The following is a fan-based work of fiction. Danny Phantom is the Intellectual Property of Viacom, Nickelodeon and Butch Hartman. Please support the official release.
The atmosphere in the lab was electric.
Jack and Maddie Fenton were practically beside themselves with anticipation as they giddily checked one system after another, bouncing from panel to panel with large smiles on their faces. Even Danny, who usually just wished for his parents to be normal was excited, sitting on a stool in the observation area above the partition where his parents were working. The only sour mood was Jasmine, Danny's older sister, who sat on her stool with a worried frown on her face.
The two areas, the observation level and the testing partition were separated by three feet of stairs, a wall which was sectioned off by three large windows and an air-tight security door which was opened by turning the naval-style hatch mounted on the center.
Danny looked at his sister. "Jazz, you can't seriously still be thinking that our parents are wasting their time."
"I'm more worried about what will happen when they realize it," Jazz replied as her frown deepened. "Having your most deeply held beliefs shaken when cold hard reality hits you in the face can lead to serious depression and I don't think we'll be able to survive a depressed Dad."
Danny sighed and went back to watching his parents through the windows. "I know I'm not a nuclear physicist like Dad is or a biochemist like Mom, but I think that the portal will work."
The portal in question was right now a hole in the wall, a steel frame with steel doors buckled together with industrial strength steel clamps, the inside being wired with multiple projectors, powered by synthetic ectoplasm developed by the Fentons and a nuclear reactor.
Jazz quirked an eyebrow. "I may only be a humble psychology student, but I'm sure that if ghosts exist, someone would've found definitive proof by now."
Danny shrugged. "I'd personally prefer to think of my parents as sane, or the fact that we have a nuclear reactor in our basement would make me go crazy."
Jazz stretched and yawned. "True enough," she said, opening the backpack at the foot of the stool and withdrawing her Fenton-pad. "I'll just be working on psych-paper here until Mom and Dad are done."
"No need for that, Jazzy-pants!" Jack's voice came off of the intercom, his deep voice somehow carrying a childlike level of energy. Down in the testing partition, Jack was holding his jumpsuits pager to his mouth. "We've just finished checking the wiring, the reactors cooling rods are working perfectly so we're ready for the first portal test."
Jasmine flinched at her nick-name, but reached for the observation decks pager. "Got it, Dad."
The two scientists marched up the stairs to the door and unsealed it with a turn of a hatch like you'd find on a submarine. They walked inside, Jack jumping into his extremely comfortable leather-chair, his day-glow orange jumpsuit clashing horribly with the dark burgundy of the leather. His hands, clad in black gloves, began working quickly to set up the power to the portal.
Maddie, her teal jumpsuit with her hood pulled over, walked sat in her station in the observation deck, checking synthetic ectoplasm levels and preparing the projectors as the door automatically closed and sealed itself behind her.
Jazz put her Fenton-pad away.
Danny was smiling. "Now for the moment of truth."
"Power systems nominal, all systems green," Jack reported, standing up and walking over to the large red button and inserting a silver key into one of the key holes directly below it.
"Ecto-projectors active and ready. Safety glass is in place," Maddie replied, standing up and inserting her key by the large red button.
Jazz's frown got sharper. The Safety Glass was six inches of glass which was treated with an anti-ghost solution over the inside of the portal. Said solution was hundreds of blood blossoms ground up, mixed with water and pre-sprayed over the glass with the portals internal applicators.
It was Jack's idea. Apparently one of his ancestors used it.
The keys were turned in sync and the clamped portal doors opened. The transparent covering of the button opened and with their hands joined together, Jack and Maddie pressed the button with large smiles and tears beginning to well up.
The room was deathly silent as the glorious burst of green that heralded Jack and Maddie's assured sanity did not come. They pressed the button again.
"Come on, work!" Jack snapped, slamming on the button with a closed fist.
The parents Fenton sighed, and went back to check their data again.
Jasmine sighed. "Mom, Dad. You've been at this since five in the morning, it's four in the afternoon. Why don't you take a break for the day and come back tomorrow?"
