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September 17, 2007
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Note: If you want to read the version with NO author's notes, check it out on FFN.  (www.franfiction.net/~cordria)  Also, if you enjoy reading the NOTED version of the story and want me to continue, PLEASE leave a comment!  If I get no comments, I'm not keeping this up.  It's quite a bit of work!  Thanks.

--

Real Life
The Author’s Notes Edition
A Danny Phantom FanFiction by Cordria

--

(Prologue)

In Which Heroes are Not Born, They are Made

Author’s comments in bold

--

In real life, there is no such thing as a superhero.

In real life, the innocent get targeted more often than not.

In real life, people can’t be put into nice, little categories of good or evil.

In real life, the line between right and wrong blurs into nonexistence.

In real life

A lot of this story is going to revolve around funky quotes I’ve heard from people or run across on the internet.  Pay particular attention to the title and the ending quote.  There’s something cool about them.

--

Sam flicked the light switch with one chipped, black fingernail and gazed down into the depths of the Fentons’ basement with an arched eyebrow.  A single light bulb had sizzled to life and harshly illuminated the steep stairwell.  The basement door she had just opened was painted a startling Day-Glo orange, the words ‘Fenton Laboratory – Keep Out’ stenciled in black letters across its surface.  “The infamous lab,” the Goth said with a sarcastic tone, “you’re finally going to let us see it?”

Sam, in my head, has always looked like this unpopular girl that I used to be friends with.  She always wore black, she had frizzy untamable black hair that was always dyed a horribly matte black color, and her fingernails (always black) were perpetually chipped from being chewed on.  Definitely not prom-queen material  She’s my inspiration for this Sam.

“There’s nothing to see,” Danny muttered as he pushed past her and clumped down the stairs.  “It’s just a basement.”  

Sam bit back a tiny smile as Tucker brushed past her excitedly.  She had seen the tiny flush that had crept onto Danny’s face at the mention of his parents’ laboratory.  She wasn’t entirely sure why Danny was always to uncomfortable with the idea of his parents working in the basement, but up until this particularly sunny Tuesday afternoon, he’d always been adamant about them not going down into the lab.

“But it’s the basement!”  Tucker was almost stepping on Danny’s heels by this point, craning his head to try and see around the corner at the bottom.  “You’ve been dropping hints about this place since elementary school – I’m dying to see it!”

I agree with Tucker.  I’d kill to have a mad scientist lab in my basement.

Danny shot Sam a glance and rolled his eyes as she finally started to follow them.  She carefully made her way down the steps, just as excited as Tucker to see the ‘insane’ inventions, but not nearly as willing to risk tripping and falling down the stairs.  Danny stepped off the bottom stair and twisted to his right, reaching out and flipping a light switch.  A brilliant light burst into existence in the lab, spilling into the shadowy recesses of the stairs.

“Come on,” Tucker continued as he tripped down the last few stairs, “it’s got to be interesting; your parents design secret weapons for the government…” he trailed off as he stepped around the corner, his eyes widening despite the blinding glare of the lights.  

Sam grinned at his speechlessness for a moment before she glanced around the wall that separated the stairs from the lab.  “Whoa,” she whispered.

Check out the following description: it matches the inside of my uncle’s garage… except for the obvious differences of the ghost portal and the ghost hunting supplies.  My uncle fixes speed boats.  And yeah, his walls are actually covered in tin foil.  He thinks it looks ‘groovy’.

Illuminated by dozens of mismatched lamps and fluorescent bulbs, the walls and ceiling were covered in what looked like aluminum foil that had been stapled and duct-tapped and was peeling in places.  Rickety garage-style metal shelves lined the walls and formed narrow aisles along the left side of the room.  Huge tables took up most of the open space in the middle of the room, and to the right was a large circle of steel built into the wall.  And everywhere there were things: blenders, toasters, fans, televisions, radios and computers, boxes of wires, old phones, broken toys, and at least one ancient refrigerator.  Everything was piled haphazardly on the shelves or stuffed into overflowing boxes.  Cascading from the tables, the wiry corpses of the least-fortunate electronics sat in half-taken-apart chaos.

