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"MOM'S COMING!"

Jazz's voice echoed through the house after the loud slam of the front door.

Jack stood from his place at the table, beaming.

"Mads!" he began to rush to the door, but Jazz stood in his way, pushing him toward the living room.

"You need to go upstairs! NOW!" Jack barely budged as she pushed her whole weight against him. "You can't let her see you! What do you think is gonna happen when she comes in to find a ghost in her kitchen?!"

Jack almost opened his mouth to argue, he wasn't just some ghost, he was her husband. She wouldn't attack him would she?

...Would she?

"Dad!" Jazz's voice was still shrill but she'd lowered her volume, he could hear the door to the RV slam shut outside.

What would he do if a ghost showed up in his kitchen, looking like a funhouse mirror version of his dead wife? They had always promised each other they wouldn't come back, that they would choose to move on...

He would think she was an imposter, a fake, he wouldn't know that ghosts didn't get to choose.

The sound of keys jangled in the front door and Jazz almost began to whimper as she shoved against him with all her strength.

"Dad please."

But Maddie would know it was really him, surely she would know.

The doorknob turned and Jack's heart- core pumped hard in his chest, he could feel the energy thrumming through his body, pooling in his hands and making his fingers tingle.

As soon as the door began to open, he felt hands grabbing his shoulder, and suddenly he was roughly yanked up through the ceiling into the ops centre.

As soon as the confusion from the sudden motion passed, he lashed out with his large fists at whatever had grabbed him.

"GET OFF ME GHOST!" he roared, his fists flashed bright white and crackled and buzzed as a bolt of lightning shot across the room and hit the wall with a loud crash.

Barely missing Phantom- Danny, his son, by inches.

Jack lowered his fists in horror.

"Danny! Don't sneak up on me like that I thought your were a gh-" he paused. "Uh... a threat."

Danny was barely paying attention, he was still standing by the burn mark on the wall, gripping his left arm tightly.

"It's fine." he said in a clipped tone. "You missed. It's fine."

His fingers dug harder into his bicep, the static in the air making his hair stand on end.

"Hey, I... I'm sorry." Jack rubbed at his neck awkwardly, wincing at how wrong it felt with his massive fingers, he lowered his hand. "I guess I'm just a bit jumpy."

He looked at the wall, then stared down at his hands, the loud pumping of his h- core had slowed, the tingling in his fingers was gone.

"I didn't even know I could do that." he mumbled, excitement creeping into his voice. "How do I do it again?"

He thrust his palm outward against another wall, the ops centre was built to handle it, his previous blast had left a mark but barely a dent.

Nothing happened, no lightning erupted from his fingers, not even a spark.

"What were you thinking?!" Danny snapped.

Jack jumped, surprised by the sudden, harsh tone.

"I'm sorry." said Jack, again. "I really didn't mean-"

"I'm not talking about that." Danny said, gesturing sharply to the wall. "Mom was seconds away from seeing you, why the fuck didn't you hide?!"

"Hey, watch your language!" Jack scolded. "I may be dead but I'm still your dad!"

Danny gripped at his hair in frustration, Jack could see ice creeping over his fingertips, sharpening them to points.

"She would have destroyed you! Don't you get that?!" He stared at his hands for a moment, the ice drew itself back into his skin as he balled his hands into fists. "You told me you understood why I kept this a secret, you know why you can't just go and walk up to mom like everything is normal. What were you thinking?!"

"I... I just..." Jack could feel his throat tighten as his eyes burned. "I just thought, if I could explain... I wanted her to know I was still here."

Danny's shoulders slumped and he breathed out heavily.

"We'll tell her, we will. Just not right now, okay?"

Jack nodded, swallowing down the lump in his throat. It was a hard thought to stomach, he had to hide in his own house, from his own wife. The woman he loved with every fibre of his being, the woman he  planned to grow old with, the woman he trusted with his life, was now someone he needed to fear, someone who would shoot him on sight.

Was this how Danny felt? All this time?

Jack crossed the room and pulled his son in close. Danny wrapped his arms as far around his huge barrel chest as possible, while Jack tried his best not to crush his boy, super healing or no.

