Disclaimer: Me no own. I don't even own the idea for this fic- it's a request from Namara Jane Knight.
This is post-PP, obviously.
Merry Christmas, everybody!
"We wish you a merry Christmas, we wish you a merry Christmas…."
Danny Fenton's eye twitched. A muscle in his jaw jumped.
His cousin/clone/twin sister Danni laid a hand on his shoulder. "Chill," she muttered.
"How can I chill?" the other halfa hissed. "They're practically begging Desiree to come and-" His ghost sense went off. "See? I told you!"
Sure enough, the wishing ghost materialized in a cloud of purplish smoke. The carolers shrieked and scattered.
"How did I know that was going to happen?"
Danny set down his mug of hot coco. "So much for shopping incognito," he muttered.
Ever since the Disasteroid had nearly killed them all- or, more accurately, ever since he had stupidly revealed his secret on international TV- going out in public had been a nightmare. His home, school, and most frequent haunts had been surrounded by (and in the case of the latter two, filled to bursting with) rabid fans. If anyone saw him in either form, Fenton or Phantom, that person would swarm.
The halfa had been reduced to flying invisible to school and reverting to his human form in random lockers. He couldn't hang out at the arcade or theater, and he hadn't eaten a Nasty Burger in months.
Now Christmas was fast approaching, and he leapt at the excuse to get outside. Sure, he could have done his shopping online, but he craved the experience of going out into a crowd of people who didn't know who or what he was. That was why he'd disguised himself as "Donny Mapton," a blond boy with brown eyes, glasses, and a faux British accent. Donny could go where Danny could not.
His sort-of sister Danni, who had been persuaded to stay at FentonWorks in mid-November, had decided to tag along as Donny's twin sister Dana. She, too, was disguised as a bespectacled and brown-eyed blond, but she had taken the subterfuge one step further. Her clothes were pastel shades of pink and purple that she normally wouldn't be caught dead in.
"Don't go ghost yet," the clone ordered. Raising her voice so it would carry above the shrieks of the crowd, she called, "I wish that Desiree was back in the Ghost Zone!"
"No!" the spirit wailed, but she was forced to obey.
"How in this world or the next did I survive without you?" Danny wondered. "You're a lifesaver, Da- Dana."
"I know," she smirked, patting her hair.
Danny wasn't exaggerating. Danni really had been a lifesaver. Without her there to help him fight ghosts (it was amazing how quickly the post save-the-world camaraderie had worn off), distract the press, and bust him out of the strange situations his fans kept putting him in, he would have snapped long ago.
The people of Amity Park were well-accustomed to ghost attacks, so they went back to their shopping as soon as Desiree disappeared. A few people grumbled about how Phantom hadn't come to save them, but they quickly changed to subject to which gifts they should buy.
"You have been a good little girl this year," Danny teased. "Santa's gonna give you loads of presents." He adopted a Kris Kringle voice. "What do you want for Christmas, little girl?"
"A more intelligent brother," she retorted, "one who acts his age."
Danny stuck out his tongue. "Well, I want a nicer little sister."
"I thought I was a lifesaver?"
He considered, scowled, and stuck even more of his tongue out. He held the position a moment longer before both siblings burst out laughing.
"No, seriously, sis. What do you want for Christmas?"
She stared out into the midst of the other shoppers: men, women, children, families. Sorrow flickered through her disguised eyes. Then she shook herself ever so slightly and mumbled, "Don't know. Maybe some new boots or gloves for my ghost form." She'd been going through a growth spurt ever since the Ecto-Dejecto had entered her veins. Now she was as tall as Danny, who had outgrown his original spandex just days after the Disasteroid. It had been tight for a long time before that, but he knew it was time for a change of style when it ripped across his chest.
Needless to say, his fangirls had been very happy that day.
Danny might be clueless, but not even he was that clueless. He saw Danni's gaze, her sorrow, her forced grin.
But she didn't need to know that.
"Boots and gloves. Gotcha. Is that it?"
"Yeah," she lied, "that's it."
"For the last time, no. I flatly refuse to take you to the Christmas Truce." Danny folded his arms, glared at his parents.
"But we promised not to bring any of the lethal weapons," Jack whined.
"I. Am. Not. Bringing. Professional ghost hunters. To. A. Room. Full. Of. Ghosts. And that's final."
"It's not like we haven't met any of your ghost friends before," Maddie cut in. "Right, Danielle?"
"Technically, I'm not a ghost," she reminded them. "I'm a halfa, and I'm related to you. I don't count."
"I'm with Danny on this one," Jazz agreed. "Sorry, Mom and Dad, but you two aren't ready for the Christmas party yet. Maybe next year." Her tone implied that such a thing was not likely.
