WoM- Man, have I been sitting on this one for a while or what… I wrote this chapter up forever ago… I mean, Before-I-Lost-My-Email forever ago. Completely forgot about it until I started clearing my folders out. Yes, I know, I shouldn't be starting a new story… but I figured that since it was already written out, I might as well post. Not sure how frequently I'll update it, though…
Back on topic, WingsOfMorphius still doesn't own anyone but her OCs, and would highly appreciate it if the American Judicial system kept that in mind. That and the fact that she's currently broke as can be….
(Jazz has just told Jack & Danny that Maddie is going to be in Genius Magazine)
Jack: Genius Magazine! Is it the swimsuit issue?
Jazz: (Sighs) Dad, Genius Magazine is for women geniuses, by women geniuses, and about women geniuses.
Danny: So, it is the swimsuit issue… Oh, gross! Mom's going to be in the swimsuit issue?
Jazz- IT'S NOT THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE!
Wild West Meets Amity's Best!
"If she makes one more comment about the sun drying out her hair, I'm gonna fix the problem by shaving her bald." Danny Fenton chuckled nervously at the homicidal look on his best friend's face, fixed pointedly on the pretty Latina girl a few seats ahead of them.
"Easy, Sam." the blue eyed boy coaxed. "This trip is supposed to be fun, remember? A break from all the ghost hunting and fighting. Isn't that what we agreed?"
"I guess…" Sam sighed heavily. Then she smiled wryly. "Though I still think it's ironic that we're going to a ghost town to get away from ghosts."
"Mom already checked the place out weeks ago." Danny rolled his eyes. "It's clean, Sam; Not a ghost in sight. Or even out of sight, for that matter."
"That doesn't mean anything." Sam smirked. "I mean, ghosts can awaken at any time, right? And let's face it, Danny, you're a paranormal magnet." Danny blushed slightly, unable to deny the truth in her statement.
"And who's fault is that?" he countered instead with a pointed look.
"I'm never gonna be able to apologize enough for that to satisfy you, am I?" Sam sulked, raising her eyebrow.
"What do you think?" Danny grinned back.
Almost a year earlier, Sam had convinced Danny to explore a new experiment his parents were working on, unwittingly causing the accident that changed Danny's life forever by endowing him with supernatural ghost powers and the alias of Danny Phantom, Amity Park's most controversial superhero.
Danny had taken up the job of fighting of evil ghosts and the occasional obsessive ghost hunter and human crooks with his newfound abilities, at first in secret but then thrusted into the public eye by one of his enemies.
Most of the adult population of Amity was still getting used to the idea of Danny as a hero, but the children and pretty much every teenager had accepted him readily into the role, idolizing everything about his ghost half while criticizing his human one.
Only five people knew that Danny Fenton and Danny Phantom were one in the same. The first were Danny's two best friends Sam and Tucker, who were both present when Danny's accident took place.
After that was Danny's sister Jazz, who found out on her own and covered for her brother from the shadows until a trip into the future brought out a darker side of Danny that forced her forward to help her brother. Then there was Vlad Masters, Danny's archrival and fellow half ghost and Dani Phantom, Danny's twelve year old female clone.
As he thought about this, Danny ran a hand through his raven locks, which were in dire need of a haircut he didn't have time for. Then again, between school, family, friends and random ghost attacks, the half ghost considered himself lucky if he got time to sleep…
Well, at least this trip can be a sort of vacation for me, I guess. Danny thought to himself. No ghosts for a whole week!
"Anyways, do you think Tucker's doing okay?" he asked Sam, resting his chin on the back of the seat that separated them.
"With Valerie as his partner?" Sam raised an eyebrow at him. "They'll be sending him back home in an ashtray, Danny."
"Valerie's not that bad." Danny defended his other friend.
Well, friend when he was in his human form, at any rate. Valerie was one of Phantom's most dangerous adversaries, with an arsenal of weapons designed with the sole intent of capturing or destroying ghosts, and the superb physical capabilities only a ninth degree black belt could possess.
