I'm back! First, I would like to thank all of my reviewers, especially the ones that told me how to make the fire more realistic. I had already written the whole story, but I tried to fit some your advice in. I think I replied to all of the signed reviewers, but I'm not completely sure because the review alert thing isn't working.
Important: Thoughts are in italics. Since this is a TwoShot, this is the last chapter. There's no more to it, I never planned for there to be more.
On with the fic...
It's What He's Used To
Danny ran back up to the third floor where he had found Greg, then up some more stairs to the fourth floor, the crackling fire getting steadily louder. By the time he reached the fifth floor, he was out of breath, though the oxygen mask was helping. The heat was especially intense up here and the fire was roaring loudly. He was in such haste that he had tripped at least half a dozen times, not counting the moments when parts of the floor split under his feet or the stair steps cracked, sending him crashing down a few steps.
"Can anybody hear me? Is anybody here?" He called yet again. He heard a high pitched voice scream something, and headed in that direction.
Danny entered another room, if you could call it that. The walls were black and were threatening to fall; it was a miracle they were still upright. He noticed a hand waving at him to his right. He went over and saw a woman trapped underneath a large pile of ceiling tiles, wood, and some furniture that had apparently fallen from the floor above. The only part you could see of the woman was her head, shoulder, and one arm, which was wrapped around two small boys. All three were coughing vigorously.
"Oh, thank God! I'm trapped and my son and his friend need help." She said.
"Here, I'll try to get some of this junk off you," Danny offered, but the woman refused.
"No. That'll just waste time. Help Andrew and Tommy. They need it more than me. You can come back later if you want, but just make sure they make it out, please!"
She was right. There was no way all three of them were going out at once. She was probably injured and he'd have to help her walk. There was no way Danny could do that while also helping the two kids.
This would be so much easier with ghost powers.
"All right. But take my oxygen mask." Danny said as he gave his mask to her.
"No, give it to the boys. They need it more than I do." She handed it to the boys, who took turns breathing into it.
"Actually, you need it more than they do. I'll get them out. They're going to live. You need to stay alive long enough for me to come back and get you, which means you'll need to breathe." Danny turned Tommy and Andrew. "Breathe in one last time, then give it to her. She needs it."
The two young children nodded, breathed one last time, then handed it to the woman. "Bye, Mommy." Andrew said sadly.
"Goodbye, Sweetheart. I love you. Don't worry, you'll make it. Bye, Tommy." She then looked at Danny. "What's your name?"
"God Bless you, Danny!"
Danny crouched down on the floor, desperately wishing he had another oxygen mask. The smoke was thicker than ever. "Tommy, can you climb onto my back and hold on tight? It'll be easier."
Tommy complied and Danny took Andrew's hand. They picked their way out of the room and back into the hall. Danny helped Andrew over a bedside table and started running as fast as he could toward the stairs. Of course, it was more like fast walking because he had to jump over fallen, burning objects and over holes in the floor and avoid running into the fire that surrounded them.
Their first big problem was trying to get across a huge gap in the floor. It was too long for Danny to jump over it with two kids in tow, and there was no way to go around it. He knew there wasn't much chance of him tossing Andrew and Tommy to the other side and neither of them falling in, so he looked for another possible solution. He looked around for something that was somewhat stable looking and not on fire. He spotted a long piece of wood that was most likely from a wall. It had a few burned pieces and holes in it, but it looked halfway decent.
Danny dragged it over the hole and laid it across the gap. He told the boys to walk across it. Once they reached the other side, Danny thought it would work, but when he stepped onto the wood he could feel it groan and splinter underneath his foot. He tried the same technique he used with the stairs; quick and light-footed. Danny was almost at the end when the wood finally gave. He gave one last leap and managed to plant one foot on the other side and fall to the floor beside Tommy and Andrew. They were all okay, but Danny had scraped his shin badly against the wood when he landed. He could see blood through his ripped and scorched jeans.
All three stood and went on their way, Tommy on Danny's back. It was getting more difficult to breathe every second. They were all violently coughing by the time they reached the fourth floor, desperately trying to get more oxygen into their lungs and less smoke. The smoke was also making it hard to see. Danny and Andrew kept tripping over obstacles that they had only seen when they were a few inches away. Danny could tell that both boys were getting dangerously close to passing out, and if they became unconscious, they might never wake up.
