Chapter 13: Citizen/Soldier
I walk beside you,
but you may not see me.
The strongest among you
may not wear a crown
The journey back to the Fenton Portal was anything if not interesting. We were lodged in what seemed like some kind of ice covered war ship. I really didn't know what it was. It somehow seemed both ancient and advanced at the same time.
The whole army was grouped around us, all of them eyeing Danny as if they were expecting him to do something.
Frostbite was working on the collar around Danny's neck, trying to take it off. For having such big, clawed hands, he handled the device carefully and more gently than I would have expected him to be capable of.
The collar clicked open, releasing Danny's neck. "There we go," Frostbite said, pulling the collar away and thoroughly crushing it to smithereens in his hands. I noticed how he seemed to take a small pleasure in this.
Danny's hand immediately moved to his neck, rubbing it. There were red welts on his skin in the area where the collar occupied and some of his hazmat suit's collar was singed. "Thanks," he said gratefully.
Frostbite only shrugged. "It was the least I could do, Great One."
"Uh," Tucker interrupted, having a weird expression on his face. "Why do you keep calling him Great One?"
Frostbite looked confusedly at Tucker. "Don't you call him Great One as well?"
"I call him a lot of things, but Great One is surely not one of them," Tucker stated as Danny elbowed him. "Ow!" Tucker said rubbing his arm and grumbling something under his breath. I was able to make out him saying something about half-ghosts and violence.
Frostbite seemed even more confused by what Tucker said. "But, he saved your world from Pariah as well as our world. Surely, you have a title of honor for this."
Danny let out a laugh. "Not exactly."
"I do not understand," Frostbite said.
At this point, all three of us looked at each other, each having the same funny expression. Before we knew it, all three of us were laughing at the irony of this.
"Humans are very strange," I heard one of the yeti ghosts say.
"Indeed," Frostbite agreed, giving us an odd look.
"So," I said, breaking away from my laughing to ask another question, "does everybody here call him that?"
"My people call him by the title among other smaller regions of the Ghost Zone," Frostbite answered. He looked towards Danny, bearing what looked like a grin. "But, his enemies surely do not."
Danny chuckled. "I bet." He looked thoughtful for a second, then grinned.
He looked at Frostbite, giving him a wider smile. "But, you can just call me Danny," he said, extending his hand towards the ghost.
The ghost smiled, showing all his pointy fangs, but for some reason it seemed friendlier than terrifying. He took Danny's hand, shaking it enthusiastically. "As you wish, Great One!"
Tucker barked out another laugh. " Yeah, Great One."
Danny blushed, but he still retained his smile. "We'll work on it, big guy," he told Frostbite.
"Aw, a boy and his snow-monster," I said, grinning at the sight.
"Isn't there a greater love to be found anywhere?" Tucker said, laughing.
Danny ignored us although his blush grew deeper, spreading across his cheeks. "How did you know we were going to be at Walker's anyway?"
"We knew of the plan to capture you," Frostbite explained. "Nothing really ever stays hidden for long in the Ghost Zone. They operate more freely here because they do not know of others who are in favor of you. We did not know if you would need assistance, but all the same, we stationed ourselves near the prison just in case you needed our aid."
"Well, good thing," Danny said. "And, thank you."
"It was our pleasure, Great One," Frostbite said, beaming. His expression dimmed with grimness. "But, unfortunately, I am not only here for your rescue. I've come to ask for your help as well. I'm saddened to say, Walker is only a small problem of a very big one to come."
"What do you mean?" Danny said, taken aback by the sudden change in the ghost's once happy demeanor.
"Plasmius," Frostbite stated.
"What about him?" I asked, noting how very stiff Danny became at the mention of the older halfa's name.
"Over the past few years, Plasmius has slowly gained more and more control over the Ghost Zone," Frostbite said, "His followers have increased to nearly triple they once were, and I'm afraid the Zone will soon be overcome." Frostbite gave us each a grim look. "I fear he is not content with conquering just our world but covets yours as well."
"Of course," Danny muttered. "I knew he was planning something. Everything that has been happening these past years and somehow he always seemed to be in the middle of it."
Frostbite nodded. "The Far Frozen among other small regions of the Zone have built up a resistance, but we are not strong enough to defeat Plasmius and his army. This is why we need you, Great One."
"I'm not saying I don't want to help," Danny said, looking both uneasy and confused, "but I'm only one guy, Frostbite. It's going to take more than me."
The ghost smiled knowingly at us. "This is true, but you are the key."
"Okay...now I'm lost." Danny said, looking even more confused. I couldn't blame him; I was just as confused as he was.
