Hunter's Wrath

Right—didn't edit or touch this one at all. Good new to everyone is I'm working hard on chapter 20! Updates for this story will HOPEFULLY become a bit more regular. Please continue to inspire me to work on chapter 20! Any idea at all, please send them! (also, I'm going to begin putting the chapter titles at the top :D haha)

"Spawn of Satan?" I gasped at the dark, gory billboard advertising the ride Sam and I were in line for, "That sounds cheery…"

"I hear this is one of the most intense roller coasters in the world!" Sam told me, sounding really charged for the ride, "It's so fast, three out of four people have to have their spinal cords realigned after riding it,"

'Well that's a pleasant image,' I thought, a little amused that I was able to have this conversation with Sam. God knows Tucker would probably pass out at that thought, though probably more from thinking about how much time he'd have to spend in a hospital after that then anything else.

"Can't be any worse then being dragged around by an enraged dragon ghost bareback through a crowded mall by the foot it has in its jaws." I said out loud. Sam looked a little put out when I said that.

"You're no fun…" She muttered in an annoyed tone, sulking to herself. I laughed a little, knowing that she was definitely hoping to gross me out with that one. "Okay, tough guy, what's your favorite horror movie?" she asked.

"Would you smack me if I told you it was Sixth Sense?" I couldn't help myself, I had to ask…

"Probably," Sam responded, grinning slightly. I had to shake my head at that, a little impressed by how open Sam was with me about who she was and how she felt. I really had to respect that kind of honesty, even though I couldn't return it because of my secret… "Seriously, though."

"Seriously?" I repeated, coming out of my thoughts to mull over the question a bit. "I'd have to say Silence of the Lambs. I'm a sucker for Steven King…" Sam's face lit up before I finished talking.

"Me too!" She said, clearly excited that we had that in common, "I must've read Salem's Lot a million times!"

"Really?" I laughed a little despite myself. After all, how weird was this conversation? Especially between a half ghost and the normal, human girl he happened to like, and maybe even have been technically dating in his human form. The relationship was still kinda fuzzy, though, so I'd probably have to ask her about it next time I saw her as Danny… "I liked Firestarter better… though Cujo was my second favorite." That was for another reason all together, though…

"Next!" The guy running the ride yelled out. Before I could say or do anything, Sam was already dragging me to the ride, looking charged and ready to go. After we found a pair of seats, Sam and I buckled in and got ready for the ride to start. I relaxed slightly, smiling to myself. After all, nothing bad had happened yet. Maybe things would go right for me for once in my life…

"You okay, Val?" My smile fell and I paled at my best friend's voice. Not so much because Tuck was there as because he was there with Valerie, who had vowed to kill Danny Phantom in twenty different ways and happened to be an experience ghost hunter with a nasty arsenal and the training of a ninth degree black belt.

And I was stuck as Phantom right now, with no way of changing back that wouldn't let Sam in on my secret in a really, REALLY public place.

"Ah, fine," Valerie told Tucker in a vague sort of way, meaning her attention wasn't really on him, "It's just… well, never mind, it's nothing." I felt my face burn red at that, and sank as far into my seat as I could to keep the ghost hunter from seeing me. I was willing to bet the whole Fenton arsenal that whatever had distracted her like that was ghost related, and it probably had something to do with me.

'If I EVER find Murphy's ghost in the Ghost Zone, I am SO teaching the jerk a lesson!' I promised myself in my head as I tried to think of a way that I could get out of this situation before it turned ugly.

"Is there a problem?" Sam asked me, concern clear in her voice as she watched me with focused violet eyes.

"No," I said as quietly as I could, not wanting either Valerie or Tucker to overhear me and make things worse. Valerie hadn't pulled her guns out yet, so she obviously didn't know where I was, even if she knew I was there. "Everything's fine!" Sam looked doubtful, but didn't say anything, which I was definitely grateful for. This wasn't a very good setting for a confession, after all…

'I've got to talk to Tucker later about warning me when he has dates with Valerie.' I thought dryly as the roller coaster aid finished checking restraints and went back to the front to give us the usual rules about keeping our hands and feet inside the roller coaster at all times and everything like that.

