A Danny Phantom/Marvel 'Verse Crossover
Summary: So...the Fentons punch a hole through to the afterlife in their basement and develop unparalleled hover technology and...they're crackpots? Being taken seriously can be good...and bad.
A/N: Alright, same general idea as DC Phantom, but with a different universe. As the Marvel 'verse has many, many, many different permutations, I have to choose a 'canon' set of media for this project; as such, this is what has come to be known as a 'patchwork fic' and here's the list (so far):
Danny Phantom (Pre-series start point)
X-Men Evolution (Pre-series start point)
Iron Man: Armored Adventures (Pre-series start point)
Spiderman: Multiple Versions (Modified Canon [Pre-series start point])
A/N #2: Yeah, and on a personal note, why aren't the Fentons famous? Like internationally? To the point where they're household names? I mean, stop and think for a moment: In what world would proof of an afterlife (read, proof of LIFE AFTER DEATH) not be the single biggest discovery since...fire? Rational thought? I understand that, for Amity Park at least, the Fentons are synonymous with the idea of 'Mad Scientists,' but there is a fine, fine line between 'goofy inventors' and 'revolutionary geniuses'...and I think it's crossed when someone punches a hole into another dimension in their basement! Still, fine, maybe no one believed them and they didn't bother telling anyone they'd confirmed the existence of life after death. That still leaves the fact that they developed hover technology, effective energy weapons technology, a shrink ray, and a dozen other things that would make them instantly world famous and/or millionaires. So, yeah...not with the sense making at all.
Chapter I – Big Discoveries
"I look incredibly stupid."
"No," Sam denied immediately, "You look cool, Tucker looks stupid."
Daniel James Fenton and his two best friends, Tucker Foley and Samantha Manson had gathered in his room for the great and noble purpose that was 'putting on costumes.' Well, at least Danny and Tucker had; Sam had borrowed the hall bathroom for her own use. This meant that the goth was now tweaking and adjusting various pieces of clothing which hadn't been put on correctly as per her exacting specifications.
The exact reason for this whole debacle still escaped the two male teens, though Sam had probably explained the matter several times over by that point.
"I still can't believe I let you talk me into this," Danny sighed, looking over the mirror again. "Are you sure we're supposed to dress this way?"
"Absolutely," She affirmed, giving Danny a critical eye as she looked over his outfit. "This is so rare, guys! I can't believe we actually get to go to to a Goth Metal Concert!"
Danny shook his head, once more questioning exactly why he went to these insane extents to satisfy his friends' bizarre obsessions. As his eyes cut towards Sam and he barely restrained a bright flush from creeping over his skin, he was given a jarring reminder of what, exactly, part of the reason was. The...contraption Sam was wearing consisted of a strange combination of black and dark purple cloth, fishnet, metal, and spikes; the effect of all of these was...provocative, to say the least, in Danny's teenage mind.
"What am I supposed to be, anyway?" Tucker asked, looking himself over as well. His clothing was a strange mix of garish red fabric, an equal amount of black, and a patchwork theme that was somehow reminiscent of a doll or mannequin. To certify it as a 'goth metal' outfit, Sam had draped a series of chains around his arms, chest, and legs in conjunction with a spiked collar that Danny had only seen bikers and punks pull off seriously. Still, the outfit worked in some bizarre way, aligning Tucker with some strange theme their group had evidently been ordained with.
Honestly, it was a little creepy.
"You're a court jester," Sam explained, handing him a hat that was more a ragged piece of cloth than anything else. With the headpiece on, it gave the usually goofy teen a more...demented look, something like a mass-murdering clown.
Yep, more than a little creepy.
"Ooookay," Tucker said slowly, tilting his head oddly as he looked at himself wonderingly. "I'm with Danny, these costumes are weird. I thought you said we were going to a goth rock concert or something, not a crazy medieval times fair!"
"We are," Sam sighed exasperatedly, "The headliner is a group called 'Vandal Knights,' like medieval knights, so they wear armor and swords and stuff while they're on stage. We're supposed to dress up to support the band."
"Uh-huh," Danny nodded doubtfully, looking himself over yet again. "And I am?"
"Guess," Sam replied wryly as she passed him a long wooden staff with a piece of curved gray plastic jutting out at the top. With the...scythe in place at his side, the image clicked together with the suddenness of a photograph snapping into focus. "I got the idea from this picture I saw on the internet, what do you think?"
Distantly, he noted that Sam sounded uncharacteristically...shy, almost, but definitely unsure of herself. Currently, however, he was absorbed in his...costume. "Wow, I'm the...okay, that's pretty cool."
The goth teen grinned slightly, her purple-coated lips pulling upwards at the edges as a minute blush covered her cheeks. "Awesome. I wanted something kind of original for you guys, seeing as how I'm going to end up wearing something pretty standard."
Tucker snorted, "Standard? No way anyway can pull the Gothic Princess look off like you Sam."
"Tucker's right," Danny added, smiling at the sight of a newly intensified blush blooming on her face, "You look great...I just didn't think you'd manage to make a pair of geeks like us look this good with only a change of clothes."
Sam shrugged, still preening slightly. "Well, I don't think you'll be able to wear these around school, even if you look good in them. You wouldn't want to make Dash jealous or anything, right?"
The two males shared a grim chuckle.
"Here," Sam added suddenly, reaching behind him and pulling up the hood of his sleeveless jacket, which hung open over a long-sleeved black leather shirt. With his face in shadow and the fabric of the cloak folding loosely over his shoulders, the overall effect was definitely intimidating. "That's a little better, even. How are the metal parts, though? They aren't digging into anything, are they?"
'Because, of course, it wouldn't be a 'goth metal' costume without metal,' Danny thought with a snort as he moved his arms and legs, trying to judge the fit of the odd bits of metal that had been sewn in an overlapping fashion onto the dark leather of what Sam had called a 'tunic.' Likewise, a piecemeal set of armor plates had been attached to the shins of his heavy black denim pants and visible studs of metal were layered inside and outside the boots themselves and on his gloves as well, turning the previous simple pieces of thick leather into what looked almost like gauntlets.
The overall effect of the outfit was very goth...punk...something.
It was also very hot.
