I know I haven't updated in forever (Sorry!) but I've decided that I'm going to finish this story. It may take me a while, but I will. In this chapter, there is a reference to a book I just completed reading today. The Title is "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry. I will probably reference this peice of literature a lot in coming chapters. If you find the reference or just need me to explain to to you, just ask me.
Disclaimer: I do not own Dann Phantom. Danny Phantom is the property and mind-child of Butch Hartman. I do not own the book "Helter Skelter" by Vincent Bugliosi. It is the horrible, true story of the violent crimes commited by Manson and his followers. I make no profit from this story and do not intend to disrespect the memory of the victims.
The Phantasmagoric Images
"The case of the state of California vs. Daniel Fenton shall commence," the surly judge began in an emotionless monotone. "How does the defendant plead?" His stern gaze lowered to the sullen young man darned in an orange pant suit and chains as he was pulled to a standing position by the lawyer and bailiff on either side of him. He slowly lifted his gaze to the judge with more hatred than he himself thought he was capable of.
"Not guilty," the young man spoke, his voice rough and barely above a whisper. "Although, you spineless sons-a-bitches refuse to believe me because of what I am," His voice gained more power with every word as his eyes surveyed the cold court room. "Because I'm a ghost."
It was a brisk evening as Danny prepared to go trick-or-treating. He was a little more anxious this year than any other because this would be the first year he would go without his big sister, Jazz. He did not have a problem with going with Jazz. He likes his sister, but going without her made him feel like a big boy.
Danny was sitting on the kitchen table while he put the finishing touches on his pirate costume. He thought he looked pretty cool. He had watched a few pirate movies lately and was fascinated with them, as most boys did after watching these movies.
He had put the plastic hook over his hand when the doorbell rang.
Can you get that, Mommy?" Danny asked from the kitchen table as Jack gave him a glance that said, "What should I do? I wanna help!" The young boy sighed. "On second thought, Mommy, can you tie my shoes while Daddy gets the door?" Maddie nodded to him from the kitchen archway and made her way to his side to tie his shoes while Jack ran enthusiastically to get the door.
"You know, sweetie," Maddie began in a soft voice only a mother could pull off. "Eventually, you'll have to learn to tie your own shoes." She giggled slightly as a smirk crossed her son's face.
"I already know how to tie my shoes, Mommy," He laughed. "I just like when you do it for me. We… bond!"
"Tricks or Treats!" A little voice yelled, echoing into the kitchen.
"Who is it, Daddy?" Danny asked, looking over his shoulder while his mom finished tying his shoes.
"It's Princess Jasmine," Jack answered with a hardy laugh.
"Ah man! She's taken!" Danny yelled with a fake pout on his lips, earning him confused looks from both his parents and Jazz, who was trying to read a book at the table. "Um," Danny began with a blush on his face. "because she's Jasmine and in the movie, ya' knows, it's Jasmine and Aladdin, so she's with Aladdin and— Why am I still talking? I am such a spaz!" Danny laughed nervously as the small girl in her jasmine costume tilted her head at him. She shook her head.
"I thought for sure you'd be an astronaut, but a pirate…" she trailed off as she circled him. "It seems so not you!" She said with a smile, twirling the bottom of her ponytail in her fingers. "What made you want be a pirate, anyway?"
"Well, I wanted to be Genie, but Mommy wouldn't let me paints myself blue," Danny replied, rubbing the back of his head and giving his mom an annoyed glance. "If I knew you were gonna be Jasmine, I would've been Aladdin!" Danny laughed as he continued to rub the back of his neck. It had become a nervous habit of his that he couldn't break and everyone at school knew it. "Um… let's go get that candy!" Danny spoke quickly, pulling Sam out of his house before his parents could embarrass him. It was drizzling a bit so Danny grabbed his umbrella off the front step and continued walking from house to house with his best friend.
He couldn't be happier.
The jury jumped slightly as he spoke the word. Ghost. He was a ghost; a monster.
"That's what it all comes down to, doesn't it?" the prisoner spoke coldly and disconnected. "Where you were born, the color of your skin, your occupation, your abilities…" His voice drifted as he saw the surprised faces of all the people in the room. They hated him. "You assume I'm a monster because I'm half of something that you can't explain; because I'm different."
