Walk Three Worlds
A Danny Phantom/Harry Potter fanfic
Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom or Harry Potter, or anything associated with them.
Chapter 1: A Battle Won and Lost
Danny heard a scream, and turning on his heel, found himself facing the Nasty Burger, the tanks of Nasty Sauce red hot, with his family, friends, and teacher still tied to the bulging metal containers. Then suddenly he was running, faster than he'd ever run in his life, and yet not nearly fast enough. He desperately reached for his ghost half, felt the rings of pure white energy form around him, then wink out of existence, his energy too low to even transform. Gritting his teeth, he pushed harder, forcing his already exhausted and abused body even faster, his eyes fixed on his family. He didn't see the block of blasted black asphalt in his way, only knew pain and despair as he fell flat on his face. He shook his head to clear it, tried to get up, but his body had had enough. It was over.
He could only watch as the Nasty Sauce tanks finally blew, taking with them everyone he'd ever loved and respected. The force of the explosion blew him through the air, clear across two blocks down the street, blinded, deafened, and helpless. He felt himself bounce across the asphalt, but he didn't feel pain anymore, and blacked out as he finally came to a stop.
"You can't take him away!"
"I was named Daniel's legal guardian in his parents' will. I am the only family he has now."
"Danny hates you! He complained about you all the time to Tucker, and now I finally see why!"
"Daniel's feelings for me are irrelevant. I am his legal guardian, I will do my duty to him to honor his parents' memories. He will be leaving with me as soon as he is released."
"You can't do that!"
Danny's eyes fluttered open as he listened to the argument. It was slightly muffled, as though the sound were penetrating through a wall. Weary, bloodshot blue eyes dragged around the white room he was ensconced in, taking in the IV drip in his arm, the plain white walls, the heart monitor and oxygen tank next to the plain white bed in which he lay.
Damn, he thought. I'm in a hospital.
Then, suddenly, everything came rushing back. The C.A.T., the answer sheet, Clockwork, his future… His eyes widened as he realized what the final outcome had been. Yes, Dan was gone, sealed in a Fenton Thermos. But Danny had ultimately failed.
His parents, his sister, his best friends, his teacher… they were all gone. Forever. He probably wouldn't even see them in the ghost zone.
As Danny realized this, his heart shattered, his chest physically pained with the dark epiphany he had experienced. He was alone, completely, utterly, terrifyingly alone. The pain in his chest expanded, and tears came unbidden, but unhindered to his eyes. He let them fall, not caring who saw or heard him. He sobbed like the broken, terrified fifteen year old that he was, one who had lost his entire family (and he'd counted Sam and Tucker as such, since he'd known the two since second grade) to a stupid, stupid mistake that he could have, should have, prevented.
"Danny?" A quiet, sympathetic voice asked. Danny didn't answer, face buried in his arms, which were resting on his knees, which were pulled up to his chest.
Just go away, he begged silently.
"Danny…" Suddenly he felt a gentle hand lightly touching his shoulder, and he gave a start and looked up at… Pamela Manson?
The coppery haired, green eyed mother of Sam Manson, who hated his guts, hated his family, and hated that her daughter had been friends with him, was standing next to his bed, her hand oh-so-gently squeezing his shoulder and her eyes boring into his. Danny recoiled slightly, expecting hurt, anger, hatred in her gaze, but found only sympathy, regret, and love.
"Danny," she said, pulling up a chair and sitting down, her hand not leaving his shoulder and her eyes not leaving his, "thank you for trying to save Sam. I can't tell you how sorry I am for the way Jeremy and I treated you and your family, especially after hearing what had happened. Sam was right for choosing such a brave and heroic friend."
Danny gulped and looked at his knees again. "I'm not a hero," he rasped quietly, his voice practically gone with the number of times he'd used his Ghostly Wail in the past twenty four hours. "What kind of hero lets his family and friends die? I just sat there and watched Sam die, Mrs. Manson. You should hate me now more than ever, and I totally deserve it."
He gasped as her arms wrapped around him, squeezing him as gently as she could but still aggravating his numerous injuries.
"No, Danny," she said as she gently stroked his hair. "You did everything you possibly could to save them. You have nothing to blame yourself for."
