Summary: When Danny went through the ghost catcher, he expected to be cured of the ghostliness that had haunted him since the accident, not to wake up on the lab floor with his parents saying he’d been overshadowed but everything’s back to normal now. But why does Danny Fenton cry himself to sleep to then dream of flying? Why does Phantom, the ghost who was supposedly possessing Danny remember a life that wasn’t his? Most of all, why do both the human and the ghost feel that something vital is missing, in their very soul?
Or: Trying to cure himself of his powers one month after the accident, Danny accidentally splits himself but neither his ghost nor his human half know that that is what they did
First -> Last
Word Count: 5,208
Also on AO3 and Fanfiction.net
Note: I'm finally back with an update! It's been a while. I've been busy with my Invisobang story but it's finally finished. There's more about that at the end. But anyway, enjoy this much awaited chapter of Face to Face!
Fenton was distracted staring at the clock...again. His math teacher, Mr. Faluca, droned on in front of him and he was trying to listen. He really was but….there was just so much going on in his mind. Yes, he was less worried now that Phantom was back from the Ghost Zone, but now his curiosity was peaked. Halfa. There was a word for what he was and right now, his other self was talking about that with Sidney, the ghost he’d met earlier.
Fenton was so tempted to peak. He could, he realized. He could softly withdraw and see through Phantom’s eyes and hear through his ears. But… he needed to stay here, stay present. He was the human half right now, just Fenton. He couldn’t risk getting lost, getting tangled up with Phantom again before they were ready and able to really be one person.
So Fenton pushed away the thought. He put his pencil to his paper, copying the numbers and equations down. So this was new material. His brow furrowed, trying to figure out where the teacher was. After a few minutes, his expression relaxed. Alright, okay. This was actually starting to make sense.
Class continued and Fenton continued taking notes. About ten minutes later, the intercom turned on. “Danny Fenton.” The boy looked up, stiffening at his name. “Danny Fenton. Your father’s here to pick you up.”
Fenton’s stomach suddenly flopped with nerves as he felt his classmates’ eyes on him.
Mr. Faluca turned to look at the boy. “Go ahead Danny.”
He quickly started packing up his things, trying to ignore the muttering of the teens around him. Moments later, he stood and slung his bag over his shoulders. Head hung low, Fenton walked past his teacher and opened the door as the lesson continued without him.
Now in the hallway, his thoughts whirled, his worries resurging. Why was his Dad here? Why was he picking him up early? And-
The boy paused, the realization suddenly hitting him like a freight train as he passed by the rusty locker 724. Phantom. His ghost half had run off, in front of Mom. The woman was probably worried out of her mind.
The boy then continued, pulling his phone out of his pocket. Huh...it was actually surprising that he hadn’t got a panicked phone call from one of his parents yet. But that must be why Dad was here to pick him up. Obviously, Mom had told Dad what happened in the lab. And it made sense. If ghost Danny was missing, they’d want to make sure human Danny was safe at least.
Fenton’s heart sank in guilt at that thought. He hadn’t even called his parents. Not after he’d calmed down at lunch and not after Phantom had arrived through the portal. They’d both been silent for the past hour. Well...at least he’d get the chance to tell his parents what happened and ease their worries soon. Actually, he could do more than just tell them that Phantom was safe.
The human reached out with his mind, calling into the empty space between the two pieces of his mind. Phantom?
A gentle nudge was received in acknowledgement.
Fenton swallowed. Dad’s here to pick me up. You need to come too. He’s probably worried out of his mind.
The echo of his own guilt came back, projected from Phantom. Alright. I’ll meet you in the car.
Fenton nodded, humming in acknowledgement before he turned his attention back to walking down the hall. After a quick stop at his locker, the boy continued towards the front office. He pushed open the door, freezing as he saw the people staring back at him.
“Dad….Jazz.” He muttered, eyes flickering between his father and sister’s worried faces.
“Danny.” Dad breathed, relief flashing over his face. He took a step forward, sweeping the boy up in a hug.
The human Danny stiffened, blushing at the attention. His gaze shifted to the secretary who was looking at the large figure blocking the door with barely contained judgment. “Dad. I’m okay.” The boy muttered, pulling away.
His father’s face fell but before he could reply, Jazz advanced. Her face was set with deep worry. “Danny. Do you know where-”
“Yes.” Fenton cut her off, anticipating her question. “He’s safe.”
“But where-” She started.
“Not right here.” The boy whispered.
“Come on. Let’s go to the car.” Dad interjected, placing a gentle hand on Fenton’s shoulder.
The man returned to the desk to sign the two teenagers out of school before the three quickly walked towards the front doors. They exited, crossing the parking lot towards the GAV. Dad unlocked the vehicle and the three piled in.
As soon as Fenton was seated in the backseat, Jazz turned to face him from her place in the front. “Your ghost half ran away to the Ghost Zone?!” Her eyes were wide, tone rising with exacerbation.
“Yes. We did but-” Fenton held on his hands.
“How could you do that, Danny?!” She pointed. “And how long ago was this?”
“Maybe...an hour and a half? But-”
“An hour and half?!” Jazz glared. “And you didn’t come get me! You didn’t even call-”
“Jazz.” Dad cut her off, voice uncharacteristically serious. “Stop berating your brother.” He turned to Fenton, expression softening. “The other you is safe?”
The human Danny nodded. “Yes.”
“And where is he?” The man calmly asked.
His eyes flickered out towards the school. “Still in the school.”
“What?” Jazz gapped.
Dad raised a brow. “Maddie said he ran off through the portal.”
“We...he did.” Fenton bit his lip. “But uh...long story short, he managed to find his way back.”
“How?” His sister asked.
“So...umm...apparently, there’s a portal to the Ghost Zone in one of the lockers? Phantom managed to find it and flew through it.”
“And he’s still in the school because?” Jazz sounded slightly skeptical.
“He’s making sure Sidney gets back to the Ghost Zone okay.” Fenton said plainly, the information suddenly entering his mind. “He’ll meet us out here soon.”
Dad’s brow furrowed. “Who’s Sidney?”
“Oh.” The boy blinked, realizing what he said. “He’s...uh...a ghost who helped the other me find the portal. They talked about ghost stuff and..” He met Dad’s eyes, tentatively. “Apparently, the ghosts have a word for what I am. I’m a halfa.”
His father’s eyes widened in response. For a long moment, he paused as if processing. Then he swallowed. “We can talk about all of that later but your mother….”
Fenton paled, looking down. “Oh...uhh...yeah.” He froze, anymore words dying in his throat.
Jazz broke the silence. “Where is Mom?”
Dad’s frown deepened. “She’s….” He trailed off as if it was too hard to continue.
More tense silence. There was a tickle in the back of his mind, Phantom wondering if Dad was still waiting in the parking lot. Fenton replied with the image in front of him.
Phantom responded. Wait for me. I’m coming.
The ghost’s more active presence withdrew before Fenton could reply. The human looked up. “Phantom will be here in less than a minute.”
True to what he said, his ghost self soon phased through the back of the GAV. He flickered into view beside his human self.
Dad and Jazz both flinched, surprised at the sudden appearance before relaxing.
Phantom bit his lip. “I’m here now. Sorry it took so long.”
“You didn’t have any trouble with the ghost, did you?” Dad asked, raising a brow.
The ghost boy shook his head. “Nope. Sidney’s cool. We had to finish our conversation.” For a second, Dad and Jazz looked like they wanted to ask. But Phantom continued before they could, his gaze flickering nervously around the van. “Where...where’s Mom?”
There was a pause before Dad started, tentatively. “Your mom….she…” He pulled out his phone. “She left me a message on my phone. Here...let me show you.”
Fenton and Phantom both said nothing, anxiety flaring as the man pulled up the voicemail.
“Jack! Pick up your phone!” Mom’s panicked voice rang through the phone. “Come on Jack! You need to pick up! Jack!” Her voice rose as she rambled. “Our son...our son, he ran off through the portal. Through the portal Jack! He...he came downstairs to talk to me and….I f-cked up Jack. I f-cked up!” Fenton flinched, shocked at the language.
“Oh god I...I...Jack, I screwed up.” Her voice wavered, sounding watery. “He...he said...he said he was upset with me and...and...oh god...I just yelled at him. I just sat there and yelled at him and….oh god, I f-cked up Jack.”
There was a clatter, the sound of quick footsteps. “He ran off and…. I need to fix this. I have to fix this. I….” She paused, determination entering her voice. “I’m going through the portal. I’m...I’m going to find our son and bring him home.” More clatter, metal thumping again metal. “Go pick up Jazz and the other Danny. Make sure they’re safe and tell them I love them. And I’ll see you soon, okay? I’ll see you soon and the rest of our son will be with me.”
The message ended with a beep. There was a sudden, deep silence. After far too long, Phantom spoke. “She went...she went after us. Through the portal.”
Dad nodded grimly. “I went back to the house before coming to get you and she was gone.”
The ghost’s hands were shaking. “She’s….Mom’s in the Ghost Zone, looking for me. But…” He put his head in his hands. “I’m not there.”
“I know.” Dad said quietly. “You’re safe and...your mom is a capable woman. She’ll be okay.” He turned back to face the windshield. “We need to head home now, okay? We’ll find a way to get up with her and everything will be okay.”
Phantom really hoped so. He did. He took a seat beside Fenton, reaching for his seat belt at the same time the human reached for his. The ghost’s hand lingered over the lock. He hadn’t done this, hadn’t been in a car since he’d split himself, since he was still trying to pretend that he was a normal human. He buckled the seatbelt. Now he was a ghost and he was sitting in the back of the GAV and Mom was the one lost in the Ghost Zone. Suddenly, he wanted to zip right out of this car, through the roof and go home. He needed to find Mom, even if...even if-.
He shivered, a thousand possibilities tumbling around in his head. He’d managed to push it away for a time but what Mom had said to him before he ran off still tore at his heart. The anger had leaked out of him but he was still hurt and scared and confused. And now he was shook up after hearing that message. Mom cussed. She cussed. And she was panicking and scared and said she’d screwed up, that she’d had to fix this. She was determined to bring him home. Was she...maybe she was sorry? Maybe she...she got it now. And...he wanted to hope. He wanted to hope so bad but it hurt and he didn’t know what to do or think or-
Fenton leaned into him, interrupting his thought. There was a brief flash of worry and then...the human was taking deep, purposeful breaths, trying to calm down. Phantom needed to calm down too. He couldn’t panic, couldn’t worry about all this right now. Instead he leaned back into Fenton’s side and tried to relax. Passively, the two clasped hands.
“Danny?” Jazz’s voice interrupted, her eyes focusing on Phantom, who looked up in acknowledgement. “I’m happy you’re safe.” She bit her lip and the ghost boy knew she was nervous like he was. “It’s going to be okay.” The girl could have been saying that for his benefit or for her own.
In response, Dad’s gaze flickered towards his daughter and then at the two boy’s through the rearview mirror. His eyes rounded, worriedly but lovingly, before he focused back on the road as they turned a corner.
The vehicle flew down the road while the passengers sat in silence. For once, Dad’s fast driving was the least distressing thing on Phantom’s mind. And it was fitting, that the man was in such a hurry to get home and figure out what to do. But the ghost had already made up his mind.
After what somehow felt like the blink of an eye and hours at the same time, the vehicle pulled into the driveway and slammed to a stop. All the passengers unbuckled. In a breath, Phantom turned invisible.
Dad looked back, eyes widening. Jazz gasped in worry. “Danny!”
The boy huffed. “I’m still right here. I’m gonna stay invisible until we get in the house. I don’t exactly want the neighbors to see me.”
His sister sighed. “Alright.”
“Come on kids.” Dad said visibly relaxing.
Phantom exited the GAV, following his human self. He shivered in the air. Now that he was here, at the house, it was taking all his self control to not dart forward in front of his family and fly down to the lab, through the portal, and-
Fenton found his wrist without effort and led him to the front door without a word. Dad unlocked it and the kids followed him into the house. Once they’d passed the threshold, Phantom had had enough. With the door closed, he returned to visibility and raced across the living room, kitchen, and down the basement stairs. He stopped at the bottom, eyes falling on the still open portal.
Behind him, the sound of footsteps pounded. His sister’s and father’s worried voices rang out. But the ghost didn’t listen, too focused on the portal and the soft song emanating from it. A sound which he knew the purpose of and wasn’t as scared of anymore.
Fenton jogged through the door and hopped down the stairs with the rest of the family at his heels. The human stopped abruptly, coming to stand beside his ghost who then turned to face his father and sister.
“I need to go after her.” Phantom said quietly but with determination.
Jazz’s expression shifted, turning serious. “You can’t do that.”
“Jazz.” He started, testedly. “I need to help Mom. She’s only...she’s only there because of me and anything could be happening to her and-”
“Your Mom can handle herself.” Dad cut in, equally serious. “I don’t want you putting yourself in danger too.”
The human Danny frowned. “She went off without a plan. No supplies. No idea what she’d face. She’s probably lost.”
His sister argued. “And getting yourself lost wouldn’t help her!”
“I won’t get lost.” The ghost straightened, confidently. “Look. Mom’s not coming back on her own until she finds me. I’ve actually been in the Ghost Zone before. And I can fly. I can get us out of trouble if something happens and get both of us back in no time.”
Dad took a breath considering. “I understand that son. But...none of that will help you if you manage to get lost yourself. You don’t know how far away your mom is. And what if you do find her but get lost on the way back?”
“Mom couldn’t have gotten that far.“ Fenton insisted, holding up his arms. “And Phantom literally can’t get lost.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Jazz rose a brow in challenge.
“I literally can’t get lost in the Ghost Zone.” The ghost deadpanned. He grabbed onto Fenton’s arm. “If other me stays here, I’ll always have a beacon to lead me back.”
Dad and Jazz’s brows both furrowed in confusion. “Really?” Dad frowned.
“That’s how he got back to the school earlier.” Fenton supplied. “We’re connected because ya know, same person. He followed that line back to me.”
Dad tilted his head. “You could use that to find your way back after you find your mom?”
Phantom nodded. “And Fenton can keep you guys updated. I can show or tell him what’s happening.”
