Growing Pains
A 'Danny Phantom' Fanfic
By Niki 'NeeP' Paradis

Chapter Three: Rumble Time!

    Deadline stepped through the portal and into the street.  Epoch and Danny followed after her.  Cars screeched to a stop as the three figures suddenly appeared.  She smiled as she looked at her companions.  Anticipation shone on the male ghost's face, he was more than ready for what was coming.  Danny's white cloak hid the blank look on his face.  Currently incapable of independent thought, he could only follow the commands his master gave him.
    "Let's get the party started Coz!" crowed Epoch.  "Why waste time?!?"
    The master planner paused.  She anticipated she would only have a minimal amount of time to get her plan into action.  She really wanted to accomplish as much as she could.
    "Danny," she commanded.  "Clear the street."  She watched as her ensorcelled ghost take a deep breath.  She walked around him until she stood behind.  She motioned Epoch to join her.
    Danny let loose with a sonic outburst that tore through the street and threw the vehicles aside.  It was the Ghostly Wail, and although Deadline didn't dedicate much time in Danny's training to develop it, it was much more deadly than the other times she has witnessed it.  She covered her ears and watched as the destruction went on.
    Epoch was whooping and cheering.  "Wicked!" he howled in glee.  "Keep it up, freak!"
    And the wail went on, shaking the ground around them.  And when it had stopped, the sound of car alarms and dogs barking in the background could be heard.  Overturned cars, wrecked streetlamps and signs were scattered all around.  People climbed from the wrecks and ran away screaming.
    "Whoo-hoo!" shouted Epoch, jumping in front of Danny and calling after the running humans.  "That's right, losers!  Run!  There is plenty more where that came from!"
    Deadline frowned as she looked around at all the damage.  She had never expected so much destruction.  It made her feel uneasy.  She swallowed.  Still, a plan's a plan...
    "Danny, scare them off," she said.  Her pet ghost flew off.  "Just don't hurt them..." she added softly.

    Tucker and Sam were cutting their way out through the ice, using the laser lipstick.
    "Ha!" crowed Tucker.  "And Jazz thought I was nuts to hang onto this."
    "Yeah, whatever," said Sam.  "Just hurry.  We gotta stop Danny from doing something he'll regret."
    "Laser cutting is a precise art, Sam," lectured Tucker.  "You can't go too fast, or the laser won't cut all the way through."
    The laser beam stuttered and died off.
    "You can't go too slow either," said Sam.  "Otherwise the battery dies before the cut is done."
    They looked at the cut they have made.  It was circular, with only a couple of inches of unbroken ice holding it in place.
    "So close," moaned the techno geek and he held the dead tool out in front of him.  "Why?!?" he yelled at the lipstick, "Why did you have to let me down, O trustworthy lipstick..."  He covered his face with a forearm in dramatic despair.
    "Wait," interrupted Sam.  "Maybe it's enough."  She heaved on the ice plug with her shoulder.  There was no final crack.
    "Maybe we need something heavier," suggested Tucker and he looked behind at the table.  There wasn't much, just an ugly silver box with an odd device on it.  He went and picked it up.  "Here, try this," he said as he handed the box over.
    The Goth girl took the box and smashed it into the ice with all her strength.  The entire ice-wall cracked, shuddered and fell apart.  She threw aside the crushed box.
    "It worked great.  Thanks, Tuck."  Sam jumped over the pile of ice and ran for the Spectre Speeder.  Tucker climbed in after her.

    Jazz was watching TV trying to take her mind off her big little brother when the documentary she was watching was interrupted.  She groaned as 'The Life and Times of America's Greatest Ghost Hunters' was cut off.
    "This is Dan Blather of Channel Six News interrupting with this latest news.  Three ghosts have been witnessed wrecking havoc on the streets of Amity Park.  Reports state two of these ghosts were previously seen battling our own ghost hero, Danny Phantom, two days ago."
    The screen changed to view the wreckage in the street, then panned up towards the three ghosts the program was talking about.  There were two punkish looking ghosts and a third tall one with a heavy white cloak.  The shorter male and female ghost were basically terrorising the public, he with nunchucks and her with a type of laser pistol.  The news broadcast showed the destruction the trio have already wreaked.  The camera then focused on the on-scene reporter, the woman Jazz remembered called Harri Chin.
    "Already the three unknown ghosts have turned Main Street in a war-zone.  Ambulances and police are already on the scene, however there are no reports of any serious injuries.  Eye-witness reports have identified two of the ghosts being the ones fighting Amity Park's own here, Danny Phantom.  They have reportedly defeated Phantom and bore him away to parts unknown through a portal of unknown type.  Danny Phantom has not been seen since Thursday afternoon's battle. One of the most important unanswered questions that the citizens of Amity Park want to know is: Where is Danny Phantom?  Why is he not here fighting these other ghosts?"  A car went flying overheard and crashed into a lamppost behind her.  "Channel Six news will keep you posted as we learn more.  This is Harriet Chin, Channel Six News."
    Jazz turned off the T.V. with the remote and stood up.  "Omigosh!  Danny!" she exclaimed.  She knew the identity of the hooded ghost and she was glad the rest of Amity Park didn't know.  She also knew that her brother would not support the other two ghosts under his own free will --which meant that he didn't have any once again.  "I've got to stop those two freaks from using my little brother!  Um, I mean, my big brother!  Um, whatever!"
    She ran off.

