Every time I listen to music...I get a new fanfic idea. I forget what I was listening to when I suddenly thought of the last paragraph or so in this. At first I was like, "No, you are so not writing this, the idea's too popular!" But Danny just kept gesturing to me, letting me know that it may be the same idea but it was unique as all of my stories are, and that he was curious to what a teenager nearly as surly as him would do with this juicy and beautiful idea.

So, after much begging from Danny and a few moments of holding my head in my hands, I opened up a word doc and let my fingers talk to me. Fall Out Boy and Simple Plan kept me company as I began to write this.

And a little scary thing that's been happening to me lately; When ever I write, for some strange reason, I've been feeling like the character. Like, for instance, while I was writing this, I was crying because for a few moments I thought my family died and my five best friends did too. I couldn't handle it for a few minutes, to be truthful. My heart hurt, I felt more alone than I have in a long time, and a lot of other stuff. It was very nerve wracking.

Anyway, yes, this story was literally poking me in the head until I gave into the temptation and wrote it. You guys are probably like "Ohmygawd not another one of these! I've read fifty bazillion of them!" So...I'm sorry, I just had to.

Now, I must go write a stupid songfic that Breaking the Habit has given me (Cirque Du Freak). Aren't I lucky? -.-'

Disclaimer: Synonyms for depressed; miserable, rundown, unhappy, melancholy, dejected, low, down, sad, glum, deprived, poor, neglected, depressing. Synonyms for depressing; Toast. Definition of Toast; A depressing (see synonyms/depressed) fanfiction writer that likes to figure out what Danny Fenton is doing in his more melancholy moments. She does not own Danny, but adores Butch Hartman to pieces.

PS--the title is rather random and was thought of from it's origional title, "Before the Rain," which I was having trouble placing in the story.

Danny Fenton lay curled up into a tight ball upon his bed, clutching the news paper article tightly to his chest. Tears seeped through the flimsy paper, staining them an almost muddy brown color, but he didn't notice. He was too busy trying to control the shuddering gasps that sent his body shivering. He felt as if he was hyperventilating, and he knew that if he didn't stop himself soon, he'd make himself vomit or something along those lines.

He managed to control his breathing but the tears continued to flow at a relentless pace. The tears fell from his eyes and rolled down his cheeks as the late afternoon glow from the sun slowly faded to the purple of a sunset. Why had this happened? Danny hadn't wanted it to happen. He tried his hardest to stop it, in fact, but he was too late. The explosion had left him without his two best friends, the only teacher who had ever understood him, and his family. Was it any question he was lying, knuckles white against his knees, watching as the tears fled from his eyes? Any normal teenager would be doing that. He was just fourteen and was now an orphan. Ironic. Crazy. Lunacy.

Family members would be arriving soon, Danny knew. They'd be crying and hugging him, their eyes sparking with concern and sympathy for the little orphan boy. They'd say how sorry they were. They'd tell him they felt it was so sad they died at a Nasty Burger. But none of them actually knew what Danny knew, and, for that reason, Danny would not be able to accept their comfort.

Seconds, minutes, hours, passed by quickly as Danny stayed sitting on his simple bed. The sky above darkened, causing his room to become corrupted into a huge shadow, nearly darker than his hair. The well of tears had finally disappeared, leaving Danny's face feeling slightly raw as he slowly blinked and refused his human needs from arising. He wasn't human. He wouldn't allow himself to eat or use the bathroom. He would sit still and watch as the shadows slowly passed around his head and became light. He'd watch as the light betrayed him and became darkness again. He wouldn't move, no matter how badly he felt he needed too.

Only hours before he had been as normal as he could have hoped. He was talking with his friends, but as soon as they had to go into the future to save their necks…it was all over for Danny, or at least for his friends. Just a bit later, he had betrayed his friends and killed them. He missed them…yet he was their killer.

Slowly he changed into his ghost half, then back to his human half, watching rather sickly as his pale fingers transformed into silver gloves. Then back to pale fingers. Then back to silver gloves. Pale fingers. Silver gloves. Fingers. Gloves. A seemingly never ending cycle that happened as quickly as the eye could blink. From human to ghost, then back to human again. From life to death, then back to life again.

