A/N: Well, it's that time again. I hope you have enjoyed my past stories. (And in my book, it's never too late to read and review them at any time!!)…I thank all my past readers who have been soo supportive. You make writing a joy!!...Anyhow, I came up with this story when an idea began to take a life of its own after I started to wonder where Johnny 13's Shadow ghost came from. And this is the result!! I am very excited about it because it really has elements of all the genres in it: mystery, action/adventure, angst, romance, humor, suspense and drama. But it's basically a mystery adventure which is why I labelled it as such.
And it's OK if you haven't read my past stories, especially "Bewerewulfed", "Brace Yourself" and "His Own Worst Enemy" which are particularly alluded to here. Just pretend that the referred "truths" from those stories, then, are "true", especially when Danny has wulf claws and super-speed powers now….And this story takes place after "Phantom Planet" and "His Own Worst Enemy" (too complicated to summarize!) as well…
I especially thank my good friend, Angelus-alvus, for helping me hammer out the summary (you're my good luck charm, you know!!). And I want to give a special 'thank you" to pearl84 for your immense help...
Oh, BTW, hope y'all don't mind that I'm starting this story today instead of Friday like I usually do. You see, it's my sister's b'day today and I thought it would be nice surprise for her to dedicate this entire story to her!! Happy B'day, sis!!
And I need to warn you that even though this story is rated "K plus ", there are three kinda intense scenes in it. (not as intense as some others I have read on FF, but more intense than most of my stories.) I will warn you at the beginning of the chapters in which they occur and give you a summary at the bottom if you don't want to read it. And I apologize if there are any more technical difficulties, namely the "spread out" verses scattered throughout the story. I have tried to correct them but may have missed a few!!
Oh, and here's another little mystery for you: I will have a surprise in the future about the original characters' names. I am sure you will figure it out right away. There are a lot of savvy readers out there and I love it!!
Finally, of course, (raising my hand up in oath) I definitively state from this chapter onward that I do NOT own any characters ("IDNOAC" , that is!) Now, are you ready?? Then strap yourselves tightly in, cause it's goin' to be a VERY long and wild ride!! Here is Chapter 1. Enjoy!!
Shadow of a Doubt
(Be afraid, be very afraid!!)
Danny Fenton, Sam Mason and Tucker Foley, best friends since, like, forever, and a cast of other students were in the mist of cheering on their Casper High School football team, the Ravens, at the state championship game. The enthusiasm they all felt was like the rush most of them had experienced billowing down the Mad Monks roller coaster at Floody Waters. And what made the game even more exciting was that it was being played at Shadesville, another small town in the state. Just being there, after all, was quite an adventure in itself for most of the sheltered youth in Amity Park.
It had been several months since Danny's last encounter with his alternate, evil self. That fight with the ten-years-from-now Phantom had altered the time stream, so much so that the three friends had been jolted back to the spring of their freshman year after Danny and his future self battled for possession of Clockwork's staff. As a result of their fight, all the events surrounding the disasteroid incident no longer existed in most of the world's mind.
But now it was the following fall, and they were in their sophomore year-- again. The friends agreed that, overall, having all that time literally erased during that momentous encounter was for the better. Everyone had been overwhelmed with all the attention Danny had attracted, and the half-ghost himself couldn't agree with that more…So, even though this now meant having to deal again with the familiar changes—juggling his time, having Valerie on his tail and—worse of all—having Mayor Vlad around—Danny was still glad to have his secret back. And he was still pleased that his parents knew about his alter ego, so that outweighed the negatives.
Still, the three friends knew there were more changes to deal with. Danny was now dating Sam, and Tucker was now dating Valerie. That was quite an adjustment in itself. And then there was that alternate timeline. Their calendars told them they were still fifteen. Yet, after all they had gone through in their young lives, especially since they had relived most of the year, they felt older. They knew that they should really be sixteen, but had to accept that the current timeline insisted they were still fifteen—again.
And so here the three best friends were. While they tried to beat off the early November chill, their school's football team was now beating the pants off of their greatest rival for the state title. Their approaching victory had all of the Casper High students in high spirits...
"Yeah! Go, Ravens, go!" Tucker yelled, vigorously waving the Raven flag.
Swinging his arms erratically in excitement, Danny hooted, "Whoo-hoo! That'll show them!"
