Spellbound

Prologue

Inside of the Ghost Zone, in Walker's jail, one prisoner was waiting for the right moment.

He was completely tied down and sat in a lowly corner of his cell. If it had been any other way, he could have escaped.

Or so everyone thought.

Walker came up to the cell, smirking. "Let's see you try and get out of this one, Hex," he dared.

Hex tried not to smirk back, knowing that the ghost had no idea who he was dealing with. Instead, he masked his humor with a fake expression, one that was supposedly full of hate and loss of hope. He kept his head low, but he raised his bright red eyes while still scowling, his jet-black hair hanging in his face in messy strands. It was incredibly believable; Walker bought it, and his smirk widened.

After spitting at Hex's toes, Walker laughed and walked away, along with his guards. Hex's eyes followed them as his long- desired smirk spread across his face.

He had waited for the right moment, and the right moment was now.

As simple as it was to breathe, Hex whispered, "Alakazam." And, just like that, he was in front of the nearest stable ghost portal. He was also out of his jail uniform, instead dressed in his usual clothing: a black trench coat, black dress pants, black dress shoes, a crisp white button-down shirt, and black fingerless gloves.

Laughing softly, the ghost pushed his hair away from his pale face and thrust his arm forward, opening the portal with ease. When he wandered inside, he realized that inside was a laboratory of some sort.

Wanting to get a better view, he snapped his fingers and re-appeared outside. The building that he had just come from was a large, brick one. On the side of it a sign read, "Fenton Works".

Hex shot up into the sky, breathing in the nighttime air. It was midnight, his favorite time of day. And a full moon, at that.

Well then, he thought, this should be easy.

He looked around, trying to find anything that would tell him where he was. It took him a while, but eventually he found a billboard with the words "Welcome to Amity Park".

Amity Park. What a quaint name for a town with such a dark destiny. One that Hex was planning to ensure. And now that he knew where he was, he just had to figure out where he could find a ghost. A powerful one.

It took another while, but when he reached the center of town, he saw a colossal statue of a boy, who looked to be about fourteen or fifteen, with messy hair, wearing a jumpsuit with a symbol on the chest and holding the Earth in one hand.

Curious, Hex took a closer look, reading the nameplate at the bottom.

DANNY PHANTOM

Danny Phantom is the guardian and hero of Amity Park. He protects us from evil and makes sure that no harm comes to us. By Mayor Foley's request, this statue has been made in honor of him for saving the Earth from the Dis-Asteroid.

Hex's eyebrows rose. This "Danny Phantom" seemed like a powerful ghost. If he had saved the entire Earth, he would at least be powerful enough to carry out Hex's plan.

Now, the only question was where to find him.

Hex picked up a crumpled newspaper that had been sitting next to his shoe and opened it. Judging by the date, the paper had been published at least four months ago.

The front headline read, "DANNY PHANTOM IS DANNY FENTON".

The rest was about how, apparently, Danny Phantom was not just a ghost, but a human as well. The boy had been in an accident in his parents' lab, causing him to become half-ghost. He had kept his double-life a secret and attended school like a normal human child, fighting off intruders to his town with no one knowing except for his two best friends and sister. It was followed with two pictures: one with Danny Phantom, and the other with a similar-looking boy, who was apparently Danny Fenton.

Hex's eyebrows rose even further. This entire concept was mind-blowing, of course, but that wasn't why his eyebrows had risen. He knew that name from somewhere. Fenton.

Suddenly, his mind flashed back to the portal. Of course! The building's sign had said "Fenton Works".

He immediately flew back to the building, peeking in each of its windows for clues. In one window, he found something even better: the boy himself, sleeping soundly in his bed. When Hex flew closer to the window, the ghost boy shivered, a light blue puff of breath escaping his mouth.

Hex grinned. His plan was ready to carry out. Now, once again, all that he had to do was wait for the right moment.

Chapter 1

Return to Casper High

Danny Fenton's life was as close to perfect as he figured it would get.

For one thing, he was dating the girl of his dreams, Sam Manson.

For another, Dash Baxter was his friend, and not his tormentor.

Also, his "cousin" Dani had been adopted by his parents and was now officially his foster sister.

He had also passed his classes in the ninth grade, so no getting held back or summer school.

Every ghost that had come into town uninvited had been easily taken care of by Danny.

The whole town knew his secret and didn't think that he was a freak, instead thinking of him as an amazing hero (score).

His best friend, Tucker Foley, was doing an awesome job with being the mayor of Amity Park.

And, to top it all off, there was a ginormous statue of him in the middle of town. How cool was that?

Yeah, things are pretty much perfect, Danny thought as he grabbed his purple backpack and ran down the stairs.

Grabbing a piece of toast and scarfing it down along with a glass of milk, he called out, "Bye Mom! Bye, Dad! See ya after school!"

"Bye sweetheart!" his mom called back. "Have a good first day!"

"Oh, and Danny!" his dad shouted.

Danny stopped halfway through the door. "What?"

Jack smiled. "If you see any ghosts, knock 'em dead for me."

Danny nodded and smiled, and was about to leave again when he heard a high-pitched female voice yell, "Danny! Wait up!"

Danielle came running as fast as she could on her short, twelve-year-old legs. Danny waited until she reached him, and then asked, "You're not gonna ride with Jazz?"

Danielle shrugged. "I figured I'd fly with you, if that's okay."

Danny raised an eyebrow. "Alright, then. But you'll have to keep up."

Danielle rolled her sky-blue eyes, which were the exact same color as Danny's. "I'm sure I'll be fine. Let's go."

Simultaneously, the two said, "I'm going ghost!"

A glowing blue ring spread out from each of their waists and split into two, moving away from itself and transforming each of them.

Danny's turned his red and white T-shirt, blue jeans, and red sneakers into a black jumpsuit with white gloves, white boots, and his signature white D with a P inside, designed to look like a flying ghost. After that, the ring passed over his head, darkening his skin a little bit, turning his black hair white, and making his eyes glow green.

Dani's rings turned her red shorts and blue sneakers into flared black and white pants and white boots and her blue hoodie into black and white gloves and a long-sleeved black-and white shirt that cut off at her midriff and held a DP symbol identical to Danny's. The top ring passed over her head, turning her messy black ponytail white, getting rid of her red ski cap, darkening her skin a little, and turning her eyes green, like Danny.

After that, they both took off in the sky together, receiving a lot of greetings from the people below. Danny dropped Dani off at Erik Middle School, wishing her a good first day, and started to make his way to Sam's house.

He and Sam hadn't seen each other all summer; Danny had been at Astronaut Camp, and Sam had been out of town with her parents and grandmother, and she'd just gotten back. He got a tingly feeling in his stomach at the thought of seeing her, partly from curiosity, partly from irrational nerves. Irrational because, well, it was Sam, the girl that he'd known ever since second grade. He had nothing to be nervous about.

Still, Danny wasn't calmed down by those thoughts. Openly liking Sam as more than a friend was going to take some getting used to, even if they'd been a couple for more than four months now. That and it was just Danny's nature to be nervous about stupid things. Otherwise, he may have made his move long ago. Maybe. It depended on whether or not he would've stopped drooling over Paulina Sanchez or Valerie Gray in time.

Anyway, that was beside the point.

The point was, he guessed, that he was nervous for no good reason. Sam was his girlfriend. He liked her, and she liked him. That was all that there was to it.

Before he had time to think about it anymore, he came to Sam's house, where he landed and rang the doorbell, going un-ghost out of habit.

"I've got it!" Danny heard Sam yell excitedly. His stomach stopped tingling and started flipping when she had said that. Normally, she would've said that to protect him from her parents' deep scrutiny, but ever since his secret had gotten out, they had decided to cut him some slack. So that obviously wasn't the reason that Sam said that; instead, he knew that she had been so excited to get the door because, maybe, she was hoping to see him.

And then, when Sam actually opened the door, Danny's stomach stopped flipping and settled down. Sam had gotten, somehow, even prettier over the summer. He couldn't place what it was that made her prettier, exactly, because she looked exactly the same as she had before he had left: same jet-black hair, same peach-toned skin, same black and purple tank top that cut off at her stomach, same purple stockings, same plaid green and black skirt, and same old black combat boots.

And yet, she didn't look the same at all.

The effect was enhanced when she looked at him and smiled widely, running down the steps and greeting him with a hug. "Hey!" she almost shouted, squeezing him tightly. Normally, Danny would've pegged it as unusual that she was talking in such a cheery voice, but ever since they had become a couple, Sam had seemed happier than before, betraying her usual Goth attitude.

So Danny just smiled and hugged her back, replying, "Hey. How was the trip?"

Sam let go, rolling her eyes, but still smiling. "Anything but fun. So how was camp?"

Danny shrugged. "It was fun, but, you know. I missed you," he admitted with a shy smile.

Sam blushed. "I missed you too," she replied, kissing him on the cheek. Danny held her hand while still looking into her violet eyes. They stood that way for a while. Suddenly, Sam blurted, "We're gonna be late!"

"You're right." Danny scooped her up and went ghost, taking off for Tucker's house. Tucker had stayed in town, being the mayor and all, so as soon as Danny had gotten back from camp, they'd had tons of time to hang out. They'd done the usual: playing video games (Danny either pouting or yelling "oh, come on!" whenever he lost- which was almost always), eating at the Nasty Burger, and, occasionally, fighting a ghost.

It was strange. Ever since Danny had saved the world, hardly any ghosts came out at all. So far, over the course of four months, only two ghosts had tried to attack the world or Amity Park: Technus (who did not know when to give up) and the Box Ghost (who didn't know anything about anything). And even they were only seen once.

Something told Danny not to, but he didn't worry about it. He figured that if everything else was okay, why couldn't this be?

Either way, when Danny landed at Tuck's house and rang the doorbell, his mom answered.

"Oh, Danny and Sam! Good morning! Tucker got a ride with his father already. He told me to tell you two that he'd meet you at school. He said that he wanted to give you two some extra alone time." With that, Mrs. Foley winked.

Danny and Sam blushed, but otherwise ignored it. Danny said, "Thanks, Mrs. Foley. Um, see you later."

"See you two later," Mrs. Foley answered before shutting the door.

Danny scooped Sam up and began to fly again, this time toward Casper High. "You know," Danny confessed, "you look prettier somehow. Is there something that I'm missing?"

Sam laughed while blushing. "That was cheesy, but I'll take it," she said, burying her face in his chest.

Danny laughed, too, trying to keep from being distracted by her cuddling closer to him so that they both didn't end up grease spots on the concrete. "No, seriously! There has to be something. Or is it my imagination?"

