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Danny Phantom by KaliPhantom

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September 21, 2007
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Another chapter.  Clean one on FFN, author's noted one here.  Enjoy and comment if you'd like me to continue!

--

Real Life
A Danny Phantom FanFiction by Cordria

--

(chapter 2)
In Which Truth is Often Stranger than Fiction
Author's notes in bold

---

“We need to talk,” Sam announced when she cornered Danny at his locker after the last period.  Other Danny was still there, gazing at her with hollow disinterest.  

“About what?” he asked, grabbing his books and stuffing them roughly into his backpack.

“About what happened last night.”

Danny shook his head sharply.  “Nothing happened last night.”  He threw his pack onto his back and headed out of school.  “It was just some nightmare.”  Then, under his breath in a tone he didn’t think she could hear, he added, “One that won’t stop.”

Oh, I hate nightmares that just… won’t… stop…

“You got zapped by your parents’ ghost-window-thing!”  Sam jogged a bit to catch up to him.  “Tucker and I saw it.  You were a ghost.”

*snicker* ghost-window-thing…</i>

“Ghosts don’t exist,” Danny muttered darkly, “so obviously that’s not what happened.”

Sam blew through the doors at school, fixing him with a glare.  “So last night was all just some dream, huh?”  

Danny nodded, his haunted eyes flickering to meet hers.  For a second he stared at her oddly, leaning imperceptibly towards her.  With another sharp shake of his head, he turned away from her and answered her question.  “Nothing happened.  Everything is just peachy.”

“Peachy?”  Her word came out a lot harder than she had meant it to.

My friend says ‘peachy’ when she’s really stressed out, and never any time else.  She gets it from her mother, but if she reads this she’s going to KILL me for saying so.  ;)

He sighed, running his hand through his hair and fixing his eyes on his shoes.  “Yes.  Peachy.  Do you know where Tucker is today?”  

Sam wrinkled her nose at the forced tone of his voice.  “He thinks you died last night.  He probably didn’t want to come to school today.”

“Why did you come to school?” Danny asked quietly, not looking up from the sidewalk as he moved as quickly as he could away from the school.

“I tried to convince myself that it was all just a dream.”

Danny scowled and picked up the pace, pulling ahead of her.  “Yes.  Just a dream.  That sounds good.”

“So you didn’t drop a pencil through your hand today.”  Sam watched as he faltered and glanced back at her before dropping his gaze back to the concrete.  “And you haven’t been acting weird all day.  Because it was all just some dream.”

Ouch.  Be nice to the ghost-boy.

He was silent, slowing down to let her catch up.

“Danny, something happened last night.  You can’t deny it.”

“I don’t want to think about it,” he confessed softly to his shoes.  “Today’s just been so weird…” he trailed off, closing his eyes for a moment.

Sam watched him fight some sort of internal debate, trying to decide what to tell her.  “Let’s go find Tucker,” she finally said.  “Together we can figure anything out, right?  The loser trio together again?”  She shook her head sourly as she wondered what she had done to stop him from looking up at her.

loser trio… That might be fanon or it might be canon.  But I stuck it in.  :D

He opened his eyes with a sad smile and nodded, still refusing to meet her eyes.

This is going to be an ongoing thing too, the not looking people in the eyes.  There’s a reason for it… but I’m not going to explain yet.  I think I do in this chapter somewheres.

--

Danny turned the corner towards Tucker’s house, fighting to keep from glancing over at Sam.  The world was flickering around him dizzily and the concrete sidewalk kept jumping in and out of focus.  On the good side, all those creepy little creatures that infested the school were nowhere to be seen.  He had only spotted two things out of the corner of his eye the entire two mile walk to Tucker’s house.  On the not-so-good side, he kept smelling Sam.

It wasn’t that she smelled bad – Sam hardly ever smelled bad.  No, it was that she smelled impossibly wonderful.  Every time the world slipped out of focus, he could see those vague ripples in the air around her and he could smell whatever it was that swirled around her.  It was the smell that enchanted him; full of rainbows after a thunderstorm and the giddy feeling of dancing in the rain.  It wasn’t really a smell, but smell was the best word he could come up with to describe it.  It was more like something that attacked every one of his senses at once: he could smell it, he could taste it, and he could feel it deep inside of him.  

HTML encoding stinks…

What Danny’s experiencing isn’t really SMELLS, it’s more of entire feelings.  It’s that feeling that you get right after a thunderstorm, full of wide-eyed surprise at the new-born world, the smell of ozone, the awesome impossibleness of a rainbow, dancing in the rain, the smell of worms squishing under your feet…  You could almost say they were like memories.  

Darn, I wish I woulda thought of that earlier.  It’d be fun if he could smell memories rather than smells.


What made it worse was the fact that every-once-in-a while her fresh smell would change.  Sometimes it would be joined by others scents that would slide in and out of her ‘normal’ smell.  The warm, gooey smell of marshmallows at a campfire usually accompanied the smiles that would flit across her face.  The wet smell of a dog leaning against your leg seemed to go with the concerned glances she sent him.  Each time her scent drifted into his nose, he had to deal with something new.

He couldn’t understand what was going on and fear was trying to claw at his heart.  Anxiety twisted in his stomach every time the world dropped out of focus and Sam’s monologue tumbled into something indistinct.  He hated those brief moments that pulled him out of the real world.

