Danny Phantom: A Terrible Loss

Rating: T for violence, blood, all that good stuff.

The Usual Disclaiming: My plot, not my world or people.

Summary: Danny never told his parents that he was Danny Phantom, Public Enemy #1. So what happens when his father finally corners him… and cuts him down?

Author's Note: I was growing sick of all the stories that are completely S/D or D/D or any of those other pairings where there is tremendous loss and tragedy, but it only affects them. What about the families, the friends, all the people that loss can affect? This is that story.

Chapter 1: Not Like This

Jack clutched the Fenton Cutlass in his sweaty palms, staring into the wide, fearful eyes of the Ghost Boy as he stood back against the wall of the dungeon, ghostly tendrils covering his mouth, arms and legs, making him unable to move. The old ghost hunter smiled. He was more powerful than this ghost; he was just about victorious! He would save Danny and Sam and Tucker and show that he truly was a great ghost hunter. He gripped the cutlass tighter. All he had to do was eliminate this boy. Public Enemy #1 had gone too far this time. He was now Personal Enemy #1.

The ghost boy shook his head, trying to say something through the ectoplasmic goo covering his mouth. He looked so frantic, fearful.

"Don't try to reason with me, Ghost Boy," Jack said. "This is the final straw, kidnapping my son and his friends. You must be destroyed."

There were muffled outcries from the children behind him. Jack refused to take his eyes off of the defeated ghost.

"It's over…. NOW!" Jack screamed in full-on rage. It took over him, his vision turning red, and he thrust forward with the cutlass with a cry.

It sliced into the ghost child's stomach like a knife through yogurt. It slid deep into it, until the hilt pressed against the black material of his jumpsuit. The boy's face went fully white, eyes wider than ever, breath caught in his lungs.

The children behind him gave cries of horror. Jack supposed it was just too violent for their own good. He pulled the blade back, and it slid slowly out, each inch revealing more red blood. He swung back the last inch or so, causing the boy to fall forward. Jack watched triumphantly the moment thankfully stretching out as long as possible, so he could cherish this victory.

But as the boy got closer to the floor, something changed in him. There was a bright ray of light that seemed to burst from the bleeding wound, creating a ring of white around him. It split into two, one traveling up to his head, and the other to his feet. As it moved, the black of the suit morphed into white, stained with red blood. Jeans materialized, the white ghostly skin changed to pale human skin. And as the light traveled up the boy's face, Jack's smile of victory vanished, becoming a look of horrible disbelief as his saw glowing green eyes become blue, white hair become black. There was a thud as the body finally landed face-down on the floor. The sounded echoed in Jack's ears like a gunshot through his heart. All breath left him as he stared down at the fallen form of his young son… But it couldn't be…

There was a horrible, high pitched cackle behind him as time went back to normal. He spun around to look at the three captured children… but only two were floating there now, Sam and Tucker. They were staring back at him with huge, tearful eyes. In the third spot, where Danny had just been, hovered the dark silhouette of possibly the most evil-looking ghost Jack had ever set eyes on. It had wide, red eyes, and a grin that showed many sharp, pointed teeth. It laughed even louder, eyes locked tightly to Jack's. It floated towards the old man, who found himself frozen to the spot in horrible disbelief.

"Congratulations, Jack Fenton…" it said in a shrill, evil voice.

"Wh…where's Danny?" Jack managed to croak out. The activation of his voice sent some warmth into his body. "Where is Danny?!" he suddenly spat.

"Are you blind?" the ghost asked coolly. "Is that not him bleeding to death at your feet?"

Jack's eyes darted to the boy on the floor. Blood was pouring freely from the wounds that pierced his stomach and back, pooling around him and staining that familiar white shirt a deep maroon. Jack shook his head in disbelief. It couldn't be him!

"It's a trick…" he choked out. "You're tricking me! Tell me where he is!!"

"Danny Fenton… Danny Phantom…" the ghost hissed. "You really think it's coincidence that the two names sound so much alike?"

A cold sweat had broken out on Jack's forehead, trickling down past his ear. He shook his head again, staring in shock at this horrible-looking ghost. His eyes flickered beyond its dark, slightly transparent form to look at the two friends. His eyes locked with Sam's, and his heart shattered into pieces as she looked away, sobs racking her body. Once more, he shook his head.

"No… No…" he gasped, his knees starting to give beneath him. The ghost swept forward, coming so close to Jack's face that he could feel its cold, unearthly energy pulsating against his skin.

"You lose…" it said in its shrill, evil voice. Jack opened his mouth to speak, to say anything, but all voice, all breath, all thought eluded him. It was nothing but the slow, freezing realization of what was happening. The ghost reared backwards, cackling manically, and then became a spiral of energy, and vanished from sight, leaving behind a horrible, all-encompassing silence.

