Maddie Fenton couldn't quite wrap her mind around the day's events. Her son had saved the world. Her child was a hero. Her own flesh and blood was the famous Phantom. And she and Jack had been hunting him for the past two years.
Of course there had been hints; Danny had never been the same since the accident with the portal. He had been begun to slack in school and home responsibilities, but Phantom had showed up on the scene, becoming more powerful and more skilled at fighting. Danny Fenton and Danny Phantom – and the aging! Maddie had never seen a ghost grown like Phantom had. Any growth with any normal ghost follows their power abilities, so reason would indicate that Phantom would now be the same as one in his early twenties. However, Phantom had been growing up just like a regular living human, parallel to her son's progress of growth and maturity…
But who had ever heard of a ghost/ human hybrid? Who would have ever thought it possible? Maddie was a scientist – sure she hunted ghosts, but like all scientists she leaned heavily on data of experiments and observations. She would have to capture and dissect Phantom before she truly would have ever accepted anything as pure fact about the young ghost. After all she knew that there was something different about him – she just wasn't sure what.
Still she couldn't deny that even while she hunted Phantom, there had always been a conflicting feeling of familiarity. A strong maternal instinct that had battled her conscious. Ghost or not, Phantom had always been a teenager, just like her son. They even had the same build and voice. But their personalities were so different! She would have never connected her shy, somewhat clumsy, sweet son with the brave, confident, skilled ghost she fought. Phantom had been growing more and more powerful by the day; so much so that Maddie started to fear what would happen if the teen ghost decided to turn from his heroics and turn to destruction. And so she battled the conflicting emotions and hunted the boy before she could give him the chance to ever gain that much power. She had to put the mother part of her aside before it caused Phantom to build so much power and skill that even the best ghost hunters couldn't bring him down…
And when Vlad Masters had revealed that he was also Vlad Plasmius, Maddie's opinion of this strengthened. After, of course, she felt the sharp, cold sting of betrayal. Even though he had foolishly tried to get her to betray and leave Jack, even though she had tried her hardest to avoid her old college friend's approaches, she still felt that small connection of former colleagues, former friends. But when Vlad had revealed his plan to take over the world through their misfortune of the disasteriod, that last thin thread snapped. All ghosts were evil, even those with any human connections. And especially those ghosts with the power. Therefore, Phantom had to be stopped.
When the young ghost presented his plan to turn the Earth intangible with Tucker (come to think of it, she had seen both Tucker and Sam with Phantom before; oh the signs!) she felt any of those thoughts melt away. Here was the last chance for the world, for her and Jack to see Danny and Jazz be able to grow up and succeed. And she would do anything in order to ensure that for her children. Even trust and work alongside ghosts.
And so they had gone to prepare for the disasteriod. The days blurred together as they flew the currents wires all around the Earth and set up their equipment to start up and charge the main source of intangibility. Once it was all done though, all they could do was wait and trust Phantom to rally up the ghost for the source of energy.
At least we're all together, Maddie thought as she laid a slightly trembling hand on Jazz's shoulder. But even as she said this, she could feel a small knot tighten in her stomach. Sam had gone out with Phantom earlier; something about how he was forgetting something. Jazz was looking slightly guilty, as if she knew something that could change the whole situation. And Danny – well Jazz had said that she had gotten her brother, but something was off. He was far too quiet and far too stiff…
But that has to be Danny, she had told her mind forcibly. We all have to be together…
Then they had all watched as the same vassal that had carried Phantom into the ghost zone zoom back out into the world of the living, out – of – control. They had all watched it crashed; they had all seen the smoke. They had all watched their last hope die away.
Both Tucker and Sam cried, voiced cracking from grief. Sam had actually thrown herself at the window, eyes wide and watery in disbelief as she cried, "No, Danny!"
Jazz acted as strongly as the two friends, the guilt increasing in her eyes along with the trapped tears that threatened to fall. All three of them she knew had admired Phantom, but this was deeper than just the death of a hero. This was as if it was the death of a close friend, of blood, and of love. And wasn't it? Hadn't their last hope just crashed into the cold, barren snow?
