Choosing a Path
"I'll admit." Dan grunted as he took a hit to the cheek before he blasted Phantom in the stomach and sent the boy flying away from him. "You've improved." A nasty smirk fell over his lips and his eyes glowed bright crimson. "You've become more like me, without ever fusing with Vlad, you've become exactly like me."
"I'll never be you!" His green eyes flashed crimson as his energy flashed pink before both returned to the nauseating lime green color. "I've made a promise and I'll die before I break it." He growled out as he thought about Sam, Tucker, his family, and even all those he had left behind in Amity Park. He wouldn't break his promise to them.
"But haven't you already?" Dan questioned with a raised brow at the boy and that evil smirk. "You're working for a criminal mastermind by stealing and attacking heroes." The sneer on his face when he said heroes told of the massive dislike he had for the said costume people. "You'll be killing people next under his orders!" Dan laughed in anticipation. He wasn't done yet and he wasn't about to disappear just yet either.
Phantom growled before he leapt at Dan with all of his might, right to tear the ghost in half. Not for his master or because he ordered the teen to, but because Danny Phantom and Fenton wanted to.
"It seems that it has come down to you and me once more." Vlad stated as he stood straight. His face was blank and his entire body was stiff in anticipation for battle. "Though it seems that there is a difference to when we last fought."
"But of course there is. I thought it would be obvious." Slade drawled mirroring Vlad's own posture. Hands clasped behind their backs and straight back as they focused on their opponent rigidly. "But then again, I don't show my entire hand on the first play. Unlike you."
Vlad felt his brow twitch in annoyance but ignored it as he prepared an attack behind his back, ready to tear this simpleton to pieces. His lightning flared up in his hands as he concentrated on his powers.
Similar to him, Slade was flaring his own powers in his own hands. Blue flames that enveloped his own hands. Nowhere near as contained as Vlad's own but he had a handle on them and could use them effectively. He wasn't about to go down without a fight after all.
"Shall we begin then?" Vlad questioned with a raised brow.
"Let's." Slade agreed as he threw blue fireballs at the same time Vlad shot off his pink lightning bolts. Each one slamming into each other and canceling them out.
"For being new to this halfa life, you seem to have pretty decent control. About the same as Daniel when he had his powers for about six months in fact." Vlad complimented as he concentrated on focusing his abilities in his hands, ready to send out a concentrated blast to tear this imbecile in half.
"Training underneath someone who has a lot of control over their own power comes in handy." Slade stated with a smirk. He was ready to take this maniac down once and for all. No matter what the Titans or the Justice League thought, these two needed to be put down.
And who better than two other villains to do it.
"What are we going to do now?" Robin questioned as he watched the two sets of villains duke it out rapidly. "We can't just allow Phantom and Slade to kill them!"
"We won't." Superman said next as he looked at the only capable flyer at the moment. "You and I are going to head on up and knock them down here. That way we'll be able to keep them at ground level to allow all of us to fight."
"Not a bad plan, only which you'd have to knock all four down here." Batman said with a frown. "Neither of the two of you have enough strength to do so. You need the sun to recover and if you haven't realized it yet, it's night time." He pointed at Superman with a frown. "You are still injured from the battles beforehand. I'm astounded to find any of you standing really."
"Yeah, well, we're resilient." Cyborg stated with a cheeky grin before looking at Starfire and Superman. "Use these, they should blind them for a few seconds to allow you to do what needs to be done." He explained as he tossed several little blue balls at the two of them. "Close your eyes when you throw them so you don't go blind as well."
"Flash bombs? That's handy." Superman said as he turned to the bat with a smirk. "Where's your flash bombs?"
"I can always pull my kryptonite out instead."
"Okay I'm going!" With that the Man of Steel turned tail and took off into the sky with the Tamaranian right behind him.
"That was mean Bats." Flash chuckled as he and the other three speedsters prepared themselves for a fight.
"He was annoying." Was the reply.
