Everything Was White - Part 15
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Sunlight streamed through the window. Outside, birds fanned about, prepping for a long day of flying south for winter. The quiet hum of the city filled the air, the streets slowly waking and preparing for the new day.
Danny wiped the last of the sleep from his eyes and sat up, his head bobbing in lingering fatigue. This—getting out of bed, grabbing his clothes, heading to the bathroom to shower and get ready—had become routine. It was robotic, but it was no longer impossible like it used to be.
Gone were the days of waking to a choir of fire singing in his chest. Gone were the nights lying awake, wondering how he would make it through the next day. Nowadays he was calm. Peaceful.
He almost felt…normal.
He struggled up, grabbed his walker, and paused, leaning on his arms as a wave of dizziness passed through him. For a moment, he wondered if he should succumb to this new side effect and use his wheelchair for the rest of his morning. After all, he was still quite tired. How harmful could a few more moments of rest be anyway?
But he pushed that thought away at once and took his first steps into the new day. He was stronger now, he’d healed, he could do this. He wasn’t the weak person he used to be.
He was better than he used to be. He just needed to stick to the routine.
He finally made his way to the kitchen, drawn in by the smell of his father’s famous burnt toast. “Morning,” he mumbled, pulling up to the table.
“Heya, Danno!” Jack stood from his chair. “Want some toast?”
“I got it, Dad,” Jazz said, shooing her father back to his seat.
Danny sent her a look of gratitude.
She returned a moment later with a glass of water and a small bowl of cereal. “You ready for today?”
“Yeah.” Danny wasn’t really hungry, but he took a bite anyway. Breakfast had become a rehearsed aspect of his new routine too. It didn’t matter if he was hungry or not, he still ate at the table with his family.
“We have our family check-in session today too!” Jack beamed. “When we talked to your PHP therapist the other day, she said things were going well. It should be a good session, son! You should be proud!”
Danny hummed in agreement, munching on his cereal. Unlike his previous sessions, he wasn’t worried about today. He was doing better now. He was actually sleeping at night—finally—which meant he wasn’t so drained every day. He was finally able to stay calm enough to focus just enough in PHP to learn the new techniques that the therapists had been trying to teach him.
And sure enough, when Maddie drove past the street where a dedicated group of protesters stood picketing his very existence, Danny was able to quell the voices in his head that told him that his life was over, he was ruined, everyone hated him, he was a monster.
Because it was all routine now. Sleep through the night, wake up, eat, go to PHP, participate in the lessons, go home, eat, sleep, rinse and repeat. Again, and again, and again.
He would be damned if Phantom had to be locked away for a second longer because of some assholes on the side of the road with signs.
No, he’d been through much worse. So much worse.
This was just routine. And he was calm and collected now. He didn’t need to freak out over every little thing, he didn’t need to lie awake at night staring at the ghosts behind his eyelids, he could finally feel peace.
Maddie followed Danny into the building, and they entered the elevator with another mother-child combination that Danny didn’t recognize—although the pair seemed to recognize him. The mother was politely looking away from him, but her son was far less subtle, choosing instead to openly gawk at Danny the entire ride up.
But that didn’t bother Danny anymore. It was just routine.
And he was good at routine now.
He greeted the woman at the front desk with a clumsy “hello” just like he always did, parted ways with his mother, and traveled to his room where the other teens were waiting for him. Most of the teens from his original group had already graduated and were replaced by a new set of teens who also all seemed both fascinated and intimidated by him.
And that was okay.
Because Danny had healed.
During art therapy, Danny didn’t use green. Instead, he used blue and purple. Blue like his ice, a cool comfort that he’d grown to depend on. Purple like the purple flowers that Sam loved growing in her backyard greenhouse.
“Great job, Danny,” the art therapist said. “What do you think?”
Danny shrugged. “It’s...nice. Feels like home.”
“I don’t know. It just looks comforting. My—my friend’s favorite color. I missed them a lot. Both of them.”
The art therapist sat down next to Danny, his brown eyes fixated on the painting. “Yeah, it can be hard when you’re separated from your loved ones for so long. You come home and everything feels kinda different, doesn’t it?”
Danny pressed at the warmth in his chest. “It is different.”
“From the way you talk about your friends, it sounds like they really care about you.”