"So, how much candy did you get Sam asked as her and Danny sat on the street corner after it started raining too hard to see the sidewalk. "I got five lollipops, ten jolly ranchers, one Reese's cup, and three gum balls." She stated, looking into her pumpkin-shaped bucket. She looked up at his confused face as he looked into his bag.
"I got a rock!" Danny sighed reluctantly. Sam giggled and placed three lollipops, five jolly ranchers, and two gum balls into his bag. He smiled up at her with an almost sorry expression across his features. "Thanks, Sam," He said, finally letting a smile come to his lips. "You're the best."
"No, Danny," Sam spoke softly, refusing to look into his eyes. "You're the best." Sam quickly placed a kiss on his cheek before she lost the courage and turned to look in the opposite direction with her knees pulled up under her chin. Danny couldn't move.
"T-thank… you…"he managed out in a shaky voice. He felt like he had been hit by a semi, but it was nice.
Danny awoke with a start, gasping for air, as the specter speeder's engine roared in the background. He almost didn't recognize where he was. I was with… Sam… He was beginning to hate these dreams more and more with each passing illusions. He couldn't tell reality from fantasy anymore. And with each good dream he had, he knew that it would be shattered by the bad soon enough.
"Danny?" a voice called from the front of the vehicle. "Are you awake?" Danny groaned in response as he lifted himself from the uncomfortable mattress in the back of the speeder. Why the fuck do we have that hard ass thing, anyway? He stepped into the passenger seat across from his techno-geek friend. "You passed out again so I loaded you up and started searching the ghost zone for Sam." Tucker stated. As if he couldn't tell from the green aura outside the speeder.
"Tucker," Danny sighed heavily. "Just shut up and drive."
"Well," Tucker grunted indignantly. "Looks like Sleeping Beauty woke up on the wrong side of the ghost assault vehicle…" Danny sent a death glare to Tucker and he automatically shut his trap and returned his attention to the… green in front of them.
The young man sat at the stand as the prosecution interrogated him. He refused to answer his questions, saying that they were irrelevant or that the lawyer was an idiot.
"Your honor," the prosecutor began in an annoyed tone. "The man is being unreasonable. We all know he's guilty and he refuses to answer our questions to prove otherwise."
"Because I don't care," the young man growled. "I just don't give a shit."
"Mr. Fenton," the judge spoke pleadingly. "Please, explain." His gaze fell on the man next to him who was full of hatred. "Why do you not 'give a shit'?" The prisoner sighed heavily.
"I don't care what you think of me or what this court says I've done or haven't done," the young man snarled, covering his now moist eyes behind his thick hair. "It doesn't matter what I say or what I do. The verdict was determined before I stepped foot in this room!" The defendant burst to his feet. "You've already sentenced me to death! Why are we wasting time with this ridiculous crap?" He looked to the floor for a moment, trying to control his anger. He looked to his hand resting on the now charred railing and began to cry openly. In a whisper, he continued. "I loved her." His head jerked up to gaze on the group of people, humans, who had condemned him with a fury only he could muster up. "Why... How could I destroy the one thing that means anything to me? Why would I hurt someone who means so much to me? The only thing that... made me feel... human." The prisoner fell silent once again, falling down into his seat, exhausted from his emotional outburst. Why?
"Are you saying you had no motive, Mr. Fenton?" The prosecutor asked, hopeful that the trial might be able to continue. The young man simply glared at the attorney; a pathetic look of death across his features.
"You're answer, Mr. Fenton?" The judge prodded, looking the down upon the defendant. He was beginning to sympathize with the young man more and more as the trail went on. He looked more like a victim than a criminal; A monster.
"Yes," the young man spoke with a rough, shaky voice. "I'm saying I had no motive." Every word was uttered with a bite to them.
"We have proof otherwise, Mr. Fenton," the prosecutor continued.
