Chapter 6: Is that closer to incest or masturbation?
The early morning sun filtered through the skylights of Amity Park's domestic airport, illuminating the empty spaces housing the essential parts of human air-travel. The conveyor belts in the baggage claim hall squeaked softly as they turned along the circular path. The room was mostly empty save for a few groups of people, all of them with their eyes set to the large double doors that separated this area from the arrivals and departures area behind the security checkpoint.
One of these groups consisted of two teens and two jumpsuit clad adults, obviously a family making a pickup from the next flight in, albeit a family where one half of the members dressed oddly.
For their part, Jack and Maddie were rather excited to meet the boy they would be looking after for the next few months. Jack for one was looking forward to training a new ghost hunter, and he had already planned his introductory speech and what weapons he would show off.
Meanwhile, Maddie's thoughts were more centered on her hope that Danny would become friends with their guest. She had always been a little worried when he never made any contacts outside his childhood favorites, Sam and Tucker. Not that she would ever think that they weren't perfect friends for Danny, but she felt you should always look for opportunities to form connections with new people, especially in the teen years when so much focus was on social behaviors.
Although she still couldn't remember filling out any of the paperwork to be a host family, Maddie was glad they had. She had a good feeling about the overall outcome of this little deviation from normal family life, and time had taught her that gut feelings were rarely wrong. The mother glanced over at her son, ruffling his black hair playfully, making sure to brush it back afterwards so he looked his best for when the transfer student arrived.
Danny didn't take much notice of his mom; he was far too preoccupied with his own thoughts. In fact, if you listened closely you could practically hear the sound of Danny Fenton's brain racing a mile a minute. His fingers were clenched around the back handle of a luggage cart, his eyes taking in the area around him with the dull unfocused look of someone completely out of it.
From her place on his other side, Jazz glanced down at her little brother with no little amount of concern. You could almost see the dark cloud of stress hanging over his head. His whole body was tense, even as he slumped over the handlebars of the empty push-cart. All communication attempts were met with soft answers, if any at all.
It bothered her to no end to see him worked up like this, but in a way she couldn't blame him. It was less than five minutes before the plane that was supposedly carrying Casper High's newest transfer student would arrive. The moment of truth he, Sam, and Tucker had been planning was finally at hand.
Phantom was likely already waiting just beyond the arrivals gate with the suitcase Sam had lent him, waiting to blend into the crowd of arriving Californians as they migrated to baggage claim. Jazz had been around when the two halves of her brother parted ways less than two hours ago, just after going over the last rundown of how the situation at the airport would—hopefully—play out.
It was the first time Jazz had been allowed to see both of them together since her slightly battered brother had been driven home from his fight and had seen fit to tell her the real story behind the altercation. Initially, she was worried for Danny of course, but as she questioned him about this strange turn of events, one thing became evident to her observant psychologist's mind, namely, the fact that Danny was the same… exactly the same in fact. He seemed to have suffered no mental trauma from being split in half. (Well no worse than any other run-in with Vlad would cause.)
In fact, by the end of the conversation she was more concerned about the injuries he would likely suffer if he tried getting more answers out of Uncle Vladdy than about the possibility that he and Phantom were unable to become one again. Her logical mind told her it was just another new twist to the series of weird things that happened in Danny's life.
Knowing the nature of her analytical brain, Jazz should have seen this next part coming, but now that her concerns were out of the way, she had become interested in how he would adapt to the split. Even before, she had kept a special notebook filled with details on Danny's mental state as he slowly grew into his powers and the responsibility that came with them.
However, the work she had done analyzing her brother's hero complex was nowhere near as monumental as the detailed research on how a teenage boy would interact with himself. In fact, she had already picked out another notebook for it and had filled out the first five pages.
Still, she couldn't let herself get too caught up in the excitement of having such a unique opportunity. Danny was her brother first and a case study second. She was keeping an eye on him to make sure he didn't succumb to any form of breakdown or identity crisis; the notes and the subsequent bestselling novels they would become were the secondary objective.
Satisfied with her own rationalization, Jazz allowed herself a few moments to review what she had observed already. She knew for a fact Danny had been just as tense and nervous all morning. She could only assume it was anxiety getting the better of him, but something in her intuition told her it was more than that.
