#danny phantom fanfiction
Karkat and co. find a lead when it comes to returning the Noir Ring, but things get odd when a faceless dog appears in their meeting place. Meanwhile, Kanaya tries to comprehend what she saw during the ghost attack on the school.
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I actually used my own experiences with grief and loss in this one, I could channel it better writing from Jazz's perspective
so yeah if you thought the last two were sad-
Jazz had never gone ghost hunting with her mother before, at least never with just the two of them. It was uncomfortable, unfamiliar, like when her only friend at a party left her alone with someone she barely knew.
Her relationship with her mother had always been intellectual in nature, they would engage in philosophical debates over the ethics and morality of the ghost hunting profession while eating dinner, the discussions became far more intense after Jazz discovered Danny's secret. She was no longer debating simply for the sake of an interesting discussion, she was trying to introduce concepts that would smooth the way for when her brother was ready to reveal his other self to them.
It was a tactic she had used successfully many years before, albeit for a far more mundane reason.
Going ghost hunting with Maddie wasn't just uncomfortable because it was unfamiliar, it wasn't even because of her ethical disagreement with her mother's tactics.
It was because her father was supposed to be here.
Maddie rarely went hunting without Jack, not if she could help it, they had always been a team, they worked perfectly in synch with one another, but Jack wasn't here. Jazz was, and his shoes just didn't fit.
Jazz didn't have to go, technically, she wasn't even trying to help with the ghost hunting part, but... she couldn't let Maddie go alone.
Maddie was coping with Jack's death far worse than anyone.
From the moment they'd returned home from the hospital, after Jack had been declared dead, Maddie had been out every day and night hunting for the Wisconsin Ghost. It didn't matter to her that he hadn't been seen since that night, it didn't matter that he had always been too powerful for anyone to take on alone.
Maddie would drive around for hours, chasing any blip on her radar and ferociously ripping into any unfortunate ghost to cross her path.
Danny had been running damage control, warning the more agreeable ghosts to stay out of Amity, capturing the rest as covertly as possible, doing everything he could to stay away from Maddie while in his ghost form.
Jazz had been the only one left to do everything else. She had turned 18 just a few months before, so thankfully she had been legally able to sign all the documentation, to plan the funeral arrangements, the cremation, the obituary. All of it, by herself.
She was grateful, in a way. It gave her something to do, something to focus on that wasn't grief, that wasn't the cold empty hole in her life. Jack's presence had always been hard to ignore, his absence even more so.
Danny had tried to help with the preparations, when he wasn't in the ghost zone or cleaning up ghosts around town. He appeared to be holding himself together okay, but Jazz knew better, she knew that the guilt was eating him up from the inside. It didn't matter how many times she reassured him that he wasn't responsible for this, that he wasn't to blame, it made no difference.
It was only when Jazz had run out of tasks to do that she let herself cry.
She knew that sitting around was only going to make her feel worse, she couldn't let herself stew in her grief, she needed a purpose to pull her through. So she joined her mother on her feverish hours long hunts.
It was escapism, she knew that, for both of them. To Maddie, the hunting was something else to focus on so she could ignore her grief, it gave her a sense of control and purpose. Jazz was using looking out for her mother as her own distraction, her own grasp for purpose and control.
She knew these things, and she knew they were not entirely healthy, but she didn't know what else to do.
If this were anyone else she would have told them to seek out professional therapy, go to grief counselling, practice radical acceptance, to use visualisation exercises and grounding techniques to manage intrusive thoughts. Vengeance and fury weren't a healthy release, they would only build, they would only lead to more pain.
But her books hadn't prepared her for something like this, how could she seek help from someone she can't tell the whole truth? How could she grieve in peace when the justice system couldn't touch her father's murderer? He was still out there, he was still a threat. It was only a matter of time before he started working his way into Maddie's good graces, shamelessly emboldened by his successful assassination.
Jazz was furious when Danny insisted they keep Vlad's identity a secret. She understood where he was coming from. Her mother was struggling enough as it was, Jazz couldn't imagine what it would do to her to find out that it had been her husband's best friend all this time. That he had murdered Jack because he wanted her, the guilt alone would be soul crushing, and then there was the certainty that Vlad would reveal Danny's identity in return.
She couldn't even imagine...
Jazz was still angry, angry that Danny had to be the one to say it, angry that he was right, angry that he could be so rational while inside she was falling to pieces. She knew better, she knew how much he was hurting on the inside too, she knew that he was just good at hiding it, much better than she was.
She was still angry, but they both knew she wasn't angry at him.
When she got up that morning, her mother had been in the lab, her weaponry was getting more dangerous, less capture oriented and more destructive. Jazz wasn't sure if working down there was better than the hunting or worse, but at least no unsuspecting ghosts were getting torn to pieces.
Jazz had witnessed a few first-hand, it was bad enough seeing it happen to the formless, barely sentient poltergeists, she didn't want to know what a true spirit would look like, being eviscerated with such malice. She imagined a ghost like Johnny, laying on the ground with chunks ripped from his-
No, no that wasn't helpful, that was an intrusive thought, she needed to acknowledge its presence and move on, it didn't help her, let it go, like leaves on a string, let it go...
It would be back later, she knew.
Her breakfast was suddenly incredibly unappealing, not that that was anything new. She wouldn't be surprised if she'd lost weight over the last week, her clothes already felt just a little too loose.
A sudden and intense pang of longing hit her fast and hard, she missed him. It had only been a week and she already missed him so much. She just wanted him to wrap his big arms around her and hold her close and dig his chin into her hair in that way that annoyed her and tell her everything was okay Jazzypants and... and he was the only one who ever called her that. She hated it. She'd never hear it again...
She pushed her bowl of cereal away and stood, her eyes burning. She had to find something else to do, to keep her mind busy.
She went around the living room, clearing the coffee table and fluffing the pillows, there was a stain on the lounge, probably from a bit of fudge-
The curtains were looking dusty, they could probably use a clean, would they fit in the washing machine or would they need to be hand washed?
She'd started trying to unhook them from the curtain rod when the lab door banged open loudly, Jazz jumped, startled. She ran to the kitchen to find her mother in tears, hand over her mouth like she was trying to hold it all back. Jazz wrapped her arms around her and Maddie grasped onto her tight, like she was afraid she would be snatched away at a moment's notice.
Jazz rocked slightly and ran a hand up and down her mother's back comfortingly as they each cried into the other's shoulder. Maddie hadn't cried like this since the first night, Jazz recognised it as a good sign, she was letting herself feel again.
"Where is he?" Maddie stammered, "W-where'd he go, where'd he go?"
Jazz just squeezed tighter, it was a difficult question for someone who studied the dead for a living, to wonder what happened after. They were never a religious family, being raised by scientists there was never talk of a heaven or hell, just the ghost zone, what lay beyond that was a mystery to them all, even the ghosts.
She sniffed, she could feel tears clinging to her eyelashes, and an odd itch to her scalp.
"Jazz?" Danny's voice echoed down the stairs.
She heard Danny come into the room behind her, he made an odd sound, a quick and quiet intake of breath. Was he trying not to cry? Jazz hadn't seen him cry once, not since he was dragged off of Vlad that night, bruised knuckles dripping red. They were tears of fury then, she would never forget the sound of Danny's ragged screams as he pummelled Vlad into the ground, despite all the hands trying to pull him off the man.
Vlad had simply taken the beating, he'd use it later, she knew. He would forgive Danny, say it that he deserved it for failing to fight off that terrible awful Wisconsin Ghost when it overshadowed him. He would say it was all his fault, that he deserved all that pain and more, he was oh so sorry.
And Maddie would forgive him, because it wasn't his fault, it was that awful awful ghost. Vlad could never do something so terrible to his best friend. Vlad would always be welcome in their home, and welcome he would make himself. Jazz could see it all, and she could do nothing about it.
Danny placed a hand on his mother's shoulder. "Maybe you should do another lap around town, you might find something today." he pressed his head close to hers and spoke softly into her frazzled hair.
Jazz glanced at Danny with narrow eyes, annoyed and confused, their mother was finally making progress, and Danny was going to send her right back to her fruitless obsessive search for vengeance? He had to know it wasn't helpful, he had to.
He looked at her, wide eyed and thin lipped as he gave a quick jerk of the head and flick of the eyes to the front door. He wanted Maddie out of the house, for what reason Jazz didn't know and obviously couldn't ask, but she trusted her brother and did as she was told. Something was going on, but she would have to ask Danny about it later.
The day was warm and only a little humid, they drove with the windows down. Jazz enjoyed the wind on her face, she did not enjoy the silence.
It stretched on, unbroken by the radar as Danny's patrol earlier in the dawn had swept the town clean of ghost activity. It looked like Jazz wouldn't be watching another massacre today, she couldn't be more relieved.
"It's been quiet." Maddie said, out of the blue.
"Huh? Oh, yeah. Guess it has," Jazz paused, "maybe you scared them all off?"
"They should be scared." Maddie's tone was low, threatening. If Jazz were a ghost she would be terrified.
There was more quiet, they passed the local park, the sound of kids playing and birds singing were loud for a few moments, until the trees disappeared into the distance behind them and the quiet returned.
"Haven't seen much of Phantom either." Maddie spat. "I'm surprised he hasn't shown up to gloat."
Pain shot through Jazz like an arrow, she would have to warn Danny to make extra sure to stay out of their mother's way, she was very clearly ready to shift a whole lot of misplaced aggression directly onto him.
She considered challenging her mother's assumption, but thought it best not to provoke her right now. Instead she merely hummed an acknowledgment.
They drove past the school, empty for the summer. Jazz's final exams had only just ended before her father's birthday, but she had missed graduation. She didn't want to go without him there, she was supposed to give a speech, she was too busy writing a eulogy.
They passed a group of people she knew from school, they gave her a little wave. Despite Jack's notoriety, everyone had been sad to hear the news, they'd sent a giant card around the school and everyone she knew had signed it, including the teachers, and everyone in Danny's year too. Mr Lancer brought it to the house with an enormous bouquet, he couldn't convince the school to pay for one so he bought it out of his own pocket.
Jazz had gotten texts and private messages, all saying they were here for her if she ever needed to talk. She responded to most of them, but sometimes she just sent a heart emoji. It was easier than writing the same thank you message over and over. She didn't take any of them up on the offer.
The drive wasn't too bad honestly, without any ghosts showing up it was almost relaxing. Maddie hadn't said much else other than a few observations about the traffic or the weather. When Jazz suggested getting some lunch Maddie had opted to use the Nasty Burger drive through so they could eat in the van. Jazz was grateful, she didn't want to run into anyone else from school.
Her phone buzzed, it was Danny sending her a thumbs up, they were safe to go home.
"We should probably head home." Jazz suggested, slurping the last of her drink. "We've been all over town, there's nothing here."
Maddie grit her teeth but revved up the van and turned toward FentonWorks.
As soon as they were through the door Maddie headed to the lab, presumably to drown herself in more work. Jazz headed up the stairs where Danny waited for her.
"What's going on?" she asked.
Danny shushed her looking over her shoulder down the stairs.
"It's fine she's in the lab," Jazz reassured him, "what's going on?"
He didn't answer, just grabbed her wrist and pulled her toward his room, closing the door behind them and locking it.
"I'm going to try something," he said, crossing the room to stand before her, "But I think you should sit down first."
Jazz frowned but she sat down on the edge of the bed.
"Is this about Vlad? Did he come here?" A rush of heat spilled over her face, "If that son of a bitch tried anything I'll-"
"Jazz it's fine, it's not Vlad, it's fine." Danny breathed, running a hand through his hair nervously. "It's just, I'm trying something but I need you here to tell me if it works, okay?"
He nibbled his lip anxiously but he also seemed... almost excited about something. Had he developed a new power?
Jazz nodded and paid close attention as Danny took a few steps back and put a hand up, palm facing to the side and away from himself, his fingers curled slightly as if grabbing for something.
He took a deep breath and the heat of the summer air chilled, a trail of green mist flowed over his hand and began to form a shape in the air beside him.
Almost immediately as it began to form Jazz knew.
She leapt to her feet to stand before the large figure revealing itself gradually before her, when the mist crept over a square jaw and close cropped haircut she threw her hands over her mouth to stifle her gasping breaths.
"Dad." she breathed, she reached for him but didn't dare touch, afraid that she would ruin the illusion. Was he here? Was he real? She looked to Danny but his eyes were closed, face scrunched in concentration. He peeked at her for a moment, his grimace lifting into a strained smile.
"It's him." said Danny, through gritted teeth, "Say hi."
Jazz cried as Jack lifted a hand toward her face, he was still a translucent shimmering green, but she was certain she could see tears on his face. He mouthed words that she couldn't hear, but she knew them all the same.
She was sobbing hard as she grasped the hand cupping her face, her fingers went right through it, but she could feel it, like she could feel his palm against her cheek. It was cold, and so light it almost tickled, but she could feel it.
She tried again, very gently feeling for that slight resistance to the air and holding her hand against it, she couldn't touch him for real, she couldn't hold him, but she could feel him. That was enough.
"I missed you dad." She smiled through her tears, "I missed you so much."
His features were still hard to make out, but it was clear he was smiling, he mouthed more words.
"Sorry, I can't hear you." said Jazz, sadly.
"He says he liked the obituary." Danny grunted, eyes still squeezed shut. "He knew you wrote it, he could tell."
Jazz laughed, it was only a little hysterical. Danny's hand trembled against Jack's arm. Jazz wanted to tell him he could stop now, but she didn't want her dad to go, not yet.
She raised her hands to cup his face, only just feeling the whisper of a few bristles on his chin. She didn't know what to say, what could she say?
"I'm so glad you're here," she said quietly with as much feeling as she could, "but, why are you here? You said you'd never... you'd never..."
Jack said nothing, but glanced over to Danny, whose hair had started streaking with white and glinting with crystalline shards of ice.
"Don't get to choose." He growled, his voice sounded distorted, his jaw clenched so hard Jazz could hear his teeth grinding, "Happens or it doesn't."
Danny's lips were pulled back in a pained snarl and were turning blue, his canines were sharpening as blinding flashes of green slipped from beneath his eyelids. A large puff of opaque mist rolled from his mouth upon each laboured exhale.
Jazz gave her father a careful hug, trying to lean into him without falling through.
"We're gonna figure this out dad I promise we're gonna figure it out."
She could feel his arms around her, the slight pressure reminding her of being buffeted by a strong gust of wind.
Danny took that as his cue, he pulled his hand back with a ragged cry and Jack's misty green form dissipated like smoke in a breeze.
Jazz stared into the empty space her dad's face had only just filled moments ago.
"Is he still here?" She asked, voice trembling.
"Yuh- yeah," Danny huffed, he was bent over, catching his breath. "I can suh- still see him, and hear him."
He stood straight as he pulled in a deep lungful of air. Then he laughed, a rough, exhausted laugh, but a laugh nonetheless.
"I'm so glad that worked, oh Ancients. I'm gonna need a minute." he crashed onto the bed face down.
"What exactly did you do?" Jazz asked, eyes still locked on the space where Jack had been, and presumably was still, standing.
"Dad only just formed a consciousness this morning," Danny grumbled into his bedding. "He's still warm, hasn't manifested a core yet. I just loaned him some energy."
"Still warm?" Jazz turned her nose up at the phrase.
"Yeah, it's uh, ghost slang. Means freshly dead, y'know like the body's still-"
"Yeah yeah I get it," Jazz waved a hand dismissively. "Gross."
"That's what dad said."
"Yeah! Because it's gross!"
Danny laughed, but it was barely more than a breathy huff. Jazz eyed him carefully, he was a little more pale than usual, there were bags beneath his eyes, his cheeks were a little hollow and his lips were still tinged with blue. All his usual signs of overexertion, but other than that he looked relatively okay.
"Why was it so exhausting?" Jazz asked. "I would've thought you'd have more than enough energy to share, especially for something as simple as visibility."
"Amount isn't the issue." Danny raised a finger pointedly, "Simple is the issue, imagine trying to fill a water balloon with a fire hose."
"Wait, that sounds unbelievably dangerous!" Jazz glared at Danny and then back at the empty room, "What happens to dad if you lose control?"
Danny groaned and flipped himself over onto his back, an arm flung over his eyes.
"Don't get mad at me it was his idea." Danny glared at the empty space for a beat before barking, "Was too!"
Jazz rolled her eyes, "Oh my god you are both children." She turned to Danny and pointed a thumb over her shoulder, "I can't hear him so you're going to have to tell me, what would happen to him if you lost control?"
Danny pressed his lips together and muttered guiltily, "He... could'a destabilised."
"I told you it was his idea!"
"I don't care whose idea it was!" Jazz alternated between glaring at Danny and at the space behind her. "You're both idiots for trying something so risky! There wasn't some way to practice?!"
"What do think we were doing while you were gone!" Danny exclaimed, "Also he's standing over there now, he moved so he wouldn't feel like you were yelling at him."
Jazz planted a hand over her face, and shook her head in disbelief, she didn't know whether to laugh or cry, her dad had been back for not even ten minutes and she was already yelling at him.
She spluttered a choked up giggle, wiping her eyes and sniffling.
"God I missed you dad." Jazz said, before she started bawling.
