WoM- I'm still mad at those commenters on DA for this one… XP Stupid crack pairings… At any rate, unlike all of my other stories, this one will be Dani-centric, though she's sixteen now instead of twelve. ; I'll probably be putting out some one-shots based loosely on this story too, so keep your eyes peeled for those. Oh, and if you haven't seen the new episodes of Danny Phantom yet, this story contains a few spoilers! As usual, I own little or nothing in this story that has any actual market value, so don't bother suing me.
Danielle- Do you wanna ask questions, or do you wanna kick some butt?
Breathe in… Breathe out… Breathe in… Breathe out…
Chanting this mantra over and over, Dani let her eyes glaze over as she gripped her ecto staff and took a three steps backwards, her bare feet silent against her sea-green carpeting. Side stepping her bedside table (which she's already stubbed her toe on enough while practicing, thank you very much) the girl's muscles tensed as she took expert swings with her weapon, moving and dodging as if facing a foe only she could see.
Her movements were precise, silent as death itself and fast as lightning. Indeed, Dani was quite proud of her ability to use the weapon with such ease and grace now, far better then when she's first taken it up four years earlier. Smiling faintly, Dani recalled all the times she'd griped and complained to her completely unsympathetic teacher, who had a nasty habit of introducing her own staff to the ghost girl's head whenever she felt Dani was getting too whiney.
It's a wonder I didn't suffer from permanent brain damage training with Valerie… Biting a lip, Dani managed to stifle her giggle at that thought. Her eyes glittered as she continued making her practice swings though, proving that she hadn't dismissed her amusement entirely.
A soft breeze wafted into the room, Forcing Dani to relax unconsciously at the gentle scent of early morning autumn it brought as she brought her staff up to 'block.' Morning was Dani's preferred time to practice after all, when the rest of the world was just starting to stir. There was a calm dignity to this time, a peace of sorts before the worries of the world swept the blue eyed girl away. Quiet, slow, graceful…
Yelping loudly, Dani jumped at the noise and wound up miss-stepping. Her knee met the corner of her vanity painfully, and the girl cried again as she fell, buried under her make-up and other various knick-knacks.
Twitching, Dani laid sprawled there for a moment, before blushing as the events that'd led to her current position finally sank in. Raising her head slightly, the girl gave a green-eyed glower at her digital alarm clock, which apparently had a death wish this morning.
"Gooooood morning Amity Park! This is Brice Storm here with 99.6 SPRT! That's Spirit Radio, your favorite local broadcast! I'm here in city hall where people are already getting set up for the big celebrations today and usher in a new for our city! And let's get those early birds up and at 'em on this gorgeous Saturday morning with a brand new hit from Ember, Burning Bridges!"
Groaning, Dani sat up as a guitar solo began to sound over the radio, letting her things fall to the ground. Careful not to step on anything, Dani made her way over to her bedside table once more to turn the song off before Ember could start with her vocals.
Turning over a new leaf was no reason for Dani to forgive the singer for calling her a half-pint half ghost wannabe, after all. Especially when all Dani had said to warrant the comment was that she preferred Dumpty Humpty.
Sighing in the silence that once again fell over the room, Dani stretched her arms over her head and stood on her toes until her back popped before relaxing. Grumbling to herself, the girl began to collect her fallen possessions and place them in their former positions on her vanity. When that was done, Dani retrieved her ecto-staff and retracted it to put the weapon away, grateful that no one had witnessed her embarrassing little spill.
Heading to the door, Dani stopped dead when she met violet eyes dancing in a private joke, red lips twitching in a poorly restrained smile. Moaning in her head, Dani gave a dejected sigh.
"How much did you see?" She asked in a monotone, though she was already pretty sure of the answer her Aunt was going to give her.
"You were doing fine, up until the radio went off." Maddie said in a comforting tone, raising a hand to hide her smile when this only made the girl look even more miserable. "Don't worry dear, I won't tell." Shaking her head ruefully, Dani decided to change the subject in an attempt to save at least some of her pride.
