Here it is! Chapter 1 of Home is Where the Heart is. I hope you guys enjoy it! Let me know what you think in your reviews!
Also, a big thank you to the lovely Cordria, who is doing the beta reading for this story!
Danny was an orphan found on the streets when he was just over a year old, and taken in by his guardian. He lives a good life, but as his fifteenth birthday draws near, things start to change. Danny begins to wonder about his real family and about his life. Why is his guardian so keen on keeping him hidden from the world? Why does he insist that his isolation is to keep him out of danger? Danny feels as though he may never find out. But as unexpected phone calls, strange new powers and multi-billionaires begin to enter the Danny's life, he may be in for more than he's bargained for. DXS
Rated T to be safe and for later on, but just so you guys know, there will be no swearing, no slash and no explicit content in this story.
Disclaimer: I do not own Corn Flakes, Starbucks, Danny or any other of the characters from the show Danny Phantom. I do however own Judy, John, and any other characters that I've created.
The tall caped ghost held the photograph in his hands, softly stroking it's surface. He drummed his fingers on the table at which he sat.
"The boy has almost reached his fifteenth. According to legend, the transformations should begin to appear soon," the black-haired hybrid muttered to himself as he let his fingers run through the fur of the kitten on his lap.
"It's been thirteen years Maddie," he spoke softly to his cat. She purred gently.
"Thirteen years!" he yelled suddenly, rising from his seat and forcing the cat to leap off his lap in surprise at his sudden outburst. He strolled towards a dresser in the corner of the room.
"Thirteen years and I still haven't been able to find the boy! All I know is that he's probably still with that blasted guardian of his," he roared, knocking down the mirror which sat atop the dresser's surface and shattering it to pieces.
The cat meowed loudly as she arched her back in fright at the sudden sharp sound.
The halfa narrowed his glowing eyes in determination. "I have to find him before it's too late. Even if it's the last thing I do."
It seemed that today the sun was feeling very generous. Its rays had decided to pay Danny a special visit in his room, from a couple millions miles away. He tried to shield his eyes in protection from the roaring ball of firethat so wanted him to wake up, but it wasn't the only force working against him. Apparently, he had forgotten to turn the lights off in his room yesterday night again, and John obviously didn't have the time to turn them off for him before going off to work.
Danny tossed and turned in his bed, trying to get back to sleep. It was times like these when he wished he had magic powers so he could just turn his lights off from where he was, with a zap of a finger or something, and then go back to sleep.
Whatever…it's already 9:30 anyway. I might as well just get up, he told himself.
Blinking his eyes a few times to clear his vision, he rose from his bedand trudged to the bathroom.
He considered going back to sleep but discarded the thought as he heard a soft growl come from his stomach. Dragging himself to the kitchen and blindly grabbing a blue plastic bowl and spoon from the dishwasher, he began rummaging through the fridge for a carton of milk. Finally finding something that seemed to have a prism-like shape, he took hold of it and poured its contents into the bowl which he brought out to eat on the couch.
Danny turned on the TV and flipped through channels until he found a decent show to watch. He left the remote when he came accross his favorite cartoon. It was about a little ten-year-old boy who had two magical fairies who could grant almost any wish. Sometimes Danny watched the show, secretly wishing he could have his own fairies who would help him find- well…never mind…
Just as he watched Timmy about to wish for an older brother, Danny brought a spoonful of cereal to his lips, and then, suddenly feeling very awake, spat it back into the bowl. Disgusted, he shoved the bowl of what actually turned out to be orange juice with Corn Flakes onto the nearest table, wiping his mouth on his arm and still trying to get over the revulsion.
He propped his elbow on the arm of the couch and let his head rest on his palm. He sighed, feeling depressed. He wasn't always this way, but lately he just seemed so...down. Nothing really mattered to him anymore, and he couldn't really concentrate. He wondered if there was some sort of depression bug going around or something.
Lately, John had been acting weird too… some days he was angry and irritable, and snapped at the smallest of things. Other days he would just drag himself across the one-floor apartment, morose and sulking. Danny couldn't understand why.
John was Danny's guardian. Apparently he had found Danny abandoned somewhere when he was a baby, and had taken him in to live with him. John never said anything more than this and always strayed away from the subject when Danny used to bring it up, (which even in itself wasn't often). Even Judy, John's friend from work who came over frequently, had advised Danny to stay away from that topic around John.