How my life always managed to throw me into the worst coincidences imaginable was something that was really starting to bug me. I mean, Johnny 13 probably had better luck then I did, even with that stupid shadow of his. After all, at least he could keep a steady girlfriend…

'I'm really starting to think I'm just being manipulated for someone else's amusement,' I added to myself as the roller coast clicked up the first hill, 'And if I EVER find out who is doing all this to me, it's not gonna be pretty…'

"I think that girl right in front of my blew out my ears…" I grumbled as I smacked at my ears to try and regain my hearing faster, for once cursing how sensitive my senses were as a ghost. Who knew someone could scream that loud…?

On the other hand, I got away from Valerie without her recognizing me or Sam. I was lucky Sam didn't think to say anything to them, either, since I know she heard them if she was sitting right next to me and I heard them that well.

"Aw, come on," Sam laughed at me, linking my elbow with hers, "Don't tell me you're that much of a wimp? I would've thought you'd be used to people screaming around you by now…" I shot the girl a dirty look there.

'Now that was just a low blow!'

"Thanks," I said in a sarcastic way, earning another laugh from Sam. "You really know how to make a guy feel loved…"

"What can I say, it's a gift," Sam chirped, flashing me another one of her wide, open smiles I was starting to fall in love with, "Hungry?"

"Starved," I replied, finding it a little funny that she didn't even think to ask whether or not ghosts ate. "You?"

"I could go for a salad." She answered as we sat down at a free table. I was a little surprised about that one, though I probably shouldn't have been.

"Just a salad?" I blurted out before I thought of what I was saying, "That's it? No wonder you're so small…" I stopped short there, blushing and cringing at that stupid, STUPID remark.

'Oh, real smooth, Fenton.'

"Ah… I, uh, didn't mean that the way that sounded…" I said, backing away slightly. Any guy knows that weight comments are forbidden under punishment of death, after all.

"Relax," Sam gave an easy laugh, "I'm not big on the whole body image thing anyways. The reason I eat salad is because I'm a strict ultra-recyclo vegetarian."

'…Huh?'

"Come again?" I asked blankly. That was one I'd never heard of before, after all. Sam grinned, looking almost happy that I didn't know what the word meant.

"Ultra-recyclo vegetarian," She said again, "I don't eat anything with a face,"

"I thought that was a Vegan?" I asked, getting even more confused. One of Jazz's friends was a strict Vegan, and she gave me this whole huge lecture on vegetarian diets, everything from the extremists like Vegans and Fruititarians to the Piecetarians. I must've missed this one, though…

"There's a few differences," Sam explained to me, "Vegans don't eat any animal products whatsoever, no milk, no cheese, no eggs. I still have some dairy, but no eggs and everything I eat is organic."

"Uh, okay…" I said, still a little confused. I got all the vegetarian stuff, now it was only the creepy coincidence that was bugging me…

"Too much for you to handle?" Sam challenged. I rolled my eyes before smirking at her pointedly.

"Cute," I told her dryly. "And no, it wasn't. I was just wondering why every one of the two Sams I know is a vegetarian." I blinked in surprise when Sam winced before stiffening up in what was obviously a defensive way.

'What's that about…?'

"How did you know that Danny's roommate was a vegetarian too?" Sam asked me suspiciously. Not it was my turn to freeze.

"Uh…" I said, thinking as fast as I could, "Danny told me?"

'Wow, that was lame,' I told myself bitterly, kicking the back of my head. Sam still looked a little skeptical, but didn't say anything. I quickly turned to a new subject before she changed her mind and asked me anyways.

"Anyways, I don't have any money on me right now, so you're probably going to have to foot the bill this time," I grinned guiltily, "I'd help, but I don't exactly carry my wallet in my hazmat…"

"That's cool with me," Sam responded, pulling a wallet out of her skirt pocket, "I mean, it's not like this is the Middle Ages or something… What should I get you?"

