Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom or Kindred Spirits.
Warning: This story contains reference to rape, sexual content, male sex and pedophilia. If any of this disturbs you, please do not read.
Chapter 19: Obsolete
Wednesday began but with school not starting until nine, I had hours to kill. Sam and Tucker came over and we decided to spend the next two and a half hours at headquarters. Once we arrived, I started a fire just for lighting purposes and we crashed on the couch. Last night had been exhausting with homework lasting right up until patrol and patrol going strong all night long.
"How did it go last night," Sam asked from my side.
"Hectic," I sighed. "I stayed out 'til three, remember," I groaned.
"We remember," Tucker said softly from a few inches away. "What kept you out later last night?"
"I guess they thought they had an all-night pass," I groaned. "Anyway, I caught around one-eighty."
"Did you get hurt," Sam asked.
"Nah," I shook my head. "I hit a few buildings but it was all minimal damage."
"Did you get any sleep last night," Tucker asked.
"Yeah," I quipped. "I fell straight to sleep after I called you guys. Did you guys get any sleep?"
"Yeah," Sam said softly. "It was a slow road but I drifted around four."
"About the same," Tucker sighed. "I was worried about you last night. You didn't say much."
"I was exhausted," I sighed. "I haven't stayed out this late since Freakshow."
Sam snuggled into my shoulder, "Why don't you get some sleep? Tuck, set an alarm."
"No," I replied. "You guys can. I'm fine, though."
The fire popped and cracked in the dark room, casting an orange glow. Tucker sunk deeper in the couch, pulling out his PDA. Sam gripped my arm in her arms and snuggled into my shoulder again, her chest rising and falling in my peripheral vision. I rested my head on the back of the couch and listened to their breathing. I don't know if it's just me but I swear I can already detect an increase in the depth of their breaths.
Noises started to erupt from Tucker's PDA, cutting through the noise of their breathing. I closed my eyes, my baby's heartbeat sounding in my ears. I smiled, knowing this was just as musical. I was thirty weeks this week and I had another ten weeks to go. As nervous as delivery made me, I still couldn't wait to hold her in my arms. I would go through with the birth plan Dr. Reynolds and I prepared and everything would turn out all right. Vlad and I will be able to make this work. We had to because I couldn't possibly do this on my own.
We arrived at school just on time and started first class. Mr. Lancer gave instruction today and not just homework. We took a test to judge our progress from the regular school year and Mr. Lancer taught a new lesson plan. Things followed that pattern for Mr. Fuluka's two classes and Mrs. Tetslaff's one subject. After sticking around for lunch, we went home. Tucker was trying to make the alarm work flawlessly but it wasn't as simple as we had imagined. We had to keep a close eye on the monitor but we didn't discover that until late in the afternoon. Today, we done our homework at HQ so we could put the monitor on the big screen.
And that's how the days were going to play out. Thursday, we had another test and we were told we would start a new lesson plan Monday. Friday was scheduled to be off but Team Phantom works 24/7 and as soon as we celebrate a year, 365 days. I got up early Friday morning to have my monthly exam from Dr. Reynolds. Of course, it was more than just once monthly. I had two once monthly exams. You've got to love her dedication.
"Any strange side effects," Dr. Reynolds replied.
"You mean from not seeing my toes," I sighed. "I don't know how much longer I can keep this hidden. There's only so much a 3X shirt can cover!"
"You can't keep this up for much longer," Dr. Reynolds sighed. "Danny, you are at the end of your seventh month gestational period. You have kept this hidden long enough. It's time for you to come clean to your family and friends. What are you going to do, keep her hidden up until she's twenty?"
"Of course not," I sighed. "I'm just waiting for the right time."
"When does this right time happen," Dr. Reynolds asked. "When you're going under the knife?"
"I have another ten weeks," I sighed. "I can do this."
"You don't understand," she declared. She pulled on her gloves despite her aggravation and started to feel my abdomen. "Everything feels normal. Okay, kick your shoes off."
I sighed but removed my shoes and socks. She started to check my feet but found nothing wrong there either. I took a calming breath, "What should I expect from the C-section?"
"When we decide that it's better to take the baby than risk vaginal delivery, we will put you under anesthesia. After the anesthesia takes effect, we'll make the cut and open you up. With your rapid healing and detoxing ability, we'll have to make certain adjustments. Not to worry, though, we will keep you comfortable and Lilly safe. Once Lilly is extracted, we'll clean her up and hand her to you. She shouldn't need any unusual medical care but in the case that she does, we will have the best available to her."
"Are you discussing when would be a good time to take her," I asked.
"Not yet," she replied. "Because of your slow progress, Lilly isn't quite as developed as she should be. She's underweight and that does concern us. We will try to keep Lilly in your uterus for as long as possible. If you do go into premature labor again, we will start the procedures the same as last time. We will keep her in your uterus for at least another ten weeks. We won't be able to push it much beyond that but we'd like to get her to the regular development stage for her age."
"Okay," I sighed. Dr. Reynolds went through the same procedures as she did at week 27. I haven't had an exam since the incident with Freakshow because my last one was the Friday before school let out. Of course, Dr. Reynolds had no idea about Freakshow and I intended to keep it that way. Finally, she gave me a clean bill of health and I went home to meet up with my friends.
I kept going over the pros and cons of telling Sam and Tucker about Lilly during patrol. According to my dream, Sam and Tucker know about the real possibility of male ghosts becoming pregnant but they're not certain if it's possible for a half human to do so. I want them to be a part of Lilly's life and they will be but I don't know how to explain how she got here. If I tell them I'm pregnant and they're a part of the birth, they'll know she's Vlad's. If Vlad and I get together again for which I'm hoping, then the risk increases. I don't want the results of my dream to occur. Then if I wait for Lilly to be born to include them, what do I tell them?
It's so frustrating. I know what I want but I don't know what I want to do to achieve it. I can't lock my friends out of my daughter's life. They must be an active part in her life but if I can't get them to understand about Vlad, then how can they know the truth? If I do tell them about Vlad, I have no way of knowing how they will react. I think the only guarantee I have is they won't be happy. Vlad is Lilly's father and he must be a part of her life. If I have to choose between Lilly's father or Lilly's uncle and aunt, how could I make that decision?