"Pam's right, Danny," another voice said, and Danny saw through his tears Jeremy Manson, Sam's father. He walked over to the bed and sat down next to the nonplussed halfa, resting a hand on Danny's shoulder. "What happened to Sam was an accident, a horrible, horrible accident, but an accident just the same. You did nothing wrong, and there was nothing you could do to save her, even though you tried so hard. And we're grateful for your effort, Danny, more than we could ever say."
Danny looked from one former parent to the other, sky blue eyes brimming once more with tears, before breaking down again and burying his face in Pamela's shoulder, sobbing harder than he ever had before. Pamela gently rocked the distraught halfa in her arms, humming an old niggun her father had taught her that had always put Sam to sleep, no matter what mood her daughter had been in. Jeremy kept his hand on Danny's shoulder, offering what comfort he could.
After a long, long time, Danny's sobs slowed down, and eventually ceased, as he passed out again from exhaustion. Jeremy stood back as Pamela tucked the boy in, brushing his ebony bangs from his eyes and placing a motherly kiss on his forehead.
"Stay strong, Danny," she whispered gently. "Sam would be proud of you."
"No matter what you think, son, you'll always be a hero to us," Jeremy added, gently tousling Danny's already messy black hair.
The childless parents silently left the room, arms wrapped around each other as tears streamed down their cheeks.
The next time Danny woke up, he found Eileen Foley, Tucker's mother, knitting in the chair Pamela had sat in while the Mansons were visiting. He stared at her for a minute, until she happened to look up and saw that he was awake.
"Danny!" She gasped, dropping her knitting. She grabbed his hand and smiled at him. "How you feeling, sugar?"
All Danny could do was blink. Why wasn't she screaming at him, demanding to know why he hadn't saved her son, who'd been like a brother to him? Demanding to know why he let Tucker die? Instead, he got an obviously relieved Eileen, who had been sitting calmly beside him as he slept, knitting for G-d's sake!
"Confused," he finally answered, his voice still raspy and subdued, looking down at his blankets. "How do you not hate me for letting Tucker die? I hate me. I killed my best friend, Mrs. Foley, your son. How can you still smile at me like I'm actually worth it?"
"Oh, sweet pea," crooned Eileen, gathering up her knitting and placing it in the tote bag at her feet before engulfing Danny in an enormous hug. "Don't you ever think for a second that any of this was your fault, you hear? You tried your best, sweetie pie, and I know that means you're worth a smile. And Danny, I love you like you're my own son, too, and I could never, ever hate you, 'cause then I'd be hating my own flesh and blood. You remember that, Daniel Martin Fenton, you hear?" She held his chin in her hand and oh-so-gently forced him to look at her. "You hear?"
He nodded slowly, unable to bring himself to smile, feeling like he'd never be able to smile again, as tears once again began building up in his eyes. Eileen held him, much like Pamela had, as he once again sobbed his grief and self-hatred and pain.
"Just let it all out, honey bun," she soothed, rubbing his back while avoiding his bandages and putting too much pressure on him. "Don't keep the hurt in, 'cause then it'll just keep hurting. Let it out."
And let it out Danny did, as he cried himself to sleep for the second time that day.
A few days later, Danny was healing, but still weak. His voice was back, but rarely used, as he spent his days in a shocked, mournful silence. The only time he spoke was with the Mansons and the Foleys, and even then it was more along the lines of single, monosyllabic word sentences. The childless parents were understandably concerned, but knew that Danny was grieving in his own way, trying to come to terms with his massive loss.
On this particular day, Danny was staring out the window in his usual bleak silence when the last person in both worlds he wanted to see entered his hospital room, followed by a lawyer and the Mansons and Foleys.
"Ah, Daniel," Vlad Masters purred, giving the boy an oily, malicious smile. "Nice to see you, even if this isn't the best of circumstances. You're looking well, little badger, all things considered."
Danny stared at him, eyes wide and wild. What is he doing here? He thought, panicked. He glanced at the Mansons, who glared openly at Vlad, and the Foleys, who looked angrily protective, and caught the eye of Eileen, who immediately swooped in and gathered the thin, haggard teen in her arms.
