The echoing emptiness of Danny's surroundings pushed on him on all sides, seeming almost like a silent wind, swirling around him in a whirlwind of invisible activity. He felt a pressure on his eyelids, like cold fingers were pushing them down and preventing him from seeing the world around him. With strained effort, Danny forced his eyes open.

Encompassing his entire field of vision were bright, shifting colors of black, green, and red. They twisted around his field of vision, almost like a screen, with no shadows or depth to them, they seemed all encompassing and almost liquid in nature. Danny looked down to his body, but he couldn't see anything but the swirling colors. He lifted a hand to his face, but saw only a vague silhouette of its shape. It seemed the colors had enveloped him fully in their saturated, almost gelatinous mass.

Danny's eyes flicked wildly around in their sockets, but he seemed to be all alone.

Suddenly, a screeching, ear-piercing beep filled his ears, and Danny's mouth opened in pain. He closed it quickly as a sour, chemically laced taste began to fill it.

Danny's squinted eyes opened fully as he looked around for the source of the noise. Abruptly, he stopped. He stared in front of him and at a large silhouette of a man in the distance. Danny tried calling out to the man, but he had to close his mouth again as it was again filled with sour, gelatinous colors.

The shaded figure moved closer.

Danny tried to match the silhouettes slow steps but he found that his feet were stuck to the ground. He looked down in dismay, and when he looked up again, he almost opened his mouth to let out a startled cry.

In the time he'd been looking at his feet (hardly for a second) the broad-shouldered figure had advanced so quickly that he was now only 20 feet away. Danny stared at the shadowed man. The man opened his eyes, and Danny felt a cold chill go through his body.

The eyes were a shockingly bright, pupil-less orange. Their color sliced through the shadows around the man, and revealed his true identity.

Danny's eyes widened impossibly. It was…

Dad?

The figure was, indeed, Jack, yet without the bright, charismatic smile, and overall, without life. The duplicate of Jack had an emotionless expression, and only stared at Danny with his starkly orange eyes. Then, he again started walking towards Danny.

The halfa could do nothing but watch as his dad's clone came closer and closer, not with an air of familiarity, rather, one of dark determination. An air of duty, almost. Danny leaned back. This wasn't his dad, and he definitely wasn't coming in for a bear-hug.

Danny's head swung around as fast as he could make it while he searched for any way out, but there was nothing but red, green, and black in every direction. The only other thing in the entire void-like place was the clone of his dad, and he wasn't exactly thrilled to find out what… what his dad was pulling from behind his back…?

The Jack clone reached behind his back and pulled out a large ecto-weapon that looked scarily alike to the Fenton Peeler. Danny felt a bolt of painful fear tear through his chest. He felt tears coming to his eyes as he stared in dismay, colors twisting around him ever more. Oh god… was this how he died? Torn apart molecule by molecule by an almost exact copy of his own dad?

No. There was still one way to get out of this.

Danny stared down his dad- no, the clone of his dad. Nothing more.

He glared at the menacing duplicate as he stepped forward, every footfall bringing him nearer even faster than before. Danny's eyes glowed green before he closed them tight, and for the first time he realized he hadn't been breathing since he had woken up.

Danny prepared to transform into his ghost form. As his battle cry raised in his mind, his thoughts came to an abrupt standstill by the realization of a thin shaking that quickly grew into what felt like a full-on earthquake. Danny tried to open his eyes, but it was like they had been glued shut. The colors he could see light up his eyelids slowly started to fade as the shaking grew more and more violent, and suddenly stopped, only to be replaced by a sensation not unlike the belly-turning feeling of riding down a roller coaster, and the silence was broken with a huge shattering noise that echoed in Danny's ears. Then, there was nothing but black.

...

Danny's journey to awareness was one riddled with aches and pains and a ginormous headache that felt like his head had been stuffed to bursting with pillows made of sandpaper and barbed wire.

