A Danny Phantom FanFiction by Cordria
Authors Notes Version
In Which Secrets Arent So Easy To Keep
Sorry its late. Id give you the list of excuses, but it basically boils down to me being lazy and not wanting to edit last night.
Danny stared down at his cheeseburger with a sour expression on his face. Sam and Tucker were yammering away about nothing in particular, quite obviously making an attempt to get him to smile after the blow-up in the hallway a few hours previously, but Danny was simply feeling too tired and nauseated to care. The entire cafeteria stank it smelled like someone had been sprayed by a skunk and then crawled through a sewer and, not having eaten anything since a bowl of ice cream the previous night, Danny was starving.
But his stomach was churning just looking at the greasy cheeseburger, much less having to smell it. The stench was coming off the tray of food in almost visible waves. The school had chosen a bad day for the cafeteria to serve even-less-edible-than-normal food. I hate Mondays, he whispered. Sam broke off complaining about her English report to blink at him, arching an eyebrow and silently asking him to explain. And Im hungry, he muttered.
So eat, Tucker interjected from his other side. He picked up his own lunch, licking his lips before taking a bite.
Danny shot him an incredulous look. Eat this? You cant be serious.
Whats wrong with it? Sam sporked a bite of her limp salad and grinned. I mean, other than the fact that its meat and theres all sorts of ethical dilemmas with eating it.
Danny scowled at his food. He wasnt in the mood to listen to Sams vegan ethics. Whats wrong with it? Dont you have a nose? he asked darkly, reaching out to poke his cheeseburger. Its got to be the worst thing Ive ever smelled. When his finger touched the bun, a sharp spike of pain radiated up his hand. Jerking his hand away, he glared at the food. And for some reason it hurts.
Hurts? Tucker asked skeptically. How can touching a hamburger bun hurt?
Glancing over at his friend, Danny watched in amazement as Tucker took another huge bite of out of his own cheeseburger. How are you eating that? Dannys eyes flickered from Tuckers nauseating lunch to his best friends confused face.
It tastes good? Tucker tried slowly. Theres
theres nothing wrong it, Danny.
But cant you smell that? Its like moldy gym socks mixed with snicker doodles. Danny blinked incredulously at Tucker, then turned towards Sam, hoping that shed back him up. Right, Sam?
Sorry, had to put in the illusion. Foley by Tucker Foley in the making.
Sam shrugged. I agree that it smells horrible, but not any worse than normal.
Yeah, look around, Tucker agreed. Everyone else is eating it it seems like youre the only one thinking it smells weird. He stopped, his eyebrows wrinkling behind his glasses. Think its a ghost thing?
Dannys stomach tumbled at that simple question. He looked around the cafeteria, blinking at all of the students that were happily chewing away at their hamburgers. Yes, its probably a ghost thing, he conceded to himself with a sigh. Turning his eyes back to his food, he stared down at his lunch in silence. A wave of the greasy, sticky smell slammed into him and he swallowed down a surge of nausea, pushing the tray away from him and resting his arms on the table. I hate Mondays.
So weve heard, Sam muttered.
What do you think is causing it? Tucker asked, grabbing Dannys tray and pulling it closer. Something in the food?
Danny shrugged noncommittally, no longer interested in why the food smelled so horrible. He didnt want to think about anything that had to do with ghosts or his own freakish abnormality, he just wanted something in his day to go correctly. I dont know.
With a bit of a frown, Tucker picked up one of the cold fries and waved it under Dannys nose. Danny jerked his head backwards, gazing at his friend darkly. Well, how else are we going to figure out whats causing the smell? Tucker said.
*lmao* Let the experimenting start!
Later, Tucker, Sam interjected. Right now, were all dying to hear what happened yesterday in more detail.
Danny groaned a little and buried his head in his arms. I dont want to talk about it, he tried, hoping the two of them would take it and leave him alone. Just for a few minutes, he wanted to pretend to be normal and have everything fade off into the background. This whole thing probably wouldnt have been so bad if it wasnt affecting almost every aspect of his life. Even when he was fully human, he had ghosts trailing him around
Where are the ghosts? Danny, struck by that thought, raised his head curiously and scanned the cafeteria. The previous few days the cafeteria had been swarming with ghosts, flickering at the corners of his vision and driving him insane. Today the place was empty. Thats weird.
