A/N: I'm back! And with a brand new fic! I'm also working on a DP one-shot that I haven't finished yet. This is an AU fic. Yes, the plot's been done before, but that's exactly why I did it myself. I enjoy a challenge. I'll try to stay as original as I can, like with my DP/HP crossover Phantoms, Powers and Prophecies.
Disclaimer: I do not own DP, but I do own Anthony. If I did own DP then I wouldn't be waiting for the DVDs to come out in Region 4 – Australia.
Chapter One: The World is Black and White
The world was divided. There were aristocrats and minimum wage earners, pets and wild animals, masters and slaves, and ghosts and humans. Why such a division existed was a mystery, although those in power would not change the status quo. Humans, for some unknown reason, found it much easier to go through life with such societal unbalance.
This way of life seemed to work well in Amity Park. The place was ghost central and where the vast majority of ghosts were captured and sold.
Ghosts were considered slaves. Some were used for menial and/or distasteful tasks such as cleaning. Most became guards, watching over their masters or something specific such as an item or place. A scant lucky few became maids or butlers or some form of personal assistant.
Even though there was not one free ghost, there were also human slaves as a lot of people did not like ghosts. Human slaves rarely became guards, so most of them ended up as unpaid servants. But, human or ghost, the life of a slave was virtually the same.
Daniel sat in a cage that was just large enough for him to stand in and wide enough that his fingers touched both sides if he held his arms outstretched. The human boy was quite young, only fourteen, with pale skin and messy black hair that fell over crystal blue eyes. His clothes, a pair of slightly scuffed light blue jeans, a dirt-smudged white t-shirt with red edging on the sleeves and neck and a red oval on the chest, along with red and white sneakers, were a bit worn and dirty, but otherwise in relatively good condition.
He had to at least look presentable.
Daniel, or Danny as he secretly preferred, had been a slave ever since he could remember. He had long ago given up trying to fight against the way the world worked. He pitied the slaves, ghost or not, that still had a small bit of hope in their eyes. Danny knew how horrible it felt to have that hope crushed again and again until one finally gave up. He stared unblinkingly through half-lidded eyes at the metallic cuffs that encircled his wrists.
Every slave wore cuffs. Blue cuffs were worn by humans while green was worn by ghosts. That way, even if the ghost took on a human appearance, its ghostly nature would never be hidden.
Footsteps and muffled voices caused him to look up. Before long, he could make out what the voices were saying as they slowly moved closer to where he was.
"I can't say I was all that impressed by your collection back there," a woman said in a haughty tone.
"I agree. I do hope this exotic section of yours is more promising," a man replied, his tone easily matching that of the woman.
"I assure you, you will not be disappointed."
Danny knew that voice – it was the man in charge of the slave pens. His name was Anthony Rogers, though the slaves were only permitted to call him 'sir' or 'master'. He was a man of medium height with broad shoulders and he carried himself with a certain air of importance that came from the whip he constantly carried on his hip. The whip worked on all slaves, as he had only to press a button and the whip would become charged with ectoplasmic energy that allowed ghosts to feel the stinging bite of every lash.
"What is this?" the unknown man asked. They had evidently stopped to examine one of the cages.
"Ah, this is a rare one indeed! She's quite nice to look at for a ghost, isn't she? That's not the best part however. This ghost can grant wishes and can fulfil any of her masters' desires," Anthony declared with the air of a salesman.
The woman sniffed. "She looks like an Arabian harlot," she said scornfully.
"I apologise if her unseemly appearance offends you, Mrs. Manson," Anthony said in a sincere tone.
Mrs. Manson simply huffed and continued slowly on her way. Her husband followed her, both of them looking left and right for anything that caught their eye.
The footsteps suddenly stopped again. "You have a ghost dog?" Mr. Manson asked in disbelief.
"Why yes," Anthony answered. "He's very well trained and can increase his size and ferocity tenfold. You mentioned looking for a guard of sorts I believe?"
"I am not having that filthy creature anywhere in my house!" Mrs. Manson spat scornfully, eyeing the glowing green dog with revulsion.
Anthony nodded knowingly. "Then you are looking for a humanoid guard? Why don't we continue? I am sure you will find something to your liking."
This time the footsteps stopped close by. Danny shifted so that he was facing the front of the cage in full view though he bowed his head, letting his raven locks cover most of his face.
"Hmm... This one looks somewhat decent at least. Doesn't look like it can guard anything though," Mr. Manson said critically.
Anthony smiled. "Not now she doesn't. This one used to be a princess."
"Is that the only reason you stuck her in your exotic section?" Mrs. Manson asked.
"Now, now, Pamela dear, let the man finish."
"Thank you. The reason she is in this section is that amulet around her neck. Do you see it?" He received two nods, so ploughed on. "That amulet allows her to become a dragon. Not just any dragon, the full works; large, winged and capable of breathing fire. She would make a good housemaid and guard."
"What do you think Pamela?"
"I don't know Jeremy. She's not going to be much use if she has to turn into a giant lizard to do her guard duties. I like my house in one piece, let's keep looking."
