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Real Life
A Danny Phantom FanFiction by Cordria

--

(chapter 3)  
In Which Things Aren’t Always as They Seem.
Author’s comments in bold

--

MAJOR problems as I was doing this chapter.  But we’ll talk about it as we go.  ;)  So, Danny’s met his first other ‘ghost’ (an octopus), and has turned down the opportunity to play the hero.  Seriously… I don’t blame him a bit.  If someone threw me into the spirit world, made me go through a day where I was seriously thinking I was insane, give me something as spooky as ghost power, and then told me to go save somebody… I’d say no too.

“Tucker, we have to do something,” Sam said, her gaze locked on the girls that were crowding around the one who had collapsed.

“Do what?  We can’t see this flying octopus thing.”  He glanced from her to the girls and then back.

Yet, my friends… yet.  We need to fix this ‘can’t see the ghosts’ dilemma in future chapters.

Sam was biting her lip, apparently thinking hard.  “But we need to do something.  We know what’s wrong.”

“How do you fight something you can’t hear, can’t see, can’t touch, and you don’t know is really there?”  Tucker crossed his arms and mentally dug in his heels.  He wasn’t going to go fight a ghost!  That was for people that were brave and athletic and a more than a little insane.  He wasn’t any of those three.

Yeah, don’t blame Tucker either.  Remember, he thinks that Danny is probably a ghost, but he’s in no way convinced that there really are ghosts.

“It’s got to be there.  Danny said it was.”

Tucker leaned closer to her.  “You sure?  Just between us, I don’t think Danny’s really been himself today.  He could be seeing things.”

Sam glared at him for a moment before setting off down the path.  “Maybe we can distract it.  How do you distract a ghost?”

Hesitating, he called after her, “Why would you want to?” but his feet were already moving.  “Stupid invisible ghost ectoplasm octopus thing,” he groused.  “Stupid ectoplasmic octopus.  Ecto-octopus.  Ectopus.”  He kicked a stone off into the park, not caring where it landed, not watching it stop in midair like it had just been caught by an invisible hand.  “Stupid ectopus.”

Why would you want to indeed.  So totally me.  And watch the rock.  Guess who didn’t storm away as frustrated as we thought he did?

Tucker was just a few steps behind Sam when they reached the place where the girls were huddled.  Instead of what he had expected – the girls comforting their fallen comrade – they seemed to be ignoring her.  All the girls were curled up on the ground, crying softly, wrapped up in their own miseries.  Although the prone girl was obviously still alive, her friends were acting like she had just died.

Glancing around apprehensively, Tucker studied the area.  It was a clear, sunny autumn day with no sign of any sort of ghosts or aliens or anything out of the ordinary.  But despite the warmth and cheerfulness of the day, an odd sensation was sinking into his chest.  His heart was murmuring that something extremely awful had just happened.  Rubbing his arm with one of his hands, he tried to shake off the feeling of panic and despair.

“Go away!” Sam shouted suddenly, making Tucker jump.  One of the girls, teary grey streaks of mascara trailing down her cheeks, looked up at her in confusion.  Tucker sent her a small smile but Sam paid no attention to her.  “Ghost!  Leave us alone!”  When nothing happened, Sam glanced over at him.

“It feels like a funeral,” Tucker whispered.  For some reason, it felt sacrilegious to speak loudly.

I despise quiet funerals.  When I die, you are all invited provided you bring cake, sugar, and loud music.  I want my funeral to be a celebration, not some silly crying mourning thing.

“The ghost is doing it,” Sam said sourly.  “How do we get rid of it?”

“We don’t,” he muttered darkly, stuffing his hands into his pockets and trying to shake off the depressing atmosphere.  “It’s a ghost.”

“Maybe…” Sam trailed off, looking around, “maybe it’s attached to something – like an anchor.  Maybe if we destroy its anchor it’ll leave.  Or maybe it’s being drawn here by something.  Or maybe it was sent here for some reason.”

Poor Sam, trying so hard to do something RIGHT, when there’s really not a thing she can do…

“Or maybe it’s just here because it’s here,” Tucker added.  “Face it, we know nothing about ghosts.  We don’t even know where to start.”

“We could exorcize it.”

Tucker snorted, crossing his arms and glancing around uncomfortably.  “Isn’t that demons and devils?”

I dunno… is it?

Sam stared at him for a moment.  “Can’t it work for ghosts too?”  

Tucker shrugged.  “Come on, Sam.  There’s never been a ghost attack in Amity Park.  Nobody’s ever been hurt.”  He sighed, wanting desperately to get out of here.  A strange, dead feeling was curling around his heart.  “We can’t do anything.  Let’s just go, okay?”

For a moment, Sam was silent.  “It’s got to be here for a reason, Tucker.  There’s a reason for everything.  So, what makes this place different from everywhere else?”  She continued to gaze at him, anxiety appearing in her violet eyes.  “Tucker… please.  We need to do something.”

