With the threat of ghostly doom out of the picture and his parents accepting him for who he is, Danny Fenton is ready for a much less complicated life. But with the threat of Vlad Plasmius still hanging over her head, Danielle returns to the now safe haven of Amity Park and her progenitor's care. Now Danny must balance his new family relationships, schoolwork, his budding relationship with Sam, and the occasional ghost hunt, all while bringing his "cousin" into his life. And deep in the depths of Clockwork's vast lair, an ominous cracking is heard.

Prolog – Author Stuff

Disclaimer – I am not Butch Hartman, nor am I associated with Nick Studios. If I were, this show's production would not be discontinued after a disappointingly short three seasons. Alas, it is out of my hands. All I can do is borrow their characters to write these stories.

Hey, Readers! I'm HiddenAuthor, and I'm BACK, BABY! Since I had such a blast writing my first fanfic, "Complications," (shameless plug :P ) I decided to stay on here at So, this is my second fanfic, "Exceptions." Same policy for reviews, of course. I really want to hear from everyone. I'm still trying to improve, but I can't do that without advice and criticism. Please don't sugarcoat, I can take it. If you don't like or understand something, let me know. I'll thank you for it. I haven't yelled at a reviewer yet. (Well, I haven't yelled in anger.) If you like the story, you can say that, too. It's not like I don't want good reviews! XD

Here's hoping that everyone who liked "Complications" found this. It literally wouldn't be here without your support. Once again, I promise that in opposition to my greatest pet peeve, this story WILL be finished, no matter what.

Also, since I did a short time skip, and promised an answer, Danny and Sam had Italian for their first date. Don't feel left out, though. They needed a private moment, but you WILL be in on their next date.

Later Much! (Or at least until I fall off page 1)


Chapter 1 – Mornings

'Mom? Dad? There's something I want to tell you.'

Jack and Maddie Fenton came over to their happy, terrified son and the three sat down on the couch. Jazz nervously stepped behind them, ready to back her brother up if anything went wrong. Stalling for one last precious second, Danny turned to his parents.

'I'm Phantom.' The older hunters stared at their son for a moment, then both broke out in huge laughs.

'Danny,' Maddie managed to gasp. 'You shouldn't pull pranks like that. Your father and I thought you had something really serious to talk about. And then…' His mother dissolved into another round of laughter. Danny watched, slightly annoyed.

'Yeah, son!' Jack continued. 'Everyone knows humans can't have ghost powers! It's impossible! Besides, all of our stuff would have-' Both parents stopped laughing.

'All your stuff would have said I was a ghost?' Danny finished quietly. Not missing a beat, Maddie quietly pulled out a Fenton Finder and pointed it at her son.

'You'd have to be a complete idiot not to notice the ghost directly ahead.' A mechanical lady's voice intoned out of the speaker. Maddie dropped the device. Danny backed up off the couch and silently changed into his ghostly alter-ego. Looking nervously at his staring parents, Danny started floating up to the ceiling.

'I'll be back from my date with Sam in a few hours. We can talk when I get back, if you're ready.' The young ghost quickly floated up through the ceiling and took off into the night. There'd be a long talk with his parents later tonight.


Groggily, Danny thrashed around to untangle himself from his covers and reached over to hit his alarm. He'd had the weirdest dream. He'd told his parents his secret, and-

No longer even remotely sleepy, Danny shot out of bed, wide-eyed. He had told them! After his date, he'd flown back home to wait for them in his room. He must have fallen asleep! Shaking slightly, Danny walked over to his dresser and pulled out some clean clothes. Briefly turning invisible, he phased his head through the door and checked the hallway outside his room. Once he knew that the coast was clear, he ran out and into the bathroom, quickly locking the door behind him. Loud knocking interrupted his morning shower.

"Danny, it's Jazz. Mom and Dad are downstairs in the kitchen waiting for you." Hearing the gasp through the door, her voice immediately became much less serious and more sympathetic. "Don't worry so much, Danny. They've always accepted you before. And this time, it happened the way you wanted it to. Vlad's out of the picture, at least for now. And they accepted and trusted Phantom without any bias in your favor. It was time to tell them. I promise they still love you, Danny."

Danny listened as his sister's footsteps receded down the hallway. He knew she'd back him up, and Sam and Tucker were just a phone call away. Still, this was a really big deal. He'd faced hunters, kings, princes, knights, dragons, and boxes. But he was definitely more afraid of facing his parents. Sighing, Danny turned off the water and toweled off, ready to face the music.

