Ectober Day 23: Ruin
Summary: Inspired by @liminalhollow ‘s Spork AU, where Danny doesn’t become half-ghost and that changes everything.
Warnings: none (tell me if there’s one you think i should include and I’ll change this)
Notes: I actually really like how this one turned out. Might get a sequel if any of the prompts line up right enough. (Immediately thinks of which prompt I can use)
Everything was falling into ruin, and it was all Danny’s fault.
Maybe he should’ve taken the hint when the damage had started getting out of control. Danny helped his parents all he could, guilt motivating his actions more than anything else. He had donned that ridiculous hazmat his parents had made for him the day he had accidentally opened the portal. It could’ve been the thing he had died in too, had Tucker not realized that it was still plugged in before Danny had gone inside to investigate it. He had found the button inside, and had accidentally pressed it, receiving a nasty shock instead of what could’ve been death by electrocution. He was hurt pretty bad, but he’d live. The only effect seemed to be that Danny could always tell when a ghost was nearby, a violent chill racing down his spine whenever one was near. His parent’s had written it off as a side effect of the ectoplasm present in the electric current. Other than that, Danny was as human as he could possibly be.
Danny remembered the first ghost attacks, in retrospect, they hadn’t been that bad, but they had still shot straight terror through him to the point his heart stuttered in his chest. He remembered seeing Sam in danger, held hostage by the ghost dubbed “The Lunch Lady”, enraged over something as simple as a change in the lunch menu. Sam had gotten really hurt before his parents had been able to arrive and rescue her. She had been hospitalized for weeks, and had slowly stopped hanging out with him and Tucker, becoming a ghost in her own way. The next time he’d seen her had been the Undergrowth incident, and then he could only assume she moved away, since he hadn’t seen hide nor hair since.
Danny had taken up ghost hunting after the even with the Lunch Lady, Tucker joining him for the tech component occasionally. He had practically begged his parents to teach him to fight and equip him to be a ghost hunter. Wearing the hazmat constantly had been part of the deal, both to protect him from a potential backlash and attacks from ghosts to an extent. He had covered it up at first, embarrassed, but that eventually faded as the threat level rose constantly. Jazz disapproved of his new hobby.
As it turned out, Danny was really good at ghost hunting too. As he grew in skill of his own along with rumors and tales of his fights it’s the ghosts spread, he actually grew in popularity. It was… nice in its own way. He even got to take Paulina to Homecoming. Despite the fights and the injuries(and lack of Sam), it had been the best time of Danny’s life.
Then it got worse. Danny hadn’t been able to fight Technus at all since all of his weapons, even his goggles, had been hijacked. Tucker was the best friend he could’ve asked for, outplaying the tech ghost at his own game, much more familiar with Fenton tech than that ectoplasmic memory of a scientist ever could be. Then Tucker’s parents found out Tucker had been joining him in the fights. Danny had tried to tell them what a help Tucker was, Danny had his parent’s try too. But for the Foley’s, Amityville wasn’t safe anymore, so Tucker was forced to move away. They had still talked for a time, Tucker still working with the remote where he could, an easy compromise with his parents where he could help out and still be out of harm's way, but it wasn’t the same.
Then it continued to spiral. Danny couldn’t handle ghosts like Fright Knight, or Nocturne on his own, and even when his parents helped, Danny came out with more than a few broken bones. Fights like those had resulted in some pretty severe arguments between Jazz, their parents, and even himself. Jazz thought he shouldn’t be fighting, he disagreed, his parent’s encouraged it but clearly didn’t want him to get hurt in a weird sort of middle ground. There was no winning the argument. Then Jazz had decided to graduate early and offered an ultimatum. He chose to stay in Amityville, or what was left of it by that point. Jazz fled to go to college, even going so far as to change her name and number. Danny hadn’t heard from her since she had left.
At some point, the school had shut down, and he had switched to being homeschooled, his education of ghosts and weaponry becoming the very center of his life. He swore he would destroy any ghost that tried to hurt anyone in Amityville, for everything they had done to throw his life into chaos. He hadn’t agreed with his parents’ opinions at first, but now he knew. Ghosts, at the very center of their beings, were evil. They were at fault for Sam, Tucker, and Jazz leaving him. (It wasn’t his fault, no way. He was fighting. He was protecting Amityville. But he had opened the portal…)
Then the Ghost King, Pariah Dark, had stormed through the portal. There was nothing that could be done. His dad had tried, using his latest invention, the Fenton ExoSkeleton. He had ended up crippled from the energy drain, currently unable to move around without some sort of mobility aid. His mom was starting to crumble under it all too. The stress from trying to protect and lead what was left of Amityville’s scarce population became slowly overwhelming. Danny was just trying his best.