Dad still looked confused, like he wanted to ask more but after a long moment, acceptance crossed his face. He conceded. “Alright. Go find your mom.” The ghost boy floated higher off the floor and turned to face to portal.
“Hold on a second.” Jazz interrupted. She stepped forward and hugged Phantom. “Be careful little brother.”
“Yeah. Of course.” Ghost Danny returned the hug before pulling away.
A second later, Dad was wrapping him up in a bear hug. “I love you and...I’m sorry.”
“I...it’s okay. I love you too.” He whispered, returning the hug. His core pulsed nervously. The memory of his conversation with Dad last night flashed through his mind. He might have understood what Dad was apologizing for. For how Mom acted, for not being there for that conversation. But either way- “It’s not your fault.”
Dad didn’t reply to the statement, squeezing his son a little tighter. “Hurry back but be safe Danny-boy.”
Phantom pulled away from his father and finally, his eyes fell on the one person left to address. He grabbed Fenton’s hand and squeezed. “I'll be back soon.”
The human put his other arm around him, pulling him into a hug. “I know. Go find her. And…” He bit his lip and the ghost could feel his worry at the idea of facing Mom again. “It’ll be okay...we’ll be okay.”
The ghost squeezed back. “Yeah. We will.” He pulled away before flying towards the portal. With one last look back, he dove through for the second time that day.
The Ghost Zone (World of the Dead? Infinite Realms?) was the same as the last time he’d entered. Swirling green, floating rocks, purple doors in the distance. But this time, he was more aware of his immediate surroundings. He paused, right outside of the portal to take in the environment. The portal’s frame was sitting on a shelf of rock. The shelf dropped off about ten feet in front of him. To either side, it dropped off after about twenty feet. He turned back around, facing the swirling green light. There was the portal but...what if he walked behind it?
There was in fact something behind it. The frame of the portal closed off in the back, forming a wall of sleek metal that reminded him of the lab at home. Phantom turned away from the frame, his back facing it. He frowned, spotting the edge of the rock again. It went all the way around, like the portal sat in the middle of an island or...he quickly floated over to the edge. The rock continued downward, like he was on the top of a mountain or a cliff.
He felt the shadow of his heart skip a beat. If Mom wasn’t up here, then had she fallen? His eyes desperately searched over the landscape for a scrap of blue, the color of his mom’s jumpsuit.
“Mom!” He called out. “Where are you?”
There was no reply, her form not in sight. Frantically, Phantom turned to the side. Still nothing. He flew to the front of the portal. “Mom!”
He then looked down, gasping. There was a tiny spot of blue, standing out in clear contrast to the green and brown landscape. It must have been hundreds of feet down, at the base of the structure. The boy started shaking, panic overtaking him. She’d...she’d fallen, hadn’t she? Was she hurt or...or….
His eyes then widened noticing something. The small dot of blue was moving. No, not just moving. But moving quickly as if the figure was running or jogging along a narrow strip of rock, away from him. Stepping off the ledge, the ghost started descending.
“Mom!” He tried again, to no response. Obviously, she couldn’t hear him.
Phantom dove faster, keeping his eyes pinned on the blue figure as it continued down the twisting path. The road, since that’s what it resembled, twisted back, forming stairs and sloping down under itself. Then it met another, darker colored strip, forming something like a crossroads.
The ghost boy flew closer as the figure jogged down the stairs. Then he paused, flinched at what sounded like a motorcycle engine. Reflexively, he flickered invisible. He glanced down the darker path at the crossroads. Something metal glinted in the dim light as the noise approached. Seconds later, the object materialized in the crossroads. It was in fact a motorcycle and...two glowing figures sat on the bike. The blue figure froze.
Phantom paled, his speed increasing. Seconds later, he landed above the crossroads at a raised part of the road. His back faced the stairs that the blue figure had just run down. His eyes widened as he recognized the scene.
In the crossroads, two ghosts, both of whom were in their early twenties, sat on a motorcycle. The man had greasy looking blonde hair and was wearing a biker jacket. Behind him sat a woman with green hair, in a red jacket and mini skirt.
“What is that?” The woman asked.
“Kitty, I think...that’s a human.” The other glowing figure’s voice rose in harsh disbelief. “What is a human doing here?”
The girl scowled, judgmentally. “And what are they wearing?”
The blue clad figure slowly approached, holding something long and metallic to their side. “I’m not looking for any trouble.” A familiar voice rang out, slightly desperate. “Please. I’m just trying to find my son.”
Phantom gasped, his core pulsing excitedly. That was his Mom’s voice. Mom! Mom was in front of him. She was okay. She was alive and walking around and….She was...being pinned by two unfamiliar ghosts.
The ghost boy stiffened at the sudden realization. He sprung into action, calling out. “Mom!”
The two ghosts looked in his direction, brows furrowing at his exclamation. “What was that?” The girl, Kitty, asked.
Phantom ignored the question, darting in between the ghostly couple and his Mom. He tensed, holding his arms out to shield her.
“What’s going on?” Mom startled, taking a step back. “What was that?”
The man’s brow furrowed. He blinked, eyes focusing on Phantom. Then he snorted. “Kid? You tryin’ ta mess with this human too?”
“Mess with?” He muttered. Then Phantom frowned, realization hitting him like a brick wall. He was still invisible. With a slight mental push, he reappeared.
“Danny?” Mom’s disbelieving voice rang out behind him. Then it shifted into something relieved and hopeful. “Danny!”
The boy turned to the side. “Mom.” The same relief was in his voice.
The woman dropped her weapon. She took a step forward until she was close enough to touch. Mom reached out but Phantom was faster. Before he could really think about it, he was clinging to the woman from the side. “Mom! I found you.”
Mom was shaking. Her hand reached up to run fingers through his hair. “Danny. Baby, you’re okay.”
“Yeah, I’m okay.” He squeezed her. “And you’re...you’re not hurt or….”
Near the pair, someone snorted. “Mama’s boy.” Then there was yelp. “Ow. What’d you elbow me for?!”
“Give him a break Johnny.” The green haired woman chastised. “He’s what? Twelve?”
Phantom scowled, turning his head towards the other ghosts. “I’m fourteen!”
“Same difference.” The man waved him off.
Ghost Danny stepped away from his mother again. Now that he knew she was really here and uninjuried, he turned his attention back to the other ghosts, though he did cast a worried look behind him.
“So…” The man, Johnny, looked between the two, a curious if slightly up-to-no-good expression on his face. “How did a human end up here?”
“None of your business.” Mom said quickly, seriously.
Johnny raised a brow. “Some ritual to contact your dead son gone wrong?” Phantom and his mother both flinched at the word. “Found a thin spot and you waited for a portal to open.”
“Like she said.” The ghost boy glared. “It’s none of your business.”
The man smirked, opening his mouth to retort but Kitty elbowed him again. “Leave them alone Johnny. Let’s go.”
“Come on kitten. There’s a good story here.”
The young woman crossed her arms. “We’re going to Ember’s party. We’ll be late if you don’t hurry up.”
“Fine. I’m going.” Johnny rolled his eyes. Placing his hands on the handles, he pumped the gas. “See you ‘round kid.”
The two ghosts speed off, Phantom watching them warily until they disappeared into the distance. Finally, he relaxed, turning around to face the woman. For a moment, he hovered. After the initial hug, he was at a loss for what to do. He’d found Mom and she was physically okay. They should head home-
Mom quickly stepped forward, wrapping her arms around him without hesitation. “Danny baby.” She gently cupped the back of his head. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.” Somehow, with the stress of the confrontation over, she sounded more relieved than before. Her voice broke, sounding watery. “I shouldn’t...I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I shouldn’t have said that. But I love you. I love you so much, baby.”
The ghost listened to the words, his eyes tearing up. But he didn’t have it in him to return the hug. He didn’t pull away either. Instead he stood there, torn in two directions. He was happy, so happy that his Mom was safe. And the lack of hesitation, the words. They were exactly what he wanted to hear but…..
“It’s okay. You’re okay. It’s going to be okay, Danny. I love you so much.”
What was with the change in attitude? Well, he did run off to another dimension, after telling Mom that he didn’t think she loved him. And well...oh god he had no idea what to think. This was too much. Too much. He needed to just get them home and-
Mom pulled away, peering at him with tearfilled eyes. She gently cupped his face. “Danny baby. Look at me.” Obediently, he shifted his eyes up, to maintain her gaze. But it was a struggle as tears welled in his eyes and his lip quivered. “I love you.” The woman breathed. “I love this you. I love Fenton….” He averted his gaze from her eyes, an ache piercing his core. “And I love Phantom. I love both parts of you. You’re a part...you’re a part of my son. And I love this part.” Her voice wavered, tears falling down her face. “I shouldn’t...I shouldn’t have made you think that I didn’t, that I wouldn’t love you because you’re a ghost but-”
Suddenly looking down again, Phantom pulled away. Damnit, damnit, damnit! This hurt too much. He couldn’t stay here, couldn’t do this, could’t hear her say those words when...when….
Mom’s expression fell. Slowly, she lowered her hand and didn’t reach for him again. “You’re still upset with me?”
Numbly he nodded. Yes, yes he was. Because they’d done this before. He’d heard her say this before, that she loved all of him and then she’d contradicted it with her actions. And he couldn't...he couldn’t hope again, he couldn’t trust again. It was too good to be true. It was-
“That’s alright.” Mom finally said. “You should be upset with me. I deserve that. But I do...I do lo-”
Another stab at his core. “We should get out of here.” Phantom cut her off. “We can have this conversation later, once we’re back through the portal.”
Somehow, Mom’s expression became even more heartbroken but she didn’t argue. “Come on then.” She started turning back the way she’d come.
“I was going to fly us back.” Phantom said plainly.
The woman turned back around. “Oh of course.” Her frown deepened, studying him. “You’re going to carry me?”
His shoulder’s fell, pouting. “You know that I’m perfectly capable of that.”
“That’s not what I meant, sweetie.” She said gently, taking a step forward. “How do you want to do this?”
Phantom hesitated for a moment. “Here, put one arm around my neck.” The woman did so. “And I’ll grab your legs. Now hold on.” The ghost grabbed her legs, adjusted the woman so he was holding her legs and back with his arms. Both her arms looped around his neck. Slowly, he rose off the ground. “Don’t look down.”
A small forced smile unfurled her lips. “I won’t.”
The boy hummed, looking up at their destination. “How did you get all the way down here anyway?”
“I climbed.” Mom said plainly.
“You climbed?” He rose a brow in disbelief.
“It was the only option.” She muttered. “I had to find you, Danny.” There was no anger, no judgement. Just the determination, the desperation he’s heard from her earlier.
Ghost Danny didn’t reply, looking at the portal again. Well, it turned out, he had found her instead of the other way around.
Mom bit her lip. “It really scared me, when you ran off. But...we’re going home now.” She looked at him earnestly. “Everything will be okay. I’ll...I’ll find a way to make all of this up to you.”
Oh god. He hoped...he hoped he could believe her. He wanted to but...time would tell.
Endnote: Thanks for reading! I'm also going to take some time to pump up my Invisobang story. It's 76K, guys! That's literally the second longest fic I've ever written. Posting day is August 23rd so please check it out when it comes out (For the angst, clones, identity crises, friendship, sibling bonding, and Frostbite being a good mentor/dad.)
For RedStarryNight on dA of his idea for a Miraculous Ladybug/Danny Phantom crossover! Here’s a snippet he wrote to create the atmosphere for this piece:
“Chat Noir doesn't know where their new friend comes from. He speaks no French--when he speaks at all, fades into the air after every shining butterfly flaps away, and as they discover when they have to help him stagger away from one particularly onerous fight, he's apparently sleeping in the dark corners of Paris's opera house, or meditating among the skeletons in the catacombs.
Wherever he comes from, he's obviously fleeing it--and dying with every step away from home.
Chat's heart bleeds for his new friend; beaten down as he is, this Phantom still shrugs off his cares and heartache to help them protect Paris. Ladybug agonizes over Phantom; she wants to help--they both do--but Phantom only smiles and shakes his head. But at least it IS a smile.
So, they seek him out. Talk to him. Treat him like a friend (because he is). Like they're happy he's there (because they are). They bring him food, tell him about their days and their adventures. He doesn't send them away, and sometimes he laughs. Someday soon, they'll know what they can do; being heroes, they're always happy to save someone.”
Summary: For Phic Phight 2021, Prompt by @amabsis A sixteen years old Danny Fenton helps his fourteen year old counterpart through his first night as a ghost.
Word Count: 7,795
Also on AO3 and fanfiction.net
Prompt: Season 3 Danny Phantom gets transported to the past and only Season 1 Danny Fenton can see him
“That’s not how it happened.” Danny frowned, looking through one of Clockwork’s time windows.
The window showed the empty lab as a fourteen year old Danny stumbled out of the newly activated portal. The boy was hyperventilating, green eyes widening as he stared in horror at his glowing hands. In Clockwork’s lair, Danny shivered; he couldn’t hear the words but he could guess them. No. No. No. A sting of panicked denials from the boy in the scene. Of course, Danny could guess them; he’d been in the same position, felt the same fear. But….
“Where’s Sam and Tucker?” The sixteen year old quietly asked, his heart aching. He turned to look at the Ancient ghost who was floating beside him. “They’re supposed to be there.”
Clockwork frowned. “That isn’t your timeline.” He motioned towards the window, for Danny to continue watching.
Across the screen, the other Danny was stumbling across the lab before throwing the bathroom door open. He froze in front of the mirror, his green eyes wide with fear. He reached forward, seeming to verify he was in fact looking at a mirror. Then the boy recoiled. His chest heaved, eyes watering.
“This is a timeline where you were alone during your accident.” His mentor explained.
In front of the pair, there was a flash of light. A ring of light formed around the other Danny’s waist, turning him human. He stumbled, gasping as he touched down. The boy stared at his now bare hands. Relief passed over his face for an instant...before his hand disappeared. The other Danny’s mouth opened in what was likely a scream.