"Did Danny get back last night?" She asked, entwining her finger behind her and cocking her head curiously. It was a habit Jazz swore she and Danny had picked up from too much time around Cujo, though both half ghosts denied it.
"He's sleeping right now." Maddie confirmed with a nod, glancing almost habitually to her son's door. "He must have got back pretty late last night… Why the Ghost Council insists on keeping him so long is beyond me. The poor boy needs as much rest as he can get!"
"Well, Danny is an important part of the peace efforts that are being made now." Dani said, biting her lip to keep herself from agreeing with Maddie. He cousin did seem to be worn pretty thin lately…
"That's no excuse for forgetting that he's only eighteen!" Maddie insisted stubbornly, unwilling to let her motherly worries be put to rest so easily. "That council has existed just fine for a millennia before Danny came along, I'm sure they know how to handle themselves without him long enough for him to get a full night's sleep!"
"Try telling them that." Dani said absently, snickering at the thought of Maddie lecturing ghosts of people who'd been dead far longer then she had been alive. Surprisingly, the mental image was easy to see…
Before the conversation could continue, a loud growling had both Fentons turning their attention to Dani's stomach before the half ghost laughed meekly.
"Any chance we can talk about this more after breakfast?" She asked hopefully. Maddie burst into laugher, shaking her head.
"Honestly, Little D, between you, Danny and Jack it's a wonder we ever have food in this house…" She teased, heading for the stairs. "I'll start making breakfast. Let Danny sleep in as long as you can before you wake him. He's going to need all the energy he can get today… I just hope Jazz remembers to eat too…" Grinning as her aunt continued talking to herself while making her way to the kitchen, Dani turned and headed back into her room, deciding to heed Maddie advice and take a nice, long shower at the same time…
"Rise and shine, Ghost Boy!"
Danny groaned in protest as his blinds were drawn open and the morning sun glared down on him. Burying his face into his pillow, the teen pulled his blanket over his head to shield himself from the accursed light. Dani grinned sadistically as she watched him, grasping the edge of his covers to turn them intangible and yank them from her cousin's grasp.
"Come on Danny, is that any way to greet a beautiful new day?" Dani asked mockingly. "The sun is shining, the birds are chirping-!"
"I can still volunteer you to listen to Jazz rehearse all of her speeches for the rest of the month, Dani." The half ghost growled out in warning, slightly muffled by his pillow. Dani flinched at the threat.
"But she has like, a million!" The girl whined pitifully, sitting down on the edge of her cousin's bed.
"I should've sent you to work in the Ghost Zone today." Danny said, yawning as he finished his sentence. "What time is it, anyways?"
"Eight thirty." Dani answered. Alarmed, Danny shot up, his eyes searching frantically for his alarm clock. Groaning, he cursed under his breath when he realized she was telling the truth.
"You should have woken me up an hour ago!" Danny scolded as he climbed out of bed, rushing around his room to snatch up various artifacts. Dani shook her head at that, noting that the boy hadn't even properly undressed himself before climbing into bed the night before. In fact, it looked as though he'd merely shed his shirt and climbed under the covers…
"Considering what time you came in last night?" Dani scoffed. "You're lucky I didn't make you sleep in another hour." Rolling his eyes, Danny glared at his cousin, noting her still-damp hair with open agitation.
"There had better still be hot water left, brat." He warned her, earning one of the girl's infamous million watt smiles in response.
"Come on cuz, do you really think I'd purposely make you take a cold shower?" She asked brightly, crossing her legs and tilting her head to the side innocently.
Her angelic look was met with a withering glare.
"Besides, you can control the temperature with your powers." Dani reminded him before Danny could make good on his threat to send her to Jazz.
"You know that I don't like to use my powers on household appliances, Dani." The boy sighed in exasperation.
"Not since the toaster oven incident, anyways." Dani snickered as her cousin winced at the memory. "I'll never be able to look at bagels the same ever again, thanks to you."
