A/N: Yay! First chapter story I've completed since 2003! (Pathetic, isn't it?)
I changed the genre from drama to tragedy because, in retrospect, that's exactly what this is… a tragedy. And it's even sadder (in my opinion) because Danny's mind from this story is still out there, in Dan Phantom. He still existed through all these events (or at least whatever truly happened according to Butch and the others). Even if the Danny we know had a happy ending in TUE, there's still one who didn't… one who suffers still… whether or not he feels it.
An extra note for this chapter so that things don't get confusing: Jack invented the Ghost Gloves in Splitting Images. The Ghost Gauntlets are presumably a Vlad invention.
Anyway, now for a few of the basics:
Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom or the amazing episode The Ultimate Enemy, Butch Hartman and Nickelodeon have rights over it.
Warning: Contains TUE spoilers… though if you've gotten so far in the story, I think you've realized this… Also, a box of tissues is recommended for those who get teary-eyed easily. 'Tis a sad, sad chapter, at least in my opinion.
MAJOR CHAPTER WARNING: Okay, I think I might've crossed the line with this one. If you think a K+ rating is too low for what I've written, please tell me and I'll change it. There are moments of creepiness, violence and murder in this one, along with some very dark thoughts... For a little insight on the chapter, it contains the moment where Danny becomes Dark Danny and does the unthinkable to his human self…
Dedication: After recent events, I decided to dedicate this chapter to Irene – GLE, you know who she is – Never stop believing that life is worth living, no matter how much pain you may be in.
Now, just before I finish this terribly long author's note, I'd like to thank all my reviewers immensely! You've been awesome to me and I hope I didn't make you wait too long! For the long wait, I give you my longest chapter written to date in any of my stories: 14 full pages on Word. Wahoo! Now, without further ado, enjoy!
The Other World: Part 3
By Fey Phantom
Danny leaned his head against the window, feeling relieved at the coolness that washed over his forehead. Not only did this calm him down a bit, but it gave him a reason to be facing elsewhere than at the driver. He didn't want to talk and was afraid that Todd might try to if he didn't look at least somewhat preoccupied. Danny closed his eyes halfway. He felt the emotions receding somewhat, his body was becoming numb again. Then, with a sudden realization, Danny knew what road they were on and where they were headed. Before he could voice his concern though, he saw it. There was yellow tape around the area with the message "Do Not Cross" printed on its length, repeated over and over. The building had a few sections of the walls still standing but for the most part, it was clear to view the inside. Cement and brick and glass shards littered the ground. The NB sign was still in one piece but had fallen to the ground. Near it was something new. As they passed by the area, Danny took a gulp and then spoke to the driver, "Stop please."
Todd did as he was asked and as soon as the car had rolled to a stop, Danny opened the door and ran out. He ducked beneath the yellow tape and jumped over the remnants of the Nasty Burger in his attempt to get to his goal quicker. In only a few second, he slid to a stop in front of it and then fell to his knees. He looked up at it; it was high and glowed in the fading light of the day. He mouthed the words written on it, "Gone but not forgotten." Danny could feel the tears attack at his eyes again but he wouldn't let them fall. Instead, he unfocused his eyes and let the world fall away around him.
He sat alone, not thinking, not seeing, not moving, his head slightly bowed and his arms to his sides. His breathing was calm until a hand reached out from the darkness around him and touched his shoulder and he gasped.
"Come on," Todd said, "we should go." Danny nodded and got up, headed back toward the car. And so, they left Amity Park and the site where the Nasty Burger once stood. The statues that were erected there, paid for by the city, both stood proud and tall. One was an image of an overweight teacher. It held the caption "Gone". The other had a much more loving look to it. Images of a mother, father, daughter, and two other teens smiled to whoever stood in front of the statue. Below it, it read, "Gone but not forgotten."
A few hours after they left Amity Park, Danny had fallen asleep. He looked peaceful for once, thought Todd as he glanced over at the boy in the passenger's seat. But he couldn't see the struggle within the boy's mind. Vlad had told Todd to swing the boy by the Nasty Burger so that Danny could see how much his family and friends meant for Amity Park and Vlad hoped Danny would be happier because of it. They didn't know the whole story though. They didn't know that whenever Danny closed his eyes, he saw the Box Ghost dodge his attack and the vat of Nasty Sauce explode. Todd didn't know that as Danny dreamed, the last ten minutes of his family's life played over and over in his mind like a broken record repeating one section of the song in an obscure, scratched and skipping way. He dreamed of his sister's annoyance of him, of Sam's and Tucker's chastising him, of his parent's disappointment in him. And he cried no more.
