I am writing this in answer to a challenge by Gecko Osco, to write a story with no pairings (though there are allusions to possibilities, this story isn't about romance, couples or love…it's about Danny's inner struggle).
This is drama, not angst though I know the beginning is sorta angsty…sorry. This is going to be short, just a few chapters. We are not going to have a repeat of Exile here.
Summary: Danny is fed up with ghost fighting. He just wants to live a normal life. Will the prophecy from a psychic help or hurt him?
As always, all standard disclaimers apply. I do not own Danny Phantom or even Spiderman.
The Haunted One
It was a rainy Saturday morning that found our beloved ghost boy lazing in bed reading a comic book. He wad in a decidedly foul mood as he skimmed the colorful cartoon pages.
"With great power comes great responsibility," Danny read out loud, then threw the Spiderman comic book across the room in disgust. He didn't want the great powers and he certainly didn't want the responsibility. All he wanted was to lead a completely normal, average life. He wasn't some two dimensional comic book hero who could effortlessly adhere to the constraints of his great responsibilities. He was a boy, a human, fallible, imperfect kid.
Danny Fenton now aged sixteen grumbled as he put his bare feet on the cool floor of his bed room then decided maybe he didn't want to get out of bed today. Maybe he just wanted to ignore all the ghosts and all the responsibility. He laid back across his bed and looked up at the ceiling.
He worked hard to retain his sense of normalcy, well as normal as you can be having parents like Jack and Maddie Fenton. Sometimes he felt like a member of the Addam's family. He knew Jazz felt the same way, though since learning about his ghost powers, she'd become a great deal more interested in ghost hunting than she had been. It made Danny unhappy that the most stable person he knew had been infected with the craziness his accident in the ghost portal had unleashed.
Danny groaned as someone knocked on his bedroom door. "Go away," he grumped. "Just leave me alone."
"Danny," Jazz whispered as she cracked the door open. "Tucker and Sam are here…."
Danny covered his head with a pillow and growled. He loved his two best friends. They meant the world to him, they were the rocks he clung to in the crazy torrent that had become his life. Unfortunately, they were just kids themselves and Danny felt guilty for leaning on them so heavily. These days, he did his best to shield them from as much of the ghost fighting as he could. He didn't want to see Sam kidnapped into The Ghost Zone and betrothed to some whacked out ghost ever again. He didn't want Tucker to have to play power crazy Pharaoh or for either to become a victim of Desiree. It was hard work protecting his two friends, who became the unwitting victims of ghostly plot after ghostly plot, simply because of their association with him. He considered cutting ties with them completely, but he just couldn't do it. He needed them too much.
Of course, Danny knew that Tucker and Sam loved the excitement of ghost fighting. In their way, they were just as crazy as the rest of them, but at least they understood how hard it was for him. They understood even more so after one crazy night which ended with both Sam and Tucker holding a totally stressed out ghost boy between them as he spilled out all his fears and worry because of the agony from the burns of a nasty ghost attack. They'd made more of an effort to go easy on him and follow his lead. They did all they could to make his life what he felt was normal.
Danny was aware of the pressure he put on them, but he simply couldn't carry the burden alone, even if he wasn't completely aware of the lack of normalcy in their lives. Both of his friends would drop what they were doing at a moments notice if he said he needed them. Sam proved that as she fled from her grandmother's death bed at a call for help from Danny. Tucker proved himself by canceling a date with a girl who finally said, she'd go out with him, because Danny needed help. Of course, Danny had no clue of the things his friends went through for him, and if he did, the news might finally drive him over the precipice of insanity he felt perched on from time to time.
Sam and Tucker crept gently into Danny's room then looked at each other worriedly after seeing their friend laying with his head under the pillows. Tucker raised his eyebrows and mouthed. "It's your turn." Sam nodded her head, straightened her shoulders and walked forward.
These days it was impossible to tell what you were going to get with Danny. Gentle, funny boy or acerbic, volatile young man. Today seemed to be one of the latter days. Sam was experienced at handling Danny's mood shifts. She sat down at the edge of the bed and in an almost motherly fashion lifted the pillow from his head and looked down into his angry face.