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Submitted by @ghostgothgeek: Danny/Sam and Johnny/Kitty double date
Summary: All Danny wanted was some dating advice from the only couple he knows, but of course he got more than he bargained for. At least going to the boardwalk sounds like a nice first date, right?
Word count: 9464 | links to ffn and ao3 in my bio
Danny stares at the tickets in Johnny's outstretched hand. He looks up at Johnny's slanted grin, then back down again. On the other side of the roof, Shadow lurks in the shade of the Ops-centre, drifting dangerously close to the supports.
"When I asked for dating advice, this isn't what I meant," Danny says. He thought Johnny dragged him up to the roof of Fenton Works for some "man to man" talk, not... whatever this is.
Johnny shrugs and stuffs the tickets into his jacket pocket. "Maybe so, but it's what you're getting! You want to treat your girl right? What better way to learn than watching the best boyfriend you know in action?"
"Johnny, I've seen you in action. Downtown. Driving around the community college and looking at all the girls while Kitty is off doing whatever," Danny says.
"Is that really such a big deal? Come on, kid. Listen to me." Johnny throws his arm around Danny's shoulder and drags him toward the edge of the rooftop. "Look how big this place is." He sweeps out his arm, gesturing toward the city. The sun is nearly set, but lots of people are still out at this hour. A warm haze of light glitters on the northern edge of the city, at the beachfront. Danny can almost see the top curve of the Ferris wheel from here.
Johnny continues. "Lots of people down there. Who knows who you actually saw doing what? I bet there are loads of blond guys with bikes around here. And I've got two tickets to the pier that says so."
Danny turns away from the glowing city to stare incredulously at Johnny. "You're using a double date with you and Kitty to bribe me into not telling her I caught you ogling college girls?"
"You said it, not me."
"Did you steal those tickets?"
"Kid, I know you're the goody-two-shoes type. I bought them fair and square with money right of pocket."
Danny snorts. "Whose pocket?"
"I don't think that matters. Come on, it'll be fun. I don't give advice for free, you know." Johnny squeezes Danny's shoulder, a little too hard for what's meant to be a casual chat. The desperate sheen in Johnny's eye kind of ruins the threat, though.
As Danny considers the offer, a shiver goes up his spine. His next breath leaves in a puff of pale blue air. With a sigh, he goes intangible and extracts himself from Johnny's hold, smiling a little when the older ghost stumbles at the sudden loss of Danny's support. Looking over the rooftops, he can't see another ghost, but they can't be far if they set off his ghost sense. He hopes with all his heart that they might be here for a friendly chat, like Johnny, but doubts it. Danny isn't lucky enough for that.
"Okay. I'll go," he says.
"And?" Johnny's grin stretches as he gestures for Danny to go on.
Danny tips his head back and sighs. He doesn't have time for this. "And I guess I didn't see you at the college last week."
"Great!" Johnny gives Danny a hearty slap on the back and climbs back onto his motorcycle. "You're not so bad, kid. When you're not kicking my ass. Just stick with Kitty and me on the day and I'll show the ropes." He kicks up the stand on his motorcycle and revs the engine. "Oh, and before I forget. If this date doesn't go perfectly, then... Shadow!"
The murky ghost rises from beneath the Ops-centre.
"Wait, don't!" Danny shouts, too late, as Shadow zips across the roof, cutting through as many of the Ops-Centre's supports as he can before melting into the darkness. Johnny takes off cackling as the whole thing comes crashing down.
The next morning, Danny keeps his head low, his gaze locked on the bowl of soggy cereal in front of him. Across the kitchen, his father stops to slap the counter.
"Didn't even hear a thing! Can you believe that?" Jack asks.
"Must have happened while we were sleeping."
"When I find the ghost that did it, they're gonna get a face full of Fenton grade vengeance! You know what happens when a ghost looks in a mirror, Danno? Makes 'em go crazy. We're working on this new gun that makes them see—"
"Look at that, time for school!" Danny shoots to his feet. He can't meet his father's gaze as he dumps his cereal bowl—still half full—into the sink and scurries out of the kitchen.
"Have fun!" Jack calls after him.
"Yeah, sure, I will!" Danny shouts back. Under his breath, he adds, "as long as I never have to see that gun." He grabs his backpack as he leaves, snagging the strap and swinging it over his shoulder on his way out the door. Once he is outside, and there's a solid barrier between him, his ticked-off father, and whatever ghost-fighting monstrosity his parents have made now, he stops to take a deep breath.
There are still a few minutes before Tucker should arrive for their walk to school, but Jack does not know that. Danny did not want to sit there and listen to his own father talk about all the ways he could make Danny double-dead, much less re-experience his first death. In fact, he usually tries to avoid people like that. Unfortunately, that does not always work when he lives with two of them.
Danny shakes his head. He can think about those things later. Right now, his conversation with Johnny is the only thing he cares about. Only time will tell if he made a huge mistake agreeing to the double date, but it would be nice if at least one thing could go right for Danny for once.
Inside the house, something slams, followed by a shout from Jack that rattles the window. Danny jumps away from the door and nearly tumbles down the stoop, his front foot slipping off the top step. He latches onto the bannister to keep from falling back, and his foot thumps against the next step. The landing jars his leg as his knee locks, a jolt shooting up his thigh.
"Whoa, it's freshman Danny." Tucker's voice drifts through Danny's ears.
Danny turns, rubbing his now aching knee, and scowls. "What?"
"You know. Freshman Danny." Grinning wide and smug, Tucker motions to Danny's entire person first, then his leg. "Clumsy as hell and too chicken to ask Sam out."
"Shut up! Am not."
"Are too!" Tucker waves his hand in an airy gesture of finality, turning up his nose. He spins away from Danny, a signal that their little squabble is over. His mistake.
With a final cry of "Am not!" Danny launches himself at Tucker, pouncing on his back. Tucker shrieks in surprise, a peal of laughter echoing off his cry, and stumbles under the new weight. He tries to beat Danny off with the flat of his palm. In response, Danny clings tighter. He wraps his legs around Tucker's waist and hooks his arms over his shoulders, latching on to his wrists to keep a firm grip.
"Holy shit. You're so short, why are you so heavy." Tucker wheezes as he tries to pry Danny's arms off.
Danny throws his head over Tucker's shoulders, shifting his weight forward enough that Tucker bows underneath him. "Ghost fighting muscles, baby."
"Ugh." Tucker's palm finds Danny's chin and he pushes, shoving his head back. "You totally could have asked Sam out for homecoming but nooo, you had to go with me as a hot young bachelor."
Danny's cheeks burned. "It was your idea!"
"Only because you were getting all pouty about not going with Sam, and the only reason that didn’t happen is because you never asked!"
"Well, I'm asking today!"
Tucker freezes. For a second, Danny wonders how ridiculous they must look to anyone watching, with him clinging to Tucker worse than Klemper to literally anyone, and Tucker stretching back to push Danny's head as far back as it will go. Actually, maybe they wouldn't find it so strange. Danny's neighbours have seen a lot of weird things in the past four years; him and Tucker being their usual selves can't be high up on that list.
"You're really gonna ask today, finally?" Tucker asks.
Danny nods, as much as he can Tucker still shoving his head back. "Johnny was here last night."
"Oh yeah?" Tucker pauses, giving Danny a chance to elaborate. He doesn't, waiting for the gears to click in Tucker's head instead. It takes a moment, but he gets there. "Oh! Oh, right, yeah. He finally got back to you? Is that why, uh... you know." Tucker finally withdraws his hands and points to the roof of Fenton Works.
"Oh. Yeah." Danny's limbs go intangible, slipping through Tucker's torso in one final act of petty vengeance as Danny rights himself. Tucker shivers, shooting Danny a glare, before looking back at the Ops-Centre. Normally a pinnacle of Fenton genius that stands proudly above their home, now it lays on its side. Danny managed to catch it, barely, before it could crash into the roof, but overnight the saucer-like body crushed itself under its own weight. Now, the side touching the roof is a crumpled mess, the supports that once held it up rusted beyond repair.
"Shadow," Danny says. It's all he needs to say. Tucker nods, understanding perfectly what happened here. "Other than that it went... okay. He asked me out."
"What?!" Tucker's head whips toward Danny, his eyes wide. "I hope nobody tells Kitty. But he does give off bi energy, doesn't he?"
Danny rolls his eyes. "Not like that. He invited me and Sam on a double date with him and Kitty."
"Oh, so they're swingers."
Tucker snickers. "Okay, okay. I'm serious now. Promise." The cat-like grin he gives isn't the most reassuring, but Danny will take what he can get. "You're really gonna ask her out today?"
"Got carnival tickets and everything."
"Well, shit, man. Don't blow it."
Danny grabs Tucker's beanie and yanks it down over his face. Tucker's teasing laughter chases Danny all the way to school.
At lunch, Danny pulls Sam aside. He meets her at her locker, which is two halls away from his and Tucker's, waiting along the opposite wall for her to finish switching out her books for her lunch bag. The hall is still fairly crowded since it's only been a minute since the lunch bell went. Down the way, Danny can see Paulina and Elliot, standing with their heads tucked together by Paulina's locker, working on the local rumour mill no doubt. When Sam looks done digging through her bag, and Danny pushes off the wall toward her, Elliot happens to glance in their direction. His sharp eyes go from Danny to Sam, then back. A wicked smile takes over his face.
Danny ducks his head, letting his hair flop forward and hide his slowly reddening cheeks. In two quick strides, he crosses the hall and thumps against the closed lockers beside Sam's.
"Done lurking?" Sam asks without looking up.
"I wasn't lurking."
"Sure you weren't." Sam knocks her elbow against her locker door. Danny's eyes catch the small, black-framed mirror taped to the inside, which reflects the exact spot Danny was standing when it hits the right angle.
At this rate, Danny's face will be red as his shoes. "Oh."
"Yeah, oh. What's up?" She finally looks up from her bag as she yanks the zipper closed. When she turns toward him, she hits her locker door with her elbow once again, this time to knock it closed; but, as the door swings, Danny glimpses Paulina and Elliot again. This time, they are both watching, and the way they cover their mouths as they talk is far from reassuring.
Danny's hand jerks out. He stops Sam's locker, shoving it back open, and holds it in place to block the gossiping duo's view.
"I wanted to ask you something," Danny says.
Sam shoots a raised eyebrow at her locker door, then turns it on him "Are you okay? You've been acting kind of weird all day."
"No, yeah, I'm fine. I was just– you know. This weekend, yeah?"
Sam looks entirely unimpressed with his fumbled words. "I can't say that I do."
"I have tickets to the boardwalk," Danny clarifies. "For this weekend. We don't have anything planned and I know you're free. So, want to go?"
As he waits for Sam's answer, he is struck by the realization that she could say no. They have been friends for years, and he has had an inkling, the past little while, that she might like him back. But he doesn't know it. No matter what Danny feels for her—and thinking about his own feelings makes his face hot and his heart stutter—she still might not feel the same. She could say no. And it's not that Danny hasn't thought about this before; there's a reason he is only asking her out senior year even though he has had a crush on her since they were freshman. But worrying about it in the back of his mind is very different from standing in front of her knowing it could actually happen.
This was such a bad idea. He is asking her out in the hallway. Within sight of Paulina and Elliot. He should have waited until after school, at least. Oh, god. Should he have gotten her something? Are you supposed to bring something when you ask someone out? Oh, this is so bad. She is going to say no, and then Danny will have to tell the story to Tucker, and Tucker will laugh because of course she said no, this is terrible.
"Sure, sounds fun," Sam says.
Danny blinks. He shakes his head, goes over her words in his head to make sure he heard it right, then blinks again. "Yes?"
"Absolutely. It's been so long since we've gone to the boardwalk. Maybe Tucker can win that stuffed shark he couldn't get last time." Sam nudges Danny's hand off her locker door and closes it, then snaps her padlock back into place.
Danny watches her blankly, slowly processing what she just said. "Tucker," he says.
"Yeah. At the ring toss booth, remember? I think he wasted fifty bucks on that thing. I told him it was a scam, but whatever." Sam starts down the hall toward the cafeteria, but Danny stays rooted in place.
He remembers the ring toss, of course. After Tucker finished emptying his wallet on the booth, Danny took a turn and got the top prize in one go. He might have had a little telekinesis to help him along, but no one else needed to know that; the giant stuffed alien was worth it. But that had nothing to do with this, right?
Before his thoughts can spiral too far, Danny shakes his head. "I meant without Tucker."
Sam pauses mid-step. Slowly, she sets her foot down and turns back around to face Danny. Her grip on her backpack tightens, and he can see the muscle along her jaw working as she clenches her teeth. Those are... probably not good signs. "Like, just you and me?"
In the background, Danny hears Paulina and Elliot snicker. He groans, dragging a hand down his face, and glares over Sam's shoulder at them. "Can you not?"
"Not our fault you're doing this in the middle of the hall," Paulina says.
"Seriously. I had way better class," Elliot adds.
Paulina looks at Elliot and beams. "You so did. But I've been rooting for this since the beginning, and I am so invested right now."
"Oh my God, this is so embarrassing." Danny has to fight off the urge to go intangible. He almost wishes his ghost sense would go off so that he could have an excuse to leave. This is not how he imagined this going, and Paulina and Elliot are making it so much worse than it has to be.
"Come on, Danny." Sam's voice snaps him out of his pity party. At some point, while he was wallowing, she walked back toward him and now has her hand on his wrist. She tugs him forward. He gives in, letting her drag him along the hall past the tittering pair until they disappear around the corner. Once they are out of sight, Sam's hand slips down into Danny's. It's warm. She squeezes his hand, just once, then tugs him into the nearest empty classroom and closes the door.
Neither of them says anything for a long moment.
Danny's hands flex at his sides as he tries not to fidget. Sam won't pull her gaze up from the floor.
"So, uh. Just you and me?" she repeats.
Danny nods vigorously, then stops and shakes it instead. "Yeah, but no. Johnny and Kitty will be there."
Sam's head snaps up.
The first thing Danny notices is the red tinge to her face, a rosy band stretching across her cheeks and nose. Her lips pinch together, not in a show of disapproval, but an expression of hers that he has become familiar with over the years. Sam doesn't usually do hopeful most of the time. Nerves aren't her thing either. But when she wants something bad enough, and she dares to look on the brighter side, she gets this look on her face. It's like she wants to smile but she holds herself back, sucking on her lips as she tries to keep composed.
That expression wavers now, her mouth relaxing as a frown tugs at her lips instead. "Now I'm confused. Are you trying to ask me out or not?"
"Yes!" Danny bursts out. "To the boardwalk with me. But it's, like, a double date with Johnny and Kitty, because he got the tickets. Actually bought them, although I'm pretty sure he stole the money." He considers telling Sam about the deal but holds back. "I really thought this was gonna go better but now I kind of want to punch Elliot in the face or something."
"Please don't punch my ex-boyfriend in the face."
"Right, not a good look. Got it."
Silence falls again. Neither of them can meet each other's eyes, although Danny keeps stealing glances at Sam. One hand hovers in front of her mouth, but when she turns her head away from him, he sees the full-blown grin on her face. Her eyes sparkle in a way he hasn't seen before. It sounds cheesy and dumb, but it's the truth. He looks at her and all he can see is how genuinely happy she is. Soon enough, Danny wears a grin to match hers.
"So," Sam says, and that one syllable sounds so much lighter than her usual tone. "It's a date."
In retrospect, asking Sam to go out with him on Saturday on a Wednesday wasn't the best idea. Danny floats around school for the rest of the day with a dopey grin on his face. He actually lifts off his feet a few times and Tucker has to clamp a hand down on his shoulder to keep him down. Over the next two days, he asks Tucker no less than five times if that really happened, if Sam actually said yes. Tucker, naturally, teases Danny relentlessly over it.
By Friday, Paulina and Elliot have made good work of spreading Danny's disaster attempt to ask Sam out all around the school. More than once, he sees money changing hands in the hallway, trying to be discreet and Danny and Sam pass by, so close together that their knuckles keep brushing as they walk.
He hasn't held her hand since she dragged him to the classroom on Wednesday, even though he wants to.
When Saturday rolls around, Danny phones Tucker an hour before he and Sam are supposed to meet.
"Do I dress normally?" he asks.
On the other end of the line, Tucker sighs. "Why are you asking me?"
"It's the boardwalk. People don't get dressed up for the boardwalk. And Sam has already seen everything in my closet. Should I try to look really nice, or should I just be myself?"
"We are talking about Sam, right? Relax, man. You know what she'd like."
In the end, Danny decides to go mostly normal. He throws a button-up over his usual outfit, rolls the sleeves up, and calls it a day. If he knows Sam, she would appreciate him not making things weird by getting too fancy and not like his usual self. He maintains that attitude up until he gets to the boardwalk and sees her waiting by the ticket booths.
"I should have dressed up," he whispers.
At a glance, Sam's outfit doesn't seem too different from her usual attire. Black on black with a few purple accents thrown into the mix. He has seen her in dresses before, but rarely outside school dances, and he has never seen this one with Flowing lace sleeves that slope down her shoulders and a flared skirt. She even has a new wide brim hat to go with it, even though it's already sunset.
