Author's Note: I was introduced to "Danny Phantom" several months ago by my good friend and beta, "MyAibou" – partly to help her in beta'ing her stories (which I was GLAD to do!) and partly 'cuz I'd been interested for some time and jumped on the chance to actually, finally give DP a try (she sent me DVDs of downloads she'd burned for me – YATTA). And soon after watching episodes, I started to wonder what a meeting between Danny and Yami would be like . . . cuz, you know, everything comes back to "Yu-Gi-Oh!" ((rolls eyes)) LOL At least for me. ((grins)) But, anyway, in the wake of a slew of emails back and forth with MyAibou on the subject, this story began to develop – and I have her to thank both for beta'ing for me and for poking at me in the first place and keeping me interested in the idea enough – and assuring me it was turning out to be a viable enough concept – to continue developing and eventually start writing this. So . . . THANKS MYAIBOU! ((huggles!))
Disclaimer – "Yu-Gi-Oh!" and all related characters, events, and concepts belong to Takahashi Kazuki and any other related owners/distributors/producers. "Danny Phantom" belongs to Butch Hartman and Nickelodeon. I get no monetary benefit from this. My benefit is the enjoyment of dealing with beloved characters.
"Jumping at Shadows"
"Hey, Maddie, could you c'mere a sec'?"
Jack stood at the bottom of the stairs with a box in his hands, one that had just arrived earlier today. He had managed to sneak it past his lady love and into the Fenton Laboratory while she had been busy fixing dinner, and now he could not wait to present it to her.
Maddie's voice floated down from the living room. "Can it wait? 'CSI: Paranormal' is about to come on!"
"Well, hit the Fenton TV-corder and record it. Trust me – this is worth it!"
He could almost hear her huff even down in the basement before she descended the stairs, eyeing the box. "Jack, what's this?"
Jack's grin widened as he handed it to her. "Remember that geological element you, me, and Vladdy discovered back in college? That little chip of rock everyone kept wanting to tell us was just irradiated emerald?"
"Yes," she murmured slowly, eyeing the package.
"Well, guess what, baby? I've been doing some research online and finally came in contact with a company called Paradias out in San Francisco. One of its subsidiaries – ah . . . hm . . . can't . . . seem to recall the name of it off the top of my head." He shrugged. "Anyway, they specialize in rare metals and gems . . . "
Even with the goggles in place over her eyes, Jack could read her expression, her mouth falling open. "Y-you're kidding! Jack . . . !" She pulled her Fenton Pocket Knife from a case on her utility belt and cut the package open. Jack watched her dig into tightly-packed shredded paper until her fingers found a plastic zip-top bag with a handful of glowing green stones like rough crystal, each the length of her thumb. "Ectoranium! Oh, Jack!" She threw her arms around her husband. "These are incredible! And they must have cost a fortune!" She stepped back, head tilting at that thought. "How much did you pay for these?"
Jack smirked. "Would you believe next-to-nothing? Well, okay, more than that, but they were cheap compared to what they're worth. Or, well, maybe just to ghost hunters like us, but . . . Heh, I'll bet that Amelda guy I bought them from had no idea what he had on his hands, just like those jokers in college didn't. Huh, and what kind of name is 'Amelda,' anyway?"
Maddie shook her head as she stepped over to a table, laying out the pieces of ectoranium. "Never mind that, Jack. The important thing is that we have them now and we know exactly what they're worth."
Jack nodded, holding up a finger and reciting like he did back in college. "The negative effects of the energy put out by ectoranium – or 'orichalcum' as some have identified it in antiquity – can only be felt by ghosts! And that energy can be harnessed for all manner of anti-ghost weapons and equipment."
Maddie clapped her hands together. "Oh, Jack! You remembered 'antiquity'! I'm so proud of you!"
Jack beamed, hands on his hips. "Sure did, baby!" He frowned suddenly. "And I should have. I practiced it over and over enough . . . "
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
Danny sat at his desk in his room, shoving back into his chair in frustration. Why do teachers insist on assigning homework over the summer break? he grumbled mentally as he scrubbed both hands over his face. Doesn't that defeat the whole purpose of having a break from school? And this after wasting two months of it at that stupid Camp Skull-and-Crossbones!
