Hartman owns him, I don't, if I did, the credit card company would
not be chewing my butt. This fanfic is rated G by the Motion Picture
Association of America. Okay, kids, this really IS the last one in
this story. I mean it. Really. Finito. Any further appearances by
Cade will be in different stories. And I promise, there WILL be
further appearances by Cade. He's just too useful not to keep around!
"Um... Fenton said you wanted to see me?" Danny Phantom ventured, letting the office door close behind him. Cade sighed.
"Yeah, we really have to talk. Have a seat... this might take a while, and you're not going to like it."
The young ghost sighed, dropping into the visitor's chair with a look of resignation. Cade had a feeling he'd gotten very used to hearing news he didn't like over the past year.
Weary green eyes met his, as the white-haired teen propped his head on one fist. "Okay, lay it on me... what's rotten in the state of Amity Park NOW?"
"You've been spending too much time in Lancer's class recently," the psychiatrist snorted, leaning back in his chair. The boy didn't deny it, which was another mark in favor of his current theory. Propping his feet on the desk, Cade let out a gusty breath.
"I had a visit the other night, at my apartment. Apparently Plasmius decided to drop in for a chat over a nice, civil game of chess. And mainly, we talked about you."
Phantom swallowed. "M...me?" His voice cracked, and he winced.
"Yes. I didn't tell him anything he hadn't already proved he knew. Pretty much it was an opening gambit, a salvo meant to take my measure... but it did let a few things slip, things I don't think he wanted him to know."
That seemed to calm his patient a bit, though the arched eyebrow was plainly skeptical. "Plasmius? He doesn't MAKE mistakes."
Cade's smile was feral. "Yeah, he does. They're little ones, and he's very good at recovering from them and making it look like his plan all along... but he does make them. I think he was counting on the fact that you don't talk to people much, especially about what scares you. Even Sam and Tucker don't know some of what you've told me, I'm sure. And I wouldn't have seen the slip he made if I hadn't had information from a lot of different sources... quite a few he doesn't know about."
"Okay, you're tap-dancing around something here... care to share?"
"Sorry. Theatrical streak. I don't have a Watson to expound to, so you're just gonna have to sit through it." At Danny's amused snort, he continued.
"At first, I figured you were a familiar, an ectoplasmic spin-off created by a human with a lot of emotion and a high PKE charge, in this case, Danny Fenton. It seemed to answer most of the questions that rose up, at least in the beginning. Then came the open house, and I met Vlad Masters, and that opened up a whole NEW can of worms. Danny Fenton obviously hated Masters, and was more than a little afraid of him to boot. Masters, on the other hand, while being wary of Danny, didn't seem to fear exposure in the slightest. At first, I was thinking several abuse scenarios, but Jack and Maddie aren't that blind, and Danny's not broken enough to accept that, even if he does take it at school. So when he told me about Vlad's obsession with Maddie; that explained a few things... but raised some other questions, like why you'd mentioned being split into THREE bits during that Shadow mess, when I only knew about two. Once I got a good look at Plasmius, I had a hunch... but it was the chess game that made it fall into place. He wasn't concentrating on the board too hard, and he fell back on routine moves. I did too. As a result... I played the exact same chess game with Vlad Plasmius as I did with Vlad Masters, the night of the open house. Add in the physical similarity, your closeness with Sam and Tucker, access to Fentonworks technology, and the bruises and fighter's reflexes I've seen on Danny Fenton... And I got it. Three sides of one personality, three Dannys. Shadow, Phantom... and Fenton."
Phantom stared at him for a long moment, completely silent. Then he seemed to deflate, as two rings of light formed around his midsection and slid apart, transforming him back into black-haired, blue-eyed Danny Fenton.
"So... now what?"
"Well, first, I'm assuming Vlad Plasmius and Vlad Masters are also the same person? Using the term 'person' loosely, of course...
That got a half-smile from the boy. "Yeah. We're... the ghosts call us halfas-- Well, that's the only printable thing they call me. Half-ghost, half-human. We both had accidents with my dad's ghost portal experiments. His was twenty years ago in college. Mine was one year ago, with the new, big portal in the basement. The one that works. It... Well, I don't know what it did, I'm only a C-student. But I have ghost powers, the ability to turn into a ghost, and a few abilities even ghosts don't seem to have. And I guess because we're the only two in existence, Vlad thinks I should be his... apprentice or something."
Cade nodded. "I'm guessing the portal twenty years ago was a lot smaller?"
"Yeah. Only about three feet square, I think. Vlad got blasted in the face, and wound up hospitalized. Why?"
"Because you're stronger than he is, Danny. Or at least you have the potential to be. He's got more experience, more finesse, and more resources, but you're stronger. That's why the whole mess with Pariah Dark. He used Valerie to motivate you, so that you'd take Dark out. He couldn't have done it. Even with the suit, he couldn't have done it. He wouldn't have been strong enough to power it all the way. Which, on the bright side, means it's not to his advantage to kill you. Or let anyone else do it. Because even if he doesn't own you, doesn't make you his son and apprentice, he can still make sure you take out any threats he can't handle. Or he thinks he can, anyway... I think we may be able to change that."
The grin on Danny's face was nearly as feral as the one Cade had worn earlier. "Dr. M... this may be the beginning of a BEAUTIFUL friendship."