Hello! I have returned! xD Sorry for the wait. I didn't exactly know what I was doing with this chapter until just a few days ago when I thought of some new plot ideas.
Anyway thanks to these people who favorited/followed the story: sarathehedgehog0, KingJGamer, TheSmilingRose, a6spike, PhantomPhoenixGirl, Kaylea221, Pokestar24, KittenClaws76, KelseyAlicia, Heart of the Demons, and ebreau123!
Thanks to everyone who reviewed: Nagisa Tabitha Scholz, Jewel moonstone, Rush721, TimeZone13, AlecGateway, AKidWithAPen, TheSmilingRose, KelseyAlicia (thanks for your multiple reviews!), and Heart of the Demons! Also thank you to those who gave input on whether Vlad should be a mentor or a villain! I think I've decided to go somewhere in the middle, but that could change between now and that chapter. ;) If anyone else would like to share their opinion, please do so! I love hearing feedback!
Disclaimer: I don't own any characters from the show Danny Phantom; they belong to Nickelodeon.
"Hello, Amity Cove. I'm Tiffany Snow, and as some of you may already know, just minutes ago something extraordinary happened in our town. There were reported sightings of, you'll never guess it, Mermaids near the town's high school, Oceanus High." Some shaky video clips of the two creatures riding on waves in the distance showed up on the screen. "Witnesses reported that at least two of these once-thought-to-be mythological creatures were flooding the streets."
"I was there during the fight between them, a woman and a boy, I think. They fought with giant waves of water that they could move with their hands! Then the black and white one caught the other in some sort of metal device that shot blue light out one end!" A teenage girl recalled, surrounded by a few of her speechless friends. "I still can't believe that happened right in front of us!"
"He was there, and then he was gone! Like a—like a phantom!" A shocked man explained to the camera after seeing one of the Merpeople up close.
"I don't feel safe anymore in this town, not now that there are monsters roaming the streets! Our children are in danger! Something needs to be done." A middle-aged woman said fearfully, holding the hands of her two frightened children.
The reporter appeared back on screen. "Investigators and the police are currently gathering evidence at the scene, but the two creatures are now nowhere to be found. I don't know about you, Amity Cove, but I'm just surprised that Mermaids and... Mermen, I guess... exist! Or could this video footage be a ruse using special effects, and could the witnesses be merely hallucinating? At this point, anything's possible. We will keep you updated should more sightings occur. Anyway, I'm Tiffany Snow, and now for the weather with Lance Thunder!"
"Well... it was bound to happen eventually." Tucker commented, looking sheepishly at his two shocked friends. They had gone to Sam's house to hang out, but their fun had been rudely interrupted by the news story that they had been dreading for weeks.
"I should have been more careful..." Danny muttered, putting his head in his hands. "My parents will be ecstatic. They'll probably make it their new life goal to catch me."
"Don't worry. We won't let that happen." Sam put a hand on his shoulder reassuringly and glared at the meat lover's teasing look. "At least it took almost two weeks of constant Mer attacks for people to notice. It gave us some time to get used to dealing with it."
"Yeah." The hybrid sighed.
"Look on the bright side. Now you're famous!"
"Tuck," The blue-eyed boy laughed humorlessly, "that's not true. I'm infamous. There's a difference."
"Whatever. But imagine how many girls at school will be drooling over you." The techno-geek said jealously. The goth couldn't help but chuckle at Danny's dumbfounded expression.
"What kind of girl would 'drool over' a creature she previously thought was a myth and who appeared in a horrifying fight on TV?!"
"Paulina would." Sam replied, smirking when the halfa blushed at the mention of his crush's name. "She's so shallow that I could step in her and my feet wouldn't get wet."
"Yeah, yeah, Paulina's a bitch. We get it, Sam." Tucker grumbled. "But she's still hot." The two boys laughed at the sour look on the girl's face.
"Boys..." She muttered with an eye roll to her friends' amusement.
"Did you see the news?!" Jack Fenton bellowed the minute Danny got home that evening. "Now everyone knows that we were right all this time! Merpeople do exist!"
Jazz scoffed bitterly from the couch, her teal eyes focused on the news reruns. "I still can't believe it." Surely the situation was having an effect on her 'always right' streak. Ever since the Fenton parents had claimed to have seen a Merperson, she had doubted it for every second. But now, it wasn't just her parents that believed it. Even she was starting to be convinced that Merpeople were indeed real.
"Isn't it great, honey?" Maddie asked, smiling warmly at her son.
"Yeah, sure." The boy replied, forcing a neutral tone.
