*Note: Phantom Planet never happened.
The day started warm and bright that morning with a good promise of the coming spring and summer; perfect weather for Easter, in Danny's opinion. It was also the first Easter since gaining his ghost powers that he'd actually been able to sleep in. No evil ghost attacked him, the town or the world like they had for the past two years on this day, and as such, Danny had started to really enjoy his Easter Sunday.
Then one of his best friends, Tucker, showed up to drag Danny to the local park for some Easter Egg hunt. Apparently the prize for collecting the most eggs was some new tech he babbled off so fast that Danny couldn't catch it. Not that he cared to.
Somehow the African American boy managed to drag his not-so-willing friend down to the park. Surprisingly, they found several other teenagers there too, much to the displeasure of most of the younger children. Danny felt kind of bad for them having to compete with people like Tucker and Mikey. He didn't think it was very fair himself and was more than happy to sit back and watch as everyone else scurried around. He didn't get many moments to sit back and just enjoy the warm weather.
Of course, that would be when his ghost sense went off. Well…actually, it didn't quite go off, which surprised him. It felt more like it had started to go off, but shut down half-way. Maybe the ghost had just barely skimmed the range of his sense?
Well, whatever had happened, he felt it was better to be safe than sorry, and dove behind a bush to change into his alter-ego, Danny Phantom. He'd started the transformation just as he'd jumped in, and the flash of light passing over his eyes stopped him from seeing that the bush was already occupied until he had crashed headlong into the other being.
The next few moments consisted of scrambled disorientation from both parties, and ended up with Danny in ghost mode sprawled with his torso out from under the bush and his legs tangled in the branches. The other person had somehow ended up flat on their back in nearly the same position just about a foot away from the half-ghost.
After a few moments, Danny shook his head and looked over to see who he'd run into and found the largest rabbit he'd ever laid eyes on…and he'd seen Vlad's monstrosities. Actually, he wasn't even sure it was a rabbit. It could also be a kangaroo, it was that large.
Large rabbits weren't exactly usual, so it took about a half a second for Danny to figure that this was the thing that had (somewhat) set off his ghost sense.
"And what are you? Some kind of Ghostly Kangaroo?" he asked dryly.
The rabbit-kangaroo seemed to shake off his own daze and groaned at the sound of Danny's voice, putting his hands (paws?) up to this face.
"Not again! I thought we had a deal! No freezing my Easters!" Definitely a Kangaroo with that accent.
Still, Danny couldn't help but be surprised at the resigned tone that had a note of familiarity in it, as if this being knew him—which he most definitely did not remember. Normally ghosts (even ones he knew) had a slightly different reaction, something along the lines of 'I'm going to kill you now, ghost kid!' They also rarely focused on his ice powers.
"Deal?" Danny asked, figuring he should start at the beginning.
The kangaroo picked himself up and began dusting his fur off, only sparing a few partial glances at Danny. "You can't fool me, mate. I know you remember! Crikey! Why can't you just stick to your word? You know I have to make up for last Easter!"
That was the last thing Danny wanted, some sort of supernatural Easter rabbit coming after him because he hadn't gotten in on the action last year (at least, that was the closest interpretation the white-haired teen could manage at this point).
"Oh, no you don't!" Danny said, leaping into the air. "You are not ruining my Easter this year!" Although just by showing up he technically already had. Danny quickly pushed that thought aside and his hands started glowing blue. The rabbit had said something about not liking to be frozen, so that was the power Danny tapped into.
The kangaroo-rabbit rolled his eyes. "Me ruining Easter? Funny, mate," he said dryly. "Why are you here? I still have way too much to do! If the children don't find eggs for a second year in a row then—" he suddenly cut off and his eyes went wide. "My eggs!"
With that, he dove back into the bush, completely ignoring Danny. The last thing to disappear was his little cotton-tail that looked extremely out of place on the large, fit body. After a few moments, the giant rabbit popped out of the top of the bush, scowling. That was the first time the half-ghost noticed the strange patterns died into the rabbit's fur, making him look rather menacing. Danny quickly went back on defense, backing away a foot or two.
The rabbit continued to ignore him, grumbling under his breath instead as he dusted off a brightly decorated egg and set it gently on top of a pile of other colored eggs in the basket he now held.
"No, they didn't crack. You didn't get the drop on me this time, Jack."
Danny's eyes widened then narrowed. So this ghost-thing knew his father? Did that mean he'd been sent by Vlad?
"I'm not Jack," he informed the rabbit, tone as cold as he could get it.
For the first time, the creature stopped and really looked at him. Then he rolled his eyes again. "Right, and I'm not the Easter Bunny. This ain't funny, mate. I have to make sure all the children get their eggs or they'll stop believing. That'll end up being a problem for all of us. And I don't care what North says, it's still suffering from our fight last year." He paused and glanced accusingly over at Danny who didn't drop his stance but couldn't help the confusion in his expression. The creature seemed to get rather annoyed at the half-ghost's blank look. "You know, when you went off after your teeth and memories while the Boogieman attacked my warren? Ring any bells?"