"I'm sorry Danny." his voice cracked. "I'm sorry we made you feel like this."

"It's okay dad," said Danny. "Let's just focus on what happens next, okay?"

He pulled away and smiled a little.

"How about we keep that," he glanced back at the burn mark on the wall. "From happening again?"

Jack hopped from foot to foot, giddy with excitement. He was going to learn how to shoot lightning, he was going to learn how to take down enemies with a single flick of his finger! He wondered how his body was able to conduct it, the energy came from his core of course but what made it shoot down his arms instead of into his feet? Lightning normally looked for the easiest route to the ground but his lightning seemed to shoot outwards like-

"Daaad?" Danny snapped his fingers in front of Jack's face. "Are you listening?"

"Oh, heh, sorry Danny-boy, was a little lost in thought there."

Danny huffed, sounding only slightly annoyed, but he had a smile on his face.

"I just texted Jazz to let her know where we are, she's gonna distract mom so Sam and Tucker can sneak up here."

"And then you can show me how to do  that lightning thing again!" Jack exclaimed.

Danny shook his head.

"Actually we're gonna start with the basics. You've got flight and intangibility down already, way faster than I thought you would, but I think invisibility is the most important right now."

The hatch in the floor squeaked open and Sam and Tucker made their way up, Tucker was holding some kind of golden staff, Danny made an unpleasant face.

"Please don't tell me you got sand everywhere again."

"Why? You don't like sand?" Tucker asked innocently.

"No! It's course, and rough, and irritating, and it gets ev-"

"Are you two gonna quote that every time this happens?" Sam groaned. "I will absolutely learn a muting spell I swear to god."

"Woah, what happened to the wall?" Tucker turned to Jack, eyes wide. "Did you do that?"

"Yep!" Jack beamed, standing proudly. "I have Lightning Hands!"

Sam and Tucker looked at each other, then over to Danny, an unusual expression passing between them. Danny's mouth pulled taught in return and gave a quick shrug. He was gripping his left arm again.

"Okay dad," Danny turned back to him, smiling. "The first rule of invisibility, try not to be seen!"

Jack stared at his son, raising a single eyebrow.

"That's it?"

Danny laughed.

"Yeah well, it takes some getting used to, but that's pretty much the first step. You have to convince yourself that you don't want to be seen, imagine you're hiding from an enemy."

Jack tried to imagine it, he really did, he squeezed his eyes tight and thought hard about disappearing.

He peeked an eye open.

Danny was still staring at him, tapping a finger against his mouth in thought.

"Anything?" Jack asked.

"No, try again."

He tried, by god he tried, but it was hard to make himself feel the need to hide from a foe. No matter how big and scary he imagined an enemy to be, his first instinct was always to fight. He could already feel his core pumping energy back into his body just from thinking about it.

Danny stared at Jack's fists as they began to snap and pop with power once again.

"Okay stop, stop, I think we might need a different approach." Danny thought for a moment. "Okay how about, uh, well, what is invisibility? Scientifically?"

"Well, we can see things because of light bouncing off stuff!" Jack began, excitedly. "It's made up of tiny components called photons, they're like... little packs of energy, like laserbeams! So being invisible would be like... dodging billions of tiny lasers! Or since light's also a wave it could be like, uh, being at the beach and not getting moved around by the waves and currents."

Danny nodded.

"Uh, yeah okay, so just... imagine that then!" He patted Jack on the arm encouragingly.

Jack tried again.

He knew what going intangible was like, he just had to picture himself doing that with a billion tiny lasers, he imagined the light particles passing right through him the way he could pass through walls.

"Yes! There you go!" Danny clapped. "You're a natural!"

Jack looked down at his hands, he... well, he couldn't see them clearly but they weren't totally invisible either. It was like an outline, faded and colourless, but there.

"Ah this isn't invisible." Jack pouted in disappointment. "I'm just kinda transparent."

