Um, let's see, three months? Not as bad as usual. Well, I really need to get this story written so that I can begin my next one, Consumed, in the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom. I began research at the library yesterday. As I said before, writing Twin Heroes is almost painful at this point, but there is no way that I'm going to quit a twenty-four chapter story with 263 reviews attached to it. I would be killed and my name forever flamed on fanfic. I couldn't do that to you guys or myself.
If anyone cares, my birthday is this Friday. Yep, seriously, Friday the 13th. Last time that happened, I got stung by a large black ant, pulled my knee on the trampoline, and came in dead last at bowling. This time is my "Sweet 16" (though I honestly don't know why it's so special). Hopefully, it will be better.
I made this chapter extra long, for everyone who was annoyed by the fillerness of the last chapter. This is not a filler in any way, shape or form.
Chapter Twenty-Four: The Fenton Freezer
Jack Fenton, carrying a large gun, burst from the lab and into the middle of the wizards' conference.
"The Fenton Freezer!" he bellowed, holding the device above his head. Maddie and the witch ran up behind him.
Piers stopped, midsentence, and blinked. "…eh?"
"The Fenton Freezer," Maddie explained. "It's a weapon we recently developed; we only finished working on it Friday morning. It's designed to freeze a ghost in place with anti-plasm chemicals and keep them there until we reverse the effect." She pointed to the UN-FREEZE button. "We've used it on Technus, and so far it seems successful."
Martin Cross's eyes widened. "So you are suggesting we use this against Dan?"
"No, I am," Jack grinned.
Maddie bit her lip. "Well, yes… and no," she said. "There are a few problems. For one, it's very close range. The user needs to be at least three feet away from the target. It's based on wind-technology and loses its effect if the wind disperses."
"In other words, one of us will have to get within three feet of Dan to even use the weapon," Hephry stated dryly.
"And this is considering we even get past his clones in the first place," Trillon added.
Maddie frowned. "My next point exactly." Jack was just realizing the situation at hand, and his previous excitement dropped with his shoulders.
"…" Cross held a clenched fist against his mouth, staring up at the ceiling. He squeezed his eyes shut. "Hell, isn't it worth a shot, though? It's the only decent idea we've got so far."
"But we've got no way to see if it even does the job," Piers quickly countered. "There's still the issue with his doubles."
"Exactly." Hephry smiled grimly. "They could be invisible or hiding inside of our own men. One thing's certain – it worked before, and he'll do it again. There's no way to even tell where they are."
"That's not true," the red-headed witch replied. "I've been working with the Fenton's in the lab, and they have tons of ghost-detecting equipment."
"Yeah, we do!" Jack exclaimed. "Except… none of it works."
The witch stared. "None of it?"
"No; they were constantly malfunctioning and telling us our son was a… ghost… Oh." He rubbed the back of his neck, flushing.
"Then we'll use the trackers to pick out his doubles while a main offensive takes on the real thing!" Cross grinned. "I think this will work!"
"How much technology do you have for this?" Hephry questioned.
"Well," Maddie began, "we've got the Fenton Finder, which you have to point at a space or person to detect ghostly energy. The GAV and my goggles (1) use radar, as well as the Specter Speeder. We have about 20 Specter Deflector belts that don't allow for a ghost to touch the person and will prevent anyone from becoming overshadowed. Also, we have the Ghost Catcher, that can separate a ghost from a person. If someone mans the larger radars, we can use headsets to keep in touch with one another."
"Amazing," Cross breathed. "We needed them up here earlier."
"But there's still that last problem," Sirius stated. "Who in the world can we get close enough to Dan to use the Freezer? If he can produce as many as five or six doubles, it will take a lot of power to find and combat just them. For reference, how powerful are copies, normally?" he asked Hephry.
"Compared to the original, they have roughly two thirds of its strength."
"Couldn't Danny do it?" Ron asked. Everyone turned to stare at him, nearly having forgotten that the teens were there.
"Danny?" replied Maddie, brow furrowed.
"He's… not exactly in any position to help us now, Ron," Sirius said.
