Err… so if I had waited another three months to update this, it would have been a year since I updated last. So I'm giving a very detailed "previously" that you can skip over if you remember what's happening.
So, someone is after Danny. Danny has been nearly shot at the senators speech, almost blown up in his house, and finally, he was poisoned via dart at school. It almost does him in, but he is saved by Sam's fast thinking. Before each attack, Danny had received a warning, but the trio can't figure out who is trying to help them.
In the hospital, Assassin finally attacks him directly, and to Danny's surprise, Skulker saves him. Weakened by the poison and injured from Assassin's direct attack, Danny still decides to go into the Ghost Zone to find Skulker to talk about why he would ever do such a thing. However, Skulker finds him instead. Invisibly capturing him in the Ghost Zone so Assassin wouldn't see them, he takes Danny to a safe place, and tells him that he is the only person who can stop Assassin.
Assassin wants to become the new king of the Ghost Zone, and he believes that if he defeats Danny- who defeated Pariah Dark- that he would take the position from Danny. Meanwhile, Sam and Tucker are left to conclude that Assassin had captured Danny. They're frantic with worry when they are suddenly attacked. They are hurt badly, and the last chapter ends with them falling unconscious in the wrecked Specter Speeder.
Danny is still talking to Skulker, who may have just presented the one chance he might have at survival.
Danny looked at the medallion swaying lightly in Skulker's outstretched hand. It glimmered innocently at him. There was an inscribed CW into the gold pendant.
"Clockwork," was all Skulker had to say, and Danny understood.
"So Clockwork's involved again?" Danny asked, suddenly wary of the time stopper. Whenever Clockwork got involved, it was never a good sign.
"Yes. He said that this is the only way you can stop Assassin," Skulker replied, letting the pendant fall from his hands into Danny's.
Danny looked at the medallion, the responsibility, in his hands. "Why can't you do it? Just freeze time and imprison him or something?"
If possible, Skulker got even weirder. "Uh- Clockwork said I couldn't… something about how us ghosts would use it to take over the world instead of do the right thing…"
Danny felt a headache coming on. "But you were holding on to it all this time… if you were going to take over the world, you would have done it already, and if you really care enough about taking this guy out to bother to save my life and give it to me…"
Skulker seemed to be getting fed up with all of the logic. "Can you just shut your mouth for three seconds whelp? It doesn't matter about who did what and when and why… all that matters is that it's your responsibility now! Clockwork knows I wouldn't be able to finish the job, but obviously he thinks differently of you! Now stop arguing!"
Danny was shocked into silence. For a moment, all that could be heard was the heating system starting up, and dripping from a leak. That's when it happened. It was so quite that if the silence hadn't occurred, he would have missed it. The broken earpiece he had been fiddling with some how gave one last spurt of life. It was a desperately whispered, "Danny…" and then a loud sharp noise as the transmission was cut off. Not even white noise followed.
"Sam!" Danny yelled, springing to his feet faster than his head could handle. His world went spinning as he started running. The floor seemed to rise up to meet him, but he stumbled to catch his balance, and then jumped into the air, flying towards the swirling portal in the wall. He ignored Skulker yelling after him. All he knew was something was wrong, and his gut was urging him to go faster.
The portal broke open to the place he was last in the Ghost Zone, except at the same time, everything had changed. Ignoring his ghost sense, he looked around. When he had last been here, his friends had been safely in the Speeder, and now what he saw rooted him to the spot.
Smoke curling into the air. The Specter Speeder engulfed in flames. The back blown out completely. A smashed windshield, with smoke so heavily pouring from it that it obscured what he needed to see, but was too scared to look for. And next to it all was a flash of light, reflecting off a rusty breastplate. Red muscular arms protruding from either side, seeming too big for armor. The ghost seemed to sense him. He turned slowly to face Danny.
Assassin's black eyes immediately locked onto his, and Danny couldn't pull himself away. Time seemed to stop. Assassin grinned with a feral pleasure, and Danny didn't have the strength to move. But he needed to move. His brain screamed at him to move, but he couldn't. It felt like his feet were rooted to the spot. Sam. Tuck.
