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Clean version up on FFN, www.fanfiction.net/~cordria if you want to read that.  YAY for 200 reviews there!!!

--

Real Life
A Danny Phantom FanFiction by Cordria
Author’s Notes Version
--

(chapter 6)

In Which There Isn’t Always a Simple Fix

--

Danny reached out to open the front door to his house, but it jumped open just in front of his fingers.  For a split second, Danny wondered if he was the one who had done it, but then his sister came around the door.  Her tall form stumbled to a stop as she took in the ragged appearance of her brother.  She blinked at him, then raised an eyebrow and stepped backwards.  “MOM!” she screamed towards the kitchen.  

The smile that crossed her face was a strange combination of concern and evil delight.  “You are so dead,” she said, leaning her shoulder against the doorframe and hugging her books to her stomach.  “Who did it this time?  The garbage can?  The stairs?  You know she’s not going to keep buying it.”

Smart sister.  She knows what’s going on with Dash.  ;)  In my story she’s going to be a nosey annoyance.

“Shut it, Jazz.”  Danny pushed past his sister.  “I’m going to talk with her, tell her everything, alright?”

“Seriously?”  She seemed taken aback for a second.  “Just the ‘Dash’s punching bag’ thing, or are you going to tell her why you’ve been acting so freakish these past few days too?”

He turned around, staring at her in surprise.  “What do you know?”

Yes, what DOES she know?

“Jazz?” their mother called, pushing through the kitchen door and peering at them.  “Danny?  DANNY!  You’re covered in blood!”  

He smiled faintly at her.  “I… fell.”

Behind them, Jazz snorted and rolled her eyes.  “So much for ‘telling her everything’,” she whispered.

Maddie knelt in front of her son, carefully touching his nose and wincing in sympathy when Danny tried to squirm away from her fingers.  “That looks like it’s going to swell.  I’m going to get an ice pack and a wash cloth.”

When their mother vanished into the kitchen, Danny shot a glare in his sister’s direction.  “I’m going to talk to her.  You don’t need to be annoying.”

“I’m the big sister; it’s my job to be annoying.”  She laughed softly and tipped her head to the side.  “Make sure you mention the evil microwave.”

*gasp*

“What?”  His eyes widened.

“I know,” she purred, backing out the door.  “Microwaves are so scary.”  

She knows something…

She closed the door, but before Danny could reach over to open the door and ask her what she meant, what she had seen, what she knew… his mother was back.  “Here we go,” Maddie smiled, hefting a small bag of frozen vegetables.  “I couldn’t find the ice pack, but this will work.”  Directing her son over to the couch, she had him sit down and she carefully washed some of the blood off his face.  “We’ll have to wait a few hours to make sure it’s not broken.  Hold this on your face for a while.”  She held out the veggies.

“No, Mom, I’m fine,” Danny argued, trying to push the bag of frozen vegetables away.  “I need to tell you…”

“It was that Baxter kid did this, I’ll bet,” Maddie said, snaking her arm past Danny’s protesting hands and pressing the bag against his nose.  “It’ll stop the swelling, sweetie.  Please keep it on for a few minutes.  I’m going to call the school.  This is…”

Danny grabbed the veggies and groaned.  “It’s not Dash.  I need to talk to you about something else.”  In an attempt to get her to settle down a little, he grabbed the bag and held it against his throbbing nose.  The cold felt good.

You think I’ll go through with my threat of him confessing everything?

“You could’ve been seriously hurt, Danny.  You didn’t just fall down.”

“I’m fine.  But I was in the lab two days ago…”

“I don’t really care about the lab right now, honey.  We’re going to need to get that checked to make sure it’s not broken.  It looks like you got punched hard.”

Danny took a deep breath, slowly letting it out.  It figures that he’d want to talk about something ghost related for once and his mother would be completely unreceptive.  He’d have to try a new tactic.  “I know how the portal turned on.”

Maddie hesitated, interest sparkling in her eyes.  “How could you know that?”  She reached over and moved the frozen vegetables a little to study his nose.  “That looks so painful…”

“I turned it on.”

She completely stopped this time.  “Danny,” she said, but paused.  “Danny, you shouldn’t lie about things like that.  If your father and I couldn’t even get it turned…”

Danny forced down the grin that was trying to show on his face.  He had her attention!  “There was a button.  You must have forgotten to turn off the power and I hit a button.  It turned on.”

:D  He’s telling her… he’s going to do it…

“But…”  She shook her head.  “But you don’t believe in ghosts… the psychosomatic trigger…”

“Yeah, I do now.”  Danny pulled the veggies away his face so that he could see his mother better.  “Or, I did – just for the right second.  I turned it on.”

Instead of the happiness he’d been expecting when he told her, his mother looked angry.  “Daniel Fenton, what in the world were you doing down in the lab messing with our equipment?  How many times have we told you to stay away from our things?”

*Snort*  I’d be mad at my kid too.

“But Mom…”

“No ‘buts’ Danny.  You could have been seriously injured, if not killed!  There were terawatts of energy flowing through that portal when it turned on.  One random spark and you could’ve died!  Not to mention the fact that you could have been hurt and no one would have known you were down there…”

“Sam and Tucker were there.”  Danny bit his lip, wishing he could take back the words as soon as they left his mouth.  