Why wasn't it him that was now getting ready to be buried? After all, he was the one that was part ghost; it wasn't Sam, Tucker, Mom, Dad, Jazz, or even dumb Mr. Lancer. It was him. Why hadn't he gone ghost and flew in front of them and taken the blow? If he had cared enough, he would have fought past the exhaustion the Ghostly Wail gave him. He could have died in place of them. At least he was sure he'd become a ghost again…but what were the odds they'd become ghosts, and what were the odds they'd find the Fenton Portal? At least Danny had traveled enough in the Ghost Zone that he would be able to find the Fenton Portal as quickly as he could snap his fingers. But, no. He was sitting on his bed, drained completely of tears, waiting silently for the rasps on the door that would signal family members coming to try and take him away.

He didn't want to leave. He wanted to stay in this house, where the presence's of his family and his friends was still thick in the air. If he walked into Jazz's room he could smell the perfume she had used still. He could see the college pamphlets laid out on her bed, Harvard, Princeton, and Yale's names circled on a piece of paper. The pro's and cons of each prestigious college tacked to her wall, like homemade wallpaper. Her piece on Ghost Envy spread out on the floor, each paper filled with miniscule writing and footnotes. Her laptop open to the document that would have held the final copy of her fifty-paged essay. All useless to a dead girl. All showing the remains of what would have become of Jazz if she had lived.

If he walked into his parent's room, he would have seen both of their college diplomas, declaring loudly and proudly that they were experts in the ghost field. Blueprints for a new ghost weapon—the one that would detect ghosts from ten miles around. Pictures of him and Jazz, from their baby days to their most recent school pictures. His parents must have felt rather old, having both of their kids in high school. Danny regretted that in his pictures, he had never smiled. He had always scowled, refusing to look at the camera lens. Is that the image his parents had of him in their mind when they died? Or was it worse, such as him running painfully towards them, but unable to save them? Maybe it was him with dark green skin, white hair that looked aflame, and a ghost. Danny shuddered and ducked his head closer to his knees, gulping in air as he tried to soothe himself.

But the soothing wasn't going well. The house was full of artifacts that reminded him of his family, and he was grateful for that; but, now that he was reflecting upon his behavior the past fourteen or so years, he started to realize his parents must have had a horrible image of him as they lay on their death beds. A surly, moody, and depressed teenager that wound his way to his bedroom instead of talking to his parents. A teenager that seemed to get more and more distant as time went on. A teenager that seemed to never care about anything but himself.

He felt as if he was the worst son in the entire world.

But, was it so hard to believe he was all of those negative traits? He was part ghost, for heaven's sake; he had every right to be a little gruff, a little temperamental, and a little morose. If his parents were part ghost, they would have been the same. Vlad was a perfect example of a halfa in the darkest stages; evil, malevolent, and nefarious. Vlad had understood how Danny felt. He had told Danny that he would always be there when Danny needed him. Why hadn't Danny been smart enough to just follow him? He wouldn't have had to go through this heartache, or if he did, it would be that less bad because he would be trained to be okay with it.

Danny's stomach churned with hunger, gnawing at his insides like fire. His shoulders arched back as it continued to growl at him, before he finally gave in to the fact that he was still half human and needed to eat.

Walking down the steps, he could almost see Jazz, his mom, and his dad standing at the foot of the stairs, their looks concerned.

"Danny, are you okay?" the imaginary Mom asked, her face tight with concern. If they had been real and Danny was feeling even slightly normal, the concern in her face would have been twisted into a leer of anger. Danny lowered his gaze as he realized this and pushed past the illusions, but they followed him as he slowly walked towards the kitchen, dragging his bare feet along the cold tile.

"Danny, we've been worried about you," hallucination Jazz purred. She walked in front of him, shimmering, putting her hands across the doorframe. Danny looked into the imaginary face and walked through her.

"Did a ghost overshadow you?" His dad walked around him in the kitchen and stood in front of him, cupping Danny's face in his overly large hands. Danny refused to look up into the face of his father. He was dead; Danny had to remind himself that. But they seemed so real…he felt that if he just touched one of them they would turn out to be solid…

Danny moved his face, not daring to believe that the hands would solidify and Sam and Tucker would walk through the doorway, munching on French Fries. His father's hands became wavy and detached before they closed back together and fell to his side. Danny's lips twitched in sadness as he walked towards the refrigerator and grabbed the simplest thing he could find; a pudding snack.

Sam and Tucker were the next to bother him, Sam walking up to him and hugging him tightly. "Danny, I'm sorry, but I had to tell your parents that you've been so distant," she whispered sadly into Danny's ear. "Tuck and I have been so worried…but don't worry; we didn't tell them you were part ghost."