"Did you see the black and white one? The news is calling it the Phantom!" Jack practically vibrated with excitement. "I can't wait to get a closer look at it! We could study it's behavior and learn so much more about Mers!"
"Now, now, Jack." Maddie said with a playful laugh, as if they weren't talking about cruelly catching and experimenting on an innocent creature. "The main purpose of catching it would be dissecting it. It would be much more informational. Do Merpeople have organs and bones? If so, how does their bone structure differ from humans and other aquatic animals that we already know about? Just imagine what we could learn!"
The man grinned at his wife. "You're right, Maddie! It's at times like these that I remember why I married you."
"Oh, Jack." The woman rolled her eyes happily at her husband's comment.
Meanwhile, the youngest Fenton was trying desperately to fight back his nausea.
"Are you okay, Danny? You're looking a little green." His mother wondered concernedly.
"I'm fine." He managed to say before he raced up the stairs to his room. On the way there, he made a brief stop in the bathroom to throw up.
"Oh my God..." Danny breathed in disbelief. It was the next morning, and he was on the verge of slamming his head into his locker repeatedly until he was knocked unconscious.
A few feet away, as Sam had predicted, the most popular girl in the school was ranting to the rest of the A-List about how hot and dreamy the Phantom was. The inside of her locker had already been decorated to a creepy degree with the few pictures of Phantom that existed.
Meanwhile his two friends were shaking with uncontrollable laughter. He glared at them, which only made them laugh even harder.
"You're completely red, dude." The techno-geek wheezed, almost falling onto the floor.
"Shut up." The boy grumbled, walking past them and down the hallway to get as far from the crowd of popular kids as he could.
Gym class had just ended.
There was just one more period to get through, and then the day would be over. That was the only thing keeping Danny Fenton sane.
"Hey, Fentertainment? What's got you in such a mood?" Dash shoved the black haired boy from behind, almost knocking him down. They were just outside of the boys locker room, and it seemed that Dash still had some pent up anger from failing his math test earlier that day. "Are you jealous that my girlfriend Paulina even likes a freak with a fish tail more than you?" The bully snickered at his own insult.
Danny glared at the taller blond boy, clearly not in the mood to put up with him. He noticed his friends looking at him sympathetically from the corner of his eye. "Go away, Dash."
"Why should I?" The football star asked with a smirk, clearly not leaving anytime soon.
"Leave me alone! I mean it!" A crowd was forming around them.
"You need to cool down, Fenton!" The blond boy ripped the cap off his newly refilled water bottle and dumped the contents onto the hybrid in front of him. The football players around them started laughing, some amused onlookers doing the same. "That's better."
The halfa stood in there in a state of shock before sprinting off to the sound of the bully's laughter. He had to get away before—
As he entered the restroom just inside of the locker room, the white hoops formed. He threw himself into a stall just in time, his friends close in pursuit.
He flopped to the floor, cringing in disgust. Who knew how long ago it had been cleaned?
"Had enough, Fentoenail?"
His breath caught in his throat, both because of fear and because he couldn't breathe anymore. He felt his finned ears puff up around his hair like they did when he felt strong emotions. There were large enough cracks in the stall for anyone to peek through and see a white-haired merman, now known as the Phantom. Luckily, his friends were there to protect his secret.
"Back off, Baxter." Sam growled menacingly, not even caring that she had run into the boys' bathroom.
"I always knew you were a weirdo, Manson." The quarterback spat, but he didn't dare to hit her. And that wasn't only because she was a girl. Sam could be very intimidating sometimes, even to him. "Freaks..." He and his group of friends left the room, leaving the trio there alone.
"That was a close one." The young merman said with a wheeze as he involuntarily flopped around like a fish out of water. Feeling the gallons of water in the pipes around him was torture, but he wasn't anywhere near desperate enough to stick his head in the toilet, or anything that drastic.
Seconds later the light appeared, and he could finally breathe normally again.
"He's such a jerk. And he doesn't know who he's messing with." Sam rolled her purple eyes as her friend shakily came out of the stall.
"I bet if he knew he'd been wailing on the Phantom, he'd wet his pants out of fear." Tucker reassured his friend with a grin.
Danny snorted. "Yeah, right." The late bell rang, causing the trio to flinch.
Just one more hour. The boy thought tiredly to himself.
The minute that the youngest Fenton got home, he could tell something was different. When his mother saw him approaching from across the beach, she quickly returned to the house to meet him.
Somehow, I have a feeling that this day is about to get worse.
"We caught one." She informed breathlessly behind red goggles that glinted almost evilly.
Danny's mouth ran dry. "What?"
