Ah-ha! A one-shot she wrote. For those of you who are reading my other story Feudal Fury, shame on me, I'm sure. The kind, understanding writer inside me is telling me I should have up-dated that rather than writing this, but my muse attacked me with red hot pokers (and yes, it did hurt). I wrote a page of this, and then my roomie and fellow DP lover attacked me with red hot pokers until she forced me to finish it.
And yes. That hurt too.
Disclaimer: It isn't mine. And it's a shame.
The ghost blasted Danny back and he had just enough time to think "oh crap" but not enough to go intangible before hitting the wall behind him. It exploded in a shower of brick as stars burst inside his skull. He shook it off and flew back out of the rubble, completely oblivious to the shocked family gaping after him out of the newly formed door in their living room wall.
Danny smirked triumphantly. "Is that the best you can…!"
An ectoplasmic ray hit him in the back and he nearly hit the wall again. He cursed to himself as he used the wall to flip around and face the second ghost. Stupid of him to let the other one get out of his sight.
"The Twins," or so they had introduced themselves, were a pair of huge hulking beasts three times the size of Danny. They had about enough brains between them to fill a teaspoon, but what they lacked in intelligence they made up in brute strength and surprisingly good teamwork.
The second ghost flew up to join his brother and they faced Danny, identical leers on their faces. Danny, after about five minutes of fighting the two, had come to realize that this seemed to be the only expression they knew, and it would have been laughable if it didn't look like the Incredible Hulk had cloned himself. But their knowing expressions meant more than that. They were winning—and both the Twins and Danny knew it.
Danny had been fighting off sleep in his second to last class of the day when his ghost sense had gone off. He'd excused himself then gone ghost. It wasn't hard to find the ghost tearing up the cafeteria and terrorizing the cafeteria lady. He'd been knocked around a couple of times before pulling out the Fenton Thermos and sucking the massive ghost inside.
He'd found out they were twins when the second one had thrown him into the wall and ripped open the Fenton Thermos, freeing his brother.
And now here Danny was, halfway across town, still fighting, a small part of his brain screaming at him that he was late for English. Lancer was going to kill him.
Danny, however, was wrong on both accounts. He was beyond late, school having let out nearly fifteen minutes ago, and while Lancer may have been screaming "TRUANT!" somewhere in the empty halls of Casper High, it was his parents, and the entire Fenton artillery at their disposal, that was going to do away with the rest of the half-ghost's life. He'd tripped every ghost alarm in the house when looking for another, undamaged Fenton Thermos, and tripped them again on the way out. Then the Twins had blasted through, first setting them off themselves, then destroying half the lab when the ghost gabber had challenged the duo with a threatening "fear me."
His parents had been none too pleased. Fortunately, he had lost them somewhere between 1st and 5th street, and hadn't seen laser sight nor sound of them since.
Danny swung the Fenton Thermos in front of him, attempting to catch both ghosts at once, but they split apart and dodged in different directions before the beam could reach them. Danny would have sworn if he'd had the breath to do so.
He was exhausted. Their technique was simple, but devastatingly effective. If Danny managed to catch one in the Thermos's beam, the second would ram him, breaking the connection. He'd been attempting for the last half hour to catch them, but every try had failed so far. Nothing was working.
The continuous ramming wasn't helping his concentration much either.
If only they weren't so dumb. Most ghosts were trying to take over the world, or hatch some other nefarious plot. That, he could deal with. Strategies had holes, villains had weaknesses, and world domination plans always came with a self-destruct button. But this—these ghosts were content to wreak a little havoc (make that a lot, Danny amended to himself, casting a weary gaze over the half-destroyed section of Amity Park that he could see) and have a bit of fun thrashing the local ghost boy.
He shot the beam forward again, but his movements were sluggish and a huge force hit him in the back, forcing him into the roof of a duplex. Make that a lot of fun thrashing the local ghost boy Danny corrected himself again, cheek hugging the ground as he clutched his tender ribs. At least Valerie was sick today, having left school before lunch from an upset stomach. He doubted that he could take anymore of this type of punishment.
Danny saw the shadow of one of the ghosts fly leisurely past overhead and he twisted, snapping his arm up as the beginning of a ghost ray burst into life. He suddenly lost control and felt the two familiar rings form at his mid-section. The ghost ray fizzled immediately out of existence and Danny forced the rings to close. He breathed heavily from exertion and pain.