His parents were sitting together at the kitchen table, staring down at their coffee. Neither looked like they had slept much. On the back counter were what looked like the broken parts of just about every ghost weapon they'd used on Danny. Hearing him come down, both of them briefly looked up, but then quickly returned their eyes to their mugs of obviously cold java. Jazz was sitting out in the living room, listening in case Danny needed her, and puzzling over the many reasons her parents might have wanted to break stuff last night. Back in the kitchen, Danny quickly grabbed some orange juice and sat down. After a moment of silence, his mother looked up and turned toward her son, tears in her stricken eyes.

"Danny, I…" Maddie gulped, and looked back down. "We are so sorry. All this time we were hunting you. We did all of those horrible things to you. How couldn't we notice? You must think we're terrible parents." Jack didn't say a word; he just kept looking at his mug.

Danny smiled at his mother, glad that she apparently didn't hate him. "Mom, it's okay. You guys were doing your job. Besides, like you said last week, you couldn't afford not to hunt me until you were sure I was good." Jack looked up from the table at this, confused.

"But son, you could have just told us. We love you, Danny. No matter what you are. Why didn't you trust us?" Danny frowned in thought.

"I always trusted you. You just didn't trust me yet. I didn't want you to trust Phantom just because I'm your son. I wanted you to trust me because of what I've done, because I'm good. That couldn't happen unless you didn't know." Jack nodded for a moment and took a sip of coffee. A moment later, he was spitting the cold sludge out into the sink and grabbing a fresh refill. Jazz chuckled from the living room, and the tension slowly eased out of the house. Maddie emptied her own mug out, then tentatively asked the next question.

"So who knows besides us?" Danny paused, and started ticking off people on his fingers.

"Sam and Tucker were there when it happened, Jazz found out on her own, and most of the ghosts know." Jack put down his mug and looked back at Danny.

"When what happened, Danny? How'd this happen?" Danny opened his mouth, but Maddie spoke up before he could start explaining.

"It was that accident with the portal, wasn't it?" Danny just nodded. Maddie sat back, looking confused. "I don't understand it. After we found out about that, we tested you for contamination. You showed trace levels of ectoplasm, but everything indicated it was inert, and would dissipate over time. What did we miss?" Her son scratched the back of his neck, and continued his story.

"After the accident, things went back to normal for about two weeks. Then, I started dropping stuff. I couldn't figure out what was wrong, but I didn't figure out the connection for a long time. A few days after school started, I was checking out one of my new T-shirts in the mirror, and my head disappeared. As far as I can remember, I got so scared I passed out. When I woke up, I looked back at the mirror, thinking it was a dream. My head was back, but my hair and eyes were a different color. I jumped away from the mirror, and just…didn't come down. After that I just sort of pieced things together on my own." Danny looked towards his audience, trying to judge their reactions. His parents seemed torn between irritation and amusement. Finally, Maddie spoke up again.

"Still, honey, you could have told us. We could have helped you. We still can if you want." Jack nodded, somehow managing to look nervous and enthusiastic at the same time.

"We can't destroy your ghost half, but if you want to be normal again, we can take it out of you." At this, Danny's eyes widened and he sat up straight.

"No! Don't! Even if you think it would help, you can't do that. Something could go very wrong. Trust me!" Taken aback by their son's reaction, they only nodded mutely. Danny sighed. "Look, I've been split apart three times already. Two of those times, things turned out okay. Sort of. But the other time, it didn't. I'd really like to talk about it," Danny said, noting his parents' looks, "but we should wait a while. You guys have a lot to get used to already." Both older Fentons nodded at this. They'd both been so shocked that they hadn't been able to sleep all night. Danny continued, looking slightly uncomfortable.

"Besides, the whole ghost thing is a part of me now. I…like to be this way." Danny's eyes lost the nervous edge and hardened with determination. "And as long as I stay like this, ghosts can't attack here anymore. Even if I wanted to go back, I wouldn't. The people here deserve to be safe." Both of his parents looked a little taken aback by this, but at the same time, they seemed very proud. Jack smiled, but then cleared his throat and asked his first question.

"About that, Danny. We saw that blue ghost, and heard what he said about ghosts not being allowed to come here. Why can't ghosts come here?" Danny smiled.

"I've lived here a whole year since the accident. So, this town is mine. At least, as far as ghosts are concerned." He hastily amended, seeing the look on his parents' faces. "As long as I'm here, other ghosts can't show up uninvited. We're all safe now." Finally, with a grin, Jack asked the one question Danny had hoped he'd ask, the one that would prove he really did accept him.