Tucker studied his feet for a moment while his head warred over his loyalty to Sam and his desire to run.  When he finally spoke, he didn’t look up at her.  “The only thing I can think of is this weird feeling.”

“It’s like my grandmother just died,” Sam whispered.

Tucker nodded.  “Yeah.”  Both of them looked up into the bright, cloudless sky.  “But how does that help us?”

Bored.  Let’s get some action!!!

They were still staring up there when they saw something.  It sparkled, wavered, flickered just at the edges of their vision.  A flash of green, a swish of something long and pliable.  “What was that?” Tucker gasped, ducking instinctively.

“The ghost,” Sam hissed.  A wave of cold, salty air washed over them as a car-sized octopus shimmered into view for a heartbeat.  The thing hissed and cracked its beak, the sound like a rolling thunderclap that drove a spike straight into their souls.  Freezing, liquid ectoplasm dripped off the creature like water.  Then it was gone, but the smell and the feel were still there.  The unseen monster was lurking just over their heads, tentacles ready to wrap around unprotected throats.  The girls screamed and cowered, covering their heads with their hands.

Geez, I can creep myself out sometimes.  A giant, invisible thing hanging over your head with big tentacles that can… *shudder*

BTW… the following action scene was the very first thing I wrote for this story.


“Run,” Tucker breathed, unable to take his eyes off the place where the ghost had been.  His breath caught in his throat.  “Run!” he managed to croak, twisting around on his foot and trying to move.  Tripping, he sprawled onto the ground next to the girl who had fainted earlier.  He rolled over in time to see most of the girls stumble to their feet and scatter.  Sam was in a half-crouch, her eyes still scanning the skies, refusing to move.

It was back, just a suddenly as it had vanished.  A wave of fear, palpable and loud as a drum, smashed into them, pulsing like the heartbeat of the dead.  A large tentacle, covered in suckers, whipped through the air and snatched Sam off of her feet.  It wrapped around her middle, the sharp edges of the suckers digging into her skin as it lifted her into the air.  Another flew through the air and latched onto Tucker’s ankle, dragging him through the grass.  His glasses flew off of his face, throwing everything into an unfocused blur.

“DANNY!” Tucker screamed just before his face was slammed into the ground.  Stars burst in his eyes and tangy blood filled his mouth as he was jerked up into the air by his foot.  He could hear Sam yelling in pain as the suckers dug deeper into her skin and the parrot-like beak of the octopus snapped down close to her head.

A shriek suddenly filled the air.  It was impossibly loud; shattering glass windows and blazing through the heads of everybody present.  Agony, terror, and rage whipped around them in a miniature tornado that threw bits of grass and rocks into the air.  The tentacles that had been so tightly wound around the two teenagers slackened and they both crashed to the ground.

Tucker watched Sam stagger to her feet, carefully holding her bruised and bleeding stomach.  Crouched on the ground just a few feet away was the faint and distant form of Danny.  He was watching the octopus with a furious gleam in his supernatural eyes and a barely-audible growl in his throat.  Suddenly he threw himself off the ground, the wind from his passing tainted with his fury.  He slammed into the octopus with a silent roar, tossing it away from them.

Threw out some description here because I thought it was a little unnecessary.  There was a spectral wind blowing that billowed out the ends of his ragged jacket and was blowing his singed hair around.  Stuff like that.  ;)

Now remember, Danny’s all full of ‘wild’ instincts right now, so he’s acting like an animal protecting what he considers to be ‘his’.


Spitting out a mouthful of blood, Tucker watched the octopus race away from the angry teenager.  Danny didn’t follow; he just watched it flee.  Slowly the pain and the fear leaked out of the atmosphere, leaving Tucker with a dead and emotionless feeling in his chest.  Heart pounding, he stared at the livid ghost – his best friend – who was practically radiating fury.  Danny twisted around when the octopus finally vanished from view, rage billowing off of him and swirling around Sam and Tucker.

“What do you think you were doing?” he asked, a snarl in his echoing voice.  Tucker involuntarily backed away from him, his eyes widening and his heart beating loudly in his ears as an unnatural terror filled him.  Danny’s eyes were a blazing, furious green, full of deadly threats and hollow emotions.  Leaves flew off the ground and the grass danced in the supernatural wind that had reappeared.  All around them, the world seemed to drain of colors – the sky becoming a dull grey and the ground leaching to a lifeless brown.  “That thing could have killed you!”  

hehe… Danny’s the perfect predator.

He stormed up to Sam, glaring at her.  Sam, unable to control herself under his psychic onslaught, whimpered and backed away from him as he approached.  

Danny froze, pain springing into his eyes.  

All around them, rocks and leaves tumbled back to the ground as the rest of the power drained out of the air.  The silence was intense – not a bird dared to sing nor a fly dared to buzz.  Anger vanished.  The sky slipped back to its impossible blue.  The grass around Danny’s feet, however, stayed an unmoving brown, the fragile grass dead and lifeless.  Danny swallowed hard.  “I’m scaring you, again, aren’t I?”

