Phantom's Secret Diary
Disclaimer: Butch Hartman says it was all his idea, so blame him. On the other hand, I think he'd say at least three words you can't say on TV if he saw this fic.
Notes: I can't see Danny not getting a car-unless it becomes him getting a motorcycle. The cat caller is a phan by the alias Neo Yi, who is very nice and impossible not to run into on DeviantArt. If you like this fic and can handle AU, I highly recommend her fan comic Chess Piece, which you can see at: chesspiece dot smackjeeves dot com. The beer GW drinks is a real one-it's called Fat Tire, which is a microbrew under the Mothership Wit label. It's originally from the East, though it's been introduced this last year to the midwest. The statistic on the space agencies is real and truly dangerous. We would not know a world-killing meteor was on its way until far too late.
Cannon Note: I just re-watched "Fright Before Christmas" and I noticed something: GW introduces himself as "The Ghost Writer", not "Ghost Writer". Danny also refers to him as such.
Chapter 3: January 3, 20xx (Year 1)
I just realized that Jazz never actually told me who I had a crush on when I was fourteen. Oh well. I can get it out of her another time. My date with Ghost Writer went... pretty well, actually. I was half-expecting... oh, I don't know, say Skulker to show up wanting my pelt or something gross like that. Seriously, does that guy ever quit? Oddly, he seems to be coming around a lot less lately. Wonder who the girlfriend is this time.
I'll admit, there isn't much to talk about on my date, but what the hell. I dressed casually but nicely, my hair slicked back. I got to the agreed on place ten minutes late because I went in my car and traffic was bad. I love flying but I like driving, too. I have an old '86 Corvette that was a complete junker when I got it but I had it fixed up.
I'd picked a sleepy little pub diner that did brisk business, but wasn't exactly one of the hottest places in town for the date. It has good food, a nice atmosphere and quick, discreet service. I found Writer at the bar waiting for me. "Um... hey there." I'm still embarrassed about the way I asked him out, but he did say yes.
"Hello yourself." He smiled at me, amused.
"Would you like to sit here or at a table?" I asked.
"It's up to you, it's all the same to me." He shrugged, still smiling; was he teasing me?
"Table then." I decided; more private that way. "Do you like to eat?"
"On occasion." He kept grinning like there was something he knew that I didn't. Most times, it's aggravating, but on him... it's hard to explain it. Although something about the expression tickled my memory, I decided that it suited him.
We chattered, catching up. He'd been, of course, writing since we'd last seen each other and doing a 'little' art, which actually sounded like a lot. When the waitress came around, Writer ordered a beer, reuben sandwich and tomato bisque. I ordered a soda, a burger (the works, hold the mayo), fries and a salad. The waitress was pretty and attentive, quickly bringing a coke and a bottle with a picture of a bike on the label, which read Follow Your Folly. My date sampled the bottle, nodding in approval.
The food was more than passable, as usual. I told him about my college life and how I'd recently discovered a star, which sounds way more impressive than it really is. NASA and other space agencies only have enough budget to watch 5% of the skies. Ridiculous, I know.
"But that will always be your star." He pointed out.
"Well yeah, it's just not all that uncommon." I shrugged with a smile. "But thanks all the same."
"Nothing I deserve thanks for, Danny. What are you studying after five years? You'd already have your Associate's and Bachelor's degrees if I remember correctly." He tilted his head.
"That's true; next year I'll have my Master's, too. I study Astrophysics and I just finished up Engineering last year and moved onto Metallurgy this year. I'm aiming for my Doctorate. I've only been able to get this far because my family helps out with my other career, of course. It's kinda funny, I used to hate math and now it's what I'm going to do for a career." I chuckled because it is a little funny.
"So what do you plan to do with all that education?" He leaned back in his chair.
It was an old dream of mine I'd been chasing for most of my life. "I'm going to work for NASA and be an astronaut." I said.
"Couldn't you explore other planets in ghost form?" He said.
"I've already been to Earth's outer stratosphere, but it's extremely risky-If I lost consciousness out there and went human, I'd be seriously screwed in seconds. If the radiation didn't fry me first, the vacuum would cause my body fluids to boil and then no oxygen beyond that? I don't want to think about how the hell Vlad survived as long as he did." I shuddered.
"What ever do you do for fun?" He leaned forward, propping his chin in his gloved hands, elbows on the table.
"Work is play, but I know what you mean." I said, grinning. "I'm usually with friends when I'm not studying, doing a project or on patrol. Either that or with my family. With friends, I play video games or just hang out or whatever. School and patrols take up most of my time." Which might be why I've been dateless a few times, but I'm not about to admit that.