The play ended with the Ravens gaining twenty yards. Seeing the opposing football team call a 'time out' to strategize the next play, Tucker turned to Danny and said with a disappointed frown, "This is so great! But I wish Valerie were here. She would love this! Too bad her boss is a real jerk and doesn't believe in giving her time off for things like this!"
Both of his friends looked sympathetically at him. Being without her at this exciting moment was a little upsetting to Tucker.
"Sorry, Tuck," Danny replied, and then yelled at the next play. Tucker quickly joined him.
Sam, as usual, sat next to her best friends, seemingly oblivious to the events bombarding her senses.
"Thanks, dude," Tucker commented. He quickly got over his pining at seeing their quarterback—Dash, of course—suddenly take control of the ball and run clear across the field, making a breath-taking touchdown!
"Touchdown: Ravens!" the announcer excitedly barked.
Danny and Tucker jumped up in enthusiastic triumph. "DID YOU SEE THAT?" the half-ghost exclaimed to his male friend.
"I KNOW! He just took it clear across the field. I am SO glad that we're here! But I still can't believe it!"
Seeing that Tucker was not that upset anymore, Danny grinned and said, "Well, it did help that my parents are attending a ghost hunters' convention this weekend."
"And that my parents are attending a family history research workshop," Sam added, bundling up some more.
"OK. So it's all about timing! My folks couldn't resist Shadesville's famous Fall Festival! The food here is awesome!" Tucker smiled, reflexively licking his lips and rubbing his stomach. "And my parents love the art shows. So I guess it's lucky that we had something else to do while our parents did their thing!"
"Besides, when was the last time we were able to get a shot at the state title?" Danny remarked, not turning from how intensely he was watching to see if the Ravens made the one-point field goal.
Sam sullenly answered Danny, "Like a billion years ago! And they're going to lose, you know! The good karma has all ready been used up just to get here!"
"AWW!" the crowd and Danny yelled when the Ravens missed the point.
Turning to Sam and frowning because of her comment and the last play, Danny objected, "Oh, c'mon, Sam! Don't be so negative! How would you know anything about 'reality' lately anyway? You've been everywhere but here these past few weeks! We're creaming them! How can we possibly lose?" He suddenly turned back to the field and yelled in excitement at the next play's kick off.
She frowned in irritation, but not towards his comment about the game.
Suddenly, the trio noticed that the sky was darkening, as if a storm was approaching; but queerly, there were no clouds.
Looking up and lazily pointing to the sky, Sam dryly retorted, "Does that answer your question?"
Then, just as sudden, Danny's ice cold, blue breath eked out of his mouth. "Oh, no, not now! We're winning!!" he groaned. Then the teen was startled by another quick warning by his ghost sense...
Floating high in the distance, a large shapeless ebony ghost briefly glanced at, and then scanned more intensely beyond, the game in progress. Surrounded by hundreds of other similar ghosts, the green-eyed ghost unquestionably looked like he could be the leader of this invading army. But he wasn't. He was the second-in-command. He turned and looked back at his slightly shorter leader, who was close behind him and in front of the others. The leader immediately gave his nod of approval to his chief general, who, in turn, gave a low bow to his leader, and then signaled the others. The entire army of other solidly black ghosts moved slowly and silently as one mass, drifting toward the football field.
Suddenly, the leader pushed ahead of his deputy. Although this leader looked just like the other shadow ghosts that made up the approaching ethereal cloud of darkness, he was different. He had piercing and evil red eyes, and a hair-like crown of red flames and equally flaming-red and sharp talons that accented his coal-black form.
Just as this army of black ghosts was at the far border of the field, the second-in-command moved up to his leader again. He searched for signs of the leader's permission once more before making his next move. At last getting it, the deputy laughed. But it was not a delighted laugh. It was a sinister one.
Now to each other, the shadow ghosts would not sound odd in their way of communicating. But to any human's ear, these shadows were extremely difficult—if not impossible—to understand. And so, to a human, the deputy's laugh would sound more like a hiss. And his response would remind a human of a growl. But this creature did not hiss and did not growl. He spoke:
"My lord!! Yours for the taking
Such a small town
No problems making
It all come down!"
Shadow of a Doubt—Chapter 1—The Shadow Man Cometh
Meanwhile, the football game played on. It was such an intense game; everyone didn't notice the large dark cloud ebbing toward them. Well, everyone, except for the young half-ghost and his friends, who were gazing up at the strange occurrence with heavy frowns.