Danny ripped his eyes away, unable to watch any longer as his own memories of his accident hit him. So very similar except...Sam and Tucker were beside him. The goth’s teary eyes as she realized he was a ghost. Their frantic questions and panicked footsteps as he rushed to the bathroom. Their shock and then relief when he turned human. Tucker’s hand on his wrist, checking his pulse. The technogeek’s surprised scream as Danny’s hand turned intangible and fell through his friend’s hand. Renewed panic. Sam’s comforting hands on his back. His friends helping him stumble up the stairs and to his bedroom.
In Clockwork’s lair, Danny shivered, feeling his eyes water. His mentor’s hundreds of clocks ticked around the pair, the Master of Times’ comforting arm around him.
Danny remained frozen like that for a while, the memories replaying. His accident had been terrifying and stressful, the source of many nightmares but….he’d had his friends with him.
His heart clenched, looking up at the screen. The image showed his other self, huddled on his bed and crying.
Danny hadn’t been alone but...the boy on the screen, his other self, had been. The sixteen year old frowned. He could hardly imagine that yet it had happened to another version of himself, was happening in front of him and….
“What will happen to him now?” The boy asked, his stomach flopping with worry.
Clockwork remained silent for a moment, his brow furrowed as if in thought. Then he turned red eyes onto Danny. “It is not a favorable timeline.” The old ghost mused sadly. “If things continue, he will never tell his friends. He will push them away and his family as well. It will be a sad, lonely existence. And likely a short one.”
Danny paled, eyes widening. That sounded horrible, painful. He could imagine it, feeling so isolated and afraid. He wouldn’t wish that on this worst enemy and….he shivered… while the circumstances were vastly different, something reminded him far too much of another alternative timeline he’d seen, one Clockwork had diverted him from.
The boy looked at the screen, frowning. “Can you do something, Clockwork?”
The older ghost looked down at him, frowning thoughtfully. He tapped his chin, humming. “I myself cannot...however….”
Danny perked up. “What is it?” Clockwork floated purposefully away, holding up a finger. “Clockwork?”
His mentor flew to a rack along the wall and grabbed a familiar looking device. The older ghost returned, depositing the gear shaped medallion in Danny’s hands.
The boy furrowed in brow in confusion before realization hit him. He looked up, frowning. “Me? What can I do?”
Clockwork motioned to the screen again. “You can ensure he doesn’t spend his first night as a ghost alone.”
Danny looked at the window, remembering. His first night after the accident...watching a movie with Sam and Tucker. Them comforting him while chills wracked his body, his limbs turning invisible and intangible against his will. On the bed, his younger counterpart was still crying.
In the lair, the boy steeled himself and put on the medallion. He turned to the Master of Time. “Alright. What do I need to do?”
Clockwork nodded, looking pleased. “Keep that on. It will prevent anyone other than your alternative self from seeing you. In the morning, I will summon a portal for you to return here.”
Danny tilted his head. “So….if I take this off….?”
His mentor raised a brow. “You will remain in place, though visible to everyone.”
The boy blinked. “That’s not how it worked last time.”
The Master of Time just gave him a mischievous look and motioned to the screen. “Go on. I trust you will not divulge too much of the future.”
Danny rolled his eyes, used to his mentor’s evasiness. But at the same time….his stomach flopped with nerves. Could he do this? Could he actually do this? He’d never been that good at comforting people but....the boy he was going to help wasn’t just anyone. He took a deep breath, squared his shoulders, and floated through the window.
Danny blinked, blue light swirling around him. A moment later, he was floating in a dark bedroom. His eyes roved over the familiar surroundings: his NASA posters and rocket models, scattered books and clothes, half finished homework on the desk. And on the bed….the sound of crying hitched and the other Danny shivered.
Slowly, the boy sat up. His arms wrapped around himself, as if he was cold. And Danny knew, he likely was; his very presence always chilled the room when he was in ghost form, and it had just gotten more intense since his ice powers had activated. On the bed, his younger self’s eyes widened in fear, his mouth falling open.
Instantly, Danny was hit with a sense of dread. He helped his hands out in front of him. “Wait. Hold on. It’s-”
The younger Danny’s eyes flickered from the ghost to his door. “Ghost!” He screamed, chest heaving.
The older boy paled. “No. Stop. I’m-”
Heavy feet pounded down the hall and the bedroom door flung open, the light of the hallway spilling into the dark room. “Where’s the ghost?!” The large ghost hunter demanded, holding an ectogun.
Shakily, the younger Danny pointed across the room, directly at his older counterpart. His dad’s head turned, eyes narrowing. Then his brow furrowed in confusion. “Where is it?”
Danny flinched at being called an it, his heart pounding anxiously. Self consciously, he turned invisible.
His younger self’s eyes darted from his father to the spot the ghost had been occupying. “You didn’t...you didn’t see…?” His voice raised up in question and he rubbed his eyes.
Danny shifted nervously in the air. The man was still staring through him, unseeing. And his younger self was still gaping, his fear turning into confusion.
“What is it, son?” Dad turned, looking at the younger boy in concern.
The younger Danny blinked rapidly in disbelief. “I guess….I was seeing things.” He frowned. “Must have been a nightmare.”
His dad lowered the gun. “Do you want to talk about it?”
The boy shook his head, frowning. “No. I…” He shivered and then looked at his hand, his eyes widening. “I’m...I’m fine.” He stuffed the appendage under his covers. “It’s fine. I just want to…” He faked a yawn. “Go back to sleep.” He blinked up at Dad, trying to look innocent.
The man furrowed his brow, looking unsure. “If you’re sure…”
The boy stretched, yawning exaggeratedly. “Yeah. It’s fine...I’m...just gonna..go back to sleep.” His gaze flickered from the door to where Danny was floating invisibly, before he gave Dad a sheepish smile.
Dad still looked uncertain but after a moment, he stepped back. “Alright. Sleep well, Danno.”
The boy nodded. “Night, Dad.”
The man closed the door, seemingly leaving his son alone. On the bed, Danny’s younger self put his head in his hands. “I’m losing it. First the stupid…” He shivered, again, hands disappearing. “Stupid body. Stupid portal.” He gritted his teeth. “Now I’m seeing things.”
Danny floated forward, his heart sinking. He needed to do something, to comfort his increasingly distressed younger counterpart. He stopped, hovering at the edge of the bed. With a thought, he returned to visibility. “You’re not seeing things.”
The younger Danny’s head whipped up, his eyes widening. He opened his mouth, likely to shout again.
His own eyes widening, the ghost boy reflexively covered the human’s mouth. “Please don’t scream.”
The other boy shook his head, his eyes pinching closed. He whimpered.
Danny’s lip trembled, sudden regret hitting him. “No. Don’t be scared. I’m here to help you.”
This younger self shook his head again. He was shaking, with fear and stress.
“Danny. Please. You’re safe.” The older boy begged.
His counterpart stiffened at his name, his eyes slowly peeking open and then widening in realization. His brow furrowed in confusion as he searched the other boy’s face.
Slowly, Danny removed his hand.
His younger self’s mouth opened and closed. Finally, he muttered. “Why do you look like me?”
Danny swallowed, preparing himself. “ ‘Cause I am you.” He said, as kindly as he could.
The other Danny blinked, frowning. “But….you’re a ghost?”
His older self looked down at his glowing hands. He raised a brow. “Yeah? So are you.”
The younger Danny tensed, his shoulders raising. “No. I’m not. I’m not a ghost. That’s ridiculous. I’m...I’m me. And you’re….” He pointed. “How do I know you’re not tricking me?”
Danny sighed, running fingers through his hair. “Alright….how about this?” He summoned the light of his transformation. A breath later and he was heavy and warm.
His younger self’s head whipped back and he let out a squeak.
Danny gave him a disarming smile and held out a hand. “I have a heartbeat, see?”
Tentatively, the other boy reached forward. His brow furrowed in concentration. Then awed surprise covered his face. “I can feel it.”
“Yeah.” Danny smiled. “I’m alive, obviously. But I’m a ghost too. Just like you.”
“Okay.” His younger self took a breath. “Okay. But...how?”
“Well….the accident…” He started.
The other boy shook his head. “No. I…..” He bit his lip. “If you’re me then...then, tell me something only I would know.”
Danny sighed, eyeing a spot on the bed. “Can I sit here?” His counterpart rose a brow before shuffling over. His older self then huffed, flopping onto the bed. “So… I never told Sam and Tucker this but….really, I wanted to get the portal to work so Mom and Dad would be proud of me.” He looked down, rubbing his neck. “They were so upset that the portal didn’t start and….I hated seeing them like that. They’d been spending so much time working on it and...I thought if I got it to work they’d be so happy and they’d be proud of me...but...well…” He bit his lip. “You know what happened.”
There was silence for a while, only the sound of both boy’s breathing. Then the younger Danny finally spoke. “Okay. That’s….damn.... That’s heavy. That’s...that’s a lot. But…. I get it. I...I know I’d probably never tell someone else that but it’s true so….” He sighed. “I believe you.”
Danny nodded. “Good.” He rubbed the back of his neck, meeting his counterpart’s eyes. “It would have been super awkward if you didn’t believe me after that.”
The other boy shook his head, even half smiling. “Yeah. So...you’re me but” His eyes trailed his older self’s body again. “….from the future?”
“Yep. From about two years from now. I’m sixteen.”
The younger Danny nodded, biting his lip. “So...two years and I can still...uhh...because of the accident...I can still….”
“Turn into a ghost?” His older counterpart offered.
The boy flinched. “No. I’m not...whatever that was, I’m not a...a ghost.” Almost as if his core sensed his denial, another shiver wracked his body. He flickered intangible and started sinking through the bed with a distressed cry.
Danny reached forward, turning his own hand intangible to grab the younger boy’s wrist. With a combination of ghostly enhanced strength and transferred weightlessness, he pulled the other out of the bed. After a few seconds, his counterpart returned to solidity and Danny let go, allowing him to drop back down onto the mattress.
The younger Danny gritted his teeth, wrapping his arms around his waist. “Stupid...whatever this is!”
“They’re ghost powers, because you’re-” Danny started to explain.
His younger self glared. “Not a ghost. I’m just….sick..or something. The stupid portal-” He shivered again, this time light sparking around his waist.
The older boy frowned, knowing what it signified. At the same time, a memory hit him. Himself sitting on the bed in the dark, that same light trying to overtake him. Heart pounding with terrified, panicked fear. Sam and Tucker trying to calm him down.
“No. NO. What’s happening?!” The younger boy panted, fearfully. “No. Stop!” He pinched his eyes closed, as if trying to push the feeling away. The ring of light disappeared for a second before flaring again. Then he groaned and curled in on himself. “No. Stop! I don’t...I don’t want..” His brow furrowed as he forced the light away again but it just reappeared. “Not again! Please. Stop. I’m not… I’m not….” His breath heaved, tears starting to well in his eyes.
Danny’s core ached at the sight. “Danny…” He started, quietly saying his other self’s name.
The younger boy looked up, glaring. “Stop just staring! Help me.”
“I’m trying.” Danny muttered, feeling chastised. That earned him an annoyed growl, which he completely deserved. So he took a breath, steeling himself. He could do this.
The boy put a hand on his younger counterpart’s arm. “Don’t fight it.”
“What?” His alternative self demanded.
“That light...your body’s trying to turn into your ghost form.” Danny explained.
“Ghost form?! But… I don’t wanna be a ghost!” There was another groan as the light flared again.
“I know.” The older half ghost squeezed, comfortingly. “I know. I know...I remember how scary this is. But...you’ll be okay, Danny. It’ll be okay. So don’t fight it. Let it happen.”
“But...I don’t...I don’t want this. Please! Make it stop! It hurts.”
“I know. I know.” Danny soothed. “But it’ll stop hurting if you stop fighting and change.”
“Please. Please don’t make me.” The younger boy begged, a tear falling from his eyes.
“Listen to me.” Danny insisted. “I promise, you’ll be okay. You’ll be able change back after. And your body needs this. It’s trying to get used to your new powers. But you’re safe. I’m right here. You can do this.”
Shakily, the younger Danny looked up, meeting his counterpart’s eyes. “You promise?”
Danny gave him a half smile. “I’m here, aren’t I? I’ve been through this already and I turned out okay. So will you.”
The other boy nodded, his brow unfurrowing slightly. He breathed out and the white light dancing over his skin coalesced into a ring. It spread, up towards his head and down towards his feet. Danny shivered as the light passed over the arm he was holding, the cold reaching out to touch his own core. The flash left him blinking spots out of his vision. Then he was staring at the familiar ghost boy, floating across from him.
The younger Danny frowned, staring down at his hands with a heart broken expression. “So...it’s...it’s true. I am a ghost.”
“Yes.” Danny said simply.
His counterpart wrinkled his nose, his fists balling. “So I’m some kind of...some kinda...undead freak.”
Danny pulled his hand away, the words painfully jabbing at his heart. “You’re not a freak. You’re just different now. And that’s okay.”
“No it’s not.” His alternative self snapped. “I’m freaking dead.”
“Well...that’s complicated but-”
The younger Danny crossed his arms, cutting him off. “Well, excuse me. Apparently, I can turn back to normal so I’m not actually dead. Except I’m still a freaking ghost and..and…” His chest heaved. “Mom and Dad freaking hunt ghosts.” His eyes widened. “Ghosts are supposed to be monsters. Unfeeling violent monsters. I’m...I’m gonna…” He covered his mouth, horror struck. “Oh god. What if-”
“Danny.” The older Danny’s hands were on both of the younger’s shoulders. “Look at me.” With a thought, he summoned his own rings and transformed. “Actually look at me.” The younger boy’s mouth snapped shut as he did so. “I’ve been like this for two years. Two years. And I’m still me. I’m not some monster who hurts people for no reason. I still feel things. I still have all my memories. I’m still me.”
His counterpart frowned. “But...I saw….you’re….we’re….still alive too.”
Danny shook his head. “I’ve met other ghosts too. And...Mom and Dad are wrong. Ghosts are just like the living. Yeah, they’re different but….they’re still people too.”
The younger Danny bit his lip. “But..that’s...that could be a trick or….”
The older boy squeezed his shoulders. “Actually, it was a ghost who sent me here.”
His counterpart frowned. “What? A ghost?”