Aye, I had a tough time with this description.  Thanks to my betas for helping me get it so it’s somewhat understandable!  This prologue used to just be a description of the lab, but I felt I needed to have some action and character development… so I added on.  Basically, the story used to start here with Danny searching for his game.

And I don’t want to get into the whole ‘non-cannon’ thing.  Fanfiction is FICTION.  It doesn’t have to follow cannon by definition.  :D


“We never come down here because it’s a death trap,” Danny sighed as his friends stared at the tons of junk his parents had collected over the years for their experiments.  “Watch out for the black shelves – they tend to collapse if you breathe on them wrong.”

It’s always the black shelves… *sigh*

Sam snorted and folded her arms.  “I guess I can’t complain about you not recycling anymore.  Your parents are doing a wonderful job.”

“Let’s just find that stupid game and get out of here.  We’re not supposed to be down here.”  Danny slipped between two folding tables covered in the remains of what looked like at least two vacuum cleaners and carefully made his way over to the side of the basement that was filled with the shelving units.  “Where do you think they put it?”

He gazed between two rows of teetering shelves for a moment before grabbing a stepstool and making his way nearly to the foil-covered wall.  As he set down the stool and climbed up to study the boxes on the top shelf, Sam joined him on the other side of the lab.  She leaned against the end of one of the old shelves, dust accumulating on her black shirt from the long-forgotten boxes.  Brushing herself off, her elbow knocked against an old thermos that had been perched precariously on one of the shelves.  It wobbled, crashed to the floor, and rolled under a shelf.

I never put this in there, but he’s searching for Monopoly.  Originally, I had some dialog about Tucker wanting to be the race car… but I dropped it because it was boring, rather unimportant, and bogged down a chapter that I was already worried about being too long.

Danny glanced down at where the thermos had vanished.  “Sam?  Can you make sure that gets picked up?”  He yanked a box off one of the rickety shelves in a small shower of dust.  Carefully balancing it while he dug through it, he searched for his game, apparently unconcerned by the thick layer of dust growing on his dark blue shirt and jeans.

Yup.  Changed his clothing.  He ain’t going to wear the same thing every day in my story.  :D

“Why?”  Sam raised a skeptical eyebrow.  “This place is a disaster anyways.”

“My parents are on an inventing streak.  If you leave it on the floor there’s a chance they’ll try to make it into some kind of rocket or inter-dimensional container or something and we’ll end up drinking radioactive hot chocolate next winter.”  He shuffled things around in the box for a moment.  “Anything on the floor is considered fair game.”

Hehe… can we say ‘foreshadowing’ people?  We all know what happens to the poor thermos.  ;)  I’ve always wondered where the thing came from.  The first time I saw it, I said, “why a thermos?”  Here’s my answer.  It fell on the floor.  It’s all SAM’S FAULT!!

She stared down at the shelf that hid the thermos.  “It’s that bad?”

He laughed softly, not seemingly to be paying attention to what he was saying.  “Last fall my parents messed with the stove, and do you remember what happened to the turkey we had at Thanksgiving?  Same thing.”

I can never remember if the turkey thing is cannon or fanon… but it’s in here anyway.  I know I’ve heard it somewhere.  Probably fanon since I don’t watch the show very often.  This story is (hopefully) going to be full of all sorts of odd references.  See how many you can pick up.

Tucker sighed happily and nodded, but Sam shivered and grimaced.  She remembered that dinner fiasco perfectly.  “That’s one of the reasons why I chose to become a vegan last year.”

“What was wrong with it?” Tucker muttered as he picked up a half-together radio and fiddled with the wires, “It was delicious.”

Danny looked over at him for a second, blinking, before shaking his head and putting the box back on the shelf.  “It was glowing and levitating, Tucker.  You and Dad were the only two people that dared to eat it.”

He shrugged.  “So?  It was good.”