Then there's my parents and Jazz. They have a right to be a part of her life but how can I include them without telling Mom and Dad I'm half ghost? If I do neglect them of the knowledge, I am keeping a part of Lilly from her life. According to my dream of Lilly, Mom, Dad, Grandma and Grandpa Simmons and even Grandma Fenton was a part of her life. Was that something I did gradual or did I pop it on them in the last two months of my pregnancy.
I groaned aloud as I walked beside Sam and Tucker. Their eyes darted in my direction, curiosity, worry and fear crossing them. Before they had a chance to ask, I replied: "I'm fine."
"What's wrong," Sam asked.
"I don't know how to solve a problem and time is running out," I groaned.
"Care to elaborate," Tucker asked.
"I have something that I need to tell you guys but I'm conflicted when to do it and when I did it in my dreams," I replied.
"Us," Sam said surprised. "Well, shoot, Danny, come out with it."
"I'd rather not," I sighed. "I don't know how you're going to react."
"You have no way of knowing until you tell," Tucker replied.
I hummed, "How much did you guys learn about the sexual reproductive system of a ghost?"
Sam and Tucker snapped in my direction. "How did you," Sam began to ask.
"I dreamed of it," I sighed. "Not of you guys reading but of a conversation that was supposed to take place last Sunday."
"Okay," Sam said slowly. "Is that normal?"
"Getting an answer to a question in my dream," I said in confusion. "All the time. That's what the power is for. 'Wondering minds' comes to mind."
"Well, what happened in your dream," Tucker asked.
"I told you guys, I came clean to Mom, Dad and Samuels, everything was going great until I realized that I was being tricked and I ended up spending the next seven years of my life cut off from you guys until I died."
"I really hate how often you die in your dreams," Sam grumbled.
"How did you die," Tucker declared.
"Basically, over exhaustion," I replied. "But I didn't like the outcome. I called off telling everyone but that hasn't solved my problem. I can't keep putting this off!"
"Then don't," Sam declared. "Tell us!"
"It's not that simple," I groaned as I continued to walk along the sidewalk. "There are a lot of serious implications that could cause big problems. I just wished there was a simple solution!"
"Danny," Sam and Tucker chided me.
"Oh, right," I said. "It slipped by the radar.
"It's okay," Sam sighed. "It happens all the time. Is there anything we can do to make this easier on you?"
"Not that I can think of," I groaned. "I guess I'll keep going over the pros and cons and decide within the next few months."
Sam swallowed hard, "I just have this horrible feeling."
"Don't worry," I groaned. "You get used to it." I sensed another ghost and left it at that. I don't want to go back to that conversation again.
Around seven, Sam and Tucker started periodically checking their watches. I groaned as I realized they knew today was a new episode. I so did not want to watch my life simplified. However, Sam and Tucker enjoy learning something about what happened and I have to say I enjoy learning things that I didn't know about. Ten til eight, Sam and Tucker clasped their hands together.
"I'm guessing you guys want to go to H Q," I sighed.
"You know it," Sam said. "It's time for Danny Phantom!"
"I thought you didn't like cartoons," I teased her.
"For this show, I'll make the exception," Sam smiled back.
"I'm afraid a lot of people would make that exception if they knew about it," I said softly. "Well, let's get this over with."
We arrived at TPHQ and got comfortable. When the show began, it had a close-up of Sam. She was trying to get our attention about something, utterly annoyed.
"Isn't it everything I said it was and more," David Kaufman said as me.
"You did not lie, dude. You did not lie," Rickey D'Shon Collins remarked.
"What," Tucker declared. "I'm the one who showed you the Hummer!"
"Sometimes they mess things up," I said softly. Our character's actors went on to say 'The Ginormo 3000' in unison while Sam came over to inspect the truck. We three were snickering at how utterly stupid this was being. Owl feathers? Amazon Rain Forest wood? Come on. No one's that stupid. That thing wouldn't be legal all less have as many on the lot as they were showing.
"I know what you could do," Grey DeLeslie said as Sam. "You could totally haunt this place! Scare people away!"
My character denied Sam something, looking bored as the real Sam recoiled. "What," Sam declared. He went on to tell Sam that he was the good guy and that he couldn't do anything. "I would never ask you to abuse your powers like that," Sam denied. The real issue was what my character said. Good guy? I would never call myself that. Especially back then when I was unsure if I was the good guy or just trying to clean up my messes. I'm still not one-hundred percent sure now.
"It's just their interpretation," I sighed. "Don't be offensive about it."
"It wouldn't be the first time one of your bright ideas got Danny in trouble," Tucker's character declared. The scene blurred out, Sam saying 'smile.' Sam, Tuck and I, holding a HAZMAT suit in my hand, were in the lab. My character told Sam that the portal wasn't working and I realized that this was their interpretation of the portal accident.
"Oh, no," I said softly.
"Why are you holding the HAZMAT suit," Sam asked, curious. "You put it on in the changing room."
"Like I said, it's their interpretation," I replied watching as Sam convinced the cartoon version of me to go inside the portal.
"That's ridiculous," Tucker declared. "You would never step foot in that thing!"
"Especially after the conversation Brit and I had," I replied as I watched my cartoon character put his hand on the button. All three of us scoffed as the accident took a manner of seconds. "I wished it was that simple!"
Sam rolled her eyes, "That's stupid. Do they honestly believe turning someone half ghost could be as simple as a few seconds inside that portal."
"It's a cartoon," I sighed. "They can't go into the gruesome details."
"How was it bad that I was there," Sam's cartoon character scoffed. "If it weren't for me, he'd be flying around with his Dad's face on his chest."
"That's true," I smiled at Sam.
"I just wish someone would destroy these stupid trucks," Sam's character declared.
I laughed, "See, even you do it!"
"About time she made a wish," a female voice said as the picture showed a green face with red eyes. "So she has wished it, so it shall be." Desiree appeared.
"Oh, my God," Tucker declared.
"Is that Desiree," Sam declared. "Was she there even then?"
"Yep," I said, smacking my lips. "I guess. It could just be their way of explaining the ghost cow." Though I think they're right. It didn't make sense how a ghost would be plastic. This did explain some things.
My character demanded that the cow stay away from the trucks instead of telling it to 'follow me' and Tucker was standing beside of me when the cow spewed it's milk. Tucker did declare that he was becoming lactose intolerant though like he did in reality. That's when I knew Tucker had been hit too. I would never keep a ghost around them. I've always tried to protect them but back then, I was a bit more overprotective. I was borderline obsessive.