"Pizza's good," I replied. "I'm really not that picky…" Sam rolled her eyes at that for some reason, and I wondered if I'd said something wrong. I didn't know how someone could get offended over something like that, but I have people out there who wanted to kill me for less…

…It's sad that I can actually admit that to myself in all seriousness…

"Got it." Sam responded, walking away. I watched her until she made her way up to the counter before turning my attention to the crowd, scanning around and examining the faces of anyone I thought I recognized.

After all, now I knew Valerie was around here somewhere, and she was probably on guard looking for me, too. I didn't like fighting the ghost hunter at all, not even before I started to get along with her as Phantom. Still, the more I didn't want to fight, the more Valerie seemed to show up, ecto-guns charged and temper flaring.

'How a guy with Tucker's big mouth and a girl with Valerie's hair-trigger temper could date each other without a homicide taking place still baffles me.' I thought with a slight chuckle. 'Especially considering Valerie's martial arts expertise, too…'

Having been on the receiving end of a lot of those attacks, I knew that Valerie wasn't kidding about being a ninth degree black belt in at least one style of hand-to-hand combat. That was all thanks to Vlad's new technology that allowed her suit to negate the effects of intangibility, which made it harder to get away from Valerie without hurting her.

'Then again, that's probably what Vlad meant to happen…' I told myself bitterly, by mood darkening at the thought of the older half ghost. 'I just wish I knew what he was planning on using Valerie for… he's got to have some big plan for her somewhere down the line…'

I sighed heavily. It was always hard for me to figure out Vlad's plans until it was already way too late, but I didn't want that to happen this time around. Valerie was my friend, and my best friend and one of the few people who actually put up with all this ghost hunting crap happened to like her a lot. I didn't want her to be used like that if I could find a way to stop it first.

'Then again, stopping it is the problem…' I was tempted to go to Clockwork and ask him what he thought, but that felt like it would be… I dunno… cheating or something.

I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I'd always seen Vlad as my own personal challenge, something I had to overcome on my own. I wasn't sure if that was pride, or whatever, but I needed to know that I could beat Vlad without either of us relying on anyone but ourselves.

Maybe it was stupidity, or the fact that I saw him as everything that I was fighting so hard not to be, but there was no way I could ever let Vlad win, and no way I'd let someone else do my thinking for me, not even someone I trusted like Clockwork.

"!" I jerked around in surprise at the loud scream, half expecting a surprise attack and faltering in shock when I saw a soda drenched Paulina with Sam standing right next to her.

"Oops!" I heard Sam say loudly, "Sorry about that! Total accident. I can really be a klutz sometimes…." Paulina scowled at Sam, not buying the apology at all. Or not caring, either way, she was still really angry…

"You!" She yelled at Sam angrily, "Look what you've done! Do you have any idea how much this outfit COST me?" I frowned, wondering how the outfit was any different then her usual one. It looked exactly the same, after all…

"Oops," Sam said again, this time adding, "I'll pay for everything of course…" Paulina glanced at Sam and her face changed from angry to mocking.

"Like you could afford it!" She sneered coldly.

'She didn't need to make a comment like that,' I thought, frowning as I made my way over to help Sam. It was an accident, after all, so there was no reason for Paulina to flip out like this…

"Hey," I called out, stepping between the girls, "Take it easy, Paulina. Sam said she was sorry." Paulina glared at me, not looking all that happy that was taking Sam's side. Then again, guys usually did whatever Paulina told them to, so she probably wasn't used to it.

"And why should I-?" Paulina stopped, her glare changing into a confused, thoughtful look. "Wait… Do I know you? You sound familiar…" I winced a little there.

'Oops…'

"That doesn't matter!" Sam said loudly as she jumped in out of nowhere to stand between me and Paulina, "Look, just tell me how much I owe you so we can all go on our way!" I tensed as Paulina scowled at Sam, knowing that it wouldn't be that easy for us to get away now.