"Not to Fenton, maybe." Sam rolled her eyes, knowing all too well what Danny was thinking about. "She was already laying down the 'ground rules' with Tucker when we left. Rules there's no chance he'll ever be able to follow by the way…"
Danny laughed slightly at that, not even bothering to deny that Tucker was less… ethical then most girls were comfortable with. That combined with Valerie's quick temper, impressive combat skills and weapons meant that the fate Sam predicted for the Tech geek was a very likely possibility.
"Still," Danny shook his head, amusement still written on his face. "it was pretty brave of him to volunteer to go to Vlad's castle like that. I mean, he didn't have to."
"But someone did, Danny." Sam pointed out. "You said yourself that it was weird how Vlad suddenly funded a trip like that, and there was no way we were gonna let you within five miles of that psychopath if we could help it."
"Hence the reason Tucker and Jazz went on the field trip to Vlad's and you come along to baby-sit me on the alternate field trip to some barren little western town in the middle of nowhere." Danny finished for her with a pointed look. Sam smiled back guiltily.
"Well, we never used those words exactly." She said, a little meekly. "But that was the general idea."
"You thought I wouldn't notice?" Danny asked, bemused.
"You never notice other things…" Sam muttered dryly.
"What?" Danny asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Nothing!" Sam smiled brightly before turning away, a clear sign that the conversation was over.
She didn't want to get into talking with her friend of nearly ten years about the long time crush she had on him, especially on a bus to the middle of nowhere. If (And this was a BIG if…) she ever said anything to Danny about her more-then-platonic feelings for him, she'd want the setting to be a little more personal then that.
"Okay, kids," Mr. Lancer said as the bus rolled to a stop. "we've reached the mining town now. Please take your things and exit from the bus single file, so we can meet up with the owner and tour guide."
"This better not get my new shoes dirty…" Star griped as she and everyone else exited the bus to the dry earth outside. Sam cringed a little at the heat, shielding her eyes from the glaring sun and moving to stand behind Dash and Kwan to further block the blazing inferno.
"I knew I should've brought my veil…" she grumbled darkly to Danny, who laughed a little at the face she was making.
"Would tanning really be such an awful fate, Sam?" he teased, also blocking the sun with his hand. Squinting off in the distance, he read the ancient sign in front of them. "Harmony, huh?"
"Talk about cheesy…" Sam said dryly, rolling her eyes.
"Could be worse." Danny reminded her, sounding bemused. The goth grinned back.
"Ah, yes." she giggled. "How could I forget… Inviso-Bill."
Danny glared at her sourly, not improving her sudden giggle fit.
"Attention, please!" Mr. Lancer shouted into a megaphone to silence the teens. "We need you to form two single file lines, one for the boys and one for the girls." Alarmed, Danny and Sam exchanged curious glances at that.
"Why?" Danny asked loudly, frowning at the teacher.
"Well, we can't have you all changing in the same place now, can we?" an older man decked out like a sheriff asked as he came up to stand beside Mr. Lancer looking amused at the reaction. Next to him was a red-headed girl around their age, dressed in a baby blue gown with white undercoats. What drew Danny's attention, though, was the way Sam gasped loudly when she saw them.
"Changing?" Paulina repeated, "Changing into what?"
"Harmony is a full time cosplay joint." the girl replied, crossing her arms and rolling her eyes impatiently as she announced this in a droll tone. "Meaning clothes, cell phones and electronics get checked here and picked up when you leave. Everything here is exactly like it was in the late eighteen hundreds, so no modern tech whatsoever."
"It helps with the learning experience if you undergo first hand what life was like for the people who lived on these lands." the 'sheriff' continued with a warm smile, apparently oblivious to the moaning this new information earned from the kids.
"No cell phones?" Star repeated, looking as if someone had just died right in front of her.
