Ghosts in the Closet

Surrender

July
Twelve years after the accident
Age 25

The loud crash woke them up even before the security alarm began wailing. Sam sat bolt upright in bed, but Danny was a beat ahead of her. "Stay here," he instructed her. Then, without changing to ghost form, he phased through the bed and, presumably, through the floor and down into the living room below.

"Yeah, right." She reached under the bed for a Fenton Phaser she'd taken to carrying with her since Washington, even though she knew it wasn't ghosts that had set off the alarm. As she grabbed the Phaser, her hand brushed against something else she'd stashed under there.

The Specter Deflector.

Grabbing that as well, she jumped out of bed and dashed for the door and the stairs beyond.

Even knowing what to expect, Sam gasped in horror when she reached the landing and could see into the entrance hall and the living room below. The front door had been broken in and was hanging half off its hinges as dozens of men in white hazmat suits with stormtrooper helmets and huge gear packs on their backs swarmed in. Four of them already had Danny and, despite the fact that he wasn't resisting them and didn't exactly look like a threat in his bare feet, pajama bottoms, and t-shirt, they shoved him, hard, up against the wall, wrenching his arms back behind him to slap glowing, green, ghost-resistant cuffs around his wrists. Then, they pressed some sort of taser-like device up against him, and he cried out in agony as a jolt of electricity ran through him.

"NOOOOOOOOO!" Out of reflex, Sam brought the Phaser up to bear.

"S-Sam, don't!" Danny shouted over the din from the alarm, his face still half pressed against the wall.

She hesitated, then dropped the weapon, but two more Guys in White rushed up the stairs and tackled her, pinning her against the railing and knocking the Specter Deflector out of her hands to clatter down the stairs.

Below, Danny began to struggle for the first time against the men holding him. "Let her go! You have me!"

They responded by shoving Sam further against the wall, and she grunted in pain. Danny used his ice powers to break the binders off his wrists, then phased out of his captors' grasp. "I said, LET HER GO!"

There was a whine as several ecto-weapons powered up. Sam screamed. "DANNY, NO!"

Weapons fired, filling the room with crisscrossing blue beams and a haze of ozone. Sam lost track of Danny until he reappeared, still in human form, behind most of the federal agents. "Looking for me?" The men wheeled around and aimed their weapons anew. Danny held up his hands. "Let my wife go, and I'll come quietly."

The two men holding Sam kept their grip on her while the others fired at Danny. Another scream caught in Sam's throat as Danny disappeared again. There was more shooting and confusion, and then a burst of green—Danny's ghost ray—came from the kitchen, scattering the Guys in White. Suddenly, Sam found herself freed as her two captors dashed down the stairs to help their comrades fight Danny. She whirled around, looking for her dropped Phaser, but she saw Danny reappear by the front door just as another beam of green ectoplasm blasted across the room… from the kitchen? Danny looked confused a moment, then his eyes widened in horror as he realized at the same moment as Sam did what was happening.

It wasn't Danny who was using his ghost ray. It was Danielle.

Frantic, Danny called out to the Guys in White. "Stop! I'm over here!" Four of them spun around and tackled him, slamming him back against the wall once more, but ectoplasm continued to rain down on them from the other direction.

"It's the wife!" someone called out.

"No, she's still upstairs! Someone else is here! In the kitchen!"

Danielle's voice reverberated across the house. "Got that right! Now leave my cousin alone!"

They saw her then—she'd materialized in the doorway of the kitchen, although it looked more like she'd ducked out from behind the door.

"Danielle, stop! You shouldn't be here!" Danny's eyes were wild with fear, more than Sam had ever seen there before.

"I'm not letting them take you!"

And then everything seemed to happen all at once. The Guys in White nearest Danielle brought their weapons up while she geared up to blast them with another round of her ectoplasm. Danny, the fear in his eyes instantly replaced by determination, morphed into ghost form. The blinding flash from the twin rings of light distracted the Guys in White, and he phased away from the four that were holding him, while most of the rest of them trained their weapons in his direction. The room quickly filled with more ozone haze as blue beams from human-made weapons mixed with green ghost rays, although in the confusion from the melee, it was impossible to tell whether it was coming from Danielle or Danny or even if it was possibly another kind of ecto-weapon. Danielle cut around the edge of the living room, knocking half their photos and knick-knacks off the fireplace mantle as she tried to get a new angle. Then Danny reappeared, positioning himself between Danielle and the Guys in White, and put an ecto-shield up in front of them.

Above it all, still on the stairs, with no one paying any attention to her at all, was Sam. And realizing this might be the only shot she'd get, she made her decision.

The Specter Deflector was still on the stairs where she'd dropped it. She scooped it up, then spotted the Fenton Phaser three steps down and grabbed it as well. Vaulting over the rail, she landed not far from the fireplace just as several of the Guys in White, their ecto-weapons useless against Danny's shield, charged forward. Danny moved to the left to draw them away from Danielle, who dove right to try and get a clean shot around him. It gave Sam just enough room to maneuver, and she lunged between them, tackling her target and bringing them both crashing to the hardwood floor. The fall jarred her, clamping her jaw shut painfully and wrenching her shoulder, but with her weight on top, she had the advantage, and she pressed it, wrapping the Specter Deflector around a narrow waist and locking it in place. A turn of the key activated it, and she shuddered as muscles twitched beneath her in reaction to the sudden shock, but she kept her grip, shutting out the agonized cry as she hauled her captive backwards and away from the tangle of Guys in White. "I'm so sorry," she whispered into black hair. "But I couldn't let you do this. He'd never have forgiven me."

