au where jack and maddie did give up on ghosts, in episode 1 they were like really close to giving up but then there was ghosts
so after giving up they were just oblivious to anything, I mean danny did a lot of his powers right in front of them (like literal invisibility and intangibility ) and they didn't blink an eye
sometimes they would be like GHOST??? and then jazz (who now knows there is ghosts but doesn't want them to be obsessed with ghosts again) is like UH UH NO NOTHINGS GOING ON
but they did promise jazz to give it up and for the past 20 years they haven't even seen an encounter so they reluctantly ignored anything strange
that would've been great and all but danny realizes how much he relies on his parents tech and once his thermos broke down he has come to fist fighting the ghosts until theyre weak enough for him to drag them back to the ghost zone
Prompt: Tucker Ghouly thought this was going to be a good, peaceful day. That thought is crushed when not one, not two, but three portals open, depositing the halfa versions of his two best friends (and his best friend’s sister?) into this world. Why are they here? And how are they going to return to their home worlds?
Prompt by: @bibliophilea
Word count: 4,175
[AO3] [FFN] [more Phic Phight fics]
“This patrol has been very calm,” Tucker muttered, raising himself higher in the air like that would reveal some sort of hidden ambush. “Suspiciously calm.”
“Don’t jinx us,” Danny grumbled, rolling his eyes. One of his hands wandered to the ecto-gun hidden under his black jacket.
Something in Tucker’s chest seized—his core, he knew instantly—and he jerked to a halt. So did both of his friends, coming to a stand-still a step behind him. A green spark flickered in front of them.
“Too late,” Sam grunted, pulling her own small ecto-gun out of its holster. “This one is on you, Tuck.”
“When isn’t it?” he bit back, but lit up his fists with roiling violet ectoplasm anyway. Whatever this was, whether it would be hostile or not, he was ready.
The spark spluttered, and for a moment it seemed to extinguish entirely. Then, with a terrible ripping sound—a sound which seemed to echo in Tucker’s very core—the green extended, like a tear through reality.
A portal into the Ghost Zone.
The surface of the portal wavered, then parted way as a single humanoid ghost stumbled through. Literally stumbled through, feet on the ground, almost tripping on the edge of the portal as it immediately closed behind the ghost.
And then the noise came again, and then a third time, as two more portals opened up, just to the side of where the first had been. And, again, the portals both released a single humanoid ghost before immediately closing again.
“What the hell,” Danny muttered behind him, and Tucker could only heartily agree. At least he didn’t seem to be the only one confused by the going-ons, as the first ghost to stumble through was also watching the newcomers.
Or he had been, because the ghost’s gaze had snapped towards Tucker—and more importantly, Danny—when his friend had spoken.
Bright green eyes blinked at the two of them, and Tucker was struck with a sense of familiarity. It took him an embarrassingly long moment to see through the glowing eyes, the innate difference in appearance caused by the mild glow of a ghost, before he could place the face.
The ghost was an exact copy of Danny. Or, more accurately, of a hypothetical ghost version of Danny, since his hair was as white as Tucker’s was in his ghost form, and his usual blue eyes replaced with green.
He ripped his eyes away from Danny’s ghostly doppelganger to look at the other two ghosts, and felt his stomach flip. One of them was undeniably Sam’s copy, with white hair and vivid cyan eyes. The other took him a moment longer to place, before he realized she looked like a younger version of Danny’s sister Jazz.
“Huh,” Sam mumbled, stepping up to Tucker’s other shoulder. All three ghosts’ eyes followed the movement. “This is… odd.”
“That’s one way of putting it,” the ghostly version of Danny said. Despite the echo, his voice was undeniably Danny’s. “So, uh. I guess none of you were responsible for the creation of that portal?” He paused, looking over his shoulder at the other two ghosts. “Or, those portals, since there were multiple?”
“Definitely not,” Tucker confirmed, and let the ectoplasm gathering in his fists sizzle out. None of the ghosts seemed hostile, and he didn’t really feel much for fighting his friends’ duplicates.
“I didn’t do it either,” the young Jazz said, her golden eyes narrowed and her purple hair flickering violently in a manner that reminded Tucker uncomfortably of Ember.
“Me neither,” Sam’s doppelganger piped up, crossing her arms. “So, Danny, you up to something?”
Ghostly Danny flinched and pulled a face that Tucker immediately placed as guilty. “Uhhh…”
“Why is my ghost version a disaster?” Danny loudly complained, leaning against Tucker’s shoulder now that he had—without noticing it himself—come low enough to the ground for Danny to reach.
“Just be glad that he’s wearing black,” Sam put in, leaning around Tucker’s other side to watch her own ghostly copy. “Since apparently everyone else has been forced into brightly colored jumpsuits.”
“Stop dodging the point,” the younger Jazz snapped, before whirling around to her ghostly brother. “What did you do, big brother?”
“Big brother?” both Danny’s echoed, eyeing her. When she growled, the ghostly Danny raised his hands placatingly and added on, “I didn’t— Okay, I might’ve, but I didn’t mean to!”
“Illuminating,” Sam’s ghostly double muttered, shaking her head. “Please stop dodging around the point, Danny.”
Luminescent green eyes rolled as Danny’s copy lowered his hands again. “Okay, so I might have been trying to open a portal to the Ghost Zone. I was just trying to reach a friend!”
“And you somehow missed catastrophically,” Sam concluded, now also leaning on Tucker. He was starting to feel slightly used. “You know what? That checks out.”
“Wow,” Danny muttered, pressing a hand against his chest. “I’m hurt, Sam. Right in my poor black heart.”
“Okay, that’s enough out of you three!” Jazz snarled, her glow flickering brighter for a moment before it settled again. “That explains how Danny got here, but what about us?” She gestured at herself and Sam’s ghostly version. “Why are Sam and I here?”
“The connection between Danny’s world and this one must’ve destabilized something.” Sam’s ghost frowned, brows drawing together in thought. “Or maybe something about how he reached for a friend drew us in too?”
All five of them looked at the ghostly Danny, whose shoulders slowly but steadily climbed up to his ears.
“Sorry?” he said, sounding uncertain. “Uh. Whoops?”
Danny snorted, then shook his head. “Maybe we should move somewhere a little more private while we figure this out, since it doesn’t seem like you folks are intent on causing trouble.”
“We can go to my place, since we actually have a shot at privacy there,” Sam offered, stepping away from Tucker. “The three of us will need to go through the front door. Can I assume you three can find the way to the greenhouse yourselves?”
Sam’s ghostly double raised an eyebrow, then grinned. “Yeah, I think I can manage that. We’ll be right there.”
“Just know that if you don’t show up, we will hunt you down,” Danny threatened, holding a single finger in their direction. “You’re not safe just because you look like us.”
“Yeah, yeah, we hear you loud and clear,” Danny’s double replied, waving him off almost casually. “Get going.”
By the time Tucker, Sam, and Danny made it to Sam’s greenhouse, the three ghosts had already arrived. True to expectations, Sam’s double was checking out the plants. The other two, ghostly Danny and Jazz, seemed to be frowning at each other.
Tucker cleared his throat the moment he stepped inside, ignoring the way his core pulled in his chest. He had very little experience dealing with ghosts while human, and felt distinctly disarmed. If they attacked, he would need precious moments to transform.
But that was if they attacked, which he highly doubted.
“Oh,” ghost Danny said, with a tone of heavy understanding. “We’re all half-ghosts, then. That makes sense.”
“Does it?” Tucker muttered, only halfheartedly venomous. “No, I guess it does. Can we start with introductions?”
Jazz nodded, a thoughtful expression on her face. “There is too much overlap in the names, I think. Should all half-ghosts go by our ghost names, then? Since I assume we all have one?”
The half-ghost version (apparently?) of Sam turned away from the plant she’d been looking at. “I’m Manes, then. And can I just say that this is a damn impressive greenhouse.”
“Thanks,” the actual Sam answered with a snort and a pleased smile. “It’s a good place to hide away from my parents.”
Half-ghost Danny shook his head, the expression on his face somewhere between hurt and cheered. His Sam must be the same about plants, then. “I’m Phantom.”
“Specter,” half-ghost Jazz chipped in, a thoughtful expression on her face.
Tucker kind of got it. Somehow, they all went with a similar theme on names, yet lacked overlap entirely. “I went with Ghouley, but considering that I’m the only Tucker around, you can just call me Tucker.”
“Where is your sense of camaraderie, Tuck?” Phantom asked, grinning impishly. “We’re all in this together, aren’t we?”
“So it seems,” he allowed with a grumble, rolling his eyes. “Am I supposed to shift to my ghost form as well, or are you all gonna shift back to human, or…?”
The other three exchanged brief glances before Manes shrugged, a ring of white light forming around her waist. The light swept away cyan eyes and a green suit, leaving her in a rather generic shirt and skirt combo, the same green and purple he knew from his own Sam, and her usual purple eyes blinking back at him.
Phantom huffed but followed her, letting his own transformation wash away the black jumpsuit and green eyes, replacing them with a white and red shirt and ordinary jeans, sky blue eyes like the Danny right behind Tucker.
With the other two transformed, Specter rolled her eyes but also shifted, her golden eyes turning teal and her purple ponytail coming down to cascade red hair over her shoulders—just like the Jazz Tucker knew, if a little younger.
