Disclaimer: This is a fan work created at no profit and for entertainment purposes only. The author acknowledges that Danny Phantom and related characters are property of Nickelodeon and all many concepts used here are the creation of Butch Hartman.
The Phantom Reboot
Episode 1: Bonding the Hard Way (Part 1)
The school bell rang outside Casper High School, announcing the start of the first lunch period and the students were quick to take advantage of their one break from classes before dismissal at 3:15.
Some took advantage of it in different ways than others. For example, Danny Fenton and his best friend, Tucker Foley were staked out at the front steps, directly beneath a large poster advertising Casper's Fall Formal.
Tucker, the shorter of the two by a scant inch, was dark skinned with glasses. He watched the comings and goings through the door with an air of blind optimism and a bit too much enthusiasm.
Beside him, Danny, a pale boy with black hair, slouched against the railing, wearing the kind of bored expression people wear when they know the choice is between boredom and depression. He was just there to support his friend, even if he knew nothing would come of this plan, just like every other time that week.
A cute blonde in pink washed jeans and a white T-shirt came out holding a tray in one hand while securing her purse with the other. Tucker leaned toward her. "So the Fall Formal's is this Friday, and-"
"No." She said dismissively and moved on down the stairs.
Tucker just shrugged and switched targets to the Asian girl with pig tails and an ankle length canvas skirt who was coming out at that moment. "Say, you know the Fall Formal-"
"Not a chance." She said with an eye-roll
Undaunted, Tucker squared his shoulders and turned back to the door. A moment later, a dark skinned girl in a yellow blouse and orange skirt came out: Valerie gray, the girl Tucker really wanted to go to the dance with and also the only girl he'd asked three times already. "Hey Val..."
"You're not going to ask me again are you?" She stared him down. For one of the A-listers, she wasn't a shallow powder puff. There was steel in that gaze; not just the ice Paulina or Star mustered.
"Pretty much." Tucker nodded without a hint of self consciousness or even simple shame.
Valerie's glare intensified and Danny wondered how Tucker wasn't catching fire at that point. "Get it through your thick skull, loser: I'm not going out with you! I'm never going out with you! In fact, I'm going with Kwan, so back off!"
Just then, the man in question, the tall, broad shouldered and gratingly handsome Kwan rushed up. "Hey Val! You'll never guess what! Debbie said she'd go to the dance with me! Looks like you're the only one in our group that's dateless, huh?"
Val's hand lashed out faster than any of them could track, grabbed Kwan, who was almost twice her size, by the collar and flung him aside. Her teeth grated as her eyes rested on Tucker once more. "Back off anyway." She snarled before stomping off down the stairs.
Danny looked at Tucker. Tucker looked back and shrugged. "I'm wearing her down. Did you see how long she talked to me this time?" Without missing a beat, or letting Danny comment, her turned back to the doors.
The next girl to come out was the infamous Samantha Manson. Casper High had its share of Goths, but they were mostly sullen, quiet and kept to themselves. Sam was the opposite. She was the blaring air-horn to their quiet dirge, the tornado to their rainclouds. Everyone knew her if only to in as much as they knew to get out of the way when she was on a kick about one of her causes. As a general rule, she was best avoided in all other situations anyway.
Today, she was clearly gearing up for another battle, her combat boots beating a war cadence on the tiled floors of the school, her knuckles white as she gripped her lunch bag. And Tucker Foley was on a collision course.
Danny sat back to watch the show. "I'll miss ya, buddy." He chuckled.
Tucker opened his mouth, but didn't get a single word out.
"Of course not!" Sam exploded at him. "Especially not when I'm the absolute last girl you asked! What's wrong with you?!" She then pointed angrily at Danny. "And you. I am not going to maul your friend for your amusement, so get that smirk off your face."
"Boys." She growled to herself and stomped down the stairs to an empty lunch table.
Bewildered, Tucker turned to Danny. "I... didn't say anything."
Danny had the same look on his face. "Neither did I. What the heck was that about?"
"No idea. But she's right: she's officially the last girl in the school I haven't asked yet. Wanna go eat?"
"You asked all two-hundred and fifty plus girls to the Formal?"
Tucker grinned. "Some of 'em twice." He held up two fingers for emphasis. "You'd better get on the ball, man. Otherwise, you're going to end up dateless."
