"Where is Danny?" Sam asked. "He's been missing since gym."
I don't know. Damn it, I left this thing recording again!" Tuck rewound the tape recorder, then played to see where he was.
"What's the matter, Daniel Fenton? Or should I say, Daniel Masters?" the voice on the tape recorder said.
"That sounded like Alex," Sam said.
"It must have been recording while we were at gym," Tuck said. "I would have remembered hearing something like that."
"Don't look so surprised," Alex continued on the tape. "There are only two of you half-ghost freaks that we have been able to track down in all of America, and you expect me to believe that the fact that the other one just so happens to be in love with your mom is a coincidence? Sorry, don't think so."
The next voice was Danny's: "Ew, gross! Don't even joke about that."
Alex: "So there's more of you out there, then? I'd love to hear all about it--and I will hear all about it. We have ways of making you talk."
Danny: "No, I--"
Alex: "If you resist, this is going to get ugly. Now, I would rather not fight here, where innocent bystanders could get hurt, but don't think for an instant that I'm squeamish. I will use whatever force necessary to subdue you."
Danny: "Well, then, let's have this fight in the parking lot."
"The parking lot!" Sam and Tuck said together. They ran for it, their lunches forgotten. In a couple of places the blacktop was melted (probably from Danny's plasma blast), in one place cratered, and in another cracked.
Tuck whistled. "What crashed here? It's huge." He was looking at the crater.
"I don't think we want to know. Necromancers are supposed to have access to all sorts of undead monsters," Sam said. "We've got to save Danny. To Alex's house!"
"Wait. Do we even know where he lives?" Tuck asked.
Now that he mentioned it, they didn't…Sam was hit with an idea. "You know that place that was for sale, the one by the cemetery?"
Tuck slapped himself on the forehead. "Of course. Where better for a family of necromancers to live than right next door to a graveyard?"
"I'd rather not think about it. My grandfather's buried there," Sam said. "Let's go."
Danny came too gradually. The first thing he noticed was that he wasn't laying down. He was hanging from his wrists. Against a wall. Shackles?
"This is him?" a female voice asked.
"Yes, Mother," Alex's voice said. "Danny Fenton/Phantom. He took out Dracolich."
"Really? She's quite powerful."
Danny was suddenly bolt awake. "What did you do to me?" he demanded.
"Knocked you out and dragged you here," Alex said. "Why? What did you think I did to you?"
"Enough with the witty banter," Ann said. "Will you stay while I interrogate our…guest?"
Alex's face blanked. "I'd rather not get my clothes dirty. Besides, I'd just get in your way, Mother. Shall I see if Father needs anything?"
Ann nodded, and Alex left. "He tries to hide it, but he's a sensitive lad. Unfortunately for you, he doesn't get that annoying trait from me. Now, how many of your kind are there?"
"Just me and Plasmius," Danny said. There was no point in lying, he saw.
"Of course it is," Ann said. And then she backhanded him. "Let me rephrase that: how many of you sins against nature continue to breathe and dare call yourselves human?"
"Look, lady, I swear, it's just me and Plasmius. I don't know what your problem is, but--"
"My problem is with you and Vlad working with the Fright Knight," Ann said. "I thought you half-ghost freaks were extinct. I thought we had killed the last of you monsters centuries ago. One Christián Knight/Darkside was the official end of your putrid race, killed by Sean Stevenson (who is an ancestor of mine, incidentally), and yet here you are, alive and kicking…we'll see how long that lasts."
"A lab accident turned me into this," Danny protested. "A similar accident turned Vlad Masters into Plasmius twenty years ago."
"A likely story," Ann said. "Or rather, not a likely story. What do you expect? For me to believe that you're some kind of superhero? Do you fly around, saving damsels in distress, Mr. Phantom?" she mocked. "Save it."
"Actually, yeah, something like that," Danny said. "Just ask around town, why don't you?"
"I have. It could be theorized that you fight ghosts to protect people, but it could also be believed that you have claimed Amity Park as your territory and do not want other ghosts around," Ann said. "The latter seems more likely, as you are a hellion, the ancient enemy of my people and servant of Pariah Dark."