Oops.  Nobody is supposed to go down there…

His mother’s expression clouded over even more.  “You put your friends in danger too?  Daniel James Fenton…  You could have gotten them killed!”

“But…”

“Grounded.  Get to your room.”  Maddie frowned and pointed unnecessarily towards the stairs.  “And keep those veggies on your nose for about fifteen more minutes.”

Danny didn’t move.  He leaned forwards, wanting her to understand.  He needed to talk to her.  He needed to explain what had happened.  She had to listen to him.  “But Mom…”  

“Daniel,” she ground out, pressing her fingers into her eyes, “there’s a reason we lock the door.  You could have died.”

“I did!”  He let out a breath, feeling his stomach unclench a little.  Maddie’s hands dropped from her face and into her lap, staring at him with an unreadable expression.  “I did,” he repeated softer.  “I think I’m a ghost.”

I DID IT!!  I did it!  I went through with it!  I’d tell my parents too, if I were in this situation…

“Danny, that’s not funny.”

… and my parents wouldn’t believe a word that came out of my mouth.  :D

He stared at her, feeling the ground fall out from underneath his feet.  He’d imagined this conversation going a million different ways on the walk home – she’d be confused, or sad, or scared, or maybe even strangely happy.  Never once did he think that she just wouldn’t believe him.  “But…” he stuttered for a second, trying to figure out what to do next.  “But…”  His fingers tightened around the bag of frozen vegetables.  “I can prove it!”

“Danny.”  She closed her eyes with a sigh.

He ignored her, focusing on his fingers and trying to ignore the pounding ache of his nose.  He’d been dropping things all day; falling straight through his hand and there had never been anything he could do about it.  It was always accompanied by that tingly feeling of his fingers falling asleep.  If only he could make his fingers feel that way again, maybe he could make it happen on purpose.  He could prove it.  His mother had to believe him when she saw that.

Yeah right.  I’m not going to let Maddie know yet.

“Just go to your room, please.”

“Mom…” he looked up at her, begging her with his eyes to give him more of a chance.

Maddie sighed and stood up.  She racked her fingers through her short hair.  “I don’t want to hear it, Danny.  When you are ready to tell me the truth about what happened to you, come find me.  Until then, grounded.”

“That is the truth!” he blurted.  “I died two days ago…”  The kitchen door swung closed behind her, leaving him alone in the living room.  “… and I’m feeding off my best friend,” he continued quietly, almost to himself as tears started to burn in his eyes, “and microwaves hurt, and there are ghosts everywhere, and I can turn into a ghost, and I have no idea what’s going on.”

His fingers ached with the frozen vegetables when he finally got to his feet.  “And I’m scared,” he breathed, trudging up the stairs towards his room.  

He collapsed onto his bed.  Staring up at the ceiling and holding the cold bag to his nose, he didn’t care about the tears that were leaking out of his eyes.  Over and over in his head, he tried to figure out a way to get his mother to believe him.  He shot down every idea until his mind couldn’t come up with any more.

*sniffle*  Poor Danny-kins

“It’s stupid.  This whole thing is stupid,” he whispered darkly.  “Why should she believe me?  The entire situation is stupid and impossible.”

When Maddie set his supper on his desk a couple hours later, Danny didn’t look up.  Finally, unable to rack his brain for more ideas, he just fell asleep.

--

YAY!  :dance:  NOBODY figured out who Tucker ran to talk to.  :giggle:  This is going to be fun!

Tucker skidded through the front door of his house, quickly kicking off his shoes and dashing into the kitchen.  “Hey Dad!” he panted, glancing around.  “Do you know where Mom is?”

Who else, I ask you?

“I think she’s in our room, reading a book,” Maurice muttered from behind his newspaper.  “How was school?”

“Wonderful!” Tucker called over his shoulder as he slipped out of the kitchen and down the hallway.  He stuck his head around the door and grinned when he saw his mother sitting in the large rocking chair.  “Mom?”

She glanced up from her book to study her son.  “You ran the entire way home?”  A small smile played on her face.

She’s reading the latest book from Jim Butcher, if you care.  ;)

Closing the door behind him, Tucker dropped onto her bed.  He nodded.  “I need to do some serious theorizing.  I need someone who can be helpful and nonjudgmental… and will forget everything I say when I walk back out the door.”

*chuckle*

Janet put her bookmark into her novel and set it aside.  “You remember the rules for this ‘forgetting’ thing?”

“This isn’t something illegal!  It’s about Danny.”

“You’re going to tell me what you were talking about last night?” She steepled her fingers, her eyes narrowing.  “And why you thought he was dead the night before that?”

Thus why he’s telling her.  She knows too much already.  Seriously, she’s going to have to ask questions if I don’t let her know somehow.

After a quiet second, Tucker nodded.  “Danny got into an accident in his parent’s lab two nights ago.  He was electrocuted.”

Janet gasped.  “Is he going to be okay?”

“I don’t know,” Tucker said softly.  “He’s been so weird since the accident.  I’m trying to figure out what’s wrong, but I can barely talk to him.”  He shot her a hard look.  “And remember, you’re going to forget all of this and you’re never going to tell him I’m telling you anything.”

“His parents don’t want people to know?”