"No video games?" Dash asked, scowling angrily.
"No Abyss Rhodamine Sleeveless Half-Tops?" Paulina wailed, clutching at her face in sheer agony.
"Jeeze…" Danny said, blinking a few times. "Talk about being over dramatic, right Sam?"
"I don't believe it!" Sam gasped, apparently not even hearing Danny as she pushed her way to the front of the crowd.
"…On second thought, never mind."
"Jane?" Sam said, staring at the girl with wide eyed before turning to the man next to her. "Uncle Henry?" The two looked confused for a second before recognition lit in the girl's eyes.
"Sam?" Jane said, sounding faintly surprised. "What are you doing here?"
"I could ask you the same thing…" Sam said wryly as she shook her head. "You guys never said that this was the town you worked in!"
"You never asked now, didja, Sam?" Henry reminded the girl with a warm laugh as he gave her a one-arm hug.
"Wait," Danny said as he joined his best friend, "You guys know each other?" Realizing what Sam had just said, the ghost boy's eyes widened on the man in the sheriff garb. "UNCLE Henry? You mean—!"
"We're related?" Sam flashed her friend a grin. "Yep. They're not really my cousin and uncle, though, but the whole thing's too complicated, so we just simplify it a little…"
"Who's this?" Jane asked Sam as her eyes flicked over Danny, a slight smile touching her face.
"My friend Danny." Sam answered. "We've known each other since first grade."
"Nice to meet you." Danny said, holding out his hand to shake with Jane. "I'm—!"
"—Not important!" Dash finished for him, shoving the smaller boy out of the way to loom over Jane with a flirty smile. "So, I bet a girl like you really likes the city guys, huh?"
"Dash!" Sam snapped, scowling at the football player.
"Actually," Jane said as if Sam hadn't spoken. "I do like the city guys…" Sam gaped openly at Jane as she stepped forward, putting her gloved hand against Dash's cheek, not noticing the way her gothic cousin's face darkening into an ugly scowl of disgust.
"Oh, I don't believe-!" Sam started, but then stopped short as Jane suddenly slapped Dash as hard as she could.
"…But I can't say I'm that fond of the city jerks." Jane finished before heading over to Danny, who looked faintly surprised at Jane's actions. Henry on the other hand, merely sighed and looked heavenward in exasperation. "You were saying?" Blinking, Danny laughed warmly and ran a hand through his hair before giving Jane a teasing smile.
"Is that how you handle all the quarterbacks you talk to?" He asked.
"Only the ones I really don't like." Jane responded with a secretive smile.
"Jane…" Henry warned, giving his daughter a pointed look, which she beamed broadly at.
"Oh yeah." Danny laughed as he watched the interaction. "You're related to Sam, alright." As Sam looked between her laughing cousin and best friend, she couldn't stop the gnawing jealousy in the pit of her stomach, and found herself stepping forward and clearing her throat.
"So!" She said loudly, grinning widely. "We've gotta change, right?"
"That's right." Henry confirmed, glancing at Sam curiously. "Boys follow me, girls go with Jane. We already have outfits for you guys to pick from in almost every size, so just write down your measurements and give us the papers and we'll give you your outfits. If you don't know them, we've got measuring tape in the changing rooms. Any questions?"
"When do we eat?" Kwan asked.
"We do eat here, right?" Star asked doubtfully, glancing at the desert around them.
"Of course." Henry laughed, "Dinner's in the Saloon at seven. You'll be touring until then. Any more questions? No? In that case, if you'll just follow me…"
Sam watched Danny until he entered the small building the boys were changing in before she followed her cousin to where the girls were supposed to be going. As she passed the sign to enter the town, Sam felt a sharp cold, chill run through her body, like a bad premonition. Shaking it off, she picked up her pace a little more.
What am I thinking? She wondered. It's just nerves… I'm sure everything gonna be okay… I mean, what could happen in a town that miles away from any ghosts…?