In the end, it was his ghost sense going off again that finally made him snap back to his senses. He held his head, getting dizzy from breaking the eye contact. There was more to Assassin's eyes than he had thought.
Suddenly, Danny felt something being pressed into his stunned hands. He looked down and saw the medallion as it was uncloaked from invisibility. Danny glanced back up, subconsciously knowing from years of training to never take your eyes of the enemy. But it was already too late.
If he were not as experienced, he would have assumed Assassin had disappeared, but after glancing around the area, he saw what looked like a color smudge, flying at an unbelievable speed toward him. He knew he needed to move fast. Danny fumbled with the pendant, watching as the blur came towards him at incredible rate. Danny squeezed his eyes closed, braced for impact just as the pendant dropped around his neck.
He knew he was safe when he felt time stop around him. Chancing a peek out, he let out a cry and stumbled back. Assassin's outstretched hands were only inches away from his face, his red face contorted in a horrible way. Being this close, Danny could see the small white dot in the middle of his eyes that acted as his pupil, and his yellowing teeth that looked like they had been through a pencil sharpener.
After his eyes quickly scanned over the ghost that had put him in the hospital, he immediately ducked under him and flew towards the frozen smoke. Once he approached, he slowed down, once again wary. His heart was pounding in his chest. What if he was already too late?
Clinching his fists, he plunged into the unmoving smoke, and quickly after, saw his two best friends through the haze. He felt his heart stop.
AMITY PARK HOSPITAL
Danny sat in his room in the hospital, looking down at his hands. The Manson's, the Foley's, and his own parents were already on their way. The doctors hadn't told him anything, as Fenton or as Phantom. When he phased them into the hospital as Phantom, the doctors merely got them on stretchers shooed him away. After asking doctor after doctor if they were going to be okay, the only answer he could get was, "I don't know yet."
Finally, he realized that he was only scaring people as Phantom, so he went invisible and merged with his clone, sill resting in his assigned room in the hospital. He was still numb. He was trying to figure out how to hide his burnt hands from the doctors and his parents. They were red, they itched, and throbbed dully. He didn't even realize it hurt as he was patting out the frozen fire on Sam's shoulder and Tuck's back.
He needed to know what was happening, but he was irrationally terrified that going down to watch invisibly might some how screw up the machinery or freak out one of the doctors that should be focusing or something. And the worst part was knowing that it was his fault his two best friends were now fighting for their lives in the ER. Assassin was after him, not them. As long as Assassin was hunting him, they would be in danger of being in the crossfire. Danny pulled out the shining medallion from under his covers. Looking at it, he knew that he needed to find Assassin and get it over with quickly. The sooner the better.
Except for right at that moment his parents quietly pushed into the room. He slid the medallion back under the covers. "How are you doing, sweetie?" His mom asked as he looked back up at her.
He ignored her question and started firing his own. "What's going on? Are they okay?"
His mom walked swiftly to his side. "So you've heard then."
"Of course. The- the doctor's knew they were my friends," Danny quickly made up. His doctors actually hadn't told him anything.
"Well, the last we heard, Tucker will be fine. He's out of danger, but he's still asleep. The doctors said that he has some troublesome cuts and burns, but they'll heal in time."
Danny didn't allow himself to relax yet. "And Sam?" He pressed.
His mom hesitated, and her expression made his heart freeze. She said the news slowly. "They said that she took quite a blow to the head… her brain's swelling. If it doesn't stop, she'll have to go into surgery."
Danny clenched his burnt fists, barely feeling the pain shooting up his arm. He got right to the point. "What does that mean?"
His mom refused to meet his eye line. "We don't know yet. If the swelling stops, she'll have a better chance… but they say that even if she comes out of it okay, she might have lasting effects." Danny didn't say anything, knowing his mother would press on. "She might have brain injury."
Danny felt his world falling down around him. "What does that mean?" He asked hoarsely, his throat dry.
His mom shook her head, blinking rapidly. "We'll have to see when she wakes up. They said that she might not remember anything. They said she might not wake up at all," seeing her son's expression, Maddie immediately wrapped her arms around him. "But we also have to remember that she might walk out of this without a scratch."