"This will provide a better explanation." Frostbite produced what looked like a beaten up scroll from his person. It was torn at one of the sides, but it was pretty much well intact, considering its decrepit state. The ghost spread it out from its crumpled position to show us what was on it. "This is the prophecy given to us to guard. It was written by the Ancients soon after they defeated Pariah Dark. They were informed of a moment when history would repeat and made this in order to provide warning of the war that wouldn't be theirs to win."
I leaned over reading what it said out loud.
"Acceptance of both sides,
the only way to override.
Two must become one,
both ghost and human alike
as one must strike,
the Darkness will finally fall,
victory and freedom for all."
The words were written in a black silver ink in the most elegant font I've ever seen. It somehow looked both sinister and beautiful.
"Okay," Tucker said, drawing out the word. I could see both Danny and him had the same looks of bewilderment. "Explain that to the poetry-confused please."
"The human race, your ghosthunters I presume, and ghost resistance must join forces to overcome Plasmius," Frostbite elaborated, "and the Great One must be the one to do it."
"Me?" Danny said, still staring at the scroll.
"You are the only one who is of human and ghost nature; the one who can bridge the gap between us."
"And you're saying if I don't bridge this gap," Danny said, slowly putting the pieces together, "Vlad will be the next Pariah Dark."
"He will be much worse," Frostbite said, "but yes."
"Wow, no pressure or anything," Danny said, his eyes still glued to the scroll as if he wasn't all that convinced the prophecy was about him.
"I do not follow," Frostbite said confusedly. "There is pressure. If you do not succeed both our worlds will be doomed."
"Yeah, but..." Danny drifted off, seeming to not want to go into it. He chuckled, smiling at the ghost. "Never mind."
"So let me get this straight," Tucker interrupted. "Walker was the least of our problems, now we have to fight this full out war against this crazy half ghost, who has twenty years of experience over the half ghost we got, and has an army of ghosts. Can I please just say this: are you kidding me?"
"Again, I do not follow," Frostbite said, looking between Danny and Tucker.
"He's just complaining, Frostbite," I said, patting the ghost's arm sympathetically. Apparently, they didn't teach much sarcasm in the Far Frozen.
"Well, duh," Tucker said. "I mean if Danny is the key to all of this, of course I'm complaining. We're doomed."
Danny elbowed Tucker hard in the side.
"Hey!" Tucker shouted, rubbing his abused side while glaring at Danny.
"How hard can it be," Danny said, shrugging, not at all affected by Tucker's muttered threats. "All I have to do is convince the ghosthunters to fight beside ghosts...their sworn enemies...while I'm a ghost...also their sworn enemy..." Danny paused, blinking blankly. "This is gonna be harder than I thought."
"My hope is dwindling fast," Tucker said.
"Well, it's not like we have any other options," I said, getting aggravated how both boys were looking at the situation. It was going to be a challenge, but there was no way we were going to fail this because sooner or later the hunters would have to see some logic.
"Your friend is right," Frostbite said.
The ship came to a stop, the back part of it opening up, revealing the Fenton Portal floating in front of us.
Frostbite stood, and we followed him to the back.
We stared at the portal. Surprisingly, it was still opened, but we couldn't see anything inside. It had the same swirling vortex it always displayed.
"You know all hell is gonna break loose the minute we get in there, right?" I asked, looking up at Danny.
"Yeah, pretty much," Danny said.
"Let's just hope they don't shoot first," Tucker said.
"Tucker, always the optimistic one," Danny said. Despite his sarcastic tone, he was smiling at his friend.
"Great One," Frostbite called, getting Danny's attention. He was a couple of feet behind us. "Can I have a private word with you?"
"Sure," Danny shrugged, walking back to Frostbite.
I couldn't see what they were saying, but it didn't stop me from trying to read their lips. They looked like they were having on hell of a serious conversation. Any smile that was present on Danny's face was gone; instead his lips were pressed together in a thin line as if Frostbite was telling him something very unpleasant. After a couple of moments staring back at them, I pretty much gave up, knowing I would have to ask Danny later what they discussed.
"What do you think they're saying?" Tucker said, still giving furtive glances back at them.
"I don't know, but it looks pretty serious," I said.
"I wonder why Frostbite didn't just tell all of us," he said. I could tell he was more disturbed by this than upset.
"I don't know, but whatever it is, it can't be good."
Danny joined us once more with Frostbite on his heels.
"I will be at the portal in two days to negotiate with the hunters, Great One," Frostbite said. "I have the utmost confidence you will succeed."
Danny nodded, giving the ghost a sad smile.