“Not yet.”  Tucker stared at his parents’ quilt for a moment.  “See, his parents built this window into the afterlife…” he paused and shook his head.  “I still can’t believe I’m saying this.  They built a window into the afterlife and it looks like it actually worked.  Danny was too close when it turned on.  It shocked him really good.  I thought… I thought it killed him.”

The small woman pushed herself out of her chair and settled down next to her son.  She wrapped her arm around Tucker’s shoulders and gave him a squeeze.  “That’s horrible.  You should have told me what happened!  We could’ve gone to the hospital to visit him.  Maybe gotten him a card or something…”  Her eyes glittered suddenly.

“You can’t send him a card!  You promised to forget all about this.”  Tucker scowled at his mother until she relented and smiled.  “Anyways, he’s better today… but he’s different.  Something’s changed about him.”

That card thing is going to come back to haunt him, mark my words.  Janet Foley is not going to let this information rest.

“He looked just fine yesterday.”  

“It’s not how he looks,” Tucker said.  Shrugging off his mother’s arm, he collapsed backwards on her bed and closed his eyes.  “It’s so confusing.  He’s changed… but he hasn’t.  So far as I can tell, only Sam and I have noticed.”

He felt his mother shift on the bed as she lay down next to him.  “How so?”

“He’s got this dead aura around him,” Tucker mumbled, struggling to put his feelings into words.  “Sometimes I look into his eyes and there’s nothing there – like he’s a zombie or something.  He’s just… scary.”  He turned his head to the side and opened his eyes.  “I’m always looking over my shoulder when I’m around him, worrying about where he is.  I can’t take my eyes off of him.  It’s not like he’s going to attack me or something… but…”  He sighed.  “Does that make any sense at all?”

Notice how he didn’t mention that Danny can turn into a ghost.  She does not know Danny is the potential ghost-kid.

“Some.  But I’m not sure how I can help you with this.”

Tucker shook his head.  “The part I’m trying to figure out has to do with Sam.”

“Sam?”  Janet turned her head to look at Tucker.

“Danny’s been following Sam around like a lost puppy dog these past two days.  He’s always looking at her, touching her arm or her fingers, and he gets a lot closer to her than he ever used to.”  

“Maybe he just likes her.  It sounds like a crush to me.”  Janet smiled.

“But why now?”  Tucker groaned, unable to fully explain his problem.  “Before the accident, they were just friends!  It was like some switch was thrown.  And he keeps muttering about rainbows when he’s around her.  Sam… rainbows!”

“Sometimes,” his mother said after a moment, “after an accident, people’s views of the world suddenly change.  They see more worth in watching the sunset and smiling at pretty girls.”  She nudged Tucker gently.  “Or it could be that Danny’s just seeing something new in Sam.  It might be just a coincidence that you’re noticing it now.”

Sure sounds like a crush, don’t it?

Tucker shook his head.  “It’s not that.  I know it.  He’s drawn to her like a moth to a flame… or a drug addict towards his next fix.  He can’t stop himself from being near her.  This isn’t a crush thing.”

“You think it’s got something to do with the accident in his parents’ lab.”

“I know it does.  I just can’t figure out why… or how…”  Tucker closed his eyes.  “It’s got something to do with rainbows, and ghosts, and that accident…” he trailed off suddenly, sitting up, his eyes glittering.  “Did you hear about the ghost attack in the park yesterday?”

She shook her head.  “There wasn’t anything on the news this morning about a ghost.  There was something about some girls collapsing.”

A grin was growing on Tucker’s face.  “Yeah.  There was a ghost too – some octopus thing.  That’s how I got the split lip.”  

Janet waited quietly, her expression dubious at the idea of there being an actual ghost in the park.  

Yeah… that’s how I would look if someone told ME a ghost attacked some kids in the park.

“When the ghost was there, everything felt weird.  All of our emotions were going haywire.  And that ghost was attracted to those girls.  There were hundreds of people in that park, but the ectopus-thing was attacking those specific girls…”

“Are you trying to say that Danny’s following Sam for the same reason the ‘ghost’ in the park was following those poor girls?”  She raised an eyebrow.

Tucker smiled.  “No, but I’m saying they’re connected.”  He jumped off the bed, and glanced back when his mother levered herself up onto her elbows.  “I bet all ghosts are attracted to certain kinds of people… or maybe just certain situations.”  He headed towards the door.  “And it’s all got to do with rainbows.”  He nodded to himself.  “And emotions.”

“All ghosts?” Janet asked, confused.  “What do ghosts have to do with Danny?”

Oops.  Mayhaps Tucker said too much here.  Will she pick up on it?

“Everything!”  Tucker grabbed the doorknob.  “Danny’s following Sam around because she’s got rainbows, whatever that means.”  He yanked the door open and vanished out into the hallway.  After a second he stuck his head back through the doorway to grin at his mother.  “Remember, you’ve forgotten we had this conversation, right?”

“What conversation?” she said bemusedly.  

“Exactly!”

:giggle:

--

Creepy part.

Danny curled up in his bed, shivering, searching for an elusive bit of warmth.  He yanked the covers up around his shoulders with a small groan, muttering darkly about his still-throbbing nose.  He was a heavy sleeper and didn’t usually wake up during the night; especially from something like being cold.  