He was at the Nasty Burger. The world around Danny felt crooked, like if he jumped or even lifted his foot he might fall to the side. Danny looked around and saw that the Nasty Burger was still intact. Nothing had happened. He was alright. The CAT hadn't taken place yet. His family and friends were still alive! But then, as soon as the thought had struck him, he felt a warmth rush over him. He blinked and suddenly he was surrounded by fire. The blaze licked the walls and rushed around, trying to find an opening into the fresh air outside for fuel. Bits of debris from the burning ceiling started to fall. Footsteps sounded from behind Danny. He turned to see who it was and gasped.
Sam walked forward, hands on hips. She wore a very hurt look. "I died because you had to cheat on a stupid test. I told you not to," she spat at him.
"Sam – I – I didn't mean for anyone to get hurt!" Danny tried to explain.
"Then why did you hurt us?" Tucker growled from his right. Danny turned and saw his other best friend with the same look as the first. "We trusted you with our lives and in the end you killed us."
"No! But I didn't – " Danny tried to argue but was cut off.
"I told you that cheating would get you nowhere! Why did you have to cheat? I could've helped you study!" Jazz whined. She was close to tears.
"I didn't have time!" Danny argued back. "I was the only one who could protect this city from all those ghosts! I had to fight when I'd rather have been studying!"
"Did somebody say ghost?" Jack piped up. The other apparitions looked at him in annoyance. "Sorry," Jack apologized.
"It's okay dear," Maddie sympathized. "What about your father and me? We could've taken care of the ghosts if you had only let us into your life more," Maddie said to Danny.
"You wouldn't understand!" Danny tried.
"No! YOU don't understand!" shouted a very commanding voice. Danny looked around and saw the figure of a young woman walking towards him. "How can you understand human problems anyway?" she yelled. Danny was about to ask what she meant when he looked down and saw that he was in Phantom mode. He looked back up at Valerie advancing toward him. "You killed these people and all for what? To get at me?"
"No, that's not it!" Danny shouted back. "It was an accident! I didn't mean to do it!" he screamed. His eyes were watering but he wouldn't cry.
"That doesn't matter. You did it didn't you? Isn't that the fact here?" she asked with spite.
"But I didn't want to!" he said, still trying to defend himself.
"You still murdered them." She paused. "Murderer," she whispered.
The flames roared even louder and swirled faster and faster around the room. They attacked Danny. He felt his arms burning.
"Murderer!" Valerie shouted.
"Murderer!" the others joined in. They started to chant it as they came closer and closer to him. "Murderer! Murderer! Murderer!"
"NO! Danny shouted covering is ears and crouching over. "I didn't mean to do it! I didn't want to do it! I was always protecting everyone but everyone was always so hard on me because they didn't understand! How could they? How could they understand that I was half ghost! Half dead! And I could never get a break! Not from Mister Lancer! Not from my parents! Not from my sister! Even my friends chewed me out for cheating on a test they knew I could have never studied for! No one ever understood! And now I really have no one!" At his words, the fire consumed the bodies of his friends and family leaving only him and Valerie in the burning building. "And you," he pointed at her, "you think I wanted this? How could you ever know what I'm feeling!"
Valerie looked at him harshly. "None of that makes a difference to the facts – murderer," she mumbled and then she, too, disappeared into the flames. Danny fell to the floor and hugged himself as he rocked back and forth trying to keep himself from breaking down. The fire hardened his skin and forged a protective wall around him. He lost all sensation to the pain burning in his mind and body and opened his eyes calmly to see them entering Wisconsin. It was morning already.
Danny hadn't said anything when he woke up, so Todd was surprised to see Danny's eyes open when they pulled up to the castle. "Have a good sleep?" he asked cheerfully. Danny didn't answer and Todd's smile faltered a little. "Well, we're here! Home sweet home!" he tried again. Danny continued to stare out the window. "I'll get your bags," Todd said as he opened the door and left the car. Danny slowly undid his seatbelt and got out too. He looked up at the castle. The first time he'd been here, his parents were having their college reunion.