The hunters had made enormous strides in accepting that not all ghosts were evil. They'd had to. The alternative, that their beloved son was nothing but a monster, was too awful to contemplate. Besides, would ghosts have saved the world if they were demonic? Actually, yes, the ghosts would have, but Jack and Maddie didn't know that Earth and the Ghost Zone were intricately connected. They believed that the ghosts' actions had been purely altruistic. Danny had no intention of telling them otherwise until they were slightly less trigger-happy.
"I know!" cried the teal-clad woman. "Let's invite one of Danny's ghost friends over. How does that sound, Jack?"
"Great idea!" her husband enthused. "What're their names again?"
The three teens shot each other identical expressions of horror. "They're all going to be busy," Danni said. "You know, at the Ghost Zone's party."
The adults ignored her. "Let's see," said Maddie. "There's the one who looks like a yeti-"
"Frostbite," Danny sighed. "He's a king, Mom. He has to attend his own kingdom's Christmas party."
Actually, Frostbite would gladly have gone to the Fentons' instead. He adored the Great One and had been hinting at meeting the other Fentons for months. Unfortunately, he was a king. He would bring his retinue of ten-foot, sharp-clawed, sharper-fanged, fur-covered snow monsters to crash the party.
"Wulf. Creative, I know. What I don't know is where to find him." That, and they still didn't speak Esperanto.
"-the one with the clock-"
"Clockwork is the Master of All Time. I'm pretty sure he's busy."
"-the faceless one-"
"Amorpho and I aren't exactly friends. We have a truce, but that's about it."
"-the dragon lady-"
"Dora has the same problem as Frostbite."
"-the four-armed woman-"
"So does Pandora."
"Can you think of anyone else, Jack?"
Maddie grinned. "Well, that's quite a list anyways! Danny, can you tell them that they're welcome here anytime?"
"…You didn't listen to a word I said, did you."
"What was that, sweetie?"
"I rest my case."
"For the last time, Dad. No, no, no."
Jack fixed him with a most pathetic puppy-dog stare. Danny remained unmoved. "Danni and I are heading off to the Barrens Christmas party. Without two trigger-happy ghost hunters."
"We'll be back by ten-thirty, tops," his honorary twin added. "See you then."
The two halfas, both in red Christmas finery (complete with Santa hats) opened the Fenton Portal, soared through. The second the portal shut, Jack turned to his wife. "To the Specter Speeder!" he bellowed.
Maddie was already inside. Driver's seat, of course- Jack's style of driving wasn't exactly subtle. "The new invisibility function has passed all its tests. We can follow them without being detected at all."
Her husband beamed, buckling his seatbelt. "Let's get this show on the road!"
Maddie turned the keys in the ignition… and nothing happened. Frowning, she tried again. Nothing happened. "What in the world?"
"Don't bother," Jazz ordered dryly. "Danni and Danny hid the fuel cell. Now come one. Let's go disable the Santa defenses before they malfunction. Again."
Danny yawned as he plopped onto the couch. He wasn't tired; he just wasn't entirely awake yet.
Danni, the other halfa, was the next to arrive. Half-ghosts needed less sleep than humans, and though she and Danny had stayed up late for the ghosts' Christmas party, they had still awakened before everyone else.
"What did you think of last night?" she asked.
"Fun for the most part, though I really could have done without seeing Boxy and the Lunch Lady under mistletoe." Both hybrids shuddered.
"They're together now?" exclaimed Jazz, wandering into the room.
"You're right. That is a scary thought. How long before Box Lunch shows up, I wonder?"
"Not long enough," her brother groused. "You know that ghosts only get pregnant with the spirits of aborted or miscarried or stillborn children, right?" She nodded. "Well, those things can happen at pretty much any time during the pregnancy. The Lunch Lady could wake up on her honeymoon and find herself nine months pregnant."
"Let's change the subject," Danni suggested.
"Excellent idea," her sister agreed. "Did anything else interesting happen at the party?"
"Skulker got drunk and started ranting about his hatred for purple-backed gorillas. Then Walker went through the rulebook because he thought that slandering endangered species was against the rules, so Ember set it on fire when he wasn't looking." Danny grinned.
"The ghosts of the Barrens are so fascinating psychologically," Jazz commented. "Are you sure none of them are interested in therapy?"
Jack and Maddie entered the living room shortly thereafter. Danny noted with pleasure that they weren't arguing about whether Santa had really left gifts or not. The former's face lit up when he saw the Christmas tree. "Presents!" he cried, happy as a child.
"Is it just me, or are there more than usual this year?" wondered Maddie.
Jack's eyes went wide. A huge, blissful smile crossed his face.
His wife was right. There were more gifts than usual- many more- but they were all for Danny, not Jack. Many were from fans, but a few were from ghosts who hadn't attended the Barrens Christmas party.