"But… but what if Ann Straughtly was able to revive him before we fight Dan? Isn't he the strongest one here? And he knows the most about this fellow."
The others in the room glanced at each other. Hermione quietly said, "Ron, it takes a while to recover after being petrified. Usually people are very weak."
The boy looked down. "Oh, right…"
Hephry laughed sardonically. "Then the second most powerful one here would probably be Potter." No one replied to this comment.
Cross sighed. "Well, we'll just have to get a group together to take him down. All of our best wizards."
"And muggles!" the red-headed witch chirped.
Ann worked diligently away in her shop, a humble building that was near the ocean. It was coming along quickly, more so than she thought possible.
"Thank the Lord for his miracles."
The oceanic district of Amity Park was abandoned, everyone having emptied out of it earlier that morning. The usual hustle and bustle of the stores was gone, making the area eerily silent. Ann swore she could hear the waves on the beach several blocks away.
The mandrakes were sleeping soundly in their pots; the dirt moved ever so slightly as they breathed. Other sorts of numerous magical plants littered the greenhouse, in no apparent order, but arranged where nothing would try to eat something else. Ann's workspace was a table in the back, near a window that let in natural light. Shelves held vials and cannisters of powders, liquids and the occasional noxious gas. A large copper cauldron was currently in use, bubbling with the madrake drought. It was turning a lovely color of purple and slightly steaming. Ann herself could feel the effects; all of the stress-induced knots from the past few days were loose and no longer causing any pain.
A radio played country music softly in the background, an effort to fill in the void. All in all, it was peaceful. The herbologist could pretend that there wasn't an impending doom looming over them, that she wasn't working to develop a drought to save the town's local, fifteen-year-old superhero. She was going about business as usual. She even started humming along to a familiar song.
It was about three o'clock that Tuesday afternoon that the mandrake drought suddenly turned an opalescent pink. It began to boil and Ann scrambled to take it off of the heat. It cooled quickly and darkened. It was finished.
She loaded the drought quickly into a beaker, which she stopped with a cork, and then grabbed her coat and turned around, preparing to apparate. She stopped in her tracks. On her front door was a small window at about chin-level which was clearly visible from her position in the back of the shop. Through it, the horizon appeared to be glowing a dark green and the sky was darkening. Ann didn't know the nitty-gritty details of ghost-sciences, but from living in Amity Park she recognized the color-changing effect of a ghost attack. It was coming from the ocean.
The witch apparated a couple of blocks toward the shore, trying to maintain at a safe distance but still be able to see what was going on. From the top of a sushi restaurant, she could see the water. It had turned a black-green color and was the source of the glow. The water was swirling, like a massive whirlpool, and boiling. It did this for only a few more seconds and stilled. Ann tensed, not liking what she was seeing. It was the calm before a storm.
A large ship swelled up out of the depths, landing heavily on the surface of the water. Living near the shore, Ann had seen this ship many times before.
"Youngblood?" she mouthed. Another ghost fleeing, maybe? The usual ghostly crew was not manning the vessel. Ann squinted. The ship began to rise above the water, and looking closely, she could just see a large shape at the wheel: black, white and green. It was Dan Phantom.
"No..." Without another thought, Ann disapparated, leaving a small POP in her wake.
A group of seven would attack Dan directly. This group included Piers, Hephry, Cross, Sirius, Trillon, Maddie and Jack. The others were divided into groups that would each combat one of Dan's doubles or help the main team. The teenagers and Hermione's parents were told to remain at FentonWorks and evacuate with Danny, Harry and Fernand Diose, if the worst should come to pass.
Anxiously, the offense distributed the Fentons' weapons.
"Cross!" The wizard monitoring the Ghost Zone yelled and waved Martin Cross over. He pointed to the blank screen. "There's nothing there. Dan's no longer in the Ghost Zone."
The room froze. Everyone turned to look at the screen, paling. There was a small thump-POP in the kitchen and the patter of footsteps as Ann ran into the room.