Before Danny even considers turning back around and putting something nicer on, Sam's gaze roves over the parking lot and settles on him. She gives his outfit a good look. A second passes. She bursts on laughing.
"Oh, come on," Danny whines as he approaches.
"I'm sorry," she says, but she is still hunched over clutching her stomach. "But your face. You should have seen your face."
It takes a good minute for her to get her giggles under control. Even still, a few quiet snickers breakthrough when she finally composes herself, smoothing out her dress and righting her hat.
"Tucker texted me," she says. "He told me all about your little fashion dilemma."
"I'm gonna kill him." Tucker just had to get in one last jab before the date began, Danny supposes. He hopes it was worth it because Tucker is going to pay dearly. Although...
He subtlety takes in Sam's outfit again, the way the dress hugs her waist, and those boots. He didn't notice them at first but now he can't stop staring at them. Slick, black, buckled up to the knees, with the purple lace edging of a pair of stocking peeking out the top. The only exposed skin on her legs is a few scant inches of her thighs between the end of the stockings and the bottom of her dress. And it's a damn good few inches.
Danny silently amends his earlier statement. He won't kill Tucker; he will collapse into his best friend’s arms crying tears of gratitude for helping him spend a whole evening with Sam dressed like that.
Realizing that he is staring, Danny quickly drags his eyes back up to Sam's face. The last thing he wants on their first date is for her to punch him because he is being a creep. Except Sam doesn't look angry to have caught him staring. In fact, she is blushing again, nervously plucking at her sleeves with her nails.
"For a second I thought you had bought a whole new outfit just for today." Danny chuckles, his own nerves showing through. Despite how long they have known each other, he feels wholly unprepared for tonight.
"Not exactly," Sam says. She drops her sleeves and smooths out her skirt again, this time pinching some of the fabric in her hand and swishing it back and forth. "I've had this outfit for a while, but I haven't worn it yet."
"Oh, man. I'm really underdressed, aren't I?" Danny tugs at the collar of his NASA shirt with a grimace. The button-up, at least, is black, because he knew she would like that. But otherwise, he is plain old Danny.
"Not that you don't look good all dressed up, but I like it when you're yourself," Sam says.
The rumble of a motorcycle approaches from the distance.
"Besides, I think you'll look pretty fancy next to Johnny."
At least Danny has that going for him. They both turn toward and watch Johnny's motorcycle peal into the parking lot. It goes intangible, along with its riders, and phases through the parked cars, only coming back into the physical world when it screeches to a stop in front of Danny and Sam.
Johnny runs a hand over his slicked-back hair—is that gel? "You're really setting the tone for your first date, huh."
To Danny's horror, Johnny is dressed up. He switched his dusty gray jacket for a shiny leather one, and instead of his usual shirt, he wears his own button-up. But unlike Danny's, Johnny's shirt is white and crisp, and actually buttoned up.
Kitty, meanwhile, looks the same as always. "Come on, don't tease the kid. He ain't half bad looking. He snagged me for a couple weeks, didn't he?"
Danny opens his mouth, about to remind her that she had been using him to make Johnny jealous the entire time; one look at Johnny's scowl and Sam's glare has him shutting up before he can utter a single syllable.
"Uh, should we go in? You do have the tickets, right Johnny?" he says instead.
Johnny scoffs and reaches into his jacket, pulling out the tickets. "Cool it, little man. I got us covered."
"Johnny! You actually bought tickets?" Kitty gasps.
"Only the best for you, babe. Let's go." Johnny holds out his elbow for Kitty to take, which she goes with glee, her steps bouncing as they take off for the ticket booth. Over his shoulder, Johnny shoots Danny a wink.
"Oh, uh. Shall we?" Danny cringes as the words fall from his mouth, but offers his arm to Sam nonetheless. She looks between Danny and Johnny, a questioning look in her eye. Just when Danny thinks she is going to leave him hanging, she shrugs and loops her arm through his.
They follow Johnny and Kitty. Already at the booth, the ghostly couple is passing the tickets over when Danny and Sam get close.
"The pipsqueaks are with us," Johnny says.
The girl at the counter, who looks only a year or two older than Danny, stares at Johnny with wide eyes. His aura, a dull grey that's usually hard to see, is much brighter at night. With the poorly lit parking lot at their back, it's impossible to ignore. Kitty's soft green aura is far more noticeable, but she stands just behind Johnny, her arm still curled around his, staring ahead at the twinkling lights of the boardwalk.
The sun hasn't completely set yet, but the top of the Ferris wheel touches the darkest part of the sky, and its colourful lights flash in a mesmerizing pattern, beckoning people in.
Johnny seems to have forgotten the whole reason he arranged this date in the first place because he takes full advantage of Kitty's distraction to lean in close to Ticket Girl, looking her up and down.
Behind them, a line is forming.
Ticket Girl's lip curls in disgust, but Danny can see fear shining in her eyes. "Sorry, sir, but I don't know if I can let a ghost in."
The fawning curl to Johnny's smile drops away abruptly, twisting into something more similar. "That's a bit rude, don't you think?" Shadow rises from Johnny's feet, growing taller until he looms over the booth, a menacing grin stretching his blank face wide.
"Johnny!" Danny slides up to the booth, nudging Johnny over with the arm not held by Sam, and beams at Ticket Girl manning the booth. "Hey. You might recognize me—Danny Fenton, son of Maddie and Jack Fenton."
"The ghost hunters." Ticket Girl nods.
"Right. We're actually doing an experiment right now. See, some ghosts actually have really human behaviours. Like Phantom, I bet you love him. But any good scientist has to test their hypothesis multiple times. So me and my– uh, my girlfriend?" He glances at Sam, whose red face matches his, but nods in agreement. "Are here to observe these too ghosts"—he tips his head to Johnny and Kitty—"doing normal human things. Such as getting into the boardwalk with paid tickets, just like everyone else wants to do."
"But he...." Ticket Girl glances nervously at Shadow.
"The big guy will be so chill. Super chill. You won't even know he is here, because you'll be at the booth, far away from the ghosts that just want to get inside and definitely not hurt anyone here."
The kid snatches up the tickets before Danny finishes his sentence, ripping off the stubs, and shoves a handful of wristbands across the counter, along with a whole roll of game tickets. "Just don't come back, okay?"
"Thank you!" Danny grabs the items and hustles everyone along.
"Nice work, Danny." Kitty gives him a thumb up under her and Johnny's intertwined arms. "Way to use your head."
"I could have thought of something," Johnny grumbles.
"Sure you could have, babe. Now let's check out the roller coaster first!" She drags him off, both of them without their wristbands, but Danny doesn't think it will be a problem. Everyone steers clear of them as they plow through the crowd. Every second the sun gets closer to setting, every shade darker the sky turns, the more obvious it becomes that Johnny and Kitty aren't human as their auras grow brighter.
"What should we do first?" Sam plucks four of the wristbands from Danny's fist—the kid gave him seven—and puts them on, grinning at her little collection. She takes the remaining three and puts them on Danny.
"Roller coaster sounds fun. Go with the thrills first?" He watches her slip the bands around his wrist, looping them together so that all three are intertwined.
Sam pauses on the last bracelet. "But you like saving the big rides for last."
He peeks over Sam's shoulder. Johnny and Kitty are halfway across the boardwalk already, well on their way to the coaster. Johnny twists mid-step, catches Danny's eye, and beckons him forward.
Right. Stick together. See how it's done.
"Yeah, but it might be fun to shake things up." He takes over putting the last bracelet on, hurrying to slap the sticky pieces together. In his rush, he catches some of his hair, drawing out a wince, but Johnny and Kitty are nearly there, and they've fallen way too far behind. "Come on!"
Danny takes Sam's arm and pulls her along. Focused on the path left by Johnny and Kitty's charge, he misses the frown on Sam's face as she looks down at him.
It goes better than Danny expected. Kitty leads the way, picking attraction after attraction with such gusto that he thinks she has never been to a theme park of any kind, which may very well be. Danny doesn't know much about Johnny and Kitty's life before ghost-hood, except that they died young and poor.
More than once, Danny catches Johnny watching other girls. Kitty doesn't seem to have noticed, so far, but Danny is not taking any chances. He remembers Johnny's threat and Shadow's piercing eyes watching them every step of the way serves as a constant reminder. Whenever he catches Johnny in a moment of distraction, he nudges the ghost and draws him back to the present. It earns him a few glares, but it works.
Despite Johnny's mounting annoyance, he still fulfills his side of the deal, giving Danny quick advice, either through vague gestures or whispered words while the girls are distracted.
"Let her choose what to do." Johnny feigns examining the bright bulbs overhead as they wait in line for the bumper cars. The golden lights dangle from the tent, flashing intermittently. Neither Sam nor Kitty are paying attention to the boys. Sam leans against the railing, cheering on the current bumper car drivers. A quick glance into the rink shows Valerie Grey ramming her cart against Dash Baxter.
If Johnny weren't dispensing important advice, Danny would be right next to Sam cheering along.
"It makes her feel like you care about what she likes when you do," Johnny continues.
"I do care," Danny says.
"Perfect, then you won't have a problem."
The bumper cars don't provide ample opportunity to use Johnny's advice, but when Kitty drags them to the Tilt-a-Whirl next, he gets the perfect chance. At the front of the line, he and Sam get first pick of the available seats. The Amity Park boardwalk, unlike other theme parks, has an eclectic collection of Tilt-a-Whirl cars ranging from a cupcake, to a plain seat, to a bat to a spaceship. Danny already knows which one Sam would like.
"You want to take the spaceship?" Sam asks, tugging Danny in that direction.
He resists her pull. "Don't you like the bat?"
"Yeah, of course. But you like the spaceship."
It's the strangest tug of war Danny has ever found himself in. He nearly gives in, but Johnny kicks the back of Danny's leg—lightly—and coughs "lady's choice" under his breath.
"It's just a car. We can take the one you like," Danny says.
Sam frowns, her grip slackening. It's all that Danny needs, and he eagerly pulls her toward the bat, sliding in before she can protest further. When he turns to face her, instead of a smile, she meets him with a frown.
"Is something wrong?" Danny asks, startled. Panic rises within him. Oh, no. She is not having a good time. It's a disaster after all.
"No, it's fine," she says after a moment of silence, which does nothing to assuage Danny's worries. Everyone knows "fine" doesn't actually mean "fine." It's one of the most used words in Danny's vocabulary, typically after a nasty ghost fight that leaves him limping and bruised.
Desperate, Danny leans out of the car, searching the ride for Johnny. He finds him across the way, sliding into the cupcake next to Kitty. Johnny meets Danny's gaze and motions for him to watch. In one smooth move, Johnny stretches his arm out with a feigned yawn, then settles it down around Kitty's shoulders and tugs her close. When Danny leans back into the car, Sam is watching him.
"You're acting weird," she says.
"I'm just a little tired." Danny stretches his arm up, just like Johnny did. Sam's gaze follows it all the way until he drapes it over her shoulder. It isn't until he has settled that he realizes he forgot the yawn.
The rest of Johnny's advice follows that same vein: do what Sam wants and use every chance possible to invite her closer. Danny follows it to the letter, mimicking everything Johnny does. Take the lead when walking, but let her choose where to go. Keep her close, but let her wander when she wants to. The hardest part, though, is finding excuses to stick with Johnny and Kitty.
"We don't have to spend the whole night with them," Sam says.
They are loading onto the Ferris wheel, Johnny and Kitty taking one side of the four-person carriage while Sam and Danny get the other. Danny had hoped to save this for the end of the night, for just him and Sam, but Kitty wanted to go now. When Danny tried to suggest otherwise, or even suggest he and Sam take a different carriage, Shadow's low growl cut off his protests.
"I want to make sure they don't get into trouble. You know they like to cause drama," he whispers needlessly. Neither Kitty nor Johnny is listening.
"I don't think we have to worry about that. We've been here for three hours already and they haven't done anything. I think they just want to have a good time. Mostly." Sam tilts her head, shooting Johnny a pointed look.
To Danny's dismay, Johnny is once again feasting on the local sights. As Kitty braces herself against the rail of the carriage, staring out over the beachfront, Johnny leers at the woman who helped them onto the ride. His posture mimics Kitty's as the Ferris wheel turns for the next passengers to load on, and he leans over to get one last look at the woman.
"It's a double date. Aren't you supposed to stick together on a double date?" Danny draws Sam's attention back to him with the question and uses that moment to kick Johnny's ankle.
"Ow!" Johnny cries. He whips around, fixing a glare on Danny. "The hell was that for?"
"Do I have to say it?" They both know he won't, though. With the threat of Shadow hanging over the evening, Danny won't risk letting Kitty on to what's happening behind her back.
Sam, however, has no such qualms. "I can't believe you. You're literally on a date and you're not even paying attention to your girlfriend?"
That grabs Kitty's attention. She turns, eyes wide, and looks at Johnny. "What?"
"I bet she spent a long time getting ready for today, trying to look good for you, but here you are, faking interest when she watches, then looking to someone else whenever you think she isn't." As Sam berates Johnny, her voice slowly growing louder, Danny gets the sinking feeling that she isn't just talking about the ghost. "I wonder how long she has been looking forward to this. Probably a really long time, but you're so distracted that you can't even see she isn't enjoying herself."
Danny's stomach plummets. He really screwed up, didn't he?
"You. What?" Kitty's ice-cold voice reminds Danny that there are real stakes on this date.
"I was checking out her jacket, not her! It looks like the kind of thing you like to wear," Johnny rushes to explain.
Kitty's eyes narrow. In a blink, she lurches across the carriage and takes Johnny's place at the rail, peering back at the receding woman. Damningly, she isn't wearing a jacket.
"You! You! I can't believe you!" Kitty shrieks. "I thought you wanted to take me on a nice date. I didn't even care that you the ghost kid and his girl were coming, because he's nice, and you were finally taking me to a theme park like I always wanted!"
Viridescent tears streak down Kitty's cheeks. Danny has seen her livid and raging plenty of times over the past few years, but now she looks downright distraught. Her face crumples, scowl giving way as a sob wrenches from her throat. Johnny looks as stricken as Danny feels.
"I'm sorry, baby, I didn't mean it. You know you're the only girl for me," he says, dropping to his knees.
"I thought this– this meant something." Kitty struggles to speak through her tears, fighting against the tightening of her throat and gasping sobs. "How could you?"
She takes off, then, launching herself out of the carriage with enough force that she sends it rocking. Johnny reaches after her, but it's no use. She streaks across the sky, a blur of red and green, and disappears into the sparkling lights of the game booths, out of sight in seconds.
An oppressive silence descends for one long moment.
Johnny, shoulders trembling, turns to Danny. His shadow bubbles and bulges as two furious eyes blink open. "Kid, I am going to kill you!"
Sam jumps forward, sending the carriage rocking again, and brings her leg up. Danny glimpses the neon sole of her boot before she slams her heel down on Shadow's growing face. Shadow screeches in pain and withers into the floor, disappearing into a grey blob with a pathetic sizzle.
"Shut the hell up, Johnny, and go after your girlfriend!" Sam shouts, thrusting an arm out toward the game booths.
Johnny gnashes his teeth but doesn't fight. "This isn't over, kid." He falls through the floor of the carriage, intangible, and takes off after Kitty.
With a huff, Sam drops onto the bench opposite Danny, crossing her legs and arms, and glares at a point over Danny's shoulder.
Danny fidgets, pinching the fabric of his jeans and rolling it between his fingers. He looks up at Sam, down, then out after Johnny and Kitty. "Should we–"
"They can wait until the ride is done," Sam snaps.
Danny nods, afraid to say anything else and screw this up even further. He should have noticed Sam wasn't enjoying herself. It started off great, and now... he is not sure if there will be a second date. He wouldn't blame her. With that realization comes the dawning horror of what that might mean for their friendship. It would end because of this, right? They have fought a few times over the years, and it never lasts long, but this is different. They tried dating; that changes things. If it doesn't work and they go back to just being friends, it won't be the same. They will both know that they like each other, and they will know that it didn't work.
What would happen then? Danny can't imagine not having Sam in his life, but if she is really mad at him... she has dropped people for less. Everyone in Casper High remembers the middle school debacle that led to Sam cutting off all ties with Paulina. They might be better now, but it took six years for them to become friends again. Danny couldn't wait that long.
"Danny!" Sam jostles him, her hand on his shoulder, and yanks him back to the present. She stares into his eyes, assessing him. Once she is satisfied that he is back in the moment, she returns to her seat, this time with her gaze fixed on him.
Looking outside the carriage, Danny realizes they are over the crest. He was so caught up in his thoughts that he missed half the ride, including the best moment. The realization hits him worse than one of Skulker's ecto-seeking missiles. He nearly spirals again, but Sam reaches out and clamps onto his knee, keeping him grounded.
"Danny, I think we need to talk."
This is his nightmare. Literally, he has had nightmares about Sam rejecting him. They usually end with the haunting echo of Elliot's pompous laughter as Sam chooses him, old jealousies thriving in his dreams. Sometimes Valerie is there, too, her face overlayed with Sam's as they turn him down in unison. But the worst ones are when it is just Sam, looking him straight in the eye, and saying no. Right now, this is all too close to those nightmares.
