Again, I find myself apologizing for the long wait. Amidst finals and planning an extensive trip to Europe, I've been devastatingly busy…my updates will be sporadic for a while, but I'm definitely going to be finishing all of my current works-in-progress, so don't worry! It'll just take 2-4 weeks instead of 2-4 days for updates now. Thank you again for your comments on the previous chapter, as well as your patience! Enjoy~
The spectators didn't seem to notice the severity of the situation, but Danny knew it was too late to save himself: the television crew had caught everything. It was so miniscule, yet, the two second time difference it took Amorpho to go from Danny Phantom to Danny Fenton was hard to miss. There had always been suspicious similarities between the two, but would the residents of Amity Park now be able to put two and two together and realize how such transformations were accomplished?
Even though they were at least twenty or so miles away from home, bad news traveled fast, especially in the Digital Age and with Youtube's obsession with ghost fights. It was almost guaranteed that someone would catch on, but Danny didn't have time to worry about that now.
"Well," he started in the most confident voice he could manage, despite the terror rising in his chest, "What are you going to do now? Just stand there?"
He knew Amorpho wasn't one for brutal fights, but he certainly loved putting on a show when he could.
With a Fenton thermos strapped to his back and Jazz—who was still loaded up with anti-ecto defenses—sitting between the two ghosts, Danny could only hope that the prankster would take the bait.
Luckily for Danny, Amorpho launched forward at once, only to fall helplessly into the electrical radius of Jazz's Specter Deflector. He screamed as the volts coursed along his body, scaring away any human spectators that had been watching in timid curiosity. The only humans left in the area were Jazz and the helicopter television crew hovering above the scene.
The magnitude of the shocks he was receiving and his inability to get away from them, thus prolonging the electrocution, were enough to force him back into his original form.
"Jazz, get out of the way!" Danny yelled, running forward with the Fenton thermos. Jazz immediately did as she was told in order to avoid shocking her brother as well, and within five seconds, Amorpho was securely trapped in the Fenton thermos.
The remaining crowd was dumbstruck; unsure if they should cheer or continue to panic at the sight of a ghost still in the proximity. Danny didn't really care; all that mattered was that he had found his sister relatively safe and sound. He wanted nothing more than to hug her and tell her how much he missed her. He wouldn't have even been embarrassed to do that in front of all these people, because deep down, it was true. But for his own safety—both physically and for the protection of his secret—he remained at a distance and settled for a weak wave.
At this point, he could only hope that his parents remembered what he had told them about bringing Jazz home; they were to remove the belt as soon as their daughter was back home, unharmed.
"Ready to go home?"
Jazz nodded vigorously. "Why don't you go change your clothes and meet me later?" she suggested with a wink. Hopefully they were out of hearing range for the filming equipment, but they couldn't be too cautious anyway.
Danny smiled in return then disappeared. Above Jazz's head, she could hear the frustrated cries of the cameramen, but she was glad her little brother had the chance to get away. It really wasn't fair how little people respected his privacy, considering all the good he did for them in return. The fight had been brief, but she was already trying to come up with plausible explanations for Amorpho's transformation between the two Dannys. Her parents, stubborn as ever, would refuse the simple answer: it had been an imposter. Jazz would try it anyway, but she needed at least four more responses in her arsenal to ensure Danny's secret remained undiscovered.
The bus ride home was a lonely one. Danny had to sit in the very back, while Jazz was sitting directly behind the driver. She had tried convincing Danny to just fly home, but paranoid as ever, he refused to let her out of his sight until they were back in Amity Park.
Once they reached Fenton Works, Jazz was the first to walk inside. She had prepped answers for questions regarding both her disappearance and Amorpho's revelation, but her parents didn't seem interested in either subject.
"Good to have you home, sweetie!" her mom said, hugging her tighter than Jazz had ever been hugged in her life. She was surprised at their lack of interrogations, but nevertheless, she was relieved to learn that she wasn't in trouble.
"Danny Phantom saved me," Jazz said slowly once they were all sitting around the table. Danny was still pretending to be at Sam's house and would probably come home in an hour or so, giving her just enough time to convince her parents to rid her of the anti-ecto devices for good. "Can you please take this awful belt off now?"
Maddie laughed. "Of course he did. We wouldn't expect anything less from your-"
"He's not my boyfriend!" Jazz snapped, ready to bang her head against the wall until the sane family she tried convincing herself she lived with returned back to existence.
"Of course you're still in denial," Jack continued, "But Phantom isn't the Danny we're worried about anymore."
Jazz's head shot up at this. "What?"
Maddie silently turned on the kitchen TV and browsed through their recordings for a moment before clicking on a news channel. Jazz's heart sank as the scene between Danny and Amorpho—already as Danny Fenton—appeared onscreen.
"W-why are you showing me this?" Jazz asked nervously.
"Just watch," Maddie said grimly.
Jazz remembered the scene perfectly, though it was different seeing it from an aerial perspective, rather than being caught between the two ghosts on the ground. After Danny sucked Amorpho back into the thermos, but right before he went on to speak to Jazz, Maddie turned the TV off.
"Oh look, someone was impersonating Danny," Jazz offered weakly. Excuse #1.
They didn't buy it.
Maddie sighed. "We'd like to take the belt off Jazz, but now that we know your brother is a ghost, we just can't!"
Jazz muffled a snort. "What?"
"Did you see how the belt began electrocuting Danny just as he came too close to you? And then reverted back to his ghostly form? I can't believe we didn't notice before! No wonder he's been avoiding you lately!"
Jazz had never felt more confused or irritated in all her sixteen years of living. Surely it was not possible that anyone could be this clueless. Let alone the people she was directly related to.
"So let me get this straight," she said slowly, still unable to comprehend her parents' absurd logic. "You think my brother was that ghost who got zapped by the belt?"
"We don't think, we know-"
"Jazz honey, your father and I are experts on this," Maddie interrupted her husband. "And I'm pretty sure we can tell our son from an imposter!"
Clearly not! Jazz thought angrily.
"That clip was only further proof-"
"Wait," Jazz cut her off, "You didn't see anything before that?"
"There wasn't enough space to record the whole program. Why? Did you notice anything else worth mentioning?" Maddie asked suspiciously.
Jazz was torn. With her parents convinced that Danny Fenton was a ghost—albeit the wrong ghost—she was pretty sure this situation would end badly for Danny regardless of her response.
As it turned out, there wasn't even enough time for her to reply: Danny walked through the door a moment later.
"Hey Mom, had a fun weekend, I'm just...uh, why are you pointing a bazooka at me?" Danny glared at Jazz, who was still standing in the kitchen, behind their parents' line of offense. He raised his trembling arms over his head in surrender, all the while wondering what in the world had happened in the forty-five minutes Jazz had been home alone with them.
With no good excuse ready and a lengthy explanation process looming in his future, Danny responded as anyone else in his hopeless position would have: he laughed.
"Well, this sucks."
One or two more chapters left. I haven't decided yet. Reviews are appreciated :)