On the third floor, a piece of burning debris fell through the air, landing two feet away from Andrew, who jumped backwards as fast as he could and almost causing Danny to fall. While he was still regaining his balance, Tommy suddenly yelled and pointed. Danny looked up and saw another chunk of burning debris headed for them. He quickly dodged and picked up the pace.
They reached the second floor, which was in a much worse condition than when Danny left it. He picked up Andrew and sprinted for the stairway, hurtling over flaming objects, leaping over small gaps in the floor, and dodging the occasional burning whatever that fell from the ceiling. He arrived at the stairs with the two kids in tow, glad to know they were almost out.
"Just a bit further. We're going to make it!" He shouted.
He wasn't so happy once he saw what was at the bottom of the stairs, though. The very bottom steps were on fire. They were trapped. Tommy slid off Danny's back and stood by Andrew, both mouths open in shock and disbelief.
"What're we going to do, Danny?" Tommy asked.
"We can't get through the fire. It's too high," Andrew added.
"Um….we're going to get out, don't worry. Just give me a minute to think," Said Danny.
Well, we could go back up to the second story and jump through a window, but we'd never make it. We have to go through the fire somehow. Once again, ghost powers would really come in handy about now.
Danny studied the fire. It was about four feet high, with only three feet between the top of the flames and the ceiling, give or take a few inches. He looked at the two kids, who were looking back at him with soot blackened faces and fear in their eyes. They were probably around three feet, maybe a little shorter. He had an idea, he didn't like it much, but it was the only thing he could think of. He just hoped it would work.
"I'm going to toss you over the flames." He stated.
"What? We'll be burned!" Tommy exclaimed.
"No, you won't. You're just the right height to squeeze between the fire and the ceiling. I don't know what else to do, do you?"
"But what're you gonna do? Are you gonna jump over, too?" Andrew said.
"No, I can't get over it. I'm going to go back for your mom, Andrew. Once you two are on the other side, run to the front door. There will be firemen to take care of you. It'll be all right," Danny added, since the boys didn't look too convinced.
Danny picked up Andrew, hesitated for a moment, then tossed him over the fire, hoping that his head wouldn't hit the ceiling or he wouldn't fall into the flames. Astonishingly, he made it. Andrew landed with a thud on the other side.
"Are you okay, Andrew?" Danny said.
"Yeah, I think so," came the reply.
"Your turn, Tommy," said Danny. He repeated the process with Tommy, who also made it over the fire without great injury.
"Now get out of the building. Hurry!" Yelled Danny.
Tommy and Andrew looked around the first floor until they located the door and ran out. They saw two fire trucks outside and rushed over to them. Some of the firemen were holding large water hoses and more were by one of the trucks, gathering gear. A fairly large group of people (including a few reporters and cameramen) had gathered on the street, held back by the police, who were blocking off the area with yellow tape. Several firemen ran to meet them and walked the boys to one of the trucks. They gave the kids oxygen masks and quickly checked them over for any serious injuries.
"Are you two okay?" One of them asked.
"Yes," said Andrew. "You have to go help my mommy. She's stuck under a whole bunch of stuff. Danny went to help her."
"Danny? Who's Danny?"
"He saved us." Tommy said. "I rode on his back and he tossed us over the fire so we could get out."
The fireman turned to a second fireman and said, "There are still two people inside. Someone named Danny and this boy's mother, who's trapped."
"Danny? You mean that kid that went in earlier?" The second firefighter just happened to be Mark. "You gotta send some men in. He's probably half-dead by now and the woman needs help."
The first fireman jogged over to a group of firemen who were suiting up to go inside the building and explained the situation. A few minutes later about seven men ran into the building, determined to rescue the two people still inside.
After hearing two sets of footsteps run towards the front door of the house, Danny turned around and headed back the way he came. He wasn't sure that, even if he helped Andrew's mom get to the stairs, either of them could get over the wall of fire. He had to try, though. It was best to concentrate on one thing at a time, which right now was getting to Andrew's mom. It was easier said than done, of course. Danny had been in the building for a while, now, and he was beginning to get really light-headed from breathing in too much smoke. His injuries, most noticeably his leg, were paining him, too.