"Good morning Sunshine," She said sarcastically as she raised her eyebrows and sent him a challenging look. The corner's of Danny's mouth twitched slightly as he met Sam's gaze. She was almost daring him to be mean. Danny grabbed his pillow away from her and whacked her upside the head. Sam blocked the shot with the easy finesse of someone used to dodging wayward flying objects and continued to smile down at her friend.
"We're going to the carnival today." She told him in a short tone of voice. "Remember?"
"I don't feel like going anywhere," Danny answered as he covered his eyes with his arm, a big mistake with Sam sitting beside him on the bed. Sam shot a quick glance to Tucker who shook his head in exasperation then flexed her fingers for a moment before shooting forward and attacking one of Danny's most ticklish areas, his arm pit.
"Agggh!" Danny cried and laughed as he tried to get away from Sam's prodding and tickling fingers which had moved down to his ribs. He tried to get away, but Sam had secured herself and knew all Danny's moves, there was no getting away without using his ghost powers.
"Mercy!" Danny laughed. "Please. Mercy."
"Are you going to get dressed?" Sam asked. "Or am I going to have to do it for you."
"No," Danny said as he shot out of bed. "I'll get dressed. Go in the hall." Sam nodded her head then sent Tucker a knowing look as she walked past him and through the door, closing it behind her with a quiet click.
Tucker, by virtue of being a boy and having changed a million times with Danny in the locker room, had a pass to stay. He watched as Danny shorted through his dresser for fresh clothes.
"Do you have to watch me like that?" Danny asked irritably.
"No," Tucker answered as he walked to Danny's bookshelf. He noticed the comic book splayed across the floor, picked it up, and began leafing through it.
"So are you going to be a jerk all day or what?" Tucker threw over his shoulder to Danny.
"Yes I am," Danny spat as he pulled a red and white tee shirt over his head.
"Great," Tucker sighed as he continued to read the comic book. "So what's the problem? Rough night?"
"Stupid snake ghosts everywhere," Danny growled, "Nasty fangs."
"Sorry," Tucker said as he looked up at Danny. "Why didn't you call."
"I didn't need to," Danny said shortly. Tucker only shrugged.
A knock sounded on the door and Sam asked from the outside. "Are you decent yet?"
"Yeah," Danny said as he finished pulling on his jeans. "You can come in."
Sam poked her head into the room then smiled as she entered the rest of the way. "This carnival looks so cool," she said searching for a happy topic of conversation.
"It's not anything Goth is it?" Danny asked tiredly.
"No," Tucker answered. "It's like an old time carnival. You know the kind with rigged games and everything."
"And a haunted house!" Sam said excitedly.
"Oh joy," Danny sighed as he rolled his eyes.
Sam walked forward and looked at Danny for a moment. He felt like she was putting him through some sort of inspection that she was itching for him to fail. "All right soldier," she said as if she knew what he was thinking. "comb your hair and I guess you'll pass."
"Yes mother," Danny said teasingly and was rewarded by a happy smile from Sam.
"Sometimes I feel like I'm your mother," She told him. "Especially when you act like a punk. Now get your butt in gear Fenton. This carnival has a psychic who is rumored to be pretty awesome. I want to get there before the line gets too long."
"A psychic?" Danny asked then shook his head. "There is no such thing as a psychic."
"Yeah," Sam answered sarcastically. "I know. Just like there are no such things as ghosts."
"Touche!" Tucker shouted and Danny sent him an angry glance.
Sam was right. The carnival was of the normal variety, right now to the greasily attired carnies yelling out calls to play their rigged games. Danny's mood began to lighten up as he took in the diesel smell and the sounds of the rides working, people screaming in delight, and all the carnival smells. The fact that Sam had bought him a tremendous candied apple helped too.
"There it is!" Sam cried as she pointed to the psychic's tent. She grabbed Danny's hand and pulled him forward excitedly.
"Can't you do something about her?" Danny asked Tucker who was following along with an eager expression of his own.