But.  His eyes swiveled over to the blurry form of Sam, tracing the rainbow scented twirls in the air around her.  They pinged and fizzed pleasantly as they brushed against his nerves and left him trembling.  He found himself watching the ripples as they neared his arm, fighting to keep from holding his breath in anticipation.  The feeling was impossibly addictive.  Each one of those ripples made him want to stay like this – unreal and dreamlike.

Poor Danny, he’s soooo addicted to Sam’s smell.  In my world(s), ghosts feed off of emotions, and – just like people – they have specific things that they think ‘taste’ good.  I, for example, love pomegranates.  My friend will do anything for chocolate.  Danny likes Sam… her ‘smell’.  He’s keyed into her frequency to a level that few other ghosts (‘cept for the fox in the previous chapter) are.

So Sam is like dangling his favorite food right in front of his nose…  but it’s additive… so it’s going to quickly become like dangling heroin in front of a drug addict…


When he finally blinked and the world slammed back into reality, he found himself at Tucker’s door.  Although a tiny bit of his mind screamed that they had walked far too fast and he wouldn’t be able to feel those ripples of Sam anymore, he quietly raised his hand and knocked.

He’s still got no control over it, but he was actively trying to be in ‘ghost’ mode during the walk, at least so I think.  By the way, Tucker’s door is red, just like his beret.  This is a random factoid of no singular importance.

Tucker answered the door, his hazel eyes fixing on Danny as his face drained of color and he collapsed onto the floor.  “Tucker!”  Danny knelt down beside his friend, trying to make sure he was all right.  For a moment, the world felt like it was going to blur out, but Danny fought it off.

(Tucker’s eyes are hazel, right?  I was going to check this before I posted…)

“I think he fainted,” Sam said softly behind him.  A hand pressed against his shoulder as she leaned over to look down at Tucker.

“I heard some… Tucker!”  A small woman wearing a flour-covered apron appeared in a door frame deeper in the house.  Janet Foley hurried over to her son and brushed Danny out of the way.  “What happened?”

Danny glanced up at Sam before repeating what she had just said.  “I think he fainted.”

Janet’s fingers flickered over Tucker’s face.  “Would you go get a cold washrag?” she asked Sam as she took off Tucker’s glasses and hat.  “It’s no wonder he fainted – it must have been a shock to see you at the door.  He’s been moping and crying all day saying you were a ghost, Danny.”

I got switched at birth… maybe.  Me and this other girl were both born in the dead of night in our dinky little hospital at about the same time.  I look freakily like her mom and she looks freakily like MY mom.  Anywho, HER mom was my ‘other mother’ growing up.  She was my inspiration for Janet Foley.

Danny winced, but Janet continued on without noticing.  “I got worried after a bit, he can be so adamant you know, that I called your parents.  They said you were fine and had just left for school.  Most definitely not dead, although your father got off on a tangent about how you could be a ghost and then he started telling me all about this experiment that they got working – some kind of portal thing.  I told Tucker, but he just wouldn’t believe me.  He’s been thinking he killed you all day.”

Sam returned, holding out the rag.  Janet put it on her son’s forehead and smoothed his short, curly hair.  Glancing up at Danny, she studied him for a second.  “You know, Danny, that I while may not understand or believe in what your parents do, I’ve always known you were a good kid.”

Danny looked at her in confusion.  “What are you getting at?”

“You’re like a second son to me; you being over here almost more than Tucker is.  I’ve watched you grow up from a little child and I’ve fixed more of your scrapes and bruises than I ever cared to.”  She fixed him with a sharp glare.  “And if you ever scare me with all this talk of you dying again, I will personally see to it that the reports of you dying are not overstated, we clear?”

My other mother threatened me the same way once.  Only it wasn’t for ‘dying’ in a lab accident.

Danny let a smile appear on his face.  “Crystal, Mrs. Foley.”  

“Good.”

On the floor, Tucker groaned.  He cracked open one eye and fixed it on Danny.  “You’re no dead,” he whispered.  

“Not yet.”  Danny answered.  “Sorry to tell you I managed to survive the school day.  Again.”

*snicker*

Elbows pressed into his shoulders as Sam leaned over him again and rested her chin on his head.  For a moment, a tingling feeling of not-quite-there-ness swirled through him, but he pushed it out of his mind.  Sam, oblivious to the fight going on in Danny’s head, said, “What, did you have a nightmare about him getting zapped by his parent’s ghost-window-thing?”  

Man, SOMEONE correct her on this.  It’s not a ghost-window-thingy!  That’s getting annoying!

Tucker’s mouth moved silently for a few moments.  

Janet handed her son his glasses and hat, pushing herself to her feet.  “Get him to the couch and take it easy today, would you?”

Danny and Sam nodded as she went back into the kitchen.  

Tucker finally found his voice.  “What happened!” he yelped.  “You were…”

Clamping a hand over his mouth, Sam gave him a pointed glare.  “Shut up for a moment and we’ll explain.”

They helped him get on the couch, him protesting the help the entire way.  Sam settled into the big armchair and Danny dropped onto the ground, crossing his legs.  With one last glance at the doorway Janet Foley had vanished through, Danny leaned forwards.  Personally, he’d had enough of the weirdness that had been going on today.  Together they had solved every problem that had cropped up – they could fix this one.  Crossing his fingers, he softly said, “Okay, what do you guys remember?”  He glanced from one to the other.