    "Where are we going?" asked Tucker as the Spectre Speeder sped through the Ghost Zone.
    "We're gonna find Clockwork.  He's the one that Danny wanted to see, so maybe he will be able to help us out."

    Deadline and Epoch were flying down the street after Danny, still cloaked, who was clearing the way with plasma blasts.  People were running and taking cover.
    "We need to take City Hall," said Deadline.  "It's the governing centre of Amity Park.  Once we get a hold of that, we'll have control!"
    "That'll be easy," said Epoch.
    "Probably not as easy as you think," replied the girl ghost.  "The mayor is Vlad Masters, or Vlad Plasmius."
    "Plasmius?!? You mean we have to go against that turkey?!?"
    "Of course not!" said Deadline.  "We don't have to!  --Danny will go against him."
    Epoch crowed with glee.  "That's gonna be fun to watch!" he laughed.

    Vlad Masters was already aware of the ghosts who were rampaging in his city.  He had his mini cameras posted all around the city.  He had watched the reports from two days before when young Danny was defeated and taken away by the two ghosts.  He didn't know what had happened to Daniel, but if the two ghosts were able to catch the boy and defeat him, he should take the moment to consider how they would affect his own plans.
    He had called a news conference so he can try to calm the city down.  It would do him no good if somehow the peons of Amity Park thought he was not doing his job of keeping them safe.
    "People of Amity Park," he spoke clearly through the microphone.  "I assure you that as Mayor of this city, I will make certain everything will be done to keep everyone safe."  He spread his arms and gestured to the cameras to take in the scene around them.  Tanks surrounded City Hall and armed militia were dispersing and patrolling the street.  He smiled as he watched the voters begin to relax.
    Screams were then heard down the street and Vlad mentally prepared to test these new opponents.  "Hah!  Those fools!  Do they know who they are dealing with?" he chortled to himself.  People looked towards him with raised eyebrows.  "Um.  Did I say that out loud?" he asked.  He looked down at his podium.  Yup, he did and the microphones were still on.  "Oh, Buttermilk Biscuits!" he muttered to himself.

    By the time the three ghosts have reached City Hall, police cars and tanks have already surrounded the civic centre.  At the top of the steps, standing at the podium, stood Vlad Masters, mayor, evil mastermind, part-time ghost and full-time football fanatic.  He glared at the oncoming ghosts.
    "Who dares attack the mayor of Amity Park?!" demanded the white haired older gent.  Then he heard a clearing of many throats.  He looked around at the angry people surrounding him.  "And the people?!" he amended.
    "We do, old man!" shouted Epoch.  He spread his arms wide while floating over the crowd.  "Hello, Amity Park!" he cried out.  "The name's Epoch," he gestured to the female ghost, "and this is my cousin.  You can call her Deadline!  Welcome to our party!"
    "You're welcome to try," retorted Masters.  "But I think you will find that Amity Park will not go down without a fight!"
    The members of the swat team surrounding the mayor came out front and aimed their weapons towards the outspoken ghost.  Under the distraction of the invading ghosts and the cover provided by the gents with guns, Vlad split himself in two.  The two Vlads grinned evilly.  Then a ring of dark energy formed at the waist of one of them and he shifted from human to ghost.  Vlad Masters watched the oncoming ghosts as Vlad Plasmius slipped through the brickwork of the civic building.

    It took a while and after asking various ghosts for directions, the Spectre Speeder reached the home of the time ghost, Clockwork.
    Clockwork's lair was filled with clocks of all types and sizes.  Tucker and Sam walked through the room with caution.
    "Hello?" called out Sam.  "Clockwork?"
    "It's us, Danny Phantom's friends," said the other teen, "Tucker and Sam."  Then in a lower voice, he added, "Do you think he's home?"
    Sam ignored him.  "We need your help," she called out.
    There was a swirl of green mist and the time control ghost, Clockwork, appeared before them as an ancient ghost.
    "I know," he said as he changed to the form of a toddler.  "I know everything.  Remember?"

    Deadline listened to exchanged between her cousin and the human Vlad Masters. She smiled and shook her head.
    "I supposed Epoch earned this," she murmured, half to herself and half to Danny.  "It is his idea to take over Amity Park after all.  But I wonder if all this taunting is necessary..."  She then saw the guns of the SWAT team come up.  She saw the mayor disappear under cover for a moment.  "Here's where Plasmius splits into two, one will stay below as human and the other will come up to challenge us shortly."  She looked towards her cloaked servant.  "Prepare yourself for battle, Danny," she commanded the hooded figure next to her.                                                                        .
    "Yes," was the reply.
    Shots were fired upon the ghosts.  It was nothing for the three ghosts to avoid the laser blasts.
    Epoch backed up until he reached his cousin.  "Oops," he chuckled.  "I think I made someone mad."  He grinned and using his nunchucks, he fired some ecto-blasts back towards the armed humans.  No one was hit, but it was enough to scatter the people.
    "Well, that mad person should be showing up right about now," Deadline said.  She pointed to the oncoming ghost.