The material was all very thick, dark fabrics and leathers with the added weight of metal bolted and sewn onto it. Despite, or probably because of, Danny's light frame, he could feel every ounce of weight pressing down on his shoulders; in combination with the fact that he was wearing two layers of clothing, he was already beginning to slowly sweat and soak through both his under-clothes and the 'costume' he was wearing on top of it. The overall effect was both incredibly uncomfortable and incredibly incumbering.
Still, Sam had been working on these costumes for over a week and even though he could see a similar discomfort on Tucker's face, neither were going to complain openly about it. Danny grinned, "Nope, feels pretty good actually. Are you sure these won't be a little hot when we get to the concert?"
"Probably a little," Sam admitted, "But don't worry, everyone else will be wearing the same stuff. There's always a little concert 'funk' at these things, when you get a few hundred people together jumping and yelling in really heavy clothing, no one's going to smell exactly like roses."
"Funk?" Tucker asked, eyebrows raising.
"Anyway, accessories!" Sam grinned, seeming wholly unlike her normal grumpy-goth persona she exuded at school. "After that, we can leave."
"Funk?" Tucker asked again, now worried, before he did a double-take and tracked Sam across the room where she was leveraging a large paper bag, "Wait, accessories? As in jewelry and stuff? No thanks." Upturning the bag onto the table, both male teens raised their eyebrows further as they looked over the pile.
"Huh," Danny commented dumbly, "That's a lot of...bling. It's bling, right?" He turned to Tucker.
"Yeah, it's bling-tastic," Tucker drawled, fishing out a plastic bag, "And temporary tattoos?"
"This is going to be fun," Danny groused lowly, "Which ones do we put on?"
"Well..." Sam shrugged, spreading out the mixture of the medallions, pins, tattoos. "I brought a mix of my stuff. I was going to use these," she explained laying out a set of emblazoned rings, bracelets, and necklaces covered with dragons, Celtic knots, and Nordic hammer motifs. "Just use whatever looks coolest, speaks to your individuality, and best displays the symbolism of your soul."
"What does that mean?" Tucker asked dubiously, sifting through the mass. "Symbolism of your soul?"
"Or you could just go with whatever matches your clothing," Sam sighed exasperatedly. She grabbed a silver chain with blunted spikes and a medallion with two masks hanging from it. "These are drama and comedy masks, they're ancient Greek symbols of the theater, which kind of goes along with your court jester look."
"Cool," Tucker shrugged, slipping the decoration on.
"Huh," Danny said intelligently, looking at the amassed symbols from dozens of countries, histories, and cultures around the world lying together in a pile on his bed. He knew little enough about religion and history that he was really only able to pick out something that looked vaguely Egyptian. The temporary tattoo was something he thought he recognized from a text book or documentary...or something.
"It's an ankh," Sam explained as she slipped on a silver ring.
"A what?" Danny asked.
"An ankh, an ancient symbol of life used in ancient Egypt," Sam replied, giving Danny a once-over. "I think that would work...here."
She took the slip of tattoo paper from his hands and peeled off the clear side, stepping uncomfortably close as she did so. Danny blushed and flinched back as her hands came up to his face, "Wha-!? What are you doing?"
"You've got long-sleeves, gloves, and long pants on. If you want a temp tat, I don't think there's anywhere else to put it other than your face. You do want this one on right, because I think it would look good on your right cheek, just under your eye," Sam explained, her own cheeks stained slightly pink.
Danny blinked, surprised at the logical argument. "All right," he relented, "I'll just-"
"-Hold still," Sam commanded, leaning in so closely Danny could smell a hint of lavender perfume. The warm touch of her fingers on his cheek sent a shiver through him as she pressed the tattoo paper against his cheek, smoothing it out before peeling it away and leaving a bright silver ankh emblazoned on the youngest Fenton's face. "Here's a mirror."
"Cool," Danny shrugged, supposing that if it satisfied Sam it was good enough for him, "I think I can get by without jewelry, right?"
"Fat chance," Sam grinned, sweeping her hand through the pile of chains and accessories. "If you really don't want anything, take these and we'll call it even."
"Oookay," Danny sighed, looking over the proffered neck...pendant. Yeah, pendants were definitely more manly than necklaces, right? It was a...bug with wings? And Sam had also passed him a silver sticker that looked like an eye? "Where do you get this stuff?"
"You should always be prepared to determine the correct mixture of accessories to express your unique attitude in any situation," Sam stated, her expression daring her friend to object. "This," she said, pointing to the beetle-looking-thing, "Is a winged-scarab, also an Egyptian symbol and the sticker is an Eye of Horus."
"What happened to his other eye?" Danny remarked glibly.
"It's supposed to symbolize wisdom," Sam explained heedlessly, giving him a pointed look. "You know, that thing you grow into?"
"Ouch," Danny grinned, slapping the sticker onto his glove and sliding the 'winged-scarab' neck-pendant over his head. "Okay, so...final verdict. Does the whole Egyptian-medieval grim reaper look work for me?"
"Well," Sam drawled, giving him a once-over before pointing at the mirror, "I think it looks great, but ideally you should be the judge of whether or not the costume is an accurate expression of your individuality."
Danny looked into the mirror, judging himself for a brief second. At this point, wearing what felt like twenty additional pounds of clothing, metal, and extra jewelry, he was willing to go with anything to get to this 'awesome concert' that Sam had waxed poetic about so much. "Looks great, now that I've shamelessly ripped off two ancient cultures instead of one, I'm good right?"
Sam rolled her eyes and opened her mouth-
That wasn't Sam's voice. In point of fact, that was his mom's voice.
"Mom?" Danny asked, addressing the door. "What's up?" He really hoped she didn't open the door; Sam might get excited about wigging her parents out, but he didn't need his life any harder than it already was. And his mom, seeing him wearing this outfit? Yeah, that was a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, he gotten away with telling his parents that he was just going to a concert tonight, nothing specific.
"Your father and I are going out to dinner tonight; Jack needs a little cheering up after the Portal didn't work yesterday. Anyway, have fun at the concert, see you kids later!" Maddie Fenton's voice trailed off at the end, her footsteps barely audible, but retreating.