Danny ripped himself from Sam's illusionary grasp and pivoted on his foot towards the silverware drawer. He grabbed a spoon and began to walk back up the stairs, but Tucker and Sam were in front of him next. Danny could feel the mirages of his sister and parents behind him.

"Talk, Danny! We're so worried," Sam's face betrayed her concern. Danny glared at the floor and pushed past his two best friends, reminding himself once more that they were dead. Dead. Dead. Dead.

The word became stronger as he chanted it inside his head.

His family danced around him, as well as Sam and Tucker, talking randomly, their mouths opening to show the scenery behind them. Before Danny knew it he was muttering the words "dead" under his breath.

"Dead, dead, dead, dead, dead." He began to say it louder and faster. The hallucinations stopped and looked at each other quizzically.

"Danny—?" Tucker began, but Danny stopped as his hand rested on his doorknob.

"YOU'RE DEAD, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" he cried, dropping the pudding snack and feeling his knees weaken. He held tightly onto the doorknob, using it as support as he stared at the images before him.

They stayed. Jazz began to open her mouth, probably to blurt out the impossibility that they were dead. Danny let go of the doorknob and fell to his knees, hands over his ears.

"Just leave me alone! You're DEAD! Go away, please!" Danny closed his eyes and fought back the tears that were beginning to come once more. The well had filled up again. Danny opened his eyes slowly, pleased to see that the images of his family and friends were now gone, just ghosts of his past as well as his imagination.

Gulping, he rested his back against his door and brought his knees up to his chest. Maybe the presence of his family was a bit too strong. But, still, he wouldn't leave. No. He had grown up in this house, and he wouldn't leave it for the simple fact that his parents were dead. No big deal. He could get a side job, pay for the rent, live off of welfare for a bit if that's what it took. People would give him the benefit of the doubt, right? He was fourteen and trying to make it in the world. People would feel sorry. People would give him breathers if he needed it.

Danny pulled his head away from his knees and stretched it out across the wall, closing his eyes as his black hair fell into his face. Without realizing he was doing it, he began to bang his head against the door slowly, listening to the door jingle sadly in the door frame.

Who would he go to if he had to leave? His mother's side of the family wouldn't dare want him to bring ghost books, and if they ever got a glimpse of him going ghost or of him in his ghost form flying away they'd kick him out and say it was his fault ghosts were now pestering them. His father's side of the family? He wasn't even sure he wanted to go and live there, if they turned out to be half as idiotic as his father. So, where did that leave him? Still orphaned and alone.

But, there was one more option. Danny's hands clenched angrily as he realized it, not wanting to believe he would ever do such a thing. No! He wouldn't betray his family and friends that way. No! No! No! Impossible! He wanted to shut up his mind; stab a knife through the imperishable thought that wanted to chafe against Danny's sanity.

Madison, Wisconsin.

Vlad's. House.

An impossibility to even want, yet a bright light at the end of a long and dark tunnel.

Tears slid silently down his cheeks as he admitted it to himself. The only person that would ever be able to understand a single thing he was thinking about would be Vlad Masters. He was part ghost. He had lost everything in an explosion that just so happened to take away part of his humanity. Vlad would help him. Vlad would understand. Vlad would be sympathetic to a tolerable extent.

But, no. He wouldn't do that to his family. Mom and Dad had been angry with him. He had tried to kill his Dad more than once. He was evil and coldhearted and everything nasty and vile.

Yet he had offered Danny protection from the harsh rays of being part ghost. Yet he was nice to him when Danny was nice to him. Yet Danny was nearly positive he would accept him.

Gulping, Danny quickly went ghost and let himself fade through the floor onto the first floor and then down to the basement. He stood in front of the ghost portal, glaring at it with hate as he thought what he was going to do.

He dove through and found Vlad's portal quickly, not trusting himself for one moment to hesitate.

Vlad was drumming his fingers against the controls. He looked as if he had been waiting for Danny.

"Daniel Fenton," he purred softly, not raising his head or turning toward the portal or Danny. Danny hung his head slightly, rubbing his eyes so they wouldn't betray too much of his sadness. "Daniel Fenton. Parentless. Sisterless. Friendless. An impossibility, isn't it? To have no one to turn to…no one who would understand…," his voice trailed off.