He sighed, then shivered and stood to reach for his bedroom window, absently intent on closing the pane . . . only it was already shut. And, again . . . it's summer. So why am I – ? Danny turned back toward the interior of his room and saw his breath. Okay, that clenches it. Ghost Sense. So . . . where are you? He found his attention drawn to his dresser. Frowning, he crossed the room and started pulling drawers open.
"AHH!" Danny should have expected it – and he knew it – but he cried out in shock all the same, throwing himself back from the pudgy form of luminous blue that popped up in front of him without warning. He landed on his backside, then glared up at the intruder, cutting off the rest of the usual introduction. "Yeah, yeah, I know! You're the Box Ghost . . . and, in case you hadn't noticed, that's not exactly a box. That's my underwear drawer!" Pulling himself to his feet, he added with a huff, "And what are you doing in my room?"
The Box Ghost rocked back in mid-air, folding his arms with a huff of his own. "For your information, that is not what I was going to say!"
Danny cocked an eye at him. "No? Huh. Don't tell me. You're now the Boxer Ghost." He snatched a pair of boxers from the Box Ghost's head and stuffed them back in his drawer. This would not be the first time the second-rate spook had spontaneously decided to change his name based on his present location . . . or fetish. Danny shuddered and decided to pretend he had not just had that thought.
The thought was forgotten entirely when Danny stopped to look at the Box Ghost again. The specter hovered close to the floor, rather than up by the ceiling as was his norm, and was looking around and wringing his hands. The Box Ghost noted Danny's attention and threw his arms up with another dramatic shout of "Beware!"
"Argh!" Danny stumbled back again, pressing the heel of a hand to his ear. "Will you stop that! What are you all 'beware' about this time?" Danny tossed his own hands up in imitation, wiggling his fingers.
For a moment, the Box Ghost just gaped at him and, when he spoke, his voice had dropped to a more normal tone, which for him constituted a hushed whisper. "You do not sense it?"
Danny frowned. The Box Ghost looked genuinely afraid. Danny had not seen the specter so scared since Lord Pariah Dark tried to take over the Ghost Zone. "No. What's spooked the spook, huh?"
The Box Ghost made a face at the bad pun but did not to rise to the jab. "There is a dark and ancient magic in the air. Someone is casting a terrible summons that is drawing on the Realm of Nightmares itself!"
Just then, Jazz knocked on the door, letting herself in without waiting for permission. "Danny, are you talking to someone? Who's in – ? Box Ghost? What are you doing here?"
Danny crossed his arms and glared at the specter. "We were just getting to that part. What do you mean, 'the Realm of Nightmares'?"
The Box Ghost didn't get a chance to answer, interrupted by a sharp gasp from Jazz, who was staring past Danny. Danny turned over his shoulder, then bolted to the windowsill, Jazz and the Box Ghost on his heels. All three gaped at the sight of countless bolts of glowing green energy streaking across the sky from the east. Several streams separated from the rest, arcing downward to head for their home, slamming through the living room wall at a trajectory that would put them straight into the basement.
Jazz looked at Danny in horror. "Danny, the lab! Mom and Dad are down there! Come on!" She turned and darted from the room.
Danny caught the Box Ghost by the collar to keep him from hiding in the dresser again and dragged the specter with him as he bolted after his sister. The two teens hit the top of the stairs just in time to hear laser fire and their parents' cries of shock and anger down in the basement. Jazz pulled up short in the kitchen, throwing a protective arm across her little brother as their father backed himself and his wife up the basement stairs. Danny's breath hitched at the feral moans he could hear coming from below. His heart stopped altogether at the sight of the monster making that sound as it lumbered up the stairwell. It looked like an ogre of some kind, with sickly purple-grey flesh under massive plate armor. Sharp teeth – and plenty of them! – glowing red eyes, and an arcane symbol, a five-point star within a double-circle, glowing on the forehead of the helm completed the look. Danny thought he had seen something like it in the orc armies from the Lord of the Rings movies, and a part of his mind marked as a footnote that the symbol on the monster's forehead glowed the same ectoplasmic green as those streaks of power. The Box Ghost had fled the first chance he got, and now Danny wondered that the proximity of this beast did not set off his Ghost Sense again.