Maddie was in charge of handing out the presents. She watched with amusement as her son's face grew steadily redder. "What did you expect, sweetie?" she teased. "You saved the world. Of course people are going to be grateful."
"Can't they be grateful in less embarrassing ways?" he moaned.
"I don't know. But all these presents aren't necessary. Where am I supposed to put them?"
"We'll find something," Maddie assured him. She picked up the next parcel and arched a brow. "…I'm not sure if we should open this one."
"Because when one of your fans starts calling you 'the Great One, Savior of this World and the One Before,' you should start to worry."
Danny's face turned absolutely scarlet. "Can I see it, please, Mom?" He inspected the note. His blush deepened. "It's not from a fan. This is my friend Frostbite's handwriting."
"He calls you Great One?" Maddie exclaimed. Her still-red son nodded. Jazz and Danni fought back giggles. "But I thought Frostbite was your teacher? And didn't you say he was a king?"
"He was, and he is." Danny rubbed the back of his neck. "He just calls me Great One. I keep telling him that my name is Danny, but does he listen? No. And apparently my humility makes me even greater in his eyes."
"Why does he call you that?" asked Jack.
The hybrid muttered something incoherent.
Jazz patted his back. "They call him that because Danny is a hero to the ghosts, too. He's saved the Ghost Zone just as often as he's saved Earth- and that's saying something. But the particular incident Frostbite admires him for is his defeat of Pariah Dark, the most powerful ghost in history."
Her parents gawked. Most powerful ghost in history? Maddie mouthed.
The poor halfa had a face that could fry eggs. "I had that battle suit you guys made," he mumbled. "And it was really close. And if the other ghosts hadn't blown up Pariah's thrall army, I'd never even have gotten to face him. So it really doesn't merit a statue to me in Far Frozen's capital."
"There's a statue of you in Far Frozen's capital?"
Impossibly, Danny's blush increased. "Did I say that? Nope. No statues. Nada. Zilch."
"It's about a hundred feet tall," Danni stage whispered. "They made it out of ridiculously expensive materials- silver, gold, emeralds the size of my head-"
"Shut it, Danni, or I'll take away your presents."
"As you command, o Great One."
"All right," Maddie laughed. "Break it up, you two. Danny, just open it already."
The halfa unwrapped his gift as though he were defusing a bomb: slowly, cautiously, leaning back. He peeled back the paper and used a tiny ecto-beam to slice through the tape. Still nervous, he opened the box. An expression of pathetic relief crossed his face. "Oh. This isn't so bad." He removed a rich black cloak lined with white. It was soft and shining, made probably of velvet. A silver clasp in the shape of his logo would keep it from falling.
"Not bad?" Jazz echoed. She reached out, ran her fingers over the rich fabric. "It's gorgeous. Try it on."
"Try it on," his other relatives chorused.
"But I'm in my pajamas."
"Ghost form, silly."
Embarrassed, the halfa transformed, wrapped the cloak around his shoulders. It fit perfectly.
Jack sniffled. "Maddie, our baby boy's growing up."
"Can we change the subject?" the baby boy mumbled. He reverted to human form. The cloak vanished.
"If you insist, sweetie." Maddie turned back to the remaining presents. "Jazz, here's one for you."
Danni hadn't really expected a lot of presents, but she was pleasantly surprised to receive as many as Jazz: boots and gloves from Danny, a cell phone from Sam, a quilt from the adult Fentons, a spa kit from Jazz, and two video games from Tucker. Soon nothing remained under the tree.
"What's for brunch?" she asked when the last present (knitting needles for Jack) was revealed.
The other Fentons smiled. "Brunch?" Danny repeated. "We don't have brunch until all the presents have been given out."
Danni looked at the tree, wondering if the piles of wrapping paper had hidden something. They hadn't. She frowned. "Danny, there aren't any more presents."
"Yes there are."
"No, there aren't. I think I would have noticed them."
While they squabbled, Jazz tiptoed out the room. She darted into the kitchen, reached into the microwave, and extracted what they had hidden there. Then she snuck back into the living room, where the twins were still arguing. "Merry Christmas, everybody."
Danni blinked in surprise as Jazz handed her a roll of paper tied with a single ribbon. "What's this?" she wondered.
She opened it, scanned its contents. Her eyes went wide.
It was an adoption contract. All that was missing were the signatures- signatures which would make Danielle Natalia Fenton-Phantom the legal daughter of Jack and Madeline Fenton.
The halfa's hands shook. "Is this for real?"
Smiles and nods all around. She swallowed, eyes moist. "Really, really real?"
"Yeah." Danny touched her shoulder. "Really, really real."
Danni made a noise that was half-laugh, half-sob. "Someone get me a pen."