“So they are all half-ghosts,” Danny jibed, gesturing at the three… the three alternate versions of his friends. And Jazz. “That’s good to know.”
“This was a test?” Phantom asked, raising his own eyebrow and looking eerily like Danny. Tucker was kind of starting to wish he had just shifted back to his ghost form for this. “I guess that that’s fair. I don’t think I would’ve trusted it either, if I was in your shoes.”
“Okay, not this isn’t nice and all,” Specter interrupted, sounded not at all sorry for doing so, “but can we please focus on the whole”—she gestured around them—“this thing?”
“She has a point,” Sam allowed, stepping further into the greenhouse. “We’re still working on the assumption that Phantom somehow did this?”
The boy in question made a face but didn’t deny it. “I was just trying to open a portal. I don’t know how it went this wrong!”
“Was this your first time opening a portal?” Manes asked, leaning forward with an expression of curiosity on her face. “If so, what made you so certain you could do it?”
“I’ve seen a future version of myself do it,” Phantom explained with a dismissively casual shrug. “I managed at least one of the other powers I saw him do, so I figured portal making wasn’t out of the question either.”
Tucker felt himself frown at that. He’d seen a future version of himself? Sure, the three of them had run into all sorts of weird ghost stuff, but that? That wasn’t something he was familiar with.
It seemed he wasn’t the only one, because Manes also frowned. Specter, it seemed, did recognize the events, if vaguely, because she nodded understandingly.
“I’ve seen something similar,” she allowed. “But I never successfully opened a portal, either, despite what I’ve seen her do.”
“Weird.” Phantom shook his head, like he was clearing his thoughts. “I don’t know why Specter and I saw a future and you two didn’t, and I don’t know what went wrong with my attempt, either. I figured that if I messed it up it just wouldn’t work, not”—he gestured vaguely, much like Specter had before—“not this.”
“Must’ve been some weird Fenton thing,” Manes commented, her frown wiped away in favor of a grin. “Come on, there’s gotta be something that sets you apart from Specter, if she just couldn’t do it and you tore open the fabric of reality to tap into alternate dimensions.”
Phantom flapped his hands aggravatedly, and despite the oddness of the situation, Tucker was secretly kind of glad of how easy it was to read him and Manes. Specter was more troublesome—he didn’t spend a lot of time around Jazz—but his friends? Piece of cake.
“I don’t know, okay?” Phantom snapped, his eyes briefly flickering green. Really aggravated, then. Good to know. “I don’t know how I screwed up this badly! I didn’t even know it was possible for ghosts to open portals to different realities!”
“And you can’t think of anything that might work?” Specter pressed, crossing her arms and frowning at him. “No ghost artifacts or anything?”
That ground Phantom to a halt. “Uh. Hm…” His brow creased as he thought, muttering to himself under his breath, until… “The Reality Gauntlet could’ve done it, maybe?”
“The what?” Tucker blurted out automatically. That sounded like some kind of superhero comic device, not an actual ghost artifact.
“The Reality Gauntlet?” Phantom repeated, like that alone could explain everything. “Big metal glove, fits four gems? Can alter the fabric of reality?”
Tucker shook his head in negative, and was oddly relieved to see not only Manes but also Specter answer in negative.
“No one else has dealt with it?” Phantom asked, incredulous.
“That must’ve been it, then,” Danny concluded, humming to himself. “The Gauntlet must’ve done it.”
“But that’s impossible,” Phantom countered, crossing his arms defensively across his chest. “I destroyed it months ago.”
“And, assuming the timelines are roughly equal, your core would’ve been young enough to absorb the energy released from a broken ghost artifact,” Sam bit back. “What were you thinking, Phantom?”
“That it was too dangerous to leave hanging around!” Phantom’s eyes glowed green once more, but it was quickly repressed, and he continued in a quieter, more morose tone. “Freakshow already used it against my friends and family once. I couldn’t leave it hanging around for him—or someone else—to try again.”
That… checked out. Tucker might’ve done the same, if he had been in Phantom’s shoes. Danny definitely would’ve. “Okay, so now what?”
“We ask Clockwork?” Phantom suggested with a loose shrug. “He’s usually helpful for this sort of thing.”
Clockwork? That was a ghost name if Tucker had ever heard one, but not one he was familiar with. From Manes’ expression, neither was she.
He wasn’t sure whether it was comforting or not, that his universe and Manes’ were so similar when the Fentons’ universes were so different. It was like they were somehow significantly different from the Fentons. Was it because Sam and he weren’t the kids of ghost hunters? Somehow?
“Clockwork is the ghost of time, though.” Specter huffed, rolling her eyes at Phantom. “Besides, we’re in a different universe entirely, and it looks like Ghouley doesn’t know him. Clockwork probably won’t know any of us, never mind care enough to help.”
“Why can’t we just go and grab the Reality Gauntlet?” Manes asked. “If that’s the thing powerful enough to break through the fabric of reality, surely we can just use the one in this universe to make portals back?”
Phantom made a face at that. “I’m not sure where it is. I think Freakshow might’ve stolen in from the Guys in White, but I’m not 100% sure on that.”
Eugh. Yeah, that explained the face. “So that’s out too,” Tucker concluded, trying not to feel too down about it. At least he wasn’t stuck in a different reality altogether. But if there was no way to return the three other half-ghosts home… That was bound to become messy.
“Why can’t Phantom just try again?” Sam asked, a tone of genuine curiosity in her voice. “If we’re all pretty sure he’s the one responsible for the portals in the first place, maybe he can open up portals back, too.”
“Using a power he can’t control?” Manes returned, but she cocked her head in thought. “But I guess that it’s worth a shot.”
“We could try doing it together?” Specter suggested, placing a hand on Phantom’s shoulder. “We’re all half-ghosts, and we’re all here for some reason, right? If Phantom’s power brought us here, maybe we can combine all our powers to make the portals back?”
Danny huffed out a laugh. “I don’t think that that’s how ghost powers work, is it?”
The look he got from Specter could only be described as imperial. “Friendship—love—is all we have on our side, it seems. It brought us here, it can damn well bring us back, too.”
“That’s fair,” Danny allowed with a snort.
“I guess we’d better wait until it’s dark.” Tucker pulled out his phone, grimacing at the time. “Why don’t we all call our parents that we’re staying here and order in some food?”
Phantom shrugged, then sat down on a stool hanging out in the greenhouse. “Sounds good to me.”
“Same,” Specter said, following his example. Manes shrugged and nodded her approval as well.
“We could talk a little about the differences between our realities.” Danny stepped forward to nudge Phantom. “I, for one, would really like to know why you’re wearing white.”
“What am I, a goth?” Phantom laughed, shaking his head. “I’ve got Sam for that.”
Oh yeah, they would get through the time well enough, Tucker thought.
“I think it’s late enough,” Specter muttered, and Tucker jerked out of the drowse he’d fallen into. Rubbing his eyes with one hand, he followed her gaze to outside the greenhouse.
“Looks like it,” he agreed with a yawn. “Let’s all sneak off to the park, then.”
The other half-ghosts—and Danny and Sam—pushed themselves out of their seats as well, getting to their feet slowly. Looked like he wasn’t the only one who’d gotten tired while waiting.
Actually, it made perfect sense that all his fellow half-ghosts got as little sleep as he did. Ghost hunting was bad for your sleep rhythm, he knew.
Tucker waved Danny over closer, then pushed a camera into his hand. “Can you film the thing for me?”
Danny snorted but nodded. “Of course, Tuck. Just don’t get yourself sucked into an alternate reality, please?”
“I’ll try,” he promised wryly, then nodded at the other half-ghosts, who had gathered into a sorta-kinda circle around the two of them. “I think the best plan is for all of us to fly there together. Two of us can carry Sam and Danny to sneak them in with us.”
Manes shrugged and stepped forward. “I can carry my counterpart, and Phantom can take Danny.”
“You’re volunteering my services?” Phantom squawked, then shook his head and stepped forward as well. “Sure, whatever. Yeah, I’ll carry this universe’s version of myself, no problem.”
Getting a nod of approval from Danny and Sam, Tucker figured it was all satisfied and shrugged. “If everyone’s fine with that. Let’s get going, then.”
He shifted into his ghost form before he finished the sentence, the other three half-ghosts following his example.
But, man, Tucker really hoped this would work. Having the other three stick around might be helpful in the whole ghost hunting business, but it was weird to see what his friends would look like as ghosts. Or, as half-ghosts at least, since he knew they all looked rather human compared to most other ghosts.
Phantom easily scooped up Danny, despite his earlier protests, and Manes was quick to follow suit and pick up Sam.
Tucker, not quite sure why he was their lead—because this was his universe, maybe?—pushed himself off of the ground, flickering intangible for a moment to exit the greenhouse. He didn’t even have to look over his shoulder to make sure the others followed, because he could feel them, faintly, trailing just a little behind him.
Good thing that it was too dark for people to tell who they were carrying, because that would be awkward. If people questioned Ghouley about the other ghosts he could at least sorta-kinda tell the truth and say they were his friends, but if they had seen Sam or Danny with them? That was asking for trouble, for sure.
