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Author’s note version… clean one up on fanfiction if you’d rather read that.  Enjoy and please leave a comment if you’d like me to continue!

--

Real Life

Chapter 8

In Which a Little Rain Must Fall

--

Random trivia: I kept track for this chapter.  I re-read it seventeen times total (?!) and revised it sixteen times.  I started writing it three weeks ago and have put in a grand total of twenty-one and a half hours into this chapter (I get paid about $15 an hour at my two jobs – that’d be well over $200, even after taxes, if I were getting paid to do this).  It’s (minus notes) twenty pages long.

And you wonder why it takes me so long to get these things out.  *dies*  I like the think the time I put into these shows with (usually) quality work.  So feel free to send me lots of praises.  XD


“We’re doing what?” Danny asked quietly, dragging his eyes away from the torturous-smelling dinner his mother had created.

I hate this part.  I really do.  It’s a ‘dump filler’ to get a half-dozen points across in a very short amount of time.  *shudder*  Danny and co. are so skitzo here and I can’t figure out how to fix it.  It’s just impossible to juggle that many things and keep things flowing perfectly.  BTW… point one: cheese hurts.

His mother smiled faintly, still studying him carefully.  “The Grisbee’s have agreed to let us check out their old cabin on Lake Eerie.  There have been some weird things going on and some reports of cold spots.  Jack and I were going to go by ourselves tomorrow, but since you’re grounded you can come with and help.”

Point two: ghost hunting tomorrow.

“Ghost hunting,” Danny repeated as his stomach dropped, “wonderful.”

Point three: Danny doesn’t want to go (as per cannon).

He blinked when his mother answered by stepping closer and taking his head in her hands.  Her forehead wrinkled as she quietly touched his nose and ran her fingers over his forehead.  From this close, he could just catch a whiff of warm apples hanging in the air around her, tinged with confused surprise.

“What?”

“I thought for sure…” his mother trailed off.  Then she shook her head and smiled.  “You must not have been as hurt yesterday as I thought.”

Point four: strange healing ability (cannon?) and finishing that small ‘Dash beat him up’ story line I forgot about.

Danny raised an eyebrow as he tried to figure out what she was talking about.  “Oh,” he said simply as the memory of Dash slamming his fist into Danny’s face swirled up in his mind.  He smiled vaguely at her, but when his mother turned away his smile faded and he reached up to feel his nose.  No pain.

Point five: continued confusion over strange, new ghost abilities.

Jazz leaned forward to dish some of the cheesy casserole onto her plate with an annoyed sigh, causing the agonizing scent to sweep over Danny and effectively throwing thoughts about his miraculous recovery out of his head.  “I’m not waiting for Dad,” she said.

Point six: continuing ‘normal’ dinner conversation since nobody knows about Danny’s secret and what he’s going through.  *screams by this point at toooooo many plot things at one time!*  I really should have spread this out into two conversations.

“He’s still down in the lab, putting the finish touches on the new Gauss meter we’re going to test tomorrow.”  Maddie sank into her own seat and plopped some of the casserole onto her own plate.  Long strands of melted cheese strung from her plate to the casserole dish and Danny struggled to repress the desire to run out of the room.  “You know how much he likes to personalize his equipment.”

Oh, point seven: continuing character building of Jazz and (soon) Jack since they are going to be larger characters and we’ve barely met either one of them.  And still trying to balance in the ‘killer food’ point.

BTW, ever seen ‘Calvin and Hobbes’?  It’s a comic strip about a boy and his stuffed tiger.  There’s a running gag in there about Calvin’s (the boy’s) food coming to life and trying to kill him, steal his fork, rule the world, etc.  This is also going to be a running gag in my story.  :D  I’m blatantly stealing the idea… although the food will not be trying to kill him in such a literal sense until we ‘meat’ the Lunch Lady.


“The silly logo he’s designed,” Jazz muttered, “yeah, we know.”  She suddenly looked up, her eyes wide with fear.  “Speaking of… you’re not going to seriously let him hang that… thing up outside are you?”

Oh yeah… point eight: creation of Fentonworks (Fentonworks?  Fenton Works?  FentonWorks?  Fentons’ Work?).  I knew there were more than a half-dozen points.

“Thing?  What thing?”  Danny glanced from his sister to his mom, curling his fingers around the seat of his chair and wondering why the two of them seemed to be willing to eat such a horrible smelling meal.  Couldn’t they smell it?  Nothing that smelled like that could possibly be good to eat.  Jazz was such a picky eater… why wasn’t she saying anything?

Fentonworks is now official,” Jazz informed him darkly, digging into the portion of her casserole, “Dad ordered a giant neon sign off eBay to hang on our flagpole rather than the country-approved flag, informing the entire population of Amity Park just how weird this family is.”

Love eBay.

Danny watched in entranced disbelief as his sister brought a large bite of the casserole to her lips.  The smell was churning his stomach.  “Jazz…” he trailed off, biting back his warning as she popped the forkful into her mouth.

“Mom!  This is excellent!” she said with a grin.  “And it’s not glowing or even vaguely radioactive.”  

“Frozen family dinners do come in handy sometimes, dear,” his mother answered, chewing on her own bite.  

Danny bit his lip, glancing from his family back to his plate.  He was hungry, to be completely truthful, and perhaps it tasted a lot better than it smelled.  With one last shiver, he tried to ignore the prickling needle-like pain as he reached for the spatula and scooped a small glob onto his plate.

The smell almost sent him running.

Almost.

Ignoring the quiet chatter of his sister and mother talking about how their oh-so-wonderful Fridays had gone and various plans to make sure the new Fentonworks sign never got hung, Danny picked up his fork and gingerly poked the casserole.  It squelched softly, an aromatic wave of cheesy goodness slamming into his head like Dash’s punch had the day before.  He winced, rubbing his head with his free hand, but forked up a small bite.

Every one of his instincts were battling with him as he brought the forkful up to his mouth.  His human side was screaming at him to not eat something that smelled that bad.  His ghost side was writhing in pain at the awful scent, begging him to run and find something better to feed off of.  For a brief moment, his mind drifted to Sam.

Yes.  Go feed off of Sam, there.  And continue making me end my sentences in prepositions.

