Okay, I am revising this story...mostly because it needed to be revised so horribly. shudder Anywway, I will place a note at the beginning of every chapter I revise, and I hope those of you who are reading like it. I hope those of you who are re-reading like i tmore.

Thanks!

Rated PG for some themes and violence.

oOo

"Get outta here, kid!" a harsh voice growled, pulling Danny out of his doze and back into the real world. It was a shame, really. The dream had been safe, and warm. More than a little annoyed, he mustered what anger he could and shot the homeless, bearded man that stood before him a glare. It was more than enough to get the man to back off for a few seconds while 15-year-old Danny Fenton stood calmly and brushed himself off.

"Whatever," he muttered , half to himself, half to the other guy.

Back to aimlessly wondering the streets of New York, Danny thought wryly to himself, and stepped from the relative protection of the alley he'd been in onto the windswept street with a sigh.

As soon as he turned the corner, the look of annoyance fell, depression working across his face. He no longer had the energy to keep any mask up when he knew no one else would even give him a second thought. Everything in the last three months had happened so fast, that he could barely remember...and yet, time had seemed to crawl along at the same time. He looked down at his torn and dirty t-shirt, visible through the jacket in a much similar condition. He couldn't afford a new one, let alone a decent meal or a place to stay. So he could only wander.

He passed a bakery, and tried desperately to ignore the aromas that drifted out, mocking his hunger. He hurried past the welcome sign snorting at it. No one wanted him, and why would they? To those he had been closest to, he was a freak, and to every one else...well, most people seemed to be able to sense something off about him.

For a moment, he found himself tempted to reach through the glass and grab something, but shook the thought from his head almost immediately and hurried on. He hadn't stooped to stealing yet, and he wouldn't. Ever.

The cinnamon and yeast smells followed him down the street, teasing his nose and making his eyes water slightly. They reminded him of home...not that he could call that place his home any more.

How had everything gone so wrong? He wondered to himself for the billionth time. There were times he wondered if Johnny 13 wasn't permanently following him at a distance so his ghost sense couldn't pick him up. Danny had most certainly seemed to pick up his own bad-luck shadow. He shivered. He'd been living out like this for how long? He'd lost track. It seemed like years and yet days at once. He'd long since lost all track of time since his birthday. He'd turned 15 here...away from his friends and family...

He automatically snickered sarcastically at that thought. What friends? What family? He had no one.

As he turned the corner, he shoved his torn, mis-matched gloved hands in his pockets, accidentally finding the card that he hadn't thrown away. His feet stopped like they did every time he touched the thick, now crumpled paper. Slowly his arm withdrew, taking it out as he looked it over, reading it for the thousandth time. He didn't need to, he'd long since memorized the 10 digits on the card. No name was attached, but he knew who the phone call would reach.

After a moment of standing in the wind, biting his lip, he shook his head and shoved the card back in his pocket.

Never! He thought to himself. He would never...would he? Should he? He asked himself these questions every time...but this time was different. Had he finally reached the end of his rope? The end of his endurance? Here he was, barely able to sustain his human form, let alone his ghost form, homeless, jobless and more than a little depressed. He'd come here with such high hopes, but had figured out very early on that no one here wanted to be rescued as he'd once been so naive to think. He remembered when he had been innocent enough to believe that he could make it here...as a super hero.

But it didn't happen. Stupid comic books and childish dreams didn't come to life like he had imagined...or at all, really. People were afraid of him when he helped them, and he hated the looks they gave him. At least in Amity park they seemed to be more tolerant of him as a hero. Well, after the Ghost King incident in any case. Of course, he'd fought ghosts back then. Now, he lived in a city with no porthole, so few ghosts ever came this far. Actually, he hadn't met any. Sometimes, and ironically, he wished that one or two would show up. At least it would give him a way to vent his frustration.

His fingers stroked the card again, and he stopped again. So why did he stay and suffer like this? His family didn't want him, and the world didn't want him...but someone did...or they said they did...

He drew the card again from its sanctuary, and looked at it as if seeing it for the first time. His stomach growled with hunger. He'd definitely have plenty of food there. And a warm place to sleep. With the night coming up so quickly...even the homeless didn't want him hanging around. He scared them, and they didn't even know why...but he did.

For the first time in a long time, Danny slowly changed direction. How long had it been since he'd actually had a destination in mind? Normally he just wondered aimlessly, hoping for some way to come along that would allow him to survive. He felt his stomach growl. When was the last time he'd eaten? He couldn't remember that either. The hunger seemed to come and go, getting worse and worse as he went on without food.

He licked his lips, half in hunger half in nervousness, as he walked up to the gas-station's phone and picked up the receiver. He stood like that for several minutes, hesitating and wondering, before he finally placed the call collect. The one call he thought he would never make. It rang several times before it picked up.

"Vlad Masters speaking."