Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom
Summary: AU, dark. In grim times, a covert syndicate seems doomed to lose their millennia old struggle against the ghosts. Sam, a ghost hunter apprenticed to the legendary Maddie Fenton, discovers Phantom, an outlawed ghost hybrid who could finally ascertain the brotherhood's victory in their secret war. DxS
Striking blue eyes narrowed as he fingered the safety of his weapon with poorly concealed boredom. The pale half moon cast an dismal, malevolent glow over the abandoned clearing, the lack of moonlight drenching the sky in an inky expanse of ebony as the ghost hunter waited for his partner's return.
In a few more nights it would become unsafe to patrol. The enemy gained strength as the full moon approached, and for hundreds of years the brotherhood had not crossed the ghosts at the height of their power, with good reason. Even with tales of past mistakes kept fresh in their minds, the outcome was far too deadly to ever be imagined.
'Our actions are as predictable to the enemy as the lunar cycle that governs the course of both our assaults.' He thought darkly. 'We must change our ways before any progress in the war will ever be made.'
Running a hand through his raven hair, he berated himself. It was not his place to dictate the actions of the brotherhood. Especially since many through the centuries had attempted to break the age old rhythm relying on the moon's vicious cycle and failed.
Any slow victories the brotherhood achieved while the moon waned was reclaimed by the specters the moment their powers were at their zenith. Even to this day and age, modern advancements in anti-ghost technology were insufficient to silence the enemy once and for all.
Concealed within sparse foliage, the faint hiss of his own breathing was the only sound he detected in the empty clearing. He reached for his communicator as he debated contacting their base. Vlad was bound to be questioning their safety if he and his partner did not return soon, and he did not want to worry his friend.
Where was his partner?
Jack's lips formed a grim line. It was unlike Maddie to be so late. Usually it was his wife who returned to the rendez-vous point first.
He allowed a small sigh to escape his lips. It had been no use trying to convince Maddie that her pregnancy would hinder their ghost hunting. The first time his wife had been with child, she had insisted on maintaining an active role in the brotherhood, right until the final month before Jasmine's birth. Jack doubted that her attitude towards carrying their second child was going to be any different. Perhaps in a fortnight he could convince her to relinquish her patrolling duty in favour of less strenuous resistance activities.
He felt his pulse rapidly quicken as he was suddenly aware of the presence of another in the clearing. From the human's clumsy, irregular strides, Jack could immediately tell that the other was either untrained in stealth, or injured.
A cold, unrecognisable sensation gripped his chest when he identified the woman stumbling painfully through the barren land, immediately leaping to his feet as he approached to assist her. Even in the dismal moonlight, Jack saw her lithe form tense, nearly doubling over as she attempted a battle stance.
"Maddie," he called out tentatively. "It's me."
"Jack." Recognition dawned on her features as she allowed herself a shuddering sigh of relief, lowering her defenses.
She swayed as she stood, and he ran towards the woman, desperate to support her frail form before she collapsed. He was disturbed to notice that she flinched as he touched her, her eyes wild.
"What happened?" He asked, gently lowering his wife's abused figure to the ground, appalled to realise the extent of her injury.
"I was ambushed." Maddie gasped as she fought to control her pain. "They have the thermos."
Despite the magnitude of the situation, Jack could not help but allow a slight smile to grace his features. Typical Maddie. His question had been directed towards the well being of his wife, yet her foremost priority was to relay the status of their mission to him.
He growled in frustration. All the good they had managed to do on the night's patrol had just been undone. While he was more concerned for Maddie's safety than returning to their leader empty handed, he knew that his wife would see the situation in a different light.
Mistaking the reason for his ire, she looked away. "I was overshadowed." She whispered in apology.
"I'm not blaming you." He reassured quietly, his fingers intertwining with her own. "Who did this to you?"