Danny made a quick check around him to make sure that no one was looking at them before he looked to his friends; and with a quick nod of understanding among themselves, Danny fell backwards through the bleachers. Tucker and Sam instantly scooted closer to each other, successfully concealing Danny's sudden disappearance.
The shadows under the bleachers were suddenly filled with light emanating from Danny's transformation, as his sapphire eyes became emerald and his coal-black hair snowy-white. His clothes also instantly changed, revealing the black-and-white clad ghost boy. He then quickly became intangible and invisible before charging upward to investigate the approaching immense shadow. All the while, only his friends noticed the sudden bright light under the bleachers or sweeping wake of wind as he soared past them.
But as the young hybrid flew closer to the ebony mass, his resolve melted to a sudden doubt, surprising him as his ghost sense again wailed in warning. His mind raced with his ghost sense. "Man, there must be a lot of ghosts up ahead. But where? All I see is a solid black blob!"
But as he neared, he saw something different in the black cloud. "What's that?" he asked himself. "There's something red right in the middle of all that black!"
He slowed his approach and began to see the distinct outlines of something—or some things.
And one of those outlines with the red spots moved forward toward him.
His ghost sense went off again and Danny saw that the creature had some sort of form, but not really. It certainly reminded him of Johnny 13's shadow ghost. But as the red blobs on this shadow evolved, it unmistakably told the teen that it had menacing red eyes—and very large red claws.
"Well, maybe not quite like Johnny 13's jerk of a shadow. But is this one just as jerky?" he wondered.
Before drawing any nearer, Danny looked behind the creeping red-and-black shadow. No other single part of the blackness was moving, but he saw another outline with red spots in the middle of the mass. But its outline was smaller; and for now, he did not know who this smaller red-and-black individual was.
Danny looked back to the creature floating toward him. Uncertain of what all this meant or how to address this ghost, who clearly was the leader, the young hybrid decided to take a more subdued approach. When he thought that the ghost was finally near enough, Danny materialized in front of it and said a little too hesitantly, "Uh, hello! Are you lost? This isn't the Ghost Zone, you know."
The boy heard individual gasps from the black cloud as the other shadow ghosts reacted to the sudden appearance of this strange creature that addressed their leader. But the red-and-black leader was not impressed and didn't answer the boy right away. With a slight nod of his flaming red head, he continued to drift forward, and was now being followed by the wary other ebony ghosts.
Still slightly unnerved by their behavior, Danny asked more questions. "Hey, are you related to Johnny 13's shadow ghost?"
But then Danny knew that they could not possibly be related to Johnny 13's shadow ghost when the leader, unfazed by the boy's questions, spoke to the ghost who had finally caught up to him-- his second-in-command:
"And what this gnat be?
He is no threat
No time, no time
To fool here yet."
Danny listened and was amazed that they could speak. But he could not fully understand them or their odd manner of speech. Before the teen could respond, the deputy answered his leader:
"He would be the Ghost Child
Shares all the qualities
Of Ombre the most."
"Great!" Danny thought. "Not only are they as ugly as Johnny 13's shadow, but they can't speak worth a hoot! But, I think I heard something about me…wait… is that even a good thing?"
The leader turned to the other shadow ghost, and surprising him, quietly hissed, "Do not speak that name to me and do not even hint that the creature over there is worthy of us! I alone am worthy of the flesh-fulfilled Prophecy!"-x-
The second-in-command bowed in submission; and even though Danny did not hear what the leader had said, he could tell by the change in that ghost's expression-- and by how more intensely his red crown flared-- that the leader was not pleased.
"Well, that can't be good," The young hybrid thought. "Still, it doesn't matter. They shouldn't be here. And what kind of creatures are these? I thought Johnny 13's shadow was unique; but, then again, I couldn't possibly have seen every kind of ghost when we were all poisoned by my jerky evil self!"
Finally, the boy decided to speak to the leader again, "Listen...whoever you are! We don't want any trouble around here! So what do you want, anyway? You haven't told me if you were lost or anything!" "Well, anything I could understand," He added quietly to himself.
The leader smirked in mild irritation:
We came to stay, to stay!
We are the Spectre
We came to slay!"
Danny's eyes widened at the creature's response and quickly thought, "Oh, man! I heard that last word loud and clear! And did he say something about what they were? And at least the leader seems to understand me, I think! But how?" But he replied, "Look! I was trying to keep this friendly, but you're getting too hostile. So, you need to go back to wherever you came from!"