Before he knew it they had arrived at the park, all of them touching down silently. They must’ve looked like a fright, their glowing eyes piercing through the dark, but it looked abandoned enough.
Which was exactly what they had counted on, since the park was closed at night, but you never knew.
Sam and Danny were released by Manes and Phantom, trailing away to the edge of the square where they had landed. Making sure they stayed out of the way of whatever was going to happen here.
Good. That made Tucker feel better. If this somehow went catastrophically wrong… at least they would be safe.
Specter reached forward, suddenly, grabbing Phantom’s hand and linking their fingers together. Then, with her free hand, she gestured Manes over.
Clearly the other half-ghost caught on quicker than Tucker or Phantom, because she grabbed Specter’s free hand and then reached for Tucker. Following their example, he linked his hand with Manes’ offered hand, and then grabbed Phantom’s, completing the circle.
“This is stupid,” the half-ghost in question muttered, glaring venomously at the ground between them. “I’m pretty sure I used my hands to open the first portal.”
“Well, what else do you want us to do to offer our strength? Put our hands on your back?” Specter snorted, the smile in her voice undeniable. “Just try it, ghost-boy.”
Phantom rolled his eyes, then closed them. Took a deep breath. For a moment, it looked like nothing happened, but then…
Then, Tucker could feel the swell of power in the air. Could feel it waver through Phantom, down their connected hand. Could feel the energy running through his own core, through his hand to Manes.
Could feel the pulses of— of whatever it was going through all of them at once.
And, as a terrible but familiar shredding sort of noise sounded, the energy fled from them all at once. Phantom pulled himself free from Tucker’s hold—not that Tucker tried to stop him—and stepped closer to one of the three portals that had opened up.
“I can’t believe that worked,” Tucker muttered to himself, and he heard Manes snort next to him. Quickly he let go of her hand as well, and watched her step closer to one of the portals as well. A different one than Phantom’s.
“I think it did,” Specter said thoughtfully, moving towards the third portal. “It… calls to me, almost?”
Manes hummed in agreement. Rather than reply, Phantom just stuck his head through the portal he’d been looking at. Tucker flinched automatically, but Phantom pulled himself back out before he could move closer.
“It looks right,” Phantom agreed, cautiously. “It feels right, too. But it’s hard to say. From what I’ve seen, this Amity Park looks just like mine, and I assume so do yours.”
“Yeah.” Manes shrugged, then. “We’ll just have to hope for the best, then. If this didn’t work we didn’t have any alternative plans anyway, so…”
Specter snorted. “That’s true, unfortunately.” She took her eyes off of the portal to look at Tucker—and at Sam and Danny, who had crept in closer. “Thanks for the hospitality, and,” she turned to shoot looks at Phantom and Manes, “thank all of you for the experience.”
“Yes, what she said,” Manes agreed, a smile creeping onto her face. “Thank you all for the help as well.”
Phantom nodded. “Yeah, uh. Sorry for causing this, probably? And thanks to uh, all of you.” He nodded again, this time to Tucker and his friends, then stepped towards his portal. And paused.
“Uh, maybe you two should leave first? I don’t want to risk yours closing if I’m gone.”
Manes clapped him on the shoulder, then, still smiling, stepped through her portal. The moment she was gone from their sight, the swirling green mass pulled together and disappeared like it had never been there at all.
“Good luck,” Specter wished Phantom, and then floated through her portal. Once more, it immediately closed behind her.
Phantom nodded at them. “Seriously. Sorry for the mess, and thanks.”
“Just go, dude.” Tucker waved, and with a grin, Phantom stepped through the last portal.
He waited for a few moments after the portal had closed. When no new portals popped up, he sighed, letting the exhaustion of the day wash over him. “Man, I really hope that worked out fine.”
“They’ll be fine,” Sam said, then nudged him. “They’ll have the help of their friends.”
Tucker hummed, then turned to Danny. “You got that, right?”
“Of course I got it,” Danny scoffed, shaking his head. “I’d be crazy not to. Yeah, I got it.”
Tucker nodded, then turned to look at the empty space again. The place where the other half-ghosts had just been.
“I really hope that nothing else crazy like this happens, because I really don’t think I can handle that.” He sighed. “And… I hope that they’re all okay.”
“I’m sure they will be.” Danny bumped his other shoulder, taking the opposite side of Sam. “Now come on, let’s get some sleep. You need it.”
“Wow,” Tucker mumbled back, already turning around again. “Hurtful.”
Prompt: A garden filled with Blood Blossom/Maddie starts growing Blood Blossoms around the house.
Summary: Maddie plants Blood Blossoms around the house with good intentions before she realizes it had been misplaced.
Team Ghost: Complete, 2,129.
Maddie wiped her arm across her sweating forehead and shoved her gardening shovel into the dirt to shake the neckline of her tank top. The rest of her usual teal hazmat suit was unzipped down until her waist while the sleeves were tied to keep it up. Maddie beamed proudly at the blood red roses with a deep, dark purple stem that spanned across the much-larger-than-normal flower beds.
Blood Blossoms, this'll keep those pesky ghosts out, Maddie thought to herself.
You see, Maddie had been noticing the strange collection of ghosts that had been gathering around their house in the late hours of the night. She hypothesized because of The Portal in the lab. It would be one hundred percent plausible as the true reasoning but it didn't explain the affinity the ghosts had to lurk outside her son's bedroom window. She had made sure to put a slightly denser amount of Blood Blossoms on the lawn underneath his window (the bed there looked engorged and bloated).
Maddie attributed the ghosts' appearances to her son's lack of sleeping which resulted in the dropping of his grades and of course the withdrawal from the family. Poor Danny didn't even mention it. The boy tended to bottle things up and keep to himself to avoid being a "burden." It was also why it took her so long to notice the bullying her son suffered at school. He just never said anything.
That's why she waited until her two kids were at their school field trip to New York to put her plan in action, to surprise him. Her husband, Jack, had helped gather the seeds and information to grow them (it was extremely difficult) but they managed. Currently Jack was on his way to getting more so they could incorporate them into their anti-ghost weapons. He would return a day after the kids did.
Maddie picked up her gardening tools and returned back inside to take a shower. When she got out she decided that the morning of Jazz and Danny's return she would bake fresh cookies with some Blood Blossom petals. Maddie wanted to see if a consistent diet containing the petals would prevent possession or at the very least have ghosts be averse to being close to the individual.
Maddie didn't mind using her children as experiments in this case as she and Jack would also be involved. Besides, Blood Blossoms didn't hurt humans.
Maddie pulled out the Chocolate Chip and Blood Blossoms cookies from the oven as she hummed. Carefully she put the cookie sheet on the second oven mitt that laid on the kitchen counter. She closed the oven and slipped the first oven mitt off and glanced at the clock on the microwave. It read 12:15 PM and Maddie smiled; the kids would be here in five minutes.
Soon the cookies were cool enough to be placed in the cookie jar, it was modeled after Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the original Ghostbusters, and Maddie frowned. Her daughter and son should have been home by now.
Ten more minutes past before Jazz opened the door with Danny shuffling anxiously behind her.
"What took you two so long?" Maddie tried to keep the accusation out of her voice. They were fifteen and seventeen after all; teenagers that could take care of themselves as much as Maddie's heart loathed to admit it.
"Just a quick stop to share a milkshake at Nasty Burger. We were hungry after the trip," Jazz assured but her eyes flickered nervously.
Danny nodded in confirmation still behind his older sister although he looked a little less like he was going to crawl out of his skin.
"Oh, I see," Maddie said before grabbing the cookie jar and opening it with a flair, "well, if you're still hungry I made these!"
The pairs' faces lit up with excitement before Danny's expression morphed into a frown.
"What's up with the flowers covering, like, the entire yard," Danny asked with concern before grabbing a cookie.
"They're Blood Blossoms! A flower with anti-ghost properties that will keep those menaces out and away and also keep the ones coming out of The Portal here for capture. It's a natural ghost shield," Maddie chattered excitedly as she gauged her childrens' reactions to the cookies.
Maddie hoped that the herbal taste of the flowers wouldn't put off the sweet taste of the chocolate.
Jazz's face looked thoughtful as she tried to place it and Danny froze with a vague look of panic after the first bite; his hand numbly held the cookie in his hand and seemed torn between swallowing the bite in his mouth or spitting it out.
Maddie couldn't help but mildly fidget her fingers. None of the kids had given the exact response she'd wanted….
Danny carefully swallowed but he didn't chew and Maddie watched with concern. Danny fiddled with the cookie idly as if to stall finishing.
"It's good, Mom," Jazz said quietly with a polite smile.
Maddie returned the smile.
"I got some homework to catch up on, thanks for the cookie," Danny said as he turned towards the stairs.
"Don't you want more," Maddie asked as she shot up from her slouching position.
Danny hesitated before nodding.
"Yeah, I'll take some more."
Maddie eagerly set a few on a plate and gave it to him before turning to Jazz.
"Want some, hun?"
"Of course," Jazz said slowly.
Maddie gave her a plate as well and grinned at them as they went up stairs to their rooms.
Maddie opened Danny's bedroom door to collect his laundry. As she grabbed the laundry basket she caught a glimpse of the trash can. The unbitten into cookies sat barely visible underneath balls of paper.