Danny breathed an internal sigh of relief.
"Portal?" Tucker asked.
"The Ghost Portal," Danny sighed, this time for a different reason. "My parent's newest failure. It's supposed to be some sort of quasi-stable dimensional vortex bridging the gap between two planes of existence that-"
His friends stared blankly at him.
'Woops, a little too smart, there,' Danny chastised himself. "-And then I kind of lost track of the ghost-gibberish and gave my parents the look you're giving me now."
Sam snorted. "Awesome. So...can we see it?"
"Aren't we running a bit low on time?" Danny edged, not wanting to broach the topic of the lab being 'off-limits' to him, Jazz, and anyone without explicit permission.
"We've got a few minutes," Tucker shrugged, looking up from his PDA.
"See," Sam wheedled, "Your parents inventions are so cool, Danny...even if they don't work half the time."
"Really?" Danny asked doubtfully, his expression deadpan.
"They are pretty neat, dude, especially the ones that explode," Tucker nodded.
"...all right," Danny sighed once again. "Let's do this quick and get if over with...and guys, please don't mess with anything. My parents are pretty big on the lab being a 'no-touchy' zone."
Jazz was thankfully out on a tutoring session, leaving the three free to dodge a lecture about danger, responsibility, and the hazards of the lab as they made their way down to the basement. The entire place was a pretty convincing tableau of chaos, even if his parents swore that some kind of organizational system existed. 'Honestly, I can't shake the feeling that I'm walking into some kind of mad scientist's lab every time he came down here,' Danny thought perversely.
"Here it is, can we go now?" Danny asked, growing tired of the evening already and half-worried that his father had forgotten the keys to the car or something and was about to storm back inside.
"Cool," Sam grinned, looking over the massive concave device built into a large projection of machinery against one side of the lab. "And...what's it supposed to do again?"
"It's a-" Danny started, then thought better of himself, "basically, it's a portal to the ghost zone. It's this place that my parents are convinced ghosts float around being...ghostly. If it had worked, though, they'd have proved ghosts exist, which was the important part for them."
"Uh-huh," Tucker said doubtfully, "Danny we've been over this before, but...your parents watched waaay too many scary movies as children, didn't they?"
"Well I know they were like this back in their college days, at least," Danny admitted, looking over the device again. "I found an old yearbook once; mom and dad and this other guy with a mullet were building a smaller-looking version of this thing."
"It's pretty awesome that your parents were able to follow their dreams like this," Sam state, looking around the lab again. "The ghost zone, huh? Why do you think it didn't work?"
"Because ghosts don't exist?" Tucker asked sarcastically.
Danny shrugged, dodging the question.
If there was one thing he never liked to discuss, it was ghosts. Ghosts were the bane of his existence, enthralling his parents to the point where they had missed a good chunk of both his and Jazz's childhoods slaving away down here with little to show for it. Unfortunately, the fact that his parents were jumpsuit-wearing weirdos was public knowledge...and he was a social exile for being the son of 'those people.' With all of this working against 'paranormal studies' in Daniel James Fenton's world, it wasn't like he could tell his friends that he actually agreed with his parents a bit; ghosts were pretty interesting.
Not in a jumpsuit-wearing way, though.
Or a crazy, yelling-at-the-top-of-your-lungs way either.
But in a proud-of-your-parents way? Sure. He liked the fact that his parents were researching something normal science didn't take seriously and trying to prove the world wrong about the 'crazy-Fentons.' So, yeah, his parents were embarrassing, odd, and even a little bizarre at times, but he could be proud of them for what they did.
As long as he didn't tell anyone.
"Okay, you guys have seen it...and it doesn't even work," Danny reminded them, "Can we go now?"
"I guess," Sam said, a little disappointed as she took a step inside to get one last, close look at the 'Ghost Portal.'
"Hey Sam," Danny interjected, stepping forward, "You really shouldn't go in there-"
And then it happened.
His feet, never the most nimble of body parts on the best of days, were encased in enough dead cow and metal to kill another cow with, catching themselves on one of the large cables strewn across the floor.
Danny's hand, reaching out for Sam, tumbled into her, pushing her against the side of the machine and sending her rolling out of the conical 'portal.'
No one saw the red-and-green power switch she collided with.
Danny groaned as he impacted the floor, leveraging himself up with the stupid plastic scythe-thing Sam had given him. 'Just great. This night's off to a great start. Sam, I hope you appreciate this...I'm baking in more clothing than I've worn since Halloween last year, my parents are going to be ticked if I dinged their prize invention, and I'm probably going to bruise there tomorrow. Not to mention-'
'What's that noise?' Danny thought suddenly, with all the dread and surety that something very, very bad was about to happen.
Sam, sitting up from where she had fallen, and Tucker helping her, each looked up as a building whine, the kind that preceded the activation of electronics and machines, began to make itself known. All three teens' eyes widened as they locked with each other in realization.
"Danny, get out-" Tucker started.
It was too late.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Sam asked again.
"Dude, I really think we should go to a hospital or something, you were electrocuted! There's no way you can be fine after that," Tucker argued.
"For the last time, guys, I'm fine!" Danny cried in exasperation.
And, miraculously, he was. Perfectly fine, not even a scratch on him, and that was beyond bizarre, given what he'd been through. Everything from that weird whining noise up until he tumbled out of the Ghost Portal, now active, was a massive green blur. There had been pain, pain beyond anything he'd ever felt before, and a massive surge of...
And, the next thing he knew, he was gasping for air on the floor of the lab, feeling...tingly, for lack of a better word, and holding a charred piece of wood and plastic that had once been his 'scythe.' The burn marks on the wood and the melted plastic had been the only indication anything untoward had happened. Well, there had been one other strange occurrence in the laboratory that night:
The Portal was working now.
An eerie pool of glowing green light that ebbed and flowed of its own accord, the hypnotic effect mesmerizing all three teens even as Danny lay stunned on the ground. 'It was the most terrifyingly beautiful thing I've ever seen...like being in the same room as a lion or tiger.'
And that just wasn't something that he thought about normally.