"No can do, Jazzy-pants!" Jack answered, looking at his assorted computer monitors. "According to the data, I've got, there wasn't even a power drain on the reactor."
"And here, the ectoplasm projectors didn't activate," Maddie replied. "Might be a circuit failure somewhere, somehow." Maddie pulled her hood and goggles back ,revealing short dark red hair and blue eyes. "Maybe Jazz is right, dear. We have been at this for almost half a day."
"I am right!" Jazz insisted.
"Circuit failure," Jack repeated again, checking his screens. "According to this, all systems are go. Maybe we're just missing something?"
"Because we're tired?" Maddie smiled.
Jack was silent, his massive, muscle bound frame still as he looked over everything. Eventually, he reclined back, his chair squealing in protest."Yeah, I can see your point, Madds. We'll go over everything again tomorrow."
"Maybe you guys should go out?," Danny suggested with a hopeful smile.
"Will you two be okay here by yourselves?" Jack asked, standing and stretching some more.
"I got a paper to write," Jazz answered. "I'll be in my room all day with a mug of coffee."
"Make sure you eat something, sweetie," Maddie told her. "And Danny?"
"Err...I was kind of hoping to invite Sam and Tucker over," Danny replied, rubbing the back of his head.
"Alright, that's good enough for me," Jack answered, bounding to a standing position. "As usual, fridge is open to everyone for whatever reason but stay out of the lab."
"Got it," Danny and Jazz said at the same time.
"Now, upstairs everyone!" Jack boomed and everyone marched single-file upstairs. Danny immediately pulled his phone out of his pocket and speed-dialed Tucker's phone while Maddie and Jack reminded Jasmine her duties as the baby sitter, which pretty much boiled down too 'keep an ear on things and call us if something goes horribly wrong'.
The phone only rang twice before Tucker excitedly asked; "Dude, how'd it go?"
"Circuit failure, apparently," Danny replied. "Didn't even turn on."
"Seriously? That's lame!" Came Sam's voice.
Danny blinked in surprise. "Sam, you're at Tucker's house?"
"What? No!" Was her reply.
"Three-way," Tucker helpfully informed.
"Oh. Got it," Danny's face dawned in comprehension. "Anyway, Mom and Dad are heading out and said you can come over."
"Sweet," Sam replied.
"Be right over," Tucker also replied.
Soon, after Jack and Maddie has left for some Chinese restaurant in downtown Amity Park, the doorbell rang. Repeatedly. A lot of times. Danny yanked the door open and stared at the first of his two best friends. "Tucker! Knock it off!"
Tucker Foley smiled and adjusted his thick-rimmed glasses. He was African American, with short curly black hair covered by a beret. "Sorry, I was excited."
Sam smirked. "Yeah, excited. About what?" She, on the other hand had alabaster skin and black hair, much like Danny. Only her's was bobbed and had a top knot, and her eyes were a light violet.
"We get to finally see the lab!" Tucker said, waving his arms like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Actually no," Danny said. "The 'don't go into the lab' rule is still in effect."
"Aw, come on!" Tucker whined as Danny invited them in. "There's a real nuclear reactor down there! Small enough to fit in a basement! That's supposed to be impossible!"
"So's a portal to the afterlife, but that hasn't stopped my parents from trying," Danny replied.
"And that's really cool," Sam smiled widely. As the group walked into the living room, she took the right side of the couch. "Seriously, I don't know what's cooler about your parents, Danny. That they can build and maintain a nuclear reactor in their basement, or that they're using it to power a portal to the 'Ghost Zone'?"
"You're a lot more into it than I am, Sam," Danny replied, turning on the television situated in front of the assorted couches and sitting on the opposite side of Sam.
"How could she not be into it? Heck, how can I not be into it?" Tucker had, of course, taken the recliner. "Nuclear! Reactor! With a friggan Warp Gate in your basement!"
"Potential warp-gate," Danny corrected, grabbing the remote. "Anyone care what we watch?"
"I think April 1st is on in a few," Sam's eyes got wide in anticipation of her favorite slasher movie. "Channel 223."
"Pirates 6 is on now, channel 234," Tucker countered, leaning forward "That's the one with the Ninja's."
