"Well, well, well."
The Ghost King looked down on me with a wide smirk, showing teeth. I couldn't help the shiver that went up my spine from the look on his face, still struggling with the ropes holding my wrists behind my back. "A mere human causing so much trouble …"
"He called himself Daniel Fenton," Kobal informed her master as I shot a horrified glare at the traitor.
"His name is not worthy of my attention!" the Ghost King boomed. "Put him with the other rebels for now. We'll see what's to be done with him later."
My arms were grabbed roughly by the guards and I was dragged away …
Well, I suppose I should really start at the beginning, shouldn't I?
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. Thank you, Butch, for letting me borrow your characters.
Notes: Let's just say this: Jack bunnied me badly with one throwaway line in 'Maternal Instincts'. I hope you all enjoy.
Chapter 1: Splitting Images
It was a pretty normal day, as normal goes for me, Danny Fenton – part-time ghost, full-time teenager. It was Saturday, which is always the best day of the week. I was supposed to be meeting up with Sam and Tuck at the arcade on 23rd street – but I'd overslept. Granted, there was a reason – no really, I swear! Technus (2.0) had tried to take over our mainframe overnight, which meant that I woke up at 2 AM breathing mist out of my mouth with a bad case of the shivers.
When I went to go find out what the trouble was, Technus had already turned the whole lab against me. Ecto-guns blasted at me from everywhere, destroying everything except, fortunately, me. I don't have a real talent for overshadowing hardware, but that's what I did, and after Technus almost trapped me in my parents' own mainframe, I finally managed to eject him from the computers and throw him back into the Ghost Zone.
Oh, did I mention the Portal went nuts during our battle and I spent another hour capturing the three ghost animals that had made their escapes?
Anyway, I was running late. I pulled on a shirt, tousled my hair into some semblance of neatness, and shot downstairs for some breakfast. Mom was working on yet another Fenton Invention at the table. I hurriedly jerked down some cereal from the cabinet.
"Going somewhere, honey?" Mom asked.
"Meeting Sam and Tucker at the arcade," I answered. "Running late, gotta eat and run." I poured some milk, ignoring the screaming turkey at the back of the fridge, and started to wolf down breakfast.
"Well, your father wanted to talk to you," Mom continued. "The lab's a mess again, and you know your chores come first."
"Oh, come on!" I complained, swallowing down a mouthful of Ghosty-O's hard. "My friends are already gonna kill me!"
"Honey," Mom said in that 'mom voice' that no kid ever wants to hear. I winced. "At least explain to him that you'll do your chores when you come back. Because you will, right?"
"Of course," I exclaimed, not about to argue. I drained the milk from the bottom of the bowl, washed it down with some orange juice, and started for the basement stairs. "I'll talk to him. I'm sorry …"
What was really annoying was that I had just cleaned the lab yesterday, but thanks to Technus, it was totally trashed again. Unfortunately, with my parents, well. You'll see.
"Danny! Some ghost trashed the lab last night!" Dad shouted as soon as I came into the lab. "Look at this mess!"
I'd seen it last night, but I tried to look surprised. "Woah, what a mess," I said lamely.
"I'll bet it was that ghost kid! When I get my hands on him I'll—"
I laughed nervously, interrupting. "I know it's my job to clean the lab, Dad, but I promised Tucker and Sam I'd meet up with them. Can I please do it when I come back?" Besides, I just cleaned it yesterday!
My dad didn't look happy about it. "Son, you know what happens when you shirk your chores …"
"But the house didn't blow up!" I pointed out hastily. "Besides, it's not like I'm trying to put it off until next month! I'll clean it up this afternoon, I promise!"
Dad looked back down at whatever he was tinkering with. "Look at this, the motherboard's fried …"
"Pleeeeeeease?" I pleaded.
"Oh, all right," my dad finally agreed. "But you get right on this the instant you walk in the house!"
"Right," I agreed, relieved. "I'll be back by 3!" I started back up the stairs.
"Eureka!" Dad shouted behind me, and there was a crackling sound. "Maddie! Come look at this!"
Have you ever gotten that bad feeling? You know, when you realize something really awful is about to happen and it's already too late to stop it? That's what I felt just then.
"Dad!" I ran back into the lab. Dad was standing back from the main computer – the one that opened the Ghost Portal – with an amazed expression.
And suddenly I felt a chill.
A puff of mist came from my mouth and I groaned (purely internally). "No, no no no!"
