A/N: Here it is. The bittersweet finale. I do hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom or any characters or plots associated with it, nor am I making any money off of this.
I drifted lazily over Casper High, nostalgia taking me over as I watched the kids run out into the chilly March air, which wasn't affecting me in the slightest. Two of them - Sam and Tucker - looked up at me, and waved. I waved back.
It's been awhile, I thought. It had been close to two years since I'd stepped foot inside that school.
"Danny - get over here. Skulker, behind Bucky's." I sighed as Valerie's voice came through the Fenton Phones we used to communicate.
"On it." I paused as I began to change my direction. "You ever miss it?" I asked, pushing the mouthpiece closer to my mouth.
"School." Valerie had dropped out as soon as she could. Her father hadn't been happy about it, but she had told him the people needed her. Heck, I needed her. She was brilliant.
"Naw," she said. "But then, I could go back if I wanted to."
I laughed, happy to know she understood what I was talking about.
Bucky's Music Megastore, now in plain sight, loomed over me, and I increased my speed somewhat as I got closer.
"Gerroff!" Valerie yelled, and I winced as the sound was transmitted through the Phones. I rounded the corner, and saw Val fighting, hand to hand, with Skulker. I switched off the intercom, and blasted Skulker in the back. He faltered, slightly, but quickly turned around to face me. A set of un-launched missiles popped out from a plate in his arm, and I yawned.
"Skulky, get some new tricks. I brought the thermos today." Valerie smiled behind Skulker, and pulled out her own.
"I don't see it on your person, ghost - ack!" Val uncapped hers, hit the button, and sucked Skulker in.
"Smooth," she complimented.
"I've been working on my lying skills," I said, shrugging. "Didn't want them to fall to pieces due to lack of use." I flew closer to the ground, and transformed. She deactivated the suit (now missing the mask).
"Told Sam and Tuck we'd meet 'em at Elmer's for ice cream," I said, "if no ghosts attacked."
"Fine by me." We began the short walk to the pharmacy in silence. "Why do you just take it?" Valerie asked after a beat. She covered her mouth instantly afterwards, a sheepish look crossing her face.
I laughed reassuringly. "It's not a problem. If you want to know, it's just 'cause I don't exactly have the right of free speech, and I don't want my parents to get into trouble. Human rights only apply to humans, after all, and I think I can live with it so long as they let me live at home and fight ghosts." Lies, all lies. I could hardly stand it, but if I tried to do anything, they'd just ship me back off. The people of Amity Park deserved to be protected . . . and their protector was under 24/7 surveillance.
Val nodded reluctantly. "Sorry. I've just wanted to know that for awhile, now. I didn't mean to -"
"Val, be quiet. It's fine, really," We stepped inside Bucky's, and Val waved absently at Starr, who was working behind the cosmetics counter.
As soon as we entered the café area, Sam and Tucker gestured towards themselves to show us where they were, and we went on over.
"Hey," Sam greeted, licking her tofu cone. "You flew off pretty fast earlier. Ghost fight?"
"Ghost fight," Valerie and I confirmed in unison.
"It's been quiet recently," Tucker commented, wriggling a bit further around the booth so that Val and I could slide in.
"Yeah. But then, we've been on patrol more often, too."
"Mm," Sam agreed, focused on the environmental report playing on the TV a couple of feet away from our table. I shoved her playfully in the arm.
"What, am I so boring that 'Today's Environment With Allen Carnage' has managed to capture your attention?" She was about to hit me back when she straight dropped her tofu cone. Tucker's attention was drawn, too, so I didn't quite think the object of their interest was the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
I turned around slowly, now actually listening to the TV. Valerie did, too.
". . . government official Benedicta Garner, for years known as simply another homeland security advisor, has leaked - accidentally, she claims - the existence of a facility where . . ."
"Holy crap," Tucker said, his eyes widening at a steady pace. "That's where you were, wasn't it?"
I nodded, numb. They can't, you know, blame this on me, can they? I wondered silently.
". . . Mrs. Garner, a mother of one, apparently had her daughter kept there, for what she called 'the presence of hydrokinetic powers.' Yes, you heard me right. Action News has now confirmed the existence of . . . ahem, 'super humans.' That's right, Daniel Fenton wasn't the only one, as much as we'd like to believe it. It has been rumored that was where the teenager disappeared to for three months two years ago, but nothing has been confirmed . . ."
"I-is this a good thing?" Valerie asked.
"I don't know," I answered honestly. Sure, they were being revealed, but would people actually be revolted by the idea of the place? I knew I was, but I'm not exactly unbiased, and neither are my friends and family. Actually, it's amazing the amount of bias being a freak can bestow upon a person. I sighed deeply, and my three best friends looked at me, somehow understanding my intentions. It was time to stand up for myself, civil rights or no civil rights. I formed a shaky plan in my mind and prayed it would work out for the best.
All right, so I was a bit late on the draw. Cut me some slack.
I locked my eyes on the television screen, and prepared to teleport. Nifty little superpower I'd picked up somewhere along the way.