Danny Fenton didn't wax poetic about anything except burgers, video games, cheesy horror movies, and-sigh-Paulina. 'So...maybe, just maybe, I'm not completely okay...in the strictest sense, but I had to get out of that house.'
Even when he wasn't looking into the Portal, it still hung heavy in his mind, a near-constant presence thrumming with an alien power that felt as familiar as the blood in his veins. 'I just...even being near that stupid portal was wigging me out, but it's not like there's anything really 'wrong' with me. It's probably something like PTSD or..."
"Well," Sam sighed, "If you're going to be an idiot about it, we might as well enjoy the concert, but signal Tucker or me the minute you start feeling weird and we'll get out of here, okay?"
Tucker didn't look happy, but nodded, "Al...alright, just don't do something like that again again, dude, you really scared us."
Danny swallowed, deeply before nodding. 'I scared myself too, Tuck. I just wish this tingling would go-'
The youngest Fenton blinked, his thoughts skidding to a halt as his eyes fixed onto an odd green-tinged man leaning against the side of the massive warehouse they were about to enter. His form was strangely translucent and he seemed to be wearing clothing from a different time...though not like the costume he, Tucker, and Sam were wearing. This guy looked as though he'd stepped out of one of the old black-and-white crime dramas a century ago, utterly at home at the corner of the dark alleyway he stood against. Danny shook his head, rubbing his eyes to clear them, and-
He was gone.
'Great. I'm seeing things now. That's just...great,' the teen thought sarcastically, glaring at the space where he'd seen the figure.
"-Earth to Danny," Tucker shouted, jarring him again.
"Wh-Sorry," Danny apologized, rubbing at the back of his head, "I just...spaced out there, for a moment."
"Sure," Tucker replied doubtfully, looking to where Sam had gone to get them passes. "Danny, are you really sure you're okay? 'Cause...Sam will be angrier if you get hurt trying to go all macho to attend this concert than if you need to go home."
"I'm fine," Danny repeated, without the heat of the earlier comment. 'It was just a trick of the light. All I need to concentrate on tonight is partying and having a good time with my friends. When I get home, the portal will have shorted out or blown a fuse like all my parent's other inventions and by next week, I'll have forgotten all about it.'
"Hey guys!" Sam called waving two colorful pieces of plastic, "Here! I got the passes!"
"Awesome," Danny grinned, throwing himself into the thrill of excitement Sam was...giving off?
'Imagining it!' Danny hummed mentally, 'Her excitement is contagious, that's it!'
She was certainly smiling wide enough, at least. He could swear that she was radiating 'good vibes' like some bad 70's drug trip. 'La-la-la!' Danny forced a grin, smiling despite his inner turmoil, 'Everything's cool, cool as a cucumber!...Never did understand that line.'
Another blink and the weird 'cloud' that had been forming behind Sam disappeared.
Danny's grin became a bit more genuine.
As the trio passed into the building, more of the stress had been building throughout the evening began to leak away. The odd looks they had been getting as they were driven around in the taxi were wiped clean as they mingled with people wearing just as much (if not more) metal, leather, and odd clothing as them.
'When you put it that way it sounds a little...weird,' Danny grimaced, giving a stunned glance at a guy wearing nearly a full set of armor spray-painted with the headliner's logo and name. 'Okay, so maybe it is a little weird.'
"Hey Tuck?" Danny asked, his eyes widening further as he looked around the seething mass of humanity.
"Yeah?" The other teen asked, taking similar action.
"You remember that comic convention we went to a few years ago?" Danny replied.
"Yeah," Tucker nodded.
"I think I know how Sam felt now," Danny admitted.
"Me too," Tucker nodded.
Sam, however, looked right at home among the crowd. A few of the people even waved or greeted her as one of their own. Those same people gave nods and polite scowls to Danny and Tucker as they observed Sam's friends. It was more than obvious that they weren't exactly welcome, but tolerated due to their common association with Sam Manson.
"No seats?" Danny muttered.
"Standing room only," Tucker snorted lowly. "Well, at least I know what Sam meant with that 'funk' comment. This place...it smells exactly the way that convention did, too, but only after the third day of cosplay, no showers, and sleeping in hallways to get the best seats for the convention speakers."
"Amen," Danny grunted.
"Hey, looks like the opening act is starting up," Sam enthused, turning from where she had been chatting with an acquaintance wearing what Robin Hood's Goth brother probably wore, complete with arrows and totally unnecessary spikes.
"Oh, cool, music will always help lighten the-are they wearing makeup?" Danny asked disbelievingly.
"If you say that any louder, you're going to get of kicked out," Sam hissed, level a hard glare at her friend and looking around to see if anyone had heard.
"Alright! Sorry, but...why are they...you know?" Danny whispered in reply.
"Think of it like warpaint," Sam sighed irritably. "Like each concert they give is a battle against their primal urges and an effort to grow stronger."
"So, like...KISS?" Danny asked groping for a point of mental reference.
"Wha-No! Not like-" Sam palmed her face and sighed. "Sure, like KISS, just keep it down."
Tucker exchanged a shrug with Danny, neither knowing exactly what Sam was ticked about this time. Both stumbled as the crowd suddenly roared louder than ever, almost deafening in its intensity, hundreds of voices roaring in approval as the opening cords of a harsh demented...'music.' Tucker and Danny stood, nearly stunned as strains of a violent and discordant melody blew their minds, becoming impossibly louder and louder.
The next hours were lost in a haze of cacophonous confusion, loud music, and an even louder crowd. Several bands came and went before a truly massive set of men walked onto the stage wearing stylized suits of armor, flowing capes, and even swords.
The crowd screamed and Danny was surprised to find himself among the cheering throng.
"We...are the Vandal Knights!"
"And we...are here...to ROCK YOU HARDER THAN YOU'VE EVER BEEN ROCKED BEFORE!" The leader of the band yelled in the microphone, receiving raucous applause for doing more damage to their audience's hearing than a dozen hours on their respective MP3 players of choice. Tucker and Danny, although still somewhat staggered by the volume, had long-since been infected by the overwhelming surge of the crowd.
The deep thrum of the bass was so powerful they could hear it in their molars, the screech of the guitar piercing in the extreme, and the concussive force of the drums was a battering ram to the mind. All through it, Danny enjoyed himself, thrashing around in the pit of grungy, sweaty goths wearing far too much metal and far, far too much leather.
