Author's Notes: The more of these I start, the more difficult it becomes to finish any of them. Oh well. I'll try to finish up a few, but I can't guarantee when. Anyway, new story, you know the drill.

Waiting for Dawn

Chapter 1- A Wide-Awake Nightmare

Danny Fenton passed through the parking garage toward the sliding glass doors of the shopping mall, the Resistance's base of operations. It was actually a good hiding place. Mostly because it wasn't. It was such an obvious place to go that Plasmius would never think to look there. And anyone who'd ever seen Dawn of the Dead would know just how well human beings can survive in one of those things.

The only difference was that this time the mall wasn't a haven against zombies. They also had to contend with vampires, werewolves, ghouls, shapeshifters, and all sorts of other nasty critters. Still, they hadn't been found out yet. And until then, they would make do. They were already scouting out new locations for base camps across the coast. The problem was with communication. There had to be other resistance groups out there, but finding them was difficult because no one knew where to look.

Danny passed through the doors. briefly catching his own warped reflection in the glass. Things had certainly changed since he was fourteen and first acquired his powers. Now, he was ninteen and much different from the skinny underdog whom everyone had pushed around. He was now pushing 6'3" after a growth spurt and being in constant battle had given him the look of being carved from marble. There was a light stubble on his jaw from neglecting to shave the last couple days, and his jet black hair had grown out a little and had more of a wild look. A faint scar marred his face, crossing over his right eye. He wore heavy combat boots and fatigues, seeing as they could take more punishment than regular clothes. His black T-shirt looked like was a size too small and had the sleeves cut off, leaving little to the imagination in showing his strong frame. His belt was thick leather and had a white and green object resembling a baton hanging from a hitch on one hip.

Inside, the mall looked pretty much as he had left it. Refugees, Resistance fighters... He made a B-line for the internet cafe where he knew Sam would be. Guarding a group of refugees was Kwan, carrying a Fenton Thermos and one of his parents most recent inventions, a Fenton Combat Rod, which was basically a 6' staff with tips surrounded by en ecto-disruption field. Danny had made the mistake of touching one once and his hand was numb for a whole day.

One thing that had surprised Danny when The Dark Rising came was how fast Kwan had matured. He went from being the head bully's sidekick, to a level-headed fighter. Kwan was never very bright. But he was never a bad guy either. The whole incident involving Kitty overshadowing Paulina had been proof of that. He was just shallow and insecure. Nothing like a war to sober you up, though. So strange that in five years, Danny had actually come to call Kwan a friend.

The internet cafe was more or less the war room now. It was where Danny, Sam, Tucker, and everyone else with any degree of strategic and/or leadership capabilities went to plot out the next move. Today, Sam was the only one there. Danny stood in the entrance a moment, drinking in the sight of her. She sat at a booth with her eyes glued to her computer screen. She still hadn't ditched her favorite style of boots. Everytime she outgrew the current pair, she bought the same design in a different size. She was also wearing tight black jeans and a tank top. Laying across the table was her prized Misfits leather jacket. She had bought it only a few months before The Dark Rising and had gotten it signed by Jerry and Doyle when she got backstage passes for one of the band's concerts. In particular, Danny admired how her body had so fully bloomed into womanhood. She was slender, tall, curvy in all the right places... She had stopped bothering to style her hair in the usual manner and now wore it down, slightly past her shoulders. To put it mildly, she was the most beautiful girl Danny had ever seen.

He slowly walked up and sat beside her, wrapping one arm around her shoulders. Sam's eyes never left the screen, but she leaned into him and smiled softly. "Any luck?" she asked.

"None," Danny responded dejectedly. "Any other refugees must have cleared the area a long time ago."

"We'll find them." Sam was always there for morale. She was his Goth Bird of Happiness. Shortly after Plasmius' ascension to power, Danny and Sam confessed their feelings to one another, knowing that they may never get another chance. That was over two years ago.

"I know," Danny whispered aloofly and pulled her closer. Sam knew him too well. She knew he wasn't talking about refugees. He was looking for signs of his parents. They had disappeared six months ago, and thus far the search was fruitless. "What are you up to?" he asked, trying to move the conversation toward something a little less depsondent.

"I've managed to hack into Vlad's network," Sam answered. "I'm scanning their files for any records of other resistance movements he's encountered. Thus far, I've only found one located in Germany, but they were wiped out."

Things always seemed bleak. Vlad had money and firepower on his side right from the start. He was a lunatic, but nothing if not a patient and resourceful one. Danny decided not to think about it and just pulled Sam closer. She was an anchor of stability in his life, and having her in his arms gave him more comfort than anything else had in the last year.

The two were drawn out of their contented state by Jazz approaching the table. "Danny? It's almost eleven PM. We need to get going." Jazz was dressed similarly to her bother these days. She had turned out to actually be a very skilled fighter in a pinch. Must be in the Fenton genes. She kept her red hair in a braided ponytail now and exchanged her make-up for a special device that looked like a Borg version of a monocle.

Danny sighed lightly and got up. He kissed Sam on the cheek and whispered, "I'll be back soon." He left with Jazz, transforming into his ghost form along the way. A long time ago, he had figured out how to use ectoplasm to manipulate matter in contact with him. His clothes turned to a silvery grey with the emblem Sam had designed emblazoned on the chest. His scar was now a pure white streak, the same color as his hair.

"Alright, Delta Team assemble!" he called out, his ghost form giving his voice a spectral resonance. Within moments, a group of able-bodied freedom fighters were gathering around, following him and Jazz to the front door. "Remember, this is hit-and-run. We go in, do some damage, and then get the hell out on my word. Follow your designated trails only, we can't afford to have anyone or anything tracking us back here."

They did this every night. Danny just had to wonder when the night would come that they could just sleep in their beds peacefully and stop worrying about freeing their world from Vlad's autocracy.

-x-

Author's Notes: Well, there you have it. By the way, more chapters to my other stories should be coming along soon.