“You didn’t talk about it at school today?” Tucker asked.  He seemed surprised when they both shook their heads.  “You guys talk about everything.”

Sam sighed and rolled her eyes.  “No, we didn’t.”  She hesitated before answering Danny’s question.  “I remember you going into the ghost portal and this bright light appearing.  Then you stumbled out and you were all… ghost-ish.”

“There’s no such thing as ghosts,” Danny interrupted stubbornly.  

broken record…

“Yeah, we know you don’t believe in ghosts, but I said ‘ghost-ish’.  As in, not a ghost but like a ghost.”  She glared at him for a moment, waiting for him to protest.  “There was this really weird… feeling.”

“It was cold,” Tucker added.  “And everything seemed really dark.”

Random trivia – when I was writing this, there was this huge storm coming.  It was, like, three in the afternoon and all the sudden it got really, really dark.  Even when I turned on the lights, it was still creepily dark.  And it got cold too, since I had the window open and the cold breezes were coming in.  I was creeped out for a few moments.

Sam nodded.  “When you looked in the mirror and saw what you looked like, you got angry or scared or whatever.  There was this really weird surge of energy…”

“Like lightning, only not,” Tucker muttered, “green and cold and bright.”

Danny’s head was following their bouncing conversation, his eyes narrowing.  Butterflies were dancing in his stomach as he listened to their account of the nightmare from last night.  

“And then you broke the mirror.”  Sam bit her lip.

Tucker finished.  “We ran away.  We thought you were dead, man.”  His eyes sparkled in the light.  “I thought you were dead all day.  I thought…” he trailed off, blinking rapidly and staring at the floor.

“What happened to you?” Sam asked quietly.  Both of them gazed at him, waiting.

“I don’t know,” he said softly.  “I don’t really remember much of what happened next.”  He gazed at his fingers, unwilling to look at them.  “I think I hit something in the portal – a button or something.”  He flipped his hand over, staring at the palm where the bizarre burn wound had been.  “I remember, after the light faded and all that pain stopped, everything being cold and so quiet.  The next thing I remember is the sound of the mirror hitting the ground and you guys running up the stairs.  It was so weird, I couldn’t hear anything else.”  His voice was hoarse as he tried to explain.  “I couldn’t hear myself breathing, or my heart beating, or anything.  I panicked.”  He glanced up at them.  “I’m sorry I scared you.”

Nope, no scar in human mode.  And I agree with some of the people I was chatting with about the last chapter… it must be easy to sleep with no breathing or heart beating.

ON THAT NOTE!  Did you know that if you go into some specially designed rooms where there is no ambient noises, you can hear your blood rushing in your veins?  *shudder*


“Maybe it was just a temporary thing,” Tucker said when Danny was silent for too long.  “You got blasted with so much energy that it manifested itself somehow.  Maybe you’re all better now.”

Foreshadowing… maybe.  There’s three directions this story can take from this point, and I haven’t figured out which I like best.  One of the three involves this little snippet of information… stay tuned for the next chapter when I’ll dish more and get some opinions.

Danny looked up, disbelief easy to read in his eyes.  “I had green eyes and white hair, Tucker.  And then there was this weird feeling.”  The world drifted out of focus for a heartbeat, but he gritted his teeth and forced everything back to normal, wrinkling his nose at the two smells that has assaulted his nose for that brief moment.  “It was this spot of warmth in the middle of nothingness.  Warm and heavy and familiar.  The next thing I knew I was back to myself.”  He gestured at his black hair and blue eyes.  “And then I went to bed,” he finished quickly.

It’s like wearing a really warm and heavy, old and worn leather jacket.  XD  Ew… but the best way I can describe it.

Sam narrowed her eyes and Danny winced.  He knew she would catch the fact that he was skipping a rather large portion of what had happened last night.  In reality, he hadn’t gotten any sleep last night.  He didn’t want to talk about it and thankfully she didn’t press him for it.  “A spot of warmth in the middle of nothingness?” she repeated.

Nodding slowly, Danny closed his eyes, remembering the feelings that had flooded through him the previous night.  “It was like everything was so cold and distant and free, and I didn’t have to worry about anything.”  His voice was quiet as he spoke, his mind not really on what he was saying.  Those same feelings swirled up inside of him, cool and powerful.  “I could do anything or go anywhere, I was so powerful.  Nothing could stop me…”

Suddenly a bright flash of light filled the room, forcing the three of them to shut their eyes.  A cold feeling swept through the room like a distant heartbeat, and then all was quiet.  Danny, after an impossibly silent moment, let his eyes flicker open.  Down in his lap were two sizzled, vaguely transparent hands.  All the normal sounds had vanished from around him – there was no comforting thump of a heart in his chest or rasp of air in his lungs.  

YAY for mental things.

His eyes closed in desperation.  “No, no, no, no,” he whispered to himself, “Not again, not again…”  This could not be real.  He brought his hands up to his face and pressed against his eyes with cold fingers.  

“So…” a distant voice slid into his ears.  It sounded like the speaker was talking though a long tube.  “I guess it wasn’t so temporary.”  Danny opened his eyes and glanced up at Tucker.  His form was blurry and unreal to Danny’s eyes, swirling with the warm smell of an ancient, musty library.  