Slowly, Sam nodded her head.  Danny glanced over at Tucker, who nodded as well.  “Danny,” she said quietly.  

He looked down at his feet, clenching his fists.  

“Danny, look at me.”  She reached over and touched his chin to force him to look up.  Tucker had expected her hand to go straight through him, but her fingers brushed against his cold, dead skin.  “Look at me.”

Why?  Ghosts in my world are all stuck in ‘intangible’ mode.  Oh, I suppose it’s because he’s been tossing around so much energy that he’s thrust his ‘ghost’ form onto the human plane enough that he’s some sort of solid.  But he’s not SOLID like you and I.  He’s solid like a thick cloud or something.  With any pressure at all, you could still go through him.

Hollow eyes gazed into hers.  

“Thank you,” she said firmly.  “Thank you for saving my life.”

Danny blinked, startled, pulling away from her.  Intense, impossibly bright light suddenly flared around him, making the two teenagers close their eyes and turn away.  When the light faded, Tucker was left blinking the spots out of his eyes while Danny stared down at his human hands.  He was back to normal.

“I’m sorry,” he whispered to them, an odd tone in his voice.  “I’m not trying to scare you.”  

Awww… ikkle Sammy-kins saved Danny-kins.  XD  For the first time.

Sam caught his blue eyes, a smile flickering across her face for a moment.  Tucker watched them for a second as he tried to process everything that had happened in the past few seconds.  He slid to his feet as he finally understood what that odd twist to Danny’s voice meant: fear.

In the distance, sirens wailed as emergency crews raced towards the park.

--

This is my problem part.  It puts just a little too much humor into the situation.  I did a lot of cutting and rewriting… but I’m still not entirely happy with the result.

Tucker grabbed the two trays of food from the counter of the Nasty Burger – formerly the ‘Tasty Burger’ until someone had stolen the ‘T’ and replaced it with an ‘N’ a few years ago as a practical joke – and turned to head back towards his friends.  A plan was brewing in his head; it had been ever since they had snuck out of the park.  The perfect plan.

I think the Tasty-Nasty thing really is canon.  If not, I dunno where I heard it.  

But he hesitated when his eyes flickered over the hunched form his of best friend.  There was no doubt he was a little nervous around Danny.  Whenever those dead eyes glanced into his he had to struggle to keep from turning away.  This was Danny… but yet at the same time it wasn’t.  He knew Danny better than anybody else on Earth, except for probably Sam, and there was no doubt in his mind that Danny was just as terrified of what was going on as he was.

I’m always confused as to what is ‘canon’ in the idea of how long Sam and Tucker have known each other.  The show seems to indicate that they don’t know certain (important) things about each other (like fears of doctors or being ultra-vegie-something)… so they haven’t known each other for very long… but I think that’s got more to do with the director needing to disseminate information more than anything else.  I go for Danny and Tucker have been friends since time immortal (little kids), and joined up with Sam sometime in elementary school.  This has absolutely NO bearing on this story whatsoever, but thanks for reading it.

There was also the question of what the other boy was keeping from them.  Danny had never been good at keeping secrets, but he was obviously refusing to talk about something.  Tucker had the vague thought that it had to do with something neither him nor Sam could see, but he couldn’t bring himself to push Danny into talking about it.  Sam would, at some point, and Tucker was content to wait until she did.

The idea that had germinated about twenty minutes ago churned through Tucker’s mind as he headed back toward his friends.  He hadn’t seen Danny so depressed and quiet since his sister had gotten appendicitis.  They needed to get Danny to smile; laughter was a general cure-all for all kinds of wounds.  He just wasn’t entirely sure his plan was that good of an idea.

Boy, does this blow up in Tucker’s face.  I thought about not having this in at all – it adds a really weird element of humor to the story – but it flows really nicely into the next chapter element about Tucker.  So I kept it.

Dropping into his normal booth, he pushed one of the trays he had been carrying towards his two companions.  It was the normal order: a salad for Sam; a mega order of cheese fries for Danny; and a mighty meaty meal (with extra meat) for him.

Danny let out a little dejected sigh as Sam grabbed her salad and pushed the tray of fries towards him.  He propped his chin up on one hand as he reached out with the other to grab a cheese fry.  To Tucker’s amazement, about half way to Danny’s mouth it dropped out of his fingers and onto the floor.

I can’t have Danny eating yet.  Oh no, no, no.  I have something big planned for him when he finally gets to eat something.  XD  Well, there’s breakfast – which I skip over – but supper’s going to be fun.  And cruel and unusual.

After giving his fingers a sharp shake, Danny picked up another fry.  This time he held his fingers over the plate for a moment to see what would happen.  After just a second of the hot potato wedge resting in his fingers, the tips of his fingers drained of color and the fry dropped back onto the plate without Danny opening his fingers.  “Huh,” Danny said.  Then he shot a quick glance up at them before returning his eyes to the table.