"I have no idea what you're talking about."
The enormous bunny just blinked at him for several seconds in confusion; then he smacked his forehead. "I don't have time for your pranks! Not right now! You know that! Dressing up in new clothes—which by the way look awful—getting a new haircut and pretending to be someone else isn't what Guardians do! Especially not on Easter, Jack!"
"I told you, I'm not Jack!" Danny said through gritted teeth.
The rabbit shot him a dry look. "Of course you're not, because there are hundreds of other kids your age who can see me that have white hair, blue eyes and can fly."
Danny ground his teeth. "Vlad really has to be scraping the bottom of the barrel. His minions get stupider each time," the teenager shot back. Well, he wasn't going to sit here and listen to any more confusion. He was going to get the drop on this ghost-thingy before he did anything harmful to the city. "Can other kids do this?" Danny asked, throwing a blast of ice at the kangaroo-rabbit's feet. The large rabbit reacted instantly, grabbing a boomerang that had been strapped to his back, which he shot down at the ice, hard, stopping the frozen water's advancement, much to Danny's surprise and frustration. The boomerang immediately returned to the rabbit's outstretched paw and he caught it deftly.
"And you control ice. Still say you're not Jack Fr—"
"No, I'm not!" Danny yelled. "Jack is my father! And if you dare lay a hand on him I'll make sure you can't lift any eggs ever again!"
Danny waited for a reply, but the kangaroo-rabbit didn't say anything. So the teenager looked again and realized that the creature's eyes had gotten rather large and round, and his mouth hung open. The giant rabbit looked downright stunned. He'd also dropped his basket of eggs, and the half-ghost could have sworn he heard squeaks of protest. That greatly disturbed him.
"But that's not…he can't! He wouldn't…he…would he?" The rabbit-creature stuttered, as if trying to wrap its head around something. "I mean it's not possible! Spirit's can't…but…"
Then he paused and approached Danny carefully. "Do you know who I am?"
"I'm the Easter Bunny!"
"I thought you were a kangaroo or something," Danny replied dryly.
The giant bunny scowled. "Definitely related."
Danny returned the expression, but didn't say anything. This had to rank up at the top of his list of most confusing fights ever. If he could even call it a fight.
The kangaroo-rabbit continued to scowl at him, and he really didn't want to deal with this right now. "Alright," he bit out finally, "if you're the Easter Bunny, why did you set off my Ghost Sense?"
The rabbit raised its eyebrow. "Ghost sense? Haven't heard of that one before. Must have got it from your mother." It almost seemed like he was talking to himself for a moment instead of Danny, but then he cleared his throat. "As for why, well, I am the spirit of Easter after all!"
"Great. And what's in your eggs?" Danny snapped. "Something to scare kids? Or take over their minds?"
"No! They're just eggs! I'm not Pitch! Belief sustains me, not fear!"
"Yeah, right, like I'm going to believe that," Danny growled, raising his fists threateningly.
"Oi, wait! I…look, I know your dad!" The kangaroo-rabbit said, his voice half way between placating and frustrated.
"I highly doubt that," Danny returned. "Now take your eggs and leave Amity Park, before I make you!"
The enormous rabbit blinked at him, then put his boomerang away slowly and held up his paws. "Alright, mate, alright. I just finished here anyway."
"Good. And don't come back."
The rabbit cocked its head and raised an eyebrow. "Whatever you say, mate," he said and sprung off into the trees.
Danny sighed and dropped back to the ground. From his tone, the kangaroo-rabbit had no intention of staying away permanently. At least he hadn't had to really physically fight this time. Maybe the day was still salvageable after all.
It had started off as a terrible morning; warm and gentle, with the whisper of spring and summer rushing through the air of Burgess. Ugh. What Jack Frost wouldn't give to make it a snow day; but he'd promised Bunny, and he wasn't about to go back on his word…this year.
"Jack!" The winter spirit paused in his casual stride on top of a fence lining a random street of his home town and turned around at the sound of his name. Then he smiled as Jamie Bennett came running up to him with his four-year-old sister, Sophie, trailing behind. Breathless, the first boy to ever believe in the winter spirit stopped in front of him with a huge grin on his face.
"Jamie!" Jack replied as he vaulted off of the fence to land beside them, bending down a bit to be more on eye-level with his friend. "And Sophie! How have you two been? Have you had a good Easter?"
The brown-haired boy grinned and nodded emphatically. "Yeah! Bunny left a lot of eggs for us this year."
At this Sophie held up a sand-bucket full to the brim with the bright-colored objects. "Eggs!" She exclaimed.
Jack laughed. "He did have a lot to make up for after last year."