Tucker… source of all knowledge… he smells like my old library.  Really big and vast, but full of the smell of old books and over-stuffed chairs.

Danny glanced back down at his hands.  His hands were startlingly real to him, just a little transparent.  It felt like he was the only ‘real’ thing in the room, like he could just walk through things like they were just a mirage.  For a moment, a feeling of vertigo swept through him as he thought about falling through the floor.  He felt himself starting to sink through the air and quickly pressed the thought out of his head.  He focused on staying right where he was.  “Crap,” he breathed.  “What’s going on?”

He’s completely in ‘ghost’ mode right now.  To him, Sam and Tucker are no more realistic than blurry holograms.  Almost like he’s been thrown into a modern painting.  And yes, the heat-blur emotion-ripples are still there, I just don’t mention them.  Danny’s a predator built to ‘feed’ on those, so he’s built to FIND them.  By smell.

“We need to get out of here,” another voice hissed indistinctly.  “We need to hide!”  Danny flicked a glance over at the blur that he figured was Sam.  She seemed to be looking over at the kitchen door.  Her normal smell was flecked with the metallic tang of metal scraping against metal.  Danny blinked in surprise as something clicked in his mind.  All day he had been trying to figure out what these smells were, and now it seemed stupidly obvious.  This new smell… was fear.  She was afraid?

As a ghost, he doesn’t NEED to be able to understand humans, so he really can’t.  Think those old Charlie Brown cartoons.  Everyone sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher.  wha, wha-wha, wha-wha-whaaaa.

Her words finally funneled into his brain.  “Mrs. Foley,” he said softly in understanding.  She couldn’t see him like this.  Sam was right – they needed to get out of here.

“The old willow in the park,” Tucker said.  Danny looked over at him as Tucker yanked open the hallway closet and pulled out a large blur of red.  He threw it at Danny and yelled, “Going to the park, I’ll take it easy and be back by curfew!”

Danny stared down at the red thing that had settled to the ground next to him, squinting and tipping his head to the side.  He couldn’t focus on it to figure out what it was.  A big, red blanket maybe?  Reaching out to pick it up, his fingers slid right through it.  He froze with his fingers inside the red thing, then slowly moved his hand back and forth.  It didn’t feel like anything.  The ‘mirage’ theory from earlier danced through his mind.

I don’t buy the ‘ghosts are as solid as humans’ theory.  MY ghosts are solidly intangible all the time, unless they are seriously focusing on something being solid to them.  So it’s not so much that Danny needs to learn intangibility… he needs to learn tangibility.  He needs to figure out how to collect enough energy to fully manifest his ‘ghost’ form on the human plane of existence.  *sciencey thoughts*

A third voice screamed something indistinct.  All their voices sounded so alike and hard to understand.  It was like he had just been dropped into an alien land.  Danny closed his fingers and pulled his hand back to his chest, fighting the panic and terror that was rushing into his head.  His whole body was trembling in disbelief.  “What’s going on?” he murmured, feeling tears beginning to prickle in his eyes.  

“Put it on!” a voice hissed at him.

Danny felt the musty library smell drift over him and dismally figured that Tucker was the one talking.  The fact that he couldn’t tell who was talking by listening to their voices sent a tendril of dread into his mind.  “Put it on?” he whispered.  “Put what on?”

Nobody seemed to hear him.  “It’s just my old rain coat, Danny – it’ll hide you.  Now put it on!”

Danny can’t hear quiet voices in ghost mode, and Tucker and Sam can’t hear Danny when he’s just muttering.  He needs to put forth some effort to make his ghost voice heard on the human plane.

Wordlessly Danny reached out and racked his fingers through the red blur.  The rain coat didn’t move at all.  

A green and orange blur smelling of old books suddenly settled down in front of him.  A twinge of a scent – looking at ants through a magnifying glass – swirled through Danny for a moment as Tucker studied the coat and Danny’s hand.  Fascination was what Danny’s mind informed him went with that smell.  “You can’t touch it?  You’re out of phase from us?  But you’re sitting on the floor – how are you doing that?”

Danny shook his head.  Somewhere in his head, something supplied him with the answer to that question.  It was the same something that told him not to lean out over the edge of a cliff or not to kick a hive of buzzing bees.  He relinquished his hold on his desire to stay still and watched the mirage-like floor drift away from him.  He was floating.

“How are you doing that?” Tucker repeated in awe.

Tucker’s all ‘ghost powers are COOL!’ for now… but just wait.  Reality is going to hit him hard.  I ain’t having no jealous best friend here.  Ghost powers are not all peaches and cream in this reality.

Danny shrugged helplessly.  He had no idea how he was doing it – just like he had no idea how he knew what those smells were.  He just… did.

The Tucker-blur suddenly flinched and the old book smell was tainted with the whisper of scales against a hard floor.  Danny blinked, wondering why his friend was suddenly afraid.  Then a new smell, one of warm cookies on a cold day, swirled into his nose.  His head tracked towards the aroma and he found himself staring in the direction of Tucker’s kitchen.  The smell was getting stronger.

Smells were people, Danny realized in a burst of horror.  That smell meant that someone was coming and it was most likely Mrs. Foley.  Tucker must have heard something and knew she was coming too.  Dread flickered through him as he remembered the quiet threat Mrs. Foley had given him earlier about finding out that he had died.  Ripples swirled on the edges of his vision as both Tucker’s and Sam’s smells twisted with fear and anxiety.  