"Out." Danny said, pushing his cousin out the door instead of responding to that. Grinning, Dani obeyed the boy, knowing better then to push her luck before her cousin had breakfast.
Speaking of which… Dani thought brightly, heading down the stairs and into the kitchen where her Aunt and Uncle were already busy with their usual morning antics.
"Mornin' all!" Dani chirped as she snatched a piece of toast, grabbing the butter knife to slather on what Jazz insisted was an early heart attack.
"Little D!" Jack boomed with an ear-to-ear grin, brandishing some new invention of his. "Glad you're here! I wanted your opinion of the Fenton Ghost Call!"
"What does it do?" Dani asked with evident wariness. After all, she'd learned not long after moving in that playing with the Fenton's weaponry was Ghostly No-No 101, and ever since a nasty splicing experience with the Ghost Catcher she made sure to know what each and every invention did before going within three feet of it.
Now if only I can convince Tucker to destroy that stupid recording he made.
"It's kind of like a dog whistle for ghosts." Maddie explained after swallowing her coffee. "We honed it to a subatomic level so that only ghosts can hear it, and it should be able to temporarily paralyze them." Seeing the look on Dani's face, Maddie chuckled. "Don't worry, we don't think it'll have as strong an affect on half ghosts like you and Danny. And even if it did, we'd never use it where either of you two were close enough to hear it, right Jack?" The last two words Maddie directed to her husband, along with a fiery glare that had the large man flinching.
"Still mad about the Specter String, I see…" He said with a meek grin, earning a dry look from the brunette. Dani giggled as she watched the interaction while wolfing down her food.
While Jack and Maddie had accepted both their son and their faux niece after discovering the truth about them, they did tend to argue about a few things revolving around the issue every now and then. Most of these arguments stemmed from the fact that Jack hoped to test some of their non-dangerous equipment, mostly trackers and other such items, on the two to make sure they were working properly. Maddie, however, was dead set against having anything used for hunting ghosts within two feet of the hybrids.
Neither cousins honestly had a problem with helping Jack with his ghost hunting toys so long as they knew they weren't going to blow up on them or anything, but Maddie's maternal instincts refused to let them put themselves in danger like that. Every once in a while though, the three managed to give everything a test run without Maddie being any wiser to their stunts.
Dani grinned sympathetically at Jack as Maddie continued to chew him out before turning her attention to the blueberry muffin that was just begging to be eaten.
"Don't even think about it, Little D. You've had three already, let Danny have that one." Wincing, Dani withdrew her hand and gave her aunt the most pitiful kicked puppy look she could manage. Maddie merely glared back sternly before moving the muffins out of Dani's reach.
"Speaking of Danny, how's his meeting with the Ghost Council go?" Jack asked as he began fiddling with the loose screw of an ecto gun Dani swore he pulled out of nowhere. But then, with all the hidden weapons the Fentons carried on them at any given moment, one never could really tell…
"He didn't say." Dani admitted. "I didn't ask, actually… but I think he'd be in a bad mood if it didn't go all that well."
"Well, he'd better get down here soon if he wants to eat." Maddie sighed, glancing at the clock. "He has to get to City Hall in half an hour to help set up for the festival…"
"Relax, Aunt Maddie." Dani said, brushing the woman's concerns aside. "It only takes two minutes to fly there."
"And it'd take less then that if Dani'd stop being so stubborn about not using my portals." Danny added as he entered the room, fully dressed and towel dried. Tugging his cousin's ponytail playfully, Danny took his seat and began eagerly digging into his food.
"Good morning, Danny!" Maddie said brightly, obviously encouraged by her son's appetite. "How was your meeting last night?"
"Alright." Danny replied after taking a swig of orange juice. "They were mostly just going over more rules and expectation they have for me. Then we talked about ways to control the portals in the Ghost Zone so things were a little less hectic, argued some more about my appointment of humans as my General and Advisor and then they tried to bring up the whole marriage thing again."
"Same old, same old?" Dani piped up cheerfully.
