AN: I'd like to give a shout-out to everyone that's reviewed so far! You don't know how much it means to me! Thanks go to: PenPaper.Paradise, FirestarterX, Name's Caenli (aka, my twin sister while she attempted to be enigmatic…though I admit i was a bit slow on the uptake), Coopt98, and last but not least LoreRobStar!
And now, onto the new chapter! See you at the bottom!
Chapter One: The Fork In The Road
With a groan, Danny Fenton dropped his head onto the small table situated in the back of the Fenton family Ghost Assault Vehicle, (otherwise known as the RV) feeling bruises form and aches begin to make themselves known as the adrenaline from his fight wore off.
"Stupid Box Ghost" Danny cursed tiredly under his breath, "Stupid Lunch Lady; they just had to pick the night before my English test to go on a date, didn't they?" the young Halfa flinched in revulsion, making a face. "Again,—ew." How did that even happen? I just hope Box Lunch doesn't show up soon…
"You know Danny," a familiar voice interrupted his musings, "you really ought to pay more attention when you're fighting, you could get seriously hurt!" The genuine concern in Jasmine Fenton's voice made Danny look up, if only for a moment, towards the driver's seat of the RV. "Yeah, Jazz, I know, I know…"
After a few seconds of dizzily contemplating the pitch black road in front of them, highlighted only by the pale yellow strip in the center and the occasional street lamp, the youngest Fenton child closed his eyes again and settled down into a slightly more comfortable position, trying to get the pounding in his head to stop—only to let out another exasperated groan when a bump in the road caused him to fall out of his seat, the rattling of the car was so violent.
A cold breeze whipped through one of the open windows, sending a shiver up his spine.
Snapping his eyes open at the sudden jolt and cold, he attempted to call upon the weightlessness of his ghost form, only to fall painfully to the floor when it didn't happen fast enough; he was still so worn out from his unusually tough fight with 'The Master of all things Cardboard and Square'. Cursing the Box Ghost once more, Danny wondered for the hundredth time that week why his father had decided to take out the Fenton-version of seatbelts from the back of the RV, especially considering how…fast…Jack Fenton drove.
Opening his eyes to push himself back into his seat, Danny glanced once again to the driver's seat, wondering at Jazz's uncharacteristic silence. Hadn't she heard him fall?
With a gasp, Danny gaped at the small aisle that separated the front of the RV from the back, for there, in all of it spooky and freaky-glowing glory, was the Fenton Ghost Catcher.
And Danny could have sworn it wasn't there five seconds ago.
Maybe his headache was worse than he thought…
"Jazz?" Danny questioned warily, eyeing the device with trepidation, "Why'd you bring the Ghost Catcher?"
Confused at the odd question, Jazz glanced over her shoulder for a split second. "Huh?" she questioned.
A sudden, unexpected flash of light flared in her peripheral vision, and Jazz jerked her head back around, to see a huge truck roaring towards them, high beams blinding her. Panicking, she jerked the wheel to the side—and it didn't respond.
"Danny!" She shrieked, hoping that he would do something like turn the car intangible, or at the very least fly out of harm's way.
Unfortunately, Danny's head pains and dizziness were, unknown to the both of them, (as Danny didn't want to worry his sister with details) symptoms of a minor concussion, disrupting his thought process and slowing his reactions.
"Jazz!" Danny cried, and lunged foreword out of his seat, forgetting about the Ghost Catcher that blocked his way. "I'm Going Ghost!" he shouted and transformed in mid air.
Time slowed down.
Two white rings appeared around his waist, and flashed in opposite directions, revealing the famous DP logo on his chest, along with the black-spandex-suit-with-white-trim that so many fangirls and fanboys tried to imitate to no avail. Hair as white as fresh snow cascaded in front of his face, momentarily hiding his electric green eyes from view.
Whoa… Danny though hazily as the world tipped crazily around him, forgetting the danger he and his sister were in; Dizzy…
Shaking his head to clear it, Danny wondered how hard he had hit his head.
Another blast of cold air ripped through the assault vehicle, sending Danny flying through the air—straight towards the Ghost Catcher.
