Some nameless city, or so it seemed. No doubt, it had a name, but none of the four travelers had been paying attention if it was on a sign coming into town. It didn't really matter what the name was, anyway, for all that they were going to see of it was the bus station, while they waited for the bus that would take them to California. So, for all intents and purposes, it was nameless.
"So, Jazz, what did you tell our parents we were doing?" Danny asked idly.
"Amateur nation-wide ghost-hunting expedition," Jazz said.
"Seriously? And that worked? Mom and Dad let us miss a week of school for that?" Danny asked, unbelievingly.
"These are our parents we're talking about, remember," Jazz reminded.
"Oh, yeah. That's right," Danny said.
"That wouldn't have worked with our parents, though," Sam said, gesturing at herself and Tucker. "What did you tell them?"
"So sorry to interrupt, but I have unfinished business with the lot of you," Danny's doppelganger made a reappearance. He charged a blast. "Especially you, Danny boy!"
"Everyone, get out of here!" Danny shouted. "He's after me!"
"That's right," the ghost said. "I am after you. And who knows? If you manage to distract me long enough, your friends and family might even get away. That's fair incentive for you to not lose me too quickly, don't you think?"
"You sadistic bastard," Danny cursed.
"Yeah, yeah. Less talking, more dying," and then he fired. Danny dodged behind a row of seats. "Oh, gee, I wonder where he went." he fired again, and Danny was just barely able to roll away. "What are you, a cat? Just die!" Danny ran for his life. "What are you doing? This room is a large, open--" Danny made it to the hallway. "Well, that's what I get for talking when I could have been shooting," the ghost said, following. Danny wasn't in the hallway. "Where did--ah." The ghost headed towards the men's restroom. "No, wait. What am I thinking?" He went into the women's restroom instead. "Let's see, I could take the time to check all of these stalls…or," he blasted all of the stall walls down. Danny was standing on the toilet of the third from the right. "Nice try, but you're no match for me, kid. Now, then, how do you die? Plasma blast? Too quick. Ice? Not gratifying enough. How about if I strangle you with my bare hands? Yes, that sounds perfect." And this he proceeded to do. However…
As soon as the ghost touched him, Danny felt that he was being electrocuted again. He screamed in agony, and so did the ghost. Danny felt himself falling to the floor, and caught himself. For the second time he was looking up at this entity whom emerged from his body and wore his face from the ground, in what could not be a more compromising position. The doppelganger was patting his body, as if caught aflame. He was whimpering as he did it, causing Danny to think that, maybe…
"Everything's still attached, thank god," the ghosts said. He glared down at Danny. "I should have known better than to attack you in this state. You're just going to try to gobble me up, again. Aren't you, you little leach? Ah, well. See you in six months, after your reputation is thoroughly trashed." He disappeared, leaving Danny with the feeling of having barely avoided death.
"I can't wait six months!" Danny said, discarding a newspaper. There was a picture of "Danny Phantom" robbing a bank on the front page. They were in the Fenton lab.
"What are you going to do?" Tucker asked. "If you go into the Ghost Zone, you could electrocute yourself, not to mention absorbing another little spirit, and starting this whole thing over again."
"I know, but, I just can't…" Danny started, then shook his head. "I'll have to risk it."
"Um, what if you had a source of ectoplasm you knew didn't have anything in it?" Jazz suggested.
"Yeah, but where--" Danny slapped himself on the forehead. "The Fenton Portal's ecto-filtrater. Duh. If I wasn't a 'D' student, I would have thought of that a week ago." He walked over to the Fenton Portal and removed the ecto-filtrator.
Tucker asked, "How are you going to--"
Danny raised the filtrator like a glass. "Cheers," and he downed it. "Well, that wasn't so--aaahhhh!!!!!! Jesus fu--oomph," whatever the end of that sentence would have been, it was interrupted when a drop to the floor winded him. There were shouts of concern, but he got to his feet unassisted. "Well, that is something I'd rather not do again. Ever."
"Danny, you idiot!" Jazz shouted, relieved. "Didn't you hear Vlad when he said that stuff was toxic to humans?"
"Yeah, well, I'm not entirely human, now, am I?" Danny said.
"Lets make sure that you won't have to, well, do that again," Sam said.
"Right," Danny said. "I'm going ghost!" And then he did--sort of.
"Maybe his costume changed again," Tucker suggested.
"No, I still have that weird symbol on my T-shirt that Sam gave me," Danny said. "This is like when Dash and I were shrunken. I don't have enough power; the fact that this is still a T-shirt is proof of that."
"Where do you keep the old filtrators?" Sam asked. "Do you throw them away?"
"No, not since the incident with the ecto-enhanced machines," Jazz said. "It's just too dangerous. This way."