He swallows, unable to find the right words, and nods instead.
"Why did you ask me out if you weren't even going to pay attention to me?" she asks.
Danny's mouth stays clamped shut as his earlier fears are realized. Her rant was for more than just Johnny.
"You asked me if this outfit was new." Sam skims her fingers along the lace of her stockings, tracing the spiderweb patterns hidden within. "I didn't lie when I answered. I bought this a few months ago for homecoming. It was our last one, and I thought... I thought you were going to ask me to it."
"But that's not..."
"Yeah, I didn't wear it."
The dress she did wear was fancier, with layered skirts and glittering black beads.
"I bought this one because I knew you wouldn't care if I dressed fancy or not. And I know you don't like to unless you have to." She nods to Danny's casual outfit. "So when you asked me out, I already knew what I wanted to wear, because I know you. But this whole time, you haven't acted like the Danny I know and care about. You've been clingy, and overly accommodating, but at the same time ignoring everything I wanted. And when you weren't doing that, you were watching Johnny?"
Sam ducks her head and looks away. With the brim of her hat hiding her face, he can't see her, but the quiet sniffle she makes is unmistakable.
A rotten taste seeps through Danny's mouth. This was supposed to be a nice first date, but all he did was make Sam cry.
"I know I say I don't care about this stuff. I say it all the time, but..." She reaches up, carefully dabs at her eyes so she doesn't ruin her makeup. "I wanted you to look at me."
Danny finally finds his voice. "Sam, God, no. You're beautiful. When I saw you? Holy crap, I couldn't breathe. You're always beautiful. Not that that's the only reason I like you! You're my best friend. I love your passion, and your smarts, and how you won't put up with guys like Johnny getting away with any of their shit. Or me getting away with mine. I love so much about you, and I love–"
He cuts himself off before the last word, the unsaid "you" hanging between them. He knows what he meant. She probably does, too. Now isn't the right time to say it, though, so he lets his voice fade to quiet.
The Ferries wheel jerks to a stop, their carriage rocking back and forth, and the ride technician opens the door for them.
"Hey, weren't there for of you before?" she asks.
"They got off early," Danny says. He ignores the startled look on the technician’s face as he rises to his feet. On instinct, he reaches toward Sam but holds back at the last moment. Clingy. The word echoes in his head. He wavers, unsure what to do.
Sam takes the choice away from him, jerking to her feet before he can decide. She touches his hand, but doesn't take it and brushes past him, exiting the carriage onto the boardwalk.
"Harsh," the technician whispers.
"I deserve it," Danny mutters back before running after Sam. She walks at a brisk pace, weaving through the crowd toward the line of booths. Danny catches up as she reaches the first tent. "Where are we going?"
"We need to make sure Johnny and Kitty haven't trashed anything, don't we?" Sam says.
"Right, yeah." Danny wishes his ghost sense would go off. At the very least, it could tell them if Johnny and Kitty were close by, but that only worked if they left his range in the first place. In his freshman year, they might have, but today his range stretched over most of the boardwalk, if not the whole thing.
As it turns out, tracking them is easy even without Danny's sense. When he and Sam reach the tightest cluster of game booths, they find a trail of destruction. Fallen stands, scattered prizes, and shattered lights guide them through the maze of booths and back out into the main thoroughfare.
"This looks tame for Shadow," Sam comments.
"Twenty bucks says Johnny did it," Danny says as they pick their way through shattered boards.
"Right now, the only person she's mad at is Johnny. But when Johnny gets mad, he isn't the only source of bad luck in their trio," Danny explains. It doesn't come out often, since Shadow does most of the fighting, but he has seen it often enough to recognize the effects.
When they leave the booths behind, they find themselves near the boardwalk entrance. In the middle of the wide path, Johnny and Kitty are locked in a screaming match. Or Kitty screams while Johnny wilts with every new word.
"It was always supposed to be our place, Johnny! And you ruined it!" She beat her fist against his chest, wailing all the while.
Johnny's silence under the onslaught speaks volumes. He doesn't even look mad anymore, just heartbroken.
"All I ever wanted, and you couldn't even—!" She stops, shuddering, and takes a deep breath. Her next words come out quiet. "If you hadn't tried to look at that stupid girl! If you had just watched the road like you were supposed to!" A gut-wrenching sob cuts her off. "Leave me alone, Johnny."
She turns on her heels and runs toward the nearest building. For a moment, it doesn't look like Johnny is going to follow. His legs tremble, seconds from collapsing beneath him. He manages to lift his gaze, though, and finally notices the sign hanging over the building that Kitty missed: Hall of Mirrors.
"Shit! Kitty, wait!" he calls, but she ignores him. With another swear, he leaps up and flies after her.
"Oh, no," Danny says. He sprints across the boards, Sam following without question. They're halfway to the house of mirrors when they hear a piercing scream followed by a crash. The building crackles. Something inside pulses, imperceptible to regular humans, but it makes Danny stagger.
"Danny, what's going on?"
Before he can answer, a wave of power surges from the house and everything goes back.
Danny wakes to a sharp ringing in his ears. Hazy light edges his vision. His hearing returns slowly. First, the muffled sound of his name, then the fizzle and pop of broken lights, and finally the soft rumbling of a gathered crowd.
All at once, Danny becomes aware. Sam hovers at his side, her hair tousled, a thin cut on her temple, and her hat in her hands. He sits up, squeezing his eyes shut when the world spins around him. Sam provides a steady hand, rubbing small circles on his back until he can open his eyes again. Around them, the stalls are dark. Thirty feet out in every direction from the house of mirrors, every light is broken. Glass litters the boardwalk. The normally glowing entrance to the park is dark, the metal twisted. Beyond that, the ticket booth lies on its side.
Directly ahead of them, a large crack splits the house of mirrors.
"What... what was that?" Sam asks. "It was like Shadow's power but way bigger. I've never... did Johnny do that? I didn't know he could."
Danny groans, rubbing his head. The piercing ring lingers in the back of his head, and it probably won't fade for a while, but it is not so bad that he can't ignore it. "Normally, yeah, but..." He grimaces. "We should get in there."
Sam nods and helps Danny to his feet, pulling him up by the arm. He staggers toward the broken attraction with Sam at his shoulder, casting wary glances all around them.
The gathered crowd isn’t big, yet. It looks like Danny was the only one knocked off his feet, the only one really affected by the ghostly surge—three guesses as to why that is, and the first two don't count. Judging by the sparks still raining down down from the shattered lights, it has only been a minute since the surge. Security isn't here yet. That gives them some time.
The employee manning the attractions sits on the boards, staring wide-eyed at the broken building. He doesn't even blink as Danny and Sam slip through the curtain.
Inside, it's dark. The lights are all down. Glass crunches under their shoes, every mirror in sight shattered, leaving blank boards behind. Johnny and Kitty aren't far from the entrance, no more than a few feet. Sam sees them first, catches the glow of their auras in the corner of her eye, and points toward a dead-end alcove after the first bend in the maze.
Kitty is tucked against Johnny's chest, her jacket pulled up around her head. Johnny has his arms around her waist, and his soft voice provides the only noise beyond the glass under Danny and Sam's feet.
When Johnny hears them, lifts his head, just enough to glare at them through the darkness. No threats spill from his lips, though, and he goes back to comforting Kitty soon enough.
Danny can't help it. He looks down at the mirror shards below them, and immediately wishes he didn't. Bloody road rash stretches up Kitty's right side, torn to the bone. Her face, protected by the darkness around them, and the shadows of her jacket, remains hidden from Danny's prying eyes. He prefers it that way.
A gentle nudge at his side reminds him that Sam is with them.
"What's going on?" she mouths.
Danny crouches, carefully not to make too much noise, and picks up a shard of glass. Johnny still hears him, though, and Shadow rises threateningly at the sight of the glass. Danny holds up a placating hand, then motions to Sam, the glass, then himself.
No matter what low opinion Johnny has of Danny right now, he wouldn't stoop so far as to expose other ghosts like that. To Danny's surprise, however, Johnny thrusts an arm out and motions for the glass. Danny raises his eyebrows. Johnny sticks his hand out further. Without complaint, Danny passes it over.
Johnny holds the glass up, angling it so that they can see his face. He and Kitty have matching road rash.
"Come on," Danny says to Johnny and Kitty. "Security will come soon. And if they see a couple of ghosts, you know they'll call my parents."
Kitty sniffs. Danny can't see her well behind the jacket, but the way her hair bobs, he assumes she nodded. All four of them go intangible, Danny lending his power to Sam. They slip through the mirrors toward the side of the building and step out into the open air. As Johnny continues to comfort Kitty, Danny creeps toward the corner of the building and peers out into the open. They left just in time. A security guard pushes through the gathered crowd and heads for the front entrance.
Danny retreats before anyone can see him, leaning against the side of the building. He shudders.
"I didn't know that could happen," Sam whispers as she comes up beside Danny.
"Not your fault. Ghosts don't make a point of going near mirrors," he says.
"You do, all the time. I saw you in a mirror this week."
"In your locker, yeah. But I'm not a ghost all the time. It doesn't work when I'm in human form."
"So, when you picked up the glass..." Sam trails off. Danny doesn't answer, letting her fill in the blanks for herself.
Neither of them says anything for a long moment. They hear the shout of the security guard, calling an al clear. Danny feels sorry for the workers at the park who have to deal with the aftermath. It didn't affect the whole boardwalk—he can see the Ferris wheel operating just fine, and a glow in the air from the game booth lights.
Danny lifts his head toward Johnny.
"We're heading out. Consider us even."
"Thanks for showing her." Danny tilts his head back and thumps it against the wall of the house of mirrors. "You know, so I didn't have to."
Johnny shrugs. "Yeah, whatever. You're too young to deal with that shit, is all. Take care of your girl, alright?" He doesn't wait for an answer. Kitty is already gone, and Johnny goes invisible before Danny can think of a reply, leaving him and Sam alone.
"You never actually answered," Sam says, breaking the silence between them. "About why you took the double date."
Thank God it's too dark for Sam to see Danny's face go scarlet. In retrospect, of course Johnny's idea wouldn't end well, Danny was just so desperate he was willing to risk it.
"I asked him for dating advice," he mutters.
Sam splutters, a startled laugh bursting out of her. "What?"
"I couldn't think of anyone else to ask, so we made a deal. He invites us on a double date and gives me some tips, and I don't tell Kitty I caught him at the girl's college."
"You are such a dork." Sam snickers. "Is that why you kept watching him? I thought for a second me and Kitty might need to band together to keep you two apart."
Danny groans. "Please don't say that. Tucker already got me with that."
"Good. I hope he did." Sam shuffles over, leaning against Danny, and rests her head on his shoulder. "Danny, I don't need to hang off you like some soul-bound lovebird. We've known each other for ten years. I don't need some idealized romance, I just need you."
Danny feels like an idiot for ever thinking otherwise. The date might have been a train wreck, but half the boardwalk is still functioning. Maybe the evening doesn't have to be a total waste. He pulls the roll of game tickets—a precious commodity at the boardwalk—from his pocket and holds them out.
"Want to win Tucker that shark?" he asks.
Sam laughs, her shoulder shaking against his. "Only if we can ride the spaceship car on the Tilt-a-Whirl."
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it's on ao3 now! I cannot guarantee new chapters after this, Tell Me a Story has been updated three times in three years, I have a terrible reputation
that's what happens when you make up all of your stories on the spot and then write the entire thing in one go, I have zero foresight and planning RIP adhd sucks
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Part 2 baby, I'll put these up on my ao3 soon as well so they're in one place together
"Dad... you're dead."
Jack laughed. He probably shouldn't have, Danny seemed to be very genuine in his assessment, and Jack recognised that he should probably take this more seriously. But still, dead?? It was laughable.
"Come on Danny be serious." Danny's face remained stoic, "I'm not dead, I'm right here."
"You're a ghost, dad." Danny's lips were pressed tight, his entire body tense. "You died."
Jack was feeling a little ill at this point, was Danny okay? Was there a ghost messing with his head? He leaned toward Danny and grabbed his hand, it was cold, Danny's hands were always cold.
"Listen to me son, you're not talking sense, there's probably a ghost somewhere tha-"
Danny stood up fast, impossibly fast, his chair skidded behind him and toppled over.
"No! Dad can you just- how did you get to bed last night?" He asked.
Jack hadn't been expecting the question, he'd gone to bed... the usual way right? Like he always did, took a shower, brushed his teeth, got into his pyjamas, kissed his wife goodnight, although for some reason the details felt a little fuzzy.
But before he could answer Danny continued.
"When did we leave the party?"
Party? Jack's brow furrowed, oh the party! It was his 50th, how could he forget his own party, had he had that much to drink?
Oh, oh of course. He'd gotten drunk and done something stupid, said something upsetting. That's why everyone was mad at him, that's why last night was foggy.
Danny kept going, he sounded frustrated, angry, but his voice cracked a little. He was upset, oh boy Jack must have done something truly awful.
"What happened after the toast?"
The toast... He had just blown out the candles on the enormous cake Vlad had bought for him, ah that's right, Vlad had been there! He'd hired the venue, planned the whole party, it had been a surprise.
He had handed him a drink...
Danny asked another question, Jack knew it was the last, it felt heavy and final, it didn't even sound like a question.
"What's the date today."
Jack knew the date, of course he knew the date, it was the day after his birthday why wouldn't he know? He'd never been particularly good with dates but not even he could forget his own birthdate.
He glanced over to the calendar on the wall, just in case, he had a sneaking suspicion this was some kind of a trick question.
Jazz was the one to mark off the days, she used it to keep track of her assignments and her tutoring sessions. Each day would be marked with a tidy little line, not an X because they had 'a negative association with failure' or... something. He didn't really understand a lot of Jazz's ideas.
The days were marked off up to June the 18th... the 18th, it should have been the 10th. His birthday was yesterday, on the 9th, today should be the 10th.
How could he have missed a whole week? Maybe this was a joke, a way to get back at him for getting drunk and embarrassing everyone.
But this... didn't feel like a joke.
Maddie's sobs hadn't felt like a joke, Jazz's silence hadn't felt like a joke.
Danny's eyes gouged into him. Danny had always been an awkward kid, he took after Jack in that way, he was shy when he was young, always had difficulty maintaining eye contact. He had no such difficulty right now. They were so bright, had they always been so bright?
It was unsettling.
Why couldn't Jack remember what happened after the toast...
The drink had tasted strange, bitter. He never particularly liked champagne, he assumed that it was normal. Vlad had been smiling, his teeth were sharp... his eyes...
Danny's hands were clasped together tightly, his knuckles bumping against his lower lip as they shook. His gaze had shifted from Jack's face to the gravy-stained tablecloth.
"You're dead. I'm sorry, I know this is hard, I know you still feel like everything is the same but it isn't. You... you're a ghost, dad. Not the kind you're used to, you're just a haunting spirit right now, nobody can see you, nobody can hear you. You can't interact with anything, not yet."
Danny dropped his hands away from his face and looked at him sadly. Jack felt as though there was more to his expression, but he'd never been particularly good at reading people. Vlad had always been better at that sort of thing, it often felt like Vlad could speak a whole other language Jack simply couldn't understand.
Vlad... something was tickling the back of his mind but he couldn't quite grasp it, like a word on the tip of his tongue.
Vlad had given him a drink. Vlad had smiled. It looked like a real smile, but Jack felt like... there had been something more to it, Jack had never been good at reading people... Vlad had smiled, his teeth were sharp, his eyes... red, they were red.
The champagne was bitter. He could almost still taste it.
Jack jumped to his feet, startling Danny as he balled his hands into fists.
"Vlad." he growled, Danny breathed a sad sigh.
"Yeah, it was Vlad, he-"
"He was overshadowed by a ghost!" Jack roared, "It's still got him doesn't it? Mads is out there looking for-"
"No! Fuck, dad- SIT. DOWN."
Jack sat. Without thought or question. Danny's command was loud, not deafening but loud in a different way, like he'd heard it through not just his ears but his entire body. It reminded him a little of the concerts he and Maddie used to frequent back in their college days, where the music was so loud it vibrated through them, head to toe.
It took him a moment to realise he was shaking, Jack always considered himself fearless, and that was generally true, so true that he almost didn't recognise the feeling as it swept coldly over him.
Danny closed his eyes and rubbed at them in frustration, Jack was almost certain he caught a flash of vibrant green beneath his fingers.
"I'm sorry I... I didn't want to use that- I didn't mean," he sighed heavily. "You just never listen."
He was listening now, if not simply because he felt too shaken to do anything else. His thoughts rattled around trying to piece themselves together, something within him was screaming like he'd just touched a hot surface or a live wire. Danger danger danger danger.
"Vlad wasn't being overshadowed," said Danny, leaning against the kitchen bench, his body almost sagging with exhaustion. "It's... a lot more complicated than that."
"I can't be a ghost." Jack muttered, indignant, "They're monsters, they don't even look human. They don't wake up and hug their wives, they don't want to sit down and eat breakfast with their daughters."
"Not all ghosts are the same." Danny's voice was quiet, it had none of that fierce intensity like before. What was that? It wasn't normal, it definitely wasn't human. Jack glared up at him as a hot flush of rage washed over him.