    Plasmius flew up to meet the three ghosts.  He has worked hard to gain control of the city --he was not about to loose it to a bunch of juvenile delinquent ghosts.  "You want my city?!  You will have to fight me to do so.  And if you know my reputation, you will know that I won't go down easily."
    "I'm not planning to fight you, you old freak," taunted the male ghost punk.  He then gestured to the cloaked figure behind him.  "He will.  I'm just gonna play with the humans."
    The female ghost punk said something in a low voice to the cloaked ghost and flew away.  With a gun that looked like it was borrowed from Skulker, she fired upon the people below.  The cloaked ghost came speeding towards Plasmius, firing off plasma blasts.  He barely got his ecto-shield up in time to deflect them, and he could feel the strength of the blasts through his defences.
    "Oh!  So you think you're tough," chortled Plasmius.  He dropped his shield momentarily, firing off plasma blasts of his own.  The hooded ghost blocked the blasts with a shield of his own.  The evil half-ghost grinned.  "Very good," he said.  "But I doubt you're anywhere near my league."
    The cloaked ghost raised his arm and made a gesture that was not obscene but made a taunt that was as obvious as if it was shouted.  Bring it on!
    Vlad Plasmius growled and charged at his opponent.

    Jazz ran through the crowded and chaotic streets, trying to push her way through.  Besides the usual Saturday traffic, the military, police, reporters and swarms of frightened people made it very difficult to find her brother.  She had to park just outside of downtown as it was, there was no getting closer using her vehicle.
    "Something must have happened," she muttered as she pushed through the people.  "He didn't come home last night, Sam and Tucker are nowhere to be found...  Now he's fighting alongside the two bad guys who changed him in the first place."  She let out an exasperated sigh.  "Sometimes I wish I had a normal brother and not one with ghost powers..."  She then looked up to the sky and saw the purple-haired female ghost and headed towards her.

    Deadline spotted the red-haired human and she aimed her borrowed Bioneuro-Disruptor ray at her.  "Sorry hon," she said as she acquired Jazz in her sights.  "Can't have you risking my plans..."  She was distracted as Epoch crowed as he flew up next to her.
    "Allow me, Coz," he said and fired a beam of ecto-energy from his nunchucks towards the Fenton girl.
     Jazz saw the incoming beam and barely got out of the way in time.  The beam scorched her sweater as it went past and she was hit with small chunks of asphalt as the beam tore up the road just next to her.
    "Whoops!" laughed Epoch.  "Missed her!  I will have to try again!"  He got ready to swing his arm again.
    "No!" shouted Deadline and she grabbed her cousin's arm.  "If Danny sees her get hurt, it may be enough to shock him out of the spell.  You don't want him to turn on us, do you?!?"
    "Okay, okay..." replied the ghost punk, backing away.  "Sorry about that Coz.  I didn't know."  He flew off, ready to have some more fun with the humans.
    "You mean you didn't think," she sighed softly when she was certain he wasn't near enough to hear her.  She tried to find Jazz again, but the girl was nowhere to be found.

    The fight in the sky continued.
    Plasmius divided himself into four other figures.  The cloaked ghost matched him, copy to copy and as easily done as Vlad.
    "Oh, very good," jeered the evil half-ghost.  "So you think you can take me on?"  The other ghost simply floated and glared dangerously.  Vlad laughted.  "All right then.  Come and get me!"
    The ghostly figures grappled and the cloaked ghosts overpowered the older ghosts and the duplicates disappeared as they were defeated.   Then only one remained.  The four white covered figures surrounded the momentarily stunned ghost.  One lunged at Plasmius and as the older half-ghost focused on his attacker, he was blasted in the back with an icy cold beam which quickly encased him in solid ice.  Before Plasmius could break out, he was hit from above by the fists of the third cloaked figured.  The force of the blow sent the evil ghost to the ground with a crash.  The four figures merged into one and came speeding towards Plasmius and landed as the older ghost climbed to his feet.

    Jazz had fallen once again when Vlad Plasmius hit the ground, causing the street to shake.  Despite the direness of the situation, she was more than pleased to see the evil Cheese-head get the pounding he deserved.  But she had to stop Danny before he destroyed his opponent.  The Danny she knew would not kill in cold blood and she knew that her little brother would agonise over the deed for the rest of his (half) life if he did --even if it was while under the control of someone else.
    "I'm coming Danny," she cried out but was drowned out by the noise of the debris falling back onto the street.