Maddie watched as her son appeared through the front door with her arms crossed.
"You're doing your own laundry from now on," Maddie said flatly.
Danny stared at her, clearly confused, but agreed anyway.
Maddie couldn't ignore the look of subtle distaste from Danny as she set down a plate of dinner for him, especially at the mashed potatoes which had the most amount of Blood Blossoms out of everything served.
"Something wrong, Danny," Maddie asked daringly with a slight glare.
Danny shook his head.
Jazz glanced between them.
Jack looked up from his plate.
Maddie sat down.
Dinner was silent.
Maddie had noticed that Danny never ate at home anymore. In fact, his presence was nonexistent at the table. Well, he would take cereal and Spaghetti-Os up to his room while doing homework but that was about it.
Maddie knew it had something to do with the flowers but she couldn't wrap her head around why.
It was supposed to help him so why wasn't it??
Maddie woke up at way-too-damn-early in the morning to the front door quietly creaking open. Maddie slipped from her covers and grabbed her ecto-gun (the intruder was clearly human and the gun would do nothing against them but it made her feel safer).
She barely cracked open her door and watched as Danny still decked in his pajamas headed into his room.
Maddie knew it was him who came inside but gave a cursory check around the house anyway.
Maddie's last thought before falling asleep, after struggling to do so for hours, was:
What the Hell was her boy doing??
Jack was tinkering with one of their ecto-blasters at the bench in the lab.
Maddie glanced up at the door at the top of the stairs. Should she confront Danny about his late night rendezvous?
Maddie glanced at Jack bobbing his head to the song he was singing under his breath and completely absorbed in his work.
Maddie made her decision.
Maddie crept up the stairs and closed the door softly behind her.
She gently tiptoed up the stairs but stilled at the peak. Voices were coming from Danny's room. She pressed herself against the wall and stood by the door with her ears perked.
"–old you that can't hide it forever. At least not with these flowers around," Jazz's voice leaked through.
"The Blood Blossoms are giving you welts just using your ghost powers in human form," Jazz hissed.
"I'm lucky that's all they do when I use my powers. In ghost form it completely paralyzes me. It's almost like getting electrocuted all over again," Danny said with the shudder evident in his voice.
Maddie all but tumbled down the stairs as she could no longer bear listening to anymore of the conversation. She will get to the bottom of this tonight. Maddie swore it to herself.
Maddie waited until she heard Jack's even breathing before quickly changing into her teal suit and placing her ecto-blaster in its holster at her waist.
Almost as soon as she was ready she heard Danny leave his room and waited until he was in the living room before sneaking quickly down the stairs. Danny went outside and as soon as the door was closed bolted and Maddie rushed to follow him with her eyes tracking him through the front window.
She burst through the door and swung her head around in a frenzy. Her son was gone but Phantom was just taking flight from in front of her neighbor's house. He didn't notice her. A tug in Maddie's gut told her that Phantom would know something about Danny and she raced towards his glowing, flying figure.
Maddie watched Phantom cap the ghost in the Fenton Thermos. This was it; she would confront the menace.
Phantom whipped out a phone and Maddie faltered her approach from the bushes.
"Hi, Sam. Hmm. Yeah, it went well. Not as bad as I thought. Nah, no Val yet. Yep, I'm going to go circle around the school before checking out the mall then I'll turn back to scope out the park and Nasty Burger. Depending on how it goes I'll call it a night," Phantom said, curling his knees to his chest and rocking back.
Sam? As in Sam Manson? Why would Phantom be calling Danny's friend…, Maddie wondered as her mouth scowled downward.
Phantom responded to the other end with hums and mono-syllable answers. Before letting out a groan.
"I don't wanna talk about the Blood Blossoms, it's only been a few days and those flowers are a major pain in my ass." Phantom said with annoyance. A pause. A snort. "You don't have to chew out my mom. Jazz and I will find a way to get rid of them. It'll work out again."
Maddie's head began to spin. There was no way… no way in Hell… she needed to get home and fast. She needed to see… just…
Maddie turned tail and tried to keep her breathing even.
Maddie peered through over the window sill, making an effort to stay crouched. She spotted Phantom (Danny?) land a healthy distance away from the lawn and Phantom disappeared in a white ring to reveal her son. Despite already knowing this Maddie still felt her chest seize.
Danny started walking towards the door and Maddie quickly ducked behind the lab door.
Danny's footsteps patted up the stairs and Maddie soon followed.
Maddie passed out as soon as she crawled into bed.
"Jack, I need you to listen to me."
Jack looked up from his ecto-gun and beamed at Maddie despite the tension in her shoulders.
"It sounds crazy but Danny is… Phantom. The Blood Blossoms are hurting him… we're hurting him," Maddie said, her voice raised a pitch and started quivering at the end.
Jack leapt up and gave her a tight hug.
"Whaddya mean? Danny's a spook? It doesn't make any sense."
"I know, I know!! But I saw him! I saw him go from Phantom to Danny and he was talking to Sam and Jazz knows! She knows! I heard them talking about the Blood Blossoms hurting him."
Maddie tried to reel in her outburst and Jack rubbed circles into the small of her back as he tried to wrap his head around the revelation.
"Shhh, it's okay, it's okay, Mads. We'll fix it. Just like we always do," Jack promised her.
"So, what happened to the Blood Blossoms outside," Danny asked cautiously as he returned from his study session with Sam and Tucker.
Maddie smiled up from the soup she was making.
"Your Dad and I decided that they were unnecessary so we got rid of them."
"Oh." Danny drew his eyebrows down in confusion.
Jazz looked up from her book and glanced between the two. She let out a slightly frustrated groan and slapped a hand to her forehead.
Maddie wondered what that was about before returning to the soup.
Hello all you happy people! The 2000′s were a golden age for superhero cartoons. While the 90′s were no slouch in this department, having probably the best period in Batman the Animated Series, shows like Batman TAS, and other notables such as Freakazoid, Superman TAS, Spider-Man, X-Men, Incredible Hulk.. basically anything Marvel put out. Except the first seasons of Fantastic Four and Iron man though the former DID give us this.
For those of you who now know this exists: Your welcome.
What i’m getting at is the 90′s were the lead in for an even better era of superhero cartoons, a nice mix of superb adapations and brilliant original concepts. In this fine decade we had such classics as, in chronological order as this is gonna be a long list, grab a snack: Batman Beyond, Static Shock, Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law, Kim Possible, Code Name Kids Next Door (Kinda) Code Lyoko, My Life as A Teenage Robot, TMNT 2003, Teen Titans, Xiaolin Showdown (Again Kinda), The Venture Bros, Ben 10 and Ben 10: Alien Force, Transformers Animated (You get it at this point), American Dragon; Jake Long, The Life and Times of Juniper Lee, Frisky Dingo, Yin Yang Yo!, El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera, Batman The Brave and the Bold, The Secret Saturdays, The Spectacular Spider-Man and Wolverine and the X-Men. Seriously just listing all of that both makes me nostaligic.. and sad that both Marvel and DC haven’t made a really good show for kids in some time, but that’s a story for another day. Point is it was a glorious time to be alive, and to be a kid, tween and teen growing up in that period.
My faviorite though at the time, now it’s just behind Venture Bros, was Danny Phantom. Danny Phantom deftly blended comedy, action and relatable character stuff as our ghostly hero juggled high school and ghost busting in that classic teen superhero manor pioneered by your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man. The ghost angle gave the series a LOT to work with: The fenton thermos is an objectively cool trap for the ghosts, and having to throw them back in the portal gave the show an easy way to bring villians back time and time again without just having to accept the prison was made of paper mache. It had deft fight scenes, wonderful humor and for the most part a likeable cast of characters.. I say most part the popular crowd are also made of paper mache, but at least have enough personality to be funny. It had awesome character designs too from the guy who made Kim Possible, and like that show the villians just ooze with personality and style, givng Danny a wonderful diverse rogues gallery to battle against. We had a teen rockstar with a combo fire and mind control gimmick, kraven the hunter if craven was a tiny blob in a skeleton themed mech suit, a kid with pirate and cowboy gimmicks whose invisble to adults and people who think their adults, a longshore man, a lunch lady who can posses meat, a gilbert godfried esque tech posser, a sexy genie who turns the wishes against their masters, a teenage dragon.. I could go on and on and on. Even the one off villians are highly memorable for the most part. The show was charming, engaging and had story arcs at at time that wasn’t the norm like it thankfully is now.
So why, given this clearly had an impact on me, did I take over a year into my reviewing to get to it? Wellll... you can chalk that up to this asshole.
Yup as has become the norm for many like myself lately, someone who created something very important to their life, in my case people like JK Rowling, Joss Whedon and Brad Jones, turned out to be a braying asshat who cares only about themselef and is actively harmful to others in one way shape or form. He’s apparently stiffed people on comissions they paid him for, which as someone who does commissions for reviews for a living both directly for 5 bucks an episode and via patreon offends me on a personal level, said you can’t crticize someone in animation unless you work in animation which again offends me as a critic, has taken a right wing stance on lbgtq+ issues, and of course there was the whole Oaxis fiasco.