"How do I know you aren't the ghost. That you haven't done... something to my family, to make them think I'm dead!" Jack growled.
He wanted to stand up, but under Danny's icy stare he felt locked into his seat. His expression was mostly blank, but Jack could see a twitch in his brow and tilt to his lips. He could see it, but he couldn't read it. Ghosts were easier to read than this, ghosts weren't usually very subtle.
"Not all ghosts are the same." Danny repeated, his voice was so quiet now, tentative and fragile.
He walked over to the sink, Jack wanted to get up, wanted to keep his eyes on Danny and the ghost that might be controlling him, but he couldn't seem to make his legs work. The command still rang in his ears. Sit. Down.
"We aren't going to get anywhere like this." Danny filled up a glass of water and placed it in front of Jack. "Pick it up."
It wasn't a command, Danny's expression had softened once more.
Jack narrowed his eyes in suspicion, but he did as requested. He could feel the cold glass in his hand, the condensation on his fingers, but as he tried to lift it... the glass remained as it was. His hands simply slipping over it.
He tried again, and again, it wasn't as though it was slippery, or heavy, or even that he couldn't grip it. The glass felt normal, his hands felt normal, the glass just wouldn't... move.
Gritting his teeth in frustration he grabbed the glass and squeezed with all his strength, it didn't break. The water didn't even ripple.
"This is a trick..." said Jack. "It's just a trick..."
Red eyes and a bitter drink, people stood around him, faces blurred. He was falling, someone screamed.
Danny started rooting around in a nearby drawer, he pulled out a ragged newspaper cutout. The ink had run in some spots, he placed it down in front of Jack.
It was an obituary. It was his obituary. Tear stained and rough around the edges, torn from the rest of the paper instead of cut, he skimmed over it, almost unable to take it in.
Jack Jonathan Fenton... age 50... survived by his wife Maddie and two children Danny and Jazz...
There was a list of his degrees, complete and incomplete, engineering, physics, mathematics, it listed the names of his high school and university, his reputation as a local ghost hunter, a blurb about his dedication to his work and his love for his family. Jazz had written it, he could tell. She was so good with words.
"Don't make this harder than it needs to be, please." Danny's voice cracked, his eyes were bright with tears as he righted the knocked over chair and sat back down across from Jack, gripping his hand tightly.
Vlad leaning over him, Vlad gripping his hand, he was smiling, his teeth were sharp. Glass smashed, he'd dropped the drink. It was bitter.
He could almost still taste it.
Maddie running past him in the lab, like he wasn't even there, crying. Jazz at the breakfast table, not seeing not hearing, eyes red and puffy. They hadn't looked at him, not once had they looked at him. They couldn't see him, they really couldn't see him.
But Danny could.
"If... I'm a ghost," the words tasted foul and heavy on his tongue, "and you aren't... why can you see me?"
Danny sighed, still holding tight to Jack's hand.
"It's complicated." he said, staring down at the table.
"Vlad, he did this. I'm..." Jack whispered. "But his eyes were... he was overshadowed. It was a ghost that-."
"He wasn't overshadowed." Danny kept his gaze averted, his expression was hard and cold. "It was the accident with the proto-portal, it changed him. He-"
Danny choked up, tears were slipping from his eyes, he gasped a few unsteady breaths.
"He blamed you, he blamed you and wanted to kill you, he's been trying since the attack at the reunion. I tried to protect you dad I tried I tried I'm sorry, I didn't know about the poison until it was too late I'm sorry, I couldn't get there in time I couldn't-"
Danny's sobs shook his whole body, he buried his head in his arms, shaking hands still clasped around Jack's.
Red eyes, sharp teeth, the reunion...
"The Wisconsin Ghost," how had he not seen it? "He's the Wisconsin Ghost."
Then another thought struck him. He looked at his son like he'd never seen him before, sobbing loudly, painfully, his body wracked with spasms as he choked on every breath. He had been trying to protect him, all this time he had known and was protecting him, alone.
When Jack had been told to sit, compelled to sit, unable to move and paralysed with terror, had he imagined the glint of green in his son's eyes? He knew a ghost with green eyes, who could incapacitate someone with a single terrifying scream, who was mortal enemies with the Wisconsin Ghost, who claimed to be a protector, who looked just like a kid.
Danny had been in the lab that day, when the portal turned itself on.
Had the portal turned itself on?
Jack stood, his legs finally acting of his own accord once more, and he rounded the table to pull his son into a tight hug.
"Oh Danny, it was you, the ghost boy, it was you."
"I'm sorry dad, I'm so sorry." The words wouldn't stop pouring from his lips, tumbling over and over. Jack's chest grew tight from the pain in his voice.
He ran a hand over his son's hair and shushed him gently.
"It's okay Danny-boy, it's not your fault, you did your best. I'm so proud of you son, we should have realised, you did so much all on your own, I'm so proud of you." It was Jack's turn to start blubbering.
"I should have told you." said Danny, voice muffled against Jack's chest.
He and Maddie always talked about all of the things that they would do to Phantom if they had ever caught him, they'd talked about it during family dinners. Danny had sat there listening, the whole time he had been right there listening.
"I... understand why you didn't." said Jack.
Danny had stopped shaking, he pulled away from Jack and wiped his eyes.
"Vlad told mom that he'd been overshadowed, she's been out hunting for the Wisconsin Ghost all week." Danny sniffed, "I wanted to tell her the truth, I wanted to so badly but Vlad he... he said he'd go for Jazz next. Said if he got past me once he could do it again. I couldn't risk it."
Jack had never understood why a ghost would choose to remain tethered, why they couldn't just move on and leave the living to go about their business in peace. He always told himself that when he died he would never return, he would take what was to come with open arms.
But that wasn't what happened. He'd gotten up to start his day as usual, but he was already dead. There had been no choice, and were he given one now, he didn't think he could bring himself to take it.
His family still needed him, how could he leave them behind? It wasn't wrong if he stayed to protect his family, right?
Jack placed a heavy hand on Danny's shoulder, and gently knocked his chin with a large fist.
"Buck up kiddo, I might need to get a handle on this whole bein' a ghost thing but when I do," Jack's voice dropped into a low, dangerous growl and, for just a brief moment, his eyes flashed a vibrant green, "I'm not gonna let him hurt anyone else."
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Karkat takes lots of notes between ghost fights. Some of them raise more questions than answers.
(AO3 exclusive until I know how to put lists in Fanfiction.net).
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Not Your Danny – Ch 1. Moving Day
Submitted by @ecto-american: After Danny’s untimely death, his family and friends turn to Dani for comfort. She was so much like him in every single way. And she never felt more like a clone. A replacement for the “real” thing.
Summary: Maddie and Jack learn a lot of things about their son after his death: his powers, his secret life as the local hero, the truth behind his accident three years ago. And his clone who is so much like their boy. When Dani gets the offer to join their home, she thinks it's too good to be true. And she just might be right.
Word count: 2761 | links to ffn and ao3 in my bio
Two weeks after Danny dies, Danielle moves into his bedroom. It's a lacklustre affair. Dani has no belongings to bring with her, except the few trinkets stuffed in the pockets of her shorts. She only owns one pair of clothes, two of you want to be technically and count her ghost form. But that's tenuous at best when you consider the circumstances of her creation, and that her clothes were created withher, not given to her. She doesn't like to think about that too much, though.
Neither of Danny's parents are home for the occasion. Dani doesn't blame them. Her face time with Maddie and Jack Fenton over the past three years equals an hour at most—hour and a half if she really pushes it. And most of that time was with an ectogun between them. If she counts the times where she hasn't been staring down a glowing green barrel, then it's probably only five minutes, maybe less. And that only happened a few days ago.
Suffice to say, Dani and the Fentons don't have a good relationship, or a relationship of any kind. So she doesn't blame them for being out of the house when their dead son's clone, who they only recently found out about, takes over his bedroom. Although take over might be too strong of a phrase.
Dani floats next to Jazz, hovering in front of Danny's open bedroom door.
"Is it... okay?" Jazz asks.
Dani drifts inside, turning her head from side to side as she looks around. She likes the blue walls, and the open brick on the outer wall is kind of cool. The bed, covered in a purple bead spread, topped with a fluffy pillow, looks softer than anything she's ever slept on. The room is nice, if a bit messy with Danny's stuff still inside. Posters decorate the wall, some about space, others from some band called Dumpty Humpy. The shelves are stuffed full of books and model spaceships. His dirty clothes lie next to an open hamper in the corner of the room.
The sight surprises Dani more than anything.
"What are you gonna do with his stuff?" she asks. "Do people usually just," she gestures toward the room, "leave it like this?"
"What? No." Jazz shakes her head and quickly wipe her hand across her eyes. "When someone dies, their family or friends eventually pack their stuff away. Not always right away, though."
"Two weeks isn't long enough?"
Jazz's breath hitches. "Don't– don't say that. It's inconsiderate."
Dani's cheeks go hot at Jazz's admonishing tone. "Oh. Sorry." She floats further into the room, if only to escape the awkward air settling between them.
If Dani didn't know any better, she would guess that Danny had just stepped outside for a second and would be back any moment. Lowering herself to the floor, Dani settles on the carpet and walks toward the desk. A controller of some kind sits on the desk chair, its cord tangled with a headset. Dani picks the controller up and turns it over in her hand. She only vaguely recognizes the X logo in the middle of it; her travels over the past couple of years haven't exactly involved a lot of gaming. Or any.
There was a small handheld system she picked up at a garage sale once. She carried it for a few months but lost it somewhere along the way.
Dani tosses the controller onto the chair and turns back to Jazz. "So, now what?"
"Well, if you're not comfortable with Danny's things still being in here, we can get some boxes and start packing. I think we have some in the basement. If you want." Jazz tacks on the last three words with a soft voice.
"No, it's fine."
"Are you sure?"
"Yeah, course." It's just stuff, after all. Dani doesn't quite get it, which also means she doesn't care. If the Fentons don't want to move Danny's stuff yet, then it can stay. He was their son before he was Dani's cousin/DNA source.
"Okay. I guess I'll just... let you get settled, then. I have to work on some plans for the memorial, but Mom and Dad should be home in a couple hours. They said they wouldn't be gone long," Jazz says.
Dani nods. A few seconds of silence pass, and once it's obvious that neither of them is going to say anything more, Jazz turns and walks down the hall. Finally alone, Dani lets her ghost form fall away. The transformation rings prickle as their bright light ghosts over her skin, and when it fades, she's left in her typical shorts and hoodie. Dani rubs her arms until the prickling fades, then flops onto the bed.
Damn. It really is the softest thing she's ever lain on. And the blankets are warm. They smell like Danny, too. That's something Dani never thought she would think. She didn't even realize Danny had a smell, but it's hard to ignore now. It's not the most tangible smell. The best word Dani can find to describe it is crisp, like a cold day. She would bet her beanie that it was because of his ice powers, an ability they had never shared.
Dani shakes her head. Everything is weird enough right now. The last thing she needs to be contemplating is how Danny used to smell. It's also, like, a super creepy line of thought, yeah? Yeah.
As she stares up at the ceiling, a blur of movement catches her eye. Her gaze jumps toward it, in the corner of the bedroom closest to the door. A small brown lump clings to the ceiling. A bug, no doubt. Dani can't tell what kind, and she doesn’t care enough to find out. It's not too surprising, considering how messy Danny's room is. There's probably some old pizza hiding under his bed or something.
Dani rolls onto her side and closes her eyes. A little bug doesn't bother her, not after the places she's slept. And if the Fentons won't be home for a while, and Jazz is busy, she might as well take advantage of her new bed and the next few hours to get some shuteye. God knows she needs it.
Maddie feels sorry for Vlad's receptionist. She bears a striking resemblance to Maddie herself, with short auburn hair just a touch redder than Maddie's own, a curvy frame, and a sharp, pointed chin. She's even wearing blue, bless her heart. The girl is pretty, and young, and kind. Can't be too far out of high school, and hoping a job at the mayor's office will look good on her resume. Maddie hopes it pays off. The girl deserves it for putting up with Vlad daily. Working for him seems to be taking a toll on her, judging by the distressed look in her eyes when she looks up from Vlad's appointment book.
"I'm sorry, there's no appointment for you. I don't know if I can let you in," she says.
Maddie sighs. "Mr. Masters left me a message"—or several—"asking me to come in."
"I'm really sorry, but he didn't mention expecting you... oh no." The receptionist's eyes widen and she starts digging through papers on her desk. "Did I forget to write it down again? He got so upset last time."
Maddie reaches out and touches her shoulder, stopping the frantic search. "It's all right, dear. It's not your fault."
She suspected, when Vlad left numerous messages on her cellphone rather than calling the house, that something more was up. How Vlad even got her cellphone number she doesn't want to know. She will also be changing it very soon thanks to this incident.
"He's particular about his meetings," the receptionist says. "I really can't let you in."
"Just let him know I'm here, and I'll take care of the rest."
The receptionist nods. While she goes for the phone, Maddie steps away from the desk and turns back to the waiting area. It's empty besides her and the receptionist—not surprising this early on a Monday, and all the better for Maddie. She pulls her cellphone from her purse and checks the time; It's just after eight. Dani is due at Fenton Works soon, but Maddie and Jack won't be back until noon, at least. The reminder makes her wince.
Missing half of Dani's first day at home isn't ideal, but Maddie wants to get this meeting over with as fast as possible. They had other plans in the city, anyway, made before they invited Dani into their home. Better to get everything done at once.
Maddie eyes plush waiting room armchairs, wondering if there's any point in sitting down, when the receptionist calls out, "Mrs. Fenton?"
Maddie opens her mouth to answer, but her phone—still in her hand—buzzes at that moment. Jack's name stretches across the screen. "Excuse me." She steps toward the elevators on the far side of the room and turns her back to the receptionist, the closest semblance of privacy she can get, before answering her phone. "Hey, Jack. Is your meeting done already?"
"Not even close! How goes the shopping?"
"Fine so far. I forgot we didn't ask...." She tenses, feeling the receptionist's stare at her back. "We didn't ask what she might need, so I'm just grabbing the basics. Do you want me to pick something up for you? Are you waiting on the park board?"
"About that... I'm with them now, and—what day did we settle on for the memorial, again?"
Maddie shakes her head, but not out of annoyance. Jack forgetting the day hardly surprises her. He tends to forget the little details. If anything, it makes her feel grounded. The past two weeks have been a lot, to put it lightly. A lot of changes. A lot of revelations. But she can always rely on Jack to be his usual self.
"A month from today," she says.
"Thanks, baby! You're the best! See you later." The phone beeps as Jack hangs up. Maddie sighs while the corner of her lip twitches upwards. It's the closest she's come to smiling since Danny died. She holds like that for a moment, caught between the ache choking her heart and the desire for things to get better. They won't, not for a long time. She won't fool herself into thinking otherwise. But it's nice, for a moment, to pretend things might be okay.
"Leaving Jack alone with the DPR? I feel sorry for them." Vlad's slimy voice ruins the moment after the first syllable.
Maddie tenses, clutching her phone tighter, and turns to face him. "Vlad. It's bad business to ask for a meeting, then make your guest wait."
When Vlad smiles, his whitened teeth cut a bright slash across his cheeks. It's too wide, too sharp. Never reaches his eyes. Maddie remembers, long ago, when Vlad had a soft smile. He used it sparingly, doling it out to only the most deserved. She can't imagine him smiling like that now.
"Well, I don't mean to be presumptive, but when I phone a friend hoping for a visit, I expect them to stop by my house, not my work."
"Your mistake, then."
The receptionist's typing falters. Her have yet to stray from her screen, but Maddie already knows she's listening in. Vlad probably does, too.
"Natalie!" he snaps.
The receptionist jerks upright. "Yes, sir?"
Vlad rests a hand on Maddie's back and pushes her forward. She moves, if only to step out of his reach, and heads toward his office. Vlad reaches into his suit jacket as he walks. He pulls out his wallet and pinches a few random bills, tugging them out without looking. "Take a break. I'm sure you could use a coffee to perk you up."
He leans in front of Maddie to drop the bills on Natalie's desk. The contact makes Maddie grimace, and she hurries ahead into his office. When she turns, Vlad is already closing the door. The last thing Maddie sees of the waiting room is Natalie's frown as she glances at a paper cup sitting in plain view on her desk.
"Now, Maddie." Vlad turns. Rather than heading to his desk, he steps toward Maddie and touches her arm. "How are you doing?"
"You left me seven messages just so you could ask that?" Maddie brushes Vlad's hand off. In three long strides, she cuts across his office and takes one of the visitor's chairs. While the waiting room had plush armchairs, these are made of dark wood, armless, with firm leather cushions and straight backs. A deliberate choice, no doubt.
Vlad comes up beside her, his hand on the second chair. Before he can sit, Maddie swings her purse off her shoulder and drops it on the empty cushion. Vlad pauses, glances between her and the bag, but relents and takes his seat at the desk instead.
His chair sits considerably higher than Maddie's.
"I can imagine the pain you're going through right now," he says.
Maddie's fists clench. "Can you really?"
