AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, this Story is the first huge fanfiction I ever did of Danny Phantom. You can find it's first online appearance in my deviantart gallery. I will be posting it a few chapters at a time, since I've got several adventures following it as well. Please pass the word around to the DP writers on this site. I'd love to have the opinions and critiques of other readers than my DA readers.
Important note: I wrote in the story that Danny left Amity Park for 4 years. What I meant was that he left right after highschool graduation, which was by the time he was 18, and he stopped having any contact with anyone but his sister for 4 years. To clarify, he left when he was 18, stopped talking to anyone (even Sam and Tucker) when he turned 20-21, and returned to Amity Park at the age of 25. Hopefully that helps clear up a few time faults in this story. :D
His hometown had never been known as the quiet, beautiful community that most outsiders described it as. In fact, Amity Park may have been the most haunted town in all of America. Ghosts, for nearly three years, had haunted and cast spells over this municipality, and for the most part, they had been done without anyone's knowledge. In the shadows, it had been the most cursed town he had ever come to know, and he had been more than glad to have it behind him once he left for university four years ago.
Now, he was being called back to it.
Stepping out of the bus that had driven him to Amity Park from the airport, Danny could just feel the still unstable grounds of the town. Even though he had saved the world and the Ghost Zone at the age of fifteen, Amity Park was, and still remained, a magnet for spirits. It had not only been because of his goal of becoming an astronaut that Danny had left this town behind him; it was also for lightening his burden as the town's guardian. He was tired of being the one hunted down by both humans and ghosts.
And for the past four years, there had not been a single complaint about any ghost attacks.
Danny stared up at the buildings around him and inhaled deeply while closing his eyes and remembering his teenage years. Back then, he had saved the world, in only the way a fourteen-year-old, gifted with supernatural ghost powers, could. Back then, he had learned in so many strange ways how to master his powers, how to control his emotions, and how to be the responsible hero he was destined to be.
When he opened his eyes, he was once again the twenty-five-year-old he was that same morning, with the same trademark hairstyle that first targeted him as a bully victim, and then made him a household name. The only difference was that, despite his age, his travels between the physical world and the supernatural world had caused his hair to take on a slight color change-there were certain streaks of whites, although no one could notice unless standing next to him.
Danny sighed loudly, smoothed out his NASA uniform and hoisted up his bag. "Welcome home, Fenton," he said to himself as he set off down the sidewalk.
Children ran past him, chasing each other or racing to the candy store while laughing. Cars honked if their drivers recognized someone on the street. People bought newspapers at the same stand where Danny had first gotten a job as a child.
Everything still looked the same. Nothing had changed. Nothing had shifted.
Including that familiar vibe I kept feeling as a kid, Danny thought. AP still carries that ghostly scent that gives me the creeps.
It took several minutes before reaching the block where his childhood house was situated. Even before walking towards it, Danny knew that nothing had truly changed since he had left.
It was still decorated in ghost-like gadgets.
Danny grinned amusingly. "Never thought that coming home would be spooky," he said. "Just as long as Dad doesn't try to catch me in one of his traps again."
He reached the front door and knocked on it.
"Coming, coming," an all too familiar voice called out from within the house.
Danny smiled as the doorknob turned and pulled the door inwards with it. On the other side was a tall, large man, with greying-black hair.
Danny raised a hand. "Hey, Dad," he greeted.
The man's face brightened and he smiled brightly. "Danny-Boy!" he exclaimed, wrapping his arms around his son.
Danny shouted in surprise as he dropped his bags and nearly lost his breath when his father squished him. "Heh, nice to see you too," the twenty-five-year-old replied with a nervous and uncomfortable laugh.
His father released him and grabbed Danny's luggage. "Here, Son, let me help you with that!" he insisted.
Danny was against it. "Uh, no, Dad, that's fine," he said nervously, grabbing one of his suitcases. "I really should carry these up myself. There's some stuff in it that's incredibly delicate and important." He had not forgotten his father's clumsiness.
"Who's here, Honey?" came a woman's voice from down the hallway.
Jack turned around. "Our son's back from university, Sweetheart!" he called out.
Danny's mother came walking around the corner and into the kitchen. She was a tall and slim woman, with short red hair and blue eyes. She, like her husband, was a fervent ghost hunter.
And for a long time, they had been both threats to Danny's life.
Maddie squealed with delight and ran up to her son, where she embraced him. "Oh, my little Daniel!" she said happily, showering him with kisses. "Welcome home!"
"Mom, please stop doing that!" Danny insisted, trying to pry his way out from his mother's grasp. Once he had, he wiped his cheeks before picking up his luggage. "And thanks."
"How long will you be staying this time?" his mother asked as Danny walked passed them into the house.
"Not sure; I was planning all summer, but if I don't, it's probably because I-!"
"Do you think you could show us some of you ghost powers, Danny?" his father interrupted eagerly.