Yeah, not going to work. An elbow lightly poked into his side, causing him to snap out of his momentary daze. Spill.
Still trying to spot a ghost out of the corner of his eye and a little confused about why he was worried about not being able to see them, surely it had to be a good thing that he wasnt seeing ghosts anymore Danny spoke distractedly. You remember the portal-
Freezing, Danny broke off what he was about to say and stared fixedly at the table in front of him, attempting to ignore the large boy in the letter jacket that had appeared on the other side of the table. Not during lunch. Not in school. Not in front of everyone. Not today
General consensus I think said that Danny would attack Dash. I wouldnt be that nice.
Hows it hanging, Fentonia? Dash said, dropping into an open seat across from Danny.
Danny looked up, gazing blankly at Dash. Fine, Dash. What do you want?
Is that the way to talk to your best buddy in the world? Dash taunted, grinning and staring straight at Danny.
Come on, Danny. Lets get out of here, Sam said, grabbing her salad and standing up. I can smell it too, now.
Danny didnt move, his eyes locked on Dashs. He knew that if he got up and left, Dash would simply continue the torment outside of the protection of the school. What do you want, Dash, he said again, ignoring Sam standing behind him.
I want, Dash said quietly, to watch you eat your lunch. The jock pushed Dannys tray slowly across the table until it was once again sitting nauseatingly right in front of Danny.
How does he do that? Danny wondered distantly. He never fails to pick the one thing I dont want to do. Its like some kind of sick talent.
Hes not hungry, Sam put in angrily. Come on, Danny.
Is that going to be your answer? Dash asked softly. His eyes drilled into Dannys, the smile on his face never wavering.
Danny could hear the unspoken words just fine. You remember the consequence, right? Sam stays out of this as long as you cooperate. He stared at Dash for another second, then turned his gaze down to his lunch. The cheeseburger was oozing and greasy, making his stomach churn and bile rise in his throat.
Im hungry for a cheeseburger. *stomach grumbles*
Its just a cheeseburger. Everyone else ate the thing you can too. Dont breathe in and get this stupid thing over with. Danny reached down to pick up his lunch, feeling his fingers start to ache as his hand got closer. His eyes flickered up to meet Dashs for just a moment before he grabbed the cheeseburger.
Pain instantly flared up his arm and Danny jerked his hand away, sucking in a sharp breath of pain. Why does it hurt? he complained to himself as he reached out again. Its just a piece of food.
Yes, Ill explain the science behind this. Later.
You dont have to do this, Sam said furiously. Danny.
Yes I do. Danny thought sullenly, ignoring his best friend. I need to figure this out, Dash or no Dash. His fingers, however, refused to grab the burger. His hand burned as he held it over the lunch tray it felt like his skin was being peeled away. Cursing softly in his mind, Danny yanked his hand back to him, quietly studying the lack of damage for a moment.
I cant do it. Danny stared down at the simple cheeseburger, unable to look up at his tormentor. I cant
and I dont even know why not.
Youre a freak, Fenton, Dash laughed. Cant even pick up a cheeseburger.
The laugh brought Dannys mind up short, his eyes widening. Whys he laughing? Danny tensed even as Dash moved.
Let me help you with it, Dash sneered. His hand pushed roughly at the tray, sending the contents splattering onto Dannys shirt. It wasnt anything the jock hadnt done before, but this time it got a new reaction.
Danny instinctively jerked backwards when Dash pushed the tray, but with Sam and Tucker standing behind him and his feet hooked around the legs of his chair, Danny had nowhere to run. The small pile of cold fries pattered to the floor, the bun separating from the cheeseburger. The thin slab of processed cheese dropped straight onto Dannys bare arm.
There wasnt even a beat of silence. Dannys body instantly reacted to the cheese pressing against his skin. The pain was beyond anything hed ever imagined or ever felt before. His body felt like it was being torn apart, molecule by molecule.