"We finally caught a Merperson." His mother told him again excitedly. "It's in the holding tank now. We're about to run a few tests on it before we do some experimentation." The boy felt the sick feeling coming back similarly to the night before, but he forced himself to smile as his mother continued. "This is a huge milestone, Danny! First the story on the news, now this! Finally we can collect some concrete evidence!"
"That's great, Mom."
She pulled him into a hug, and he felt almost guilty that his skin crawled from the contact. "How was school?"
"Fine." He wanted so badly to run from her. His intense fear of his own mother made him feel even more nauseous.
"That's good." He breathed a silent sigh of relief when she let go of him. He spaced out as she said something about checking on her specimen and left to return to the lab.
He breathed deeply for the first time in several minutes before sprinting to the bathroom to throw up. Again.
Danny stepped out of the house and onto the beach. The afternoon sun sank towards the endless ocean, in perfect view from his house. The line where the sky met the ocean was just starting to change color.
He took a deep breath before forcing himself to cross the wooden walkway that led to his parents' lab.
He was terrified, both for his own demise if his parents found out and for the nameless Merperson who was likely suffering in the structure in front of him.
He had to do this. If he could somehow help, he had to try.
The boy approached the door. Hands shaking, he entered.
They won't hurt me. They won't hurt me. He silently assured himself.
"Oh, hey, Danno!" His father greeted boisterously. "Come to see our first experiment?"
"Mhm." It was the only thing he could manage to respond with without throwing up again.
He looked over to where the makeshift holding tank was. Inside the glass was a grey-skinned teenager with shoulder-length, stringy hair the color of dirt, looking to be not much older than Danny was. His tail was dark grey, paired with brown flippers that matched his hair. He was pressed up against the back of the tank, as far away from the scientists as possible. Upon seeing the hybrid, the Merman's bright green eyes widened.
Y-You have to help me. Please! The trapped Mer pleaded.
Danny forced himself to look away and tried to focus on his mother, who was rambling about the tests that had already been done.
"And look what we found it with!" She gestured to a strange, reasonably large machine off to the side, which was made of rocks, sea shells, strands of sea grass, and other oceanic materials. It reminded Danny a bit of a motorcycle but compatible for a creature with a tail. It appeared that his parents had already disassembled part of it, probably to discover how it worked.
Please help me get out of here! They're going to kill me! The pure fear and desperation in the other teenager's voice made Danny's stomach churn. Luckily, his parents were too preoccupied to notice.
"Since Mers are the only creatures in the ocean with opposable thumbs, one must have built this strange underwater vehicle!" His father exclaimed in fascination.
"It's primitive compared to human machinery, but it still displays a significant level of intelligence." His mom added, sounding as if she was talking about an animal.
"That's cool." Danny answered, hoping his voice didn't sound too strained. He looked over to the other side of the lab where the Portal bubbled. For some reason, it calmed him. When his parents resumed their scientific talk to each other about how to best dissect their specimen, the boy telepathically replied to the scared Merman that remained motionless in the tank.
Don't worry, I'll get you out of here. But not now. He thought to the trapped Mer. It's too risky until they leave.
Thank you! The hybrid almost smiled when he heard the other male's overwhelming relief.
Don't thank me yet. What's your name?
Johnny. But my friends call me Thirteen. What's yours?
Danny. But the news calls me Phantom. The two teenagers couldn't help but crack a smile despite their situation.
That night, Danny began his rescue attempt.
Before he did anything else, the halfa texted his friends to let them know what was going on. At first they were reluctant to let him do it alone, but eventually they agreed to meet him at the private beach in an hour's time. If Danny wasn't there by then, they had permission to panic and come save him from his own parents.
Then, he was called down for dinner. He had somehow persuaded his parents to take a break for some celebratory pizza before they began dissecting. He couldn't comprehend how they could eat normally while thinking about such a disturbing topic, but he wasn't going to complain.
After about ten minutes of forcing down a slice of pizza, he excused himself from the table with the lie that he had a lot of homework (well, it was technically true, but he didn't plan on doing said homework). From there, he went up to his room, escaped out the window, and headed silently to the lab as the sky turned from purple to dark blue.
He rushed in, immediately heading to the control panel. He had to hurry so he wouldn't be caught ruining his parents' first experiment. Even as a human, messing with the Fentons' research was practically a death sentence.
Thank goodness you're back.
What, you didn't trust me? The hybrid thought back, half joking. Just to warn you, I don't know what most of these buttons do, so I'm sorry in advance if I somehow hurt you.
As long as I get out of here, I don't care. The Merman flicked his tail to swim closer to his savior. I've been trying to use the water to break out, but my abilities seem to be restricted in here.