In short, and I know most of this thanks to PieGuyRulez videos on the topic, Butch tried to launch a “family friendly” streaming service, believing netflix wasn’t for the whole family because it had other things besides family shows on it. Even though all the major streaming services have some form of kids content and well built parental controls, making his entire pitch pointless. People still backed it because he does have fans and name recgonition.. things he proceeded to loose over the campaign as became clear he had ZERO idea how to budget for a streaming service, aquire content, or build the damn thing and not only begged for more money.. but behind backers backs had been going to religious confrences and claming the service would “spread his message of faith”.. as well as claming suicide “didn’t happen when I was a kid” and we worked it out.
So yeah Butch Hartman has become the second most punchable face in all of animation, and thus it just made it hard to think about Danny Phantom. It’s just a hard thing to grapple with and i’ve had to do it all too often as MORE AND MORE creators who I highly respected and who changed my life turn out to be awful , awful people, to the point it taints the joy they brought me to the point.. I just can’t enjoy the work anymore. It’s hard to decide if one person’s involvment spoils the entire work, especially if i’t sthe creator. For a relevant example I loved Joss Whedon’s shows, some of the comics based on them (Angel and Faith used to be one of my faviorite comics ever and my faviorite buffyverse thing), I was a huge fan. But now even if I KNOW the shows had tons of talented writers and actors who weren’t a philandering abusive dick, and the comics had little or nothing to do with him.. I can’t go back to that unvierse. While he didn’t make EVERYTHING about it he was still the one who built most of it in his head and created the style. It’s hard to go back without thinking of the things he’s done.
So I wondered with Danny Phantom if unlike buffy I could put the creator aside, put aside his bad work and focus on the other people involved. Turns out.. I could. Part of it is finding out Butch wasn’t the main creative force for season 2. While i’m sure a TON of you know this, it was Steve Mamrmel, who worked with Butchy on Fairly Odd Parents, and was essentially the showrunner. He deveoped the show, it’s ongoing plots and a lot of it’s tone. Butch was still a producer and Marmel still ran things through him, but it was Marmel that did most of the legwork. Not only that but most of my faviorite episodes of the show had either the stories, scripts or in the case of my absolute faviorite Reign Storm, BOTH done by him. Seriously including today’s reviewed episode, and yes a review’s coming i’m almost there, and reign storm he also worked on What You Want, Prisoners of Love, My Brother’s Keeper, Shades of Gray, Fanning the Flames, 13, Public Enemies, The Ultimate Enemy, Secret Weapons, Mystery Meat, One of a Kind, Memory Blank, Flirting With Disaster, Mirco Managment and Kindred Spirits.
And I even left out a few, thos eare just the ones that stood out to me as some of the series best or most notable. Butch may of created Danny, but Mamel made it and him what it is, as did tons of other talented people i’d be snubbing if I let this egomanaic taint it for me. As much as he wants to belivie it this show is not Butch’s and butch’s alone. it’s the talented other people who made his idea better’s, the voice actors who brought his creations to life... and ours. The fans who loved this show, supported it, write fanfictoin for it and have kept it alive enough that a reboot or revivial is VERY viable. I just hope if it happens unlike Fairly Odd Parents, they keep him out of it. This show is ours, and i’m going to celebrate it in spite of who made it.
And WOW I did not expect to spend a good chunk of this review on that dumpster fire in a purposefully tight t-shirt. But now with that out of the way I don’t have to mention him ever again unless i’ts to take a pot shot at him or his “ghosts aren’t actually ghost” weirdness. It’s like Tad Stones whole thing about Darkwing Duck not being in the same unvierse as Ducktales: no one buys it, no one wants it, and we’ll all happily ignore it. It’s just unlike Tad, I have no respect for butch and no time left for him so let’s get onto the episode itself shall we?
I was originally going to cover Reign Storm, my faviorite episode of the show, what I consider to be it’s Magnum Opus, one of the best superhero stories period, and everything that makes the show great packed into one 45 minute special. But while it’s the series best.. it’s also weird place to start: part of what makes Reign Storm SO good is that it takes a lot of running plot lines in the series and brings them all crashing together: Vlad’s machinations, Maddie knowing he’s trying to steal her from Jack and being disgusted with him as a result, Val hunting Danny and their growing attraction, Danny being public enemy #1 but also loved by the teens of amity whove seen his true nature, Sam and Danny’s feelings for one another, the fight knight, every single ghost danny had met up to that point.... it just feels so much like a cumilation of everthing that had happened up to that point that it feels weird to not cover ANY of the stuff before it. I won’t cover EVERY season 1 and early season 2 episode before I get to it mind, but not covering say the vlad episodes, the valrie episodes, Public enimies and so on just feels like diservice.
So I figured a better starting point was here, another faviorite of mine but one that rather than a cumlation of the story arcs that had been buildling whlie setting up their next chapters, is where that story begins. While the episodes before this one, minus the poindexter episode, they had about the same formula and no real lasting consequences. There were consequences in the episode and his superhero job was a constant drain on his “already mediocre grades” a direct quote from the Paramount+ summary for two of a kind that tells me whoever wrote these got the show. But none of them really left a lasting impact on our boy other than having to usually encounter the asshole of the week again.
Bitter Reunions is the first time that’s not the case. After this the stakes are forever raised, Danny’s forever in someone’s crosshairs and he forever has a tangible goal to reach in mastering his powers. It takes things from good to great and the episodes after it just keep building on this episode and the one sbefore it to create a true masterpiece. So join me under the cut as I FINALLY examine said masterpiece and the glory that is Martin Mull.
We open with Danny scooting home, happy to almost make curfew for a change and talking about how he’s three minutes ahead, there’s no ghosts to delay him and he’ll actually get in good with his parents for once.... right before three shriner vultures start randomly dipping into buildings and what have you and causing a scene.
So naturally he has to go stop it.. but is surprised that the old gentleman are looking for Jack, having a piece of a college photo of him on them for reference. While these guys aren’t exactly a THREAT, Danny understandably assumes given Jack’s... whole .. everything that he’d still be no match for them. We know that’s wrong, and not just beause he fights them well in a later episode, but it’s not a bad assumption for both the audience and our hero at this point as he hasn’t yet had a chance to prove he’s not entirely as incompetent as he looks. Just MOSTLY incompetent as he looks.
But given this is a fight between a fledgling superhero who while new to this does this kind of shit every night now, and at this point in the series has fought a ghost made entirely of meat, a dragon, mech suit kraven the hunter, gilbert godfrey but he can make robots, a NEEEEERRRRRDDDDDD, a sexy djinn with a tragic backstory, and his own best friend turned into a ghost monster by said sexy djinn. So yeah it only takes about two mintues for him to mop up three clowns with bird arteries. I mean if they had a fiendish orginzation for world larceny maybe but as it stands they were no challenge.
Danny however is still late, probably only a few minutes but parents dont’ care about semantics. And the next Scene makes it excusable: It’s clear Maddie is frustrated with how things are going with Danny.... but also deeply concerned. He’s late, his grades are slipping even further than usual and he’s neglecting his chores.. okay the last one’s more Jack since he has to do them when Danny dosen’t and as we see in a later episode, one of those chores could cause the entire ghost boom and take out a block, so he can’t just.. not do them. Their not mad he’s what two minutes late.. their worried about the patterns he’s setting and dont’ know WHY any of this is happening, and Danny’s understandabily affraid to tell them, both because they might stop him from doing what needs to be done in risking his life to fight ghosts.. and because he might end up homeless if they decide his being half ghost means they have to put him down.
Jazz... suggest some psychobabble thing about Danny having no link to their past so he’s acting out and blahblahblah I hate my parents for being not normal parents blahblahblah I think i’m a psycholgist even though I haven’t gotten a degree yet blahblahblah. Look early Jazz is insufferable: She’s judgy of both Danny and her brother and looking through the episodes pre-brother’s keeper the only genuinely kind act I can think of is agreeing to go to Dash’s party... so she can make Danny and Co getting an invite part a requirement to her going. Otherwise she’s just kind of a judgy nag and your average annoyed at their parents teen sterotype. Thankfully her learning Danny’s ID changes the game signfigantly, giving Danny an ally he’s unaware of, giving her presepctive on her brother, and letting her in on the fact that ghosts are VERY real, her parents, while still a bit nuts, are in fact fighting something very real and very dangerous, and her brother is now in the thick of that very real and dangerous fight and if found out could end up on a dissection table. So it is worth the payoff, it just dosen’t make her any less annoying in this one for the first 5 or so minutes.
This thankfully backfires on her, as Jack.. actually takes her words to heart and he and maddie’s 20th college reunion in wisconson just so happens to be this weekend. So he decides to make it a road trip:T ake the whole family up to wisconson in the family RV. Jazz is pissed.. at Danny for this. And mortified and annoyed. I mean yeah sleeping in an rv probably isn’t plesant, especially one that’s heavily armed and Danny trying to turn on the AC instead turns out a volley of weapons... but this is what she claims to WANT. Seriously her dad took her advice for once about Danny, is treating her like an equal and is trying to be a better parent to both of them. The fentons are good parents... they have issues including about 80 dozen death threats to what they dont’ realize is their son as the series goes on, but they genuinely want to be there for their kids.Maddie is genuinely concerned about Danny and Jack loves his kids and simply is a bit of dolt but unlike say Peter Griffin you get he actually loves them and wants to protect them. Their actually doing something RIGHT for once in the way she wants it. and she still bitches and whines about it because she has to be uncomfortable a bit.