The theme song came on and I covered my face. I hate this stupid thing. The only solace I get is that it's friendly with the kids. But 'he's going to catch them all because he's Danny Phantom' just drives me up the walls. Sam and Tucker were snickering through the theme song up until the part where I push Dash into the locker. Sam turned serious while Tucker chortled. I chuckled at their reactions but I was still hiding my face as I prepared for it to start. Finally that horrible repetition started causing Sam and Tucker to stare in shock and horror.
"He's going to catch them all," Sam said in surprise.
"I know, right," I groaned. "It's like Pokemon or something. It's ridiculous. I in fact do not catch them all!"
"Oh, well," Tucker sighed. "It's got a nice beat to it but completely ridiculous."
"It's a theme song to a cartoon," I groaned. "It's not supposed to make sense."
When the show returned, we watched it noting the inaccuracies and the things that surprised us. We did find it surprising that the monsters that kept attacking Paulina was from the movie. Sam got mad that Desiree had cheated but we had to remind her that Desiree plays by her own rules. I rolled my eyes just before the commercial break when it showed me spiraling out of control.
"That did not happen," I retorted. "I just kind of went to sleep if you like. I didn't remember anything until I got the flush of memories come through. There was no screaming. Just a 'oh, no'."
"What about that scene in the water fountain," Tucker asked. "That didn't seem right."
I hummed, thinking it over. "We did get into a fight but there was snow in the fountain. Is that what you're talking about?"
"No," Tucker retorted. "I don't care that they got the seasons messed up. It's rare that a cartoon makes seasons unless it's related to the show."
"True," I commented. "I can't remember. Sam."
"I think you said something else," Sam said, thinking it over. "What did he say?"
"He mentioned the Lunch Lady, Skulker and Technus," Tucker said. "Technus wasn't Sam's fault. That doesn't make sense."
"That's because that's not what I said," I retorted.
"You blamed me for the frogs… which sorta was my fault," Sam replied.
"Right," I said. "I shouldn't have blamed you but I didn't blame you for Technus. At least I didn't screw up that bad."
"Why were you two fighting," Tucker asked. "I'm confused."
"I was an idiot," I replied. "I tend to snap at people when pressure builds. Sam was the only one there so she got the blunt end of it."
"It's no big deal," Sam said. "I shouldn't have said what I said."
"You didn't, remember," I smiled. "I granted your wish of it never happening."
"Yeah," Tucker grumbled. "I still can't believe you would push your best pal away for a girl in a pink skirt."
I chuckled, "Sorry, Tuck."
"If you two would have gotten together through that, I would have killed you," Tucker said, crossing his arms. "Ten years of friendship pushed aside for a pretty girl! Unbelievable!"
"What can I say," I smiled. "I've always been a sucker for the ladies."
Sam blushed, "Oh, stop."
We watched the remainder of the commercials and watched the remainder of the show. When my cartoon character's memory came back, I floated out of Sam and Tucker's smacks, covering my head. Sam and Tucker started to hit me repeatedly.
"You little pervert," Sam declared. "You can't talk your way out of this. You did that!"
"And you didn't invite me," Tucker retorted.
"I'm sorry," I said, covering my head. "I was curious and you've been there, too, Tucker!"
"I barely remember it," Tucker declared.
"What are you two talking about," Sam asked.
"Nothing," I replied. "I'm sorry. I should have never peeked in the girls locker room. That was wrong."
"Your darn right it's wrong," Sam declared. "That's disgusting!"
"Did you do something to my costume," my character asked.
"No," Sam's character said sweetly. "It's always been that way."
"Yeah, right," Sam groaned. "You didn't ask if I did anything to your suit. You accused me of doing it."
"I was right there when you made the wish," I said, smirking. "If you wanted me to not know about it, you shouldn't have wished for us to remember everything!"
"Don't remind me," Sam said, crossing her arms. "But it has always been that way. We just remember an alternate timeline."
"I know," I smiled. I understood alternate timelines perfectly. "It didn't alter the past, it just brought that other timeline to this one." The Adkins hooligans were furious that I missed the episode of when Kitty overshadowed Paulina because of that incident and Vlad was furious that I didn't call for two days. I had to tell every one of them that I didn't know any of them. Without a ghost boy, there was no show and with no show, Star's sisters had no reason to seek me out. Dan never told them about seeing me in the Nasty Burger that day.
We finished watching the episode, laughing at all the extras behind us in the theater. Paulina did invite everyone to that birthday party and we three were the only ones in ninth grade who didn't attend. There was certainly no one in that movie theater. We had the thing to ourselves.
"Ashley definitely wouldn't be there," Sam chuckled. "Could you imagine the sixth in command not being at Paulina's side?"
"Ashley," I asked, confused. "Where did you see her?"
"The girl in the pink tank top and the bushy hair," Sam said. "Didn't you recognize the kids?"
"He draws the real students in the background," I declared. I had never noticed.
"I guess," Sam said. "It looks too much like Ashley for it not to be her."
"I'll have to pay attention the next time," I replied. "I never paid attention to the background."
"Well, that's it," Tucker sighed. "Let's go back on patrol."
"Finally," I sighed. "Chaos I can control!"
Saturday went by like always until late night patrol. The ghosts started becoming scarce around midnight and I knew Vlad was on his way. I guess with Invincible gone now, Vlad's the new big bad. I'm too much fun for me to have that kind of reaction. Finally, Vlad appeared on the top of a hill.
"Daniel," Vlad breathed. I took a calming breath as well, trying to stop myself from melting in his presence. "I was wondering if we could talk."
"What do you need, Vlad," I whispered. It was so difficult to be so close to him. We were within touching distances but I had to keep my urges in check. Giving into those desires just causes more problems than pleasures.
"Come home with me," Vlad said softly. He moved in to me, touching my arm. I gazed into his eyes, feeling the pressure against my shoulder. "Just for tonight. You and I."
"Vlad," I said, forgetting what I was going to say. No! "This is a bad—," I trailed off again. Vlad leaned in to me and I met him half way. I wrapped my arms around his neck, feeling his skin beneath mine. I deepened the kiss, Vlad's hands dropping to my waist.
Can we go home, Vlad asked.
Yes, I replied. Something inside me was trying to tell me something but I couldn't hear it. I just wanted to be with him.
