CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO


Danny's wounds aren't completely healed yet, he can still feel the throbbing aches across his body and the ectoplasmic blood run down his skin. He still doesn't hesitate to throw Tadashi down to the ground to avoid the oncoming blast, adrenaline pumping through his veins, his core pounding against his chest. He covers his boyfriend with his body, curling around him to protect him from any injuries - despite whatever armor Tadashi may be wearing. A hand raises and creates a thin, green dome around the group, solid enough to see color, yet translucent enough to see through. But not at full power, the dome shatters upon impact into a million little, glass-like shards that disappear into the air.

"Do the smart thing, Daniel. If you stay down, I'll be merciful with a quick death. Then you won't have to see the deaths of the rest of your friends."

The booming of his core is louder than Vlad's voice, it rings in his ears and makes his vision red. Danny turns with a roaring sneer, unaware of the way the glow of his eyes turn into an intense red that make each member of the group share a look of unease. With the threats of their deaths, his handle on his control wavers. The last nerve snaps; his promise to Tadashi thrown to the wind as everything inside of him is screaming protect, protect, protect. Kill him, kill him, kill him. Everything else fades away and making what had the potential to be the biggest mistake of his after-life, Danny's desperation and weakened state, let's that side take control.

The group watch with a mix of horror and awe, questions swirling in their mind - so many questions, what's a halfa, how is Plasmius and Vlad the same person, how can Danny do this, how can Danny heal like that, why is Danny's blood green, why and how are his eyes glowing. Even those who have known the truth stand in stunned silence, unused to the sudden display of Danny's true power and the uneasiness of his more ghostly presence.

"You won't kill any of them, or anyone else, Plasmius!"

It's not the dramatic promise a hero makes to a villain, swearing that their evil regime will be stopped. It's not the promise of justice and equal trail. It's the same words, maybe, but the power behind it speaks more. It speaks of threatening, that Danny knows without a shadow of doubt that when he is through, there will be no chance of Plasmius ever hurting anyone again. It's the threat of death.

It's something they can't quite explain, they know Danny, they know him very well - at least they thought they did. But they know enough - that he's a good guy, with a big heart and a mischievous side that rivals Hiro's own rebellious streak. He's their friend, hero, brother and in Tadashi's case, boyfriend. None of them have ever known Danny to be an angry person - he's always been the first to resort to passive aggressiveness and petty pranks rather than outright violence.

But the person in front of them looks awfully like Danny, but lacks the aura of peace and safety. There is so much anger that radiates from him, everything about his current state makes their gut scream get out, save yourself. Like Vlad, something primal within them realizes the danger that stands before them, yet because it wears the face of their friend, they merely take a step back, uncertain of how to react to the harsh glow of his eyes and the snarling of his lips.

Even Vlad is a bit taken off by the sudden strength Danny possesses as he lunges for Vlad, unphased by the height at which Vlad floats above. Danny's hands glow an eerie mix of green and red, blasting balls of energy similar to Vlad's own. But Danny's blasts are brighter, stronger, and it seems with each hit that he lands on Vlad, he gets stronger - growing in confidence as his wounds heal beyond their comprehension. Danny's roaring voice and screams border on inhuman and seem to shake the very foundation that they stand in.

There's a lot of confusion as they're unable to keep up with the fast blurred movement of the two, yet it seems Danny has quickly grown the upper hand as one of his blasts knock Vlad down to the ground, his unconscious body laying unmoving in the middle of the crater his landing created. Knocked back into Vlad Masters, rather than Plasmius, there's something even more disturbing to see Danny float ten feet above him with haunting, dark red eyes. It looks almost evil.

Tadashi is the first to snap out of his shock, "DANNY! STOP, YOU'RE GOING TO KILL HIM!"

It takes longer than it shoulder, but the red blurs out of Danny's eyes with a series of blinks as he turns harshly to look at his boyfriend - first in a snarl, then in confusion. Something akin to horror is reflected in his eyes, as if he didn't understand what he's done or what he was about to do. He looks directly in Tadashi's eyes and it's at that moment that Tadashi finally breaths, knowing that Danny's gained control of whatever it was that possessed him. That his boyfriend is back - and he doesn't plan on losing him again. Danny's mouth opens to say something, but a large pillar of microbots hit him in the gut, dragging him away to be crushed against a far wall.

There's a sickening, loud crunch as Danny's body slams against the wall, sinking parts of it in. The pillar of bots surrounds his entire torso and body and continues to press against him, sinking the wall further and further back with the pressure.

"DANNY!"