Add to that the fact that Danny didn't know where he was and was currently lying on a very cold, very solid metal floor, and you could say that this had so far not been the teen's best wake-up call.

With not a whole lot of thought, Danny realized he was lying on his face on the ground, and someone was currently shaking his shoulder.

"Danny? Danny?!"

the voice was fading quickly into awareness. Danny attempted to lift up his head and get a look at the speaker, but he couldn't seem to gather enough strength. Thankfully, two pairs of arms grabbed his shoulders and gently flipped him onto his back. Danny groaned and blearily squinted his eyes open.

Two figures came into focus, both staring at him in a mix of fear and relief. Sam and Tucker. Danny opened his mouth to speak, but his throat felt sore, and on his tongue was the lingering taste of chemicals.

"Danny!" the voice was Tuckers. He sounded relieved. "I'm so happy you're awake, god…"

"You were gone for hours," Sam choked out. "We thought we weren't going to find you… can you hear us?"

Danny shut his eyes forcefully, then opened them again, blinking them a bunch of times to get rid of the little colorful dots dancing around his vision. Just another sign of his exhaustion. He began to focus on talking.

"Wh… ere…?" he managed. His voice sounded croaky and out of breath.

"Danny," Sam said, slowly. "Vlad grabbed you again. You're in his lab. You have been for the past few hours…"

Tucker took over once she trailed off. "He was trying to clone you again, apparently he didn't learn from the last time." He and Sam grabbed Danny's arms and carefully helped him sit up. Once he was up, Danny put a hand to his head and gave Tucker a questioning look. Tucker seemed to understand what he was trying to ask. "Don't worry, Jazz is taking care of it."

Just then, as if in answer to Danny's question, a loud crash came from somewhere in a different part of the mansion. Danny only looked more confused.

Sam decided to fill in the blanks.

"Okay, Danny," she said, lifting up her hand for him to see. "See this stuff? This is the stuff Vlad was keeping you in."

Danny looked at her hand. Covering it was the same colorful gel-like substance he'd seen before he woke up in the lab. His eyes widened. "That's…" before he could finish his thought, he began coughing. Distantly, he realized he had hacked up a little bit of the colors himself. Sam and Tucker winced.

"Yeah," Tucker said, patting Danny's back. "He had you in this big glass chamber of it. We got out of his monologuing that it was sort of a dream… goo?"

Sam huffed. "It's designed to 'enhance the dream state and make it bend to his will.' Or, that's what he said… apparently he's had some lengthy 'discussions' with Nocturne. Vlad was trying to scare you into going ghost so he could get your mid-morph DNA. It looks like we got here just in time…"

There was a short pause, then Tucker decided to interrupt it with a question.

"So… what did you see?"

Danny winced, and hesitantly opened his mouth to answer, but before he could croak his way through a sentence, Jazz ran into the room, fully suited up and armed and with a self-satisfied air about her. Immediately upon seeing Danny, she ran over and slid on her knees to give him a hug.

"DANNY! You're okay!" She checked him over for damage and then gave a relieved smile. She looked almost as tired as Danny felt. "I was so worried when Tucker and Sam told me what was going on! Apparently they were thinking of storming in here by themselves." She gave the two a stern look, and they looked both parts annoyed and sheepish.

Danny looked around at them all for a moment with eyes as big as planets. Then, he smiled almost tearfully and pulled them all into a hug.

"Thanks…" He whispered, voice rough and very, very grateful.

They all smiled back. Tucker gave a small laugh. "No problem," he said, and they knew he'd said it for all of them.

As they were leaving the lab, and after Jazz took a sample of the 'dream goo' for later examination, Danny thought about how lucky he was to be cared for by such amazing people. Without them, Vlad would've gotten exactly what he'd wanted, and they all knew it, but now that they were here, he felt safe, and Vlad was dealing with another Plasmius-sized hole in his wall.

As they made their way back to Fenton Works, Danny couldn't wait to get home and give his real dad a big hug…

...And, hopefully, get a night's worth of real sleep.