"Pretty much." Danny laughed as he reached for the bacon. "I think they're finally starting to cave about Sam and Valerie, though."
"I'm still not sure it's a good idea to let those two work together, Danny." Maddie said carefully. Jack and Dani exchanged knowing grins at that.
"It'll be fine, mom." Danny said, waving a hand to dismiss his mother's concerns. "Sam and Val are getting along pretty well now, and anyways Sam'll be helping me rule and Val's in charge of my armies, so they're not really working together."
"That's not what I'm worried about, Danny." Maddie sighed, her voice full of exasperation.
"Then what's the problem?" Danny asked, clearly confused. Dani choked on the milk she was drinking trying to hold in her laugher, and Jack's knowing grin widened even more.
"Nothing, Danny." Maddie rolled her eyes. "You'd better get your things together and head down to City Hall now, before Jazz starts losing it again. Your father and I will come down in about an hour, when the doors open."
"Gotcha." Danny said, leaving the table and heading upstairs to get his things. As soon as the boy was out of earshot, Maddie turned to her husband and niece and voiced the thought running through all of their heads.
"Excuse me, some of us are trying to breathe here." Irritated brown eyes narrowed on Dani, who glared back twice as hard until the man finally moved away. Sighing, the girl dislodged an elbow from her gut as she glanced bitterly at the crowd around her. While a large outturn like this was a very good sign, it restricted movements far too much for the blue eyed girl's personal comfort.
Mournfully, the girl craned her neck upwards to stare longingly at the ghosts floating comfortably above the crowd. She would have been tempted to join them, but transforming in public was far more hassle then it was worth. Besides, she already promised Danny she'd stick to either one form or the other.
Sighing, the girl stood on her toes to try and see over the heads of everyone around her. (Why Danny's genetics had blessed him with 6'8" and her with a measly 5'2" was beyond her.) When the woman in front of her took a step back, Dani made her foot intangible to avoid having her toes crushed by that evil looking heel.
Hey, just because she had agreed to stay human didn't mean she couldn't cheat a little…
"Elle?" Blinking at the familiar nickname, Dani turned in the direction of the voice, her face splitting into a wide grin at the sight of the girl making her way through the crowd to approach her, her braid swaying as she walked.
"Valerie!" Dani said cheerfully as the crowd parted to let the girl pass.
Dani didn't have to wonder why, either. Dressed in her armor as the Ghost Prince's Head General, Valerie did look quite intimidating in spite of the amusement playing on her face. The nasty-looking gun that grew out of her armor to overlap her right hand wasn't helping matters much either…
I just know Sam helped Tucker design that thing… Dani mused, eyeing the weapon cautiously. The tech geek was having fun with bioorganic components, apparently.
"What are you doing out here?" Valerie asked, drawing Dani out of her thoughts. "Shouldn't you be sitting next to your cousin on stage?"
"Nope." Dani responded with a grin. "I wasn't taking this seriously enough, so Jazz banished me to the crowd." Her lips twitching, Valerie shook her head.
"Honestly, Elle, one of these days you're gonna push someone over the edge." She teased.
"Maybe." Dani hummed thoughtfully. "But at least I'll be able to catch them before they hit the ground." Rolling her eyes, Valerie groaned. "What about you, Val? You never do anything wrong, so why aren't you up there scaring people away from Danny?"
"I'm working security for the festival." Valerie explained absently. "Someone needs to help keep the peace, with Danny being so busy and all…"
"There haven't been any fights, have there?" Dani asked, her smile disappearing completely.
"A few little scuffles." Valerie admitted. "Nothing serious yet though, and we're trying to keep it that way." 'We,' Dani knew, was the Royal Guard, elite fighters who's main duty was protecting the Ghost King… or in this case, Prince.
"Danny says that the Ghost Council's being snobby about you and Sam being part of his inner circle." Dani said, waiting for confirmation from the girl. Eyes narrowing slightly, Valerie gave a sharp nod.