And when she looked up, Danny was floating above them. His eyes met hers as she gripped the writhing Danielle tightly in her arms, and she saw a thousand emotions in their depths, but what came through the most was gratitude. He mouthed the words thank you, and she nodded in response as her eyes welled up with tears. With another flash of twin light-rings, Danny touched down on the floor, in human form once more. He held up his hands in surrender, and for the third time, four of the Guys in White surrounded him and slammed him up against the wall and put another set of ecto-binders on him. Danielle, still struggling beneath Sam, cried out, and Sam, sobbing, buried her face in the other girl's hair.

"Daniel Fenton, a.k.a. 'Danny Phantom.'" Sam recognized the voice as that of Operative O. "In accordance with the Federal Anti-Ecto Control Act, you are in violation of your probation agreement and are under arrest."

"Fine. Just leave my wife and my cousin alone."

"You're in no position to be making demands, Phantom." That was K.

"I am if you want me to go quietly. I broke through these cuffs once to protect my family. I can do it again."

"Your family attacked federal operatives making a lawful arrest—"

"You invaded our home! I was going to turn myself in tomorrow! And Sam dropped her weapon before you went after her!"

"And the other girl?"

Sam looked up. "She's distraught. Danny's like a… like a big brother to her." She then slid the Fenton Phaser she was still holding across the floor. "Here's her weapon. It's just ectoplasm. It can't do much damage to humans." She prayed silently that they wouldn't take the Phaser as evidence, or they'd know it hadn't been fired and didn't have Danielle's fingerprints on it.

Danny drew the operatives' attention back on himself. "You came for me and you have me. Leave them alone."

Another of the white hazmat-suited men stepped forward. "Leave the humans. We only need the Ghost Boy."

Sam saw Danny's shoulders slump in relief as the Guys in White began to file out of the house. One of them jerked Danny away from the wall, and Sam winced, biting her lip to keep from crying out. Her eyes met his one more time as she clung to Danielle to stop her from shaking. And then they hauled him away, knocking the door the rest of the way off the hinges as they left, and Sam started sobbing into Danielle's hair once more.


It was a long time before Sam could function again and bring herself to let go of Danielle. Her hands shaking as she tried to get the image of them hauling Danny away out of her head, she started to reach for the key to the Specter Deflector to remove it from Danielle's waist, but then she remembered the surveillance camera. She had to keep thinking strategically if she wanted to get Danny back, and the camera would've activated and recorded the entire confrontation from the moment they'd busted through the door. So long as there was nothing on there that incriminated Dani, it would be a valuable tool for both the media and the courts. If, however, Dani had been caught using her ghost powers on tape, Sam would destroy it.

In the meantime, she didn't want a video record of what would follow, so she dragged herself to her feet and went over to the door where the security system control panel was located. She shut down the camera and the door alarm, and the ensuing silence was almost painful. Afterwards, she went back to Danielle, reached around her waist, and unlocked the Specter Deflector.

As soon as she pulled it from Danielle's waist, the half-ghost slumped in relief, but just for a moment. Then, she shoved Sam as hard as she could. "Get away from me!" She tried to get to her feet, but her muscles were still rebelling from the prolonged exposure to the Specter Deflector, not to mention the usual weakness that followed whenever she used her ghost powers. She shot Sam a look of pure venom. "You let them take him!"

Sam closed her eyes and hung her head. "I know."

"How could you? You were supposed to help me stop it, but you let them take him! This is your fault! I will never forgive you. Do you understand me? I will never forgive you for letting them take him!""

"I had to, Dani. If they would've found out about you—"

"Who cares about me? I'm nobody!"

"Not to Danny you're not! And not to me!"

"You could have saved him, but you betrayed him instead!"

"No, I didn't. He was counting on me to protect you. If I'd have let you expose yourself to them, that would've been betraying him, and he would've never forgiven me. I could never have forgiven myself."

"You are his wife! The most important person in his world! He would've gotten over it!"

"I'm not the most important person in his world, Danielle. You are. Don't you get that? And that's as it should be."

"Why?"

"You know why!"

"Because Vlad stole some of his DNA and knew some cool science tricks? Give me a break!"

"It's more than that, and you know it!"

"No, it isn't! It's not even real!"

Sam fought the urge to slap her. "Don't you ever say that. It's real to Danny! And it is to you, too, or you wouldn't be so desperate to save him. But that's not the way it works. He looks after you, and he always will. Protecting you is his top priority, and I promised him nine years ago that I would support that. What you were asking of me, to break that promise, to betray him… I couldn't do it."

"Not even to save him?"

Sam squeezed her eyes shut, the pain in her chest so overwhelming she could hardly breathe. "No. Not even to save him."

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