Danny thought for a moment before remembering something. "Glory's Reign is on in two."
The three looked at each other, eyes darting from one another as they came to the unspoken agreement of what they were to do over the remote. Tucker and Sam leapt after it. Well, Sam did, tackling Danny to the couch as she reached for the remote. Tucker only pretended to do so, then sat back down and waited.
Danny was holding the remote as far away from Sam as he could, right into Tucker's reach, as he cheerfully plucked the remote from Danny's fingers. "Alright, love birds, knock it off."
It was then, as Tucker switched the channel, that Danny and Sam realized that they were on top of each other. Danny turned red, Sam turned red and angry. "You are so dead, Tucker!" She stated as she got ready to tackle the tech-geek next.
"No fighting over remote!" Came the sharp voice of Jazz from upstairs. "Tucker, pick something! And don't call them love birds, you've only known her for two months!"
"Three!" Danny corrected as Sam climbed off of him. "Three months!"
"Whatever! I have a paper to write, so keep it down!"
"Okay, fine!" Danny and Sam were now calmed down, though they were still red in the face.
As the slightly-insane Pirate Captain did swashbuckling battle and exchanged witticisms with the dark-clad and serious natured ninja's on the screen, Danny and Sam were quick to purposely forget what happened a few minutes ago, while Tucker stashed it away in his mind in the same folder he kept his most cherished memories, folder 9, subsection c: perverted, to be specific.
The movie went on, and finished and the silence from everyone was making Tucker grin just slightly more with each passing second. When the credits finished and the commercial for the Nasty Burger came on, Sam broke the ice.
"So, Danny," Sam began.
"The portal didn't work."
"Nope," Danny replied, turning to face her with a raised eyebrow. "What about it?"
"Well, I was kind of thinking," Sam said. "What if we fixed the portal for your parents?"
Danny was silent for a long moment. "Yeah? Fix it how?"
"I don't know," Sam replied, crossing her arms. "I just thought that since Tucker's pretty good with technology and you know your parents lab very well, we could sneak in there and get the portal working for your parents before they get back."
"We could probably do that, yeah," Tucker agreed, nodding with a thoughtful frown on his face. "But it's his parents house with his parents rules. They said no one goes in the lab, so we'd better honor that."
Danny looked between his two friends and sighed. "Sam, are you suggesting that because you want to help my parents, or because you really want to see the lab?"
"Yes," Sam answered. "They said we could see the lab if the portal works, so us going in there and turning the portal on isn't breaking any rules."
"But that's not the case anymore," Danny answered.
"They didn't say we couldn't see the lab when the portal starts working, they just said don't go in there," Sam said.
Danny raised both eyebrows in confusion and tried to force words out of his mouth, but only a strangulated sound came out.
"I'm confused," Tucker offered.
"What I mean is, they never said that we couldn't go in there if the portal is working," Sam explained with an exasperated look on her face.. "It's a loophole. Because the portal isn't working, we can't go in there. If we get the portal to work, we can be in there because Danny's parents said we could be."
"Oh gotcha," Tucker nodded.
"But that's not what they meant, though!" Danny's voice raised in volume.
"Shhh, keep it down!" Sam whispered, motioning for Danny to lower the volume. "Your sister is right above us! She could hear!"
Speak of the devil, and the psychologist will appear. "What are you guys talking about?" Jazz said, walking down the stairs. "You guys aren't planning on going down into the lab are you?"
"Sam want's to go down there to try and get the portal working," Tucker answered nonchalantly
"Tucker!" Sam hissed.
Jasmine folded her arms. "Why? It's not going to work. Ghosts don't exist. You'd be going down there just to see a hole in the wall with sprinklers mounted on the inside. With floral-scented glass mounted on the front."
"Blood-blossom coated," Sam corrected with a glare.
"And Mom and Dad said don't go down there," Danny repeated, glaring and throwing his hands up. "That should be enough for everyone in this room."
"Come on, Danny!" Sam replied, turning to him with a sad yet hopeful look in her eye. "Don't you want to help out your folks?"
Danny shifted uncomfortably. "Yes," He answered after a few seconds, dragging out the word like it was the last thing he would get to say before he died.