Vlad teleported out with me and we appeared in our bedroom in Elemerton. I climbed on top of him, straddling my legs over his waist. Vlad's hands slid down to my hips, gripping them tightly. I moaned, closing my eyes as I gave in to the desire and the passion. Vlad phased through me, turning around and gently laying me on my stomach. I came to my knees, moaning as his lips went to my neck. Vlad's right hand was on the bed while his left held onto my hip. I used my powers to keep myself elevated as I gripped his hands in mine. Vlad's lips moved more to the back of my neck as I felt him climb on top of me. I prepared to consummate our love one more time. I was more than ready for our time of passion.
I rolled over, still in my ghost form, at two o'clock. Vlad laid beside me, sleeping peacefully as Plasmius. I touched his hand as I climbed out of bed. I summoned my cell phone to me, dialing Sam's number.
"Hey, Danny," Sam said, unaware that I wasn't home.
"Hey," I replied. "I'm going to sleep. You guys do the same."
"Okay," Sam said softly. "We'll see you in the morning, right?"
"Get some extra sleep," I said. "I'll pick you guys up around ten."
"Are you sure," Sam asked.
"I'm positive," I replied. I glanced at Vlad, "I have some things I want to do."
"All right," Sam said, a little hesitant. "See you tomorrow."
"Goodnight," I replied.
"Night," Sam bid farewell. We hung up.
I went back to the bed, climbing in. I laid my head on Vlad's chest, him wrapping an arm around my shoulders protectively. "Are you okay," Vlad asked.
"Never better," I moaned, snuggling into him. It was hardest to connect with him like this but I still could do it. It was easier for me to get around in my ghost form than it was for me in my human form and that's why we made love in ghost form. I still looked slim in Phantom form though I should be bigger in this form. The reason I'm not sure but I'm also not concerned. I'm satisfied with that result the same way I'm satisfied with what happened tonight.
When morning came, Vlad got up to make breakfast while I was getting dressed. Vlad had some specialty clothes made for me, turning male clothes into maternity wear. When Vlad walked in with the tray, I was trying on the stripped maternity T-shirt. I ran my hand over my stomach and chuckled as I heard Vlad cross the threshold. "You look beautiful, Momma."
"Thanks," I said, turning around. "But I'm a Daddy."
"You'll always be my girl," Vlad said, placing the food on the bed. He walked over to me, placing his hand on my stomach. "My girls."
"I'm sorry I ever thought I needed to be separated from you," I said softly. "Last night was really amazing."
"It was, wasn't it," Vlad said softly. He met my lips with his, kissing me gently. He broke the kiss, "You ready for breakfast?"
"Yeah," I said softly. I wasn't hungry but I never was. I walked over to the bed, Vlad sitting down in front of the tray. He picked up a quartered apple, snapping it in a smaller size with his bare hands. He gently fed it to me. "You know a way to a guy's heart."
"Through his pregnant stomach," Vlad chuckled. I cut a piece of the egg, slipping it in his mouth. "I'm not pregnant," Vlad declared.
"But it's the same way to any man's heart," I said. I leaned in, kissing him. Vlad cut a piece of my egg, slipping it in my mouth. All the flavors danced on my tongue. "I've really missed you, Vlad."
"I've missed you too," Vlad said softly.
"I'll never do that to you again," I said softly. "I promise."
"And I'll never put you or Lilly in danger again," Vlad said softly. "I promise."
Sam, Tuck and I hung out until that evening but when Vlad came by that night, I had to turn him down. Instead of fleeing back to the Ghost Zone, the ghosts just scattered to other parts of the town. I guess Vlad doesn't have the same result as Invincible. Vlad wasn't happy about me running after the ghosts but he seemed to go with little protest.
Monday returned and we went to school like usual. The teachers loaded us down with homework today and we spent up until two trying to complete it. While Sam and I went over what we did get complete, Tucker decided to work on the radar. As Sam was showing me what I did wrong on my math homework, an alarm started going off on Tucker's PDA. "What in the world," I screamed.
"Sorry," Tucker declared. "I'll turn it down. I got it working, though."
"What was that," I asked, the ringing in my ears still present.
"I think I've perfected the alarm on the ghost radar," Tucker said. "Let me see," he hummed. "Okay, there's a ghost on Jefferson street. Select that and activate that." Tucker wasn't really saying this for our benefit, he was just working. The alarm started to go off again, this time softer, with Tucker crying out in celebration. "It works!"
"You said there's a ghost on Jefferson," I asked.
"Yeah," Tucker replied.
"I'll be back," I groaned. I transformed and flew off. Within two minutes, I returned with my newest prisoners. "That was simple," I declared. I looked around the room to find that Sam and Tucker had extinguished the fire and packed up our belongings. "What's going on?"
"We're going to hang out tonight," Tucker declared triumphantly. "Sam and I decided that when I finished the radar, we would spend the evening doing normal-friend stuff, not ghost hunting. We still got some stuff to do so we'll go home and meet up at the golf course in one hour."
"Okay," I said slowly. I grabbed my bag off the table while Sam and Tucker grabbed theirs. I took their hands, returning them to their houses. I guess I knew what was going on. Since Tucker perfected the radar, we didn't need to spend our days walking around town anymore. We could spend more time having fun and allow the radar to do the 'patrolling.' I ran up the stairs, dropping my bag against my door. There was nothing for me to do so I lay down on my bed.
I sat up, looking to my clock in a panic. It was five o'clock! "Crap," I declared. "I can't believe I fell asleep!" I ran out the door, saying goodbye to my parents and Samuels in a hurry and running into my alley. I transformed and flew to the golf course.
Sam and Tucker were already on the eighteenth hole but that didn't mean I had to miss out on the fun. "If I make this shot, I'm the winner," Tucker teased. I smiled mischievously, phasing through the ground in my human form. Time for Operation: Mess with Tucker. Tucker lined up his putt and took a swing at the ball. I turned it intangible. Tucker gasped.
"That's one," Sam said smugly. Tucker swung again but I turned it intangible again. "That's two!" Tucker swung again, this time with force but it didn't matter. The ball had no solid mass to be hit and I held it parallel with the grass. "And three!"
Tucker groaned, bending down. I smiled, popping up with the ball in my hand: "Boo!"
"Danny," both declared.
"You were supposed to be here an hour ago," Sam declared in an aggravated tone.