As for the half of her brother who had been dubbed "Phantom," he was something else entirely. Danny had been intent on stressing how similar they were when he had first explained it, but when she saw them standing side by side she had to disagree.
While her brother was clearly agitated, the ghost had been overwhelmingly placid. He displayed little outwards emotion besides a noticeable need to be close to his counterpart whenever possible.
Jazz knew for a fact that the brother she knew was rarely that calm. Danny had a flare for the dramatic, evidenced by the repeated shouting of his beloved battle cry and his enjoyment of cracking witty banter (and horrible puns). While Phantom no doubt still had that talent, it seemed to be downplayed in his personality, replaced by a more pragmatic way of thinking and an eye for details.
She had noticed it most when Danny had been helping Phantom with his white locks, trying to get the outfit ready for its first real test. The black-haired male had gotten stuck trying to pin down a particularly stubborn bit of hair. He couldn't quite get the little bit of metal to stay in place for more than a few seconds. He had fiddled madly with it, swearing slightly under his breath at each failure.
After a few more popped hairpins, the ghost boy had reached up and taken hold of Danny's wrist. The human flinched a little but didn't pull away. Grinning, Phantom had guided his hand, encouraging him to give it a slow twist while pushing it and this time the pin stayed there perfectly. Phantom's smile came off with the tiniest bit of smugness. Danny humph-ed in response. He slid off the bed and made to get up, but was stopped by a soft tug on his arm.
Jazz wasn't sure exactly what had happened between the two of them next. She remembered seeing Phantom leaning closer to her brother until their noses were scant inches apart. Danny responded with wide-eyed surprise and pulled away quickly, his nervous behavior suddenly redoubling as he retreated over to his desk to grab his backpack.
She had underlined the description of those events in her notebook, along with a few theories of what the emotions behind that move could have meant. She wasn't about to assume anything after only one observation, but it was a good place to start.
Above her, the flight status board flashed and the word "arrived" appeared in green next to the flight number the collective Fenton's were keeping an eye on. Danny tensed even tighter, and Jazz resisted the instinct to pat him reassuringly on the back, not wanting to rick setting of an involuntary (and potentially painful) reflex from her jumpy brother.
Instead she leaned closer to catch his eye and gave him an understanding smile. Danny sighed deeply and looked away. He didn't want to seem ungrateful but he knew his sister had no idea what was really going on in his head at the moment. The fact that she had not insisted on having a very serious conversation on the possible mental trauma he might cause himself was evidence to that.
Danny didn't like keeping things from Jazz. Especially not after she had gone to such great lengths on so many occasions to keep his biggest secret, but this time it was about more than his own safety. He Just couldn't bear the thought of anyone finding out. It was just too personal... too complicated… too utterly insane...
The flow of travelers, many of who were slightly tanned from the California sun, began to enter from the one-way-only doors at the far end of the room. Danny saw a few surfers, some elderly men in flower print shirts, two families with kids dressed in Disney Land t-shirts, and the odd businessman.
Then he spotted one rather lonely looking teenager out of the corner of his eye. He turned and saw that the attention he was giving was being returned with twice the intensity. Green eyes met blue and the corners of his counterpart's mouth twitched into a grin. Danny's stomach twisted. He had expected this moment to be stressful, but for completely different reasons.
He had last seen the other teen only a few hours ago, but just the sight of him still had his traitorous mind dragging up events from the night before, making him re-live it all over again, refusing to push the memories aside, not even for fear of his parents seeing through Phantom's fake wig and clothing change.
Danny hardly noticed as the disguised ghost-boy made his way across the hall dragging his wheeled suitcase behind him. In the human's mind, he was still lying on his bed the night before…
It had happened long after dinner, just before Danny intended to sleep. He had already changed into his PJ's but was delaying sleep with a bit of bored distraction, hunting on the internet instead. He had his laptop resting on his hips, the screen flickering as he changed webpages, providing the only light source in the dark room. One of his arms was wrapped around Phantom's back, holding the relaxed frame of his counterpart close as he casually surfed the web.
The ghost's head was lying on the human's shoulder and his green eyes were closed, resting in that odd half-sleep he had in place of the real thing. They had been like this for at least two hours, switching between different positions whenever Danny started to lose feeling in his extremities.