"Well, it worked! Everyone went home happy this year!" Jamie returned. Then he paused and looked up at his friend pleadingly. "So, are you going to make it snow tonight so we don't have to go to school tomorrow? Today's the last day of Easter Vacation, you know."
Jack knew he should say 'no', but he couldn't help the mischievous grin that split his face. "Well, I did leave Easter morning alone…I guess I could whip up something for the evening…"
Jamie whooped and pumped a fist into the air. "Yes!"
"Snow day! Snow day!" Sophie sang, jumping happily (but not enough to upset her eggs, the winter spirit noted).
Jack grinned and straightened up, his eyes fixed on a bright-eyed Jamie. "Now you guys will just have to—"
"Bunny go hop, hop!" Sophie said suddenly, interrupting Jack. Both of the boys blinked and looked down at her. She'd set her bucket down on the pavement and was clumsily chasing a little, golden rabbit made of sand.
"Sandman?" Jamie asked.
Jack cringed and turned around sheepishly to face the small, glowing man who stood behind him with his arms folded and a foot tapping the pavement impatiently. "Eh, heh…you didn't hear that, did you?"
Sandman nodded his head, stern expression never leaving his chubby, little face. A giant 'N' appeared above his head.
"Oh, come on," Jack protested. "I was just talking about a little storm, right here in Burgess! That is my job after all! It's not worth taking it to North!"
At that, the Sandman shook his head and pointed again to the N.
Jack paused, realization lighting his expression. "Wait, we've been summoned? Why?"
A large snowflake took the place of the N and Sandman pointed at Jack, who shook his head.
"Me? Why? What did I do?"
This time a rabbit appeared.
"Bunnymund? He's angry with me?"
Jack snorted and scowled. Well, that wasn't new, although it wasn't like Bunny to bring up old fights on Easter when he had so much else to worry about. "Why?"
Sandman responded with a picture of eggs.
"No, I didn't ruin Easter!" Jack said heatedly. "I made sure that there wasn't even the hint of a snow storm anywhere populated! Do you know how hard that is?!"
Sandman seemed to contemplate this thoughtfully. Then his expression softened and a question mark appeared above his head.
Jack sighed. "So they didn't tell you?"
Sandy shook his head.
"Alright, alright," the winter-spirit gave in resignedly before turning to Jamie who seemed to have watched the entire exchange with a great deal of amusement. "Looks like I'll have to take a rain check."
Jamie's grin vanished. "What?! No!"
"I mean a snow check," Jack amended, squatting down again as he ruffled the eleven-year-old's hair. "And when I come back, I'll make it huge, okay?"
Jamie thought about it for a minute, but then his grin returned full force. "Alright!" He said, launching himself at his friend and throwing his arms around the taller boy's neck.
Jack laughed again, patting Jamie's back. "Until then, you be good and do your homework."
"Aw, Jack, that's no fun!" Jamie responded, pouting at Jack as he stood again.
The white-haired boy raised an eyebrow. "It's so that when I bring you that storm later this week, we can go out and have all the fun you want."
The boy's eye lit up. "Alright!"
"See you later!"
"Bye, bye, bunny!" Jack heard Sophie yell as he and sandman took off into the air and headed for the North Pole.
Jack loved flying. He loved how the wind carried and tossed him to and fro, he loved riding the currents and he loved the cool, crispness of the air at higher altitudes. He even enjoyed Sandman's company, even if the dream spirit couldn't actually speak. Truthfully, he may have enjoyed the little man's companionship because he couldn't speak. Of course, that didn't mean they couldn't communicate. Every now and then the small spirit would show a picture to Jack when he flew close enough to see it. More often than not it was something that would cause the winter spirit to grin or laugh, like those dolphins. Sandy had apparently picked up on the fact that Jack had come to the conclusion that he rather liked dolphins. They swam through the sea like he flew through the air: loving every minute.
All too soon, the trip ended and they set down at the North Pole. The Yetis guarding the entrance stiffened and glared at him, but otherwise didn't move.
"Hey guys," Jack said, probably just a little too smugly but he couldn't help it. It felt good to stroll right by them when he'd been trying to get past them for so long. "So they finally took you of painting duty, Blue?"
The yeti he'd addressed responded with a grumble and Jack only grinned before he turned a corner and disappeared from view. Sandman just rolled his eyes good naturedly and continued to lead Jack into the workshop.
They got to the large inner room just in time to hear the end of Bunny's rant.
"…Looked just like him, North! I swear! How is that possible?"
Jack could just imagine the frown on North's face. It tended to appear only when he was thinking very hard.
"I don't know. I never heard of such things before," the Russian man replied.
Bunnymund growled. "I swear, every time I think things have finally settled down, he turns around and—"
"Jack!" Santa grinned and strode over towards him, apparently having noticed them entering the room. He patted Jack on the back, almost causing the winter spirit to face plant before doing the same for Sandman (who somehow braced himself for it). "And Sandy! Now we just need to wait for Toothiana. She should be here by now."