"I know," I said, putting my hands on my side as the ball dropped to the ground. "But you'll be happy to know that the Ghost King won't be—," I began. I opened my eyes to see them looking at me unimpressed. I guess I'm too predictable. "Okay, I fell asleep."
Tucker groaned, "Danny, this is getting ridiculous! You've been treating us more like sidekicks than friends and we're getting sick of it."
"I'm doing the best I can," I defended.
"Yeah, well you got in a lot of trouble yesterday and we took the heat of it," Sam said, crossing her arms.
"Oh, yeah," I declared. "Name one time!"
"Do you remember Skulker around eight last night," Sam declared. "He fired the missile at us and you took off leaving us there to take the hit."
"I didn't know you were behind me," I defended. "I told you guys to stay put!"
"What about Cujo," Tucker declared. "Mom was coming down the stairs around three and we were trying to squeeze his big butt in the portal before she arrived. He turned around and licked us but you were intangible and safe!"
"That was my fault," I said, looking down. "I forgot to grab your hands. I'm sorry. But that's it!"
"Oh, yeah," they declared.
"Lunch Lady," Tucker declared.
"You flew away and left us to be covered in meat," Sam declared. "I really hated that!"
"Okay, okay," I said, holding up my hands. "Maybe I have been a little neglecting but I'll start to be more considerate," I replied. I heard a scream and turned in the direction. "What in the world?"
Tucker pulled out his PDA, "I don't know. I don't see anything."
"I'm going to check it out," I said.
"Danny," Sam screamed as I took to the air and transformed. I turned in her direction. "You'll be more considerate, remember." She forced her arms up.
"Tomorrow," I declared. "You guys stay here!"
Tucker groaned as I flew down the hill towards the middle of the holes. Several people were running and screaming. I saw something white zooming towards a kid on the ground. I smacked the ghost before it could reach the younger boy. It smashed into the mini golf prop. Great, another strange ghost. I landed on the ground in front of him. He was under a sheet.
"Come on," I retorted. "A bed sheet?" I grabbed the sheet, flipping it off of him. "What have you got under there?" I really wished I hadn't when the sight barraged me. He was gruesome. Ligaments, muscle and all things gross met me. He was even juicy. I gasped in shock.
The ghost attacked me, knocking me to the ground. Wait! He can hit real world items and me in my ghost form! "Change back," he moaned.
"What," I declared. "Get off me!" I kicked him away from me and had no trouble hitting him. This is really strange. They're usually one or the other… not both! I powered up a blast, sending it out. The thing deteriorated away, dissolving before my eyes. I blinked in surprise. That was a strange way for him to go back to the Ghost Zone. I looked around, "Gotta get out of here before I get blamed for this." I have enough trouble with hitting buildings as it was. That ghost was supposed to absorb that blast, not deteriorate away.
I flew back to where I left Sam and Tucker but they were gone. Shrugging, I decided to head home. Maybe they fled there. Halfway there, my phone rang.
"Team Phantom, how may I help you," I answered.
"You could help us by coming back," Sam's voice retorted.
"Coming back," I asked, confused. "Where are you guys?"
"Cleaning up your mess," Sam retorted.
"Again," Tucker added in an equally aggravated tone.
Oh, no. "I'm sorry, guys. I didn't want to be there when the adults showed up and I thought you already left. How did you get stuck with it?"
"We followed you," Sam declared.
"I told you not to," I cried. Groaning, I added, "Oh, well." I phased through the roof, landing in my room. I triggered my rings, "I guess I'll be there in a little while." I looked to my bed but was taken aback. A young girl sat on my bed, reading my comic. "Can I help you?"
"Yes," Sam declared. I winced, pulling it away from my ear.
"Not you," I declared.
"Not so loud," the girl said.
"I've got to go," I said towards the phone.
"Of course you do," Sam groaned as I disconnected the line.
"Who are you," I asked, "and what are you doing in my room?"
"I'm Danielle," she replied, looking wide-eyed at me, "your third cousin twice removed. I ran away from home. Hey, do you have any food?"
"Sure," I said a little slowly. I picked up my backpack, retrieving the cube. I placed it on my bed, expanding it. "Help yourself."
"Oh, hooray," she declared in excitement. The girl ate like I did before my portal accident.
She finally appeared to be done eating when her eyes started to wonder. "You want to be an astronaut," she cried, surprised. I kept my expression vacant. I used to. "Did you know they only select two hundred—."
"Two hundred applicants every two years." I replied as she continued to say the same thing. "Yeah, I knew that. How did you?"
She picked up the top CD on my night table. "Dumpty Humpty. Those guys rock!"
Why is she stalling? "Had enough to eat," I asked, wondering if anything in the cube was left. She nodded her head happily. "Good," I said, "cause now it's time to tell my parents."
"What," Danielle cried. I grabbed her hand, dragging her to the door. "No!"
"Look, you said you're my cousin and maybe you are but we still need to call your parents," I explained as I dragged her down the hallway. I'm not completely following but I'm not stupid. This is the girl who becomes my sister. I'm just uncertain about one thing…
"I said no," she declared. I was surprised as I lost her hand and she ran back to my room.
"Hey, get back here," I declared, running after her. I looked around my room, it empty. "Wow, she's fast," I said in shock. I transformed, floating through my wall. If she is a half-ghost too, that means she's really fast. "Where did she go? She couldn't have gotten far." Before I had a chance to begin looking, I heard a furious battle yell coming from above me. I looked up in surprise to see a small dot in the sky. "Oh, swell, another ghost. What's this one going to be? A spooky bat on a string!" However, the small dot continued to get bigger until it dwarfed me in size and crashed into me. I slammed into a car, the monster busting it into a million pieces.
"Whoa," I cried, rolling out of the car. "You look like I do on a bad day but I'm going to make you look worse!" I shot a blast at him but he swatted it away. I think this guy deserves bigger hardware. I took a breath.
He clasped his hand on my mouth, preventing me from sucking in anymore air. I stared at him in shock. No one has ever stopped my ghostly wail before.
"Let him go," I heard a female voice. I turned my head to stare in shock at the young girl that was in my room.
"Get out of here," I screamed, muffled. I know nothing about this girl. She may have ghost powers or she could be like me… a product of a portal accident. Seems there are no shortage of those around my parents.