    "Very good!" Vlad Plasmius was breathing a little more heavily than normal.  He didn't think there was a ghost who keep pace with him, let alone overpower him.  He still believed it.  This strange ghost had more physical strength than him, but was nowhere near his level of power --he was sure of it.
    "Do you think you can defeat me?" he asked.  "I have more power than you can know --I have only shown you a small tidbit.  I can create hundreds of duplicates, and I didn't.  I wanted to test your powers and I find them lacking."
    The hooded ghost just stood there, as if oblivious to the boasting.  He was also not attacking, so Vlad took the moment to ponder.
    "There is something strange about you," he mused half aloud.  "I don't believe you are fighting to your full potential, and you seem to do no more than what you're told."  He looked to his opponent, but the hood hid the other ghost's face so Plasmius could not get a confirmation or a denial.  "You must be under the control of someone...  Most likely by that female ghost with the purple hair, right?"
    Again no answer, but Vlad wasn't expecting one.
    "There is also something very familiar about your attacks," he said as he started to walk around the stationary ghost.  "If you were much shorter I would say that it was young Daniel attacking me, but you are much stronger than that child..."  Noticing movement, he then looked up, and saw the female ghost floating overhead, watching them both.

    Deadline sighed to her self as she watched her ghost-boy standing still.  "I suppose I should have known better than just command him to 'Knock Plasmius down.  So much for just testing Plasmius."  She grinned.  "Oh well."  She then called down to her pawn.  "Attack Plasmius!  Attack until he falls unconscious or changes back to human!"

    Plasmius prepared himself as he watched the cloaked ghost start to move again, a firey ball of green ecto-energy forming in one white-gloved hand.  The people who came close to the two ghosts while things appeared quiet started to back away.  Vlad shrugged.  They were the peons of Amity Park, they were not his concern at the moment.  Then he thought again.  They were the voting public and it is up to Vlad Masters to protect his voters.
    Masters called out from his podium back on the top of the stairs of City Hall.  "Someone get those people away from those ghosts!" he commanded the troopers around him.  "They will get hurt if they are too close.  Ignore the ghosts fighting on the ground --they are not the immediate threat.  Instead, focus on the ghosts attacking our people!"  There.  That should buy his other self some time.
    Armed troopers started to direct the crowd away from the two combating ghosts.  Plasmius smiled in relief.  As long as Vlad Masters can keep the voters 'safe', then it doesn't matter what Vlad Plasmius does in public.  He turned back to his cloaked opponent --just in time to see the green glowing ecto-energy ball leave his adversary's hands and catch him in the gut.
    The blast forced him backwards, towards the crowd of people who were being evacuated from the area.  The humans scattered and Plasmius hit the stone wall of a building instead.  The wall cracked under the force of the blow, but fortunately held up.  Vlad recovered quickly and came charging back at the strange ghost.  But before he could reach him, a young woman came running up and stopped between them.
    Vlad recognised her immediately.  "Jasmine?" he asked and tried to stop his momentum.  "Why would dear Maddy's daughter be doing here?!?"
    The red-haired teen put out a hand in both his and the other ghost's direction.  "Stop!  Both of you, stop!" she commanded.
    Plasmius skidded to a halt and the cloaked ghost hesitated.

    Jazz glared at the on-coming ghost one moment, and at the cloaked one the next.  Fortunately neither one moved.  The cloaked ghost would not attack as long as Jazz was in the way.  He was only told to attack Plasmius, not anyone else.
    "What's the matter with you, girl?" demanded Vlad Plasmius of her.  "You have been hanging around your brother too long.  Do you think you can fight ghosts too?  Then you are as delusional as your father!"
    She knew she was taking a chance.  Her sweater was scorched and she was bruised from the attack she took earlier, but she knew that she had to stop her brother.  "Hold it, Vlad," she said and ran up to her brother.  She grabbed his arm through the cloak in an attempt to get his attention.  "Danny!  Stop!!  What are you doing?!?" she cried out.  The hooded ghost shook his arm and loosened her grip, but she still had hold of the cloak.  She continued pulling at the fabric.
    The clasp came undone and the cloak came off.  Vlad got to see his opponent for the first time.  He was flabbergasted.  "It is Danny Phantom?!?" he asked.  "I knew those attacks were familiar!"
    Sure enough, the ghost in front of him shared the same features as Jack Fenton's half-ghost son, but this Danny had already proven he was a lot more experienced and better trained than the boy Plasmius was used to fighting.  But there was no doubt that this was indeed Danny Phantom, just older.
    The crowd gasped in recognition and started to come closer.  There was some grumbling as they realised it was their hero attacking.
    "Stay away!" shouted the girl.  "He is under a spell and can't control his actions!"  She then turned back to her still brother.  He was trying to form another ecto-blast between his hands.  "Danny, stop!" pleaded Jazz.  "People are going to get hurt."