"Really?" The prisoner said with a slight chuckle. "Let me guess," the young man lifted his voice in a mocking manner, "You're a ghost. Ghosts don't have feelings. Ghosts are monsters that lurk in the night and hurt people for shits and giggles. A ghost can't love!" He leaned back in his chair, his arms crossed over his chest in a gesture of disgust and defiance. "Did a hit the nail on the head?"
The prosecutor tried his best to ignore the outburst and continue with the case. "The autopsy report of the victim has revealed that she was pregnant." The defendant's eyes thrust open at the statement. What? How? When? "A subsequent paternity test revealed that the child was female... and not yours."
The young woman looked around the rain soaked street and let out a sigh, looking at the man walking beside her.
"It seems like forever ago, doesn't it?" The woman asked, tilting her head up to look the man in the eyes. "I still remember how adorable you were, holding that huge umbrella." she laughed to herself, waiting for the man to respond. He just stared at her, as if trying to remember where he was and who she is. She shot him a look of pure confusion. "Danny?" she made a step closer to him and placed her hand on his cheek. He was cold. "Are you... feeling okay? Is it a... " she looked around them to make sure they were alone and whispered the last word, "ghost?" The man seemed to snap back into consciousness.
"What?" He managed to gasp out. "Who... How do you know about..." Suddenly recognition kicked in. "S-Sam!" He quickly wrapped his arms around her tightly and placed kisses on the top of her head. Wait... Since when am I taller than her? The woman cautiously dislodged herself from his embrace and stared into his eyes for a moment.
"You're acting strange, Danny," she stated with a slight quiver in her words. Is... Is she scared of... me? "I think we should head back home. You need to lie down." She grabbed his hand and began leading him away from the street corner.
"S-Sam, wait!" Danny managed to get out through the shock and confusion. "How... did I find you?" His expression changed to that of a confused child.
"What?" Sam asked, giving him the strangest look he'd ever seen.
"Y-you... were kidnapped!" He began to explain, hoping she would know what he was talking about. "I blasted you through a wall and then you disappeared through another wall and Tucker and I went everywhere trying to find you and save you, but I couldn't stay focused. It's like I was jumping from one point in time to another. Like I'm having the world's worst and longest nightmare ever and I can't wake up!" He took a breath and looked at her face, still confused. She has no idea what I'm talking about. "I finally told you that I loved you," he whispered, grasping her small hands in his calloused ones and looking into her amethyst eyes, hoping to see some sign of recognition. There were none.
"Danny... what..." she began, but her body jolted and she collapsed on the sidewalk, grasping her chest as if trying to stop her heart's fastening pace. Her breathing became heavy. All Danny could do was stand there, shaking with fear. He knew what came next. He'd seen this same scene over and over again. Sam would die right in front of his eyes, and he'd be powerless to stop it. It's my fault. I know it is. That's what these... nightmares, for lack of a better word, have been trying to tell me. Sam is going to die and it's all my fault.
You used to tell me everything. I was the one you confided in; the one you trusted, but you've closed yourself to me. You won't talk to me anymore. I mean, really talk to me! You used to trust me! I thought... I hoped... you loved me...
There's got to be a reason. A reason for your sudden coldness toward me, but I can't find it. Why? Why have you turned your back on me? This isn't real! It can't be. This can't be you. This isn't the one I remember falling in love with. This isn't the one who would give his life for me; Who I'd give my life for.
You don't really love her, do you, Danny?
She's always on your mind... always! Maybe I'm over exaggerating, but... it feels like every time you say you'll spend time with me, something comes gets in the way! I'm beginning to think you plan it that way. Whether it's Paulina, Valerie, or ghosts... It still hurts, Danny...
I couldn't care less about who you're with or who you're spending my time with. I just want my friend back. The little boy I fell in love with. The sweet, caring, innocent, little boy who laughed at everything I said even if it wasn't funny. The little boy who always tried to understand my problems and would hold me when I was sad and wouldn't blow me off for someone prettier or more popular or more... feminine! The real Danny Fenton. If you could find the little boy somewhere deep inside you... you'll find me... Danny.