A picture of a clock popped into existence above Sandman's head with a question mark by it. North laughed heartily. "No you are not late. You went to get Jack. We expected it."
It was Jack's turn to roll his eyes, although he knew it was all in good fun. He opened his mouth to retort when a hurried voice cut him off.
"I'm here!" The tooth fairy said as a blue and green streak shot through a window and down towards them. "I'm here! Sorry I'm late, but I just had to make sure all of my fairies could handle things. We're getting a whole batch of new kids today and it was so hard for me to just leave, so I—"
"Tooth," Jack interrupted with a grin. "Calm down."
"Oh, right," the tooth fairy said with a sheepish grin. "Why have we been summoned North?"
"It's because of him!" Bunnymund cut in before North could answer, pointing harshly at Jack. "Apparently he has a son!"
Utter silence met his accusation. Jack stared openly for the count of about five before he burst out laughing. "Ah! Getting me back for last December, huh? Good one, Roo!"
Bunnymund growled, his paws balling into fists. "It's not a joke! I met him!"
Jack leaned back against the wall behind him nonchalantly, holding his staff gently over his shoulders and crossing his ankles. "Uh-huh. Where exactly?"
"Little town in North West America called Amity Park. Ring any bells?"
The winter spirit uncrossed his legs, a slight frown coming to his lips. "Wait, you mean that town with all the ghosts?"
"Ghosts?" Tooth squeaked.
Jack nodded. "Yeah, I haven't gone there much recently because there have been a whole bunch of dead people hanging around there that can see me, and they're not very friendly."
"Well apparently one of them was," Bunnymund shot back.
The white-haired boy scowled in his direction before turning back to North and the others. "Wait, are you guys serious?" Jack correctly interpreted their hesitation and took a step forward to emphasize his next words. "That's impossible! I didn't think spirits could even have kids!"
"Neither did we," Bunny responded. Jack shot him another venomous glare but ignored him again. He'd figured out long ago that that tended to be the best way to deal with Bunnymund and his barbs when he wasn't in a mood to banter.
Instead, he continued on his mini tirade. "I don't even know how humans have kids, let alone spirits! How could I have a kid?!"
This time stunned silence met his words. "Y-you really don't know?" Tooth asked.
Jack blushed. Now, being a winter spirit, he didn't blush like humans did. Instead of going red, his skin turned bluish-purple. He never could figure out why, but it hadn't meant that much to him as he rarely got embarrassed and when he did it wasn't like anyone could see him anyway. A year ago, he wouldn't have minded or even acknowledged the comment, but after a year of actual interaction, he couldn't help the color that rose to his cheeks. He hadn't meant to reveal that. "Well, I know the baby grows inside a mother's stomach, but I never quite figured out how they chose fathers."
More stunned silence. Then a snicker came from Tooth's direction. Jack narrowed his eyes at her and opened his mouth to say something when a similar sound from Bunny's direction drew his attention. The rabbit had his back to them and a paw on the wall as his shoulders shook repeatedly. This time Jack scowled outright at Bunny's poorly-hidden laughter.
"Very funny," Jack muttered and glanced down at Sandy, who was also covering his mouth. Now he was all for people having a good laugh, but this was a bit of a sore spot for him, and it irked him that even North looked as if he wanted to burst into laughter too. It was about all Jack could take.
"Yeah, sorry I died before I could figure it all out." That shut everyone up. He smirked just a little.
"Oh, Jack," Tooth reassured, flying up to hover in front of him, "we weren't laughing at you. The way you said that was actually really funny."
"Your innocence I find refreshing," North agreed. "Proves you deserve to be on list."
Jack raised an eyebrow, feeling his embarrassment and anger calm a bit. "Even if it's still the 'naughty' list?"
Santa raised one eyebrow wryly. "Even if you still hold record."
"I do have 300 years over the other kids. That isn't exactly fair."
"Yeah, that's one thing that I was wondering," Bunnymund cut in. "If he's a spirit, then why is he even on the list?"
North grinned. "Because he is still child at heart!"
Bunny rolled his eyes, but Jack could have sworn he caught a smile on the rabbit's mouth.
"So what about this 'son' then?" Tooth asked, bringing them back to the matter at hand.
"Yeah, I don't get it," Bunny said, scratching his head. "I mean, the kid looked just like you. For a moment, I though he was you."
Jack shook his head. "Alright, I get that white hair and blue eyes are a bit rare in a kid but—"
"It's not just that, mate," Bunny interrupted. "He could float and he tried to freeze me to the ground. Would have succeeded if I hadn't had a few run-ins with you and knew how to handle it."
This time it was Jack's turn to give stunned silence as he stared at Bunny incredulously.