As Danny grabbed another box to look through, Sam bent down to pick up the fallen thermos.  Crouched on the floor, her fingers reaching under the shelf to grab the thermos, a sparkle caught her eye.  Squinting through the densely-piled junk that littered the lab, Sam studied the large, round object that seemed to be built into a wall on the other side of the lab.  It was a hole in the wall about six feet around and about two feet deep.  Jumbled with wires and metal bits, it was surrounded by thick metallic plates and electronics.  Sam, finally retrieving the thermos from its hiding spot under the shelf, stood up. “What’s that?”

Another thanks to my betas for pointing out the confusion that this part of the story was.  :D  We’re all good now.  It’s important to describe where things are in the lab.

“What’s what?” Danny asked distractedly.  “Yes!”  He pulled the dusty game out of the battered box and held it up in triumph.  Balancing it carefully on his head as he tried to put the box back on the shelf, he knocked into another box sitting dangerously close to the edge and sent it tumbling to the ground.  Old fishing equipment clattered loudly as it fell into a jumbled mess at the base of the stool.  “Darn it!”

More foreshadowing?  Any idea what happens to the fishing equipment?  (hint: F_n_o_ F_s_e_)

“That.” Sam interrupted his furious glaring at the mess, pointing at the portal.

The game perched on his head teetered dangerously as Danny glanced up at the round hole and sighed.  “Oh, that.  My parents are working on it.  It’s supposed to be some kind of TV thing where you can see the ‘other side’.”  He grabbed the game before it could fall and held it.

This is me sneaking into the story.  I balance things on my head all the time.

“Other side?”  Sam asked.  Her eyes glittered in the brilliant light of the mismatched lights.  She knew that Danny’s parents were part-time ‘ghost hunters’ and the thought that maybe this was one of their paranormal inventions caught her interest.  She loved spooky ghost stories.

Note: In my story, Maddie and Jack are not going to be gun-slinging super hunters.  They are going to be paranormal investigators armed with EVP, EMF meters, thermometers, and things like that.  Only later will they ‘invent’ other things for ghosts – such as a ghost shield.  I’ve got a wonderful idea for that.  See chapter four when it comes out.  ;)

“You know: ghosts and stuff.”

Tucker set the broken radio back on the table and squinted through the brightly-lit mess.  “Does it work?”

“No,” Danny snorted.  “Of course not.  It’s one of my parent’s ghost inventions.  You know how well those things work.”

Tucker shrugged, craning his neck to see the portal better.  “Come on, Danny – your parents are brilliant inventors.  They get into all sorts of science magazines and their ‘secret’ government stuff works really well.  Didn’t they get that hovercraft thing working?”  

“The speeder?  I suppose that worked okay, but none of their ghost stuff ever works.  Besides the fact that there’re no ghosts to find, their ghost inventions all use psychotropic triggers – you know, the idea that if you believe that something will work, it will.”  Danny chuckled softly.  

“I’m still surprised you know what psychotropic means,” Tucker grinned.

Danny jumped off the stool, scowling down at the pile of fishing equipment on the floor.  “Well, I had to look it up...”

*snicker*  I had to look it up too.  I read about this in a book called ‘Faerie Wars’ that is actually pretty good.  Actually, I’ve wondered for a while WHY the Fenton thermos worked for Danny and not for Jack in ‘Mystery Meat’.  Part of it might have been the glowing light around Danny when he first used it (some people think maybe the thermos wasn’t ‘charged’), but I think that maybe Jack wasn’t sure if ghosts really existed.  He’d never seen one before, so that nagging doubt prevented him from triggering that ‘psychotropic trigger’ and using the thing – supported by what he says after he finds it doesn’t work.  Danny, being a ghost and actually fighting one, had no such lingering doubts.  In my opinion, Jack, after seeing the ‘ghost boy’, would have been able to make the thermos work.

“And then you had to have Jazz tell you what you looked up,” Sam added, snickering.  Her grin only grew when her best friend switched his glower from the mess on the floor to his friends.

“Still.  None of their stupid ghost inventions work.”    

Sam shook her head at the annoyed look on Danny’s face.  She took a few steps towards the portal and asked, “Can we go look at it?”

Danny gazed at her for a second before glancing down at the mess one last time and began to work his way out of the aisle with the newly-found game in his hands.  “You know my parents don’t really want us down here.  We’ll get ‘the speech’ if they get home and find us in the lab.”  He slid out from between the rickety shelves and glanced around.