Frostbite clasped his shouldered, squeezing it in support. "Be brave, Great One. Everything will fall into place." He looked at Tucker and me, delivering a smile at us. "And, I hope to see you two as well in the future. It was an honor meeting you, Sam Manson and Tucker Foley. I look forward to fighting along side you."
He took all three of us in one rib-crushing hug. Despite not being able to breathe, I was touched by the ghost's gesture and hugged back as best as I could.
He let us down, giving us another smile.
"I'll see you again, Frostbite," Danny nodded with a smile. "And thank you again for helping us."
"Again, it was an honor," the ghost said, dipping his head in a small bow.
Danny took our arms.
I smiled at the ghost. "Bye, Frostbite!" I waved as Danny jumped out of the ship with both of us in tow.
With one last look back at the ice covered ship, we enter the portal the Fentons' basement.
It didn't even take five seconds for everybody to realize our sudden appearance in the room. Every hunter turned to us with guns charging in their hands.
Despite the imminent danger, I noticed there were still some people we rescued present, sitting on the floor and examination tables. They just stared at us openly, mostly at Danny.
"Hold your fire!" A feminine voice rang out from the group of hunters; there was no mistaking it was Mrs. Fenton's voice.
She came to the front quickly with her husband and Valerie Grey following. I was a bit surprised to see Valerie, well more like annoyed. She was dressed in hunter's uniform, simple black suit decked out with ecto-guns and other weapons. She was definitely more cleaned up compared to how she looked when I last saw her. Despite the difference in appearance, her hair was still down in the same wild, but beautiful curls. Somehow, she managed to look even more pretty and dangerous.
Her eyes narrowed in on Danny instantly, the green depths solidifying with hatred. "Thought they got you," she spat. "I'm disappointed."
"Yeah, well, that makes you and the other guy," Danny said offhandedly, barely glancing her way, instead looking at the Fentons.
"Not now Valerie," Mrs. Fenton ordered the girl before she could say anything else. She took a step forward, looking both wary and surprised. She was staring at Danny as if she wasn't quite sure what to make of him. "We heard what happened," she began, but then she noticed Tucker and me. She did a double take. "Wait a minute, how are you two..." Her eyes narrowed. "Were you with him the whole time?"
I looked at the two boys beside me, both of them wearing the same unsettled expressions.
I looked back at Mrs. Fenton, who was growing angrier by the second. Well, I guess this was up to me. Danny was a hopeless liar, and Tucker would only mess it up.
I sighed, trying to make it seem like we didn't want to be caught but now it was time to confess. "We're sorry, Mrs. Fenton," I said slowly so I could have enough time to think out a legitimate excuse. "But, we just really wanted to help. Tucker and I snuck on one of the pods."
Mrs. Fenton turned on Danny immediately. "Were you in on this too? They could have gotten hurt."
Danny winced at the accusatory tone she was using.
"No!" I said, a bit too loudly in my haste. "He didn't know. He found out after we got in the prison to help him."
She looked back at me; it was clear she didn't approve of this at all. "That was very reckless and unnecessary. Phantom was more than capable of doing the job himself."
"Actually, if they weren't there, I don't think I would have been able to," Danny spoke up. It was sweet that he was sticking up for us, but I really wanted him to be quiet. The last thing we needed was for his own mother to hate him.
Mrs. Fenton glared at him, not at all grateful for his input.
Danny took a half step back, rubbing the the back of his neck nervously. "No offense...m'am."
Mrs. Fenton's lips quivered. For a second, I could have sworn she was about to smile, but the moment was gone just as quickly as it went. "I do need to know," she said firmly, giving Danny a look. "What happened after we lost contact? All I know is that Walker ambushed you. How did you get out?"
"You're not going to believe this," Danny said, shaking his head. "Even I'm having trouble believing this, but a group of ghosts saved us. They were from the Far Frozen and were led by this big yeti ghost named Frostbite."
"Ghosts got you out of the prison," Mrs. Fenton said very slowly, her eyebrows scrunching together in confusion. Apparently, the concept that other ghosts could be good was foreign to her.
"Yeah, I know," Danny said, smiling, "but it happened. I thought that all ghosts hated me, but looked like I was wrong."
"And, they just came there," Mrs. Fenton said, her bewilderment ebbing into curiosity, "to rescue you? That's it?"
She shook her head in exasperation and muttered 'of course.' It seemed like she was just starting to accept the fact that some ghosts really could be like Danny, that it just wasn't because he was an anomaly.
She, then, looked up at Danny, squaring her shoulders, giving him a hard look. "All the same," she said, her lips pulled into a tight smirk, "I cannot believe I'm about to say this, but thank you, Phantom. You saved everybody from that prison and risked your own existence doing so."