Danny frowned at him and looked at his mother again. "If I leave early, it's probably because of something like that," he said flatly, pointing at his father.
Maddie shrugged. "Danny, you can't escape who you are," she replied.
"No, but if it means staying away from the creepy traps you and Dad have in the basement, then I'll ignore my other half as much as I can."
"Can't you show us just a smidge?" Jack asked.
Danny frowned at him again. "Can't any of my visits here ever start out normally?" he exclaimed. "Why can't you guys just ask something like, 'How were your studies, Danny?' or, 'How have you been, Danny?' or, 'Do you have any girlfriends, Danny?' What ever happened to having a normal conversation with you guys?"
"You're not normal," his father replied.
Maddie quickly nudged her husband's side, causing the man to yelp and rub himself. "Your father is just joking, Dear," she said. "He means that it's hard to hold a normal conversation with you when you're not… well, an ordinary person."
Danny pointed at her. "Either you guys try to make me feel like any other human on this planet, or else I'll be back in Houston, Texas, before you can say, Danny Phantom," he warned. "I thought four years would clear everyone's minds. I want a normal life. No more ghost busting for me."
"We understand that, Danny," his mother replied. "It is your choice, after all. We just want to make sure you're making the right choice. Having powers like yours is an incredibly large responsibility, you know."
"It's about time you two start noticing that," Danny replied. "For most of my teenage years, you and Dad were off trying to hunt me down because of my powers."
"Well, it would have helped if you had told us ahead of time that the Ghost Boy was actually you," Jack replied.
Danny sighed and passed a hand over his face. "Never mind; can we just drop anything ghost-related, please?" he asked. "I came here to enjoy summer vacation to the fullest. I want to be here with my family. I don't want to have to go back earlier than planned again because my family couldn't stop asking me questions about ghosts."
His mother walked up to him and patted his cheek gently. "We promise we'll do our best, Danny," she replied. "Now, why don't you go get your things settled, and we can start our summer vacation?" She smiled. "You can sleep in your old room, if you'd like," she added.
Danny grinned in reply. "You haven't changed it?" he guessed.
"Seriously?" He paused for a moment before narrowing his eyes and smiling slyly at his mother. "You didn't rig it with ghost traps, did you?" he asked.
His mother turned him around and pushed him towards the stairs. "Go get your things settled, Phantom Boy," she said quickly. "And while you're at it, you can say hello to your sister."
Danny hopped up one stair and then looked at his mother again with a bright smile. "Jazz is back too?" he said.
"Of course she is. She comes back every summer."
Danny giggled childishly. "Sweet!" he sneered, darting up the stairs.
"Don't bug her, Danny!"
"Come on, Mom; am I really still that immature?"
Yes, I am, Danny thought as he sneaked up to his sister's bedroom. Jazz was nearly three years his senior, and had been a member of his Phantom Team when he had been fourteen. She had accidentally discovered his gift, yet did not tell him that she knew until Danny had been ready to speak with her about it.
Although those years had brought them closer together, Danny still found pleasure in scaring his sister.
He knocked on her door and then made himself invisible, waiting for Jazz to come out of her room.
The doorknob turned and the door opened. Out walked a woman with long red hair tied up in a bun. Like their mother, she had a slim figure too.
The woman looked around. "Hello?" she called out. "Anyone there? Dad, are you playing tricks on me again?"
Danny took that opportunity to reappear. To any normal eye, he looked as though he had just appeared out of thin air. "BOO!" he cried out.
Jazz jumped back and cried in surprise before Danny burst into laughter. "Oh, man, that never gets old," he said.
But instead of yelling at him, like she normally did, Jazz squealed with happiness and leaped into her brother's arms. "Danny!" she said happily. "Oh, Danny, you finally decided to stay! I'm so happy you made up your mind!" She had stayed in contact with her little brother by email during their studies.
"Just for the summer," Danny replied before letting her go. "Then I'm back at NASA as an astronaut."
"I still can't believe you actually became one," Jazz said with a giggle. "You are such a nerd."
"Yeah, well, you became a psychiatrist and ghost researcher, Shrink."
Jazz shrugged. "What can I say? I guess ghost runs in the family." She looked at her brother with bright eyes. "And speaking of ghost-!"
Danny frowned in reply and placing his hands on his hips. "Not you too!" he groaned. "I just went over this with Mom and Dad!"
"Come on, Danny, just one time, please!" Jazz begged him.
"Why do you want me to go Ghost?"
"Because you look so awesome in that suit of yours and I haven't seen you do it in four years! Come on, Little Brother; just one switch for your favourite sister!"
Danny raised an eyebrow and then sighed while rolling his eyes amusingly. With a wry grin, he straightened out and crossed his arms. "Fine," he replied.