No.  He shook his head and forced his hand closer to his mouth.  I’m a perfectly weird teenage boy and I can eat a stupid macaroni casserole. Trying his best not to breathe, he opened his mouth.

oooh… anyone remember what happened to the cheese fries at the Nasty Burger when he tried to eat them?

When the food was inches from actually making it inside his mouth, his hand abruptly went intangible.  His fork slipped through his colorless fingers and Danny gasped as the fork clattered noisily to the floor.  He thrust his hand into his lap as his family turned to look at him.  Danny gave them a small smile and ducked under the table to retrieve his fork.

Yup.  Nice try, boyo.

Carefully grabbing the fork, he ignored the painful tingles of his hand.  He scrapped the macaroni off his fork and scooped a new bite.  Danny stared at it, his body rebelling before the food had gotten an inch off of his plate, his hand completely refusing to move.  

“What the…” he whispered to himself.  Shaking his head, he quickly brought the bite to his mouth and tried one more time to eat the casserole.  Once again, his body reacted to the painful scent of the food and the fork dropped loudly onto his plate.

“Danny, what are you doing?” Maddie asked him, her eyebrows crinkling as she looked at him for a moment.  “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” Danny lied softly, not bothering to pick up the dropped fork as he rubbed at his fingertips.  His fingers were freezing and rubbing his colorless, intangible fingers together felt… weird.  Pressure, but no sensations – no feeling.  “I’m just not hungry.”

For a brief moment, he wondered if this would be a great place to talk to his mom about this ghost thing.  He looked down at his lap, staring at his still-intangible fingers.  Surely she’d have to believe him if she saw that.

Point… whatamIupto?... nine: still wanting to tell parents about the ghost stuff.

He glanced up, watching his mother smile at Jazz and restart their conversation.  His gaze flickered to his sister for a moment and Danny sighed.  No… now wasn’t the time to talk to her.

His family’s conversation was interrupted by his father suddenly bounding up the stairs.  Jack Fenton thundered into the kitchen and plopped his considerable bulk into the last of the kitchen chairs.  His father wasn’t really fat or muscular – but he was tall, broad, and had an immense presence to go with his huge form – and his size wasn’t helped by the hunter-orange lab clothes he was still wearing.  “Done!” he proclaimed as he piled his plate full of casserole, ignoring the dirty grease stains on his hands.  “I used that new design I came up with Mads; the one with the ghost.”

“Excellent, Jack.  So we’re all ready for tomorrow?”  Maddie beamed at Jack.

“Everything’s all packed!”  Jack’s eyes jumped from Maddie’s to Danny’s.  “You all set?”

“Ghost hunting,” Danny said, trying to cover up the dread in his voice.  The last thing he needed right now was to come in contact with any sort of ghost… again.  

His father nodded.  “Old man Grisbee said he’d meet us at the cabin to unlock everything at noon.  Make sure you’re up by about ten.  It’s an hour drive from here.”

Danny quietly pushed his plate away from him and sighed.  His parents spent the remainder of dinner chatting about what they were planning to do tomorrow and if they ever noticed that their son didn’t eat any of his casserole, they didn’t say a word.

Cut dinner short, but I got all of my points in *dies* for better or for worse in these three pages, so there was no point in prolonging it.  It just made for boring dragging-on…ness.

--

Danny stalked into his room after dinner, grumbling to himself about the impossible situation he’d gotten himself into.  After everything that had happened the past few days… he was going ghost hunting?  He felt horrible about how relieved he was to be away from the kitchen table and his family.  It had been entirely too creepy being able to smell his parents and knowing that he was sitting there feeding off of them.  

He shivered suddenly, growling low in his throat.  “And what was the deal with the macaroni?”  

Suddenly he froze, his intestines curling around themselves and a strange feeling prickling the back of his neck.  “What the…”  He glanced around the room, his gaze drawn by an impossible sense that something was misplaced.  Small model rocket ships hung from the ceiling and littered his cramped desk, his bed was an unmade mess, there was a pile of clothes on the floor waiting to be put away, and the various randomly-placed shelves were overflowing with dust, books… and an old teddy bear.

Aw… I had to get Bearbert Einstein in here somewhere, right?

He snarled softly, feeling the thing in his stomach stretch out its claws.  His world went blurry as he strode over to the toy and yanked it off the shelf, fumbling around with his fingers for the feel of the video camera he knew was back there.  When his hand closed around it, he snatched it to him, twirled around, and stormed out of his room.

“Jasmine Marilyn Fenton,” he muttered darkly as he followed her cinnamon-tinged scent towards her bedroom, “I am going to…”  Trailing off when he couldn’t find a significantly evil consequence for what she’d done, he didn’t even notice when he stomped straight through her closed (and still locked) bedroom door.

I knew someone who was named Jasmine Marilyn Fairman.  I figured it was close enough so I borrowed the middle name.

“Jazz!” he snapped, tangy-smelling surprise tingeing the cinnamon as she whirled around to face him.  Danny blinked away the spectral world, focusing on the wide green eyes of his sister.  “You bugged my room!  AGAIN!”  

Her eyes narrowed.  “How else am I ever going to find out what’s wrong with you?”

There’s nothing wrong with me,” he snarled.  He dropped the teddy bear and the video camera onto her neatly-made bed and walked up to her.  “You bug my room one more time and I’m telling Mom.”

She stood up, her sixteen-year-old frame still a few inches taller than his.  “I’m not stopping until I figure out what’s wrong with you.”

Note that while there is a height difference, it’s not nearly as much as the unrealistic proportions of the show.

Danny swept his hand through his hair.  “Jazz… yes, I agree that you’re the last person I’d come to if there was something wrong with me, but you have to trust that I’d go to Mom and Dad if something was wrong.”

“You don’t go to them about Dash’s gang.”  Jazz pushed past him to pick up her teddy bear and turn the power off on her video camera.  

Also note when she turns off the video camera.  Wonder what interesting footage she got while it was running that whole time?

“I can handle Dash’s gang,” Danny said sourly, “and you promised not to tell them about that.”

She quietly tucked the teddy bear back up on a shelf and turned to her brother.  “I want to help you, and I’m going to figure this out.  You’ve been acting nuts now for a few days and I know there’s something up.  Go to Mom and Dad if you want… but I’m not giving up.”