"And here's the kicker," the spring spirit continued. "He said his father's name is Jack."
Before Jack realized it, his cheeks had flushed a bright blue.
"B-but I…how…that's impossible!" he finally protested, hating how flustered he sounded.
"Hmm. This brings up big puzzle," North said, stroking his beard thoughtfully. "Very well. We all take trip to this Amity Park and find the boy, ya?"
Tooth looked around nervously. "Look, guys, I'd love to come, but if this isn't about protecting children, then I have to get back to my palace."
"We understand," Santa responded with a nod.
"Thanks! Keep me updated, please. And good luck!" the tooth fairy said happily before zooming out of the window again.
"Anyone else?" Santa asked.
Bunnymund shrugged. "I finished with Easter before I even came here."
"Very good," the large man nodded and turned to Sandman.
Sandman nodded and glanced reassuringly up at Jack. The other two turned their attention onto him as well.
Jack looked around at the little group before nodding himself. "Alright, let's go."
Danny couldn't help but glare dryly at Tucker as he laughed uproariously and banged his hand on the table of the nasty-burger booth he and his friends had claimed.
"It's not funny, Tuck!" he finally bit out in frustration when his friend didn't stop.
"Dude, you totally saw the Easter Bunny! Like a five-year-old! That is hilarious! Who's next, the Tooth Fairy?"
Sitting next to Danny and watching Tucker with an unimpressed expression was Sam Manson, the two boys' best friend. At Tucker's comment she rolled her eyes. "He saw a ghost that claimed he was the Easter Bunny, Tucker. He knows the real Easter Bunny doesn't exist."
"Actually," the blue-eyed teen cut in with a frown, "I don't know what he was. He claimed to be the spirit of Easter, but my ghost sense didn't really work around him. I don't think he was an actual ghost." He finished his thought, looking troubled.
Tucker chuckled. "So you do think he was the real thing?"
The half-ghost scowled. "I don't know what he was, Tucker. All I know is that he was here."
"And he left instead of fighting you?" Sam asked.
"Yeah," Danny said slowly.
"Then maybe he was a good ghost? Like Frostbite," the Goth suggested.
Danny sighed and ran a hand through his dark hair. "I don't know. I checked all of the eggs from that park that I could find—"
Tucker cut in. "Dude, you cracked all of mine open! I was planning on having those for lunch today you know!"
The other two just shot him an exasperated look before Danny continued, "—And none of them were anything but ordinary boiled eggs. But he kept calling me 'Jack'. And he said he knew my father."
"I dunno, man," Tucker put in, still smiling. "I mean if your Dad still believes in Santa Claus, what's to say he doesn't believe in the Easter Bunny too?"
Exasperated, Danny narrowed his eyes at his friend in warning.
"What?" Tucker asked innocently.
"This is serious, Tucker! I don't know what he was or what kind of power he had which means I don't know what kind of a threat he posed! He could stop my ice, Tuck, with a boomerang. And I can't even begin to guess at what else—"
Danny stopped as he felt the cold in his chest rise up, and then stop and peter out. He sighed resignedly. "And it looks like we're about to find out. Meet me outside."
Without waiting for an answer, he ducked into the men's restroom, checked to make sure he was alone, and threw his hands in the air. "Going Ghost!" he said, focusing on the cold inside of him that represented his ghost powers.
In a flash of light, he'd changed from a 15-year-old teenager with black hair and blue eyes to a ghost boy with white hair and glowing green eyes. An instant later, he had fazed through the wall and into the surprisingly cold air outside.
Fortunately the suddenly cool temperature didn't bother him as a ghost, although it did raise a warning in his head. "Why is it suddenly so cold?" he muttered to himself as he took off down the street towards where he hoped the "Easter Bunny" from the day before was.
Noting that Sam and Tucker had followed him out, he slowed up just a bit so they could follow more easily as he scanned the city below him for anything out of the ordinary.
Four very strange people wandering down a random sidewalk a few streets away certainly qualified. Well, three people and a bunny…if the small, golden-colored blob could be considered as a person. He also saw a teenager with white hair and what looked like a shepherd's crook talking amiably with a large man with a beard dressed in red…
"No way," Danny muttered and rubbed his eyes, then took another look. Nope, they were all still there. Then, before the four saw him, he turned invisible and dove down towards Sam and Tucker, stopping only when he appeared in front of them.
"Whoa!" Tucker yelped at his abrupt appearance. "Man, don't do that!" he gasped, straining for breath and grabbing his heart.
"Sorry," Danny said.
"Never mind that," Sam pushed, "did you find him?"
The white-haired boy paused for a moment before nodding uncertainly. "Yeah…but you're not going to believe it."
"Believe what?" Tucker asked.
Sam raised an eyebrow. "Let me guess, he's with Santa Claus."
