A/N: A very last-minute one-shot for angst day 2012. Let me know what you think.
Humans just don't understand how ghosts work. There's so many differences between the two species that humans can't wrap their minds around it. Instead, whenever they are met with something they don't understand, they decide to label it as evil. They don't realize one very important thing.
Ghosts aren't evil. Humans are.
It all began a week and a half before Halloween. Tourists were a common attraction in Amity Park, often staying for a week or so at a time in order to get the "full experience" of living in a haunted town, so no one really thought much of the man who moved in a block down from the town ghost hunters, the Fentons. In fact, no one even noticed when he wasn't seen that often around town. Everyone thought he was just a hermit, choosing to live in a town where people wouldn't bother him or follow him to.
He was above suspicion. After all, who would suspect a person when you have ghosts to blame?
Almost two months into his sophomore year, Danny Fenton was finding things turning around. His grades were slowly improving, the ghosts were getting easier to fight, and a recent growth spurt meant Dash wasn't as eager to pick on him. All in all, it was looking like tenth grade was going to be much better than ninth.
Plus, with his sister now knowing his secret, he wasn't as freaked out and nervous around his parents. And, anytime he had to stay late for detention, Jazz would cover for him and drive him home, usually telling his parents that they were having sibling bonding time.
So, it wasn't so unusual for the two to be coming home late.
Danny chuckled at something Jazz had said as he ducked out of her car, stretching out the kinks that had accumulated from trying to shove his six-foot frame inside her Beetle. "Seriously, Jazz, you need a bigger car!"
She laughed at his indignant expression, shaking her head and causing her long, orange-red locks to flutter around before she smoothed them back into place. "Maybe you just need to shrink back down a few inches, ghost boy!" She reached up, on her toes, to ruffle his black hair.
He scowled, batting her hand away. "Quit it, Jazz."
She grinned. "Make me, Phantom."
Danny smirked down at her before grabbing the turquoise headband that was holding back her own hair, holding it above his head.
She gasped, reaching up to feel that it was actually gone before frowning and reaching up for it. "Hey! Give that back!"
His smirk widened as he leaned back to hold the band higher. "Jump for it, shorty!"
Jazz's hands went to her hips. "What did you call me?"
He grinned, leaning down a bit to be at her eye level. "Short." He lunged back before she could make another grab at her headband, laughing as he did and opening the door behind him. "Whatcha gonna do about it, huh, Jazzy?"
Now, she was the one who smirked, and Danny's grin faltered for a moment. "Oh, just… this!" she yelled as she jumped at him, tickling his sides.
Danny burst into laughter, annoyed that she remembered how ticklish he was and very thankful that none of the ghosts knew about this little weakness. He collapsed onto the floor, laughing too hard to move, and held out the hairband as an offering of peace. "H—Here!" he gasped, still chuckling enough to cause his eyes to tear up. "T—Ta—haha—ake i—it!"
She yanked it from his grasp, standing and delicately putting it back in place as her brother slowly composed himself. Jazz turned around, checking out the room they were in. They'd arrived in the kitchen, but no one was there to greet them. She frowned for a moment before seeing that the lab door was closed and shrugged, guessing they were down there, working on some new invention.
The halfa finally managed to stop laughing long enough to stand up again. He brushed himself off, grinning at his sister. "Geez, Jazz, can't you take a joke?" He laughed a bit, then sniffled, rubbing at his nose and frowning.
She rolled her eyes at him. "Gee, Danny, I don't know. Can you?"
He huffed, then sniffled again, pressing a hand against his nose.
Now Jazz seemed to catch on that something strange was happening. "Danny? Are you okay?"
He shook his head. "I'm fine. I—I… I dunno…. My nose just keeps…." He trailed off, sniffling again before his eyes widened and he dove at the lab door, not even bothering to open it as he turned intangible.
Jazz's eyes went wide at the action, then she rushed to the door. "Danny?" she called, and, receiving no response, she tugged open the door.
Immediately, her eyes watered and she shoved her hand against her nose and mouth. The stench was horrible. It smelled like—like—
A sob came from a corner of the lab, and, turning, she saw streaks of red everywhere, spelling out the word ZEUS. More red was splattered against the Ghost Portal and the various inventions, many of which were broken into pieces. But, the worst of it all came when she saw where the sob had come from.