"Danny?" Tucker waved his hand in front of his friend's face. The expression on his face ever-changing, but his eyes staying empty and frozen. With a shake in his voice, Tuck tried to play it cool. "You've been staring into space for three minutes. Snap out of it!" After slapping Danny across the face a couple times with no response, Tucker grabbed him by his shoulders and began to shake him violently. "BLINK!" He did and in that instant the life seemed to rush back to his crystal eyes and he gasped breath as if he never had before.
"Tucker?" Danny managed out in a hoarse whisper after regaining himself. A smile burst onto Tucker's face and he thrust Danny into what most people call a 'man-hug'.
"Thank god you're alive!" Tucker shouted in relief, his voice muffled by Danny's rag-a-muffin hair. Danny just froze from the contact for a moment. Upon regaining his awareness, he grabbed Tucker's shoulders and held him at arm's length.
Looking him straight in the eye with a determination burning behind his icy spheres, Danny stated with a new hope lacing every word, "I know where she is." A tear running down Danny's cheek was the only thing that kept Tucker from jumping for joy.
"Our baby girl?" Sam yelled in disbelief as the man who she knew to be her Danny jumped at her sudden display. "What the hell do you mean, 'Our baby girl'?" A fire was churning behind her eyes that Danny was all too familiar with. She thinks I'm messing with her.
After recovering from the initial shock of her unexpected reaction, he finally managed to straighten himself up enough to answer her question. He took a deep breath.
"Okay, let me explain," he began with his hands in front of him in a pacifying manner. "In the alternate time line; the one I mentioned earlier that got screwed up; we started dating. Then, after graduation, I asked you to marry and you said yes so-"
"Hold up!" she said quickly, trying to wrap her mind around the information this 'Danny' was giving her. She had several questions she wanted to ask him, but the only one she could put into words was, "When did we start dating?" Really, Manson? Really?
"Uh..." he didn't expect that. That's my Sammi. Completely unpredictable and full of surprises. He tried to gather the words to explain it in a way that might not make her have another outburst. "Well, we had a fight which you should remember." He began antagonizing himself. "I stupidly yelled," he grasped his hands in a stereotypical way and in a high-pitched voice continued, "I love you" He quickly reverted back to an angry glare to finish his statement. "and ever since then we've been together, but someone messed with the time line and now..." He sat down on the silken sheets of the bed and hid his face in his hands. "I have nothing." Sam stared in disbelief for a minute. That's not the way she remembered it. In fact, she couldn't remember anything after that fight. She walked away and then she was here in this dark room with an older body, and an older Danny. But why?
"Why did you bring me here?" She asked in a whisper, still staring amazed at the desolate man in tears on the bed. She watched him lift his head. She was right. He had been crying. "Why, Danny?" She tried to keep the questions to a minimum, but her curiosity made them all burst out of her mouth. "Why did you have to make me older? How could you be charged with murder? What are you trying to hide from and why, Danny?" She now wore a look of a mother trying to get their child to confess to taking a cookie from the cookie jar while her back was turned. Sam often had a motherly demeanor, Danny reflected.
"Why do you ask so many questions?" He chuckled slightly, remembering the woman he had fallen in love with. She simply glared at him, awaiting an answer. He obliged. "In order," he began. "I brought you here to protect you. I had to change your appearance enough that He wouldn't recognize you. I was charged with first degree murder because you were found dead in my arms and I was the only on there. It was a total William Garretson prosecution!" He paused to try to control his temper and to recollect his thoughts. "And I'm not trying to hide anything. I'm trying to make sure you don't die!"
"And that you don't get charged for it?" Sam asked, but gave no time to answer. All the anger she had kept locked up against her Danny suddenly came pouring out in typhoons. "You don't care about me! You just don't wanna be the fucking bad guy! If you don't get charged with my murder, you can have Valerie or Paulina and then one of those bitch-whores can give birth to your child! You're so selfish, Danny! You'll never change! Well, ya' know what, Dan-Dan? It doesn't work like that! I'm tired of putting up with your shallowness, your chauvinism, and your god damn hero-complex! Why don't you go cry a river that your non-existent daughter can build a bridge across and then you can get over yourself!" Sam stormed out of the room and slammed the door in Danny's face as he tried to follow her out.