It seemed that no matter how long Danny let Phantom hold him, the ghost never got his fill. A full night's sleep together would only just be enough to keep the ghost focused throughout the school day. As soon as Danny came home, he always found a wide-eyed counterpart perched on his headboard, followed swiftly by being pulled back into bed, where if Phantom had his say, he would stay for the rest of the evening.
Danny remembered that this night in particular the ghost had gotten his way. He had been pressed close to his human-half for long enough to almost completely lose himself in the odd sense of ecstasy that he had tried and failed to explain to the other teen on many different occasions.
Although it was true that Danny didn't quite understand the emotions, he could definitely feel the change in the ghost's behavior. It was near impossible to be around someone who was so elated by your very presence without your own heart melting a little. Danny supposed that was part of the reason he hadn't paid it much mind when Phantom did things like gently run his fingers over his skin or press his lips to his neck.
It was just something that came naturally with intimacy, and somehow it had not triggered any alarm bells... or it hadn't until that night…
It was his fault, and he knew it. It had just been so late and he had been so relaxed after spending all afternoon in the company of his ghost half. They had built up a bubble of affection together and after a whole week it seemed like second nature. He still didn't know exactly what his subconscious was thinking at the time… even though on another level he understood completely. It must be written somewhere in basic human nature that you should kiss someone who shared your bed and cuddled against your chest.
He only realized what he was doing when his lips met with the slightly colder ones belonging to Phantom. He pulled back, but it was already far too late. His head hit the pillow as he was kissed back, slowly at first but becoming more purposeful as his counterpart acquired a taste for him.
The sound of his laptop being closed drew Danny's attention, and he had just enough time to see Phantom pull back from the kiss and place it on the floor before his hips were straddled and his lips recaptured. Fingers tightened around his right shoulder and a hand that could summon explosive energy blasts cupped his cheek, tilting his head a little so the ghost could lean deeper into the kiss.
Phantom's lips parted, moving against Danny's and capturing his bottom lip between both of his. Pressing even closer he attempted to coax the human into kissing back, baiting him by flicking his tongue across his counterpart's lips.
Unfortunately for the ghost, his moment of surprise was over and the logical part of his human half's mind had kicked in, prompting the human to push the ghost off of him. Phantom didn't resist beyond a soft whine of disappointment.
Then he found himself facing his counterpart, his gaze drawn to Danny's big blue eyes, cute facial features, and messy black hair. The image alone triggered another deep stab of pure need in his gut.
Danny Phantom didn't beg; he was far too stubborn and strong willed for that, but his tone was far from stoic when he tried to convey his feelings to the human.
"Please don't make me stop," the ghost murmured, reaching out and taking hold of the material of Danny's long-sleeved PJ top. The human gazed back, a wave of guilt mixing with the panic and confusion the kiss had already caused.
Danny almost obeyed his request; the pleading look in those glowing eyes was almost too much. It was like the one a cat might give when its catnip is taken away before it's finished. Thankfully the part of his brain that had caused him to panic in the first place reminded him that he was essentially kissing himself and that was...just too weird…
There was also the fact that Phantom was a guy. Not as traumatizing as the kissing yourself part, but definitely on the top ten list of reasons this was utterly and completely wrong. He allowed the ghost to snuggle up to him every night this week, but as soon as their lips touched a line had been crossed and now he could finally see the implications of everything that he had allowed between the two of them.
This was so fucked up… how could he have not seen it before?
That's when the little angel appeared on his shoulder and reminded him that he had permitted it because he knew Phantom needed it, plain and simple. Danny had been right beside Phantom when he had explained the darkness eating away at his soul, and his conscience could not bear the idea of having the power to help but doing nothing. That's why he had put up with all the groping, the hours spent in bed, and the occasional numb arm.
He hadn't pushed Phantom away when he was softly nibbling on his shoulder and neck right in front of his friends. How could he draw the line now after a few kisses?
It didn't help that, while not forcing another kiss, Phantom started to trace his fingers over any bit of Danny's exposed skin he could get his gloved hands on. The soft material and feather light touches sent short shivers through the human's flesh and blood body.