". . . claims have come in that the facility was used to house only dangerous people -" I heard the second part of that live. Really, really live. I calmed my nerves as quickly as I could.
Snow blinked, turning her swivel chair around halfway to greet me. I sat in her interview chair, head tilted to one side.
"M-Mr. Fenton, how, erm, lovely it is for you to join us," she said, clearly slightly freaked out.
"You certainly do get to report a lot of groundbreaking stories, Tiffany," I said jovially, but any fool could detect the bitterness behind the statement. "But one thing leads to another, and, well, here we are. You want more facts?" So I got slightly more eloquent in two years. These things happen.
"We are interrupting Mr. Carnage's show, Danny, so . . ."
"Story of the century," I coaxed. She sighed, and then, as if suddenly realizing she was still on air, put on her best this-situation-is-serious-and-I-really-do-care look. "Can you confirm the rumors that you spent three months at the Mt. Ivory Federal Holding Facility?"
"I can, in fact." If she had had a live audience, I'm sure there would've been a collective (staged) gasp. Snow did an excellent job of keeping a straight face. Toby had been right, two years previous. I could, in fact, appreciate a good lie.
"And what was your experience like there?"
I raised an eyebrow. "I was told I wasn't human, that my existence was a pain in the side of the universe, exposed to chemicals to make me forget my past, and, um, subjected to a game of psychological cat-and-mouse. The physical side of things . . . we were treated like guests in some ritzy hotel. Fewer complaints that way, they said."
Tiffany nodded, as if she could possibly understand. "How did you get back?"
"They let me out because, well, you remember. Amity Park and most surrounding cities were in shambles. They needed me to restore order. In the process they stripped me of all my civil rights. Oh!" I turned to her, being sure to keep a smile on my face. "Does it bother you that I'm breaking the law right now?"
Snow glanced at her director, who nodded at her vigorously, flashing her a thumbs up sign.
"No, not at all. If our hero has been deprived of what he potentially deserves more than anyone else -"
"I think we're forgetting the others. The ones still in Mt. Ivory. Which, actually," I said, glancing down at the watch my parents had bought me for my fifteenth birthday, "should be me within a matter of minutes. I'm under constant watch, you know." I heard the recognizable footsteps of a dozen GIW troopers coming closer. "Tell Mrs. Garner thank you for me, if you snag an interview. I only ever spoke to her once, but if she's managed to leak a secret like this, I commend her." I breathed in deeply, and wondered if I'd gone straight off the deep end. Whatever had possessed me to do that had left, and I did my best to keep up my bizarre charade as the Guys in White burst onto the set.
"Daniel Fenton, you are under arrest." I smiled brightly even as they pulled me off. Snow watched in horror. I'm sure the rest of the world was doing the same.
Everyone knew the GIW were idiots. Arresting me live on television when I'd just gotten through telling about the goons they apparently worked for was more than stupid, it was hysterical.
It was all I could do to hope that my little interview - reckless as it was - would spark something. And that Valerie could keep off the ghosts without me.
I just wish I hadn't waited so long, were my thoughts as, two hours later, the gun was fired.
Shame I wouldn't live to see the liberation movement.
A/N: Thank you to all of my reviewers (and sorry if I misspell any names):
Nixed Freedom, "Anonimous," Secret Spy Guy, HiddenAuthor, Sasia93, phantomshadowdragon, Alias Apparition, Dpbuckeye, Kraven the Hunter, deanine, mzullos5, December's Morose, DannyPhantom-14, Sunshine Silverjojo, Yami-chan and Unrealistic, Nonasuki-chan, Funkatron, AirGirl Phantom, "dfd," cordria, katiesparks, dizappearingirl, Flashx11, "Quacked Lurker," StarsOfTwilight, Tessa Kitsune, Cracked Moon, Chaos Dragon, "K Web," FreakLevel27, "Linda," "April B," Plushiemon, FantomoDrako, Grumbles, The Midnight Phantomess, Mystitat, "NARIMARAKU," ShadowLord9, FernClaw, purrbaby101, pearl84, magpie8spook, danna-chan, Fan-Fic-CC27, Bluemoonalto, Rebecca The Animorph, mushroomcloudslooklikebroccoli, Halfa-NariMaraku, Phantom Marbles, Twisted Creampuff, RhiannonGrey, Nubecula, UlrichxYumi DannyxSam 4ever, Gadget14, silvermoonphantom, Phantom figure, truephan, playing13dead, Elemental-Zer0, MirthfulJoltofAdventure, FunkyFish1991, "ben," Writer's-BlockDP, Hallbringer of destruction, Tevagirl 16, Devianta, Shaveza, angel-phantom-babii.
All sixty-nine of you! Dear me . . . Sixty-nine? Really? Wow. I hardly deserve it, but thanks. I'm glad the strong majority of you enjoyed this story so much, and I hope to see all of your names in my inbox the next time I try to write one of these things. Heh. And the stats . . . this story is on the favorites lists of fifty people, and the alerts list of seventy-three. Again, wow. Thank you all so very, very, much.