"You lived with that?" Raven turned to Robin with a raised brow. "I now know where you got your attitude."
Robin smirked. "Best mentor in the world." He agreed easily.
They all closed their eyes as a shout from Starfire warned them.
Beast growled in annoyance as he was blinded by the flash of light.
"What the hell is that!?" Dan shouted as multiple lights blew up in front of them, blinding everyone that had their eyes open.
"Some sort of flash bomb." Vlad grumbled as he rubbed at his eyes, trying to return his vision quicker.
"Whatever! It won't stop me from destroying you!" Phantom shouted as he launched himself in the direction that Dan's voice had come from.
Only to yell out in shock as two feet slammed into his feet and sent him flying to the ground.
Slade grimaced as his own eyes burned in irritation and then growled when two hands grabbed him by the shoulders and threw him downwards. He could already tell exactly what was going on. It was proven more so when he felt the ground collide with him and then a body sat on top of him. "Bringing us down to your level then?"
"Only way to get you to fight me apparently." Robin said with a grin. "You've been ignoring me for some time now and I don't really appreciate it."
"You aren't my biggest concern at the moment." He flipped his body, grabbing hold of an obviously surprise Wonder Boy and sent him flying. "Phantom, report!"
"I'm fine, but I think I have a useless piece of meat sitting on me."
"Hey now! No need to be that mean!" Cyborg then. What was it with the Titans and sitting on them at the moment? Slade wondered why Phantom hadn't just phased out yet.
"Get off of me now you flea ridden mongrels!" That was Plasmius. Obviously they were sitting on him as well.
"I don't need to see to destroy." Dan Phantom. It was obvious he was getting annoyed. That wasn't good. Especially if he had the same ability as Phantom to scream and destroy with a single breath. Only Dan was completely dead and so he didn't need to breath.
"Don't do it Dan!" Vlad shouted but it was obviously too late as Dan sucked in a large breath of air.
"Get down now!" Slade shouted as he tackled two people to the ground and created a shield.
"That's Phantom's Ghostly Wail." He had grabbed Robin then.
"Yes. Though this one seems a lot stronger than his." Raven as well then. He was surprised that she had survived from the injuries she had apparently acquired.
"Stay down." Slade grunted as he pushed the Boy Wonder back to the ground. "He's dead as well so he doesn't have to stop for breath. The only way he'll stop on his own is if his energy levels goes down."
"Is there any way to contest this energy?" Raven questioned as she shifted against Slade's hold on her neck. He was keeping the two teens down with a hand on the back of their necks. As long as their heads were down, he could force the rest of their body down as well.
"If Phantom can get up and hit with his own Wail, we could stand a chance." Slade said as he blinked his eyes rapidly. His vision was starting to come back and he could see things in blurs.
"Someone had better aim me at that monster or I swear I'll go on a rampage next!" Phantom yelled out next.
"He's serious about that!" Slade snapped as he felt Phantom start to gather energy and breath to attack.
"Great." That was Cyborg and he could tell that he was still near Phantom. "Maybe we shouldn't have blinded the one that could save our butts."
"Not the problem right…."
Batman was cut off when sound was stopped completely. "What happened?" Phantom asked as he pushed both Batman and Cyborg off of him to try and see what was going on. Unfortunately his vision was still completely gone and had returned yet. It was annoying and he wanted to be able to see again so that he could fight properly.
"Beast!" Raven screamed as she watched her friend get grabbed around the throat by Dan. "Let him go!" She scrambled to her feet, struggling heavily as she did.
"This beast…is very like me." Dan smirked as his eyes opened to revealed slightly glazed over crimson eyes. Some of his vision hadn't returned but it was obvious he could see things up close. "Wild, out of control, able to do whatever he wants. Oh how nice this thing is." He grunted as he squeezed his hand tightly around its throat.
"How I want to kill it."
Beast thrashed wildly as it fought against the pain in its throat. The pain that was ripping through him as Dan sunk claws deep into his flesh that would soon cut his throat wide open.
