Well, time for Danny Phantom Slash Pairing Numbuh 6. This'll be a three-part story, so...yeah. Enjoy.
Today was supposed to have been the day. THE day. The day where after two years, Danny would reveal his secret to his parents.
He had gone over the scenario several hundred times in his head. He would expect them to be shocked. Surprised. Slightly angry, even. But he would gently explain to them what had happened, and all the good that he had been doing, and even though it would take a lot of work with the trust issues, things would be okay.
...How dead wrong Danny soon discovered he was.
He had gone over what he was going to say over and over in his head; explaination first, demonstration later. He managed to get both of his parents to sit still long enough to tell them that he had something important to tell them, and made them promise that they wouldnt be too upset, and that they would still love him, no matter what.
Jack and Maddie looked at each other in confusion. "...Of course we'll love you no matter what, Sweetie," Madde said, her eyes full of worry. "Is...is it something bad?"
Oh...she didnt know the half of it. "...Not...exactly..." Danny replied, running a shaking hand through his hair. "...I guess it depends on...one's point of view..."
"Well, what is it, son?" Jack asked. "Just tell us." Danny took a deep breath and let it out, and with his heart hammering in his chest, he did. He just told them.
"I'm Danny Phantom."
"...Danny, dont make jokes!" Maddie accosted. "If you're in trouble or something, just tell us! It's okay!"
"Mom, I'm not lying!"
"Danny, that's ridiculous!" Jack added. "You're not the Ghost Boy! You think that we'd have a ghost living under our roof for sixteen years and not know it?"
"...Actually, it happened just two years ago," Danny said, starting to get a little annoyed. "And I'm not a ghost, really...more...half-ghost..."
"Are you feeling okay, Danny?" his mother asked, reaching over to touch his forehead. Danny leaned back and swatted her hand away.
"Look, I'm not making this up, and I'm not hallucinating!" Danny all but shouted. "I AM Danny Phantom! I mean, havent you noticed? Danny FENTON? Danny PHANTOM? See ANY connection whatsoever? Seen ANY resemblence between the two?"
"Danny, just stop," Maddie said, her voice worrying now. "Are you sure you dont need to see a doctor?"
Danny let out a frustrated sound and jumped up from the couch. This was NOT going at all as planned. "Just LISTEN to me!" he shouted. "I AM DANNY PHANTOM! I HAVE GHOST POWERS! I MEAN, LOOK!" Danny summoned up the transformation rings and turned into his ghost form. He looked at his parents, who had twin expressions of shock on their faces. "...Do you see now?" he asked, exasperated. "I AM Danny Phantom!"
There was a moment of extremely awkward silence, then quicker than Danny could register, his mother whipped out a small hand ecto-gun and shot him in the shoulder. Danny let out a short scream of pain and cluched his injury, backing up from his parents. "MOM! WHAT ARE YOU!"
"DONT CALL ME 'MOM', YOU IMPOSTER!" she cried, aiming for him again. "WHERE'S MY SON, PHANTOM! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HIM!"
"ARE YOU INSANE!" Danny shouted back. "I AM YOUR SON!" He barely managed to dodge another shot, but was tripped up by an ecto-bolas and went crashing to the floor. "STOP IT! I'M YOUR SON! I'M DANNY!"
"ENOUGH LIES!" Jack shouted, pulling out another weapon and aiming at him. "You have three seconds to tell us where our son is before we liquify you!"
Danny was hyperventilating by this point. "Dad, PLEASE-!"
"Mom, I SWEAR I-!"
"I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU'D LOVE ME NO MATTER WHAT!"
Before Jack could finish counting, Danny made a quick decision to save his life. He shot both of the weapons out of his parents' hands with an ecto-shot, then fumbled quickly with the bolas to get free. He barely managed to untie it and leap out of the way before his father could make a grab at him. He went intangible and quickly darted outside, only to be caught hard by the ghost shield. He was trapped.
Well, not completely.
He flew back inside through the roof and down into the lab to the Fenton Portal and quickly fumbled with his suit to get his arm out so he could unlock the Poral with his fingerprint scan. Just as he got his hand loose, he cried out in pain as what felt like electricity shot through his system.
"NO USE TRYING TO RUN, SPOOK!" his father shouted, aiming some sort of weapon at him. His mother did the same, her eyes wet with angry tears.
"WHERE IS OUR SON?" she demanded. Danny managed to lift himself up just enough to put his finger on the scanner, but it refused to open. His fingerprint didnt work in ghost form.