Danny nodded. “He’s my mentor. He...he saved me. He saved everyone.” He looked down at the last part, his heart clenching at the memory. His hand stretched out, reaching towards his tied up friends and family. The roar of the explosion, the pressure wave throwing him back, the smoke. Then suddenly suspended in the air, Clockwork in front of him. The older ghost waving and his loved ones appearing, unconscious but alive and unharmed.
The boy shook his head, forcing the memory away. “He watches over the timelines so that explains how I’m here. And he couldn’t come here himself but…” He smiled at his younger self. “Neither of us wanted you to have to go through this alone.”
The other Danny starred, looking bewildered for a long moment. Then he sighed, running a hand through his hair. “Wow...that’s a lot...”
“Yeah, it is.” Danny nodded, agreeing.
Across from him, the younger boy looked overwhelmed, like he was still unsure what to think of all this. His brow furrowed in thought as he picked at his glowing gloves. He then shivered as his hands turned invisible again. He sighed again. “I still hate this. I feel so weird.”
“I know but...you’ll get used to it soon, I promise.” Danny comforted.
His other self just huffed.
Danny bit his lip, stomach flopping. As he said, he did remember the feeling, how strange being in ghost form was at first. It was unnatural and stifling; the randomness of his powers scared him. And there was seemingly nothing to be done, only wait until he got used to his new normal. But right now, he only had one night with this version of himself and words would only do so much.
The older boy glanced out the window, the stars twinkling through it. His brow furrowed. Maybe if he could show his younger self….. Danny floated up from his cross legged position.
The younger Danny looked up, questioningly. “What’re you doing?”
Danny offered his hand to pull the other boy up. “I want to show you something.”
His counterpart raised a brow but took the hand. Surprisingly smoothly, he floated to his feet. That is, until he noticed he was floating. He wobbled in the air, eyes widening. “Woah!”
Danny grabbed his other arm, steadying him. “There you go. You’ve got it.”
The younger boy stabilized, his gaze flickering from his feet and back to his other self’s face. “Alright. Okay. Maybe that wasn’t so bad.”
The older boy smiled. “Good.” He motioned toward the window. “Let’s go.”
“Where?” The younger Danny tilted his head.
Danny smiled wider. “We’re going flying.”
His counterpart’s eyes widened in surprise but he didn’t ask any questions, even as Danny pulled him towards the window. The older boy flickered intangible, the power passing over his companion as well and they both phased through the window. The younger gasped but still allowed himself to be pulled along as Danny started ascending. In ten seconds, he rose at least a hundred feet; all the while, the younger Danny watched him curiously.
Danny paused, looking out over the town. “Wow. Look at that view.” He smiled. Stretched out below him was Amity Park. His city. His home. He could see all of it. “There’s the park.” He pointed in front of him. “And Casper High.” He turned, pointing slightly to the left of the school. “The Nasty Burger. And-”
His younger self’s hand, which he was still holding, squeezed, the grip almost painful.
Danny looked down, suddenly worried. “What is it?”
“I don’t...I don’t like this.” His voice trembled. “We’re so...so high.”
“Oh..alright. Sorry…” The older boy frowned, concerned and slightly confused. He didn’t remember being this afraid of heights the first time he flew. But then again, this was a different timeline than his. But still….his ghostly tail flickered under him, nervously.
The younger half ghost’s eyes widened and he jerked away. “What the hell happened to your legs?” Danny glanced down at the same time his counterpart did. The younger stared at his own furiously twitching ghostly tail. “What the hell happened to my legs?”
Danny held out his hands. “Hey, it’s okay. That’s normal.”
“Normal!?” The other Danny shouted. “Nothing about this is normal!”
“I know but-” He was cut off by a scream.
Below him, the younger’s mouth fell open in horror as white light flashed around his waist. Before he could breath, the ring passed over him and he turned human. Gravity reengaged and he was falling.
The scene seemed to play out in front of Danny in slow motion. His younger self’s hand stretched out in front of him, eyes wide with terror. Danny reached and dove, his ghostly tail trailing behind him. His heart pounded as he strained, flying faster than gravity could pull him down.
Seconds that felt like minutes later, the older boy grabbed his counterpart. His arm reached around the boy’s chest from the back, looped under the other’s arm pits. Danny resisted against gravity and the pair jerked to a stop.
The younger Danny panted. He shook against the other’s chest until he found his voice. “What the hell?! Are you trying to kill me again?”
“I’m sorry!” Danny flinched. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t...I didn’t think this through.”
“Ya think!” The other yelled, angry struggling to cover his fear. “I’m scared of heights!”
The older Danny frowned. “No you’re not.” He’d never been afraid of heights.
“Well, maybe you’re not. But I’m not you!”
Danny’s brow furrowed at the words. He wanted to comment that that wasn’t exactly correct but…. That felt like the wrong thing to say. Instead, he sighed. “ Alright. How about...let’s just go home.”
The younger didn’t say anything as they slowly descended. The ops center grew closer and closer. Soon, the two were floating just inches above the metal surface. Danny let go of his counterpart and he landed on his feet on the roof.
The ghost remained floated, nervously rubbing his neck as his counterpart turned to face him. The younger frowned. He punched his older version in the arm, a little too hard to be playful. “No offense but that sucked.”
Danny bit his lip. “I am so sorry.” He looked down, cheeks coloring with shame. “I really screwed up. I’m so bad at this.”
The other crossed his arms. “Dude. You should at least know what not to do, based on what happened your first time.”
“My first?” Danny’s brow furrowed in question. Then a realization hit him. “This didn’t happen to me.” He motioned between himself and the younger halfa. “I’m from a different timeline. Dimension?” He shook his head. “Sam and Tucker were in that lab during my accident. And they stayed with me my first night as a half ghost.”
The younger Danny’s expression slowly softened. He uncrossed his arms. “Half ghost?”
“Yeah. That’s what we came up with for this.” He motioned to himself. “The other ghosts call me a halfa though.”
The younger nodded. “Alright. So you're still me. But from another timeline. And older.”
“That’s right.” Danny agreed. He shifted nervously in the air. “Like I said, I wasn’t alone tonight. And...I didn’t want you to be either. And I’m sorry I messed up. I really do want to help so….” He bit his lip. “Whatever you need. If you want to talk about stuff, or get some pointers on your powers, or a distraction? I’ll do whatever you want, okay?”
The other Danny studied him for a moment. “I think...I just want a distraction for now. Maybe we can talk later.”
Danny nodded, touching down on the roof. With a thought, he turned human. He looked up. “That stars are a good distraction... or something else?”
His counterpart smiled. “No. Star gazing’s good. I can always ramble about space.”
The two flopped down on the roof and the younger Danny did just that. He pointed out constellations, talked about far away stars and planets and blackholes. Danny listened. It was nice, being on the other side of this. So this is what he sounded like when he got starstruck. It was also wonderful to see his alternative self relax, to see the corner of his lips turn up into a smile. Then, for just a second, his freckles lit up green.
The younger half ghost stopped in the middle of his sentence, brow furrowing. His eyes flared green and they widened. “Holy...what that…” He reached upward with one hand, as if he could touch the sky. “What am I seeing?” He turned to look at his older version.
Danny furrowed his brow for a moment before realizing. He’d long grown used to it; his vision was enhanced at night in either form, even without his eyes glowing. But still... he smiled, turning his eyes back to the night sky, deeper and more vibrate than any human could see. “That’s what the night looks like to a ghost.”
“What?” The younger breathed.
“Ghosts can see better than humans in the dark. Like a hundred times better. So that’s what the sky looks like to you now.”
“But...it’s…. It looks like...when we go to Aunt Alicia’s and...there’s just so many stars but...there’s more colors? And...it’s deeper?” He pointed. “And that’s the Milky Way!”
Danny chuckled. “Yeah.”
The younger boy sat up, looking down at him. “So...if my eyes are glowing…. ‘Cause apparently, that’s something they do now?....It always looks like this.”
The older nodded. “Actually, it always looks like that to me but….yeah.” Danny sighed, looking wistfully. “That’s my second favorite thing about being half ghost. The first is being able to fly.” He met his counterpart’s eyes. “The stars look even more incredible if you’re above the clouds.” He grinned, teeth gleaming. “But the best view is in space.”
His counterpart’s eyes widened. “Space!? You’ve been to…. You’ve been to space?!”
Danny nodded. “Yeah but...I shouldn’t spoil too much. Just be careful. Don’t try it until you know you’ve got a handle on transforming….actually not until after you met...uh...our mentor so he can bail you out if something happens.”
The younger tapped his chin. “This mysterious mentor again. You gonna tell me who he is?”
“Probably shouldn’t. He won’t be happy if I tell you too much about the future.”
The younger Danny hummed. Then he looked back at the sky. He pointed. “Look! A meteor!”
Danny traced the path with his eyes until it fizzled out. “Did you make a wish?” His counterpart nodded and the older raised a brow. “Are you gonna tell me?”
His alternative self turned. “Hey. You know it won’t come true if you tell someone else.”
“I’m not exactly someone else.”
“But you’re not, not someone else.” The younger chuckled. Then his brow furrowed. “So….you said in your timeline, Sam and Tucker were with you tonight?”
“Yeah. They...We were all really scared but...they helped me figure out what was happening.” He sighed. “I wouldn’t have made it this far without them.”
The younger turned back to look at the sky, frowning.
“What is it?” Danny asked.
“They’re gonna think I’m a freak.” His alternative self whispered.
Danny frowned. “You don’t really think that.”
The younger raised a brow, as if to say seriously. Then he shivered as a hand turned intangible and sunk into the roof. He groaned. “Not again.” He pulled the limb out and frowned as his hand turned invisible again. “Really? This isn’t going to freak them out?”
The older sighed. “I mean honestly...it might, a little but...they’ll want to understand and help you.”
The other Danny just huffed as his arm reappeared.
“Haven’t they always been there for you?” Danny asked.
His counterpart’s expression softened. “Yeah, they have.”
“So trust them now. They’re your friends.”
“But…” He worried his lip. “Oh god. How am I even supposed to have that conversation?”
Danny frowned, thinking. He didn’t know how to answer. He hadn’t had to tell them but…. “I guess just go for it. They’ll believe you. And remember they’ll always have your back.”
The other boy said nothing for a long while. Then he glared as his hand disappeared again. “How do I get this to stop?”
The older look at the outline of the invisible limb. “Well….your body’s still adjusting to your powers so it’s going to do that for a while-”
“Wow. That’s a big help.” The younger Danny interrupted.
Danny continued, with an eye roll. “But...for me, it got better after I started practicing my powers.”
The other’s eyes widened and he sat up. “You’re not serious.”
“I am. I had to learn how to turn invisible and intangible on purpose. It was like...my powers wanted to be used. They're a part of me. I couldn't just ignore them and hope they went away. I had to use them."
The younger shook his head. "That sounds wrong. I mean...these are ghost powers." He emphasized the word with worry and just a hint of disgust; the implication was clear.
Danny frowned but his voice was patient and kind. "Yeah, they are. But being a ghost doesn't make you bad, Danny. It's just...a different way of existing."
The fourteen year old studied him for a long moment. Finally, he said. "You really believe that."
The other boy nodded. "Yeah, I do."
It had taken a while. Practicing his powers with his friends and seeing how comfortable and accepting they were of him. Meeting, talking to, and learning from other ghosts. It was hard to unlearn a lifetime of biases ingrained by his parents and he still felt uncertain at times but it was getting better. (He'd even made headway in changing his parent's beliefs about ghosts but that was another story.)
Across from him, the young Danny sighed. "Alright. That's...I don't know what to think of that but… I guess you can give me some pointers at least and...I'll think about what you said."
"Really?!" Danny's eyes lit up excitedly and he sat up.
The younger joined him in a sitting position. "Yeah." He sighed. "I guess this is the part where you show me the ropes."
"Okay." The older rubbed his hands together. "First… you're gonna need to change into your ghost form."
His counterpart's eyes widened. "No. Nah uh. No way."
"Your powers are easier to use if you transform. Plus…" Danny raised a brow. "Do you want to randomly change into a ghost during dinner?"
The younger paled before conceding. "Alright. I'll do it. But…. How?"
The older boy hummed, considering. "Okay so…." He placed his hand on his chest. "You know that ball of cold right here?"
His counterpart gave him a confused look. "What are you talking about?"
Danny frowned, leaning forward. "In the center of your chest, a little to the right of your heart." He gently grabbed the other boy's hand and placed it on his own chest. "Can you feel it? It kinda hums like...well...it reminds me of the refrigerator…. 'Cause it buzzes, sounds kinda electrical, and it’s cold…."
The younger Danny's brow furrowed in thought. After a long moment, slight realization lit his eyes. "Yeah. Okay. I think I'm feeling...something."
Danny nodded. "That's my core. It's where my powers come from." At the other's understanding nod, he continued. "You have the same thing inside of you."
His counterpart frowned, lowering his hand. “Of course I do.”
The older’s expression softened. “You don’t have to be afraid of this. Your core is a part of you. Just like your heart or your brain. It’s an organ that controls your powers; that’s all it is.”
Honestly, that was a simplification. Even with the very basic knowledge he’d learned at the Far Frozen, Danny knew his core did much more than regulate his powers. It helped him think and remember, to sense and respond to things around him. But right now, his other self just needed to know to not be afraid of a part of himself.
“If you say so.” The younger looked down. He moved his hand up to his own chest, brow furrowing.
Danny glanced at the other’s chest. “Now, can you feel it now?”
“Yeah.” The other Danny confirmed, still frowning. “So...how do I...uhh...transform?”
The older nodded. “Close your eyes.” The younger boy did so and Danny continued. “Really focus on that cold, that energy. Feel it swirling around in your chest. It’s pulsing and buzzing, deep inside you. Now…” The boy took a breath. “Reach out and touch that cold with your mind. Wrapped your hands around it and...pull. Pull it to the surface.”
His counterpart’s brow furrowed in concentration; clearly he was listening to the words and trying to put them into practice. His nose wrinkled, focus increasing. Then the younger Danny gasped. White light danced over his skin, forming a ring around his chest. Surprised, his eyes popped open and then widened as his gaze fell on the ring.