Danny didn't answer, which was all the answer they needed. And there went Tucker, crouching over and laughing again. "Dude, you can't be…" Then he looked up noticed the serious, if somewhat sheepish expression on Danny's face and his laughter calmed. "Wait, are you serious?"
"I don't know!" Danny said angrily. "I keep telling you that. The kangaroo keeps claiming he's the Easter Bunny, and now he's walking down the street with a tall guy who dresses in red and has a white beard. You do the math."
Surprisingly, Tucker kept quiet, his eyes wide. Finally Sam broke the uncomfortable quiet that had fallen between the trio. "So what do we do?"
Danny sighed. "I don't know."
"Well," she said slowly, "it's probably a good idea if you keep an eye on them."
"Keep an eye on who?"
Danny jumped and whirled around to face the boy he'd seen earlier with the crook/staff thingy perched on a nearby, wrought-iron fence casually, as if balancing between the sharp spikes was the easiest, most natural thing in the world.
"Who are you?!" Danny asked, jumping into the air. "How did you find me?" He didn't notice Sam and Tucker exchange glances behind him.
The other boy cocked his head. "Wow, he was right, you do look a lot like me."
Danny wouldn't call the similarities uncanny, but they were there, and rather obvious. This new kid did look a lot like him, if a little older.
"Uh, Danny?" Sam asked uncertainly. The half ghost glanced at her to show he'd heard before turning his eyes back to the boy. "Who are you talking to?"
"Huh?" Danny asked in confusion, focusing on his friend. "There's a kid that looks like me standing on that fence right there. How can you not see him?"
The boy on the fence chuckled, although to Danny it sounded a little dry.
"Danny, there's no one there," Tucker said slowly.
The half-ghost glanced between his friends and the kid several times. Did they have another ghost like Youngblood on their hands? A ghost whom only certain people could see? "But—"
"They can't see me," the boy said, walking casually along the top of the fence with both arms slung over his staff, which he'd laid across his shoulders and the back of his neck.
"Why can't they see you?" Danny asked.
The boy shrugged. "Because they don't believe."
"Believe in what?"
The other boy raised an eyebrow. "In me. The real question here, though, is why do they see you if you're one of us, and why can you see me if you're not?"
"One of what?" Danny asked, more confused than ever. "That didn't make any sense."
The boy paused, and then stuck his hand out. "The name's Jack Frost."
Danny blinked at him. "Seriously?"
"Yeah," the kid said with a shrug. "And you are?"
The half-ghost hesitated for a moment, analyzing the other boy. He hadn't outright attacked them, and seemed okay so far. He also didn't want to upset anyone who didn't already hate him if they seemed like a decent person.
"Danny Phantom," he responded, shaking the hand slowly but firmly.
"Good too meet you," Jack grinned, and his smile said he meant it. "And I hear that you have ice powers like me."
The half-ghost frowned. "Yeah," he said slowly. "And how did you find me again?"
Jack shrugged. "It's not difficult to spot you from up there," he pointed up to the sky. "I saw you down here and not too many kids have white hair, so I thought I'd stop by."
Jack grinned mischievously. "Never met anyone else who can control ice. Can you do this?" He reached out with his staff and touched a nearby lamppost. Immediately a curling of ice crystals spread out from the point where he'd touched it, covering the entire pole in seconds.
Danny approached warily and studied it. "No." There was no way he had the control for something that intricate. He could barely manage small ice-sculptures. Not that he was going to admit that aloud.
Jack looked disappointed. "Oh. What can you do?"
It took the half-ghost a moment to recognize and answer the question. "Uh, I can make ice crystals, and blocks and stuff."
"Like this?" Jack asked, quite literally floating off of the fence as he touched the ground with his staff, and before their eyes grew a large block of pure ice.
"Whoa," Sam and Tucker said at the same time.
"He really is there!" Tucker whispered.
"Yeah, I can do that," Danny said, but didn't make a move to prove it.
Jack seemed to realize this and crouched on the top of his staff (and how the heck could he balance like that?!), looking at Danny intently. "Oh, so you're one of those guys."
"One of what guys?"
"The type who never have any fun."
The half-ghost scowled. "Of course I can have fun! I—"
"Oi, you found him!" A familiar voice with a heavy accent cut him off. "Over here, North! Sandy!"
"Aw man," Danny groaned and looked towards the corner of the street that the Easter Bunny had called out from.
Jack chuckled. "I feel the same way."
That's when the large, red-clad man and little golden man turned the corner, causing Danny to take a step back as all three of them walked calmly towards the gathering of teenagers.
"What's wrong, Danny?" Sam asked worriedly.
"Oh nothing," Danny responded sullenly. "Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny just walked up."
"Really?" Tucker asked, sounding a bit excited. "Where?"
"Right there." Danny pointed at the approaching three as they came to a stop in front of him. "So we have Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost, and who are you?" He turned to the small, golden man. "The Tooth Fairy?"
