So just when I thought my muse had fled forever, I get an urge to revisit my childhood and this story was born. To anybody reading this because you followed me because of my Merlin story, I apologize that this is not the sequel I've been asked for. I just had no inspiration on that front. Anyway, this is your typical cliche pre-Phantom Planet, Maddie finds out about Danny type fic. I think I like it nonetheless, but let me know what you think.

On with the show!

Danny stood silently, hands loose at his side, unable to believe it had come to this. The day had started quietly, no Box Ghost flying through the ceiling, no Skulker shooting at him on the way to school, no extra long bathroom breaks to earn him detention. He had even managed a B on his last math test. Everything had been going so well, so why was he standing here now, freshly returned to human form, with Maddie Fenton aiming an ecto-gun at him?

It had all started going downhill after school, when none other than Vlad Plasmius had shown up, ranting on about some new plan to get Maddie and Danny to love him. Danny had ignored it for the most part, responding with a rather rude gesture, until Vlad mentioned the part about disposing of his dad. Finally Danny had lost his internal battle and found himself in midair with his game face on in the time it took Plasmius to sneer.

Then, as though to prove that Murphy's law still had as strong a grip on him as ever, his parents decided to show up, ecto-guns blazing. So Danny was forced to perform some complicated aerobatics, attempting to dodge blasts from both his parents and Vlad while still getting in a few good hits on the annoying halfa. He thought he was actually doing pretty good, until he ducked under the black gloved fist aiming for his face and vaguely heard his father yelling something about ghost scum and the electronic whine of something powering up.

Uh-oh, that didn't sound like one of his parents' usual weapons. Danny shot his gaze downward to see, and hopefully avoid, whatever new device they were going to try to rip him apart with this time. Unfortunately this took his attention off Vlad long enough for the fanged fruitloop to land a solid kick to his midsection, knocking the breath from him and sending him flying directly at his mother, who was of course aiming the sleek new gun at his head. Danny desperately tried to put on the metaphysical brakes but was still too dazed from the blow. He somehow managed to get himself stopped just before he would have crashed into her, and hung there for a moment, trying desperately to catch his breath.

And that's when his mother fired.

Danny barely saw it coming. He had just enough time to flinch, and that's probably what saved him from getting it full in the face. As it was, the red beam of energy only sliced across his left cheek. Just a little nick, that's all it was. Danny was just breathing a relieved sigh, when whatever the gun was really supposed to do kicked in, and the breath suddenly caught in his throat before reversing direction in a painful choked gasp.

His skin was melting. God, it was burning! The pain was unbearable, spreading out from the mark on his face like a wildfire under his skin. It was eating into him like acid, and he screamed, hands curling into claws and instinctively rising to his face to tear the agony out. Barely stopping his fingers from digging into his skin, he screamed again, so loud that he feared it might become a Ghostly Wail. Dropping his hands from his face, he shoved one fist into his mouth and literally gagged himself into silence. He felt himself sinking and concentrated on not falling out of the sky, trying to ignore the way his whole body was shuddering.

Through squinting, tear-filled eyes, Danny could see his mother's eyes widen in shock. Clearly this was not the response she had expected. Vlad looked dumbfounded as well, as he watched his nemesis struggling to remain airborne after what appeared to be a scratch on the cheek. He couldn't even gather his wits enough to take the opportunity to take out the little brat while he was dazed. Deciding he wouldn't get a better chance, Danny quickly formed his tail and made his getaway. Or tried to at least. He barely made it two blocks before the pain shot down the length of his body in excruciating waves. In too much pain to even form a scream, he dropped like a stone.

Maddie and Jack shared a brief look after Phantom vanished from sight, then Maddie immediately turned and aimed her terrible new weapon at Vlad. Plasmius' response would not have surprised Danny Fenton at all; he turned tail and ran. Jack shot Maddie a questioning look. "You go after the Wisconsin Ghost, Jack," she said, waving her hand in the general direction the ghost had fled in. "I'll get Phantom." Jack nodded and took off, yelling at the top of his lungs for the Wisconsin Ghost to come back here so he could rip him apart molecule by molecule. Maddie gazed after him fondly for a moment before setting off on her own hunt.

Danny couldn't breathe. There was fire in his lungs, fire all over him, withering his skin, singeing his bones, and he couldn't get air enough to scream. His back arched involuntarily, and he tasted ectoplasm as his teeth sunk into his lip. Oh god, he wanted this to stop. Nothing, not even being inside the ghost portal when it turned on, had ever felt like this. He wanted his mom, wanted to cry for her to make it stop. Then he remembered that she had done this, and wanted her anyway. He hurt so much, burning and yet cold, and all he wanted was a little warmth.