Not a ghost.
Danny shook his head at the thought. What else could it be? Still, something about the monster's very presence stood the hairs of Danny's neck and arms up on end, filling him with a dread he couldn't shake.
At the sight of the monster, Jazz screamed. "W-what is that?"
"Did it come out of the Ghost Portal?" Danny added.
Jack had set himself between the basement door and his family, Fenton Bazooka in hand, while Maddie backed her children away. "Jack, the Bazooka's not working!" She spared a glance over her shoulder and shook her head. "No, they came out of some kind of ectoplasmic seals that spread from ectoranium crystals after a bunch of weird energy bolts hit them!"
" 'They'?" Jazz gasped. "There's more of them?"
In spite of himself, Danny was more worried in that moment about the presence of the dangerous-to-ghosts crystals. He couldn't help but remember what his parents had always told him and Jazz about the rare stone. "Ah, w-when did you guys get a hold of ectoranium!"
Jazz frowned, then turned on what Danny always thought of as her melodramatic-overprotective-sister act. It was the one she used to try to cover for Danny to get him out of their parents' sight so he could go ghost, and he had to wonder that the poor acting didn't catch their attention as such. "Oh, no! I have to protect my baby brother! Come, so I can hide you from the terrible monsters!"
Danny managed not to roll his eyes – he hated it when she called him her "baby" brother, considering there were barely two years in age between them – but did not resist when she started pushing him back towards the staircase to the upper story. Their mother, however, caught them both by the arms.
"Danny, here." She fastened a metal belt around his hips, and he swallowed a groan. It was a Specter Deflector. At least he had managed to learn to contain his ghost half enough that the damnable thing no longer zapped him senseless even when he was in human form. Then, Maddie pressed a Jack-o-Nine-Tails into Jazz's hands. "Take care of your brother, sweetie." More of the armored ogres had pressed their way up the staircase, forcing Jack to retreat toward the living room, and she darted back to her husband's side, wrist pistols and goggle beams blazing.
Jazz retreated around a corner with Danny in tow, and he pulled free from her as soon as they were out of sight. "Here," he grunted, pulling off the Specter Deflector and slapping it into his sister's free hand. "Stupid thing does me more harm than good." He frowned and shook his head as she shrugged and started to put it on. "Don't know that it'll do you any good, either, Jazz. I don't think those things are ghosts."
"What? Well, then, what are they?"
"Beats me! But think about it – they came out of ectoranium crystals!"
Jazz's eyes went wide. "Ghosts can't touch ectoranium . . . "
"Exactly. They didn't set off my Ghost Sense, either."
Danny started to say more, but then Jazz yelped again and grabbed him, spinning to press him into protection behind her in a corner, staring in horror out a window as what could only be described as a skull-faced demon paused to bend down and peer in before continuing. The monster bore the same ectoplasmic glyph on its forehead. As it passed back out of view, Danny spotted a gigantic metal jar with a face in the open mouth next to a two-headed dinosaur clawing at a building across from them. And from the sounds of the screams that were beginning to fill the streets, there were even more monsters beyond.
Danny growled and pushed his sister back from him. "That does it! I'm GOING GHOST!" He punched both fists up into the air as a shockingly cold sensation spread from the pit of his stomach outward, the energy forming a visible ring of blue-white light like a hoola-hoop around his waist, the power that transformed him from his human form to his ghost form.
Jazz stepped further back as the ring separated into two, traveling up and down Danny's body to disappear above his hands and into the floor. She dropped the belt and baton and threw an arm around her brother's shoulders. "Danny, take me upstairs. I've got a Fenton Ghost Peeler in my bedroom."
Danny didn't know if that weapon would work any better against non-ectoplasmic beings than the Jack-o-Nine-Tails, but it was worth a shot. If nothing else, the armor it formed around the user would protect his sister – he hoped. He nodded, turned them both intangible, and flew them up through the ceiling. They stopped in Jazz's room, then continued up through the roof, hovering under the Ops Center perched on top of the building. The sight that met their eyes was a chilling one: monsters of literally every description imaginable filled the streets – dragons, demons, mechanical oddities, humanoid beast-warriors, giant insects, even a three-dimensional cartoon mermaid in a giant clamshell down the street in front of Old Man Nedry's place. The one thing that seemed to connect them all was the same green seal on their foreheads, or what passed for heads in many cases. In the distance, he caught a flash of color and movement between two buildings and wondered if Valerie was out doing her ghost-hunting . . . and if she was having any luck against these monsters.