His body convulsed against the pain and he dropped heavily to the floor, almost unaware of the agonized scream that jumped out of his mouth.
I originally kept this in Dannys pov, but I changed it to Tucker. It seems to work better and gets some of the mysteriousness cleared out.
Tucker backpedaled in surprise, his own tray falling from his hands as his best friend screamed and collapsed to the ground, his heart jumping into his throat. Danny! He watched in shocked silence as Danny scrambled backwards away from the dropped lunches, his back slamming into one of the cafeteria walls, his eyes wide and his breath heaving in his chest, wiping furtively at his arm.
Danny? Sam said worriedly, brushing past Tucker to kneel next to him. Whats wrong?
Danny trailed off, his face draining of whatever color it had left. Pasty white and shaking, he stared at Sam for a moment before turning his gaze to Tucker.
Tucker blinked a few times, then glanced quickly around the silent cafeteria. Dash seemed stunned and most everyone else was craning their necks curiously to see what had happened. A few tables away, Valerie Grey was on her feet with her hand pressed to her mouth. A teacher was already half-way across the lunchroom, headed in their direction.
Freak, Dash murmured under his breath, easy to hear in the quiet room.
Whats going on? the teacher asked, spotting Danny on the ground and heading over in his direction. Are you okay?
Tucker watched as Danny quietly nodded his head. I
He couldnt seem to come up with a reasonable thing to say, so instead he let his hair fall into his eyes and found his way to his feet. Sorry.
The teachers forehead furrowed, taking a step closer. Youre really pale. Why dont you go see the nurse and make sure youre okay?
Danny shrugged and licked his lips. Yeah. Okay.
Tucker and I will walk him, Sam cut in, grabbing Dannys arm and herding him in the right direction.
Tucker, nodding in agreement, watched as Danny carefully skirted the lunch mess on the floor. He hesitated a moment, studying the scattered remains of their meals. What happened? he wondered, his eyebrows knitting together as he stared down towards his feet. Fries were scattered everywhere, the greasy school cheeseburgers leaving ketchup smears on the ground.
Come on, Tucker, Sam muttered as the two walked past him, headed towards the door.
Yeah, Tucker whispered, tilting his head to the side for a moment, his eyes narrowing even further. This isnt the first time Ive seen him react to food. He acted weird with the fries at the Nasty Burger too. The cheesy fries. His gaze locked on the cheeseburger and a small spark of understanding kindled inside of him. Just a second. Uncaring about who was watching or what they were going to think, Tucker knelt down and picked up the cheesy remains of Dannys hamburger, carefully picking off a small piece of the semi-congealed cheese.
Grabbing a lose napkin and tucking the cheese inside, Tucker slipped it into a pocket before turning to catch up to his friends. I wonder how that makes any sense. Well just have to run a little test later to see if Im right.
I wrote this a long time ago and it wasnt even supposed to go in this chapter. But it seemed to fit with the cheesy theme of the chapter.
Vlad let out a shaky breath as he slowly sank into the chair behind his desk. His eyes closed, he leaned back, stretching his muscles and allowing his body to get used to the almost constant ache that was associated with his home. It would only be a few hours before the pain melted into something he could ignore. Besides, to Vlad Masters, the pain was more than worth what he got from it.
Hed figured out years ago that for reasons beyond his comprehension or logic the scent of some forms of cheese caused pain to his ghost and allowed his human soul to be dominant. Years of testing and research had done little to clear up the mystery, other than coming to the conclusion that it had something to do with the bacteria and the rennin involved in curdling the cheese. Some combinations of bacteria and rennin caused insane amounts of pain, others induced a sort of nauseating stench
hed found a wide variety of reactions. He ignored the confusion most days, merely content to know that his abnormality could be controlled in a relatively easy fashion.
That mystery, though, was the reason that he called this place home. Over a hundred years previously, the castle-like building had been home to the dairy tycoon who had jumpstarted Wisconsins cheese industry. Vlad had purchased the broken-down building years previously and had returned it to its proud glory. And, to keep it historically accurate, he kept plenty of varieties of cheese on the grounds. Due to that, when he was home, his ghost almost disappeared completely.