"So Danny, what kind of cool powers do you have?" Grinning back, Danny phased backwards through his chair and stood up.

"Why don't I show you?" Jack stared at the chair for a second, then laughed.

"Sure, son. Should we use the lab?" Without even waiting for an answer, Jack started walking over to the doors, his face lit up with a look that showed he felt like Christmas had come early. Finally joining in the conversation, Jazz called out from the living room.

"Danny, why don't you show them in your room?" Jack froze mid-step and he and Maddie looked at each other in confusion.

"Jazz, the lab would be much safer." But Danny was grinning.

"I think that's a good idea. Come on!" With that, Danny vanished. Shocked, Jack reached over to where his son was standing and waved his hand through the air. Jazz laughed from the living room.

"Teleportation. Definitely a cool power."

Smiling bemusedly, Maddie stood up and took her husband's hand. Together, the two flustered parents climbed the stairs and went to Danny's room. Once inside, they turned to find their son standing beside the closet doors. Grinning wickedly, Danny pushed them apart, showing a second door at the back. The Fentons' eyes stared back and forth from the door, to their son, and back to the door. Finally, Maddie gulped and turned back to her son.

"Umm, Danny. What's that?" Danny slowly reached over and pushed the door open, putting on a theatrical 'scary face.'

"Tremble puny humans, for you are about to enter into my ghostly lair. Home of many ups and downs. Beware!" Laughing at his own joke, Danny walked inside, his parents right behind him, staring around at the maze of stone balconies and hundreds upon hundreds of stairs.

"Danny, you-"

"Yes, I made it." Maddie blinked.

"How did you know what I was going to ask?" Danny just snorted, leading his family deeper into his lair.

"Everyone does. What, am I not creative enough? I mean sure, this wasn't really my idea, I got it off of some painting, but I made it." Maddie stopped, eyes wide.

"So, that 'project' that Vlad mentioned, the Escher thing…" Danny tensed, not quite ready to drop that particular bomb. "That was just a cover you made up to research how to build this!" The young ghost froze for a second, ready to calm his parents. Suddenly realizing it wasn't necessary, he closed his mouth and nodded.

"Uh…Yep. You figured me out. Good job, mom. Anyway, um, we're here." The three stopped in a large clearing, about the size of a tennis court. Pillars at the corners curved up and met to form giant arches in the center, creating the illusion of a dome. Along the edge, a low barrier ran between the pillars, open only where a stairway started. Jack and Maddie looked around.

"Why here?" Danny shrugged.

"Why not? I don't think I can hurt anything in here by accident. And even if I did, I could just remake whatever I broke." Jack and Maddie looked around.

"Well, it's kind of dark…" Maddie said doubtfully. With a second shrug, Danny walked over to the edge, where he encountered a gap in the barrier that led to a winding path. His parents in tow, Danny walked along the path, which looped around in an impossible way until it reconnected underneath the floor of the room they were just in, upside down. The area in which they now found themselves seemed identical to the last. However, moonlight filtered in from overhead on this side of the two-way floor, giving an even lighting. Both parents looked a little disoriented.

"Err, sweetie, which way is up?" Danny laughed.

"Depends on where you are. I just figured when I made this place: If you can make one, why not two? Sharing a floor made it easier." After taking another moment to re-orient themselves, Jack and Maddie stepped back.

"Alright, son. Go ahead." Looking slightly unsure, Danny quickly changed into his ghost form. Both parents looked at him questioningly.

"Why do you change like that? You seem to be able to use your powers as a human." Danny frowned.

"Yeah, I guess. But when I'm like that, they're a lot harder to use. Ghost hunting is way easier like this." Looking over at his parents, Danny quirked an eyebrow. "So what did you want to see, anyway?" His parents shrugged.

"We don't know. Just show us everything." Nodding, Danny split in two.

"That's duplication." He said, grinning at the look on his parent's faces. Quickly, the first Danny shot a charged up ecto-beam at the second Danny, who formed a shield. The two Danny's then merged back together. "I can do ghost rays and ghost shields, too. I can, um, fly…" Danny said. "But you knew that. My fastest time is two hundred miles an hour, but I think I might be able to go faster than that. I can take over peoples' bodies, but don't like to. I can turn invisible and intangible, and detect ghosts." Danny quickly disappeared and reappeared. "And I have a killer scream." Turning away from his parents, Danny let out a ghostly wail. The entire area shook, and one of the pillars cracked slightly. Panting with exertion, Danny sank to the floor, still in ghost form.