Danny smiled encouragingly. “That’s it. Now just let it pass over you.”
The younger nodded, taking a breath. The ring passed a few heartbeats later, leaving a ghost floating across from Danny.
“You did it.” The older congratulated.
The younger Danny looked down at his hands, flipping them over and examining the glow of his gloves. “I did….” His brow furrowed. “That actually wasn’t that bad.” He lowered his hands. “Still weird though.”
Danny chuckled. “You’ll get used to it.”
His counterpart didn’t reply to that, instead asking. “So what now?”
The older Danny transformed into his ghost form. “I guess, I’ll go over the basic powers and help you practice for a bit.”
The younger Danny nodded, relaxing his shoulders with forced confidence. “Let’s do this.”
The two spend the next hour practicing. Danny explained the three basic powers: invisibility, intangibility, and flight. He demonstrated each. Flickering invisible, phasing through the metal pillars on top of the ops center, flying circles above the roof.
“Now you try.” Danny encouraged after showing off each power.
His younger self did try, despite his anxiety. The displays of his powers were spotty. He flickered in and out of visibility like a dying light bulb. Random parts of his body turned intangible and he furrowed his power, concerting great effort to turn to his whole body intangible. But he was making progress.
“There you go!” Danny cheered as his alternative self successfully phased through the satellite dish twice in a row. He grinned, offering the other boy a high five.
The younger Danny returned the gesture. “Yeah!”
The practice continued, the new halfa’s confidence growing. It made Danny happy to see his counterpart growing more comfortable, even if his control was still laughable. His body continued flickering invisible and intangible to the younger’s frustration. The older half ghost figured things would be like that for a while, as the younger’s body adjusted to his new core and powers. But the prospect of him spending less time confused and less time afraid of his powers was a bright one. And another bright prospect….
Danny glanced at the air just below his counterpart’s glowing boots. He smiled. “You’ve got a great handle on floating.”
The younger Danny looked down, browning furrowing. Then his eyes widened in realization. He wobbled in the air.
Danny reached out to steady him. “Hey, don’t think about it too hard. Just let your body do what it will. Flying’s natural to us ghosts.”
His counterpart frowned. Clearly, he didn’t like being called a ghost again but he didn’t comment. Instead, he straightened and focused on his older self’s face. “Alright. I’ll do that, just… let my body do it’s thing.”
“Good.” Danny patted him on the shoulder. He offered a half smile. “Let’s fly. I promise I won’t go too high this time.
The older half ghost did as he said, leading his younger self in a circle around the ops center while floating only about five feet above the roof.
After a few circles, he let go, flying in front of the younger. Giving a mischievous grin, he glanced back over his shoulder. “Let’s go a little faster.”
The younger Danny raised a brow, a smile sneaking onto his face. He increased his speed, inching in front of the other boy. In return, Danny smiled and flew faster himself. He pulled forward, in front of the other boy. The younger’s slight smile grew and he darted forward, faster still.
Just like that, a race started. The two ghosts circled the roof, chasing each other. Slowly, smiles grew into laughter. Danny snickered, dodging around the satellite dish. Seconds later, his younger self phased through. The older flew higher, his legs morphing into a ghostly tail as he twisted back around to fly in the other direction. The other Danny let out a laugh, reaching for him but just missing. Danny dove down, phasing through the roof with his counterpart following seconds later. He passed by the fridge, before darting up through the roof again.
Danny flew about about five feet up and then froze as another shooting star careened across the sky. He marveled for just a second before a cold body slammed into him. The air weezed out of his lungs and he let out a cry as the pair tumbled, head over heels.
With some effort, Danny slowed the tumble. He looked down, recognizing the arms were wrapped around his chest and the shaking body they were connected to. The older halfa ghost put hand on the younger’s back. “Hey. It’s okay.”
The other Danny looked up. He was laughing. “Oh man...this is ridiculous.” He let go, slowly backing up. “But I really needed that.”
Danny smiled. “No problem. I’m happy you’re having a good time.”
The younger raised a hand to rub the back of his neck, looking sheepish. “Yeah well...thanks.” He glanced down, paling as he realized they were floating three stories above the street. Danny took his hand, leading him back to the roof.
“So do you want to practice some more or….” The older started once both had touched down on the roof. Then the younger yawned. The corner of Danny’s lip turned up. “I guess that answers my question.”
The other boy yawned, stretching. “Yeah. Let’s go to bed.” He glanced down. “Oh uh…. Should I turn back or….”
“We can just phase into your bedroom. That’s less noisy than climbing down the steps.”
“Yeah. Okay.” The younger Danny nodded in agreement. His older self phased through the roof and he followed.
Seconds later, the two halfas were floating inside of Danny Fenton’s bedroom. With a flash of light, the older turned human.
The younger frowned. “How do I turn back?”
“Oh, right.” Danny bit his lip, considering. “So where your heart is...there should be this little warm spot. I kinda think of it as a candle flame. You want to coax that, make it bigger so you’re warm and heavy and-” He was cut off by a flash.
The younger Danny touched down. “That was a lot easier than the other way around.”
Danny shrugged. “Figures. You’re more used to being a human than a ghost.”
“Yeah.” The younger sat on the bed. “So I’m going to go to sleep then. What about you?” His lips turned down. “Are you leaving or…?”
Danny shook his head. “Not until the morning.” He walked over to the closet. “I’ll use your sleeping bag if you don’t mind.”
“Go for it.” The younger was already lying down. He watched sleepily as Danny retrieved the sleeping bag and settled on the floor. He yawned. “Good night.”
“Good night.” Danny hummed in return.
Soon, the younger Danny was snoring. The older laid still for a few minutes, mind going over all that had happened tonight. But his thought stilled, fatigue overtaking him as well. He sighed happily, falling asleep.
Danny drifted in sleep, his mind floating through dreams. Not nightmares for once but pleasant ones. Having a picnic with his friends and family. Making cookies with Clockwork. Flying through space. He floated up, out of the depths of sleep. Awareness of the waking world slowly enveloped him. Morning light on his face. Warm, thick fabric around him. The hardness of...the floor? His brow furrowed but he just buried his face in his pillow.
Then there was a thump behind him. Danny jerked, rolling over. He squinted, eyes falling on a figure less than two feet in front of him. He frowned. It was….himself?
“Ouch.” The boy groaned. “How the heck did I end up under the bed...” He trailed off, eyes falling on Danny. “Oh...it’s you. That...all that really happened.”
Danny’s mind finally caught up as he remembered. Last night. Clockwork sending him through the time window. Talking his younger self through his second transformation into a ghost. Trying to take him flying. Stargazing with him. Demonstrating his ghost powers and helping his young counterpart practice.
Danny hummed. “Yep. Really here.” The corner of his lip turned up. “And I guess you phased through the bed in your sleep.”
The younger grumbled. “I thought practicing was supposed to help.”
“It will...just not overnight. Like I said, your body’s still trying to adjust. It’ll take time so be patient.”
The other Danny groaned. “Great.”
“I know it sucks but you’ll get through it.” Danny promised.
His counterpart didn’t reply. Instead, he stood up and then laid back down on his bed. His eyes flickered to the window and the light streaming through it. He glanced down at his older self. “So...it’s morning.”
“Yeah. I don’t know when my portal will open but it should be soon.”
The younger Danny nodded soberly. “And...I guess you can’t tell me much more about the future.”
“No. I can’t.” Danny said, feeling guilty.
If he could, there’s a lot he would say. About the ghosts he’d fight. About Vlad. About Valerie. About his parents. But Clockwork trusted him and….
“Okay.” The younger sighed. “But...I’ll be okay, right?”
Slowly, Danny sat up. He studied his younger self for a bit before smiling. “You’ll be okay.” His brow furrowed, considering. “Yeah, everything’s not always perfect…” He remembered his many ghost fights. Valerie’s grudge against him. His parent’s mistrust. All of the headaches Vlad had caused him.
“But I’ve done and seen so many incredible things.” Saving the town. Meeting Clockwork, Frostbite, Dora, Pandora. Dating Valerie and his truces with the Red huntress. Slowly changing his parents’ opinions on ghosts. Meeting and saving Danielle. And all the while….“ And Sam and Tucker have been with me, the whole time. We’ve only gotten closer since my accident. We’re team Phantom and we’ve helped so many people and learned so much. Really just...it’s been incredible and…. I know it will be that same for you.” Danny finished with complete conviction.
His younger self considered his words for a long time before he raised a brow. “Team Phantom?”
Danny smirked. “That’s a spoiler.”
The other Danny huffed before his expression softened. “Alright that’s….” He sat up and ran a hand through his hair. “All of this had been so unbelievable but...I still believe you.” He sighed. “And I’m going to tell Sam and Tucker about my accident.
Danny’s eyes widened, his lips turning up. “Really?”
“Yeah. You’ve convinced me. ‘Cause you were right last night. They have alway been there for me so...thanks for reminding me.”
The older boy smiled. “You’re welcome.”
Danny stayed like that for a moment, smiling and watching his younger self with satisfaction. Faintly, he felt the medallion around his neck hum. And he knew it was time. To his side, a blue portal sparked into existence.
The younger Danny’ eyes widened. “Is that it?”
Danny nodded and stood up. “Yep. That’s my way home.” He turned to the portal, preparing to step through. “I guess this is goodbye.”
The younger Danny also stood, frowning. “Am I gonna see you again?”
Danny shook his head. “I don’t think so. Not like this.”
The other boy nodded, seeing to understand what he meant. That conundrum. Two different yet so similar lives. The same person and yet not.
The younger Danny stepped forward. He wrapped his arms around his counterpart. “Thank you for making sure I wasn’t alone last night.”
Danny hugged him back. “I...I couldn’t see you in pain if I could do something about it.” He squeezed. “Take care of yourself, Danny.”
The younger also squeezed. “You too, Danny.”
The pair stayed like that for a long moment before pulling away. With parting waves, Danny stepped through the portal.
Hello! Sorry for bothering, but would Church make a good Danny Phantom? I could also see Wash, but I don’t know. (Your Art is amazing! Thank you and have an awesome rest of your day!)
my friend, I am far from bothered
The short answer to the specific question you asked is: yes.
The long answer, and the answer to many more questions which you didn’t ask, is as follows.
The following is a combination of stuff remembered from [???] long ago with @aliyosha-s, and some more recent stuff [re]imagined with the infamous enabler @aryashi.
Let’s go chronologically.
Years in the past, but not many
Allison Church dies. Her husband begins research into the paranormal. His young son and daughter don’t get the attention to they used to. That is, a normal amount of attention to give a child.
His daughter, the eldest, known to her friends as Carolina, starts high school. She’s a prodigy. Top of her class and captain of the football team
Dr. Church makes a breakthrough. In his lab in their basement, he’s managed to create a portal to another realm which he can open and close. To further his research, he asks his physically fit and tough-as-nails daughter to lead expeditions inside. She’s eager for the chance to spend time with her dad. He allows her to extend the invitation to her teammates and friends.
None of them ask why Dr. Church would send teenagers into this strange and dangerous world, and not trained scientists and explorers. None of them argue with keeping it a secret.
they’re teenagers and he’s giving them super cool equipment and suits and telling them to fight monsters. of course they don’t question it.
This goes on for at least a year. Their expeditions go deeper and deeper into the Ghost Zone. They get better equipment from Dr. Church (who they call DC, in their silly naming convention), and encounter stranger and stranger ghosts.
DC is interested in one in particular. She’s brutal and deadly and they couldn’t hope to catch her. The ghost of a soldier in combat gear. The kids start calling her Texas.
They never catch her, but York does convince her once to let him scan her.
Inevitably, they get in over their heads. In Carolina’s senior year:
They’re chased from the Ghost Zone by something they shouldn’t have picked a fight with, making a run for it at top speeds. Several of them are hurt, York’s face is bleeding a lot. Washington is falling behind. Everyone else makes it through. Carolina grabs him with her hook and starts pulling, but the door gets closed too quickly.
They’re not sure where he is. DC doesn’t detect him on the other side of the door, but he’s not in the lab either. Against the shouts of at least two people (“If he’s suspended between, collapsing the space could–”) someone re-opens the door
But Wash is gone.
They shut down the expedition projects. The kids don’t know how to talk to each other, after this. They stop hanging out. Stop talking all together.
David McCormick is presumed dead. The rest of the world doesn’t really know what happened, just that a girl and her friends got into trouble messing with her dad’s equipment.
Carolina goes back in, one more time. All she finds is some ghost. Some imprint facsimile of her friend. Some sick joke.
Ghosts took her father from her. They took her friends. They took her friend’s life.
They won’t take her, too.
She sabotages her dad’s portal, she graduates high school, she leaves town for collage.
Years later, but not many. Like, two.
Leonard Church Jr. is in high school.
Against their will, he and his friend Tucker have a new friend, Caboose. They signed up for the football coach’s new metal working class as a blow off because the football coach is is a crack-pot but now they’re in a group project together and someone has to sacrifice sanctity of their home to make some sort of plan for this away from the public eye, or they’re going to lose to the other group in the class. and the other group in the class called them stupid names in a petty argument about the definition of irony so that is not happening.
Church already considers his home to be a place of uncontrolled stupidity and tyranny, so he volunteers. Also Tucker just doesn’t like going home and neither of them are brave enough to find out what kind of environment produced Caboose (17 sisters)
this quickly escalates to exactly where you think it’s going. Dr. Dad isn’t home so they end up poking around the lab and whoops Church accidentally manages to reactivate the portal.
Church “expertly” hides his powers from his dad. If Danny could pass the initial freak-out after the accident without getting caught, so can Church. Especially when his dad is far more interested in the portal than the minutiae of to what extent his son is okay.
Big sis Carolina, on the other hand, drops everything and moves back home. At first it’s just to make sure her brother’s okay, but she sticks around to deal with the new problem around town.
the problem being: the portal is stuck open. Ghosts are slipping into Amity left and right.
So Church is figuring out he’s got freaky powers. He’s figuring out that he can use them to beat up ghosts who annoy him. With the combination of the color pallet swap his powers give him, the spooky echo thing it does to his voice, and the cherry on top of taking off his glasses (Clark Kenting it), apparently no one in this town is bright enough to make the connection back to him.
insert teenager with superpowers shenanigans here. A weird baby ghost imprints on Tucker like a duckling. Caboose keeps finding the biggest, freakiest ghosts to “make friends” with.