"Don't worry, sugar, we're not going to let him do anything to you," she whispered to him, as he huddled, trembling, against her. "You're not going anywhere with him, not if we can help it. Pamela," she addressed Mrs. Manson, "where's that big shot lawyer you said you were gonna get?"
"He's on his way," Pamela replied, never taking her sharp green eyes off of Vlad.
"Why should you need a lawyer, Mrs. Manson?" Vlad asked innocently. "It's just a simple will reading. You won't need lawyers until afterward." His smile turned predatory, but Mrs. Manson didn't even flinch. She glanced at Jeremy and Maurice Foley, Tucker's father.
Maurice crouched next to Danny and Eileen, fixing the teen with the same soft green eyes that Tucker had had. "Danny, your parents left a will, a list of instructions of what to do if anything ever happened to them," he explained to the halfa, his voice soft and gentle. "We're going to read it now, so that Eileen, Pamela, Jeremy, and I know what to do to make sure that you're safe and happy. You're going to have to listen to it too, so that you know what's going on and what's going to happen. It'll be hard, but it'll be over soon. Okay?"
Danny nodded, and Maurice smiled at him and tousled his hair before standing up straight next to Eileen, one hand on her shoulder, facing Vlad and frowning at the older halfa. Pamela sat next to Eileen and Danny on the bed, and Jeremy flanked her.
"Shall we get started?" Vlad said happily, cheerfully ignoring the glares being sent his way. "Mr. Harvey, if you please."
The lawyer cleared his throat and began to read.
Last Will and Testament of Jack Robert Fenton and Madeline Katherine Fenton
We, the undersigned, hereby leave our children, Jasmine Colleen Fenton and Daniel Martin Fenton, in the care of Mr. Vladimir Harrison Masters, a close family friend, in the event of our deaths or absences, until Jasmine comes of age (18), at which time she may take custody of her brother until he comes of age (18). If for any reason Jasmine is unable to care for Daniel when she comes of age, he is to remain with Mr. Masters until he comes of age. When Jasmine comes of age, she may claim her inheritance, consisting of our house in Amity Park, Illinois, and a trust in her name. She may also become the custodian of Daniel's inheritance, a trust in his name, to be transferred to him when he comes of age. In the event that Jasmine is unable to claim her inheritance, the house and her trust both fall to Daniel, to be claimed when he comes of age.
We would like to extend our gratitude to Mr. Masters for his friendship over the years, and wish him all the best. Jazz, Danny, please remember that we will always love you, even if we're not around to show it. Keep your heads high, and don't be ashamed of who you are.
December 23, 1990
The lawyer finished reading, and folded the will up and tucked it into a jacket pocket.
"Mr. Fenton, in the will it states that you are to be placed in the custody of Mr. Masters until you reach the age of eighteen," he said, his voice dry, bland, and obviously uninterested. "That means that until that age, Mr. Masters is your legal guardian. You are to live with him until then. Do you have any questions?"
Danny shook his head, keeping his gaze fixed on his hands in his lap.
"I have a question, Mr. Harvey," Pamela announced haughtily. "Would it be possible for Mr. Masters to transfer his guardianship to someone else? Or would someone have to sue for custody of Danny?"
"I'm sorry, ma'am, but the Fentons' will explicitly states that custody of Mr. Fenton goes to Mr. Masters until he is of legal age," Mr. Harvey replied.
"And I assure you, Mrs. Manson, that if you try for a custody battle, you will lose," Vlad said, grinning maliciously. "And besides, I believe that young Daniel has had enough trauma in his young life to last a very long time. A custody battle like the one I foresee would only make matters worse."
Pamela, who had opened her mouth to argue, blinked and closed it again. She shot a glance at Danny, still injured and obviously in no condition to go through a trial, either physically or mentally. Jeremy and the Foleys looked at her, and when she met their eyes, she realized with a sinking heart that they were thinking the same thing. She clenched her teeth in frustration and glared daggers at Vlad. She now knew why Sam had hated him so much, the few times they had been at one of the Manson family dinner parties together.
Danny, for his part, knew that Vlad had won, and immediately felt sorry for the Foleys and the Mansons. They were trying so hard to help him, but there was nothing they could do. It was yet another item to add to the list of things that were his fault.