"Marty! Marty! We've got trouble; Dan stole Youngblood's ship and came up out of the ocean." So he was going to strike first.
"...Do you have the mandrake potion?" Cross asked quietly. Ann nodded and showed the beaker to the man. "Go upstairs and administer it to Danny. Immediately report back downstairs and gather your broom. We're going to meet the ghost before he can reach FentonWorks. You'll be with me."
Darkness spread over the sky of Amity Park, blocking out the afternoon sun. Sam stared up at it worriedly. 'I don't have a good feeling about this, Danny.' She squeezed his hand tightly.
A very ruffled Ann ran into the room, brandishing a beaker full of dark pink liquid. Everyone stood, expectant.
"Is that it?" Tucker asked.
The woman nodded and approached the bedside. "Good, his mouth's open." Danny hadn't been prepared for Harry's attack, and it left him gaping. "That makes things easier." Ann opened the beaker and drained the potion slowly into Danny's mouth.
As she worked, Mr. Granger asked, "What's going on out there?" indicating the discolored sky.
"He's back," she said simply.
The last of the drought dripped from the beaker. The effects were immediate on Danny's mouth and throat; his tongue relaxed and the muscles in his cheeks twitched. Ann rubbed his throat to help him swallow. His body shuddered several times, and he began gasping for breath, blinking his green eyes frantically.
Ann smiled in relief, eyes watering, and hurried downstairs without another word.
Tucker and Sam each grabbed one of Danny's hands, grinning ecstatically. Sam was crying with sheer joy.
Danny was shaking slightly, his muscles alternating between stiff and relaxed. He lost his ghost form almost immediately. He blinked and turned his head from side to side, trying to place where he was; his bleary gaze met Sam's.
"...Sam?" he murmured.
She swallowed and whispered, "Yeah?"
"Why are you crying?"
The Goth girl laughed and hugged Danny tightly.
"Ow!" he protested, flailing his arms weakly, and she dropped him back onto his pillows. "Thank you." Breathing heavily, he went on to say, "A hug's not an answer, Sam. What happened? I thought I was dead." For a second, the green curse flashed through his memory and caused him to grimace.
"So did we," Tucker replied. "Your ghost half saved you - it protected you from that curse and you were just petrified."
"Yeah," Tucker said. "It means you were frozen."
"How long have I been here?"
"Not even a day. Miss Straughtly made a potion to unfreeze you," Sam explained.
At that moment, Hermione walked slowly into the room, followed closely by Ron. Their faces were gray and tight.
Hermione's mother approached her. "Honey, what's happened?"
Quietly, the girl said, "Dan's back. Everyone left to fight him."
"Already?" Danny gawked.
"Blimey!" Ron exclaimed, just noticing that the ghost boy had been revived. "It worked!"
Danny ignored him. "Why didn't they wait for me?"
"There wasn't any time," Hermione muttered. "They're trying to protect you..."
"Even my mom and dad?" Hermione nodded, and Danny stared blankly at the wall in front of him. "Does that mean...?"
"Yes, they know," the witch replied. A strange chill ran up Danny's spine.
"We were told to stay here in case they don't make it," Ron said. "And then run."
"No!" Danny sat up straighter in bed. "I've got to go help them! They don't know what they're up against!"
Sam pushed him back down. "No, Danny; you just woke up."
"I'm fine." To prove himself, the boy stood and took a step, but he immediately crumpled forward. Tucker caught him and helped him back into bed. "Okay, maybe a little shaky... But I can't just sit here. I've got regenerative powers. If I just move around a little, I'll be fine. Really."
"Danny..." Sam murmured.
The boy sighed and collapsed into the covers for a moment, before tensing once more. "Where is he?"
"Down by the ocean," Hermione replied.
Danny shook his head. "No, not Dan. Harry."
Ron and Hermione's eyes widened. "Locked up in a bedroom. Why?" Ron asked.
Danny's eyes narrowed. "I want to talk to him."
