Danny blinked tiredly, noticing the throbbing pain in his head whenever he opened his eyes. He winced.

"Ah, you're awake."

Danny's mind sharpened in an instant, becoming clear and focused. He sat up quickly and turned to face the speaker. "Plasmius. What are you doing this time?"

The man didn't reply, instead walking further into what Danny recognised as his lab. His silver ponytail taunted the ghost boy. Why hadn't Vlad changed forms? Did he really think that little of the younger halfa?
"Hey!" Danny called, floating to his feet. "Fruit loop, come back! Or have you finally gotten sick of the sound of your own voice?"

"That's not it, Little Badger," Vlad spoke quietly. Danny growled and flew across the lab, an ectoblast already charging in his loose fist. But soon, the light fizzled out and the energy disappeared.

"Huh?" the ghost boy fell to the floor, hitting his head on the hard tiles. All around him, he could see the bars of a cage. Even without a good look, Danny knew them to be ghost-proof. There was no way Vlad would overlook a detail as trivial as that. It wasn't long before darkness stole Danny's vision, plunging him deep into a fitful rest.

DPDPDPDP

"… For you. I really don't mind what you decide to do with him, of course, just as long as some amount of good is able to come out of this."

Danny kept his eyes closed. That was Vlad's voice, but he didn't know who he could be talking to. Something told him that he really didn't want to know. The answer came all too soon.

"How did you manage to catch it?" Maddie asked. Danny's breathing stopped, the hair on the back of his neck standing up.

"Oh, it wasn't too hard," Vlad chuckled. "I just watched my good friend Jack, here, and learnt so much."

"Always glad to help, V-Man."

The room lapsed into silence, only the sound of Danny's panicked breaths to break it. The lab smelt like burning ectoplasm and was slightly metallic. He hoped that the smell meant nothing more than the usual experiments.

Then Vlad sighed. "Wake up, Daniel. We know you've been listening to us."

Danny's eyes crept open. He was lying on his side on the ground, the cage still surrounding him, draining his energy.

"I'm tired," he tried to say, but there was something that prevented him from uttering a single word. He watched as his mother turned to his mortal enemy.

"Is that normal?"

"Of course it is!" Vlad reassured them, ignoring Danny's glare. "I'm no expert in these ghostly matters, after all, but isn't it better that he can't move? That way… he can't fight back."

Danny's angry and indignant expression faded, fear stealing away his fury.

"I guess you're right," Maddie sighed. "We need to get that ghost out of him- no matter what."

Get that ghost out of…

Wait, no!

Danny scrambled to his knees and shuffled over to the edge of the cage. He bit back a scream as one of the bars crackled with a black light that shot up his arm. Paying no attention to the shudders that were running up and down his body, the ghost boy tugged on the metal rod. With each moment he spent touching it, the light, and therefore the energy, increased and became more painful.

But he wouldn't give up.

Danny was going numb, not even able to feel the energy that was turning his skin black, melting the jumpsuit from his skin.

"Danny, no!" He heard someone scream, but he wasn't sure who it was. Seconds later, two figures rushed into his sight, bending down in front of his convulsing body.

"Danny, don't," they said, each word full of panic and desperation. "Let go of that!"

"Mum?" He whispered silently, the inaudible words placing a wound on his heart that wouldn't have time to heal. "Dad?"

"We'll get this ghost out of you, Danny," they promised. A pair of hands approached the cage, but quickly pulled back. "We can make you normal again."

And suddenly it was like a valve was opened in Danny, letting loose all of the things that he had felt, but never known.

"I don't want to be normal again," he spoke, projecting his thoughts directly into their minds. "I wanted to be this. I was a hero. I was helping."

Another flash of black lightning shot down his arms. Danny threw his head back and gasped, but then settled his gaze onto his parents once more. He hoped that they would be able to see the pain in his eyes, but also the understanding.

"Don't feel too bad. I never really explained. But Phantom is as much a part of me as Fenton is… was…"

"No," they whispered. "He's just a ghost. Please, just let go of the cage and we can fix everything. We'll be a family again."

Despite the hurt those words caused him, Danny smiled. "We're a family now. I'll always love you, even if you don't love me anymore.

"I'm just so… tired…"

"Danny!" He heard them cry. Their hands clawed at him, ignorant of the energy that burnt them. "Danny, come back."

"Don't… get too close…" he whispered as his eyes slipped shut. "I don't want to… see you get hurt…

"You need to find a new hero."

AN:

Hey! pale-blue11 here!

I'm tired. That's why I'm not spending more time on this. Literally half an hour. I might come back and do this again later. And (if there's anyone who noticed :P) I was really sick last week, sorry.

So thank you to everyone who paid attention to this story! Especially the reviewers :)

Please review again!

And have a nice day!

pale-blue11