Eyes wide, he gasped and flailed his arms wildly, trying to change his flight path, but to no avail, as he crashed into and through the glowing green net.
Electricity tore through his body, sending it, and then them into convulsions as his two selves were ripped apart, and reconstructed on the other side as two separate beings.
It was in the exact instant (only half a second after crashing through the overgrown dream catcher) that both boys reappeared on the other side that the large truck slammed into the RV.
The windshield buckled, and then shattered loudly as the force of the impact threw a still dazed Danny Fenton flying through it, slamming his head into the unforgiving asphalt of the road, cracking his skull and just barely missing the cab of the truck.
Jazz, who had been wearing her seatbelt, could only watch in horror as her brother crashed through the glass, before a section the roof of the RV crashed onto her head, knocking her out cold, her body going limp as a trail of blood dripped from a large gash on her arm.
Phantom cried out in fear and jerked forward, one arm outstretched, while the other clutched the Ghost Catcher for balance, torn between saving his sister and rescuing his counterpart; his hero obsession warring with self-preservation. He hesitated for a split second, and that was his undoing.
Another section of the roof collapsed, slamming on to one of the shelves that lined the RV, activating the emergency "Fenton Anti-Ghost Driver" button (designed for the possibility of a ghost stealing the RV). Immediately a ghost shield sprang up along the interior walls, trapping Phantom inside, and all sorts of secret compartments opened up, revealing hundreds of ectoguns aimed and locked onto the only ectosignature in the car: Danny Phantom.
Electric green eyes opened in shock, and then their ghostly glow was overwhelmed by the sheer brilliancy of a hundred ectoweapons going off at once. The Ghost Boy screamed in agony, thrashing in the air, before a wave of dispersing energy exploded outwards from where he was, and silence reigned once more except for the crackle of dying flames and ragged breathing.
Where Phantom once floated, all that was left was a puddle of evaporating ectoplasm, and the shattered half of the Ghost Catcher's ring.
. . . . .
Edward Lancer was not what one would call the stereo-typical teacher (despite many students' claims to the contrary); he did not sleep at the school, he did not enjoy assigning homework, or giving out detention (especially when they usually never fulfilled their intended purpose, as most students just completely ignored his instructions).
At heart, Lancer was a Gamer; the latest version of Doom fell beneath his might within 24 hours of its release…not to mention all of those incompetent players who tried in vain to reach the last level to challenge him…
But back to the original point, he also genuinely worried about his students; financial issues, family trouble, peer pressure, and a plethora of other problems teenagers faced every day.
One student in particular worried him more than others.
For the first few months of school, he had been Lancer's ray of hope that there were still kids out there who were eager to learn, and strove to do good, hard work.
And then he had missed a day of school, "lab accident" his parents had explained. When Danny had finally returned to school, he had changed dramatically. He was jumpy, pale, and clumsy; he'd even been banned from handling anything fragile in chemistry. He became moody, snapping at his friends one minute, and then begging them for forgiveness the next. He cut classes, and sometimes missed an entire day of school. His grades dropped to D's and low C's, and it seemed he could barely stay awake in any of his classes.
And it was still going on, months after his mysterious absence…
A flash of blue and purple light ahead jerked him from his distracted reverie, and Lancer looked up, to see he had wandered off the beaten path of his nightly walk; he was now on the outskirts Amity Park, closer to the more rural parts of the small town.
The loud screen of tires and the sound of a large car colliding with something solid made his heart stop and his blood turn to ice in his veins. He froze, eyes wide and glazed slightly, as he waited for the impact to strike him—and then blinked as logic took over his startled brain.
Shattering glass and the sound of tearing metal greeted his ears, and the overweight English teacher broke into a sprint in the direction of the crash, phone gripped tightly in his hand as he raced with surprising speed towards the disaster.
A long, drawn out scream of agony made his heart skip a beat. When the scream abruptly cut off, he stumbled over his own feet as a cold wave of terror over took him; Do I want to see what's happened? I can just call from here…
He shook his head, determination lighting in his eyes, making them blaze like fire.
If there was one thing he was not, it was a coward who would leave someone in danger, just because he was afraid.