At least we're all together… Maddie told herself again, fighting back the tightening knot in her stomach and tears that threaten to fall. In truth watching that crash had been like a giant crane smashing her soul. She had to believe that though the end was near they were all together…
She must have said this out loud. Jazz had turned to her and Jack the guilt and grief now crushing the normally bright spirit in her eyes. "Mom, Dad," the words came out like a stinging confession, her voice breaking with her barely contained emotion, "there's something you need to know…"
And at that moment, as Jazz had said those words and Maddie instinctively turned to the sight of the crash, she knew what she had tried to deny all along. Even as the small bit of defiance in her grabbed "Danny," she knew it really wasn't her son. She and Jack had been fooled – with a robot. With their refusal to see what had been in front of them for the past two year under their roof. Their son was Phantom; Danny Fenton was Danny Phantom. And they had hunted their own flesh and blood for the past two years. They had wrestled with Danny's disciplinary issues ever since the accident and it was because they were blind to what the accident had caused. The world was ending and Phantom had failed. But that wasn't what Maddie was grieving for at that moment. Her son was Phantom; Phantom had just crashed. No one, not even a part ghost, could have survived that crash. The world was ending, but at that moment, Maddie's world already had. She'd never hold her son again; she'd never be able to apologize for her blindness to his problems… to his life. Her family had been torn apart and she couldn't do anything about it.
Sam's hopeful shout had drawn Maddie out of her abyss. She felt her mouth drop, then slowly rise into a smile of pure relief as she spotted the herd of ghosts coming into their world, with Danny in the lead. The world had a chance and so did her family. They had all watched as they all gathered around to give their energy to the wires.
"Tucker!" Danny's voice came over the system. Maddie felt her grin widen even more, pride melting away the hopelessness of the past thirty seconds. "Say when!"
They had all stood and watched in silent awe as the world turned intangible. Time passed. The disasteriod passed harmlessly through. The phantom planet returned to life. Sam rushed out of the holding; Jazz and Tucker close behind her. All the others had followed them, watching Phantom being attack with tight hugs of affection from the three teens. Maddie and Jack approached Phantom, each with a teasingly stern expression upon their face.
"Danny…" Jack started to say, his stern face and voice falling away as he said, "Or should we say, Danny."
Both parents had to hold back grins at their son's tactics of denial. Oh what fools they had been! And oh, how proud they were of the young man standing in front of them!
Maddie gave her husband's hand a light squeeze before letting it go and she kneeled just enough so that she could meet Phantom's blazing light green eyes with her own blue. They held Danny's spirit in them. They held the same exact look as his light blue did when Danny was feeling uncertain. And why wouldn't they? After all, the Fenton parents had been hunting him; talking of dissecting him and tearing him apart molecule by molecule. Maddie had to fix this; she had to calm her son's fear. Facing him just like she would with him in his normal form she asked gently, "Is there something you would like to tell us?"
And she watched as the uncertainty on his face disappeared and a bright rings of light traveled along his form to reveal the son she knew. When she saw his eyes again, they were his normal light blue and his white hair had turned back to black. However that wasn't the only thing she noticed. Not only was the uncertainty gone, but so was the strain. It was as if keeping Phantom to himself had been an enormous burden and he hadn't been able to keep it upon his shoulders any longer. Silence. Stunned silence from the people around them as they took in who their hero was. Then applause.
Maddie couldn't have been prouder. They were applauding for her child. Her son was a hero. Her flesh and blood was Phantom. Tears of joy were hanging in her eyes as she leaned against Jack. She watched Sam, Tucker, Jazz and Danny and she smiled. Her family was safe. . They were in their own room now at the station's headquarters; she, Jack, Jazz and Danny were all together. Everyone else was with their respected families and left the Fentons alone for some privacy. Jazz was near the fireplace reading and Danny was playing some video game on the computer. Jack was snacking on some fudge and messing around with their newest ghost invention. Maddie had been about to give her husband a light shove to put the faulty ghost device away. Danny however, had lifted his head up from his game and gave her a short shake of his head, clearly saying just let him play.
In all, this was an average scene for the Fenton family, but the day's past events thickened the air. Not in a stiff way, just dense enough that it pushed gently on everybody's minds. Danny was Phantom…
Maddie couldn't quite get her mind wrapped around it all… but that was okay. Danny had promised that he would explain everything that had gone on ever since the accident that had given him his powers. For now, Maddie was going to enjoy the peace after the storm with her family.
After all, at least they were all together.