Todd dumped several bags next to Danny and headed back to the car. Danny snapped from his thoughts at the thump of the bags. He looked down at them and then realized there was something in his hand. He lifted it up to eye level and was stared back at by six figures, one of which was him, the others of whom were dead.
"Ah, you've made it!" came Vlad's voice as he exited his castle. He walked toward Todd who had just finished removing all of Danny's belongings from the car. "I trust it was a smooth ride here?" he asked to either one of them. Todd nodded. They talked for a bit and Vlad paid him. Danny wasn't interested in what they had to say. He stared at the picture in his hand and then turned his attention back up to the castle: his new home.
Todd left and Vlad turned his attention to Danny. Daniel was now his son. He had waited several months for this. Though Vlad had never gotten Maddie, he now had at least a part of her with him. He would raise Danny to be a wonderful man, someone Maddie could be proud of, and of course, someone who would make him proud as well. Vlad walked over to Danny and put a hand on his shoulder. Danny looked up to see a smug expression on Vlad's face, but Danny didn't care. He no longer cared what would happen to him. He just wanted to be able to let go of the past. Danny looked back at the photograph in his hands again. How he wished he would forget it all, or better yet, that it had never happened, but he knew that neither was an option. Danny gripped the photograph tighter.
As Vlad looked down at the boy, all thought of his own selfish wants was lost and all he could think was how he could help Danny. He couldn't remember ever feeling as selfless as he did at this one particular moment and it was a feeling he wouldn't soon forget.
"Come on, let's go inside," Vlad ushered Danny to the front entrance. "I'll get the bags after I get you to your room."
For having such an enormous castle and an enormous sum of money, Vlad had little help with its care. He had several maids come in once a week to dust and vacuum and several other workers who would come and check on plumbing and the like, but apart from those visits, he lived there all alone, until Danny moved in of course. It wasn't that Vlad was anti-social or couldn't live with people; it was because of his ghost powers that he lived alone. With constant experiments and ghosts coming around every few days to check up with him, he would have a very hard time keeping his ghost identity a secret. Therefore, he opted to live alone in his luxury, until the day he could have Maddie and Danny move in with him. And now, he got his wish, at least a part of it.
Once Danny was ushered to his room and Vlad left, Danny lay down on his bed and didn't move for the rest of the day and night. When Vlad came to check on him some time later, he found his son sleeping in an uncomfortable sleep, twisting and turning, trying to escape from his nightmares that existed in both the waking world and the realm of dreams. Vlad watched him for a bit and placed his hand on Danny's forehead. At his touch, Danny seemed to calm a bit, but it only lasted for a couple moments before he seemed to be consumed once more by his nightmares. Eventually, Vlad left to eat supper, allowing Danny to come down when he felt like it. Vlad wouldn't see Danny again until the following evening when he'd wander listlessly into Vlad's dinning room.
Vlad looked up from his dinner and saw Danny. At first he was a little surprised but that quickly changed to compassion and delight. He was happy to see Danny up and about finally. "Come Danny, sit down and have something to eat," he said, waving his hand at the table spread in front of him. There was plenty of food to choose from. Danny noticed the second place set up for him. Vlad had hoped he'd come down to eat something.
Danny did as he was told and took a seat across from Vlad. At the sight and smell of the food, his stomach rumbled. "Please, dig in," Vlad said smiling. Danny dished out some food to himself like a robot obeying a voice command. Finally he stopped, picked up his fork, and brought some mashed potato to his mouth. The two of them ate in silence and once Vlad was done, he waited for Danny. Danny finished some time after and they continued to sit in silence. Vlad decided to break it.
"Danny, I know it's going to be hard to adjust to a different style of life, and I know it's hard to live with what happened, but if you ever need to talk – " Vlad looked at Danny hopefully. Danny didn't move or even open his mouth in consideration of talking. "I know I'll never be able to understand how you feel, but I did lose someone too. Maybe we can help with each other's pain?" Danny stayed silent but he did seem to react a bit, not in the way Vlad had hoped. Danny bowed his head, his brow furrowed. He seemed to be hurting the more he thought about it. But Vlad knew he needed to talk about it, if he didn't soon, he'd just end up burying the hurt deep within himself. Vlad knew all too well what this type of hurt could do to a person's soul. After all, he had done the same thing when he'd lost Maddie the first time. When he heard she was engaged to Jack, he'd lost it and his soul became darker than he ever imagined it could be. But of course, that's what made him so successful. He hardly regretted it now, but he still wished he could've had Maddie too. After all those years, she'd still been the affection of his heart, the love of his life. But he didn't know if he could stand watching Danny suffer as he suffered, even if it would turn him into the hard-edged half-ghost he wanted him to be.