Only for Dan to gasp in pain.
Everyone stood frozen for a long moment as they took in what had just happened.
Phantom had charged while his future self-had been distracted and had slammed a sword right into his stomach. Dan gritted his teeth as he threw the Beast away and turned instead to grabbing the sword in his stomach. He ignored the ectoplasm flooding into his mouth and the pain in his abdomen as his hands dug into the ice, leaving claw marks where they slid off before he grabbed it again. "Where'd…you learn such…a chilling trick?" Dan questioned with a smirk as he slid backwards off of the sword.
"From the cold depths of my core." Danny replied as he ripped the sword out of Dan sideways before the other could fully remove himself.
They all watched as Dan staggered backwards with a large slash in his right side. "So you have an Ice Core. That means Vlad's Fire Core is what overran my original core." Dan stated with a frown on his face. He looked over at the sword before shaking his head. "Doesn't matter now, I'll make sure you turn into me one way or another."
"I'll never be you. How many times do I have to tell you that?" Phantom snarled as he formed another sword in his free hand, leaping forward with tehm to attack.
"We have to stop him." Robin said as he stood back up.
"No you won't." Slade said as he stood as well, looking over to where Vlad had been forced to his human form and was now held down by a Specter Deflector. "He has to face this on his own."
"He'll kill him and become exactly what he hates most!" Raven shouted as she glared at the man.
"Did you?" the question stunned all the Titans listening in at the moment. "You faced your father, you helped lock him away once more so that he couldn't cause any more damage. So tell me, did you become what you most hated?"
"Leave her alone. Her situation is completely different from Phantom's!" Robin snarled as he stood in front of a kneeling Raven. The downed Beast was right next to her.
"Then what about you Robin?" Slade questioned as he turned to glare at the Boy Wonder. "Your parents, the Flying Grayson's I believe, were killed by a man. Did you try and kill him?"
Robin was stunned. He had thought his identity had been kept but obviously he hadn't done well enough. "He did not. He made the right choice in the end." Batman stated as he walked over to Robin and laid a hand on his shoulder. "I see what you are trying to do, but do you think this will end the way you want it to?"
Slade watched as Dan launched himself at Phantom, fangs bared and ready to tear apart the younger male.
Phantom slashed and was able to ward the older ghost away while the rest of them stood off to the side. "I don't know why you think I'll turn into you. I've avoided it for two years already. What makes you think I can't avoid it for the rest of my life and afterlife?"
"Because I know you!" Dan shouted back as he blasted ray after ray. "I've been you! I know the pain! The loneliness! The hatred! All of it! I know all of it that's in you now!" The last word was the start of a wail that slammed right into Danny.
The pain was familiar. He had been through the wail once before at the hand of Dan. He still remembered it as well. The feeling of all of him being peeled away from his body and the sensation of his heart and core being decimated little by little. HE would not survive the wail a second time. Especially since he was reverted back to his human form and his swords had been shattered.
"You…think…you…know…me." Danny gasped as he pushed himself up to his hands and knees. HE looked up at a panting Dan, watching as his body fused back together fully and left only a soft scar before that took disappeared. His costume repaired itself next. "You…think you know…all of the pain!?"
He stood up. He got to his feet a little bit at a time. He couldn't back down now. Not with Dan right there in front of him. Not with all the pain and chaos and destruction he had caused in both of their times.
How their families had died in both times as well.
But there was one thing that had differed between their times. That had set him apart from Dan for some times and now he was going to make sure that it stayed that way.
"You forget Danny, I am you." Dan stated as he walked over to the downed halfa. "I've always been you. From the moment we were born as human and then as half ghost. I've been you." He stood over Danny now, his eyes narrowed but a frown on his face. "The pain and suffering we went through when we lost our family and friends. We even lost Mr. Lancer, the only teacher in that whole crap of a school that had our backs."
"They died because…we weren't…strong enough." Danny continued on. "We cheated…on the…CAT's…and then failed to stop….the Nasty Burger…from exploding."