Sam, smiling immensely, told him, "It's your imagination, clueless one."

Danny raised an eyebrow. "Why am I clueless one again?"

Sam looked up at him. "That's my new pet name for you. Like it?"

"I think that I like just Danny better," Danny answered.

"Well, too bad." Sam laughed softly, Danny laughing with her after rolling his eyes.

They came to a stop at Casper High, Danny landing and putting Sam down. He turned back into a human, still feeling uncomfortable as people couldn't help but watch.

A warm hand tapped him on the shoulder. Danny turned and saw that it was Tucker, who was wearing a smile and his usual clothes: a yellow long-sleeved shirt, green cargo pants, brown hiking boots, glasses, his tech-filled backpack, and his signature red beret.

"So," he asked, easily joining them as Danny and am held hands, "What's the skizzle, fizzles?"

Sam raised an eyebrow as a teasing smirk replaced her blush. "You tell me, Mayor Techno-Geek."

Tucker's smile didn't waver. "You say that as if it's a bad thing, Sam. Oh, and by the way, I'm waiting for the thank you for the alone time."

Again, Sam and Danny blushed. Danny, rolling his eyes, said, "Thanks." Sam just shook her head, but Tucker didn't try to force it out. He'd expected Sam to refuse.

Suddenly, a hulking, fifteen-year-old boy with a blonde buzz-cut came running at the trio, yelling, "Fenton!"

Now normally, at the sight of quarterback Dash Baxter running faster than he should have down a hall towards Danny and called his name, Danny would've high-tailed it before you could say Should've Had Iced Tea. But Danny had learned (after running away the first time and getting chased down, fearing for his life) that after Dash had learned his secret, he'd somehow gotten his puny brain to realize that all of those times, Danny could've beaten him to a pulp, and that maybe he wasn't such a loser for not doing so. Therefore, whenever Dash came running faster than he should have down a hall towards Danny and called his name, it wasn't a sign that he wanted to beat him up; instead, it was a sign that he wanted to grab his head and give him a rough knuckle sandwich, which is exactly what he did.

"Hey, Fenton! How's my fitness buddy been?"

"Dash….squeezing….throat…..can't…breathe….." Danny choked out.

Dash let go. "Whoops. Sorry. Hey, mind if I walk to class with you guys?"

At the sound of that, Sam and Tucker's expressions immediately screamed No.

Danny gave them a look that answered, Give the guy a chance. "Um, sure, Dash. But won't Kuan get lonely?"

Dash waved a hand. "Kuan's fine. Now that he's going out with Star, we don't hang out as much."

"Oh. Sorry about that."

"No, it's okay, really. We still hang out, just not as much. But, either way, I have you guys!" He gave Danny another knuckle sandwich, this time being sure to hold his head loosely.

After Dash let go, Danny smoothed his hair down as much as it would stay down (otherwise, it was a spiky mess). Sam and Tucker silently begged Danny to do something. Sighing, because he knew that at some point he would feel guilty over this, Danny said, "So, Dash, my sister said that she wants to meet you outside before class starts. She said that she wanted to ask you something."

Dash's blue eyes lit up. "Really?"

Danny nodded. "Uh-huh. But you'd better go now. Class is about to start."

Dash tousled Danny's hair before he started to run outside. "Later, Fenton!" he called out behind him.

Danny smoothed his hair again as Sam and Tucker let out a long-incarcerated breath. Tucker made a face. "Jeez, that guy never leaves you alone."

Danny shrugged. "Give him a chance guys. I mean, anyone who can force themselves to figure out something that's way too complicated for their brain size and actually do something about it can't be too bad, right? And besides, it's better than getting beaten up."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure about that?" she asked as Danny went to his locker, turning his hand intangible to get his stuff out and ignoring all of the gawking students surrounding them.

But before Danny had a chance to answer, the bell rang. "Later, dude!" Tucker shouted to Danny over his shoulder.

Sam kissed Danny on the cheek, squeezing him for a quick second before running in the opposite direction of Tucker. "Bye, Danny!"

Because Danny's first class was, conveniently, right next to his locker, he wasn't in a rush, like Sam or Tucker. Instead, he casually strolled through the door of his first period 10th grade literature class.

To his shock, who else would be sitting behind the teacher's desk but the out-of-shape teacher himself?

Mr. Lancer.

Mr. Lancer lowered the book that he was reading and smiled. "Danny! So nice of you to join us. Take a seat wherever you'd like."

Danny turned to face the class, feeling uncomfortable about all of the attention. Everyone was staring at him: some with awe, some with curiosity, and some with unreadable expressions. As quickly as he could, Danny took a seat in the back center desk, where no one but two Goths sat, and each of them sat as far back in their corners as they could, not necessarily to get away from Danny, just to stay away from any possible human contact at all.

"Oh, and Danny?" Mr. Lancer said.

"Um, sir?" Danny replied.

"Just because you saved the world and continue to save our town, don't expect any special treatment."

Danny sank lower in his chair, trying to avoid everyone's glances. "Wasn't counting on it," he mumbled.

Mr. Lancer took roll, and then stood up, resting his book on the desk. "Hello, students, and welcome to Literature Class. Most of you may know me from the ninth grade. For those of you who don't, my name is Mr. Lancer. My job is to teach you about the fine art of literature and help you pass your tests. A little bit about me: I will try to help you as best as I can, but if you don't put forth an effort, you're officially on your own."

Don't I know it, Danny thought.

The rest of his classes were similar; each of his teachers introduced themselves, kids gave him weird looks, the teachers made sure that he knew that, while they appreciated what he did, he wouldn't receive any special treatment.

Either way, Danny wasn't as worn out as he usually was by lunchtime. It was always like that for him on the first day, though.

As Danny entered the cafeteria, it was almost exactly like a dream he'd had once, where everything was perfect. Random girls, girls that he used to drool over, sighed as he passed by. He had a really good feeling, and he spotted Tucker sitting by Dash.

Unlike his dream, Danny didn't panic; he knew that Dash wouldn't hurt Tucker. But just like his dream, Dash said, "Hey, Fenton! I saved a seat for you!"

Danny smiled and sat his tray in-between Dash's and Tucker's taking a seat. Unlike his dream, no ghosts attacked, but after a few minutes (like his dream), Sam asked, "Can you make some space for your girlfriend?" Tucker moved his tray to the other side of the table, so that he was facing Danny. Sam wasn't wearing a letterman jacket (unlike his dream), but when she sat next to him, she did kiss him (like the dream). Unlike the dream, Danny didn't wake up in shock. Instead, he kept on kissing her, separating a bit early so that the entire tenth grade, who Danny noticed had been watching, couldn't count it as a make-out session.

Sam grinned. "Bring back any memories?" she asked. Danny had almost forgotten that she'd had the same dream, back in their freshman year.

Danny nodded. "You know which one, too."

"Hard to forget."

"Yeah. It is."

Tucker asked, "What are you guys talking about?"

Sam waved her hand in dismissal. "Tell you later."

Tucker shrugged. "Anyway, you two are the best couple that I've ever seen. I mean, you two look really good together, and so far you haven't had one serious argument, have you?"

Sam and Danny looked at each other, realizing that no, they hadn't. Once, a week before summer break, they'd had a really small, really stupid conversation in which Danny had almost gotten in trouble with Sam for asking her how she could eat such "garbage". Of course, as soon as he'd clarified that he'd meant nothing by it, Sam had apologized for overreacting and forgiven him.

Tucker smiled smugly. "Yup, that's what I thought. You two are perfect for each other. Your names even sound cute together. Sam and Danny. Danny and Sam."

By now, both of them were blushing. "Quit it already, alright, Tucker? We aren't perfect. There was the whole Garbage Incident. And even if we were the perfect couple, which we're not, you would've jinxed it just then," Danny said.

Sam nodded in agreement. "Seriously, stop gloating over us, Tucker. We're not perfect. But…on the other hand, I think that we go pretty well together, clueless one."

Danny blushed even more deeply, putting his arm around her. "I told you to stop calling me that."

Sam's blush deepened too as she rested her head on his shoulder. "And I said, 'Too bad'."

Tucker sighed, not wanting to ruin the moment, although he wanted to do some serious gloating. They were perfect for each other, despite their protests. Most high school relationships didn't last longer than a month. They had endured four months together, all full of sweet, romantic moments like this.

And, of course, he credited himself with pushing them together, at least a little bit.

Dash interrupted his thoughts by suddenly saying, "Hey, Fenton, your sister wasn't outside."

Danny's blush faded, but he kept his arm around Sam. "Oh. Maybe she forgot, or got tired of waiting."

Dash shrugged. "Probably, because when I ran into her in the hallway her face turned all red, and she started talking funny. And I mean funnier than usual. You're her brother. Does that mean something?"

Danny tried not to roll his eyes. "Actually, Dash, it might mean that she likes you."

Dash's eyes brightened. "For real?!"

Danny nodded. "Cross my heart. You should try and ask her out. She might say yes."

While pumping his fist, Dash shouted, "Yes! Thanks, fitness buddy! You rock!"

Dash apparently forgot the meaning of the word "gentle" when he gave Danny a hug, because Danny's face had begun to turn purple after three seconds.

Dash noticed this, suddenly, and let go. "Sorry again. I guess that I don't know my own strength."

"I….guess…not," Danny replied within wheezes.

Sam looked at him with concern. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine…now that…..my air supply….has been….restored." Danny's breaths slowly became less and less sharp, until he began to breathe normally again. In the incident, Sam's head been removed from Danny's shoulder in shock, and his arm had flown up from her shoulders while panicking. Tucker sighed. Oh, well. It had to end sometime. Before he knew it, there'd be another moment.

Suddenly, Sam noticed that lunchtime was over. "Uh, guys, we'd better go," she stated, getting up. Danny got up along with her, gesturing for Tucker and Dash to follow.

When they entered the hall, Dash told them, "I'll see you guys later. I'm going to find your sister, Danny. Thanks!"

Danny waved back at Dash and gave Sam and Tucker a look that dared them to say anything. Both of them shook their heads, shrugging. After stopping at each of their lockers, Tucker ran off to his next class. Sam was about to do likewise, but Danny offered, "I'll walk you to class if you want."

Sam smiled. "Thanks," she said, taking his hand.

When they got there, Sam kissed Danny briefly on the lips, and then squeezed him a quick second before leaving, just like she had before.