    Deadline watched what was happening below.  She was a bit concerned.
    "What's happening, Coz?" asked Epoch as he joined her.
    "Something I did not plan on," replied the female ghost with mild surprise.
    "Say what?"  The ghost punk didn't like the sound of that.  "You're kidding!"
    "Come on," she hissed, grabbing her cousin's wrist.  "We gotta stop this."
    They descended towards the confusion.

    The ensorcelled ghost boy paused as he recognised the redhead.  The green glow around Danny's eyes faded a bit.  "Jazz?" he asked.  "What are you doing here?"  His voice was quivering as he fought for control of himself.
    "Ignore her Danny," called out Deadline as she and Epoch landed on the ground behind him.  "Just get Plasmius."
    The green glow increased around his eyes and in his hands, but Danny withheld his attack.  "I don't want to," he muttered.
    "Danny, you have to fight her!" said Jazz urgently.
    "He's fighting it, Coz," commented Epoch.
    "I will fix that," said the female ghost.  "Danny, you have to listen to me!  Ignore Jazz, and attack Plasmius!" she called out.
    "Arrgh!" growled Danny Phantom as Deadline's spell tried to take control.  But the half-ghost was still fighting the commands.
    Plasmius shook his head and grinned.  There wasn't going to be a better opportunity to deal with his opponent than now.
    "Well, I'd like to say I hate to do this," he said with a grin while flexing his hands.  "But I'd be lying.  I don't know what happened to you, Daniel, but you have definitely improved. But maybe a little too much a little too quickly.  I don't want you to become a risk to my plans too big for me to ignore.  So..." he raised his hands to do an ultimate blast --Only to be hit from a blast fired off from Deadline, still standing behind Danny.  He looked up in surprise as the female ghost blew on the muzzle of her weapon.
    "I know that stung," she said.  "This weapon was specially designed to work on humans and half-humans.  But you are not blasting Danny away."
    "You..."  He felt a numbness spreading through out his body.  He knew he would be able to fight it off in a few moments, but he didn't know that there could be a weapon capable of hurting him like that.  He knew his priority had to get rid of that blasted disruptor.  As soon as he was able to move, that is.
    Jazz saw a moment she had to take.  She leaned closer to Danny, fully aware of the energy blast he was forming.  "You'll come through little brother," she whispered as gave his a sisterly kiss on the cheek...
    Or attempted to.  Her lips brushed his skin when a blast from Epoch's nunchucks knocked her back by almost a hundred feet.  The girl landed heavily, bouncing and rolling on the pavement.  She tried to get up but collapsed on the ground.
"Jazz!" shouted Danny.  The touch of lips on his cheek and the shock of seeing his sister getting hurt was enough to startle him out of the spell he was under.  But he was furious beyond reasoning.  His sister was hurt --he didn't know how badly and it was the fault of the two ghosts who were manipulating him.
    He spun around and faced the two ghost cousins.  "You!" he shouted.  "You hurt her!"  The plasma energy ball suddenly grew an immense size in his hands.  He brought it up to hurl at the two ghosts who tried to flee, knowing they had no time to do so.  He fired off the ball which had enough energy to take out a city block.
    "Time Out!" commanded a voice out of nowhere.
    And time stood still.
    Epoch and Deadline scrambled out of the way of the now frozen energy ball of destruction.  They looked around.  The fleeing humans, Vlad Plasmius and Danny Phantom were completely frozen like statues.  The two cousins were not affected by the time-freeze effect.  They never could be.
    "What do we do?" asked Epoch frantically to his cousin.
    "Nothing," replied Deadline in quiet resignation.  "There is nothing we can do."
    A portal opened out in midair and the ancient form of Clockwork, the time manipulating ghost, and Tucker and Sam came through.  Both humans were wearing time medallions given to them by Clockwork.
    Clockwork looked around at the damage caused by Danny while under the girl ghost's control.  He looked at the giant ecto-energy fireball that was hanging motionless three feet off the ground.  He looked at the furious and tear-filled face of an older Danny Phantom and the broken-seeming form of Jazz Fenton.  He glared at the two ghosts still moving who avoided his gaze.
    "Did Danny do all this damage?" asked Sam as she looked around.
    "If he did," said Tucker with a swallow, "then it's probably good that he doesn't remember..."
    "But he should know," said Clockwork, now a floating toddler and he dropped another time medallion around Danny's neck.  "There is a lesson to be learned here."
    Danny drew a breath with a choking sob, noticed the still stationary green glowing ball and shied back, tripping and landing on his backside.  He looked up and noticed Clockwork, Sam and Tucker.  "Clockwork," he gasped.
    "Hello Danny," said the age shifting ghost.  "I want you to take a look around and tell me what you see."
    The seventeen year-old ghost got back up onto his feet, did a slow turn and noticed all the damage.  He saw the destroyed cars, the hole in the street, the fleeing people and the killer fireball which was overkill for anything reasonable.  "I did all this?" he asked a low quivering voice.
    "Not on your own, I believe," replied Clockwork as he shifted from the toddler to the adult.  "I believe Crystal and Warner have something to do with it."  He looked towards the two cousins.  "What do you two have to say for yourselves?" he asked.  He changed from the adult to the more imposing ancient form.
    "Oh man!" croaked Epoch, shaking a bit.
    "I'm sorry, Uncle," replied Deadline softly.
    "You see, Danny.  They may have directed your movements, but it is important for you and your friends to know what you are capable of and to take steps to make certain it will never happen."  He raised his staff and in a swirl of clocks and gears, the group made it back to Deadline's lair, in the room where everything began.
    "To make sure it doesn't happen?" asked Danny.  "Isn't it too late for that?"
    "Not anymore," said Clockwork with a smile.  "We are now at the time when you and your friends entered the ghost zone looking for me on Friday evening and before Warner and Crystal got you under their control again."
    "So the destruction didn't happen?!" asked Danny with relief.
    "That's right."
    "Warner and Crystal?" interrupted Tucker with a chuckle.
    "Did Deadline call you her uncle?!?" asked Sam in disbelief.
    Clockwork turned to face the human teens.  "What?" he asked.  "This is my niece and nephew, Crystal Precision and Warner Time.  You don't believe they are actually named Deadline and Epoch, do you?"  He shook his head.  "Teens these days...  Always have to find a cooler name --never seem to be satisfied with the ones they are given."  He became a toddler again.
    "What?" said Tucker.  "They're just kids like us?"
    "So to speak," replied the time ghost.
    "Wait a second," interrupted Danny as he stared at Deadline, or Crystal.  "Clockwork is the uncle who gave you your Study Room?" he asked.
    "Of course," said Deadline.  "Who else can make a room that exists out of normal time?" she said smugly.
    "Which you used in a very irresponsible manner young lady," scolded Clockwork, shifting to an old man.  "I will be speaking to both of your parents.  And I will be closing off that room, Crystal."
    "Oh no," moaned Epoch, or Warner.
    "I understand, Uncle," sighed the purple haired teen ghost.  She sat down on a nearby chair.
    "But what about Danny?" asked Tucker.  "We still need to get him back to normal."
    "Yeah," agreed Danny.  "There's got to be a way to change me back."
    "Yes, I can restore him to fourteen," assured Clockwork.
    Deadline looked up.  "But why?" she asked.  "I thought you liked being bigger and stronger."
    The half-ghost looked at the master planner.  He thought for a moment before replying.  "Well, yeah.  I like being stronger, faster and better.  Who wouldn't?"  He shrugged.  "But it's only one part of me that was trained to be that way.  I'm more ghost than human right now and that's not right.  Sure, I'd like to be stronger and better one day, but I also want to be smarter too.  I don't want to cause such destruction like I did, er, almost did.  I need to be smart enough to control such power if I do get that strong again.  So I think I need to be fourteen again so I can start over and train both my human half and my ghost half together."
    Clockwork looked bemused.  "You do realise that doing it the way you mentioned will take more time.  You most likely won't have this kind of body when you reach seventeen again.  You most likely won't have it until you are closer to twenty years-old, or even longer."
    Danny looked at his larger hands one more time, then he shrugged and smiled.  "Yeah, I know.  But if I do it this way, then even if it does take longer, at least I know that I am doing it right."
    Clockwork smiled.  His form shifted from toddler to young man.  "And thus comes maturity," he said.  "One of the most important parts of growing up.  I think you will do all right, Danny.  I am sure your friends will remind you of what you said."
    "Huh?" asked the half-ghost confused.
    "I can't make you younger," said the age-shifter.  "Not in the way you are thinking."
    "But you said..." protested Tucker.
    "I said I can restore him," clarified Clockwork.  "I can take away the extra years, but he won't remember what happened to him while he's seventeen..."
    "Because it wouldn't have happened to him yet," said Sam, understanding.
    Danny sighed.  "Well you do what you gotta do..."
    "You bet," said Sam brightly.  "But first, I want to take some pictures so I have proof when Tucker and I start explaining this to you."  She pulled her portable camera out of her pocket.  "And I want a few souvenirs too," she continued in a lower and more impish voice.
    "You do that then," said Clockwork as he changed to his old man form again and took a hold of Epoch's wrist.  "I will escort Warner home and be back shortly."  He turned to the teenage ghost punk.  "Come along," he commanded.
    "Yes sir," said Epoch dejectedly.  The two ghosts disappeared through a portal.

