A/N: Alright, I know the next update you were expecting from me was the next chapter of TR (which is coming, I promise!), least of all a new story, but oh well. This actually happened because I was taking a break from writing a long stretch of TR and this idea popped into my head and wouldn't let me write TR until I got it out, so as an obedient servant I listened to my muse and turned this out.
I've been meaning to do this series of one-shots for a long time, since I'm such a sucker for revelation stories (if you haven't noticed by now). So, what better way than to get all my little revelation ideas out of the way with this, a compendium for them? And boy do I have some fun ones, involving Lancer, Dash, Maddie, just about everyone frankly. My goal is to do one for every character in the series XD
So, I bring you this, the first in hopefully many tales of discovery.
Tales of Discovery
He didn't know what made him do it, what mysterious forces drove him, coerced him, convinced him, but nonetheless, he had done it. He had entered the portal.
He of course wore protective wear, he wasn't that foolish, his white and black hazmat suit covering over most of his skin as he stepped into the hole in the wall created by the portal. His parents had been working on it for months, had gone through so much trouble, had so many meetings with the government and got so many grants to do this experiment, to create this portal to the mystical Ghost Zone that they adamantly insisted existed, only to have it fail spectacularly. A brief crackle of electricity across the metallic frame and that was all it had done.
And so now he found himself inside the troubled portal, trying to figure out what went wrong, all the while wondering exactly why he wanted to, why the elusive answer bothered him so.
He didn't have long to ponder it though as he felt his foot catch on a stray cord, sending him pitching towards the wall of the portal. He thankfully caught himself, pushing a button in the process. Lights immediately turned on inside the portal as he lifted his shaking hand away from the button, reading the two-lettered word that spelled his doom. "ON".
His eyes widened as he turned, trying to dash out of the portal before he was caught inside it, but too late. Green energy sparked along the wall before converging into the center, converging onto him.
He shrieked out in pain as the electric pulses shot through his body, frying his insides, liquefying his body, melting it into a single, goopy entity. It was hard to breathe, feeling like the liquid was in his lungs, and his head and chest ached as he felt his previously rapid heartbeat slow almost to a stop, his brain begging for oxygen as he felt like he was dying.
Jack and Maddie heard the wailing cry of pain, it was hard not to seeing as how it echoed through the house, and rushed down to the basement in time to see a glowing figure crawling meekly out of the now operating ghost portal, looking like each movement, each stab at getting further from the portal was an agonizing feat. They quickly recognized the silhouette of the figure as that of a teenage boy, one horrific thought echoing through their heads. Danny.
They rushed down to him as he collapsed onto the floor, his black jumpsuit clad body smoking in the wake of the electric charges that had shot through him.
"Danny! Oh my God Danny!" Maddie cried, dropping to her knees next to him as Jack followed suit. She turned him over onto her lap, gasping at the sight that beheld her.
It was her son, his facial features and build dictating as much, but his hair…it was no longer the inky black she had spent so many days when he was younger brushing but was now an eerie snow white. His face was devoid of color and his body it…it just seemed to glow with an unnatural sheen.
Upon hearing his name he opened his eyes weakly, the expression on his face pained as his glowing, vivid green eyes started tearing, the tears even seeming to produce their own small aura of light. "M-Mommy? D-Daddy?" he choked, his voice carrying a resonating echo.
"Oh my boy! My baby boy! What happened?" she asked, tears pooling in her own eyes as well, her brain shoving aside the possible answer it was hastily ready to supply. That wasn't the answer. It couldn't be. She didn't want it to be…
"Th-the p-portal," he stammered, face radiating pain as it hurt to move, to talk even, his whole body on fire as he shivered in growing cold. "I w-went in and it t-turned on and I c-couldn't es-escape."
A portal accident? Oh God, it was as she feared. She looked up at her husband, the alarm in his eyes confirming her fears. For they had had another friend subjected to the pain of getting into a portal accident in college: Vlad Masters. He had been their friend since childhood, following each other to college and working on their first ghost experiments together, the most notable of which being the first ghost portal. It was a far more compact version, made to accommodate a college grant's budget and thus less impressive and requiring less of an electrical charge to power it, but it was still a breakthrough nonetheless, or at least it would have been if it actually had worked.
There was an accident, some error in the calculations, and the portal didn't work as it should have. It still activated and turned on, but instead of staying within the confines of the border it shot out, hitting their friend full in the face before destabilizing and disappearing. The accident ruined him, giving him a severe case of what was coined "ecto-acne" and he was confined in hospital quarantine for twenty long years.