“You’re still looking at us like we’re going to disappear on you,” Sam mentioned as she attempted to spear a small radish with her plastic fork.

Tucker watched, completely fascinated, as Danny shrugged off the statement and grabbed another cheese fry.  For a third time, the fry slipped through his fingers.  This time Tucker grabbed Danny’s hand and studied it before Danny could give it a shake and return it to normal.  The tips of his fingers were colorless and transparent.  When Tucker tried to touch Danny’s fingers, his fingers passed straight through.  “Intangible,” Tucker mumbled, “interesting.  How’d you do that?”

Remember, Tucker’s still thinking this whole thing is ‘cool’… Reality hasn’t sunk in yet – even after the ghost fight.  Danny’s new and unimproved short temper fuse has, so far, only been directed at ‘scary’ things.

“I wish it’d stop,” Danny grumbled, not looking up.  “I’m enough of a freak already, I don’t need this.”  He shot them another one of those quick looks.

Grabbing his triple cheese burger and taking a bite, Tucker sent him a ketchup-stained smile.  “You know we’re not going to disappear on you… we’re your friends, Danny.  We’re not going anywhere,” he swallowed his bite before adding, “unless you get a bit scarier, in which case I’ll be in Albuquerque.”  Stifling a yelp when Sam’s heavy boots connected with his leg, he hastily continued.  “I’ll still be your friend, of course, just from Albuquerque.”

My friend told me this once right before I dyed my hair.  I have really light, almost white hair and I wanted to die it a coppery-blonde so I actually had some color and not look all washed out.  She told me she’d move to Albuquerque if I did.  She’s said the same thing about me straightening my hair too.  Apparently people like curls.  I think they’re annoying – especially when it’s humid.

“It’s okay,” Sam smiled.  “We know you can’t help it and that you’re trying.  We understand.”

Danny let an impossibly small grin flicker across his face for a moment, washing the deadness out of his eyes.  “I don’t deserve you guys.”

“No, you don’t,” Sam said wickedly.  “But you’re stuck with us.”

“You okay?” Danny asked for the hundredth time since the octopus attack.

Sam rolled her eyes.  “We’re fine.  A little bruised and battered, but we’ll get over it.”  Under the baggy T-shirt she had purchased on the way to the Nasty Burger, her stomach was turning an interesting collage of greens, blues, and purples, interspaced with perfectly round, sucker-shaped marks.  The shirt – although not her normal style – kept the questions about what had happened to her to a minimum.  Tucker, despite his normally unlucky aura, had fared better and only had a split lip.

I hate how I just stuck that in there…

Danny didn’t look convinced.  “It didn’t look good, Sam.  You sure you don’t want to see a doctor?  We really should have waited around for the ambulance.”

“And have my parents doting on me for the rest of the week?  No thanks.  It’s just a bruise.”  Sam finally snagged the radish and popped it into her mouth.  “But you do have to wonder what happened in the park.”

“What do you mean?” Danny asked softly.

Sam speared a small bit of cucumber.  “I mean, there’s never been a ghost attack in Amity Park.  Although we’ve held the title of the most haunted town in the United States for over two decades, there’s never been a confirmed ghost attack.  It’s all just been strange occurrences and random things.  This one, however, is going to be all over the news.”

No it’s not…  Remember, Jack and Maddie don’t KNOW ghosts exist until the lunch-lady incident.

“So?”

“So why now?” Sam asked.  “Why did this ghost attack today when there’s never been an attack before?  I think it’s got something to do with your accident yesterday.”

Tucker nodded slowly as he thought about what she had said.  She was really just repeating what he’d said earlier in the park, but it was still true.  Amity Park, North America’s most haunted destination, had never been able to dredge up any unshakable proof of ghosts.  Up until yesterday, Area 61 had more tangible proof of aliens than their town had of anything even vaguely supernatural.  All they had was a litany of impossible deaths, mysterious disappearances, and strange happenings.  Until today.  The fact that the three of them had apparently opened a window into the afterlife probably had something to do with what happened today.  

Danny scowled as the cheese fry slipped through his fingers again.  “So you’re going to blame it on me, then?”

She shook her head.  “No – there’s no way it’s your fault.  I’m just saying it’s got to be connected somehow.  Maybe turning on that ghost-window thing made the octopus more powerful or something.”

Oh, so close.  Give the girl a cookie.  But there’s a reason.  PLOT POINT!  Now, the question is why?

“Maybe…”  Danny sighed.  “Maybe they’ve always been here and now they’re just more powerful.”

Sam shot him a look.  “They?  There’s more than just that octopus thing?”

Smart… listening…  Too bad Danny’s been hiding ‘them’ from you.

When Danny paled and began stuttering out what he meant by that, Tucker decided to come to his rescue.  It was time to start his plan to attempt to get Danny to really smile at least once that day.  “I’ve been thinking,” Tucker interrupted Danny’s mumblings after swallowing the latest bite of burger and washing it down with cola, “and I’ve got something I need to say.”  