"Not good," Jazz breathed as she looked around, her hold on her brother tightening out of reflex. "These are just like the ones that appeared a few days ago!"
Monsters – apparently just like these, from what he had later seen on newscasts – had shown up in the wee hours before dawn, not only all over Amity Park, but all over the world. Some guy from Japan had put on a press conference about it later that morning but, by then, the monsters had disappeared without a trace. Danny had been on an overnight fishing trip on Lake Michigan with Tucker's family and so had not been present for the invasion.
Before Danny could respond, movement caught his attention out of the corner of his eye, something on the near sidewalk that was much smaller than the surrounding monsters. "Look! There's Sam!" Danny dropped to the ground as his friend bolted up the street to meet them.
"Danny, they're back! The monsters from last week!" Sam's eyes were wide with uncustomary fear. "What are these things?"
Danny shrugged, then gasped and grabbed Sam and Jazz to pull back around a corner into the alley that served as their driveway as the skull-faced demon lumbered by again. The monstrosity had to stand at least fifteen to twenty feet tall. "I dunno. Not ghosts!"
Sam harrumphed, waving a green-and-silver cylinder under his nose. "Tell me something I don't know. The Fenton Thermos doesn't work on them!"
"Didn't work on them last time, either, Sam," Jazz pointed out with a grimace. She let go of her brother and activated the Ghost Peeler, pausing to let the suit form out of the weapon and envelop her.
Danny blew out a breath. "And there's something else this time, too – some kind of armored ogres that came out of crystals my parents had down in the lab. Were they around last time, too? I don't remember seeing them on the news."
Jazz shook her head, but Sam's breath hitched and she asked, "Crystals? You mean like this one?" She held out a glowing chip of ectoranium.
Jazz blinked in surprise. "Where did you get that?"
Sam shrugged. "Found it lying in the street outside of my house. I saw a bolt of energy come down out of the sky from my bedroom window and hit the street, and this weird, glowing . . . looked like a summoning circle or something formed out of it across the asphalt, and an armored ogre-thing pulled itself up out of it and lumbered off down the street. When I came out to see what was going on, I found this where the energy bolt had – Danny!"
Danny turned to see what Sam was pointing at, then jumped up into a hover, shifting to put himself between the girls and the twelve-foot-tall humanoid that had just come into view from the other side of the Fenton RV. Danny gaped at him, thinking for a moment that he recognized the guy, though God only knew where from. He wore purple robes with a tall, conical cowl, clutching a sea-green staff in one hand. Slanted eyes in an elfin face – vivid blue but with an eerie cast of bright red to them – found Danny as he strode toward them, a green seal glowing coldly over his bluish bangs.
"Okay, buddy, stop right there!" Danny floated forward to meet the intruder, even as a corner of his mind fought to remember why he felt he should know this guy. When the other didn't stop, Danny raised both hands, shooting an ectoplasmic blast from the palms. The intruder caught the energy with the head of his staff, absorbing it into the hooded sphere. He stepped in the last few feet and grabbed Danny by the arm, the strength of the grip surprising for such a fine-boned hand. "Hey! Let go!" Danny tried going intangible, but he couldn't phase through his captor's grip – the being had locked Danny's energy to his somehow. He could feel an empathic presence in his mind as well and a terrible mental struggle of some kind. "Ah!" He put up a fight of his own.
Danny froze at the voice in his mind, only then realizing that the struggle for control was not the intruder trying to take over Danny's mind – it was the intruder's fight to break his own free. Danny could feel the hand on his arm shaking with the effort. He looked again into ruby-tainted eyes, seeing intelligence, wisdom, age, and more than a little fear in their depths. "W-was that you?" Maybe it was a stupid question but the only thing Danny could think of in response. He had not so much "heard" the plea as felt and understood a sense of intention from the being.