"Danny, you'll feel better if you talk about it," Vlad tried again. Danny clenched his fist, nails digging into palm. "Just let it out," Vlad continued. Danny squeezed his eyes shut. "Come n– "
"Enough!" Danny shouted out, his voice ringing around the room. "I've had it! You don't understand anything! You can't possibly know how I feel!" As Danny shouted, he stood up and pointed angrily at Vlad.
Vlad stared, a little taken aback. He hadn't expected Danny to explode like that. He kept his voice calm and spoke to the boy, "As I said, I can't ever know exactly how you feel, but I do understand at least a little of it. I know what it's like to lose people you really care about."
"You don't get it, how could you? How could you ever get it? You don't even know what actually happened!" Danny continued hysterically, throwing his arms out to the side.
Vlad watched him with wide eyes. "Then why don't you tell me what happened?" he suggested kindly.
Now Danny looked at him fearfully. What happened… the Box Ghost… his anger… the explosion… But something overtook Danny and he found himself screaming at Vlad again what he knew, what he did. "I killed them!" he shouted. "I killed each and every one of them! I was so angry and when the Box Ghost showed up, I just couldn't control myself! I attacked and attacked and attacked until finally the Box Ghost was able to dodge and I hit the stupid vat of Nasty Sauce. Don't you see? I killed them with my own hands!" He paused for a moment. "I murdered them," he said quietly. "They were defenceless and I murdered them and then I used my powers to keep myself alive but I left all of them for dead." He was mumbling to himself now, chastising himself mentally for what he'd done.
Vlad was in complete shock. He had assumed that it was just some freak accident. Sure, he had thought Danny had survived thanks to his ghost powers, but he never expected something like this. It was Danny who initiated the explosion. Maddie was dead and it was her own son's fault. Vlad stared at Danny incredulously. Danny wouldn't look up at him. Finally, Vlad got up from the table, turned, and left the room without saying a thing. Danny stood in the centre of the room without moving. His arms hung at his sides now and his shoulders drooped down. He looked like he just wanted to melt away, his entire physique seemingly closer to the ground than usual. But his face didn't match the rest of is body. His eyes showed no emotion and his mouth was neither in frown nor in smile. His facial features were just relaxed without anxiety, fear, pain, everything he felt inside himself, everything he was trying so desperately to bury but found himself incapable of doing just that.
Later that night, Danny lay on the covers of his bed listening to the rain pounding. But he could hear something else, a strangled cry of an old man mourning the loss of his love once more…
When Danny went downstairs the following morning, he found his food lay out on the table already, but Vlad was nowhere to be found. Danny guessed that Vlad decided to stay hidden away in his room or some other private place in the large castle. He was still upset with what Danny told him apparently. Danny went several days without seeing a sign of Vlad. The only thing that told him Vlad was still around was the food that would show up for him. When a week was almost up, Danny started to wonder if Vlad could ever face him again. Of course, he didn't blame Vlad, if he was able to separate from himself, he'd hide from him as well. He was just as disgusted as Vlad was in himself. An evening six days after their last meal together, Vlad came to the library where Danny sat by the fireplace, reading a book on ghosts. He never liked reading before, but it was the only thing he could preoccupy himself with and sometimes it let him feel like Jazz was there reading to him like she had done when they were younger. Of course, this caused his heart to tear when he stopped or when his mind registered once more that he would never hear Jazz's voice again. Still, Danny thought it was worth it for the few minutes he'd get out of it where he'd feel almost normal again.
When Vlad walked into the room, Danny looked up from the book's pages and stared at Vlad who had his eyes downcast. He looked to be in terrible shape. He was growing a moustache to match his beard and his suit was wrinkled terribly. The dark rings around his eyes were even blacker if it were possible. Finally, Vlad looked up and his blue eyes bore into the icy blue eyes staring at him from across the room.