Instinctively he reached for that warm core within him, pulling it around himself like a blanket, and felt the rings form at his waist. Something dim at the back of his mind told him that wouldn't be a good idea, but he ignored it. He was so cold, and he wanted to be that warm boy, the one who had a heart that beat, the one whose mother loved him and would never hurt him. So he let them go and felt the change happen, as white hair turned to black, green eyes to blue, and all the pain in his body instantly dimmed to a dull ache, except for his cheek where the cut still stung sharply.

Danny pushed himself into a sitting position with a quiet groan, hand gripping his head like it would fall off if he let go. Even though the agony had ratcheted down considerably, he still felt muddled and was sensing the beginning of a really spectacular headache coming on. Gazing around blearily, he discovered that he had fallen into a dirty back alley, right next to some dumpsters that he had somehow missed. Small miracle. He would have been perfectly happy to sit there on the slightly damp ground for a few dozen minutes, getting his bearings, if it weren't for the sharp gasp that echoed through the alley behind him.

Instantly leaping into a crouched position, Danny spun to meet the intruder, ready to blast away if it turned out to be Vlad coming back. But he really wasn't very surprised to find his mother standing behind him instead,, new gun pointing distressingly near to his chest. It had turned into just that kind of day. He instantly dropped his hands to his sides, slowly rising into a standing position, Maddie's eyes tracking his every movement.

"Danny..." she began, sounding heartrendingly confused. Danny's heart hammered against his chest. Had she seen? What would she do? Maybe she hadn't seen him change, maybe she just thought he was hanging out in an alley for some inconceivable reason. All his hopes were dashed though when she finished slowly, "...Phantom." Unable to think of a suitable response, Danny was left gaping like a goldfish, which seemed to be all the confirmation his mother needed. "Danny Phantom," she said more firmly. Danny took a deep breath, eyes widening, but still couldn't formulate a reply that could begin to explain everything. "When?" his mother asked shakily.

Danny thought fast, trying to think how he wanted to put this. There was no way any of his excuses would work now. Best to just tell the truth then. "Well remember how the Ghost Portal didn't work at first, and then just suddenly turned on?" At her slow nod, Danny swallowed and continued. "That was me. I accidentally hit the switch inside the portal and it came on. I was still inside." He elected not mention the presence of his friends, or the screaming torment of the few moments inside the portal. His mother was getting hit with enough stuff right now. Currently she looked rather stunned.

"That could have... killed you." She paused as the realization rolled over her.

Danny shrugged. "Well it kind of did." Maddie blanched, but then set her shoulders.

"What about the mayor? The bank robbery?" she asked suspiciously.

"I was framed and controlled. I'm not a criminal, mom," he said urgently. His mother considered this, her expression unreadable beneath her goggles.

Finally she spoke. "You're a ghost," she said as though it had finally hit her, and Danny's heart sank. Mouth settling into a thin line, Maddie slowly stalked forward, ignoring the cringe this brought from her son, until she was barely an inch from him. She examined his face intently, studying every line and crevice as though she could see exactly where the son she thought she knew ended and where Danny Phantom began. When Danny finally dropped his gaze, uncomfortable under her stare, she briskly grabbed his chin, earning another flinch. He didn't fight her though when she turned his face to the side, examining the bloody line that marred his cheek.

"Where did this come from?" she asked harshly. Danny hesitated, his eyes flicking nervously to her stone face, and cleared his throat before attempting to speak.

"It's from that weapon, I think. Usually they heal faster," he whispered, staring at the ground. "What did it do to me anyway?"

"I guess you could say it eats ectoplasm," Maddie muttered distractedly. "We thought it would dissolve a ghost in under a minute. But I guess it didn't work that way because you're only ha... only half..." she trailed off, unable to finish, and Danny swallowed hard.

Maddie looked down at the gun she still cradled in her other arm and raised it a little, and Danny couldn't help the sudden step back, his hands flying up in a helpless defensive gesture. His mother's eyes darted from him to the gun and back again, and Danny felt his throat tightening up. And then in an instant the gun came up fast, Danny ducked instinctively, there was a clattering sound as something was flung across the pavement, the sudden feeling of his mom's arm's around him suffocatingly tight, desperate apologies urgently whispered in his ear, and everything in his world was ok again.

Another A/N:

So the ending ended up a bit muddled, but meh. Also I typed this all out on my phone and did a quick review, so if you see any errors or typos, feel free to point them out. I also wrote the end before the rest of it, so if you want to try and guess where I really started, feel free.