At some point these three idiots absolutely make their way into the ghost zone while Dr. Dad’s not home. I’m not sure what all would be up with Tucker yet, but I’m thinking he gets something kinda like Valerie got from Technus. Some sort of weapon that only he can use that maybe foreshadows something big and/or ridiculous. probably both.
Somewhere in here Tucker sneaks into Carolina’s room (this is Tucker.) and he peaks at a picture in a frame that’s been put face-down. A picture of her friends
Just when it’s maybe starting to all be kinda fun, the town gets a human, anti-ghost, vigilante running around in a teal suit. She’s brutal and efficient and she rapidly becomes every ghost’s worst nightmare.
Church has eyes so he knows it’s his sister.
She probably recognizes him to some extent too, but doesn’t think it’s actually him. Just some ectoplasmic entity that leeched off her brother’s emo phase to make a persona. Church is offended by this.
He tries to talk her out of it (as a human, of course), to get her to go back to school (and as far away from the powers he still sucks at controlling as possible) but she won’t have any of it.
Church doesn’t know much more than anyone else about how his sister’s friend died. Just that something bad happened in the basement and now none of her friends speak to each other. Most of them left town.
but not all of them. If he can figure out from them what happened, maybe he can get his sister to stop shooting at him.
One or two of them are still in town, though they don’t pick up arms like Carolina does, it’d be cool to feature them in episodes where Church is trying to figure out what happened to his sister. They all blow him off, and then there’s a cool scene where one of them (I’m thinking York, but I could see North doing the same) steps in at the last second of this episode’s ghost fight. Drops some big bomb-shell of a clue and then peaces out again.
“I did this for you now, but I’m serious: drop this. It happened. It’s over. There’s no changing it, and there’s nothing to learn from it. Let it go.”
They do not do that.
Sarge is the new football coach/metal working teacher, and the Reds are the other group in that class, if that wasn’t obvious.
Grif, Simmons, and Donut are all on the football team to get their PE credit. Donut is the star quarter back and Grif and Simmons are bench warmers. Intentionally. They are only here for the PE credit.
Unfortunately for them, that’s not enough for Coach Sarge, who threatens to kick them off the team and doom them to the regular gym class. Unless. They join the new after-school club for ghost hunting.
This club started before the ghost portal cracked open and dumped actual ghosts into their town, so Grif and Simmons had said “yeah, sure”.
Donut also joined. For funsies. And his instagram could use some more action.
Of course then real ghosts start running around town and Sarge still insists on this club. In fact, he’s determined to get his “army” up to standard to show that teal menace who’s boss.
Lopez is the ghost that’s stuck in one of the robots Sarge made
So in all of this
Grif, Simmons, and Donut figure out that Tucker and Caboose are friends with the ghost kid, but they don’t know that the ghost kid is Church. They just think Church is a shut-in who’s doing tech support from home or something. (Though Donut makes at least one wild (spot-on) conspiracy idea) There is lots of smack talk and posturing about how the Reds are gonna catch the ghost kid menace before Carolina does and lots of smack talk back about how they couldn’t catch an ectopus if it lived in their back yard.
And then a new ghost starts popping up around town. He’s a rare one to spot, either sitting/floating around by himself, or surprisingly, fighting with the other ghosts. He’s remarkably humanoid, he’s got blue hair, and he’s the Amity Park cryptid.
Physical images of him will sell for actual money. He seems to be able to short out technology at a certain range, so recognizable digital photos are just non-existent. Any time a human tries to interact with him, he bolts. Rumors fly and no one believes any of them. Someone says he’s the ghost of a lost solider. Someone says that he broke into their house and stole their sister’s xbox. Someone says he helped their cat down out of a tree. (one of these is true)
He also keeps showing up at Church’s fights. Not all of them, but Tucker starts suspecting that he’s around more often than they actually see him. Whenever a fight is a bit too rough for them to handle he’ll swoop in and do the hard part and be gone again. Some of these appearances are immediately followed by incredibly close calls with Carolina
The cryptid becomes the new “flag” for the Red and Blue teams of metal shop class.
Sarge is hilariously “impartially” partial to the Reds
I’m not gonna write out the whole plot of what this episode would be, but somewhere in here Donut gets possessed
While they’re distracted with each other, there’s another threat running around town. (I’m undecided) They figure Carolina’s got this one while they’re cryptid-hunting
Of course while they’re all horribly distracted, this other threat thing charges in, Church can’t make a shield in time, and our cryptid takes a heavy hit for him.
Our cryptid also passes out and falls to the ground, the Red and Blues manage to beat whatever the thing is, and David McCormick is unconscious on the floor.
They rush him to Red Base (the locker room) before Carolina can show up.
Eventually he wakes up and they figure out what happened. David did not die that day, though the man himself with tell you otherwise. He insists that David is dead, his name is Wash, and he’s just a ghost. The Blues will smack this out of him in time. They also get him an outfit in the colors he actually likes, and not the inverted version of the colors he actually likes (He hadn’t tried changing clothes, because “this is what I am now~”)
Wash had a ghost portal collapse on him and it gave him ghost powers. He also got trapped in the ghost zone until Church cracked the portal back open. He knows he can shift into a human form, but he’s been living primarily as a ghost. He’s very dramatic about it.
Here is the next break for shenanigans and making a new normal. A stretch of filler episodes. The Reds and Blues kind of work together on stuff now, and Wash is their weird ghost hobo friend.
We all get to enjoy that high-quality AU space where two halfas can talk about being halfas and compare notes and no one is trying to kill each other. They both learn things about using their powers in the human world, one episode has Wash showing Church around the Ghost Zone a bit, and Wash becomes slightly less of a cryptid.
I think Sarge is actually a key point in figuring out some of the minutae of what exactly halfas are. He’s already making anti-ghost weapons somehow. He keeps saying he has at least one college degree, but no one can figure out what the heck field it’s in
There’s also this idea…
If they can show Carolina that her friend is alive, if they can give her this one happy thing, maybe she’ll chill out a bit. Their hopes aren’t too high, but maybe they can get a nice 5% less intensity out of her. She is just. really terrifying.
And maybe she’d take it easier finding out that her brother is half-ghost, when that inevitability finally hits them
But she’s shot at Wash before. She won’t just take their word for it that this is really him.
So they have to do a test run.
A roadblock: Wash is not behind this plan. At all. He does not want to dig up old dirt and is “perfectly happy” living his weird ghost hobo life. The other guys have a secret meeting without him where they all agree that that’s utter BS, and also that they’re not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts to make all these dumb young adults feel better. This is entirely about surviving Carolina, who has been increasingly less chill about them showing up during “her” hunts.
The test run.
York has a job somewhere public, and they trick Wash (as a human) into going to that place. Where the two of them subsequently make wide-eye contact for a solid 30 panicking seconds before Wash bolts. He makes it out the door before the others stop him and make him face York and awkwardly, horrifically, declare himself to not be dead.
I haven’t figured out how yet, but Carolina does eventually find out. Probably not how they plan it, because since when do these idiots have plans that go off without a hitch. The only time these guys get something done that they intended to do, someone gets horribly wounded.
oh… there’s an idea.
I do think it’d be more fun if she found out about Church first, tho, and then Church expertly deflects the full brunt of whatever breakdown she’s about to have by deflecting to Wash like “Okay you hate this, but you’re really gonna hate this next part”
Where this is going, though
so a core conceit here is that ghosts from the ghost zone are not really “ghosts” in the traditional sense of a soul released from a deceased body, but rather imprints of powerful emotions left on another plane of reality which have gained sentience. or something.
so the plot here is that when Allison Church died, her emotions at the time of her death left an imprint strong enough to manifest as a ghost – Tex. Dr. Church’s goal is to use the information he can get from Tex to either (a) somehow do the same process of creating a ghost but in reverse, to use a ghost to create a human soul or (b) assume Tex is a 1:1 Allison equivalent and somehow get her into a human[esque?] body so that he can have his wife back.
I should be very clear, Tex is NOT Allison.
(Idk what to do with the whole Chex thing? Since Allison is his mom in this universe? At most there’s a one-off joke (BEFORE HE KNOWS WHO SHE WAS MADE FROM) about him having a crush on her. But then he finds out that she’s imprinted from his dead mom and that goes out the window. )
SO eventually Dr. Dad does find out about his son’s powers. How far the whole “dad experimenting on his son thing” would go is… up in the air? (actual dissections may be fanon flavor but they’re not canon flavor) He has a lot of people protecting him, and I think Carolina would know and be on his side at this point. Carolina and Church aren’t exactly on sparkly terms with their dad, but in this universe he didn’t emotionally and physically break one down via torture so… they kinda wanna help him?
By the time Dr. Dad finds out, they’ve all figured out what it is he wants from Tex, and they all know that none of that could actually happen. All that’s really left is to give him the last scientific puzzle piece that explains that to him: the basics of halfas existing.
Which I kind of see as two “bodies” – two physical systems of a single living being – existing in the same space. A stable halfa’s “bodies” have adapted to each other, to support each other and survive each other.
The initial assumption (Dr. Dad’s initial assumption, which gives him false hope) is that a halfa is a half-way point to getting exactly what he wants. But if they give him just enough room to find out that it’s the opposite – that halfas are much more like an entirely new cross-bred species whos existence asserts the idea one of these things (ghosts or humans) cannot be transformed into the other (since a halfa, as it’s explained here, is not a transformation of a human, but an addition and alteration to dna and structures which were already there).
Basically he wants to turn peanut butter into chocolate, and needs to find out that reeces cups are not the mid point of transfiguration, but rather just peanut butter inside of chocolate. just a reeces cup.
so once Dr. Dad figures ^^all that^^ out, he gets… depressed is a gentle word.
NOW THIS IS AN AU BASED ON A KIDS ACTION CARTOON. AND NOT KORRA. SO IT’S NOT GOING T H E R E
If anything this would be an interesting place to make a new status quo? The portal is still stuck open, none of this fixed that, so there’s still ghosts breaking into the town.
but now the main plot can move away from Church trying not to be killed by his own family and onto something else. Dr. Dad can be getting lots of therapy and maybe Carolina sticks around and does online school so her brother can have some sort of adult person in the house that isn’t Going Through Some Stuff Right Now.
and that’s like one or two seasons of Stuff right there.
Other assorted ideas
Connie comes back to town and at first it’s kinda happy but then you find out she’s working with the government and they’re here to Crack Down on the chaos
the AI fragments are ghosts that Dr. Dad whittled down to their cores and then used as energy sources to power bonus weapons for the freelancer’s tech. As time passes, after The Incident, each of them slowly regains conscious and sentience
Locus and Felix are ghost hunters. Locus may or may not know that he, himself, is a ghost.
Doc is… I’m not sure what Doc is up to, let’s brainstorm.
Doc is a ghost who’s trying to minimize the damage done by ghosts around town by offering [limited] medical assistance
or Doc is another student at the high school who wants to be a doctor and so is always hanging out in the nurse’s office
WAIT DOC IS WES WESTON
All the other chorus characters are ghosts. Imagine what a civil war in the ghost zone would look like that’d be bananas. Especially if they dragged it into the human world. That’s a whole season right there.
oh man the Blues and Reds could be other students from woodshop that’d be bananas. Temple wouldn’t be a halfa tho– what if they’re all from the woodshop class 100 years ago and they’re all ghosts that’d be b a n a n a s I’ll have to revisit that.
Maine gets to live but first they have to fistfight the ghost[s] possessing him
Simmons’ is schrodinger’s home situation. He’s the Sam Manson with the rich family who’s standards he does not meet until we are told otherwise by a canon character arc
Grif at some point gets a cool tech suit and small ghosty friend too suck it Tucker
season finale plot twist: in the last scene, we see Donut arriving at home at the end of the day. He’s loudly detailing his day to someone off screen. We assume it’s his mom. He holds back no ghostly details and she responds as if this is normal. As he goes through the house, putting his things away and grabbing his house slippers, parts of it seem… off. The color pallet is kinda wrong and the only visible person in the family(?) photos on the walls is Donut (chipper as ever in each one).
We realize we the only things we’ve heard about his homelife are really strange references we’ve played off as jokes. What kind of life is Donut leading? He’s weirdly casual about the whole ghosts being real thing, he’s missing without a mention in a lot of episodes (sometimes really important ones, for which he is the recap vehicle in later episodes), and he gets to and from places as if the writers haven’t cared enough about him to bother giving him a linear timeline in the plot.
Could all of that… have meant something? Could all the inconsistencies be not just the weak space every writer needs in a story where which to catch their breath, but something more?
No… no of course not. This is Donut we’re talking about. What would this show be without at least one character to serve solely as joke-fodder and have no more relevance than a doll with a cord to pull to say marketable phrases?
and then the the camera pans around
I guess I have ideas for like 4 seasons now. …whelp. I guess DP canon does call for at least three halfas
(If you’re wondering if there will be more posts and/or elaborations of this AU the answer is yes there are like 5 seasons and this post is mostly 1 and 2)
here were some bits from that animatic i mentioned about a while back. Im not going to finish it simply because i dont have the motivation. like, im not into that one episode or even shipping in general … i just really really really loved the song sung by Kane Strang and I had weird urge that day to do something with it.
right now ill most likely be doing animatics for a personal project but maybe in the future you can expect to see a finished danny phantom animatic
Summary: When Danny went through the ghost catcher, he expected to be cured of the ghostliness that had haunted him since the accident, not to wake up on the lab floor with his parents saying he’d been overshadowed but everything’s back to normal now. But why does Danny Fenton cry himself to sleep to then dream of flying? Why does Phantom, the ghost who was supposedly possessing Danny remember a life that wasn’t his? Most of all, why do both the human and the ghost feel that something vital is missing, in their very soul?
Or: Trying to cure himself of his powers one month after the accident, Danny accidentally splits himself but neither his ghost nor his human half know that that is what they did.
