Disclaimer: Don't own DP.

Hey, everyone! Hope you enjoy my new collection of one-shots!

Shot One Summary: A fight with Valerie does not end the way Phantom expects it to.

Rating: T


Shot One: Motivation

"Why don't you give up, Valerie?" Dan Phantom taunted her, red eyes mocking. He stared at her limping along the asphalt. He flew lower and gracefully twisted, avoiding the meager blasts sent his way. "Or do you just enjoy losing?"

"Why don't you shut up, Phantom?" the woman retaliated, voice rough. "Or do you just like to hear yourself talk?"

"Maybe I do. Then I don't have to listen to your grating voice."

Valerie growled. She raised her ecto-blaster and fired again, but he evaded it. A part of her raged in fury; another part of her tightened in fear. The hit to her leg had slowed her down. She needed to slow him down too if she wanted any chance to escaping the battle alive. "Yeah, you just don't wanna admit that you're a sick, egotistical bastard!"

His dark eyes flashed in anger, and he spiraled up, hands sparking with violent green energy. "Oh, please," he retaliated, shooting a powerful beam her way. "Your bitchy attitude is unequaled."

Valerie's eyes widened, and she pressed a button on her suit. A purple barrier sparked around her. But his power crashed through her meager barrier and threw her backwards down the abandoned highway. She crashed and skidded onto the hard asphalt in a flail of limbs, her neck snapping sideways. She slid a ways in the gravel. Then she stopped.

Her crumpled form didn't move.

Dan's eyebrow raised as he tilted his head to stare at her. He waited for her to groan and get back up, but it never came. "Huh."

Then he tapped his foot, waiting for a sign of movement. Still nothing. Eventually he flew down beside her to inspect Valerie's condition.

Her body, lithe and slender, now looked rather like a broken doll. Her leg awkwardly bent itself backwards, and both her arms had snapped at the elbows. Out of curiosity, he kneeled and pulled off her mask, and his red eyes gazed upon her bloodied face. Gushing trails ran down from her temple and from her ear.

No heartbeat. No breath.

"Oops," he said happily. "Looks like I broke you, Valerie." He raised one of her arms and let it go. It flopped.

Then, a glorious and triumphant smile curled his lips upward. "You're a lot more beautiful like this," he said, and he patted her bloody face. "You should stay this way for awhile."

Triumph bloomed in his chest with the sound of war drums. He stared at Amity Park, the only remnant of the earth untouched and un-scorched by him.

A mischievous smirk curled his lips, and his red eyes darkened. "My hometown," he whispered.

He managed to subdue and destroy the small city in hours, terrorizing the citizens one by one. Each one sunk to the ground in fear, prostrate and wailing for mercy.

It was rather boring.

Dan was expecting resistance, but he met none. The citizens, knowing their Red Huntress was gone, had no one to fight for their existence. He blasted a few of them, but it failed to entertain him.

He allowed them, those weak creatures, to pile in their emergency vehicles and safe houses and disappear underground to the bunkers.

Leaving him in perfect, quiet silence.

And it was there in the silence of total destruction that he realized something: Half the fun of world conquest was the resistance itself. Valerie was the only one would didn't cower in fear of him. Without her, no one was there to resist him, to challenge him, to make him think.

No one else dared to retaliate against him.

Only Valerie. Who was dead.

Dan growled, red eyes flashing in displeasure. He disliked challenges without challenge! He disliked this, this world without that ridiculous red suit on his tail, daring to defeat him, giving him a reason to think and strategize.

"Dammit," he cursed under his breath, running a hand through his fiery hair.

He stewed in his frustration for all of an hour before it overwhelmed him and forced him to fly back to that same spot where he'd left Valerie.

He landed so hard, his feet caved in the ground. He was furious. His day was ruined, and if Valerie was truly dead, his entire path to world conquest would be ruined too!

He kicked her unmoving body. "Get up," he commanded.

She didn't.

His lips curled in disgust. "I said, get up!" He kicked her again, harder. Her entire body rocked, and her neck moved her head to the side. Her curls were matted now. Her neck was darkly bruised with his fingerprints.

But her chest didn't rise with air.

"Look at you," he hissed, trying to get her attention, goading her on. "Dead, in the middle of the street, left for the scavengers! No one came for you! No one buried you! Your pathetic species abandoned you to me!"

He knew she wouldn't move, wouldn't retaliate, but it was the principle of the thing. She was supposed to sit up and try to shoot him, which he would effortlessly avoid and ridicule her.

The dance. It was a twisted and delightful dance.

He didn't know when Valerie had become such an integral facet of his afterlife, but he knew exactly when he decided she was rather like a toy that he couldn't stand to throw away.

She existed to challenge him and entertain him with her miserable attempts to save the world. If she was dead, how could she do so?

"And now look what you've done!" he complained. "You've destroyed my enjoyment of world conquest."

He rolled his eyes, like a suffering saint, and he kneeled beside her. He grabbed her chin non-too-gently and forced her face towards him. Hollow and clouded teal eyes stared sightlessly beyond him, and his nose scrunched up. "Disgusting."

He hated that look on her. He'd lied to himself. He hated the way she looked dead.

So he changed it.

People always thought ghosts fed on the energy of human souls, whether it came through fear or love. People didn't know the reverse was true as well.

Dan pressed his hand against her stomach and pushed his energy through her. The void within the shell of her body naturally searched for the source of great power, and in a sigh of relief, latched onto him, drinking from his fingers.

He did not smile his signature, demonic smirk until he saw breath raise Valerie's chest.

He brushed her matted ringlet curls away from her closed eyes, his gloved fingers lingering too long on her skin. The dried blood on her temples seeped back into her, melting through skin and muscle to flow once again in her veins, her renewed lungs and heart working to push the blood through her body.

He could hear her heartbeat now.

Her brilliant, teal eyes opened as she coughed and gasped.

But by the time her mind caught up with her body, Dan was gone. Valerie instinctively grabbed her ecto-blaster, eyes darting. Her jumbled thoughts screamed at her.

She touched her face, noticing her mask laying a few feet away. Her battle suit was torn open and shredded in places, but she didn't hurt. Valerie turned her leg and noticed through the rip of her battle suit that her dark skin was sealed over, healed and smooth. No painful burn from Phantom's power.

What had happened?

Cold water washed over her, an alien fear overcoming her mind. Somewhere, she knew the truth. Her skin tingled with his power.

Touch. He'd touched her and healed her.

Off in the distance, Dan reappeared, his cape fluttering in the wind. He lightly stepped from the sky onto hard ground, and the slight sound snapped Valerie's neck around. She stared at him in complete shock, teal eyes wide, vulnerable.

"I have to admit," he said, voice echoing, "it's boring without you, Valerie. No one in Amity has the spirit you do."

"You," she whispered. "You…"

"What? Spared your miserable existence from an early grave? This changes nothing." His red eyes were dark with shifting emotions. "You will continue to fight me until I want you to die."

She stared at him, searching his eyes. The hard truth in his words made her remember her own mortality. Then, she grabbed her ecto-blaster and narrowed her gaze. "You don't have to tell me twice, ghost."

Forget that he'd brought her back to toy with her more. She had a second chance to take him down, and she wasn't going to waste it.

So here's my new fandom obsession. I really enjoy the idea of Dark Dan/Valerie because it's just twisted enough to be interesting and different enough to create a fun challenge for me to write. :) I don't think they are the type to immediately fall in love or something, or back down from their own ideas, but I see a pretty fun potential for eventual compromise.

Tell me whatcha think!

Thanks for reading,
Lightning Streak