Danny’s secret is not a secret anymore.
The lines between Fenton and Phantom have long since blurred. And it’s a common occurrence for news reporters to trip over their tongue when flagging him down, mid-transformation, for a post-fight interview. “Phanton.” “Fentom.” So often that, to most now, he is just Danny.
When Danny wants upgrades to his gear, he comes to his mother. When Danny learns a quirky new element of Ghost Zone lore, he brings it to his father. When the Amity Park Ghost Alarm is raised, he’s first on the scene with the Fenton RV right on his non-corporeal heels.
When he’s injured, Danny comes only to his friends and sister.
Jazz notices the pattern. How it is only her, or only Sam, or only Tucker who receives the late-night knock at the window glass, with her brother on the other side, corny sheepish smile on display and arm or leg or shoulder held up in explanation.
Jazz notices how hushed Danny remains, day or night, when he comes to her for first aid. How he speaks in that same hesitant muted tone as he did when all of this was still a secret. How he quiets himself in the way injured prey animals do.
Jazz doesn’t feel it’s her place to ask. Not yet, at least. Eventually. But not yet.
The window is open. Honeysuckle-sweet gusts of late-spring air swirl through Jazz’s room and tease away the sheen of sweat that has collected on her brow. She cannot wipe it away herself, not with both hands meticulously occupied in tweezering out the singed fabric from her brother’s arm.
Danny winces, and hisses, and Jazz frees another thread from its embedded hold in Danny’s burn wound.
“It’s kind of like… summer vacation when we were kids and we’d get splinters visiting Aunt Alicia’s lake house,” Jazz remarks with another careful tug. “…If we can call it a lake house.”
“Lake shed,” Danny replies, grinning through the sweat shining on his pale face. “And I think every part of that dock was an OSHA violation.” He laughs through another wince.
“Dad was the king of tweezers. I think he got out every splinter that dock ever gave me.” Jazz pauses. “I wonder why that was. Think it’s the needlepoint?”
“It’s definitely the needlepoint,” Danny agrees.
Jazz hesitates on the question lingering behind her tongue. Just a little too long. Just a little too obviously.
“What?” Danny asks.
Jazz’s hand falters. She puts the tweezers down. “Danny, I will always always be happy to help you like this. Same goes for Sam, same goes for Tucker, I know. I’m positive. But I wonder why… not Mom or Dad?” Jazz eyes the tweezers, glinting in the moonlight. “I’m just… I’m thinking how much cleaner this might be if you got Dad to do it. And Mom’s got like, wilderness survival level first aid expertise. I can’t help thinking I’m hurting you more by it being… me, you know?”
Danny looks at her, and looks past her a moment. His grin slips a fraction into discomfort as his eyes leave hers. “Maybe I just like the excuse to invade your room.”
“Danny…” Jazz waits until he looks at her again. “Are you afraid they’ll make you stop if they realize you’re getting injured?”
Danny lets out a puff of air from behind his lips. “No, never. I mean, maybe if I got really really injured they’d say something. But just getting a little roughed up? I think it’s about on par with a kid coming home from football practice with a few scrapes, at least, in their eyes. They get more banged up than me these days. I’m not worried.”
Jazz reaches for the bottle of disinfectant. She unscrews the cap to a biting alcohol smell. “…So will you tell me why?”
“Why you won’t ever go to them with injuries? Ever?”
Cotton swab, pure silver under the moonlight. Jazz douses it gently, a muted glug-glug from the bottle.
“…I’m that obvious about it, huh?”
“You’re obvious about most things. This’ll be cold.” Jazz applies the swab to the open wound, and Danny hisses in turn.
“Yeah. Cold. And stingy. Cold and stingy.” After a few seconds, the tension eases out of Danny’s body. He droops a little, shoulders slumped, and Jazz pulls the cotton swab away.
“Are you ashamed of your injuries?”
“Are you worried Mom and Dad’ll make them worse?”
“Nah. You said it yourself, those two are weird, unconventional medical experts.”
“Then why not?”
A beat of silence follows. A moment of trepidation. Awash in moonlight, Danny looks up at her, and the glow in his green eyes has a life of its own. “I don’t want them to see the injuries that have already healed.”
“Why would that be a problem?” Jazz looks again. Danny’s suit covers most everything, save now for the one sleeve that’s been rolled back. She sees what she already knew was there – what isn’t obvious to the eye not searching – threads of white ridges, puckers of skin, a faded rashy texture of what had once been an ectoblast burn. Old injuries. Long healed. Faded and fading further. “Those are all healed now. Just some scars, right…?”
“I don’t want them to figure out how many of those scars they caused.”
A gust of wind steals the antiseptic smell from the room. Jazz sits with the silence. She thinks, and she processes.
Danny straightens. “They kind of… live in this world where hunting ghosts is all fun and games, you know? Like it’s a sport, like they can just get into go-mode and jump into the fun. I don’t think they’ve figured out yet that they can—could—did …cause damage.”
Danny adjusts himself on Jazz’s bed, one leg pulled up, body angled to face her directly. He doesn’t let his eye contact wander now. “They both apologized. Definitely. Like that definitely happened, back at the start of this. But it was kind of like ‘We must’ve given you so much trouble Danny! How’d you come home every day and not bite our heads off over that?’ Like. Again. Like it’s a game. Like they’d been knocking my chess pieces over for a year and not—”
Danny falters. He raises his uninjured arm and tucks the hair away from his face. “And I don’t… want it to click for them. What I have right now with Mom and Dad is so nice… It’s so much better than I even imagined. I want it to stay like this. Forever, if possible.”
