Chapter One: Here Lies Danny Fenton

Disclaimer: Remember that Butch Hartman cartoon about a half-ghost kid that had a billionaire cheese head as his arch nemesis? No? Sigh. Well, go watch it. And when you finish each episode, kindly observe that my name does not appear anywhere in those credits 'cause I totally don't own it or any of the characters.

Fourteen-year old Danny Fenton stood before the empty hole in the wall, his sapphire eyes regarding it warily.

"Come on, Danny, it'll be fun," urged his friend Sam, her violet eyes gleaming as she smiled encouragingly. "A gateway to the ghost world. Who knows what kind of super awesome things lie on the other side?"

"All that's on the other side of that gateway is a hole in the wall," Danny said. It had been just one day ago when his parents had called him downstairs to show off their latest invention, the "Fenton Ghost Portal!," only for their spirits to be crushed when the machine failed to so much as give a whir or a spark. For as long as Danny could remember his parents had been obsessed with ghosts, even though there was no proof that they actually existed outside of those lame EVPs and crappy, static filled videos. No matter how much he watched or listened to their recordings, Danny could never make out anything remotely ghost-like about them, and neither he nor his sister Jazz had the same obsession with ghosts that his parents had developed.

Their ghost obsession was also the reason they had moved to Amity Park a few years ago. Supposedly the most haunted place in the United States, Amity Park had more unexplained cold spots, strange weather patterns and creepy buildings than a horror movie, and while both Danny and Jazz had initially dreaded yet another move because of their crazy parents, Danny had ended up meeting the two people who had quickly become his best friends, Tucker Foley and Samantha (or Sam, as Danny had quickly learned she preferred to be called) Manson. The three of them were all social outcasts—Sam was an ultra recycle vegetarian goth and Tucker was a carnivorous techno geek who never went two seconds without using some piece of technology—and as much as Danny craved popularity and acceptance by the school's elite, he knew he couldn't ask for two more loyal, amazing friends than Sam and Tucker.

He also couldn't ask for two friends who were more stubborn, either. Ever since he'd mentioned the portal to them this morning on the walk to school, the two had insisted that he show them, and now, Sam wanted to take a picture of him inside the portal for her scrapbook.

"Danny's right. His parents' whacky ghost inventions never do anything," said Tucker, barely taking a moment to glance up as he played a portable version of Doomed, "because there aren't any ghosts." Although he'd been interested in seeing the portal this morning, now that he was here it was infinitely less fascinating. Tucker liked technology that worked and that he understood, and the truth was that he could barely comprehend the mess of circuits and wiring that composed the portal. The only thing he had made sense of was that the device lacked a continuous power source—after the initial burst of electricity, Danny's parents had banked on the portal using ectoplasm from the ghost zone to help maintain a stable portal to the other world—and he was pretty certain that either the lack of a continuous power source (or the nonexistence of the ghost zone) was to blame for the device failing to work the way the Fentons had hoped.

"Which means there's no reason to be scared of stepping inside a little portal and letting your friend take a picture, right?" teased Sam, and Danny sighed heavily. He should have known he'd never win against her.

"You should make him wear the suit, too," suggested Tucker, who glanced up a second too long, and he let out a groan when his character was blasted on screen because of it. "Damn it! I'd gotten so far that time!"

"Oh, come on, Tuck," mumbled Danny, ignoring his friend's cursing. "Isn't the picture enough?"

"Suit?" repeated Sam curiously. "What suit?"

"My parents gave me a haz-mat suit for my birthday this year," grumbled Danny as he walked over to the cabinet his parents had stored it in, and pulling it out he showed it to Sam, who resisted the urge to laugh. "I would've preferred a new computer, but 'every Fenton needs a jumpsuit, Danny!'" He said, puffing out his chest slightly as he mocked his father.

"Oh, come on, it's not that bad," said Sam as she came over and fingered the black and white material. "At least it's not bright orange like your dad's."

Sam was right about that at least. The colors weren't bad, but it was still a jumpsuit. A lame jumpsuit. "Yeah. Lucky me."

"You should put it on," she urged, and Danny glared at Tucker, silently cursing him for mentioning the stupid thing and secretly cheering on his friend's video game failure out of spite. Tucker was usually pretty good at games, but the new Doomed had proven tougher than even he'd anticipated, and he'd been failing spectacularly at it all afternoon. "You've always wanted to be an astronaut, right?"

"Well, yeah, but—"

"So think of it like a space suit," she interrupted. "Every explorer needs a uniform before exploring a new world."