A halo of white light wrapped around his waist. It split into two and began trailing up and down his body. As it did, his appearance transformed, as did his clothes. A black suit with white gloves and boots took his NASA uniform. On his chest sat the white symbol of Danny Phantom.
His blue eyes turned green and his black hair turned snow white. The last change was that his body had become haloed in a thin ray of white light, like most ghosts usually were.
Jazz bared her teeth in an excited grin.
Danny looked at her and smiled tiredly. "But you're not my favourite sister," he added.
Jazz did not care. She giggled delightedly and clapped her hands. "Oh, man, Danny, you look so cool in that form of yours! If you weren't my brother, I'd kiss you right now!"
Danny rolled his eyes again and then snapped his finger. Immediately, he transformed into his normal self again. He frowned once more. "But that's all," he said. "Don't ask me to transform into Danny Phantom again, Jazz, got it? I left Amity Park to get away from that name. I don't want anything to do with this, okay?"
"What's the problem with your ghost powers?" Jazz asked.
"The problem is that no one can talk to me about anything else! I love my powers, Jazz, but if it means only having people look at me when I'm going ghost, then forget it. I'd rather be known as Danny Fenton, not Danny Phantom. I'm an astronaut now, learning about outer space. I do research on the supernatural. I don't fight it. That's behind me."
Jazz crossed her arms. "You know, you're just ignoring your destiny," she said.
"Destiny? Jazz, the only reason I've got ghost powers is because I tried out Mom and Dad's ghost portal when it was supposed to be broken! My powers were an accident!"
"Nothing is accidental, Danny. Not even your powers. It happened for a reason."
Danny sighed tiredly and walked off. "Forget it. Talking with you guys is a waste of time. I should be enjoying myself, not arguing with you." He turned the corner and entered his room.
Jazz followed him after a short hesitation. When she peered into her brother's room, she found Danny sitting on his bed, staring at the picture frames on his homework desk by the window. It was the quietest she had ever seen him be in many years.
The young woman walked into the room. "Danny, you know we don't mean to frustrate you," she said gently. "You know how Mom and Dad are. They've always been obsessed with the supernatural."
"And you've gotten worse since you discovered my secret," Danny replied heavily.
Jazz walked up to the bed and sat down beside him. "No, I just want to help you," she announced. "I wanted to help you become who I knew you could be, and, well… I just wanted to make sure that my little brother doesn't get killed in the progress. You may have been the annoying brat when we were kids, but you were still my brother, and as your big sister, I felt responsible to keep you safe."
Danny sighed softly and looked at his sister. "I don't want to go ghost, okay?" he said softly. "I'm tired of being the trophy everyone wants to put on their fire place. I just want to be normal. I was able to do it at NASA; why does it have to change whenever I come here?"
"Because you're special here," Jazz replied. "You're not just Daniel Fenton or Danny Phantom; you're a hero."
Danny stared at the floor silently and pondered these words. Not even his mother had used those words to ease his troubled mind.
But for some strange reason, he had somehow expected Jazz to say them anyway.
He grinned weakly and looked at his sister. "I guess that makes up for the weirdness," he said.
Jazz smiled in reply while her brother reached over and grabbed a photo frame. "Most Humans and Ghosts now accept you as their own, because you saved the world," she added. Waving an arm through the air, she added, "But enough of that. It's been an almost solid four years since we were able to properly hang out together, just you and me… maybe even longer than that. What did you want to do first, Danny?"
Danny stared at the photo in his hands. It was a picture of the two other people who had remained distant yet precious to him since he had begun school.
Jazz looked at the photo as well and grinned again. "Ah," she said. "I've got a feeling you haven't stayed in contact with them, have you?"
"It's sorta hard to do, when one of your best friends is at Computer College all the time and your other one is studying to be an environmentalist," Danny replied. "And being at three different schools across the country doesn't make it any better."
"Not to mention that you told me to tell them you couldn't stay in contact with them anymore."
Danny shot her an irritated glare, making Jazz giggle. "Not helping," he said through his teeth.
Jazz took the picture and looked at it. "Well, then, I guess this is our first stop," she announced.
Danny stared at her in confusion. "Jazz, Sam and Tucker are probably still at school," he said. "And I highly doubt that they'd both come back to Amity Park at the same time."
His sister smiled cleverly. "I wouldn't be too sure about that, Danny," she replied.
Her brother paused for a moment. "What do you mean?" he asked with growing excitement in his eyes.
"I mean, that they're both here. When you sent me an email stating that you were planning on probably coming for the entire summer, I decided to forward the message on to your best friends." Jazz spread out her arms. "Sam and Tucker are back in Amity Park just to see you again!"
Danny gaped in disbelief and then, for the very first time in a long time, embraced his sister. "You've sure got a way to make things turn around in this town, Sis!" he said happily.
Jazz laughed before they both fell onto the bed. "Just as long as you don't embarrass me in public, you're very welcome!" she replied.