But this time…this time was different, because this portal was different. This one was far more massive and required far more energy than the one they created in college ever could. And this one…this one had worked. It didn't destabilize after attacking a loved one; it remained and it worked, and this point, along with the amount of energy required to power it, both spelled doom for their poor son lying on the floor between them. For while Vlad's accident might have left him in painful quarantine for years on end, this one…this one killed their son.
There was no other explanation for it. He was clearly a ghost as much as they hated to admit it. The frigid, pale skin, the glowing aura, the vivid ectoplasm green eyes…all clear indications that he was a ghost. Add the facts that his chest wasn't moving to even supply him pained breaths and that not even the faintest inclination of a heartbeat could be heard in his chest and they knew it was true. Their son was dead.
Tears started pouring from the concerned parents' eyes as they beheld the ghost of their fourteen-year-old son. It was all they could do to stop from bawling outright, only restraining the cries of sadness by thinking about their son and what was best for him, all the while trying to decide how to break the news of his death to him best.
But while Danny wasn't generally known for his perceptiveness, he did notice the constant trails of tears streaming from their eyes, the occasional sniffle as they tried to keep it all contained inside. He felt worry rise up within him to join the pain, only a couple scenarios flashing through his head as to why they'd cry so much after hearing about the accident, and none of them good.
"M-Mom? D-Dad? What…what's wrong?" he asked, voice colored with fear, his green eyes shining with more of the strange glowing tears.
"N-nothing's wrong son," Jack told him in a blatant lie. They were still unsure on how to break the news. He didn't imagine finding out you were dead to be a pleasant experience.
"P-please," he begged. He knew something was wrong, very wrong. He knew he wasn't requiring any breath, knew the constant thrumming of his heart within his chest was no longer there, and yet, he was still aware and conscious, and that was most assuredly not a good sign.
"S-sweetie you're…y-you're a…a ghost," Maddie answered, choking back sobs to tell him what she sadly knew was the truth.
"I-I'm a…I'm a-a what?" he asked, his voice shaky as his eyes widened in fear, his skin starting a contest with his hair to see which could become more white.
"A…a gh-ghost," she repeated, voice catching as she tried to stop her cries.
"A gh-ghost? A-a ghost?" he asked in disbelief, not wanting to believe what his parents had said. "N-no. I-I can't…I c-can't be. I'd h-have to be…t-to be…"
Dead. The word echoed through his head, resounding along with all his previous fears over what his lack of vital signs indicated. He was…he was dead.
The accident it had…it had killed him. And now…now he was dead. At the young, early age of fourteen he had died. He would never get to graduate, never get to experience college, never get a girlfriend and get married, never get to have kids and a family, never get to have a job, astronaut or otherwise, never get to live…
He shook his head, still having trouble grasping the severity of what had happened. "N-no, no I don't…I don't w-want to be d-dead!" he cried, tears pouring from his eyes as he finally said it aloud. "I'm n-not r-ready to be d-dead!"
Maddie finally broke, lifting her son off her lap and drawing him into a close hug, running a hand through his soft, white hair, letting him bawl into her shoulder as she cried for her son's death.
And bawl he did, clinging to her jumpsuit needily as he soaked it with his tears. He wasn't ready. He wanted to live. He wanted to be able to experience life, to experience all the ups and even the downs. He wanted to grow up and have a family, wanted to experience dating or even kissing. There was so much he hadn't done, so much he was leaving unfulfilled, so much he would never be able to do.
He felt his father wrap around him on the other side, crying softly as well which struck another cord within him as to the severity and reality of the experience. His father hardly ever cried, and only did when something really bad had happened, something he could deal with through a joke, his usual method of dealing. But if he cried…if he cried that meant he couldn't deal using his choice method, meant that he couldn't joke his way out of it, because it was far too serious and despairing…
"Danny it-it'll…it'll be okay," his mother comforted, finally calming herself out of her cries enough to try and instill some comforting words into her inconsolable son.
"H-how can you s-say that?" he asked through the wailing cries. "I'm d-dead!"
"But you're…you're still here. You're s-still a ghost and you…you can still s-spend time with us and th-those you-you love. Y-you're at least still h-here."
"But I…I still can't g-grow up and h-have a-a l-life. I'm just…s-stuck here."
"Better stuck here than not at all," Jack pointed out, echoing the thoughts of both him and his wife.