"They're starting to leave me alone though, since I'm putting all of the Ghost Zone's best fighters to shame." Valerie said with no small note of pride. "Sam's on her own, as far as I'm concerned."
"Nice." Dani scoffed with a dry look. Valerie raised an eyebrow, completely unabashed.
"Hey, if she can't prove she's good enough for the job, then she doesn't deserve it." The girl said stiffly.
"And I'm sure the fact that you both have the hots for my cousin has absolutely nothing to do with any animosity between you two."
"Do you really want to know what this gun is capable of, Elle?" Wincing, Dani held up her hands in a sign of submission. She already knew Valerie could kick her butt, so there was no reason to have the human girl prove it again.
"Doesn't that thing make it harder to fight hand to hand?" Dani asked, frowning at the bulky weapon. "I mean, it looks like it's geared for distance."
"It is." Valerie said, obviously pleased to have found someone who was willing to talk about one of her favorite subjects. "But if you're really desperate in close-hand combat, it can always be used as a makeshift club. And if I need both of my hands to fight, I'll just put it away."
Dani cocked her head as Valerie moved her arm so she could see the weapon a little better. She was about to ask exactly how it was possible for the gun to be 'put away' when the weapon began to morph, melting and shrinking back into Valerie's armor to reveal the hand hidden underneath.
"…That's either the coolest thing I've ever seen, or the creepiest." Valerie laughed at the face Dani made as she proclaimed this.
"I mostly had it out for show." Valerie explained, taking a more casual stance now that the weight of the gun was gone. "I figured people would be less willing to cause trouble if they saw what security was packing."
"Is that what you told Danny so he'd let you play with your toys in public?" Dani asked innocently, grinning at the glare she earned from Valerie.
"I need to get back to my patrol." Valerie said haughtily, ignoring Dani's question. The half ghost smirked after her in triumph as the girl departed. "Oh, and before I forget Elle, I wanted to meet with you tomorrow to see how well you've been keeping up with your training."
Dani's smirk fell at that.
"I can't." She said, desperate for an excuse not to be turned into Valerie's personal punching bag. "I've got some last minute shopping to do for school supplies."
"You'll find time." Valerie said, smirking back at the younger girl. Dani pouted.
"You're evil, Valerie."
"My men wouldn't respect me if I was anything less, Elle." Valerie said cheerfully, grinning when Dani rolled her eyes. "And your cousin wouldn't have me any other way." Dani made a face as Valerie disappeared into the crowd, which resumed to it's previously jammed state now that the threat of being blasted by a huge freaky-looking living gun was gone.
Okay, now that I have those unwanted mental images playing in my head, let's get back to business, shall we? Craning her neck around, Dani finally caught sight of her cousin through the throng of people surrounding her. He was on stage, in full Ghost Prince garb and looking extremely uncomfortable.
To his left, dressed in a simple black dress and heels, was Sam. The girl was obviously arguing with Tucker about something, if the scowl on her face was any indication. The tech geek himself was sporting kaki slacks, a white dress shirt and a green tie, and actually looked somewhat presentable.
On Danny's right side was Frostbite, who looked dangerously close to breaking the chair he was sitting in. Barely visible next to the cheerful giant was Dora (whose small form looked even smaller by comparison to her ghost companion) with an empty chair resting on her right side.
I'd be sitting there, if it wasn't for the fact that Jazz has absolutely no sense of humor. Dani pouted before turning her attention back to her cousin's companions.
Behind Danny stood Pandora, looking as large and intimidating as ever scowling proudly at any brave enough to chance a glance in her direction. Dash Baxter also stood behind the Ghost Prince, looking uncomfortably insecure about being smaller then the woman next to him.
Valerie must've ordered him to guard Danny. Dani mused, taking her eyes off of the former jock. Dani had to admit, he was the best choice for the job. Dash admired Danny, after all, the reason he decided to join the Royal Guard instead of going to college. ('I probably wouldn't have lasted long there, anyways.' Dash had once added ruefully to Dani when she asked about it.)