"I am not in league with Pariah Dark, I am not in league with the Fright Knight, and I am sure as hell not in league with Vlad Masters!" Danny said, almost shouting. This was getting annoying. "If you won't listen, then it's time for me to go." He went ghost. And was shocked with about a million volts of electricity. Without his willing it, he reverted to his human form, and fell to the ground, gasping.
"I was hoping you'd try something stupid like that. Oh, look, you seem to have escaped your chains. Must have phased through when you were ghost," Ann said. "Gertrude! Chain him up again."
As Danny was on all fours gasping, the first thing he saw of Gertrude was her feet, but that alone was enough to make his blood turn to ice. He knew, before he even looked up to confirm it, that Gertrude was a zombie.
"Don't worry. Gertrude is very gentile. She was Alex's nanny, as a matter of fact," Ann said.
"Which would explain a little something about your family," Danny said as he was lifted from the ground and re-shackled. He cringed at the corpse's touch.
"You don't seem to like Gertrude very much. That's too bad, because she probably likes you. Our Gertrude is a friendly girl." Ann smiled, "Say, that gives me an idea. I suggest that you start telling me the truth at this point, boy, no more fun and games."
"I am telling you the truth," Danny said. "I am not in league with Vlad. I don't know what the evil bastard is doing, but I doubt he would be working with Pariah Dark. The Ghost Kind didn't seem like he'd make a good lackey."
"Such hateful words you have for your own father," Ann said.
"He is not my father. He is my arch enemy. He has tried to kill my father and steal my mother on--God, I've lost track of how many times, come to think of it. A lot of weird stuff has happened to me since the accident that gave me my powers," Danny said.
"So you want to play with me, do you?" Ann asked rhetorically. "Well, that's fine. I can play back. Gertrude? If you would, dear, kiss our guest," she said. "On the lips."
Danny squeezed his lips shut tight as he possibly could as the zombie kissed him.
"Next time, I'll tell her to stick her tongue in," Ann said. "You don't want to know what happens after that."
"This is beyond sick and wrong!" Danny said.
"I know. Can you believe that I only just thought of this just now, on the spot?" Ann said. "Now how many of you are there, and where are you hiding?"
"You can't keep me here like this!" Danny said. "My friends--"
An older boy who looked a lot like Alex entered, toting Sam and Tuck. "We caught these two trying to break in," he said.
"Good work, Andy," Ann said.
"What are you two doing here?" Danny demanded.
"We, ah, came to save you," Sam said.
"What was that you were saying, hellion?" Ann asked patronizingly.
"Why do you keep calling me that? Anyway, my family--"
Alex and a girl and a ghost Danny hadn't met before flanked Jasmine as she entered, hands held above her head.
"We needed a ride," Tuck explained.
"Excellent work, Alex, Anita, Beau," Ann said.
"Did everyone I care about fall into these people's trap?" Danny asked of no one. "My parents? Veronica?"
"Put those people somewhere until I decide what to do with them," Ann said.
"Mother?" Alex asked.
Ann turned on her son. "Is there a problem, Alex? These people have been fraternizing with the enemy."
"I don't think they knew he was a bad guy. I mean, he had me half-believing he was good, until we learned that he was dealing with the Fright Knight."
"He is not dealing with the Fright Knight!" Sam protested.
"Yeah!" Jas said. "Um, which one's the Fright Knight again?"
"When Amity Park was sucked into the Ghost Zone? Fright Knight," Tuck said.
"I thought that that was Pariah Dark," Jas said.
"Pariah Dark is awake?" Ann demanded of the redhead.
"Well, he was," Jas said.
"I defeated him," Danny said. "Of course, I had to get the help of my worst enemies…including Vlad…to do it. Oh, and this suit my Dad invented that multiplied my strength a hundredfold but almost killed me."
Ann ignored him. "Have her tortured, too. I think there's a male zombie around here…"
"No!" Danny phased through his chains and aimed a blast at Ann. A shield popped up, and absorbed the blast. It extended from Alex's hand.
"You and me," Alex said. "Mono e mono. Hellion versus necromancer. Winner take all."
"No, Alex, you're injured," Andy protested.
"I forbid it," the little girl added.
"You're not in a position to forbid anything, not yet, little sister," Alex said.
"Well, I forbid it, then." A man walked into the room.