For a while, hours seemed to pass by unnoticed, the party escalating to new heights until Danny, Tucker, and Sam needed a rest. The three friends pushed their way towards a wall stacked with soda, carefully concealed beer, bags of chips, and a slew of other processed, packaged, and (probably) greasy snack foods. Snagging a hand full of miscellaneous items for themselves, they sequestered in a small alcove, tucked away from the still booming volume of the music.
"Whew!" Sam sighed, her voice breathy and her face streaked with sweat. Danny and Tucker were in little better condition, feeling almost soggy underneath their outfits. "Isn't this great!"
"Amazing," Danny grinned, surprising himself with the enthusiasm in his voice.
Tucker grinned and began guzzling a soda.
Sam gave them both a dazzling smile, relieved beyond words that she'd been able to not only talk her friends into going to one of her 'goth things,' but that they'd actually enjoyed themselves. She cracked a soda herself and quenched her dry throat.
Danny exhaled deeply.
'I probably have a few more hours in me, but after a while they'd have to think about...' He paused, 'what was that?'
The flicker of blue-green movement that caught his attention really should have been lost in the swell of music, lights, and people, but his eyes fixed resolutely on the odd green shadow slipping through the crowd. As he focused, slivers of green began to shade his own blue eyes, invading his physical appearance even as something churned within him.
Then he saw him...it.
The green thing that looked like a person, but wasn't. The thing he'd seen before and written off as a figment of his imagination. It wore a finely tailored suit the likes of which Al Capone had probably demanded, but gleaming a shade of unearthly green. It should have looked silly, stupid, almost comical, but instead...
A chill, the cold touch of the grave crawled up his spine and out of his mouth.
He felt cold, suddenly...he wouldn't be surprised if his lips had gone blue. His fingers were almost numb, the tingling of near-hypothermia dancing around the sensation of touch and feeling. A cold, chilling breath swept through his lungs and out into the sweat-ridden humid air of the impromptu concert-hall. A momentary shadow of frost in the air showed that, somehow this was not his imagination, that he was not making this up, that...
His eyes focused on the figure again, this time seeing what he had missed before in his cursory inspection:
The thing bore a gory hole in its chest, emerald blood dripping onto its suit.
The concert suddenly seemed far away, for all that he was surrounded by a hundred moving human bodies filled with light and life...everything had drawn away, leaving him curiously alone with that thing which was shifting through the shades of human bodies as if they weren't really there at all. Fear, anguish, rage clenched at Danny's heart, emotions that were as alien as the cold touch of death to the living.
Danny's vision swam as his hand passed through the shadow space where the drink table had been-
Then he took a breath, and everything was normal.
He could hear the raucous crowd, the boisterous noise of the music, the heat of human bodies pressed close to each other. His own body had even returned to its equilibrium, the blessed weight of his clothing, bone, and flesh pressing down on his soul. The indescribable feeling of feeling of life suffused his, washing away the numbness of...
Another shiver wracked his body and he pushed the thought away viciously.
The moment had seemed like an eternity, but as Tucker looked back to him, Danny realized it had only been a fraction of a second that had slowed to agelessness.
"Dude, you okay?" Tucker asked loudly, yelling over the music, concern evident in his gaze.
Danny coughed, holding up his partially-drained soda and pounding his chest, hoping Tucker bought the act. "Yeah! Just drank too fast!"
Tucker nodded, trying to put himself at ease.
Sam had been too enthused with the whole fangirl-rockband thing to really notice, but Danny had been off the entire night. Even as his friend went back to sipping his soda, Tucker tried not to show how much he noticed that Danny hadn't choked; his friend had paled, not flushed, which meant he hadn't had something caught in his throat...
'Maybe I shouldn't jump to conclusions,' Tucker sighed, watching Danny out of the corner of his eye. 'I mean, he did just have a brush with death, or something. I don't know what his parents were thinking leaving that thing around in the basement for us to mess with...or what we were thinking messing with it.' But, try as he might, Tucker couldn't exorcise the thought that something was...well, for lack of a better term, wrong about his friend since the incident.
Each time he turned away from Danny, his friend seemed to fade somehow, become less significant. Every now and then, Danny would go slightly 'gray,' as if his skin had been washed clean of color. Then, there was the strange, flickering light that seemed to sweep across his eyes...a gleaming sickly green that was almost familiar-
Danny gasped, and Tucker turned to look-
'It's happening again, just be calm...it'll go away like last time, just wait and...' Danny attempted to convince himself as his vision swam again, his body lightening to weigh as much as a graveyard mist. Then, the figure, that thing was there, again. He was closer this time, and the raven-haired teen could see the mottled skin that was hanging too-loose on his frame.
The sheer hatred in the words nearly too Danny's icy breath away.
Go. Away. Let. Me. Sleep.
The words throbbed in him mind, bypassing his ears and stabbing into the core of his being.
Noisy. Too. Noisy.
A shock wave erupted through the nothingness and silence of the void around him.
Need. Peace. Sleep.
Something strong, something dark, poured out of the misty emptiness and wrapped around the steel of the warehouse, fibrous green energy shaking the building to pieces-
"...concussion, we'll want to keep her overnight."
He was calm, now. Turbulent emotions had vanished, leaving nothing but a cool, tranquil void where panic and fear had gripped him.
"...lucky you boys were there. Might have saved her life..."
Sam was going to be okay. Nothing else mattered.
"...go home. Get some rest."
Nothing else mattered. Not the cold grip of death that was, even now, only a heartbeat away. Not the harsh light at the end of a long, dark, tunnel.
"...call her parents?"
Tucker was talking, which was good, because it meant he was looking at Danny with wide, disbelieving eyes, and freak, freak, freak...
"...already done. Have the nurse's station call you a taxi..."
The rest of the evening was a blur. Right now, he was just glad it was over. Sam was safe, the other people were safe. No one had seen him slip away. No one was asking any awkward questions. No one had seen him reach through a steel girder to pull his friend out of the rubble-
No. That hadn't happened.