"Honey, are you okay?" Maddie went over and felt her son's forhead. Jack just grinned.

"Man that was cool! Can you do anything else?" Danny shrugged.

"I don't know. I only started teleporting last week. I have no idea what I'll be doing next week." Glancing at the cracked pillar, Danny gave the damaged stonework a negligent wave of the hand. The cracks mended instantly. "Though I have it from some…uh…pretty reliable sources that I'll be able to turn back and forth from this weird green goop, shoot energy out of my eyes, shoot out some sticky green stuff that can trap ghosts and people, make perfect disguises of other people, and make portals to the ghost zone whenever I want." Danny paused for a second, then continued. "I think I'm tougher as a ghost, too. I don't get hurt as easily, I heal faster, and I'm pretty sure I'm stronger too." Maddie nodded.

"Jack and I have been wondering about that. That time when we were interviewed, we heard loud noises from upstairs. Tucker said you were in your room lifting weights, so we always thought that's what was going on." Maddie nodded pointedly at the outline of Danny's jumpsuit, which had filled out a bit in the last year. Danny just nodded, blushing slightly and rubbing his neck.

"Uhh, yeah. Ghost hunting is a pretty good workout, I guess. It doesn't really show as much without the skintight jumpsuit, so I haven't had much trouble hiding at school." Jack raised an eyebrow.

"But why hide it? You could make that Baxter kid back off." Danny shot him a look. "What? All this time you've been getting in trouble with him and you think nobody called?" The ghost boy just shook his head.

"I don't want people asking questions, and I don't want extra attention. That would make it harder to get away and fight the ghosts. Besides, it's not like Dash can really hurt me." Even though he wasn't happy, Jack was satisfied by the answer, and nodded. "Besides," Danny said with a grin, "I already punched him in the nose yesterday. I had that big fight with Plasmius, so I just decided to go for it." Jack grinned back. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, Maddie grabbed her son's hand.

"Look, this has been very informative, Danny, and I'd like to study this place later if I can. I mean, this could help me uncover the truth about the nature of a ghost's lair, and what dimension its actually in. But let's get out of here. Your father and I were so nervous about talking with you this morning that we haven't eaten anything, and I'm starving." Nodding agreement, Danny changed back and led his parents to the human door and back into his room, where Jazz was sitting on his bed.

"There you guys are! Took you long enough, Danny; I've been sitting here for over an hour! I mean, it's not like I could just go in there and look for you." Getting up from the bed, Jazz walked over and hugged her parents. "You guys can be pretty embarrassing sometimes, but I'm glad Danny could finally tell you. I'm proud of how you reacted, even if you did spend all of Friday night staring at the ceiling." Chuckling, Jazz headed back downstairs, her family right behind her.

"Hmm." Maddie said, smiling. "You know, I don't really feel like cooking. Besides, the city is safe, Danny trusts us again, and it's a beautiful day. Let's go out for breakfast." Grinning, all four Fentons ran out to the RV and tore off for the Nasty Burger. They hurried in and made it just in time to order the breakfast specials.

Sitting at a back table with a tray full of eggs, sausage, bacon, and pancakes, Danny and his family settled down for a quiet family breakfast. They'd obviously picked a good time, because the eatery was completely empty. Probably the whole 'too early for lunch, too late for breakfast' thing.

"So, since we all have the day off, and Danny deserves a vacation for all his hard work, what should we do next?" Maddie asked, looking around the table. Jack quickly shot his hand in the air.

"Hunt Ghosts! Let's Hunt Ghosts!" Maddie shot her husband an exasperated look.

"Remember dear? The ghosts are gone now. Besides, this is supposed to be a vacation." Jack's face fell. Seeing this, Danny smiled and reached his hand across the table to grab his wrist. His father's attention caught, Danny released him and snuck some extra bacon off his tray.

"Don't worry, dad. Every ghost in the ghost zone can still come here until I personally throw them out. You'll still get the chance to kick some ghost butt." Smiling in relief, Jack leaned forward in his seat and started attacking his syrup-soaked pancakes with glee. Deliberately avoiding the sight, Jazz turned to her mother with another idea.

"How about a trip to the theme park? That's always fun. We can invite Sam and Tucker, too." Her mother brightened at the idea.

"Great idea, honey! How about it, Danny?" Grinning, Danny nodded. A few moments later, the happy family breakfast was interrupted by someone loudly clearing their throat.

"Excuse me. Umm…room for one more?" Smiling, Danny turned to face the newcomer and froze in shock, a piece of egg falling from the corner of his mouth.