Jack found this rather hilarious as he burst out laughing. Apparently Santa did too as he also chuckled, his voice deep and rumbling but soothing at the same time. Even the Easter Bunny lost his scowl. The little man didn't seem to take the sarcasm too well as sand blew out of his ears in what looked like an imitation of steam. Then he shook his head and a picture made of sand appeared above him showing a figure of a boy asleep (at least Danny assumed he was asleep from the 'Z's above the picture).
"Uh, sorry. I don't know what that's supposed to mean."
"He's the Sandman," Jack said. "You know, the guy who sends good dreams and all of that?"
"Oh." Truthfully, Danny had only heard of the figure in passing but he didn't want to get into any explanation at the moment. "Sandman. Right."
"Danny," Sam spoke up again, glancing around worriedly. "Why can't we see them?"
The half-ghost rubbed the back of his head. "Uh, they say you can't see them because you don't believe in them."
Sam and Tucker exchanged glances again before turning back to him and folding their arms. "Really?" Sam asked dryly, her expression mirrored on Tucker's face.
Danny just held up his hands and shrugged. "That's what they say."
"Hmm," Jack said as he lighted down off of his staff, grabbing it with a practiced motion before his feet even touched the pavement. "I like you. Them too."
The kangaroo-rabbit from before snorted. "You would."
Danny bristled. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"I see what you mean, Bunny," Santa broke in before anyone could say anything. "He does look like our Jack. But his eyes are green, not blue."
The giant rabbit frowned. "They were blue."
"I should know you," the Russian man continued, studding Danny intently.
The teenager couldn't help but fidget.
"Wait," Jack stepped in, surprised. "Are you telling me that there are actually children you don't know?"
The Russian scowled, causing him to look extremely fierce. Danny gulped. "No, only him. But why? It is like I know you…but don't."
"Well that was helpful," the kangaroo-rabbit muttered.
"Uh, I'm Danny Phantom," Danny supplied slowly. "And this is—"
"Samantha Manson who is Jewish and never believed in me, and Tucker Foley, who wants tablet for Christmas," Santa supplied. "Good or bad, naughty or nice, belief or no, I know every child. But not you."
Danny swallowed again, his mouth suddenly dry. "Is that because I'm half-ghost?"
"Whoa, whoa," the Easter Bunny said, holding his paws out as if to slow them down. "You're half ghost? How can you be half ghost?!"
"So that's why he can see us when he doesn't believe in us!" Jack said with a grin on his face.
"Yeah, that does explain a few things," the Easter Bunny muttered. "If someone can explain how it's possible!"
"Should we do something?" Danny heard Tucker whisper to Sam.
"I think we should just let this one play out," Sam replied.
Danny couldn't help but feel grateful for their understanding as he made a mental note to explain this to them later.
Suddenly, the little glowing man popped up in between them, waving his arms around to get their attention.
"Oh, sorry Sandy," Santa said calmly. Danny just watched the little man for a second, having forgotten he was there. From the sheepish expression on the Easter Bunny's face, he wasn't the only one.
An exclamation point appeared above the Sandman's head as he pointed to himself.
"You…" Santa said patiently, apparently playing along.
The Sandman tapped his temple.
Then a small hand and finger pointed in Danny's direction.
"Him," the large man concluded. Then his eyes lit up. "Of course! You see the dreams!"
"Wait, what?!" Danny asked, feeling the stirrings of defensive anger stir inside of him. "You've been poking around in my head?!"
The Sandman quickly shook his head and waved his arms in negative.
Santa laughed. "No, no. It doesn't work like that. The dreams just come to him," he glanced uncertainly down at the little man. "Or…er…something like that. We have never been able to get full explanation."
"So," the Easter Bunny said slowly as he stepped forward and glanced at Sandman, "You can tell us who he is?"
Sandy scratched his head, looking at Danny as if he were a puzzle. After a few seconds, the little man shook his head.
"Yeah," Jack said smugly, "try putting that explanation into pictures."
"Ugh," the Easter Bunny sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose. "Can you at least tell us if he's telling the truth?"
Sandy glanced at Danny and nodded, a bright smile coming across his face.
"How is that possible?!" the kangaroo-rabbit asked again. "There's no way he can be half alive and half dead!"
Danny frowned. "'He' is right here and can tell you all exactly who I am."
"Danny!" Sam said, rushing forward and grabbing her friend's arm. "Not in public!"
The half-ghost paused and glanced around at the open street. No one was in view, but that didn't mean much with Vlad and some of the reporters. It really was only a matter of time until someone spotted them.
"Yeah…hey, why don't we discuss this back at my house," Danny commented, thumbing over his shoulder.
"Dude, are you nuts?" Tucker asked. "You can't take a bunch of spirits there!"