"Hahaha! Ghost child, you thought you had rid me from this wonderful piece of hardware! But I, Technus 2.0, planted myself as a virus!" The motherboard Dad had been working on began to glow and floated upwards.
"Ghost kid! Where?" Dad cried, diving for an ecto-gun. "GHOST!"
Well, I ran like the scared kid I was supposed to be.
Of course, the plan was to go upstairs and go ghost, but I bumped into Mom on the way. "Danny!" She shoved a gun into my hands. You've gotta remember, I'm a Fenton; I'm supposed to be dealing with ghost problems, not running away from them. "Let's get that ghost!" She grabbed my sleeve and hauled me down after her.
"Mom, no!" I protested, but the next thing I knew we were back in the lab. Mom and Dad had opened fire, and Technus was laughing.
"Your guns are no match for … MORE guns!" Technus cried, turning every gun in the basement on my parents and me.
Well, you can imagine how I reacted. I panicked. Mom and Dad nodded to each other and started blasting away at their own equipment, but I fired at the motherboard Technus was inhabiting. "I don't think so!"
But I'm a much better match for Technus as a ghost than as a kid. Technus snapped free a whole bunch of the wires in the computer and wrapped them around me, pinning my arms to my sides and electrocuting me in the process. "Aaaah!"
I always thought that after getting shocked in the Fenton Portal, getting electrocuted would never hurt as badly as it had then. But I was wrong; it hurt worse now.
"I wonder what this does?" Technus mused. I panted for breath, trying to see what Technus was playing with now. But whatever it was, it hit me in the face before I could react.
I thought I'd been split in two. Both my parents shouted my name somewhere to the left, but I could barely hear them. There was blasting, and then …
Technus made an enraged sound, but it was distant. There was roaring in my ears, and I felt like I was really dizzy. Suddenly, I felt as if a hook had been put in my stomach and was yanking me forward, even though I hadn't moved.
Then I fell to the ground, coughing and blinking hard. I couldn't see. I couldn't see! Was I blind? Was I deaf, too? It was completely, eerily silent – that kind of silence that's so quiet it feels loud, somehow. I staggered to my feet, still feeling dizzy.
"Mom? Dad?" I could hear my own voice. Was that a good sign? But I couldn't hear my parents or Technus, and I still couldn't see a thing.
"… Ghost child?" came a meek voice.
"Gah!" It was Technus! I fired blindly in a fit of panic, and the ray of light seared my eyes, briefly lighting up the pitch blackness. I got an impression of scorched walls and destruction before the blackness closed in again. Technus must have destroyed the lab and blown out the power.
Well, at least I wasn't blind …
"What did you do, Technus?" I shouted angrily, pretending I could see perfectly fine. "Where are my parents?"
There was a flicker of green glow, and my eyes fixated on it. It grew, and soon it was Technus, looking completely confused. "I did nothing to your parents, ghost child! Something happened to me before I could destroy them," he said defiantly.
"Then where are they?" I demanded, aiming my ecto-gun at him.
"How am I supposed to know?" Technus answered, shrugging.
I bared my teeth, furious, determined to beat the answer out of him. Without my parents around, at least I could do that much. "Going ghost!"
It was like I'd reached for something that wasn't there. There wasn't even a halo around my waist. Trying not to panic, I tried again. "Going GHOST!" But again, nothing happened. Why can't I go ghost?
What I didn't know at the time was, when Technus fired whatever it was he'd fired at me that made me feel like I'd been split in two, I had been split in two.
And wherever my parents had gone, my ghost half had gone there with them.
Before I could get my bearings, Technus fired whatever it was he had at me. I felt like I was being split in two …
And the next thing I knew, I was looking at my human half, still hanging helplessly in the wires Technus had grabbed me with. I looked down at myself; I was in my ghost form, wearing the black hazmat suit and white gloves.
Oh no! OH NO! Am I dead? What just happened?
"Danny!" "Ghost kid!"
I saw my parents suddenly split their firepower. Dad fired at me, of course; I dodged wildly. But Mom fired at Technus.
Something seemed to whine, then scream in my ears. My parents both covered their ears with a cry of pain, and I couldn't help doing the same thing. I tried to see what was happening, looking back at Technus and my human half.
My human half lifted his head, and I felt a surge of hope. Okay, I wasn't dead! I'd just been split apart. But how had that happened? I swooped to remerge with my body …
But I was too slow. Technus cried out, and I saw him slowly getting dragged out the mainframe. What happened next seemed to be in slow-motion; I flew as fast as I could, but it wasn't fast enough. Technus and my human half both looked like they were being pulled through a thin, invisible tube …
And then they were gone.