The two friends descended the stairs and crossed the courtyard, carefully avoiding the still fuming Manson girl and the A-lister table. As the they, Danny sighed. "What's the point, Tuck? Even if by some miracle, I do get a date, we both know that some ghost is just gonna show up in Amity and I'll have to ditch."
"Why not just take the night off from ghost hunting?"
Danny made a rude noise. "Sure, and what, ask Jazz to patrol in my place? We've been over this; my parents left that equipment to me and Jazz before they disappeared and since Jazz doesn't even believe in ghosts, it's up to me to keep protecting the town from the ghosts until they come back."
An uncomfortable silence passed between the two as Tucker struggled with whether he should say anything or not. Jack and Maddie Fenton had been gone over a year now without so much as a word to their kids or proof that they were okay. Jazz had accepted the reality and the siblings' new living situation with the Foleys, but Danny hadn't; not completely. Sometimes he still slept over at Fenton Works.
At length, Tucker decided it wasn't the time. "Yeah, I know. But listen: maybe you'll get lucky and there won't be a ghost attack."
"Since when have I ever been lucky?" Danny scoffed.
"Fenton!" a braying, obnoxious voice carried across the courtyard. Tucker and Danny turned to see Dash Baxter, quarterback and bully extraordinaire, sprinting toward them with murder in his eyes. "Paulina turned me down for the dance and I'm gonna take it out on your hide!"
"Run?" Tucker asked.
"Run." Danny confirmed and they both wheeled around in a flat out stampede for any hiding place they could find.
Danny groaned in frustration. "This isn't fair. Every time something bad happens to him, I have to pay for it? Oh man, could this day get any worse?" The theme from Close Encounters of the Third Kind sounded from Danny's pocket as if on cue.
"Ghost alarm." said Tucker. "You just had to ask, didn't you?"
"I need to keep my mouth shut." Danny said darkly.
High atop the roof of Casper High, a hulking form faded into visibility. He topped seven feet, six inches, all in gleaming titanium accented by his ghostly glow. The metal skull that served as his face grinned, illuminated by the flickering green flames of his hair as he brought a pair of binoculars to his eyes.
Through the red tint of the lens, he scanned the courtyard until a targeting reticule appeared, indicating that he'd finally gotten a visual on his target.
"Excellent." He said in a deep, self-satisfied voice. "I knew there was a reason I decided to expand my hunts into the Human realm. So many new and exotic trophies to take." He grinned as much as a skull could and brought up a bio on the target on his wrist mounted computer. "You will make an excellent addition to my collection, Samantha Manson."
Danny Fenton always thought his parents were crackpot and conspiracy theorists. Until one day, they disappeared, leaving behind only the password to open their secret vault of anti-ghost technology and proof that their home, the town of Amity Park, was under siege from a dimension called The Ghost Zone.
Now, Danny has taken up their mantle as the secret protector of Amity Park. With the help of his friends, Sam and Tucker as well as his parent's cache of weapons and technology, he works to ensure that this home and the world at large are safe as the one and only: Danny Phantom!
"Fenton! Where did you go? I owe you a pounding!" Dash ran past a row of hedges looking around for his favorite punching bag. He searched the entire area for a minute, including behind the hedges before continuing on, still hunting for another hapless nerd to punch.
Once he was gone, two crouched figures faded into view behind the hedge. Both let out relieved sighs.
Danny patted the buckle of this bright, yellow belt, a gold, concave disc with a dial encircling it and buttons around the rim. "The Fenton Ghost Battlin' Belt: not just good for ghost battlin'." He said fondly.
Tucker peeked over the bush to make sure Dash was gone. "I seriously need to figure out where your parents got a source of ecto-energy so I can make one of those for myself. Imagine a life of no wedgies ever again!"
"Not a toy, Tuck." Danny admonished.
"Oh yeah, it's not a toy when I don't want to get kicked to crud, but when you want to sneak into the girls' locker room..."
"For the last time, I was chasing the Box Ghost!" Danny defended. "Now I've gotta go see what set off the ghost alarm. Will you be okay here?"
"Hey, it's not me Dash wants to pound."
As he stood, Danny snickered. "Yeah, it's Valerie that wants to pound you." Before Tucker could defend himself, he turned the dial on the belt. "We're go for ghosts."