His shivering growing to an uncontrollable level, Danny slipped out of bed with his two blankets wrapped securely around him.  “Stupid thermostat,” he hissed softly.  Trudging out into the hallway, he glared sleepily at the small device that controlled the temperature of the house, unable to read the numbers in the dark.  He fumbled for a button, pressed it, and the small LCD panel lit up.  “81 degrees!” he said in surprise.  It wasn’t cold… it was warm.  Really warm.

Closing his eyes, he sank down to the floor and pressed his back against the wall.  “Why am I so cold?”  The blankets around him didn’t seem to be doing a thing.  He felt cold down to the very center of his soul.  It wasn’t even really just a cold feeling – it was a pervasive, almost depressing chill that had settled around his heart.  

Do you know what’s going on?  O.o  I do…   Who remembers who’s coming up!?

After a few moments of shivering as a lump in the hallway, he struggled to his feet and carefully made his way down the hallway.  Stopping in front of his parent’s partially closed door, he bit his lip in thought before nudging the door open and slipping into the dark room.  A fan buzzed loudly from a dresser as he padded over to gaze down at his parents.

Both of them were sound asleep.  Jack even had the covers mostly thrown off his bulky form.  Danny felt a convulsive shiver slide through him as he watched his parents sleep.  “It’s just me,” he mouthed into the darkness.  Backing away from the bed, he tripped over the trailing blankets and teetered for a heartbeat before catching his balance and leaving the room.  

For a few moments, he hesitated with his hand on the door.  It’d be so easy to walk over and shake his mother awake.  She’d do something to help him, she had to.  He was so cold… but would she even believe him?  He quietly pulled the door shut and walked softly back towards his room.

He still wants to tell them.  But he needs proof before he can.  She won’t believe him without proof.

“I just want to sleep,” he muttered morosely as he dropped back onto his bed, the thick blankets still around him.  The insidious freezing was actually starting to make him feel sick.  He swallowed thickly.  “Why am I so cold?”

He shuddered and finally flipped on the lamp next to his bed.  With the light on, he could clearly see his breath fogging in the air.  “Wonderful,” he whispered, “I’m going to die of hypothermia now or something.”  

That’s be funny… mom wakes up to find her child huddled in his bed, dead of hypothermia in the middle of August.  Funny-cruel, not funny-haha

Shivering, he yanked the blankets over his head and brought his legs up to his chest, curling into a ball.  His breath was warm against his fingers.  “This is a ghost thing, I’m willing to bet,” he growled as he fought off a yawn.  “Will my life never get easier?  Now I can’t sleep anymore?”  

No.  I live to torture.  ;)

His eyes drifted closed despite the cold that was invading his senses.  In his half-awake state, the teenager tipped his head to the side with a groan as the freezing temperatures began to make his head hurt.  It was a sharp, cold pain that was lodged just behind his temples.  Dreamily, he focused on the ache with the half-wished hope that it would go away.  It was a weird headache; it felt cold.  Cold, and weightless, and powerful, and wild…

Shivering as an electric shock suddenly sizzled through him, he curled into a tighter ball for just a heartbeat.  Then he relaxed, stretching out, his eyes still closed, still too sleepy to wonder why the confining blankets had seemingly vanished.  “It’s not cold anymore,” he whispered in surprise, letting a cool powerful feeling thrum through his muscles as he stretched.  He felt weird… not quite solid… but he wasn’t awake enough yet to care.

He smiled sleepily as distant smells slid through him: apples, cinnamon, and a tangy metallic scent.  There was something else too; a distant and pervasive sound that drummed into him like a heartbeat.  It wasn’t really a sound, it was more like an impossibly low rumbling that he felt in his stomach, one that was rhythmic and steady.  A heartbeat, almost.  Something deep down inside of him growled softly at the noise, egging him into getting up and finding the source of the impossible sound.  

“It’s like that octopus,” he murmured, “just more powerful.”  He wrinkled his forehead.  “How do I know that?”

The question stirred him out of whatever state he was in and two electric green eyes flickered open.  The room was a blurry mess of darkness.  He twisted his head, blinking in surprise when he saw a figure sitting in the room with him, blinking right back at him.  He jerked back for as second, then studied the ghost a bit more closely.  The strange creature was burned and sizzled, sitting in the ragged remains of a black outfit, jade-colored eyes shining through the shadows.  “I remember you,” Danny muttered, watching his companion mouth the words along with him.  “I saw you yesterday.”  

He floated up into the air a few inches, gazing down at the blurry mass he hoped was his bed, harshly tamping down on the fear that was trying to claw at his mind.  “I’m a ghost… again.  Okay.  I can handle this, no need to panic or anything, right?  It’s not permanent.  I think.”

Closing his eyes, he tried to remember what happened last time he had turned from a ghost to a human.  Sam had touched his chin; she had startled him.  What else?  He struggled to remember.  There had to be something.  Wracking his brain came up with nothing.

It was something.  But I’m not going to tell you what.  Feel free to guess.  :D  The answer is out there, and in the story already somewheres… just like Tucker’s mom was.

