Title: After Life
Fandom: Danny Phantom: After an accident with a ghost portal, a teenager winds up with ghost powers. Now he has to protect the living world from evil ghosts…and still survive high school. I do not own it.
Taunt: My fandom will save the world and get detention all in the same day.
Note: A FOURTH OF THE WAY DONE WITH 100FANDOMHELL!
Memorial Day was certainly the busiest day of the year in the Amity Park Cemetery. It was the one day of the year where people came out in droves to take care of the graves of relatives who had passed on. Many were out, cleaning off overgrown headstones and brushing away the dirt of a year and laying flowers in memory of those they had lost.
Amidst the chaos and chattering, a lone old man made his way slowly through the cemetery, keeping to the paved paths and sidewalks to do so. He was white-haired, wrinkled, and slightly hunched with age. He walked alone, moving past many families towards the older section of the graveyard.
Here, there were far fewer people. The headstones in this place were not as new; many of them were crumbling, the names worn away to illegibility by years at the hands and mercy of the elements. There were no families to come care for these stones. These were the resting places of the forgotten ones, names lost to time. A last silent monument to those who had gone before.
The old man moved systematically to several different markers. He was visiting quite a few people today; after all, he hadn't been out to see them for a while. He didn't get around as easily as he used to.
His parents were first. They had lived such a long, happy life together. His father had gone first, lost to a heart attack. It was quick—the man was gone before he hit the floor. His mother had lived a few years longer before passing peacefully in her sleep. She had never stopped missing him, though.
Next was his sister. When the truth came out and it became fact that ghosts did exist, she had been in a prime position to put forth her theories. Her dissertation on ghost envy, published before she had even started college, had been applauded by researchers and doctors around the globe as a true springboard into the newly-developing field of ghost research and ghost psychology. She had been taken young—a car crash when she was thirty-two had denied her the brilliant future she was so truly destined for.
His best friend was next—a life-long friend, at that. They had been through everything together, surviving ghost attacks and gym class, often in the same day. There are some things that two people can't help but bond over, and regularly sucking ghosts into a thermos falls squarely into that category. He had been successful in life, finding great opportunities in technology. He, too, had gone peacefully, leaving behind children, grandchildren, and a handful of great-grandchildren.
He left a small bouquet for each of them, all roses. His family received white roses for peace; his best friend received yellow for friendship. Each time he stooped to lay the flowers, his body ached and reminded him just how long he had walked this world.
There were many others in this place that he knew, from school and the years that had followed school. He had a hundred stories for each of them, ranging from bullying and teasing to tentative friendships to one who had actively hunted him to crushes that had proven to be little more than infatuation. He remembered them all, though some he remembered more fondly than others.
But even less than pleasant memories held a place in a good life, he knew.
He had only one more person to visit now. With those same slow, deliberate steps, he made his way to one final grave. This one was cast in the shade of a large elm tree. Every year it came forth with the greenest leaves in the whole of the cemetery.
He knew she would have liked that—she had always loved natural things. He had often teased her about it, her activism, vegetarianism, and so forth…but it really was just one more thing he loved about her. She was so passionate when it came to causes she believed in.
Her death had been sudden. She had been the picture of health for her age, trim and fit, easily keeping pace with rambunctious grandchildren. The aneurysm hadn't been discovered or diagnosed until one morning, when she had complained of feeling dizzy. It was alarming for a woman who rarely even caught a cold. She had put her head down on the table, fallen asleep…and that was that.
She just never woke up.
The doctors said it was painless—she hadn't suffered. It was a small comfort to the grieving husband and children she had left behind. They had buried her here. The tree had grown not long after, and continued to thrive.
He stooped carefully to lay a bouquet of red roses at this stone, ignoring joints that ached in protest at the motion. Red roses stood for love, and were the only flower he could truly leave her for her. As he stood, arthritic fingers lingered to trace over the rough letters carved into what had once been smooth, polished stone, now crumbling with age.
Samantha "Sam" Fenton
Beloved wife and mother
It was barely legible, but it didn't matter too much to him. He knew it all by heart, the writing, lines, and dates. After all, how many times had he come here over the years?
After all…it had been decades.
He straightened as much as his bent frame would allow. Sometimes it was hard to believe that so much time had passed. Other times, it felt like the eternity it was truly becoming.
It was a side effect that none of them had ever dreamed of until the day it actually became evident. Sam and Tucker were aging normally; he was not, not at anywhere near the rate they were. They had pondered the problem for quite some time before a possibility occurred to them—it had been Sam's thought, an outburst of an idea that seemed to fit all the pieces of the puzzle at hand.
Humans aged and grew old as time wore on.
Ghosts did not.
And he carried the DNA—and the characteristics—of both.
He rarely used his ghost powers anymore; it was painful, in more ways than one. It brought back many memories, for one. And when he did it, he was a teenager again, as young as he had been the day of the accident; ghost DNA did not age. While it felt nice to be able to move like that, but more than anything it made him sad. And the few times he had used that power, when he had gone back to being human, he had felt older and more tired than ever.
Because of his ghost DNA, his aging had slowed. It wasn't quite so obviously when they were young, but as time went on, the differences because more and more pronounced. And he had outlived them all.
They'd had children. Those children were also showing signs of the same slowed aging process, though not as slow as their father. They did not have ghost powers, but they would live very long lives, courtesy of their father's unusual genetic contribution.
He had seen Sam once, shortly after her death. She had appeared one night in what had been their bedroom as he lay on the bed, staring into the darkness. She had appeared much younger, around the age she had been when they had married. And she had spoken to him as a ghost.
There was a place beyond the Ghost Zone, she said, a place where those who were ready for or desired their eternal rest could go to find their true peace, provided they had earned it. She had earned a place there, and so had he, but she was uncertain, something she had rarely displayed even in life.
He had smiled and told her to go there. He would come to her, sooner or later. Best for her to seek that peace then wait around in the volatile Ghost Zone for who knew how long. He would be fine.
Sam had smiled, kissed his forehead, and whispered a promise for someday. Then she had gone, and he had known, deep down, that he would not seek her again until he was finally released from his one half and allowed to fully embrace and become the other. They were to be parted until he was no longer caught between two worlds.
He was now almost twice the age she had been at her death. But he had a feeling that all this would soon be over. Some gut instinct told him that he would soon be free of this world and the curse he hadn't even known he was carrying for so long. He had waited it out; to do anything else would have broken her heart.
With a sad smile and a silent reaffirmation of their promise, Daniel Fenton (known to most as Danny) began to walk from the cemetery with the slow, shuffling step of the elderly.
Soon. He would go to the place she had spoke of soon. And then, finally, he could see her again, see all of them again, and finally see what truly lay beyond, after life was over.
PS. This was surprisingly difficult to write, but it's a point that's always made me wonder. If you look at some of these ghosts, they've been around for CENTURIES…and they look exactly the same. So I think it could affect Danny to a certain degree, though I think his human side would counteract it to some point. Thanks for reading, all! Much love!