Danny sighed and turned towards the door.  “Stop bugging my room.”

“Hallway’s still fair game,” Jazz agreed simply, flipping open the screen on the camera and rewinding the small amount of footage she’d gotten.

“Fine.”  Danny hesitated at the door, blinking in confusion when he finally noticed that it was still closed and locked.  He unlocked the door and twisted the doorknob, closing the door a little louder than necessary behind him while he wondered how much Jazz had figured out and whether or not she’d noticed the locked door… wondered whether or not he wanted her to have noticed.

Sitting gingerly on her bed, Jazz brushed her long red hair out of her eyes as she watched the short segment of tape she’d gotten for a second time.  “There,” she whispered, freezing the image of her brother glaring up at the camera, just beginning to reach for it with his hand.  “Item thirty-one on the list of freaky.”

hehe… she’s keeping a list…

On the screen, her brother’s eyes seemed to sparkle with a glowing, green light.

--

Part one Meli made me add:

Self-made billionaire Vlad Masters could not get to sleep.  He was the seventeenth richest man in the world, having recently displaced Stefan Persson and his eighteen billion; he had the world at his feet.  It was illogical that a man of his standings and resources couldn’t fall asleep.  Yet there he was, hands behind his head, staring up at the dark hotel ceiling.  Every time he closed his eyes and started to drift off he’d see him.

True fact: Stefan Persson, of Sweden, is the current seventeenth richest person in the world at a stunning 18.4 billion US dollars.  What is the WORLD would you do with THAT much money?

Scruffy black hair.  Tortured blue eyes that blazed with emerald energy.  Impossibly crackling power.  It was almost dizzying to contemplate the potential that was locked inside of that mysterious child.

He curled up onto his side and crammed his pillow over his head for a moment, struggling against the urge to scream.  “I am not obsessing over some stupid boy.

No matter what words came out of his mouth nor how often the man said them, Vlad was not a fool – he knew exactly what was going on in his head.  Twenty years of existing between the world of the living and the world of the dead had taught him to be very sure of his own mental state.  Ghosts were obsessive by nature and Vlad had unfortunately inherited that particular weakness.  It didn’t matter how depressed he kept his ghost side, he was rapidly developing an extremely unhealthy attachment to the nameless child.

To make it all worse, he knew deep down that hiding from the boy and trying to stay away would just make the rapidly-growing obsession stronger.

Tossing his pillow to the foot of his bed, he levered himself up a bit and peered at the clock.  “Two in the morning,” he groaned, “it has got to be later than that.”

He pushed himself out of bed and tripped sleepily over to the sink to grab a glass of water.  Twin red eyes glinted back at him from the mirror.  Vlad closed his eyes and slowly shook his head.  “Stupid ghosts,” he whispered, making his way back to his bed and flipping on a random channel.

…do billionaires stay at hotels?

Seventeen minutes of watching a horrible B-rated movie later, Vlad finally came to a decision.  The meeting to acquire Axion Labs wasn’t until the later afternoon; he had all morning and a good portion of the early afternoon to himself.  He’d go find the boy one last time, then it would be over and done with.  Hopefully he would be able to stave off this unfortunate obsession before it grew out of proportion.  Get the boy’s name, ask a few questions, then turn and walk away and never think of him again.  It would be that simple.  

Although most of his mind despised the idea and looked ahead to the now-planned meeting with a small bit of despair, he couldn’t shake the small trickle of pleasure that was swirling in his stomach.  He hated the happiness that his decision was bringing into his mind – he shouldn’t be looking forwards to meeting with the boy at all.  It was just a simple get-together of two folks caught in similar situations; it wasn’t anything to get excited about.

Ew… gross mental image.  A forty-year-old male obsessing over a teenager.  *sick minds*

When he finally fell asleep, his mind tormented him with various ideas and strategies for gaining the boy’s trust and allegiance.  A son… an heir… just plain company in this strange world he was trapped in?

Anything would be better than this lonely, self-hating existence.

In his sleep, a small smile played across the billionaire’s lips.

--

Old man Grisbee turned out to be even older than Danny had expected.  Danny dropped the fourth really heavy box onto the ground next to the van with a loud clatter of instruments and waited while the frail man dug through his numerous old keys and tried every one of them in the rusty gate.  “My grandson likes to come up here,” the ancient man explained softly, “he’s the one that has been noticing the strange things going on lately.  Lots of weird cold areas and flickering lights.  He said that the furniture was rearranged, once.”

Finally finding the right key, the gate creaked open in a very haunted-house fashion.  Danny rolled his eyes and picked up one of the boxes, following his parents away from their van.  There were two obvious positive points about the old cabin: the first was that the trail leading up to the Grisbee’s hunting cabin wasn’t too long – he could see the rundown building from the road; the other was the fact that the place was well off the beaten path and none of his classmates would wander by and wonder what was up.

“It was built in 1913 – an auspicious year,” Grisbee continued, teetering his way up the trail with his parents walking slowly behind, “invented income taxes that year, they did.  That and Grand Central Station.  Suppose you have to have the good with the bad.  Anywho, my father built this cabin and used it for a variety of things that weren’t so legal in 1913.  Lots of hunting parties too.”

Both true facts.  You can pick which was the ‘good’ and which was the ‘bad’.

“Did anyone die here?” Maddie asked, already scanning the gray cabin with a knowing eye.

“More likely than not, though they isn’t a shred of proof.”  Grisbee thumped up the stairs and pushed open the unlocked front door.  “Hunting accidents were good ways to cover up illegal going-ons.”  He gestured into the sparsely furnished room.  “Should be all unlocked, it’s yours for the day.  I’m going to the union center for Bingo – I’ll be back around six to lock it back up.”

Danny set the impossibly heavy box on the floor with a groan before turning around to go retrieve the other three boxes, ignoring his parents’ continued questioning of old man Grisbee.  He’d learned years ago that ‘helping’ on a ghost hunt usually meant being the gopher.  His job for the next few hours would consist of ‘hold this’, ‘go get that’, and ‘don’t touch that!’  