The buckle lit up with a flare of green energy and the front and back split from each other, revealing minute holes from which a black and silver ooze with a ghostly glow issued. It flowed out over Danny, covering him from head to toe in a shimmer blob before shifting into a black jumpsuit with silver accents, silver boots, and silver gloves. His head was covered by a close fitting cowl that left his face exposed, lust like his parents' jumpsuits did. The belt itself turned silver as well as a DP logo on the buckle.
Danny pulled a pair of silver goggles with red lenses from a pocket obscured by the jumpsuit and put them on, completing his transformation into his alter ego: Danny Phantom.
With a nod to Tucker, he touched a button in his belt and flew off toward the source of the ghost alarm.
Sam Manson sat at her table and tried to distract herself with homework. For once, it was homework she liked; creative writing, but even the idea of getting good grades for dark poetry she was going to write anyway wasn't enough to keep her mind off the problem creeping in the back of her mind.
Did Foley and Fenton notice?
She had gotten very, very good at hiding it over the years, but the day had just been so stressful. Paulina had been doing hit and runs all week mocking her for not having anyone to go to the dance with, accurately predicting that even the guys that thought she was attractive were too intimidated to approach her; then the biology teacher announced that they would start frog discretion in two weeks, something she vehemently disagreed with on many levels; and finally, she and her mother had another fight that morning. It was about the dance again. Pamela Manson insisted that her daughter was going, date or no date, and had gone as far as buying her a dress. It was, admittedly a nice dress, but it was the principle of the thing.
And so, when Foley went to asked her, knowing full well that she was the last girl he hadn't asked, it was a match on a powder keg.
Her fingers crumpled the paper she'd been writing on tightly, tearing ti from the notebook. That stupid dance! Why was it the only thing people could talk about that week? There were far more important things to discuss, like stopping the upcoming slaughter of innocent frogs, but nobody cared about that. All they cared about was who was going with who and mocking who wasn't going with who.
She growled and tossed the paper aside, trying to will herself to calm down. It hadn't been the boys' fault, really. She'd avoided Foley and his increasingly desperate attempts to get a date, any date, all week, so it wasn't surprising that she was the last one asked. And as for Fenton, she only had herself to blame because if she were being honest, she did resort to violence pretty often. Thickheads like Dash and Kwan didn't respond to anything less than high velocity contact with a combat boot.
It occurred to her to find them and apologize, but she quickly dismissed that. Cutting down on human contact was important, because not doing so was often unpleasant. Besides, maybe they hadn't noticed what really happened up there on the stairs, and might only do so if she brought attention to it.
Besides, she had a rep to maintain.
Sam's eyes widened.
Avarice. Pride. Eagerness. Anticipation.
And they were all directed toward... her.
Sam looked up, following invisible lines that led up and up toward the roof of the school. Something or someone huge had just leapt off it. But they didn't fall. Instead, they seemed to float downward. Downward toward her.
Sunlight streaming from behind threw the thing into silhouette, but gleamed off metallic skin and the barrel of a wrist mounted gun. A gun which, like everything else; those dark thoughts, the things' descent—was aimed directly at her.
Panic froze her for a split second, as the monstrous creature landed across the table from her, skull face leering at her, green hair blazing. All around, the other students started screaming. And in the next split second, Sam's fight or flight kicked in. As usual, she picked 'fight'.
Fighting down a scream,s he instead put all that energy into grabbing the edge of the table and hauling upward on it as she stood up. The table flipped, right into the raised arm of the monster in front of her, sending the shot it intended for her into the air.
There was a squawk, and a robin fell from the sky, wings bound by a ring of green energy. Sam blinked at it, then remembered there were more important things to worry about. She took a step back, but forgot the bench was there, ending up sprawled on her back.
A concussive blast cracked across the courtyard as the table exploded into splinters and kindling.
The metallic creature held a smoking blaster pistol in its off hand. "You actually fought back." He said with a hint of both surprise and delight. "I now I know I'm really going to enjoy hunting you, Samantha Manson."
Sam goggled. How did this thing know her name? And more importantly, did it just say it was hunting her? As if she didn't detest hunting to start with.
"And I'm going to enjoy punting your sorry butt back to the Ghost Zone!"
Something black and silver flashed over Sam's head and slammed into the hunter, sending him stumbling back. Using the energy of the impact, that 'something' executed a backward flip to land on the bench that Sam had been sitting on, its back to her.