"Danny," he spoke in a raspy voice that hadn't been used in days, "your mother wouldn't want you to blame yourself for this. She wouldn't want you to be miserable." He had obviously planned what he was going to say. "It was an accident, nothing more, and you'll always be welcome here." It was Danny's turn to look away.
"But, I'll always know it was my blast that killed them," Danny said glumly.
"The explosion killed them. Your blast was only the catalyst. You never meant for any of this to happen."
"But, I'm also the reason they were even there. If I hadn't cheated – " Danny cut himself off.
This was the first time Vlad had heard anything about cheating. He decided to play it by ear. "You may have been caught cheating but I'm sure you didn't ask to go to that particular place at that particular time, and you certainly didn't ask to be confronted by the annoying Box Ghost. It was all just a series of events that turned out the worst possible way. Listen to me Daniel, you have to get over this. What would your family and friends think if you wasted away the rest of your life? They'd want you to move on and be happy. They wouldn't want you to be in this much pain."
"I – I don't know how to move on. I don't know if I can," Danny confessed. Vlad looked at him with sympathy. Danny seemed so lost and confused. He was torn up on the inside and he didn't know if he could ever heal. "I just want it to stop! I want the pain to stop!" Danny screamed out. His temper seemed to be back, but it wasn't in anger he was yelling, it was in agony. "Why won't it stop? Why can't the pain stop?" Danny fell to the floor. He was sobbing now and tears were falling and staining the carpet.
Vlad walked up to the boy, but couldn't think of anything to say.
"It hurts so much. I hate these emotions! If being alive means living like this, then I would rather be dead!" Danny shrieked out. Vlad looked at him, his face paling.
"You don't mean that," he gasped.
"I mean every word of it. What's the point of hurting all the time?" Danny looked up at Vlad, more tears streaming down his face.
Vlad bit his lip. There was something… He looked at Danny and Danny looked back. They were each staring the other down, Danny for an answer, Vlad for a sign that he should do what he was considering. It would be horrible, grotesque even, but maybe it was what Danny needed. Maybe it was best for him… "There is something…" he started. Danny looked at him, completely lost at what to do and hopeful that Vlad could help him. "I know a way that could separate you from your human emotions." Danny seemed interested now. "But I have to warn you, it could be very dangerous. You may be different forever afterwards," Vlad tried to discourage Danny from agreeing to it. Really, he didn't want Danny to choose this option.
"I've already changed from what I was. I'll never be who I was before the explosion! I'll do anything to get rid of this hurt! What is it? What do you have?"
All of a sudden, Vlad felt a large amount of worry. Danny seemed excited at the sounds of this and that was not the reaction Vlad had wanted or even expected. "But, if you do this, you won't just change, it will actually be like you're dead, and I mean fully dead."
"You don't get it do you? I'm already dead! I'm not doing anything with my life anymore! I just want it all to stop! If this will do that for me, then I'll take it. No matter what happens to me, it has to be better than this!"
Vlad sighed, "Very well. I'll do this for you, only because I don't want to see you suffering anymore." Vlad turned his back to Danny. What was he doing? It was what Danny wanted but that didn't make it right. Yet, if he could release Danny from his torment, maybe then Danny would be able to concentrate on training as his apprentice. That was what he wanted, right? But, how far was he willing to go to get it? Was he really willing to kill Danny for it? Yet, that brought him back to the first point; it was what Danny wanted but, did that make it right?
Vlad hooked Danny up to the equipment as he explained everything Danny needed to know. "The Ghost Gauntlets will separate your consciousness in your ghost form from your human form. If everything goes well, the only thing left in your human self should be your human emotions. I'm not even sure if your human self will be conscious in any way. But you should be completely fine, at least in theory. You'll be a full ghost and you'll no longer feel the sadness you do now, that's my speculation anyway. If things go astray, I should be able to put you back together within the first few minutes. Any other questions?"
"No, I think I got it," Danny responded. At his answer, Vlad fixed the oxygen mask to Danny's face. The mask gave him a mix of a light sleeping gas with oxygen and Danny didn't even notice as he lost consciousness. Meanwhile, Vlad took off his suit's jacket and prepared himself for the surgery. He wasn't going to be using knives, but claws to dig into Danny's very being and tear the ghost away from him. Vlad took a moment to steady himself. Was he really going to do this? What would Danny Fenton's body be after the ghost was taken out? Would it just appear dead? Or would it still be able to form thoughts of its own? Would he still suffer terribly with the pain of losing everything if that Danny was conscious? The thought made Vlad tremble. He certainly hoped not.