"It's a hole in the wall," Jazz repeated with a sharp frown.
"Then why not let us go poke around in it?" Tucker asked.
"Because if our parents noticed anything wrong, they will flay Danny and I alive and then prevent you and Sam from ever hanging out with Danny again," Jazz answered, leaning over the back of the couch and looking at Tucker.
"What would go wrong?" Sam argued.
"Those 'ecto-injectors' are designed to measure the levels of goo they have in them," Jasmine replied. "If or when you get it working and it doesn't work like they want it too, they'll just blame you for ruining the portal and then they'll just start over with you never getting a chance to look in the lab, or hang out with Danny, ever again."
Sam looked at Jazz hard in the eye and they held with staring contest for what seemed like hours before Sam looked away. "Fine," She huffed, folding her arms and focusing on the tv screen.
Jazz nodded and smiled in smug superiority. "Good. Now keep it down, I have a paper to write."
Sam watched Jazz walk up the stairs like an angry hawk. When the eldest Fenton child rounded the corner into her room and was out of sight, Sam smiled evilly and looked to Danny. "So if we agree to just press the on button and stay inside the observation area, can we check out the lab?"
Danny's eyes went wide. "Sam, the answer is no."
"End. Of discussion," Danny stated, glaring and folding his arms, turning to look at the screen. It was a crappy b-grade horror film about ghosts. The irony would've had them giggling were the tension not thick enough to cut with a knife.
Danny's frown nor his glare would abate. Sam's frown also got deeper as the hours dragged, eyes darting ever so often from the movie to Danny's face, to shift back again just as quickly.
Tucker noted his two friends with a raised eyebrow. He made as if to say something several times, but nothing came out as he couldn't find the words. He simply frowned and pulled out his Ap-phone and checked the time. The words came. "Shouldn't your parents be home?"
Danny checked his watch. It was 9:19 in the evening. "Nah, with the way Dad talks they won't be home until midnight."
"Right," Tucker replied. "I was just wondering, did either of you guys do Lancer's essay due on monday?"
Danny and Sam's eyes widened.
"I'll take that as a no," Tucker with a smug smirk, standing up and stowing his phone in his pocket. "I think we should get going, you and Sam gotta write."
"What about you?" Sam asked accusingly.
"I did it yesterday right when I got home," Tucker smiled widely. "Took me about thirty minutes."
"I hate you," Danny deadpanned.
"I know," Tucker said, cheerily making his way to the front door. "But you love me all the same."
Sam stood up and hastily shuffled to the door as well, stepping outside with Tucker when Danny opened it for them. "Yeah, I got stuff to do at home, anyway. Dishes and other stuff."
"Don't you have maids for that?" Tucker's grin got even more malicious.
Sam hit him on the arm.
"Go, I'll catch up," Sam snapped.
Tucker quickly complied, since he and Sam lived on the same street. Sam turned to Danny. "Danny…"
Sam chewed on her lip for a few seconds. "I'm sorry for ticking you off."
Danny visibly deflated, rubbing the back of his head. "It's okay, I'm sorry for getting ticked off, too."
"I just," Sam sighed. "Your parents are two of the coolest people I've ever met and hearing their life's work not, you know, working? Sucks and I wanted to help and-"
"Sam, I get it," Danny smiled. "It's fine. Really."
Sam allowed herself to smile, her eyes twinkling just a bit in the porchlight as she hastily embraced him. "Thanks, Danny."
Danny stiffened and blushed as he awkwardly put his arms around her in turn for a brief moment. "It's a good thing Tucker can't see us."
Sam released him. "We're friends. Friends hug when they make up, right?"
"Y-yeah," Danny answered. "I'm just saying."
Sam nodded and turned on her heels, waving good bye. "See you tomorrow?"
"Yeah, I'll call you and Tucker over," Danny answered.
Danny watched as Sam caught up with Tucker who was waiting at the corner street light. "So did you guys kiss?"
Danny turned red again and hastily slammed the door as the sound of Tucker's laughter echoed through the street. He let out a breath and shut the TV off. He looked to the lab door, which was shut and had a key-only bolt on both sides of the door. Jazz and Danny had keys to that lab, both of which were hidden somewhere in the house, Danny's under his pillow. He had a sneaking suspicion that Jazz's key was hidden in a landfill somewhere.