Somewhere between the third and fourth trips back to the van to collect more of his parents’ equipment, old man Grisbee finally made it back to his car and took off.  After carting the last box of essentials up to the cabin, Danny dropped into one of the Grisbee’s folding chairs and waited to be told what to do.

“It’s too bad we don’t have overnight to do this,” Jack was saying with a dramatic sigh, “we never get good readings during the day.”

Maddie smothered a small smile and shot Danny a look.  “We don’t get good readings at night, either,” she whispered conspiratorially.  Raising her voice, she grinned at Jack.  “We’ll just have to do our best.”  She rubbed a layer of dust off her hands and onto her jeans before rifling through one of the boxes Danny had carted up from the van.

“Temperature sensors in every room,” Danny’s father rumbled, leaning over another box and sorting through the mess of equipment, “we’ve got more than enough sensors to do that.  We’ll set the motion-sensitive camera in the back room and spread out the audio recorders.”  

Here we begin to test my real-world knowledge of ghost hunting – which is practically nil.  If you know something about ghost hunting and paranormal expeditions and I say something wrong, please speak up.  I do (usually) fix my mistakes when people point them out.  I’m pretty sure about my facts thus far.  :D

Danny tapped his heel against the floor and closed his eyes, tuning out his parents’ upcoming argument about the placement of their equipment with the ease of long practice.  He really didn’t see the difference of where the stupid sensors were placed.  His parents had never ‘caught’ a ghost on film and their EVP readings were shady at best.

EVP = electronic voiceover phenomena.  That’s where you listen to static and try to hear ghost voices.  An annoying thing I don’t believe in since I believe in echolalia… but whatever.  It’s in here none-the-less and will be a nice addition to a chapter farther down the road.

Thrump.

Danny stiffened, his head twisted on his neck, instinctively searching for the source of the sound as the world cascaded into a blurry swirl of distant color.  His breath rasped in his throat and his heart beat loudly in his ears as a chill flooded through him.  Licking his lips, he waited for the inhuman noise to come again.

Thrump.

His toes curled in his shoes and his fingers clenched around the chair as a fierce anger suddenly swirled around him and exploded in his mind.  He wanted to fight it, he wanted to tear it to pieces, but most of all he wanted it gone.  And there was no doubt in his mind what ‘it’ was.

“Ghost,” he breathed.   His eyes searched through the blurred shadows for his parents, not being able to find them until he felt their scent drift through him.  He could feel his hold on his warm, human body slipping out of his grasping fingers.  Torn with a sudden internal conflict, he didn’t know if he really wanted to turn into a ghost right in front of his parents.  Finally they would believe him… but at what price?  

Faces slipped into his mind, images that were burned forever into his brain.  Sam, staring at him in fear just before she raced up the lab’s stairs.  Tucker, glaring at him in horrified disbelief as he realized that Danny was feeding off of their best friend.  All too easily he could picture those expressions on his own parents’ faces.

The nightmare of being hated and hunted by his own parents was all too clear in his mind.

Suddenly he fought back against the growing urge to turn into a ghost.  His eyes snapped closed and he gritted his teeth, focusing on staying warm and solid and human.  His parents loved him – he was sure of that – but he didn’t want to chance it.  The fear, the hatred, the inability to understand…

Seeing that in his parents’ expressions would kill him.

Am I dragging this out too much?  ;)  I’ll get on with it… eventually.  My buddy’s got to go through some inner turmoil first.

Thrump.

The sound cut through him like a knife and he gasped, losing what little control he had over his transformation.  He felt himself slipping, terror clawing at his throat as he wondered what his parents would say.  He smelled for his parents, trying to find out where they were.  Were they looking him?  Concerned about what was going on?  Afraid of him yet?

Their scent – metallic excitement and happy, warm apples – was faint.  

Danny relaxed his fingers as the last tiny bit of his human body dissolved into energy, his impossibly glowing eyes flickering open to scan the room.  His parents weren’t in it.

Thrump.

But something else was.

He turned his head, easily fixing on the source of the sound.  A tiny rotting creature, raw fear pulsing off of it, scurried past his feet and raced away from the approaching ghost.  Danny drifted a little higher in the air, fighting the desire to track down the ghost that had caused all of this.

He waited, neon green eyes fixed on the spot he somehow knew the ghost would appear, his scarred and burned hands twisted around the bottom of the ragged black jacket he was wearing.  Restless energy sparkled around him, emerald and electric, tendrils of unconscious rage and protectiveness coiling in his mind.

Geez.  It’s HARD to write a fight when the fight-ors can not touch the ground nor anything else.  All too often I want to have them crouch on the ground, or slam into a wall… or… I’m not to the fight yet and I’m already rambling… nvrmnd.

Thrump.

This place – this cabin, this space, these people – were his and no stupid ghost was going to take this away from him.  He bit his lip, drifting side to side anxiously as the ghost grew nearer.  Tearing one hand out of where he had wrapped it in his jacket, he brushed it through his hair and a small, snarling whimper slipped from his mouth.

Human logic and reasoning were drowning as the encroaching ghost’s aura brushed against Danny’s mind and drew his supernatural desires to the front of his mind.  Finally, unable to take the ghost’s approach anymore, Danny moved.  

He flew forwards, uncaring when he passed through the fuzzy and indistinct shape that might have been a wall, his gaze racing through the blurry landscape and over a few small ghosts until he found the source of the sounds.  It was a huge presence, impossibly real against the watercolor background, green energy pulsing away from it in slow waves.

Thrump.

Danny hesitated, drawing away from the daunting waves of energy, confusion warring in his spectral mind.  He wanted to fight, he needed to destroy this thing that had come into his space… but it was so powerful.  Perhaps too powerful.

Suddenly the presence turned its head, twin green eyes fixing on Danny’s form, power exploding into existence around the creature like a small star.  Danny closed his eyes, turning his head away, not too surprised to learn that the light didn’t diminish when he did that.  Something inside of him knew that he didn’t have eyes, not really – he wasn’t seeing anything – so closing them made no difference.  He was feeling the tidal wave of raw energy that the ghost had thrown towards him.  But it still felt bright.

eh… little bit of ghost-trivia thrown into a fight scene.  Perhaps not the greatest place for it…

He blinked his eyes back open, knowing that the ghost had approached while his eyes were closed and was hovering just a few feet in front of him, and trailed his eyes up the ghost’s massive chest and into its face.  Danny, about half the size of the huge silver ghost, narrowed his eyes and snarled.