This time the leader laughed at the boy's sheer audacity, and then sneered:
"So, just who are you
To tell us no?
Spectre do as we wish
Not to go, not to go!"
"Uh, there's that word again…Gee, why can't he just come out with it?" Danny muttered under his breath, straining to understand. Then a quick idea came to him. "Maybe he wants to know who I am?"
He cleared his throat and said as clearly as he could, "OK. I'm game…I'm Danny Phantom. And you are?"
At first, the sound of Danny's full name caused a stir among the other Spectre behind their leader. They mumbled amongst themselves, not out of fear, but out of awe at his name.
But the leader, plainly upset at the similarity of their names and at the reaction of his minions, answered:
"My name you ask?
Fear if you know
As Prophesy of the Spectre -x -
I lead where I go."
"But truth be told
No matter, no matter
I am Phasma the Fierce
Very strong, even madder!"
Just as Phasma said the word 'madder', he threw a black-and-red candy-striped-like ectoplasmic ray at Danny, who easily avoided it and again hearing only the last word of what the creature said, quipped, "Oh, I see, so let's stop all the chatter!...Hey! Pretty good, considering how much I hate—and as usual, totally don't understand-- all your poetry stuff!"
The young hybrid immediately responded with his own signature green ectoplasmic rays at Phasma, who quickly opened up pores in his form, allowing the green rays to pass through him.
"Well, it was worth a try," the boy thought as Phasma shot more of his black-and-red rays at him. Again, Danny avoided them, but then the shadow ghost hissed and a few other Spectre immediately responded with their own black rays.
This time, Danny countered them with his ice rays which rendered them ineffective. "Good! At least that power works against them!" he said to himself.
Suddenly, the line of attackers just behind their leader, which the teen noticed looked scared at their failure, fell back; and a new line pressed forward and had their turn at attacking the boy. And again, the young hybrid froze their efforts. Knocked off balance once again on how easily this young ghost subdued them, the shadow ghosts were hesitant to attempt another round of attack.
Phasma, too, was slightly unhinged at this foreign ghost's tenacity and power, and for a moment, he lost some of his fierceness. But then, seeing the second red-and-black Spectre defining herself separate from the other ghosts, he quickly regained his wits. Silently indicating to that smaller shadow ghost to move back, he then waved his red claws wildly at the mass of shadow creatures, commanding:
"Fall back, fall back!
New come, new come!
Press on, press on!
No run, no run!"
Danny urged himself, "Forget what he said! It's obvious from what they're doing that they haven't given up yet! Don't know if I can keep this up indefinitely. There are hundreds of them! But, why--…" He stopped himself, his eyebrows creasing at his next sudden thought, "…--Why don't they all shoot at me at once? Uh, not that I want them to, of course!" Then another wild idea hit him and his eyes widened at the possibility. "Maybe because they can't! They did look kinda scared when their first—and maybe only?--shot didn't get to me! That would explain the rotation in the line!" He smiled slightly at another memory, "Guess Lancer would be proud that I remembered my Revolutionary history! They might be 'one-shot musket', uhm, well, 'one ray' ghosts, anyway!"
Just then, a third line of shadow ghosts formed and it immediately took its chance at trying to beat this young warrior. Once more, the boy's ice rays quickly disarmed his foes, and they fell back. Danny brought his hand to his mouth, attempting to stifle his laugh. "Can it really be this easy? They're worst than the British were!"
But as Danny soon realized, his cockiness was Phasma's advantage and the shadow ghosts' leader sneaked a shot of his black-and-red rays at the chuckling boy. Seeing the attack a little too late, the young hybrid was only able to freeze a little more than half the beams aimed at him. The rest instantly penetrated him and wounded him in his left arm.
Danny yelled as the stinging and burning sensation pulsed through him. Instinctively grabbing his arm, he felt the warm, wet ecto-blood that oozed out of the fairly large wound. And suddenly, he was dizzy, and felt empty--as if he were lost or aimlessly adrift-- which was then replaced by a feeling of self-doubt.
Phasma laughed when he saw the reaction he wanted. He jeered:
"Aha! You shall see
The Spectre Black Seal!
Doubt self, doubt self
Insignificant you will feel!"
Danny, trying to shake the strange feeling, spat back, "Don't care what you just said, but I'm not going to let you have another opportunity at hitting me with that black-and-red beam again!"