“I gotta get out of here,” Danny whispered, turning to Sam.  He raised his voice slightly to make sure she heard him.  “Park, old willow tree.  Meet me there, okay?”  He waited for the black and cream blur to nod before he relinquished his hold on the air and let himself drop towards the floor.  Despite his half-expectation for his feet to touch against the floor and stop his descent, he passed through the carpet and into the basement.  He didn’t even feel it.

He hovered just under the floorboards long enough to hear the cookie-smelling voice say, “I said take out the trash when you go, Tucker, please,” before he hesitantly started to make his way to the park.  He wondered distantly if he would be able to even find the tree when everything was so blurred and impossible to see.

--

Tucker dug his hands into his pockets as he walked next to Sam.  He liked things to be very solid and predictable… and this ghost thing had hair standing on end.  A large part of his mind was still arguing about the fact that ghosts don’t exist, but the rest of his mind was dead set on looking at the facts.  Danny was so transparent that he was practically invisible, he could defy gravity, and he had flown through the floor.

Enter the (so I think) rather boring part.  Tucker, the consummate alien believer, gets to expound of some theories… which he will elaborate on in chapter… five.  ;)

That last one was the kicker.  Up until that point, Tucker had been more than happy to believe that Danny had been abducted by aliens or had been transmuted into some alternate form of life.  Those would have made sense – but not even aliens could pass through floors.  That was something strictly on the paranormal side of the supernatural.

Stupid geek logic.  No offense to geeks.

“This would be so much easier if it was just aliens,” Tucker muttered.

Sam rolled her eyes.  “You and your alien theories.”

He shot her a glance, but didn’t jump into his normal argument about the existence of aliens.  It was so obvious that aliens were around, but Sam denied every last bit of evidence.  Now, however, was not the time to be arguing about extraterrestrials.  “I’m just saying this would be easier if it was aliens, not that it was aliens, okay?”

“What do you think is going on?”

Tucker let his mind drift for a few minutes, going over all the facts that he had in his mind.  No matter how many ways he put the pieces together, they always formed the same picture.  “I still think he’s a ghost.”

“But how do you explain him still looking normal all day?”

He shrugged.  “I have no clue, but how else do you explain it?  We could see straight through him, Sam!  He was flying through the floor.”

“You have spent the past handful of years teasing me about believing in ghosts, and now suddenly you think ghosts exist?”

“I only teased you about believing in ghosts because you were always on my case about believing in aliens!  Besides, I believe what I see.  I saw a ghost.”  Tucker looked around the mostly deserted park.  “Now, I’m not sure about other ghosts, but I’m almost ready to believe that Danny is one.”

“But he can’t be a ghost.  I mean, he’s not dead, right?”  Sam glanced over at him, worry in her eyes.

“Well, he wasn’t dead when he walked into my house,” Tucker said slowly.  “But he sure seems to be dead now, doesn’t he?  That’s really weird.  You can’t be dead and alive at the same time, that’s physically impossible.  You also can’t be half-dead.  So what would he be?”

Magpie8spook sent me a review that went into this rambling stream of thoughts about how Danny can’t be half DEAD and half alive at the same time.  This is where this comes from.  I shoulda remembered to give her credit…

Tucker listened to Sam sigh as he mumbled his theory to her.  This was the best way for him to figure things out, and even though he knew she hated listening to him ramble, she would have to listen to it this once.  He needed to figure this out.

“I mean,” he continued, “he’s a ghost part of the time and a human part of the time.  I’d say he’s half-ghost, half-human, but that just sounds stupid.  That’d be like saying something is half fire and half ice.  They’re polar opposites.”  

He glanced over at Sam and watched her expression cloud over.  He knew that she wanted him to tell her that her best friend wasn’t dead and that everything would be fine, but he couldn’t – not and be truthful.  “There’s just not a word for someone who’s dead only some of the time.  I mean, zombie is about as close as we come, and really that’s not right.  He’s something else, you know?”

There IS a word for it.  Can you think of what it is?  What do we call things that are no dead and are not alive?  BONUS POINTS for those who can get it!  (I should start some kind of trivia game, and the person with the most points wins a one-shot or something).

Making a noncommittal sound to answer his question, Sam sped up a bit and left Tucker behind.  On top of the hill, an ancient willow stood swaying in the gentle breeze.  It’s impossibly long branches dangled down to the ground and formed a sort of living cave in the middle of an otherwise treeless park.  This tree had been their meeting spot for years.

Yes, like soooo much in this story, this tree really exists in my life.  Existed.  It died and was chopped up for firewood.

Tucker trailed behind, continuing to mutter to himself.  “I wonder how he got to be like this.  He got electrocuted, yeah, but why did he end up in this weird sometimes-dead-sometimes-not state?  It must’ve had something to do with the energy that zapped him.  Maybe the energy that was killing him kept him alive…”

He watched Sam push the leaves out of the way and slip out of view.  His feet hesitated, his hazel eyes gazing at the tree and the secrets it held.  This was his last chance to turn and walk away from all of this.  Down in the pit of his stomach, he knew that the three of them were about to get into something extremely deep, something they wouldn’t be able to back out of when it got to be too much.  His whole life was going to change when he walked under those sheltering tree branches.