Finally he shook his head in dismay.  “Maybe it’s a timed thing… maybe it just wears off.”  He criss-crossed his legs and shot a glance back towards his reflection in the mirror.  “I just have to wait, I guess.”  He ran his sizzled hands over his face and tried really hard not to think.  Thinking would lead him to wondering about ghosts, which in turn would bring up the fact that ghosts were incredibly scary, which in turn would make him think about the fact that he was a ghost – even though he wasn’t dead – and he was scary in and of his own right, which in turn would lead to remembering how Sam and Tucker had looked at him, which in turn would…

He dug his fingers into his hair, groaning, as the panicky feeling in his chest grew and clenched at his throat.  He was really lousy at not the not-thinking thing.  “I wish I had lungs so I could take a deep breath,” he groused softly, shivering at how eerily his voice echoed.  “I’ll just have to distract myself then, right?  Like, by wondering how the freaking hell I can talk and yet can’t breathe.”

Good question.  My friend and I had a nearly two hour long IM conversation about this very fact.  I won’t bore you with the details of how it’s possible… yet.  Tucker’ll bore you at some point in the future if I’m ever out of boring things to put in.  But it did merit finding a way into the chapter.

Fingers dug a bit deeper into his skull, panic overwhelming his brain for a moment, his eyes squeezing shut.  “Okay, okay, okay… calm down.  Don’t think about the not breathing thing.  Okay.  This ghost thing isn’t permanent.  It’ll wear off.  Just… Okay.”  He opened one eye and caught a movement out of the corner of his eye.  He turned his head, focusing on the mirror.  “How about the mirror…”  

“It’s so weird,” he whispered to himself, trying to keep himself talking in the hope that the sound of his voice would keep some of the fear away, “everything is so blurry… but not in the mirror.  I can see my reflection just fine.”  Drifting over, he settled a few feet away, studying his reflection.  Then, on a thought, he reached out and touched the mirror.  

Two reasons this is in here.  One: we found a small plot hole in chapter one when Danny saw his reflection… even though everything he can see is blurry.  ;)  This is a fix for a plot hole that nobody saw but me.  :D  Second: mirror mirror on the wall, which episode do you think I’ll be bringing into this?

He had figured his fingers would go straight through just like the blankets had fallen through him when he had turned into a ghost and how he could pass through everything else.  But his fingers touched the cool surface and he splayed his burned hand against the mirror.  Tiny tendrils of frost materialized on the mirror around his fingers and remained there for a moment after he pulled his hand back away.  The ghostly negative of a handprint.  “What…?” he wondered softly.

Now, why can’t his hand go through?  *question*

“That’s something I can touch.”  Then he tipped his head to the side, his eyebrows furrowing, his brain scrambling back to the feel of Sam’s warm fingers against his skin.  “No, that’s two things I can touch.  The mirror… and Sam.”  

His nose wrinkled as a fresh wave a smells washed over him.  “What is that?” he said, distracted by the overpowering scents.  Apples, cinnamon… and metal?  He drifted a little away from the mirror, his eyes closing and his nose instinctively searching.  “Apples… that’s familiar,” he breathed.  “I remember that smell.”

From where?

Electric eyes flickered open as he passed through a wall like it wasn’t even there.  The cinnamon smell was stronger in this room.  It was laced with honey, warm and fuzzy as it tingled up his nose and scurried through his mind.  

He passed by the source of the honey-cinnamon smell, much more interested in the spicy scent of the apples.  “Apples,” he whispered once more, pausing in the air as his mind tried to remember where he’d smelled it before.  It hadn’t been so rich and powerful last time.  Then a smile flickered onto his face and his forehead smoothed out.  “Oh yeah, Mom.”

Slipping through one last wall, he hovered in the room for a few seconds, staring down at the blurry lumps he figured were his parents.  Those two smells had to be his parents.  Not only did he know his mom smelled like apples, he was still in his house and there was only one bed with two people in it.  Drifting closer, he squinted down at the apple-smelling figure of his mother.  “Mom?” he whispered.

Could he get her awake when he was like this?  Would she see him?  Would she stop and listen long enough for him to explain?

Good idea?  Bad idea?  He’s going to try it anyways.  ;)  I’m just that way.

His sizzled fingers reached forwards and slid through the fabric sheet.  Warm fizzles of energy tickled up his arm and an unconscious smile appeared on his face at the feeling.  “How can I wake you…”

Thrump… thrump…

“What’s that?”  His head turned and he pulled his hand away from his parents, startled by the sudden sound.  

Thrump… thrump…

It was a cold noise that slammed into him like a soft crash of thunder or a loud heartbeat.  His mouth dropped open as he stared in the direction of the noise, his eyes searching the blurry darkness for whatever was making the noise.  It felt something like that crazy octopus, or that skeleton-thing from the movie theater.  It had to be another ghost – a powerful one.

Deep inside of him, he felt a small snarl build up and cascade out of him, annoyance and anger surging through him and curling his toes.  He moved without thought.  The comforting smell of his parents dwindled as he flew quickly through the quiet night air towards the feel of the ghost.

Ghost instincts kicking in.  He wants to fight, he wants to find this intruder.  Only there’s one problem… anyone know what it is?

He was minutes away from home and nearly to the source of the noise before his mind finally caught up with his instincts and his actions.  He drifted to a stop.  Blinking, he twirled around in midair, looking through the dark and blurry neighborhood.  “Crud,” he whispered as one cold fact twisted into his mind.  “Which way is home?”

Darn.  How’z he ever going to find his way home if he can’t see?

