I really ought to finish my existing multi-chapter stories before I begin new ones, but oh well.

This is dedicated to my lovely best friend Bell (Aleria14), whose birthday just happens to be in four minutes!


I hope you enjoy, and no, I don't own DP or TT. I can only dream... -wistful sigh-

And so, onwards!

He shouldn't have been there.

It was far too late at night. The sky was dark and starless, a thick fog of clouds hanging high in the sky. A summer breeze warmed the air around Fenton Works, but inside the house felt unseasonably cold.

Jack Fenton sat awake in the lab, eyes sharp and focused as he gently coaxed two wires together, pulling on the fibres to make a connection. His shoulders sagged with exhaustion, but Jack himself barely registered how tired he was. His mind was elsewhere, buried deep within swirling emotions of frustration at his latest failure.

Jack was absent-minded at times, but he was in no way an imbecile. He was aware of his reputation in Amity Park, but he simply didn't care. To him, all that mattered was keeping his family – and by that extension, the town – safe from ghosts.

His inventions should've worked. He knew how to calibrate spectral energy with modern electronics, and how to pinpoint the ecto signature that was every ghost's calling card. He built his weapons with the almost radio frequency-like molecules of your a-typical ghost in mind, knowing exactly how to structure the blast so it would tear those molecules apart. Ghosts couldn't be killed – they were essentially just semi-sentient matter. It was all so very simple in theory, so why were his inventions a constant disappointment?

Jack set his latest work down – an improved version of the Fenton Fisher – and leant back in his chair. His stomach rumbled and he smiled absently. He yawned and got to his feet. A little snack before bed, he promised himself, heading for the stairs that led out of the lab.

The sound of glass shattering rang out behind him, followed by a sickening thud as something heavy collided with the floor. Jack turned, already moving into a battle-ready stance and opening his mouth to call for Maddie. He watched from the shadowy stairwell as a silver-haired teen hauled himself to his knees, struggling to keep himself upright. From above floated down a ghost donned in a metal suit, weapons jutting out every which way. He glanced at Jack, but otherwise ignored him. Jack reached for his ecto-pistol, but cursed when he found the holster empty.

He eyed the table, seeing it lying innocently beside the Fenton Fisher. Damn it! He quickly weighed his options. The most obvious was to try for the pistol, but there were two malevolent spooks in his lab and he wasn't sure whether he could take them both out with a simple pistol before they attacked. He could call for Maddie, but that would draw attention to himself and leave him defenceless.

The third option was to stay hidden on the shadowy stairwell and wait for a window of opportunity to arrive. The metal ghost – Skulker, he recalled – sneered at the ghost teen and raised a clenched fist.

"I'm surprised that you only lasted this long, whelp," Skulker said with a note of finality, "Your stamina must be slipping."

The ghost boy lifted his head and stared at Skulker with angry yet exhausted green eyes. Jack watched him try to stand, watched him grapple for something to hold on to.

"Not... finished... yet..." Phantom wheezed, leaning against the wall for support. "Just let me... catch my... second wind."

"Not today, abomination." Skulker murmured, triumph flashing in his eyes. "Today, your pelt hangs on my wall." He raised his gun, and Jack found the window.

He ran from his hiding place and grabbed his pistol. Skulker looked at him with mild surprise and a flicker of annoyance passed over his ghostly features. "Freeze, spook!" Jack yelled, hoping Maddie would hear him on the second floor.

"You again, buffoon." Skulker growled, "Need I destroy you as well?"

Phantom shook his head. "Jack, don't!"

"Stay out of this, ghost boy." Jack spat, "Both of you, out of my lab before I fry you!"

"Puny human," Skulker chuckled, aiming his gun squarely at Jack's head, "join the deceased."

Jack fired once, dropping to the floor just in time to feel a pulse of spectral energy pass over his head. Skulker fired again and Jack rolled to the left, hiding behind a filing cabinet while Skulker shot at him again and again. He reached into his belt and pulled out his communicator, praying Maddie had left hers on.

"Mads!" He yelled into it, "Mads, pick up!"

The frequency buzzed to life. "Jack?"

"Ghost attack in the lab!" Jack cried, "Help!" He felt the cold presence of the ghost loom above him, and he fired blindly, hoping to at least slow it down.

He was in his lab for God's sake! He had hundreds of weapons much better than his puny pistol, he just had to get to them.

"Skulker, it's me you want!" Phantom called – a hint of desperation in his voice? – a little louder this time. Jack made a dash for the far wall, his hand just grasping the handle to his weapons cabinet. He felt a hot flash of pain in the back of his thigh as Skulker finally found his mark, crying out in pain. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Phantom launch himself at Skulker, sending them both crashing through the opposite wall.

Jack grabbed the nearest weapon he could find and fired, hearing Phantom's cry of agony. Skulker laughed, a deep, throaty sound that filled the entire room. He floated back towards Jack. "You just disarmed your only hope, human." He sneered, "Now die."

The weapon he held this time was bigger, a bright red charge lighting up at the hilt. Jack tried to shoot again, but he'd forgotten to recharge it. He cursed under his breath, desperately grabbing for another and feeling his hand enclose around a small ecto-grenade. He smirked. Perfect.

Phantom appeared from the rubble, eyes and fingertips crackling with green energy. He blasted Skulker in the back, but it had almost no effect. Phantom was too weak. Time seemed to slow down as Jack pulled the pin from the grenade, hurling it at Skulker as Phantom soared through the air towards them.

"Dad!" The scream spoke of terror, of lose, of blind rage, but Jack barely heard it.

Skulker fired, bright red energy shooting towards Jack. He couldn't close his eyes, couldn't do anything but watch as the shot collided with the grenade in mid air. Couldn't do anything but scream as the two pure destructive powers met and sparks ignited. Couldn't do anything but listen to Maddie's terrified shriek of denial, listen as she called his name.

And then Danny's.

A blast of heat hit Jack's face right before the room exploded, and then he could do no more.