"Like, what is WITH you?" The cheerleader snapped, crossing her arms.

"Nothing!" Sam shouted back, "I just want to get this over with so I can hang out with my friend like we planned!"

"You guys aren't going anywhere," Sam and I turned around when we heard someone else come into the fight, and I groaned mentally when I came face to face with a grinning Dash, who was busy crashing his knuckled threateningly.

'Great, now he's pounding on me even when he doesn't know it's me!' I thought sourly as Dash grabbed the front of my shirt and pulled me into the air. 'And Liz is gonna kill me for stretching this shirt out…'

"You might wanna step back," I heard Sam tell someone, stepping out of the way. That was definitely good for me, since now I didn't have to worry about her getting her, but I was a little surprised she was just gonna sit by and let me fight him.

Then again, I still never found out why she'd punched him out at the dance. Maybe that had something to do with it.

"I don't want to fight you," It wasn't exactly true. Getting a chance to pound Dash into fine dust was definitely up there on my list of things I really wanted to do, but I definitely didn't want to fight him as Phantom in a crowded amusement park with a ghost hunter hovering around somewhere.

"Yeah, I wouldn't want to fight me either if I were you!" Dash sneered, getting ready to punch me.

'Well, I tried,' I told myself, mentally shrugging.

Grabbing Dash's arm, I turned the shirt he was holding me by intangible for a quick flash before pushing off where I'd grabbed him and flipping over his head to land on the other side of the jock, smirking at the murmuring this earned from everyone watching.

'Oh yeah, gotta love ghost reflexes…'

"Cool!" a kid standing next to Sam said loudly, grinning at me, "Man, that was AWESOME!"

Dash must've realized what had happened then, since he twisted around to face me. But the same weird feeling I got at the test your strength thing came back and I could 'see' Dash's fist coming before he even started to turn. I got away from the attack, but not quick enough to save my glasses from falling off. I heard someone in the crowd gasp loudly, but ignored it, knowing that Dash was all I needed to worry about right now.

'If I don't get out of here with my identity intact, I'm so filling Dash's room with garbage from every dumpster in a mile of Casper,' I thought sourly as I dodged a few more punches, never throwing anything back. I knew how what would look on me if someone here recognized me…

I smirked a little as Dash got angry, the punches he was throwing getting wilder with way too much energy being put into them. A few kids in the crowd started to laugh, but I ignored them and the loud screaming about something being 'Cold.' Dash was my only problem right now, since all I could do was wait until he wore himself out trying to hit me.

'This is so easy, it's almost sad…' I thought to myself, smiling a little. Dash noticed this, and it didn't improve his mood in the least.

"WILL YOU HOLD STILL?" He yelled loudly, making my ears ring. I cringed at that, since they were still sensitive after that ride Sam dragged me onto.

"You know, for some reason, that isn't so appealing to me…" I shot back with a pointed look, making Dash growl.

That was when I heard the charging ecto-gun, though it was too late to move.

The blast got me in the back, and I couldn't stop my yell of pain as I was forced off my feet and into Dash, knocking us both to the ground. As I sat there, wondering how Dash managed to work out enough that hitting a brick wall at high velocity was probably safer then falling into to him like that, I heard some people in the crowd gasp and belatedly realized I'd lost my hat.

Turning around, I scowled up at Valerie as she glared back, her smoking ecto-cannon sitting against her shoulder to avoid putting too much pressure on her arm. How she had gotten away from Tucker and found me I didn't know or care, but I couldn't let Valerie know I was there with Sam. I knew the ghost hunter well enough to know she'd look into any possible links to Phantom, and I didn't want to put the Goth on the spot like that.

"Picking fights with innocent people now, ghost?" Valerie accused, her glare hardening.

'What's she talking about?' I wondered for a second, before I realized she wrongly thought (As usual.) that I had started that fight with Dash to pick on the jock or something.