I haven’t a clue how big Skulker is compared to Danny.  Bigger, that’s all I know.  I guessed… any wrongness on my part you can take as ‘author’s liberties’.  This fight scene between these two got cut when I added in Vlad’s parts… so we’ll have to see how will it flows with chunks taken out.

“What are you?” the other ghost hissed, the condemned wails of the damned screaming in its voice.  Its mouth didn’t move as it spoke.  

Danny didn’t answer.  His human mind was screaming at him to run away – there was no possible way that he could stand up to this ghost.  Unfortunately, being this close to a ghost made his ability to access his human rationality extremely limited.  Unthinking, unable to reason out a logical solution, lost to a spectral consciousness he couldn’t hope to control, Danny did the only thing his ghost side could come up with: attack the intruder.

He growled, threw himself upwards until he was even with the gigantic ghost’s head, and punched.  Emerald energy exploded around his fist when it connected and Danny screamed in pain and fury.  Pulling back, he kicked out with a foot and slammed it into the ghost’s chest before trying to punch the ghost again.

A strong hand clenched around Danny’s wrist and he felt himself being yanked upwards and away from his target.  “Lemme go,” he snarled, energy pulsing around him and slamming into the other ghost as it held him tightly.

The silver ghost howled at the painful onslaught and threw Danny away.  “Abomination,” it growled, pacing around the irate boy, “you are an abomination… and I will kill you.”

Although his feet weren’t touching the ground, Danny crouched and sent a swirl of energy pulsing through the air.  He narrowed his eyes and power built up around him, his mind losing its ability to understand what was going on.  The presence of the other ghost was just too much.  It was grating against his nerves and steadily destroying what was left of his human side.  The ghost needed to be gone.

Fight scenes are a very difficult-to-find balance between details, flow, momentum, and excitement.  Even one of those four things being off can throw the scene into something that’s not fun and ‘pulling’ you along as you read.  How’m I doing?  Too many details?  Not enough?  Good flow (doesn’t seem to jump)?  Keeps moving at a good pace without getting to fast or too slow?  Exciting and fun to read?

Finally, only one even vaguely human thought was left in his head: Sam is mine.

Sam is mine; you can’t have her.

“Can’t,
” he screamed, not really knowing what he was saying anymore.  “Can’t.  Mine!”  He was moving through the air towards the intruding ghost, his fingers curling into claws and his impossibly white hair smoking with power.  He clawed at the ghost’s face, feeling his sharpening fingernails scrape along the ghost’s metallic skin.  

He couldn’t understand why he couldn’t hurt it – he couldn’t comprehend the fact that its skin seemed to be some kind of metal – he was just furious at the fact that his attack had done nothing but startle the other ghost.  “MINE!”  He threw himself into another attack, slamming his shoulder into the silver ghost’s chest and releasing a huge wave of emerald energy.  The power rushed at the ghost and Danny could feel his supernatural attack smash into the ghost and send it reeling.

Danny recoiled away from the intruder, sitting back on his haunches, his neon eyes fixed on the silver ghost with a feral, deadly intensity.  Ethereal energy poured off of him and cascaded around him, crackling and sizzling with an impossible paranormal force.  “Mine,” he snarled softly.  

“Abomination,” the silver ghost spat, but drifted a few more feet away.  “You don’t deserve to exist.”

Can’t,” Danny growled, his whole body shaking as the desire to attack the invading ghost once more coiled up inside of him, “mine.”  His claws were clenched at his sides, his hair billowing around him like flames, his sharp fangs biting into his lips as he spoke.  “Mine.

The ghost took a single step forwards.  Danny uncoiled, supernatural energy flaring around him as his body arrowed through the air.  He slashed at the larger ghost, clawing and biting and scratching and kicking and ramming the ghost with wave after furious wave of power.  He attacked blindly, instinctively, tearing into the ghost with the sole intent of destroying the invading ghost forever.

He didn’t give an inch – he couldn’t stop or show mercy, not anymore – but the awful truth was that the silver ghost was simply more powerful than he was.  The silver ghost’s huge fist grabbed around the back of Danny’s neck and threw the boy off of itself, following the throw with a wash of green energy that sizzled through Danny’s body and sent him into a head-over-heels spin.

Danny twirled through the air, struggling to regain control of his tumbling flight.  When he finally did, he twisted around to glare at the silver ghost.  A small shiver of triumph snuck into his rage-filled mind when he saw the scratches, dents, and burns that covered the other ghost’s body.  Even one of the silver ghost’s green eyes was gone.

It stared at him with its one good eye, fury crackling visibly around its huge form.  “Abomination,” it ground out, “we will kill you – be sure of that.”

Then it vanished.

NO!”  Danny dove through the air, puling himself to a stop when he reached the place where the giant silver ghost had just been hanging.  He spun around in a circle, closing his eyes as he searched for the inhuman feel of a ghost in the area.  

Nothing.

“I want…” he stuttered as his supernatural anger drained away into confusion.  “But I need… I want… I… I just…”  His senses were still all on alert; he still needed to destroy the ghost that had threatened his human.  No one got to be near his Sam.  His… Sam…

He blinked suddenly, licking his lips and unsteadily brushing a hand through his still-smoldering hair as human rationality poured back into his consciousness.  Sam wasn’t his and the ghost hadn’t threatened her.  But… then why had he felt like it had?  Why was he still feeling like Sam was his?

He blew out a long breath, hesitated long enough to wonder how he’d just done that when he didn’t have longs to breathe with, then shook his head and took another calming breath.  “Great,” he whispered, “this is all just… great.”  It really wasn’t worth even trying to figure out why he had reacted the way he had.  Not yet, anyways.  He was sure that Sam and Tucker would be able to help him on Monday.

As the last of his ghost-induced fury slipped away, Danny let himself drop though the air until he was hovering just above the green blur that was (most likely) the grass.  “At least the ghost is gone,” he muttered.  Now all he needed to do was figure out how to turn human again.

yeah, right… like I’m going to leave it at that.