Danny was kneeling over their parents, who lay in pools of still-drying blood far too large for there to be any hope of resuscitation. Not that that stopped Danny from trying as he leaned back their father's head, pinched his nose, and breathed for him. But when he began chest compressions, all that came from it was a spurt of blood, causing Danny to break into sobs again.
Jazz ran over, almost slipping in the puddles of blood coating the floor, then collapsed beside their mother, quickly pressing her fingers to the pale, nearly paper-thin skin of her mother's neck.
A moment later, she pulled away, glancing over to meet her brother's ice blue eyes, trying to ignore the blood covering him from his work on their father. "Danny…." She trailed off, not wanting to admit the truth.
The half-ghost sniffled once more, eyes cycling between blue and glowing green. "They're… they're gone, aren't they?"
Jazz just hugged him to her, trying to stay strong when her brother couldn't.
The police were quick to respond once Jazz managed to call. They came, they saw, and they cordoned off. Then, they carted Jazz and her brother off to the hospital to make sure nothing had happened to them.
The paramedics checked them over quickly, giving each a clean bill of health. Then, the siblings were left to themselves as they waited for the autopsy report.
Jazz and Danny had each been wrapped up in dark blue, heavy blankets to fight off any chills from shock and sat outside the ME's office, waiting to hear the results. The older turned to her brother, biting her lip. "Danny…."
He'd been silent since stating that their parents were gone, glaring at nothing in particular and keeping his head down so no one else noticed his swirling eyes. It didn't seem as though that would change any time soon.
She sighed, but continued to talk to him. "Danny, I—I've already called school. We—We've been excused from any work until—until we get things sorted out. It's just…." She chuckled bitterly. "It's weird to say, but we're lucky, in a way, that I'm already eighteen. I'll have legal custody over you until you're of-age, so we won't get split up. And once they clean up FentonWorks, we can go back home."
He turned away from her, his glare darkening.
Jazz's eyebrows peaked in concern. "Danny?"
He growled. "It's not home," he snarled. Then, he sighed. "...At least, not without them…."
She frowned, her own head dipping down a bit at the reminder. "...I know, Danny. But, we don't have anywhere else to go. You know the Mansons won't take us in, and the Foleys don't have enough room for both of us. And I know you don't want to go to Vlad's—"
His glare turned onto her, eyes completely green for a moment. "Don't. Even. Joke."
Jazz gave him a half smile. "I wasn't suggesting it. I just wanted you to realize, we don't have anywhere to go other than FentonWorks. Anyway, we'll be spending the next couple days putting everything together for the—the funeral, and wills, and—"
The girl froze for a moment, not quite sure if he'd actually spoken until they locked eyes and she saw that he was waiting for an answer. "...Zeus is a Greek god. The god of thunder, and ruler of Olympus."
Danny shook his head. "I know that. I mean, why… why was the name Zeus on the wall?"
She paused again, then closed her eyes and sighed. "I don't know, Danny. I just don't know…."
The next day was spent fielding calls from lawyers, police, concerned neighbors, and a government agent representing the people who funded their parents' work. Jazz took most of the calls, only shoving the worried friends of the family onto Danny. Everyone seemed to be nervous of setting the younger teen off, so it really was for the best that they had Danny handle those calls. Only those who were honestly concerned bothered to stay on the line and deal with Danny's gruffness.
Sam, Tucker, and Valerie had each called, checking in on the teens with more sincerity than the rest of the town put together. Danny answered their questions in short monosyllables, not wanting to think too much about it yet. Jazz was worried about how he was bottling things up, but she knew he'd just get worse if she tried to force him to open up.
So, she let it go, and let him keep it all to himself, knowing that sooner or later, he'd have to breakdown.
She just hoped it would be sooner.
Casper High had called for a school-wide assembly two days after the Fentons were killed. All students, faculty, and staff at the school that day had to show up. Once everyone was seated, Lancer stood and walked up to the podium. No one even noticed the doors to the gym being locked from the outside.
"As you've all no doubt heard," he began, "two days ago, the Fentons were killed." He stared around at the pale faces of his audience. None of them had suspected that anyone would ever get the best of the world-renowned ghost hunters, especially knowing that the two were always armed to the teeth. Everyone in town had been shocked, more at the fact that someone so much as dared to break into the house, let alone kill the two heads of the house.
