AUTHOR'S NOTE: Okay, guys, here's the next installment to my DP fanfic series, Double Trouble. I will be posting this at a much slower pace than Return of the Hero and The Mystery of the Spirit Gems, so please be patient. It's all written down, I just like posting one chapter at a time.^^
You'll find out a lot about what had been happening while Danny was in the Ghost Zone for all those years, and you'll come to see just how much Andy means to his father. There are new characters in this story, so make sure you check out my profile page on FF to get links to the chart and to this story's title poster.
Without further ado, let's dive into the story!
Light grey clouds rolled in from the North over Amity Park, but no one seemed to be taking any heed of them; it was time for the Fall Supper in the city, when every neighbourhood got together, brought something good to eat, and ate outside in the various parks or beautiful streets. Children played soccer and football; parents chatted; people showed off their best art or antiques; there was an auction; there were a few rides and prizes to be won.
Just as Danny had remembered it when he was a child.
The Fentons and Mansons were to sit together at the large table for dinner, and although both Danny's and Sam's parents had a competitive relationship, they had managed to put many of their differences behind them for their children and their grandchild—many differences save the ghost hunting.
Danny had proven to Jeremy and Pamela Manson that he was a worthy husband for their daughter, as well as a worthy father for their grandson, Andy. After spending five years in the Ghost Zone—or five years of disappearance, in the Manson's minds—Danny had had a very short period of time to recover the time he had lost to prove himself again to Sam's family; luckily though, they loved his cooking, and eventually accepted him back into the family.
"Kinda ironic, though, isn't it?" Danny muttered to his wife as they set their plates down at their seats.
"What is?" Sam whispered back.
"Your parents have learned to tolerate me, but they still can't stand my folks."
"That's not ironic. That's normal. Anyone who likes you can't stand your parents."
Danny raised an eyebrow. Sam blushed and giggled. "I mean, everyone but Tucker and me, of course," she corrected herself.
Danny sat down and looked up at his mother. Despite her love of wearing her jumpsuit, she had dressed into something more casual for the fall supper; to Danny's surprise, it was a dress. He had never seen his mother in a dress before. At the moment, she was picking some food from the end of the buffet table; beside her stood Pamela, Sam's mother. Pamela was going through the deserts, while chattering away with Maddie. It was very rare for Danny to see the two having a casual conversation and even laughing together, even to that day. But it was rewarding, considering that there was no way that he would ever catch his own father having a good conversation with Jeremy.
"What are they talking about?" Danny asked Sam while pointing at their mothers.
Sam looked up from her food. "Who cares?" she said. "They're getting along, so I don't honestly care if they're talking about clothes or guys."
Danny grinned amusingly before pouring himself a glass of water. "Um, where's Andy, by the way?" he wondered.
"I know that. But shouldn't they have been back by now for the meal?"
"Tucker said he had to go get something in the SUV so he took Andy along with him. It's not like he's kidnapping him, Danny. Relax."
Danny blushed and looked at his plate. "Am I being too concerned?" he muttered embarrassingly. Ever since he had learned that Andy was his son, he never wanted to have any harm come to the boy; unfortunately, sometimes he wondered if he was being too overprotective.
Sam giggled while chewing on some broccoli and swallowed her food before answering. "Just a little," she said. "Do remember that he's inherited two of your abilities, so he's a lot safer than you think."
"I'm sorry. I guess I'm still new to this whole… uh, father thing."
Sam patted his cheek. "You'll get used to it," she replied. She raised the fork to her mouth. "I did."
Danny grinned in reply as he raised his glass to his lips.
Suddenly, a hand grabbed onto his shoulder, causing him to jump in surprise and nearly drop his glass' contents all over his suit. He quickly set it down while coughing and then turned around. "Hey!" he said with a frown. "What's the big i—!"
He stopped in his words when he saw who was there. Tucker, the mayor of Amity Park, was standing behind his two best friends with a look of concern on his face.
Danny stared at him in silence before Sam turned around. "Tucker?" the woman said. "Where's Andy?"
"And what's with the mud stains on your shirt?" Danny added, suddenly noticing that his best friend was covered in them.
Tucker looked down at his grey shirt and tie before pulling Danny and Sam's chairs back. "You'll get both your answers just as soon as you follow me," he said urgently. He grabbed their arms and raised them up.
"Ow! Tucker, what's gotten into you?" Sam scolded as she pulled her arm free.
"Couldn't you just tell us what's wrong, right here?" Danny wondered, smoothing out his shirt.
"Not if you want to make a scene in front of everyone," Tucker said behind his teeth.
These words startled the couple. Danny and Sam shared an uneasy look before looking at their best friend again.
Tucker pointed towards the streets. "Andy's acting really strange," he said worriedly. "You don't think he might be allergic to anything, do you?"
Careful not to alert their parents, Danny and Sam, despite their growing concern for their five-year-old, followed Tucker off as calmly as they could. Once they were out of sight, Tucker began explaining the dilemma.