That night Jazz and Danny find out the place their headed too, where the reunion is taking place, is The Masters Mansion, as in Vlad Masters, one of the richest and most successful men in the world.
We also get their backstory with him: The three were best friends in college, close as anyone could be, and even back then, with a full mullet but no less bulk, Jack was three things things: obsessed with researching ghosts, skilled at making ghost tech.. and horribly reckless as he is moronic. So when the three were working on a prototype to the ghost portal, Jack activated it suddenly despite both Vlad and Maddie’s reservations about his calculations... andn as a result Vlad got a face full of ecto energy which lead to a face full of ecto acne. Vlad naturally never forgave him for it and hasn’t contacted him in 20 years.. until the invite. Jack hopes this is the start of the two reconciling.
So eventually it’s...
As our heroes arrive at Masters Manor. It’s then we finally properly meet Vlad Masters. Vlad is my faviorite villian in all of animation.. yes even ahead of this less compitent shark based version of him.
I’ll get into why as we go but one reason I can get to right now is Martin Mull. Mull is an utterly talented comedic actor. I grew up with him through this show of course.. but also through Roseanne where he played easily the best addition to the cast in Leon, Rosanne’s boss, later buisness partner, proud gay man and perfect foil to Roseanne. Mull is hugely talented, criminally underated and until the 2010′s really wasn’t given a chance to show it. Nowadays he is getting rolls like the Cool Kids or Brooklyn Nine Nine where he gets to show range.
But at the time Danny wasn’t just another paycheck.. but a chance to really show what he could do and really makes me wish he’d do more voice acting. Vlad is just one of those rolls that while another actor COULD’VE done well enough, Mull MADE it his. No one can match Mull’s delivery: the smooth way Vlad delivers himself, the way he effortlessly cruises through most situations.. and the way he utterly looses it when Danny defies him or manages to turn things around on him. WHile the writing and character design for Vlady are pitch perfect, it’s mull who brings it all together.
So we finally meet Vlad who warmly greets Maddy and the kids... but shuts Jack out seemingly accidently. Two things soon become clear abotu Vlad. The first is that he’s a packers fan. His castle is decked out in gold and green, he has tons of memorbila in glass cases, a football signed by one of their greats.. probably I don’t know sportsball well. The only reason he hasn’t bought the team itself is because, in a way only mull could deliver “The packers are owned by the city of greenbay and they won’t sell to me!”. It’s just a tone that screams
He also by saying “There’s some things money can’t buy” and giving Maddie the eyes and leaning creepily, makes it as abudantly clear as possible he’s into her without just blasting “I Wanna Do Your Wife” over the loudspeaker.
Maddie politely steps away to let Jack in and the kids reactoins are just.. pefect. Danny is understandably baffled and a little horrified, and Jazz is fine as long as long as Maddie Says no and the toilet works.
Jack naturally makes an ass of himself by snatching Vlad’s signed ball, taclking him and trying to reminsce about the good old days which causes Vlad to snap at him.. and while it is full villanous rant about the years Jack cost him.....
Seriously Jack.. DID cost him years of his life, we don’t know how many but he clearly spent a while in the hopsital and nearly blow him up, likely either putting him behind in his coursework or forcing him to do all of it from a hosptial bed, either option meaning he missed out on a good chunk of his 20′s because of Jack and Jack alone> This dosen’t excuse Vlad’s behavior in the present outside of this outburst.. but i’ll get into that more in a bit. Vlad calms down quick and apologizes, not wanting to give the game away and offers the Fentons to stay at his castle for the night, which Maddie and Jack are reluctant about: Maddie because she can tell her old friend is still into her and it’s awkward. Keep in mind we’ve still got a few episode sbefore the one where he just out and out shows how much of a creep he is to her and how obessed he is. Right now though h’es still making her very uncomfortable and it’s still very much covered in “oh god no”. Jack... thinks they have a pretty cool RV. Look it takes Vlad TELLING HIM TO HIS FACE he hates him and wanting to steal his wife as part of saving earth for Jack to get the picture, picking up on Nuance isn’t his strong suit. But Vlad knows his audience and points out a ghost is haunting the castle, the Wisconson Dairy King. So naturally Jack’s all for it.
That night our hero enjoys a good nights sleep.. until his ghost sense activates, and he finds the vultures tailing a groggy jack who just wants to find the bathroom. Danny simply grabs his dad, takes him directly to the bathroom himself and then goes back to fight them in a nice quick gag.
But suddenly his opponents flee. and in a nice twist on what you’d expect in a story like this, especially from a cocky young hero, Danny DOSEN’T assume it was him, and is now rightfully on guard that something WORSE just scared them off.. and we soon find out why. We’ve met Vlad Masters... but then there’s the other guy. Vlad Plasmius has arrived.
His design is fucking awesome by the way. Cool hair resembling a less phallic version of Dracula’s weird hair from the 90′s movie, a cape, and a white and red astethic to brilliantly contrast Danny’s white and black. It’s also a far showier costume, clearly far more intentoanally built by vlad himself as he likely figured out how to modify his look in ghost mode ages ago, wheras Danny has the practical but still badass looking jumpsuit he went into the tunnel with. The blue face and piercing red eyes just bring it all together. It’s one of the shows best deisgns. The allusions to vampires aren’t an accident as Vlad was supposed to be one but the network nixed it.. and it’s one of those occaions where that worked out for the best as having Vlad be a half ghost himsel finstead makes him the perfect arch enemy for our hero: his dark mirror and his far more experinced one too.
What follows is one of the show’s best scenes: Vlad effortlessly toys with Danny, mocking him for being “the ghost that does goooood”, for his best attack being a ghost blast (”So year one) and simply reflecting, dodging or countering EVERY attack danny has. Even his usual opening punch is simply caught. It’s an amazing fight that shows just how outmatched our hero is.. and why Vlad’s the perfect counterpoint: their power sets are , on a basic level at least as Danny woudl later gain two unique tricks of his own, the same: Barriers, blasts, phasing, super strength and speed, flight, all that good stuff. The issue is purely in experince: Dannys had maybe two months to get used to his powers and at this point in the series will still phase involuntarily. Vlad had has 20 YEARS. He’s not only used to them.. but he’s learned tricks Danny hasn’t. While Danny needs to create a shield around himself and rarely thinks to use that, Vlad can just pop up a smaller, faster one effortlessly. And i’ts not just upgrades on things Danny can do... in his coup de grace, and one hell of a great movie story and battle wise, Vlad shows of his signture move: cloning. He makes four equally strong copies of himself and beats danny into unconciousness. And the sight of our young hero, beaten, his costume in tatters and having NO chance of survivial is striking. The clones are a brilliant addition as it not only shows just how fucked danny is.. but gives him something to strive towards, and learning this teqchnique would be an arc in itself for a while. He knows he SHOULD be able to do it but has to learn to master it without any help. But for now our hero is beat.. and transforms back. And so does Vlad, not only revealing to the audience he’s a half ghost, and that there’s mroe than ONE half ghost to begin with.. but that he has plans for our hero now he knows the truth.
The upside of this is having a villian gain a creepy obession with making you their son means they leave you breathing and Danny wakes up, terrified but alive.. if confused that Vlad’s now acting kindly to him, calling him son and little badger and generally weirding him out. Still Danny’s on guard for Plasmius, and with that we cut to later that night as it’s time for a MANSION PARTY! Cue the music!
Jazz is opting out, preferring to sit in Vlad’s screening room and watch a film on the packers rather than watch a bunch of “old fogies pogo to 80′s music”. I mean I get not wanting to watch your parents embarass themselves, or pogo but don’t you dare bismich 80′s music. 80′s music gave us this.
And you know about 80 dozen masterpieces. I just went with something so obscure and cheesy to prove a point: If this was the FORGOTTEN stuff of the 80s, that’s how high the bar was... I mean some crap slipped through, it alwasy does but still. There’s a LOT to hate about the 80s but the music is not even remotely part of that. Not wanting to see her parents borderline sex each other to “Simply the BEst” though is probably a good call. I mean I want to see that but I think it’d be funny and i’m also a fucking weirdo.
Danny goes and wears a dad suit.
And meets Harriet Chin, an ace reporter for the kenosha harold who dosen’t like Jack Very much. Given he naturally has a large and stupid laugh about the “Harry Chin’ pun in her name yeah, good point. But Vlad has Danny head to his creepy basement to get a gift for jack.
It’s there we get the second best scene of the episode, as Danny finds the rest of hte picture from before.. and realizes Vlad is the one behind the vultures but becore he can warn him the very first ghosts he ever fought, the ectopusses return. Granted this didn’t effect me as much as a kid as I didn’t see that episode first, I saw Two of a Kind instead, but it’s still a nice callback.. and we get another with Skulker whose not only gotten some upgrades but easily traps Danny in a cube. He dosen’t get to knife him to death though as Vlad enters, having hired him to simply capture Danny not kill him, and Skulker has to go do a report on a gorilla “Again.. which dosen’t make a lot of sense given this is brand new armor and he never has the whole pda weakness again, but it’s funny enough that I do not care.