The group snaps into a fighting position, Baymax does his best to do the same yet fails to retain an intimidating presence. The masked man stands upon a pillared tower of bots, looking down at the body of Vlad. They can't see his face, but they can feel the disdain coming from him. Tadashi looks desperately over toward Danny, but Danny remains pinned against the wall by the bots, struggling to get free, his fists flicker with green energy but can't detain enough to concentrate a blast.

He takes one step forward, prepared to run after Danny, then stops at the sound of a voice.

"I have to say, I must thank you kids for getting rid of Vlad for me. He was starting to get in the way of my plans."

That voice. The hairs on the back of his neck stand, goosebumps lining his arms. It's like hearing a ghost - a more literal ghost - but if ghosts are real, who's to say that it's not him? Just a reminder that Tadashi couldn't save him.

A hand touches Tadashi's shoulder and see Honey Lemon giving him a look of sympathy and understanding. The two share a knowing nod before Tadashi turns to the others with a determined look in his eyes.

"Wasabi, go get Danny, cut through as many bots as you can. I'll join you. Fred, aim for the bots high up, don't aim your blasts too low, you don't want to fry us. GoGo, go for the base of whatever piller the masked man is on, Honey use whatever you can to slow down the masked man or help the others move," Tadashi's voice is solid, commanding, yet calm with the most serious, striking expression that they've ever seen on Tadashi's face.

His expression changes when he turns to Hiro, his eyes get softer and he puts a hand on Hiro's shoulder as he whispers, "Go get him."

Everyone rushes into action, doing their best to do as instructed. Fred leaps into the air with a powerful jump, fire spewing toward any nearby pillars of bots. Gogo sweeps past, destroying the base of the pillar the man stands on. Hiro jumps onto Baymax's back and takes off toward the man, dodging bots that get sent his way. Tadashi and Wasabi navigate toward where Danny is, yet discouragement and fear stop them short when they notice just how high Danny is.

A pink bubble, resembling that of almost bubblegum, gets shot in front of them. Its bouncy surface causes Tadashi to send a thankful look toward Honey Lemon, who gives him a two finger salute in response.

Tadashi and Wasabi share a look, Wasabi's expression showing much more fear.

"I'll do it for you, man, but I'm not happy about this," Wasabi takes a deep breath and leaps, landing on the surface of the bubble. He sinks down a moment before shooting up toward where Danny is pinned. He scrambles to grab ahold of the bots and with difficulty, climbs on top of them with a wobbling balance.

Tadashi isn't that far behind him, but climbs onto the bots that pin Danny to the wall with much more ease. Thankfully, due to everyone working at once and distracting the masked man's attention, the bots have stopped adding pressure to Danny, but that hardly means that doesn't hurt.

"You know, it's pretty hot to hear you order everyone around," Danny offers, a goofy grin on his face.

Tadashi ignores his comment and turns to Wasabi, "Well, Wasabi, it looks like he's perfectly comfortable here, we may as well just leave him."

Wasabi, gripping the bots for dear life, struggles to keep his balance as he works on cutting down the bots around Danny, he sends a mild glare toward Tadashi as he mumbles to 'leave him out of whatever foreplay this is.'

"Just cut as close as you can to my torso," Danny instructs, "If there's not in contact with me, I can get away."

Wasabi seems a little skeptical, and a lot more nervous, but tries to do as asked. Tadashi grips Wasabi's arm to keep it from shaking, guiding him in a smooth downward motion.

The reaction is almost instant, with no active bots in contact with him, Danny shoots off like a light, flying toward the masked man. Tadashi watches him take off with a smile, awe and pride swelling in his chest at the familiar aura of safety and light surrounds the area.

It seems they've gotten him out just in time. Honey Lemon and Gogo are both caught up in one of Honey Lemon's bubbles gone wrong, trapping Gogo to the ground and Honey Lemon to the wall. Fred's suit is trapped by bots, pinning him in a similar fashion that Danny was. Hiro is the only one still actively fighting.

Tadashi's pride grows. Hiro is so close, he just needs an opening and he's sure his brother can get it. Though he has to admit that when - and there is no if - Hiro gets the mask, he's not sure who to expect underneath it.

A loud whistle cuts through the air, grabbing the masked man's attention. Danny floats not too far from the masked man, giving him a cheeky grin and wave. A pillar of bots shoot toward him, one significantly smaller than previous ones - at least they were able to destroy quite a few bots - Danny's torso splits in half, the bots passing harmlessly by him.

Wasabi nearly throws up and even Tadashi feels a bit nausea at that display. Danny just blows a raspberry, laughing before his body comes back together only to disappear.

