DP: Paint it Black

by Futuramakid

DISCLAIMER: I don't own canon Danny or its elements. But I do claim these AU versions.

"Too weak to escape... but you're too late to save them!"

The spectral form disappeared into the thermos.
Danny looked up. The tanks were about to explode!

In desperation, he ran towards them.

He trips forward, and watches helplessly.

The grill explodes. The most important people in his life- his friends, his parents- killed instantly.
"I'm here. still EXIST! That means YOU still become ME."

The words circled Danny's mind like a vulture on a carcass. He shuddered.

I will NEVER become him, he vowed, halting the tears from his eyes, that is the best way to honor them. To serve justice, and avert that horrible future.

He got to his feet. He wasn't hurt too badly. He walked in closer. The bodies were nearly beyond recognition. However, he grabbed a few things to keep- reminders of them. He picked up Tucker's PDA, his mom's goggles, and realized something- Jazz was in the peeler. Maybe, just maybe...

He could see condensation on the helmet. He pressed a few buttons. The suit wouldn't retract. The electronics were damaged. He managed to phase her out. He felt a weak pulse.

"Jazz?" he asked.

She was unresponsive.

"Jazz, please be okay," he said, "I need someone."

She stirs a bit. She coughs.

"Danny?" she chokes out.

"Jazz!" he says. He is overjoyed.
"What happened?" she asks.

"I defeated that evil version of myself, but... I wasn't able to get to you in time. You were lucky. The Peeler armor kept you safe. But... you're the only one who made it."

She tears up.
"Then Mom and Dad...?"
He nods grimly. She cries. For once, she shows that even she isn't in full control all the time. He gives her his shoulder.
"It's okay, Jazz, we can make it through this," he says, "we're not on the road to ruin- the very fact you survived means that timeline is gone."

The ambulances and police show up.

"Over here!" Danny called.
The paramedics rushed over.
"What happened?" one asked.

"She was caught in the explosion. That suit over there protected her, but she still got a few burns, and maybe some head trauma," he tells them, and then adds, "Take good care of her okay?"

The paramedic nodded, and two of them lifted her up onto a stretcher. One of the police walked up.

"Do you know what happened here?" the man asked.
"Yes. Yes I do. An evil ghost was here. He blew up the Nasty Burger. My family and friends tried to stop him. I managed to catch him in this thermos at the last minute. I was blown clear, but they weren't so lucky. My sister only survived thanks to the Fenton Peeler armor."
"How old is she?" the officer asks.
"16," he replies.
"Any relatives, or close family friends you could call?" the officer asked, "as it is, she's underaged, and you two need someone to take guardianship."

A new thought entered his head.
What am I going to do? I mean, Vlad's an option, he'd probably understand, but that's what he did.

Unless I want to end up in a foster home, Vlad's about my only choice, he concluded.
"Yes, yes we do. Could I use your phone?"

Ring! Ring!

The telephone at Vlad Masters' Wisconsin mansion rang.

Vlad Masters looked at the caller ID.


"I really hope it isn't Jack with another call to reminisce," he says to himself, and picks it up.

"Vlad?" an unexpected voice asks.

Vlad is somewhat stunned.

"Ah, Daniel, what a surprise! Why, might I ask, are you calling me?" he replies.
"Look, Jazz and I need help.... It's a long story, but the short version is I made a bad choice, and my family paid the price," Danny said, "so now, unless you want to claim us, we'll probably end up in foster care of some sort."

To Vlad, this is like a bucket of cold water direct to the mind.
"Jack and Maddie are..."
"Dead," Danny confirmed, "and you're the one person left."

"I'll be there within the day, Daniel. My sincerest condolences to you and your sister," Vlad says, nearly in tears himself.

Maddie, the love of my life... Gone forever, he thought, what a loss.

"And that's the story, Jazz. The whole truth. I'm sorry it ended up like this," he said, holding her hand. She was in a hospital bed, with bandages over her burns.

"Danny, it wasn't your fault," she said, "you never made that choice."

"But I did," he said, "The reason he existed was because I did."

"No, the reason he existed was because HE did."
He weighed this a moment.

"...you're probably right, Jazz. You normally are. Thanks."

"Any time, little brother. Any time."

He'd just gotten home from the hospital, where he'd explained it all to Jazz. Danny sat down on the couch and thought a bit more.

If I'm going to go with Vlad, I should probably pack.

He walked upstairs into his room. He picked out some clothes, and looked at his nightstand. He picked up an old photo. When they first moved into this place. He smiled faintly at it, and stuffed it into a duffel bag. He continued going through his things. He found his shrine to Sam. He chuckled a bit, looking at it.

I remember that, he thought, and then more seriously, I'm never going to get to see if that would've worked out now, am I?

He carefully put it in his bag. He continued going through his things, picking out the useful or sentimental, and saving what he could. He had a long journey ahead of him.