Old and New Love
By: Wilona Riva
Disclaimer: Danny Phantom belongs to Butch Hartman, Nickelodeon, etc.
Rite of Passage
"My son, Prince Phantom, has come of age!" the king's strong tenor rang out to the crowd gathered below the Balcony of Ceremonies. "This day, he shall choose, as his rite of passage, his first lover!"
The crowd cheered wildly. Prince Phantom was fourteen today and very popular among the court and kingdom. He was an apprentice to Clockwork the Time Lord and heir to all the riches of the Ghost Zone. King Vladimir had brought peace following the devastating warfare wrought by the old king, Pariah Dark. Prince Phantom would usher in the golden age of their realm.
"Behold, your prince!"
All eyes swung to the young man who was an exact mix of his parentage. Queen Nicole, daughter of Pariah Dark, had emerald eyes and long, straight sable-colored hair intertwined with diamonds. Her blue dress clung tightly to her skin, its empire waist showing off her delectable curves. Prince Phantom inherited her tanned skin and emerald eyes. His small stature, quiet nature, and snow white hair came from his father.
Lord Vladimir was a rare ghost who could take human form; some dared to call him a halfa. He didn't care really; he had won the respect of his people by being the kind of ruler they wanted-tough, but fair.
Prince Phantom bowed respectfully to his father, who wore the ceremonial black robes of state, with the Crown of Fire upon his head and the Ring of Rage upon his right hand. It added a sickening green tinge to his already bluish-green skin. His pupiless fiery eyes didn't add to his features by much, in his opinion.
"Father, I am too young for this," he protested, causing some in the crowd to murmur.
"We've had this talk before, Phantom," his father quietly replied. "Who amongst our people would you have?"
Phantom sighed. The first time for any young ghost was special. "I desire the courtesan, Desiree."
A beautiful woman in harem costume, hidden in the first few rows of the crowd, was pushed forward. She had dark green skin, crimson eyes, and long lustrous black hair. The crowd murmured their approval-Desiree was an excellent choice as a lover.
Prince Phantom's eyes connected with hers. He ducked his head and blushed. Queen Nicole frowned. She had plans for her son; plans to ally her house with the House of Aragon. Her son must be a virgin when he wed Princess Dorathea. Dragons were picky about that in their mates.
The rest of the day passed in pomp and ceremony. That night, Prince Phantom and the courtesan Desiree were ushered in the prince's sumptuous chambers and locked in for the night.
"I don't really want to do this," he told her.
"I know," she answered, "but I will make this night unforgettable. May I?"
Prince Phantom gestured at the fruit bowl. "Help yourself."
High in a tower, where none ever set foot, Queen Nicole flung the sheet off an old iron-framed mirror her father had brought from the human world for her. Legend had it that a sorcerous queen had used its powers to spy out young maidens of beauty and slain them when they rivalled her own; her own step-daughter being no exception.
"Mirror, Mirror, silver bright, show me my son this night!"
The mirror's silvery surface dimmed, then brightened. Her son's eyes were closed in ecstasy, as the courtesan pressed a bit of cheese and fruit to his lips. The Queen screamed in rage as the courtesan leaned forward to touch her lips to the prince's.
The Queen did the unthinkable-she called forth a forbidden spell to send her son away from the temptuous wench.
Desiree cried out as Prince Phantom vanished before her eyes. "No!" This was a very dark power to interfere with the young prince's rite of passage.
"What do you mean, 'he's gone?'" King Vladimir shouted, when she ran sobbing to him.
"He vanished before my eyes, Majesty," Desiree said, falling to her knees. "We barely touched lips and he just faded."
"Nicole!" the king growled. "I know she has something to do with this."
"I will search for him, my lord," the courtesan said, rising to her feet. "This is my fault."
"You have my permission," the king said. "Don't forget the world of humans; a new stable portal has just opened up. Phantom might have gone there."
"Dude, you alright?" the strange voice broke into the prince's thoughts.
Phantom snapped opened emerald eyes and gazed at the two humans before him. One was a girl with a stricken expression of grief on her face. She was pale, with short raven hair and eyes the color of amethysts. Her clothes were of a darkened nature; she was what Clockwork, his guardian, called a goth.
The boy, on the other hand, was dressed in olive trousers and a yellow shirt with a red beret on his head. His dark frames accented his green eyes, belying his mixed heritage. He had a look of fear and awe on his face.
"Danny, I think you should look in the mirror," the girl said in a quiet tone. "I think you're a ghost."
Phantom raised dark eyebrows at her, but walked over to the mirror in the corner above a small old-fashioned sink. "I look normal to me."
"Dude, how are we going to explain this to your parents. They're ghost hunters, for crying out loud," the boy expressed in words what his emotions could not. "Sam, help me out here."
Sam poked Phantom in the shoulder. He turned it intangible, her hand passed through him. He stared back at her. "Cold," she commented. "Definitely, a ghost."
"Danny!" came the bellowing voice of an older human male from above them. "I had better not find you monkeying around with anything down there, young man."
Both human teens panicked, eyes darting from the stairs to the ghost of their friend.
"Can you change back?" Tucker asked.
"Take human form?" Phantom queried in response. "My father has that ability. I have never tried it before."
"I think the portal fried his brain," Tucker said to Sam.
"Here, this should help you," Sam said, closing the space between them Wrapping her arms around his neck, she placed her lips upon his and drew him in for a deep kiss.
Phantom felt her warmth, the beating of her heart against his cold form. The sound of footsteps coming downwards jerked them apart. He looked up into the shocked eyes of a human male and female, about twenty years his senior.
"The portal!" came the exclamation before azure eyes swung his way. "Danny, you could have been killed."
"Surprise," he heard himself say, then glanced at himself in the mirror quickly. Gone were his soft leathers. Replacing them were trousers of a coarse denim cloth and a short tunic shirt of cotton fibers. His hair was black, like his mother's, but his eyes were soft blue, a shade lighter than his father's in his human form.
"I'm human!" he exclaimed.
"Of course, you are, sweetie," the woman exclaimed. "You'd think you'd seen a ghost. Run along upstairs, dear. Your father and I need to check the portal's statistics."
"This is nuts," Phantom exclaimed, once they were upstairs. "I understand nothing of what is happening to me. Some rite of passage this is turning out to be."
"Danny, you are lucky to be alive," Sam told him, placing a warm hand on his shoulder. "I can't understand what has changed in you, but please, know that I am sorry for having dared you to go into the portal."
Tucker nodded in agreement. "We're always here for you, Danny. Maybe you got some super cool ghost powers."
Phantom glared at him. "For the last time, human, my name is Phantom, not Daniel or Danny or whatever you keep calling me. I want to go home."
He sat down on the bed, crossed his arms and looked up at the ceiling. "Desiree," he murmured, so softly, that Sam and Tucker barely heard him, engrossed in their own conversation. "I wish you were here."
"I don't think this is Danny," Sam whispered. "It's like this ghost half of his has a whole nother personality."
"Maybe a ghost fused with his DNA when the portal opened?" Tucker suggested. "If so, then who is he?"
"He said his name was Phantom," Sam observed, thinking back a few minutes. "Question is: what are we going to do if the ghosts come looking for him?"
"He's permanently fused together with our Danny," Tucker added. "We do what best friends do: stick together."
Phantom, oblivious to the conversation, continued to stare up at the ceiling thinking back to his almost kiss with Desiree and his true first kiss with the human girl, Sam. He knew that he had become a halfa-a ghost/human hybrid. He'd never truly could belong to either world again.
Master Clockwork would have the answers.
If he ever got back home.