"...I...am your son...!" he cried weakly. "I'm your son...I'm Danny! Please...!" His father's weapon began charging up, and Danny knew that it was no use trying to reason with them. He had to get out of here, or what was left of his human half was going to die along with his ghost half. Another quick decision, though not one he was happy to make. Using the last of the energy he had left, he inhaled deeply and let out a Ghostly Wail.
His parents dropped their weapons to cover their ears, and Danny could see the shield generator's controls malfunction. He cut the Wail off and faught to stay conscious as he went intangible and flew out of the house and into the night. He could hear his parents exit the house, and knew that he HAD to find someplace to hide. On impulse, he flew towards the only person he could think of at the moment.
The mayor's townhouse.
Vlad Masters suddenly had the feeling that something was wrong.
He didnt have these feelings often; the last time he had this 'feeling' was right before he caught someone trying to break into his lab. Easily remedied, but he did not enjoy 'the feeling'. It felt like someone invisible had suddenly gripped his entrails in a stranglehold and was pumping icewater into them. And right now, his 'feeling' was going haywire to the point where he needed something to calm his stomach down.
He went into the kitchen and made himself some chamomille and was on his way back to the living room when he heard a very loud THUMP right outside his house's door, immediately followed by frantic knocking.
His 'feeling' was going haywire right now, and Vlad had learned to never ignore 'the feeling'; he walked to the door, keeping one hand behind his back and charged with ecto-energy, and opened the door.
He had to back up to avoid getting a sixteen-year-old archnemisis fallen on him, and he was about to demand what on Earth Danny was doing at his house at this hour-and using the door, for that matter-when the boy dragged himself up on his knees, and Vlad could see exactly why his 'feeling' had been so bad.
Danny looked like hell; there was no other way to describe it. His hair was a mess, his face was streaked with tears, and there was a very bloody mess of ectoplasm and blood on his right shoulder. His eyes were wide and glowing green with panic. "...H...help me...!" he gasped, wincing as he curled his other arm around his middle. "...P...please...help me...!" With that, he collapsed in the middle of the hallway.
Vlad stared at the unconscious heap in his foyer for a few moments before closing the door and picking the boy up. It was rare that Danny was unconscious and still in ghost form; that only meant that it was a defense mechanism. His life would be in too much danger if he would return to human form. Wondering just what was going on, Vlad decided to incarcerate his young foe to his lab until he could ask questions, but only got as far as his living room before his doorbell rang.
Cursing under his breath, he put Danny down on the floor of his living room and activated an invisibility shield that would last for two minutes over the boy, then walked back to his door and opened it. "...Jack, what on EARTH are you doing here at his hour?"
"I havent come to chat, Vlad!" Jack replied, his tone surprising Vlad. "Have you seen the Ghost Boy at all lately?"
Vlad made a thoughtful sound; well, this wasnt new, to be honest...however, this time he actually had said ghost child here in his home. "Why, has he gotten into your things?" he asked, teasing slightly. "Messed up your weapons?"
"WORSE!" Jack shouted. "That...CREATURE!...actually tried to convince us that he was our son!"
Vlad nearly choked on whatever taunt he had been about to say; Danny had actually told them? And THIS was how they reacted?
Quick decision: hand the little brat over to his parents for whatever they had planned for him? Well, why not? It was the boy's own damn fault for spilling his secret KNOWING his parents were GHOST HUNTERS. He should have kept it secret, like Vlad had always told him. to. On the other hand...Danny had come to HIM for help. Not one of his little friends. HIM. It had to be a lot worse than it seemed.
"...I havent, Jack," Vlad said, moving to close his door. "...I'll let you know if I see anything." Without waiting for a reply, he shut the door and heaved a heavy sigh. He just hoped he didnt come to regret his decision later.
Back in the living room, the invisibility shield had just worn off, and Danny was lying on his side, obviously in pain through his unconsciousness, and was breathing out his 'ghost sense' with every breath. Vlad stared at him for a moment before picking him up and carrying him to the lab and setting him down on the table and stripped him of his suit and pulled up his t-shirt. He inhaled sharply when he saw the state the Danny was actually in.
His shoulder wasnt just bloody; there was a large hole in it that was still oozing ecto-blood. And Vlad could see why Danny was clutching his middle; there was a huge greenish bruise that ran all the way from his middle to his left side and to an even bigger and uglier bruise on his back. He gently touched the bruise and drew his hand back when he felt icy cold. Ah, his ice powers; they were subconsciouly numbing the pain.