Despite this annoying little 'idiosyncrasy' of his, John was great and Danny loved him like a father or an older brother. He'd taken care of Danny ever since he was a kid and he'd loved him unconditionally. John would do anything and everything for the boy and never once could he be heard complaining. Danny sighed as he turned down the volume on the TV.
But so many things about life with John were…different. Danny wasn't really in a position to judge that, seeing as he didn't know much about the "outside life" as he called it, but something wasn't right. He never went out like other teenagers, unless it was with John, and even then it was rare. He didn't really have friends and he never had anyone to call up and make plans with or hang out with. It was almost like he was always confined and restricted to the apartment for some reason. Sometimes he'd ask if he could go out or something, but John would become very uneasy and even a bit pale, at times. This had especially been prominent in the past few months.
Adding to this, Danny was home-schooled by John –who proved to be very smart despite the fact that he worked as a bellhop. Sometimes Judy took over for John if he had to stay late at work. That was another strange thing; Danny was almost never allowed to stay in the apartment alone, and when he had to be alone because John was at work (like right now), he had to obey a series of very strict rules:
Don't open the door for anyone
Don't answer the phone
Don't make too much noise
Don't go out on the balcony
No chat room sites on the computer
And the list goes on.
So it's plain to see that Danny had a rather mundane daily routine. And today was no different.
Thinking about his monotonously boring life, the boy sighed in frustration as he rose from the couch. He dumped his orange juice in the sink and watched the pulp slowly swim to the drain as the tap water splashed over it. Not even the usual anticipation and excitement of an upcoming birthday could cheer him up. After all, with John being out of the house and Danny being cooped up inside, his fifteenth birthday seemed like it would be just another ordinary Friday.
He sighed again, just wishing something interesting would happen to shake things up a bit.
Ding! The doorbell. Danny's heart jumped. He quickly reached for the remote and put the TV on mute.
Impulsively, Danny ran for the door. For a lone and solitary moment, he didn't care what John said and wanted to do something as normal as opening the door. He reached for the doorknob and swished the door open.
"Y-Yes?" he hesitated, now a little uncertain of his sudden and reckless action.
"Hi, I'm Chrissie from Foreth's Beauty School downtown, and I was wondering if you'd like to make a donation for my class' Celebrity Make-up Tour in LA next month?" A perky, bubbly blonde girl, about Danny's age, stood in front of the door. She was wearing a pair of platforms, a colorful outfit, and held in her hand a bubblegum pink clipboard. She spoke quickly and with little articulacy, probably because of the gum she seemed to be chewing. Danny stared at her blankly.
She was evidently getting annoyed from the non-responsive teen she was dealing with, so she asked briskly, "Is your Mom or Dad home?"
"Um, no…sorry, could you come back another time or something?" Danny finally asked.
"Oh…okay. Thank you!" she replied, resuming her animated manner.
As he slowly closed the door, Danny realized something…Is your Mom or Dad home? The pleasantly cheery voice echoed in his head.
No…No, they're not…Danny thought to himself, his heart sinking into his stomach.
A million thoughts were swirling in his head as he forced himself to sit down on the couch. He knew why he was upset. He finally understood his sudden and reoccurring surges of misery. He understood what the void was…his family. His real family. The one he would never knowand was never even offered a chance to talk about or discover.
This sudden dawn of realization made him feel even worse than before. Above that, he started to feel guilty…not guilty because he had disobeyed John's rules despite the fact that he knew it could be dangerous for him, (John had often told him that doing such things could jeopardize his safety, though never was he told why), but guilty because he didn't care. No, not guilty…scared…scared that he didn't care about what John would think. He felt as though so many different changes were taking place, one after the other…
"Aruisa Hotel, Judy speaking, how may I help you?"
"Judy! It's Danny."
"Danny?" Judy asked, surprised. "What's the matter; is everything okay?" she asked hurriedly.
"Yeah, yeah," he didn't seem to notice the concern in her voice or the relieved sigh on the other side upon his confirmation of safety. "I'm just feeling…down…do you know when John's coming home?" he asked.
"Oh, he'll be home early today, sweetie," she said, her tone soft.
"Okay, thanks Judy," Danny replied. They exchanged goodbyes and Danny hung up the phone, feeling sullen. He didn't know why he'd felt as though he'd needed to call to see what time John was coming home, but at the time it seemed like it might make him feel better. Actually, it made him feel worse.
Danny sighed as he rose from his seat, making for the kitchen. His stomach was starting a riot; he hadn't eaten in eight hours. Just as he opened the refrigerator door to find some food, he heard the sound of a door being unlocked, followed by a half-hearted greeting from John.