"Dude," he answered. "I value my life too much to try. Why don't you do something?"
Danny grinned a little. "I want to live too," he replied. Tucker nodded his head. He had once compared Sam to a hurricane or a tornado. She was a force of nature. It was better to just go with the flow rather than try to fight her.
Sam stopped in front of a sign which read: Madam LaRouche Psychic extraordinaire. Find the answers you seek! Love, Money, Career, Connect with Loved Ones in the Great Beyond.
Danny read the last line and snorted through his nose, which garnered an annoyed look from Sam.
"Have an open mind," Sam growled. "I'm first!." She shoved a wad of money into Danny's hand, gave Tucker a look which said, "Don't let him get away," and entered the tent.
The tent was dark and spooky, curtains were hanging everywhere and the scent of a strange incense filled the air. Sam shivered in excitement as she walked forward. Someone motioned for her to sit down and told her to wait.
It wasn't long before an a rather average woman sat down across from Sam and looked expectantly at the Goth girl. Sam opened her mouth then frowned.
"Are you going to tell me my future?" She finally asked.
The woman raised her eyebrows. "Are you sure you want to know? Sometimes things are better left untold."
"Well I wouldn't have come here if I didn't want to know," Sam said trying not to sound annoyed.
The woman eyed her for a moment then handed her a deck of cards. "Cut them for me will you?" she asked. Sam looked down at the pile of tarot cards on the table and shivered. She quickly cut the cards then looked expectantly at the psychic.
"So what do you want?" The psychic asked. "The truth or what you want to hear? Do you need realities prettied up for you?"
"No," Sam answered. "You can be honest." The psychic nodded her head and began to flip card over, laying them on the table. She looked at them thoughtfully for a moment then up at the Goth girl.
"Life is short," The psychic started to say, "You've learned this. You have no expectations about anyone but yourself. You hold yourself to high standards and don't care what other's think of you."
"Yeah," Sam agreed. "But I'm not hear to learn about myself. I already know who I am."
The woman chuckled to herself as she continued to lay out cards. She frowned and looked up at Sam for a minute. "Your health isn't as good as you pretend is it?"
Sam shrugged. She didn't tell anyone about the headaches she'd been having for the past year, not even Tucker and Danny, or about her morning nausea which often resulted in puking for about thirty minutes.
"You need to tell someone before it's too late," The psychic said. "Every second counts." Sam opened and closed her mouth.
"Am I going to die?" Sam asked.
"Yes," the psychic answered. Sam felt a chill of alarm. "Everyone dies. It's a sure thing."
Sam almost wanted to laugh, she was buying into this psychic a little too much. She sighed and was about to thank the woman and leave when the woman laid down another card.
"Your Ghost boy won't be able to save you this time." She said. "You have to save yourself. Tell your mother to take you to the doctor when you get home or you will not see your eighteenth year."
Sam stood. Ghost boy! How did she know? She swallowed and was about to run when the psychic said. "When you wonder what caused it," the psychic said. "The answer is from the portal." The woman shook her head. "Does that mean something to you?" Sam nodded her head.
"It's not too late Samantha," the woman whispered. "But it will be soon."
Sam ran out of the tent and into the sunlight. She gasped for air for a moment then took several deep cleansing breathes as she looked around for Tucker and Danny. She caught sight of Tucker.
"Where's Danny?" She asked in panic.
"He went inside the tent," Tucker answered as he surveyed Sam's worried face. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah," Sam said absently as she considered going after Danny. What the psychic said could push him further to the edge….or help him.
"Sam?" Tucker asked. "What did she tell you?"
Sam shook her head. She didn't want to tell Tucker. "She just knew things she shouldn't have known," was her only answer.
Okay this isn't going to be exactly what you think. In fact this story is going to be extremely short and almost entirely Danny centric (I'm trying to make amends with him). Yes Sam is very sick but….well you'll just have to see what happens
Do you think I should continue with this or does it seem…lame?
And Deeds if you're there. I have your story. I'll give you an opinion after I take more looks at it.