Danny looked up for a second before returning his gaze to the tabletop.

“I’ve been waiting to say this for a very long time, you know.”  Tucker grinned.  “It fits just perfect.”  

Danny glanced over at Sam before asking, “What?”

Sorry about this…

“With great power comes great responsibility,” Tucker intoned dramatically, fixing his eyes on Danny.

Silence fell over the table.  Finally Danny spluttered, “Do I look like Spiderman?”

That’s Spiderman… right?

“No,” he smiled, “but you do have a secret identity thing going.  You could be a superhero.”

Not in this lifetime.  Or this story.  In real life, there’s no such thing as a superhero.  A hero… however…

“Those are just comic books, Tucker.  There’s no such thing.”

“Maybe,” he shrugged, “but you saved us from that ectopus thing – that makes you a little bit heroic anyway.  And it was a good attempt to get you to smile once.”  Tucker raised one eyebrow and laughed at the startled look on Danny’s face.  “Yeah, smile Danny.  Now.  Somewhat-heroes with secret identities need a name.  I was thinking ‘Ghost-Boy’ or ‘Halfa’.  Get it?  Half-ghost, half-human… halfa?”  Tucker grabbed a napkin from the holder and scribbled the names on it.

“How about ‘Inviso-Bill’?” Sam snickered, joining in the inane conversation after glancing at the half-smile on Danny’s face.

I spent HOURS trying to come up with everything Danny’d been called in the show to make puns…  I ran out rather quickly.

Tucker shuddered, grabbing a few of his own fries to gesture with.  “That’s horrible.”

“I’m not superhero – I don’t need a new name,” Danny muttered.  When his cheese fry dropped out of his intangible fingertips for the seventh time, a small growl slid out of his throat and thrummed in the low rumbled of the Nasty Burger.  He glared at the tray.  

Tucker glanced at him out of the corner of his eyes before deciding to ignore his best friend for now.  He’d never heard Danny make such a… feral sound before.  It made all the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end and his instincts scream to run away.  He forced himself to stay in his seat, but he couldn’t quite stop himself from glancing at Danny every few heartbeats.  

He’s slipping… run for the hills!

“It’s better than ‘Ghost-Boy’,” she snapped back at Tucker, apparently not being able to hear the sound Danny was making.  “That sounds like a cheap rip-off of Beast-Boy from those Teen Titans comics.  At least mine is original.”

“You and your original,” Tucker continued, unconsciously checking on Danny again.  The teenager’s eyes seemed to be glowing with some sort of greenish fire in his irises.  Tucker’s feet shifted slightly under his chair as he fought to not get up and run.  He focused on Sam and continued the conversation, determinedly ignoring Danny.  “How about the ‘Amity Spook’?”

“That sounds like a newspaper.  How about…”

This originally went on longer.  Chopped ‘cause it was nonsense beyond this.

Tucker shivered as the temperature around their table suddenly dropped a few degrees.  Sam trailed off, finally noticing that something was going on.  Glaring down at the cheese fries, Danny seemed to be glowering at the food, completely paying no attention to the two of them.  “Dan…” Tucker started, but cut off as energy swirled into existence around their table.

Danny’s arms were trembling as they grasped the edge of the table.  Emerald flickers of light fizzled around his hands.  Gasping and jumping to his feet, Tucker stumbled back away from the table.  Every hair on the top of his head was standing up like he’d just been shocked and his breath was pluming in the air.  With an almost audible crackle of energy, the paranormal glow around Danny’s hands jumped to the mound of fries, burning them into twisted twigs.

Ouch.  Mental note: don’t get my main character frustrated.  He might blow up my computer.

Tucker glanced up at Sam, who was standing a few feet away from the table and was extremely pale.  “Danny…” he said quietly.

“What?” Danny snapped.  He looked up and met Tucker’s eyes.

Dead, haunted, and impossibly hollow.  Tucker took a step backwards before he could stop himself.  His intestines seemed like they were twisting up in knots as this creature stared at them.  He had to swallow heavily before he could continue, working hard to convince himself that Danny wasn’t going to hurt him.  “Danny, calm down.”

He’s sooo slipped into his ‘ghost’ instincts.  He’s barely thinking rationally.

Calm?” he hissed.  Tiny, emerald fires seemed to light up in his eyes.  “Calm?  I can’t even pick up fries, Tucker.”

“We’ll figure it out,” Tucker reasoned.  “Your parents can help.  They know a lot about ghosts.”

Danny’s eyes narrowed and pain seemed to ignite in them.  “There’s no such thing as ghosts.”  The mutilated tower of burned fries sizzled and collapsed.

Stupid, bloody, broken record…

“Why are you so dead-set on believe ghosts don’t exist?” Sam asked softly.  She gave herself a small shake and walked back up to the table, resting her hands on the back of her empty seat.  Tucker felt himself relax slightly when Danny’s eyes turned away from his.

“Because they don’t, that’s why.”  Danny grabbed his tray and stood up, heading for the trash bin.