"Daniel and Jasmine will be taking off school for as long as necessary while they sort things out," Lancer continued. "When they come back, I hope you all will do your best to make things easy for them. After what they've been through, they most certainly do not need you making their lives even more miserable." Here, he glared up at a certain blond jock, knowing the boy often picked on the younger of the Fenton children. The boy just stared back, dark blue eyes darker and duller than the teacher had ever seen them.
In fact, all the students' eyes were darkening, dulling. Finding that a bit odd, Lancer scanned his audience, finding a few to be dozing off and a few more to have fallen asleep on their friends. He scowled around at them, opening his mouth again to reprimand those who felt this assembly wasn't worth their time or attention.
But then, his air was cut off. His eyes went wide, a hand coming up to reach for his throat. In the audience, a goth and techno-geek had just stood up, seeming to be fighting off some huge pressure weighing them down or severe tiredness. As they started towards him, though, he collapsed to his knees, hands wrapping around his throat as he tried to pull in air desperately. His eyes were locked on the two who were determined to help him, but then they flicked back to see other students collapsing as he had, several twitching and others making these awful hacking sounds as they choked to death.
Someone laid a hand on his shoulder, and he looked up to see that Ms. Manson had made it to him, Mr. Foley having collapsed at the foot of the stage's stairs. Manson seemed to be having trouble as well, but she still held out a hand to test if he was breathing before helping him lay down and starting to tilt his head back in an effort to get him to breathe. As she did this, though, it enabled him to see the principal, Ishiyama, sprawled on the floor, eyes wide but dulled and chest not moving in the familiar rhythm of breath. He looked back to Manson—Sam—to find that she was moving sluggishly, her own chest barely moving and her breath coming in short, infrequent gasps.
She fell, just as the room went dark for Lancer, and the English teacher drifted off, never to wake again.
Danny was staked out in front of the TV. No matter what Jazz did, he wouldn't move, as he'd done since that morning. Anytime she suggested he do something, he'd sniffle and shift slightly before shaking his head.
She was beginning to hate that sniffle.
It had all started right before finding their parents dead, and it hadn't been around at all the previous day when they were taking calls. But now, it had come back with a vengeance, refusing to stop no matter what Danny did to try to prevent it.
And then the news came on, showing first a young woman and a message at the bottom reading "Breaking News" before switching to an image of their school.
Jazz's legs gave out, and she suddenly found herself next to Danny on the couch, asking him to turn up the volume.
"Today at Casper High School, an assembly was called about the recent deaths of Madeline and Jackson Fenton, our town's own ghost hunters. But at this assembly, disaster struck as the students and staff were locked inside the gymnasium, which was then pumped full of an unknown toxin. By the time police arrived, the perpetrator was long gone, and everyone trapped inside had already passed. As if that weren't enough, after killing them, the murderer cut off the gas, went into the room and rearranged the bodies to spell out 'Those who believe in ghosts will pay.' He signed his message 'Zeus.'"
Jazz gulped, turning to her brother to see him pale and shaking. She gathered him into a hug, feeling him wince as she pulled him towards herself. With a small frown, she released him, glancing at him and asking, "Danny? What's wrong?"
He delayed only a moment before shaking his head. "I—It's nothing, I'm sure. I just… it hurt, when you tugged on me like that." He glanced down at his hands, studying them with a frown before twisting his arm slightly to see a bruise forming where she had grabbed him.
Jazz gasped. Ever since he'd gotten his ghost powers, it took a lot to even cause him to register pain. Most ghosts had to throw him, at high velocities, into concrete or asphalt for him to notice it nowadays, so if she was able to bruise him that badly just by drawing him into a hug….
"Danny, something's wrong with your powers."
They spent the third day after their parents' death going through each and every note they could find on how ectoplasm worked, including Danny's own notes on what he'd learned from other ghosts.
They found nothing. At least, nothing explaining Danny's sudden decrease in pain tolerance and activity level.
Jazz sighed, pushing away yet another journal full of useless information. "That's everything in Mom's stash of notes." She turned to her brother, who was going through their father's documents. "Did you get anything?"
He shook his head slowly, wincing from the movement, before speaking. "Nothing. Not even a memo about checking ectoplasm's resistance to injury…."
His sister nodded, sighing once more. "That settles it, then. We need to ask someone else."
He glared over at her. "We are not telling Vlad!"
