Fenton Family Secrets
Author's Note: Thank you so much for all the great comments, everyone! I'm sorry I haven't had time to respond to each and every one of you individually, but please know how much I appreciate your comments and encouragement! And for those of you wondering, this is not a continuation of my previous Danny Phantom fanfic "Origins". That is a stand-alone story that I decided not to pursue any further. This story and the sequels are totally different.
I hope you will continue to enjoy the story! Cheers!
Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom, Butch Hartman does.
The next day, the Fentons finished packing up the remainder of Jack's childhood home. Danny longed to confront his father with what he'd learned about the mysterious girl in the photograph, but he didn't want to have an argument, either. Finally, as the last of the boxes had been filled and taped shut, Jack called for his son.
"Danny! I have some boxes I need help with."
Danny picked up the two boxes his father pointed to, and followed him outside. He set them down next to a stack of boxes that Maddie and Jazz were busy labelling then turned to his father.
"Dad," Danny said. "I . . . I'm sorry about yesterday. The picture I found in the attic, I mean. I didn't mean to upset you, I just wanted to know who . . ."
"It's alright, son," Jack replied, gently wrapping his armaround Danny's shoulders. "I probably should've told you and Jazz about her a long time ago."
"So, who is she?" Jazz asked. "An old girlfriend, or something?"
"No, Jazz," Danny said. "The girl in the picture with dad and Grandma and Grandpa Fenton is his sister. Right, dad?"
"Sister?" Jazz exclaimed. "Dad, you have a sister, and never told us!"
"I found her yearbook in the trunk in the attic," Danny continued. "Her name is Danielle."
Jack squeezed Danny's shoulders, then reached into his breast pocket and pulled out the picture Danny had found the day before. He gazed lovingly at it; his sister and his younger self smiled back at him. "That's right, son. Dani-Jean was my big sister. Your mother and I named you after her."
"Oh, great," Danny muttered. "I was named after a girl!"
"I never told you kids about her, because . . . well, she's gone, and it . . . it's not important now."
"Not important?" Jazz exclaimed. "Dad, how can you say that? Of course it's important! She's your sister! She's our aunt!"
"I don't want to talk about it, Jasmine. Not now, not ever!"
"But, dad!" Jazz argued.
"NO! It's over and done with. My sister is gone! Forever!"
"But where, dad?" Danny asked. "Where is she? What happened to her?"
"Very well, if you must know, I'll tell you: she was taken into the Ghost Zone!
"It was the night she graduated from High School," Jack Fenton said, his voice low and filled with regret. The Fentons sat together at the dining table in their home. A week had passed since they packed up the Fenton Family Homestead, and Jack had been quiet and moody ever since. Maddie tried to convince him to tell their children exactly what happened to his sister, their aunt Danielle, and Jack had finally, grudgingly agreed. "Dani-Jean and I were heading home after a post-graduation celebration. I had just turned sixteen, and she let me drive her car. We were almost home when it happened . . ."
The night of Friday, June 13th was a dark, moonless one, but sixteen-year-old Jack Fenton wasn't concerned. He knew the country roads like the back of his hand, and deftly took each twist and turn with confidence and skill.
"Thanks for letting me drive your car, Dani-Jean!" He said. "Gives me a chance to break in my brand new driver's license!"
"You're more than welcome, Jacky, but please just try not to break the car! It still has to get me to college!" She fiddled with the radio knobs, and harrumphed in disgust. "I hate that we can't get a decent radio station out here in the boonies! I cannot wait to get to the University! Surely they'll have decent music there!"
Finally a rock-n-roll radio station sputtered through the static and Danielle sighed. "Well, I guess it's better than listening to the Farm Report. Again."
On the radio, Elton John sang "Crocodile Rock".
"What? Are you kidding me?" Jack demanded. "This is a great song!" He started singing along, and Danielle groaned and stuck her fingers in her ears.
They rounded another bend; ahead of them lay one of the rare straight stretches of country road. In the distance a pair headlights loomed.
"Hmm. That's odd," Jack said. "I wouldn't think there'd be anyone else out here this time of night."
"That's not what's odd, kiddo," Danielle pointed out. "What's odd is that those headlights are green!"
The two sat silently watching the glowing green headlights come closer and closer. Soon they could see that the whole vehicle was glowing an eerie green-grey colour. Suddenly the static on the radio became deafeningly loud, completely obliterating the song. Danielle fumbled with the knobs but couldn't turn the sound down.
"Sissy! Just turn it off!" Jack shouted over the din.
"I'm trying! It won't shut off! What are we going to do?"
The ghost car was right in front of them, and seemed to be taking up the whole road. Jack slammed on the breaks and tried to turn the wheel, but the car wouldn't respond. The static became ghoulish, ear-piercing shrieks, and the next few moments of Jack Fenton's life moved in slow motion.
The ghost car overcame them, passing through Danielle's car. Jack could see the hideously twisted faces of the ghost driver and two ghost passengers in the front seat. Their skin glowed an other-worldly greenish colour, and their eyes glowed a fiery red. One of the creatures passed through Jack's body, touching his very soul with its icy fingers; its shrieking voice rang in his ears. He tried to turn to his sister, but was frozen in place. He tried to scream, but he couldn't breathe. It seemed to go on forever, but it was over in an instant.
When the ghost car passed, Jack was finally able to stop the car. He was sweating and shivering at the same time. He turned to check on his sister.
"Dani-Jean! Are you . . ."
But, Danielle wasn't there. The lap belt, still buckled, lay limp on the tattered leather seat, but his sister wasn't in it.
Jack leaped out of the driver's seat, and turned to face the ghost car, which had stopped a few yards away. Inside he saw the hideous specters, laughing and screaming their horrendous scream. Among them, wrapped tightly in their wispy, green tentralled arms he saw Danielle. She was screaming, too, screaming his name, eyes wide with terror. Jack ran towards the ghost car, but it sped off, flying with lightning speed down the road, finally exploding in a burst of light. Jack was knocked off his feet by the blast, and when he sat up, the road before him was empty, and though the night was silent, Jack Fenton could still hear his sister's voice ringing in his ears: "Jacky! Jackyyy, help meee!"
"I couldn't help my sister," Jack said with a sigh of regret. "I was too paralyzed with fear. I . . . I failed her."
"It's okay, dad," Danny said, struggling to find something comforting to say to his father.
"Yeah, dad," Jazz concurred. "There wasn't anything you could do!"
"But, I should've done something!" Jack cried. "I should've tried to do something!"
"Now, Jack," Maddie soothed. "Don't beat yourself up over this! It was a long time ago, and besides, Danielle ca . . ."
Before Maddie could finish her sentence, Jack interrupted, pounding his fist on the table: "I swore at that moment I would do everything in my power to find my sister! I spent years building and perfecting a portal into the Ghost World, creating weapons to capture and destroy the ghosts who took my sister!" He sighed again, and sank back down into his chair. "But, as the years passed, I realized I would probably never find her - not the sister I knew, anyway. So, I had to give her up - forget her. Forever. But, I could and would still get my revenge on the entire population of the Ghost Zone!"
"But, Jack," Maddie began. "Danielle . . ."
"No!" Jack exclaimed, rising from the table. "I'm done talking about this! Done talking about her! She's gone and she's never coming back! I don't want her name mentioned in this house ever again!"
Maddie opened her mouth to protest, but Jack stopped her: "Never again!"
Jack stormed down to the lab; each angry step shook the house. Maddie put her head in her hands and sighed.
Maddie put her hand up to silence her son. "No, Danny, no more. It's over." Then she rose, and followed her husband downstairs.