"Sam's going to be fine," Tucker said unnecessarily, as if trying to convince himself. "The doc says she just god a mild concussion and some bruised ribs. He really wanted us to stay until our parents could be called, but I fast-talked our way out of that one. The hot nurse-lady just called us a cab by the way. Sam's parents are going to be here soon, too, so we might want to skedaddle."
Neither made motion to break the unspoken resolution not to talk about...it.
Of course, like all world-changing events, Tucker couldn't hold back once they had stepped into the temperate night air. As far north as they were, summer was still almost unpleasantly warm, though fall was starting to bring cooler weather. With school starting back in a week, all three teens had hoped this was going to be the 'end of summer blow out' before they got into high school. As soon as they had dropped onto the bench to await their taxi, Tucker's mouth exploded.
"Dude! Wha-how?! Your arm just, and Sam was-but!? What Happened?!"
Tucker's panicked shout rang out, a few errant pedestrians turning a curious eye towards the distraught teen before continuing on with their business.
Danny's voice was stone cold, his eyes squeezing shut as he refused to acknowledge the question had even been asked. If he could just focus, focus on nothing. The question hadn't been asked, he wasn't here to hear it, Tucker hadn't seen...hadn't seen it.
He didn't see it, couldn't have seen it.
Because there wasn't anything to see.
It hadn't happened.
"-ny! Danny! Snap out of it man, you're...doing that thing! Where you go untouchable!" Tucker whispered urgently, looking about as Danny's form washed out of color, becoming a misty gray-white, almost translucent, even as every cell in his body screamed in some primal alert to run, run and never look back.
Thankfully, his pleas seemed to get through to his friend, Danny's eyes snapping open and a heavy breath leaving his lungs even as he faded back into...being.
Danny pressed the heals of his hands onto his eyes, his voice coming out in a long wailing moan, "Nonononononono! This can't be happening!"
"Calm down Danny," Tucker ordered, confidence rising as he assured himself that no one had seen his friend's 'freak-out' and the little voice in the back of his head was no longer screaming to head for the hills. "You're cool, whatever's happening is fine. You saved Sam's life, you're a hero!"
Unfortunately, this seemed to have the exact opposite effect Tucker intended.
"Sam!" Danny gasped, his head snapping up to lock eyes with Tucker. Again, that greenish surge flickered over Danny's eyes as the black teen suppressed a shiver. "You can't tell Sam. Never. We dug her out of the rubble by hand! Promise me!"
"But dude-" Tucker started, shocked at the suggestion that they keep something this big from their mutual friend.
"Promise me!" Danny hissed.
Tucker bit back his refusal in the face of the...inhumanity in Danny's face. Something too pale, too cold and brittle and sharp was looking out his friend's eyes. Eyes that were now flashing spectral green. He had to keep Danny calm...and they could always decide to tell Sam later. She was in the hospital right now anyway, and by the time she got out, Danny would have calmed down and he could convince him to clue Sam in. Right now, though, Danny needed the assurance that his secret, whatever it was, was safe.
"Alright. I promise." Tucker sighed. "I won't tell anyone."
Danny seemed to collapse into himself, the tension releasing like a dozen puppet strings cut, allowing the mannequin to fall loose. "Thanks," he whispered.
Daniel James Fenton awoke to the sound of shouting.
Shooting out of bed, he-
-noticed he had actually shot out of bed and was hovering three feet over his sheets.
The short cry turned into more of a yelp as the teen plummeted back to earth, his impact sending him sprawling over the bed and onto the floor. Dazedly, Danny lay still for a moment, trying to make sense of what had just happened before the events of the night before caught up with him. Scrambling, he sat up and huddled against the bed, his eyes wide and disbelieving as his quickened heart slowed down.
"Okay Fenton, calm down. I'm on the ground, no one saw me, everything's okay-"
"Danny?" The shout, accompanied by a pair of knocks on his door, interrupted him momentarily.
"Yeah Jazz?" Danny asked, trying to keep his voice steady as his pulse quickened again at the thought of someone near him during one of his...episodes. 'Yeah, episodes, that sounds good, cause I'm pretty sure I'm going crazy!'
"You alright little bro?" Jazz asked, making no move to opened the door, thankfully.
"Fine, just fell out of bed." His mind jumped tracks then, latching onto a much more familiar and comfortable subject. "What's with all the yelling?"
"Mom and Dad," Jazz explained with a long-suffering tone only Fenton siblings could appreciate. "Some invention of theirs is working and they're all excited. You might want to get dressed, they're calling a reporter or something."
"Joy," Danny muttered, dropping his head onto his knees as he wrapped his arms around his legs. This was just what he needed the week before high school started: a front page picture of his parents being...his parents. "Gimme a minute."
"...yes, and we'd like to thank you all for coming out today!" Jack Fenton cried, his boisterous voice booming across the impromptu street fair assembled in front of Fenton Works. The sun was high in the sky, which meant both Danny and Jazz had woken and dressed before noon on a Saturday, which put them in none-too-happy moods. Enhancing their displeasure was the fact that several dozen reports from the various newspapers, TV stations, and even a few internet-based reporting programs had all lined up to watch their parents make fools of themselves.
A hand shot up, belonging to a middle-aged man with salt-and-pepper hair, "Mr. Fenton! Weekly Weird News! Is this related to the Fenton Triangle Incident 3 years ago?"
Both Maddie and Jack's faces flushed slightly as their pride turned sheepish. "Ah, no. You see, last night, my wife and I made a breakthrough in spectral entanglement breeches, which as you all know-"
Proving that he was every bit as technologically savvy as his wife, if just much sillier, Jack Fenton began the technical explanation of their achievement. His children automatically tuned him out, their 'techno-speak' filters were highly adjusted. Instead, they concentrated on their own rather horrific embarrassment in being made to stand before the amalgamated crowd of news people and townspeople...
Yes, for this special occasion, the Fenton parents had rolled out teen-sized jumpsuits for Jazz and Danny. Their son wore a black and white set, with off-color gloves, boots, and belt. Jazz had been forced (under threat of grounding and cutting of allowance) into a red and black version of Dannys. Both had forgone the hoods and goggles their parents wore, feeling that their humiliation was already complete enough, thank you very much.