She scoffed. "Of course not! He'd have a field day with this. Besides, I don't think this is something he's dealt with, or he would've been waiting for it and swooped in by now."
Danny huffed, folding his arms over his chest. "Then who do you suggest?"
She bit her lip. "I dunno…. Don't you have any friends in the Ghost Zone who might help you?"
Now it was his turn to scoff. "Friends? In the Ghost Zone? Where've you been for the last year, Jazz?"
She rolled her eyes. "Okay, not friends, but… allies?" He stared blankly at her for a moment, causing her jaw to drop. "Seriously? You can't think of a single person who might help you?"
He slowly shook his head. "It's… not that. I guess… I guess I could see if Frostbite knew anything…."
Jazz grinned happily, then stood, heading for the Specter Speeder. "Okay, let's go!"
"You can't come."
She froze, then turned to face her brother. "What do you mean, I can't come?"
He stood, walking to the genetic lock for the portal. "It's a subzero climate. You'd freeze, and the only ecto-jackets we had were torn up by—by Zeus."
For a moment, they just stared across the lab at each other. Jazz knew he had a point, but she didn't want to admit that he needed to go alone. So much had happened in so short a time, and she didn't think either of them would make it if they split up.
But, if she went, she wouldn't be coming back.
Jazz sighed. "Fine. But try to be back here by tomorrow, okay?"
His lips twitched up into something that was almost a smile. "I will, I promise."
Then he dove into the portal, and Jazz stayed back, knowing that he always kept his promises.
As soon as he entered the Ghost Zone, Danny felt himself being pulled towards the Far Frozen. It was a sensation he'd become used to ever since discovering his ice core. As far as his ghost half was concerned, the Far Frozen was home.
And he really needed a home right now.
He arrived in half the time it usually took to get there, and was immediately greeted by Frostbite and two of his advisors. The yeti king grinned down at him. "Ah, Great One! What brings you to—?" Then, the three gasped.
Danny's brow furrowed. "What?" he asked. "What's wrong?"
Frostbite knelt beside Danny, who was just beginning to realize he was shivering violently and started to rub his arms for warmth. "Great One, what has happened in your world?"
This only made Danny more confused. "H—How'd y—you—?"
"Your ghost form is sick, and only one thing brings about this sort of sickness. Now, what happened?"
For a moment, Danny could only focus on the first half of Frostbite's statement. "S—S—Sick?" he stammered. "B—But I'm a—a gh—ghost! Gh—Ghosts d—don't get s—sick!"
Frostbite's main advisor, Icepick, wrapped a blanket around Danny's shoulders. "Great One," he murmured, "ghosts only get sick for one reason."
Danny glanced up at him, meeting the yeti's yellow eyes. "Wh—What's th—that?"
"Losing their obsession."
It took a long time to calm Danny down after that. He had never been as driven by his obsession as other ghosts, so he hadn't even realized he had one. His human half kept him from being overcome by it.
Frostbite frowned when they discovered this. "If you do not know of your own obsession, we will need to discover it."
"Wh—Why?" Danny stuttered, still wrapped up in the blanket and shivering. He didn't see why it was so important.
"Because, if your obsession is completely lost, you will end, Great One."
The teen stared up at the large ghost for a long moment. He knew that ending was the ghosts' version of dying, but he had no idea that it was linked to their obsessions. "B—But, I've stopped ghosts f—from p—pursuing their ob—obsessions and nothing e—ever happened t—to them!"
Frostbite laid a hand on the boy's shoulder. "You never destroyed their obsession, just delayed them from reaching their goals. Think of this, Great One. Skulker's obsession is to hunt the rarest creatures available to him, so he hunts you. He may never actually catch you, but his obsession is the hunt itself. Merely allowing him to chase you feeds his obsession and keeps him healthy."
Danny blinked at him in shock. "S—So, if I w—were to st—stop running—?"
"Skulker's obsession would be destroyed and he would be ended."
There was another long pause as Danny realized how easily he could've gotten rid of Skulker. Then he immediately shook the thought from his head, feeling sickened from even contemplating that. He finally glanced back up at Frostbite. "Then… wh—what's my ob—obsession?"
The yeti king frowned, placing a frozen hand to his chin as he thought it over. "To know that, we must know why you've become sick. You still haven't told us what has happened in your world."
Danny bit down on his lip, wincing when he discovered he'd actually bitten hard enough to break skin. The yetis quickly stemmed the blood flow, covering the wound with a gel-like seal. "...Thanks," he mumbled.