That was the only response Danny could think of as he gaped at himself in the antique full-lengthed mirror in front of him, his boots clunking heavily as he turned this way and that to examine himself.
Ironically enough, the outfit was all black and white. A white shirt buttoned underneath a black vest, coupled with a pair of faded black jeans. A black cowboy hat was hanging over his back by a white cord with black beads since Danny didn't like the feel of it on his head, and black boots without spurs completed the boy's western transformation. Surprisingly, everything fit perfectly, as if it was made for Danny specifically. Even the boots were just the right size for him.
Remembering how Henry had mentioned that these clothes had been worn in the old days by men who lived and worked on building this land, Danny went over to the tag that had been attached to the bag the outfit had been in, which had the measurements and initials of the original owner.
Scanning the tag, Danny found his suspicions confirmed; the measurements of the outfit were exactly the same as his. What really shook him up, though, were the three letters in the initials box.
Creepy… Danny thought, making a face as he released the tag, considering that his full name was Daniel Jonathan Fenton. Maybe Sam playing some kind of trick on me, trying to spook me out… her family works here, after all. Danny knew that his two best friends (And Jazz) were the only people in school who knew his full name.
He doubted that, though. Sam wasn't like Tucker, she wouldn't go out of her way to pull elaborate pranks like this…
Besides, she didn't even know her family worked here until just now. It was just a coincidence was all, it had to be.
Sighing, Danny left the room, clumsily at first being unused to the weight of his new footwear, but he quickly adapted to the point where someone had to strain to hear his footfall. Shaking off a strange feeling of déjà vu, Danny joined Mr. Lancer and Henry, who both glanced up as Danny entered, their eyes widening in shock.
"Well, kid," Henry laughed, shaking his head. "gotta say, I'm impressed. Most kids your age don't get how to wear this kind of outfit on their first time in them."
"What's so hard about it?" Danny asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Never mind." Henry chuckled. "You're the first one done, though,"
"Goody…" Danny said dryly, crossing his arms. Henry frowned at him for a moment, studying the boy. For some reason, he couldn't shake the feeling that he'd seen him somewhere before…
He must've been there last time I went to visit Pamela. Henry decided, turning away to finish putting away the possessions the teens had brought with them.
"Now Danny." he heard Mr. Lancer lecture the boy with a rather severe frown. "I trust there won't be any more of your famous 'accidents' during this trip? Most of these artifacts date back as far as the late 1800s, and almost all of them are irreplaceable historical artifacts."
"Accidents?" Henry repeated when he turned back to the two, raising an eyebrow skeptically at the now blushing boy.
"That's right." Mr. Lancer said dryly, giving Danny a pointed glare. "Danny here is quite accident-prone. He's committed every crime in the book from defacing school property to false fire alarms." Danny blushed vividly at the subtle accusation, shifting uncomfortably from foot to foot as he studied the toes of his cowboy boots. Feeling a little sorry for the boy, Henry cleared his throat loudly.
"Well, everything here is fully insured." he said to the teacher. "We've had plenty of kids break stuff before, so we're used to making repairs."
"Be that as it may, Mr. Viper," Mr. Lancer sighed. "it's a fate I'd much rather avoid." Shaking his head, Henry chucked before his eyes widened slightly.
"Oh, I almost forgot!" He said, turning back to Danny and grabbing a spare hat that was sitting upside down on the counter. Holding it out to the boy, he grinned as her answered his questioning look. "It gives you a job to do while you're in Harmony. There's at least two people for each job, and your job determines who your roommate is. It's completely luck of the draw, so no complaints and no trading. Get it?"
"Got it." Danny sighed, reaching into the hat. Taking a slip, he withdrew it and opened it, blinking at his 'job.' "Gunslinger?"
"Really?" Henry said, raising an eyebrow as he took the slip himself to read it. "Well, that's interesting. There's only two gunslingers in town at a time, and I've never had the first kid out draw one…"
"You're not really going to give my students weapons, are you?" Mr. Lancer asked with a disapproving frown. "Mr. Viper-!"