Maddie drove the GAV at full speed towards the ocean. Several other wizards, along with Jack, sat in the vehicle, while the others flew on brooms above them. A steady beep from the radar alerted her of Dan's location, a menacing green blob on the screen that crawled closer as the seconds passed. Her chest was tight, her hands growing numb on the steering wheel.
"We're approaching the shore," Cross's voice crackled through the speakers. "Let's pull over."
Maddie drove the GAV up onto a sidewalk and quickly got out. She opened the back and started pulling out all of the largest guns. The wizards and witches landed gracefully and determinedly, grouping into their assigned teams and assembling their weapons. First choice were their wands, secured in an easy to access position on their bodies. Green headsets were on every ear.
"Maddie?" Jack said quietly. She glanced at him. "Are you ready for this?"
She wanted to say no, and why would anyone be ready for a thing like this? But she sighed. "Yeah, I think so. He... wants to kill Danny. We can't let that happen."
Jack smiled slightly and wrapped his giant arms around his wife. "Love you, baby."
Martin Cross fingered his wand impatiently. He would have liked to have prepared for another week before facing this creature, but that wasn't how the cards had been dealt. It was here in his face. Time to deal with it.
He marched to his group, the main offensive. "Okay." He looked to each of their faces, meeting everyone's eyes directly. "Our job is to find the original Dan and destroy him. If you discover that whatever you are fighting is not the real Dan, call in another team and move on to the next target. Jack, do you have the Freezer?"
"Getting there," he grunted as he pulled the gun from the GAV and handed it to Maddie.
"Maddie," Cross continued, "We will get you in the best position to freeze Dan. Do not let anything happen to that gun. But as soon as Dan is frozen, destroy it. There will be no chance for anyone to undo this. Not another wizard, muggle, or ghost."
"Sir?" a wizard squeaked from behind them.
Cross half-turned to face him. "What is it?"
A blast shook the ground beneath their feet, sending several people toppling to the ground. Everyone turned to look for the source of the attack. The skies were clear.
"Where is he?" Piers shouted.
"Right on us!" the squeaking wizard screamed.
They spun in circles, brandishing wands and guns. An eerie laugh echoed through the empty streets. The ground was vibrating beneath their feet, turning hot. A glowing crack broke the surface of the asphalt, and the street bulged upward. The wizards ran backwards in horror and prepared to fire.
Youngblood's ship burst forth from the sewers and landed heavily in the street, nearly crushing several people in the process. Dan was at the helm, his hair burning brightly and mouth grinning broadly. "Hello again," he snarled. His eyes flitted about the place, assessing the situation. "I see you've left my two favorite foes behind. What a shame. I was really looking forward to killing them."
"Now!" Cross shouted. Simultaneously, the teams fired at the ghost. Dan was quicker - he shot intangibly downward and flew back from underneath the ship.
"Boom, boom!" he laughed as he rained green fire upon the wizards. Maddie activated the ghost shield on the GAV and protected them from most of the damage. "Aw, you're no fun, Mom."
Maddie growled and opened the shield long enough to fire a torpedo at the ghost. It missed him, but the blast sent Dan careening several feet. He quickly recovered.
"Wow, what a lot of people you've brought with you this time," Dan mused. "You must feel oh so prepared, am I right?"
Suddenly, there was a blast behind the wizards which shook the ghost shield. Their protection flickered. Another green blast from the left rocked the shield and dismantled it easily.
"He's using 'is doubles now," Piers alerted everyone. "Stick to the plan."
A young wizard dived into the GAV and activated a more limited shield, a metal shell which coated the vehicle. He would be directing the forces.
The teams quickly grouped, taking the fight systematically. So far there were two copies, no three. The supposed original Dan, rather, the first Dan, attempted to kill the man in the GAV, but decided it wasn't worth his time and turned instead on the wizards.
"Clever," he laughed. "That must be why you brought so many people with you." He deflected a shot with his forearm. "Don't worry – it won't do any good. I've brought down greater armies than you."
Cross reminded everyone to avoid the exchange of witty or snide remarks. Concentrate on backing him into a corner.