Perhaps sensing that he had gained some leeway against whatever inhibitions were preventing his human from returning the gesture, Phantom pressed closer and their foreheads touched, forcing Danny to look at him and nothing else. Every inch of the ghost yearned to close the gap, to kiss him again and lose himself in the tidal wave of pure bliss, the likes of which he had never felt before, even when he was still part human.
He managed to hold himself back, but only by a small margin. More than anything Phantom didn't want to bully or force his human half into anything, especially since he knew how much Danny would hate that treatment.
However, he also knew that Danny loved to be needed—he was the exact same way. All he had to do was show the human how he was feeling and Danny's own endless empathy would do the rest. Gradually, he reached up and wrapped an arm around the human's shoulders, taking a second to steady himself before he began to speak.
"Danny, I know this must be weird for you," the ghost began trying to sound as calm as he could. Danny opened his mouth, likely about to make sure Phantom understood just how fucking bananas it was, but the ghost's fingers were faster, pressing against those unbearably tempting lips to silence him.
"Sush… I just need you to shut up for once in our lives and kiss me... I don't know why but the emotions... it's so much stronger than cuddling." Phantom was staring right into his counterpart's eyes as he explained it, forcing Danny to take in what he was asking so there was nowhere for him to hide.
It worked like a charm; he could picture the slowly beating heart in the human's chest breaking a little as he was torn between his morals and his empathy for his counterpart. It was too bad it had to come to this, but Phantom had no idea what he would do if Danny refused him so soon after giving him a taste of heaven. "Please Danny?" the ghost urged, his sensible argument braking down a little as his willpower failed. "…I need it…"
Danny gulped when Phantom used that word, the same one that had been so present in his thoughts. Phantom needed this. In his mind's eye he imagined those electric green eyes changing to that of intense blood red. For one scary moment, he was back in Vlad's library, his counterpart floating above him and glaring at the human in a way that made it clear he wanted nothing more in the world than to rip his heart out with his bare hands. It wasn't a position Danny ever wanted to be in again.
When he was conflicted like this he always found it was best to go with his gut feeling, and right now it was telling him to suck it up. It wasn't like the kisses really meant anything anyway; it was just part of his new role as sanity keeper. He had taken blows to his body and pride for the good of the city before after all. What was the harm in a few kisses?
Resting over him, Phantom was waiting patiently for his answer, contenting himself by planting soft kisses in the little spot behind the human's ear. Danny sighed deeply, barely managing to get the word "Fine" passed his lips before he was pinned to his bed, his lips reconnecting with Phantom's identical ones.
Danny was still hardly able to believe it had been midnight when the ghost finally allowed him to sleep. He hadn't been looking at the clock when his laptop was taken, but he guessed they must have been transitioning between periods of tender lip locking—with short breaks for position changes and to catch his breath—for around a full hour. It hadn't felt that long though, especially since he thought he would get bored after all that time.
In that long hour, his relaxed mind had brought up some strange observations. Like the fact that although Phantom hadn't tried any open-mouthed kisses, he now knew what the ghost's saliva tasted like very well. Not to mention how its natural coolness made his warm skin tingle on contact, a little sensation that was amplified when one considered how sensitive the lips already were.
He also now knew that his ghost half enjoyed biting down softly on his bottom lip in-between kisses and that his short hair was the perfect length for lacing fingers through when pulling someone into a deep kiss.
Phantom had started out on top but had switched to let Danny take the lead somewhere along the line, allowing the human to discover that the ghost preferred the hard kisses to the soft, but also liked variation.
He vividly remembered how the ghost hummed appreciatively against his lips once in a while to indicate just how much he was enjoying this activity, and despite himself, Danny had to admit it ended up feeling a lot less creepy and strange than he had expected.
That night he ended up sleeping in Phantom's arms once more, and true to the ghost's word, the next morning he was bright eyed and bushy tailed and completely ready for anything that would come his way.
Unfortunately, his long night of sleep and the hard light of the morning had also given Danny time to reflect on what had happened last night, and his initial reaction of 'what the fuck' came rushing back with a vengeance.
It didn't help that as soon as he opened his eyes, the day had been going by in a blur, not allowing him much time to think of a way to deal with any of this. One moment he was eating breakfast, the next he and Jazz were stuffing Phantom's clothes into his bag, and then he was helping put the finishing touches on the disguise.