"Sorry, Father. I am within my rights here. I saw him first. I marked him first. I bloodied him first. I called him first. That's four separate and independently valid claims to him that I have," Alex said.
"Damn it, son, he's not just a ghost, he's a hellion," Aaron scolded his son.
"I know that, Father," Alex said. "Better than any of us, I know what he is. What do you say, Phantom? You and me."
"Beats taking you all on at once," Danny said, going ghost. "If I win, you have to let my friends and sister go."
"Done, provided they don't go to the cops with this," Alex said.
"Who would believe them?" Danny asked.
"In this town?" Alex pointed out. "If I win, you allow me into your mind so that I can make you my slave."
"What?" Sam demanded.
"It's either that or torture and eventual death," Alex said.
"If it's the only way I'm going to get a fair fight, than I accept," Danny said.
"You are usurping my authority, boy," Ann said.
"Shut up, Mother," Alex said. The fact that he would say something like that to the woman who had held this family in a military-style grip since before he was born said more than the actual content of the words.
Ann looked at her second born. "Your personal honor had better be this important, boy."
Alex, knowing that she was letting him have his way, nodded.
"Wait," Anita said. "This fight shouldn't happen here. We need someplace with more…elbowroom." She tore a hole in the fabric of space-time and sucked them all into the Ghost Zone. "Much better," she said approvingly. "I have made you an arena. The bounds are invisible, but you won't be able to cross them, either of you. Feel free to use whatever dirty tricks you want, but there will be no interference from outside…and no comments from the peanut gallery, I trust?" she glared at Sam, Tuck, and Jas, who stared at Danny and Alex, ignoring her.
"Impressive, little sis," Alex said approvingly.
"Keep your head in the game!" Ann ordered.
"So, do we go at the count of three," asked Danny, "or--"
Alex hit him, knocking him backwards. Danny blasted Alex, but he dodged. Danny flew at Alex, and he dodged again. Wait: I'm flying at 112 mph, and he can dodge me? Obviously, there was more to his powers than Danny had thought.
Danny made another run at Alex, who dodged, and then punched him in the kidney. Danny hit the ground, bounced off the ground, and hit the ground again five feet away. He got up again.
"Okay, this is going to take something fancier than that," Danny said to himself. He split into two and then attacked from both sides.
"Eenie, meenie…there!" Alex shot the real Danny with a lightning bolt.
Danny fell to the ground, and then jumped just in time to avoid being pounded to the ground and ending up even more winded than he was.
Danny used his ghost wail. Alex yawned. "I'm sorry, was that supposed to do something?" he asked. He shocked Danny again, knocking him to the ground.
"Okay, no ghost wail, no ghost clones, what does that leave?" Danny asked of himself, shaking his head to clear it.
"Hey, up here, hellion!" Alex said.
Danny got to his feet and faced the necromancer. "This is going to hurt you more--" before he could finish the witty banter, he was hit in the head from behind. He was knocked to the ground than kicked over onto his back so that he could face his attacker. It was Alex. "Since when can you do that?"
"Since none of your business," Alex's clone said, and disappeared. Ectoplasm appeared in Alex's hand, and shaped itself alarmingly like a sword. "Nothing will be your business ever again."
He swung his sword. Suddenly, Alex wasn't there. Danny looked, and saw him looking as confused as he was, his sword sticking into the dirt.
"I stopped you from making a grievous mistake," a voice said.
Danny and Alex looked at the source of the voice. "Clockwork!" they said in unison. Then, looking at each other, "You know Clockwork?"
"Well, I know of him," Alex said. "You?"
"Met him once or twice," Danny said. "Thanks for saving my bacon, Clockwork. What's the occasion?"
"For once, I'm here to stop someone other than you from doing something stupid," Clockwork said.
Danny opened his mouth to protest, but realized that pretty much every time Clockwork showed up, Danny did something stupid and he helped fix it.
"You mean killing him, don't you?" Alex guessed. Of course: Clockwork had stopped time, moved Danny out of the way, and started it again.
"You think?" Clockwork asked sarcastically.
"But he's a hellion, a servant of Pariah Dark," Alex said.
Clockwork opened a portal to the past, and showed them Danny's battle with the ghost king and the aftermath of it.