Even when she closed the door behind her, Danny was still smiling. He couldn't express how much he liked Sam. His heart did a relay race every time that she squeezed him. His entire body tingled whenever she kissed him on the cheek. And whenever she kissed him on the lips, he felt as if his brain was melting right through his head.

He almost couldn't believe that he'd ever been distracted by any other girl. To him, Sam was the coolest, smartest, prettiest, and most unique girl that he'd ever met. She'd accepted him for who he was since forever, and even when he was planning to ditch her and Tucker for the popular crowd sometimes, she'd offer to help out, knowing that it was somehow important to him. She'd helped him fight so many ghosts, even when all that he could've done was harm her because he'd been controlled by evil. She'd helped him through the bad times and enhanced the good times.

Suddenly, the bell rang, interrupting Danny's thoughts. Panicking, he raced to his next class, receiving the all-too-familiar weird looks. And so the cycle continued.

After school, Tucker got a ride home from his dad again. Danny knew how it was for him: on weekdays, after school he had to stay in the office until three; on weekends he had to go to his office at eight, and he was able to leave at noon.

Tucker's schedule was pretty well-thought out, which wasn't a surprise, because it had been written by his secretary, the most organized woman in town.

Either way, after school, Danny went ghost and scooped Sam up again, flying to the middle school to pick up Dani.

On the way there, Danny tried to focus on what he was doing and not get lost in anything Sam-related again. Sam, however, was not the one flying.

Sam had had a crush Danny ever since the seventh grade, when they had gone to the dance together as "friend dates", on Tucker's insistence. It had been Sam's first dance, and she had suddenly noticed how Danny was awkward and clumsy, but in a cute way. And the look on his face when Sam had stepped out of the door of her house had made her feel like the prettiest girl in the world. And then she had noticed how handsome Danny actually was, especially in his suit, with his sky-blue eyes and adorably messy, jet-black hair.

And, finally, when his mom had dropped her off and they were standing on the porch, he'd given her a kiss on the cheek and said, "You know, Sam, you were the perfect friend date." Sam had completely fallen for him after that. She'd never noticed any of these things before; she and Danny had been completely and totally friends, with no romantic interest at all. And then that one night had changed everything about Danny in Sam's eyes.

And, after all of that time, she couldn't believe that she had finally gotten one of her biggest wishes: to be Danny Fenton's girlfriend. She'd liked being his friend, but all of that time, she couldn't put her feelings behind her, and a lot of times she'd caught herself wishing that she was holding his hand instead of walking next to him in a normal way, that her head was on his shoulder instead of sitting upright, or that she was kissing him instead of saying "thanks".

It had been a dream come true when he'd finally kissed her that day, out in the cold, without any excuse to call it a fake-out make out. And then things had just gotten better when they had been sitting out of town, under that tree, and he'd given her the class ring, officially making her his girlfriend, and then kissing her while holding her hands. It was Sam's biggest desire, finally fulfilled.

Her thoughts were interrupted when she realized that they had arrived. Dani came shooting up, already in ghost mode, smiling. "Hey, Danny. Hey, Sam."

Sam smiled. Dani had kind of grown on her ever since she'd officially moved into Amity Park. At first, Sam had thought that she was kind of annoying, and she was suspicious that Dani might double-cross Danny and turn him in to Vlad. But now, Sam thought that she was pretty adorable.

"Hey, Dani. How was your very first day of school?" Sam asked.

Dani smiled. "It was great! I mean, there was this one girl who was kind of mean to me, but I just ignored her. On the other hand, I made two new friends: Izzy and Jason. I'm meeting them at the Nasty Burger today; Jason said he'd pay."

Danny smiled, too. "Cool. Maybe Sam, Tucker, and I could meet Jason and Izzy sometime."

Dani nodded. "That'd be awesome. Anyway, how was your day?"

Danny shrugged, raising and lowering Sam accidentally. "Same old, same old. Sam came up with a new nickname for me."

"What is it?" Dani asked.

"Clueless one," Danny answered with an eye-roll.

Sam protested, "It's not a nickname, it's a pet name. There's a difference. And you can't complain about it, either. That was a part of the Too Bad package."

Dani laughed. "I think it's cute," she remarked.

"Thank you!" Sam used one of her hands to gesture at Dani.

Danny glared at Dani. "Don't' encourage her; she'll make more."

Dani giggled. "Well, at least it's not something stupid, like fluffy-butt."

At that, all three of them started laughing, and then stayed comfortably silent for the rest of the fly home.

Hidden in the shadows at a great distance, Hex was beginning to become irritable. There seemed to be no right moment to wait for. All of the time, Danny Phantom was around people.

He was about to give up and just attack him then and there, but good sense stopped him. He needed patience. These weren't moronic jail guards. These people saved the earth. One false move and his plan would be a failure.

So Hex sighed and continued to bide his time, still growing increasingly impatient.

As soon as Danny, Dani, and Sam walked through the door, they heard a shriek.

"Jazz?! Are you alright?!" Danny flew up the stairs to his sister's bedroom and was about to knock on the door when Jazz burst out, smiling widely, her auburn hair perfect, as usual, and her blue eyes wide with excitement.

She gave Danny the biggest hug that she could manage, and it was Dash all over again. Luckily, Jazz let go after two seconds, before Danny's face had a chance to get past blue.

"Of course I'm alright! Dash asked me out!"

Danny raised an eyebrow. "You know, he did that last year."

Jazz's smile did not waver. "Yeah, but last year didn't count, because he was a huge jerk, and he bullied you, right in front of me. Now he's finally over his issues!"

Danny couldn't help but smile. While it was weird that someone who had once whaled on him twenty-four seven wanted to date his sister, he knew what it was like to finally find the one that you were looking for.

"I'm happy for you, sis."

Jazz suddenly looked around. "Hey where're Sam and Dani?"

"Downstairs. You can get back to whatever it was that you were doing."

"See you later, then," Jazz said before shutting the door.

Danny went down the stairs, joining his cousin and girlfriend on the couch.

Sam looked up at him as he rested his arm around her shoulders. "So what was up with your sister?"

Danny shrugged. "Dash asked her out. Either way, what do you guys want to do?"

Dani got up. "It's about time for me to meet Jason and Izzy. You guys want to come?"

Sam shook her head. "Nah," she said. "Have fun."

Dani waved good-bye as she went ghost and flew through the door.

After a few minutes, Danny asked, "Where're all of the ghosts?"

Sam shrugged, resting her head on his shoulder and shifting her body so that she partly faced him. "Maybe they've decided to play nice for a little while after you saved their world. They'll be back, though."

"You're probably right. But, in the meanwhile, what do we do in our spare time?"

"I think that I have an idea, clueless one," Sam answered before kissing him. It was a while before they pulled away, both of them smiling.

Danny raised an eyebrow, smiling mischievously. "I bet that I can beat you at at least two rounds of Robot Apocalypse."

Sam laughed, picking her head up from his shoulder. "Please. You're on."

The two of them made their way to Danny's bedroom and set up the game console that he had gotten for his birthday in May.

And, even as Danny lost every round that he'd played, he couldn't help but think the same thing one more time:

Things were pretty much perfect.

Chapter 2

Izzy and Jason

The next day, after school, none of the Fentons, Sam, or Tucker had any homework. Tucker was in his office again, but Dani was going to hang out with Izzy and Jason again. This, time, when she'd asked if Danny and Sam wanted to come along, they had said yes.

So, there they were, eating at the Nasty Burger, Sam with tofu, Danny with a burger, fries, and soda, and Dani, Izzy, and Jason with a Slushy for each of them.

"So," Dani said, "Danny and Sam, these guys are Jason and Izzy. Izzy and Jason, this is my cousin, Danny, and his girlfriend, Sam."

Izzy, an olive-skinned girl with coppery brown ringlets and sparkling blue eyes, smiled, holding out her hand. "Hi. You're Danny Phantom, right?"

Danny nodded, shaking Izzy's petite hand. "Um, yeah. Dani's told Sam and I about you guys."

Jason, a fair-skinned boy with shaggy blonde hair, light brown eyes, and freckles, didn't hold out his hand, but he smiled a little bit. "Hey. I'm Jason. It's cool to meet you guys. You look a lot like Dani," he remarked to Danny.

Dani told Danny and Sam, "Izzy was the first person to say hi to me at school. She showed me around, told me about everyone, and stood up for me against that mean girl, Hannah. Then, at lunch, she introduced me to Jason, who invited me to come with them here yesterday."

Izzy nodded, tousling Jason's hair. "He doesn't say much, but he's a real sweetie."

Jason blushed and sank low into his chair. "Don't call me that."

Danny took a swig of his soda and smiled. "Girls, right?" he asked Jason, receiving an agreeing nod in return.

Dani rolled her eyes. "Like I told Danny earlier, at least it's not something stupid."

Jason shrugged, but didn't sit up straight. Izzy asked Dani, "So, if Danny has ghost powers and you're his cousin, do you have ghost powers?"

This time Jason rolled his eyes, sitting up. "Of course she has ghost powers, Iz. But it's not because she's his cousin. Former Mayor Masters put her in his ghost portal and forced her to get ghost powers. She decided to help Danny fight him, and they won."

Everybody stared at him. He blushed and sank again. "I read the news," he explained.

What Jason had said was almost true; it was what Danny and Dani had told the reporters. In the truth, Vlad Masters had tried to clone Danny, but he had failed to do so, creating a twelve year old girl instead of a fourteen year old boy. Once Dani had found out that Vlad was planning to get rid of her (as in kill her), she'd helped Danny fight him. She'd then changed her name from Danielle to Dani, flying off to who knows where. She'd returned, looking for Danny's help, but once that was solved, most of her problems were over with.

Izzy, who was probably the most talkative out of all of them, changed the subject out of nowhere. "Anyway, I had an idea for the Halloween Dance."

"What is it?" Dani asked.

Izzy leaned Dani and Jason down, whispering into their ears so that Danny and Sam couldn't hear. While doing so, Jason and Dani looked at each other, each of them raising an eyebrow.

"There's no such thing," Jason protested, sitting up. Izzy pulled him down again and continued her whispering. Jason and Dani sighed simultaneously.

"Fine," they said in unison.

"What is it?" Danny asked.

Izzy waved her hand. "Nothing you need to worry about. Either way, I'd better get home. See you guys later." Izzy got up and left, her curls bouncing as she skipped away.

Danny stretched. "Maybe we should follow Izzy's lead. It's getting late."

Jason got up. Quietly, he asked Dani something. Dani gave him a quizzical look, whispering something back. Jason blushed and smiled shyly, replying back. Dani started blushing and smiling shyly, too.