"Believe it or not, yes, I can." He pauses, giving her a chance to respond. But whatever question he wants her to ask, whatever game he wants to play, Maddie refuses to give in. She might have put up with him once, but after what he's done, he will be lucky if she willingly suffers his presence ever again after today.
She waits for Vlad to elaborate.
"I'm sure you've wondered, all this time, where Danny went whenever he disappeared for hours. Being our city's young hero explains a lot of it, yes, but to be honest, that wasn't everything." Vlad stops to take a deep breath, closing his eyes for a brief moment. It's quite the performance. "To tell you the truth, he was often with me."
Bullshit! Maddie wants to shout, but she bites it back. Her jaw aches from how hard she clenches her teeth.
"I discovered his secret a long time ago and gave him a safe place away from home. You know, when conversation at the dinner table got to be too much." Vlad pauses again, letting his words sink in.
Maddie hates that she knows exactly what he means. All those times she and Jack discussed their inventions, their plans for when they finally captured the ghost boy. Most of what Vlad is saying might be a lie, but the truth within it cuts her deeply. "Really?"
Vlad might think himself a great actor, but he's apparently ignorant to Maddie's own deception. He nods at her questioning tone, eyes low and mouth pressed into a grim line. "I understand this is hard to hear. I did my best to make him feel safe, and we actually became close. Over the years, I came to think of him as something of a son. And his death has affected me deeply."
He stands, trailing his hand along his desk as he walks around toward Maddie. His shoulders droop, as if Danny's absence weighs on him. It really is a good performance. Peering closer, Maddie sees that he even looks pallid, and purple bags rest under his eyes. A look easily accomplished with some pale foundation and smudged eyeshadow.
"It's like a piece of me is missing without him. I'm sure you feel the same. We need each other, Maddie. To make us whole again."
Vlad reaches toward her, but she ducks away from him, slipping out of her chair. His hand falls through the empty air and he stumbles, nearly falling into the chair.
Now he's being ridiculous, Maddie thinks. She could have fallen for the makeup and the sob story if she didn't know better, but the off balance act? The distressed look in his eye when she pulls away? She's insulted that he thinks she would fall for it.
"You're right Vlad. I'm in pain. Danny is gone and it feels like he took a piece of me with him when he died. But I have my family to help me through it." She grabs her purse off the other chair and heads for the door. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have somewhere to be."
"Vladimir!" Her shout tears at her throat. She turns on him, blinking to fight back the burn in her eyes. He stands frozen where she left him, crumpled pathetically against her empty chair, one hand still outstretched. Maddie swallows the lump in her throat. "Enough."
She leaves without another word.
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Also on Fanfiction
Now nominated for the 2021 Irondad Creator Awards! Voting is open now! (Category 16 😉)
Fandom: Danny Phantom, Marvel Cinematic Universe, Spider-Man (Tom Holland Movies), Spider-Man - All Media Types, The Avengers (Marvel Movies), Captain America (Movies)
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: No Archive Warnings Apply
Characters: Danny Fenton, Danny Fenton’s Parents, Maddie Fenton, Jack Fenton, Jazz Fenton, Sam Manson, Tucker Foley, Peter Parker, May Parker (Spider-Man), Tony Stark, James “Rhodey” Rhodes, Ned Leeds
Additional Tags: Mystery, High School, Conspiracy, Bonding, Sibling Bonding, Family, Humor, Drama, Confusion, New York City, Queens, Irondad
Summary: When the Fentons relocate for a year-long contract, Danny Fenton and Peter Parker find themselves at the heart of a secretive power struggle in an increasingly supernatural world. For the Avengers and the world’s sake, the demons in their shadows must be conquered.
From the author that brought you the Danny Phantom-Young Justice crossover universe of “Recognized.” Rated T for themes, occasional language and action, though as a whole it could probably pass for General Audiences.
A huge thank you to my beta team! It was all hands on deck for this chapter, and everyone helped finesse a different aspect of the chapter, which is why I love collaborating with each and every one of you. :) Not all of y’all are on Tumblr but @whats-up-everybody @dp-marvel94 @arken-99 and @tytach sure are.
Start from the beginning at AO3! | Start from the Beginning at FFn!
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A Leap in the Dark | (T)
ff.net | AO3
Fandom: Danny Phantom (DP)
Summary: AU. Daniel "Danny" Fenton tried to distance himself from anything that could possibly tie him to magic. However, his world begins to unravel when the powerful Vlad Masters brings charges of witchcraft against him.
Warnings: rated T for violence, descriptions of death
Warnings: Witch trail interrogation and execution by hanging
Notes: Cross-posted to AO3 and ff.net
This entire fic was inspired by a conversation I had on Tumblr
A Leap in the Dark
The old cart creaked and rocked as it slowly moved towards its destination. With the exception of the occasional instruction to the donkeys from the wagoner, the only sounds from its passengers were whispered prayers and weeping.
Daniel (Danny to friends) Fenton closed his eyes as he waited for the inevitable. No amount of crying or pleading would save him now, and he’d come to terms with it. Or at least that’s what he told himself.
Several days prior, town guards stormed his home and pulled him into the streets. He demanded an explanation only to be punched in mouth and knocked to the ground. Some of the guards grabbed him and forced him into a kneeling position as another took out a scroll.
“On behalf of his majesty, we the guards of Amity Park arrest Daniel Fenton, son of Jack Fenton, on suspicion of practicing black magic and soliciting with the devil.”
He tried to argue with them. The charges were insane. Sure, his parents liked to experiment with alchemy which often seemed like magic, but he’d done his best to keep his nose to the ground once he moved out of their home. What did he do to get someone so upset with him that they falsely accused him?
His words fell short as someone hit him in the neck.
The next thing he knew, water fell on him, jolting him awake. Glancing around, he found himself in a cell. Trying to stand, he found shackles binding his arms and legs. In front of him, a guard with an empty bucket sneered.
Soon after, he found himself brought before the hallmote. A representative of the town stood before those gathered and explained what the accusations against him were. The other villagers yelled and hissed. The representative waited until they calmed to provide the evidence which involved reports of him meeting with a dark someone in the middle of the night at the outskirts of town.
Danny jolted as he realized someone saw him meeting up with Samantha. She and her family were fairly new to the area and affluent. Her parents didn’t approve of him, and there was an issue of different religious backgrounds.
When he had a chance to speak, Danny explained just that. “I just wanted to spend time with my dear friend without worrying about the judgement of others,” he pleaded to them.
The crowd’s anger softened some. Another rose and asked if any further evidence could be provided. Hope welled within Danny. If no further false evidence existed against him, he might be able to walk away from this relatively unharmed.
The crowd shifted as they waited for someone to speak. When no one did, Danny sighed in relief. He’d be able to go home and live his life. He might have to let Samantha know they would need to move their meeting times to make it safer for both of them, but if that was the only thing he needed to do, he could live with that.
The sound of walking broke the silence. Everyone turned to see Vladimir Masters, another recent addition to the town slowly walk into the room. Danny didn’t know what to make of the man. He had more influence due to his merchant money then the local lord which caused some tensions between them. However, he’d managed to charm most of the villagers and the church with his donations and public improvements. He also seemed to have an unhealthy interest in his parents, particularly his mother.
“Ladies and gentlemen of this fair town, I bring you one final piece of evidence,” he announced as he opened his cloak to produce a large leather-bound book. He waited for the whispers to stop before he continued. “When rumors first started, I could scarcely believe the son of my two dear friends could possibly be involved in such things. So, I decided to follow him to one of his supposed meetings with the Dark One.”
Again, he paused for effect. “I watched as young Daniel meet with a strange man who appeared on a dark mist. Afraid for my life, I didn’t dare approach and instead hide behind a nearby tree. While I couldn’t hear their words, I did see the stranger hand the boy a book before disappearing back into the mist. The boy glanced through it before heading further outside of town.”
“Concerned, I followed at a safe distance. He eventually came to the hang man’s tree that grows at the crossroads and buried it before heading back to town. I waited until I believed he would no longer be able to detect my presence and dug up the book. Lo and behold, I found a tome written in a language I could not read. Images of death and sacrifice littered its pages. Horrified, I returned to town with it in my possession to report it to both the guards and the Church.”
“Are you so enraged that you can’t have my mother that you need to frame me?” Danny spat at the man. “Everyone knows the crossroads are dangerous at night. I have no desire to risk encountering the vengeful and dark spirits that make such a place a home. Besides, don’t we all know the Dark One is more likely to appear at the crossroads? Why would I go there after supposedly meeting with Him?”
Masters just gave him a sickly-sweet smile. “How is a simple man like me supposed to understand the logic of such evil? Besides, you have not denied ownership of this book.”
The rest of the crowd erupted. Even through the symphony of voices, he could tell many of them cursed and condemned him. His heart sang as the shouts grew louder. Everyone knew the if the crowd believed your guilt, your fate was sealed. He would be handed over to the Church. If he was lucky, their interrogation techniques would kill him before he would be hanged.
After the official ruling was given, officials from the church entered and took him. The last thing he saw before being knocked unconscious was Masters’ smug expression.
He came to in another cell. Sore and aching, he took stock of himself. Well, as best as he could due to the chains. He didn’t seem to be injured which the exception of a few bruises. The pain appeared to be from resting in the uncomfortable position. Shifting, he tried to find a position slightly more comfortable and warmer while he waited for his fate.
An unclear amount of time later, a couple guards came to retrieve him. They removed him from the chains in the cell and placed more compact shackles on his wrists. Once they were certain he wouldn’t be able to fight back, they led him to a different chamber.
He figured he’d see the vicar and maybe a deacon. Instead, Vlad Masters and some men dressed entirely in black greeted him. “I don’t… I don’t understand…” he stammered.
Masters clapped his hands. “My dear boy, I don’t expect you to, but I should explain, seeing as you are my most recent guest.” He closed the distanced between them after a few strides and began circling him as if he was a predator. “I’m one of those tasked with seeking out who have made unsavory deals with the Dark One.”
An icy chill raised through Danny’s chest. “Are you telling me you’re one of those moon touched under that Hopkins guy?” While Amity Park wasn’t part of any of the large cities, the stories of the sudden upsurge in witch hunts had reached them. Hopkins was the most prolific of the hunters.
“We have crossed paths on occasion,” Masters responded as he continued to circle. “However, we disagree on some methods and share little more than a profession. While Hopkins believes those he prosecutes are truly evil, I do things a little differently.” He closed the gap between them so he could whisper, “You see, I believe people need to fear evil, and to do so, I need to remind them of its existence, whether it exists in that location or not.” For a moment, Danny could have sworn the man’s features warped into something inhuman and evil.
Danny swore as the man moved away. “You… you monster! How many innocent lives have you destroyed?”
Masters just chuckled. “Not enough. My friends, could you please silence the boy? We need to begin our interrogation.”
The men in black quickly gagged him before ripping off his clothes. They gasped and muttered darkly when they spotted the large birthmark on his chest. When they found no other mark of interest, they poke and prodded the mark. They started lightly before beginning to scratch and jab. Eventually, they brought out a small knife and drew his blood.
“He bleeds,” the one muttered. “Surely this is no brand.”
“Perhaps it is an illusion, or his brand is one of those normally unseen,” another replied.
The first one nodded. “If that is case, then we must locate it.” He then made a series of cuts on Danny’s arm. “No evidence here. Please try his back.”
They continued this investigation for some time. Slices were made up and down his arms, his chest and back, legs, and even his face. All of them bled. All of them hurt. Displeased they could find no sorcery mark, they ordered the guards to take him back to the cell.
The cool stone of the dark cell gave him some relief from the stinging cuts. If any one of them refused to heal cleanly, it could mean the death of him. One of his uncles died from a cut that refused to heal, and it was not one he would like to repeat.
After that, the attempts to get some form of acknowledgement or confession from him worsened. The beat him with their firsts and with whips. They burned him with hot iron. They even tried to throw him in the nearby river, but someone interrupted that one. While it wasn’t much, he silently thanked the unknown stranger for the act of kindness.
While he never confessed to any of the false accusations, he did openly curse Masters. That apparently was enough for him and his cronies. The next thing he knew, he was standing in front of the Hallmote again with Masters announcing his confirmed guilt. As a result, he was sentenced to hang.
Danny spent the next few days in the prison’s cell. In a different cell across the hall, a few more condemned prisoners also awaited their fates. He heard they would meet their ends on the same day he would. One of the others tried talking to him, but he decided not to respond. Whatever the man did to deserve his fate, he didn’t need a chance to make it worse by speaking with someone accused of magic.
When the day finally came, the guards came to retrieve them. After their hands were bound behind them, they were led to the wagon to be transported to the location of the gallows.
While some of the other men prayed and wept, he just stared at the sigh. He’d made peace with his awful fate. As much as he wanted to blame the Lord, he couldn’t bring himself to do so. He learned at a young age that while the Lord could work miracles, He couldn’t always interfere with the evil acts of men. At least he knew he’d be welcomed in Paradise.
Once the wagon reached its destination, Danny allowed himself to glance at the crowd. Many of them were celebrating the day. He almost forgot how an execution could excite the townsfolk. Some were even taking bets on how long he and the others would last.
They were marched into a line underneath the scaffold. After the nooses were placed, the executioners gave the other men the chance to say their final words first. Then came Danny’s turn.
He glanced around in hopes someone might be brave enough to save him. No one stepped forward. Instead, most of the faces visible to him appeared to laugh and jeer. Except one, he spotted Sam who appeared to be weeping.
“I hope that you who falsely condemned me are haunted by your choices,” he stated while trying to keep his voice as even as possible. I know what awaits me on the other side, but can you say the same?” The crowd shouted obscenities at him as his words came to a close, but he didn’t care, not anymore.
With him being the last to speak, the executioner and his assistants began the process of covering his head with the characteristic hood and kicking the supports out from under their feet. Even though he was prepared for death, he didn’t want to die. His weight forced the rope to press harder against his neck, making it harder and harder to breathe. He struggled to free his hands in hopes he might be able to save himself, but with each passing moment, he seemed to be drain of more and more of his strength.
His last conscious memory was to hope Sam wouldn’t be targeted for her show of tears.
Consciousness came back to him slowly. Feeling groggy and stiff, he slowly sat up. As dirt fell away from his body, he realized night had already fallen. Why had he fallen asleep outside? Had he been stargazing again? After the first time, he decided to use his roof for that purpose as it was safer than sleeping outside the village.
He jolted at the soft voice. Turning, he found Sam kneeling a couple feet away with her friend and servant, Tucker, standing behind her with a lantern that had an unusual intensity. Both of them watched him carefully. If he didn’t know any better, he would have guessed they were apprehensive of him.
“Thanks for waking me up,” he told them cheerfully as he stood and brushed some of the dirt off him. His voice didn’t convey his feelings though as it sounded gravely even to him. He must have slept much longer than he originally figured.
Frowning as he realized his feet were buried in the dirt, he glanced behind him to find what appeared to be a shallow grave. Disturbed soil with an arm of an unnatural bluish color sticking out of it could be found only a few feet away. He’d been buried.
“Danny?” Sam called out again as she slowly stood and approached him. “What’s the last thing you remember before waking up?”
As he thought about the odd question, flashes of his interrogation and the gallows came to the forefront of his mind. Scared at the implications, he rubbed his throat. The skin felt rough as if it had been injured and pain blossomed at his touch. He had been hanged. Falling to his knees, he thanked the Lord for a chance at a second chance at life.
Standing again once he finished, he glanced at his friend. “I’m glad you came when you did. I don’t know what I’d do if I woke up alone out here. Let’s get you home before something bad happens. Only one of us needs to be accused of practicing magic.” He gestured to the lantern. “You didn’t need to break out the good candles just for me. Actually, they might be too bright if we want to sneak back into town.”
Tucker glanced at Sam, who bit her lip. “Danny, they just seem bright to you. The candle in there is the dimmest I could find. We could barely see where we were going while getting here.”
She wouldn’t look directly at him. Instead, she kept her gaze lowered which was unusual for her. That by itself clued him in something was wrong.
“Sam, look at me. What’s going on? You’re not telling me something.”
“My lady, err… I mean Sam,” Tucker floundered as she turned to stare at him. Even though her parents bought him to be her personal servant, Sam refused to have him call her by an honorific. She wanted him to consider her his friend first and foremost. “Should I bring out that mirror?”
“That might be best,” she agreed as he hesitantly handed her the lantern while he dug through the sack attached to his belt. When he finished, he brought out a black stone and traded the lantern back for it.
“I thought that was supposed to be a mirror,” Danny joked as Sam took a moment to polish it.
“It is… It’s just a special type of mirror. Difficult to come across.” She held it up to him. “It’ll be easier to show you.”
Not sure what to expect, Danny stepped forward until he could see his reflection in the stone. However, whatever person it reflected, it certainly wasn’t him. The stone showed a creature with hair of moonlight and eyes of an unearthly green. Its skin reflected as the bluish pallor of death. Dark bruises were visible around the neck.
Cursing, he stumbled away. Grabbing at his hair, he found stuffs of whitish silver. The skin of his hands matched the color of the creature’s skin. “What happened? What did you do to me?”
“I was trying to summon your soul.”
“I get accused and executed for witchcraft, and you turn around and preform it?” Danny gave a hollow laugh. “Was my death not enough of a warning? And what did you plan to do once you summoned me?”