"Hey," Danny said, coming out of the small kitchen. In front of him was the man who had cared for him for so long, and both loved and protected him…until now…now he just seemed to want to get rid of him, always moping around the way he was.
He dropped a large tote bag stuffed with his uniform on the floor next to the entrance. He half-smiled at Danny and Danny reluctantly smiled back.
John was tall, and had short but distinctive wavy brown hair and eyes. His trademark was his yellow sportjacket which Judy and Danny had both been pleading him to get rid of for so many years now and were giving up.
"How's it going kiddo?" he asked wearily, heading for the couch. He looked worn out but he tried not to show it. "You ready for some math?" he said, pulling out the math and science curriculum book from under the table, accompanied by a pen and pad.Maybe he's just been moody lately because he's been working hard and he's tired… This thought comforted Danny.
"Are you sure John? You look really worn out." Danny was actually a little concerned now.
He laughed. "Oh no, you're not getting rid of me that easily! We're having our math lesson now!"
But Danny wasn't joking, he was genuinely worried. He crossed his arms in annoyance to let John know he wasn't kidding.
John sighed. "Don't worry Danny, I'll be fine. See," he said pointing to his Starbucks coffee cup, "As soon as I have some caffeine, I'll be good as new."
Though Danny wanted to, he refrained from protesting. This was the best mood John had been in all week and Danny didn't want to cause trouble. But it did cause a wave of relief to spread over him as he decided that John's moodiness was just stress, and that there was nothing more to it.
"So, the answer would be negative two," Danny said, concentrating on the numbers on the book.
"No, it would be positive three."
"Ah! So it's……"
There was a pause as both of them burst out laughing. Once they could control themselves again they returned to the book, but inevitably found themselves laughing at many more similar situations throughout the hour. Danny felt more relaxed now and the atmosphere was consequently much calmer.
They'd decided to put the books away early today and watch a little TV, maybe relax a little.
"So, did anything interesting happen today?" John asked conversationally while flipping through channels, some faster than others.
"No, but some person from some beauty school or something came by asking for mon-," Danny stopped dead in the middle of his sentence, his eyes widening. He tried to find a way to cover his slip. He hurriedly muttered something about needing water, and got up to leave for the kitchen, but was pulled back down by the hem of his shirt.
"What did you say?" John said.
"Nothing." Danny said, his voice a bit higher than usual.
"Danny, did someone come to the door? Did you open the door for anyone?" he asked harshly.
Aw man! I try to make sure he stays in a good mood and then this happens?
"Did you?" John raised his voice a bit.
"Well, maybe just a little…" Danny wavered. "It was an accident!" he lied.
"An accident!?! Look Daniel, you don't know what kind of trouble you're getting yourself into like this! I told you not to do certain things, and you should therefore, not do them!" he yelled.
"Look, I'm sorry!" Danny tried.
"Sorry's not good enough!" John's patience was wearing thin…but so was Danny's, unfortunately.
"This is so unfair! You're forbidding me from opening a door! Do you know how insane that is? I can't even go on the balcony without permission! It's so unfair! You haven't even given me solid or concrete reason! I am almost fifteen you know!" Danny yelled.
"I shouldn't have to give you a reason! The order itself should be good enough for you!!" John shouted.
"You are completely blowing this out of proportion! I opened a door! It's not like I'm dealing drugs or anything!"
The shouting match continued for quite awhile, until both of them had become quite hoarse. In the end, John simply sent Danny to his room and Danny stomped off, muttering about how he was glad to get away from John.
Sitting in the corner of his bed and sulking, Danny began to actually cry, though very softly. That was the first time he'd ever fought with John and it had been so scary because it was so real. It wasn't about wanting a toy or a new game, like when he was a toddler; it was about freedom…liberty…it was about something more valuable than what money could buy.
"Ugh! This is so unfair! I can't stand it!" he screamed, as tears now flowed down his face like a waterfall. His ears felt hot and his stomach was in knots. His breathing had become irregular between sobs. Feeling so helplessly torn, he grabbed a pillow and, with all his might, threw it against the wall.
He felt so confused. It was as though now that he was growing up, things were changing…and he was afraid of change. He didn't want to start fighting with John all the time, and he didn't want to always be worried and upset and stressed out about his real family. Because he knew, even though sometimes change brought out the best in people…it also brought out the worst.
Tell me what you think!
PS. For those of you who don't like OC's, this is just to let you know that there will be more canon characters coming in the story soon, so don't worry! ;)