"Oh yeah, no that's normal. All ghosts can still see themselves, but you're definitely invisible to us." Danny smiled proudly, eyes roving somewhere around Jack's right ear, then back at his face as he returned to visibility. "You're really good at this."

"Feel up for a costume change big guy?" Sam asked, a sketchbook tucked up under one arm.

"Ooh can I put a big-"

"I've got a Fenton logo in here don't worry." She flipped the book open to show him her design. "If you're not vibing with it we can make alterations."

"This is so cool!" Jack grabbed the book and held it up to his face. "I look like a superhero!"

Sam's mouth pulled up in a restrained half smile, she looked very pleased with herself.

"How do I make me look like that?" Jack asked, pointing enthusiastically at the drawing.

"It's a lot like all the other stuff you learned. Mind over matter, changing your entire physical form can be tricky, but surface level stuff like hair and clothes is pretty simple." Danny tugged on the more casual loose black pants and shirt that replaced his hazmat suit some months prior, though his boots, gloves, and belt had remained unchanged. "I think it's because we're like, used to being able to change those things so it comes more naturally."

"Alright so I just... think about it?"

"It is slightly more complicated." Danny explained. "But I think you'll get it, your body is made of ectoplasm now, so are your clothes, which means your clothes are a part of you. So you picture it less as 'changing clothes' and more like... a chameleon or a cuttlefish changing the colour of its skin."

"Oooh, like camouflage!" Jack exclaimed.

"Yeah! Except you're camouflaging into a superhero instead of a leaf or a rock." Danny grinned. "Just focus on the details one at a time. Start with the hood and goggles, you have those on your usual hazmat suit anyway so they should come pretty naturally."

Jack hadn't even realised he didn't have them already. He thought about his usual suit, the weight of the goggles against the back of his neck, the comforting pressure of the hood fitting snuggly around his head. He drew his hand up behind his neck, grabbed, and pulled.

What he grabbed didn't feel exactly like his hood at first, it was squishy and malleable, gooey, like... ectoplasm. Right, it was made of ectoplasm, his ectoplasm.

The goo began to fall apart in his hand as he lost his concentration, so he gripped it tighter, and thought hard about the fabric of his hazmat suit. That smooth almost plastic like texture, how cool it felt against his skin. As he pulled the gooey mass of ectoplasm over his head, he felt it become something solid and familiar, as his safety goggles pressed comfortably against his face.

The top of his head began to tingle unpleasantly, and within moments the wild crackling of his hair tore through the top of the hood.

"Oh, oops." he touched his head carefully, feeling the spiky mass of electrical currents.

"Ah, yeah, I think your body might be using your head as an outlet." Danny grimaced. "My body normally uses my tail for that, but it happens to my hair too if I'm building up too much energy, covering it up is like covering the exhaust pipe on a car."

"Ah that's alright, it's still covering the rest of me!" He gave Danny a thumbs up, then peered around himself carefully.

Huh, that was odd.

"You alright Mr F?" Tucker asked.

There were lights flickering around the walls. He removed his goggles and looked again, they were gone.

"Huh, weird." Jack muttered as he put the goggles back on.

"What is it?" Danny asked, trying to follow Jack's gaze.

"I think..." Jack's eyes traced the little lights as they flittered in a pattern he found oddly familiar. "Suffering Spooks! That's the layout of the powerlines in the walls!"

"You can see electrical currents?!" Tucker exclaimed, grinning ear to ear. "That's so  cool! Here, what does my phone look like?"

Jack peered at it carefully.

"Uh, it's one big light blob." he said in disappointment. "I think the circuitry's too small and tight, it all blends in together."

"Man, I wish I could do that." Tucker whispered in reverence. "All I can do is get sand everywhere."

"Dude, you can do way more than that." said Sam.

Tucker glared at her. She raised her hands in a calming gesture.

"I know, I know, you don't like to use those powers, but you do have them."

"Wait, I'm lost, what can he do?" asked Jack, scratching his head in confusion.

"Nothing, forget about it." Tucker gripped the golden staff in his hand tightly, turning away from everyone and focusing on his phone. "Don't you have a costume to finish?"