And it ingrained him with the locals, of course.
Of course, the fact that all the cheese chased away the hundreds of annoying ghosts that had once occupied the mansion was only a bonus in Vlads mind. There were few other places on the planet he could visit and not be bombarded by rotting rats, birds, and other small creatures.
His blue eyes opened and he relaxed, putting his feet up on his desk and lacing his fingers behind his head. Only two meetings tomorrow, he muttered to himself. He normally would have had more, but hed kept his schedule open in order to fit in meetings about his newly acquired Axion Labs
which he hadnt actually acquired. It would leave him with most of his afternoon free.
Sighing, Vlad reached out and picked up one of the lumps of cheese from the platter on his desk and studied it. His fingers still tingled like hed dunked them in ice water, even with his ghost side depressed as far as it was. Im not looking forwards to having my afternoon free, he told the cheese. I need something to keep my mind busy and off of
He popped the piece of cheese into his mouth, unable to get his mind off of the nameless boy now that he had come up with such a wonderful segue. Why, why, why
He grabbed another bit of cheese and rolled it between his fingers. Twenty years of finding nobody like myself-
A half-heard sound made him break off his musing and sit up. He glanced around his office, his forehead wrinkling as he tried to catch the faint noise the second time. When he heard the quiet, pained sound again, Vlad let an amused smile appear on his face. Still around, huh? he asked softly. Come here.
He couldnt see the ghost that was making its way towards him, but Vlad knew that it was there. The remains of the Wisconsin Dairy King, still haunting the halls of its former home in an obsessive hunt for the perfect piece of cheese. Vlad had tried to chase the ghost away on many occasions, but had since given it up for a lost cause. The ghost was now an unending source of morbid amusement as well as a constant reminder of how twisted and wrong his own ghost would be if given the chance to emerge.
I love Chester, the Dairy King. Hes so morbidly disgusting and fascinating.
Vlad held out the small ball of cheese between his fingers and forced a trickle of energy through his eyes. His eyes burned so badly he could barely see through the tears, but he could finally make out the form of the Dairy King.
The ghost was hunched, its eyes fixed on the small lump of cheddar in Vlads fingers, the fake crown and ancient cape hanging in tatters around it. Obvious pain twisted the ghosts face into a startling grimace, but the obsessive glimmer never left its eye as it clawed its way closer. Closer and closer it drew, reaching out with its hand to grab the cheese, until pieces of its hand were actually beginning to be disintegrated by the force of the cheeses emanations. It wasnt until all that was left of the Dairy Kings hand were a few wisps of ghost bone that the ghost gave up. With a banshee-like scream that rattled windows and had sent a hundred fourteen of Vlads previous staff running, the ghost vanished.
Vlad shook his head, gratefully allowing the energy in his eyes to dissipate. He blinked the tears of pain out of his eyes and shook his head. What fools we be, he whispered with a small chuckle. You and me both, Chester.
Chester is the name of the actual Wisconsin Dairy King/tycoon. I dont remember his last name, but his first name was Chester. Thus, the Dairy King ghost gets a name.
Taking a bite of the chunk of cheddar, Vlad leaned back in his chair and rested his shoes on his desk. You and me both, he repeated. Masochistic idiots. Staring at his ceiling for a moment, he chewed silently, then sighed. Three of us now, I suppose. The kid will probably be as bad as the two of us after awhile.
He let his mind drift, trying to force his mind to stay away from the half-ghost kid hed found. He wasnt going to track the kid down. He wasnt going to obsess over some strange kid in a town hours away. He didnt even know the boys name!
But his mind still drifted towards one of the empty guest suites on the second floor. Thatd make a good room for a teenager, he murmured, his eyes half-closed, the persistent ache of denying his ghost half settling into his bones, if he ever wanted to come.
Blah. Im not a fan of that section now that Im editing it. But I dont want to fix it right now and Ill post this. But blah.