Danny blushed, his hand still on the back of his neck as he looked down at the floor.
This time the ghost hunter really did smile at his antics. "I might have been wrong about you, Phantom."
Danny gave her a goofy smile, but it didn't last. He sobered up pretty fast. I don't know what he saw or what he thought, but it was serious enough to break him from his momentary happiness. His hand dropped to his side. He looked at Mrs. Fenton with so much intensity that I was surprised the woman didn't flinch.
I wasn't the only one who noticed the difference in Danny. All the ghost hunters gripped their weapons, thinking he was about to strike, which was pretty much the normal ghost hunter mentality. I even saw Mrs. Fenton's hand twitch as if she was about to reach for her gun as well, but at least she restrained herself.
I looked over at Tucker to see him giving Danny a questioning look.
"I have to tell you all something," Danny said suddenly. His voice shook a bit, but his gaze remained unwavering, sweeping across the crowd surrounding us.
I looked at him questioningly, but he refused to look at me.
"I'm half human," Danny said, sending the whole room into a deathly silence.
It took everything in me not to strangle him. I couldn't help being startled by this statement. Although I couldn't decide if I was more pissed or shock by what he just did. I had no idea Danny was going to do something so stupid by announcing his half ghost status to a room filled with hunters.
I looked at Tucker to see if he was in on what Danny was doing, but I could tell by the agape expression of shock on his face that he wasn't aware of this either.
I couldn't understand why Danny didn't tell us he was doing this. I know he was used to doing things himself, but he was a part of a team, now. He couldn't just do this, not without at least giving us a heads up.
Despite my anger, I drew closer to Danny's side until we were almost touching. I didn't know how the hunters were going to react, and I wanted to be near Danny whichever way it went.
At the corner of my eye, I saw Tucker move closer to Danny's other side, looking uneasily at the hunters (once he got over his momentary shock of what just happened).
At this point, Danny was nearly shaking, but I could tell he was trying to cover up whatever he was feeling.
Mrs. Fenton was the first to speak. "What?"
Her mouth was still open in shock, and her eyes were huge. Her husband had the same expression, but he was still at a loss for words, obviously more confused than his counterpart.
Danny took a shaky breath. "This is bad," he said, taking another deep breath. I could already tell he was about to start babbling, something he usually did when he was nervous. "I mean worse than you finding out bad. Something-I don't know what-is going to happen. Those ghosts that saved us, what we saw. This is not just individual ghosts trying to take over the world. Now, it's a lot of them. An army of them. And, they will win if we don't join the other ghosts that want to fight back.
But I know there's no way you'll do this, not unless you know-this. About me."
Danny's eyes never strayed from the crowd of hunters and people.
Everybody was still silent, gaping at him as if they were looking at him for the first time.
Danny continued, "I know it's hard to believe," he bit his lip, looking a bit queazy at this point. "You can do whatever tests you want, but you have to believe me. And, we have to hurry. There is no time. We have to start preparing for what's about to happen."
"And, what," Jack said, his voice barely above a whisper, "is about to happen?"
Danny's expression became grim, his eyes steely. "Full out war. The ghost leading the attack is Vlad Plasmius; and trust me, if he takes over, we're doomed."
"And, you?" Maddie asked, looking like she didn't want to believe any of this. "You can stop him?"
Danny shook his head. "If we all fight together, the ghost resistance and the ghosthunters, then we can stop him, together." Danny stared at the ghosthunters.
They were looking back at him with guarded expressions, still not trusting what he was saying.
"Look," I said, getting everybody's attention, "I know you don't trust him or the ghosts, but you can't do this. You can't ignore this. And, I think by now, after all that's happened, after everything he has done for us, I think he deserves your trust." I gestured towards Tucker and myself, "We saw the resistance too. We saw the threat. Plasmius is not going to stop until he is controlling the human world, and we won't stand a chance unless we listen to Da-Phantom and team up with the other ghosts."
Valerie Grey stepped forward. I noticed at a closer look, her arm was bandaged, and she looked a bit bruised but she still stood tall and proud like the natural ghost-hunter she was. "You're right," she said, then looked at Danny, her expression having a grudging respect to it. "Both of you are. They are planning something big. That's all those stupid guards were talking about at that prison. And, the number one name that kept coming up was Plasmius. As much as I hate to say it, we have to coordinate with the ghost resistance if we want to beat this guy once and for all."
Danny nodded at Valerie; she stiffened in response but returned the gesture.
"I still don't like you," she said, her eyes narrowing as she looked at him. "I don't care what you are; I still don't."
"I know," he said sadly, looking down.
I could tell there was some bad history between them, especially with the way she was looking at him. It made me want to step in front of Danny just in case she decided to attack.