By the time they had gotten it all together, Danny had gotten significantly riled up, a fact that he squarely blamed on Phantom, who had spent the whole time strutting around with a calm and confident air, trying to sneak kisses from his poor conflicted human-half at increasingly inopportune moments. This Included right in front of Jazz, something Danny never would have allowed even if it had been initiated by a perfectly-normal unrelated-to-him girl instead of his same-sex counterpart.
More than anything, he wanted a serious chat with Phantom. He had no idea how they were going to work this out, but he knew they needed to. Danny already discovered he didn't have the heart to push the ghost away, but, as his sister told him on many occasions, if he just let the emotions he was feeling build up he might just—
An elbow jabbed his side, and the teenager snapped back to reality with a jolt. After a reflexive cry of "Ouch, Jazz!" he crossed his arm over his chest to rub the now sore ribs. He looked up and noticed that four pairs of eyes were staring at him. A mix of concerned looks from his parents, the apprehensive gaze of his sister and a grin of amusement from the disguised Phantom.
After a rather awkward moment of silence—well awkward for everyone but Phantom, who seemed to be enjoying this immensely—Maddie gently prompted her clueless son, "Danny, this is Danyel Phoenix. Danyel, this is our son Danny."
The blue-eyed teenager looked up at her with a 'Yeah, I know, so what?' face before he realized that he hadn't introduced himself. Pushing away the irony of that fact, Danny pulled out his best fake smile and reached out, taking hold of Danyel's hand and giving it a friendly shake.
The green-eyed teen smiled back, discreetly running his thumb over the inside of Danny's wrist, making the human repress a shiver. He pulled away a little too quickly, retreating a few inches behind his sister, reminding himself that he would have to be careful around Phantom today.
The ghost had already proven he didn't think about the consequences of his actions when it came to getting his hands on his counterpart, and this was the absolute worst time to be drawing unwanted attention.
"So… is this your only bag?" Jazz asked, helpfully filling in the silence caused by her brother's strange behavior. Danyel nodded and nudged it a little with his sneaker-clad foot, pulling his eyes away from Danny and focusing on his parents.
"Well then we better get going, the RV is parked just outside," Maddie explained, and then turned to her son who had yet to take his eyes off there soon-to-be house guest. "Danny, take Danyel's bag for him."
The blue-eyed teenager reached out and took the suitcase from the blond, setting it down on the cart he had been slumping over for the last half hour. He stood up straight and took hold of the cart again, pushing it forward and following the rest of his family as they started to move through the airport towards the parking lot.
Taking the walk as an opportunity to begin the process of getting her new charge used to his temporary home, Maddie said, "We're going to go back to the house first. There is just enough time to get you set up in your room before your first day at Casper High."
"—and I've got some of my famous flapjack Fentons still warm in the oven if you're hungry," Jack added, always the first to bring up food.
"Thanks, Da—um…Mister Fenton…But I'm fine, they fed us on the plane," Danyel replied, not having to turn to know his sister and counterpart winced at his slip up. The ghost could practically feel Danny's glare boring holes into the back of his head.
But after that tense moment passed, Danny suddenly realized something about his counterpart's voice was a little off. As the family filed into an elevator taking them to the garage the teen decided to test his theory.
"Hey, Danyel?" he asked leaning over the handlebars of his cart again and looking up at the green-eyed male.
Phantom looked back curiously at his human self before giving the standard answer, "Yes, Danny?"
It was only at that moment that the human half realized he hadn't thought of anything to say after that. Aware of the eyes and ears of his family Danny had to think of something quick. The shine of white metal caught his eye and his gaze was drawn to the belt buckle around Phantom's hips.
"Nice belt," Danny blurted, speaking to fast to realize the last thing he wanted to do was have his parents thinking about Danny Phantom when he was standing right beside them in paper-thin camouflage. Luckily, only Jazz seemed to notice his slip up and rewarded him for his stupidity with a kick to the ankle that drew a small hiss of pain from her brother.
"Thanks," Danyel replied, not skipping a beat. "I'm told this guy Phantom is a big deal around here. Thought it might help me fit in." He had expected his belt might come up, but he hadn't expected it from Danny; he was there when Sam gave it to him after all.
On the other side of the elevator, Jack bristled, the topic of the ghost boy was always a touchy subject for him, especially since the little punk had managed to evade Fenton capture for three whole years.
