Chapter 8

She looked down at herself, a villain in disguise, a spy for hire. That's what she thought she was. She knew she was. She just hoped that she hadn't been through this all in vain. Slade had contacted her several times, asking her to get specific details about the boy, and she had been finding them out easily enough. Danny had been very forthcoming with the information, almost like he wanted to share it with her now that his two best friends were a few states away. She could understand that. If she had been forced to leave the HIVE and work with some other amateurs, she would have felt very out of place, like Danny did. She also knew the score with his troubles with the Titans and, in turn, told Slade.

Her only problem these days was trying to stay on the job. She found herself thinking of his problems and how much alike they were. They had both had powers thrust upon them, sentenced to hide their existence from their loved ones from constant fears of being left and abandoned. She listened to him prattle on about his adventures with his two best friends, Sam and Tucker, as they fought ghost after ghost. It had been a lot harder on him without the help of his two friends, he had confessed to her one day. The Titans were no good, as the ghosts were usually quick and fast in their destructive paths, and so by the time they arrived, Danny was usually finished with the ghost, and had sucked them into the 'Fenton Thermos' as he called it. She smiled at the thought of him explaining his dad's fascination with all things Fenton.

She had listened to more than she was ever suppose to hear, so much that was useless to her case, but her curiosity found it very interesting. She sighed. She knew that she was getting too attached to the guy, but they had genuinely become friends, even if they were two sides of the same coin. She had always listened to her infiltration instructor when he had warned her to not get too close to her subjects, but Danny? He genuinely seemed innocent, unlike her.

She had just come away from the location of Slade's latest series of commands he had left since his apparent death. She had acted like any other citizen, and left the city when Slade had taken over. Slade had been annoyed at her for loosing Danny, while he had been missing and he had taken to use a back-up plan, and make that Titan, Terra, his new apprentice, until Danny came back. She had almost been failed on her assignment; until she had gotten word that Slade had left work for her to do, until his apparent return. It would make her assignment at least a few months, to a year, longer, but she knew that if she did well on this, she wouldn't need to worry about graduating. Slade was a big enough Super Villain to let her not worry about passing any other exam till she left HIVE.

She made her way up to her apartment, two bedrooms, one bathroom and barely any personal belongings. She had a few sets of clothes, a few books she was reading, toiletries and basic furniture as well as her surveillance. But Slade had made sure she had weapons though; she had been trained on how to use all types of anti-ghost weaponry, from the disguised Fenton Specter Deflector, the Fenton Jack-O-Nine-Tails, Fenton Bazooka and Fenton Wrist Laser, all supplied and built for by Wilson Industries, and designed by the Fenton's, as well as all her training on various conventional weapons.

She paced around her room and looked herself in the mirror, and noticed the hideous purple hair she had. She scowled at it disapprovingly, and thought back to her old hair. She loved her natural hair but, unfortunately, it had been said that Danny liked outrageous girls, not plain blond. She looked at her eyes too, the stupid contacts she had to wear hid her yellow eyes itched like mad. The things she did for this job. 'Oh well, at least I won't be failed like last time.' She thought. She had been tasked with scouting on the Titans, writing reports on all of their social habits, but she had been caught by Beast Boy, of all the people. She had been failed that, and only got through to the next year by her test results.

Slade had ordered her to find out more about the Fenton Ghost Files he had told her about. Apparently Slade himself couldn't hack into the computer himself because the encryption on it would have taken too long to get through, and breaking in would have caused too much suspicion, so she had been tasked with breaking in herself and stealing it manually.

She had gained his trust enough to learn about the different ghosts, but nothing about the ones Slade had been after. He hadn't told her much in the stuff he had left her, just that the files on 'Dan', 'Vortex' and 'Nocturne' were needed critically. Danny hadn't told her about any of these. She knew that they were needed for Slade's plan, for Danny to become an apprentice, but why did Slade's plans involve other ghosts?

A knock at the door derailed her train of though. She put on a fake smile, and looked herself in the mirror. Lots of the jerks and low life's who were living in the other apartments had come to the door hoping to score with her, or at least sexually assault her. She usually left them with a few broken limbs and ribs for their troubles, and most of the residence had received the message, though some kept coming back for more. She may be a criminal, but she detested any sort of sexual assault. She had moved to a dangerous neighborhood, purposefully of course. Low rent and suspicious activities all over, the noise of her firing her weapons would be left unchecked in such a place.

She opened the door, ready to beat any man who might want to attack her, when she realised just who it was. It was Danny. She had a momentary panic, before she managed to mentally calm herself.

"Danny! Why are you here?" She asked, not knowing how he could have found her. Danny put a hand on the back of his neck, and looked a little sheepish.