Danny focused on his breathing, trying to keep it calm. Sam would pull through. She always did, right? But he knew this time was different. Never had their ghost fights landed them in the hospital.
The longer he waited the more danger they were all in. He knew that Assassin used to be in the Ghost Zone. By now he could be anywhere. Danny could have finished him off before bringing Sam and Tucker to the hospital, but he wasn't thinking properly then.
This was partially his fault. He could have stopped him. But he realized it was also Assassin's fault. If he wasn't so power hungry and crazy in the first place… he felt his eyes burning.
"Danny?" His mom asked worriedly squeezing his arms as she drew back from the hug. But Danny didn't hear her. He didn't see her. He knew what he had to do. "You're eyes…" his mom gasped, but he just shook off her grip and hopped off the bed.
He reached under his covers and pulled out Clockworks medallion and with his back to his parents, phased the IV out of his arm. "Honey- what is that? What are you doing?" But Danny didn't answer, but instead he turned and ran out of the room. "Where are you—" but the door closed, cutting off his mom's worried voice and his dad's stunned form.
He ran the length of the hall, nearly plowing over an unsuspecting nurse. He heard the door to his room bang open. He turned the corner and found himself in an abandoned hallway. Running to the nearest door, he skid to a stop and tumbled inside what was thankfully a janitor's closet. Throwing up his arms, he silently transformed and took too the air, hearing one last desperate "Danny!" before he shot up through the ceiling and into the sky above the hospital.
It took a moment for his eyes to adjust to the sunlight glairing off of the roof. Knowing he couldn't sense ghosts with the pendant on, he simply wrapped it around his hand securely. He was about to take off towards his house when his ghost sense went off. Tensing, Danny scanned the skyline, looking for a red blur. He didn't see anything.
After waiting a few moments, he decided if it was the ghost he was looking for he would have attacked all ready, so he took to the sky when his ghost sense went off again. Out of habit he looked around once more. Finally, he saw something appear out of the corner of his eye. He tensed and turned around. Instead of seeing Assassin, like he was expecting, he saw Skulker floating with his arms crossed.
Danny's unclenched his fists, not noticing how bad his hands were shaking. "Where is he, Skulker?" He asked, his voice wavering.
Skulker replied back without missing a beat. "He's furious he let you get away. You need to go into hiding until you have the strength to-"
"I'm not going to go into hiding," Danny quickly shot down. "I'm going to find him, and I'm going to finish this."
Skulker looked slightly taken aback by this, but he quickly covered it up. "He's powerful. If he catches you off guard-" but Danny cut him off again.
"He won't catch me off guard. I have this," he said, gesturing to Clockworks pendent.
"I don't think you understand. He's been going easy on you… now that he knows that you're not as powerful as he previously thought, he's going to come after you. I convinced him not to attack you while you were in the hospital because I told him it was the coward's way out… but now that he's seen you out of the hospital I don't think I can stop him."
There was a heavy silence. Danny's fist clinched again, and he narrowed his eyes. He spoke his words slowly, accusingly. "What do you mean you 'convinced' him?"
Skulker, knowing the implications of what he was saying, chose his words carefully. "I've- I've earned Assassin's trust by making him believe I'm on his side," he explained. "I know when he's planning to attack, and I've been able to sway his decisions for your benefit. I was never going to tell you because I knew you were going to react negatively- but now that the situation's changed, we need to make a plan."
"Did you know he was going to attack Sam and Tucker?" Danny asked dead calm.
Skulker immediately looked down. "I-" but he didn't have to finish. Danny had already put it together. The call. The friend that invited him to go 'hunting'.
Within a blink of an eye, Danny slammed Skulker against the wall and pinned him there, and had a glowing green fist pulled back. "I- I didn't know he meant them!" Skulker exclaimed, hiding his nervousness by being defensive. "He just asked if I wanted to go hunting with him, and I blew him off to protect you!"
"So you're telling me you had no idea it was them he was going to attack? Even after you saw them with me?" Danny asked sarcastically, not relaxing his arm.