"I took Andy to the SUV and told him to wait on the swings while I went in to get the camera," Tucker said. "For some weird reason, where it once had been sitting in the front of the car, it disappeared. So I literally had to tear the whole SUV up to find it in the trunk. Once I had, I came back out and… Andy was… gone."
"Gone?" Sam said in dismay. "What do you mean, gone?"
"You were supposed to be watching him, Tucker!" Danny scolded.
Tucker raised his arms in the air. "Yo, I haven't even finished the story, yet!" he scolded. He looked at his best friends again. "I walked into the park and called out for him, and I found him hiding behind a tree. So I walked over and told him that we needed to get back to the meal." Tucker stopped in the small park where the swings and jungle gym were and worry crossed over his face again. "You know what he said?" He waited a moment before frowning. "No! He said No!"
Sam began to share the same concern as Tucker, although Danny was still confused.
"Andy never says no! Especially like that! I asked him why, and he said that it was none of my business!"
Now, Danny noticed something odd. Andy had never spoken back to Tucker—the man was his favourite uncle.
"That's not all; when I told him that you guys would get worried, he said who cares! And then he stuck out his tongue and dashed off!"
Danny tapped his chin while Sam played nervously with her fingers. "Okay, maybe he ate something that made him upset," Danny suggested.
But Sam disagreed. She shook her head. "Andy's never spoken that way, Danny," she said. "Especially to Tucker." She looked at Tucker again. "What happened after that?"
"I ran after him, what else?" Tucker replied with a shrug. "I chased him through the park, telling him that if he was worried about something, he could talk to me about it. But he only picked up dirt and threw it at me!" Deep concern decorated the black man's face. "Something's wrong with Andy, Sam; not only has he never said anything like that to me, but he's never thrown dirt at me unless we were both playing mudballs in the backyard."
Now, even Danny was concerned. He crossed his arms and looked at Sam as the woman spoke: "Where is he now?" she asked worriedly.
Tucker pointed at the park. "Somewhere in there, playing ghost," he said. "After he threw dirt at my glasses and knocked them off, I lost track of him. That's when I came to find you. I swear, he was perfectly fine before I went to look for that stupid camera. Do you think he's sick or something?"
Suddenly, Danny's ghost sense was activated, and his breath came out as thick mist. He gasped softly and looked at his breath before crouching down in a defensive position and looking about.
Sam and Tucker stared at him. "Danny, do you sense something?" Sam wondered.
Danny looked at her. "Yeah," he replied. His breath came out visible again. "Actually, I think I sense more than just one."
"Where do you think it's coming from?" Tucker asked.
Danny looked about once more before he caught sight of something on the junglegym behind his friends. He gasped and leaped onto Sam and Tucker. "DUCK!" he cried, shoving them to the ground.
All three fell in a pile, just as three rocks came flying in their direction.
"What the heck?" Tucker exclaimed as he looked up. "Were those rocks?"
"Who threw them?" Sam cried out.
The giggle of a boy suddenly caught their attention. When they looked up, Andy was peering over the bridge of the jungle gym, laughing at his parents.
"Andy, did you throw those rocks?" Sam asked, not the least bit impressed as the adults raised themselves to their feet.
Andy peeked through the bars of the bridge. "Yeah," he replied.
"Haven't I told you already that that's dangerous? You could have hurt someone!"
The five-year-old stuck out his tongue. "So what?" he replied sourly.
Sam raised her eyebrows in shock and looked at Tucker.
"Told you," Tucker replied worriedly.
Danny stared at him in concern before daring to take a few steps forward. "You guys stay here," he said. "I'll see if I could get through."
"Isn't that a little risky, dude? I mean, he just tried to stone us."
Danny looked at him for a moment as he continued to walk cautiously towards the playground. I don't believe that Andy did that intentionally, he thought.
Andy did not seem pleased that Danny was approaching. He frowned and crossed his arms. "Go away!" he said angrily. "I wanna play by myself!"
"Andy, you just threw rocks at us," Danny said sternly, stopping at the foot of the jungle gym. He frowned. "And you hurt your Uncle Tucker a few minutes ago." He pointed at the pebbles beneath his feet that formed the grounds of the playground. "I want you to come down here right now and go say sorry."
Andy grimaced. "No!" he said.
The more Andy talked back, the more concerned Danny was about this odd behaviour of his. But he did not show it, knowing that the boy would probably feed off of his father's emotions; instead, he stood his ground, exactly the way his mother had when he was a child, and continued to point at the ground beneath his feet. "Come down, now," he scolded.
Andy picked up another rock. "No!" he yelled. "You can't make me!" He tossed the rock over the bridge at his father.
Luckily, Danny had expected this move and went intangible. The rock sailed straight through him and landed on the gravel beneath his feet.
Andy pouted and stomped his feet. "You can't do that! That's no fair!" he yelled.
"I won't ask you again," Danny continued. "Come-down-NOW, Andrew Fenton."
Danny crossed his arms and his eyes glowed green. "Fine, then," he replied. Then, without warning, he disappeared.
Andy, even Sam and Tucker recoiled in shock and wondered why Danny had gone invisible.