"Well, you see, my parents haven't come back since the takeover, and the people I had stayed with since then kinda don't want me crashing in their house anymore. I know the school has that home recovery program, but who wants to stay at school while it's not open? I thought it would be better to stay with a friend for a while, right?" He explained, going a little red.

"W-well, yeah I guess that would make sense. But my place is a state, and my parents aren't here. They're on a trip to Tokyo." She lied, using the two fake parents her cover story had given her. Danny's hand dropped, and he looked down at his feet, slightly embarrassed.

"Ah, erm, okay. Well it was just an idea anyway." He said, and turned to leave. Penny growled in frustration at what she was about to do, knowing that Slade would kill her if he ever realised.

"No. Stay. Seriously, stay. I've got a fold out couch and a few blankets you can use. Just don't go in my parent's room. They're really private about their room." She told him, and mentally slapped herself. She had stored all the weapons she had gotten for the assignment in the small closet in her spare room and had most of her notes on him and the various things she had learned about the Ghost Zone from him in there too.

He smiled and picked up the small duffle bag, she assumed that was full of clothes, and put it on the sofa he was going to sleep on. He took the place in, and saw how small it was, as well as how dank and dark the whole place was. Not a single photo of the family in the place. It was all completely clean, and had very little in the way of creature comforts. An old TV plugged into the wall, a small kitchen with a microwave oven and a fridge.

"It's nice. Quaint." He said, trying to compliment the place. Penny cringed, and shook her head. "It's empty. There's nothing in here, and that's just how my family like it." She lied. "My parents prefer to stay in Tokyo. They leave me here for most of the year so I can have an American education."

"And they don't let you decorate?" Danny asked, confused

"Nope. They think that I would just end up painting the walls black and destroying the place with 'Satanic rituals'." She said sarcastically. Danny laughed, and smiled at her.

"Heh. Let me guess, because of your choice in look?" He asked thinking of Sam and her parents.

"Yup. God, parents are annoying." Penny said, keeping up the lie. Danny nodded, and looked sheepish again as his stomach rumbled. Penny laughed

"Come on, Ghosty, let's go get some lunch."

.~.~.~.~.

Danny and Penny strolled away from the ice-cream booth on the pier, each with a large ice-cream in their hands, the sun was shining bright in the sky, and the place was packed by tourists and various citizens soaking up the sun. Danny began to furiously lick away, trying to stop the ice-cream from melting and getting all over his hands.

"Hey, calm down! It's not like you can't keep it cool with a little help with your powers." She said, laughing at the look of concentration on his face.

"Too late." He said, and finished off his blueberry ice-cream with a final lick. She shook her head and smiled.

"You're such an idiot." She said, and then her face turned to a scowl as she felt her ice cream drip down her arm.

"Told you so!" Danny said childishly, and poked his blue colored tongue out at her.

"You're such a child." She said happily, and wiped the ice-cream off her elbow. Her face suddenly fell as she saw who was heading towards them from the other end of the pier and she groaned. "Great. Come one Danny, let's get out of here."

"Wait, why? I thought we were going to get some pizza from the place across the street."

"We can order from my apartment." She said quickly, and grabbed him by the arm, leading him away.

"Hey! Pink hair!" They both heard a small distance away. Penny cringed, and turned to face her class mates. She could tell it was Jinx, Kyd Wykkyd and Bumble Bee even in their various disguises, and across the pier.

"Hey Pink-hair, how are ya?" Jinx said with a fake southern accent. Penny held an eye roll, and crossed her arms.

"Good, I guess. I thought I made it clear I didn't want anything to do with your little gang, Hex." Penny said. Jinx glared at her for giving her such an obvious nickname.

"Well aren't you such an Angel." She said, grinning at her genius. "What, you don't want to let your little boyfriend here that you're a-" She was cut off by a small cough from Kyd Wykkyd.

"Don't." He said. Jinx looked a little sheepish, embarrassed at her own stupidity. "Well, it was nice seeing you around, Pink-hair. Come by the club when you're finished playing goody too shoes with your boyfriend." She winked and walked away, letting the other two villains follow her. Penny sighed, and leaned against the railing.

"God I hate those guys." She breathed deeply and shook her head. If Danny had thought twice about what they had said, she could have been in real trouble with the Head Mistress, and worst of all, Slade.

"Who were they?" Danny asked, confused and a little curious about Penny's history.

"They're no one." She said, trying to shrug it off. Danny raised his eyebrows

"I don't buy it. What did that guy dressed in blue stop the other girl saying?" Penny sighed, and looked Danny in the eye.

"I was in a gang. Not too long ago, anyway. It was in Gotham; we used to hang out and start gang wars. Because my parents were in Tokyo all the time, they almost never found out. But when they did, they moved to Jump City, you know, where there no gangs, just super villains who can take over the city." She lied, and smiled bitter sweetly. "I didn't know that my old gang had moved cities."