The Ghost King’s undead army had filled Amityville in a matter of hours, and had claimed it as his point of conquest to reach out to the rest of the living world. Ghosts were evil, destructive beings, and it was about to get a whole lot worse. The Fentons were already struggling to get the supplies they needed just to keep themselves and their small resistance group fed, and Danny could easily see the supplies they had left dwindling in the coming weeks.
Amityville was in ruins, people were dying and going missing all the time now. He couldn’t tell you the last time he had seen Star. Danny supposed that was why he was standing in front of the portal in the lab that was supposed to have been abandoned, deep in enemy territory, the very heart of the invasion. No one knew he was here, friend nor enemy, and Danny wasn’t so sure if he could manage to get out again.
The swirling green vortex called to him, like it always did, tugging at something deep in his chest. This was such a stupid idea. He should just shut it, cutting the ectoplasmic scum from their main source of energy. They would drain Amityville’s natural supply quickly after, then devolve, cannibalizing each other for energy, until there was nothing left and they all destabilized. Cruel but fitting for such beings.
But Danny knew he wouldn't be able to do it. There had been the odd ghost here and there. The exceptions to the rule, not the standard. Amorpho had been helpful to an extent. The sad princess who only came to the Mortal World to retrieve her necklace, then promptly left, hadn’t really been a problem. Then the really strange ghost girl who kept referring to him as ‘cousin’, of all things, and not as a figure of speech either.
She had introduced herself as “Ellie” and knew his name and so much else about him before they even met, it was eerie. She had babbled on about timelines and dimensions like they were more than science fiction, leaving odd remarks that went clearly over his head. She was only in Amityville for a day or so (he had kept an eye on her the whole time), grabbing a bacon-ranch milkshake at the Tasty Burger before she left peacefully through the Ghost Portal on her own. He had never told his parents about the strange little ghost, who seemed so familiar but also gave off that off feeling all ghosts did.
Ellie was the reason he stood here. Danny knew he shouldn’t trust a ghost, especially one he hadn’t seen in months. But she had talked about the “Infinite Realms”, and “her Danny” in just a way that made him believe her. Danny stared at the portal and wondered if he would see her again.
Danny checked his equipment, making sure all the blasters, shields, and the rest of his survival kit was safe and stocked. He secured the mask onto his face, designed to filter out the ectoplasmic air of the Ghost Zone into something safe for humans, it reminded him of a diver’s mask with the hoses connected to a storage unit he could use to recharge his weapons. Mask in place, the goggles with built in ectoscanners and infrared, and his hood all in place, Danny could only think of one thing he could do.
Danny prayed, he wasn’t sure to who, but the word “Ancients” popped into his head, one of the strange sayings that Ellie had used.
“Ancients, please let me find someone to help us out of this shit situation,” Danny swore, then plunged into the portal.
Danny tumbled, twisted, and was flung into a green expanse, his stomach finding a new home in his throat. Danny was only able to catch glimpses of what lied on the other side of the portal. He saw the rugged black-purple islands, suspended on nothing, doors of every size and shape, staircases to nowhere, and a contorting horizon, a twist of greens in shades he hadn’t known existed. Then it was gone.
The beginning sensation repeated as Danny was flung directly into another portal. He screeched behind his gear. This was not the plan! Where was he even going?! His knees met asphalt and his mask beeped, confirming the air was safe for breathing without risk of contamination. His suit had protected him from his fall out of what could only have been a natural portal. The sky above him was starry, and Danny immediately recognized where he was, but it was different somehow.
Danny picked himself and stared at the familiar place in front of him. He was on the edge of town, on the road leading straight into it, in fact, but the stars were different. There were more lights on in the city than Danny could recall recently seeing. Danny looked at the sign, and realized why he felt so displaced. Seems he wasn’t in Amityville any more, but a reflection of it.
Welcome to Amity Park
Ectober Day 21: Crown of Fire
Read on AO3
Maddie closed the lab door and raced down the stairs to where Jack was sitting, still staring at their newest find. The eerily flaming crown cast haunting shadows across her husband’s face. He was sitting on the edge of his seat leaning forward in his excitement. This was by far the most fascinating ghost relic they’d found yet!