"Take down this wall, Anita," Ann ordered. She approached Clockwork. "He's still a hellion." Clockwork closed that portal and opened another, showing how Danny became half-ghost. "But--" he closed that portal and opened another one, showing how Vlad Masters became half ghost. "Even if they are freaks of science instead of freaks of nature, they're still--"
"This is getting tiresome." Clockwork said. He opened another portal.
"Where does this one lead, a Jack the Ripper movie?" Danny asked. A man wearing period clothing was walking down a dark street, when he was confronted by a pale woman.
"End of the line, Christián," she said. She grinned showing fangs.
"Where ist thine master, beauty?" Christián asked. "Doth he not care to face me like a man."
"I am right behind thee, Christián," another voice said. A man walked into view.
Christián turned around. "Stevenson. Sending a fledgling vampire after me? Hast thou forgotten that I am a hellion? Allowst me to remind thee why they call me Christián Darkside. I'm going ghost!" Christián turned into a ghost with pitch black skin, red slit eyes, flaming blue hair, and no visible mouth.
"Um, I don't think this is helping me," Danny said.
"No, it is," Alex said, not taking his eyes from the portal. "Do you feel it, Mother? This one is different from Danny and Vlad. Danny and Vlad are something else, something new." His voice cracked, and he sounded hopeful. "This means we don't have to kill them."
"I'll have to report back to Mother before that is decided," Ann said. "Still, your friends are free to go for now."
"Say, Clockwork, I don't suppose you could take us back in time an hour or so, so that we don't get in trouble for ditching school?" Danny asked.
"Clockwork's powers are not a toy," Alex scolded. "We're just going to have to take whatever punishment we get. I'll say that I talked you into ditching; it seems only fair."
Danny looked at him. "Only fair? You tried to kill me!"
"Like Clockwork said, it would have been a grievous mistake," Alex said.
"Hey, uh, could we get out of the Ghost Zone?" Tuck asked. "It's kind of hard to go to school when you're in an alternate dimension."
Anita rolled her eyes. "Fine," she said exasperatedly. She waved her arms and they were all sucked into the human world. "You happy now, crybaby?"
" 'A grievous mistake!' How about when your mother was letting a zombie have her way with me and was going to let another have his way with Jas? Was that another 'grievous mistake?'"
"No, that's what we call a lie, the second part, at least. We have no other zombies aside from Gertrude," Alex said. "Honestly, can you imagine the hassle we would go through, shipping dead bodies cross country?" Best not to mention the fact that he spent a night preparing Amity Park's dead for zombification. He doubted that his mother would have raised a corpse in broad daylight, anyway. "As for the first part…" he shrugged. "We thought you were working with the Fright Knight to revive the Ghost King and enslave humanity. Sue us; what would you have done?"
"Speaking of which, how the hell did you end up with that impression?" Danny asked.
"In case you hadn't of noticed, you do have traits in common with the most loyal of minions Pariah Dark ever had. Right down to your names."
"Say what?" Danny demanded.
"Christián Knight is Christián Darkside. Vlad Masters is Vlad Plasmius. Danny Fenton is Danny Phantom. Coincidence, or pattern? Turns out, coincidence, but it didn't seem likely," Alex said. "Look, I'm sorry I tried to kill you. I thought you were evil. Truce?"
"Yeah, fine," Danny said grudgingly.
"Friends?" Alex asked.
Danny stared at Alex. "We'll see," he said.
"So, Danny, would you have really let me enslave you to save your friends and sister?" Alex asked.
"If it was the only way…yeah, I think I would have." Danny said.
Alex looked at him, horrified. "What are you thinking, telling me something like that?" Alex demanded. "You don't tell a potential enemy something like that! Gods, what are you thinking? I could use that against you!"
"I thought you wanted to be friends," Danny said.
"I do. But I follow orders. If Grandmother tells me that I have to kill you, then I will try to kill you. You can't let me see your weaknesses, you can't let me see what hurts you. If an enemy holds the one you hold most dear hostage, you have to act like they don't mean anything to you. Do you understand?" Alex said frantically.
"Aren't you breaking your own advice by telling me this?" Danny asked.
Alex sighed. "The thing is…you're one of the good guys, Danny. I know that now. I'm a soldier, so when I'm ordered to fight, I fight. If the orders come down to fight you now, knowing that you're a good guy, I will do as I have been ordered…which would make you the good guy in that fight. I like when the good guys win, Danny. It's a feel-good feeling all around."