And then, of course, there was that awful feeling that had settled into him when Danny had turned into a ghost in his house.  It was like he was suddenly insignificant, like he was prey or something…  Shaking his head to clear the thoughts and doubts out of the way, he moved the leaves out of the way and stepped into the cool shadows of the willow tree.

Sam had her arms wrapped tightly around herself and her violet eyes were scanning the seemingly empty space.  Tucker stepped up beside her and felt something touch his heart.  A shiver slid through him and his eyes flickered around.  He felt like he was being watched by a very powerful predator.  “Danny?” he called softly.

There was no response.  Sam shuddered and pressed back against him.  Tucker took a deep breath and put his hand on Sam’s shoulder.  “Sam,” he whispered to her, pulling her slightly towards him.  Every fiber of his body was telling him to get out of there.

Human instincts coming into play.  Danny is SCARY.  He’s designed to prey on the human race, and we know it and can feel it.  To Tucker and Sam, being around Danny is like two rabbits walking up to a hungry wolf.

Suddenly Sam stiffened.  Right in front of them, a white-haired figure appeared.  Danny was sitting cross-legged in mid air, the ratted and overly-large black jacket dangling below him.  He had his hands folded and pressed against his lips, his supernatural eyes gazing past them, apparently struggling with something in his mind.  “Sorry,” he whispered, “I didn’t see you.”

He really didn’t.  But in the original version, this part was from Danny’s POV, and it got into what he was REALLY doing.  I’m sad I had to cut it since it was creepily good, but I’ll put it somewhere else.  Basically, Danny had ‘felt/smelled’ his friends come in and had succumbed momentarily to his ghost side.  He had been ‘feeding’ off of them, drifting into a trance-like state and just allowing himself to feel…  Until he realized what he was doing and shook himself out of it.  

I REALLY wish I hadn’t cut it.  *sigh*


Tucker’s foot slid backwards instinctively at the echoing sound of his friend’s voice.  Long-buried instincts screamed that this was the predator he had felt earlier.  Sam stepped away from him and walked over to where Danny was hovering.  “You can be invisible,” Sam said with a forced smile, “that’s… neat.”

“Yeah,” Danny said gamely, his smile vanishing almost before it had appeared, “neat.”  The small sparkle of life that had been in his eyes vanished, leaving them blank and lifeless.  His eyes flickered over to meet Tucker’s for a moment.  

Tucker forced himself not to move under the onslaught of his screaming mind.  He pushed it aside – just like he had earlier at his house – and tried to focus on being a friend.  This was Danny.  He moved his feet and slipped past Sam, settling down against the willow’s trunk.  “I’ve been thinking,” he said after a moment.  

As Sam’s warm body dropped down next to his, Danny turned to look at him.  A brush of energy flitted through the shadows, fizzing against Tucker’s nerves.  He took a deep breath and let it out slowly, shoring up his defenses against what he figured was going to happen next.  “I think you should tell your parents.”

Someone had to say it.  It’s still day one remember.

“Tell them?” Danny hissed, his voice echoing like he was standing in an empty room rather than under a willow tree.  The chill breeze that flicked his nerves swirled angrily and Tucker had to press his back against the tree trunk to stop himself from getting up and running.  “Are you nuts?!”

Tucker tried to tell himself that this fear was irrational – Danny wasn’t going to hurt them – but he could hear his voice tremble slightly when he continued.  “They’re ghost experts, Danny.  I can’t even figure out what you are, much less how to fix it.  Maybe they can.”

Danny sank through the air until he was just inches above the ground.  Hollow, green eyes stared at them.  He shook his head.  “No.”

“Why not?” Sam asked, a quaver having worked its way into her voice too.  

Yes, why not indeed.  There are a million and a half excuses floating around the web about WHY Danny didn’t tell them.  For the ACTUAL show, I am a believer in the ‘I thought it’d be fun to have a secret at first, then it became I couldn’t tell you… then I just didn’t want to’ version.  That doesn’t really work here.  And I can’t really have him be afraid of his parents hunting him… as his parents don’t have ghost weapons yet.  So…

Electric eyes focused on the ground.  “And have them fear me too?”  Danny’s voice was so quiet that he could barely be heard over the supernatural moaning just under his words.  It was like every time he spoke, he was opening up a gateway to Hell itself, the shrieks and wails of pain and torture echoing distantly on his voice.

“They wouldn’t…” Sam started.

“No.”  Danny looked up at them.  “I can smell…” he trailed off, biting his lip.  “I have eyes,” he finally said, “and I can see that you’re afraid of me.”  For a second he was quiet.  “I don’t want my parents to be afraid of me.”

No he can’t.  He can’t see anything.  But he can smell their fear.  He’s in that river in Egypt.

“They’re not going to…”

Danny interrupted Sam again with a sharp, “No.  I thought about it all day and I’m not going to tell them.  Not until I get this figured out.”  His eyes drifted back down to his fingers.  “When I figure this out…”

Tucker studied his friend quietly as Danny picked at his fingers, mumbling to himself.  “What if they can help?” Tucker asked.

Shaking his head, Danny snorted softly.  “They’ve never invented anything that’s ever worked on a supernatural level… except that stupid ghost portal.  They’re not going to be able to help.”  His hands dropped into his lap.  “I can figure this out without them.”