"-And, without further ado," Maddie exclaimed proudly, having taken over from Jack at some point (neither teen had been paying attention), "We'd like to present Fenton Works line of products this year, starting with the Fenton Ghost Portal!"
Sure enough, under a tarp and to the side of the impromptu stage, the Feton Portal sat, glowing an innocuous green as the event horizon of an inter-dimensional wormhole swirled and twisted in the octagonal frame.
A few of the more gullible reports felt their jaws go slack, even as cameras snapped onto the first visuals of the ghost portal. The more skeptical individuals felt their hackles rise as something none of them wanted to admit, fear of the unknown, the supernatural, began to crawl up their spines.
Another hand shot up, the first of many. "Mrs. Fenton! Yes, Daily Bugle Milwaukee Office. I was on my way back from the New York office when I found out about this press conference; I called in to the research department and found out your company has a history of...amazing and unbelievable claims. How are we to know that this...portal, is what you say it is?"
Jack grinned in challenge, "Let me take this one Maddie! Well, to tell you the truth, we expected this and to prove all of you nay-sayers wrong, here's the Feton Ghost Zone Probe!"
A oblong, torpedo-like object was unveiled next, coated in shiny metal and streamlined.
"The Fenton Ghost Zone Probe," Maddie began, "Will be launched into the Ghost Portal and take numerous measurements including temperature, ecto-thermography, radiospectronomy, and more...of course, this will include video and audio data!"
Several in the audience blinked, having expected the Fentons to get defensive or angry at being questioned.
"Mr. Fenton! National Inquirer! How exactly will we know that whatever is on the other side of this...portal, is going to be 'ghosts,' as you claim?" Another reporter asked, not bothering to wait to be called upon.
Maddie and Jack exchanged looks, before Jack stepped up to the plate.
"Well, initially at least, you'll have to take our word for it," several people in the audience couldn't contain their snorts and snickers. "But Fenton Works welcomes any scientific board of inquiry to ascertain whether or not our research is valid."
"Well said Jack!" Maddie grinned. "As my husband indicated, we have always welcomed investigation of our research, though few third parties have taken advantage of this offer."
Many of the reporters began scribbling or typing notes as Jack pushed a button on his remote. The assembled reporters' eyes widened as the Fenton Probe rose off the ground, rising to a height of five feet before stabilizing.
"Now we'll-" Maddie began.
"Mrs. Fenton!" A female news reporter cried, "Associated Press! Pardon the interruption, but is that...device, um...floating?"
Jack and Maddie blinked, looking at each other. Even Danny and Jazz cocked their heads at the question. Their parents had been toying around with hover engines for years, what was the big deal about that?
"Well, yes," Maddie began. "That's a patented Fenton Gravity Inverter."
"And...how much can your...um, Gravity Inverter lift?" The reporter asked again.
"Approximately one metric ton, depending on the model." Jack shrugged. "But the Gravity Inverter is only a small part of the Fenton Ghost Zone Probe, which-"
"I'm sorry, but just to confirm: your laboratory has successfully created a device which can lift a ton of weight into the air without the energy requirements being prohibitive?" The reporter asked finally.
"Yes," Maddie explained slowly, as if talking to a child. "It's a relatively simplistic application of physics. Both Danny and Jazz, our children, have been building them for us for years while my husband and I focused on more advanced applications of our research. The Gravity Inverter is, quite literally, 'kids stuff.' In fact, I think Danny built the model that we eventually decided on using for the Fenton Ghost Zone Probe."
Jazz and Danny fidgeted as the cameras momentarily turned to them.
"Mr. and Ms. Fenton, Daily Bugle again; is what your parents saying true?"
Danny shrugged, clearing his throat as he nodded. "Ah, sure. I mean, those things are pretty easy, I could almost build one in my sleep nowadays. They're not like Physics Cancelers or anything, right Jazz?"
"I guess they're pretty easy," Jazz shrugged, uncomfortable with being the center of attention. "Mom and dad only ask us to work with the safe stuff anyway. None of this is too complicated." Jazz turned to her parents, "If you're using the Model II that Danny built for the Probe, why did you want me to put together a Model VI last week?
Several of the townspeople of Amity Park were now staring at both the Fenton kids and parents, slightly slackjawed. The reports were scratching at notepads or pecking at keyboards furiously, observing the byplay between the parents and kids.
Maddie smiled, "Oh, that's for the Specter Speeder, sweetie. We'll be showing that off a little later. At any rate, though, we would like to get on with the demonstration now. Jack, honey, if you would?"
"Right-o Maddie," Jack gestured with his remote again and the Fenton Portal turned so that the edge of the portal was now facing the crowd. The Fenton Ghost Zone Probe advanced smoothy and silently towards the green void. "Now, observe as the Fenton Probe disappears into the Ghost Zone. During this time, the Probe is actually suspended between two dimensions across the event horizon of the Ghost Zone Portal that serves as the bridge between the two realities."
Several jaws dropped among the reporters as the two large digital televisions hung from the front of Fenton Works flickered on, showing a massive expanse of green smog that swirled and twisted about in almost-invisible eddies and whirls. To the audience, it was almost as if the Probe had been dunked into some kind of green ocean.
'Islands' hung within the 'air' of the Ghost Zone, patches of solid rock with various styles and eras of buildings sliding about in the green void. "These are some of the first visuals of another dimension, running live. As you can see, this world is suffused with a green pseudo-liquid psychoreactive substance known as ectoplasm. The ghost zone, as we've learned is full of it, and it is from this substance which ghosts, spirits, phantoms, poltergeists, and other such phenomena are formed," Jack explained, a proud smile on his face.
"The reason why we experience such phenomena in our world," Maddie explained, "is because of the unique properties of ectoplasm and its ability to penetrate dimensional boundaries under the right circumstances. Our research has also hypothesized natural ghost zone portals, but as of yet we've been unable to observe these forming."
"As a result of its psychoreactive properties, ectoplasm has actually been proved to conduct neural impulses, strong emotions, and physio-electric activity. This property allows ectoplasm to absorb a portion of what makes a human being both sentient and sapient, resulting in the creation of what is colloquially termed a 'ghost,'" Jack explained, even as numerous partially-translucent shades of human and non-human entities passed by the screen.