Thrump…

A few of the small ghost creatures darted around his vision, shrieking and chattering with the shrieks and noises of thousands of condemned souls.  He watched a blood-covered bobcat appear out of nowhere and pounce on a half-eaten rat, swallowing the tiny creature.  It screamed, visible waves of energy flaring away from the cat as the rat vanished from view.

“Ew,” Danny whispered.  He sank through the air until his feet were nearly to the dark green blur that he figured was probably grass.  But for all he could tell, it might have been a bush… or even the top of a small tree.  All he really knew was that it was green.  He crouched down, perfectly balanced in mid-air as he studied the source of the pulsing coldness.  

Thrump…

It was wandering down what Danny guessed was probably a street, its sightless eyes scanning the surrounding blur of houses.  It was male, he decided after a moment, clothed in old-style coveralls and a pill-box hat, looking like it had just fallen off a building.  His eyes narrowed dangerously as instincts swirled up inside of him.  He needed to get rid of this thing before it got any closer to his home.  He wanted to fight, he wanted to destroy, he wanted to…  

He shook his head firmly and threw the thoughts out of his mind.  “Hey,” he called to the ghost as he stood up and drifted towards it, still struggling to suppress a very odd desire to snarl at this… intruder.  Maybe this thing knew where his home was.

The ghost didn’t slow its purposeful drifting up the street.  

THRUMP…  The rumble of the noise made Danny hesitate, his whole body shivering at the power of this ghost’s beat.

Danny moved the last few feet, touching its mangled shoulder softly to get its attention.  “Hey!”

“Boxes,” the ghost scowled, suddenly twisting towards Danny.  The eyes in its smashed head were bright with obsessed energy and the rest of its face was a mess of slices and bruises as it stared at him.  “Get away from my boxes.”  The ghost’s voice was crusty and twisted with an old and forgotten accent.  

Figures the first ghost he’d meet would be the Box Ghost.  I’m taking ideas for which ghost he should fight in chapter nine.  Which do you think should be his first ‘real’ ghost fight?

A snarl worked its way out of Danny’s throat, his fingers stinging from the quick rebuff.  “What’s your problem?” he snapped.  Deep inside of him, something uncurled and stretched, sharp claws of fury and possessiveness digging into his stomach.  Energy flared around him and swirled into existence as something nearly tangible, his own energy pulsing around him like a spectral heartbeat.  He had no idea why he was so angry all of the sudden, but there was no doubting the simmering rage that was burning in his eyes.

Pay attention to what’s happening with the energy inside of him.  I COULD be just personifying it… or maybe not.  *wink*

The ghost growled – a low sound that actually pushed Danny backwards a few feet.  “Boxes,” it hissed.  “Boxes are my problem.  There are never enough… there are always too many…  Stay away… mine…”

“Yeah?  You can have the stupid boxes.”  Danny tried to take a step forwards, his eyes narrowing, but an invisible force stopped him from making any headway.  The quiet tendrils of anger flickered and grew as terror flooded into his mind and added to the chaos.  He wasn’t sure what was going on anymore – every thought of this ghost being a benign creature that would help him get home were tossed out the window.  All he knew is that he wanted this ghost gone.  He wanted it gone… now.

He reached down inside of himself, felt for that weird sparkling energy that had helped him out in the movie theater, begging for help.  The thing that was buried deep inside of his stomach suddenly uncoiled and seemed to chuckle before boiling curls of energy flared to life around him.  Danny felt a rush of power slam into him, his face twisting in a menacing grin, human reason and thoughts drowning under the onslaught of ghost emotions.  

More… personification?

Crouching low to the ground, his eyes glowing like stars, he growled.  Instincts quietly unfolded inside of his head, and he knew what to do.  His body moved almost before his brain had fully understood the consequences of his actions.  He slid forwards, easily counteracting the pathetic spectral forces of the box obsessed ghost, his hands starting to glow as he collected energy out of the air and focused it.  

He reached out with his mind, swirling the energy into a small vortex just above the burn mark on his palm, never stopping to wonder how he was doing any of this.  He just did.  The energy grew and sparked, dripping off his translucent flesh like bits from a welding gun.  He could see it in his mind…

Two steps forwards…

Thrust with his hand…

Release the energy…

Mine,” the old ghost snapped darkly before Danny could move, but it cowered backwards away from the energy Danny was collecting.  “Mine… mine… my boxes… stay away…”

“Mine,” Danny hissed, the echoing screams of the dying that swirled just underneath his voice making his words barely intelligible.  “My town, my house, my family.”  He took another step forwards, glaring at the retreating ghost.  He wanted to rip the ghost apart for coming this close to his space.  He wanted to destroy… he wanted to possess… he wanted to…

Author’s moment: Have you seen Finding Nemo – that animated cartoon about the fish?  There’s a part in there with some seagulls and they’re all stupid.  They stand around going ‘Mine’, ‘Mine’, ‘Mine’ and fight over french-fries.  :giggle:  Picture the ghosts fighting around going ‘Mine’, ‘Mine’, ‘Mine’!!  :rofl:

Human reason suddenly kicked back into gear, subverting his ghost instincts.  Danny shivered and pulled back, most of the energy around him dissipating instantly.  He hung in space, his eyes wide as he tried to figure out what had just happened.

“Mine,” the box ghost whispered once more before drifting off up the street as quickly as it could.