    "I hope there are no hard feelings," said Deadline as she watched Sam take pictures of Danny and that of Danny and Tucker.  She even offered to take a few pictures of all three together.
    Danny Fenton turned his blue eyes on the miserable ghost.  "I don't know about that," he said honestly.  "What you did to me and what you were planning to do to our town was pretty lousy."
    The female ghost took the camera from Tucker and got the group to pose and she took a few pictures.  "Yeah I know," she said as she pressed the camera button.  "I just wanted to see what you would look like after such training.  Epoch gave me an excuse to do so."
    "If you can excuse me for saying so, but that's one of the most stupid lines of reasoning I have ever heard," commented Sam as she took the camera away from Deadline.
    "Yeah.  I know."
    The portal opened and Clockwork stepped through.  "Okay Danny," he said.  "It's time."
    "I guess so," said Danny as he shifted from human to ghost.  "Bye, guys."
    "Wait!" said Sam suddenly.  She shoved the camera back at Deadline.  "One last picture!  Tucker, turn away!  Deadline, you snap it!"  And she reached up, grabbed Danny's head and kissed him one last time.  Tucker turned his head away in embarrassment and the female ghost took the final picture.  Ancient Clockwork shook his head and smiled.  He remembered being young like that.  Many times.
    "Let's go, Danny," commanded Clockwork.
    Numb from shock, Danny followed the old ghost through the portal.  The portal closed.
    The second hand on Deadline's clock moved ahead by one.
    Then the portal reopened and the adult Clockwork came through, carrying under one arm a very familiar fourteen year-old white-haired ghost boy.
    "Danny!" shouted Tucker and Sam together.
    The age-shifting ghost set the boy down.  Danny just stood there, wearing a blank expression, as if he was under a spell.
    Clockwork confirmed it.  "This Danny was just taken out of the Study Room right after he entered it.  He is still under the spell of my niece.  Someone has to kiss him to break the spell."
    Tucker smiled.  "That's your department, Sam," he said.  "I'm not gonna kiss him."
    "And I don't have the right to," said Deadline with a smile.  "He's all yours."
    "Um."  It was one thing to kiss Danny as the seventeen year-old while he would not remember it, but to kiss him now?
    "Huh?" asked Tucker.  "It was alright to kiss the older Danny, but not this one?"
    "But the other Danny won't remember the kiss.  This one will!"
    "Geez," snorted the female ghost.  "And I thought you had guts.  I guess I will have to do something about that."  She smiled impishly.  "Danny, kiss Sam.  Be tender."
    Danny turned and walked slowly towards Sam.  She half-heartedly started to back away, but he was there before she managed a step backwards.  He gently tipped her back and kissed her tenderly.
    Sam mentally shrugged and closed her eyes.  She decided she would enjoy the moment.
    The kiss ended and there was a bit of a lurch as Danny regained consciousness and tried not to drop her.  "Sam?" he asked, with the familiar voice she knew well.  She opened her eyes to see the confusion and concern in Danny's brilliant green eyes.  He set her straight and looked around at Deadline, Tucker and Clockwork.  "What happened?" he asked.  "I remember being kissed by Deadline and..."  He blushed as he looked at Sam.
    Sam smiled.  Here was the Danny she knew.  "It's okay, Danny.  It's all over."
     The half-ghost looked towards the purple-haired ghost girl.  She smiled at him, almost shyly.
    "Sorry about what Epoch and I have done, Danny," she said.  "But if you ever need a hand with a plan, you are welcome to ask me."
    "Um, thanks..."  Danny said, confused.  "What's going on?" he asked his friends.
    "It's a long story, Bud," replied Tucker.  "And it's gonna be hard to believe, but we got some pics to prove it to you."
    "And with that, I'll bid you adieu," said Clockwork and he raised his staff.  Clocks whirred around the three of them and Danny, Sam and Tucker found themselves and the Spectre Speeder back in the basement lab of the Fenton Works building, Danny's home.
    Jazz came running down the stairs.  "Danny!  You're home!  And normal!"  She gave him a huge hug.
    From inside his sister's embrace, the half-ghost's voice could be heard.  "Can someone please explain to me what's going on?!?"