“I guess. They were there…you know, for the lab accident. The one that um—uh, changed me. They were there the whole time…”
“That kind of friendship—” The therapist pointed to the purple and blue paint. “—is really special. It’s easy for us to want to push our loved ones away when we go through trauma. But you and your friends have already been through so much together, right? All the ghost hunting and the days hiding Phantom from the public.” He leaned forward, his voice dropping in volume. “They have your back.”
“They do.” Danny looked back at his art. It really did seem so much brighter than the ones he painted before during therapy, even if the colors weren’t like the neon green he used to paint with. “I miss them.”
Lunch came and went with little drama. Danny ate his sandwich and fruit that Jazz had packed him, and when the girl with the teal pixie haircut—who hadn’t graduated yet either—wanted to strike up a conversation with him, Danny didn’t decline.
“So, before all this. What did you do? Like, for fun?” she asked.
Danny swallowed a bite of his sandwich. “Video games, mostly.”
“Same, mostly desktop games. Though last year I bought myself a Switch in secret. I knew my dad would pawn it for drugs if he ever saw it, but I really wanted to play Animal Crossing. So it was a secret.”
“Oh. That must have sucked. Your dad, I mean. Not the game.”
“Yeah.” She looked oddly at her bag of potato chips, her brows beginning to draw in before she blinked and the spell wore off. “Well, he was an asshole, so there’s no surprise there.”
“You live with your...aunt?” Danny asked.
“I’m sorry that all happened to you.” And he meant it, genuinely.
She gave him that same odd look from a moment ago. “And I’m sorry for what happened to you too.”
The next therapy involved yoga and meditation, for which the instructor thankfully was already armed with alternative poses for Danny. But this didn’t bother him either because as soon as he got Phantom back, he would be able to twist his body in ways humans could only imagine.
He just needed to wait a little while longer. Be a little more patient. Listen to the therapists, listen to his parents, and he could get his core back. Just keep it up, keep working hard.
Finally, afternoon came, and with it, their family meeting.
“This week’s been another good week for Danny,” the therapist told his parents. “He’s been participating much more in the discussions and has been less afraid to talk to the therapists and reach out for help.”
Maddie broke into a watery smile. “I’m so glad to hear this.” She reached over and gently placed her fingers on his arm, rubbing circles on his skin with her thumb.
Danny didn’t react. He was a model PHP student now, he was doing everything right. By the books. He was healing.
“How would you say the home dynamic has been lately? I know we were expressing some difficulties during mealtimes. How have things been going with that?”
“There’s been some ups and downs, but overall, I think the family has finally come together as a team,” Maddie said. “Mealtimes have still been a bit touch and go, but I see Danny making more of an effort at the table.”
“Is there anything that’s been particularly challenging for you at meals, Danny?”
“Uh…just the same...same things. As before.”
“Certain meats seem to be an issue, mostly,” Jack supplied. “Processed food seems to be the biggest difficulty. We’ve been trying our best to avoid those in the home for now until we can work on them with his one-on-one therapist.”
“Yes, I think that’s a good plan. We’re all still transitioning, and going back to school will be a major change. I think that for now, sticking to safe foods is going to bring the most success for our progression next week.”
“Gotcha!” Jack said.
“What do you think, Danny?”
They don’t know, he reminded himself. They don’t know what happened.
Not that what happened mattered. He was here, he had recovered. The red bag was a thing of the past. It meant nothing to him now, not when his core was at stake.
Maddie wrapped her arm around Danny. “Just know we have all been so proud of you. We know that this isn’t easy, and we know how hard you’re working.”
“Yes, I think that’s extremely important to acknowledge.” The therapist set down her file. “Transitions are hard for anyone, and with someone who’s experienced something so traumatic, they become even harder. The little steps you’ve been making in the past few weeks are going to be so monumental for your overall success when you leave here.”
Danny’s ears perked up. “I’m leaving?”
“Next week,” she said.
Danny peered hopefully at his father, who set a large hand heavily on his shoulder. “As we said, son, you’ve worked so hard the last few weeks, and we can finally see some of the old Danny peeking through again.”
Danny couldn’t hide the grin that spread across his face. “I’m...really?”
