Full summary: Some things really are inevitable, but that doesn't mean that one can't work to change the future. When a Truce Party mishap between Vlad and Danny results in the bizarre rebirth of Dark Dan Phantom, will the two unwillingly partnered arch-enemies be able to prevent a dark future from taking place? While Vlad and Danny are out to prove that good can alter evil just as evil can corrupt good, a young Dan, altered by the circumstances, will have to figure out if his nightmares are a prelude to a darker truth, and whether there's really such a thing as destiny.
Notes: Yes, I know, it sounds weird and ultimately like crack. And, really, it is - I mean, come on, it involves the love child of two male arch-enemies who also happens to be the reincarnation of their combined evil ghost halves - of course it's gonna be weird. But more than that it's a story that will give an alternate-universe Dan humanity and redemption - one where he's still Danny and Vlad, and he's still Dark Danny - but at the same time he's not. It's just the premise it's set up with that happens to be crack-tastic, but it's little Dark's story through and through.
That said, there's a few concepts of mine that might be a bit complicated. This fic uses original ideas about how ghosts are born, the "death" of ghosts, and the concept of ghost mates - so feel free to ask questions about anything that doesn't make sense. I've tried to make this make as much sense as possible, considering the circumstances, and things such as ghost pregnancy will have a lot of "how"s to them.
Phantom Planet did not happen. This starts off a year and a bit after "D-Stabilized," and Danny's in his last year of high school. My timeline is "Reality Trip" marks the summer before Danny's sophomore year, and "Claw of the Wild" marks the summer before his junior year. This story's mostly inspired by "Reign Storm" and (obviously) "The Ultimate Enemy." I think that's it, so on with the story!
Warnings: Violence, angst, mild language, male pregnancy, VladxDanny, Dan as Vlad and Danny's not-completely-evil love child.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. That'd be Butch Hartman.
Prologue - The Wrong Place at the Wrong Time
Seventeen year old Danny Fenton sat on a couch sipping some hard cider and watching Ember play her pop-rock renditions of several Christmas classics. He had to admit he felt happy, despite being surrounded by his enemies. Ironically, the Ghost Zone had a better atmosphere around Christmas-time than his own house did, what with his parents fighting tooth-and-nail over everything. And, though he'd never admit it, it felt great to be able to be in the Ghost Zone without worrying about being wasted. After so many visits, Danny realized that his ghost side felt revitalized by simply being in the place. Must be all that stray ecto-energy constantly floating around.
"Christmas cookie, dear?"
Danny turned to the voice that had just addressed him and had to shield his eyes from the fierce white glow that invaded his vision.
"Whoa. You're... really glowing," he said as he took a cookie from the tray the Lunch Lady held. She looked confused for a second before laughing.
"Well, of course, dear! You don't expect a pregnant ghost to have a dim glow, do you?"
Danny almost choked on the gingerbread man he was eating. "O-oh! Uh... congratulations, then," he said awkwardly, inwardly sighing in relief for not having screamed 'ew!' like he'd wanted. This was the time of year where everyone acted civil towards each other, after all. "Uh, the Box Ghost?"
The Lunch Lady blinked "Yes. How did you know?"
"Just a guess."
"Daniel!" Vlad's voice cut through the conversation, and Danny's sudden menacing glare seemed to cue the Lunch Lady to retreat. "Fancy meeting you here! Wait a minute - you're not drinking, are you?"
Yet half-ghosts seemed to be the breaking point for civil behavior, even during the Truce.
"What's it to you, Plasmius? You're not my dad," Danny snapped, not one to forget the recent dinner with his family and Vlad. His good mood further evaporated as the billionaire leaned against the couch and donned his signature evil grin.
"Not yet, I'm not. But I could very well tell your father, couldn't I?"
"You could. And I could also tell him that his best friend's tried to kill him more times than I can count and has been in love with his wife for over twenty years."
Vlad's eyes narrowed. "Oh, come now, Daniel. Have you no Christmas spirit?"