What if Jazz is right? Danny thought, slowly turning and making his way up the stairs to his own room.
He arrived at the top. Only three doors were up here, down a short hallway. The nearest was on the left which Danny walked up too, slowly and quietly. It was slightly ajar, with light pouring out of it. Inside, Jasmine was hunched over her Fenton pad, typing away at it's connected keyboard and occasionally looking at an open text book for reference. She was scratching her head when she suddenly groaned and hit her head on her desk.
Danny retreated away from her room and walked to the other door on the left, this one shut. This was the door to his parents room, it was empty and it felt like it. His father's manic energy nor his mother's enthusiasm leaked from the inside like it would if they were there.
Just past that and on the right was Danny's room. He stepped inside and took a seat as his own desk. A Fenton-pad with connected keyboard and printer sat upon it, beneath the shelves mounted on the walls which bore a model space shuttle and Enterprise. The walls also bore N.A.S.A posters and somewhere in the room there was a stuffed astronaut teddy bear.
Danny started typing the paper, barely remembering the topic being on the Three Musketeers and that he had read the original multiple times as a kid. He would have been grateful for such an easy assignment but the words just weren't coming.
What if there really is no such thing as ghosts? Danny thought, leaning back in his chair. He looked to his pillow where his key was hidden away, staring at it with a thoughtful frown. What if Mom and Dad really have spent their entire adulthood on a wild goose chase? Are they really that crazy?
He ran his hand through his hair and looked to the window through which the setting sun could be seen.
I mean, Superheroes exist. People who fly and shoot laser beams out have existed since before I was born, Danny thought, turning back to his paper, trying to type but the only things that came from his fingers were a jumble of letters that may or may not have been the musketeers motto. These were quickly erased with a hasty spamming of the backspace. But ghost's? No one's really seen or been able to prove they exist. Not even Mom and Dad.
Danny stood up and walked out of his bedroom. His head was hunched, looking straight down the stairs as he sat back down again at the top. He looked down the stairs but his attention was focused on the lab door, shut with a red and orange sticker at eye level that read 'danger' and the lay just outside of Danny's vision.
Does that mean that I'm crazy for thinking that they might be right? Danny thought with a heavy frown, looking toward the door to Jasmine's room. Maybe I should talk to Jazz. Though, actually, just because she's studying psychology doesn't mean she's a therapist. So there's that. So what do I do?
Danny sighed. "Come on, you're a Fenton. Fenton's don't mope," he muttered to himself.
He looked back to the slightly opened door to Jasmine's room. It was a hard gaze, one to beckon the rooms occupant out. She never came.
Maybe Sam was right, Danny thought. Maybe we should've tried to fix the portal. I mean, Mom and Dad would've banned Tucker and Sam from hanging out with me and I'd have been murdered in some gory fashion but…
His fingers were steepled and his brow furrowed.
But what if they are wrong? Danny thought to himself. What if they are crazy? Would getting the portal to work really prove they aren't nuts?
Would it help Jazz not hate our parents?
With a set look in his eyes, Danny Fenton stood and marched back to his room. His key was quickly snatched and he swiftly headed down the stairs. They were allowed in the lab sometimes. Not this night. Danny didn't care. Jerkily the door was opened and shut, carefully avoiding any noise that might tip off Jazz.
At the foot of the stairs was the observation room. A wardrobe to the side and close to the door to the testing partition held jumpsuits. Danny thrust open the door and grabbed one, the thick spandex lined with Kevlar and lead was one size fits all and Danny slid it on. The belt around the waist was a special elastic and held in place by belt loops. One surprisingly not painful snap and the belt fit snugly around your waist like it was made perfectly for you.
Maddie came up with it so her husband could stop snapping belts in his workplace whenever he got really excited. Which was all the time.
The gloves and boots were thick and insulated with straps that operated with the same technology, one quick snap of the straps and the boot was tightened comfortably.