Danny stared after the departing ghost, the remainder of the power that was flooded around him dying away.  He shook his head, letting the strange anger drain out of him, wishing that he could take a deep breath to calm down and help him sort out his mind.  That… that… whatever had just happened… it had felt so strange.  He licked his chapped lips, glancing around.  Never before had he felt so uncontrolled.  So wild.  So powerful.

He wasn’t sure at all if he liked it…  

oooh… he kinda liked it Mikey!

“How am I going to get home now?” he whispered to the quiet world, his voice echoing strangely.  Thankfully, the impossible screams that had laced his voice were gone, but the ‘normal’ distant cries of the small creatures were also gone, leaving Danny feeling like he was floating in a blurry soup of silent nothingness.  Glancing down at his hands, he shook his head.  This whole mess was impossible.    

He hung suspended for a moment, the only thing in the world that felt real, then his nose twitched and itched.  The clawed thing inside his stomach chuckled softly, lazily stretched, and Danny instinctively breathed.

Smells assaulted his nose, drifted between his fingers, and caressed his cheek as they drifted passed him.  His eyes closed as his mind tried to figure out just was he was smelling.  He felt like he was standing in a store that was part perfume store, part bakery, and part machine shop… everything was a jumbled mess of things that raced around his head in dizzying chaos.  Something seemed to be directing his thoughts.  He needed to find the apples... where were the apples…

Hey, neat.  He can find home via SMELL.  Smart.

Then, suddenly, the mangled smells sorted themselves out in his head.  His eyes flickered open in surprise as he started picking up on specific scents.  When warm apples drifted into his nose, he grinned, turning towards the source of the smell.  Right next to the crisp apple smell of his mother was quiet cinnamon warmth of his sister and the tangy metallic scent of his father.  

Home was right there.

Danny laughed in relief, listening to his voice echo weirdly on this otherworldly plane.  He started to drift over in that direction but he glanced over his shoulder at a whisper of a smell that had danced around him for a split second.  Rainbows…

ooo…

All thoughts of going home or trying to undo this ‘ghost’ form shattered and vanished.  He found himself moving in the direction of the hypnotic smell, stopping every few minutes to sniff the air and reorient himself.  The stronger it grew, the quicker he flew, his whole body quivering with the desire to find the source of his enchanting smell.  

He didn’t even hesitate as a large black object appeared in his path.  A small part of his mind assumed that he had just flown through a wall and struggled with that thought, but the rest of him didn’t care.  The smell had to be right here, the source of his intoxicating scent need to be right…

His headlong flight stopped dead and he hovered, drinking in the sight that met his spectral eyes.  There was a blurry lump in the middle of the room that was probably a person, but Danny didn’t give it a second thought.  All around the sleeping lump were ripples in the air, simmering and sparkling like the air over a hot road in the summer, glittering with energy.  His eyes were fixed on the ripples as they raced through the dark night air, flowing out from their creator like small waves.

Translucent fingers reached forwards and brushed against one of the waves of energy, his face breaking into a grin of delight as firefly-like motes of light dashed off the ripple and curled around his fingers.  Energy fizzled up his arm and into his chest, his whole body beginning to feel the effects of the intense smell of rainbows.  Green eyes drifted closed, his mind wandering as energy sizzled through him.

The rain patters down from the cloud-dappled sky, the sunshine splitting into ethereal beams of light that sparkle against the wet grass. The earthy smells of worms and mud twist with the sharp tang of the ozone from the lightning and coat the area like a light fog.   Spinning around in dizzying circles, hands rising into the air in joy, breath stopping in throats as eyes catch sight of the beautiful stain of color against the sky.  

His mind didn’t work, his whole being tuned to the feelings that were assaulting him.  Thoughts skittered along the surface and cascaded down into an abyss of nothingness.  He didn’t want to do anything up sit here.  Time stood still and zipped forwards, seconds blurred into hours, minutes into heartbeats without any distinction between the past and future.  He just wanted to be like this… forever…

When the source of the radiant smell rolled over and moved, Danny – intangible, invisible, and lost in a chasm of nothingness – followed without thought.  

Um… Danny?  Danny!  Wake up!  How am I going to write the next chapter if you’re lost to your ghost-side??  DARN YOU!

--

Tucker knocked on the door to Danny’s house, shifting uneasily on his feet.  Normally he met Sam and Danny at the bus stop, but today he needed to ask his best friend a question… and he had to ask it without Sam being around.  There was no way Danny would answer a question about those rainbows if Sam was around.  His only hope was that Danny was actually up.  Normally the teenager was running towards the bus at the last minute, still eating the breakfast he had stolen off his sister’s plate.

And… what’s with all the IMs?  I’ve got, like, Seven windows open and everyone’s trying to talk to me!  I feel so loved.  :love:  Anywho.  Think Danny made it home last night?  Me either.

“Tucker?”  Maddie Fenton’s forehead furrowed in surprise.  “Good morning.”

“Morning,” he mumbled, “is Danny up yet?”

“I’ll go check.  Come on in.”  She pushed the door open and gestured to the table.  “Have a seat.”

“Thanks, Mrs. F.”  Tucker grinned at her, pulling out a chair and stealing a piece of toast to munch on while he waited, quietly going over his questions in his mind.

“Danny?” he heard Mrs. Fenton call.  “Danny?”