Vlad took the suit off completely and tossed it elsewhere to be disposed of later; it was in too far gone a condition to fix, and Vlad hated the design anyway. He had to cut off Danny's shirt since he didnt want to move the boy anymore than he absolutely had to, and began working on the shoulder first. Twenty-something-odd years of trial and error with his own powers and mishaps taught him basic patchwork skills. And speed healing or not, the hole in Danny's shoulder could become a problem if it wasnt taken care of now.
As he worked on taking care of the boy, Vlad couldnt help but think back to the first time he and Danny had actually faught. He remembered what Danny had said to him:
'My parents will accept me, no matter what.'
Vlad had known that it hadnt been a bluff, but he honestly didnt expect Danny to actually TELL his parents. He also didnt expect his parents to react so...violently. He knew that Danny was strong and quick; he must've let his guard down just to tell his parents about his ghost half. Foolish. Sad, but foolish.
He finally finished up on the boy (the bruise was fading on its own, so Vlad left it alone), and debated using his device to force Danny's transformation back to human for, but decided against it. It might hinder the healing process, and he was sure it would be much more painful. But where to put him for the time being? He had extra rooms, but he was also wary about what Danny would do when he regained consciousness. He finally decided to put Danny in the room next to his own, in case something came up. He carefully picked Danny back up and went intangible so he could slide up to the room and set Danny down.
After all this time, he thought as he stroked Danny's still-white hair, it had to come to THIS for Danny to come to him willingly. Tragic. He silently backed out of the room and back downstairs to the living room and sat down. His cat jumped up on his lap and kneaded her paws into his legs before curling up and purring contently. Vlad petted her absentmindedly, thinking about what this meant for him, and what this meant for Danny.
The next morning near dawn, Vlad was very rudely awakened by a bloodcurdling scream. He bolted up out of his bed and walked right through the walls into Danny's room and froze.
...Not that he had much of a choice, really; Danny's entire room was frozen over from the boy's ice powers. Danny himself was sitting up in bed, his legs bent up to his chest, his forehead on his knees, and his hands gripping his hair tightly; he looked and sounded as though he was being tortured out of his mind.
"Daniel!" Vlad rushed forward and put a hand on Danny's shoulder only to jerk it back when it became encased in frost. He immediately heated it up with his own fire abilities and thawed it, then tried again to jostle Danny, this time keeping his hands almost hot to avoid it from happening again. "Daniel, PLEASE calm down!"
Danny stopped screaming, but his ice powers still didnt die down. Instead, they kept swirling around the room as Danny hyperventilated and muttered to himself in words Vlad didnt quite catch. Vlad cautiously reached for Danny again and this time was able to pull the boy closer without causing him to go into a panic again. "Daniel...it's alright. You're safe."
"...N...no..." Danny mumbled, his whole body shaking. "...Not safe...! Lies...!"
"...What lies, Daniel?" Vlad asked, using his fire abilities to try to thaw out Danny's core just enough for the ice storm in the room to die down.
"...They..." Danny's voice became more thick as tears flowed down his face. "...They...lied to me...V...Vlad...!" The warming seemed to be doing the trick in calming Danny down, so Vlad pulled Danny closer into his arms and stroked the boy's hair.
"Tell me what they lied about, Daniel," he said softly.
Danny let out a fresh sob and to Vlad's surprise, hugged the older halfa tightly. "...They...told...me...they'd...love me...no matter...what...! They LIED!" As he cried, Vlad comforted him as best he could, now knowing the true extent of the reason for this outburst. Betrayal. Pure and simple.
Vlad knew betrayal well; not only had he betrayed more than a few times, but he had FELT betrayal at the hands of his ex-best friend. He had been hinting to Jack that he was in love with Maddie. Well not just hinting, but more along the lines of saying, "I am in love with that woman," at least three times a day to the oaf, only to feel the cold blow of betrayal right in his face when they began dating and, later, got married. He KNEW betrayal. But comparing THAT to having one's parents say that they would love you no matter what, and then trying to kill you once they knew what that 'no matter what' was...there WAS no comparison.
He waited until Danny had stopped shaking before picking the boy up and carrying him out of the frozen room and into his lab, which, if frozen, could be much more easily-and less messily-thawed in case of another outburst of ice. He set Danny down on the small hospital bed he had set up in a corner and covered him with a sheet. Danny only stared blankly into space, his normally bright green eyes dull and listless, as Vlad tucked him in and ran a hand through the snow-white locks of hair.