“We know that this is going to be especially difficult given your public situation, and we want you to know that we’re all here for you. We’ll support you through this,” the therapist said. “From here, you’ll be moving to an IOP therapy group, which lasts a couple hours each afternoon. You’ll be back in school, but with your education plan, you won’t be a full-time student right away. So we’re going to ease you into this, okay?”
“Yeah. Okay,” Danny said breathlessly. He could hardly believe his ears. Some days it felt like this moment would never come.
“What do you think about all this? It’s a lot, isn’t it?” the therapist asked.
“I—I mean, yeah. Of course it’s a lot,” Danny said. “But I know I can do it. I know I can. Before there were things...it was a weird situation. I was in a weird place. But now I can do it.”
“We know you can, Danno. We know how hard you’ve worked to get here.”
Maddie reached for another tissue, turning away from him. “And I know we’ve apologized before, but—” her voice cracked. “But I just want you to understand how…how sorry we are for pushing you so much the first time around. We never meant to hurt you, we just didn’t understand how much pain you were in even when it was all right in front of us. What happened at school wasn’t your fault. You’re our baby boy, and I love you so much, honey. I never wanted to hurt you.”
Danny looked at his lap. He really didn’t want to hear this. It didn’t matter now, he was doing fine. “I know, Mom. It’s okay.”
“It’s not okay, but I appreciate you trying,” she said.
His fingers twitched.
Thankfully, the therapist spoke up. “The most important thing is that now we’ve established a path of working together on healing from this experience. Especially now, it’s essential that we keep this clear line of communication moving forward.”
“Of course,” Jack said. “We only want Danny to be happy.”
And very soon, he would be happy. He would have his core back, his powers, his freedom.
Danny looked to the window, where sunlight poured in against a bright blue sky. Off in the distance, birds flew in a V formation, heading down to a warmer climate for the winter.
If he closed his eyes, he could almost imagine that he was flying up there too with the sun kissing his face and wind whipping his hair. He could almost feel that weightless freedom of his body ignoring gravity, zipping around the air like it was nothing.
He wanted that so badly. Every day he was closer to his goal, and every day the growing desperation to feel again strengthened. He’d do anything for his core.
He looked at his parents and grinned. “I’ve got this. I’m a Fenton, aren’t I?”
“This is so stupid.”
“You say that, and yet you’re still here,” Jazz teased. “So who does that make the stupid one?”
“You’re right. I’m—I’m a goddamn hypocrite. You caught me.” Danny jabbed the puzzle piece into its slot. “Arrest me now or—or forever hold your peace.”
Jazz flicked a puzzle piece at him. It bounced off his arm and rolled onto the rug.
With all the dramatic energy he could muster, Danny collapsed onto the floor, resting the back of his hand on his forehead. “I’ve been betrayed! I’m wounded!”
“Oh my god.” Jazz broke into a fit of giggles. “You’re so weird.”
“Jazz, I can’t—I can’t go on. Please, you’ll have to—to finish this puzzle without me. There’s no other way.”
“Quit being dramatic!”
“I can’t feel my legs, Jazz. I think I’m dying. Please, avenge my death. With this...this...puzzle.”
And with that, Danny took one last climactic breath of air before closing his eyes and letting his arm flop onto the floor.
Jazz’s stifled giggles increased until they exploded into full-blown laughter. Her laugh was bright like popcorn, bouncing off the wooden walls and filling the room with energy.
Danny couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard this. Had it been months? Since before the Guys in White?
He pushed himself back up. “Turns out I was already dead so...I guess I’ll help.”
Jazz threw another puzzle piece at him. “You better. No way I can do this by myself.”
“Yeah, right.” Danny rolled his eyes. Jazz could have solved this in half the time if she were by herself. In the past, he might have called her patronizing. He might have snapped at her and stormed away.
But not now, not today. Because he knew that she was just trying to do an activity with him because—to Jazz at least—this sort of thing was fun. What kind of asshole would Danny have to be to take that away from her? After everything she’d done for him?
He swiped a piece off the rug and studied it, noting a splotch of red in one of its corners. He scanned the partially finished puzzle until he spotted the cluster of brick buildings in the background of the scene. He carefully lowered the puzzle piece, rotating it as he let it down, and snapped it into place.
“Good one!” Jazz praised him.
“That’s what I’m here for.”