"You are welcome, Great One. But we still need to know."
He sighed. "...M—My parents w—were killed, th—three days ago." He tugged the blanket closer, clutching it as though it would ward off the foul thoughts. "Th—Then y—yesterday, someone g—gassed m—my school, and e—everyone there d—died."
All the yetis sent him pitying looks at this, Frostbite's hand going back to Danny's shoulder. "Great One, we are sorry for your loss."
Frostbite sighed. "No, Great one, it is not. Not only have you lost family and friends, but your obsession is protecting your town."
Danny glanced up at him. "A—And?"
"Their deaths are what's causing your obsession to be destroyed. Because you feel you must protect them, not being able to stop their deaths is tearing you apart, literally. Great One, if your obsession is completely destroyed, you will end."
"Th—Then h—how do I st—stop it?"
Frostbite frowned in thought. "...You may not be able to."
Danny's green eyes went wide. "Wh—What?"
The yeti waved his hands. "No, I don't mean to say that it's impossible, just that… you may need to… change your obsession."
The halfa frowned at him. "H—How do I d—do th—that? I thought th—that an obs—session c—couldn't be ch—changed?"
"It can, but only the strongest of ghosts can survive the change."
Frostbite locked eyes with Danny, proving this to be the most important part of their conversation. "Because, in the time when the obsession is changing, a ghost is as weak and delicate as a human. They can be ended as easily as a human can be killed. And the change is not immediate, usually it takes several days or even weeks. It is an extremely painful process, and only few ghosts have even attempted it."
Danny felt the need to bite his lip again, but the seal prevented him from trying. "...But, if I d—don't…."
"You will end."
Frostbite kept him in the Far Frozen overnight, teaching him the best ways to force his obsession to change. It was midday on the 27th of October when Danny floated back out of the portal and into the once again impeccable lab. All signs of the murders were gone from the walls and floor, something Danny was rather grateful for.
But then he sniffled and smelled the smoke.
His eyes went wide. "Jazz!" he yelped, lunging up the stairs and feeling the flames lick at him. He turned intangible, wincing at the effort, but glad to find that it had worked as he rushed through the house, calling for his sister.
A cough from the second floor answered him. He ran up the stairs, throwing open doors as he came to them, and finally coming to a screeching halt outside her room. The door was flung open, Jazz laying on the floor, pinned into place by a piece of ceiling that had fallen on her.
Danny flinched at the sight, but moved into the room, kneeling beside his sister. "J—Jazz," he gasped, starting to feel his lungs burn from the smoke filling the room. "Jazz, wh—what happened?"
The girl coughed, reaching a hand out to her brother. "H—He was in the OpCe—Center. I—I didn't know…. He broke the fl—floor out…." She coughed again, blood dribbling out of her mouth.
It was then Danny saw why she hadn't tried to crawl out from under the rubble. A piece of wood had gone straight through her back and he could see it sticking into the floor under her stomach. Blood was slowly trickling to the floor, forming a steadily growing puddle below her.
Danny turned to the side, vomiting what little he'd eaten in the past day. When he'd resorted to painful dry heaving, he turned back to his sister, seeing her dulling turquoise eyes focused solely on him. "Jazz—"
"D—Danny," she murmured, cutting him off even as blood dribbled down her chin, "you n—need to leave here. He's—He's not gonna stop. He wants us all dead, just because w—we believe in gh—ghosts. You—You need to get out of here, D—Danny. D—Don't let him g—get y—you, too."
Tears sprung to the half-ghost's eyes as it finally sunk in that he was watching his sister die. "I—I won't, Jazz."
"D—Don't l—let Zeus w—w…." Her eyes glazed, and her head fell limply to the floor.
A loud wail echoed through the house as Danny dug desperately at the rubble, trying to get his sister out from under the remnants of the ceiling. It was nearly an hour later that the firemen found him, still digging as the fire licked at his right side, which had long since re-entered the tangible plane.
It took four of their strongest men to pull Danny from his dead sister.
For the second time in five days, Danny found himself in the hospital. This time, however, he wasn't given a clean bill of health upon inspection. Instead, he was in one of the beds, doctors focusing on the burn wounds down his right side, stretching from his shoulder down to his hip, somehow avoiding his arms, which had been too busy shifting through the rubble to get burned.