Danny scowled at him. "Then what do you suggest?" Tucker shut his mouth and shrugged, looking a little put out.
"Look," Santa interrupted. "All we want to know is why you said he is your father." With that he pointed at Jack.
Danny stared incredulously at him. "I what? No! I…ew! I never said he was my father! He isn't even old enough to be!"
"Actually, I'm more than 300 years old," Jack commented smugly.
"Well you're still not my dad!"
Jack laughed, not taking to the serious tone in Danny's voice at all. "I know that."
"But you said Jack was your father!" the Easter Bunny protested.
It took a few minutes for the realization to hit Danny, but when it did, he couldn't help but snicker himself. "No, my father is Jack Fenton."
"Danny!" Sam hissed.
Suddenly Santa's eyes lit up. "You are Daniel Fenton? Ha, ha! Yes, I see it now! How is Jack?"
Danny paused and glanced uncertainly at the large man. "You know my father?"
"Know him?" Santa grinned and leaned in as if to tell a secret and said in a stage whisper, "He is only adult I know who still believes."
At that, Danny couldn't help but chuckle himself. "Yeah, that sounds like my Dad." No sooner had he finished speaking than his eyes went wide and he slapped his forehead. "Oh, man!"
"What?" Sam and Tucker asked worriedly.
"I just realized…my dad was right. Santa Claus does exist." Tucker laughed and Sam relaxed a touch as a small smile appeared on her face.
"Well," the dark-skinned teenager pointed out, "there is a first time for everything."
"And now that that is cleared, Bunnymund?" Santa turned to the Easter Bunny.
"Well how was I supposed to know? I mean look at him! A kid shows up who can see me who looks exactly like Jack and can create ice at will…what was I supposed to think?" The large rabbit defended.
"So," Danny broke in, "you're really the Easter Bunny, right?"
The kangaroo-rabbit bristled. "Of course I am! E. Aster Bunnymund, that's me!"
"And you really weren't going to hurt any of the kids or Amity Park or the World at large?"
Bunnymund scoffed. "Of course not."
Danny held out his hand. "Well then I'm sorry for chasing you out of town yesterday. I don't often come across ghosts—or spirits—that don't want to take over the world or make kids miserable and feed off of them or want to kidnap my mom or something."
The giant rabbit looked at the offered appendage, then up at Danny's face, then down at the hand again. It only took him a moment longer to grin and take it in a hand shake. "No worries there, mate. Just don't bother me on Easter again, eh?"
Danny chuckled. "Don't try to hurt anyone on Easter and I won't."
"Well you have my word, Danny."
Tucker snorted. "Bunnymund? Seriously?"
"Oi," Bunny growled in Tucker's direction, not that the African American could see it.
"So we've figured out that this was all just a case of mistaken identity?" Jack asked, a mischievous glint in his eye.
Bunny raised an eyebrow in his direction. "I didn't know you could comprehend such long words Jack."
In answer, he got a snowball to the face.
"Then I just have one thing to say," Jack said, ignoring the fact that everyone seemed to be snickering at him or Bunny.
"And what is that?" Santa asked.
"SNOW DAY!" Jack yelled, pelting Danny with a snowball.
"Hey!" Danny yelped, not noticing the blue sparkles that indicated magic. He just grinned and formed a snowball in his own hand. "You are so going to pay for that!"
"If you can catch me!" Jack laughed, launching himself into the air.
"Is that a challenge?" Danny yelled after him.
"Danny! What—" Sam started, but cut off as a snowball from Jack hit both her and Tucker.
Much to the others' amusement, they both burst into laughter. "Oh, we may not be able to see you, but we're still going to make you regret that!" Sam yelled up after him.
No one noticed the snowflakes calmly drift down and begin to pile up behind them as they chased after the spirits.
North laughed heartily as he watched them leave. "See what I mean? Children at heart."
Sandy smiled and nodded while Bunny shook his head. "Reckon we should go stop him?"
North raised an eyebrow at his old friend. "I think he will need help against those three."
Bunny grinned impishly. "Four. I'm takin' Danny's side. Oi! Wait up, mate!"
No one in Amity Park could really figure out what happened that day. All they really knew was that someone had seen the Ghost Boy throwing snowballs at the park. It seemed, though, that anyone who went in to stop or talk to him got dragged into an all-out, white-wash war. Strangely enough, even Vlad Masters and the Red Huntress ended up picking sides. Practically the entire town stopped and joined in with the city-wide snow-ball fight, and practically everyone couldn't stop talking about how much fun it had been, or how it was all Danny Phantom's fault.
Then, about a week later, one reporter managed to stop him and ask who he'd originally been fighting. Phantom had just smiled at them and said 'Jack Frost', before lobbing a snow ball at nothing and vanishing. Few people realized that the snowball he'd thrown had vanished too, almost as if it had hit something invisible.
*Snicker* I had to.