“The speech?” Tucker asked.  

“It’s dangerous; you’ll get electrocuted; you might die; etcetera, etcetera…” Danny muttered in a horrible impression of his father.  “It takes about three hours, depending on who gives it.”

My parents’ form of punishment is ‘speeches’.  *shiver* The longest one I ever got was timed at a little over six hours.  We started just after school and I didn’t get to bed until nearly 10.  They switched off every half-hour or so, often repeating what the other had just said.  Needless to say, I made doubly sure they never found out if I did it again.

And it’s just a little more foreshadowing.  :D  I love foreshadowing.  ‘Specially when you know what’s coming – when you know he’s going to be dangerous electrocuted and dies… *snicker*  Then it’s just fun.


Sam nodded, still gazing at the portal.  “But can we see it?”

Danny looked dubious, obviously wanting to head back upstairs, but Sam and Tucker both started to beg at the same time.  “Please?”

Sighing, Danny gave in.  “Sure, fine.”

Sam threaded her way over to the portal, still absently holding the thermos she had picked up in one hand and brushing a lock of her frizzy black hair out of her face with the other.  “It’d be so cool if it really worked, you know.  We’d get to see ghosts and dead people and…” she trailed off.

“You are so Goth,” Tucker pronounced, following a step behind her.

Sam glared at him and punched him in the shoulder.  “Why doesn’t it work?”

Sam in my story is very physical.  Not mean… just not good at expressing her emotions.  She’ll always be ‘kicking’ or ‘punching’ or something.

Shaking his head sourly, Danny said, “You mean other than the fact that it’s got that psychotropic trigger… which means that you have to believe it’ll work in order for it to turn on?”  He paused with one eyebrow raised, studying the mess of wires.  “Come on, Sam – no amount of belief will make this thing work.  You can’t make a portal that’ll show you the afterlife.”

Yeah, probably not, but it’d still be fun.  :D

Tucker nodded, leaning back against a table.  “But it’d still be fun if it did work.”

“Yeah, totally,” Danny said with a quick smile.  “To get to see what’s on the other side?  That’d be fantastic.  But it’s never going to work.”

Sam studied the portal carefully before a small grin flickered across her face.  “So it’ll never work… but you definitely have to go in so I can get a picture for my scrapbook.”

I love scrapbooks.  I think this is also a cannon thing for Sam since it’s in sooo many fanfiction stories.  If not, scrapbooking is definitely something Sam is known for.

“Me?” Danny asked incredulously.

Sam nodded, her smile firmly in place.  “It’s your basement.”  She gestured with the thermos.

“It’s my parent’s lab.”

Tucker crossed his arms and joined the argument.  “They’re your parents.”

Danny looked from one to the other.  “I’m not going to get to go upstairs and continue pretending my parents are normal until I do this, huh?”

Wouldn’t we all love to have ‘normal’ parents?  But no teenager will ever believe their parents are normal.  That’s life.  

Both shook their heads, identical smiles on their faces.  “Picture, picture, picture,” Tucker chanted.

Danny scowled and thrust the game at Tucker, making him wince when a corner dug into his chest.  “Hold this,” he muttered as he turned to dig through a discarded box next to the portal, pull out a set of ugly white clothes, and shake off a layer of dust.

Oh, he gives in too easily.  But dragging this out was unnecessary and made the ‘short’ prologue too long.  So… go with it.  :D  And the ‘clean suit’ idea I like better than some kind of jumpsuit.  There’d really be no reason for him (or his parents) to wear (fanon) a Hazmat suit.  Besides, if you’d ever seen a picture, you’d know how bulky they are and the fact that they come with a big hood-thing.  Clean suits (just clean, supposedly dust and germ-free over clothes) seems like much better option.

“What’s that?” Tucker asked in horror.

Sam winced.  “Yeah, it’s a fashion disaster – and that’s saying something coming from me.”

