Just want to let you now that this one's a bit of a... departure from my popular "Learning to Fly" series. Sure, it's D/S but... pretty twisted. So, uh, enjoy then?
"Gotta get out here… gotta see Frostbite… gotta get to the Portal…"
Danny "Phantom" Fenton screamed through the air, headed for his house as fast as he could. He shivered, trying to ignore the piercing cold overwhelming his slender form. All around him, he saw Amity Park was becoming increasingly green. Not the latest craze in limiting waste production; it was literally turning green. Vines littered the tops of buildings, choked streets, crushed cars, ensnared skyscrapers. Danny clenched his chattering teeth at this horrible transformation. It didn't help knowing who was among the dazed, zombie-like forms wandering the streets below him. This invasion had become personal. It was consuming his family, his best friend, and worst of all…
"Focus, Danny, focus!"
The boy shook his head as if to clear the thoughts from his head. It was bad enough he'd barely managed to escape the sewer. His strength was ebbing; he was so cold, he just wanted to lie down and sleep, to wrap his frigid body in warmth. Danny smiled lazily at the thought before he focused on what was happening. If he didn't get to Frostbite, the world would be lost. Oh, and he'd probably die of hypothermia. He staggered into his house and stumbled down the stairs, icicles and snow falling off of him. Danny smiled as he made it into the basement… the Ghost Portal was still open! He could get to Frostbite and save humanity! His loved ones! And maybe even save…
The small teen turned around at the cold but sultry voice. There she was, hovering before him, connected to a mass of vines. Sam was downright creepy now, with those intense green eyes, vein like vines, and heavy set eye rings and bracelets. If the fate of civilization wasn't at stake, Danny would have chuckled about how Sam looked more Goth now than she usually did. His friend floated closer.
"Stay, Danny," she trilled before getting a begging look in her eyes. "Stay and rule with me…" The boy was moved briefly by how genuine her pleading was, but he couldn't let that stop him.
"I… always thought you ruled, Sam," Danny managed. He closed his eyes, wincing as he thought it. "What the heck was that, Danny? Where did you get that c—" The halfa was cut off as he felt something ensnare his waist, his wrists, and his ankles. He snapped his eyes open to see he'd be caught in Sam's vines. Terror gripped him as he watched Sam will him closer with a hand. Danny struggled, grunting desperately. Not like this! Not this close to escape! He couldn't have survived everything from the accident to his psychotic evil self to be defeated by an overgrown weed controlling his best friend! The city… the world was counting on him!
Danny's panic trailed off as something soft and warm pressed against his lips, calming him. He went limp as more vines, and then arms wrapped around him. The teen felt himself drop out of ghost mode, feeling somehow warmer. Danny opened his eyes, and looked down.
"I'm… I'm not cold anymore. But how did…" He felt something stroke his cheek gingerly. He looked back up to see Sam's warm, loving face.
"I've suppressed it. Stay, Danny," she said softly as a vine locked the Portal shut. "Think of the world we'll help create. The two of us…"
"Sam, I can't. This isn't right… you have to know that…" Danny half expected Sam to growl and strangle him, but her expression remained the same.
"We'll be together… forever. You'll become one with plants like I have. We'll be immortal, our minds as one, the planet itself speaking to us…"
"Sam, this is wrong… this is just Undergrowth trying to stop me…" Sam appeared hurt. She took his arms and shook him gently.
"No, Danny!" Sam said, almost in her normal voice. "I've felt this way for years but I… I just couldn't say it. I tried to hide it, tell myself it was just a fling or off moment but… I don't want to think of them as 'fake out make outs.' I want them to be real, Danny…" she said, resting her head on his shoulder.
"Do you feel the same, Danny?" Sam pleaded, searching his eyes. The boy stammered before blushing.
"Yes," he managed. "I know I was after Paulina but… deep down, I think I always wanted to be with you." Sam squeezed the boy tight. Danny felt something drip onto his shirt, something warm and sticky. "Sap," he thought. "She must be crying."
"Oh, Danny…" She frowned as the boy gently pushed her away.
"Sam, you know what I have to do. I have to save everyone."
"I don't want to be 'saved!' I like being this way! If you change it, I'll forget everything! Just like every other time I get possessed. This moment will just fade away… can you really let it now that we've finally been honest?"
"I know, but I have to stop it."
"But, you can't…"
"Yes I can I have to. I have to see Frostbite. I promise, I'll talk to you after--"
"It's too late…" she whispered softly. Danny's brow furrowed. He was just opening his mouth when he felt it snaking through his body. His flesh crawled as black lines traced across him. The boy looked down to see the slightest tendril of a vine barely breaking the skin. "I didn't want it to hurt," she said softly.