"I don't know." She re-averted her gaze, the soft lilac of her eyes meeting the strong blue of his, as she allowed her expression to soften. "But I resisted." Her bloodshot eyes narrowed in an almost feral manner. "I could not let them lay a finger on our unborn son."
She clutched at her swollen belly protectively. Despite her condition, she seemed to be more concerned for her unborn child than herself. "I should have listened to you, Jack." She implored. " Forgive me for endangering our child."
"You've been seriously hurt." Her husband said gently. "Let's get you back to the base."
"No." She hissed.
That single word froze the very blood in Jack's veins. The voice that he knew and loved had been replaced by another sound entirely, edged with the inhuman vibrato of the supernatural that human vocal chords could never evoke.
Maddie... his wife was still possessed.
"Fight it." He urged, clutching at her shoulders as he shook her roughly, as though he could dispel the ghost from within her by sheer force. "Fight it, Maddie."
Her eyes seemed to glow a deathly green as she fought the demon for control, as her face twisted into vile contortions Jack had never seen on Maddie's normally attractive features. His wife - her body retched, holding up her now clawed hands towards the sky in the attitude of prayer.
Jack fought back the welling tears of panic as he heard the continuous cracking of Maddie's vertebral column, her back arching as the spirits furthered their mockery, bending her spine past the limit of what was humanly possible, as a single, chilling thought crossed his mind - Would his wife survive the possession?
He forced himself to stop thinking of the most wretched of possibilities as he cradled Maddie's convulsing form, as desperation drove him onwards when strength failed, running in the direction of the brotherhood's headquarters, not caring if they were seen.
She struggled savagely in his grasp as they approached their base, and for one chilling moment, Jack Fenton feared the worst.
"I cannot enter, Jack." She rasped in protest. "It is not proper."
He was relieved that Maddie's voice was her own.
"Propriety can be damned." Her husband asserted firmly. "Getting you to safety is my first priority."
"I refuse to defile sacred ground." She insisted stubbornly, attempting to claw her way out his grip, despite her worsening condition.
"I am just as much to blame as you are," He tightened his grip on her svelte form. "I will never leave you."
Maddie's bloody form slumped as she allowed her body the luxury of rest for the first time in hours, finally permitting the sobs of pain and fear for her child that she had been suppressing to wrack her small frame.
He was unsure as to what shocked him more. The sudden fragility of his usually strong, independent wife, or her recent possession. His wife had always been the more adept ghost hunter of the pair.
The thought that Maddie could die before him had never before crossed his mind.
Jack's eyes hardened with determination. "The ghosts responsible will pay."
He captured her lips with his own, parting them softly as his ministrations purged the acrid, metallic taste of blood from the interior of her mouth.
"As it is, I am no longer of any use to the brotherhood." Maddie stroked her husband's cheek, the overwhelming pity in her amethyst eyes was for his expense, not her own. "If not for Daniel, I would ask you to kill me now."
"You can be cured." Jack coaxed, stroking her hair as he pressed his lips to the corners of her amethyst eyes to stop the flow of her tears. "Even this is not beyond exorcism."
He would never be able to bring himself to kill Maddie. Even if his wife was possessed by Pariah Dark himself.
"With merely three nights until the full moon, how do they plan to exorcise the demons from within me, Jack?" She asked with a bitter laugh. "For all we know, I could already be one of them."
Author's notes: Sorry that the first installment was so short, but I figured a prologue wasn't supposed to be clocking five thousand words my as Metanoia chapters do. This will probably end up to be quite an epic for me, and I only hope that I am not taking on too much too soon.
I apologise that I seem to be updating everything but Metanoia. However, I figured that if I forced myself to start my new fics, I would be far less likely to procrastinate, since Anathema's Abode will probably take over Metanoia as my main fic once it is completed.
Many thanks to BlueMyst19, my lovely, lovely, lovely beta who has finally returned!:D I love you!
Thank you for reading, and please do let me know what you think. Constructive criticism is greatly appreciated!