“I wanted to take down Masters, okay?” she snapped at him. Her gaze fell when they locked eyes. “Not all magic is evil. I just wanted to see if there was anything you could provided to help me make sure he didn’t take any more victims before your soul became beyond reach, but something went wrong.”
“What do you mean?”
“I don’t know if I did something wrong.”
“Don’t say that,” Tucker scolded as he placed a hesitant hand on her shoulder. “The crossroads hold strange powers as its one of those places where mortal and immortal can meet.”
Danny gulped at the implication. He forgot criminals tended to be buried at the crossroads. And even though he wasn’t as superstitious as some, he knew such places could be very dangerous. “So… what did the combination of this good magic and the crossroads do to me?”
“That’s something I don’t really know. It seems to have reanimated you, but you are clearly not as you were.” She fell to her knees as tears began to roll down her cheeks. The Sam Manson crying! Sam never cried.
Hesitantly, he crouched down in front of her and used his fingers to lift her chin. Her skin felt so warm to the touch. “While I can’t say I’m comfortable with what happened, I can say it’s not your fault. You had no idea this would be the outcome. You’re also right about Masters… There’s something wrong with him. During the interrogation, I could have sworn I saw the shadow of evil on him.”
Instead of responding, she lurched forward to embrace him. Not sure what else to do, he rubbed her back in a soothing manner.
“Sam, you’re going to get dirty. Neither of us will want to risk the wrath of your parents.” Tucker spoke softly as he tried to gently pull her off of Danny.
She didn’t respond. Instead, she buried her head deeper into Danny’s chest. Not sure what to make of it, Danny shared a look with Tucker. Eventually, she stated, “I can hear your heart beating. Danny, I can hear your heart! You’re alive.” She looked up and gave him the biggest and purest smile he’d even seen.
“But how? How is that possible? I couldn’t have survived the gallows, and my appearance is of some specter… What the?” As he spoke, a blinding light washed over him. As his eyes adjusted, everything seemed much darker. If it wasn’t for the faint light of the lantern and the visible sliver of the moon, he doubted he would have been able to see anything. Wait, he’d been able to see just fine moments ago.
“Tucker, the lantern!”
Seconds later, the lantern appeared within inches of his face. “Whoa! Watch it! Those metal ones hurt when they hit you.”
“Danny,” Sam’s smile somehow grew wider, “you look like you again! “
“Is that why I suddenly can’t see?” When she rolled her eyes, he quickly added, “I mean, that’s wonderful!”
“I doubt it’s that simple,” Tucker noted as he watched the two of them stand. “You touched death, and that always leaves a lasting mark.”
Sam brushed the dirt off her skirt before she began to walk. “That’s true, but for now, we should return to town. We can figure out what happened to Danny as we work on destroying Masters. He can stay at my place for now. It’s big enough we should be able to hide you for a few days.”
Danny acknowledged that would work for now. Even though he didn’t want to put either Sam or Tucker at risk, it would be easier to discuss the future once they rested.
Perhaps he could even stagger back into town in a day or two just to see how the townsfolk would react. Maybe they would consider his return to life as the will of God. Or, if he could take the form of that creature again, perhaps they’d consider him a vengeful wraith. The latter made him smile. Oh, Masters didn’t know what type of revenge he unleashed.
End of story notes. There are a lot:
Firstly, if anyone would like to expand upon this idea, please feel free. I have no desire to extend this. The plot bunny, now that it’s fulfilled its goal, has run off.
Now for the historical notes.
The hallmote is a court held in a Justice’s hall. In medieval England, this is the lord’s manorial court. For the lord, this primarily functioned for fees and land ownership. However, when it came to issues regarding laws, the villagers acted as prosecutor, legal authority, witnesses, and judge. The lord of the area rarely had anything to do with legal issues.
I know that when it comes to magic, usually that fell under the church’s domain, but I wanted to mention a trial first before he was handed over to them as the accusations against Danny were fabricated.
Moon touched is being used as a euphemism for being crazy.
Vicar is a term primarily used in the Anglican church for parson/minister.
Also, witch hunts and trails did still happen in the 1600s in England – they peaked again in the 1640s and the 1650s due to the English Civil War and the rise of the Puritans.
I did review the interrogation techniques of this time period. While they existed beforehand, the specific ones I mentioned were championed by a man named Matthew Hopkins, who flourished as a witch hunger during the English Civil War. He and his colleagues are believed to be responsible for 20% of the total people persecuted for witchcraft in England between the 15th and 18th centuries. His book is also considered a contributing factor in how the trials in Salem, Mass. played out.
The accused often had their bodies searched for marks which were said to be proof of their pact with the Devil. This was often a birth mark, mole, or other skin manifestation. The area was believed to be unable to bleed or feel sensation.
Hanging. The gallows with trapdoors (drops) weren’t invented until the 1760s. So, Danny is experienced it the old-fashioned way where they put the noose on and cover the head with a hood. Depending on the gallows, the condemned might stand on stools or be on the wagon at first. Then those were removed. Unlike modern hangings which were designed to break the neck upon the sharp drop, the original version had people die by suffocation. Most loose consciousness within 5-10 minutes and death occurs soon after. The title actually is a saying believed to have derived from being hung.
There are some instances where people simply lost consciousness and revived at a later time after they were cut down. Some considered that a pardon from God. Others thought the person made a deal with evil.
Executed criminals were traditionally buried at crossroads. Normally, they couldn’t be buried in a church graveyard, and there were concerns the dead could come back to haunt the town. Being buried at a crossroads helped confuse angry spirits.
Crossroads were considered liminal places where one could meet all manner of supernatural creatures. Some traditions state it’s the best place to contact the dead or conduct spells.
Sam is still Jewish (although secretly since this is the 1640s) in this fic. There are old Jewish spells, which fall under a specific type of mysticism, that call allow one to call forth the dead to ask a question. This is what she was trying to do.
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Hi, for some reason, my brain keeps coming up with more content for Bang-bang, there goes your heart (which will become a series now). Which was supposed to be about Danny having PTSD/Anxiety but now it’s about Lancer unofficially adopting him because Danny needs more positive adult figures in his life.
Anyway, send some ideas my way!
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It’s a Bird, it’s a Plane, no it’s... Aliens?
1st Prompt for Phic Phight done!
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Woohooo I finished writing Chapter 2 !!
Hope you enjoy!!
Fandom: Danny Phantom
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Dash Baxter/Danny Fenton, Other ships will spoil the fic so i'll keep them a secret for now
Characters: Dash Baxter, Danny Fenton, Sam Manson, Tucker Foley, Paulina Sanchez, Star (Danny Phantom), Dale (Danny Phantom), Kwan (Danny Phantom), Jazz Fenton, Valerie Gray, all the diggity dang ghosts, Wesley Weston
Additional Tags: Enemies to Friends to Lovers, Slow Burn, all 18+ characters, might have nsfw in the future, Gay as hell, Dash is an Asshole, Danny and Dash are both idiots, Dash is a secret softie, Senior year, Sam is a lesbian, Tucker is a simp, Starts out as slice of life but gets more dramatic and ghost fighty as the story goes along, Dash is a simp for Danny Phantom, Danny has a hard time keeping his secret identity a secret, Dash x Danny, Dash has a sexuality crisis, Danny is super hecking tired and just wants to sleep, switching POV, Gay
Danny and Dash have always hated each other ever since middle school getting back at one another with petty pranks, fistfights, and bullying. But when the two find themselves stuck doing an English project together, they have to learn how to get along.
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Karkat has a talk with Darkleer, along with finding out a few skills in the worst possible way. Meanwhile, things unravel as the humans hide, with some people investigating into things more than they should.
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Verboten 16 | (T)
ff.net | AO3
Fandom: Danny Phantom (DP)
Summary: AU. When Danny was five years old, he went missing for 2 weeks. In the years that follow, his family tried to make sense of what happened, only for the truth to be discovered years later.
Warnings: rated T for violence, mentions of death, language. Be prepared for some very weird things
Notes: originally uploaded to Ff.net. Cross-posted to AO3 and tumblr. This fic is very heavily inspired by folklore surrounding mysterious wilderness disappearances
As Danny waited outside with the rest of the guests, his parents and Vlad met up with him. After they handed him a bag filled with one of his favorite Nasty Burger meals, he gave them a quick rundown of what he knew, save for the appearance of the ghost. While frustrated, his parents shuffled him into the RV so he could eat and warm up a bit. It was a chilly fall day after all.
As he ate, Danny vaguely wondered how his parents managed to convince Vlad, the man with the limo, to go across town with them. His dad’s driving prowess… well, lack thereof… was famous in the area. The townsfolk and even the police steered clear of any known Fenton vehicle. In actuality, he had no idea how his dad hadn’t lost his license.
After a couple hours, the fire department cleared the building with the exception that rooms on the second floor could not be used until the police preformed an investigation to verify whether or not arson occurred. The rooms on that floor would also need cleaned. Thankfully, little damage ended up being done from the fire: a few pieces of furniture and some scorch marks. The majority of the damage ended up being from the hotel’s sprinkler system.
After collecting their items, his parents drove to a large house on the outskirts of the housing plan where Sam lived. After asking what they were doing there, Vlad matter-of-factly stated he just finalized the payment on it. Danny’s utter confusion had to be evident as his parents explained Vlad recently decided to purchase a house in Amity Park since he would be around more to help with the research.
Well, it explained why it took his parents so long to get food. While the act itself didn’t seem that strange for Vlad, he did own a castle in Wisconsin after all, something about the timing bothered him. With the rare exception of a day when there was a major experiment malfunction, Vlad tended to stay with the family upon his visits. Exactly how long would he be in town if he needed to buy a new house?
After getting a quick tour of the house, Danny retired to his temporary room and called his friends. The three way call ended up being hectic as he explained what happened. “Guys, I’m telling you, I saw a ghost, and then somehow the hotel caught fire.”
“Calm down, Danny,” Sam instructed. “I know you’re telling the truth, but geez, how in the world did you end up being the center of so much trouble in two days?”
“My mom said something about me possibly attracting paranormal things now.”
“Makes sense, in a weird sort of way,” Tucker agreed as typing could be heard on his end. “I’ll see if I can dig up any stories of ghosts like what you saw this time.”
“Don’t worry about it, Tucker. You’re already looking into those files.”
“Nah, this’ll be easy. It’ll only take a couple minutes at most to set up a search and have it run in the background while we talk. Any specific things that stood out?”
“Other than the blue flaming hair?” He sighed and collapsed on his bed. “If she hadn’t been a ghost, she would have looked right at home in one of those bands Sam likes. She said she wanted to make people remember she still exists.”
“So she looked like a goth?” Sam questioned.
“Yeah, but with some, uh… I think you’d say she’s more punk.”
“Woah! That’s weird,” Tucker stated after something on one of his tech devices beeped in the background. “So, apparently there have been a series of spontaneous fires that seem to occur about every ten years, but they started after the death of a local girl. Some people think it’s her ghost that causes them. I’ll send you the articles.”
It took only seconds for the article links to be sent. Danny nearly dropped the phone when the picture of the mentioned girl appeared on the screen. With the exception of the hair, the girl’s face matched that of the ghost. “That… that’s her! Wow, she really doesn’t look that much different as a ghost.”
“Wait, you’re serious?” Sam hummed as she reviewed the information. “Says here while she was unpopular at school, she was in a local band. She was found dead after her house burned down mysteriously. The police thought it might of been an arson, but officials were never able to verify anything. After her death and around its anniversary, there were reports of fires in the city. Sometimes, entire buildings are engulfed, but other times the words ‘you will remember’ appear burned into buildings.”
“I kinda remember hearing my dad mention something about ghost fires growing up, but with it being my dad, I never put any stock into it.”
“My mom said something about it once.”
“I have no idea why I keep forgetting your mom works for 911,” Sam interrupted. “You know, we might be able to use that to our advantage.”
“I mean, you can try, but she refuses to talk about anything other than the occasional funny call. The one about the ‘bambulance’ still brings me to tears.”
“Tuck, you’re getting distracted.”
“Right. Anyways,” some typing could be heard on Tucker’s end, “my mom thought the fires were from the girl’s bandmates. They had just recorded a song called ‘Remember’ which got some local play before she died. Since I know asking Mom for anything else is pointless, I think I’m gonna see if I can get into the files of those fires. The news articles all have explanations, but some of them seem a bit over the top.”
“How long will that take?”
Danny snorted. “Sam, it’s Tucker. Knowing him, he’s already looking at them.”
“I’m hurt, Sam. Do you really have that little faith in me?”
“I know you’ll be able to get them eventually. You’re track record hasn’t been all that great recently. You’ll still working on those files you got from Plasmius, after all.”
“Oh, I’ve finished the review on those. Some of it isn’t pretty, but I wanted to verify information directly from Vlad Master’s companies. That’s been slow going ‘cause he has some impressive firewalls, and I’m really trying not to get caught. As for this,” Tucker briefly shouted in triumph, “I’ve already gotten what I need. Hmm… that’s weird. The official investigations regarding the ‘Ember fires’, as they’re called, all state there was no known cause of the fire. There wasn’t even evidence of an accelerant… which is…?”
“It’s something used to make a fire go from a few flames to a roaring fire. Think of what happens when you add gasoline to a fire,” Sam explained as tapping could be heard on her end. Was she at the computer too? “Most arsonists use one. If they don’t, unless the flames start where there’s something like tissue paper, sawdust, or something else really flammable, the fire usually takes a lot of time to grow and become a problem. Tuck, is there anything about flammable materials?”
“Hmm… no, not really.”
Danny sighed as he got off the bed and paced his temporary room. “Great, now there’s a fire starting ghost on the prowl, on top of Plasmius, that thing… and possibly whatever is wrong with that girl. Tuck, do you have any updates on anything?”
“On the Plasmius front, no. Like I said, I’m trying to cross-reference those files against the files from VladCo and DALV, but that’s taking a while due to his security. For the creepy thing that attacked you, I have a notification set up for any potentially related attacks. I think that’s all I can do for now on that… As for Maura, I got distracted a bit when Plasmius had that chat with you, but I can tell you she stopped posting on social media right after her disappearing act. That’s pretty weird for girls in her clique. Give me a couple days to get her medical chart.” Something beeped in the background. “Oh, it looks like I might have a pattern for our fire bug ghost.”
“At least that’s something. Can you send them to me?”
Sam snorted. “What, you’re gonna try to figure out where she’ll be and talk to her?”
“I mean, it’s worth a shot. Maybe she knows something about Plasmius or that thing? And… maybe I can nicely ask her to stop lighting fires?”
“I think you’re just gonna end up with your ass kicked, but go ahead.”
“Thanks for that wonderful vote of confidence,” Danny deadpanned. The ghost was nice enough to give him a warning so she couldn’t be all bad. “I think if I open up with a ‘thank you’, she won’t outright attack me.”
“It’s your funeral.”
“Actually, Danny, can you die?” Tucker hesitantly asked. “I mean… your situation is kinda weird.”
He thought about it for a few moments. “I think so. Clockwork told me I’m alive, so that’s good enough for me. But, to be honest, I don’t really wanna think about it too much.”
Danny’s conversation only lasted a few more minutes after Tucker asked the awkward question as his parents called for him over an intercom system. Uncertain if the correct response to the intercom should be to cringe or be impressed, he pushed it from his mind as he meandered down the hallways to attempt to find his parents.
Something about the décor of the mansion seemed familiar, but Danny found it difficult to place it. Vlad loved the Green Bay Packers, and he commonly used their colors of green and gold for accents. He stopped in his tracks as he glanced around. Plasmius also had green and gold splashes in his home. It had to be a coincidence.
Not wanting to think about it more, he raced down the halls and eventually came to the main foyer. His dad shot him a questioning glance as his mother stood and moved towards him.
“Hi, sweetie! How are you adjusting? It’s been a hectic couple days.”
“I’m okay. I’m just a bit tired,” he told her as he dodged a hug. “I let Sam and Tucker know we’re fine. I’m not dealing with Jazz until after you guys talk to her.”
“I trust the room is to your liking?”
Danny jumped as Vlad’s voice came from behind him. How did he miss him? “Yes. Thanks for letting us stay.”
Vlad waved his hand dismissively. “It’s no trouble at all. My house is yours.”
“Vlad, you mentioned you had a workshop we can use?” His mother asked as she abandoned her attempts at hugging her son.
After staring at her for a second, Vlad shook his head and regained composure. “Surely that can wait until tomorrow, my dear. You’ve been through quite a lot in the past twenty-four hours.”
“No can do, Vladdy!” Jack boomed as he excitedly stood. “You heard those policemen. They want a Fenton product, and I can’t sit still when that spook is still a threat to my family. Say, do you want to help?”
The billionaire grimaced before forcing a smile. “I must politely decline, but I will gladly look over any blue prints in the morning.”
“Don’t worry,” Maddie told him while giving her husband a fond grin, “I know how… enthusiastic Jack can be when he has a new project. I’ll also make sure he sleeps tonight. We don’t want any accidents.”
“That would be greatly appreciated.”
Danny glanced between Vlad and his parents. There was some sort of story he was missing. “Should I ask?” he hesitantly questioned.