"Alright," she said.

"What?" Sam asked.

"Jason's walking me home. We'll be there later on."

Sam and Danny shrugged at each other, waving at Dani and Jason.

"Great to meet you," Danny called after them. Jason turned around and smiled.

As they walked through the door, Danny and Sam got up, dumping their trash. Danny said, "Something about that kid reminds me of you."

Sam raised an eyebrow. "How?"

Danny shrugged. "I don't know. I guess it's his brains."

Sam blushed. "You know what?" she asked.

"What?"

Sam put her arm around Danny's waist and squeezed him lightly. "I think that you may be the best boyfriend ever."

Danny blushed. "Needless to say, you're pretty cool yourself."

Sam put her arms around his neck before he scooped her up again and flew to her house. The whole way there, they were silent. Before Sam went inside, though, she kissed Danny and said, "Good night, clueless one."

Danny replied while rolling his eyes and smiling. "Good night, Sam."

Sam smiled at him before closing her door.

Inside of her house, Sam noticed a man standing outside of her window, walking slowly, not looking at her, but seeming fixated on something ahead of him. He was good-looking and about twenty years old, with pale skin and pitch-black hair. She couldn't see what color his eyes were, but she watched him pass by with curiosity, shrugging and walking away after he'd gone out of sight.

Danny walked a little bit, having had his fill of flying for the day. Suddenly the temperature dropped dramatically, and a blue puff of breath flew out of his mouth. His ghost sense.

Danny tensed up and turned around. He could've sworn that he'd seen someone, but no one was there.

Out of nowhere, he heard incoherent whispers in his head, and his entire body ached. He dropped to the ground, his surroundings somehow becoming freezing, and started shivering violently.

And then, someone touched the top of his head, and everything worsened. Danny began to have violent spasms on the ground, he felt like he'd been brutally punched all over, and the incoherent whispers turned to meaningless, tormented shrieks.

And then, just before everything turned to darkness, Danny caught sight of the eyes of his attacker.

They were bright red.

Chapter 3

Missing

"Where's Danny?" Dani asked Jazz.

Jazz shrugged. "I thought that he was with you."

Dani shook her head. "I'll check his room."

After finding Danny's room empty (and messy), Dani began to get worried.

She called Sam, but Sam had no idea where he was. She also called Tucker, but Tucker didn't have a clue, either. Finally, she just called Danny, but was sent to his voicemail.

Dani came back downstairs. "Jazz? I think that Danny's missing."

"What makes you think that?"

"He's not in his room, he's not at Sam or Tucker's house, and he's not picking up his phone- and Danny almost always picks up his phone. Should we look for him?"

Jazz got up. "Yes, we should. Let's go."

When they left, Dani held Jazz by the arms as they flew over the city, calling Danny's name and looking for him everywhere. By the time that they had given up, three hours had passed, and it was nine o' clock. Dani was tired, but she called Sam and Tucker, three-way style, to tell them the news.

Sam was panicking. "What do you mean, he's gone?"

"You checked everywhere?" Tucker inquired.

"Yes! Three times! We have no idea where he is!" Dani was worried for her cousin, and Jazz was even more worried for her brother.

When they walked back in, at first Jack and Maddie were upset about their being out so late, but once they gave them the news, they went to action.

"Call Sam and Tucker, and tell them to meet us tomorrow after school, in the front," Maddie instructed Dani.

"Jazz, I want you to go on a ghost hunt with me tomorrow; we'll see if we can find any strange paranormal activity going on," Jack stated. Jazz nodded back as Dani punched in Sam and Tucker's numbers.

No matter what the cost, they had to find Danny.

Danny woke up in a dark, cold place, in his human form. He expected to look up and see a familiar face. Instead, his attacker was someone that he'd never met before.

Who are you? Danny tried to ask, but his words turned into strangled chokes in his throat.

However, his attacker seemed to be able to understand him. "I am Hex, ghost of Dark magic. You must be Danny Phantom. You will be the key to my dream, which is to rule the world, of course."

Oh great, Danny thought. Another "rule the world" ghost. This should be quick.

Danny tried to get up, but he soon realized that he didn't have the energy to even lift a finger. He was completely drained, just barely alive.

Hex laughed quietly. "Don't try it. You're too weak as of right now. So let me tell you my plan. As of right now, we are a ways from Amity Park. I'm going to cast a spell on you, and you are going to be my assistant to ruling every ghost there is. We will torment mankind until mankind is nothing but a little girls' shriek at midnight. I am telling you this to prepare you. It will hurt more if you are expecting it."

Hex smirked as Danny began to flop around on the ground like a fish once more. Danny tried to scream as is felt like his entire body was being torn apart and the meaningless shrieks returned, this time maddening screams of torment, but his voice failed him once again, turning what would've been a deafening cry into a quiet, choked hiss from Danny's throat.

Hex's smirk turned into a small, cruel chuckle that made Danny's blood run cold. "Such a powerful ghost. Yet, you cannot defeat me. It's a shame, but the amusing way that you feel pain makes me forget that."

Danny heard him, but he couldn't understand his words; they didn't register into his brain above the screams and pain.

Hex stood and watched Danny a bit longer, chuckling every now and then, but eventually he decided to get to business.

Hex's eyes glowed as he chanted,

"Magic of dark,

Magic of old,

Darken his heart,

Turn his blood cold!"

Danny's pain continued, but what happened next overshadowed it. He felt something inside him freeze over, and every vein in his body turned so cold that it felt like he was lit on fire.

His heart pounded in his ears as his eyes rolled back into his head for a few minutes, and then returned. Instead of sky blue, they were blood red. His heart stopped pounding.

And he still couldn't scream.

"Look, footprints!" Jazz pointed to almost-evenly spaced prints on the ground. Their Fenton Magnifying Glasses said that the footprints had vague ecto-essence in them. Jazz and Jack followed them, and then they came to a stop on the ground, where they skidded and turned into one big blob. Next to the blob was another set of footprints with a different type of ecto-essence. And from there, there was nothing else.

Jazz's eyebrows knit together. "Shouldn't there be a trail of where the other ghost took off?"

Jack suggested, "Maybe it's a magic ghost."

Jazz raised an eyebrow, but decided not to question the experienced ghost hunter's ideas. "Maybe. I wonder what happened."

Jack inspected the marks form a closer angle. "Well, it seems that Danny was walking. Something made him slip and fall. Then there was a huge disturbance in the ground to make the big blob; I know that Danny's not that big. Suddenly, another ghost appeared- the magic one. Maybe he cast a spell on Danny, which could have caused the fall, took him and disappeared."

Jazz, still kind of skeptical about her dad's idea, decided to just go with it. "It's actually kind of likely. The question is, who would've been the magic ghost, and why would he want Danny?"

"There could be tons of reasons why a ghost would want Danny. I wouldn't know what I'd do without him doing all of my chores for me."

Jazz pointed out, "Um, Dad? That's what's gonna happen before we find him."

Jack's eyes grew big. He shouted, "WE HAVE TO FIND HIM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!"

Jazz did nothing, just blinked at her slightly insane father.

"Danny!" Danielle called. "Danny!"

"Danny, sweetheart, can you hear us?!" Maddie searched the entire town like a hawk searching a field. She would find her son, and beat the snot out of creep that had taken him.

Sam stared at the class ring Danny had given her. Briefly, she wondered where he was, whether or not he was in danger, being harmed. The thought of anyone hurting Danny made something boil inside of her. If there was even a cut on his face, Sam swore that whoever caused Danny any harm would pay her back in triple. He was her boyfriend, and it was their job to protect each other. So if someone decided to be sneaky and get him while she couldn't defend him, they would get their reward (aka, their ghostly or otherwise face contorted beyond recognition).

Besides that boiling feeling, Sam also missed Danny. But this wasn't like it was over the summer, where she knew that she'd see him again. Danny could've been very well dead by now. Sam could've never seen him again. Ever.

No, she thought. I'm going to find Danny if it kills me.

Hex smiled with delight as Danny got up, going ghost, his eyes glowing blood red. "What are my orders?" Danny asked, now in full health.

Hex went straight to the point. "First of all, we need to find another powerful ghost, one like you. Know any similar acquaintances?"

A corner of Danny's mouth pulled up into an evil, knowing smirk. "Actually, she's more than an acquaintance."

Hex patted Danny's shoulder. "Very good, Danny. You will be a wonderful right-hand man. Now. I want you to find who you speak of. Catch her when she's alone, bring her here, and make sure that no one follows you. Am I clear?"

Danny nodded, the smirk still there. Hex snapped his fingers, and Danny was in Amity Park, behind Fenton Works, watching as a discouraged Dani, Maddie, and Sam walked in. At the sight of Sam, something stirred inside of Danny; something warmed a little. But as soon as that happened, he forced himself to freeze over again. He couldn't risk letting any emotion in. It would break the spell.

A tiny, quiet voice inside of him asked, what's wrong with that? Danny shook it off, realizing that he needed to get out of there, quickly, before he broke the spell.

As Dani walked up to her newly-built bedroom, Danny floated up next to her outside of the wall. Dani's ghost sense went off, and she ran to her room, looking out of the window, finding nobody and nothing there.

Still, she went ghost and tensed up, waiting for something to strike. However, when Danny grabbed her from behind, she was caught off guard. But that didn't stop her from biting his finger, which he didn't even feel.

Dani tried licking his gloved hand, kicking, and everything, but she couldn't break free of his grip or make enough noise to call attention to herself. However, it annoyed the crap out of Danny.

Softly, he warned, "Danielle, if you don't hold perfectly still, I swear to decapitate you here and now and find another ghost to replace you."

Dani's eyes widened. "Danny?" she tried to say, although the word was muffled by Danny's hand.

Danny didn't answer; instead, he suddenly appeared in the same cold, dark place. Dani fell to the ground, having violent spasms like Danny had.

This made something inside Danny clash. The side of him that was under hex's spell enjoyed every single twitch of Dani's pain. The other side of him, however -the real side- tried to break free to take his cousin out of harm's way.

As a result, Danny's eyes turned different colors: his left eye was crimson, but his right eye was ecto-green. His breathing accelerated until he was gasping for air, falling to his knees.

Hex noticed, and, with a flick of his hand, Danny stood back up, both eyes blood red, his breathing evenly spaced. Danny turned to Hex. "Sorry, sir. That won't happen again."

Hex nodded at Danny, wondering if his choice was ill-made. The boy was powerful, but maybe he was a bit too powerful. Ah, well. His loyalty would be proven in time.