But, despite the obvious hostility towards him, I was both surprised and happy to see that she was on board with us because frankly, as much as I didn't want to admit it, she was one of the strongest hunters here and the others were bound to follow her example.
He looked over at the crowd of hunters again, probably seeing that some of them were still wary of him. "Look," he said, "I know what I'm asking you to do is unthinkable. I mean, you were all taught that any and every ghost was the enemy, but this is not true. I'm half human. I'm one of you, and I don't want anything to happen to this world. That's why I fight all the ghosts that come here. I fight because I don't want any human, any of my kind, to get hurt; but that will happen if you don't listen to me, if you don't get over this whole anti-ghost crusade. We will lose everything if we don't fight with them."
"Then we have no other choice," Jack Fenton's voice boomed, bringing everybody's attention to him. He stepped forward so that everybody could see him. His expression was serious, which looked out of place on his face. "We will team up with the ghosts."
"But," Mrs. Fenton said, stepping up next to her husband, giving Danny an intimidating look, "we will test that you are telling the truth about being a half human. Immediately."
Danny nodded, but I could tell he wasn't exactly looking forward to this.
"As for everyone else," she said, raising her voice so that everyone could hear. "Clear out, get some rest, and report back tomorrow.
In a flurry of whispers and moving bodies, everybody soon cleared the room, leaving only the Fentons, Danny, Tucker, and me.
I noticed Valerie was lingering by the doorway, hesitant to leave, but was sent away by a stern look from Mrs. Fenton.
"So," Tucker said, awkwardly breaking the silence. "What tests are you going to do?"
Danny and I turned to glare at him.
"What?" he said, shrugging. "I just want to know."
"Smooth," I said sarcastically as Danny rolled his eyes.
"Oh, it's not like you weren't thinking it too," Tucker muttered bitterly, pouting.
I looked over at the Fentons, who were staring at our exchange with shocked expressions. "What?" I asked, a bit creeped out because I felt more like they were observing us than just being present during the conversation.
They shared looks, seeming to be having a silent conversation until Mrs. Fenton looked back at us, shaking her head. "It's nothing."
Tucker, Danny, and I gave each other looks, all wary of the Fentons and what they might be thinking.
"To answer your question," Mrs, Fenton said, getting our attention, "I just want to do some basic, noninvasive tests. Like a physical."
Danny nodded, looking relieved to hear this.
"If you will, follow me," she said, walking over to one of the examination tables.
Danny stiffened but slouched forward, following his mother and sitting on the table, looking very stiff and uncomfortable. His hands were planted on either side of him, bracing himself on the table. He was avoiding eye contact with the Fentons as they got out the necessary tools. He was strikingly pale, his skin almost matching his hair. He seemed to be trying to focus on his breathing, his breaths coming slowly in and out.
I wanted to stand next to him, comfort him, but I stayed where I was, close enough if he needed me but far enough away so the Fentons wouldn't feel any pressure or threat. I didn't know how they would react to the littlest thing and the last thing I wanted was for this to go bad.
Tucker seemed to have the same idea as me, choosing to hang back with me; but it was obvious, with the way his tense body was leaning forward, he didn't like not being able to be by Danny.
"Phantom," Mrs. Fenton said, her voice was carefully neutral, "do you mind removing the top part of your HAZMUT suit? It would be easier to conduct the tests."
"Sure," Danny said, his voice coming out as a rasp.
He was making an effort to stay calm and casual. He maneuvered out of the top part of the suit, leaving it limp at his sides, revealing his bare, well toned chest, abs, and arms. A big purple/blue bruise was on the upper right part of his ribcage where he was kicked by Walker, but other than that he looked fine. Well, if you looked at his face, you would think he was ill.
Mrs. Fenton's fingers skimmed that large bruise while Mr. Fenton stood behind her ogling it. "What happened?" she breathed.
Danny shrugged. "I just got clipped by one of the ghosts."
"It wold have healed by now since the invasion was a day ago," Mrs. Fenton said, giving him a distrustful look.
I rolled my eyes, annoyed with Danny's habit of downplaying everything. "Walker broke a couple of his ribs," I said, giving Danny a stern look to answer her questions truthfully.
"That's not possible...ghosts don't have bones," Mr. Fenton interjected, taking a closer look at Danny.
Mrs. Fenton began touch Danny's ribcage, feeling-what I assumed to her surprise-his ribs. "Jack," she said breathlessly, eyes growing large. She picked up one of Danny's arms, touching the elbow and wrist and working it in normal bending patterns. She looked at Danny questioningly, but all Danny did was solemnly look back, detached from the moment.