"Forget it," she declared, her attitude hardcore. "I know who you are and I'm not leaving now!" A flash of light exploded from around her and I watched in horror as she changed from a blue hoodie, red shorts, blue sneakers and black hair into a black costume eerily similar to mine, white hair and a ghost! I guess she's not completely like me. She sent out a blast, knocking him away from me. That now leaves the question of how she got powers in the first place. I floated over to her.
"How," I began to ask. A roar came out and I turned back in the direction of the ghost.
"Do you want to ask questions or kick butt," she asked. My kind of girl!
We both powered up a blast, sending it in his direction before he could approach us. The shot went straight through him and he dissolved away into a green goo.
"This night keeps getting weirder and weirder," I said, turning to her. "And I still have a lot of questions! My parents—." She started to sway, her energy faltering. I caught her as she collapsed in my arms. "I guess those questions will have to wait until tomorrow."
I picked her up in my arms, flying her into the ops center. I put her in one of the beds, tucking her in. She was so young. Too young to be facing life as a halfa. I lifted through the air, flying to the golf course. I did promise Sam and Tucker I would return.
Sam and Tucker were gone when I arrived so I went back home. I checked on Danielle and she was sleeping peacefully in her human form again. I returned to my room, calling Sam and Tucker. I wasn't surprised when they didn't want to talk to me. I guess I wouldn't want to either. I went on my late night patrol and was surprised when Vlad didn't visit me. I guess he got the message last night.
When morning came, I gathered up breakfast before making my own and went up to the ops center. "Danielle," I called as I walked into the room. She wasn't there. "Where did she go now?" I sat down and ate the food I had brought her. I did bring everything that was my favorite after all. She seemed to have the same taste I used to have.
I went to school but Sam and Tucker were more focused on school than goofing off like usual. I decided to take their lead, focusing on my work. However, I started talking to them at lunch as we waited for anything interesting to happen. They didn't seem too interested in what I had to say if they heard a word of it to begin with.
"Are you guys all right," I asked, noticing the drained looks. They weren't bored, they were exhausted.
"We cleaned up an entire golf course yesterday," Tucker retorted. "How do you think we feel?"
"And you couldn't take a minute to show up," Sam snorted.
"I'm sorry," I declared. "I was dealing with a super powered cousin I didn't even know I had!"
"Broken record," Tucker said. Sam also turned away from me.
I sighed, trying to find a way to make this up to them when the contents of our lunch spilled over onto Sam and Tucker. "Boo," Danielle popped up.
"And this must be her," Sam said. I sighed. This isn't helping things.
I stood up, motioning my finger towards her. She phased out of the table, powering back down to a human and followed me. "You can't be using your powers like that in public!"
"Oh, come on," she said, "It was funny!" She turned in the direction of some nerds and Dash was pestering them. At least he isn't bothering us as much since they found out the truth. Now, we're ignored more than hand selected. "Maybe it'd be funnier if it were that guy?"
"Wow," I said, smiling. "You like NASA and you already dislike Dash. Maybe we are related! Now, do you mind telling me how you got those ghost powers to begin with?"
A scream interrupted me. Not again! I turned to see the kids scrambling out of the cafeteria. I couldn't see a ghost until it was right upon me. No, now is the spooky bat on a string… or a firefly. This scared them? Come on.
"Shall we," she asked me mischievously.
"I still have questions," I pointed out. She isn't getting off the hook that easy.
"Let's catch that thing," Danielle said, looking at me in anticipation, "and you'll learn everything!"
I took off, Danielle following behind me. I had to keep that thing in my sights. My ghost sense was screwing up for some reason and I couldn't track it any other way. We transformed, following it. After about a minute chase, Danielle taunted me: "Race ya?"
Race me, I chuckled. I'm the fastest there is. "You're on," I declared. She gained a little ground but I quickly surpassed her. I told you I'm the fastest. I looked behind me to see if I could see her, giving up on finding the firefly. "No sign of her," I celebrated. "I am totally winning."
"Are you now," a voice declared. I snapped back in the direction I was flying to see Vlad quickly approaching me. I slammed on the brakes, realizing I was the one approaching him.
"Vlad," I declared in surprise.
"Of course, fool," Vlad declared. "Who else?"
I can't stand this Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde stuff! Vlad hit me with a blast, sending me crashing into the ground. I came to my feet as Vlad landed in front of me. "What, no snide remarks about my Dad or hitting on my Mom?" I asked. He hasn't been this bad since he put that bounty on me.
"No, my boy," Vlad said. "I don't have time for that." Vlad powered up an energy blast and I was quick to form one of my own. They met but Vlad's was overpowering mine quickly. I was tiring quickly when I saw Danielle land beside me. Normally, I wouldn't ask for anyone to get in-between Vlad and I but today is different. Vlad is different.
"Help me," I declared. "Do something!"
"Oh, I am," Danielle said. I felt a sharp pain cut in my back and my blast failed. Vlad's blast dissipated before it hit me as I came to my knees.
"I-I don't understand," I said. I was so confused. Danielle turned against me. Vlad's become loco again. I collapsed to my hands as my energy took a nose dive. I was solely relying on my normal energy and it is usually spent on supporting my pregnancy.
"Did I do good, Daddy," Danielle asked.
"You did wonderful, child," Vlad replied. "I could not ask for a better daughter."
I collapsed, all going black.
I opened my eyes slowly, seeing the lab in Colorado. Great. Well, it could be worse. I could be on the island. I gasped when I realized the black, blue and white blur was Vlad. I saw a flash of light and turned in that direction. A television screen was rolling clips of me.
"You've been spying on me," I demanded. "Okay, I've said it before and I'll say it again. You really are one seriously crazed up froot loop."
"A froot loop would never think to use a string of invisible burglaries to make his first million. A froot loop would never be smart enough to overshadow the world's millionaires to form wagers. I am not a froot loop," Vlad declared. Sure you're not. "And I'm not a villain. All I ever wanted was love." He pushed a button, revealing something in a capsule. I hadn't noticed it until now but I couldn't believe what I was seeing. "The good clone still needs time before he'll be able to accept your DNA."
"Those ghosts," I demanded. "They were clones!"
"Yes," he hung his head. I gasped as the firefly appeared right before me. "And I would watch a thousand others dissolve into ectoplasm to get the perfect half-ghost boy!" The tiny me lost an eyeball during his rant and I found it surprising how difficult it was for me to watch.
"Yeah," I said, "nothing loopy about that." I swallowed the bile.
"Do you think you're getting out of this," Vlad asked. He snapped his fingers and the firefly flew into my forehead. "You're in this for duration—," he smirked.