"Relax, Lancer." Henry laughed warmly. "They're fake guns with fake bullets that have blood pellets in the tips. Other then that though, they're complete replicas of the guns used in the 1800s, meaning that they're more inaccurate then guns today, so the chances of the kids actually hitting each other with 'em are pretty slim."
Opening a box under the counter, Henry dug around a bit to look for something in Danny's size before he withdrew a black leather holster with a silver oval shaped buckle, handing it to the teen.
Studying the design on the buckle, Danny's eyes widened slightly when he saw the initials DF carved into the center, flipping the tag to read the initials DJF yet again. The boy made a face.
Figures. He thought dryly as he studied the buckle again. His eyes narrowed slightly when he noticed that the 'F' on the belt was stylized the exact same way his father, grandfather and great-grandfather on his dad's side of the family had designed the Fenton logo. Okay, now it's just getting creepy…
"AHHH!" Danny jumped slightly and turned at the loud scream that drew him from his thoughts.
"Who was that?" Mr. Lancer asked, alarmed.
"Mikey." Danny answered automatically.
It's a little sad that I've had to save my classmates so many times, I can tell who's who by their screams alone… Danny mused to himself.
"SNAAAAAAKE!" Mikey wailed loudly, followed by loud crashing noises. Sighing loudly, Henry started towards the room the boy was dressing in.
"I'd better take care of this…" he said wryly. Danny shook his head incredulously as he watched the man go, one thought running through his mind…
"You've gotta be kidding me!"
Jane giggled slightly at the horrified look on her cousin's face as she looked at herself in the mirror, dressed in full petticoats and frills.
"Come on, Sam." she teased. "You don't look half bad in a good, old-fashion Victorian gown." Sam glowered at the girl sullenly.
"Oh shut up." she growled, turning back to her reflection with a sigh.
Well, at least it's black… she thought grimly, pulling at the high collar of the dress that her parents would kill to get her into (In a brighter color, at any rate) for more then an hour.
"So Sam." Jane said casually. "That friend of yours, Danny? Does he have a girlfriend?"
Sam hands stopped for a second and she glanced at her cousin's reflection in the mirror.
"No." she answered honestly. "Why?"
"No reason." Jane said quickly. "It's just… well, he's kinda cute and all…" Sam frowned a little, unsure of how to respond to that. She liked Jane, she really did. But Danny…
"Actually." Sam found herself blurting out. "Danny and I have been considering going steady recently." The goth cringed as soon as the words left her mouth.
StupidstupidstupidstupidstupidSTUPID! she scolded herself soundly, wishing she could take those words back. Where's Desiree when you actually NEED her?
"Really?" Jane asked, looking faintly surprised and disappointed at the same time. "Oh, well… Congratulations, I guess. You two will look cute together."
"Thanks." Sam said, feeling guilty for lying to her cousin. Though technically, it wasn't a lie. She at least wanted to go steady with Danny… Heck anything resembling a date would've had the girl over the moon in joy, but Danny had his eyes on other girls.
Isn't that life? she thought wryly. Brushing the thought away, the girl turned back to Jane as the redhead handed her a slip of paper. Taking it, Sam raised an eyebrow at the writing on it.
"Banker's daughter?" she read off, giving her cousin a skeptical look. Jane grinned back.
"It's pretty much the cushy position." the girl explained. "You don't really have to do anything but sit around when there's a ribbon cutting ceremony and look good. As far as the dress goes, you can say you're mourning your brother's death or something." Her grin taking on a more devious edge, the girl added, "Just don't tell my dad I gave that to you, okay? We're supposed to let you pick your jobs randomly." Sam grinned back at her knowingly.
"You have my vow of silence, cuz!" she laughed, high-fiving her cousin as Paulina exited her room wearing a frilly pink and white gown, Star at her heels in a very similar dress, only in green.