“And even that actually—maybe I’m actually wrong about that. Completely wrong. About their reaction, I mean. It’s possible maybe they’d see everything and just go,” Danny deepens his voice, “‘Wow! We did a number on you, huh? Man Danny I don’t know how you didn’t just smack us over the breakfast table every morning.’ you know? Like that. Like this was all just always a game. And they—and I-- …I like how relaxed ghost hunting is with them. I actually like that it feels like a game. I don’t ever want to go back to feeling how scared and afraid and unsafe and hurt I was that first year. ...But I’m afraid of how it would feel to know that maybe they’d see that, look at it all, everything they did and the scars like the actual proof and it—if it wouldn't ever be real to them. If they'd never get that it was like that. If they still wouldn’t realize—you know? That they—if they—I don’t uh…” Danny drops his eyes, and he shrinks in on himself. “I don’t know how to explain it…”
“No I—Danny I know what you’re saying. Don’t worry. Danny, I—”
“Either answer. Any answer. I don’t want to know… I don’t actually want to know.” Danny angles himself away again, feet dropped over the side of Jazz’s bed, staring down at the hands in his lap. “If it would horrify them, then I’d be ruining all the good things I have with them right now. And if it wouldn’t horrify them—” Danny falls quiet. The breeze has stilled. The room is colder now. “…then I think I just don’t ever want to know.”
Jazz nods, and nods harder.
“I get it. I get it. That’s a good enough answer for me, Danny, I promise. I’m your first aid person, okay? I won’t ask again. Thanks for… thanks for telling me, Danny.”
"Can always trust you to bring up the difficult conversations huh? Of course that's always been your thing. Talking to you is--well I'd say it's like pulling teeth, but maybe it's more like pulling ecto-demolished hazmat suit fabric out of a burn wound."
Danny offers a sheepish grin - it's an olive branch, a request to lighten the mood. Jazz meets it with her own small grin that does not touch her eyes.
"Yeah yeah, I'm your older sister. It's my job to be a pain. Now sit still, I need to be more of a pain if we're gonna de-hazmat suit your injury."
She picks the tweezers back up. The silence rings with an echo in her head now. Jazz focuses her attention back on her task, and she finds something she was wrong about before:
There is nothing faded about the scars that web up and down her little brother’s arm. They are stark streaks of lightning, glowing silver under the moonlight. And Jazz wonders how many others—how many that flaked away and melded back with healthy skin—how many of those might still be living, lingering, a permanent part of her little brother, buried well beneath the surface…
2K notes · View notes
I've been doing lots of editing, so here's my...
TOP 10 MOST SATISFYING THINGS ABOUT EDITING YOUR NOVEL
10. Taking a passage that was already pretty good and then making it even better.
9. Looking at a passage, saying "yeah I don't need any of this" and slamming the delete key
8. Adding just the right amount of foreshadowing during that seemingly innocent scene 😈
7. Taking [that one line] from earlier in the book and putting it in the final chapter.
6. Spotting a plot-hole and fixing it!
5. Realizing that nobody will ever know that there's a word you can't, for the life of you, ever spell right when you're writing (mine is apartment, I always seem to put two p's in there don't ask me why)
4. Reading a passage and knowing that it is *just* right~
3. Fleshing out my character/location descriptions! It's so much easier once you actually know the characters and locales of your story.
2. Finding little gems in the writing that I didn't notice before and making them the spotlight of a chapter!
And, number one...
1. Knowing that no one will ever, ever, see the mess that this book was before! It's so satisfying to work at it, polishing and polishing, until it's practically unrecognizable from the first draft.
That right there? That's the best feeling. 😊🌻
1K notes · View notes
I’ve just finished with my thesis, now I am waiting for the verdict from my advisor. Shit, that was a long two months... still can’t comprehend I don’t have to suffer with that any more or not sleeping at nights being constant worried about that (not that I naturally could be able to sleep at nights, but writing this just made that a hundred times worse). Okay, right, definitely I’ll have to make some corrections, maybe some bigger ones, but- that would be only corrections not being sick afraid of ever finishing that. Shit. I didn’t see that I could be ever able to finish it (or it would finish me before), but- done. It’s actually done now. Seventy-four goddamn pages. Okay, right, eight pages of references, and I had to delete four illustration because I found that irrelevant - would have been relevant, but then it would have turned out two more pages at least, and I think even that many pages I have is more than it should contain... but, I have sixty-four strict substance. How on the actual f- I am not even surprised that my mental health turned out like a wreck during the process.
Anyways, is anyone interested in reading about Corporate Finance Preferences in Hungary? (Just kidding...) Seriously, I got hate it. That’s my masterpiece - could have turned out better though, but, no- I don’t want a clear path to the psychatry... I know I could have done it better, but- damn, even that was the longest two months in my life (or semester more like...). That’s quite funny it should be the biggest thing in my life, but I am like ‘in fine, this is over! I won’t ever talk about it, not even thinkin about it, because, seriously no one would ever get how much I suffered with it, and it turned out’. And one day it would have needed, I got actually hated it which is sad, it supposed to be the big thing in my life, during my studies, but no- now, I am just empty, this drained me out.
I think I’ll sleep until my advisor writes back and then, I don’t know, hope? I still can’t believe I sent it to him. When, why, how it happened? I wasn’t even aware of that moment. Complete void. I don’t even remember the second, when I nodded, ‘okay, that’s it, it’s finished, now send it’. Am I in still shock or what? Can people be even shocked by finishing thesis? Is there even a possibility for that?
2 notes · View notes