Danny finally spotted a button that appeared to be the release. Brace yourself. Upon pressing it, alarms began blaring, but the glass container did begin to open. Partial success... so far, at least.
The Mer swam out, bringing the water with him. I can't thank you enough, Danny.
We both need to leave. The blue-eyed boy hurried towards the back exit in hopes to avoid his parents. Get out of here.
You don't need to tell me twice. The Merman dove for the Portal, leaving his broken vehicle behind. In a flash of light, he was gone.
Meanwhile the youngest Fenton shakily left the lab through the back door and faced the open ocean. It was his only escape besides the front walkway, which was in plain sight of his house. He hadn't gone swimming this late yet, especially not so close to his house, and his parents' sensors would definitely pick him up once he transformed. But he didn't have much of a choice.
He flinched when he heard familiar shouting over the alarm that continued to blare. With barely a splash, he dove in.
As he swam through the cold water, he made sure to give the coast a wide berth. With any luck, he was avoiding the reach of the sensors that his parents had set up. Fortunately, Maddie and Jack didn't have access to the Mansons' private beach. That meant that it was one of the only safe places for Danny and his friends to meet, at least for the time being.
He could feel his adrenaline starting to wear off, leaving him exhausted. It had been a long, stressful day. He didn't want to think about returning home again, not after what he had just been through.
The white-haired Mer finally reached the familiar shore, relieved to see his friends were there waiting for him. He would have hated being alone after what had just happened.
"Thank God you're here." Sam muttered in relief, grabbing his hand and pulling him onto dry sand.
"We were about to head to your house. It's almost eight." Tucker informed, handing him a towel. Danny had texted them a little before seven, so the two teenagers were on the verge of panic until they saw a glowing figure swimming towards them under the waves.
The transformation happened, and the two humans shielded their eyes from the blinding flash of light. At night, the hoops of light appeared even brighter than normal. Luckily, the private beach had enough tree cover to prevent anyone in town from seeing the flash.
Danny all but fell asleep in the sand. He was soaked, tired, and afraid of facing his parents after that ordeal. There was a chance that they had been too preoccupied with the loss of their 'specimen' that they didn't notice his absence, but nonetheless he was worried that they would suspect him. He had left the house without telling them, and his disappearance conveniently happened at the same time that someone released their Merperson. They weren't stupid, even if the town used to perceive them that way. They were scientists, and some of the best out there. They literally punched a hole into another dimension, after all.
"I'm glad it's over." He mumbled. "But I don't want to go back."
"I don't blame you." The girl lowered herself down next to him. "I can't imagine how scary that must have been. It's good that the Merman wasn't aggressive towards you."
"Hopefully he won't be coming back to cause trouble." The blue-eyed boy frowned. "I don't want to fight him after this. He seemed nice."
"Maybe you can be friends." Tucker responded. "Wouldn't that be awesome? Being friends with a Merperson?"
"Hey, what about Danny?" Sam accused playfully, slapping her black friend lightly on the arm. "I'm pretty sure he qualifies."
"You guys have a communication barrier with Mers, anyway." The hybrid added. "A lot can understand English, I think, but humans can't hear their telepathic language." The two other teens nodded. They were aware that Merpeople conversed with one another and with aquatic animals through a telepathic link. In fact, Danny (and Plasmius, the other hybrid in existence somewhere) were supposedly the only ones who could communicate with both spoken language and telepathically.
Tucker checked the time on his PDA. "It's almost eight thirty. You should get home, dude, before your parents realize you're missing."
"You're right." The other boy reluctantly stood up, staggering a bit before regaining his balance. He felt sick again at the thought of returning home, but he had to. The longer he waited, the more likely his family would be suspicious.
The trio walked back into town, enjoying the sound of crashing waves and the sight of the full moon reflecting off of the ocean. Amity Cove was a quiet, peaceful town at night... except for the occasional Mer attack, of course. They went their separate ways, promising to check in with each other once they got home.
When Danny arrived, his house was uncharacteristically quiet. To his relief, there were no angry parents waiting for him. They would probably stay in the lab well into the next day, as they did relatively often with their bigger projects. They were probably devastated, but they would get over it... and probably move on to catching the Phantom instead. They likely didn't even notice that their son was gone, so that meant that they wouldn't suspect him.
Things definitely could have gone a lot worse, Danny had to admit. With any luck, keeping his identity secret and dealing with Merpeople (and Merpeople hunters) would only get easier as time went on. He hoped.
I hope you guys enjoyed that. I have plans for the next two chapters, so hopefully they should come out in a timely manner... But no promises. xD Anyway I hope you guys had a great holiday and New Year! Bye until next time!