The camera flashed and beeped as Danny stood awkwardly in front of the defunct portal, grasping a white and black jumpsuit. His eyes were half-closed and bored, slightly frowning. "Alright, Sam, are you done?" The boy eyed the stairway nervously. "My parents could be back any second. They might find out what's wrong with the portal and come back..."
"Oh, come on," Tucker said, waving him off, "what's the worst that could happen? They find us and you explain that we were fascinated by what's down here? You know your dad loves that sort of stuff."
"I don't think they'd hold it against us." Sam said, dropping her camera into a black bag slung over her shoulder. She slowly approached the portal, running a hand over the edge of it, looking inside at the dimly-lit technology. Wires cluttered the thing, leading the pitch-black back of the portal. She smiled, turning back to look at her friends. "A portal to another world...the realm of ghosts."
"I think you're forgetting that it doesn't work." Danny scoffed. "It's useless. I mean, I feel bad for my parents and all, but building a portal to another dimension...who could make such a thing?"
"Your parents," Tucker replied, snapping a few pictures with his phone, "you said they brought you and your sister down here to watch the portal turn on. You said something happened." He smiled at his best friend. "What was it again?"
Danny rolled his eyes. "Beyond a few weird green sparks and a flash? Nothing."
"Green sparks?" Sam asked, turning towards him. Danny shrugged.
"Green sparks aren't normal. Which means this portal could be something leading somewhere not normal." Sam gleefully pulled the camera back out and took more pictures. "You can't tell me you're not interested at all what it could do if it turned on."
"Believe me, if I thought it would turn on, I would be interested. But I don't." Danny said tiredly. "Now, come on, before my parents or sister realize we're down here, we've got...stuff to do."
"Well," Sam turned to him with a mischievous grin. "if it doesn't work, what could be the harm in at least taking a peek inside? Imagine what you might find!"
"They brought me down here about a thousand times while they were making it, I don't know if..." Danny stared at Sam and the portal and shrugged. "Fine, whatever. What could be the harm?"
"That's the spirit!" Tucker exclaimed, patting his friend on the back. "Put on that suit and check it out."
"'Kay." Danny slipped the suit on over his clothes, zipping it up to the collar. Sam frowned.
"Hold on." She approached and ripped off a picture of Danny's dad off of his chest. She grimaced at it. "You can't go around with this on your chest."
Danny smiled at her as she tossed it aside. "Thanks." He walked forth and stopped for a moment at the portal's gaping archway, peering inside apprehensively. A cold rush went through his heart and gut, and a shiver overtook him. With a deep breath, he continued forward, knowing his friends were watching him. He absentmindedly began keeping his hand on one of the walls as the cave became darker as he went in, until he bumped into the very pitch black back. He rolled his hand over it, feeling nothing but a smooth surface and a small gap.
He rolled his eyes. So it was nothing special after all. Just as he was about to turn around, he heard a shriek that belonged to his sister and stuttered excuses from his friends. Whirling around, he saw Jazz with her arms crossed, Sam and Tucker speechless. He gulped. "Jazz, please, don't-"
It was too late. His mom and dad appeared at the foot of the stairs, looking to see what was going on. They followed the kids' eyes and gasped at seeing their son in the portal, eyes widened.
"Danny! Get out of there!" they both cried. Danny took a breath, preparing himself for a proper scolding once he was out, and continued trailing his hand over the wall as he came out. Everyone watched him, and he blushed shamefully. Both parents were watching him closely, and soon enough Danny's hand slid dangerously close to a pair of buttons on the wall. Something seemed to click in both of their heads, and both shrieked.
"Danny!" Jack bellowed, "Get your hand off of the wall now! You're gonna hit the-"
Danny gave his father a baffled look, pulling his hand away from the wall a moment too late. He turned to look as the button he pushed was bright green and said ON. Mortified, he looked behind himself to see the same green light beaming from the back of the portal.
He got barely a foot forward before the portal exploded and he was caught in the firestorm. Danny screamed like a banshee as volts of electricity ran through his body, causing a beyond intense burning sensation inside and out. He couldn't hear anything but his own screams of pain. He wanted to move forward, to make his way out of the portal, but found himself paralyzed. Danny didn't have a clue how long he had been in the portal before his vision blackened and knew no more.
Danny awoke to beeping and chattering, combined with low murmuring nearby. Everything was sore was the second thing he noticed, and he groaned in agony. Forcing his eyes open, squinting and the bright light around him, several figures surrounded him. They were blurry, but with a few blinks, he found his parents, sister, and friends all surrounding him, staring at him with faces mixed with fear, relief, confusion...and something else he couldn't place.
