For tumblr's superphantom week prompt: Minor Characters
surely-silly's also written a oneshot with Death in their collection spooky and I'm pretty sure that I owe some of what is here to them, so, yes, all homage to them for anything I've drawn inspiration from and honestly guys if you are not reading their stuff, you are missing out on half of the crossover fandom's output so remedy that this instant.
But Oxygen is Loud
February 19, 2014
Danny yawned as he stumbled down the stairs. It was Saturday- no school; he could take his time. As he slowly continued on his way, he realized he'd forgotten how quiet the house became without the rest of his family filling it up. But with his parents taking Jazz on a college campus touring road trop for a few days that he'd managed to talk his way out of, he had free reign of the place and could change the silence in no time.
He'd invite Sam and Tucker over and they'd watch Ghost while trying to figure out their science project. Tucker would probably manage to blow something up (he'd always loved explosions, and had found more opportunities for him to cause them since Danny's accident, under the guise of helping him feel less awkward and culpable when things fell through a hand that had suddenly decided not to be there) and Sam would yell at him to clean it up while Danny would end up doing most of the work but he didn't mind. This was as normal as his life seemed to get nowadays and at least he didn't have to worry about his parents walking in on him while he was all quite there.
And hopefully Sam would give up trying, at least for a few hours, pushing him into telling his family about what had really happened that day in the portal (like he actually knew what had happened). Tucker kept on trying to make her drop the issue, saying that it was Danny's secret and he had to make his own decisions. He was still thinking about it, but just wanted a day where it didn't even have to be an issue.
He wouldn't have to worry about that possibility for a while yet, though. Sam wouldn't even be up yet so he could enjoy a leisurely breakfast. As he blinked his way into the kitchen, however, he stopped when he realized that someone was sitting at the kitchen table.
In his shock, Danny's left leg sank into the floor up to his knee. He squawked and pulled it out, all semblance of being able to sneak up on the man gone, but he stayed where he was, sitting stiffly with his back to Danny, one slender hand visible resting on a silver tipped cane.
"Oh…" Danny stuttered out in a poor attempt at bravery, "who are you?"
"Let's talk, Daniel," the man said, ignoring him.
That stopped him. Whoever this was, they knew his name. His full name, though, and no one called him that. Striding closer he said, "It's Danny."
Then the stranger turned around for the first time, so that instead of seeing slicked back hair, he saw a pale face so angular that it almost didn't seem human. It leveled a sarcastic look at him that was so withering he felt that he was in the wrong instead of the stranger who had broken into his house.
"No doors are barred to me… Danny," he added almost spitefully.
"But how do you know who I am?"
"I have told you that I can go anywhere I choose and you go and ask stupid questions…" he sighed. "I should have known, I suppose." He turned back to face the oven.
Danny stepped forward, then stopped, as if not sure he would be welcome to sit down, even though they were in his house. The man, as if reading his thoughts, extended a hand welcoming him to a chair. He did so, sliding around the table without taking his eyes off of the man in black, trying to figure out what was going on. He'd met plenty of odd people that his parents associated with over the years, but he could not imagine any of them breaking in like this unannounced and he was sure that he hadn't met this man before.
"Do I know you?" he asked as he sat down.
The man pinned him with jet black eyes. "We are somewhat acquainted, although I am sure we will come to know each other better in time."
"We're… somewhat acquainted?" Danny asked. "What on earth does that mean?"
Thin lips pressed tighter. "We had an appointment that was cut short."
"I don't remember that."
"Oh, I'm sure you do."
"No, I don't," Danny interjected.
"You just don't know it yet," the man continued as if he hadn't said a word.
"Then start explaining some things! Who are you? Are you a friend of my parents?"
The unexpected answer came quickly. "No."
"No?!" Danny exclaimed in alarm. "Then…" he trailed off, at a loss for where to go now that his basic premise had been ripped out from beneath his feet.
The man paused for a moment, choosing his words slowly. "I don't believe I am anyone's… friend. I prefer to stick to business; things get messy when I start doling out favors."
"Have you done business with my parents, then?"
"Not yet; no, I have not."
Throwing his hands down on the table as he stood up, Danny shouted, "Enough with the twenty questions already. Who are you?"
The man didn't react at all to the outburst, but blinked until Danny grew self conscious and sat down.
"That's better. Now, I have come to talk to you and you will be honored and courteous and show me the respect I deserve."
Danny swallowed. The token "Oh really…?" he offered up then sounded pretty pitiful even to his own ears.
The man's eyebrows went up. "Really," he confirmed.
"And why is that?" Danny asked a little more subdued now. "Who are you?"
In the moments before the answer came, Danny thought that the temperature dropped and the whole house became absolutely silent and the man in front of his grew ages older before his eyes.
"I am Death," he said simply. And Danny did not think of disbelieving him.
"Am I dead?" he asked instead, paling at the thought that the accident had not merely messed with his DNA enough to make parts of him disappear at awkward moments but had perhaps taken his very life and left him a ghost walking through the remains of his own existence.
"No," Death said, shifting his grip on his black cane. "Not quite."
Danny's head shot up. "What does that mean?"
"That means if you stop talking for a moments I will explain things." He paused long enough to make sure that he wasn't about to be interrupted again, and began, "You are a nearly unique case in all the world."
"You mean I'm not the only one like this?"
"And what did I just say?"
"I cam here as a courtesy to explain matters but if you'd rather I finished the job, I'm sure that can be arranged."
"No, please, continue."
"You are not dead. But you are not completely alive either. There's no need to explain the science to you as it would take days to do it justice and you certainly wouldn't understand it. Essentially, it came about because as I was coming collect you, I was called elsewhere."
"So are you like the grim reaper?"
"No, there is no 'grim reaper.' There are millions of reapers across the globe who all report to me. I am not required to do such menial work unless something special comes up; I have plenty of work trying to keep the balance of the world."
"You just came to collect me?"
"But you… had to go do something else instead?"
His mother could have learned much from the eloquent title of Death's dead. Danny put his hands up in surrender.
"Honestly," the ageless figure muttered. "I'm sure you've realized already that your life is different than before?"
Danny nodded, too worried to answer verbally even when he'd been explicitly asked. "Over time, you will find that you can do more and more things that no one would think possible. These abilities are an intrinsic part of you now. You cannot run away from what they represent and what this entails."
"With great power comes great responsibility, huh?"
"I am glad to see that the entire point of this explanation has been so very necessary," he said dryly. "But there are those who see this and do not believe that any living creatures should be… gifted… like this."
"You call it a gift to fall through the floor when you're trying to take a shower?"
Death did not dignify the remark with an answer. "They believe your kind no not belong in the world and should be eradicated."
"They sent me to finish my job," he explained as he rose from the table.
Danny fell through his chair and scuttled backwards until he hit the wall. "Then… then why take the time to explain everything and make it sound like I could keep living?"
"Because," Death answered like the boy was a complete idiot, "I can be persuaded to ignore such observations if you introduce me to the fine burger establishment I noticed on the way in."
"The… Nasty Burger?" Danny asked incredulously.
Death gave a little nod and adjusted his coat. "So, shall we?"