"Wow, and I thought my life as a half-ghost was complicated," Danny said.
"That's nothing. I also had to master vampire and werewolf politicking. Trust me when I say that heads can roll in those fields--literally," Alex said. "That's the thing about us creatures of the night, though. You can't show weakness. Not to your enemies, not even to your friends. Your friends can quickly become your enemies, after all. You toady up to those with more influence than you do, you disdain those with less, and you build up your own power base--actually, it's a lot like high school, but deadlier."
"Was that a joke?" Jas asked.
"A bad one," Alex admitted.
"I never imagined a necromancer telling jokes," Jas said.
"There's a lot of misconceptions about us, but hey, what are we going to do? Admit to being necromancers so that we can challenge those stereotypes?" Alex asked rhetorically. "You're Jasmine, right?"
"Jas, yeah," Jas said.
"Hi, I'm Alex. Would you like to go out sometime?" They all stared at him. Danny, Sam, and Tuck all broke out laughing.
"Good news, Danny: I don't have to kill you," Alex said. "Really, though, is anyone surprised? Especially with someone like Clockwork at your back." The real question was, why had clockwork saved him? Clockwork, while not cruel, did see into all of space and time, and to see all the pain and suffering of all creatures in all of time and not go crazy took a certain amount of callousness. Clockwork had plans for Daniel Fenton, Alex could tell. And perhaps he was to be a part of those plans.
"So, now what are you going to do?" Danny asked.
"Actually, our orders are to stay here and, uh, make sure you don't do anything evil," Alex said. "Hey, I trust you, but the powers that be feel it's better to be safe than sorry. So, Sam, have you thought about going out with me yet?"
"You asked Jas out last week," Sam said.
"Yeah, but I don't think she'll go out with me," Alex said.
"Gee, could that have anything to do with the fact that you asked my mom out the first time you saw her?" Danny asked rhetorically.
"As I explained to your dad, and the Fenton Anti-Creep Stick, I was merely joking," Alex said smoothly. "Besides, your mom is hot."
Danny glared at him. "Please don't say that ever again."
Alex smiled. "For you, buddy, anything. Now that I know that we're not going to have to kill each other, I'd like to train against you. Think about it; you could really use skills that could help you against a necromancer."
"And why would you need skills that would help you against half-ghosts?" Danny asked.
"Oh, no reason," Alex said. "Say, would you mind horribly if something bad happened to Vlad Masters? Just a thought."
Author's Commentary (As If You Care)
Woo! That took bloody ages! That doesn't show here, because I'm submitting all the chapters at once, but damned if this didn't take several months. Or rather, I started it several months ago and forgot about it. I only seriously began work on this a week or two ago, but in that time I did nothing else, except for Adrenaline (Kim Possible, romance, Kim/Ron).
The idea came so long ago that I don't even remember what inspired me to write this. I do remember that it felt more like a one shot than a chapter work, even though I could tell right off the bat that it was going to take bloody ages. The story was just too complicated to get across in a short fic, and yet if refused to order itself into chapters in my head. So, I just cut it into three roughly even pieces. I mean, I have made long one-shots before, but this was more than 12,500 words! That is pushing it just a tad.
Normally, I'd use this Commentary to shamelessly plug other stories I have written, but I haven't written anything about Danny Phantom until now (I suppose I could plug Adrenaline, if you're into Kim Possible). And yes, I left this wide open for a sequel. Don't expect it soon, however. I have it planned, I just don't feel like it just yet. C'mon, I just finished this epic piece, you want me to start on another one right away?
What did you think of Alex? As my second published fanfic OC, I think I did a rather good job giving him a complex personality. I'm proud of Alex, truth be told. And no, I didn't realize that I had given all of his family members names beginning with "A" until they were all on paper. It was still early enough that I could have changed it if I wanted to, but I didn't feel like it. No secret messages there, sorry. In the name Sean Stevenson, however…my name is Shaun, and my dad's is Steven. What can I say? I remembered that I was writing under a pseudonym, and figured, what the heck? Use my own name once.
I hoped you liked it. Tell your friends. Please R&R. Etcetera, etcetera.