The news was playing in his room, despite all the nurses' best attempts to keep him from seeing the story of what had happened to his home. Sure enough, the first ten minutes was taken up by displaying an aerial shot of his home as it burned, the camera panning out to see that someone had trailed gasoline out into the streets, spelling out 'ZEUS' in flames. Just the name sent a shudder through the currently incapacitated teen, knowing the man would be coming for him next.
Apparently, the police knew this as well, as they had stationed a 24/7 guard outside his room. Danny couldn't even move without his bodyguard asking him if something was wrong. Of course, nothing ever was.
Until that night.
Danny had finally managed to fall asleep around midnight, only to be woken up three hours later. For a moment, he sat up, staring around the room and wondering when his room turned off-white before remembering what had happened over the past few days. His eyes dulled for a second before he shook his head, mind going through the obsession change exercises Frostbite had taught him. He needed to keep his new obsession in focus so it could change. Sure, until the change occurred, he'd be unable to heal in ghost-mode, but the better his focus the quicker the change.
The teen tried to figure out then what had woken him, but his room was so quiet, he couldn't have possibly heard something. He was surrounded by the antiseptic smell of the hospital and the bland off-white walls that could turn the most sane man into a psychopath from staring for too long.
But then he realized it wasn't a noise that woke him but a lack of noise. All the machines in his room that, until that moment, had been steadily beeping in the background, had been turned off. While he was glad for the quiet, he knew it was not normal for a hospital to be so quiet.
Then came the thunk from outside. Danny sat bolt upright in bed, hissing as the movement pulled at the healing burns on his side, then swung his legs over the edge of his bed, levering himself onto his feet and sneaking over to the door. He peeked out through the peephole on the door to see the guard, slumped on the floor.
Danny stumbled back, trying to stop himself from making any noise but failing as the door swung open and he yelped.
Standing before him was the man who had moved in down the street from his home. Danny's brow furrowed. "M—Mr. Krios?"
The man just glanced at him. "You're supposed to be asleep," he said, moving towards Danny in such an intimidating way that Danny found himself backing up until the backs of his legs hit the bed, causing him to fall over.
He groaned as his burns pulled once more, in too much pain to notice as the man checked his IV lines before injecting something into one of them. Bleary blue eyes stared up at the man. "Wh—What're you… doin'?" Danny slurred, following the line of his IV to see the new liquid make its way into his arm. "W—What's that for?"
The man smirked down at him. "Just a little something to calm you down."
"W—Why?" Danny was having to force his eyes open now.
"Because you've got a meeting with Zeus."
And Danny's world went dark.
When the guard woke up, he rushed into Danny's room to see that the teen was gone. There was no sign that anyone else had been in the room, so he ran down to the security room, demanding to see the video feed from that night.
All that was shown was the teen getting up, unhooking his IV, and heading out into the hallway before static hit.
The guard's eyes narrowed. "What was that?" he demanded.
"Oh," the security tech stammered, "th—there was a power outage last night, for about ten minutes."
The tech shrugged. "So the kid went for a walk, what's so bad about that?"
"Maybe the fact that a killer is after him?!" the guard snarled back, stalking out of the room and calling his superiors to let them know the kid was missing.
Danny blinked awake, eyelids and limbs feeling heavier than ever before. He stared around at the room he was in, seeing not the blue of his own room or the off-white of the hospital but instead a dank gray of cement that let him know he was underground. He tried to raise a hand to his forehead, which was pounding, but found his arms weren't just heavy but also strapped down to the table he was on. His eyes widened, adrenaline forcing him into a more alert state, and he pulled at all his limbs.
None would budge.
Then, laughter echoed above him. "Don't worry, kiddo," a vaguely familiar voice stated, "you'll be able to move soon." It was moving closer. "After all, it's not very fun if you can't even try to fight back."
The speaker finally came into his line of vision, and he found himself staring up at Seth Krios, the man who'd moved in just days before this whole fiasco began.
"You," Danny mumbled, trying to get his tongue to work properly.
Krios smirked down at him. "Yeah," he said, "me." He came closer to the table, pressing something that lifted it into a nearly-vertical position, then hitting another button that released Danny's bonds at once, leaving the teen sprawled on the ground as his legs refused to hold his weight.