"Who are you?" The hunter asked rubbing at the dent the sudden attack left in his armor with a thumb.
The black and silver being grunted in annoyance. "Wait. You know her name and not mine? Come on, dude, I've only been fighting ghost in this town for like a whole year."
The hunter shrugged.
"Danny Phantom? The Phantom of Amity Park?"
"Sorry. Doesn't ring a bell."
Danny Phantom sighed dejectedly. "Inviso Bill?"
The hunter's eyes flickered with memory. "You're Inviso Bill? Wow. I thought you've be taller. But anyway, I'm not here for you... yet. Now step aside while I, Skulker, the Ghost Zone's greatest hunter captures his latest and most unique prize to date: the human whelp, Samantha Manson."
"Is... he hitting on me?" Sam asked, quirking an eyebrow at Skulker's choice of words.
"What?" Skulker bellowed. "Ugh! I already have a girlfriend. I'm here for your pelt."
"Was the 'ugh' really necessary?" Sam asked.
Danny folded his arms. "I'm too busy getting the heebie jeebies from the 'pelt' part. That's excessively wrong."
"I don't care what you think!" Skulker shouted. "I'm just here for her. And if I have to go through you..." A huge cannon emerged from his shoulder and tracked in on Danny. "That just makes it more fun."
The green blast from the cannon disintegrated the bench, but by that time, Danny was already flying backward. Pausing only to grab Sam by the back of her shirt, he then pours all speed into hasty retreat. "Hold that thought, Skulkie. I'll be right back.
Sam gagged as the way he was carrying her cut off her airflow and after a puzzled second, he swung them both around and arranged her, bridal style, in his arms.
"You're running away?" She croaked, rubbing her throat as she looked over his shoulder at Skulker in hot pursuit.
"'Thank you so much for rescuing me Phantom. How can I ever repay you for saving my life?' Ya know, just once I'd like to hear that. Just once! Well at least you didn't scream."
She glared at him. "Not that kind of girl, ghost boy." Despite the glare, she blushed just a bit.
Danny eyes widened. Maybe his little verbal play about how he'd like at least one pretty girl suggested something, but that didn't warrant blushing. Now if she'd known the mental image he'd gotten... His train of thought was cut off by a green explosion taking out a tree on his right.
"We gotta get you someplace safe until we figure out what that metal gorilla wants with you." He said, brushing all other thoughts aside. He turned and, still holding Sam tightly with one arm, cocked the other and fired off a flare of green energy of his own. The suddenness of he move caught Skulker off guard and the blast hit him squarely in the face, sending him reeling back, head over heels.
Using Skulker's temporary loss of line of sight, Danny hit another switch on the Fenton Ghost Battlin' Belt and he and Sam faded from the visible spectrum. He ignored Sam's gasp and made a bee-line for the school.
"You really are the 'Inviso Bill' the local news can't shut up about." Sam said in shock. "But wait, why is a ghost saving a human girl like me? Shouldn't you be haunting my locker or possessing me with evil intentions instead?"
"Look." Danny said dryly. "My name is Danny. Danny Phantom, not Inviso Bill. And almost as important, I'm not a ghost."
"Could have fooled me with the flying, the invisibility and the ghost rays." Sam said, turning her head away from him because they were way too close be facing one another.
"Look, it's complicated." Danny also tried to turn his head at the same time, deciding that he shouldn't be close enough to a strange girl to smell her toothpaste. Both of them blushed when he thought that. To get his mind off it, he asked, "Why are you being so difficult? It's like talking to a—"
"Wall!" Sam suddenly said.
"Yeah! A brick wall."
"No, that school's brick wall! We're going to run into it!" she pointed to the rapidly closing edifice.
"Oh. Right." Danny shifted him in his grasp and hit another button. A static tingling ran over their bodies and suddenly,t he wind that have been blowing against them disappeared. Satisfied, Danny tried to shift her back into the more comfortable bridal carry, but ended up clonking their heads together just as the passed through the wall.
"Ow!" They said in stereo. They emerged in the school's dusty, disused store room, floating invisible and intangible off the floor.
Then there came an electrical sizzle and all three of those things stopped being true. Suddenly visible, all too solid and back in the purview of gravity, they crashed to the floor with Sam on top of Danny. For good measure, their heads cracked together again and for a few seconds, they were senseless.