"Are you going to join up again?" Danny asked, curious. Penny laughed, and closed her eyes. This lie was getting way too complex for her liking.

"Nah, I grew out of gangs. Now all I want to do is get good grades. Though, with the school shut and the year almost over, I doubt that I'm going to pass anyway." Danny lent back on the bars with her, and looked up at the sky.

"Can I just say; I had an alter motive for asking to stay at yours. My parents are missing, but I have a feeling I know where they are." Danny said, turning his head to look at her. "I need someone to help me go into the Ghost Zone and search for my family with me." Penny's eyes furrowed and she looked for any signs of deceit in his eyes. There were none, he genuinely trusted her enough to help him. This was great for her assignment, but she almost wanted to decline. She really had gotten too deep with him. Although she had lied and cheated him, she trusted him, and he trusted her. 'I can't believe I'm doing this.' She thought to herself

"Sure, I'll help. Just… I'm not much of a fighter." She said to him, and he smiled.

"Heh, I suspected as much." He said cheekily, and winked at her. She rolled her eyes and punched him gently on the shoulder.

"Whatever ghosty."

A little while later, they were all strapped in the Specter Speeder down in Danny's parent's lab. It looked the same as ever, except the test tubes were slowly growing things on them, as the liquid inside began to react with eh ectoplasm in the air. Penny almost gagged as she smelt the stench of decaying ectoplasm and the various specimens and experiments that hadn't been disposed of.

"Sorry about the smell, I didn't want to disturb my parent's experiments. Who all I know, they might have wanted to study decaying ectoplasm. " He said, and grinned apologetically at Penny. She simply rolled her eyes, but smiled back.

Penny had noticed the computer system that was down here, and knew that if any information on the ghost's Slade wanted even existed, then it would be on there. She had made a mental note to try and sneak down here when she was alone in the house. If she could get hold of whatever the computer held, it might cut the time her assignment took in half, and meant that she wouldn't have to hang around with Danny much longer, something she knew needed to happen sooner or later.

She looked around the driving compartment that she as Danny sat in and watched as his eyes darted left and right, reading the displays in front of him on the dashboard that he had memorized.

"Okay, so the ecto-levels are normal in the fuel bay… The radiation levels are normal in the weapons system… The hand brake is off… Good!" He said to himself and put his hands on the wheel in front of him. "Oh yeah, you might want to wear these." He said, and handed Penny a pair of strange green headphones. "These get rid of any spectral noise that you might hear, and also works as a communicator to Specter Speeder." He said, and smiled at her. She put them on, and looked out at the mass of green swirls that was in front of them. Danny powered up the Speeder and it began to hover.

"This is going to tingle." He said to her, and pushed the Speeder forward into the portal. She shivered against the cold as she felt the temperature drop by at least ten degrees as they entered the Ghost Zone. Danny turned the heating up in the vehicle, then began to search the dials and buttons for something. He pushed a few of them, and a display popped out.

"Real world item detected." A computerised voice said from the speakers, and showed a radar with a small dot located a few miles from them. Danny tapped the dot, and four shapes appeared. Two women that Penny recognised as Danny's mother and sister, and one man that was obviously his farther, as well as another Specter Speeder.

"Do you know where that is?" She asked Danny. He shook his head, but took out a large scroll and checked it. Penny looked at it too, and saw that it was a map of the Ghost Zone, or so she guessed. It had the same green background that the Ghost Zone seemed to be made of, along with the various doors that kept popping up left and right of where they were steadily gliding too. But the map was moving; various purple portals kept popping up, and then vanishing, along with doors that kept suddenly appearing into existence all over the zone, and huge floating monuments, like one of an ancient Greek temple, or an island in the shape of a skull. Penny couldn't make sense of the map, but it seemed to make perfect sense to Danny, who put it down, and checked the radar once again.

"Damn it. I should've known he would have them." Danny swore under his breath. He put the Speeder into the next gear and sped up, heading for one of the doors. "We've got to get to them before Walker decides to get rid of them." Danny said, his knuckles white against the wheel.

"Walker who? The one that locked you up for rule breaking?" Penny asked, recalling one of the adventures he had told her about.

"Yup. And he probably captured them so he could capture me when I went looking for them." He said

"So what are we going to do?" Penny asked, though knowing the answer before he said it.

"We're going to get captured. Come on, we've got to make good time. Walker's probably got impatient after waiting over a week for me to appear." Danny said as he sped through the door, into a ghost's lair.

.~.~.~.~.

AN: Heh, so Penny isn't Penny after all. But she also isn't Jinx, like most of you thought. So who is she? None of you have guessed correctly so far, but I know a few clever people out there will have spotted the clue I left (Although many of you probably think she's an OC, trust me, she isn't.)

Till next time,

Umbra-Luna