The main jumpsuit was white, made for when his parents wanted to show off the portal to guests when it was working. It was extra thick around the collar area, to protect the jugular and respiratory systems, which was painted black. The gloves and boots were also black, as was the belt and accompanying loops.
Danny inhaled deeply, suit fitting snugly onto his small and thin frame. He grasped the hatch to the door and turned, with great effort, to unseal the lab door. With a hiss of air the door swung inward and Danny took several steps of trepidation down into the testing partition.
The lights inside were motion sensitive and came on when Danny took the first step. The portal inside, however, remained darkened. Like the jaws of oblivion, the darkness at the end warned against any entry, lest there may never be a return.
He inhaled again. There was a lot of things Danny was, but a coward was not one of them. He took a step forward and catching the gleam of the safety-glass before he slammed into it face first. With a frown, he crouched down and again, with much effort, managed to lift the glass off of the floor, enough for him to slip under by going prone.
Inside, Danny stood. He could barely make out the countless wires inside and couldn't see if there were any stuck in the wrong place or unplugged or even cut. The safety glass slid down again behind him, blocking his way out.
This...was a stupid idea, Danny thought with dread. My parents are going to kill me. They explicitly said don't go in the lab, and here I am. All because I don't have enough faith in them to think they're not crazy.
Danny turned on his heel, and saw that his fingers would find no purchase to grab the glass as he did before. He looked to the right, and there, on the wall, coated in what was coated in blood blossom finish, was the toggle switch to raise the safety glass.
At least I can get out of here before they figure out somethings wrong, Danny thought flicking the switch. I'll lower the glass again when I'm on the other side and they will nev-what was that?
The sound of something turning on resonated through the portal as the glass lifted. The end of the portal started hum with electrical power and the ectoplasm injectors started to glow green.
I turned it on, Danny thought with elation. Then fear. Wait, how did I turn-
Then suddenly the projectors activated and the inside of the portal was engulfed in a swirling vortex of green horror. Every nerve was on fire and numb at the same time as his body was swept up and span as if he was in a whirlpool.
Danny's life flashed before his eyes. His throat was hoarse for some reason before he realized it was because he was screaming. Flashes of black and white. He saw himself, then he saw some sort of color inverted version of himself. He saw the horrific gaping maws of thousands of evil creatures rush to devour him. The motion caused his stomach to churn like an ocean in a storm. He wondered if this is what it would feel like in a hurricane. He wanted to beg for it to stop, but he had long since lost air in his lungs. He tried to breathe, but his lungs were filled with gaseous ice, freezing solid at the first breath.
And then, mercifully, he found himself thrown out of the horrific torrent and onto the lab floor. He felt the floor beneath him. It was warm, like stones basked in the sun.
But he couldn't breathe. The more he forced his lungs to work the more they stabbed at him with icy daggers through the chest. Danny could feel the cold spread to his heart and seep through his skin. He raised an arm from his position on the floor to try to crawl forward, to stand as darkness enclosed on his vision.
"Huh?" The single horrified sound was faded and echoed unnaturally. Danny saw his gloved hand. It was white.
Danny felt himself give, the arm dropping to the floor as the cold in his lungs was expunged in a glowing, blue mist.
Then everything went dark.
Author's Notes: Hello, everyone and thank you for joining me for this fic. This is one of those Danny Phantom re-imagined type fics which used to be quite popular when I first discovered fanfiction, such as Ultimate Danny Phantom by Grumbles and Real Life by Cordria. The first one is problematic but enjoyable and the second one is a complete master piece and I recommend that you read it. All of it. Then review every chapter and read it again.
I've had this particular plot bunny kicking around in my head for a while and I originally wrote this for my Sister to try to inspire her to draw some more. It came into my head that maybe posting online would actually help me write more because I actually quite like this fiction right now and I really hope you'll like this as much as I do. As I speak, I'm currently typing up chapter two and I hope to get it done quickly.
I hope you enjoyed this chapter and that you'll review if you feel you have any form of constructive criticism or just any form of encouragement. If you feel the desire to flame, I hope we can speak about our disagreements civilly so that we can both benefit from the discussion.
See you next chapter, and I look forward to hearing everyone's response. :)