So now Vlad has Danny alone and reveals himself as a half ghost, expressing suprise jack created ANOTHER hybrid... with Danny being shocked, probably because he assumed Plasmius was Vlad’s minon or something and understandably assumed he was one of a kind. Vlad also explains why he wants to kill jack: As was telegraphed int he earlier scene, he still resents jack for the incident.. but he resents him MORE for being the one Maddie ended up with, feeling he deserved her more and only got her because he was out of the running. Hosting the reunion was unsuprisingly a trap to get Jack there so he coudl take him out and get maddie with the kids simply part of the package he accepted but didn’t care about. Until he found out about Danny’s powers. In an instant Danny went from just some kid he’d have to win over to bone his mom... to his true son and heir. Someone he could train and mold in his image. All Danny has to do is renounce Jack. Naturally Danny responds with the classic line of “Your one crazed up fruit loop” but with the cube nulifing his power he can only watch as Vlad heads off to take out his dad.
And this whole speech outlines who Vlad is.. he’s an obessive, manipulative, vengeful sociopath whose drowning in his own ego. He’s a man who lost the girl of his dreams and his youth.. but instead of basking in what he’s gained since, the power of a god, a large fortune, a fucking castle-mansion. He has everything a man could dream of and could’ve done all the good in the world.. but he instead just let himself obess over what he didn’t have. Maddie in his warp mind should’ve been his: He’s better looking, smarter, now richer too. He just can’t STAND Jack having what he belivies to be his. But Maddie is not an object. She’s a person and she choose Jack. Even without the acne, she would’ve chosen Jack. She loves Jack. He may be destructive and stupid.. but he’s also sweet, loves her more than anything, and genuinely apricates her. Vlad just wants Maddie because he belivies he’s entitled to her. Jack HAS Maddie because he loves her and respects what she wants. If Vlad truly loved Maddie, truly cared about her as more than merely the one thing he can’t buy with his money or take iwth his power, then he would let her go.
His obessive and vengeful nature though is also what makes him the perfect arch enemy: Danny with fight Vlad with everything he has, but Vlad will NEVER stop till he gets what he wants: Either Danny and Maddie by his side.. or in the grave for defying him. He has endless resources, connections in the ghost world, most of whom hate Danny, and most dangerously he has experince; He can do everything Danny can do, counter it and then pull out things Danny CAN’T do. Before Danny just had to get better as a hero because it made his job easier> Now if he wants to ever wants to be free and safe, and wants his father to stay alive, he has to get better, to work at it and to prepare for Vlad. And to me that’s what a true arch enemy is: someone who raises the stakes for the hero on a personal and professional level. Someone who makes their entire world that more dangerous by being in it.
Vlad’s strategy is to simply oveshadow jack and make him look bad, at least to start.. but then we get a suprise badass moment as Jack FIGHTS OFF THE POSSESION. To sink in just why this is so notable.. as far as I can remember across all three seasons.. no one else ever pulled this off. Granted the only people to really USE overshadowing were Danny, Walker and Vlad himself, but none of them had any issue using the ability and their hosts were never even the least bit aware. Jack? Jack, while clearly struggling to keep this up, BREAKS IT, telling Maddie to run and using every last ounce of will he has to shake vlad off. It dosen’t last.. but the fact he was able to break it for even just a minute shows off that , behind the veneer of Jackass, Jack Fenton is a true badass.
So while Maddie goes to get the rv, Danny gets some help from the Dairy King! The Dairy King also serves a nice purpose as Danny, after being freed, understandably wonders what cheese based assault he’s in store for.. only to find the Dairy King is a really nice guy. He wont’ go help him fight, but while he makes a crack about kings sending people to fight for them, it’s clear he just wouldn’t stand much of a chance.. and givne his disappearnce after this epiosde might be aware Vlad will do terrible things to him for a much as he done and was wisely finding somewhere else to politely haunt. But it’s a nice way to get Danny out of this: it dosen’t come out of nowhere, but it is something you probably forgot about and thus comes as a nice twist.
Danny TACKLES Vlad out of his dad and a fight insues. Danny is still horribly outmatched, something Vlad rubs in... but we also see Danny’s true power. Much like his inspiration Spidey, Danny is no slouch int he powers department.. but pure power gets you only so far and like Danny he’s often up against opponents even stronger than he is. So like Peter.. Danny uses his head often, using his powers in clever ways or his opponents on weaknsese against him, or what gadgets his parents have in again, clever ways. In this case he hyjacks the fenton rv and releases all it’s weapons on it and ends up overshadowing jack to get him to saftey.
But with Vlad being far stronger, even that’s not enough and it’s clear Danny can’t win this.. by fighting. But again that cunning, that drive is his true strength.. and how he gets out of this in one piece: He threatens to walk out of his dad and expose them both. While Vlad points out the obvious, this would out his id Danny is confident his parents would accept him.. while Vlad just possesed jack and attacked their dance. And the thing is.. Danny’s probably bluffing. He takes the entire series to come out to them, and while they accept it it’s very clear, especially once he becomes public enemy #1 that he’s fully afraid they’ll kill him for what he is at worst or throw him out for the same at best. So he DOSEN’T know they’ll accept them.. but he’s willing to take that risk, possibly loose his family and his home.. if it means someone far worse goes down with him. And that’s a true hero ladies gentleman and that beautiful technicolor rainbow inbetween.
Vlad congradulates Danny for using his weakness against himm, fakes defeat to jack and Harriet plans to report the whole thing.. but gets fired for it. Jazz has no sympathy “This isn’t the national enquierer”. No but there was a large scale attack by a mysterious entity, she jus tshoudl’ve gotten proof first. Jack bemoans the fact Vlad didn’t say goodbye but Danny expresses pride in him. We leave on a curfew gag and we’re out.
Bitter Reunions is where the series really hits it’s stride. While I feel it’s first truly great episode is what you want shortly before it, Bitter Reunions is where the story arc comes into play, giving Danny something bigger to fight and something to strive for with his powers. The fights themselves are some of the series best, Mull is awesome as i’ve gone into and the plot has a nice pace to it. The jokes are also pretty good for the most part, a few duds here or there but tons of really good ones. Danny also gets one hell of a badass boast on vald “Your money can’t buy you my mom, it can’t buy you the packers and it WON’T BUY ME!”. David Kaufman REALLY gets to shine here, and his final confrontation with Vlad is really good stuff. All in all a stunning episode that raises the bar.. and that bar would only get higher and higher. Keep an eye peeled for more. For now follow me here for more reviews, comission a review if you fancy and i’ll see you at the next rainbow.
So uh, I just had a dream where Vlad took Danny when he was fairly young, in a mother Gothel like style, so Danny kinda sorta 'loves' him but is also unnervingly afraid of him.
So later on, Danny ends up being rescued by his friends (my dream didn't explain how they happened to know each other) and now Danny is hesitantly coming out of his shell. But in the back of his mind, he's still going 'oh no, Father will be so mad'. And deciding that he's gonna have to go back because the longer he stays away, the angrier Vlad will be, and he knows that Vlad will find him eventually.
Gradually though, he's getting comfortable being on his own. But then a ghost fight happens, and Danny sees how dangerous he is, something about ghost hunger that didn't make sense even in my dream, and because of previous psychological manipulation believes that he needs Vlad to keep him in check. So he morosely goes back to him.
For some reason Vlad's house's front wall was kinda reverse inclined or something, and there was a giant cactus just sitting there. I don't know.
Anyways, right outside the house, Danby finds Jazz talking to Vlad. Danny and Jazz now know they're siblings and Jazz knows the abusive environment Danny is stuck in, but she knows she can't fix it at the moment, so she's just sweet talking Vlad. Danny and Jazz hug before Jazz leaves.
I woke up before I could find what Vlad decides to do to him to 'punish' him or something.
So yeah, dunno if that made any sense but feel free to use it, I guess?
Fandom: Danny Phantom
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Relationships: Danny Fenton & Maddie Fenton, Danny Fenton & Jack Fenton, Danny Fenton & Jazz Fenton, Jazz Fenton & Maddie Fenton, Jack Fenton & Jazz Fenton, Jack Fenton/Maddie Fenton
Characters: Danny Fenton, Jazz Fenton, Maddie Fenton, Jack Fenton, Vlad Masters, Sam Manson, Tucker Foley
Additional Tags: Major Character Injury, (only broken bones I swear), Hurt/Comfort, Stranded in a cave, Identity Reveal, fluff?, Fluff
Series: Part 1 of Shivers & the Aftermath
When the Fenton parents went to investigate a strange phenomenon, unforeseen consequences began to stir a chain reaction that would lead to injuries, an odd medical issue (impossible for human standards) and the discovery of weird facts.
Have I forgot to mention that they're also unable to call for help?
The Fentons will have to work together (and trust each other's word) if they want overcome the obstacles they will face.
If he had not been there to stop the ghost, things would have been far worse. Yet here he was at the mic, in city hall, apologizing for where he failed.
The world had known who he was for over a year now.
It had taken some getting used to. But over all, Amity had grown to love Fenton just as much as Phantom.
“Danny, if you hadn’t been there, then we would be dealing with more than just 2 city blocks in ruins. The only reason people are alive right now is because of you, son.”