"Sounds far more ordinary than it is. You do what it is your passion to do for work. That is the very rare and incredibly hard. I almost threw away my brushes and pen many times trying to live off my work, but I never gave up." He said.
"Sometimes I forget I'm working for something bigger, you know?"
"I often felt that, even after I died. For a long while, I wandered the Zone, not knowing what to do with myself." He told me and I nodded, my heart warming. "That's when I met the ghost who snapped me out of it. She's a wonderful person, but we did not part well."
"Who?" I asked, feeling a twinge of jealousy.
"Psyche; my, your possessive reflex is quick!" He chuckled. "I wasn't in love-love with her if you must know."
I lightened up, embarrassed. "I'm such a spazz..."
He reached out and touched my face, an expression of desire on his face. "That, Danny, is precisely why I'm so interested in you."
Feelings uncoiled in my belly as he traced the lines of my face with cold fingers. I haven't been so honestly turned on since Valerie. He was smirking as he drew his hand away, my pants feeling oddly tight. Oh my god, what he does to me-! "R-really?" I swallowed.
Delight and some other, familiar expression showed on his face. "Truly." He laughed. "Do you suppose we could take a nice little stroll when we're done here?"
"Yes, of course." I signaled the waitress and paid my tab, leaving a reasonable tip.
Our walk was even more of a conversational black hole of silly-profound little nothings, walking closer and closer together until we were hand in hand. He would lean in as he spoke, as if to kiss me, but lean away at the last moment, amused at my beet red face and fumblings for coherent speech. Finally, I took hold of him in a tight embrace and kissed him.
It was almost electricity as he deepened the kiss. After a wolf whislte from an Asian chick in a cowboy hat and trench coat, we began walking back to my car, arms around each others waists. Once there, we kissed almost chastely. "Met me at ten on the fifth at my mansion. You remember where that is?" He asked.
"Yes." I answered back; how could I forget?
"How I wish we weren't in public..." He smiled at me, winking. "I'll see you then."
I got to my dorm happy as I've been in a long time. It feels like I've been waiting for him the longest time and yet, it's something completely fresh. I feel like I'm seventeen again in the back of my car with Sam, awkward and excited. Yeah, sounds like a bad pop song, I know, but you know what?
I don't mind a single bit.
Tonight, I talked to my mom on the the phone, who was happy to get my call. "Your father is down in the lab but I'm on self-exile for a week." She said.
"Fighting again?" I surmised. They have a big fight once a year. Mom leaves dad for a few days, comes back, end of story-usually.
"Yes... I need a break sometimes, you know, especially with the house empty. I wish you kids had come down for more than a few hours before Christmas." She told me. I'd visited the Monday after the... you know.
"I'll make it up to you, I promise." I spoke guiltily. "I get caught up with my work and-"
"It's alright Danny. It was actually a bit like the old days with Vlad over here. He didn't argue with Jack, not even once. It was... really nice."
And nice to hear. Even though he'd changed in the time he'd spent in space and the years since, coming back feeling guilty, my mom and dad didn't have anything to do with him really until last year. Sam and Jazz were attacked by some human gag and Vlad got them away safe and relatively unhurt. Sam being Sam held an awareness rally and raised a lot of money, being a well-known social worker. It had taken this long even after that for Vlad to start having any kind of relationship with my parents.
"You guys have really come a long way. I'm glad, he seemed happy when I saw him." Well, what I remembered from seeing him at the party, anyway.
"Maybe age is finally catching up with us, we are in our fifties now." She told me.
"Yeah, but you guys have a long time left to live, so don't you count yourselves out yet." I said to her laughingly.
"'Course, Danny. How are you doing?" She asked me.
"Great; I have a new boyfriend. He's... different." Wow, that was putting it mildly.
"I'm glad, your taste in men has been really terrible so far. None of them seemed right for you." This wasn't anything I hadn't heard before.
"Gee, thanks, mom. I told her dryly. "He knows who I am, he doesn't particularly seem to care about my fame. He's really into the arts, intelligent, kind of a tease and I really, really like him."
"Is he cute?" She asked innocently.
"Mo-om..." I groaned. What is it with Fenton women?
"So he is." I swear, I could hear her smirk. "So how did your date go?"
"It went very good." I told her most of the details, I admit. "Well it's a bit late over here and I have homework to do, so I'm gonna let you go."
"Okay, I'll talk to you later, Danny."
"Love you, bye." I hung up.
I can't believe I got away with not telling my mom the Ghost Writer's name or status. It's only delaying the inevitable, I know, but... I guess I want to see if this one lasts. Clockwork knows none of my boyfriends have so far.
I'm hoping this one does.