Despite being one of the few humans on the force, Dash had risen quickly through the ranks and became good enough that even Valerie (who still didn't like to let old grudges die) would admit that he was one of her better fighters. Dani had never seen him in action herself, but both Danny and Val respected Dash's skills as a fighter, so she trusted him to guard her cousin.
Before Dani could muse any further about this though, a screeching noise had her wincing and turning to see the center of the stage, when an older man was adjusting the microphone before clearing his throat, successfully silencing the murmurs of the crowd.
"Ladies and Gentlemen. The man said, his voice booming around the room. "I'm happy to present you're beloved mayor, Miss Jasmine Fenton!"
The crowd roared it's approval as the man stepped down from the stand, leaving room for Jazz to come out on the stage. Dressed in one of the royal blue business suits that seemed to have taken over her closet in the past year or so with her hair swept back into a bun, Jazz looked nothing short of professional. Taking the stand that the man had abandoned, Jazz smiled and held up a hand to silence the crowd.
"Thank you." She said as the cheering died away. "And thank you all for coming. Citizens of Amity Park, Friends from the Ghost Zone, I welcome you all to this celebration of the new era that Amity Park will usher in. An era of peace and alliance. An era where everyone, both ghost and human, is treated fairly, where we can share our ideals and strengths with one another to build a future where our children will be safe to play with each other, to learn from one another. Ladies and Gentlemen, Project AMITY has begun!"
Another roar erupted from the crowd, and Dani grinned as she heard it. She had to admit, Jazz was good at this part…
"From this day on, both humans and ghosts will work together for a single goal. All of the animosity of the past, all of the fears and biases from both sides, all of the chaos we've lived through for the past four years… Together we will overcome all of this and come out stronger then ever!" More cheers greeted this proclamation, along with shouts of encouragement.
"My brother and I are working together to see that this dream becomes a reality." Jazz continued, motioning towards Danny. "Already most of the city's power supply has been replaced with ectoplasmic energy, which has proven to be far cheaper and much more efficient then alternative energy sources. Ghosts are taking up jobs in Amity Park to aid our citizens with their powers, and humans are working in the Ghost Zone to bring peace and hope.
"We've proven that we're capable of aiding and supporting one another, and now Danny and I want to see that support taken to the next level. That, ladies and gentlemen, is why This Monday we'll open the doors of Faith High School, a coeducational school for both humans and ghosts! On Monday teenagers from both the Ghost Zone and Amity Park will help lead us into a future that we once would have never dreamed about. To a world where the alliance we share today can turn into friendship and trust in spite of our differences.
"Citizens of Amity Park… Friends from the Ghost Zone… The dawning of a new era is upon us all, and it is our duty to embrace it and do our part to help it along. The moment of truth has arrived, and Amity Park will show the world that humans and ghosts can exist side by side, and thrive in this time of change!"
The crowd exploded at that, and Dani had to grin in spite of the abuse her eardrums where taking. Smiling to herself, the girl turned her attention to the building that could be seen in the distance, the school where she'd be learning from Monday on.
She had to admit, she was excited at the prospect of attending such a school, with the eyes of the world watching and waiting to see if this venture was genius or insanity. And the fact that Dani was the cousin of the Half Ghost Prince and the youngest mayor in the history of Amity Park on top of being the only female half ghost in existence meant that most of her classmates and teacher already knew about her and formed their own opinions of her without meeting her face to face. People would put a spotlight on her as she attended school, watch her every move and criticize her every mistake…
"Good thing I work best under pressure." Dani muttered under her breath, grinning at that thought of the challenge that lay before her.
This is gonna be fun…
WoM- All done :D This was more of a prologue then anything else, so the real fun starts next chapter. That's when school starts up and a certain character I know most of you will be asking me about will be introduced. Speaking of asking, any and all questions about Prince Danny and Mayor Jazz will be answered later on in the story, and I'm not giving away any spoils for this one. XP Valerie, Dash and a lot of other things will be explained over time too…
Next update; Moments of Clarity (SoS is after that, before anybody asks.)