Sam pushed away from the willow trunk and crawled over towards Danny.  Tucker watched in amazement as she got closer and closer, finally stopping when she was just inches away.  He was having a tough time sitting still this far away – he couldn’t imagine what it would be like to be that close.  Danny looked up, his supernatural eyes unfocused as he stared at her.  “Danny,” she said.

Danny was totally frozen, his eyes only half-open.  Tucker leaned forwards a bit, watching as Danny’s pupils dilated and he tilted his head to the side.  He looked totally entranced; almost like he was being drugged.  Tucker’s eyes flickered from Danny to Sam and back as a theory sparked in his brain.  

Silly addict.  I spend too much time around druggies.

“Danny!” she said sharply, but the ghost didn’t respond.

“Sam,” Tucker said softly, “back away from him a little.”  

The Goth twisted around and sent him a glare.  “No, he’s my friend…”

“Sam,” Tucker interrupted, “please.”  After a moment of silent arguing, Sam slipped backwards a few feet.  Tucker turned his attention back to Danny, trying to see if his theory was right.  Danny was blinking and quietly shaking his head, drifting a bit farther away from Sam with an odd look in his eyes.  

Tucker dropped back against the tree trunk and bit his lip in thought.  What had Sam done that had caused a reaction like that?  Was it something that Sam did or was it something that humans did?  As he wrestled with his questions, he stared at his best friend, who had gone from gazing distractedly at Sam to looking over his shoulder.  

Gotta love Tucker’s theories.  We’ll hear lots of them.  If they get to be too long, scream at me, okay?  I personally love working on theories.

Danny wrinkled his forehead, twisting his whole body around to gaze off into the tree branches.  “What is that?” he asked.

“What is what?”  Sam crawled a little closer to Danny, her face dancing with concern.

Tucker nodded as Danny suddenly glanced at her and actually slid through the air to keep space between them.  There was definitely something about Sam that had Danny reacting.  But what?

hm… I know what it is.  You should too.

“It’s cold,” Danny was whispering, “like a cold heartbeat…”  He drifted forwards and vanished through the tree branches.  

The two humans slipped through the branches a beat behind him.  Tucker grabbed Sam’s shoulder and yanked her to a stop when he noticed that Danny hadn’t gone much past the safety of the willow.  Until he figured out what was up between them, he didn’t want Sam to get too near.  Their eyes scanned the nearly empty park.  

For your Tuckerino fans, one of my three ideas for the future of this fic has Tucker being the big hero.  ;)

Danny pointed towards a small group of teenage girls that were wandering down a path at the bottom of the hill.  “That,” he said softly.

“The girls?” Sam asked.

“No,” Danny shot them a disbelieving look, “the flying octopus.”

Tucker blinked, glancing back down at the girls.  There was no flying octopus.  “Um…” he started, but Danny didn’t seem to hear him.  Danny was slowly floating through the air towards the gaggle of girls.  When he drifted out of the shadow of the tree and into the sunshine, he instantly became almost impossible to see – his translucent form vanishing in the bright light.

He’s more fully on the human plane than the ‘flying octopus’ since regular humans can see him, but he’s still just a scattered bending of energy and light.  When you put him in bright lights, you can’t see him as well as in shadows.  He’s got no MASS, people… he’s pure energy.

“Where are you going?” Sam hissed, “Get back here.”

Down on the path, one of the girls suddenly collapsed onto the ground.  “Sam!”  He tightened his grip on Sam’s shoulder and both of them stared down at the fallen girl.  “What happened?”

“The octopus,” his wisp of a friend replied softly, his eyes focused on the girls.

For a beat, Tucker was silent.  “There really is a flying octopus?  Is it a ghost?”

Danny shook his head.  “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”  He sounded distracted and distant, like his mind was somewhere else.  Tucker took a few steps closer to his friend, wrinkling his forehead in confusion when he noticed that Danny seemed to have his eyes closed and was… sniffing?  

He’s GOT to stop saying that before I kill him.  There’s no such thing as ghosts…

“Do something, Danny,” Sam said suddenly.  

Green eyes opened and he glanced back at her.  “Me?” he asked softly, his eyes dull and haunted.  “Why me?”

“You’re the ghost,” she answered gruffly.

Running loop here with the ‘why me?s’  Remember last time I used this?  Portal thing?  ‘Why me?’  ‘It’s your house.’ ‘They’re your parents.’  Watch for the next time Sam tries to talk Danny into something horrible and evil.  Watch for the ‘why me?’  It’ll be there.  

Just a stupid thing I’m doing nobody would ever pick up on but me. XD


Danny shook his head.  “There’s no such thing as ghosts,” he muttered one last time.  Twisting around, he stalked off through the park, his translucent form vanishing from sight after only a few meters in the bright autumn sunlight.

That’s it.  He’s soooo dead now.

“So? Are you going to do something?” Sam yelled at the seemingly empty path.

Danny’s voice, dead and chilling, echoed around them.  “No.”

Love that ending.  Will he go and fight?  Will Sam and Tucker go fight?  Will the ghost-octopus get away with feeding off the girls?  Why is a ghost suddenly attacking people in Amity Park when there’s never been a ghost attack before?  Why did the ghost-octopuses become known as ectopuses (which should SO BE GHOST CATS!  It’s like, here pus!  Here ecto-pus!)???