With a new found strength and endurance gained from his days as a cheerleader, Edward Lancer raced down the street, seeing the unmistakable, flickering red light of fire ahead, silhouetting a dark mass of metal, and throwing an eerie light across the truck that it seemed had swerved into the wrong lane.
Lancer felt his breath catch in his throat when a particularly bright flame revealed the side of the car the truck had slammed into, highlighting an unmistakable ghost-shaped logo of an F on the side.
The realization that his student could be in that car had suddenly-numb fingers hurriedly dialing 911, while he raced up to the passenger door of the ruined mess of metal he now recognized as the mangled, infamous Fenton Family Assault Vehicle.
"Carnival of Souls! I need an ambulance right away! There's been a horrible accident!"
Steeling his nerves, he wrenched it open.
He gasped when he saw Jasmine Fenton, one of Casper High's best and brightest, with her long auburn hair soaked a dark crimson from a head wound, while another gash on her arm bled freely, trapped in the driver's seat, covered in bits of glass and with a crushed section of roof balanced precariously between the dashboard and the headrest hanging barely an inch over her head.
"Miss Fenton? Jasmine, can you hear me?" Lancer called urgently, heart pounding, he forced the hand not holding the phone to remain at his side. He knew from the many books he'd read, (and the games he'd played) that you never moved someone who was unconscious until you knew how injured they were, otherwise you could unwittingly hurt them even more.
As he was quickly relaying the directions to their location to the operator, Jazz began to stir.
"Wha..? Where am I? What happened?" She mumbled, her words slightly slurred. One of her hands twitched weakly, as if she didn't have the strength to move an inch.
"Miss Fenton? How are you feeling? Try not to move, can you tell me where you're hurt?" Lancer questioned gently, not wanting to startle her.
Glazed teal eyes looked up at him, and blinked slowly as the eldest Fenton child struggled to remember her surroundings.
Lancer was just about to answer when Jazz's eyes went wide in panic, and she moved so fast Lancer almost fell backwards in shock. One moment she was lying limp, the next she was halfway out the passenger door, staining the seat scarlet as she attempted to shove Lancer out of the way—instead, she lost her strength halfway through the push, sagged against him, and it was only due to the vice principal's quick reflexes that she didn't crumple to the ground.
"New Moon! Miss Fenton, you're going to hurt yourself! What are you doing?" he cried in shock, slowly lowering the woozy girl to the ground, where he'd cleared an area of rocks when he'd opened the passenger door. Quickly, he shrugged off his jacket and began ripping it into makeshift bandages, attempting to calm her down as he gently wrapped her arm, handing a large wad of fabric to her and instructing her sternly to keep the pressure on the gash on her forehead while he tied off the dressings for her arm.
In the distance, he could hear the sound of sirens headed their way.
"Danny!" Jazz sobbed in a strained voice, "Where's Danny? You have to help him! He's hurt badly—he-!" Her eyes widened in horror and she suddenly jerked again, managing to rise to her knees before she swayed again. Seeming to realize trying to move was getting her nowhere, she began to look around frantically, unconsciously clutching the bandages in her hand tightly.
"Daniel? What about him? Was he with you?" Lancer demanded urgently, rising to his feet, he turned to the wrecked RV and peered into the pitch black interior—but no, something was glowing faintly, a greenish-light—Lancer's heart skipped a beat when he spotted the neon green ectoplasm on the floor, for one horrible second thinking a ghost was about to leap out an attack him—and then gave a small sigh of relief when he realized that it was probably from one of the Fenton's many weapons stored in the vehicle.
Not spotting his troublesome student anywhere, he wondered if Jasmine had hit her head harder than he thought.
A sudden shriek from said teen had him whipping around, and when he followed her line of vision, the courage and determination that had sustained him this entire time left him, and he sank to the ground, staring in horror at the river of blood that had pooled around the limp body lying in the middle of the road, surrounded by chunks of glass and metal.
The ambulance arrived seconds later, its siren wailing like a lost soul trapped in the wind. A fitting lament, Lancer thought numbly, for the sight before him.
One that he swore would haunt his nightmares for the rest of his life.