Danny looked up at the city council member with sad eyes.
“But now no one has a place to live; I want to help with that,” Danny explained in a soft voice. “I have a Place in the ghost zone that is mine by right that could house everyone till the city can rebuild those areas.”
A mummer went through the crowd behind him.
“Danny, as much as we appreciate the offer. I don’t think anyone would feel comfortable with that, given what happened.” The councilman stated hesitantly.
“I can promise everyone’s protection and safety, sir, I swear. Besides, it might be our only option. The whole point of this meeting was to let everyone know that amity couldn’t afford to provide housing after all of this, wasn’t it?”
“Yes.” The councilman sighed as he ran a hand down the side of his face; the kid was right. The city was broke.
More murmuring went through the crowd. Danny could feel the anxiety building up in the room. He felt his core pang at the realization.
Maddie could tell her son was distressed, but she didn’t know what to say; she was just as blindsided as everyone else. Danny was still hesitant and very scared about sharing things about his ghost half.
She had tried to get him to open up more, but Jack had stopped her from pressing. He could tell Danny needed space to process. 12 months ago, he was a nobody, and now he was a world-known hero. It was a lot, and that wasn’t even including the fact that he was technically both dead and alive.
Jack was sure there was a lot that Danny had to deal with that he was too nervous to tell them about. It had killed him when Danny had broken down crying in his arms over how relieved he was that they didn’t hate him after they found out what he was.
A kid doesn’t just think up those fears on their own. He knew why his son was terrified. Both he and Maddie had to earn his trust again.
“Danny, honey, what do you mean it’s yours by right?” Maddie asked. She was honestly confused. Danny had explained lairs to her once, but he had never used that verbiage when referring to them. He had also told her that he didn’t have one.
“I won it by combat, so it is rightfully mine according to ghost zone law.” He explained.
Maddie could tell he was choosing his words carefully. He was hiding something about this, and she wasn’t sure if she liked it.
“If it is yours by combat, then how can you guarantee anyone’s safety? Wouldn’t a ghost just need to beat you to take it?” Someone yelled from the back of the room.
The hall was filled with mummers again, with panic. Danny frowned.
“Yes, but I don’t lose fights. And because of that, I am well known in the ghost zone and respected. The ones who show up here are the ones who would be considered criminals even by ghost zone standards. Not all ghosts are bad. A lot of them just want to be left alone.” Danny answered honestly.
That shut the room up very fast.
“What is the ghost zone exactly?”
Danny turned his head in Lance Thunders direction as the reporter continued with his question.
“I mean, I can sort of gather what it is by what you're saying, but you have never mentioned it before? You mean to say there’s a whole world full of ghosts?”
“Not a whole world; it’s a whole dimension.” Maddie clarified, stepping in for her son. “Jack and I discovered it a few years back. We have a functioning portal in our basement that opens right into it. We just have never ventured in yet.”
“But I have, kind of hard not to,” Danny said. “It’s every ghost's home, we don’t do well being away from it for too long.”
That was new information, information Maddie wasn’t sure she liked. Jack was more caught up on the fact his son had used the word we.
Jack could tell from the sudden silence of the room that he was not the only one hung up on that word.
“is it your home too?” Mr. thunder asked. Speaking the question on everyone’s mind.
Danny froze and looked like a deer caught in headlights, but then his face twisted into one of sadness and anxiety.
Jack could tell his son didn’t know how to answer.
“I—yes and no?” Danny questioned out loud. “I don’t know. It feels nice to be there sometimes, but then I miss being here in amity too. I always miss amity for some reason. It's weird sometimes.”
“Weird?” Mr. thunder repeated.
“I think it may be best if we all take a brief break,” Maddie said, pulling a slightly frazzled Danny into one of the halls conference rooms, Jack and Jazz following right behind her.
She sat Danny down in one of the swivel chairs typically found in those types of rooms.
Jazz closed the door behind them and took a seat next to her very pale-looking brother. She grabbed one of his hands and gave it a squeeze in support.
Maddie was towering over her son. Danny looked terrified. He flinched when she reached out to stroke his cheek.
The reaction made her stiffen. She pulled her hand away and tucked it under her now crossed arms.
“I am sorry I didn’t mean to I-.” Danny struggled to find the words.
“It’s okay sweetie, I know things must be tough for you.” She said with a soft sigh; she decided to sit across from him.
Jack followed her example.
“You know, I am honestly so proud of you, Danny-boy,” Jack said with a smile. The comment seemed to allow Danny to get some color back in his cheeks, and the hybrid calmed down a little.
“I thought you and mom were mad?” Danny asked with confusion.
“Why would we be mad?” Maddie questioned.
Danny froze. Maddie could have sworn she could almost see the gears turning in his head. Then he did the one thing no one was expecting. He laughed. Maniacally too. It was contagious.
Soon all 4 of them were in stitches.
“What are we even doing?” Jazz asked; as usual, she was the first one to regain her senses.
“Fuck if I know,” Danny replied with a laugh.
Typically, Maddie would have told him to watch his language, but she decided to let it slide this time.
“Well, you really should know what you’re doing before you go back out there,” Maddie said with a half-smile as she leaned forward to run her hands through her son’s hair. Danny leaned into the touch this time.
“I know,” He replied, his smile wavered slightly. “It’s just hard to explain to people who will never understand till they’re dead too.”
“But you’re not dead, son.” Jack cut in.
“Am I?” Danny asked. “Where does life and death end? Where does one turn into another?”
“You have a pulse, Danny,” Maddie reminded him, all the while placing her thumb on his wrist to reassure herself.
“So do ghosts,” Danny cut in.
Maddie looked up at her son with shock.
Danny let his body slip into his ghost form.
“You can still feel it can’t you?” He asked, nodding his head to where her fingers were still pressed against his now gloved wrist.
“Y-yes.” Maddie swallowed hard and looked up at her son for an explanation. Her stomach was in knots.
“That’s not my heartbeat; you’re feeling my core thrumming.” He said softly as he lifted his mothers’ hand and placed it against his chest.
Maddie could not tell the difference.
“I thought it was a half-ghost thing, but as I hung around other ghosts, I learned that a pulse of sorts is part of their body functions too,” Danny explained cautiously, his gaze not leaving his mother’s now watery eyes. “When a ghost’s core stops thrumming, it means they don’t exist anymore. They just stop being. They don’t know what happens to ghosts after that happens either. Just like for the longest time, we didn’t know what happened after our hearts stopped beating.”
Maddie swallowed back sobs that wanted to creep up her throat; was he admitting to being dead? Not half-ghost. Dead.
Danny let his body slip back into his human form. His mother's hand still pressed to his chest.
“But feel that?” Danny asked softly.
Maddie nodded. She still could not tell the difference.
“That actually is my heart,” Danny explained as he firmly held his mothers’ hand in place, gently stroking the top of it with one of his thumbs. “I have both. But for me to be a ghost or a human…one of them needs to stop working so the other can take over. So, by both worlds definitions…”
Danny had trailed off, but Maddie knew what he was getting at, so did Jazz and Jack.
“It’s uncomfortable sometimes because I can’t always control when it happens. And sometimes I will have both working at the same time and I—I don’t know how to describe that feeling. It’s overwhelming and normally triggered by emotions; it kind of feels like my body tried to take a screenshot and a video at the same time, if that makes any sense?”
“That makes absolutely zero sense.” Jazz blanched.
“And this is what I mean. I can’t explain my existence to people who haven’t experienced both kinds of death yet.” Danny sighed in exasperation.
“Both… wait, Danny-boy, are you saying that ghosts have a hard time understanding you too?” Jack asked.
“Yes, I mean for Pete’s sake. I don’t even entirely understand me. The only one who might have been able to on some level was Vlad, but he was a giant asshole. And I can’t even try to share what my existence is like because it freaks other people out and Makes them Uncomfortable.” Danny half yelled, throwing his hands up in frustration.
“That’s fine, honey.” Maddie cut in, wheeling her chair around so she could give her son a big hug. “It makes sense that you don’t make sense, and that’s okay enough for me. You’re my baby boy, and I will never stop loving you. You are my favorite enigma.”
“Really?” Danny asked; this time, it was his eyes watering.
Maddie nodded and kissed him on his forehead. Danny smiled up at her; all the fears he had been holding in since he came clean about being half-ghost seemed to vanish into thin air.
Jack and Jazz joined in on the hug.
“And if you ever decide that you want to make sense, well, we can help you with that too, Dann-o.”
Danny laughed at that.
“You should head back out there now, little brother.”
“Right,” Danny said as he stood up, the hug had been broken apart. He started to the door with a look of confidence he was previously missing. He knew everything was going to be okay now.
And it was.
The rest of the city meeting went well. And the citizens that needed a place to stay took up Danny’s invitation.
6 hours later, Danny opened a portal into the castle known as Phantom’s Keep.
Maddie Gasped along with the rest of the crowd as they entered the grand hall of the Keep. Taking in the gold and silver detailing and the high arching ceilings. The giant detailed crystal chandler that hung over them glittered with an other worldly light.
“Welcome to my keep.” Danny chuckled lightly from where he was floating in the air above everyone’s head. “Make yourselves at home.”