And the young hybrid instantly charged up a huge ball of ectoplasmic energy between his hands and threw it at the leader of the Spectre. Though Plasma tried to avoid the missile, he was not fast enough and was hit head on. The energy released was so powerful that the shadow ghost was affected enough to cause his form to fade a little. He was so stunned that he did not notice—but Danny did—that two bound scrolls which had been hidden within himself were jolted away from his body and had now fallen to the ground below.
Danny successfully tracked the scrolls' fall without drawing any more attention to himself. Looking back up at Phasma, the boy, still reeling from the effects of the black-and-red ray, hesitated on whether he should get the scrolls or continue in his fight.
But Phasma decided for him. The shadow leader had recovered more quickly than Danny thought and, worse, hadn't given up. The ebony ghost jeered:
"Might have hurt
But there is relief.
It was only brief."
He motioned with his claws and the large mass began to close in on the young hybrid, with their black claws now extremely obvious and posed to strike.
"Oh, man, bayonet time!" Danny immediately thought, but even though he tried to ignore the feelings, the effects of the black-and-red ray had done their job, and he felt he could not hold out against them all. Still struggling to clear his mind and realizing that his eyes were not focusing well, the boy thought, "This is tougher than I thought! Uhm, I better get out of here. I mean, looks like I'll have to come up with some other way to deal with you, whatever-your-name-is!"
But then he mustered up his grit and yelled, "This is not over, jerk!" Quickly becoming intangible and invisible, he flew downward. As he soared away, his apprehension began to lift a little—but not his doubt--and he charged more earnestly toward the two rolled leaflets that still lay where he saw them fall. He grabbed them right before he phased through the ground. And only when he was several hundred feet away from the hoard of shadow ghosts did he resurface.
Holding his foggy head as he headed back to the football field, he muttered to himself, "What was that all about? Those black-and-red rays are definitely on top of my list of things to avoid from now on! I don't know-- and don't want to know-- how it would feel if I got the full brunt of them..." He paused, confused, and his left arm throbbed. "Uhm, man, my arm still hurts!! And, uhm, what should I do now? I'm not sure! ...I don't know what to make of all of this! ...What's going to happen? ...I need to find out what's going to happen. But how...?" He paused again. Then he shook his head, trying to clear his mind. "C'mon, Fenton, think! Uh, about what? C'mon, you need to get to Sam and Tucker and figure out this mess!"
Meanwhile, Phasma, pleased with his apparent victory, thought, "Hmph! He is no Prophesy of the Spectre! - x- Now that I ridded myself of that creature, he can no longer interfere with my quest! I must be sure of the Prophecy!" - x-He searched for the scrolls only to realize that they were gone! He began to panic, but forced himself to suppress his growing distress. He could not let his minions know or see his sudden nervousness.
His second-in-command, however, did notice and whispered to him, "Master, lord, is something wrong? I can help if you command it."
But Phasma immediately rebuked him, "How dare you speak without my leave, Spectro? Do not doubt my strength! I have nothing to fear!"
Spectro bowed in submission and frowning in great apology, begged, "Your pardon, my lord. Spectro knows his place. He does only as you command. It will not happen again."
The ruler of the shadow ghosts smiled softly; it was, however, not a sincere one, but one hiding a subdued threat. "No harm done. But just so you know who I am—the Prophesy of the Spectre—you have my leave to go." But then Phasma added, "But before you go, know that they are gone. The scrolls, that is. The ones which contain the riddle of the Omen of the Prophecy. We must retrace our steps!"
Just before the stunned Spectro could answer, the other smaller red-and-black shadow creature came up and put her shadow hand on Phasma. Immediately, thoughts flooded her mind and she smiled. (And just as she had touched Phasma, Danny's wounded arm throbbed.)
"All is well, Father?" she asked.
"No, Jiva, but do not concern yourself about it. Now is not the time!"
She pouted at his mild rebuff but was satisfied nevertheless. She had gotten what she had come for, and she looked toward the direction to which Danny had gone.
"We must go, Spectro!" Phasma commanded.
And just as the other Spectre followed their unsettled leader back from where they came, so, too, were they followed by their discontent.
- x- A/N: The Spectre called their leaders "Prophesy of the Spectre". I purposely spelled it "Prophesy" (pronounced 'pro-fi-sigh') to distinguish it from the 'Prophecy' (pronounced 'pro-fi-cee'), the omen that was passed on by the past Spectre.