"This is going to be fun," Danny said in a tone that stated, clearly, that the experience would be anything but.
The doppelganger was robbing another bank when he was hit by a plasma blast.
"Dude, why are you even robbing banks? It's not like you can use the money, anyway," Danny said.
"It's the thought that counts," the ghost said. "Or rather, the bad PR you receive from it all. And don't you get self-righteous on me; there's only one way you could have gotten your powers back so quickly."
"If you mean go into the Ghost Zone, nope. I found another way," Danny said.
"Don't lie to me, boy! It's the only way. You went into the Ghost Zone to suck up power, and risk absorbing someone else like me into you," the ghost accused angrily.
"Actually, there's all the ectoplasm I could ever need in the Fenton Works Biohazard Storage," Danny said.
The ghost slapped himself on the forehead. "Right. And I call myself the smart one. No matter; in a few minutes, you will be the dead one!"
"But…aren't you both already ghosts?" a nervous bank teller pointed out.
"Not here," Danny said. "There are all these civilians."
"What do I care? In fact, the fact that you do care makes me care less."
"Yeah, but you want to attack me a lot more than you want this money or anyone in here, which means that you will follow me when I do this," Danny said, flying through the ceiling.
"Hey! Get back here!" his doppelganger shouted, dropped the money, and flew through the ceiling after him. They circled each other aerobatically at top speed, chasing one another around town and above it. Then Danny was hit, and plummeted to earth, cracking asphalt. "You can't win. I know everything about you. You can't outfly, outfight, outsmart, or out-anything me."
Then I'll have to out-devious you, Danny thought. Then, Is "out-devious" even a word? "Yeah? Watch me!" Danny flew at the ghost, who neatly segued out of his way, avoiding a devastating blow. They flew and traded punches, Danny receiving more than he was giving. Then he was dealt another serious blow, and was flying for the ground again. Noticing a house blocking his path to the ground, he went intangible before he hit the roof, and ended up in a room.
"Ooh, ghost-boy, you came," Paullina said excitedly.
"Paullina? You need to get out of here. Quickly," Danny said.
"Oh, what are the odds?" the doppelganger laughed, coming through the ceiling as Danny had. "Of all the houses you could have crashed through the ceiling of it had to be the one with the girl you like."
"Which one of you is real? Wait…you like me? Really?" Paullina asked.
"Leave her out of this," Danny shouted at his double.
"Mmm, no, I don't think I will," the ghost said. He grabbed Paullina from behind and hefted her off the ground. His fist began to glow. "This is too rich an opportunity to pass up. Either you sacrifice yourself to me, or she dies."
"How do I know you won't just kill her once you're done with me?" Danny demanded.
"Oh, please!" the ghost retorted. "I have no interest in this shallow little teenager. You let me kill you, and she is free to go. I'd give you my word, but I hate you so much that I'd be almost obligated to break it."
"Very well," Danny said, getting down on one knee. "Let her go."
"In a second," the ghost said, pointing his glowing hand at Danny. "First, though, you--" he was hit with ice blasts coming out of the walls on three sides.
"Let me get this straight," Sam asked: "You used Paullina as bait?"
"That's cold, man," Tucker said.
"I needed him to believe that he had the upper hand. I knew I couldn't beat him honestly, so I had to do it with treachery," Danny said.
"Yes, but how exactly did you beat him?" Sam asked.
"Well, first, I positioned myself and left an opening, so that he'd punch me into Paullina's room, and then as soon as I landed, I began to channel my power into the floor and through that to the walls," Danny explained.
"You can do that?" Tucker asked.
"Sure. It's just like when I use my power to make you and Sam intangible with me," Danny said. "Anyway, I let my power build in the walls until the it built up enough to take him out, and then I hit him from the walls behind him and to his sides. In retrospect, a million things could have gone wrong. He could have noticed that I went down too easy, he could have noticed that there was frost forming on the walls, he could have been holding Paullina a bit closer to his body…" Danny shuddered, "I don't think I'll be using underhanded tactics very often."
"So, where is he?" Sam asked. Danny shook a Fentom Thermos. "What are you going to do with him?"
"Well, at first, I was thinking of keeping him in this thing, but then, I realize that he was trapped inside my body for months and months, so that could only make him more psychotic. I'm going to throw him into the Ghost Zone," Danny said. "Maybe he'll make some friends, get some psychological help, I don't know; something."
"Fat chance," Tucker said under his breath.