Sam shook her head.  “Because ghosts are dead,” she corrected.

Danny stiffened, but didn’t turn around to look back at them.

“Because if you’re a ghost that means that you are dead,” she finished mercilessly.

Ah… point Goth girl.  Rebuttal for the ghost?

Storming over to the garbage can, he dumped in the remains of the snack and didn’t answer.  When the tray suddenly clattered to the ground, Tucker noticed that Danny’s whole body seemed to be shaking with repressed emotions.  His best friend’s hands clenched tightly as he glared down at the floor.  Tucker wanted to do something, but his feet refused to move.  They had been cemented solidly to the floor.

“Danny,” Sam said, following him over and touching his shoulder.  “It’s okay…”

Danny twisted around, his empty sapphire eyes fixing on her.  The doors to the Nasty Burger banged open and an impossibly cold breeze flooded through the restaurant.  Frozen whispers of frustration and confused rage slithered around the trio of friends as Danny just stood there, staring into Sam’s eyes.  His normally expressive eyes were completely devoid of the emotions that were flaring and churning inside of him.

Tucker licked his lips and struggled to keep from looking away.  There was something incredibly dangerous about Danny right now.  He seemed to be exuding an aura of power; a predator amongst his helpless prey.  Every pore of Tucker’s body was shrieking that he needed to move.

Danny’s completely ghost.  Don’t go near him.  And poor Tucker has just figured out that Danny being whatever he is will NOT be all fun and games.  Danny’s rage, when channeled towards him, is scary enough to give him a serious wake-up call.

The various patrons of the Nasty Burger had fallen silent and were looking around the place as they began to sense the foreboding presence of this spectral human.  They slid closer together, eyes wide.  Overhead, several of the fluorescent lights fizzed and flickered out.

“It’s okay,” Sam whispered.

“It’s not okay,” Danny said with a choked voice in the intense silence.  “Don’t you get it?  It’s not okay.”  For a brief moment, terror and pain sparkled in his eyes, then he simply vanished.  

Sam and Tucker glanced at each other in dismay as the fear and anger evaporated and the temperature of the Nasty Burger drifted back to normal.  People went back to their conversations and meals, quickly forgetting about the odd feeling that had swept through them.  

Oh, how people just IGNORE things.  Now, enter the evil…

Only one other person seemed to be quietly taking note of what had happened.  Drumming carefully manicured nails against the dirty table, a well-dressed business man finished off his bottle of water and headed out the door to his car.

Ya’ll can guess as to who it is, right?  Okay, so my theory is that V-man didn’t seem at ALL surprised to see another hybrid in whatever episode that was.  So, I figure he KNOWS that another one exists, he just doesn’t know who it is until Wisconsin.

--

Danny slumped into the seat at the movie theater, staring blankly at the screen.  It was one of those old black and white movies the theater played now and then – the ones where it cost a whole fifty cents for a ticket.  He had snuck in through the side wall about half-way through the showing, so he didn’t feel too bad.  He figured the theater was only out a quarter and he wasn’t watching it anyways.

My theater growing up used to do this.  Mondays and Thursdays they’d play old ‘kids’ movies, and the other days they would play ‘adult’ movies.  I used to go watch rather than sit at home and be bored.

It was the darkness and the solitude that he had been seeking when he had decided to come here.  On a school night, the last showing of the old movie matinee was the only place guaranteed to be free from his peers.  He wasn’t dead, he couldn’t be dead

Tears prickled at his eyes.  No, there was no way he was a ghost.  There was no way he was dead.  He felt the inside of his wrist, feeling the warm and steady vibration of his pulse.  Ghosts didn’t have heartbeats, they weren’t warm.

And there was no way a ghost would feel this absolutely horrible.  Damn Sam and Tucker for making him feel this way.  Screw them for bringing this up.  He didn’t want to think about it, not now and not ever.  He just wanted things to be normal.

For a quiet eternity, he listened to the sounds of the movie, trying not to think, but his rebellious brain refused to shut up.  It wanted an explanation for everything that had happened these past twenty-four hours, and it kept settling on that one.  The only one Danny didn’t want to be true.

His appearance, sometimes anyways… the things he could do… what he was feeling…  He bit his lip and folded his arms tighter to his chest.  It was scary beyond belief, and he didn’t dare tell anyone about it.  Sam and Tucker were his only friends and they would abandon him if he told them half of what was going on in his mind.  He couldn’t tell them of the smells and the sounds, the cackles and the whispers, the glimpses of movement or the things in the shadows.  He could never tell them how hard it was, sometimes, seeing waves of something flooding off of them like those ripples of heat over the tar on hot days.  He would never tell them how drawn he was to those strange ripples that smelled of butterscotch, strawberry pie, and warm summer nights.  Oh, how he wanted to feel them…

It’s going to get even worse because poor Danny NEEDS to feel them.  That’s how he supplies his ‘ghost’ side with energy.  If he tries to cut himself off from ‘feeding’ on the humans around him, he’d starve.  