Note: Hey guys! Welcome to my next multi chapter story! This is a continuation of my one shot where Danny tells his parents about his powers during Mystery Meat (based on @danphanwritingprompts). The first chapter is that original one shot with SEVERAL IMPORTANT ADDICTIONS. SO PLEASE READ THIS EVEN IF YOU READ THE FIRST ONESHOT. I tried to use some dialog from Mystery Meat but it's been a while and I changed some lines to make more sense or to match my style and alterations to the story. Finally, a note about the title. It’s from the song Face to Face by Wolves at the Gate. The chorus has a line: “Every seed must die before it can grow.” which sums up the theme of life coming from death. I thought it was perfect for this story which is about Danny literally coming face to face with the ghostly part of himself and coming to accept and embrace that part of himself (and his death in the portal which changed him into a ghost in the first place).
Word Count: 5957
Also on AO3 and Fanfiction.net
Later, after all of this was over and Danny Fenton-Phantom finally had a chance to think about everything, he would say this moment right here was the one the lead to that fateful decision. Even after he wasn’t sure if it was a good decision or a bad decision. But he did know, it changed the way he saw his friends, his parents, and most importantly himself.
It started as one hard day in a month of hard days. Starting high school was hard enough as it is but this...Well, Danny was way in over his head and not getting to eat his burger was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
“That’s it!” Danny Fenton yelled just as his burger fell out of his hands...scratch that.. through his hands. The boy frowned down at the condiments staining his shirt then looked around frantically. Luckily no one was in the section of the park except him and his friends, Sam and Tucker, so no one heard the outburst...or the display of weird ghostliness- the 5th one in the last half hour. Danny continued his rant, now gripping his hair. “I’ve had enough! It’s been almost a month! A month! I still don’t have any control over...whatever the heck this is! I’m telling Mom and Dad.”
Sam and Tucker both glanced up from their meals, wide concerned eyes studying their friend who was clearly at his wits end. Sam bit her lip. “Are you sure…?”
But Tucker cut her off. “Yeah dude. I was wondering why you haven’t already told them.” Sam gaped at him, while Danny’s mouth snapped shut as he stared at the other boy questioningly. Tucker just raised an eyebrow. “What? They’re like experts on ghosts. If anyone can help you with your powers, it’s them.”
Danny narrowed his eyes. “I hadn’t told them because I hoped that whatever the freakin' portal did to me would go away on its own.” He spread his arms, then groaned as one flickered out of view. “But clearly that’s not going to happen.”
Tucker eyed the flickering arm. “Well hopefully they can help you get a handle on this.”
“I don’t want a handle on it.” He put his head in his hands. “I want this freaky stuff that’s happening to me gone.”
Now it was Tucker’s turn to gap. “But you have ghost powers!”
“They’re not powers Tucker! Random parts of my body disappear. Stuff literally falls through my hands. I keep waking up halfway through my bed or floating above it.They’re freaky symptoms that I can’t control!” Danny glared.
“But just think about it! You can turn invisible and walk through walls!” Tucker’s smile turned mischievous. “If you actually tried to control it, you could peak in the girls’ locker room anytime you want!”
Just then, Sam elbowed him, earning a yelp from the barrett-wearing boy. “What Tucker means to say is think of all the good you could do if you actually used your powers.”
Danny stared at his two friends, face turning increasingly red with anger. “I can’t believe you two! I di…” He cut himself off. I died, part of him wanted to say. But that...that wasn’t true, right? He took a deep breath. “I could have died. The portal ...” He closed his eyes as the memory of electricity tearing through his veins, of green light burning, and freezing, and tearing him apart, and pulling him back together, threatened to take over his mind. He shook his head. “The portal hurt me, really badly. And now weird stuff that I don’t understand and can’t control is happening to me. And it’s not getting any better.”
“But it’s already gotten better.” Sam stated. “You haven’t...changed into that ghost version of yourself since right after the accident, right?”
Danny bit his lip, now nervous. “Yeah.” He lied.
“And you’ve managed to not start floating or turn invisible in front of people.” Danny nodded, then Sam continued. “So that means you can control this.”
The black-haired boy vigorously shook his head. “I...I don’t want to have to. I just...just want this...this sickness, this infection gone. I can’t eat or sleep. I always feel like I’m gonna throw up, I’m so..so worried. It’s only a matter of time before everyone sees what a freak I am.” He hatefully spit out the word freak as his eyes started to water.
Tucker and Sam remained silent for several moments. Then Sam gently put her hand on his. “You’re not a freak, Danny. You’re just ...different. Are you sure that’s a bad thing?”
Danny shook his head again. “I just want to be normal.”
Sam and Tucker glanced at each other for a second and then turned back to Danny but all three remained silent. Just then a tear leaked from Danny’s eye. He quickly wiped his face trying to cover it up. Body flickering invisible, he scrambled up. “I have to go.”
“Bye.” “See ya.” The pair uttered as Danny ran off without looking back.
Finally home, Danny slammed the door to his room, just as his body flickered intangible again. His shaking hand passed through the doorknob. With shaky breath, the boy slid down the door and onto the floor. He hated running out on his friends like that. But he’d felt his symptoms coming on and didn’t want them to see what he feared would come next.
Suddenly, the ball of cold that had lodged itself in his chest since the accident lashed out. No! No! No! He tried to push it down, to suppress it but the cold grew, spread, and threatened to consume him. Danny bit back a shriek as the cold light manifested around his waist. He closed his eyes, not wanting to look. Seconds later, the light passed his eyes, stealing his breath. He stayed there, frozen, praying that what he just thought happened didn’t. But there was no denying it- the arctic chill, the weightlessness, the subtle buzz of energy. It’d happened again; he turned into a…
Danny’s eyes snapped open as the thought he couldn’t ever bare to think cut off. He quickly surveyed the room, then flinched as he noticed reflected neon green light. Dread grew in his stomach at the sight. With little thought, the boy floated (floated!!) to his feet. He made his way to the mirror hanging on his closet door. Biting his lip, Danny slowly met the eyes of the figure in the mirror. Glowing, other-wordly green eyes. The light swirled like his parent’s ghost portal downstairs. Danny blinked and the figure copied the action. It was his reflection but those weren’t his eyes. His eyes weren’t inhumanly deep. They didn’t glow with eerie, mesmerizing light. His eyes were icy blue, the same color as his father’s. They were completely human, not ghostly...not the eyes of a monster.
But those were his eyes. He studied the rest of the reflection- spectral glow, snowy white hair, inhumanly pale skin, color-inverted black and white jumpsuit. Of all the weird things that had happened to him since the accident, this, this was the worst part, the absolute worst part, when he turned into a ghost. No, he shook his head; he didn't 'turn into a ghost' he just looked like one. There was no way he was a ghost, some inhuman creature that had parents hunted. No he was just...sick, diseased, contaminated.
He’d hoped and prayed that this sickness would go away but even when he was himself, Danny could still feel it under his skin, running through his veins, in his chest. The infection was always there, pulsing and waiting to overtake him. And the boy was terrified that one day it would. He already sometimes wanted to do things, not human things. He wanted to jump into the air and never come down. At night, he wanted to sneak out and invisibly stalk around town. And sometimes he wanted to use his powers, no no his symptoms to get back on his bullies at school. He was terrified that he would turn into an evil, soulless ghost like the ones his parents told him stories about as a kid. One who forgot about his human life and just single-mindedly pursued his twisted obsession (not that he had any idea what that would be).
The boy shook his head again, hating that his heart which should be racing with anxiety was barely beating. He glanced back at his eerie reflection. He hated that Sam and Tucker even saw this at all but he never wanted them to see it again. That’s why he lied to them; he didn’t want his friends to see the monster he was hiding just under his frail attempts at normalcy.
Taking a deep but thoroughly unsatisfying breath, Danny pushed those thoughts away. Mentally, he reached for the little warm spot in his chest. Coaxing it with gritted teeth, the boy finally sighed in relief as he felt the warmth spread. The white light sparked again and seconds later, Danny stood in front of the mirror, warm, heavy, and completely normal looking. The boy ran his hands through his hair, though his wrinkled his nose at the still lingering cold.
But that would be gone soon and all of this would be over after he told his parents. It was his parents' machine that poisoned him. But if his parents had done this to him, then they could find a way to fix him.
The next morning, Danny sat at the kitchen table with Jazz, silently stirring his cereal. He bit his lip, debating how to break the subject of his ghostly symptoms to his parents. While his dad was happily preparing his toast, the door to the lab opened and Danny's mom walked through holding some metallic gadget. Pulling her hood down and her goggles off, she proudly placed it on the table. "Two more days, and it's done."
At her proclamation, Dad turned around. "It's done!"
The man scooped up the device while the other adult frowned. "No Honey."
Her correction was cut off by an electronic voice from the machine. "Welcome to the Fenton Finder."
Dad beamed, showing off the device to the kids. "This baby uses radio waves to track ghosts!"
Danny paled. "It uses what to track what?" For some reason, he felt nervous but there was no reason to be right? (He wasn't a ghost, no. Nope, no way)
Instead of answering, Dad focused enraptured on the screen. The device beeped and the electronic voice declared. " There is a ghost in five feet."
A curious and excited look passed over Dad’s face as he studied the display. With Mom following close behind, the father walked forward following the beeping from the machine. Danny tensed as his parents approached. Without thinking, the boy scrambled out of his chair until he backed up against the wall.
“That can’t be right.” His Dad muttered, still looking down as Danny’s mom gave the Fenton Finder a questioning look.
Meanwhile Danny felt a surge of cold from his chest. No! Not now! Suddenly, the cold flowed through his veins as his body disappeared. Glancing down at himself, his eyes widened in fear. He held his breath, mentally begging his body to turn visible again. With a tingle, the cold receded as his body reappeared. Danny sighed in relief but then felt a surge of panic. His parents were right in front of him. What if they saw?! Sure, he was going to tell them but not like this!
Danny then glanced up to find his parents still staring at their invention. They...hadn’t noticed? He didn’t know whether he was relieved or disappointed. No, this was a good thing. This was his chance. He gulped, gathering his courage. “Actually...I need to tell you guys something.”
His mother finally looked up at the statement, face turning serious noticing his tone. “What is it sweetie?”
Danny bit his lip. Deciding to approach this slowly, he answered. “I’ve been having some...symptoms since the accident in the basement. I thought the stuff would go away by itself eventually but it keeps happening and I don’t know what to do.”
His mom frowned. “Why didn’t you tell us earlier? At the hospital, they said you might have issues with your heart from being electrocuted. Are you feeling fatigued, out of breath, having any irregular heartbeat?”
Danny shook his head, somewhat surprised at her assumption. But then again, why would she think he had ghost powers because of the portal? No, not powers, symptoms. “No, what’s been happening with me has been...weirder.”
“What is it, Danno?” His dad asked, smiling comfortingly. “Whatever’s happening, you can tell us and we can take you to the doctor to figure out what’s going on.”
“No...uhhh.” The boy rubbed the back of his neck and then exhaled. “What’s happening to be has been...ghostly.” He cringed at the word as his parent’s eyebrows rose. “I...I keep turning invisible and things literally fall through my hands sometimes. And I keep waking up floating above or under my bed, like I fell through it.”
His mom tilted her head, brows furrowed in concern. “Danny sweetie, that’s…”
“Ridiculous!” Jazz who had been listening silently to the conversation before then interjected. “I can’t believe this! Your ghost obsession has polluted his mind so much, he believes it.”
Ignoring Jazz’s statement, Jack interjected. “A ghost from the portal must be messing with you, son. Everyone knows people can’t have ghost powers.”
“But!” Danny tried to argue.
Then Jazz raised her hands. “Are you serious?! He’s probably having hallucinations. Head trauma from the accident caused by your invention and the psychological damage of living with your ghost nonsense are making him see and feel things that aren’t there!”
“No! The stuff that’s happening to me is real!” The boy yelled.
“Nothing’s happening to you sweet heart.” His mother responded comfortingly. “These probably are hallucinations. Jack, have we ever tested if high ectoplasmic contamination can cause hallucinations?”
“But it’s probably a ghost messing with our boy, Madds.”
“I can’t believe you too! Ghosts aren’t real!” Jazz shook her head furiously.
“But!” Danny tried to interject again.
As the conversation dissolved into an argument, Danny’s head started spinning. They...they weren’t listening. They didn’t believe him.
“I’m telling you! There’s a ghost messing with Danny!”
No there wasn’t. It was only his own stupid body betraying him. The boy’s hands started shaking.
“He’s fallened for your stupid obession! Or he’s using it to actually get your attention for once!”
“What’s that supposed to mean young lady?”
The three started to argue furiously, ignoring the teenager as his panic quickly increased. They didn’t believe him. They weren’t going to help him and now they were mad.
“You two are always down there with that stupid portal thing! And won’t pay any attention to us. No wonder Danny’s doing this! Thinking you’ll maybe pay attention if it has something to do with ghosts!”
Ghosts, ghosts. It was always about stupid ghosts. And now he was one. No, now he wasn’t a ghost. He wasn’t. Ironically he wanted to disappear, to sink through the floor, hide in the darkest corner, fly until he was miles away. Panting breath exited Danny’s mouth. Was...was he falling?
With a startled yell, Danny found himself phased halfway into the floor.
And then, the eyes of his parents and sister fell on him, their jaws dropping as they took in the wavering transparency of his lower half and his legs phased into the floor.
Choking out a sob, Danny cried. “Help me! Please! Make it stop!”
Needless to say, seeing Danny phased through the floor quickly convinced everyone, even Jazz that what was happening to him was very much real. And after an initial freak out (and once Jack realized there was no ghost invisibility following his son and using its powers on him), both parents reacted fairly well.
"Can you guys figure out how to cure me?" Danny asked his parents after a lengthy discussion about what had been happening to him since the accident (that is minus one little, tiny, in no way significant detail).
The two parents looked between themselves, worriedly. Then Danny's mom took his hand. "I promise your father and I will try our hardest to figure out how this is happening to you and to make it stop."
"We'll figure this out Danny-boy." His father gave him a comforting smile.
The boy nodded. "Thanks Mom and Dad."