Jazz tucked a piece of the sky into place. “Are you excited to go back to school?”
It really was amazing how quickly his stomach could twist into a giant knot. “I don’t care.”
“No? But I thought you would have been excited to get your core back.”
Danny hesitated, his fingers hovering over the partially done board.
That was right. He was getting his core back. He was going to be protected and safe. The government couldn’t touch him, and neither could the other ghosts.
He fought to keep his face neutral. Because he wasn’t the kind of ghost who was obsessed with their core or anything. He was still human. He was still in control of his emotions. “I am excited.”
“Oh? That’s good, then.”
Suspicion rose in his head, and he refused to look Jazz’s way to let her psychoanalyze him. “It’ll feel good to—to...get in the air. But I...that’s different from school.”
“What about you?” Danny tried to fix another piece into the cluster of buildings, but it didn't fit. “Why aren’t you at school?”
“Oh!” Jazz paused. “You know, I just didn’t feel like the time was right. A lot was going on this summer.”
A lot was going on, Danny repeated to himself.
A part of his brain tried to taunt him that it was his fault she wasn’t at school, but he shoved that aside.
He wasn’t going to go down that hole right now.
“Did you drop out?” he asked.
“No. I just deferred.”
“So when are you going?”
“Trying to get rid of me, huh?” Jazz tried to joke, but Danny didn’t smile. “I’ll start next semester.”
Danny chewed on his bottom lip as he pretended to consider where else this puzzle piece could go.
“I know how this looks. I was always so excited about college, it’s all I ever used to talk about. And I’m still excited, I promise. But I’m also really glad I took a gap semester. Even outside of, you know...everything that happened, I just feel like I never really spent enough time with the family, you know? It’s been nice to just be able to hang out with you. We haven’t done stupid things like this since we were kids.”
A pang of guilt hit Danny. That had been accurate. At first, it was Jazz who had begun to push him away, not wanting to play with her little kid brother when she was such a grown preteen girl. But then that shifted until Danny didn’t want to hang out with his annoying older sister.
And then the accident happened, and that changed everything.
Sure, Jazz had found out eventually. But even after that, their only topic of conversation was Phantom and ghosts. There was never anything different because before anyone could prepare for it, keeping the ghosts at bay had become everyone’s main priority, and all human topics just seemed too frivolous to bring up.
But now Danny had a second chance. A do-over. As soon as he got his core back, as soon as his fame had simmered, as soon as he was back in school, as soon as he could walk properly again, then everything would be back to normal. Except this time, Danny was going to do it right.
“I’m glad you’re home too,” Danny finally admitted. “I...missed you.”
“I missed you too. A lot.”
“But I know you’re going to—going to kill it at Harvard.” He looked up at her with a wavering smile. “Jazz, you were born for this. Harvard...they won’t know—know what’s gonna hit them.”
Jazz beamed. “Thanks, Danny. And I’ll miss you, but I know you’ll be okay here without me. You have so much support here. And I know things with Mom and Dad are a little tense, but they really mean well, okay? They’re just scared, but I know things will level out soon.”
“Yeah.” They would level out soon. Danny had made sure of it. “I know. Thanks.”
They worked on the puzzle until Danny was convinced he was beginning to lose his sanity, at which point he finally managed to convince Jazz to pause until tomorrow.
Honestly, how Jazz could ever do these things in one sitting was inhuman. And she called them fun?
Danny made sure to let her know all this, to which she playfully waved him off and said that when he was old and gray, he’d be begging her to do puzzles with him.
“In your dreams,” was his only response.
They went upstairs and began their nightly routines of brushing their teeth before saying good night and heading their separate ways.
As soon as he shut his bedroom door, Danny began his own part of his routine. One where he struggled into a pair of shorts, plugged his phone into the charger next to his bed, and grabbed the bottle of pain relievers from his nightstand.
He swallowed a pill and settled into bed. It was routine, but it was okay. It was just temporary. Soon he’d be out of the intensive therapies, he’d have his core back, he’d have his freedom back. He wouldn’t be under the watchful eye of everyone, the world would calm down.
He just needed to get through the next few days and then it would be okay.
Grabbing his phone off his bed, he opened Reddit and scrolled aimlessly down the home page, his brain just barely glancing at the various memes that passed by.
And really, why wouldn’t it be okay? He was so close to the finish line. So close.