He hadn't realized he was that drained. This had to end, and NOW.
Danny blinked the last of the exhaustion out of his eyes, and suddenly realized that both ghosts were descending on him, matching expressions of confusion on their faces.
Apparently they did know how to do something other than leer.
Danny watched them, eyes sparking when he suddenly realized how very, very close they were together. He didn't move, just watched their movements. As they drifted down farther to inspect him, they unwittingly moved closer to each other. He waited, body unnaturally stiff and tense.
"DEAD?" roared one.
"YES," the other roared back. "NOT BREATHING."
Danny swallowed the snort rising in his throat. Oh, well spotted. He was a friggin' ghost. Of course he wasn't breathing.
They drifted down farther.
"Gotcha!" cried Danny triumphantly, the Fenton Thermos suddenly in his hands. With a double roar of outrage the Twins tried to escape, but it was too late, and a second later both vanished.
Danny floated to his feet, ears still ringing. At last it was over. He flew upwards and away from the building to give the area one last look.
He cringed in sympathy and undeniable guilt as he surveyed the damage. Rubble was everywhere, several buildings were defying all the laws of physics just by the fact that they were still standing, and the park appeared to need a ridiculous amount of replacement sod. Directly below him the fountain was leaking in places Danny doubted the designer had in mind when it was built, and, he noted with some trepidation, the cherub's head was gone to only heaven knew where.
Danny suddenly spotted the group of park goers gawping up at him from next to the fountain, and in the next second he had seen the cameraman and newswoman they were swarming around.
That was his cue to go. If Channel 8 News was already here, the rest would follow shortly. Danny heaved one last sigh, secured the Fenton Thermos and swiveled around.
Or tried to, anyways. Halfway there an enormous force rammed into his entire left side, crying "BROTHERS!" with an earth-trembling howl. Danny was sent flying end over end, and he caught sight of a ghost that looked astoundingly like the two that were vacantly residing in the container strapped to his back.
"Ah," he thought calmly. "Triplets. That would explain a lot."
But he was already plummeting towards the ground a hundred feet away, completely human without remembering when he'd changed back. He concentrated on going ghost and waited for the rings to sweep up his still falling form.
His eyes widened and he clenched his hands into fists, fingernails biting into his palms as he tried to force the change to come.
"Goin' ghost," he said, swallowing the bile rising in his throat. "Goin' ghost!" he repeated as the ground hurtled up at him. "Goin' ghost!" he shouted. "Goin' ghost! Goin' ghost! Goin' ghost! Goin' ghost! Goin'…!"
He was still screaming for his ghost powers when he hit the tree.
The air was forced from his lungs as a branch hit his stomach, snapping immediately. Danny choked, trying to force breath back into his unresponsive lungs, but a vise was around his chest, and he continued falling at a ferocious speed. He tumbled, hitting branches right and left, the concept of up and down gone. Branches whipped his body as twigs clawed at his face, ripping his clothes as his hands scrambled for some purchase. At last he grabbed a branch, but the force of his fall tore the lifeline out of his hands, ripping his arm out of its socket with a sickening "pop." A scream tore its way out of his throat, but he was suddenly free falling again. He hit the ground a second later.
Danny breathed shallowly, a small cloud of dirt swirling away with each breath. He lay on his side and watched as the grass a few inches from his face faded slowly into black.
He felt the pain first. The sharp stinging of the miniscule cuts on his face was nothing to the dull, throbbing pain that permeated his entire body. He didn't open his eyes, but the slight breeze and smell of dirt in his nose told him he hadn't moved. The sun shining behind his eyelids didn't seem any brighter or darker, so he doubted he'd been out for more than a minute or two.
Abruptly he realized how silent it was. The quiet was complete and thickly choked with tension. He felt rather than saw someone lean over him. Blue eyes shot open and he twisted his neck, ignoring the pain, to find himself staring up into a sea of faces. Their expressions were startled, and in some cases filled with fear, and the girl who had been inspecting him stepped back, alarmed.
Danny's frantic eyes darted from face to face. This couldn't be…this couldn't mean what he thought it meant. It couldn't. It couldn't.
His breaths came shallowly, chest rising and falling rapidly.
The girl found her voice first, and if Danny had been thinking clearly he would have recognized one of the more popular seniors that attended Casper High. "Are…are…What are you?" she asked, voice tremulous.
Danny suddenly found he couldn't breathe.