The screaming sound stopped. I floated in the empty space my human half had inhabited, trying to figure out what just happened.
I heard my parents groaning behind me. I whirled to face them. "Jack … what just happened …?" Mom asked. "Where's Danny?" she started to visibly panic.
"I don't know," my Dad rumbled, clutching his head. "I don't … ghost kid!" He suddenly spotted me and brought the Fenton Bazooka to bear. "What did you do with our son?"
"I didn't do anything!" I answered, my voice spiraling into a high-pitched squeak, throwing up my aims in surrender. "I swear I didn't—"
"You were overshadowing him!" My mom accused, recovering and pointing her own ecto-gun at me. "Don't lie to me, ghost boy! A mother's intuition is never wrong!"
Only it was horribly wrong, at least this time. Oh, if only they knew … at least it hadn't occurred to them that we were one and the same.
"I know you're not going to believe me," I said cautiously, backing towards the wall, "but I didn't do anything to Danny. I swear on – on my own grave!" Which was hopefully still far, far in the future. "It was Technus … I think …"
But Mom and Dad both charged their guns with a loud whine. I flattened myself to the wall, trying to convince them. Things would be so much easier if I could work with them to find my human half! "Have I ever done anything to hurt anyone in your family?" I cried. "What about when the Wisconsin Ghost attacked? Didn't I help?"
My dad blinked, but his eyes narrowed immediately afterwards. "Nobody uses my son as a human meat puppet," he warned.
There was no way to explain that one. "Mo—Maddie, Jack, please--! How could I have done anything to Danny? I was just as helpless as you! I just want to find him, okay? I-I don't know where he went and I want to find him!"
"Eat Fenton Bazooka, ghost!"
I cringed, about to fly out of the basement, when my mom put a hand on Dad's gun. "Honey, please," she said softly.
I relaxed momentarily, hoping against hope that Mom was going to listen to reason – or what passed for it, anyway.
"You don't want to send him back to the Ghost Zone! We need to capture him for questioning!"
And with that, my mom fired at me.
"Yikes!" I was a moment too slow; the ecto-gun's blast seared my side. But I managed to escape, flying at top speed out of my parents' home and fleeing across Amity Park.
What was I going to do now?
Back with my human half …
Technus looked as shocked as I was to find that I was still human. "Well, well, ghost child – or should I say, human child!" he exclaimed.
"Hey! I still have the gun," I snapped, keeping it trained on him. Inwardly I was panicking again. This made no sense. But I was starting to have an idea … a faint one, from a time almost five years ago.
"Come with me, Technus," I instructed.
"Why should I do anything you say?" Technus demanded of me.
"Because I'm beginning to think that you're not lying, and it's not my parents that have been sent somewhere," I said warily. "And if I'm right, we're stranded together."
"Stranded? What do you mean?" Technus's eyebrows rose over his square glasses.
"Just come on. Light the way or something," I ordered, ushering him past me. If I was right, we were still in the lab, and the stairs would be just to my right.
Technus obeyed, shooting me a dirty look, but his green glow brightened slightly. Sure enough, he lit up the base of the stairs. "Well? Go up!"
"I'm going, I'm going," Technus sighed, leading the way. I followed him, keeping my gun trained on his back.
In truth, I was really lucky Technus was listening, but I guess he was as confused as I felt. I wanted him to at least stay with me until I got someplace where I could see again, but I was beginning to really regret not having a Fenton Thermos with me.
We marched up the stairs – well, I marched, and Technus floated – and when we got to the first floor of FentonWorks, I was almost certain that my hunch was right.
The house looked abandoned. The windows were all broken in, furniture was overturned and destroyed, and the kitchen was silent. Moonlight streamed in the window, which made no sense seeing as it had been eleven in the morning only a few minutes ago.
"This is your home? You don't keep up well, do you?" Technus remarked in that annoying nasal tone.
"Idiot, this isn't my home!" I threw up the hand not holding the ecto-gun. "This is my home in another dimension."
"Ah, I s—WHAT?"
I sighed. You heard right, Technus. "We're stranded in a parallel dimension," I explained. "And unless we're really, really lucky, we're not getting home."
Firstly, I want to apologize for how long it's been since I've written a chapter for 'Coming Home'. I've been pretty blocked with it, and I've been so busy with school and such that I haven't had time to write much in any case. But this plot bunny just came out of nowhere and hit me in the head, so we'll see what happens.
Thank you for reading! Reviews are adored and replied to!