"You're not going to let this go, are you?" he groaned, looking down at the suit in disgust because no matter what she said, it was still a stupid jumpsuit.

"Nope," said Sam and Tucker at the same time, flashing him identical grins.

"Ugh, fine," he sighed, pulling it on over his simple white t-shirt and a pair of old blue jeans he'd been wearing, and it was then that Sam saw the other part of the jumpsuit she hadn't noticed before—the cut out of Jack Fenton's face that had been hastily tacked on to the front by Danny's father.

"Okay, I'm cruel, but I'm not that cruel," she teased, pulling it off and chucking it on the floor as she looked back at the portal and pulled out her camera. "You ready, Danny?"

"I guess," he said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously, and for a moment he let the excitement take hold of him as he gazed at the portal, really seeing it for the first time. Usually he never saw what his parents saw when they looked at their inventions. Where they saw possibility, Danny saw failure and waste. Where they saw a portal to another world, Danny saw a circular hunk of metal and wires that had been hastily constructed in their basement out of scrap. Yet standing there in that stupid jumpsuit with his friends behind him, Danny could almost imagine that the portal was real, that it really could lead to a ghost zone, and that he was going to be the first human to set foot there.

Well, the first living human, at any rate.

"Danny?" Sam pushed gently when he didn't move.

"Oh, uh, sorry," he shrugged as he stepped forward. "I guess I was just thinking that maybe you're right, Sam, and that maybe there really is a ghost zone. Maybe there are some totally awesome things on the other side . . ."

"That's the spirit!" she chuckled as she stepped back, aiming the camera at him, and even Tucker paused his game to look up as Danny took a few steps inside. "Now just say 'I'm a dork in a jumpsuit!'"

"Sam!" he exclaimed, laughing as the camera flashed, and Sam looked down and frowned at the picture.

"How about you take another step back?" she suggested, looking at the image. "The lighting's all weird and I can barely see you in this one."

"Seriously?" he groaned. "You want another picture?"

"Just one more," she promised. "After that we can go to the Nasty Burger, okay? My treat."

Danny grinned at her. "You mean you're actually going to buy me a real, greasy burger if I let you take one more picture of me?"

"I think I can stomach buying you some chili cheese fries," she growled. "A burger's pushing it."

"Okay, Sam," he chuckled, and taking a step back he suddenly lost his balance as he tripped on a thick cable. Throwing his hand out to catch himself, he had a brief moment of relief as he just barely managed to stop himself from falling, only to hear an awful click a second later. Danny barely saw the word "ON" written on the switch his hand had just hit before his world was suddenly filled with blinding light and searing pain. His body snapped, becoming rigid as his scream pierced the lab, and he could feel the electricity ripping through him when his world suddenly went white.

Outside the portal, Sam and Tucker stood in horror, their mouths agape, and the second they heard the screaming—Danny's screaming—a moment of absolute terror flooded them both as they both thought, 'He's going to die.' The light was too bright to keep looking, and blocking their eyes they only turned back when the lab went suddenly, horrifyingly silent.

All in all Danny's screaming only lasted about five seconds, but by the time it was done, the bright white light in the portal was gone, and in its place was a swirling, hypnotic green light that was anything but comforting.

For Danny was nowhere to be seen.

A/N: Okay, guys. It's AU. Starts where the show starts with some tweaking, and then goes completely askew from there. And yes, I'm aware that this isn't exactly how things happened according to the show, but I wanted to expand/retell the beginning just a bit.

A few more things should be said now, too. One: this story will probably be pretty long. I have the gist of it mapped out in my head, and right now I'm planning on there being three parts that are all gonna require a bit of work. Since it's not mostly pre-written like the other story I just finished putting up on this site, that also means that updates might be a bit sporadic, and honestly, I'm a bit nervous I'm not going to finish but this idea refuses to leave me alone. Pff. So here goes nothing. :)

Two: I know that this idea isn't new. The whole "Danny ends up in the Ghost Zone after his accident!" idea has been done before at least a few times. I just wanted to do my own bizarre, complicated version of it, and I hope that you guys like it.

Three: As always with my stories, this is rated 'T' for a reason. This is going to be a grim, creepy, and sometimes rather twisted story. I'll try to keep everyone as IC as possible despite the somewhat darker plot and atmosphere, but keep in mind that they're going to be forced to adapt to vastly different circumstances than those on the show, which means that naturally they're potentially going to develop a bit differently, too.

I think that's about it for now, other than the all-too-obvious request for reviews. I'd seriously appreciate any feedback you guys want to give me. I know this chapter might be a bit dull, but it'll pick up next chapter, I promise!

'Til next time!