Skulker refused to meet his eyes. "I… well…" it was all Danny needed. Danny swirled him around and let loose the blast in a vicious punch. Skulker was flung several dozens of feet before regaining his composure. Automatically, he activated both of his shoulder rockets and laser guns, and aimed them all at Danny.
There was a tense moment while Skulker's guns whirred to life, both waiting for the other to attack. After a few seconds, Skulker growled, and inactivated all of his weapons. "You stupid little- if it wasn't for me you'd be dead right now!"
"If it wasn't for you, Sam and Tucker would be standing next to me right now!" Danny retaliated back, his hands still glowing.
"They're not important!" Skulker exclaimed, but then quickly had to duck under a furiously thrown ghost ray. "What I mean is that you're the one that has to stop Assassin! Not them! My job is to protect you until you face him. Now will you stop worrying about your friends and start worrying about the future of the world?"
Danny turned away from him and closed his eyes, taking deep, calming breaths. He was starting to notice just how bad the poison in his system was burning from their small skirmish. He sunk down to the ground, and as soon as his feet touched the ground, he leaned heavily against the wall. Skulker touched down in front of him, looking at him impatiently.
"What do I have to do to take this guy down?" Danny finally asked, opening his eyes.
Skulker looked at him for a moment. "First you have to get better. You're in no condition to go up against him. He'll tear you to pieces like this."
Danny stood up a little straighter. "But I have Clockworks pendent. Can't I just put it on and find him?"
Skulker shook his head. "It's not as simple as that."
"Why not?" Danny asked, holding his injured shoulder.
"Because…" he paused thinking. "I think Clockwork didn't give it to you for that." Skulker said slowly.
"What?" Danny exclaimed incredulously. "Why else would he give it to me?"
Skulker looked uncomfortable. "I don't know. But all I know was that when I woke up and found myself in his castle, there was reviewing a scene of you and him locked in combat. He paused it before I could really see anything else." He crossed his arms.
Danny rubbed his temples, thinking. "There are a lot of different futures. How do you know that one was the right one? And he must have meant for you to see it… Clockwork doesn't make mistakes."
Skulker shrugged. "Maybe he's trying to tell you that you should be prepared."
Danny turned his head so Skulker didn't see his expression. For the first time, he noticed they were in an ally, just outside the hospital. "How can I prepare to fight someone who is powerful enough to be the next Ghost King?" He asked bitterly.
"Well, first off, he's not all that powerful." Skulker said bluntly.
Danny turned to look at him again. "What do you mean?" He asked suspiciously.
"All ghosts are supposed to have the basic powers: flying, intangibility, invisibility, and some form of ghost ray." Danny nodded his head. "Assassin is different. For some reason, he has no ghost ray or intangibility."
"How?" Danny asked.
Skulker shrugged. "No idea. But I guess it was compensated for through his speed and tracking abilities. When Pariah Dark was king, Assassin was his tracking man, and on the high council. He was one of the most feared ghosts in existence because if you were caught trying to hide from the King, he was the one that tracked you down and punished you."
Danny exhaled through clenched teeth. "If he was so feared, then why have I never heard of him until now?"
"Because everybody had thought he was obliterated. When Pariah Dark heard of a mystical armor that was hiding in an uncharted land in the Ghost Zone, he sent Assassin after it. It was supposed to increase his power by hundreds. Assassin hadn't returned until now."
"Did he find the armor?" Danny asked warily, remembering the rusty breastplate.
Skulker sighed heavily. "Yes. It is in his possession now. His senses are heightened, and he's stronger and faster than ever before. He can even shoot ectorays."
Danny clinched his teeth. "And now he thinks that in order for him to rise to power, he has to kill me?"
Skulker nodded. "Once he saw Dark's castle half decayed, he grabbed the first ghost he saw and got the story from him. Since you were able to do what took a whole gathering of elders and an army to do, he believed you had amazing powers, and he was outraged that the king of the Ghost Zone was just a child."
"But I'm not the king of the Ghost Zone! I'm not the king of anything!" Danny cried.
"He doesn't understand that. All he knows is that you're undefeated." Skulker says.