He just needed to get out. He just needed the chip out. He just needed to be able to run and walk and fly again.
It didn’t take long before his face appeared on his screen. Danny reacted on reflex, scrolling past the image too quickly for his brain to process it.
He let out a breath. That was close.
As much as he tried to avoid it, it seemed no site was safe from Phantom references. At least, that was how it felt. No matter what corner of the internet he tried to go on, his name, his face, were still plastered everywhere.
And looking at that content sent his stomach in knots.
He thought he’d gotten over it a few weeks ago when he finally Googled his own name. He thought he was fine, but that had been a lie. Because aside from the few news and talk show clips he’d seen in passing, he really hadn’t gone in-depth online. He didn’t truly know what the people—the actual people, not the celebrities or news organizations—felt about him. He hadn’t read their thoughts and opinions yet.
And there was only so much scrolling through the Doomed subs—one of the few places that seemed to have a strict “no celebrity talk” policy—he could handle before he knew he just needed to rip that Band-Aid off.
He passed by yet another post of a user complaining about the same game mechanic for the dozenth time that week and sighed. Frustration leaked through him, and he felt something inside him snap.
Okay, he was so done hiding out. He was over this. What was he so scared of anyway? That people weren’t going to like him?
Please, Phantom once had a million-dollar bounty on his head after the town ghost invasion. A few mean comments on Reddit should be nothing.
Pulling up the Reddit search bar, he typed in Danny Phantom and hit return.
He blinked at his screen.
It wasn’t the existence of the Danny Phantom subreddit that surprised him. No, that sub was created way back before his reveal had even taken place. What was surprising was the sheer number of people who had joined since he last looked at it.
What once was just a few hundred thousand users now held millions of accounts who had all decided to follow him. Danny Phantom.
Millions of people. Millions of unknown names and faces.
What the hell…?
Why was he so surprised? Wasn't this what Tucker had warned him about? The words from a few weeks ago echoed in his mind. “Phantom is huge,” he’d said. “Bigger than I think any of us realized.”
Danny knew that deep down. The reporters, the protesters, the news stations, the freaking march that the city had shut down entire streets for when he was still being held prisoner by the government. All the evidence had always been there if he had been willing to look.
This was it, all the proof staring back at him in the face.
While he’d browsed Twitter a few times, he hadn’t looked at those numbers yet. He wondered...would they show the same pattern? Would the Phantom Instagram that Tucker and Sam moderated show this kind of spike too?
He glanced over at his wheelchair. How long would people be willing to wait until he was healed again? What if he never got there?
Would the world turn against him?
Danny took a deep breath and clicked on the subreddit, bringing him to the home page. His logo decorated the icon, and a photo of him soaring through the sky took up the header image. He scrolled down and stopped on the first post pinned to the top of the homepage.
It was a picture of him, Sam, and Tucker at a Dumpty Humpty concert. Sam had her arm extended, holding the camera in prime selfie position, while the three of them pressed their faces together in an attempt to fit in the frame. The gleaming light from the stadium illuminated their faces against the night sky, and the stage with the band members playing their instruments peeked out in the background.
Their faces showed unbridled joy, free from homework or responsibilities of what it meant to be ghost hunters. In that photo, they were just teenagers having fun on a Friday night. Nothing more, nothing less.
He finally looked at the title, which read, “We’re Sam and Tucker, aka 2/3 of Team Phantom. We were background players that assisted Danny during ghost fights. AMA.”
Danny swiped over to see a second photo of just Sam and Tucker in Tucker’s bedroom. This time, Tucker was the one with his arm stretched out, gripping the camera while Sam held up a piece of paper with a date and a big AMA scribbled on it.
He didn’t understand. Why would they do this? And while he was still captive with the government? It wasn’t like them to try to grab their fifteen minutes of fame—well, maybe that was something Tucker would do, but Sam? The same girl who always scoffed at Instagram influencers and constantly called Danny out when she felt like he was getting a little too cocky?
What was their goal here?
He scrolled down to the top comments.
‘I always assumed Phantom was working alone. What did you two do for the team?’
Well, no one knowing about those two had been the point. But thankfully, it seemed that Sam and Tucker were right on that.
