I don't own Danny Phantom. This takes place after The Ultimate Enemy.

Chapter One: Begin Again

Luck. It was sheer dumb luck that saved everyone Danny cared about and Mr. Lancer. Meeting Clockwork was by complete chance. If SkulkTech had let go and Sam and Tucker didn't try to release Danny, they never would have come across the ghost of time. Thinking about this, Danny looked from Clockwork to his family. The halfa's face was turned down, his mouth frowning and his eyes cold, seeming even more ghost-like than Dan had.

"Thank you," Danny said quietly, his voice barely above a whisper. "You knew this was going to happen- all of it. Even this part."

The Observants see the parade as it passes by, one by one, all in a set line," Clockwork explained. "I see the parade from above, all the twists and turns it may, or may not, take." A blue portal appeared next to them, and Clockwork took Danny through time, back to the starting point of the CAT. The ancient ghost handed Danny a packet, everything around them remaining in stasis. Without even having to wait for Danny's question, he made an offer to the halfa.

"You've given everyone else in your life a second chance... why not you?"

Danny turned to face the front as Clockwork disappeared and time resumed. Danny's mouth hung open slightly in shock, his eyes refusing to blink.

"Mr. Fenton?" Mr. Lancer asked harshly, his eyes scolding. "Is there anything you would like to share with the class?"

Danny's mouth closed as he pursed his lips, staring down at the test answers in his hand. A single intake of breath signaled Danny's decision, and the boy walked up to Lancer's desk. The teacher's face immediately softened, and he accepted the answers from Danny. "You can take a make-up test on Saturday morning," he told the ghost boy. He jutted his head out to the side at the door, where Danny saw his sister quickly disappearing.

Danny walked out of the room to see Jazz walking down the hallway as though nothing had happened. He caught up with the redhead in an instant, locking his arm with hers as they walked out to the front steps. "Thanks, Jazz," he said, holding up the note.

"What?" Jazz asked innocently.

"Oh, come on," Danny egged her on. "The Boomerang, your headband, your handwriting?"

"That's not my handwriting, and I'm sure there are tons of blue headbands," his sister shrugged off the accusation.

Danny let out a breath of a laugh and rolled his eyes. "How long have you known?"

She smiled sheepishly, giving in to his questioning. "Since the whole Spectra thing; I saw you transform in an alley. Tell me, though, how did you defeat that creep?"

"I... got back a little earlier than Dan expected," Danny lied. There was no way he would tell anyone what had really happened. Not now, not ever.

A giant, green slime ghost chasing a police car down the street caught both teens' attention. "Go," she told him, and Danny only smiled, transforming before flying off to fight evil.

"Guess who's back and than ever?" he called before diving into the fight.

He wasn't better than ever.

Three weeks after the incident, as it was now being called by Team Phantom, and Danny was still an emotionless drone, occasionally slipping into his own little world and refusing to respond until someone literally slapped him out of it.

At the moment, Danny was sitting on the floor of his parents' lab, staring out the only window in the dank, dark basement. The light of the ghost portal was no longer there, his parents working on a simple repair for it. The rest of Team Phantom was there as well, trying to talk to Danny while his parents went up to the Ops Center to retrieve the ectoplasm samples.

"Danny, please, talk to us," Sam begged, shaking his shoulders. "What happened while you were in the Ghost Zone?"

Slowly, Danny turned his head up to look at Sam. "I'm a demon," he stated darkly before turning his attention to the portal. "I bet that could get rid of my powers. I've done all the equations, and it would work. I would be human again."

Danny got to his feet, and his friends' and sister's eyes widened. "Danny, are you insane?" Jazz demanded.

"Don't do this, dude!" Tucker agreed. "Phantom is a part of who you are."

Sam tried to run forward, only to run into a shield Danny put up that separated the room into two halves, Danny being on the side with the ghost portal. His friends and sister began hitting on the shield, trying desperately to get through, but to no avail, only able to see Danny through the green-colored screen. Their calls of panic and terror brought the elder Fentons downstairs as Danny stepped into the portal.