When Vlad was able to pull himself together, he fixed the Ghost Gauntlets to his hands and walked to the boy, activating the long, thin claws of his invention, based on Jack's own invention of course. That was something they always had between them… Jack came up with the concepts while he would perfect the projects. Vlad shook the memory from his head. He didn't need Jack! He didn't need anyone! He just stole Jack's inventions to get back at him… yeah, that was it.
Vlad returned his mind to the task at hand. With a pang of guilt, he lunged his hands forward into Danny's chest, the barriers and the flesh seemingly intangible to the metal claws of the Gauntlets. Vlad struggled as his fingers searched for the ghost. When he felt the cool, liquid mass of Danny Phantom, he pulled as hard as he could. As the connection between the boy and the ghost was severed, Vlad stumbled backwards, Phantom in hand. Vlad looked at the boy with wide eyes. Mist seemed to evaporate off of him. A moment later, Danny Phantom's eyes snapped open but before Vlad could register it, he was on the floor, thrown against the wall, the Ghost Gauntlets somehow fallen between where he lay and Danny floated. It was at that instant, which dawned on Vlad with a heavy deadweight, that he noticed Danny's malicious grin, his hollow eyes peering straight into Vlad's. Danny made a break for the gauntlets and held them up, activating them just as Vlad had done. "I won't let you put me back together again. Besides, your power is very enticing. It can help me show them all what the ghost they feared can really do. I'll make them pay for hurting me. And I'll do what I want, now that I'm not bound by any of those pathetic human emotions." Danny went for Vlad and Vlad, too stunned to react, was pulled forward. Then, with the feeling of being pulled apart, too intense to cry out in pain or make any noise at all, Vlad was thrown to the right. He looked up from where he lay and saw Danny Phantom across the lab overshadow then consume his conscious-less ghost form. The Phantom screamed out as his appearance changed. He became a horror from what he was before. He gained the look of exactly the thing he'd become: a malevolent ghost.
Vlad shook in fear. He was now powerless to do anything against this ghost, the thing that used to be his dear Maddie's son. But there was something. If he could get to the human body, maybe he could reattach them. The Phantom had carelessly thrown the Ghost Gauntlets aside. With any luck, Vlad could change this wrong doing. He didn't know how different Danny would be if he managed to succeed, after all, Danny now had
Vlad's own ghost self as a part of him, but maybe if he returned to him his humanity, he would at least have some sense of his old self.
Vlad crawled over to the body of Danny Fenton and started to detach him from the lab table he was secured to. Luckily, Danny Phantom was still distracted by his changing. When the bar across Human Danny's chest was removed, Vlad dragged him away to a corner of his lab, behind a counter in order to hide from the ghost. 'Now, just to get the Gauntlets,' thought Vlad. He peered around the corner, looking for them. Setting the boy in his lap gently down on the floor, Vlad smiled at him, noticing his inquisitive eyes looking up at Vlad, and then started to turn. With a sudden drop of his stomach, Vlad looked back at the boy who in return continued to look at Vlad. He was awake? Did he even comprehend where he was though? Or was it just a reflex or something?
"Danny?" Vlad asked, unsure. Danny blinked, then nodded. A second later, his eyes filled with tears.
"I thought you said it would take away the pain," he sobbed, burying his face into Vlad's chest. Vlad didn't know what to say. So he was fully conscious? But, he thought he'd put all consciousness into the other. That's what happened with Vlad's ghost self, at least, that's what he thought had happened. Could it be possible that both beings were just as conscious as the other?
"Danny," Vlad said shakily, "we need to put you back together." Vlad pointed over his shoulder, indicating something behind the counter. Danny looked around the corner and saw the new Phantom who seemed to be adjusting to his new body, and it was very new. He barely looked anything like his old Phantom self. If it weren't for the emblem, Danny wouldn't have recognized his ghost self.
"But, what happened? Why didn't it work?"
"I'm afraid, Danny, it worked too well. Your ghost self has absorbed the power of my own ghost self." This comment confused Danny but Vlad didn't bother to elaborate on his meaning. "We need to get the Ghost Gaun- "
A shadow covered the floor where Vlad and Danny were hiding. Both looked up to see the malicious grin of the new Danny Phantom.