Joining her husband at the lab bench, Maddie pulled out a notebook to start with a few observations before they began their experiments. “Jack, could you prep the Fenton Ecto-analyzer?” She’d focus best if the crown had her undivided attention.
“On it honey!” Jack jumped up from his chair and went off in search of the ecto-analyzer. No matter how many times they tried to organize the lab, it inevitably descended into chaos within days.
With her full attention on the relic in front of her, Maddie put pen to paper for her visual observations. It was clearly a crown at the center, a somewhat small circlet of metal with points rising up at regular intervals. She couldn’t tell what kind of metal it might be made of behind the strangest feature of the crown: the green fire that flickered the entire surface and rose above each of the points. It cast a haunting light, more black than anything else. There was no doubt in her mind that this was of ghostly origin. No earthly object looked like this no matter how long it had been floating through the ghost zone before they found it.
Jack finally returned to the bench with the radio turned ecto-analysis machine that he’d dubbed the Fenton Ecto-analyzer. Maddie had to admit it wasn’t his worst invention name. She picked up the small wand they’d attached to the body of the old radio to take close readings during their experiments and waved it over and around the crown, careful to avoid the flames. She wrote the measurements below her visual observation notes on autopilot. Jack watched her work from over her shoulder.
“Hey Mads, are you sure these numbers are right?” he asked when she turned to put the ecto-analyzer away.
“Of course, I wrote them down straight from the readout screen,” she said over her shoulder. “Why?”
“It’s just - they’re really high for an object.” She quickly turned around and took a closer look at what she’d written down. Jack was right, the numbers were incredibly high. They’d had lower readings from actual ghosts and this was just an inanimate object. Or at least it looked like one. Either way, it was incredibly powerful and dangerous. Maddie unconsciously leaned away from the crown, suddenly apprehensive about being too close to it’s ghostly influence. With her newly unbalanced position, she almost toppled from the chair in surprise when the door at the top of the stairs suddenly opened.
Both her and Jack turned sharply to watch the stairs. Jack’s hand drifted to one of the ectoguns lying on the benchtop although Maddie was sure that if a ghost had come to attack them and take the crown, it wasn’t likely to use the stairs. Scuffed red shoes appeared in their line of sight and Jack relaxed back into his seat. The shoes were followed by worn jeans and an old white NASA t-shirt before Danny appeared in the doorway.
“Did you guys want me to order pizza for dinner?” he asked, ignoring the tense posture his mom still held.
“Sure sweetie, let me go grab some menus and we can order,” Maddie answered, finally relaxing. Danny was thankfully staying at the entrance to the lab. This crown was far too dangerous for her children to be near. She shot Jack a pointed look over her shoulder as she made her way out of the lab to dig up their collection of takeout menus, hoping he’d get the message to put the crown in a strong containment device for safekeeping.
“Danny-boy, do you think she’ll order that fudge brownie we got last time?” Jack asked excitedly, mind completely filled with thoughts of dinner, the dangerous crown all but forgotten.
“She might if you remind her.” Danny had barely finished his sentence before his dad sped past him up the stairs to make sure Maddie ordered his second favorite dessert, second only to fudge.
Danny was now alone with the flaming crown and assured at least a few minutes before his mom realized his dad hadn’t put it away properly. He strode quickly over to the bench and looked down at it from above. It was probably his fault the crown was even floating around the ghost zone for his parents to find in the first place. He’d thrown the Observants away when they’d come to present him with it several days ago and they’d gone flying off through the zone. Later, he’d realized he may have been too quick in his judgement and had gone to consult Clockwork. With his new understanding of the responsibility of the ghost king, he had a much more difficult time reasoning his way out of it.
He was too young, too inexperienced, and had only been dead for a year. The ghosts wouldn’t accept someone who was still alive as their king. He’d said as much to Clockwork too, when he’d asked his advice. Clockwork had then told him about how the king was always meant to be a protector of the ghost zone and all its inhabitants. How someone who hung between life and death could bring a new harmony between the worlds of the living and dead. All he would have to do to accept the role as ghost king, would be to take the crown. It was already his, it had been ever since he defeated Pariah Dark.
Danny looked over his shoulder to make sure he was still alone in the lab and slowly reached out for the crown.