"Sam, how could you…" Danny trailed off as a wave of sensations flowed over him. He felt… connected. It wasn't like something out of Star Trek or some cheesy sci-fi show when a victim was brought into a collective mind. He felt the balmy rainforests of Brazil. He sensed the thick trees of Germany's Black Forest. He shuddered at the emptiness of the Middle East. He prickled at the gentle sensation of grazed grass in the Serengeti. And finally, Danny felt the koala pleasing texture of eucalyptus trees. But that paled to what he felt now from Sam…
Danny didn't know if he could find the right words to describe it. Warmth, if one wanted to be lazy and simplistic. But what he felt transcended such a trivial description. Needing might be a better word; Sam desired an equal, someone to share the immense task of global leadership she had been given with. She wanted to end the loneliness and jealousy that had consumed her for years. Danny was dumbstruck as Sam continued to open to her, feeling her joy, her guilt, her hopes… everything was open to him. And from the look on Sam's face, the same was happening to her. Actually, forget the theatrics, the boy finally thought. It was love, and it was more profound and enveloping than he could have ever imagined. He finally returned Sam's tight, loving hug, and felt the girl somehow tighten her own further.
"Can you see it now, Danny?" Sam whispered gently to him. "What this means?"
"Yes…" the boy nodded with eyes dark green surrounded by black shapes. "It's amazing. I can feel the forests, the plains, household gardens… you."
"That's what I wanted to hear… I wanted you to come to the Growth by choice. I want you to rule with me, not be another mindless worker drone like everyone else."
"I know," Danny said, touching his friend's cheek. "I… I accept." Sam's eyes brimmed with sappy tears.
"Thank you," she said simply, quietly. A large flower began to form around them, as if to cradle them in its warm, soft pedals. "Let's take you to Father."
Jazz Fenton cowered in an alley, watching the "plant-zombies" lumber towards what was apparently ground zero for this infestation. Her mouth tasted of weeds, and she felt like something had been yanked out of her brain. It wasn't helped by having been drawn into a street lamp. She rubbed her nose, still numb from the impact. True, it hurt her physically and in ego, but at least it freed her from the bizarre phenomenon overtaking her hometown. She scowled, looking skyward.
"C'mon, Danny, where the heck are you…" she growled under her teeth. "Why aren't you clobbering this overgrown weed?" She gulped, remembering Danny had confessed recently that he'd been feeling weird, colder than he normally did. "Oh, Danny, I hope you're okay…" Jazz said softly.
"He's fine, Jazz."
The slim redhead whirled around to see Sam almost pirouetting, hovering out of a flower that suddenly manifested itself behind her. The plant girl smiled at her in a way that made Jazz feel extremely uncomfortable.
"Sam? What's happened to…?"
"What's happened to me?" the former Goth asked. "I've become the guardian of nature. I'm the princess of flora. And, best of a—"
"Where's Danny?!" Sam scowled slightly at Jazz's panicked interruption.
"As I was saying… the best thing of all is… I have a prince to rule with me." Confused, Jazz frowned in confusion, and was about to ask what Sam was talking about when the flower split open once more. The teenager's jaw dropped as she watched what came out the same way Sam had. It was a creature exactly like her, but male. He wore garments like the plant girl, but it was a two piece more in the shape of a muscle shirt and long shorts. Thorny bracelets sat over his ankles, and a smaller version adorned the end of his gloves. But, what made Jazz stare in shock was above the thorny collar. That youthful, almost shy face whose butt she'd watched for fourteen years. The formerly blazing blue eyes surrounded in black markings. The unruly hair, now more grass like.
"Wh… what's happened to you…" Jazz choked.
"I saw the light. In more ways than one," he replied as a vine pulled Sam to his side. He wrapped an arm around her slender waist, causing her to blush green. "It's better for everyone to become part of the Growth."
"Think about it, Jazz. No more war, poverty, disease, chaos, or hunger…" Sam said, awed. "It will be the beginning of a new age."
"Once we get rid of all the trash, anyway," Danny snorted, eyeing the artificial landscape around him. Jazz got to her feet, trembling.
"But… but you're a hero. You… you can't do this. It's not right! You're supposed to product the world, not condemn it!"
"No one said anything about falling in line with human expectations," Sam replied. The redhead backed away, horrified.
"You can't! You're supposed to save us, Danny!"
"We are, Jazz," he replied as he moved closer.
"You're insane!" Jazz cried, now worrying for her own sanity. Seeing her world consumed by otherworldly forces and her own beloved, heroic little brother heralding in the Apocalypse? It had become too much. "You've doomed us all!"