Pale faces among the audience shivered violently with fright.
"On the other side of the equation, we have hypothesized that ectoplasm can, in fact, bond with the human soul. Although we haven't observed this phenomena in action, the metaphysics of such a bond are sound enough. Once the soul disconnects from the body, if it were to encounter a suitable amount of ectoplasm, this could result in a paranormal entity found in folktales. Known as 'undead' in the more classical representations of a ghosts, these are scientifically described as 'Phantoms.'"
Danny's eyes went wide, he'd heard his parents' yammering before, but now...
'But I'm not dead. I'm not. I can't be-' Danny's mind went white, his own footsteps echoing loud in his ears as he stepped into the deactivated Portal. The lightening arching as it used his own body as a bridge. 'Calm down! You know this stuff! Mom and Dad have been rattling on about ghosts for years! Calm down and analyze it, don't freak out in front of a thousand people with news cameras-'
The Fenton boy closed his eyes and took a deep breath, quelling the panic rising within him.
'Now, first question...Am I Alive?' As the question resounded in his mind, his parents' basic medical training kicked in and he reached around, hiding his shaking hands behind his back and touched his pulse-point on the inside of his right wrist. A wave of relief crashed over him as he confirmed that not only was his heart still beating, but blood was still pumping through his body.
Even as his parents continued their speech, Danny continued his impromptu diagnostic of his own body. 'Alright. I'm alive, that's good. Now...I can't be a Phantom because I didn't...die?'
An errant thought, probably one of the horror movies he, Tucker, and Sam had watched, flashed through his him, the villain (some slasher move serial killer) had been shocked with a pair of emergency room paddles, blowing him across the room and apparently killing him. The heroes (like they always seemed to do in those movies) had thought he was dead, only to turn around and find the body gone.
His vision swimming before him, tones of the otherworldly seeping in as people and noise faded out, Danny reached up and touched his heart.
His beating heart.
That had been electrocuted.
And he'd gotten back up, just like the slasher villain. Only, unlike the villain, he'd been surrounded by ectoplasm. A substance, which, if his parents could be believed, bonded with disembodied souls. Souls that left the body when someone died.
When their heart stopped.
Even if it was only for a moment.
It was only through a supreme effort of will that Danny didn't drop to his knees in disbelief. 'Could that be it? Did I...die? Just...no one noticed because it happened so fast? Then I'd have been able to absorb ectoplasm like my parents say 'Phantoms' do and...'
He'd reached the end of what his parents had researched or hypothesized. They'd only ever seen a few Poltergeists and Ghosts, never a Phantom. And even then, he wasn't a normal Phantom. He was alive. And he had no idea what that meant.
But it was something to worry about later.
When he wasn't being watched by a few hundred people.
"-so the result is that many paranormal phenomena exude a green-tinged light or glow, which is the result of the energy being given off by emotionally or mentally-charged ectoplasm. Of course, this is generally only true of phenomena or entities which migrate from the Ghost Zone. Those which encounter ectoplasm on this side of a portal tend to exhibit less of the standard characteristics, such as a purified form of ectoplasm which we've taken to calling Native Ectoplasm. It tends to give off a whitish or gray-white light. We've also seen evidence that other types of energy might influence ectoplasm, but our research in that venue has not show any definitive results yet." Their demonstration complete, the Fenton Probe slid back out of the Ghost Portal and solid metal doors slammed shut on the green vortex, shimmering with an ecto-protectant material that had been specially developed to block a ghost's intangibility powers.
Maddie took a deep breath and gave everyone in the crowd a broad smile, cheerfully oblivious to the fact that she and her family had casually exhibited cutting-edge technology, posited proof of the soul, established the existence of on form of afterlife, and displayed the ability to travel to and from said afterlife.
There was a long moment before the assembled reports managed to recognize that fact themselves.
Then all hell broke loose.
"Mr. Fenton! Have you thought about the implications for religious communities?!"
"Mrs. Fenton! Have you and your husband made contact with the ghosts of anyone famous?!"
"Is this technology going to be available on the market anytime soon!?"
"Have you received offers on distributing you hover technology?!"
"Have you established the existence of a God, Mr. Fenton?
And a million other questions. A billion other questions. Questions about the economy, technology, religion, the soul, wild theories and nonsense accusations, witchcraft and satanism were bandied about. In an instant, the world had gone made as questions were shouted ever-louder. Not only the reporters, but the townspeople too, people who had derided the Fentons for years, now hungered for just a few seconds of their attention.
Jazz and Danny staggered back, hit hard by the wall of noise as they hid behind their parents who had, likewise, been caught off-guard by the uproar.
They had hoped to get people excited about Ghosts, but...
Didn't they see that everyone could sit down and discuss this calmly and rationally, like scientists?
As the small number of local police in attendance fought against the overwhelming crowd, calling in backup by the second, the Fentons realized that maybe, just maybe, they had underestimated the importance of their inventions as being only relevant to the field of ghost research.
Yeah, yeah, I know I should be working on DC Phantom, but this is kind of...sort of related to it...maybe?
Okay, DC Phantom inspired this, so I guess its a spin-off or whatever. At any rate, I'm not completely sure 'where' on the site this should be placed, so I went with the umbrella 'Marvel' label so that I don't get flames for using X-men in a Danny Phantom/Iron Man Armored Adventures cross. Or Tony Stark in a DP/Spider-man cross. Geez, sometimes Marvel is just too...big, ya know?
Anyway, I'm gonna get back to college stuff!
Read & Review!
P.S. - I am a graduate level history major. I am completely and utterly aware of how I butchered the iconography of ancient (and not-so-ancient) cultures when Danny, Sam, and Tucker were putting on costumes. Keep in mind that these are fourteen-year-old kids and they don't really care about the accuracy of their outfits so long as they 'look cool.' Egyptian ankh on a grim reaper's costume? Sure, looks awesome! Make sense? Why should that matter? Vandal Knights? No, we don't care that our band name is anachronistic and juxtaposing two antithetical cultures, why do you ask? Pop culture does this all the time, I'm just taking advantage of it for the purposes of this story.