"Right, yeah, sorry." Sam shifted awkwardly. "Anyway, let's do the belt! It's sort of a utility belt, I figured even if you have ghost powers now, you might still wanna carry around some weapons. No reason not to stick with what you're used to."

"Oh, hold on a minute, I can help with this." Danny quickly flew down through the floor, returning not even a minute later. "Here!"

He handed Jack one of his own hand made utility belts, obviously snatched up from down in the lab.

"Put it on, and then just do the chameleon thing again to change its design, your body will incorporate it as a part of you."

"I can do that?" Jack asked.

"Yyyep," said Tucker, still focused on his phone. "I lost my first ever PDA to Skulker that way, jokes on him though, it bound him to my schedule."

Jack clipped the belt on, enjoying the familiar weight of it. He looked back at Sam's sketchbook, as she held it up for him.

"It's the logo from your RV, so it should be pretty easy to picture properly." she said, pointing at the little sketched F symbol.

Jack touched the front of the belt, wondering why he'd never thought to put it there himself. He imagined how he would do it, crafting and shaping the symbol, welding it to the metal of the belt.

He looked down and found the bright green stylised F staring back at him. He grinned.

The rest of the outfit came easily enough, Jack really liked the circuitry motif Sam had come up with, and she traced spots over his suit where she thought they would look good. He followed her lead and pictured the patterns blooming out from under her fingers.

The one on his left shoulder was an exact replica of the circuitry from the clock radio he deconstructed as a kid, he could still see the patterns clear as day in his mind. One section down his right side came from the first computer he ever took apart.

Once Sam was satisfied with his look, she gave him a tight nod and glanced around the room.

"Right, no mirrors, hold on." She stepped back and held up her phone. "Say fudge!"

Jack put his hands on his hips and posed as superhero-y as he could, but just before Sam could snap her picture, there was a tuft of white hair in his face.

"Do you mind?" Sam raised a scathing eyebrow.

Danny moved, giggling, before turning around to lean over Jack's shoulder.

"Behave yourself this time, you fucking gremlin." she cussed under her breath as she raised the phone once more.

She snapped a few quick shots and brought them back over for Jack to admire, he had to take his goggles off to see beyond the phone's electrical glow.

It was still unsettling, seeing those abnormal arms attached to his body, and the colours were still all wrong, but with the circuitry accents and the utility belt, he could have stepped right out of a comic book, strange proportions and all.

And with the hood pulled up and the goggles glowing a vibrant orange, the suit kind of reminded him of Maddie.

He could picture it clear as day, her hood keeping her hair out of her face as she welded one of their newest weapons together, her goggles glowing  in the light of the blowtorch. The suit might not have looked quite like his, but it felt like home.

His eyes wandered up to his shoulder, where Danny was perched, chin resting against his folded arms. He was sticking his tongue out, it was an odd shade of blueish green instead of the normal  pink. The second picture had caught him mid laugh.

"Hey, could you send me this one?" He asked Sam. "Once we finally tell Mads what's goin' on, I wanna put this up on the wall!"

"Sure Mr F, I'll text it to Danny." said Sam with a smile. "It's a good one."

"No, it's not a good one!" Danny pointed, hovering over her shoulder. "Look, my eyes are closed!"

Sam wrestled him away, the two of them laughing as they shoved at each other.

Everyone froze when the hatch to the ops centre squeaked open.

"It's just me!" Jazz called up, raising a hand over the lip and waving.

She pulled herself all the way into the room and gasped when she took in Jack's new appearance.

She smiled brightly, opening her mouth to say something, before her face fell drastically into a look of near panic.

"Oh no, oh no why didn't I think of this before it's so obvious."

"What?" Danny dropped to the floor, turning back into his human self as he approached his sister. "What's obvious?"

"The flaw! The flaw in Vlad's plan, using his ghost half as a scapegoat, it meant he'd never be able to show mom that he's a halfa, but he-"

"He can change his appearance just like us." Danny finished, eyes growing wide with horror. "He could make his ghost half unrecognisable, she'd never even know it was him."

"Not unless we told her." said Jazz, in a firm voice.