"I did until you decided to come over. Couldn't you have stayed in your side of the room?"
"Well, excuse me, but if I'm not much mistaken, you should currently be in your own room at home, hmm? There would be no need to lie about your 'other activities' if you'd just come live with me, Daniel."
"Would you quit spying on me and my family, you creepy fruit-loop?"
As the two hybrids' voices began to escalate, Ember stopped her current song and glared at them from across the room. Many ghosts rolled their eyes at the hostility they had all come to expect for the past four years, by now knowing it was better not to intervene if they wanted to preserve some semblance of peace on Christmas. Skulker growled and downed his drink, hoping intoxication would make the long night of arguing ahead less annoying. As he saw his girlfriend stalking over to him, he closed his eyes and grabbed another glass of champagne.
"Those two dipsticks ruined my set again!" she screamed and began to complain about the half-ghost nemeses while Skulker nodded and grunted in acknowledgment whenever it seemed appropriate. Upon realizing the hunter wasn't listening, she growled in rage and stalked off to the side where Bullet and two other guards stood watch.
"Bullet! What are you standing around for? Where's Walker? Can't you do something about them?"
The other ghost shook his head and grit his teeth, obviously longing to blast the half-ghosts.
"'Fraid not. As long as there's no blasts or punches thrown around, they're technically not breaking the Truce. As for Walker, he's on a little... Christmas errand."
Desiree floated over, clearly amused by the whole thing. "What are they arguing about, anyways?"
"I doubt even they know," Spectra replied. "Last I checked, they were fighting about desserts. Although their anger is amusing."
Ember grit her teeth and tried to ignore Spectra and Desiree as they laughed over what was giving her a major headache. Every year was the same thing! She hadn't even been able to finish a set of her songs since Phantom started showing up! And, of course, Plasmius seemed to come to the annual Truce Party simply to get into these arguments with the younger half-ghost. The satisfied smirk on the billionaire's face at the end of each night was proof enough of the fact.
"Alright, that's it! I can't take this anymore! Those two are going down!" the musician ghost yelled, fiddling with her guitar and turning the knob on it to the image of a fist.
Bullet roughly grabbed the neck of the guitar before she could strum it. "That'd be breaking the Truce, Ember."
She glared at him, then at Vlad and Danny, before a mischievous grin slowly made its way onto her face. "Fine, then. I have more than one trick up my sleeve. And it is for the greater good..." She turned the knob to the image of a heart and looked questioningly at Bullet, whose lips twitched into a near-smile as he let go of the guitar and backed away. Spectra and Desiree squinted at the setting on the guitar and stared at her with their mouths open before breaking into matching evil laughs. Skulker frowned but said nothing as she flew over so that she was directly in front of the two hybrids, who failed to notice her amidst their heated feud. "Hey, lovebirds! If you're gonna fight like a married couple, you might as well tie the knot!"
And with that said, she struck a loud chord which reverberated throughout the room, causing a surprised Vlad and Danny to be blown against the couch. As the chord died, the half-ghosts blinked stars out of their vision while everything came back into focus. When the two locked eyes from opposite ends of the couch, they simply stared at each other for a while before Vlad broke the silence.
"What're you doing all the way over there, Vlad?"
Vlad bared his fangs in an ecstatic grin before pouncing on the boy.
There were several catcalls and rather malevolent laughs from the other ghosts. Ember smirked and crossed her arms. "That should take care of them 'til morning."
"You know Plasmius is going to kill you for this, right?" Skulker said, seemingly perturbed by the image of his prey and employer currently cuddling together on the couch like lovestruck teenagers.
Spectra stared almost hungrily at the scene in front of her, Danny yanking at Vlad's hair and Vlad firmly gripping Danny's butt. "Or thank her. God knows the two've been making glowy-eyes at each other for years. Shame they don't know how to put such good chemistry to good use."
"It looks like they're using it now," the blue-haired ghost said with a grin as she watched the billionaire and the teenager make their way clumsily across the room before phasing through the wall in a tangle of limbs.