Glancing at the clock, Mom stated. "School's already started. Jazz, I'll write you a note explaining why you're late. And Danny, you're staying home so we can get some blood and hair samples from you and start figuring out how to get rid of your… symptoms." Seeing how Danny wrung his hands nervously at the thought of having his blood drawn, she continued gently. "I promise we'll be gentle Danny. We wouldn’t do anything you aren't comfortable with."
So then Jazz headed to school while Danny stayed at home with his parents.
After a day of having samples taken and helping in the lab, Sam and Tucker knocked on the door to Fentonworks.
“Hey guys.” Danny greeted them as they started up the stairs into his room.
While Tucker carefully avoided his eyes, Sam crossed her arms. “You weren’t in school today.”
“Yeah.” Danny shrugged. “I told Mom and Dad this morning and I’ve been helping them find some way to cure me.” He ended the statement with a small smile; he definitely felt better after coming clean to his parents.
Sam studied his face for a moment and then shook her head. “Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“Yes.” Danny answered, voice completely confident.
“I...I just don’t want you to only be doing this because you’re afraid.” The sincerity and lack of confidence in his female friend's voice invoked a small ball of worry in Danny’s gut.
“That’s not what I’m doing.” Danny replied, though his voice was unsure. It was true, right? He wasn’t doing this just because he was scared. Yeah, he was scared but that wasn’t just it.
Before he could think on it anymore, Tucker interjected. “We just wanted to say. Danny, no matter what you decide to do Sam and I will support you. We’re your friends and will always have your back.”
Danny smiled at his friend’s kind words. “Thanks guys. I promise after this everything will be back to normal.”
After two long days of waiting for his parents to finish their invention, Danny stood in the lab nervously studying a silver and neon green dream catcher.
"This is the Fenton Ghost Catcher." Dad proudly proclaimed.
Danny's frown deepened as his mom shook her head. "It's not designed to catch ghosts per say, though it could do that. It expunges ectoplasmic contamination." At Danny's confused and slightly nervous look, she clarified. "You have a lot of ectoplasm in your body, much higher than normal, even compared to your father and I who work with ectoplasm constantly. And that's what was causing your symptoms." She motioned to the device. "The 'mesh' is a grid of ectoplasm repellent material which normal matter passes through harmlessly. It will draw the ectoplasm out of you."
"And no ectoplasm means no symptoms?" Danny asked tentatively.
"Yes, son. You'll be right as rain in no time." His dad replied confidently.
“And you're sure it will work?” Danny asked, wringing his hands.
Dad answered proudly. “Of course. It will.”
His mom smiled at him. “We tested it on the samples you gave us. Between that, what you told us, and the other data we collected, your father and I are sure it will work and with no side effects. So there’s nothing to worry about. We thought of everything.”
The boy focused on the device again, the worry still worming through his gut. Part of him still doubted this would work. It couldn’t be that easy, right? Just go through the Ghost Catcher, and bam, back to normal like nothing ever happened. Could it really purge him of the ghostliness haunting him with no other effects? Especially when he hadn’t told them everything.
Guilt knotted in the boy’s gut. He hadn’t told his parents about his...other appearance, about how he could turn into a ghost. Like with Sam and Tucker, he didn’t want them to see him like that, to really see the monster, the freak he was. They would never look at him the same, even if the invention worked and that other appearance was gone. Plus they didn’t need to see it, right? They had managed to figure out how to fix him anyway. And his freaky other form would be gone soon so they would never have to know.
Danny shook his head, trying to clear the thought. But he still didn’t really feel confident."It's not going to hurt, right?"
"Of course not!...Probably." Dad answered unhelpfully.
The teenager paled. “Probably?!”
“Jack!” At the same time, the woman rebuked the other scientist and then put her arm around her son. “Sweetie, everything is going to be fine. It’s not going to hurt and everything will be back to normal before you know it.” Mom then stepped away. “Are you ready, sweetie?”
Walking forward, Danny held his arm in front of him until his palm sat inches from the mess. As he approached, he felt the cold flitter in his chest, the energy swirling through his veins. It almost felt like it was..trying to get away? Like it was repulsed by the mesh. The feeling sent dread through his chest. It felt...wrong. He froze, part of him wanting to get as far away from the device as possible. Did...did he still want to do this? The thought that something would go wrong if he did trickled through his mind.
“Are you alright, son?”
Was he...was he alright? Danny turned to his now worried looking parents, his own brow furrowed in confusion. What had he just been doing? Of course, he wanted to do this!
“Yeah, let’s get this over with.”
With a nod, his Dad picked up the Ghost Catcher. “I’m just going to pass this over you and that will be it.”
Danny braced himself. One last thought- of how he’d finally be normal again, like he wanted-
pass through his mind before burn, splitting pain and everything went black.
The boy’s eyes blinked open as he heard something hit the floor.
“Ghost!” The large, orange clad man bellowed. The smaller, blue clad woman heaved a large silver and green device, pointing it at the figure as her shocked expression turned to anger.
Danger! The boy’s mind screamed at the action. Without another thought, he fled hearing one of the adults yell something, a name, before he passed up through the ceiling. Flying without thought of where he was going, the boy suddenly stopped, finding himself floating above what looked like a park, the playground and nearby woods abandoned and barely lit.
Wait! Floating! How was he floating?! He looked down at himself, his eyes focusing on his white gloves. He hadn’t been wearing gloves earlier, had he? Yeah, he’d been wearing his favorite shirt and jeans, but now he was in a black and white suit...like the ones the two adults from earlier had been wearing.
Mom and Dad, the information drifted across his mind. His parents! How had he forgotten that? But they’d yelled at him. Mom had pointed a gun at him as he left. Why...why would they do that? And….they’d shouted a name as he flew away. Danny, that’s what they had said. That was his name, Danny! And he’d forgotten that too!
But…. Mom and Dad hadn’t been directing the name at him but at something behind him. He hadn’t seen it before he flew away. Danny quickly spun around, mouth falling open. He was still floating, still flying. How was he doing this?!
And then he remembered, earlier. Before the pain, before he ran. He remembered seeing himself in the bathroom mirror after...the accident, glowing with a black and white suit on…. And floating like he was now. A few strands of white hair entered his peripheral vision. White, like in the mirror before. He had thought he was a ghost back then, earlier, but he’d turned back into himself. All he needed to do was find the spark of warmth in his chest, near where his heart beat.
Danny mentally searched ...and there was nothing. There was nothing!? No warmth, no heartbeat, and...and he wasn’t breathing. When had he stopped breathing?! He felt from the warm again, mentally prodding his chest. No! No NO! Where was it?!
A white ring of light formed around his waist. Yes! Earlier, that had happened before he turned back into himself. But ...the light fizzled out. He tried again but it fizzled out. A third time, and nothing!
No! No NO! This was not happening! It couldn’t...he wasn’t...No.
I’m a ghost. The thought passed through his mind softly, slowly, quietly. Danny shook his head, denying it. But he knew it was true. Like how he knew his name was Danny, it was just...there.
He was a ghost, a real, proper, actually ghost. Meaning….he was dead. He’d died. His..his parent’s machine, it had killed him, completely this time. He was dead, a freak. His own parents hadn’t recognized him. They hated him and now he couldn’t go home.
At the thought, the ghost (because there was no denying what he was, not any more) wept.
The boy’s eyes blinked open. Why...was he on the floor of the lab? He squinted at the bright lights. And why did his head hurt?
“Danny! Can you hear me?! Say something sweetie!”
His eyes finally focused on the figure in front of him. Red hair, a blue jumpsuit, his mom. The boy reached out hand up to rub his head. “Ow”
At the muttered word, his mom’s eyes lit up as she threw her arms around him. “I’m so sorry baby! Are you okay?”
Danny hugged her back, nose wrinkled in confusion. “What happened? I remember walking down into the lab and then…” He trailed off.
His mom’s own brow furrowed in confusion but she remained silent. Danny’s eyes then focused on his dad, whose mouth was pinched shut in anger. “That ghost tricked us!”
Danny paled. What...how? Did they find out? “What...what ghost?”
Obviously gauging his reaction as fear of the ‘ghost’ and not nervousness of his parent’s discovery, his mom rubbed his back. “It’s okay, Danny. We wouldn’t let it get you again.”
Danny gapped. “What?”
“You were being overshadowed the whole time!” His father exclaimed. “The stupid ghost was using you as a meat puppet! Probably since the accident!”
“Uhhh...overshadowing? Meat puppet?...what...what are you talking about?” Danny stuttered.
His mom frowned and then her eyes widened in realization. “Of course you don’t remember. Overshadowing is when a ghost...takes over someone’s body. The victim can’t control what they do and doesn’t remember what happened to them.” She then paled. “Oh, Danny. That ghost, it had you for a month. A month and we didn’t notice! And you probably don’t remember much since the accident, do you?”
Danny stared at her. Did he remember? His mind swirled with the onslaught of information. The boy shook his head. At the same time, his dad kneeled down beside his mom. “We are so proud of you son.” He smiled gently. “You managed to break free long enough to tell us what was happening. Said you were having weird, ghostly symptoms but I guess the ghost wouldn’t let you tell us the truth, huhhh?”
His mom put her hand on his arm. “It’s alright baby. You don’t have to talk. You’ve been through a lot. Let’s make sure you’re not hurt and get you to bed, okay?”
Danny nodded again as his parents gently helped him up. They quickly checked him for injuries while Danny furiously tried to remember what happened. He remembered telling his parents about his symptoms and getting them to cure him. He remembered staring at the Ghost Catcher, horrible pain. And then he woke up on the floor. Huh, so much for it not hurting.
“Come on, sweetie.” His mom led him up the stairs. “Get some sleep. We will talk about everything in the morning.”
Robotically, Danny laid down on his bed. As the door closed, he heard his parents urgently chatting behind the door, a few words drifting through the door.
He stared at the ceiling, mind spinning. Mom and Dad said he shouldn’t remember what happened while he was overshadowed...but he did for some reason. And he hadn’t felt like someone else was controlling his actions. So then why did his parents think they saw a ghost? What did this all mean?
Danny also absently noted that the cold that had lodged itself in his chest for the past month was gone. He mentally prodded the area, but nothing. He even tried to trigger the weird symptoms but nothing happened. If fact, he hadn’t turned invisible or intangible since he woke up in the lab. And instead of feeling happy or relieved, he felt...sad. A tiny ball of dread lodged itself in his gut. He...he missed whatever he had felt before. It was like...something was missing. Suddenly, a sob escaped his lips. He...he was crying. Why? Another sob passed and tears started streaming. Why...why did he suddenly feel devastated, like his life fell apart? He wanted to go home. But…. he was home. What?
Trying to quiet the sobs, Danny cried himself to sleep.
At some point, Danny the ghost cried himself dry. He focused on his shaking hands. How did this happen to him? Why….why did he go in that stupid portal?! Why didn’t his parent’s stupid ghost catcher not work? It was supposed to cure him! Not turn him into a ghost permanently! He was supposed to be a normal human boy, not this...this freak, this monster. He wasn’t supposed to be a ghost! He was supposed to be normal. He wasn’t supposed to be dead!!
Danny shook his head. Dead, he was dead. And...somewhere at home was his body. Were his parents crying over it right now, thinking he was gone? Were they mourning him? Would his sister find out after she got back from the library, his friends tomorrow? Oh god, his life was over. He’d never get to say goodbye, never get to go on his first date or have his first kiss. He’d never graduate. Never get a job, or get married. Or have kids. He’d never get to grow up.
But...but he didn’t feel dead. No he couldn’t be dead. He didn’t feel all that different from normal. He...he needed to see it, his body. If he saw himself, laying at home dead, then maybe he could figure this out, figure out what to do next. Maybe he could move on.
So the ghost flew across town until he came to Fentonworks, his home. He bit his lip, terrified of what he would find and how his parents might react if they saw him. His whole body shook as he approached.
Then he paused, outside his window. He sensed ...something, coming from his room. Danny phased through the window and froze, eyes widening. There in his bed was...himself, his body. Had...had Mom and Dad just left his….his corpse up here, in his room? He frowned. He...it looked so peaceful like he...it was asleep. Danny floated forwards until he was a foot away. He heard something. Was...was that breath? He focused on the body’s chest. It was rising and falling, like breathing in sleep. The ghost leaned closer. And he could hear a steady heartbeat in the chest.
He...he was alive. How?! How was his body alive? Was he in a coma or something? And this was some kind of out of body experience? Yeah, yes! That was it. Incredible joy flowed through Danny. He wasn’t too late! He had a chance, he could grow up, be human, normal. The ghost floated directly over his body. But how did he get back in...there, where he belonged?
And then the body’s eyes opened and it shot up into a sitting position. Startled, the ghost turned invisible and intangible, backing away. Then joy turned to horror.
“Hello? Is someone there?” It, the body, spoke. The head turned from side to side, intelligent eyes searching the room. “Hello?” Came a last whisper before the body laid back down and fell instantly asleep.
Danny the ghost shook in fear as he fled again. Oh, god. There was someone in his body. And it wasn’t him! There was someone in his bed, his house! How...how. Terror surged through the ghost. His chest heaved though he didn’t need to breathe. No! No! NO! What the hell was that? What the freaking, hell, oh god! His mind spilled every curse he knew and then some.
He stopped in the park again, crashing into a tree. Doubling over, the ghost felt like he was going to throw up but nothing came up. He...he couldn’t even feel his stomach heaving.
Impostor! There was an impostor in his bed! His mind raced and then crashed to a halt.
How...how was someone, not him in his body? It...it wasn’t a ghost. He knew that instinctively. So what...who?
Then a horrible, awefull, terrifying, horrifying thought entered his mind.
Danny...Danny Fenton was in his bed at home. That...that wasn’t his body. He...he was the impostor. The ghost was the impostor, not the boy in bed. Mom and Dad ...the Fentons said ghosts were evil. They were tricky, sneaky, selfish. They only looked out for themselves, confusing and distressing the living. And could even trick and confuse themselves.
And Danny...no...the ghost…the phantom...he was an impostor, he...wasn’t real, a confused post human consciousness imprinted in ectoplasm (that’s what Mom...Maddie always said, right?)
If Danny Fenton was asleep in his bed, then who (or what) was Phantom?