The red-head drifted back into the kitchen, her eyes sparkling with concern.  “I can’t find him.”

“He’s probably at school,” Tucker said, his own stomach twisting with worry as he wove together a story in his head.  “We were going to get together this morning to work on something and maybe he figured we’d meet there.”  Under the table, he crossed his fingers that Mrs. Fenton wouldn’t catch the small lie.

And the lies start.  *sigh*

“Oh,” she said softly, a small smile drifting back onto her face.  “Have him come home right after school though, okay Tucker?  We’ve got something special planned for supper.”

Tucker smiled back, feeling his cheeks tense at the fakeness of the expression.  His insides were turning themselves into knots over where Danny could possibly be.  “Alright.  See you.”  Slipping out the door and setting off down the sidewalk towards the bus stop, Tucker started creating a list in his mind of all the places his friend could be hiding.

Unfortunately, the list was really long.

OH!  I know where he is!  *raises hand*  

--In real life, there isn’t always a simple fix.

(end chapter 5)
200 reviews on FFN, lots of hits here on DA...

YAY! :dance: I feel so loved!

Thanks. ;)

-Cori
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:icondisneyfreak16:
disneyfreak16 Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2008
all i can say is i really want some cinnamon apples right now :XD:

Ooh the mirror thing, it reminded me of that episode from season 1 where danny gets stuck in and alternate world. i wonder what that means.......

and Jazz knows something, but what?????????:excited:

and to imagen the ghost saying "MINE!!!!!MINE!!!!MINE!!!!! cracked me up :rofl:
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
YES! The mirrors mean the same thing. Just what it implies is a WHOLE other bag of cinnamon apples. XD

Thanks for the comment!!

-Cori
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:icondisneyfreak16:
disneyfreak16 Featured By Owner Jun 5, 2008
no problem, glad i waz able to do something smart for once :XD:
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Aw, you do smart stuff all the time. :hug:

-Cori
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:icondisneyfreak16:
disneyfreak16 Featured By Owner Jun 6, 2008
aw, thanx :glomp:
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:iconkdm13:
kdm13 Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
Jazz, stop watching your younger brother so closely... you're reminding me of my younger brother...

You believe in ghosts yet can't believe your son is one? His parents just can't believe the truth, can they?

Ah, but that is where you are wrong Danny. Never say something is impossible. Especially if you're living (or not) proof that it is possible.

Ooh, what's Jim Butcher write about?

Pre-Danny, I'd be freaked if I heard there was a ghost around... now, I'm still scared, but also excited ;p

Of course you're not cold anymore Danny, ghosts don't feel cold... unless they died in the cold or something...

It was another feeling, wasn't it? *thinks* I think so... gosh I wish I remembered words easier... I just remember what I pictured...

I wouldn't mind listening to what you came up with for why he can talk and not breath. My brain like random tidbits like that.

XD don't you mean 'Mirror mirror in the locker.'

His first 'real' ghost fight? I don't know... the Ghost Writer (kidding)

I think I know! Let's see if it will be nice enough to turn into words... um... gosh I hate only having a slight idea, those don't want to be expressed in words for me...

Did you HAVE to ruin the mood?! XDD

I remember now, it's telling him what to do... (I feel like I'm pointing out the most obvious thing ever)
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
>Jazz, stop watching your younger brother so closely... you're reminding me of my younger brother...

Mine too. :hug:

>You believe in ghosts yet can't believe your son is one? His parents just can't believe the truth, can they?

Nope. NEVER!!!!!!!!!!

>Ah, but that is where you are wrong Danny. Never say something is impossible. Especially if you're living (or not) proof that it is possible.

hehe... the perhaps-living proof of... something.

>Ooh, what's Jim Butcher write about?

Fantasy murder mysteries, mainly. A series known as the Dresden Files and is HIGHLY recommended!

>;Pre-Danny, I'd be freaked if I heard there was a ghost around... now, I'm still scared, but also excited

:D

>Of course you're not cold anymore Danny, ghosts don't feel cold... unless they died in the cold or something...

hm... true. But they might not feel cold then either, really. You'll have to wait for Klemper to make an appearance.

>It was another feeling, wasn't it? *thinks* I think so... gosh I wish I remembered words easier... I just remember what I pictured...

Ditto. That happens to me all the time.

>I wouldn't mind listening to what you came up with for why he can talk and not breath. My brain like random tidbits like that.

FUN! I'll remember that. ;)

>XD don't you mean 'Mirror mirror in the locker.'

hehe... you got the meaning behind the mirror, huh?

>His first 'real' ghost fight? I don't know... the Ghost Writer (kidding)

hm.... maybe...

>Did you HAVE to ruin the mood?! XDD

YES.

>I remember now, it's telling him what to do... (I feel like I'm pointing out the most obvious thing ever)

uh-huh. :D

-Cori
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:iconkdm13:
kdm13 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
>Did you HAVE to ruin the mood?! XDD

YES.

When I was reading on I couldn't help but hear the seagulls saying 'Mine' instead of hearing it in a spooky way...
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
I ruined the mood for myself when I was writing it... it was hard to write and keep a straight face.

-Cori
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:iconkdm13:
kdm13 Featured By Owner Nov 29, 2007  Hobbyist General Artist
I can imagine... makes me wonder how you kept the mood the same when you don't think of that and you're just reading it though...
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