conning that casue I like these ideas better
-Rather than having Sam move to Amity I figure it just makes sense for her to not have started hanging out with Tucker and Danny til highschool. They knew each other in kindergarten but went to different elementary schools and never really interacted in middle school. So when Danny meets Sam again at the horror movie marathon it takes her a while to realize, WAIT, YOU WERE THAT LITTLE SHIT THAT PUSHED ME OFF THE MONKEY BARS AND FUCKED UP MY WRIST-
-Tucker is the only one that's Danny has known and hung out with consistently since kindergarten, and that's part of the reason he feels threatened by Sam at first.
-Sam was friends with Paulina in elementary school and they had a falling out in middle school
-Danny used to do Cheer with Paulina. He was friends with star bc Astrology. Also Dash, just from being in close proximity of little league football.
-None of the realize that Danny is the same person as Ellie from Jr Cheer, and probably don't until after they become part of team Phantom.
-Val was never in cheer, but she did do martial arts with jazz. She doesn't start hanging with the A listers til middle school.
-Danny still has a crush on Paulina but is afraid to talk to her and that's part of the reason it takes her forever to figure who he is.
-The entire reason the A listers have a vendetta against the trio is bc of the issues Sam and paulina have with each other and it just totally spirals outta control. Danny and Dash's dislike of each other is less, I dislike you bc I have personal beef with you and more, "my best friend has designated Your Best Friend as The Enemy, and I hate you by rules of association," bc high school really do just be like that sometimes.
-Both dash and paulina have a crush on phantom. They're also fake dating bc closeted bi / gay SOLIDARITY babes
Hey y’all, currently on vacation but feel free to fill the ol’ inbox with asks. About anything I guess. I have a few more Dash fics on the way of course, but taking a break after commissions and such. Anyhow, enjoy the day and ask away.