    Inside the kitchen, over a dinner of hotdogs and tofu-dogs, Tucker, Sam and Jazz explained what happened over the last couple days and what was made to un-happen.  Sam showed Danny some pictures on someone who resembled him, but was three years older.
    "I was seventeen years-old and I don't remember it?" he asked.
    "Yup," said Jazz.
    "I was threatening Dash and I don't remember it?"
    "Yup," said Tucker.
    "And I am gonna pay for it and I don't even remember why?"
    "Yup," said Sam.
    A voice was heard through the kitchen window.  "Fenton!  Just wanna warn you that I'm gonna make you pay for the nightmare I experienced this morning!  I'm gonna wail on ya just to show that I am still bigger!  See ya!"
    "That sucks," said Danny.
    "Yup," the other three agreed.
    Danny looked at the pictures of the stronger seventeen year-old ghost boy.  "Man, I wish I was that size again."
    "You can be," said Jazz.  "But it's gonna take time."
    "And you said you were gonna train properly."
    "I guess so," said Danny.  He sighed, shrugged, then smiled.  "But right at the moment, I'm gonna be glad I'm a kid and have some fun hanging out with my friends.  I'll grow up eventually.  There's no real rush."
    "Under the circumstances, I'm glad to hear it," said Sam.
    Jazz brought out a box from the freezer.  "Who wants ice-cream and sorbet?" she asked.
    "We do!" shouted the kids.