Dani writhed in pain. This time, Danny started laughing, loudly. She was so pathetic, so weak. But that would change in time. Why else would he have chosen her? Danielle would be a good soldier to Hex, as long as she was under the spell.

Hex repeated the chant, and Dani's eyes rolled back into her head. When they returned, they were just as red as Danny's. She flopped around some more, but eventually went still, her eyes still open. And then she stood up, grinning evilly.

"Welcome to the club, Danielle," Danny greeted.

Dani nodded at him, and then looked at Hex. "What are our orders, sir?"

Hex smiled. "Your orders, my dear, are to watch and learn as I take control of every ghost that there is."

Dani pouted. "That's no fun. There's nothing that we can do to help?"

Danny glared at his cousin. "Do not question Master Hex's plan, Danielle. You should be grateful that he didn't kill you when he first saw you."

"Very true, Daniel, but the girl has a point. Leaving you two to do nothing would be a waste of power. Fine. You may begin terrorizing humankind. I shall summon you when I need you." Hex waved his hand dismissively, and the two appeared behind Fenton Works.

Chapter 4

Reunion

Dani's pout dissolved, a malicious grin replacing it. "See, Danny? Master Hex agreed with me."

Danny shot daggers from his eyes at Danielle. "Yes, Danielle, but he also said that I was right about you being lucky. Now stop being an annoying pest and do your job."

With a scowl at her cousin, Dani flew away. Danny stayed where he was, wondering who he should torment- or maybe kill- first. There were so many options.

And then it came to him: Tucker. Of course. There was no one more fun to scare than Tucker Foley. And when Tucker was nothing more than a motionless corpse, perhaps killed of fright or something frightening, he would go after the Fentons. And then, if he was strong enough, Sam.

Of course, Sam would've been his first option, but there was something about her that, while making him want to hurt her more than anything else, threatened his loyalty to Hex. He would have to wait and save the best for last.

Danny started chuckling, anticipating the event, as he flew off into the night.

Danielle knew who she would go after first: Jason Jones. Dani had no clue why, but the thought of harming him seemed more appealing than anything else. So she took off for his house, which they had passed while he was walking her home.

She couldn't wait to see the horror in his face.

Isabel Allison put in her earphones, ready for her nightly run. She turned on her favorite music, techno-pop, and opened her front door, running out and closing it behind her. It was a nice night for a run; the wind was blowing a cool breeze and Izzy could see the large, full moon.

She wondered if Dani was okay, with her cousin being missing and all, and decided to stop by the Fentons' house to check on her.

Izzy thought that Dani was a cool girl. She was the only one besides Jason that hadn't avoided her or insulted her, calling her a spazz or annoying. And the fact that Dani was half-ghost made her even cooler, no matter what Hannah Rodgers said about her being a freak. If Dani wasn't such a good person, she could waste Hannah, or at least beat her up really badly.

Izzy's footsteps landed lightly on the sidewalk in time with the music. She'd be at the Fentons' soon enough.

Tucker Foley was lying on his stomach, doing homework, worrying about his best friend, and talking to Sam on his phone. Suddenly, he felt eyes on him. Turning around, he was shocked to see Danny standing there.

It was almost too good to be true. Tucker got up. "Danny? Where have you been, man?!"

Danny grinned sadistically. "Oh, you know. The usual. Flying around. Meeting ghosts. Tormenting humans."

Tucker sighed. "Well, you had us all worried- wait a minute, did you just say 'tormenting humans'? And-" Tucker suddenly noticed the color of Danny's eyes, backing away. "Danny…man…what happened to you, dude?"

Danny laughed, causing Tucker to shudder. "I figured out a few things. For one, I think that I like my blood cold rather than warm. For another, feeling is overrated."

Tucker had backed away so far that he bumped into the wall. "Dude, snap out of it."

Danny slowly started walking toward Tucker. Tucker's eyes grew wide.

No one had noticed that Tucker had left the phone on. All that Sam heard was screaming on the other end. Frantically, she yelled, "Tucker?! Tucker, what's wrong?! What's going on?!"

And then the phone hung up. By itself? Sam wondered. Someone- or something- had done something to Tucker. And Sam was not about to lose another friend.

Without a second thought, Sam ran down the stairs and to the Fentons' house. She was doing something about all of this, before anyone else that she cared about was put in danger.

"Dani's missing, too?!" Maddie asked, incredulous.

Jazz nodded. "She's not anywhere. I called and checked. No one knows where she is. No one's seen her since earlier this afternoon. And I'm willing to bet that whatever made Danny disappear caused this, too."

Jack stood up. "That's it! No one messes with the Fentons! Not without getting a beating with the Fenton Anti-Creep Stick, anyway."

Maddie stood up, too. "Get one of my jumpsuits, Jazz. We're going to take this weirdo down as a family!"

Jazz nodded and ran to her parents' closet, putting on one of her mother's black and blue jumpsuits. When she returned, they all went down into the lab, coming back up completely armed and ready to take down whoever they needed to in order to get the missing pieces of their family back.

"Let's do this," they said in unison.

Danielle went through the walls of Jason's bedroom. Jason was at his desk, on his computer, fixated on something on the screen. Dani snuck up behind him and lightly tapped on his shoulder.

Jason jumped, and then turned around, confused when he saw Dani.

"Dani? What're you doing here? And what happened to your eyes?"

Dani laughed. "Hi, Jason. To answer your questions, you seemed like more fun to scare than anyone else. And as for my eyes, they signify my master. Now. Do you want me to kill you, torment you, or both?"

Jason got up, backing away. "What's wrong with you?"

Dani moved towards him. "Nothing's wrong. As a matter of fact, I feel better than I ever have. Now. If you don't answer my question, I'll choose for you."

Jason looked for a way out. Then, suddenly, he relaxed, smiling and shrugging. "You know, Dani, that's an unfair question. I mean, obviously, I don't want you to do either. Can you come up with an option in which I live without any sort of pain?"

Dani stopped smiling. "Don't get technical, Jason. It's one or the other."

Jason pretended to think for a moment, raising Dani's suspicions. Out of nowhere, he yelled, "The other!" as he bolted past Dani and jumped out of his window, landing in the hedges below and running as fast as he could to his garage, grabbing his skateboard and mega-kick-starting himself in the direction of the Fentons' house.

There was something up with Dani. She'd said that she had a master, right? Maybe the master was making her act so weird, and maybe the master had her cousin, too. Now all that Jason had to do was find the master and somehow defeat him. Dani had told Jason that the Fentons had tons of ghost-related technology in their basement, which they called the lab. Maybe they had something that would help Jason fight the master and trap him somehow.

"There's nowhere to run, Jason! So stop trying!" Dani was gaining on him, her grin returning.

Jason didn't reply as he kicked his leg even harder against the asphalt. He had to get there in time. Before his new friend did something that she would regret.

Danny was getting tired of playing cat and mouse. It was time to find a new prey, he decided.

Tucker ran down the street towards the Fentons' house. He had to tell everyone about Danny. Something was wrong with him.

Danny stopped shooting at Tucker and just went down and scooped him up by his arms, flying as high as possible and moving to the park, where he knew that there was a steep cliff.

Tucker was shaking with fear. "Danny! Snap out of it, man! Now!"

Danny laughed again. "You poor, pathetic boy. At the complete and total mercy of me, even when I have none. Don't worry. Your misery will be over soon."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It means that I'm sending you to your death. Have fun." Danny chuckled as he dropped Tucker, who began to scream in terror.

Danny dusted his hands off as he began to fly to Fenton Works. One down, four to go.

Jazz was about to open the door so that the Fentons could rush through it like insane Vikings, but suddenly, Sam burst through it, and Jazz, Maddie, and Jack lowered their weapons.

"What is it, Sam?" Jazz asked.

Sam was breathing heavily. "It's…Tucker…..he's in…..trouble…..phone…..screaming…hang up…"

"Tucker's in trouble, too?" Jack asked.

Sam looked at him. "What…do you mean…too?"

"Dani's gone missing. No one's seen her since we came back," Maddie answered.

Sam's eyes narrowed as she sat down. "We need…to get to the…..bottom of this….after….I…rest."

The Fentons looked at each other, shrugging. They could wait to go on their family-crazed rampage, if it was only for a few minutes.

Izzy kept on running, her breaths even, the music pounding in her ears. Briefly, she wondered what Jason was doing.

Jason was dodging ecto-plasmic rays like a pro, swiveling back and forth on his skateboard and doing incredible tricks to avoid danger. At least, he was, until he passed the park and something heavy hit him from the sky, knocking him off of his skateboard.

Realizing that it was a guy- Mayor Foley, to be exact- Jason rolled out of the way as Dani shot another ray, just barely missing Mayor Foley.

Tucker's eyes opened suddenly, just as Jason rolled away from another ray. "Thanks for breaking my fall, dude," he said to Jason.

"It's Jason, Mayor Foley. Why were you falling from the sky?"

After recognizing Jason as Dani's friend, Tucker hopped onto Jason's skateboard with him and told Jason what had happed with Danny, all the while dodging Danielle's attacks.

"I knew it," Jason said. Then he told Tucker his theory about Dani and Danny's master. Tucker agreed to it, saying that it would make a lot of sense out of things.

"And I know how you can trap him, too," Tucker said. "Ever since Danny got ghost powers, he, Sam, and I've been using a weapon that the Fentons call the Fenton Thermos. It sucks ghosts in and keeps them there, deflecting all of their powers."

"Where is it?" Jason asked.

Tucker pointed to his backpack. "Right here. We each carry our own, just in case."

"That's smart of you guys. Anyway, we need to get to Fenton Works to tell them about Danny and Dani and figure out why their master would tell them to attack us."

"It's a good thing that we just passed it ten seconds ago, then," Tucker said.

Immediately, without even stopping, Jason put his weight on the back of the board, causing them to spin, and leaned forward again, heading back towards the Fentons', zooming right underneath an off-guard Dani, who gathered her wits and followed them.

Having recovered, Sam hopped up, moved to the front door, and pushed it open.

The Fentons raised their weapons and rushed through the door, yelling, "Charge!"

Danny was flying as fast as he could toward his house, a grin on his face as he thought of the terror in Tucker's scream. His family was next.

Izzy was almost there, about ten meters away.

Jason and Tucker turned the skateboard around the corner toward the Fentons' house.

And then, everything- or everyone- crashed at once.

Danny flew into Dani, and they both fell, feeling no pain, but still immensely irritated with each other.