"I…" he tried to say, but only managed an inaudible whisper. He cleared his tender throat. "No one," he said hoarsely, "No one. No one at all. I'm not…not…"
They stared at him, and suddenly, through the gaps in their arms, he spotted the camera.
The Channel 8 News camera that had been trained on him five minutes earlier. The Channel 8 News camera that was trained on him now. The Channel 8 News camera that, in the quiet glade, he could hear rolling quietly, filming him.
Danny shot up, crying out in pain as he grabbed his useless right arm. The group backed away as though Danny had suddenly grown fangs and tried to drink their blood.
"Oh right," thought Danny, wincing, his back arching in pain at the sudden movement, "wrong horror movie creature."
A woman started forward, concern for the pale, shaking boy fighting its way onto her Hispanic features. Danny spotted the microphone hanging limply from her right hand and started back, a fearful look in his eyes as he scrambled backwards by one hand. He was like a small, cornered animal. His back ran into the tree behind him and he cried out again. The woman, who had frozen when he'd begun to drag himself away, tried to approach again, but he cried "NO!" and stuck out a hand as though to stop her.
The entire group, who Danny could now see consisted of no more than ten people, backed away, as though he were waving a loaded gun.
And in a way, thought Danny, clutching his limply hanging arm to himself, he supposed he was.
The standoff may have continued indefinitely if an angered roar hadn't broken the silence and sent the gawking crowd jumping into each other. Danny started and reached frantically around his back with his good hand for the Fenton Thermos.
It was gone.
He looked hysterically for it, and saw it a good five feet away, a laughable distance, but at this particular time, an impossible one. The people were staring up into the trees as the third ghost descended on them, rage popping in his ghostly veins. These people were going to die.
"The Thermos!" shouted Danny. Several turned to him. "You!" he shouted again, pointing to the man nearly standing on top of the device. He looked wildly behind him. "No! Thermos! Now!" The man finally saw the odd cylinder near his feet and picked it up, confused.
"NOW!" screamed Danny, tearing his sore throat even more, eyes glued to the monster ten feet away from taking the head off of his first victim.
The man finally reacted, throwing it into Danny's outstretched hand. Danny jammed the Thermos between his knees, ripping the lid off with his good hand. With a strangled battle cry he swung it towards the ghost, and the last screaming third of the Twins disappeared inside.
Danny recapped the Thermos gently and picked it up, reaching around to strap it back in. He tried to find the hold, but finally gave up after a few weak tries. He set the Thermos down next to his knee, and finally looked up at the people in front of him.
The camera was still filming.
There was no doubt now that they knew. Sure he hadn't gone ghost, but everything about the last minute had screamed "Ghost kid! Fighter of the paranormal!" He sighed and found that he was surprisingly calm.
"Alright," he said, letting out a shaky breath. His brow glistened with sweat, his skin an appalling grey color. Danny closed his eyes, eyebrows knitting together as the pain, forgotten in the rush of adrenalin, flooded back into his system. He concentrated on breathing for a moment, then finally spoke. "Now what?"
Silence met his ears and he took another shuddering breath, eyes still closed.
"Oh," said a voice, and Danny, along with several other people, jolted. "Oh, dear." There was an odd snapping noise, and Danny finally opened his eyes.
"Now that's a shame," said the cameraman, staring at the video in his hand as he pulled several lengths of footage from it.
Danny stared. "What? What're you…?"
"It's too bad," continued the cameraman as though he hadn't heard Danny, still calmly pulling film from the tape, "that we're not actually a live coverage team. Then it wouldn't have mattered that the tape accidentally got destroyed." He paused, stared at the video tape he'd pulled from his camera, eyed the destroyed fountain several yards away, then hefted the video tape, chucking it. It landed with a muffled splash next to the remains of what appeared to be the cherub's head.
"Well, shoot," he said, hand shading his eyes as he surveyed his shot. "Now I've dropped it."
"Uh, Bob…" began the newswoman.
"Be a dear, would you Shelley?" he asked, turning to his Hispanic partner, smiling warmly, "and grab an extra video."
She stared at him for a second, completely at a loss, and then glanced almost imperceptibly at Danny. Suddenly she straightened. "Sure, Bob," she said, "I just hate on-site accidents with the equipment," and without a backwards glance, she was gone.
Danny stared at the cameraman, fearful hope plain on his face. He opened his mouth to speak several times, breathed deeply, and at last managed a whispered "Why? You didn't have to."