"Not yet." Danny hissed.

"Danny we need to do something!"

"What we need is to avoid backing Vlad up in a corner and giving him nothing to lose! He's not an idiot Jazz, you don't think he has backup plans? You don't think he's found some way to screw us over if we move against him?"

Jazz's eyes widened and she took a few deep, angry breaths.

"There's something you aren't telling me." she said, her voice trembling. "He said something to you didn't he."

Danny's lips were pulled tight, but he didn't respond.

"Was it me?" she asked. "Did he threaten me?"

Danny remained silent.

"It wasn't just you." Sam spoke up quietly. "He told Danny he'd take out all of us, one by one."

"And if he couldn't get to us," Tucker continued. "He'd go after the other kids from school, he'd kill whoever he got his hands on first."

Jack stared at Danny, he'd told him about the threat to Jazz, but he never mentioned the rest. Even now, after finally being able to be himself around Jack, he was still keeping secrets. Jack shouldn't have expected Danny to trust him with everything right away, he'd held everything so close to the chest for so long. It couldn't have been easy to let Jack in, clearly it was going to take more time to earn back his son's trust.

"Why wouldn't you tell me?" Jazz asked, softly, an edge of hurt in her voice.

"You had enough to worry about." Danny waved her off, dismissively. "This was my problem."

"Oh no, no no no you can't do this. NOT anymore," Jazz's voice was razor sharp as she cut into him. "This is dad's murder, we're ALL involved. You can't shut me out, you can't shut any of us out. You have no right."

Danny glared at her, but he didn't argue.

"We need a plan that will keep Vlad contained before he can hurt anyone."

"Thought of that," Sam spoke up. "He might have goons on the outside ready to cause havoc if anything goes wrong."

"Okay," replied Jazz, thinking, "Then we need to threaten him back, something that will force him to back down."

"We thought of that too," said Tucker. "We don't have anything to threaten except exposing his identity, and that just leaves us at a stalemate."

Vlad, right.  With everything else going on Jack had almost forgotten.

Vlad, his old friend, his best friend, had... murdered him. He trusted him, he treated him like a brother, let him into his house like he was family, helped him when he was in trouble.

Jack felt his core pulse and energy flooded into his hands once more, his hair sizzled like an overloaded power-board and his fingers tingled with electricity.

Everyone in the room turned to look at him as he clenched his teeth and balled his large hands into fists.

"I'm gonna tear that no good piece of scum limb from limb."

"Dad, wait, just calm down a minute."

He could barely even process Jazz's words as a hot flush of rage roared through his ears.

"He murdered me, in front of my wife. In front of my kids."

"Dad!" Danny's cold hands closed around his fist. "I need you here with me dad, I need you here with me okay?"

"He killed me."

"I know dad, I know."

"He wants to kill Jazz."

"We won't let him."

"Because I'll kill him first."

"DAD."

Danny's voice struck him like a bucket of cold water, his ears were ringing as his head spun.

"We cannot rush blindly into this, I know you're angry, you have every right to be angry, but we need a strategy. If you go fight him right now he will destroy you."

Jack shook his head, propping his goggles up on his forehead, the flickering electrical currents were too much for him right now.

"How do you keep doing that?" Jack asked wearily.

"Doing what?"

"That thing with your voice." Jack sat down on the floor, his legs felt wobbly.

"It's not important right now."

"You can control ghosts." Jack snapped, "I'm a ghost, that makes this pretty damn important."

Danny folded his arms tight against his body, mouth pressed into a hard line.

"It won't work on you as strong as before, now that you have a physical body." Danny said. "And I'm not gonna use it on you just whenever I want, I only do it if I feel like it's necessary."

"I don't like it." said Jack, his voice hard.

"Neither do I!" Danny exclaimed, his voice cracking. "It scares the shit out of me! It scares the shit out of anyone I accidentally use it on! But I'm stuck with it, okay? It's not going anywhere and the more stressed out I am the more it slips out, so can we please just try and keep calm and sort this shit out, please?"

"Dad, are you okay?" Jazz rested a gentle hand in his shoulder. "You don't look great."