The three were only a few feet away. They came into Danny's view though he had no what the couple looked like as he only saw them from the knees down. The woman had shiny white high heels that looked expensive and her husband wore shiny white dress shoes.
He heard the woman sniff. "I didn't think you'd have any humans in this section. What's so special about him?"
Anthony just grinned. "This is by far the rarest and most exotic slave we have. I'd wager the whole world actually."
"Oh? And why is that?" the man, Jeremy, asked in a way that clearly said 'get on with it'.
"Look," Anthony replied eagerly. He grabbed a black baton, exactly like the ones used by police, and hit the cage bars with it.
Danny ignored the clang the impact produced and did as he was trained. Keeping his palms open flat, he raised both arms with his palms facing towards himself, giving them a clear view of his wrists.
The Mansons gasped while Anthony's grin only grew wider.
On Danny's right wrist was a blue metal cuff, though the one on his left wrist was green.
"This kid here is half human, half ghost. Not only is he good for the mundane everyday things, he makes a great guard. His ghost half packs quite a bit of power and I'd wager that he could take down most of the ghosts in here easily enough," Anthony said, clearly enjoying himself.
Pamela stared at him critically while her husband hummed thoughtfully. "He seems to be well trained. How obedient is he? How many previous owners has he had?" she asked Anthony, though her gaze never left the boy in the cage.
Mr. Rogers tried not to let his eagerness show. They were clearly interested in the boy if they were asking such questions and the young hybrid was worth quite a hefty sum of money. "He's had two previous owners, the identities of whom I will not disclose under our contract of confidentiality. He is one hundred percent obedient – not a streak of defiance or rebellion in him I'm proud to say."
"If he's as obedient as you say then why did his two previous owners give him back?" Jeremy asked, casting a condescending glare at the hybrid which the boy didn't see.
"He was first sold when he was five. He was sold as a guard because the buyer thought no one would suspect a five-year-old child to be the security. The kid had little control of his powers back then, but everything went fine for a year or so before the buyer was stolen from. The thief didn't get the main prize the kid was guarding, which is a point in his favour I guess, but did make off with a couple of other valuable things. The buyer sold him back to us and bought an older, more experienced guard ghost."
Jeremy hummed again. "Since you said he had little control back then, I'm assuming that he no longer has any...control issues?"
"That's right," the pen master said while nodding. "Kid hasn't had an accident with his powers since he was eight. He's fourteen now."
Jeremy nodded, partially satisfied. "What about the second time?"
"The second buyer bought him when he was nine. Never bought him to be a guard, but didn't mention wanting the kid for anything specific either. Found the kid attractive I guess," Anthony said with a shrug. "Returned the kid a few months before he turned thirteen. The owner wasn't dissatisfied; they just said they'd outgrown the kid because they liked having children around the house as they had none of their own apparently."
"So he's been used as a personal slave?" Pamela asked, wrinkling her nose a little.
Anthony shrugged again. "I couldn't say. Kid was fine apart from a couple of scratches and bruises, but that's common. I'd be worried if a slave came back without some sort of mark on them, even something tiny like that. Put your arms down," he said, confusing the Mansons until they realised he wasn't speaking to them.
Danny immediately let his arms drop, resting his hands on his knees. Since he was sitting cross-legged, he looked a little like he was meditating. He was still looking down so didn't see the nods and looks of approval his swift, obedient actions gained from them.
"See, what'd I tell you? Real fine example of a slave this one. Ghost or human. He's been a slave since he was a baby you see," Mr. Rogers said smugly.
"I don't like the fact that he's a boy... He's supposed to guard our house and, more importantly, our daughter. I don't want him getting any funny ideas," Jeremy said, still staring thoughtfully at Danny.
"Oh, no worries there. This kid won't do anything you haven't instructed him to. Unless your daughter orders it, he'll keep a respectful distance concerning personal matters like that."
"I don't suppose I could get a proper look at him?" Pamela requested.
"Of course, ma'am!" Anthony happily replied, sifting through the many keys on the ring at his belt. He plucked one away from its brethren and unlocked Danny's cage. "Front and centre, kid," he ordered calmly.
Danny swiftly rose and stepped out of the cage, stopping right beside Mr. Rogers and in front of the Mansons. He stood straight; making sure his shoulders weren't hunched at all, though he kept his head bowed respectively.
"Step forward," Jeremy suddenly said.
Danny, knowing the order was for him, took a step forward. The couple slowly circled him, looking for any defects or hint of injury or sickness. He didn't flinch or tense when Jeremy reached out and squeezed an upper arm.
"He looks scrawny, but I can feel some good muscle tone on him."
"Yes, he's a bit on the short side, but he looks healthy. Although he could certainly use a good scrubbing, especially his hair," Pamela added, her nose wrinkling again. She hooked a finger under his chin and forced his head up. "Look at me," she ordered.