The five-year-old searched the area frantically for his father until suddenly, two hands came up from beneath the bridge and grabbed his waist. Andy shouted in surprise and fought to break free before he turned intangible and phased through the bridge. Once he had done so, Danny reappeared beneath the bridge, holding his son in his arms.
"Let me go! Let me go!" Andy shouted angrily, pounding his fists against Danny's chest.
Danny held him out at a distance as he walked out from beneath the bridge.
"You're a monster! LET ME GO!"
Danny received a swift kick in the gut, but even when he doubled over in pain he held onto his son until he had regained his feet. Then, he tucked the child under his arm and continued on towards Sam and Tucker. "Okay, either he's eaten a really sour apple," the man said with a frown, "Or else there's something seriously wrong here."
"How the heck did you get him that easily?" Tucker said in awe. "Not counting the ghost powers, of course."
"My mom may look like all she cares about are ghosts," Danny announced, "But the one thing I learned was how to stand up to a kid. When Jazz and I misbehaved, she became the big bad wolf, and trust me; she had us pinned to our bedroom floor within seconds if we didn't listen... Well, not literally, but she was a good discipliner."
Andy continued to kick and scream angrily, calling Danny a monster and shouting things like I hate you or you're no fun.
Sam stared at him worriedly. "What should we do with him?" she asked.
Danny sighed as he tried to control the child. "I don't think either we or our folks will be leaving this place happy or unembarrassed if we let Andy sit at the meal," he said. He looked at Andy. "I don't get it; he was happy and cheerful the entire afternoon. What's gotten into him?"
"Maybe he's not feeling good," Sam suggested. "He may have a stomach ache but doesn't want to tell us."
Tucker looked over his shoulder in the direction of the meal before sighing and looking at his best friends again. "I can let your folks know that Andy's tired," he said. "They'd understand that. You guys should get the kid home in case anything worse happens."
"You sure?" Danny said.
"Sure, I'm sure. No one likes a misbehaving kid, and with the way Andy's going, things will only get worse if he's forced to sit in public when he doesn't want to."
Andy growled loudly and slapped his hands against Danny's legs. "I don't wanna go home! I wanna stay here an' play!" he yelled. "You're a mean ol' monster! LET ME GO!"
Danny sighed and looked at Sam again. "Let's just get him home before he bites my leg off," he said tiredly. He looked at Tucker again. "Thanks for doing this, Tucker. Maybe you should take the evening off too."
"Like to, but considering my position as mayor, that would look bad," Tucker replied. "My mom's probably got an extra shirt for me anyway in her truck. I'll let your folks know where you went and everything should clear up." He began walking off and tried smiling encouragingly at them. "Don't worry, guys; he'll probably get better in the morning." He waved goodbye and walked around the bushes that led to the clearing where the tables were set.
Danny and Sam watched him leave before looking at each other. "You can stay if you want," Danny suggested. "You're better in public than I ever was."
"He's our kid, so we might as well wade it out together, Hero," Sam replied with a tired sigh. They both began walking off towards the car. "Besides; I'm the only one who can drive the car, remember?"
"Wouldn't be, if I was allowed to overshadow you," Danny mumbled stubbornly.
The drive back home was incredibly quiet. At first, Andy complained and complained, shouting insults that were directed to his father, but after several minutes, the boy fell silent. Neither Danny nor Sam dared to ask why, nor did they look behind to see what he was up to.
It was only when they arrived back home did Danny notice something strange. While Sam got out of the car and headed straight for the front door, Danny opened the back passenger's door to let his son out. The door swung open and he waited for Andy to step out, even run out and dare to escape.
But to his confusion, the boy did not exit the vehicle.
"Andy?" Danny said. He leaned down. "Are you going to come out or did I need to carry you again?"
To his surprise, Andy was still sitting in his seat, buckled in; but he had his knees up to his chin and his arms crossed over them. He was staring at the back of the passenger seat before him, but what had startled Danny was that he was not staring at the seat furiously; instead, Andy's eyes were filled with fear and shame.
Danny blinked once before he cleared his throat. "Uh, Andy, do you feel alright?" he asked gently. "Did you want Mom to make you something warm to eat?"
Andy did not look at him, but he shook his head silently. Danny waited a moment longer before speaking up again. "Is there something you want to talk to us about?" he asked very softly.
Andy looked at him without moving his head, and Danny saw that his eyes were desperately saying "yes." But what came out of his mouth was completely the opposite:
"No," he squeaked. "Not yet."
Danny stared at him worriedly and then nodded his head slowly, not finding anything else to talk about. Then, he stood up and stepped aside, indicating to his son that he had to get out of the car.
Andy unbuckled his seatbelt and slid out of the car. Once on firm ground, he walked towards the house, head hanging low, and did not even look up at Sam when he climbed the front steps and walked by her.
Sam watched him climb the stairs once he had entered the house and then looked at her husband worriedly as Danny came up the front porch. "Did he say anything?" she asked.
Danny looked at her and shook his head. "No," he replied. "Not yet."