"So, you are awake," the ghost said. It had Danny's voice, but sounded very different from what he used to. His voice was cold, uncaring, but had a touch of playfulness to it. "Well, I can't have you here, the big oaf here'll try to put us back together again and we can't have that, now can we?" It was far from a question.
Vlad knew he had to do something. All of this was his fault. He should have never suggested something as stupid as splitting Danny in two. Looking back on it, he wondered how he could've ever thought it would work. "Danny, run, now!" He shoved the boy behind him, standing up in order to block Danny Phantom from his new prey. Vlad would fix this, he would make everything right again.
After a moment, Vlad realized the boy was still sitting on the ground behind him. Danny Phantom laughed at the boy cowering on the floor. "Danny, get out of here!" Vlad spat but the boy didn't move. He was paralyzed with fear and was still crying.
"Just leave me here," he said in a voice so close to a whisper. "I don't deserve to live after what I did to everyone I loved." Danny curled into a ball, hiding his face in his arms.
"That's right, just stay still so I can end your misery," Danny Phantom grinned. This would be so easy.
"No! I won't let you," Vlad snapped at the phantom.
Phantom only looked partially annoyed. "Get out of my way, Cheese Head," he said dully. In a flash, Vlad felt a pain in his side and he was thrown to the left, banging painfully into the counter he and Danny had been hiding behind. Vlad opened his eyes and saw Danny looking at him fearfully.
"Run," Vlad mouthed. Danny considered it for a moment, then in a rush, got to his feet and ran in the opposite direction. Phantom hardly looked impressed. He disappeared, only to reappear in front of the human Danny.
"Give it up, you can't run from me. Besides, what happened to giving yourself up willingly?"
"I – I – I couldn't do that t – to Vlad," Danny answered, shaking. "I'm all he has left." Danny's voice couldn't have been smaller. It was obvious he lost all self confidence.
"I'm sure that's the reason. It couldn't possibly be because you're afraid to die," Phantom said sarcastically. Danny tried to stare him down but it failed miserably. He was so unsure of himself now that he had lost his ghost half and the ghost, the true ghost, was staring at him. Was this really what his true ghost form was? Of course, if only Danny had known that Plasmius was a part of his ghost half now, he would've understood the truth…
"It won't hurt – for long," Phantom added with another grin of his. Danny didn't have time to react before an ectoblast hit him square in the chest. Danny flew backwards and hit the wall. He opened his eyes in time to see another ectoblast coming at him. This time, he used his reflexes to jump out of the way. Unfortunately, his right leg was still hit by the attack. Despite the pain, Danny ran and ran, dodging blasts here and there, being hit by a few as well. After several minutes, he was panting heavily. The ghost, meanwhile, was laughing at his attempt to live. "Just give it up now. Wouldn't it be much easier to die quietly?" Danny didn't answer. He had his hand to his side, trying to rub away the pain there.
While the two Danny's fought, Vlad watched from the counter which he was still next to. He couldn't move. It wasn't because he was in too much pain; it was because he couldn't take his eyes off of the two in front of him. All this, he did this. He had to set things straight but how could he? Vlad had forgotten all about the Ghost Gauntlets. It was like his mind had shut down. He couldn't think of any way to set this right. Instead, he just lay there, watching Phantom attack Danny and harm him more and more. Danny wouldn't be able to dodge for much longer. He was weakening, and fast. His clothes were torn and his face was dirty and scratched from scraping along the ground when a blast hit him.
Jumping out of the way of another shot, the blast hit Danny's left ankle this time. When he landed, his foot stung unbearably. Danny crawled to the wall and curled up into a ball once more. He couldn't run anymore, he knew it was just a matter of time before Phantom got him anyway. He was shaking. This was it, he would die. That shadow came over him, blocking out the light. He would die in darkness.
Phantom looked at the shell of his old, human self on the floor almost innocently. So, he had finally given up. A moment later, his eyes glowed a fierce red and he growled at the boy, his tongue snaking through the air viciously. Danny just sat there as the next attack hit him head on. It was true, it didn't hurt, not as much as the pain he had in knowing he had caused the deaths of his loved ones. Several tears flew away as softly as his life did as the light overcame him. What did he know? He did die in the light after all…
Vlad saw him give up. He saw the ghost turn into a devilish creature, more terrifying than anything he had seen in all his years of being a ghost. He saw the smile form on Danny's face as his body was pressed into the wall and the wall crumbled away. It took a moment for it to register in his mind. His son was dead. "NOOOOOOOO!" Vlad yelled out. But it was too late; nothing could save the boy now.