-Find . . . t-the Pharaoh.-
Danny's eyes narrowed. "Pharaoh? Wait. Does this have something to do with that whole Duul Amon thing? 'Cause you look more like a Merlin-wannabe than anything from that Egyptian exhibit."
Behind him, Jazz had the gun of the Ghost Peeler braced out in front of her, but he knew she was hesitating to fire in fear that she might hit him by accident. "Danny, move! Go intangible or something!"
"Who are you talking to?" Sam wanted to know, sounding equally exasperated.
Danny ignored them, scowling. "Sorry, dude, but if you wanna find Tuck, you'll have to do it without me. In fact, you'll have to go through me first!" He raised his free hand, intending to blast this guy in the face with another shot of ectoplasmic energy.
The intruder's brow furrowed in confusion behind the seal even as he pressed the head of his staff into Danny's open palm to block the shot, azure eyes losing some of the red light tainting them. -"T-tuck"? N-no. Nameless . . . Pharaoh . . . find – ! - The rest of the intention-thought was lost amid a searing agony that Danny could feel burn through the being's mind, reasserting control. The grip on his arm tightened so hard it made Danny grit his teeth in pain. He was just glad his ghost form was a lot more malleable than his human body, or else his wrist and forearm would have been broken for sure.
"Tuck! There you are!"
"Tucker, are you all right?"
Danny glanced over his shoulder to see that Tucker had indeed joined them in the alley, looking a little the worse for wear but largely unharmed.
Tucker met his eye. "Danny, what are you doing? Get away from him!"
"Well, gee, Tuck, why didn't I think of that?" Danny pulled on his arm again.
To his surprise, Tucker folded his arms with a huff and shook his head. "Man, if someone's gonna go around bringing games to life, why can't they do it with something cool, like 'Doomed'? Something lame, even, so long as it was a computer game. Why'd it hafta be a stupid card game?" He glanced down at the PDA in his hand before turning a glare on Danny's captor.
Game? Card game? Whoa, hold the phone! Danny turned to look again at the purple-robed being – and smacked himself in the forehead. "Holy crap, that's why you look so familiar! Y-you're . . . Dark Magician! F-from the Duel Monsters Trading Card Game!" Dark Magician looked up at the sound of his name, pain-riddled eyes finding Danny's. "Dude, what's going on? Who brought you here? C'mon, talk to me!" He covered Dark Magician's grip on his arm with his other hand, as though by the gesture he could help the other break free of whatever it was controlling him. Suddenly, Danny felt really badly for him, knowing what that felt like.
Dark Magician only gazed back for a moment, then bowed his head, eyes closing again as he continued his silent fight. A tear slid down his cheek.
Whoa, Duel Monsters can cry? Well, I guess if ghosts can . . . Danny growled under his breath. Whatever was going on, he was not doing any good where he was. The real fight seemed to be inside. Danny wondered – if he tried to overshadow Dark Magician, maybe he could help Dark Magician throw off whatever energy was controlling him. It was worth a shot, in any case.
Danny braced himself, shifting the focus of his ecto-energies from trying to separate from Dark Magician's to aligning all the more with them, then dove straight forward into Dark Magician's chest. The usual chill tingle shuddered through him, but then a cold unlike anything he had ever felt washed through him without warning, threatening to perma-freeze him in spite of his ice powers. He floated in a spacious void of glowing, ectoplasmic green and yet felt almost claustrophobic under an unbelievable pressure of hate, rage and despair. His head swam, his lungs burned, and he feared he would lose himself in the sea of every ugly emotion humanity had ever experienced. Then, he felt a hand take his, Dark Magician's "voice" distant in his ears. -No!-
The breath was smashed from his lungs as he felt himself flung out and down onto hard concrete, the blurred faces of his sister and best friends coming into view over his. Their voices sounded distant and muffled as well as they called his name, asking if he was all right.
Danny coughed, throat rough and dry as though from screaming, his whole body aching as if from tortures he didn't remember suffering. He tried to answer his friends, wanting to assure them that he was all right even though he wasn't so certain of that himself but, to his surprise, one word worked its way up his throat as if of its own accord, one he had not even been aware that he knew.
"O-ori-chal-cos . . . "
With that, he passed out.
Author's Notes: Please be sure to check my bio page for any updates, etc. Thanks!