She turned his wrist over, revealing the vulnerable skin; veins lined it. She stared at it for a second until she began to finger it, checking for a pulse. No sooner than a second later, she dropped his hand as if it burned her. "You..." she sputtered, her eyes wide with shock and wonder. "You were telling the truth..." Her expression began to dim with confusion. "How in the world?..."
Mr. Fenton put a hand on his wife's shoulder, a worried look in his eyes. "Maddie, what are you talking about? How do you know he's telling the truth?"
"He has a heartbeat," she said, sounding like she couldn't believe it herself. "A real heartbeat..."
"He was telling the truth?" Her husband said again, sounding even more confused.
"There's no other explanation," she said back, her shock beginning to wear off.
She looked at Danny, appearing as if she was seeing him a whole new way. For the first time, I saw what looked like kindness in her eyes when she was looking at him. "How did this happen to you?"
Danny gave her a pained expression, looking like he was wishing he could be anywhere but here. "There was an accident," he said, but he obviously was not willing to give anymore.
Mrs. Fenton pressed her lips together, seeing this too.
"Wow," Mr. Fenton said, marveling at Danny. "Can you imagine? A half human, half ghost. Who would have ever thought this was possible?" He beamed at Danny. "I always knew there was something different about you, Phantom, but who would have ever guessed?"
Danny winced at his dad's comment.
"I have a lot of questions," Mrs. Fenton said, giving Danny a determined look.
"Yeah," Danny said, smirking half heartedly at her, "I guess that you do."
Mrs. Fenton nodded. "But, first." She picked up the nearest instrument, a thermometer.
She continued the examination, starting with taking his temperature, checking his pulse, blood pressure, among other tests. Every now and then, she would mutter something and write furiously in her notes.
All the while, Mr. Fenton asked about the mission.
Soon, the question we have all been waiting for was asked. "So," Mr. Fenton began, looking a bit out of sorts as if he was trying to figure something out. "What exactly happened after you got all the people out? You were gone for almost a whole day."
Tucker was the first to say something, seeing our-Danny's and mine-hesitant expressions. "Walker got the best of us. We were too late getting out, and the guards came all at once. I guess they realized they didn't have a chance of getting their prisoners back, so they went for us instead."
Mr. Fenton nodded while Mrs. Fenton paused, seeming to be digesting what Tucker said.
"Danny took the worst of it while Tucker and I were restrained." I recounted, remembering how doomed I thought we were. "Things were looking pretty bad until the ghosts from the Far Frozen came."
"Far Frozen?" Mrs. Fenton asked, perplexed by this fact. "You said that before; what do you mean?"
"An arctic part of the Ghost Zone. Frostbite is their leader," Danny took over. "They make up most of the resistance against Plasmius. They are the ones that told us about Plasmius's plans. He already took over most of the Ghost Zone; now, he's trying for the Human World."
"Why are these ghosts so worried about our world?" Mrs. Fenton asked, skepticism thick in her voice.
Danny started rubbing his neck, a sheepish expression on his face. "Um, well, there's a lot of reasons. Part of it is they don't want another "king" like Pariah Dark."
"Don't forget that they practically worship you," Tucker said. "They know how important the Human World is to you, and they would do anything to please the 'Great One.'"
Tucker stifled a chuckle, but his mocking smile was smile was big and apparent enough for everyone to see.
Danny was blushing furiously at this point.
"Why do they worship you?" Mr. Fenton asked, so intrigued he took at step closer to Danny.
Danny looked uncomfortable, fidgeting slightly and looking to the side, embarrassed. "They don't. They're just grateful about the whole Pariah thing."
"That was you?" Mr. Fenton questioned, shocked.
Mrs. Fenton stopped what she was doing to stare at Danny as well.
"So you really are the one who took the Fenton Suit?" she said, looking all but panicked. "It was not functional; you could have died!"
"How did you do? Did it work, kid?" Mr. Fenton asked, his expression excited.
Danny's expression took on the same excitement as his father's. "It was awesome. There were a couple of kinks, but they can be pretty easy to work out."
Mr. Fenton only grew more ecstatic from hearing this. He was about to say something, but Mrs. Fenton interrupted.
"Jack!" she exclaimed, outraged. "He could have gotten himself killed."
"But I didn't/he didn't," both father and son said in response.
The woman gave both of them a stern look, disapproving of their excitement for something so dangerous. Both male Fentons instantly deflated.
She sighed, giving them a small smile. "But it is pretty cool it worked," she allowed. The very same excitement showing in her eyes as well. It must have been a Fenton thing, to not be at all deterred by danger.