"I'm not undefeated either! Lots of ghosts get away!" Danny exclaimed in frustration.
"As long as you're still alive, you're undefeated." Skulker said bluntly. Danny opened his mouth, but then closed it again. Then he just crossed his arms. "He believes that as long as you're alive, he can't be king."
There was a silence. "How do you know all of this? Why did he come to you?"
This seemed to catch Skulker off guard. "We- uh- we have some history. I haven't really moved since the time of Pariah Dark, so he sought me out to get me in on his plan."
"You guys are friends?" Danny asked, disgusted. "That would explain why you're not scared of him."
Skulker made a face. "No. We're not friends. He's a horrible excuse for a conscious being, and he needs to be stopped." Danny cocked an eyebrow. "You don't know what you're up against. He's a murderer, but calls himself a hunter. There's no honor in his hunts. He fights dirty, and if you're not ready for it, then Clockwork says that there's not much hope for the Ghost Zone either."
"If you're so bitter, then why don't you just take him down then?" Danny asked.
"Because… I couldn't." Skulker sighed. Danny didn't say anything, sensing he would continue. Finally Skulker looked down at his feet and admitted, "he's my older brother."
There was a long silence while Danny absorbed this. "He's your brother?" Danny yelped. "I didn't know you had a brother!"
"He was even cruel as a human. You need to defeat him. He cannot be allowed to rule over the Ghost Zone. But…" Skulker's face looked like he had just sucked on a lemon, "please don't obliterate him either."
Danny swallowed. "This has been a nice chat and everything, but we still haven't gotten to the topic of how I'm supposed to beat him without the medallion- speaking theoretically of course, because I don't plan on losing this at any point in time."
"Well, I've told you he can't turn intangible or shoot ghost rays." Skulker started.
"But his armor can shoot ghost rays, and he goes so fast that he doesn't need to turn intangible, so neither of those help me."
Skulker shook his head thinking. "If you weren't fighting with the medallion… there still might be a way get the upper hand. Maybe there is a way to deactivate the armor."
"Was he wearing it in the scene you saw?" Danny asked, not allowing hope to take hold.
"Yes." Skulker replied. Danny groaned. "But there might be something that powers it that you can remove… I'll check on that the next time I see him."
"When… when is this going to go down?" Danny finally asked.
"I'm not entirely sure. I need to hear his plan and get the information about the armor to you- and then we can make a plan. Meanwhile, keep on Clockworks pendent as much as you can. You need to be in full health. Just stay in your hospital room for now- I'll need to know where you are at all times if I need to warn you about something.. I'll pay you a visit tonight and give you an update on the situation "
Danny nodded, clutching the pendent tighter in his hand. Skulker drew the conversation to a close with, "I'll go now. Just remember to keep that pendent close." Then without much hesitation, Skulker took to the air. However, Danny hadn't even heard. His mind was turning. "Warn me about something… warn me…" he said to himself, disbelievingly. He quickly took to the air in pursuit. "Wait," he yelled, taking off and flying up to his level. Skulker stopped and turned around. "The warnings! Were you the person that left me all of those warnings in red?"
Skulker looked impatient. "Of course it was me. Who else? I thought you already knew that." Skulker rolled his eyes, and took off towards the Ghost Portal. Danny just looked after him, stunned, and wasn't sure what to make of the new alliance between him and his former enemy.
So this chapter is kind of extra long and contained a lot of information. Sorry for that, and the super long wait! One of the reasons it took so long to post is because I wrote out like two and a half versions of this scene, and I'm still not really happy with any of them. But updates might start to come regularly now. I've almost connected the new bit I've added in with my original written ending. There is a light at the end of the tunnel! YES!
Anyways, thank you to my reviewers! You guys keep me writing. :)
Preemtive Karma, Niece of the Prophet Zarquon, Alexia Moonlight, hawkflyer667, Yugisrose, E-Dantes, xheartkreuzx, PhantomFreak301, Samantha Batt Vampiress, starr1095, Sanis-chan, Trinity Fenton-Phantom, KingdomHeartsDragon, Dark Sepia, AnneriaWings, PinkPanther123, Sabsi13, dragondancer123