Thrump.

--

Part two Meli had me add:

Vlad Masters drummed his manicured fingernails against the steering wheel of his rented car, silently cursing the universe in general.  His meeting was due to start in less than two hours and he hadn’t seen hide-nor-hair of the annoying child that would not leave his mind.  He’d been all over Amity Park proper, searching for the barest trickle of scent from the boy.  When he had come up empty, he had slowly widened his circles into the outskirts of the city.

He was currently in the middle of nowhere, staring at the same red light he’d been staring at for at least ten minutes, wishing he were anywhere else.  These stupid obsessions were something he had been living with for two decades, but they did not make them easier to deal with.  They were like itches that needed to be scratched – they got worse until you inevitably scratched them.  

The boy was an itch.  An annoying, pervasive, all-encompassing itch that made everything else pale in comparison.

And now he’d have to go to a meeting with that itch still not having been scratched.  It would drive him crazy throughout the meeting and, no doubt, he’d ultimately lose the Axion contract because of it.

“Is this light never going to turn green?” he snapped in irritation, his eyes flaring blood red in the afternoon sunshine.

I hate those kind of stoplights.  I’ve driven through a few of them after waiting for all of eternity to pass me by.

That’s when he felt it: the smell of a cold winter morning, the taste of the air after a lightning storm, the feel of being head-over-heels out of control, the sound of potential and possibility ripping through the sky.  

Ever wondered what Danny felt like?

Vlad’s head turned, his ghost side reacting instantly to the source of his obsession.  

Every plan he’d had for a short, civilized conversation with the boy went out the window as he grabbed his briefcase and phased cleanly through the door, leaving his car at the eternal red light.

Plasmius wanted to possess.

--

And the excitement builds… things come together… minor plot points are all about to clash in a very dramatic fashion…

And yeah… this part, from here on, Meli made me add.


Danny growled softly, stalking through the blurry world that was the spectral side of Grisbee’s hunting cabin.  Dozens of small ghosts, screaming defiantly with voices that rang with the shrieks of the condemned, scurried away from the waves of chilling energy that were flowing off of his form.

Something was approaching him and it was setting every one of his spectral nerves on fire.  

Without any thought at all, he could pinpoint his parents.  Both of them were staked out quite a distance away where their apple and metal scents cascaded through the spectral realm and drew all sorts of the tiny ghostly creatures out of their personal hiding holes.  Danny didn’t give either the small animals or his parents a second thought – his being was focused entirely on the distant thrump of the approaching ghost.  

The sound echoed through him, buzzing annoying against his nerves and sliding through his mind.  For some reason, the spectral heartbeat felt… tainted.  Wrong.  Infected.

hehe… Infected.  Infected with Human.

Danny shuddered when another thrump sliced through him, slipping slimily around in his head and pushing his raw spectral emotions farther into his mind.  He slipped forward a few more feet, squinting through the blur in an attempt to find the source of the sound and feeling more ‘human’ than he ever had in his ghost form before.  After a few seconds, he closed his eyes and breathed, letting his ghost side sort through the impossible jangle of smells, searching for some more information on the ghost heading his way.

Interesting side effect: being near each other causes them to be more ‘human’.  Or, at least, Danny does.  We don’t know about the other one yet.

“Boy.”

He shivered at the stained voice drifting through him, his glowing eyes flickering open.  Standing amongst the fuzzy and indistinct objects of the human world, a man was gazing at him.  The man’s eyes were glowing a fierce red, black hair swept backwards and up, a ragged white and red coat dangling down around his legs.  He wasn’t quite as in focus as the small spectral animals that ranged around the cabin, but he was definitely a presence in the ghost world.  Not a ghost… more like a human with a bit of a ghost super-glued around him.

Note that Vlad can NOT take a full ghost form… thus cannot fly, but can do basically everything else a ghost can do.  Because of this, he’s not as ‘merged’ as Danny is, if that makes sense.  This will come into play later and is probably my biggest ‘drift’ from cannon facts.

“A full spectral form,” the man continued, tipping his head to the side and studying Danny with eyes that were narrowed in his etched and pocketed face.  “Interesting.”  His voice didn’t sound like the man was very interested.  He sounded annoyed… and pleased.

Danny drifted backwards, instinctively bringing his hands up and charging the air with energy, confused and strangely worried about the fact that he was still in full control of his body.  His ‘ghost side’ wasn’t taking over.  “Who are you?” he asked nervously, inwardly shuddering at the screams of the damned that coiled in his voice.

“I,” the man… the ghost?... said with a cold smile that showed his fang-like teeth, “am Plasmius.  And you interest me quite a bit, ghost child.”

They STILL don’t know who each other are.  Point.

“What…” Danny glanced over his shoulder in the direction of his parents and turned back around to the thing standing in front of him.  “What are you?”

“Playing twenty questions, are we?”  He stooped down and picked up a hazy object that had been sitting near his feet and it slowly gained focus as the man continued to talk.  “I am a human that has been irrevocably contaminated with a variant form of plasma created,” he snapped open the briefcase he had picked up and a horrible sneer entered his voice, “by an idiot in his indomitable quest to verify the existence of the spectral realm.”  The man’s eyes flared red, spectral energy washing out of his body in a visible wave.  “A mistake that he will pay for.”

No names mentioned, still no idea who each other.  ;)

Danny licked his chapped lips, slipping a few feet farther away from the man, refusing to let himself get caught up in trying to understand what the obviously insane man had just said.  “And…”

Red eyes glittered as Plasmius pulled a plastic bag out of his briefcase before dropping the case to the ground.  “I am not a ghost, boy; you needn’t be afraid of me.  I am, actually, here to help you.”

“Help?”  Danny’s ears perked up a little and his hands came down.  “How can you help me?”

“I know certain tricks and…” the man trailed off, his eyes blazing red as they focused on a spot far behind Danny.  “And…”  He took a few stumbling, unthinking steps before tripping over something Danny couldn’t see on the ground.  The man suddenly shook his head, snarling at himself.  “Stop that.”

oooh… stop what, I wonder?  What’s out there that could ‘entrance’ Mr. Masters?

Danny was quiet, waiting.  