It would have been too suspicious if the two of us were caught associating with Phantom (aka without human Danny), so the Team part of Team Phantom was completely hidden from the public. But I would carry an extra Thermos (ghost trapping device) and extra-small ecto-weapons just in case of emergency, and I also would do first aid on Danny when needed. -Sam
Every team needs a techno geek, and I was that guy! I handled any of the team’s technology and tracking needs, among a few other things. -Tucker
Danny scrolled down to the responses where a user had commented, A few other things? Alright, I’ll bite, what did you hack?
I plead the fifth. -Tucker
Laughter bubbled in Danny’s throat, and he slapped his hand over his nose to stifle a snort. Tucker was such a dork.
Danny missed seeing that side of Tucker, the snarky, sarcastic personality he'd grown up with. Even after everything, Tucker was still undeniably Tucker, but there were differences now. He wasn't quite as bright and mischievous as he used to be. There was something almost cautious about the way he acted around Danny now.
Well, in Tucker's defense, they all had changed.
Danny closed the thread and jumped down to the next one.
I’m from Amity Park, and I just wanted to send my gratitude towards you three for everything you’ve done for this city. I know I, like many, was shocked when it was revealed that Phantom is actually just a teenage kid. So I’m wondering what Phantom is like when he’s not fighting ghosts?
Honestly, he’s a huge dork. If you met Danny on the street you would never think he could hurt a fly, much less a ghost terrorizing the city. But he’s a very normal person. He plays video games, watches movies, and loiters around the city just like anyone else.
What kind of games? one of the replies asked.
Mostly Doomed. We all played it regularly. I’m the best of the three of us though. -Sam
Dozens of people commented below talking about the game, but Danny scrolled past them.
What’s something about Danny that most people don’t know?
He LOVES all things space and astronomy. Like “can talk nonstop about them for hours” kind of love. Before Phantom, his dream career was to work for NASA. Obviously ghost hunting has taken priority, but if we asked him now, we’re almost positive that would still be his ultimate goal after college.
Directly under Sam and Tucker’s words was a comment glittered in numerous Reddit badges and awards. When he’s freed, have him get in touch with me. I’m an engineer for NASA who designs rovers for research on Mars. I’d love to introduce him to my contacts in the internship program here. I can PM you my email.
Danny stared at the screen in awe.
What was going on? Why would anyone suggest that? He wasn't internship material, he could hardly manage Algebra I.
Thank you, I’m sure he’d love that!
He scrolled down to another response. You know, Amity Park has an astronomy club that meets once a month over at the observatory outside the city. We’re open to everyone and are always looking for new space enthusiasts! Tell Danny to drop by anytime!
Why was everyone being so nice to him?
With his flight abilities, he must be able to do some pretty awesome stargazing, another comment read.
Unless this was the whole point of the AMA. To turn Phantom from this spectral enigma into a person. To humanize him. To turn the public in his favor, help everyone see that he wasn’t some vicious rabid animal in need of a permanent lockdown, that he was just a regular teenager.
To put pressure on the courts to release him sooner.
Damn. Sam and Tucker were geniuses, both of them. They were selfless and caring and Danny didn’t deserve them.
And just like with the march, they hadn’t told him of this. All their acts of defiance, every single thing they did behind the scenes of the court case to help him when they couldn’t physically be there for him, it was all them the whole time.
This wasn't about fame. They did this for him.
How did you all meet?
I met Tucker and Danny when I moved to Amity Park in middle school. I ended up sitting at lunch on my first day by myself, and they saw me and decided to sit down at my table. We had a lot in common, so we became friends. We were already inseparable, but Team Phantom really brought us closer together. -Sam
Danny and I have been friends since we were kids. It’s kind of a funny story, some kid in our grade was picking on him at recess so I went over and tried to push the bully down, except I was a twig with no muscle to speak of, and so the kid ended up shoving both my and Danny’s faces in the dirt. Friendship was inevitable from that point forward. -Tucker
Danny remembered both of those moments, the first with Dash chasing him around the field at recess, Tucker popping out of nowhere, them both ending up all but eating the grass beneath them. He remembered Tucker leading them to Sam’s table that day at school in eighth grade.
They both had always been there for him. Always.
And even though in the last few weeks he thought that they all were on even ground again and he was trying his best to be open with them, there was still a huge divide between them. Sam and Tucker had done so much without Danny, things that they had yet to tell him about.