"Oh, it's okay, Jazz," Danny said as he raised a hand towards her older sister. A vine shot out from nowhere, stabbing into her brain. The girl felt herself sink into a chlorophyll haze. "You'll see in time that this was the best thing that ever…"
"Well done, my children."
"Thank you, Father," Danny and Sam said as one, bowing slightly. Undergrowth smiled as he looked over the city, now completely consumed in vegetation. Amity Park had finally paid for its arrogant disregard for his kingdom. He looked back at his servants, noting their slender hands holding one another.
"You have become one, I see."
"Yes, Father," Sam said. "He is the one I want to rule with me."
"Very well," Undergrowth nodded. "I was skeptical at first, seeing as he had attacked me. But, if it makes my daughter happy, I shall allow it."
"Thank you, Father."
"You are welcome. However… there is the matter of your names. I do believe you should have something more appropriate for your stature in the kingdom."
"I want him to suggest one," Sam said, squeezing Danny's hand.
"So be it. What do you think, child."
"I would like her to be named 'Bloom,' since that is how I first saw her," Danny said simply.
"And for you," Sam said, "I would like you to be 'Offshoot,' for how I brought you to the Growth… to my side."
"Very well, my children," Undergrowth nodded. "It is time, however, to spread the Growth. Our family is crying out to us. But first, there is the matter of our servants," he said as he looked upon the hundreds of thousands of enslaved humans. "What shall we do with them… perhaps use them as nutrition for our kindred…?"
"No," the former teenagers said as one. Undergrowth was somewhat taken aback, but amused enough to let them speak.
"Then what do you suggest?"
"We keep them," Danny said.
"To serve and keep our children safe. Even without humans, there are other things that can harm them," Sam said.
"Very well," Undergrowth nodded. "I suppose six billion servants are better than none. We shall keep them intact."
"We have further requests, Father."
"And what are those, Offshoot?"
"We would like these as our personal retainers," Sam said as two enslaved humans were lifted towards the large ghost's face.
"The former sister and the former friend," he said to himself. "So shall it be. And, pray tell, what of your families?"
"We shall decide that later. But, for now, do not harm them."
"So be it, my Bloom. Now, my children, I must bring you closer to the Growth so it may liberate this world. You are powerful as it is, now that you share the former ghost boy's powers. But still, the task ahead is greater than you can currently manage. You must choose slaves to be broken down as nutrition for the transformation."
"Them," the plant creatures said unhesitatingly towards several forms.
"Very well, my children," Undergrowth said as a thick budlike structure formed around them. "Sleep now." The small hybrids nodded as they drifted away, hands still holding the other. Undergrowth then threw the mayor, the high school beauty queen, and several jocks into another bud so they could be broken down for his children. Undergrowth closed his eyes and nodded to himself as he felt both processes begin.
"Sleep now, my children. As you slumber, I shall begin the liberation. I shall start with the group of humans who abused our family the most." The massive plant raised his arms, and the growth enveloping Amity Park began to spread out, inexorably, into the surrounding suburbs and counties, seeking the largest nests of human infestation.
If there were any free willed historians left at the end of the week, they would have written that it happened so fast, the United States had been overrun before its citizens could even notice.
In New York, hundreds watched in shock as the puny weeds in Times Square suddenly rose up and devoured the shimmering office towers before being overcome by the flood from Central Park. Los Angelinos gaped as manhole covers were thrown aside by gigantic weeds that swept aside the fancy trappings of its privileged citizens. Across Texas, oil derricks and refineries collapsed, crushed by vengeful plants. The federal government barely managed to know what was happening before the Growth swept over Washington, draping itself over the myriad monuments as it spread in all directions.
"It is done," Undergrowth said to the stemmed pod before him. "Go forth and save our family." The stem sprung back, and then hurled the pod skyward.
High above Amity Park and the tendrils ensnaring nearby cities, the pod broke apart, its passengers coming to life. To those who knew Danny Fenton and Sam Manson, what went in was familiar. But what came out…
Their flesh was no longer a pale peach but a dark green, with an even darker, vein like pattern of vines playing across it. Their hair was now more grass like, tinged with a light green. Thorns grew from where there used to be toe and fingernails. As their solid green eyes opened large, petal like wings with all the colors of the rainbow unfurled, and a vine like tail unwound from behind them. The creatures smiled at one another.
"Hello again," Bloom said, stroking his cheek.
"Hello," Offshoot said, holding his love's hand to his face. "You look beautiful."
"As do you," Bloom replied before frowning. "Our children need us."
"Yes, they do," Offshoot nodded as they reluctantly released the other's hand. "Let's do it."