"He may be a big deal, but that doesn't change the fact that he's still a filthy ghost!" the father Fenton reminded the teens.
Maddie nodded in agreement, "All ghosts only strive for selfish gain, and this superhero act he pulls is just a cover up for some plan. We may not have been able to figure it out yet but whatever it is, we will be prepared for it." She crossed her arms over her chest, drumming her fingers over her upper arm, obviously sharing her husband's annoyance at being outwitted.
Danny was the only one who noticed Danyel's posture change, and without another thought he reached forward and took his counterpart's hand. He squeezed tightly. It was a small gesture, but enough to encourage the ghost to move on, pushing away the disheartening comments made by his parents.
As if nothing had happened the green-eyed teen perked up, and made an attempt to change the topic. "Oh yes, the vice principal did mention I would be staying with ghost hunters..." he offered, knowing all too well the topic would keep his parents busy for the whole ride home.
Sighing deeply, Danny rested his head in his free hand. Well, at least they were getting the ghost hunting talk out of the way right off that bat. The doors of the elevator opened and the group pushed on towards the Fenton RV (which was double parked due to it being far too large for only one space).
Suddenly remembering that the point of starting this conversation was to satisfy his curiosity, Danny listened closely to Danyel's next sentence. Just like he had expected, the other teen's voice sounded a little deeper than his own and carried with it a bit of what sounded like an echo.
Danny didn't remember his counterpart's voice sounding like that before, and he wondered if it was a recent change or just something he was putting on in front of their parents. If that was the case it was working because the adults didn't seem any the wiser, and if the blue eyed teen hadn't been stressing about unrelated things, he would have called this morning a complete success.
When they reached the car, Jack helped Danny load the bag into the back of the RV, squashing it between a rack of Fenton bazookas and the box of specter deflectors. Danny shut the trunk with one quick motion, leading Danyel around the side of the vehicle. He climped into the passenger door and leant a hand to his counterpart to help him over the high chassis and into the body of the RV.
Danny made for the backseat, but an arm wrapped around his hips and halted him for a moment. Alone in the passenger compartment, Phantom stole a soft kiss from his human-half. Danny tensed, growling ,"Not now..." before pulling away sharply from Phantom and retreating to the back seat, strapping his safety-belt over his shoulder.
Phantom frowned, but followed and sat beside his counterpart. He knew Danny was right, he really shouldn't risk getting caught. It was just far too easy for him to forget there was anyone else in the room whenever he got in close proximity, and knowing Danny was forbidden fruit only added to the allure.
Ever since their first kiss, the warmth in Phantom's core had been burning brightly, and he felt almost normal again. Where once it seemed he was barely staying clear of the dark clawed hands that threatened to pull him back into his own personal hell, now they were locked away safely in some corner of his mind, and he was free. Still, just like before the warmth would eventually fade and from that knowledge came the constant need to fend it off, even with stolen kisses if necessary.
His human half had become many things to him since their separation. First his friend, then his battle partner, and now as someone he needed more than anyone else. He shifted a little in his seat leaning against Danny, grinning a bit as he remembered how this new transfer student arrangement would improve his ability to stay in contact.
Now all he had to do was convince Danny to allow him lip service more often, preferably without getting so uptight about it. The ghost could hardly believe he used to be so apprehensive when it came to romantic matters. No wonder he could never hold down a girlfriend.
Jazz settled down in the second row of seats glancing at her brother and his counterpart, noting how close the two were sitting and wishing she had brought her notebook. The Fenton RV roared as jack turned the key, backing it up and slamming on the gas, much to the discomfort of his passengers.
Ohhhh man this chapter is late.. I'm sorry guys.. I've recently realized the downside of working with Dream Trace is you pick up her update habits... (well.. at least you finally got a kissing scene)
Not that I haven't been working my ass of though... I'm in the middle of a lovely one-shot that is sitting at an elephantine 14,000 words and it's not even at the halfway mark (it may have to be posted in chapters to prevent mid-editing suicide)
anyway, updates for two halves will be slow till the other fic is done (trust me it's worth it)
Till then we have semi regular updates on the blog, (( pitch-pearl-chicks on tumblr )) along with the usual art features and random extras.