"That's right. Our family died because we were guilty and idiotic. We put our pride and arrogance before them and look where it got them." He spread his arms out as if to encompass the entire world in his words. "What more do we have left to lose by just destroying everything else?"
Danny sat there silently as he listened and thought. There was a lot that he would not lose by actually destroying the rest of the world. He had gained nothing really that he would not miss. Not even Slade would be truly missed if it happened.
He had made that decision a long time ago. Slade was nothing but a tool much like he was a tool to the man. So it would be simple to just destroy the man, even with his new powers, Slade would be a simple thing to destroy.
He could destroy everything.
Just like the world had destroyed his own family.
"So let's get Vlad and form me. We can destroy this world together. Just like I did mine." Dan said as he held a hand out. "Let's kill him this time as well. He'll be more trouble if he's left with nothing but his humanity again."
Danny stared up at his future self. A future he had promised he would never allow himself to end up in. But…would that be better. To have his humanity ripped away so that this pain he felt, the pain he thought he had left behind, would finally disappear?
He looked up into the crimson eyes that had featured in nightmares for years now. Could he really turn into this monster that had destroyed so much of his life already? Could he leave behind that promise?
HE looked into those crimson eyes, looking deeply. He didn't notice when his began to flash between red and green, how his skin would pale into an icy blue and back to a pale tone. Those crimson eyes though, they showed something he didn't really like.
It was a reflection of his eyes. The eyes he saw every day in the mirror.
The eyes filled with pain, hatred, and regret.
He snarled as he forced his body to transform back into ghost form.
He screamed with all he had point blank in his once possible future.
The wail ripped through Dan, tearing him apart just like it had once upon a time. He was thrown backwards and slammed against debris all over the island that once held the Teen Titans tower. His flame hair was almost completely extinguished and his clothes were ripped while his cape was decimated entirely.
By the time Danny had ended his wail and reverted to human form once more, Dan was almost completely defeated.
His breathing was heavy and his body ached. He hated this feeling. It was the same one he had when his family had almost died the first time around.
The feeling of weakness that consumed his body and left his entire being wishing for his bed. He had felt it the first time he had ever used the wail and when he had fought Pariah Dark and when he had to contend with Vlad's abuse. He hated the feeling and he hated the sense that he was letting those important to him down.
"There is a…difference between…you and…me." He gasped out as he struggled to his feet, clutching at his side as it roared in pain.
Dan was struggling to his own feet as well, the flames that made up his hair struggling to relight so that they would flare wildly once more. "Oh, and what would that be?" He questioned as he glared at the halfa.
"My Vlad…" Danny sent a glare at the said man that had been pinned down and restrained thoroughly. "He…tortured me…destroyed me…" he stated.
Dan frowned at that as he stared at Vlad too. Watching as the man sneered at them, ignoring the flare of pain that must have erupted in him when electricity ran through him because his eyes flashed crimson. "Abuse then?" He questioned.
"Yes." Danny agreed with a snarl. "Destroyed all I…had gained…for a…long time." It was obvious it was starting to get harder to talk as the teen finally managed to pull himself to his feet. Swords of ice materialized in his hands again as he limped his way over to Dan. "I ran. Escaped from him." His breathing was beginning to strengthen and his steps became surer as his hair began to change from black to white. His eyes turned to blue and his skin went from pale to tan. It was a slow change but one he had made several hundred times in the past. He enjoyed the cold sensation that swept over him and how his heart turned into a ghostly core.
"I might one day turn into you, true." Danny stated as he raised both swords into the air and readied to bring them down. "But if I do, it won't be out of sorrow. It'll be out of anger." He slammed the swords down to finish off his mightiest of enemies once and for all.
"Stop!" Robin yelled as he threw one of his Birdarangs, knocking the swords aside. "You can't do it Phantom!"