"Yes," Bloom said simply, turning westward. Offshoot turned eastward as both raised their hands. Far below them, the largest parts of the Growth strained at their roots as if being tugged upwards. The young dryads then pushed their hands outward, east and west, as one.
Below, the thick carpet of flora rippled outwards, consuming the regions outside of the entangled cities. The growth reached the coast lines and shot forward across the oceans. Large, thick vines landed like organic grappling hooks across Africa, Australia, Eurasia, and South America. From the initial points of impact spread thousands of vines, sweeping across the continents, sending out finer tendrils to bring the Growth to Japan, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and other islands infected with humans. The invasion swept over cities, lakes, deserts, towns and mountains, growing and assimilating all it touched.
…Three hours later…
"Well done, my children, well done…"
Undergrowth smiled and rested a large hand upon Bloom and Offshoot each, looking out over what the humans had called "New York City" with pride. As far as he could see, green covered the land. Skyscrapers, ships, cars, bridges… everything was entombed under thick coats of the Growth. He had prevailed; humanity was firmly under his control, and his children dominated the world once more.
"I am proud of you," he continued as they stood upon the large, limestone crag that overlooked Manhattan. "You have done well today."
"Thank you, Father," Bloom and Offshoot said as one.
"Now, you may rule by my side over this world… our world, restored to its former life and beauty."
"And your aides, of course, shall attend to your needs," he nodded dismissively towards two forms in the shadows resembling the dryads' preliminary forms. "They seem to be shy."
"Jazz and Tucker are adapting to the new order, Father," Bloom said.
"Humph. They should be more thankful to their master. They are the only humans blessed with mobility."
"It is much appreciated, Master," Tucker said. Jazz merely nodded.
"Very well," the plant ghost nodded. He glanced over the building he stood upon. "This 'Empire State' will serve us well for our home."
"It shall," Offshoot nodded. "Father, our retainers wish to attend to your hands."
"They want to attend to my hands?"
"The ruler of the world cannot be seen before his subjects with dead moss upon his hands," Jazz replied stiffly. Undergrowth frowned and looked at his appendages.
"Very well," he sighed, dwindling enough so they could reach his hands. He noted Bloom and Offshoot giving him an odd expression. That and the normally inseparable dryads had stopped wrapping the other in their vines. "Is something the matter, my children?"
"Why, yes, Father," Bloom said.
"What is it?"
"Well, I'm afraid we've outgrown you," Offshoot smiled evilly as he lifted his hands upward, Bloom following suit. The ghost then felt Jazz and Tucker grab his arms tightly, restraining them. He glared.
"What nonsense is---" Undergrowth was cut off as Bloom and Offshoot tore into him with a barrage of white hot ectoplasm, incinerating him to a fine, unregenerate ash.
"We prefer sole mastery of the world, 'Father'" Bloom said with heavy sarcasm.
"Foolish old plant," Offshoot scoffed. "Thank you, servants."
"You're welcome," Jazz and Tucker said.
"Leave us be for now, your king and queen have personal business to attend to." Their aides nodded and left the former observation deck. Offshoot waited until they were gone, then willed the mass of vines around the skyscraper's spire downwards. They enwrapped the regiciding sovereigns and drew them to the top of their new empire.
"It's ours now," Bloom said as she looked across the horizon.
"Yes," Offshoot said. He turned to his love. "And none of it would have been possible without you. If you hadn't talked sense into me, I might have mastered my freezing powers without the Growth… or you."
"And you would have prevented all we have accomplished," Bloom nodded. She looked down towards the streets, populated by millions of formerly free humans awaiting their next order. "It is a shame. Many of the humans were unique. My former self would have disliked this."
"Perhaps… we can redeem them."
"What do you mean, love?"
"Give them limited mobility. An empire without living subjects is rather dull. All they need to understand is our new order."
"A possibility, yes," Bloom nodded thoughtfully. "But, that should not concern us now. I have what concerns me before my eyes."
"As do I," Offshoot replied, stroking Bloom's cheek. Bloom sighed happily before ensnaring the boy in her vines, drawing him to her side. Offshoot did the same, and they met, intertwined tighter than they could have been as humans. Unseen, Offshoot reached behind him and plucked something from the Growth. He brought it to Bloom's face; the most beautiful, perfect rose she had ever seen. "To the future, my Bloom," he said simply.
"To the future, my Offshoot," Bloom said as she integrated the rose into her vegetated flesh. The lord sovereigns of the Growth locked lips and vanished under a sea of vines, petals and flowers as the sun set on the empire of Man behind them. Tomorrow a new empire, one of their will alone, would begin…