Tucker ran into Sam, Jazz knocked heads with Jason, Izzy bumped into Jack, and Maddie tripped over all of them.

Somehow, in unison, they all yelled, "Watch where you're going!"

Then they looked up, and there was a series of names said.

"Jason?"

"Izzy?"

"Tucker?"

"Sam?"

"Mr. Fenton?"

"Jazz?"

"Sam?"

"Izzy?"

"Sam?"

"Jason?"

And then a series of Danny/ Dani's.

"DANNY?!"

"Dani?"

"DANNY?!"

"DANNY?!"

"DANNY?!"

"Dani?!"

"Dani?!"

"DANNY?!"

"Dani?!"

"Dani?!"

"DANNY?!"

"Danny?!"

"Danny?!"

And then, everyone was silent. It was the calm before the storm.

Chapter 5

Chaos

Back in the ghost zone, Walker had already noticed Hex's absence, and, after searching the entire ghost zone, had finally found his trail. It started at the ghost kid's portal. Go figure.

Walker waved his men over. When they came, he pointed at the portal. He had the technology to break through it as easily as a knife cuts through butter.

"Men," he ordered, "Hex is through that portal, in Amity Park. I want you to find him and the ghost boy. Bring them to me."

Immediately, the large army of ghostly police officers snapped on their devices and went straight through the portal without a hitch.

They flew up from the lab to the above skies, swarming them.

Walker followed them, thinking about how somehow, that boy and that man just kept on causing him problems. Well, he thought with a smile, not anymore.

Because, in Walker's eyes, causing him such frequent problems…..

Well, that was against the rules.

Out of nowhere, Danny and Dani lunged at their family and friends, who somehow untangled themselves and dodged the attack just in time.

Jack, Maddie, Sam, Jazz, Tucker, Izzy, and Jason all shared a look. They would either have to defend themselves and hurt the ghost kids or run and eventually get overtaken by them. There was no way out.

However, luckily for at least half of them, the first person Danny saw when he looked up was Sam, who looked angry, about to cry, and scared at the same time.

This had another clash effect on Danny. Part of him wanted to shoot at her, but the other part of him wondered what kind of monster he'd become to make his girlfriend look at him that way. He started breathing heavily again, going limp, his eyes opposing each other again.

"Sam…."he choked out.

Dani noticed and rolled her eyes. And he called her weak. "Danny, get your head in the game, before Master Hex kills you on the spot. I wouldn't want to see him angry when he loses his best soldier."

One part of Danny tried, but the other part tried not to, feeding in to his emotions, remembering how much his family and friends loved him.

Danny screamed, feeling like his entire body was on fire again, but this time with warmth.

Sam started to run forward. "Danny!" However, Tucker grabbed her arm.

"I don't that's a good idea, Sam."

"But he's in pain!"

"I'm just as worried as you. But if he loses the fight, you'd be in much more pain than he is right now."

Danielle glared at her cousin. "Danny, I'm warning you right now. Fight your emotions. Feed in to nothingness."

Danny stopped screaming and looked back up again, sweating.

His eyes were both blood red again.

Sam yelled, "Whoever you are, give him back!" as tears started to flow freely down her face.

Danny looked at Dani. "If you say a word of this to Master Hex, I will break you. And as for you," he said, turning to Sam, "I don't know what you're talking about. I'm Danny. This is how I am. And, to be honest, I think that I like the real me better than the weak one."

Danny grinned and shot at Sam, who dodged it. "I'm going to save you, Danny. Keep that in mind, and keep an eye out," she warned.

With that, Sam turned and ran, the Fentons, Izzy, Tucker, and Jason following. The two ghost kids were about to follow them, but suddenly appeared in the same cold, dark place. However, this time there was a dim light. Danny and Dani saw that the place was really just an alley next to a sign that read "welcome to Amity Park". And, filling up the alley and beyond, were over trillions of ghosts, all with blood red eyes.

Some Danny recognized, like Ember, Skulker, Youngblood, and Technus, and others he'd never seen before. All of them were grinning evilly.

"Ghost children," Hex called. Danny and Dani flew up to him.

"Yes, sir?" they asked in unison.

"Tell these soldiers what to do."

Danny yelled so that everyone could hear him. "Today, we shall fulfill Master Hex's death-long dream: to rule the world!"

All of the ghosts cheered loudly. Dani continued for her cousin, "We will spread out along the Earth and terrorize all humans for all eternity!"

All of the ghosts cheered again. Danny and Dani yelled together, "Ghosts take over the world tonight!" This time, the ghosts' cheers were deafening.

"Master Hex will send each of you to a certain location. You must make it as chaotic as possible, torment the humans, and kill anyone who stands in your way," Danny explained.

"If humans try and be brave or fight back, don't let them stop you," Dani added.

"Now terrorize them to their last breath!" the cousins shouted synchronically. The ghosts' yells sounded like one massive roar as Danny and Dani flew behind Hex.

Hex raised a hand, and each of the ghosts flew as fast as they could to terrorize a certain city or town.

Dani and Danny grinned and gave each other a high-five, moving back toward town. Ghosts would rule the world.

And their reign of terror would begin in the ghostly cousins' hometown: Amity Park.

Back at Fenton Works, Jason, Izzy, Tucker, and Sam pulled on black-and-orange jumpsuits and strapped dozens of weapons to themselves.

Tucker asked Sam, "Do you really think that it's a good idea to give two twelve-year-olds so many weapons?"

Sam responded with an irritated look, "Well, considering that one of them just saved your life with a skateboard and the other can do just about anything, then no, I guess not. Get back to arming yourself, Techno-Geek."

When they were done, everyone sat at the dining room table. It was a strange place to have such a dead-serious conversation, but then again, each of them was strange in their own way.

Jason was the first to speak. "Okay. So here's what we all know. Dani and Danny are evil, for some reason. I had a theory. Dani said that she had a master. I think that her master is also the other Danny's master. Somehow, he's controlling their minds and making hem attack the ones that they care about. The questions are who, how, and why?"

Tucker raised his hand. "Dani said something about a Master Hex. I think that's his name."

Jason nodded as Jack raised his hand. "What do you think, Mr. Fenton?"

"Jazzy and I found some footprints. Judging by them, we figured that the ghost that had kidnapped Danny was magic."

Jason leaned closer to Jack. "Describe these footprints."

Jazz answered for her dad, "Well, at first they were normal Danny footprints, but then they skidded and turned into a big blob-shaped print. Next to the blob-shaped print, there were these other footprints out of nowhere. And then, there was no trail for where Danny or the other ghost had taken off. It was like they had vanished."

Jason thought for a second. "Well then, you have to be right, Mr. Fenton. So here's what we have so far. Danny and Dani are being controlled by an evil magic ghost named Hex, who's making them come after the people that the care about. So now the only questions are why and what can we do about it?"

Sam stood. "I might know the answer to the last one. When Danny looked up and saw me, something weird happened. His right eye turned green, and he started hyperventilating and saying my name. And then Danielle told him to feed into the nothingness, to fight emotion. So maybe the way to break the spell is with emotion, or, more specifically, love."

Jason nodded, and then thought for a moment, his brown eyes looking upward. "So, instead of fighting them with weapons, we have to show them that we care about them. That's easy enough for Danny," he said, looking back at Sam. "You'd have to kiss him for the quickest results. But for Danielle…"

Izzy teased, "Maybe you should kiss her."

Jason blushed and glared at Izzy. "This is serious, Iz."

Izzy's smile widened. "I was serious."

Jason sighed and rolled his eyes. "Izzy and I'll have to tell her how cool we think she is. You guys-" he pointed at the Fentons- "will have to tell her how much you love her. You'd probably have to give her a hug."

Izzy said, "Maybe you should hug her, too."

Jason shot daggers at Izzy, blushing furiously. "One more word from you, Izzy, and you're going to be thrown to both Dannies while they're still evil."

Izzy's smile stayed plastered to her face.

Jazz shrugged. "That won't be too hard. We love her a lot, anyway. She's like a second Danny. Which she is, actually, but you get the point."

Jason said, "Alright. So now all that we need to know is why someone would do that to both Danny and Dani. I understand that Danny has a lot of enemies, but Danielle's only fought two ghosts, and neither of them would dish out revenge like this. And if Hex wanted to hurt Danny by getting someone he's close to, why choose the friend-cousin, whatever- that's armed with ghost powers? If they wanted to get even with Danny by hurting his friends or family, it would be at least a little bit easier to go for his completely human ones. So why?"

Sam said, "Actually, Danny's never met Hex before. So revenge is a no. There has to be a non-personal reason. Why would Hex want two ghost kids? What do Dani and Danny have in common in a non-personal way?"

"They're both powerful," Tucker mused.

"But why would Hex want powerful slaves?" Maddie wondered.

Jack thought, "Well, what do most evil ghosts want?"

Izzy answered, "To rule the world?"

Everyone looked at her. All at once, they said in realization, "To rule the world!"

Jason stood up, pacing back and forth. "So here's what we know. A magical, evil ghost named Hex is controlling our friends Dani and Danny, making them evil. He chose them because they're powerful and he wants to rule the world. We can turn the ghost kids back to normal with expressions of love and care. That's all, I guess. But something's missing. No matter how powerful Dani and Danny are, Hex can't rule the entire world with them. He'd need an army. The question is where to find them."

Izzy said slowly, "I don't think that's gonna be a problem."

Everyone looked in the direction that she was looking in, which was out the window. The once-clear night sky was now swarming with ghosts of all kinds. Some of them were wearing a certain uniform and fighting against the others, which raised some questions, but unimportant ones at the time.

Everyone stood up, grabbing their Thermoses.

"For the Dannies!" everyone yelled as they ran through the front door, ready to kick some ecto-butt.

Chapter 6

The Battle of Amity Park

"Izzy, cover me!" Izzy did a backflip over the ghosts that she was currently fighting, landing next to Jason and covering his blindside while he sucked in about twenty ghosts, sucking in about the same amount into her Thermos while doing so.

"Jazz! Spector Deflector!" Jazz threw Maddie a Spector Deflector. Maddie activated it and was jumping all over the place, taking down ghosts and trapping them out of nowhere, like a ghost-hunting ninja.

"This one's for Danny!" Sam said as she cut down seven ghosts at once with the Fenton Machete, sucking them in once they were down.

"This one's for breaking my PDA just then!" Tucker angrily disarmed and trapped about forty ghosts at one time. When he saw Sam staring at him in surprise, he asked, "What? So you get to cut down a bunch of ghosts at once in Danny's name, but I can't avenge my tech? How is that fair?"