Danny made it halfway up the stairs to the third story when his foot fell through a step. He yanked on his ankle, but his foot was still stuck. He made his ankle and foot as straight as he could and tried to pull it out, but to no avail. He crouched down, grabbed his ankle, and pulled as hard as he could, wiggling his foot, but nothing happened except that a few more splinters got lodged into his ankle. He looked around and found the heaviest thing he could (a candlestick) and hacked at the wood. After a few minutes, he was finally able to pull his foot free and continue up the stairs.
His progress through the third floor was painfully slow. The smoke was so thick that (besides hardly being able to breathe) he couldn't see anything at all, so he was constantly stubbing his toe or falling over things, injuring himself further. Danny decided to crawl from now on; he hadn't earlier because he could go faster walking upright. As he dropped to his hand and knees, the burning in his eyes lessened and he could breathe a bit easier, but it was only the slightest of improvements.
Danny had crawled across most of the third floor before he collapsed. His arms and legs suddenly gave way and he was now lying on his stomach with his head turned to the side so he could breathe what little oxygen he could. He laid there for a minute or two; his mind had gone momentarily blank. Then he remembered what he had to do.
I have to get to the woman. I have to save her, she's trapped. She'll die if I don't get there soon. Andrew shouldn't have to grow up without a mom. That's not fair. She needs to survive to take care of her kid. I have to get up. Now.
Danny tried to get up, but couldn't. He tried to move his arms and legs, but they wouldn't move. His body needed oxygen to function normally, and right now it wasn't getting any. It was only a matter of how long he could hold his breath, now. His vision blurred and he closed his eyes, but soon opened them again, knowing he couldn't afford to go unconscious. He saw another burning something fall only a foot next to him, and again tried to get up. It didn't work.
I couldn't save her. I failed.
Danny's eyes closed again, but this time, they didn't reopen.
Meanwhile the firefighters had advanced to the second floor of the building. Their eyes were darting all around, seeking out Danny and Andrew's mom. Not finding them on that floor, they headed to the third. There they searched again, but didn't see anything. They started jogging towards the stairs when one man gave a shout of surprise. He had tripped over something. He glanced back to see what it was. It was a person. The person was almost totally covered with black soot and dirt, except for some red spots that turned out to be blood. The fireman, David, turned the person over and realized this must be Danny. The teenager must have been trying to reach the woman and fainted. It had been too much for him. Wondering if he was still alive, David took Danny's pulse. It was very faint, but it was still there. He shouted for the others to come over.
"I found Danny. He's got a pulse, but it's really faint. I can hardly feel it."
"Good." Harry, the chief fireman, said. "Get him out of here. The rest of you, keep looking for the woman."
David carefully lifted Danny off the floor while the others ran up the stairs.
"Poor kid. You saved three people. You deserve to live, if anyone does. Just hold on, I'll get ya out."
David carried Danny down two flights of stairs and out into the open air. "You made it out, Danny." He set the teen down on the sidewalk and took his pulse again. But this time, there wasn't one. Danny was dead.
As David stared down at the young hero, he heard a shriek, some police officers yelling for someone to stay back, and then footsteps coming his way. He looked up and saw two teenagers; a female dressed in black and purple, and a male with a red beret on his head. The girl fell to her knees and started sobbing, hugging Danny. The boy stood there, looking like he didn't know what to do.
"Did you know him?" David asked.
"Yeah, he was out best friend," the boy said in a quiet tone.
David heard the crowd cheer and looked to see his comrades carrying the woman out of the building, alive, only moments before it collapsed. She already had an oxygen mask and was breathing heavily into it. He realized that Danny must have given her the mask earlier, therefore saving her, too, but at the cost of his own life. If Danny hadn't given his mask away, he wouldn't be dead. David wondered why he did it. Mark had told everyone earlier how Danny had disobeyed him and ran into the building to save Greg, then run back in to save Andrew and Tommy. He had also saved the woman. He saved four people's lives. Why? Most teenagers didn't care; they wouldn't give a second thought to some burning building. Most teenagers would have passed on by, maybe glancing at it, but not really caring. They would forget about it five minutes later. But not Danny. He gave his life to save four others, even when he was repeatedly told not to go in there.
"Why?" David asked. "Why did he do it? Why did he save all those people?"
"Because it's what he's used to," the girl said.
Review, please. Tell me what you thought of it. If it was cheesy, if it didn't seem real, constructive criticism, or anything else you can think of.