He was in a hospital. A clip was over his thumb, attached to a heart rate monitor, and an IV stick was in his arm. He blinked wearily and then stared back at the group before him. Maddie and Jack threw themselves at him and hugged him. Their son coughed and groaned as the aches grew worse, and they pulled back. Their faces, still, were covered with that emotion he couldn't place.
"Wh...what happened?" he whispered. Everyone else shared a look, which did nothing to calm his nerves. He felt his heart beating, and a cold sensation as well; the only part of his body that didn't feel burnt.
"Do you remember anything?" Jazz asked nervously. Danny shook his head.
"No. I remember getting shocked and then nothing. But...I feel different, somehow. Something's not right. What happened to me?"
Jazz, Sam, and Tucker all looked towards his parents. Maddie sighed. "Maybe this would be better if we broke this to him. Can you wait outside?" They silently obeyed, scurrying outside of the hospital room with a backwards glance. The door closed and Danny turned his gaze back to his parents, who were pale and frowning. Jack grasped his hands together, tapping a foot, eyes wandering around the room.
"Just tell me. I have to know."
"We know, dear," Maddie said quietly, "we just don't know how to tell you this. You'll think we're insane when we tell you. We just want you to know that we love you very much, no matter what, and that we will work together through this."
"We're here for you." Jack added, sounding somewhat grim. Danny was baffled, cocking his head to the side at them, and even more so as he felt the chilling sensation begin to spread over himself. He was blinded as a ring of light formed around him, spreading up and down his body as he yelped and shielded his eyes. The hospital gown he was wearing felt as if it faded away, replaced with the feel of the jumpsuit he was wearing prior to the accident.
Blinking his eyes, he looked at his parents, who stared back, wide-eyed and unblinking. He looked down at himself to see he was wearing the jumpsuit, save for the fact it had reversed in color and a soft white glow had settled over his body. Stuttering, he looked back up as he sought for words. "W-w-what's going on?" He shuddered. Jack grabbed a hand-mirror on a nearby table and handed it to his son apprehensively. Danny took it and held it up, hoping to find his black hair and blue eyes.
Instead, he let out a squeak of terror as he took in snow white hair and glowing green eyes. His skin had slightly darkened, and he stared for several moments before dropping the mirror. He wanted to scream as he began to hyperventilate, the heartbeat monitor speeding up. The chilling sensation came again, and the rings came and went over himself again.
He looked down again to find himself in the hospital gown. Danny fumbled for the mirror and used it again, finding himself with black hair and blue eyes once more. His breathing returned to normal, as did his heart. "What's happening?" he murmured in a low, scared tone, "What am I?"
"Human." His mom said.
"Ghost." His dad said. They both shared a look and corrected themselves.
"Both." They said. Danny's mouth opened in disbelief, and he shook his head.
"We don't know how or why, but...you're alive. But you've taken some of the ghost world inside of you." Maddie said, grasping her son's hand. "You...transformed a few times, mercifully not at any point the paramedics or medical staff could see. Even displayed a few...ghost...powers."
Danny's heart sped up again. "Ghost powers? That's..."
"Impossible. So we thought," Jack said, heaving a breath, "but you seem to be in control of yourself when you're in either form, so that's good. You're alive still, but different physically." He looked him in the eyes. "You're..." He took a very deep breath. "You're a wereghost, son."
Danny blanched. "Excuse me?"
"A wereghost, I know," Jack said somberly, "but-"
"God, no, don't call me that. Call me something else." Danny protested, grimacing. "Half-ghost or something. Don't call me a wereghost."
Maddie raised an eyebrow. "But, technically, you are a-"
The parents shared another look and shrugged. "Alright, fine," Jack said with an eye roll, "half-ghost. We hardly understand it ourselves, but we'll figure it all out. For now, I think we should keep it a secret. This is enough for you to handle by itself; we don't need media attention."
"Agreed." Danny murmured. His head was swimming with the new information, and dazedly he looked back at them. "So...about Jazz, Sam, and Tuck-"
"They know. We've already had a chat with them. We're all here for you." Maddie crossed her arms. "I suppose we should give you a talking to about wandering into the lab and the portal without us being there, without permission, but...I think you've learned your lesson about ten times over."
Danny said nothing, looking away. His eyes widened as he felt the chill coming back, and he frantically tried to stop the rings from appearing. He curled up, ignoring the odd looks he was getting from his mom and dad. The ring appeared and tried to pass over him, but quivered and much more slowly moved as he strained and struggled to control them.
"Danny," his mother said quietly, "just let it happen. You can change back."
The boy moaned and allowed the rings to transform him again. He rolled over on his side and groaned, turning invisible against his will. Hearing the gasps of his parents, he grumbled. "I did something, didn't I?"
"...Yep." Jack answered awkwardly.
Danny closed his eyes and with a lot of effort, forced himself back into human form. A sickening feeling came to him.
He was half ghost.