I smiled at this, knowing that Mrs. Fenton was just like her husband in that way, having the same curious, excitement for the unknown.
Danny chuckled at his mom. "It was probably one of your best inventions yet," he said. "I wouldn't have won without it."
Mr. Fenton whistled. "Must have been one hell of a fight."
Danny shook his head but grinned at them. "You have no idea."
"Speaking of fights," I said, looking at them, "Frostbite will be coming in a couple of days."
"That's the leader, right?" Mr. Fenton said, scratching his head.
"Yeah," Tucker said. "He's coming to talk strategy. My guess is Plasmius will be attacking soon, and they want to come as soon as possible."
Danny nodded. "Yeah, Frostbite seemed pretty desperate to get our help soon, and knowing Plasmius, he's probably making his next move pretty soon."
"Do you know this Plasmius ghost?" Mrs. Fenton said, detecting the bitterness in Danny's tone.
"Yeah, unfortunately," he growled, his eyes glowing.
"I take it you've fought against him before," the woman said, frowning.
Danny only nodded.
"I've only met Plasmius once, but that dude is freaking off his rocker," Tucker supplied.
"More importantly," I interjected, "he's dangerous."
"He's smart too," Danny put in. "While we've only figured out what to do next, he's probably three moves ahead of us. He probably already knows about the resistance."
"Probably knows about the prophecy too," Tucker said.
"Prophecy?" Both Fentons questioned.
We looked at the two ghost-hunters, forgetting that they didn't know about it. "Frostbite showed it to us," I said. "It said that the only way to beat Plasmius was for the humans and ghosts to fight together against him."
"That's why Frostbite came to us in the first place." Danny shrugged.
"They have a prophecy about this?" Mr. Fenton said. "I didn't even know ghosts had prophecies."
"Guess they do," Tucker said. "They didn't say much about where it came from, something about these ancient ghosts writing it to warn us."
"Tucker, the ghosts were called Ancients," I corrected.
Tucker shrugged, not at all affected by his mistake. "So, doesn't make much difference."
"Wait," Mrs. Fenton said, stopping us. "Did you say the Ancients?"
"Yeah?" I said, confused of how she even knew about them in the first place.
"Those are some very powerful ghosts," Mrs. Fenton said. "They've even made a couple of prophecies for the Human World as well. They've been present throughout our history."
"What are you talking about?" Danny asked, looking at his mom confusedly.
"There have always been these strange occurrences documented the history. They paralleled with the supernatural. Miracles, deaths, plagues, crusades all have connections with the Ghost Zone and it's inhabitants. If you look hard enough, you could spot them."
"And you know this how?" Danny questioned, raising an eyebrow at the woman.
"I've studied more than just the make-up of a ghost and its power levels," Mrs. Fenton supplied, giving him a look. "I've always had a side-interest for ghost culture and the effects of the supernatural on the Human World. My husband, on the other hand, is more on the inventive side though."
Mr. Fenton beamed at his wife, but he looked back at us, his expression still have that same light smile. "But, as for this Frostbite, we'll be ready. We'll prepare the ghost-hunters and get everybody ready."
Danny nodded. "Good," he smiled at his parents. "And thank you for believing me. I know this is definitely out of your comfort zone, and if you need any help, don't be afraid to ask."
He put on the top half of his HAZMAT suit and got up from the table although I noticed he wobbled at bit. He placed his hand firmly on the table to steady himself then released once he righted himself, but I seemed to be the only one to catch this.
"We'll be back before Frostbite gets here to help out," Danny said, sending a glance towards Tucker and me. I could tell he wanted to leave for some reason.
I gave him a questioning look, but then, noticed he was starting look sick, very pale and clammy.
He started to walk towards the exit, Tucker and I following suit.
Before we could make our way up the stairs, Mrs. Fenton stopped us by calling Danny's name. Danny turned towards her as she made her way to him, covering the distance in between them. "It was brave what you did," she said. "Telling us what you are. It could have gone either way." She looked at him, her eyes softening. "If I learned anything from just doing those simple tests I did, it is that you are human, meaning you can get hurt." She paused, giving him an intense look. "Just like the rest of us."
Danny nodded. "I know," he said quietly.
"I have one last question," she said, her expression intensifying. "Why? Why do you do this? Why do you fight?"
"To protect the people I love," Danny said simply, never looking away from her sharp deep blue eyes. The violet flecks in her eyes seemed to meld with the sharp blue, making her eyes look as if they were shining.
"The people you love...That must mean," she said slowly. "Who's you're human half, Phantom?"
Danny shook his head, closing his eyes momentarily as if her questioned pained him. "Please," he said, giving her a desperate look. "You don't want to know that, trust me."