But Danny had also done so much without them.
One day they would be able to tell each other everything. One day Danny would be completely honest with them—save for one or two minor details—but not yet.
I heard Phantom died in an accident—is this true? What happened? And how did that then lead to you all becoming ghost fighters? a comment asked.
For legal and personal reasons, we can’t discuss the details of his accident. We hope you understand, but it’s not our story to tell. All we can say is that the accident was terrifying and we don't wish what happened to Danny on anyone.
Becoming a ghost fighting team was also a total accident. Ghosts started appearing in the city several weeks before the public’s first record of them, and Danny has a power—his ghost sense—that can alert him of ghosts nearby. So that plus some of his parents’ borrowed trapping technology just kind of made him assume the natural role of Amity Park’s ghost defender. And since we were both there for the initial accident and everything after, it made sense for us to provide backup.
Part of him wondered if they were ever going to show him this AMA, if they had planned to tell him before his breakdown at school.
He wondered what they expected him to leave the Guys in White compound looking like. They must have known what they were going to do to him, right? They would have known that the government wasn’t going to let him leave completely intact.
And if they knew that, he wondered what else they’d done. What other things they weren’t telling him. How late had they stayed up at night working on different PR stunts to help him home once they realized that they couldn’t locate the compound?
Have you seen Phantom since his arrest? Do you know where he is now?
No, we haven’t been allowed visitation since he was taken, and we have no idea where they’re keeping him. Ghosts don’t have the same rights as humans, and according to the law, Danny is too “ghost” to be granted any human rights.
The thread continued below. That must be terrifying. My heart goes out to you both. What’s happening to him is cruel, and I hope the justice system can come through on this one.
Thank you, that means a lot to us. The Fenton family is fighting tooth and nail to get their son back, and we have been doing everything we can to help. We really miss our friend, and we’re extremely concerned given the lack of rights protecting him from harm.
Under that were dozens of other responses from people, many with hundreds of upvotes, all expressing support and concern for him and his family.
He would make it up to them. He’d get his core back and they could return to being Team Phantom just like before. He wouldn’t let all their hard work go to waste.
Hi, first of all thank you all for everything you did for Amity. It was incredibly brave, and I can’t imagine how difficult these past few weeks have been for you both. That said, I’ll admit that like everyone else, until recently I had no idea that Phantom wasn’t acting alone. So I guess my question is, was it hard to remain so secret? And do you have any crazy stories of near-misses from people almost discovering you both?
Remaining hidden was very challenging, and there were tons of times where we all nearly got caught. No one time stands out in particular for me, but I’ll tell you that all three of us got into more trouble with teachers than anyone else due to suspicious behavior. -Sam
There was actually a guy in our class that did discover us (hi, Wes!) and spent the past year trying to convince others of what we were doing. Nobody believed him. But it really was Danny’s fault. When he’s in a hurry, sometimes he’ll just transform in the middle of the goddamn street. Sometimes I wonder how other people didn’t see him. Then again, if you’re not expecting it, it’s probably easy to miss. -Tucker
There were too many comments to read. Thousands of people who were curious about the trio, who were concerned about him. Danny scrolled by speculation about the court case, dozens of comments wondering what they could do to help, messages from people sharing links to videos and articles about him, sharing anecdotes about him, people wondering where was he and what was going to happen to him?
Danny wanted to respond. He wanted to comment on the thread under the Danny Phantom username that Tucker had grabbed once he started gaining an audience with the public, he was desperate to tell everyone how grateful he was and how much he cherished their support, how integral everyone was to his release.
But he was also desperate for the fame to die down, for his life to return to normal. He wanted to go to school. He wanted to prove how mature and stable he was.
He wanted to get his core back.
Danny shut his phone off and placed it next to the pills on his nightstand. He pulled the blanket up to his chin and let his muscles relax into his mattress. Almost as if on command, the tension in his chest let go, allowing peace to radiate through his body.
He hadn’t realized how tired he was. Or how comfortable this bed was.
How amazing Sam and Tucker were.
This was nice.
Special thanks to @imekitty for being the best beta ever! And to all the readers who have been following this fic. I know it’s a long read with sparse updates, but I love all the comments and predictions from everyone!
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