"But I…I'm s-still a…a ghost and you…you h-hate ghosts," he replied sadly. His parents had been ghost hunters as long as they had been ghost researchers and they firmly believed them all to be evil and menacing and deserved to stay in the Ghost Zone where they belonged and to never break the human plane. So it took away the benefit of still being here to spend time with his family if they hated what he had become and didn't even want him here with them in the first place.
"Oh sweetie no!" Maddie comforted, wrapping her arms around his icy body tighter. "Don't even think that! We love you sweetie, no matter what, we love you. We don't care if you're a ghost, we're just glad that you're still here with us! We can still hug and love and spend time with you, and that's all that matters! Don't ever think that we hate you."
"Your mom's right son, we'll always love you no matter what. Ghost or no, you're still our son and we still love you."
More glowing tears fell from his eyes, following the familiar tracks down his face as he curled into their hugs, forgetting about the unending pain and cold for a moment as he immersed himself in their love. They still loved him, despite the fact that he was a ghost, they still loved him. They didn't mind and they didn't care and they were there for him, ready to help him through the after effects of his death. He knew it wasn't going to be pleasant, knew it was going to be hard on a lot of people, including himself, but they were willing to help him through it, and that meant the world to him.
As he cuddled into their loving touches he felt a strange pooling of cold at his waist and then a slight tingle as glowing blue rings of light formed around him. His parents pulled away, looking in awe at the sight as the rings separated and moved, gliding gracefully across his body. Danny choked and sputtered as he bent over on his hands and knees, taking a wet, rattled breath as white t-shirt and blue jean pants peeked out from between the rings as they made their way across his chest. His skin started regaining some color, his hair returning to its normal black as the rings finished their path, disappearing once they passed over the last strand of his hair.
Danny remained crouched over, taking in deep breaths, his eyes shut in pain as his heart thrummed to a steady beat. What had…what had just happened? He was breathing and his heart was beating, he knew that for a fact, the sensation of the two vital organs starting up causing him great pain and discomfort. But…wasn't he dead? Hadn't he just spent the past few minutes trying to convince himself and get over the initial shock? Then how…how was he requiring these vital processes?
Jack and Maddie simply stared, no longer looking at a ghost of their son, but at their son, exactly the way he had looked that afternoon when the initial activation of the portal had failed. He was breathing, they knew he was, hearing his gasping and pained breaths. Maddie took him, setting him in her lap to soothe his pain, his body still cold but not icy, his chest heaving and thrumming in her arms. "Sweetie…sweetie what happened?"
"I don't…I don't know," he panted, normal tears now flowing out of his once again blue eyes. "I can…I can b-breath a-again."
"But how?" Jack asked, running his hand through Danny's hair comfortingly.
"I don't…I don't kn-know," he answered truthfully, his panicked breathing finally calming as the pain of the transformation subsided.
"You…you know what this means sweetie? This means you're alive!" Maddie told him, eyes sparkling happily. "You're alive!"
"But…but how? I…I th-thought I was d-dead."
"Well we thought so too but obviously you aren't. Ghosts don't breathe or have a heartbeat Danny, and you clearly have both."
"But I…I d-didn't before."
"It's weird. It's like you're a ghost and a human at the same time. Some sort of half breed," Jack offered.
"It could have been from the portal," Maddie suggested. "The ectoplasmic energy could have infused into you and created ectoplasm within you, making you some sort of half-ghost."
"S-so I'm…I'm n-not dead?"
"No sweetie, you're not dead," she smiled, brushing his hair from his face. "You're not dead."
His blue eyes filled with tears as he launched himself at his mother, throwing his arms around her as he cried with joy, feeling his dad wrap around him from behind. He was alive. He was alive! He wasn't dead. His life wasn't over. He was alive and he once again had a life laid out in front of him. He could once again go back to school, he could finish and graduate, get a degree and a job, grow up and get married, have kids, grow old and then finally, once he had done everything he wanted to in life, then he could die.
Sure he was still a ghost and still had strange ghostly abilities, but that didn't matter to him. He was alive and now, now he had a wonderful and lively outlook on life stretching ahead of him. He could dream of a future and actually have a chance to live it, ghost powers or no. He was still alive and he was still surrounded by his parents' love and that was all he needed.
A/N: So, I hope it wasn't too bad TT Please be gentle, this is my first ever one-shot and I'm usually used to being a lot more verbose...