Oh, an interesting and plot-worthy note, Danny KNOWS the critters feed on humans via those ripples.  He knows that he can smell/feel them.  What he hasn’t figured out yet is that he too FEEDS off of his friends…  That will be a fun revelation.


A tear slid down his cheek and he wiped it away angrily.  A small shadow appeared on the screen, moving vaguely back and forth for a few moments.  Although it was definitely not part of the movie, none of the other audience members gave any sign that they could see it.  Danny stared at it for a moment, a cold chill slipping down his spine.
“Go away,” he whispered at it, his breath misting faintly in the air.  The shadow paused in its restless movements and seemed to study him.

No stupid ‘blue’ mist in my story.  I tell you, in canon that REALLY IS just water vapor!  The blue mist stuff drives me bonkers.

It made a soft noise, a combination of a snake’s hiss and a tiger’s snarl.  Leaving the small gaggle of elderly women watching the show, it stalked down the aisle, its dark and indistinct form fading in and out of view.  It stopped a few feet from him, twin red eyes sparkling darkly in its shadowed face, studying him.

“Go away,” he whispered again, but the shadow didn’t move.  

“Make me,” it hissed, its voice almost unintelligible above the animal-like growls and an impossibly haunting echo.  The words collided around in his head, repeating themselves over and over.

“Please,” Danny whispered, his own voice taking on the rough echoing sound no human could ever be able to make.  He couldn’t take his eyes off if it.  He wanted it gone, he wanted it to go away.  Cold fingers of dread were digging themselves into his heart as the creature stood there, staring at him.  “Just go away.”  The thing – the ghost, he admitted to himself – was fizzing against his nerves, making his fingers jump and his leg twitch.

“What be thee?”  The thing drifted closer, no longer touching the ground, ragged edges of its shadowy form brushing against Danny as it hovered just before him.  It sniffed loudly, frozen, rancid air rolling off of it.  It took a loud, rattling breath.  “Be thee dead, child?”  

Danny pressed back against the thin cushion of the theater’s chair, fighting to keep from making noise.  “Go away,” he whispered again.  He couldn’t think of anything else to say.

hehe… Danny’s scared of a little powerless ghosty.  But seriously, he wasn’t afraid of the ectopus-thing, why’s he afraid of this one?  Good question.  

When he’s a ghost, he’s got a whole other set of instincts that come into play.  They are still there when he’s human, he can just push them aside a lot easier.  When he’s a ghost, he’s extremely territorial and protective of things that are ‘his’ and he reacts on that through fighting and power.  When he’s human, he’s still going to be territorial and protective (keep reading…) but he is suppressing his ghostly ‘fight’ reflex.  So his natural human fear comes into play.  It also shows just how ‘scary’ the ghosts in my world are.

It was either that, or I wrote this not really knowing where the story was going or how odd it was going to be once I pointed it out, and then forgot to go back and change it thus having to make up an excuse as to why it doesn’t REALLY make sense…

It’s one or the other.  ;)


“Nay,” it hiss-snarled, an evil chuckle now in its voice.  “Be thee scared?”  That last word sliced into him like a dagger, his body shuddering at the freezing feeling.  “Pray, child, answer me,” the red eyes fixed into him and forced a small whimper out of his throat, “what be thee?”

A new feeling swirled in the deepest center of his body.  It curled and stretched, growling at the ghost’s power, snarling coldly in rage.  Danny felt his eyes narrow, the vague burning sensation sweep through them.  The shadowy ghost suddenly jumped into sharp focus – it was little more than a hollow skull with red lights and a gruesome sneer.  With a startled, echoing cry that couldn’t be heard by mortal ears, Danny threw his hand out towards the ghost.  The feeling from deep inside clawed into way up his chest, digging painfully as it cascaded into his outstretched arm and down to his fingers.  

See?  Ghost instincts coming into play when the invading ghost triggers them.  XD  Excuse is justified.

It leapt from his hand towards the ghost in a shower of green light.  The ghost screamed in agony as the light slammed against it.  Boney hands came up to shield its face as the scream turned into a deadly shriek.  The creature, the ghost, the demon, whatever it was, fled through the wall, its poisonous wail echoing through the building.

Danny, shivering violently and staring at the hand that was still held up in the air, gave a low moan and sank back into his chair, eyes wild as they darted around the room.  Nothing moved throughout the room.  The other audience members didn’t seem to have noticed the drama unfolding behind them.

For the next half-hour, he just sat there, unable to move, curled up around himself and trying to control his shaking.  It wasn’t until he watched the movie begin to wind down that he was able to put together a coherent sentence.

“That was a ghost,” he murmured to himself.  “That was a ghost.”

On the screen, the woman – Christine – was sobbing over the death of one of the characters.  “That was a ghost,” he mumbled, “and… so am… I…”

Excuse the fact that I haven’t seen the movie.  Ever.  Hope she really does sob over whats-his-name.