Sam shook her head and continued to strike down ghosts.

Even Jack was taking out ghosts like a pro, knocking them everywhere with the Fenton gloves. "And THAT'S what happens when you mess with Jack Fenton, or his family!"

Everyone was doing their part, and doing it the best that they could. However, pretty soon, they were overwhelmed by the seemingly never-ending numbers.

"There are too many of them! We need to find a way to take them all down at once!" Jason yelled.

Jazz yelled back, "They're all being mind-controlled by Hex! Maybe if we take him down, they'll get their free will back and go away!"

Jason nodded. "It just might work! Everybody, we need to find Hex!"

"He could be anywhere in the world!" Izzy shouted.

"Then we need to find Danny and Dani and find out where he is from them!"

"How're we gonna find where he is from Danny and Dani?!" Tucker asked at the top of his lungs.

Jason shrugged. "I don't know, but we have to try! Everyone, follow me!"

Jason pressed a button on his jumpsuit, and suction cups appeared on his fingertips. He began to climb the wall of Fenton Works, kicking down or elbowing any ghost that tried to pull him back down. Everyone followed him upward until they got to the roof of the Fentons' house.

Then Jason looked around until he spotted them, Dani and Danny Phantom, sitting on the giant clock tower in the middle of the town like they owned Amity Park.

Jason pointed to them. "There," he said. "How are we going to get there in time?"

Maddie immediately moved forward, holding up something that looked like a gun with a four-ended hook sticking out of it.

"Grappling hook," she said. "Everyone, hold on to each other. The cord should be able to hold our weight."

Everyone held on to each other's waists as she shot the hook to the clock tower. Maddie yelled, and then released her grip on the roof, causing everyone to swing just above the ghostly chaos and up to the tower.

Dani and Danny looked up, stopped their grinning, and stood.

"Well. It's quite the surprise to see you all here," Danny started.

"And yet, it's not surprising at all," Dani finished. They grinned at each other and started shooting at their friends and family simultaneously.

Jason yelled, "Sam! Now!"

Sam nodded, ran up to Danny while dodging all of his attacks, and kissed him. He pulled back immediately and started hyperventilating again, sinking down to his knees once more. One of his eyes turned green, and the other was flickering from red to green.

"Sam….help…." he gasped and fell down on the ground completely, screaming and flopping around. It felt like more than just fire now; he felt as if someone had thrown him onto the sun and Pluto at the same time. He was fighting himself, and neither side of him was winning, instead freezing and burning him at the same time.

Sam looked at Jason, silently asking him, What do I do?

Jason mouthed, Wait. Then he turned to Danielle, shouting, "Why are you doing this Dani? You care about us!"

Dani chuckled. "I cared about you. But now I'm stronger. I have no feeling. Nothing to drag me down into the patheticness of humanity."

Jason raised an eyebrow. "Patheticness isn't a word, Dani!"

Dani glared at him. "You are so immature!" Then she sucked in a sharp breath. Any emotion at all was threat, she realized. Even irritation, as long as it was toward someone who felt.

Jason yelled, "Dani, your family loves you! A lot! And Iz and I, we think that you're the coolest girl ever! So why would you do this to the people that care about you so much?!"

Dani's scowl turned into a fazed look. "I…wha….."

Jazz shouted, "You're like the sister that I never had, Dani!"

"We all love you!" Maddie added.

"Especially me!" Jack yelled. Everyone, despite the serious situation, turned to look at him. He shrugged. "What? It's true."

Ignoring Jack, Izzy yelled, "Dani, you're amazing! You're nice, smart, pretty, and an awesome fighter! We just want you to be okay!"

This time, Dani started shaking, falling to her knees. Maddie, Jazz, Jack, and Izzy ran to her while Jason and Tucker made sure that no one came up and interfered. As the Fentons and Izzy hugged Dani, Danny lay motionless, his eyes now green.

Sam panicked. "Danny?! Danny! Are you alright?!"

Suddenly, a disembodied voice boomed, "Oh, he's alright. For now. It's unfortunate that I can't say the same for all of you."

Everyone suddenly felt something harsh and hot rip through their skulls. Everyone screamed.

Hex appeared in front of them, glaring at the ghost cousins. It had been a bad idea to pick two half-ghosts, no matter how powerful they were. Their human side wanted them to fight his spell, and, unfortunately, their human side was just as powerful as their ghostly side.

"Hello, humans. While I admire your courage for trying to rescue your friends, I'm afraid that, while you may have succeeded in saving them, you've doomed yourselves and your world. You see, while I have been taking over the world, I've also been watching all of you, and I have to say that you are an elite and intelligent bunch, especially the young boy right there." Hex pointed to Jason, who narrowed his eyes. "However, though you all have clearly put forth your best efforts, I- whoa!"

Jason had tried to suck Hex into the Fenton Thermos, but Hex had sidestepped the force just in time. Hex smiled. "Like I said, elite and intelligent. However, as I was saying-"

"As you were saying, you're about to get a beat down."

Everyone turned to look at who had just said that. And, much to their surprise, Danny and Dani were standing, identical smirks on their faces, each of their eyes glowing ecto-green.

"Danny!" Sam ran to kiss him full on the lips. Danny smiled and pushed her behind him.

"I advise you everyone to move out of the way," he said. Everyone but Izzy, Jason, and Hex knew what he was talking about. Dani ran up and grabbed Izzy and Jason's hands, pulling them out of the way.

"Cover your ears," Dani advised. Hex was the only one who didn't listen, a bit shocked and confused at the same time.

Danny sucked in a deep breath and released a wail that sent Hex flying backwards, pieces of the tower peeling off, and every ghost down below on the ground, covering their ears.

When Danny was finished, his smirk returned as he flew after Hex, ready to give him a major beating.

As Danny flew off, Jason saw the damage and scratched the back of his neck. "What was that?"

Dani smiled before taking off after her cousin, Fenton Thermos in hand. "He calls it his Ghostly Wail."

"Whoa," was all that Jason could say.

When Danny found Hex lying on the ground, dazed and confused, he grinned. Hex looked up just in time to see Danny cracking his knuckles, Danielle joining him.

"I'm going to enjoy this. A lot," Danny said.

With a punch to the face, an ecto-plasmic shot to the chest, and a freeze to the head (followed by a kick to the head, which broke the ice and gave Hex a major headache), Danny dusted his hands off. "And that's for mind-controlling me and making me hurt the people that I care about. I'm hoping you've learned your lesson."

Danielle smirked. "My turn." She blasted Hex with scalding-hot ecto-plasma in the face, punched him straight on the nose (causing a gratifying crunch and green ghost blood to spill out), and, to top it off, kicked him in between his legs.

"May I do the honors?" Danny asked.

With a smile, Dani handed the thermos to Danny, who pointed it at Hex. "You know, I could've done this a while ago if you hadn't snuck up on me, Hex. Now say good-bye to your pathetically unoriginal dream." Danny sucked Hex into the Thermos with an especially gratifying smile.

All at once, every ghost in the world's eyes returned to their normal color. Every ghost suddenly regained consciousness of their actions, wondering where they were and what they were doing. And, as quickly as they had come, each ghost flew into whatever available portal that there was, no matter how temporary.

Everything pretty much went back to normal.

Dani high-fived her cousin as they flew back toward their friends. "Great job, Danny. And I forgive you for kidnapping me."

Danny smiled. "You, too, cuz. And I'm sorry for calling you a pest. And kidnapping you."

Then they landed on the clock tower again, greeted by smiles and sweaty faces.

"Danny!" Everyone yelled at once. Of course, some were referring to Dani, but you get the point.

The two ghost kids found themselves being squeezed to death by loving friends and family. And, for the first time in at least two days, things seemed to be just fine.

That is, until Walker showed up.

"Sorry to interrupt your little reunion, but I'll be taking that Thermos. And the ghost boy too, if you don't mind." Walker grinned as politely as he could (which, for Walker, meant not politely at all).

Danny rolled his eyes. "Please. You can have the magical jerk, but why would you want me? I was under a spell, remember? And besides, you know how this ends, anyway."

"Oh, yes, I do. It ends with you imprisoned with no way out. And, though you were under a spell, you have caused me a great deal of trouble, ghost boy. It's time I permanently get you out of my way."

Sam stood protectively in front of Danny, although he was at least three inches taller than her. "You want my boyfriend, you go through me, Walker."

Dani stood next to Sam. "Me, too."

Tucker gathered his courage and stood next to the two girls. "Me, three."

Maddie, Jack, Izzy, Jazz, and Jason joined the teens.

"Basically, if you want one of us, you get all of us," Jason stated firmly.

Walker smiled. "I guess that I'll have to get all of you, then. Guards!" When the ghostly officers stood to attention, Walker pointed at the jumpsuited heroes. "Handcuff the humans with real-world cuffs. Handcuff the ghost-children with the usual. Take them to the prison."

Before anyone knew it, the Fentons, Izzy, Sam, Tucker, and Jason had all been handcuffed, each of them dragged away by at least three ghosts each.

"Let us go!" Dani yelled.

"You have no right!" Maddie added.

Walker laughed. "Letting you go would be against the rules. And besides, I have all of the right in the world. Now. You have the right to remain silent."

And that's what everyone did as they were dragged to Walker's jail, the humans put in real-world cages (with their cuffs taken off) and Dani and Danny put in ecto-cells (with their cuffs left on- they subdued their powers) in a special hallway that was cut off from the other prisoners. Everyone remained silent.

After what might have been a couple of hours, Izzy asked, "So now what?"

Chapter 7

Prison Break

"Any ideas, Jazz?" Tucker asked.

Jazz shrugged. "Jason?"

Jason's head slumped. "I don't know. I don't think that we'll ever get out of here. I'm stumped."

Danny snorted. "If you think that, then you've never really seen us. Somehow we get out of everything. Right, guys?"

"He has a point. Somehow, in the end, things turn out at least alright," Sam backed up.

"Team Phantom never fails," Jazz agreed. After everyone gave her a strange look, she raised an eyebrow. "What?"

"Jazz, there is no name for our group. It's not the Ghost-Getters, and it's not Team Phantom. It's just us." Danny shook his head.

"I don't know. Team Phantom sounds kind of catchy," Izzy mused.

Jason sighed. They were talking about names for the group already. There wasn't going to be a group anymore to talk about. Didn't they get it? There was no possible way out of here.

Dani whispered, "We're doomed, aren't we?" Jason jumped, caught off guard by the sudden words in his ear.