The main group fired torpedoes in rapid succession at the first Dan, and several hit their mark while the others' explosions blew the ghost from side to side, ripping his clothing. When the launchers were empty and fire stopped momentarily, Dan's hair began to burn brighter and he glared up at the team, growling. He shot balls of goo at the people that were reloading the launchers, knocking them to the ground, and began his own onslaught of attacks.
There were now five Dans, and the numbers were being quickly stretched thin. A scream echoed behind the main group. Trillon asked the director what had happened, but the only reply was, "Oh, God…" Trillon gulped and sent a mixture of fire from his wand and ectoplasmic goo at Dan from the side. It hit the ghost, who gasped and vanished.
Cross almost breathed a sigh of relief, until he saw that the battles were still raging. "Damn!" he cried, stomping angrily. "Where is he?"
The team stood beneath the ship in confusion. Cross had said to move on, but to where? Which of the other four Dan's was real, and how were they to know?
Cross growled. "Just… go help someone!" he ordered, running towards the source of the earlier scream.
Maddie sprinted in the opposite direction, Fenton Freezer on one shoulder and guns at her waist. Her eyes were narrowed in frustration. This was a mess!
A flash of emerald sent her careening to the ground. She landed on her right palm and flipped around into a crouch. One of the Dan's floated above her; he was new and no one had attacked him yet.
"There's another one," she gasped into her headphone and then rolled quickly to avoid a heavy punch.
"What's that, Mom? A new toy?" He was talking about the Freezer. "Very sleek. Does it blow things up? I do."
He was enjoying this! Maddie realized. She pulled out two twin guns and began firing. He wasn't nervous at all.
Three wizards soon joined her in battle, using both spells and Fenton weapons, or at least attempting to use the weapons. Many of the wizards had never seen a gun before.
Dan dodged and blocked, and hits that landed did little damage. At one point, he yawned and unleashed a wave of fire on them. Two wizards fell, not even having time to voice more than a small yelp. Maddie's eyes widened. She grabbed the remaining witch and sprinted away. Dan grinned and floated after them.
The other groups fared little better. Dan had learned that, while spells could affect him, many passed through harmlessly if he was intangible. Only one other copy had been destroyed, caught off guard in a moment of rapid fire and turned to stone. He fell to the ground and broke into hundreds of pieces. From that point on, Dan didn't try to block spells but just let them shoot through him.
In fact, Dan wasn't exerting very much effort at all, in the terms of how much power he possessed.
Maddie and the witch fled toward the GAV, throwing grenades behind them and smoke bombs. Jack saw them rush past and stepped in to save his wife… he was thrown down by an ectoplasmic whip. Other wizards saw the problem and sporadically shot at the copy, who finally lost track of Maddie in a cloud of smoke.
She collapsed behind a trash can and gasped in air.
"This isn't working, Cross," she whispered into the headset.
There was a long pause before his answer crackled through. "I know… but this is it." This wasn't an enemy that you could retreat from. It was win… or die trying.
Maddie beat her head once against the trash can and dived back into the battle.
There were now six Dans, any of which could be the original, and only two copies had been destroyed. Dan wasn't even trying and yet he was still winning. They had underestimated him in every way.
Tears flooded down the director's face as he watched one more of his comrades fall. He began shooting every laser and missile he had at his disposal.
(1) A reference to the Fenton Spectral Energy Revealer from my story, Dead.
I know nothing about mandrakes, except that they live in the dirt and look like really ugly babies, and their roots can be used to cure petrification. Also, it's been so long since I've read the Chamber of Secrets. I don't know how they cure petrification, or how quickly a person heals. I'm using my super awesome authoress powers to fill in the blanks. If anyone can tell me otherwise, it would be much appreciated.
Thanks to: thriefty, Zaidee, Mysterious Prophetess, Jay-Jay Tiger - Jayde7, Thunderstorm101, Pterodactyl, Moony's Metamorphmagus, ShadowFox123, egyptianqueen777, MissMeliss4251, DannysGhostWriter, Belthasar, Miriam1, twilight101, mystery writer5775, inukagome15, Kage Jaganshi