The camera panned in on the dead man; a man that had struggled for so long to fight the confines of ‘good’ or ‘evil’; a man whose true being lay hidden behind a mask and a terrible accident.

“I am a ghost,” Danny said with a little more conviction, but not quite able to hide the tremor in his voice.  “But not really.”  He held up his hand and studied the human skin, feeling his heart beat in his chest, reveling in the stale air that whispered in his lungs.  “I’m human too.”  He let his hand drop into his lap as the credits began to roll.  

What be thee?” he rasped in a poor imitation of the shadowy creature.  In the front of the theater, the patrons rose and made their way to the aisles and out the doors in the back.  “I don’t know,” he mussed to himself.

Falling in step with an older lady that was leaning heavily on her cane, Danny bit his tongue for a moment, thinking.  “There was a ghost in there,” he informed her as he held open the door so she could pass.  He wasn’t sure why he said it, but it was too late to take back now.

The lady smiled at him.  “Dear, that wasn’t a ghost.”

Danny blinked.  “It wasn’t?”  He was startled.  Had she seen the shadowy thing as well?

She moved off down the hallway and Danny had to step quickly to catch up to her.  She chuckled.  “It wasn’t called the ‘Ghost of the Opera’, my dear.  That was a Phantom.”

Originally this took a turn right here.  Danny then (obviously) figures out his super-hero handle.  But I figure this is too quick.  It’s still day one (believe it or not), and I got a lot of angst planned for this guy before he can be too happy.

Danny smiled at her, nodding as he caught on.  She hadn’t seen anything but the movie.  

He fell behind the other audience members, his eyes trained on the ground.  The last thing he wanted to see was those dead, little creatures hovering around people as they walked.  It was inanely creepy to know how many ghosts existed around them at every moment, yet nobody seemed to be able to see them but him.

As a yawn slipped out of him and he started for home, a thought flittered through his mind.  “At least they aren’t that dangerous.”

*snort*  Yeah, right.  Knock on wood, ghost-boy.

--In real life, things aren’t always as they seem.

(end chapter 3)
Again, normal on fanfiction.net, author's version here. Comment if you'd like me to continue.

-Cori
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:iconanimefreak120:
animefreak120 Sep 8, 2012  Student General Artist
I also like how you include your own experiences into the story. The movie theater playing old movies and such.

I really like the reasoning behind why the Nasty Burger got its name. Whether it's canon or not, I still like how you put it in there.

“Because if you’re a ghost that means that you are dead,” she finished mercilessly.
Really like how you used "mercilessly". That was a really nice touch.
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:iconfayrandothneil:
This is totally awesome!! Although your interpritation of the Phantom of the Opera is wrong. At the end, he shatters a mirror and dissapears, no one knowing what happened to him. But in the original version of the movie (aka the book and extreamly old movies) the Phantom kills off Raoul. (actually, almost everyone dies in the book)
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:iconcordria:
cordria Jun 11, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Is it? Darn. I haven't seen Phantom of the Opera in years, I was kind of making it up.

Thank you for the correction.

-Cori
Reply
:iconfayrandothneil:
Yeah, but odd triva fact. In the first Phantom movie every filmed, the guy playing the Phantom totally mutilated his face with fish hooks to look the part. He's been compared with Dracula and Frankestine's monster!
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:iconeddie-ka:
Eddie-Ka Feb 13, 2009  Professional Artist
oh oh i get it now! danny cant eat the frys cause they are cheese fries right?
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:iconcordria:
cordria Feb 14, 2009  Hobbyist Writer
Yup. :)

-Cori
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:iconkristanite:
The curls thing-- me too! I naturally have the hair that everyone ends up with when they get a perm, and I hate it! Half of the time (I schedule it for two days a week, not including weekends) I don't even brush my hair, and people always go on about what products I use and blah blah blah--- I even got complements on the day I didn't brush my hair the first time. It drives me nuts.

At least I get to boing my own curlycues as much as I want. SPROING!

Yeah, that's Spiderman. I remember from this article I read about Bleach and how it's the perfect spandex-refugee's guide to manga. It was really analytical, which I was in the mood for at the time.

Get the damn thing off the turntable already! Why didn't you tell me it was covered in blood? You should really hire a cleaning lady. -hahaha

hahaha, All in all nice chap. Little halfway humor in there, but all the best stories keep a little humor in. Look at Frankenstein.

-skittles away towards the next chap-
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:iconcordria:
cordria Sep 27, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
hehe... I don't brush my hair every day either. It's sooo not worth it. You brush it and you get an instant afro. *sigh*

:D Thanks for the comment!!

-Cori
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:iconkristanite:
hahahah true!
Reply
:iconhermiethefrog:
Couldn't comment before because of computer problems. Was the word you were looking for last chapter a drifter? (Don't ask...)

Yes, yes, me love the Danny angst! (Laughs evily.) It's why one of my fanfics got nominated in the category of best angst.

Vlad Platypus is a-coming! (Is shot.) Things should get interesting...
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