Danny held it up and sighed.  “It’s called a ‘clean suit’ or something.  If I get any kind of dust or hair or something on their ‘precious experiments’, I’ll never hear the end of it.  The ‘contaminating the lab’ lecture was last timed at over five hours, and they’ve probably come up with some new stuff since then.  So shut it.”  He yanked the white pants on over his jeans and threw the jacket over his shirt, not bothering with the myriad of buttons.  

I had his reaction being a bit different originally, flicking them off rather talking.  But that seemed out of character for this early in the story.  He’s going to quickly become more morose and withdrawn… and maybe that’ll be more in character later.

While Danny snapped a black belt around his waist to hold the baggy pants up, Sam was busy studying the dirty disaster of a lab with an odd look in her eye.  There was dust and debris everywhere.  “They care about dirt?” she asked.

“Don’t ask,” Danny muttered.  “Trust me on this one: it’s not worth asking.”

Tucker snickered.  “Well, if you die, at least you’ll look stupid.”

Glaring at his best friend, Danny carefully stepped onto the small bit of floor left inside the portal that wasn’t covered in dangling wires and cords.  He looked around at all the bits and pieces before turning around to pose for the picture.

Sam set the thermos down on a nearby table and brought the camera to her eye, but hesitated.  “You’ve got your dad’s head on your jacket.”

Originally not in the story… but I had to.  Those stupid Fenton stickers are all over the place, so I had to make a jab at them.  Apologies.  B’sides, it gives me an excuse to get Sam to make Danny a coolio DP emblem.

Glancing down, Danny wrinkled his nose when he spotted the cartoon-ish face of his father stuck to his jacket pocket.  “Ever since he got these stupid stickers, he’s been sticking them on everything.”  He ripped off the Fenton sticker, wadded it into a tiny ball, and threw it in the general direction of the trash can on the other side of the room.  “Better?”

She nodded, but then faltered slightly when an odd smile flickered across her face.  “Almost.”  After setting her camera on a table, she pulled off her backpack and dug through it.  “See, I had to make some sticker-thing in art – we had to design a logo – and I couldn’t come up with anything to make it for.  So I ended up making one for you.”  She extricated a piece of paper and held it tightly in her hands.  “And you need some black on that disaster of an outfit.  So here.”  She handed it roughly to him.

Coincidence?  Yeah, but (in the words of one of my betas) life is just full of coincidences.  It’s coincidence that he’s in the portal at all.

“Says the girl wearing nothing but black,” Tucker murmured.

Sam’s foot flicked out backwards and collided with his shin as Danny gazed down at the paper with a grin.  “It’s great, Sam.”

She flushed a little as she resettled her pack on her shoulders.  “Well, you know how your parents have that stupid ghost symbol with an ‘F’ in it?  Well, I figured you needed an upgrade that wasn’t so idiotic looking, just in case you ever fall off your ‘my parents are crazy’ pedestal and invent something too.  So it’s kind of a ‘D’ for Danny and it looks like one of those old Pac-Man ghosts turned on its side.  I know you’re not into ghosts like your parents are, but I thought it looked kind of neat and Pac-Man’s your favorite game at the arcade.  Of course, I wasn’t going to do anything with it, probably just throw it away…” she rambled to a stop, her blush growing darker.

Repressed feelings anybody?  Yeah, I’m laying the DxS a little too thick for cannon this early in the story, but I’m the author and I can do what I want.  I’m very amethyst-ocean, so shut it.  I needed Sam to have a really REALLY good reason to stick by Danny’s side over the next few chapters.  Love (crush) is a really good reason.

Anybody but me ever notice how much Danny’s DP logo looks like a sideways Pac-Man ghost?  I thought not.


Danny grinned.  “I like it, Sam.  Thanks.”  A little bit of a blush appeared on his cheeks too.

Tucker sighed.  “Get a room.”  

Sam raised her hand to punch him again, but Tucker dodged around the table.  “So?  Do you think they’ll ever get it to actually work?”

Sticking Sam’s decal to the breast pocket of his jacket, Danny shook his head.  “I don’t think they even know where to start right now.  They were really depressed that it wasn’t working.  I think they gave it their best shot already.”