"I'm just tired Jazzy, I'll be alright."

Jazz glanced over to Danny, who shrugged.

"He's fine, he used a lot of energy today and he doesn't have a lot to throw around yet, he just needs rest."

"Can't you give him energy? Like before?"

"He isn't an ordinary spirit anymore, our cores aren't compatible, it would make him sick. He needs to recharge naturally."

"By going in the Ghost Zone?" Tucker asked.

Jack looked up sharply. Danny pondered the question, chewing on his lip in thought.

"The ambient ectoplasm in Amity is high enough that he can recharge here, it'll just take a little longer than it would in the Ghost Zone."

"How much longer?" Jack asked, his curiosity peaking once again.

Danny shrugged.

"I dunno, I guess a few hours maybe? The Ghost Zone is too risky right now, I wouldn't feel safe leaving you there while you're weak. Too many ghosts would take advantage because of your relation to me."

"Wait, wait a second." Jack raised a hand sluggishly. "The ghosts know who you are? They know you're my son?"

"Um, yeah."

"All of them?"

"...Yeah."

"All of the ghosts knew, and we didn't." Jack's shoulders sagged as he considered this. "I don't get it."

"It wasn't... on purpose." Danny explained in exasperation.

"Yeah he used to just randomly turn human mid battle all the time before he could control his powers." Sam chimed in. "Ghosts just don't really care about the whole secret identity thing."

"They probably know that Danny would be a bigger problem for them if he didn't have a normal life to keep up with." Tucker added. "The smart ones would think so anyway, the rest of the ghosts are just dumb and don't care."

"Okay, I think dad has had enough, we should let him get some rest... can ghosts sleep?"

"Sure, if they want to." Danny shrugged. "It's not really necessary like with humans, but it can speed up recovery."

"I'll get you some pillows, and a blanket."

"I got it." Danny flickered back into his ghost form and shot back down through the floor.

"Will he be safe sleeping up here?" Sam asked.

"Mom doesn't have any reason to come up here." said Jazz. "And she has to pass my bedroom to get here so I'll be standing guard."

Danny returned with a large bundle of blankets and pillows, Jazz started arranging them accordingly.

"I know it's not as comfortable as a bed," she said, apologetic. "We'll figure something else out eventually."

"On the plus side, you won't wake up with a sore back or neck." Danny grinned. "Being a ghost has its perks."

"Alright that's enough everyone, dad needs his sleep so shoo!" Jazz waved everyone out. "He's had a hard day, let him rest."

Sam and Tucker climbed back down the hatch and Danny flew over to give Jack a quick hug before flashing back to human and climbing down after them.

"Are you comfortable enough?" Jazz asked, tucking as many pillows and blankets around him as possible.

"I'm fine Jazzypants." He went to ruffle her hair, but took one look at the size of his hand beside her head and thought better of it. "You don't need to worry about me."

She gave him a swift kiss on the cheek and clambered her way back down the hatch, closing it behind her.

Jack laid back on the pillows, staring at the ceiling. His mind wandered down to his bedroom, where Maddie would be sleeping alone once again. At least when he was a spirit he could lay beside her throughout the night, offering some kind of comfort, even if she didn't know it.

As a ghost he couldn't even enter the same room without fearing her pulling a gun on him.

How could Danny stand it, being constantly vigilant around the people who were supposed to love him? Who were supposed to protect him?

He couldn't stand it, Jack realised. That's why he spent so much time with his friends, that's why he spent so much time flying around as Phantom, that's why he spent so much time away from home.

God he missed his wife. She was right there, just downstairs. She was so close.

He had to grit his teeth and clamp down on the urge to just fall right through the floor and scoop the love of his life up in his arms. He wanted to throw her around like they were 20 years younger, sweep her off her feet and kiss her until they were both breathless.

But he couldn't, he could only hope that she would visit him in his dreams. As his eyes slipped closed he fell into the dark comforting embrace of sleep, hoping, praying, he would see her there.

He learned something new about ghosts that night.

He learned they couldn't dream.