--In real life, truth is often stranger than fiction.

That was a good movie.  XD  ‘Stranger than Fiction’.

(end chapter 2)
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:icondisneyfreak16:
disneyfreak16 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2008
i love the quote the ch waz based on and i love how you made Danny in this fanfic. hes so much more dark and... i dont want to use mysterious cause that dosnt sound right...man im having word block. anyway, this story is awsome:clap:
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
:hug: Thanks so much! :D I hate those word blocks...

-Cori
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:iconupepo:
Upepo Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2007
Correcting Sam about the 'ghost-window-thingy' would be your job.
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
Yup. ;)

-Cori
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:iconkaliphantom:
KaliPhantom Featured By Owner Sep 24, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
Regardless of whether or not the phrase "loser trio" is canon, the concept is. They're lower than band geeks and A/V nerds. ;) And I think Tucker's eyes are green, but don't quote me. I think "ectopus" was a cute pun for whomever came up with it. Could have been canon or fanon. Don't remember. ^^;

I think cutting the Danny-feeding part in the park was good. It would have been a nice scene, but there'll be opportunities later, and it would have slowed things down a bit too much, I think.

My own personal "Why he didn't tell" theory is sort of mine, sort of gleaned from fics. First, he was scared and wanted to sort things out. Then he felt he'd waited too long and now he couldn't tell or they'd be disappointed he hadn't told them earlier (Real life? Never... :paranoid:). And then they were hunting him and didn't trust him, so he felt he needed to win their trust (see ~HiddenAuthor's series), which is sort of where things stand for most of canon. For what it's worth. :shrug:

Oh! Forgot to mention... ghosts-as-predators, darkness around ghosts, and the addictiveness of scents, very cool, very logical, very ... film? :excited: Sorry, I watch Supernatural. And no offense taken to the geek logic. I swear anything that goes misses in my house gets beamed up by aliens for their research. Really. :nod:

I love reading theories, and expounding, so I doubt there'll be a lot of screaming from me.

On a random-ish side note, I didn't like Stranger Than Fiction that much. Great concept, okay acting, but the plot kind of died. Probably didn't help that I was in full writer mode at the time, and taking a lit class, so realized that this brilliant novel he was in? Bestselling crap. Honest. :disbelief: Oh, and I don't like Will Ferrell.
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
:D Thanks for all the info. I just love the fact that I'm writing all this stuff without a clue as to WHAT I'm actually writing and them people fill me in on all my random mistakes. ;) I should maybe watch the show, then I'd know things like eye colour. :hug:

I like your theory, actually. Mine changes randomly, but that was my latest one. I liked HiddenAuthor's series... wonder what happened to him. He dropped off the map after April. *sigh* I want him to FINISH. Unfinished stories are, personally, one of my pet peeves. Along with the oh-so-popular and yet morally oh-so-wrong kid/adult pairings. Like Danny/Vlad. *shudder*

What's Supernatural? Is that a movie or a TV series? *looking for things to watch now that I have TV* Bleh, aliens don't steal my stuff. The monster that lives in the basement does. ;)

I thought Stranger Than Fiction was good the first time, but not a movie to see more than once. A bit predicatable, but enjoyable. I don't like Will Ferrell either. And don't forget... even though it was crap, it was BESTSELLING crap. Just like that latest book in the 'Twilight' series. *cuts off rant*

-Cori
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:iconkaliphantom:
KaliPhantom Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
You don't necessarily have to watch the show to get the facts. Wikipedia has some great pages on DP, characters, episodes, trivia, the works. There are a few fan sites around too, such as *neoyi's, which have some good info too. There's also a site of screencaps, and I can give you the link if you'd like. ;)

Heh, you like it? Thanks. And I want to know what happened to HiddenAuthor too! I really wish he'd update, or poke his head in, or anything. *sigh* Slash pairings and similar (e.g., Vlad/Jazz) irk me, but they're not a pet peeve, exactly.

Supernatural is a TV show about two brothers hunting down pretty much any ghoulie, ghostie, and long-legged beastie you can think of. Good effects and action, and multiple story arcs along with the episode stories. It's going into its third season on the CW on Oct. 4. Again, there's a Wikipedia entry. And you've got a monster? Wish I did…

Yeah, I agree. For mindless entertainment, it's good, but I'd gone in feeling that it was going to be deep, or something. Agreed, it was bestselling, but the thing is, an English prof wouldn't wax poetic about Grisham or Steele or King, so why her?

~Kali
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
yeah, I know all about Wikipedia. I'm just too *cough*lazy*cough* to go read stuff like that. I find a list of facts to be kinda boring. ;) B'sides, I have too much fun asking people questions. :hug:

The TV show sounds fun. Wonder if I get the CW...

*sigh* I, too, was hoping for deep. Thus, the disappointment.

-Cori
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:iconkaliphantom:
KaliPhantom Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2007  Hobbyist Photographer
Ah, yes, well laziness is understandable. Hopefully now you have a TV you'll be able to catch episodes occasionally without having to wait for them to load on LiveVideo. :hug:

It's a standard US cable channel in Canada, so you probably do.

~Kali
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:iconcordria:
cordria Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
yeah, but I got 'Dish' TV, so I've got a general lack of the standard channels. It took me three weeks to find Fox. But I'm definately going to look for it. :D

-Cori
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