    In Deadline's cuckoo-clock lair, Clockwork turned the key in the lock of the glowing door to a certain room.  He pocketed the key and turned to the purple-haired teen ghost sitting in a chair by a table, calmly sipping a soda through a straw.  He took a chair next to her and sat down.
    "Crystal," he said.  "You know you brought this on yourself, right?"
    The girl nodded.  "Yes, I do," she said quietly.
    "You knew that Danny Phantom was under my protection and there was no way that I would have allowed you to get away with what you have done, right?"
    Deadline lifted her head and looked at her uncle.  "Yes, I did."
    "And you haven't forgotten that I see everything, right?"
    She snorted.  "Of course not!"
    The older ghost scratched his head and leaned forward.  "Then you should have known that any plans you would have made would have ultimately failed."
    "Believe it or not Uncle, I knew that too."  Deadline took another sip at her soda.  "I knew that when Epoch..."
    "Warner," corrected Clockwork as he shifted to his oldest form.
    "...Warner," she conceded. "I knew that we could not win when he --Warner first asked me to help him to take over Amity Park."
    "Young lady," said the time ghost exasperatedly, "I can see many ways a future can come to be.  I can see what needs to be done to make things right.  But I cannot see your reasoning for why you did what you did.  Explain that to me, please."
    "Alright."  She took a final sip on her soda and stood up.  She walked around the table and stood in front of her uncle and assumed a lecturing stance.
    "When Epoch asked me to come up with a plan to take over Amity Park, I knew it would be doomed to failure in the end.  Danny Phantom protects Amity Park and you protect him.  I knew that, however Epoch forgot.  He mentioned that he would not tell you of any plans that were made, so he believed we would be able to get away with it, but I knew that no one would have to tell you anything.  You know everything.  Based on that, I knew that you would show up and stop us before we went too far.  With that in mind, I devised a plan to see just how far we can go before you would stop us.  I involved Danny Phantom in our plan because: A.) it would be easier than fighting him and B.)..." she blushed here.  "...I really did want to see what potential Danny could reach under a strict training program.  Um, he turned out really nice."  She coughed to clear her throat and looked to her uncle.
    "Your training plan was flawed though," he countered.
    She nodded.  "The training plan was designed with the flaws on purpose so Danny would have a reason to come back to the Ghost Zone, either to seek you or myself out to help him.  Then we could intercept him and bring him back under control."
    Clockwork was stirring some sugar into a cup of coffee.  He changed to his toddler form and took a sip.  "So you did all that planning, knowing that you would fail."
    Deadline nodded.
    "So tell me...  What did you get out of all that planning."
    The girl looked at her uncle and gave her answer.  "Respect."
    "If you would be so kind as to elaborate on that, please."  He took another sip of coffee.
    "Of course."  Deadline smiled.  "I explained my plans to Desiree, Technus, Skulker and even the Box Ghost when I asked to borrow the items I did.  They were impressed by the complexity of the plan, but none of them really thought I would pull it off.  However, I know that they were watching the whole time.  When Epoch starts telling everyone that the only reason we failed was because Clockwork, one of the most powerful ghosts in the Ghost Zone, showed up and stopped us by manipulating time.  No one can plan against that kind of thing.  I will get the recognition and respect that I deserve."   She held up her trembling chin, daring her uncle to deny her.
    Clockwork finished his coffee and looked at his niece.  He changed from toddler to adult.  "You're quite the schemer Young Lady.  If I let things stand, you will be seeing the respect you've been fighting for.  I know that."
    The young ghost's lip trembled.  "If you let it stand?" she asked.
    He sighed.  "Crystal...  Deadline...  You're a smart girl.  I know that you've had a rough existence.  I've always known.  And you know that I have known.  You would always hide yourself in your studying.  But I also know you have enjoyed it.  That is why I gave you the Study Room, so you would have more time doing what you enjoyed."  He shook his head.  "I knew that you were coming out of your shell, but I wish you had another, more quiet way of doing that."
    Despite the punk outfit she was wearing, Deadline resembled the meek shy girl she was a few days before.  "Is...  Is Epoch --I mean, Warner going to get in much trouble over this?" she asked.
    "Warner will be grounded for a month and will be on a strict curfew for another month, but he will explain the events to the other ghosts and both of you will get the recognition you worked for."  He winked.  "You also are grounded for a month with another month of curfew for pulling that stunt of yours.  I also know you won't be doing something like that again."
    She brightened, despite the pronouncement of punishment.  "You're right on that, as always," she said.  "Thank you."
    He got up and turned to leave.  "I want you to think about what you did," he said as he was leaving.  He stopped and pointed at the examination table.  "And I want you to get rid of that thing."
    "Of course..."
    Clockwork was almost out of the room when his niece asked him one last question.  "Uncle, you know everything about the future, right?"
    "You know I do."
    "Right...  Um, I was just wondering...  Will Danny and Sam get together in the future?"
    He turned back to her and wagged a finger.  "I do know everything about the future..." he said.  "But I don't have to tell."

Story started on March 27, 2007
First draft finished on August 12, 2007

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