Aw… he still cares about his parental units even though they are nuts.  Cute.

Tucker chuckled from the safety of the other side of the table, resting his elbows against the cluttered top.  “Maybe you have to believe that it’ll work.”

Danny laughed, shifting his feet around in the mishmash of wires inside the portal.  “Yeah, the great Danny Fenton,” he posed heroically with his hands at his waist, taking on a dramatic tone, “fated to save the world by turning on his parents’ crazy, lame-ass ghost portal!”  He grinned, letting his hands drop and shaking his head in disbelief.  “Got that picture yet?”

I’m throwing the foreshadowing in a bit thick, huh?  How true his words will be…

Tucker quickly snapped a picture with his camera phone as Sam raised her camera.  “Yeah, and it’ll be all over the school by the end of the week.”  He grinned down at the thumbnail that appeared on his screen.  “Maybe sooner.”

My friend did this to me once with a Judy Garland (Wizard of Oz) costume.  I should have buried her body a bit deeper.

“Hey!”  Danny lunged at Tucker just as Sam’s camera flashed.  His feet caught on the wires, unbalancing him and making him fall against the portal wall.  Pushing himself back upright, his hand pressed against a small button on the side of the portal.  

Following cannon…

As he heard the small click of the button, a worried thought jumped up from deep within his mind.  Could a ghost portal really work?  And, for just a split second, he truly believed that one could.

That was all it took.

uh oh…

The greatest invention Jack and Maddie Fenton would ever build whirred to life amongst the startled screams of the three teenagers.  Danny was swallowed in a flash of painful light.

I wrote this very last part first.  The rest was written AFTER I finished the next three chapters.  :D  I like those last half-dozen lines.

--In real life, heroes are not born, they are made.

Oh, how true.  And in Danny’s case, a bit more than usual.  I originally had another quote about death and heroes giving their lives… I wish I could still remember it… but this worked a little bit better (and it was shorter).  Remember how at the beginning I told you to pay attention to the title and the end quote?  See anything familiar about them?  *poke*

(end prologue)
Like I said... comment if you'd like me to continue.

-Cori
Add a Comment:
 
:iconconbot2:
Conbot2 Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
I can't wait to read the rest.
Reply
:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner May 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks. :)

-Cori
Reply
:iconwarriorsparrow:
WarriorSparrow Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2013
Oh my gosh, you're the same person who wrote "Pits"! I didn't even know you had a dA account! :) Okay, fangirl-ness aside, I love your writing. :)
Reply
:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Aw, thanks. :D

-Cori
Reply
:iconwarriorsparrow:
WarriorSparrow Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2013
No problem! :D. It's admittedly been forever since I read Pits, but it's still great regardless. :D. Do you still write Danny Phantom fics?
Reply
:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Apr 14, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Sometimes. Doing one this month that's showing up in my journal, if you're interested.

-Cori
Reply
:iconwarriorsparrow:
WarriorSparrow Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013
Sweet!

I miss Danny Phantom - I wish it didn't get cut short. :(
Reply
:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Apr 15, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Yeah, me too.

-Cori
Reply
:icondragonetra59:
dragonetra59 Featured By Owner Apr 1, 2013
I really love this story, I really love your writing, you're a completely interesting person. ha, not to be a creep, but thanks for being here and for being you. I've read all of this on Fanfiction, but I'm loving the author's comments here. I'm also enjoying picking up on small differences and seeing things you've taken out.

So, the burning question, have you considered continuing recently? It's great to see you active, that was reassuring, so I would love to see more from you. this is honestly an amazing story, and my whole mentality has been immersed in it.

Amazing job my friend, and expect me to continue reading with the comments. I don't think I can get enough of this.
Reply
:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thanks, dragonetra59. :)

Yes, I actually AM continuing. It's an open file on my desktop right now. I reworked some of the starting few chapters just a touch, got into the mood for it, then got distracted with Camp NaNoWriMo. The story I'm doing for that is a spin-off of Real Life - same kinda mode.

I will be posting new chapters of Real Life very soon.

Thank you for sticking with me. I had a bad couple years. :hug:

-Cori
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