"Try to get some rest, Little Badger," he said softly. "I wont let them lie to you again." Danny didnt respond; he just closed his eyes and let out a soft sigh. Vlad's eyes flashed red as he watched Danny curl up into himself, as though trying to protect himself against the world. He waited until Danny was still before walking out of his lab.
Sixteen. The boy was sixteen years old, and he had been reduced to the emotional state of an abused toddler because of his parents. Vlad only hoped that they would realize the truth and come around because it was THEN that Danny would be HIS and not THEIRS.
He paused. Yes...yes, Danny WAS his now, wasnt he? HE had been the one Danny went to in his crisis. HE was the one who took Danny in. HE was the one who was comforting Danny. Danny was HIS now.
Protective parental feelings swirled together with his devious plans for the two of them and made a marvelous cocktail of sweet revenge. All he needed to do was take care of Danny, show the boy genuine care and, dare he say it, LOVE, and teach the boy all he needed to know about his ghost powers, and everything else would fall into place. No more schemes, no more secrets, and no more villainy and backstabbing against Danny, he decided. Danny'd had enough of that in the last two years and 24 hours.
But for now, Vlad needed a plan; Danny still needed schooling outside of the public system. Vlad needed an alibi in case anyone saw Danny with him. Danny needed tutoring in his own powers, and quite frankly, may need psychiatric help. This may include having to withdraw as mayor and move back to Wisconsin, but he could deal with that. First things first: taking care of Danny.
It sounded good in his head, but actually putting his game plan into action was an entirely different matter altogether.
First of all, Vlad underestimated the impact Jack and Maddie's rejection had on Danny's overall health. Mentally, he became paranoid that his parents would find out where he was and kill him. Emotionally, he broke down into a sobbing mess at random. Physically, he slept a lot and didnt eat much, and Vlad was worried because Danny had yet to transform back into his human form.
Vlad had experimented years ago to see how long he could stay in ghost form, and managed about two months before his body almost killed itself from the lack of what the human body needs. His organs had began shutting down and his human body had actually begun to decay from the outside in. It took almost two years of forcefully developing speed healing and regenerative powers to get his body healthy again. He learned that when he's in ghost form, his human side technically dies in that time allotted to 'go ghost', as the boy put it. The occasional couple of hours or days does very little to no damage to the human half, but extended periods of time result in major damage and, if Vlad calculated correctly, permanent ghost form when the human half completely dies. He estimated that it would take anywhere from four to six months for that to happen.
And right now, Danny was at one month and two days, and it was noticable. He was showing all the signs that Vlad had experienced: loss of appetite for food, insomnia, temporary overload of ghost powers, and extreme vertigo when flying. Not that Danny did much flying; he preferred walking or lying down.
Vlad tried to tell Danny about what would happen if he kept in his ghost form, but Danny didnt seem to care. Vlad added 'depression' to his list of Danny's problems, as well as a suicide watch. If Danny didnt go back to his human form by the end of the month, then Vlad would force it as a last resort.
The simple task of 'taking care of' Danny also proved strenuous. Between being a mayor, avoiding the Fentons, and taking care of Danny without anyone knowing he was there, Vlad had his work cut out for him. During the day while at city hall, he had to leave Danny behind, but that worried him so badly that he HAD to have someone look after him while he was gone. So after promising him the moon, the stars, and several pages of da Vinci's notebook, Vlad got the only ghost willing to watch over Danny while NOT tempted to destroy the boy: Ghostwriter. He also sweetened the deal with several rare original books if the novelist would also tutor Danny, when the boy was well enough to actually focus.
But other than taking care of the tutoring for the future and the babysitting (for lack of a better word), Vlad also had to take care of Danny when the boy had night terrors, when he was bored, or just needed some company. He soon found out that Danny had developed a sort of clinginess to him, and for the first few weeks would freak out if Vlad had to leave the house. But when he finally let Vlad leave, he wouldnt let the billionaire out of his sight as soon as he got home. It was a bit irritating, but Vlad at first put up with it, and then later found it endearing.
The end of the month came, and Danny still hadnt gone back to his human form. Vlad knew that Danny wouldnt like it, but it was better to do it now than have to deal with the guilt of letting the boy die later. He carried the sleeping Danny into his lab and strapped him down, then picked up a small circular device and put it on Danny's chest just as the boy woke up.
"...What...?" he asked, still a little sleepy. Vlad stepped back and picked up a small control device.
"I'm sorry Daniel, but it's for your own good," Vlad replied, then pressed the button. Danny let out a shriek as the device appeared to shock him, then Vlad saw the twin rings appear at Danny's middle and transform Danny back into human form. He turned off the device and walked back over to Danny to take it off, trying not to wince at Danny's appearance.