Jack found himself completely unable to move, staring numbly into the space that the specter had just inhabited. He stood frozen, as though his limbs had become stone. Through his peripheral vision, he saw the beams of ectoplasmic energy binding Tucker and Sam vanish with a pop, and the two fell hard to the floor.

"Mr. Fenton…" Tucker said after pushing himself up to hands and knees, voice horribly strained. Jack didn't look at him, his eyes dropping to the sword still gripped in his gloved hands. It shone brilliantly with streaks of glossy maroon blood that pooled on one edge, dripping over the side like ruby tears to the stone floor.

"It's not true…" his voice shook as he whispered, turning his head to look down at Danny's fallen form, at the growing pool matching the rivers on his cutlass. "Please tell me… it's not…"

No one answered him. No one seemed to need to. The silence said everything. Something completely broke inside Jack, tearing straight down his heart and soul. With a cry of complete and all encompassing anguish, he swung the sword away, the sound of it crashing into the opposite wall resounding around the room like a devil's shriek. Jack threw himself to the floor, bending over his son's body. He held out his hands, tears blurring his vision, almost afraid to touch the boy, afraid that the mere contact will cause his life to end right there. He finally allowed his hands to grasp Danny's shoulders, pulling his broken body over. Blood trickled from Danny's lips, his brilliant blue eyes locked away from the world behind eyelids. Jack slipped his shaking arm underneath Danny's neck, pulling him close, holding him tight, as though hoping that if he held his frail body tight enough, it will keep him from slipping away…

"Danny…" he mouthed wordlessly, staring down into the teen's pallid face. He was still alive, Jack could see from the way Danny's mouth gulped down precious air, the way his forehead scrunched up against the pain, the way he trembled in Jack's arms. The father lifted his hand to his own mouth, biting the fingers of his black glove and yanking it off, then dropped his bare fingertips to Danny's face, grazing along his soft cheek, feeling the cold sweat that settled there.

"Danny," he finally croaked out audibly, his fingers trailing upward into his child's beautiful black hair. A sob racked the old man's body as he entangled his fingers into those dark locks, leaning in closer. "Oh, God, Danny…"

Danny's eyes fluttered open, revealing those amazing blue orbs that his father had always been proud he'd inherited. They gazed unfocusedly at Jack, who broke down into even more sobs as he stared down into their pained depths. This was his son… his own flesh and blood…. What had he done?

"Danny," he wept, pleaded. "Danny I'm so sorry. Oh, God, I'm sorry."

Danny swallowed hard and opened his mouth to speak. Only a small sound came out before a wince passed over him and he clutched his eyes closed in pain. Jack pulled his dear son closer, resting Danny's head in the curve of his neck, cheek nestled against the boy's forehead. A horrible sick feeling rose in his stomach as he felt his son's blood soaking his orange jumpsuit.

"Don't talk," he murmured against Danny's chilling skin. He hugged Danny as tight as he dared without hurting him more, rocking slightly from side to side as though the boy were just newly born again. Jack let his hand fall from the boy's hair onto his neck, kneading desperately for a pulse. He felt it, a slight rhythm under the skin. A very slow rhythm. He choked back another cry and pressed his lips against his dear son's head in a kiss. "Just… just hold on," he gasped. Oh please, Danny… Please, just hold on…"

From a distant corner of his mind, Jack was aware of a voice frantically talking… Tucker calling for help. Sam had found her way over to the two of them, kneeling helplessly on the other side, violet eyes shining with tears. One of her hands gripped Danny's pale fingers, the other pressed his wrist, feeling the same fading pulse Jack felt. And Tucker's voice kept tuning in and out like a bad radio reception. "…bleeding from his stomach…abandoned warehouse….hurry….not make it…."

It was all so unreal. A voice in Jack's head kept screaming over and over: This isn't happening. It's a horrible dream. Just wake up… But somehow he knew it wasn't a dream. The blood soaking his knees was too real, the feel of his son's shaking form, clamming skin, short labored breaths, was all too real. His son… his only son… he had tried to kill his own son…

Almost as if on cue, the tenseness in Danny's body as he fought to hold on began to ebb. His breathing was becoming even more shallow, even more far between. Any color that remained in Danny's cheeks vanished. Jack cried out in horror, holding Danny tighter.

"No! Danny! Don't give up, son! Please don't! I love you! I can't lose you! Danny!"

Meanwhile, the voice in Jack's mind had begun a different chant.

Murderer… Murderer…

A/N: What do you think? I'd appreciate any feedback you may have, and please enjoy the rest of the story.