As soon as he got over the shock, his head drooped again. "Yeah. I guess we are. There's no one to come get us, no possible way out of this. We'll be stuck here forever."

Dani frowned, not saying anything. She was thinking how much it sucked that she'd been alive for only less than a year, and already she'd have to spend the rest of her existence in a stupid jail cell, all because yet another moron wanted to rule the world, and a different moron was a prissy little princess.

Jack was asleep in his cage, and Maddie was listening and joining in the debate about the group name. Jason looked around as Danny rolled his eyes, Sam raised a critical eyebrow, Tucker shrugged, Jazz tried to prove her point, and Izzy nodded in agreement. He began to pick at his fingernail, his usually whirring mind slowing down more than was ever usual. There was nothing to think about, no plan to come up with. It was over.

Looking at Dani, he thought, at least one person gets it.

However, eventually, the conversation stopped. Endless hours went by, morphing into days. Everyone was silent, save a few sudden sentences that were always followed by dead silence. No one had said a word, but the unsaid was obvious: they were stuck there. For good. The only sounds were Jack snoring loudly (he was surprisingly still asleep all of this time) and growling stomachs as they were sorely lacking any food of any kind.

At one point, Izzy said what everyone was thinking: "We're not getting out of here, are we?"

Jason looked at her and slowly shook his head. "No, Iz, I don't think-"

Izzy turned to look at him. "Jase?" Then she caught that familiar gleam in his eye, like a tiny, tiny spark. The beginnings of an idea.

Everyone except for Jack (who was somehow still asleep), turned to look at the 12-year-old boy. His brow was creased, his mouth in his palm, his elbow resting on his knee.

Something had caught his attention. Something shiny and metal. It was on Jack's jumpsuit and Jack's only. A small button lay on his upturned wrist. Jason had no idea what it could've been for. But, curious as well as the least bit hopeful, he said, "Mrs. Fenton, try and press the button on Mr. Fenton's wrist."

Maddie nodded, scooting as close as she could to the edge of her cell and reaching her small, dainty hand inside of her husband's cell. She was just barely able to reach the button. She pushed it, and everyone held their breath.

And, somehow that Jason could not figure out, out popped out a fudge brownie with a Ding.

Jack immediately woke up. "Fudge!" He yelled before grabbing the brownie and raising an eyebrow at his wife. "Maddie, did you try and steal my emergency fudge?"

Maddie didn't even answer, instead returning to her hopeless position along with everyone else. Jason sighed. False hope was worse than none at all.

When Jack was done with the large brownie, he asked, "So we haven't busted out of here yet? How long has it been?"

Everyone answered simultaneously, "Three days."

"Three days? And no one's escaped? Why didn't anyone wake me up?"

Everyone shrugged. Why would they have any reason to?

Jack pressed a button on the front of his right ankle, spewing out a lock pick from his neck. Everyone's jaw dropped.

"You had that the whole time, dude?!" Tucker asked.

"And you never bothered to use it?!" Dani added.

Jack shrugged. "I figured someone else would do something about it. But, apparently, I have to do everything myself," he finished with a condescending glare at everyone.

Jack picked his lock with ease, freeing everyone else, including Danny and Dani. When he was done, he shoved it into his armpit, where it disappeared with a metallic whirring sound and a click.

"Wow, Dad, that was amazing," Dani said with a hug to Jack.

Jack smiled, noticing that that was the first time she'd called him Dad. Usually, she called him Uncle Jack. But he liked Dad a whole lot better. "It's all in the jumpsuit, sweetheart. All in the jumpsuit."

Danny turned back into a human and phased through his cell with ease. One not well-known fact about the Ghost Zone: humans phase through things as easily as ghosts would in the human world.

Danielle and everyone else joined him as they joined hands, Dani and Danny turning back into ghosts and each on either side of the line.

Together, they flew away without anyone noticing, quiet as mice, making it all of the way to the Fenton portal. And then they stood there, wondering what to do next.

They didn't wonder for long, though. They heard a gravelly voice with a southern twang shout, "Get back here, prisoners!"

Looking behind them, the gang saw Walker and his guards flying at them at least one hundred miles per hour, all of them angry and all of them ready to attack.

Jason thought quickly. Maybe, if Tucker had his PDA with him, he could hack through the Fenton Portal's security code and open it.

"Mayor Foley! Do you have your PDA with you?"

Tucker nodded, getting the point immediately. "I'm on it."

The ghosts were getting really close, really fast.

Beads of sweat appeared on Tucker's forehead. Come on, come on! He thought. Don't fail me now, technology!

Finally, just before Walker reached them, Tucker's screen read, "Access granted."

The portal opened, and everyone ran through, Walker only a few meters behind. "I'll get you, ghost-"

As everyone went through, the portal closed right in Walker's face. As he stumbled back, he finished, "Kid."

With a growl, he asked, "Does everyone have their portal devices?"

Each guard checked their head and replied, "No, sir."

Walker growled, furious. And then, he thought, oh, well. He'd get the ghost boy soon enough. At least now he had Hex under custody. Waving his arm, he shouted, "Men, let's return. We'll let the kid enjoy his freedom while he can. For now, we have business to get to."

And, with that, the ghosts flew away from the portal, defeated.

Back in the lab, everyone was celebrating. Danny gave everyone a hug (Except for Sam, who he gave a long, happy kiss and a hug) and Dani did likewise (except for the kissing). Everything was the way that it should've been.

Tucker's eyes grew wide as he clutched his bubbling stomach. Without a word, he dashed to the restroom.

Danny sniffed. "Ugh," he complained with a grimace, "I really need to take a shower."

Everyone smelled themselves and had a similar response. They were all covered in sweat, a little bit of blood, and dirt. But at least they were finally out of danger.

Chapter 8

Just the Beginning

Sam took a sip from her straw, which was in the giant Coke bottle that she and Danny were sharing while they did their homework in his room, lying on his bed. Tucker, who was sitting on a chair near Danny's closet, was playing games on his DS, claiming that he'd finish his homework when he got home.

"Where's Jazz?" Sam asked.

Danny answered, "On her date with Dash. She should be back by dinner." And with that, they continued with their homework.

In the room next door, Dani, Jason, and Izzy were sprawled all over the room: Dani on her bed drinking a can of grape soda, Jason at Dani's desk, and Izzy lying on her stomach on the floor. Jason and Dani were doing their homework while Izzy, who'd already done her homework in class somehow, wrote down her schedule.

"Tomorrow I have a dentist's appointment," Izzy declared.

Jason looked up. "When'll you be back?"

"About four p.m. I'm getting braces."

Dani looked up, too. "Wow. You'd look great with braces."

Izzy grinned at Dani before they returned to what they were doing.

About thirty minutes later, everyone was done with their tasks. Danny fired up the game console. Dani heard it and went to his room, knocking on the door with Jason and Izzy following.

Danny turned. "What's up?"

"Can we join in?" Dani asked.

"We're kind of bored," Izzy explained.

Danny smiled. "Sure. Dani, you join in first. Loser gives it up to Jason."

"Actually, I don't play video games much."

"Okay, then. Izzy."

Izzy smiled, messing up Jason's hair. "Liar," she teased.

Jason, who was back to his usual shy self, blushed. "Jeez, Iz, do you have to tell them everything about me?"

Izzy nodded. "It's my job to speak for you, since you hardly speak at all, and I don't stop talking."

Jason scowled, knowing that it was illogical, but true in Izzy's mind. He'd have to deal with it, and there was no way out.

Dani laughed, placing a hand on Jason's shoulder. "To take your mind off of Izzy giving out personal information of yours, watch me kick some butt in video games." Jason's scowl dissolved as he smiled, looking up at the screen.

Danny's face was deathly serious as he focused on the game, trying to win, but failing miserably. He sucked at video games. Maybe it hadn't been a good idea to say loser gives it up, but oh, well.

As Danny was eliminated and Sam won, she smirked at him, receiving a sour glare in return. She laughed, sitting up to kiss him, which immediately made the glare disappear, although when she pulled back, it returned, although not as convincing.

"No one likes a sore loser," she teased.

Danny's mouth twisted up to one side as he continued to glare at her, silently asking her if that was really necessary to say. To Sam, it was one of the most adorable faces he'd ever made. She handed her controller to a surprised Jason, who immediately got the idea and started playing, taking Sam's place as the champion.

Sam rested her head on Danny's shoulder. With a look at her, he got over his babyish tantrum and smiled, resting his cheek on her head and wrapping his arm around her.

"You know I didn't mean what I said or did, right?"

Sam immediately knew what he was referring to. "Of course I knew. I was just so scared for you, and hurt because I knew that you were being hurt. Oh, and by the way, I just realized how adorable your pout was."

Danny raised an eyebrow at the pout comment, getting thrown off of the subject a little bit. "That's good. About the mind-control thing. And how was my expression adorable? I was mentally shooting daggers at you."

"I don't know, it just was. I had the urge to squeeze you like a Gothic teddy bear just then, but I figured that you get enough squeezing from Jazz and Dash."

Danny shrugged. "From you, it wouldn't have counted as a squeeze. More like a surreal dream from which I would never want to wake up."

Sam blushed. "I'm surprised that you know what surreal means."

Danny rolled his eyes. "Oh, hardy-har-har. Just take the compliment, Sam. That, or quit calling me clueless one. It annoys the heck out of me."

"I'll take the compliment. And that's what pet names are supposed to do. Annoy you while staying a term of endearment."

Danny began playing with Sam's hair. "Well, it's working, then. I feel both annoyed and loved at the same time."

"That was my goal." Sam laughed softly.

After a few minutes of silence, Danny mused, "This isn't the end, is it?"

"No, it's not. Hex was just the beginning. I have a feeling that more ghosts are coming back. I think that they've gotten tired of playing nice with you," Sam answered.

"I think so, too. But, whatever, happens, we've got what it takes to handle it. Especially now that we know Izzy and Jason."

Sam nodded underneath Danny's head. "That kid is smart. And that girl has so many tricks up her sleeve, I don't know where to start. Still, they might not be enough."

"Yeah. It's gonna be a bumpy ride," Danny stated.

"And yet, somehow…" Sam started.

"…everything is still perfect," Danny finished.

And so, with that in their minds, they moved even closer together (if that was possible) and watched as Jason whipped everyone's butt in the game.

All of them expected enemies to come soon. All of them kept that in mind as they smiled an enjoyed themselves. Because, whether every evil ghost out there knew it or not, all of them knew that they were ready for anything.

So bring it on, world.

Team Phantom is back.

And it's better than ever.