"Why not?" Phantom snarled as he looked over at Robin, rearranging his swords so that they were crossed over Dan's neck, stopping the ghost from leaping at him. "Why shouldn't I end him here and now? Both of them?" He sent a vicious crimson glare at Vlad before returning it to the Boy Wonder.
"Because then you're no better than them!" Robin rubbed at his face in frustration, trying to figure out how he was going to this. To get the other teen to listen to him. "One's destroyed an entire timeline and the other one has destroyed so many things in this world! Do you really want to be similar to them in any way?"
"Have you forgotten that I've attacked your team? That I've stolen and destroyed property and controlled others?" Phantom snapped as he slammed a foot onto Dan's chest to make him stop moving. He could see the other trying to gather energy into his hands for an attack. "I'm already half way there!"
"But you don't have to go all the way!" Robin shouted in frustration. He remembered when he had that choice too. How he could have killed the man who had killed his family. Taken him right out of existence. "I've been there too! I watched my entire family die! Right in front of me!"
That made Phantom pause as his eyebrows furrowed and his eyes narrowed in thought. "You…lost your…family?" His gaze flickered over to Batman in an obvious thought that most people had about him and Batman.
"Yes. My biological family. I lost them and then I found the man that killed them." Robin's voice had calmed and his eyes were closed in sorrow. "I was dangling him over a river at the time. It had flooded and was highly dangerous, a normal human would have died in it." He explained.
"What'd you do?"
"I was going to let him drown in the river." The Boy Wonder Confessed as he ran his hand through his hair. It was obvious that he was annoyed and upset and tired and so much more. But Phantom only kept him in his peripheral view with most of his attention on Dan to keep him still.
"Was? So you didn't in the end, how come?" Sweat was tickling at Phantom's forehead and neck now. It was clear to the ghost that he was starting to tire again and wouldn't be able to hold his ghost form for much longer.
"He showed up." The head tilt in a certain caped crusader's direction was an obvious indication of what had happened. "He spoke to me, told me how stupid I was being. All that stuff about being better and what not."
The halfa snorted in amusement at the description. He was going to keep that over that boy's head for as long as they lived after all of this was said and over. "Okay, so you just stated all that to me now. What makes you think I'll follow the same path that you followed? We're alike, I give you that, but we're also incredibly different."
With that he swung the swords down to finish Dan off once and for all. "I'll destroy him once and for all!" He shouted as he raged forward.
"No, you won't." Slade said as he grabbed both of Phantom's wrists and held the other back. He would not all this boy to destroy himself. He wanted an apprentice, not a monster. "I will not allow you."
"Let go of me!" Phantom yelled as he struggled against his master, trying to force his way out any way possible. "You've trained me to destroy everything in my path! That's what I asked for! Why are you stopping me now?"
"Your voice will return in time…when it is most needed…but for now know that revenge can be sweet but will destroy all…while love can be bitter but save all." Clockwork explained. Do not forget that when the time comes to make a very important decision…exactly how important is Danny Phantom to you Slade?"
'Important enough.' He thought to himself as he looked down at the glaring teen. "I refuse to keep you as an apprentice if you turn into him." He stated as he held tightly. "I refuse to teach a monster to destroy the world just because he wants to throw a temper tantrum."
Phantom's eyes widened at that before a snarl formed on his lips and he released the swords and forced his body to float in the air long enough to kick the other man with his feet, off of him.
Slade grunted at the force but looked up with a glare. He was ready to defeat his student if it meant stopping him from doing something foolish.
Only to watch with wide eyes as Phantom grabbed hold o the ice blades and slam them right where Dan Phantom was.
A.N. Haha! I got this chapter done! Finally! I've been working on this for like ever it feels! It was difficult because I wanted the drama to be a huge part of it and all and it was difficult writing out the fighting scenes just because I'm not really that great at action sequences, which I okay I guess, but still! Anyways! Review and tell me what you all thought! I can't wait to hear from you all!
Also know that the last chapter is coming up! It'll either be the next one or the one after it! Guess we'll have to wait and see! Review!