"Get out of me," I screamed as I realized it was trying to take over me.
"And then you'll become obsolete," Vlad spoke harshly. My world came crashing around me.
I opened my eyes to see I was no longer in the black box of doom but in a capsule like the clone. I was struggling to gain control over my body from the ghost but even if I did regain control, I wouldn't be able to bust out of these restraints. I looked up to see Vlad floating in plain sight. I stuffed the feeling of betrayal and hurt to focus on freeing myself. The first sharp pain entered me but I couldn't see what it was supposed to do.
I felt my power of transformation trigger and I screamed, struggling to control it. The ghost fought against my will and I grunted as I struggled to cease the transformation. I don't know why Vlad wants me to transform but I know it has something to do with securing his perfect clone. I won't give him anything! A jolt of pain shot through me and I screamed, losing control of the transformation. I quickly retrieved it, forcing it back in. More pain entered me.
What is causing this pain? The ghost kept trying to force me to transform while I fought against the sheer power. "Make it consistent," I heard Vlad declare. I looked up to see Mom walking to my pod. Then I noticed Mom was see-through. Oh, you have got to be kidding me.
Pain jolted through me and I screamed, losing the control over my own powers. I nearly transformed but I pushed away the pain to force it back down. The ghost kept trying to access my transformation power and with the pain it was almost tempting to give in but I held out. The hologram upped the pain and I screamed out. As I struggled with preventing a transformation, I allowed the power to mount. With the machine in overdrive, the sudden increase in power was too much. The machine exploded.
I transformed now that the machine was broken and floated out. Everything hurt and I hardly had any energy left. I felt the ghost pass through me and I gained full control. I flew away, desperately seeking a way out of here. I didn't want to be anywhere near Vlad ever again.
My strength returned partially and I landed in the garage. "Which way should I—," I started to wonder aloud when I was shot with a blast of energy. I landed in a granite cabinet.
"You're not going anywhere," Danielle declared. Great. I have to talk to her. I know where she came from now. I never in a million years imagined she was a clone but this girl becomes my sister. I have to save her too if I can. I can barely save myself. "Stop fighting! I know you're too weak to beat me."
"I'm not going to fight you," I declared, standing up. "Every time I fight a clone it turns to goop." We both looked down, her feet becoming green ectoplasm. She screamed, powering down her ectoplasmic blast. "You're not mindless like those other clones. I don't want to hurt you," I said, holding my hands up. Pain shot through my back and my abdomen and I knew I had to stop this. With so much stress, I'd go in premature labor again.
"Then let my father have your DNA so he can save me," she declared.
"He's not going to save you," I declared. "He's using you! You're nothing but a mess he's not going to clean up!"
Her eyes watered with tears and I thought I had got through to her but she narrowed her eyes. "You're lying," she declared. She shot me with a blast before I could plot my next move. Not like I had any energy to do anything, I thought before all went black again.
I woke up again, smoke drifting around Danielle as she secured me in the pod. "All secure, Dad," Danielle said, looking up to Vlad. Vlad was floating, holding his chin.
"I still don't know how I'm going to get him to change," Vlad said. "Unless… Unless you overshadow him for me, dear." Don't do it, Danielle. I won't be able to protect you and myself at the same time. "Force the transformation."
"But what if it's too much," Danielle said. "The last clone that tried that melted."
"It won't be," Vlad said, pretending to care about her. If he'd do this to his own flesh and blood daughter, he would never care what happens to you.
"But what if—," Danielle began.
"You exist to serve me," Vlad roared, his caring demeanor disappearing. I gasped as I saw the man who raped me return. "Just do it!"
Danielle's eyes filled with tears and I thought for a moment she would do it. However, that look of defiance crossed her face again, "You are not the boss of me!" She released my restraints. Now it's payback time.
"No," Vlad said, a little in shock. "No!"
I smashed out the glass, jumping out of the containment box. I looked to her, a smile enveloping on my face. "You're helping me now?"
"Do you want to ask questions or you wanna kick some butt," she repeated. Kick butt, definitely!
I triggered the rings and Danielle followed me. Within a split second, we sent Vlad careening backwards. Vlad smashed into the wall and something big collapsed on him. For once, hurting him didn't make me feel guilty in the least. Even when he was attacking my town or my family, retribution has always felt wrong. I was even afraid when he was raping me but I'm stronger now. I'm over him now. "Nice," I complimented her.
Vlad gasped and it brought my attention to what was going on. The clone's chamber had been what he crashed in and it was dissolving away. Vlad went nuts as it disappeared. Well, at least the last one has been taken care of. Vlad came to his feet, staring us down. I tasted fear and I looked down to see Danielle staring at him, terrified. "I can do this," she said, pushing away some of the fear.
"You don't have to," I replied, pushing her gently behind me. "Cover your ears, Danielle, and get behind me." I put my sights on Vlad, all the good times and the bad times running through my head. I saw the future where Sam and I were together. Where I was afraid Lilly would never forgive me for having feelings for Vlad still. It was a long road to haul but I could do it. I could get on with my life. This time, I'm not looking back. "Goodbye, baby," I said, quoting Taylor Swift's song 'Tied Together With A Smile'. He's finally went off the deep end. The rocker is no longer repairable. I took a deep breath, releasing the ghostly wail. Not a twinge of regret filled me.
Vlad was pushed against the wall, him helpless to my sonic attack. The building shook from the exertion and stones started to collapse but I kept it up. The lights started to flicker and sparks started to fly around his control center. The hologram of Mom appeared before Vlad. "Systems critical. Losing coherence. And I never loved you. I loved the Jack program," she said. I still kept it up.
"Vladdy," a hologram of Dad appeared, hugging the hologram of Mom. They kissed, dissolving away. I put the last bit of strength into it, Vlad breaking through the wall and crashing outside. My power flooded away and I collapsed to my knees.
"Out of power," I said weakly, "but worth it to take this place down." Not to mention to make it official. There's no coming back from this… for either of us.
Danielle gasped and I looked up to see Vlad charging for us. "Get away from him," Danielle declared.
"I don't think so, girl," Vlad taunted. On second thought, maybe it wasn't worth it. "You wouldn't dare use your powers again." Danielle was dissolving again. It's up to me. "He's beaten. This is over!" Vlad grunted, "Oh, what stupidity is this," he asked. I noticed the boomerang in his hand.