"There's you," Danny said quietly, looking up. Vlad's seat suddenly whipped around, and Danny saw the cold and harsh face of Vlad that had always sent shivers down his spine. But this time, instead of malicious evil reigning on his face, he saw sadness and compassion on it. His eyes were wet with grief, but no tears slid down his cheeks. Danny was startled to see how sad he was.

"Believing I am incapable of human-like emotions, young Daniel?" Vlad whispered softly. "Surprised that I can feel sorry for you and your dead family? Shocked that it was not me who killed your father? Sympathetic towards your situation? Daniel, do not believe the images people give out to you. They can sometimes be wrong. You must look deeper into them, delve into their existence. I could very easily say that you are—were—a sadistic teenager, but I knew better." He paused, wetting his lips slightly as he looked down at his hands. "I knew you were kind and loving. I knew you just wanted to protect your town. I may not have—and I still do not—understand your reasoning, but I admire your heroism. Look deeper into the malevolent front I give off. Maybe I am evil and foul and wicked; but there are good traits to me, which include the want to help you."

Danny's mouth worked sadly, but was unable to produce words. Danny tried harder, only to blurt out, "will you adopt me?" He hadn't wanted to say that so quickly; he wanted to say it slyly, maybe ask Vlad what his real personality was. But he had blurted out the question that burned him with its scalding reality.

Vlad's lips pulled into a sad smile. "If that is what you want, Daniel. I will adopt you, even though I am the one that had always tried to kill your father. Even though I am the one that you hated. Even though I am the one that needs to start internet dating—or get a cat." He paused, letting Danny feel slightly sorry that he had been so cruel to Vlad before hand.

"There's just no one other than you now that knows that I'm part ghost. And your part ghost too. Maybe you can understand, even a little bit, of what I'm going through," Danny mumbled softly. Vlad nodded slightly.

"Yes, Daniel, I do understand what your going through, and I am the last soul alive that knows you are part ghost, and I am the only soul I know of that can even begin to understand the pain of being part ghost. If you truly want me to adopt you, we will begin the legal fight for my custody over you."

Danny nodded, his fiery green eyes softened by the tears within them. "Thanks, Vlad."

"It is okay, Danny," Vlad responded, looking away from Danny and picking up a phone. "It is five in the morning; I suggest you head back home. I'll call the courts and tell them about our…talk—I'll say it was over the phone—and we will begin after that."

Danny's eyes softened as he turned away from Vlad, feeling dilapidated and slightly lethargic. He began to walk towards the ghost portal before Vlad called out to him.


Danny looked over his shoulder.

"I will see you soon." Vlad's face softened slightly with the curve of a smile. Danny's shoulders slumped, unbelievable relief flooding through him.

"Yeah. See you soon."

Many days passed as Danny watched the minutes mold into hours and the hours mold into days. Family members arrived, but they agreed with his decision to live with Vlad. He was a family friend, and the family members hoped he would take care of their young and orphaned nephew. Vlad fought with those who disagreed, saying it was what Maddie and Jack (Danny's stomach tightened when ever he heard their names) would have wanted of their son.

No one could fight that logic.

Before Danny knew it, he and Vlad were standing side by side in a court house. The judge looked at Danny fully in the face. "Daniel Fenton, are you sure this is who you want to be your legal guardian? You don't want one of your aunts or uncles…?"

Danny shook his head, looking back at the judge. "No. Vlad will be a good guardian for me until I can move out."

The judge nodded once, and turned towards Vlad. "I grant you custody over this boy. Take good care of him. His well being now resides in your very capable hands."

Vlad nodded and placed his hands on Danny's shoulders, allowing himself to smile as Danny turned his face. "Are you pleased?"

Danny shrugged, but, as he did, he began to form a strange idea in his mind. His heart ached as he let it form and take shape in his mind, but he couldn't shove it away.

Human pain was linked to humans, was it not? The emotional numbness of depression belonged to humans only. Human thoughts. Human emotions. Human beliefs. Danny Fenton was not only human, but part ghost.

Was it possible for Danny to get his humanity taken away from him? Danny clutched his duffle bag that sat on his lap as Vlad drove him towards his house. The car was silent during the ride. Danny's mind was a whirlwind of unbelievable thoughts and wishes.

What if…?

What if Danny's humanity was taken away from him?

Would the pain be gone?

"Hey, Vlad?" Danny asked tentatively.

Vlad's head turned to look at Danny, his eyes large and wide with the concern of an adoptive father.

"What if…"

The air in the car thickened as Danny explained his incredible idea.