"Where am I now," Danny's voice echoes, but he's nowhere in sight, "Am I over here, here? Find me if you can little man. There's a reason they call me, Phantom."

The masked man's attention is split between looking desperately for Danny and dodging Hiro's attempts. For the first time, Tadashi feels like they finally have a chance. He sits and watches, content with the progress as he wonders if there is anything he can possibly do to help.

"Boo."

Danny's voice is distorted as he appears behind the masked man - a green blast knocks the man down. Hiro swoops in and the mask is off. The bots crumble around all of them, freeing Fred and causing Wasabi and Tadashi to plummet a bit too fast for his liking toward the ground.

Tadashi feels a hand around his waist and sees Wasabi beside him, covering his face with his hands to muffle a scream. Danny's arms wrap around them both and carry them easily to safe ground. Fred is happily on Danny's back, shaking with excitement.

He's about to thank Danny when he sees the masked man's now bare face. The face he knows, the face of the man he admired, the face of a man he risked his face for, and the face of a man he sure as all hell isn't a ghost. He's alive, breathing and using his brother's microbots for his own gain.

"You're supposed to be dead," Tadashi's voice comes out as a whisper, but his former professor just snarls at him, the microbots falling around him at the lack of a control. He can vaguely hear the gasps of surprise from the others - Fred being the most vocal about a plot fucking twist.

"Glad to disappoint, I have plans to take care of."

Tadashi doesn't understand, his brows furrowing with confusion and hurt. "But the fire… Why…?"

"To get the microbots of course," Callaghan says it as easily and obviously as if he's saying the sky is blue. His voice is different than the one Tadashi has gotten used to - it lacks the warmth and comfort of a professor who cares for his students. Instead, it's calculating, cold, nothing like the man Tadashi had admittedly almost looked to as a father.

"I didn't expect you to run into the fire," Callaghan admits, "And I certainly didn't expect Mr. Fenton here to save you the way he did. Imagine my surprise to find out one of my students is a ghost."

"Half-ghost," Danny corrects, arms crossed strictly against his chest as he watches Callaghan with a close eye, "Getting electrocuted, followed by volts of ectoplasm that alter your DNA will do that to you."

Callaghan's eyes narrow, "Quite. But you weren't my only surprise, Mr. Fenton. Mr. Masters was the one to explain everything to me and -"

"-He made you an offer you couldn't refuse," Danny rolls his eyes, "Yeah, he did that quite a lot. Nothing new or special about that."

"But why," Hiro's voice is softer than everyone's else's, his eyes drawn to Callaghan with so much hurt that it causes Tadashi's heart to break, "My brother risked his life to save you, and for what? What do you have to gain from this, Callaghan?"

"Plenty," Callaghan snarls, "The existence of ghosts gives me even more incentive to go through my plans and I can't let all of you destroy that now."

Callaghan lunges for the mask, dodging the green blast that's shot toward his head. Hiro is too shocked to fight him off, but doesn't have to when Callaghan gets grabbed from behind by two strong arms. He struggles, but can't break free. Danny's eyes glow a dangerous green in warning.

"Keep fighting, I'd love for an excuse to knock you out."

Callaghan snarls and continues to struggle. Danny shrugs and is about to do something when Hiro's fist connects with Callaghan's face. Callaghan is out like a light. Hiro stands in front of them clutching his hand, breathing heavily with a flush on his face.

"Way to go Hiro," Gogo's voice cuts through the shocked silence that follows, "But I'd be appreciating it even more if someone gets me unstuck from this mess."


Anti-climatic? Probably.

First - Danny's obsession to protect will ultimately, push him to be stronger than any enemy he faces. That, combined with the fact that the only reason he was captured in the first place was because he was holding back, well, if he snaps and doesn't hold back, you see the result.

Second - If Callaghan's microbots are anti-ghost and are the only thing keeping from Danny stopping him by himself, then once everyone works together to destroy enough of the bots and the mask if off, there's literally nothing to keep Danny from taking him down.

Third - This isn't the end, there will probably be between two and three more chapters with an epilogue.

Fourth - I'm trying to wrap this up because I want to finish it before I rewrite it. Yes, you read that right, I do want to rewrite this, take care of the plot holes and the unnecessary characters/scenes, spend more time on the development of Tadashi and Danny's relationship, and more. The good news is I will be a lot more invested in the rewrite then in this, so it will be updated a lot more frequently. I lost interest in this particular version of the story after I noticed all the problems with it, fix that and I'm all in.

Fifth - Once the rewrite is done, there will be a sequel!