The boy hissed as his burns pulled, the still-healing flesh tearing open again, blood slowly beading down his side. He pushed himself up onto his hands and knees, glaring up at the man. "Y—You're Zeus," he accused, trying to remind himself of the exercises he'd been taught on changing his obsession. He knew he'd need all the strength he could get right now while he was still weak.
Krios—no, Zeus—shrugged. "That I am." He sneered down at the boy. "And you believe ghosts are real."
Danny forced himself to his feet, focusing his mind on the new obsession he'd come up with. "You killed all of them," he snarled, "just because they believe in ghosts?"
"Of course," Zeus stated. "The world doesn't need people like them sullying it. I'm just doing my civic duty to keep the world populated by the sane."
"You're a psychopath!" Danny exclaimed, throwing his hands up in frustration. "You're not sane, you jackass!"
Zeus pursed his lips, eyes narrowing at the teen. "At least I don't believe in superstitious nonsense."
Danny just gaped at the man, realizing he wasn't going to be swayed. "Y—You can't possibly be justifying killing people!"
"I'm not killing them, I'm purifying the world."
"By killing people!"
The man lashed out, and Danny yelped, grabbing at his face to try to figure out what had just happened. Blood oozed out from a cut going across his right eye, stretching from his forehead to his cheek bone. He held a hand to his eye, settling into a defensive stance as he circled away from Zeus.
"You're going to die today for your beliefs," the man stated, circling as well. A bloody knife was clutched in his hand, and Danny had to wonder if this was the same knife he'd used to kill his parents.
Anger burned through Danny, his old obsession flaring to life and latching onto the new obsession, forcing it into something different, something new but old all at once, and he lunged, the ring splitting around him as he did.
Zeus' eyes went wide, not having expected the sudden change in the teen. For a moment, Danny Phantom floated before him before the change in his obsession cause a ripple effect, changing him as well.
Where he once wore a black and white Hazmat suit, instead a black, cap-sleeved shirt took its place, a spider-web-like silver single-sleeved shirt covering it and a black, elbow-length faux sleeve covering his other arm, a silver band wrapped around just below his elbow. His pants were still black, with black and silver straps covering them and connecting his legs. His nails lengthened and turned black, a silver earring materialized on his left ear with his DP symbol hanging from it. His hair remained white and his left eye still glowed green, but his right eye, the one that had been cut and blinded, was now a dead, deep, purple lacking any pupil.
He lunged at Zeus, green flaring in his left hand and purple in his right as he clawed at the older man. Zeus barely managed to dodge, watching as his green eye's pupil slitted like a cat's while he spun to face the man once more.
Zeus smirked, drawing out a gun to aim at the teen. "Well, I never thought I'd actually have to use one of these stupid things. I'll have to thank your parents for giving it to me."
Danny's eyes went wide as he realized it was an ecto-gun leveled at him. Before he could move, though, the man fired, and he felt his ghost-half sink back into him, leaving him in his weaker, half-blind human state. He fell once more to his hands and knees, trying to keep from showing just how badly he'd been hurt and glaring at the man as he stalked closer.
"See, kiddo? I told you I'd get rid of all the impurities in our world." He stowed the gun, instead pulling the knife back out as he squatted beside Danny. "Once you realize that, you'll see that it's really best if you just let me kill you."
"I… really doubt… that," Danny panted, trying to gather back his breath from being forced through the obsession change so quickly. Meanwhile, his new obsession screamed at him to move, run, do SOMETHING!
Zeus sighed, letting his eyes slip closed. "I really wish you didn't make this so difficult on yourself. You—" He opened his eyes, just in time to see Danny lunge forward, taking advantage of his surprise to shove the knife and the hand holding it backwards, the blade slipping easily into the man's chest.
Danny watched, eyes glowing that strange mix of green and blue (purple and blue in his dead eye), as the man gasped, trying to draw breath into his deflating lung. "You left my sister to suffocate to death," Danny snarled down at him. "I think it's only fair I do the same." He shoved the knife in a bit deeper before roughly pulling it out and walking away, stumbling out of the cellar and out into the night, staring up at the full moon.
His eyes turned down to the bloody knife in his hands, only half seeing it, before letting ectoplasm flame up around his hand, incinerating the blade. Then he slowly made his way back to the hospital, already coming up with an excuse as to where he'd been.
A/N: ...Hokay. Kinda went slightly off from what I'd planned, but not as badly as some stories do. Read and review, please!