Danny's skin was a sickly greyish pale. His normally baby-blue eyes were now extremely pale, almost blind-colored. Vlad could also see that Danny's breathing was labored, so he put an oxygen mask over the boy's mouth and nose and unstrapped him to make him more comfortable. "I'm so sorry," he said, seeing Danny's obvious pain and empathizing completely. "I had to do it, Daniel, or you would have died completely. I didnt want that." He brushed Danny's dull black hair out of his face and gently cut off the two-month-old human clothes from the boy's body. Danny's nasty bruise from when he first came had healed, Vlad was relieved to see, but Danny's human form bore a scar on his right shoulder.
Vlad was also relieved that Danny had already discovered speed healing, so it might not take as long for him to become healthy again. Until then, Danny really needed to eat right, get proper sleep, and especially get some exercise. But that could wait for now; right now, Danny needed to get his organs working again.
Vlad made sure Danny's vitals were steady, then smoothed out the sheet covering Danny and brushed the boy's hair back for the umpteenth time. "Try to get some real sleep, okay, Little Badger?" he said softly. Danny didnt say anything, but Vlad felt something on his other hand. He looked down to see Danny holding onto his hand; not clenching it like he was in pain, but rather just holding it. Vlad looked back at Danny to see a hint of a smile through the oxygen mask. "...You're welcome," he said, getting what Danny was trying to communicate, then kissed Danny's forehead before leaving the lab.
Danny had thanked him for turning him back to his human form. Danny had actually smiled. Vlad let a smile of his own slide across his face.
Danny was healing.
Vlad was actually amazed at the short length of time it took for Danny's body to heal. As compared to his own two years, Danny only took four months. But in those four months, he still had to battle insomnia, a low appitite, and body fatigue. To help him combat boredom and to simply give him something to do, Vlad asked Ghostwriter to begin tutoring Danny with the philosophy of "There's no excuse for both your mind AND your body to be weak".
Danny turned out to be a very good student when he had no distractions. Honestly, in his condition, it was eat, sleep, work on assignments for Ghostwriter and, on occasion, use the bathroom. That was pretty much his whole day. Danny had an aptitude for science and history, but still needed work in English and especially math. And Ghostwriter turned out to be very patient, when someone wasnt trying to destroy his Christmas poems. Vlad had home from City Hall to almost always find Danny hard at work in the study with Ghostwriter close by in case Danny needed help, reading a book or grading one of Danny's papers.
After four months, Vlad himself began training Danny in both ghost powers and physical strength. From being pretty much more or less immobile for almost six months, Danny had to start from square one and work his way up. He had taken to going invisible for evening walks around the town (with Vlad watching closely, of course), but just two weeks after his regimen, he had run into trouble when he almost ran into Sam and Tucker. Yes, he was invisible, but they had ghost tracking devices on them.
He had stayed stock still when he saw them, and swore when the device had gone off.
"Hey, it's picking something up!" Tucker said, poking at the device. He looked around. "...But I dont really see anything..."
"It's probably Plasmius lurking around," Sam replied with distaste as she crossed her arms. "Anyway, we're supposed to be looking for Danny, Tucker! His parents have been asking us where he is! We have to find him!"
Danny's heart began hammering as Tucker and Sam followed the tracking of the device, and he was very close to panicking when he felt arms cross over him from behind, one hand over his mouth. "It's just me, Daniel," Vlad whispered. "Stay quiet, and dont move!" Danny did as he was told, and the device stopped beeping.
"...Hey, it just vanished!" Tucker said, confused. "Weird..."
"Whaveter. Let's try by the Nasty Burger, we havent looked there, yet." With that, they left. Vlad kept Danny in place for a few more moments before teleporting them back to the townhouse.
"...Why couldnt they sense us anymore?" Danny asked. Plasmius turned back into Vlad, and pulled out what looked like a tiny round piece of metal on the end of a small chain necklace.
"This device masks the presence of ghosts in its immediate vicinity," he explained. "It's quite useful when...certain people visit," he finished darkly. Danny nodded, his eyes darkening slighly. "Well, no matter. Go take a shower and go to bed, Daniel." The young halfa nodded and walked upstairs, leaving Vlad to head to his study and sit down tiredly. He was seriously debating going back to Wisconsin, but he needed to figure out a way to withdraw from being mayor without being asked too many questions.
So much to do, and so much at risk...
End part one.