“I was badly injured when we were in collage when an experiment went wrong,” Vlad explained as his expression hardened. “As a result, I’ve made it a rule to not be in a room when someone is actively making experimental items or preforming experiments. However, I’ll gladly double check procedures, blue prints, set ups, and results.”
“I… yeah… That… that makes sense. But you’re okay now?”
“Absolutely, my dear boy. You could say I gained a different outlook on life as a result.” Vlad gave a predatory grin which sent shivers down Danny’s spine. “Why, if I hadn’t gotten into that accident, I probably wouldn’t have ended up so successful.”
“Right…” His mother must have caught something off in Vlad’s tone as she furrowed her brow in confusion. “It’s gotten pretty late. Danny, will you be alright?”
“Huh? Probably. I mean, I could use a snack.”
“The kitchen and pantry are just down that hall.” Vlad pointed towards the hallway opposite of the way Danny originally came. “Will you be alright to be back to your room once you’re done? If you wait, I can escort you back once I’m done showing your parents where the lab is.”
“Thanks, but I think I’ll be alright. ‘Night everyone.” Chuckling as his father couldn’t contain his excitement anymore and bounded down the hall followed by his amused mother and wary Vlad, he just made his way to the kitchen. It thankfully was easy to find, and after making a sandwich, he meandered his way back towards his room.
Around midnight, Danny decided he would attempt to sneak out of the mansion. Luckily for him, Vlad put him in a room on the ground floor, saying something about how the upper floors weren’t ready yet. Luckier still, there were no bars on the windows. Sam’s parents tried doing something like before due to how many times she snuck out, but it was struck down by her Grandma Ida, who still had control of the deed at that time.
Escape ended up being a piece of cake. There didn’t seem to be any type of security system or guard which seemed strange, but that would probably change once the mansion was officially finished.
He had an idea of where the ghost might end up appearing thanks to the articles Tucker forwarded to him earlier so he booked it in the direction of an older housing plan near the city’s boarder with Elmerton. The majority of buildings in the area were row houses in disrepair. While there were still a few low income families in the area, most of the houses were considered condemned. Danny remembered hearing talk of tearing the houses down at one point, but either the project was shelved or abandoned.
As he approached, he decided to shift to his ghostly form. While it seemed unlikely he would encounter anyone, the area did have a reputation for crime. While he didn’t know what sort of protection being a ghost would give him, it seemed a better option. And, if that thing tried attacking him again, maybe he could float to safety. He really hoped that thing didn’t appear; his trust in his abilities honestly was non-existent.
The soft glow of his ghost form provided the majority of the light as he silently found his way to the road where the girl used to live. The few street lamps were either broken or burnt out, and some even seemed melted.
His destination, Garnier Avenue, seemed worse than the surrounding streets. At first he thought the houses were just gutted, but a second look said otherwise. Most of them had some evidence of fire: melted windows, ash marks, and collapsed roofs and walls. Ash and dust could be found on the road as well as the sidewalk, and in some places, they almost looked like outlines of people.
The area seemed dead. No noise. No sound. No movement. As he continued to move forward, his hair stood on end and his breath misted in front of him. It was almost as if he walked into some sort of wall of static electricity.
“So this is what you actually look like. You’re not that bad looking after all,” a curious voice called to him, making him jump. Danny spun around to see the ghost from earlier materialize in front of him. Her appearance hadn’t changed, but she seemed more solid. Even her voice seemed closer and more natural. “Do you know how many of us would kill to be able to blend in that well?”
“Uh… I really wouldn’t know. This is really new to me,” Danny relied as he held up his hands in what he hoped was a submissive manner.
Her eyes narrowed. “So why are you here, baby pop? Do I interest you?”
He gulped at the undertones of her applications. “A little? I mean, you were nice enough to let me there would be a fire, and I wanted to thank you for that. And maybe ask a couple questions?”
“You just happened to be there at the right time,” she responded offhandedly though her satisfied smirk suggested his thanks was welcome. “It would be a waste to see someone like you get destroyed by accident. But, I would like to know how you found me.”
“I mentioned you to a friend of mine, and he was able to find out about your legend.” Danny hoped he sounded genuinely curious and not creepy. Wait, was it possible for him to not be creepy? He was a ghost after all.
She nodded. “I like to come back around the anniversary of my death. It helps strengthen me.”
“You do seem… I think stronger is the word I want.”
“Glad you noticed, and that makes you more observant than most of the guys I’ve met over the years. Call me, Ember.” Grinning again, she walked around him almost as if she was examining him.
She snorted. “Bet that’s your real name. Don’t met too many ghosts who remember theirs. You really must be new. Anyways, you had questions?”
“Yeah. I was hoping you might know something about this thing that’s been seen around the town. It attacked me, and it’s caused enough trouble to get the police interested.” When she didn’t immediately respond, Danny took that as a sign he could continue. So, he quickly explained his interaction with whatever the thing was. When he finished, Ember expression turned stony.
“You’re telling me something like that has been seen in my town?” she demanded. Her hair, which had been gently waving in an invisible wind, suddenly blazed in a blue flame. “Are you telling me one of those things have been seen here?”
Danny gulped and nodded. “Like I said, it attacked me! What are they? Plasmius doesn’t know what they are either.”
“Plasmius? Plasmius is here too?” The temperature around them spiked as she shrieked. “Are you working for him? You better answer me, Dipstick.”
Notes: ghostly fire is usually considered insubstantial and doesn't tend to cause damage. Actual paranormal fire damage is usually associated with poltergeists, and more modern theories classify poltergeists as creations of psychokinesis (PK) agents (normally living people) instead of spirits.
Ember's background is directly taken from information provided by one of the show's directors.
"Bambalance" is a reference to an old but hilarious 911 call. You can find it on YouTube under the title "the guy, the deer, the dog, and the bambulance." There is some foul language in it.
Also, there is a very subtle 'Phantom of the Opera' reference in this chapter.
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Fandom: Danny Phantom
Rating: General Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Characters: Me, Myself, and I
Additional Tags: Reaction, Going through the series, idk I just thought it would be fun, we’ll see how this goes, its been years since I’ve seen any of these, thank tumblr, no episode shall be spared from my judgment, may update on weekends, no promises, No plot whatsoever
Tumblr has shown me how to re-live a sliver of my childhood, so I’m going to be reacting episode by episode to the whole Danny Phantom series and putting my thoughts here.
I’ve reacted to the first 5 episodes of DP and put my thoughts here. It may be on hold for a while due to Phic Phight, but I do hope to finish at least season 1 by may-ish.
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Here’s my first-ever contribution to the Danny Phantom phandom!
I have no idea how long this fic is going to be but i’m super hyped about it so I hope you all enjoy.
Fandom: Danny Phantom
Rating: Not Rated
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Dash Baxter/Danny Fenton, Other ships will spoil the fic so i'll keep them a secret for now
Characters: Dash Baxter, Danny Fenton, Sam Manson, Tucker Foley, Paulina Sanchez, Star (Danny Phantom), Dale (Danny Phantom), Kwan (Danny Phantom), Jazz Fenton, Valerie Gray, all the diggity dang ghosts
Additional Tags: Enemies to Friends to Lovers, Slow Burn, all 18+ characters, might have nsfw in the future, Gay as hell, Dash is an Asshole, Danny and Dash are both idiots, Dash is a secret softie, Senior year, Sam is a lesbian, Tucker is a simp, Starts out as slice of life but gets more dramatic and ghost fighty as the story goes along, Dash is a simp for Danny Phantom, Danny has a hard time keeping his secret identity a secret, Dash x Danny, Dash has a sexuality crisis, Danny is super hecking tired and just wants to sleep, switching POV
Danny and Dash have always hated each other ever since middle school getting back at one another with petty pranks, fistfights, and bullying. But when the two find themselves stuck doing an English project together, they have to learn how to get along.
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D&D: By wastefulreverie: Lester, Mikey, and Nathan were standing beside him. Mikey was fumbling with three jagged-sided dice while Lester and Nathan glared at each other. Realizing that he was awake, Lester broke eye contact with Nathan. Awkwardly, he put his hand on Danny's shoulder. "Do you want to join our campaign?" he blurted.
Danny tilted his head skeptically, "Join your what?"
Additional Tags: Dungeons and Dragons, friendship, humor, [really enjoyed the irony in this one]
Making Something Out of Nothing: By wastefulreverie: When Ishiyama calls Danny into her office, the last thing he expected was to be offered a job.
Additional Tags: Post-reveal, Teacher! Danny,
Tiny Little Pieces of Ours: By Bellovebug: Danny Fenton was a dreamer. A dreamer of stars, of galaxies, of spaceships and sunsets and snow. He was a dreamer of wildflowers in the forest, of messages left on the insides of folders set up to take a test, of Polaroids an unknown person has dropped on the street. He was a dreamer of the things that didn't matter, because the things that did scared him.
But dreams don't last forever. And when Danny is gone, he leaves many in his wake.
(Or, a look at Danny's death, and the lives of the people in his life afterwards.)
Additional Tags: Major Character Death, hurt Danny, grieving, Sam and Tucker Centric, [This one hurt so much, but is very beautifully written. Still hurts even now lmao]
A Play to Remember: By AppleScentedLazers: When Danny's drama class puts on a play and Fenton is cast as his own crime fighting counterpart, what's the worst that could happen? With a new villain rising and lines to learn, the people of Amity start to see that there may be more to their resident ghost boy than meets the eye.
Additional Tags: Angst, [interesting reveal concept! more in-depth A-listers]
I’m Still Here: By Cordria: Buried in the backyard, Danny's locked away in a forgotten Thermos. When it's finally found seventy years later, Danny is released and he needs to learn to deal with his new life. Can he survive what the future can throw at him?
Additional Tags: Angst [definitely nostalgic angst]
The Scrapbook: By Dragon Elexus: Fearful of Jazz's idolism of the ghost-boy, Maddie tries to protect her daughter by stealing her Phantom scrapbook. But the book sparks strange questions in Maddie's mind, and she finds herself stumbling on secrets she never knew existed. Pre-PP.
Additional Tags: Family
Exposed: By ADraconicScribe: A mysterious caller has revealed that the infamous Danny Phantom is half-human, placing a five hundred thousand dollar prize to the one who exposes Phantom's secret identity. Coupled with Vlad's disappearance, the ghost fighting, and all of the efforts to capture him, Danny and his friends must tread carefully if they are to make it out with their secrets, and their lives, intact.
Additional Tags: angst, BAMF Danny Fenton, Identity Reveal, Sam and Tucker are good friends, [I cannot stress how amazing this fic is, extremely well written, such an intense plot. Endless twists and turns, so so good.]
Maybe We’ll Find Each Other: By DP_Marvel94: Phantom, the adoptive son of Clockwork, doesn't remember his life but wishes he did. Jack Fenton, ghost hunter, lost his only son at a young age. When the portal activates, a newly half-human Phantom stumbles into Jack's lab, barely a painfully familiar blue-eyed, black haired form.
Additional Tags: Full ghost to half ghost Phantom, Ghosts think halfas are abominations, father-son relationship, but neither know they’re parent and child [very very interesting story, super cool concept!]
Katzenjammer: By DannyPhantomSG1, sapphireswimming: Danny's had enough. Of everything. But thankfully Tucker understands.
Additional Tags: Oneshot, Half Ghost Angst, Hurt/comfort, Friendship
Hope Can Be a Heavy Thing to Hold: By DP_Marvel94: " I woke up here, wherever here is, with no memories. He told me my name is Daniel James Masters. He told me I am a human-ghost hybrid, like him. He told me he is my father. But I know that’s a lie; there is no way Vlad Masters, my captor is my parent. I know I have a real home somewhere out there. I have a family and friends who love me. Too bad I can’t remember anything about them."
Additional Tags: Amnesia, child abuse, Diary/journal, poor Danny can’t remember anything
Abigail the Tree Girl: By EchoGhost: Danny didn’t see his first ghost at 14.
Additional Tags: Haunted Amity Park, Danny has always been weird, clueless Danny
Just Fourteen: By aniura: Danny Fenton is an average high school student whose biggest worry is getting the grades needed to become an astronaut. That is, until his friend Sam convinces him to step inside his parents' broken ghost portal...Updates bi-weekly on Sundays. Covers Danny's time at Casper High before the accident and the month afterwards.
Additional Tags: Angst, origin, the accident, Danny is NOT okay, [really cool fic that fills in the gaps that weren’t delved into during the show]
The Phantom and the Knight: By savya398: After two years Danny Fenton finally felt like he was getting this whole superhero thing under control. So of course something had to come along and ruin everything.
Additional Tags: Danny Phantom/Young Justice, DC Animated Universe, [little twist on Danny’s origins]
Six Degrees of Separation: By Miss_Nihilist: Valerie Gray was not one for doubt and regret, but that was before she fell in love — and then, promptly and without a second thought, threw it away.
She wasn't looking for them to get back together or even to automatically be friends again. But maybe, just maybe, Valerie could get a second chance at being a decent person. For Danny, for herself, and for all the mistakes she had made.
Additional Tags: Moving On, Post break-up, hurt/comfort, identity reveal
Three for the Price of One: By Marsalias: They had only meant to summon ONE ghost...
Additional Tags: cult, summoning
When the Kingdom Comes Calling: By blueh: The Ghost Zone population assumes that Phantom took the crown with dignity. What they don’t know is fifteen year old Danny Fenton just wants to graduate high school, is constantly ready to throw hands with an army of eyeballs, and absolutely will not be crowned the Ghost King without a fight.
Additional Tags: Not PP compliant, ghost king Danny Fenton, fluff and humor, reluctant king au, [so funny and so on character for a little shit like Danny oof]
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I know I shouldn’t have stayed up so late but I’ve been trying to finish this new chapter since the 8th! Anyways, I have a few ideas of how to wrap this story up soon so hope you’re looking forward to it! Also, Clockwork’s clearly up to something so wonder how he’s going to play into what happened in this chapter?
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Whenever I think of writing or just daydream of a Danny Phantom crossover, I end up getting stuck at some point. Why? Well it's simple, when it comes to any serious fight or conflict it's hard to figure the scenario/sequence due to Danny himself. Danny is just too OP!
This isn't a bad thing, just tricky, but hear me out on this. If you really think about Danny's powers, the kid is overpowered to the max. The only thing stopping him from going all out is experience and stamina. Also moral values, kids got a heart of gold. That's it! Due to his age and the amount of time he's had his powers, he doesn't know how to fully utilize them. The kid is honestly going off pure luck and learning on the job. As for stamina, if you've watched the show, they display Danny's lack of stamina multiple times. If he's been in a long fight or uses his powers too much, then he shifts from ghost to human almost involuntarily, and passes out. The most obvious is when he uses the Ghostly Wail, that’s a lot of energy to use in one go. Granted, as the show progressed, his stamina does seem to get better. But really he's 14/15 and terrible at athletics (there's a whole episode about that), he can’t do too much. But the show did give us a peek at the power he could have as he ages and just lost all moral values. (TUE).
But, I’m just saying, if you didn't write correctly or figure out good scenarios, then Danny could end a story just like that.
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I’ve seen a couple posts going around asking for fic recs, so I’m gonna pull out some fic recs that I’ve gotten via a discord bot (that I still need to update, I’m gonna ignore that I remembered that.)
There’s a lot of them, so to prevent massive spammage, putting a break in here.
Just Fourteen is an awesome fic that covers the period between Danny getting zapped and the start of the show. It’s getting close to finished.
A reveal fic centering around Lancer. It’s been a while, but I see here it was also recommended by someone who I highly respect their writing opinions so I’m more than comfortable reccing it.
Fire and Ice
Definitely one of my absolute favorite fics. It’s a Danny/Ember (Phantom rocker I think is the ship name?) EXTREMELY good dialogue, and some AWESOME concepts that I wish would up in the show.
Spirit of Protection
Crossover between DP and Dragon Age (specifically the second game) Does a very good job blending the worlds and is all and all a very interesting fic though. It’s deader than Danny though, so be warned about that. (Also, please be inspired, because this is an awesome concept and I’d LOVE to see more like it.)
Another reveal fic with Lancer. Something is wrong with Danny. Jack knows it, Maddie knows it, and Lancer knows it. They don’t know what is wrong with him, but they want to figure it out.
Another reveal fic. Danny comes home way past his curfew, and Jack has decided it’s time to have an intervention. Great fic with Jack being a good parent.
The Trolley Problem
A fun dual obsession AU (Danny has a space obsession and a protection obsession) Amity Park has tried to keep the GiW from finding out about his space obsession, but they still found out. (Also a link to the wikipedia article on the Trolley Problem in case you don’t know what that is.)
I cannot for the life of me spell that name. Thank God for copy and paste. A really cool cross over between Zelda and Danny Phantom. I love Twilight Princess and getting to spend more time in that world is amazing, and it does feel like you’re in that world.
Smells Like Teen Spirit
An awesome fic that focuses on Danny from an outsider perspective, specifically, outside Amity Park. Turns out, he’s creepy as hell.
Love Me, Don’t Hug Me
A really cool Danny/Paulina Fic that honestly clued me into actually liking this ship. Deals with touch adverse Danny due to all his fights.
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