Plasmius straightened, pulling on the front of his red and white coat before coughing and continuing.  “As I said, I know certain tricks and inventions that would be able to keep your spectral presence to a minimum.”  His eyes sparkled as he held up the bag, small chunks inside.  “I could help you be human.”

Ouch.  Good bargaining chip.

“Normal?” Danny breathed.  Only four days as a ghost-human thing and he was totally ready for it to be over.  It was like a dream come true… almost too good to be true.  Eleven years of being the best friend to a very cynical person suddenly jumped into his front of his mind.

It was almost too good to be true.

“What do you want?” Danny asked softly, narrowing his green eyes.  “What’s the price?”

“Nothing but good things for you, child.”  Plasmius smiled at him, but the frozen smile didn’t reach his eyes.  “Come live with me; I’ll teach you great things and give you the best future that anyone could ever ask for.”

“I can’t live with you.”  Danny shook his head.  “I’ve got a family.”

Plasmius’ evil smile grew a little pitying.  “They don’t really understand you or love you, you misguided boy.  You can’t ever be a part of the human world – you must know that.  Your spectral side won’t ever allow you to be loved and have friends.”

He can’t be loved… he can’t ever be close to anyone… imagine the horror that would bring.  Imagine never EVER having a true friend… ever again…

Now, try to tell me that Vlad is just evil and he gets no pity.


Danny backpedaled, energy swirling around him as his body reacted to the words the man in front of him was using.  Disbelief, fear, anger, and a distant feeling of maybe he’s right danced through his mind.  It can’t be true… “I have a family and they love me,” Danny retorted as power built up around him.  All of his hair was standing on end, his eyes glowing wildly and small static-like bursts of energy sizzling over his clothes.  

“Take it from someone who knows,” Plasmius snarled, “they don’t.  They can’t.  Ghosts and humans don’t mix for a reason.”

Forcing the energy to dissipate, Danny growled softly.  “Stay away from me, whatever-you-are.”

“I’m just trying to help,” the man said, his cruel grin fading, “and eventually you’ll thank me for it.”

The man ripped open his zip-locked back and reached inside.  Almost instantly, Plasmius disappeared into the vague blur that was all ghosts could see of humans.  A split second later, Danny screamed as painful washes of energy cascaded over him.  Smells jangled in his brain and dashed all of his thoughts into nothingness.  He felt a cube being tossed in his direction, rolling to a stop just under his feet as pure agony danced up through him and Danny’s world began to grow black.

--

Vlad Masters stared down at the zip-locked bag in his hand, a look of disbelief in his eyes at what Plasmius had just done.  He needed to stop kidding himself: Plasmius was him. What he had just done.  The boy was barely visible as he twisted and flailed in mid-air, the screams of the spectral teenager tearing through the air and making the human world quake and crack.

’Ghostly Wail’ of all the stupid things to call it.  He will not call it that in my story.  EVER.  NEVER-EVER.

He took a step forwards, blocking out the pain created by the permeating smell of the cheese fizzing against his nerves.  “Child,” he whispered, his blue-green eyes wide with horror.  True, the hellish smell drove him wild… but long exposure had deadened him to most of the scent’s effects.  He had never expected it to be that painful for the teenager.  The half-thought-of point had been to subdue the boy and kidnap him, not kill him.

The boy had far more spectral potential than he did – that much was obvious.  Just the fact that the boy hadn’t reverted to human yet showed how much power was inside of him.  All that potential lent him every advantage but it came with all of the ghosts’ enormous disadvantages as well.  Vlad sighed, walking straight through the boy twitching in midair and scooping up the small cube of cheddar cheese.  He flung it off into the woods, his mind conjuring up images of the dozens of animal ghosts that would be fleeing from its smell despite the fact he couldn’t see them at the moment.  

“I hate ghosts,” Vlad muttered darkly, watching the nearly unconscious teenager drift aimlessly in the air.  “I hate Jack for doing this to me.”  He grabbed his briefcase and stalked away, leaving the still-nameless boy to fend for himself.  “I hate all of this.  I’m going home where Plasmius and his stupid instincts won’t bother me any more.”  

“And I am not going to continue to obsess over some stupid teenager!”

Despite his words, Vlad threw his briefcase off into the woods and bit back a scream.

No matter how hard he wished, no matter how much he tried, no matter what drugs or ‘tricks’ he used… he knew that the boy was going to be something in his mind and there was absolutely nothing in the world that would be able to stop it from happening.  Uncaring about his upcoming important meeting and how dirty his expensive suit was going to get, Vlad Masters sank to the ground and buried his head in his hands.  “Damn it all,” he whispered.

Any number of people had fallen into his eye before… and a large percentage of them were now either dead or so completely broken that they wished they were dead.  His ghost obsessions drove him relentlessly and eventually his human side grew too weak to stop whatever was coming.  By that point, there wasn’t anything that Plasmius wouldn’t do to get what he wanted.  Very few things were outside of his grasp.

“If there’s any god out there that will listen to me anymore,” he breathed, looking up into the afternoon sky, “protect that boy from me.”

Interesting statement – and one which will be an ENDLESS source of discussion between me and Meli when she notices that I snuck it in.  :D

--

Danny’s green eyes drifted open and he stared around him in disbelief.  That amount of pain… it still burned in his arms and legs, wrapped around his chest, and sizzled in his head.  The distant echoing cries of the half-eaten spectral animals pounded in his mind, making his entire brain hurt.

“Ow…”  Drifting higher into the air, he smelled for his parents, relieved to find them still sitting somewhat close by.  Both of his parents’ scents were tinged with the sharp smell of excitement.  His encounter with… Plasmius… had probably set off every one of their ghost detectors.

They don’t really love you… they can’t love you.

Danny shook his head, then winced at the ache that speared through his head at the movement.  “Shut up.”

You can’t ever be a part of the human world.

Crossing his legs, he buried his face in his hands – unknowingly mimicking the position of the only other ghost-human hybrid in the world, huddled just a few hundred feet away – and tried to block out the echoing voice that fizzled in his brain and refused to disappear.  Danny wasn’t entire sure which hurt more: the voice and the pain it had brought, or the sharp feeling in his mind that maybe, just maybe, the insane man had a point.