Danielle grabbed me and flew us out of the way as the Specter Speeder smacked into Vlad, busting through the wall behind where we were. It didn't completely crash through it but it left a sizable hole. The Specter Speeder pulled away and landed, Tucker jumping out. He slipped the Specter Deflector around Vlad's waist.
"Oh, man, am I glad to see you," I declared, walking over to them. My energy was slowly rebuilding but it was a long way away from being restored.
"Of course you are," Sam retorted. "We're here to save you." Danielle came over beside us, "And apparently, so is your cousin."
"I-I can't focus my powers," Vlad said weakly.
"Which means that I don't need mine to do this," Danielle declared. She decked him, stating, "So Dad, stay away from my cousin!"
"Do you have any idea how much trouble we're in," Tucker declared. "And for what? Not so much as a—."
I'm getting to it. I enveloped him in a hug, "Thank you!" I pulled Sam in, hugging them both tightly, "Thank you! Thank you! Thank you, you guys. I'll never take you for granted again! Thank you, thank you, thank you!"
"All right, dude," Tucker gasped. "We got it."
"Yeah," Sam said as I released her. "Apology accepted."
"And I wouldn't have gotten out of this without you, Danielle," I said, turning to her. She was gone. "Hey, where did she go?"
"I don't know," Sam replied. "She was just here."
"She does that a lot," I sighed. "Anyway, thank you, Danielle." I turned back to Sam and Tucker, "Can one of you get that Specter Deflector? I don't want him to have another one."
"Sure," Sam said. "But I think we should turn him in like you did Invincible."
"No," I said, my voice calm and level. "I just want to forget him."
"That's going to be hard to do with him becoming mayor next week," Tucker sighed.
"I know," I sighed as well, "but I'm on my way."
Sam grabbed the Specter Deflector and we boarded the Speeder. We flew back home.
"You three are in so much trouble," Mom, Dad and Mr. Lancer declared as we exited the Specter Speeder. What is he doing here?
"And what happened to my Specter Speeder," Dad demanded.
"We had a little accident," I replied.
"Where have you three been," Mom demanded.
"There was a concert today," Sam replied. "We wanted to go see it so we skipped school. It's no big deal."
"That is unacceptable," Mom declared. "Upstairs!"
"Fine," Tucker grumbled. We went upstairs and plopped down on the couch. I did not want to go through with this. Inside, I was dying. I was trying to hold myself together but the flight home had been enough to cool things down.
"You are in so much trouble," they declared again. I just lowered my head, not having the strength to fight.
"Skipping school, stealing and wrecking the Specter Speeder," Dad declared.
"Calling me old man," Mr. Lancer said scornfully. Okay, what's that about?
"Sam, Tucker, when I call your parents, you are going to be grounded but there's no need to call their parents, really. Right?"
"What," all three of us declared. That was weird.
"What," Mr. Lancer cried. "No, she's right. I mean, you could always build another S-ship thing, right?"
"Hey, that's true," Dad declared. "I'm going to build another ship thing right now!" I turned to Sam and Tucker as Dad ran down the steps all giddy. Okay, even this is weird enough to make me forget my broken heart.
"Let's go before they change their minds," Sam said. We ran upstairs. "Thanks for the save, Danny. I didn't know you could overshadow people from a distance."
"I can't," I declared. "I didn't."
"And the best part was I didn't even have to waste any energy on your dad," a voice declared. I turned to my window to see Danielle. "And it's Dani," Danielle said, "with an 'i' and don't worry. We'll see each other again." I watched in shock as she flew away. Dani.
Things were definitely different now and they would only continue to change. "Do you guys think you could give me some privacy," I asked. "I want to rest up."
"You're not going on patrol, are you," Sam asked.
"No," I sighed. "I'm too tired. I'll take tonight off and you guys need to as well."
"We will," Tucker said, putting his hand on my shoulder. "Get some rest, Danny. You've been through a lot."
"Yeah," I said softly. They didn't need to know how much. Sam and Tucker walked out of my room. I lay across my bed when I realized I hadn't shown them how much I care. I was just pushing them away again. I ran out the door, "Guys, wait up!" They turned around as I caught up to them. "Have I told you guys thank you?"
"Only about a million times," Sam groaned.
"Have I told you guys how much I appreciate you?"
"You don't need to," Tucker said. "We're your friends."
"Well, I need to. I owe you a lot," I said. "So, thank—."
"Enough," Sam and Tucker declared. I smiled.
"Bye, guys," I said softly. I turned back as they continued in the direction of Tucker's. I guess Sam will be staying there. I entered my room, lying across my bed. I wrapped my arms around my stomach. "What are we going to do, little one," I asked. I didn't ask her that question really. She didn't hear it and couldn't even if she wasn't asleep. Lilly was content again. The strain wasn't too much on her, thank God. "How could you do this to us, Vlad? It's hard enough for me to understand how you could do this to me but how could you sacrifice your daughter? I guess it all comes down to having a completely obedient bitch to give you that perfect son. Would you have allowed me to abort Lilly if you had known she wasn't a boy?"
Tears pricked at my eyes but I stubbornly wiped them away. There's no going back. There's no amount of talking his way out of this. He can look at me with those eyes and try to touch me all he wants. He cannot talk his way out of trying to kill his daughter… my daughter. Vlad, there is only one person more important to me than you and you messed with her. Lilly has nothing to do with you now. Now I could kill you and not blink.
My heart was shattering but I was too angry to cry. I pulled the pillow to my chest, holding it tightly. I'd kill Vlad if he comes after my daughter. Lilly is nothing to him and I'll be damned if he thinks he can try to talk his way out of this.
AN: And that's it for New Beginnings! For those of you who are wondering, yes, Danny's family and friends will find out about Lilly. Just not right away. I write realistically and no one is going to accuse Danny of being pregnant—no matter how much he resembles it. In all honesty, Sam and Tucker should have already figured it out but they are swimming in denial. Check out Danny's Story, Part 3: Deliverance. It starts tomorrow!
As promised, I will begin working on the Chapter Companions for the remaining of this story. I apologize for those of you who read them but I will not continue the Chapter Companions for the other three stories. I will write Question Answers and post them on the forum page but you will not see any more Chapter Companions on my profile page. I will be writing a story companion for the first two installments of Danny's Story for anyone who wants to refresh their memory.
Thank you for sticking with me.