Danny stared down at the floor of the nurses office, wondering why the small room had a different color floor than the rest of the school. It briefly occurred to him that hed spent a lot of time looking at floors recently to know something like that, but he pushed it from his mind with a sigh.
You dont have a temperature, the nurse was muttering, pulling the thermometer from his ear. In fact youre a bit chilled. Are you feeling okay?
Danny shrugged, glancing up to see if he could locate his friends. Sam and Tucker had been politely thanked for carting him down here and had been shooed off almost as quickly. Sam had scowled, but Tucker had looked a bit relieved. He highly doubted either had headed back to the cafeteria though they were probably sitting on a bench in the hallway, waiting for him.
Youre really pale. She touched his chin and looked into his eyes. Danny shivered and drew backwards, surprised at how uncomfortable he felt looking someone in the eyes. And your eyes look glassy. Do you have a headache?
Shaking his head, Danny fixed his gaze back onto his hands. At least it doesnt smell so bad down here. Just as he was thinking that, something flickered in the edge of his eye and Danny watched a small ghost rat crawl along the wall. And theres a ghost. They must not like the smell either.
He blinked, losing sight of the ghost. Thats it, isnt it? he thought with surprise. The ghosts were missing from the cafeteria because they could smell what I could. His arm and hand still burned, the ache only starting to vanish. It probably hurts them too.
Have you been sick lately?
Danny flinched at the sudden sound of the nurses voice, but nodded. I havent felt good for a few days. I dont know what it is though.
She hummed under her breath, telling him to just stay seated for a moment and that shed be right back. He nodded, not that she looked back long enough to see him do it, and settled back in the chair. Whatever it was in the cafeteria, it really hurt. A flash of movement to his left caught his attention, bringing the dead-looking rat back into focus. I almost wish you could talk. Tell me what was happening.
Curling his aching fingers, Danny flexed his hand a few times. His mind drifted back to how it had felt, the burning sensation that had swamped through his whole hand. Im glad it wasnt worse. I might have passed out
His eyes widened. Like I did in the woods. Quickly lining up the memories in his mind, Danny compared how the cafeteria to the ache that had swamped through him in the woods. They were identical. The man in the woods the ghost guy he knows what did it. He did it on purpose!
The whole point of this section was for him to make that leap and figure out whats causing the pain. If it comes across as a bit contrived, thats why.
Danny got to his feet in surprise, quickly peeking through a door to see the nurse chatting with the secretary, and slipped into the hallway. As expected, Sam and Tucker were sitting on a bench just across the hall. Both looked up at him. You okay?
The ghost man in the woods, Danny said quickly, walking over to them and dropping onto the bench next to Sam, he knows about this. The same kind of pain it was in the woods too. He brought it with him.
Sam wrinkled her forehead. Im not following.
The guy in the woods, Danny repeated. The one who I was thinking was like me. He had this briefcase with him, I guess, and when we were talking he opened it and took something out. It made him less of a ghost and it hurt, just like whatever it was in the cafeteria did today. It felt exactly the same.
Oh, Sam said softly.
He was less of a ghost, Danny repeated, his eyes going unfocused as he thought about it. It fixed him. It made him normal. He looked up at Sam and Tucker, a smile on his face. He knows what it is he knows how to stop all this.
Tucker licked his lips and pulled something out of his pocket. I think I know what it is too, he said.
Danny glanced down at the napkin in Tuckers hand. He leaned closer for a moment, the stench that had boiled through the cafeteria stinging his nose. What is it?
With a shrug, Tucker opened the napkin and showed Danny the small lump of cheese sitting in his hand.
Is that cheese? Dannys voice was flat with disbelief. That makes no sense. Thats idiotic. Tucker just arched an eyebrow and moved his hand closer to Danny. Danny flinched backwards as the smell attacked his nose, making his stomach churn. Okay, okay, Danny relented, pushing Tuckers hand away, thats the smell. But it still makes no sense.
Danny? the nurse called, sticking her head out the door and spotting him on the bench. Come here for a moment.
Danny exchanged a look with his friends and got to his feet. Yeah? he asked when he was closer.