Author's Commentary (As If You Care)
This story could not have gone in a more opposite direction from the original idea that spawned it. You see, I was looking for a way to get Danny and Ember together, and I had the idea that if ghost-Danny was split from his human side…but no, he would still be Danny, be he human or ghost, and that would not make it any easier to get them together. Then I had the idea to make it a tiny ghost, like Skulker in his natural form, that was sucked into Danny's body when he was transformed (the second time he was transformed, not that it gets mentioned in the story)…but no, then it wouldn't really be Danny, it would be an original character wearing Danny's face. It was unusable as a premise for an Ember/Danny romance, but it was too promising to just discard, and so this is what happened. I might make an Ember/Danny romance fic in the future, after all, they do make a cute couple, but it probably won't be any time soon, so don't get too hopeful, Ember/Danny fans.
My OC (for even if he has no name and looks exactly like Danny, he is an OC) hates Danny pathologically; it is literally an obsession. Granted, he spent god knows how long doing all that he could to keep himself from being erased by Danny's subconscious mind, and not entirely succeeding. It doesn't come up in the story, but the thing is, that there wasn't enough of his mind left to be a proper mind and keep a physical (or metaphysical, whatever) form alive, so he had to fill in the gaps with pieces of Danny's mind. This, combined with the fact that he can remember with clarity Danny's memories while the memories of his own life were hazy at best, only served to fuel his hatred.
I'm sorry I couldn't show you the battle between Vlad and the OC. It was epic, but alas, the story was long enough as it was. It also never came up, but Vlad's mansion was utterly destroyed in the fight. Originally, Vlad was supposed to call up Danny to tell him that he was sending a messenger through the Ghost Zone with filtrators full of ectoplasm (Vlad, being smarter than Danny, figured it out sooner than Danny did), and mention that the ghost destroyed his mansion. But then I realized that the Fentons probably couldn't throw this stuff out. I mean, did you see the episode where Danny had the garage sale and all that stuff was covered in ectoplasm and became possessed (unless I'm mistaken, it's also the first time we met Technis)? Can you imagine a possessed garbage dump? I, for one, don't want to. So, if they couldn't throw out their ectoplasm, they had to store it, and if they stored it, there was no reason for Vlad to send his parcel, and we never get to learn that his house was destroyed. (Not to mention, it shortened the story a little more.)
Also, in this story, the characters are all rather…talky. They're like that in the show, though. Granted, that's because it's a television show, and you have no other way to tell how they feel and stuff other than what they say and what they do, but still. The idea was to keep it within the bounds of that reality. Danny frequently converses with the bad guys while he fights them in the show, so he does that here, as well. Besides, fights have lots of detail, which isn't really my strong point as a writer, and so having them talk as they fought helped there, as well. It also explained why Danny was able to get across a wide open room without being shot by the bad guy. Yea, loopholes! Even if he had been shot by his doppelganger, he wouldn't have died, though; at that point, his body was so hungry for ectoplasm that it would actually have absorbed the energy blast. It would have hurt like a son of a bitch (because of the painful electrocution feeling he got when he absorbed more than minimal levels of ectoplasm), but it wouldn't have been lethal. As a matter of fact, I have half a mind to go back right not and change the whole scene so that Danny is hit point blank as he is fleeing the OC and survives, causing the OC to go ape shit and try to strangle him with his own hands, causing them both to be electrocuted…and you know the rest from there. The key phrase in that sentence, however, is "half a mind." Sorry, I'm just too lazy.
Overall, I must say that I'm pleased with what I have done here, but I must say that I am a bit worries about it wearing thin in places. I believe that, after a while, a fanfic can't help but to wear and tear at it's characters. The authors can be good, but they're not the authors of the show, so, well, ever heard the expression about giving a man enough rope and he'll hang himself? Yeah, it's like that. That's why I try not to read anything that is really, truly long (remembers that he has been reading The Transparent and the Opaque for a while now um, never mind). Also, with all the chatter. You might not be able to tell with by looking at this fic, but I am not a fan of chatter. I prefer a more introspective mode of conducting my stories.
And now, for the part where I shamelessly plug my other works in the Danny Phantom fandom. The truth is, though, the only other story I have written here to date is Necromancy. In it, necromancers come to Amity Park searching for creatures they call "hellions," who can transform into humans or ghosts, and they mistake Danny for one of the evil creatures. You know, a lot of my OC's end up attacking the heroes of their fandoms, for one reason or another, now that I have thought about it. Huh. No, it's a good story, and you should read it.
Also like Necromancy, this wasn't thought out as a chapter work, but ended up being too long to be a one-shot. I'm sorry, but all together, this is nearly 7000 words, which is a little long for a one-shot, even for me. So, I cut it roughly in half. The chapters are unnamed and unheaded (and yes, I just made that word up), which they wouldn't be if it were an intentional thing, but as I said, it wasn't.
Well, I think that that's all of it. Thank you, and good night. Please R&R. I hope you enjoyed this story, and will tell all your friends to read it, as well. And review; always review. My fragile ego depends upon your praise. Or not. Whatever. Just do it, okay? Anyway, thank you for reading, and good bye.