"Yeah," the cameraman of Channel 8, breaking news every night at 10, said shortly, "I did."
Danny didn't understand.
But he was the only one.
Husbands and wives turned to each other, parents to children, friends to one another, and all their glances read the same. They had come to a decision.
"Jenny," said the man who had thrown Danny the Thermos. "You've taken an emergency health class. Can we move him?" Jenny, obviously his teenaged daughter as Danny caught a sight of her, stepped forward, but Shelley broke in, stepping back into the clearing, new tape in hand.
"No choice," she said. She turned to Bob. "I saw Jack's van as I was coming back. We need to get him out of here."
"Alright," he said, stepping away from the news equipment to make room for Shelley who was already putting the new tape into the camera.
"I'll take him," volunteered the same man as before. "My daughter can go with me. She has a bit of experience with emergency care."
Bob nodded, and Danny looked between the two, completely bewildered. When had this sudden alliance occurred?
The man stepped forward and kneeled in front of Danny. "Hi," he said quietly, "I'm Derek." He held out a hand for Danny to shake.
Danny tried to oblige, but had forgotten his popped shoulder joint. He grimaced in pain, then lifted his left hand. "Danny," he replied, gripping the other man's arm. He tried to pull away, but Derek wouldn't let go.
"Danny," he said calmly, seeing the young boy beginning to panic as he refused to let go. "I'm going to have to pick you up. I need your help for this."
Danny looked suddenly affronted. "I can stand on my own." He tried to struggle to his feet, but a feminine hand pushed him back.
"Not on that foot, you're not," said Jenny, frowning at him and jerking her head toward the incredibly swollen appendage.
Danny stared. He hadn't even noticed.
Bob's voice broke into their quiet argument. "You need to go now. Channel 21 News is here."
Father and daughter tried to lift Danny, but they lacked the strength to both pick him up and pick him up without causing further injury.
"I can help," said a deep voice.
All three turned to look at the intruder, and Danny's eyes fell on the largest apparent escapee from a biker's convention that he'd ever seen. And that was saying something, considering the size of Jack Fenton.
"Mike," he said in explanation, and without further ado picked Danny up, holding him bridal style in the crook of his arm.
"I'll be right back," he called to his wife, while Danny's face burned a dull red.
"Go," urged Shelley, and Mike strode after Derek, Jenny at his heels.
"Now," Danny heard Shelley begin as Bob began to roll the camera. "What did you see of Inviso-Bill?"
"It was awesome!" piped up a young voice, though Danny couldn't see the speaker. "He totally flew through the tree and caught this huge…" the rest faded off as they walked farther away.
In the car Danny was quiet, lying across the seat, a seat belt looped loosely and haphazardly across his stomach. His eyes threatened to close.
"Danny," barked a voice, fingers snapping inches from his nose. His eyes flew open to stare into Jenny's concerned face. "Stick with me. You probably have a concussion. You need to stay awake. Keep talking—it'll help."
He was quiet a moment longer, then finally opened his mouth to speak. "Why…?" he began, then stopped short as though searching for the words. He tried again. "Why did you…you know…"
"Why," broke in Jenny's father, "do you do what you do?"
Danny thought a moment. "Because it's right."
"Then we understand each other perfectly."
The breaking news that night was astonishing. Inviso-Bill had saved a group of people at the risk of his own non-life. They'd been this close to actually getting an interview with him, but he'd flown off before the camera crews had arrived.
The story about a boy falling out of a tree was buried in comparison. Page eight in the newspaper on the following day. Ten people read it.
And all of them smiled.
Ah, mush. At last I have succumbed and written some of the stuff myself.
The Twins who are not really twins were far too much fun to write. I imagine that if Danny was ever looking for them in the ghost zone he'd run around asking for the triplets, and no one would have any idea what he was talking about. The exchange would go something like this:
Random Ghost: Who?
Danny: The triplets. You know, the three ghosts who's main purpose in life is to destroy everything they come in contact with.
Random Ghost: Uuhhh...I think that describes everyone in here.
Danny: They're not planning on taking over the world.
Random Ghost: Oh! You mean the Twins!Why didn't you say so before?
Danny: (long pause to stare in disbelief) There are three of them.
Random Ghost: Oh, now that's just mean. Just because they can't count...
Hahahha. Okay, so it would probably be a good idea for me to shut up before I write something I really regret. This is getting strange enough as it is.
Here's hoping you enjoyed it!