Id like to call your parents and send you home for the day, she said simply.
I dont have a fever
You dont look well, Danny. Especially since youve been sick for a few days, I think itd be better for you to go home and get some rest. Is it okay if I call your parents?
Danny shrugged. I have detention tonight, he argued weakly.
You can go tomorrow. The nurse smiled and turned back towards the office. Ill give them a call and see if theyre willing to come pick you up. Have a seat inside my office, please. Im going to send your friends on their way.
Dropping onto the chair in the office, Danny sighed. Great.
It took only a few minutes before she was back, a smile on her face. Your dads going to come get you, she said. She studied him for a moment. And Mr. Lancer would like to talk to you for a moment before they show up, if thats okay.
Danny nodded sullenly. Like I have a choice.
Hes in his office, she said, stepping out of the doorway and gesturing. Why dont you go have a chat?
*wrinkles nose* Im just stringing together events here, rather than actually doing much story-wise. I dont like it. But Im sick of fiddling with it.
Valerie stared at the spot where Danny Fenton had vanished through the cafeteria doors, her eyes wide and her face pale. Fenton
? she whispered.
That was excellent, Dash crowed, dropping into his seat. Did you see him freak?
What a loser, Kwan cut in, chuckling and fist-bumping the quarterback. Whatd you do?
I dumped his lunch on him. He was probably afraid of a little ketchup stain.
The table burst out laughing, but Val just continued to stare blankly at the doors.
Earth to Val, Dash said, waving his hand in front of Valeries face and making her blink. You in there?
Yeah, she breathed, then forced out a shaky laugh and a weak smile. Im in here.
Picking up a few of his fries, Dash began to describe what hed done in detail, going on and on about how much the freak had begged him not to make him do anything. Val listened half-heartedly, smiling and giggling where appropriate for his story, absently fawning over how wonderful he was. But her mind wasnt really into it.
Not after what shed just seen.
what? You thought Id tell you? NEVER! Ill make you beg first.
Have a seat, Mr. Fenton.
Danny sank into one of the chairs in Mr. Lancers office, his eyes flickering around. Hed never been in the vice-principals office before it was a lot more drab than hed been expecting. A few pictures on his desk, a diploma hanging on the wall, and a couple of hastily tacked-up things with the school emblem on them.
Ive been told that canon-Lancers got no office. But I dont care. *pouts* I gave him one in Masks and now I like it too much to lose. Oh, and Lancers going to be half-time vice-principal, half-time English teacher in this story, I dont care how many classes he pulls in the actual show.
The vice-principal gazed at him for a moment. You okay, Mr. Fenton?
With a shrug, Danny turned his attention to studying the back of one of the pictures on Lancers desk. The nurse is sending me home, so I suppose not.
I mean not just sick, the balding man tried again. This past week youve been really
off. And you got two detentions today.
Swallowing, Danny shrugged again. Having a bad week, thats all.
Everything okay at home?
Danny jerked up to stare at his part-time teacher, part-time vice-principal. Yeah, he said, confused. Why?
The teacher studied him. Sometimes, when a teenager is having a bad week its because of something going on at home parents fighting or a close relative getting really sick or something.
Everythings fine at home, Danny said sullenly. They wont listen to me and Im grounded for something I couldnt help, but thats all. Im just sick, I think.
Lancer made a noise in the back of his throat. Im going to cancel the detention you received for not having your homework done. Youll have to make up the other one when you get back.
Thanks, Danny said softly.
If you ever need to talk to someone, I can help you set up an appointment to talk to a councilor, you know that, right?
Danny nodded. I wonder how a school councilor would take the truth about whats going on with me. The thought brought a small, sad smile to his face. Theyd probably lock me up in a nut house somewhere.
He wont be able to hide from the councilor for long, now will he? XD
Were worried about you, Lancer said, standing up and obviously ending the impromptu meeting. I hope your bad week turns around soon.
Me too, Danny replied, stepping out into the office and finding a seat to wait for his parents to pick him up. Me too.
In real life, secrets arent so easy to keep.