Take it from someone who knows.

Had to make the transition from ‘tell my parents everything’ to ‘keep it a secret at all costs’ at some point.  This seems like a good place.

Figure that we’re about half way through the story.


--In real life, a little rain must fall.

(end chapter 8)
Here it is: Real Life, chapter 8.

Please comment... please. *begs*

Clean version up here: [link]

Thanks all of you!

-Cori
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:iconanimefreak120:
animefreak120 Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2012  Student General Artist
I love Calvin and Hobbes. xD I used to read those comics all the time as a kid. I still read them sometimes. I totally remember Calvin's food coming alive.

I really didn't think that dinner scene was boring at all. I also think the fight scenes are pretty well balanced.

“If there’s any god out there that will listen to me anymore,” he breathed, looking up into the afternoon sky, “protect that boy from me.”
I really liked that line. I also really liked the scene where Vlad comes in…

I really, really like the angst in this chapter. Especially with Danny thinking his parents won't accept him. I was a nice way to make the transition to him not wanting to tell his parents.
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:iconkaliphantom:
KaliPhantom Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Sigh. I really should have commented sooner… and I promise I'll review the "clean" version at some point. Really. :blush:

Sometimes we just need "dump filler" scenes to further the plot. I think you did yours well, and picked a good setting for it. I don't think it's obvious that you've just put the scene in to get things down and out there. :) I also don't think they're schizo, as much as being regular people, who get distracted and change subjects rapidly. Making the scene into two separate conversations might have drawn it out too much.

Because it's been bugging me in a few of your A/N chapters, I'm just going to say this, scratch an itch, as it were: a cannon is a big metal gun on wheels that fires huge balls; a canon is the compendium of facts about a fictional world, or, alternatively, a list of an author's works. ;)

Danny's strange healing ability is not really canon or fanon. No one draws attention to it in the show, not even himself. It's more lazy animation that cures him of all injuries during scene changes. In an attempt to give the world a bit more sense than it has, fans have posited a healing ability.

Heheh, I can see Calvin's expressions fitting into Danny's character nicely. :laughing:

No one can agree on how to spell the Fenton's business. I think it's FentonWorks, personally.

“And it’s not glowing or even vaguely radioactive.” Made me snicker… and I love what you've done with Danny's attempts to eat it. They make wonderful sense. I'm going to hazard a guess that because Danny is more fused with his ghost side than Vlad, cheese hurts him more?

There is nothing wrong with ending sentences in prepositions. I believe the Anglo-Saxons did it, and they "invented" the language so can't be wrong.;p

I'd suggest in your extensive editing process, that you check for repetitions of words and phrases withing paragraphs or clusters of smaller paragraphs. It can get a little wearing to, say, see the word "fork" three times when one or two of the times it could have been "it" or "the utensil."

Jazz's list is going to come back to "haunt" him, isn't it? :worry:

I'm glad Meli made you add stuff. It makes the chapter more whole.

I like how you're doing Vlad's obsessions, how they can change, unlike canon obsessions, which don't.

I don't see why billionaires can't stay in high class hotels, no. I can't see Vlad at a B&B, and it doesn't make sense that he'd buy a house just to live there for a few days.

Do you have an explanation for why Skulker has metal skin/armour in your story? I think you've done well with the height, too. I can't remember the proportions exactly, but think that Skulker's either twice or three times Danny's height. Also, knowing the animation style, this probably varies…

I think you've done a good job of this fight scene, overall, though I'll admit that reading it here, at least, I haven't gotten much of an impression of fighting. It's more internal thoughts and Danny's driven need to kill anything that threatens Sam. It flows well, though.

I like your description of Vlad and his partial ghost form. :aww: And I love how they had that whole conversation and still don't know who each other are. I'm totally on the side of the Vlad-sympathisers, btw.
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Wow... long comment. :hug:

:giggle: I've done the cannon/canon thing before. I'll keep checking for it. I just can't keep them straight!

I loved all the comments. :glomp: Helpful comments are especially :love:! Thank you so much! I will watch for the repetitive word thing. That's one of my issues and I usually do pretty good picking through them and looking for alternate wordings. I'll watch it. ;)

Not sure what Skulker's explanation will be. Does the canon one have any?? Can I make one up and not be mobbed with pitchforks?

Thanks! :dance: Really, really appreciate it!

-Cori
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:iconkaliphantom:
KaliPhantom Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Yeah, I know… Rule of thumb seems to be that the longer I put off commenting, the longer the comment will be. :blushes:

You're welcome. :hug: I have troubles with the repetitive words as well, though it's not my biggest issue. I know it can be hard to catch them all, though, especially as the author who wrote them in the first place.

Okay. I was just hoping you'd have something really cool. ^^; In canon, it's a battlesuit, an extension of himself (since he's smaller than a hand) that lets him do the stuff he wants to do. It also seems to conform to his emotions and such. I think you'd be perfectly in your rights and not get pitchforked if you made an explanation up. Your ghosts are different from DP ghosts in pretty major ways already. ;)

Welcome! :glomp:
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Mar 20, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
Sweet. :D I'll have some fun coming up with ideas. Do you have any that would be really fun to use?

-Cori
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:iconkaliphantom:
KaliPhantom Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
He died by being thrown into a vat/tub/pool of liquid metal? He's a displaced knight attached to some artifact? He died while cosplaying? :shrug: I have no clue.
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
ALl good ideas. I will have to think about them. :D

-Cori
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:iconkaliphantom:
KaliPhantom Featured By Owner Mar 21, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
I look forward to reading which one you choose. ;p
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:iconobi-quiet:
Obi-quiet Featured By Owner Jan 24, 2008
Honey, that first part flowed fine, trust me. Yeah, there were a lot of points, but it's a nice little summary of the entire story up until now without actually summarizing it (congratulating. I can't do that), painting how bleak the situation really is, and making it more realistic, because usually when things happen in my life, it all happens at once. *shrug* That could be just me.

Yes, billionaires stay at hotels...very VERY expensive ones.
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
*sigh* Excellent! I was really afraid the first part wasn't flowing wel.. :hug: Thanks for commenting on it, good or bad!

I would love to stay at a billionaire's hotel. I really would!

-Cori
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