He started ascending the stairs.
Tucker and I followed him. They two boys didn't look back, but I did. I saw as we left the woman. Her expression was a storm of emotions, but I could see that worry was the most prominent in her features. She looked as if she was fighting with herself, as if she was starting to figure it out...
But, I dismissed that thought. There was no way that would ever happen.
We walked out the Fenton's house together, which was strange with Danny being in ghost form and all. Strange meaning we were walking out the Fenton's house without being shot at or threatened...okay maybe a little threatened on Danny's part, but still that was a big improvement.
When we were a good distance away, Danny stopped. Tucker and I both stopped with him, giving him questioning looks. "Wait," he said, "I need to change back."
He looked around, making sure nobody was around to see. It was completely deserted, which wasn't hard to believe considering how late it was.
Danny turned human. Not even a second after, he collapsed to the ground.
"Whoa," Tucker said, reaching down to help Danny up. "Are you okay?"
I supported Danny's other side, feeling his weight on my shoulders. I could see his knees were shaking.
"Yeah, I'm fine...," he paused, trying to figure out if he should say more. "I've been in ghost form for so long. And that rescue...It's just been draining."
I couldn't blame him for not explaining further. He was beaten pretty badly when we were captured; I didn't even want to remember that.
Tucker and I shared worried looks. We weren't used to seeing Danny look so out of it.
"I'm just," he paused, leaning even more heavily on Tucker and me; his arm feeling more limp on my shoulder, "tired."
"Come on, we can go to my house," I said as I started to lead us down the street. "You can sleep there while Tuck and I keep look out."
"Okay," he breathed, his head dipping lower.
I had to say he didn't look so good. The bags under his eyes were much more prominent and darker, looking more like huge bruises on his pale, clammy face. He didn't seem this bad in ghost form. Then again, his human form always seemed to take it a bit harder than his ghost form; plus, Danny always had a habit of hiding his pain until the very last moment when he was about to collapse. It was no surprise he did just that.
We walked in silence, the noise of our footsteps the only sound.
"You don't have to keep look out," he said as we walked on the sidewalk down the street. It seemed like he was just processing what I had said to him almost ten minutes ago.
"Danny, you are the target of countless ghosts; I think we should be safe instead of sorry," I countered, trying to reason with him, but I was afraid his delirium wasn't going to help me be able to do that.
"It doesn't matter; you won't be able to see them anyway. Besides," he paused, taking longer to finish his thought, "they are not after me. They just want to kill me."
"Okay? How is that any better?"
He looked at me through blurry eyes, a goofy grin on his face. "I don't know."
"Sam, I think he's delirious," Tucker said, peering over at me.
"No shit, Sherlock."
"I'm just saying," he muttered. "We should hurry. It's getting late, and we need to get Danny inside and not out in the open."
I quickened my pace. Danny groaned beside me. "Come on, Danny. We're almost there, just hang on."
He nodded, looking like a child with his sleepy half opened eyes and dark black hair shrouding most of his face. He submissively followed our pace, dragging his feet in time.
My house soon came into view; I was thankful that my parents were away on one of their many 'escape from the pressures of Amity' trips.
Switching my weight so that I could still support Danny, I took out my key from one of the side pockets of my skirt, plunging it into the lock. The soft click resounded, seeming to be louder than it normally was. We rushed into the house-well Tucker and I did while Danny was just dragged along.
"This way," I said, turning on the lights. We walked up the stairs, me leading them to my room.
I opened the door. We walked into the room, guiding Danny to my bed, making him sit on it heavily. He just stared at the floor, head drooping.
I put my palm to his cheek, he looked up at me, his head falling deeper into my hand, welcoming the touch. I could see he was trying to fight the exhaustion that was so blatantly on his face. "Go to sleep; we will be fine."
He only nodded, heeding to the soft push I delivered until he was laying flat on his back on the bed.
I reached down to retrieve a throw blanket that was usually on the foot of my bed. When I looked back, he was already fast asleep, one arm placed carelessly over his abdomen while the other was bent, positioned facing up with his hand cupped. It was pretty cute, I must say.
I took a couple minutes to just stand there and look at him. Hey, it was not something I would normally be proud of, but what the hell. It was already blatant that I liked him, might as well indulge myself.
A/N: Well, not my best work, but I managed to pull out another chapter. Next chapter though...will definitely be interesting... cue evil cackle. thanks again for all the reviews, you guys! And, I hope all your summers are going well!
On another look, I realized I never told you guys how my ACL is. My knee is almost 100 percent (extreme bending is still difficult). I'm playing soccer still and managed to get more scholarship money. So, the world is not ending anymore haha.
Until next time!