Danny did so after a split second of hesitance. Slaves were never supposed to look others in the eye unless ordered to. Still, looking anyone else but another slave in the eye, even if ordered, was always a strange experience for Danny.
Pamela gasped as her soft green eyes caught his sky blue ones. "Oh, what pretty eyes!" she exclaimed softly. "I think he'll do perfectly, dear. He can go anywhere with our daughter as a human and instantly switch to a ghost if she's threatened. What do you think?"
"Yes, that does that sound perfect. I would like to see evidence of his half-ghost status beyond the cuffs though," Jeremy said firmly with a meaningful look at Anthony.
"Not a problem," the man cheerfully replied. "Transform."
Danny reached deep within himself to a core of cold energy. He tapped into it and let its power surge through him. A bright blue-white halo of energy appeared at his waist and split into two rings that vertically moved away from one another like repelling magnets. As the rings swept over his form, they left black, white and green clothing in their wake.
The red on his t-shirt had become snow white while the white turned black. A vivid green stripe ran vertically up both sides of his shirt from the bottom to the neckline, including his sleeves. A broad white belt was just visible below his shirt. His jeans had been replaced with three-quarter pants that employed the same style as his shirt: black with white edging along the bottom and a green stripe running up each side. His sneakers now resembled combat boots more than sneakers and had no laces. They too were black, with white soles and a green stripe that started at the front of his shoes, going from the sole all the way up the front of each foot. There was also a short green stripe up the back of each shoe from the sole, over his heels, to the top of the shoe.
Pamela hesitantly moved forward, admiring his once black hair that was now a pure white despite the fact that it needed a wash. She repeated her order to look at her and Danny complied. She gasped again at seeing fluorescent green eyes staring blankly at her in place of the beautiful blue. She stepped back next to her husband, both of them noting the glow that surrounded his entire body, instantly marking him as a ghost.
"I definitely think this will work. Well dear?"
Jeremy cleared his throat and glanced at his wife before settling his gaze on Mr. Rogers. "Yes, I agree. What is his asking price?"
"Well, a good guard ghost can easily set you back almost two thousand dollars. A good human slave can reach one thousand. Since this kid is pretty much the best of both, not to mention the only one of his kind, his asking price is five thousand," Anthony smoothly replied.
"That's a bit high for a slave, rare or not," Jeremy said with a frown. "How about three-thousand five-hundred? That's above the combined price of a good human and ghost slave."
Anthony shook his head. "Sorry, can't let him go for that. You're starting to give me a chill, kid, change back," he said, raising one eyebrow at the half-ghost.
Danny surrendered his ghost side, letting the rings appear and wash over him again, turning him back to his former appearance and dispelling the chill that had been slowly creeping up.
"Three-thousand eight-hundred," Pamela offered.
Anthony mulled it over for a bit. "Hmm... Nope, sorry."
"Four-thousand two-hundred," Jeremy said.
Anthony shook his head slightly. "If you're so determined to drive down his price then I can let him go for four-thousand five-hundred. No less."
The Mansons glanced at each other for several seconds before Jeremy nodded. "Deal."
"Excellent!" Anthony lightly exclaimed, clapping his hands together. "If you'd follow me then you can fill out all the papers right here in the office. Want the kid to come or wait in the cage?"
Pamela seemed to consider this. "Let him come," she said after several seconds of mental debate.
"As you wish. Want him on a leash? The kid doesn't need it, he's good like that, but it makes people feel more secure, you know?"
Jeremy cut across his wife before she could answer. "Yes. I'd rather not take chances."
"I completely understand," Anthony said, grabbing a small metal bar off his belt. He pressed a button on the device and it expanded horizontally. "Hands," he ordered.
Danny raised his arms again, holding them straight in front of him about a foot apart. Anthony slapped the device down across his wrists. It instantly lit up with harsh pinkish-red energy that drew both metal cuffs together. Anthony moved the device and, by extension, Danny's wrists, up to the hybrid's neck. A flash of energy emitted from the device and a beam of the same pinkish-red energy encircled his neck and cuffs, binding his wrists to the circle around his neck.
Anthony moved the device away and handed it to the Mansons, heedless of the line of energy that now ran from Danny's neck to the device like a retractable dog leash. "Here you go," he said cheerfully. "Instructions on how to do that are included among the papers if you're wondering. Shall we?"
Danny's blank blue gaze returned to knee height as he silently followed his new masters.
A/N: Yeah, short chapter, I know. The next will be longer hopefully. Although considering that I wrote this in two days I may keep them short so I can update faster...
What do you guys think? Do you want short chapters that get updated fairly quickly? (Within a month on average.) Or do you want longer chapters? (Each one may be updated sporadically within the span of three months or so.)
I'm sure you can all guess which ghosts the Mansons looked at before reaching Danny. :3
Let me know what you think so far. Also, if you let me know of any clichés you'd like me to avoid, that would be great! I aim to please, though this story will still follow what I want it to. If you want more DP from me, keep an eye out for that one-shot I mentioned. It will hopefully be done soon. (It's already over 14 pages long. XD)