"Observant High Council, I bring to you today a ghost which has plagued the timeline with complications and committed countless atrocities in both our world and the human realm."
The guard/executioner in gray armor watched the orb as it broadcasted scenes of destruction to the ghosts assembled in the circular room.
"Countless lives and afterlives taken without remorse, the fall of more than one civilization, crimes too numerous to name!"
The guard's green eyes stared, impressed, at the images passing through the screen, no explicitness spared of blood and ectoplasm sprayed over streets and ghosts' lairs. He winced at a particular scene depicting the violent disembowelment of one ghost. Still, he could appreciate a powerful ghost when he saw one. Even if he broke about every rule in the book - though, it looked like this ghost made his own rules in his time.
"Nearly eliminating a crucial member of the Council!"
A scene played out: a black-gloved, glowing clawed hand piercing the chest of a purple-cloaked figure. Glass scattering on the floor, a nearly unrecognizable green mass of ectoplasm struggling to maintain its form.
"Because of events which cannot be undone now, this ghost - the most evil ghost in history, past and future - now exists outside of time. Something must be done about this ghost once and for all! High council, what is your sentence for Dark Dan Phantom?"
The guard surveyed the ghost he was to execute skeptically as the High Council whispered among themselves. Not much of him could be seen; he was currently inside a high-security containment chamber in the middle of the room, the surface of the tube steadily sparking with what was obviously an energy shield meant to deliver great pain if one should attempt an escape. The ghost inside was wrapped in glowing green restraints that resembled a straitjacket. The guard studied his white flaming hair, chilling red eyes, and smug look. Of course, he thought. That explains the outfit on the screen. But if this Phantom was taken from the timeline... Dear lord, that's Phantom in the future?
The ghost hovering inside the tube cleared his throat. "If I may, Council? While I do appreciate the compliments on my work," he ignored the one-eyed glares he got at this, "shouldn't you be dealing with the root of your problems first?"
An Observant rose above the others gathered in the back of the room and spoke.
"Danny Phantom, at present, is under the guardianship of Clockwork. He has been deemed a non-threat by the Council on more than one occasion."
The guard frowned in confusion as the Observant floated back down to his seat and the others argued over what had just been said. Clearly, Danny Phantom was a point of debate among the Observants. Danny Phantom's not a threat? So this Phantom can't be the same Phantom as the punk. Though, there's obviously a connection...
"...sentence the ghost in question to be executed immediately!"
The six other guards stepped up to Dark Phantom, and the green-eyed guard snapped out of his thoughts as he took his place in the cue. He positioned the staff he was to use to channel his ecto-energy so that it touched a panel on the containment/execution chamber. Phantom's sentence came as no surprise, since this had been scheduled to be an execution ceremony; the trial setting had merely been a formality.
"Have you any last words, Phantom?"
The green-skinned ghost raised an eyebrow and smiled darkly. "You'll regret not dealing with the problem at its source. It's only a matter of time, you know."
"...Guards, if you will."
The guard grinned as he began to send out jolts of ecto-energy through the staff and into the chamber. I love this part of the job. He looked up. Crimson eyes met pupilless green ones, and the guard involuntarily shuddered at the way the ghost looked at him. A second later, Phantom's screams filled the room as shocks were sent one after the other to his very core. Eventually, the screams began to die down until there was nothing left but a puddle of pure green ectoplasmic matter at the bottom of the tube. The guards backed away once the job was done, and the Observant who had led the sentencing opened the chamber to allow the ecto-matter to disperse itself like dust through the endless expanse that was the Ghost Zone.
Even though ghosts can be destroyed, their ecto-matter itself cannot. Once a ghost's form has been reduced to pure ecto-matter, nobody expects said ecto-matter to ever return to its previous state. The ghost's remains will usually wander the Ghost Zone aimlessly in the form of green tendrils of ectoplasm, unavoidably mixing with other matter in the Ghost Zone until they manage to create a new form.
Or until the ghost's remains find a more accommodating place for their essence.