Danny groaned and rubbed his forehead. "What the heck happened?" It was at that moment that he noticed a distinct lack of silver glove covering the hand rubbing his face. And beyond it were the violet eyes of Samantha Manson staring at him in confusion.
"Fenton?!" She asked, pushing herself off him to sit hard against the wall they just flew through. "You're Inviso Bill?"
"Phantom! Danny Phantom!" He retorted absently as he looked down at the belt. "Oh man, I must have forgotten to set it to recharge this morning. Practice, flying to school, then flight, invisibility and going intangible for two must have tapped it out."
Sam remained quiet, just watching until he remembered she was still there.
Anxiety. Fear. Shame.
The first two were directed at her. The last at himself. He'd accidentally showed her something he didn't want anyone to know about; something that gave her very real power over him if she chose to take it.
Contrary to popular belief in Casper High, however, Sam Manson wasn't cruel. Just the opposite, in fact. Her activism and vegetarian lifestyle wasn't about self aggrandizing, but genuine concern and compassion for her fellow creatures. And at the moment, she could tell there wasn't a creature in Amity Park in need of more compassion than Daniel Fenton.
"Look." She started out carefully. She did have that rep to uphold, after all, "I'll make you a deal: you saved me from that metal guy, so I won't tell anyone about this, okay?"
Danny gave her a wary look, as if she was going to bite him, then his expression turned worried. "Actually not okay."
"Not that I don't trust you to keep my secret." He was lying, she could tell, but it wasn't malicious, "But I haven't held up my end yet. Skulker, whoever he is, is still after you. I wasn't kidding when I said I've got to get you somewhere safe until we figure this out."
Sam tried to hide the surprised look on her face. At this point though, she really had no right to be surprised. What she'd known of Danny Fenton, that he was a lazy, shiftless underachiever who slept through most of his classes, was late to the rest, and would never amount to anything, went out the window the moment she found out his secret.
Not that she'd ever been close enough to tell before, but there was a nobility and an earnestness to him she never expected. She wasn't sure she should take advantage of that, even to save her own... pelt.
"But... isn't your belt broken now?"
Danny dug into his pocket and came up with a green ear bud. "Just a low battery. Besides my parents left me a lot more than just the belt. Let's just hope my friend is listening and can help us out with it."
He tapped the ear bud, a modification to his parents' original Fenton Phones that Tucker had designed. "Hey, Tuck, you there?"
"Foley's in on this too?" Sam stood up and tried to dust off her skirt and top as best she could. "Seriously?"
Danny shrugged and waited for a reply. He wasn't disappointed.
"Hey Danny. Looks like we've got a new ghost for the files." Tucker's voice came through.
"Yeah. Skulker." said Danny. "Is he still out there?"
There was a pause as Tucker checked. "Nope. Ghost scanner is all clear."
"Good. Listen, we've got a problem. Skulker's after..." He looked at Sam. Unless he was in his total lech mode, which made him impervious to fear, shame and common sense, Tucker was almost as scared of Sam as he was Dash. "... a student here. We've got to get her to a safe place until we can get rid of him."
"Someplace with a ghost shield?" Tucker guessed. As much as he hated his friend lingering around the place, it did serve as the perfect headquarters for their extracurricular activities.
"Exactly." Danny said. "Can you have the Specter Cycle and the ASK out front as soon as possible? We're going to need to cut the rest of school today."
"You got it, buddy. Over and out." Tucker said cheerfully.
A/N – Greetings! For those of you waiting for updates on Mayhem in Mexico City or X-men: REset, rest assured that I'm working on them. I just entered the Danny Phandom and just had a bolt from the blue for this one. Credit for inspiration here goes to Silver Sheryl and her story 'Danny Phantom's Original Concept'.
I'm not being quite as loyal to the original though; Danny still has his powers (of a sort), there's no Spooky, but the psychic link will be coming up shortly.
This is all a massive, experimental AU and I still haven't seen the whole series, so please forgive any incongruities. But then again, it's an AU, so changes are to be expected.
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this and I'd appreciate hearing form you if you do. And if you like this fic, please check out my original superhero series, The Descendants (linked in my profile)
Next Episode: Bonding the Hard Way (Part 2) - After another clash with the Ghost Zone's Greatest Hunter, the not quite minted trio holes up in Fenton Works. The boys learn Sam's secret, and form a plan that Sam is not happy about.