Danny Phantom turned his attention towards Vlad now. He floated over to him, his eyes returned to normal. "What to do with you?" he asked playfully. Vlad didn't answer. He was still recovering from the shock of Danny's death. "I know… I'm not going to kill you. Instead, you can live knowing that you're the one responsible for creating me. Everything I do is because you let me out, not that I'm not thankful. But I think a little change in your amount of power is in order." With that, Phantom glowed a bright green. Once more, Vlad didn't have time to react as the light spread throughout the room and the walls disintegrated around him. In a deafening boom, his castle was levelled, along with all of his technology and anything he had that he could use to stop Phantom with. As the rubble was still falling to the ground, Vlad heard the evil laugh of Phantom once more as he flew away. Vlad sat unmoving as his whole life vanished in the explosion.
Several hours later, there was mayhem in the city Danny Fenton and Danny Phantom once called home. Buildings were burning and people were screaming as they ran down the streets or drove away in their cars, trying to escape.
"You'll pay for this, ghost boy!" Valerie screamed as she came to a stop on her glider. The ghost turned and she almost lost her balance. "Wha – Who are you?" she asked. This wasn't the ghost boy. But, then why did he have the same symbol on his front?
"Why Valerie, I'm hurt you don't recognize me, it's still the same me after all, just a slightly different look. Don't ya like it?"
"So it is you! I always knew you were rotten. Some of these people trusted you! But you never fooled me!" She loaded her weapon and aimed it at him. "Enough talk, I'll get you for everything you did to Danny!"
"And for once, I'm guilty of what you're mad at me for, but I'm afraid you're mistaken if you think you can beat me. I'm much stronger than the last time you saw me. And I've gotten rid of a few drawbacks as well." Valerie didn't wait to hear what these drawbacks were though. She fired and he dodged. Neither imagined that they would still be fighting the same fight ten years from then, or how drastically the entire world would change in those ten years. And it would never occur to Valerie that the one who would set it all right would be the same one whom she would fight for ten years, just in a form much different than the one in front of her now. This day marked the end of the world as the humans and ghosts knew it. The new threat would be known to all by the end of the week...
Vlad shifted some brick and pulled the body from underneath. He took it lightly in his arms and gently rocked it back and forth like a parent rocking their baby to sleep. With a sudden ferocity, Vlad hugged the boy, bringing his cheek to the top of the boy's head and pulling the limp body as close to him as he could. Vlad couldn't stop the tears as they fell gently into the boy's hair and were lost within its black, messy tangles. How could he have done this? Danny didn't deserve to die, and especially not in that way. He had suffered so much. If only Vlad could know if he was in a better place, if he was happy now. The only comfort he had was the smile Danny had had when he'd died. This only caused Vlad's tears to come faster than before.
Unbeknownst to Vlad, he, too, would have the opportunity to see the hero who would change his fate, and Vlad would help him do it as well.
Well, in the immortal words of Warner Bros: That's all folks! I hope you all enjoyed it and please don't forget to review! It would be extremely appreciated. For those who have read my other TUE story Tears, you'll notice I worked in something I mentioned in it. For those who haven't, please go read and review it when you have some free time! It seems to be a really popular story (at least for my writing) and it's really short so it won't take a lot of time to read.
Anyway, for those of you who like my writing, I am writing several other stories, one of which has a release date as of now of March 2006 (hopefully I'll have finished writing it by then so as not to have long waits between chapters). That one is called Schism of the Soul. I'll give a quick summary now for anyone who's interested:
Danny's DNA has been unstable since the accident. Now, on his 16th birthday, he is doomed to loose himself forever to eternal torment. Or can a note from the future save him? The clock is ticking out and Sam, Tucker and Jazz only have one shot at preventing it from happening.
It was one I started before TUE came out and although there are similarities to TUE, it is quite different, I assure you. Anyway, for any other stories, I have a complete list of them on my bio page so if you're interested, be sure to check it out! ;) Anyway, until next time! Don't forget to review!