"Aww, crud…" I muttered, knowing that that was how the story was gonna go now no matter what I said to defend myself. Glaring up at Valerie, I called back, "Can't you find someone else to stalk for a change?"

"Don't hold your breath, ghost boy!" The ghost hunter said shortly. "I'm finishing you off once and for all!"

"I was afraid of that…" I sighed, flying into the air to begin the fight I had wanted to avoid. Glancing around quickly, I realized it was dangerous to have this kind of rematch around so many innocent people, so I decided to lure Valerie away before anything happened, "Too bad that means catching me first!"

I shot away as fast as I could, Valerie following me without pause, not firing her gun just yet. That told me she either had the same idea I did, or she was just saving ammo for a clear shot.

'I would trade half my powers to be able to read minds right now…' I thought dryly as I flew towards the lake, which probably wasn't that crowded today.

Then again, that would probably take half the fun out of life…

I couldn't help but smirk a little as I dodged a few blasts from Valerie's ecto gun, one of them ruffling my hair in its wake.

'Well, her aim's getting better…' I thought dryly, glancing back at the ghost hunter warily. She'd already shot my arm up pretty good. It was still stinging, which was a good sign that the dart she'd used probably had some kind of poison. 'I just hope it's not that one from Skulker again…'

"You'll have to do better then that!" I called out to her, flying upside down so I could see what Valerie would do. I yelped slightly when she shot at me again, splitting myself so the blast never touched me.

"Don't worry, ghost boy!" Valerie called back, "I will!"

I skimmed the top of the water as Valerie shot off a laser blast behind me, twisting and turning to avoid what would probably be a painful blast. Mentally sighing, I tried to think of a way to get away without hurting Valerie.

It was only when I saw the forest next to the lake that I finally got an idea.

"Hope your jet sled works underwater, hunter!" I yelled back to Valerie as I turned invisible, ducking into the water as I did so. I already had a pretty good idea that none of Valerie's weapons were water proof, since Vlad probably never considered that she'd have to fight me underwater.

Still intangible so I wouldn't have to fight the water's resistance, I shot in the direction of the forest, coming out from under the ground behind a tree and turning human again. After Valerie finally left (After a lot of frustrated yelling and cursing.) I grinned and headed out, making my way to the main path that would take me to the school…

"Little late for wandering around, ain't it?"

Jumping, I turned around, coming face to face with my art teacher.

"Mr. Marchez?" I said, surprised. Mr. Marchez frowned at me before his eyes widened when they landed on my arm where Valerie had shot me.

"Damn, kid! What happened to you?" Why had I been hearing that question so much lately…?

"Nothing," I said, trying to hide the wound, "It's just a scratch…"

"Lemme see," Mr. Marchez ordered. I hesitated for a second, but when Mr. Marchez gave me a pointed look, I reluctantly held out my arms for him to examine. He frowned as he examined it thoughtfully. "Nasty scratch, Dan. Poison makes it worse, though…"

"You can tell?" I blurted out in surprise before I could stop myself.

"I used to work as an army doctor, kid," Mr. Marchez said absently, "I know war wounds, and you musta been in one hell of a fight if the other guy was using lethal darts."

'…Aw, crud…' I thought, cringing at Mr. Marchez's unreadable look.

"I…" I started, my head feeling fuzzy. "I uh…" I never finished, groaning as I pitched forward, Mr. Marchez caught me before I hit the ground.

"Dan?" He said, his voice getting fuzzy, "Dan? Danny!" I only vaguely heard my teacher add a soft curse to that before a blissful darkness overcame me…

Thankyou to:

Gantex, o-Silentsong-o, Darianella, laughing senseless, howling-moon-wolf, starkiss666, zoey-in-da-house, merklin, iggy is sweet, king inuyasha, darkingfire, snazzy123, minirowan, hechicera-23, epobbp, dwarg91, Love Samedi and bluemoonspot7!!!!