Danny immediately brought down the shield as his parents came in, slamming his hand to the "on" button. To his parents, it looked like their son had just lost his marbles and stepped into the ghost portal.

Electricity bolted its way through Danny, and he let out a scream, arching his back in pain while his parents ran to the control panel, trying to turn the portal off. "Jack, where's the off switch?" Maddie demanded, searching the panel.

"The button is inside the portal," Jazz explained, turning to face the device as it began to swirl green.

Danny stepped out of it, his black hair now marred with white streaks. He leaned heavily on the portal, his clothes torn from the volts of electricity that slashed through his clothes and body. His eyes opened and he looked up, causing his family and friends to gasp. While one eye looked perfectly normal, its usual sky blue, the right was bright green, almost neon.

"Danny!" Sam called, being the first to run up to him and the one to catch him as his body gave out and he fell forward. She checked his pulse a moment after his eyes closed. "He's not breathing!" she called, laying him down on the ground and beginning CPR.

Danny woke up to a strong, steady beeping sound. His eyes opened, and he turned his head from his left to the right to see a heart rate monitor.

"You're awake," an amazed voice breathed, and Danny turned his head back to the left to see Jazz standing in doorway, light in her eyes. She ran up to her little brother and hugged him around the neck.

Danny let out a choking sound, and he could hear his vitals fluctuate slightly in the background. "Jazz... can't... breathe," he choked out.

"Sorry!" Jazz exclaimed, pulling away. She ran back to the doorway and called down the hall, "He's awake!"

Soon, Danny was once again without oxygen, but this time, he simply sat there, being hugged by his parents. As they pulled away, he asked, "What happened?"

The other three Fentons shared a wary look before Maddie explained. "You went into the portal and turned it on, Danny. Your heart stopped, but we got it started again with CPR. You've been in a coma for a month."

Danny thought. It had taken one month for him to realize his so-called destiny after the first portal incident, and it had taken one month for him to wake up after having it stripped away... or so he hoped. "Can I... can I have a moment to myself?" he requested.

"Sure, Danny," Jack nodded. "If you need anything, just give us a holler!" He seemed to be fairly chipper at the moment, happy to have his son awake.

The second the door was closed, Danny took in a deep breath, throwing his hands up in the air and calling out, "Going ghost!" He looked down at himself to see that his hospital gown was still on his body instead of his usual jumpsuit that came when he said the phrase. "I'm going ghost!" he repeated before pulling his hand back down near his body. There was no ghostly glow, no gloves, no... anything.

Danny grinned, letting out a small laugh. "I'm human," he breathed. "I'm finally human."

Clockwork frowned as he looked at the boy sitting in the hospital bed trying to transform into his ghost half. He was expecting his daily reminder from the Observants in three... two... one.

"The boy is your responsibility now," one of them declared.

Clockwork turned around to face them, a scowl on his face now. "Yes, yes, I know," he said, not that his declaration would stop them.

"As is his evil self," the second Observant said.

"His new form now stronger than ever before."

"If he is not monitored, his powers will spin out of control."

"While his former form had ectoplasm mixed with his DNA..."

"...he is now the first and only true half ghost in existence."

Clockwork almost rolled his eyes at the back and forth from the two Observants. "So I've heard," he droned. "I will watch over the boy and his older self, as I agreed to two months ago."

"If you fail to properly raise this boy and his powers, the implications will be dire!" the first Observant claimed.

"And you think I don't know this?" Clockwork replied with a sigh. "It is ridiculous that you come here every day to tell me this. I know what must be done to insure this and the other worlds' protection."

"And if you fail?"

"I won't."

Whew. And there goes chapter one. I'll be explaining why exactly neither Danny nor Vlad were actually half-ghosts in a few chapters, though Danny is now. This is going to grow dark at some points as it goes on, as I plan for Danny's enemies to develop a bit more, as will he. Don't count on him winning every battle and don't count on Danny's simpler enemies showing up every five minutes. I also plan on having a few more human bad guys crop up, something Danny is fairly unprepared for, aside from Freakshow. Thanks for taking the time to read all this.