Author's Note: This puppy was pumped out in twenty minutes flat, un-betaed, and quickly spell checked. My apologies for any errors! I just felt the need to put this up before I lost my nerve.
This will be a series of one-shots of varying length of what happened after The Ultimate Enemy. And yes, as forewarning, it will probably be a bit jumbled at times (like in this chapter), but I've done that on purpose to develop a sort of "stream-of-consciousness" mood.
Well, I thanks for reading this, I hope you enjoy this series!
Disclaimer: I do not own the television series Danny Phantom or the characters and plots therein.
I had no way of knowing, really, but I was fairly certain that I kept blinking.
What a strange feeling.
I tilted my head, staring at the grass that was really nothing, and blinked. It was as if the only movement I could make was with my eyelids, like I knew I could move my arms, yet at the same time, I couldn't. So instead, I blinked.
It was funny, though. I'd never realized before just how gray and muted grass can look. Something …living, something so green, shouldn't look so…
I swallowed, another measure of my anatomy coming back under my awareness and control. Then my hearing cut in, and for a second I thought I was zoning out in the middle of one of Lancer's pointless lectures, what with the droning voice coming from somewhere in front of me, but that didn't really make sense, because there's never been grass inside the school, just a lot of tile and cement. Kind of like—
All the muscles in my torso jerked, mirroring the jolt in my stomach as I remembered the explosion. Remembered Lancer and his ridiculous classes and the detentions he always dished out. Remembered my parents scolding me when he called telling of my newest failure or detention, Jazz quietly standing by, as though restraining herself from either defending me or yelling back at them in return. Remembered me and Sam and Tuck hanging out at our table There, most afternoons: Tucker shoveling down meat like Armageddon would start any minute and Sam making caustic jokes about how They probably used the unused innards of the poor defenseless cows to make the Nasty Sauce, me laughing while Tuck glared and Sam smirked.
My entire body jolted this time, as a deep sickness roiled beyond my stomach, inside my very being. I shakily pulled my arms around me in a semblance of a hug and stared foggily at the would-be sweet grass under my feet. Somewhere between both the happy and mundane memories, the sight of charred brick and splattered gore peeked out, creeping across my consciousness and into my line of sight.
I really couldn't help it when the first sob ripped its way through me.
I screwed my eyes shut, against the stares of the memorial-goers or the splattered entrails I didn't want to see, I'll never know. But I did know that my bawling was hard and heavy and completely undignified, though nowhere near as releasing as it should've been.
The pastor was making a valiant effort to continue on as if I wasn't trying to take over the service with my agony, but frankly, I neither knew nor cared. I was so caught up in everything, in the jumbled stream of consciousness that had been my life for the past week, that I almost didn't register the warm, almost fever-hot hand placed on my back.
And neither did I really register my crying picking up with gusto when the hand was placed there, nor that same hand removing itself.
A figure that I knew was clad in almost-familiar black attire crouched down at my side and wrapped solid arms around me.
I knew it was wrong, to take comfort when this was all my damn fault, and especially in this person, but I couldn't help it.
Hidden inside the muting fabric of his black suit jacket and dark shirt, clutching at my own arms so hard I was bruising myself…
…I felt a bit less lonely. A little more sane.
Like I wasn't as much of a monster as I knew I was.