"Like this dress is so the wrong shade for me!" Paulina complained loudly, smoothing out the skirt of her dress. Sam snorted disdainfully and Jane short her a wry grin.
"Well," The redhead sighed dramatically. "duty calls!" Sam chuckled and waved her cousin off as the girl approached her classmates with a brown ten gallon hat filled with slips of paper like the one she'd given Sam. Shaking her head, Sam turned to look out the window as Jane explained things to the two girls, looking back only at Paulina's shrill scream of pure rage…
"What do you mean I'm the Goth Freak's servant?"
"Sam?" Danny approached his best friend warily, unsure if he liked the evil grin the goth had on her face. "Please don't tell me they were dumb enough to stick you as the town executioner or some equally gory job…" Sam rolled her eyes at that, hitting Danny playfully across the shoulder.
"Haha." She grouched dryly, her grin growing slightly. "And no, that's not what I'm happy about… though now that you mention it, that would be a really cool job…"
"Oh?" Before Danny could say any more then that, though, a very irritated Paulina stormed over, glowering at Sam hatefully.
"Let's get one thing straight, loser!" She spat out at the goth, "If you even think about taking advantage of this whole servant thing, I'll make the rest of your pitiful high school existence the worst four years of your life!"
"Too late." Sam said dryly. Paulina merely scoffed and walked away, flipping her hair as she went. Danny stared at her retreating form for a minute in shock before he turned back to Sam.
"Do I even want to know?" he asked, only half serious with the question.
"I'll tell you later." The goth responded flippantly. "Come on, we've gotta get into the inn to start the tour of the town. Danny laughed as Sam dragged him into the old building, her skirts lifted so she could walk a little easier.
"Wow, Sam," the ghost boy teased lightly. "you're really getting into this stuff!" Sam laughed and shot her friend a playful grin.
"Yeah, well— OOF!" grunting in pain, Sam twisted around to glare back at the scowling boy she'd bumped in to.
"Watch it!" Dash barked at her, his blue eyes flashing angrily.
"Lay off, Dash." Danny frowned at the larger boy, tensing in preparation to defend his friend. "It was an accident." Dash turned to sneer right back at Danny, clearly not ready to forgive him for the embarrassment Jane had caused him just yet.
"Yeah, yeah…" the quarterback snapped. "And watch your back, Fenton! You get in my way again, and I'll show you what a real gunslinger is made of!" Danny blinked as the blonde stormed out of sight, turning to Sam with a bewildered look on his face.
"How would he know?" The half ghost asked Sam, sounding confused and a little wary. Sam just rolled her eyes in amusement.
"Ah, forget him." She said, turning back to Danny. "Let's just… just…" Danny frowned in concern as his friend paled to a shade that was whiter then half the ghost's he'd met.
"Sam?" He said, putting his hand on the girl's shoulder to steady her since she looked ready to faint (Something she'd deny vigorously later.)
"What's with her?" Paulina sneered, drawing everyone's attention to the pair. Concerned, Danny looked over to see what had captured his friend's attention.
And went deathly still when he realized what it was.
Somewhere in the back of his mind, he heard someone gasp as the rest of the class realized what the two of them were staring at, but he was too shell-shocked to fully acknowledge it, his eyes fixed on the framed black and white picture on the wall.
"Ohmigosh…!" Star whispered, looking from the photo to Danny and back again. "That's… Fenton, that's…" Since the popular girl was speechless for once in her life, it was up to Sam to finish her statement for her.
"Danny…" Sam croaked out in a stunned tone. "that's you." Danny didn't respond except to blinked in shock a few time before tearing his eyes off a face that was the mirror image of his own to glance at the nameplate below the picture, his face going even paler when her saw it.Daniel 'Fast-Shootin'' Fenton
WoM- I already know I'm gonna get yelled at by some of you people for posting this with all my other stories still unfinished and such… But I couldn't help myself ;