"I believe we're finished here," Vlad smirked, and with a short, mocking bow to the women, a nod to the men, and a broad, absolutely evil grin at Danny, swept out of the room, quickly followed by the lawyer.
As soon as Vlad had left, Danny's tension did as well, and he slumped bonelessly against Eileen, mentally and physically exhausted.
"Danny, you should try to rest," Eileen said quietly, tightening her arm around the teen. "You're still healing, and you need your strength, sugar."
Danny didn't argue; his injuries were making their displeasure known, and he could barely keep his eyes open. He resettled himself, lying on his side to avoid putting pressure on a broken shoulder blade, and closed his eyes, sleep whisking him away from the pain and heartache almost instantly.
Three weeks later, Danny was released from the hospital, the only signs of his battle with his future self being the various scars that decorated his body, and the sling in which his arm was encased to keep his still healing shoulder from moving. He leaned gingerly against a support pillar outside the hospital, his normal cheerful white and red t-shirt replaced with black, and his eyes fixed on the ground. Pamela and Jeremy stood in silence on each side, trading glances while they waited for the limo that would take them, Danny, and the Foleys to the cemetery for the Fentons' and Sam and Tucker's funeral. After that, Danny would be off to Wisconsin with Vlad.
The limo pulled up, and the driver jumped out and solemnly opened the door. Danny climbed in mutely, followed by the Mansons. The door closed again, and a few seconds later, the vehicle moved forward.
"Your stuff's all packed, honey bunch," Eileen said to Danny, trying to fill the pain-wracked silence in the limo. "Everything you can't take with you now's been put in storage, including all of your parents' inventions and equipment." She paused, glanced at the window that looked into the driver's cab, and leaned in a bit closer to Danny. "I packed a backpack of as many portable ghost weapons as I could find for you, just in case. You got a few Fenton Thermoses and some other things that I didn't recognize, but that I thought would be useful. I have it here, if you want to look through it." She grabbed the green backpack that had been sitting on the floor next to her feet, and handed it to Danny, who opened it one-handed and gaped. Eileen had unknowingly packed a fantastic arsenal of ghost weapons: three Fenton Thermoses, his mother's Fenton Machete, his father's Fenton Fisher, at least five ecto-blasters, including the Fenton Lipstick and Fenton Wrist Blaster, the Jack-o'-Nine-Tails, three Specter Deflectors (Danny hadn't been aware that his parents had made more after the DALV fiasco), and the Boo-merang. He looked up at Eileen, speechless.
"Something wrong, sugar? Did I get the right things?" Eileen asked, worried by the look on his face.
"N-no, no, t-this is p-perfect," Danny stammered, astounded that she'd been able to assemble such a cache without any knowledge of his parents' inventions. "How'd you know what to get?"
"Tucker had a list of all the inventions your parents had created, and what they did, and their results in field tests," Maurice answered quietly. "He even had pictures of what the inventions looked like. We used that list to pack that bag for you. He also had a file on his computer labeled, "DTSEyesOnly", and it was so encrypted that we couldn't open it. We ended up putting it on a flash drive for you." He handed Danny the flash drive, which he took, studying it for a second before slipping it into the backpack. He could only imagine what was on that drive for it to be labeled for his, Tucker's, and Sam's eyes only.
"Thanks," he murmured.
"Danny," Pamela said, looking nervous. Danny turned curious blue eyes on her, but she lost her nerve, and Jeremy wrapped an arm around her shoulders and continued.
"Danny, with Sam… gone, we don't have an heir to the Manson family fortune," he said quietly. "Neither of us have any siblings, or any other living relatives besides my mother. And we're not expecting to have any more kids, although there's always a chance… Anyway, we've decided that if we don't have any more kids between now and our sixtieth birthdays, we're going to name you our heir. You were our daughter's best friend, and Sam loved you very much. We want to honor her memory by naming you our heir. We trust you to handle the family money considerately and sensibly, just as Sam would have."
Once again, Danny was struck dumb. He'd had no idea that Sam's death had made such an impact on her parents' view of him. Forget not hating him, never in his wildest dreams had he imagined something like this!
"T-thank you, M-Mr. and M-Mrs. M-Manson," Danny spluttered, "I-I can't t-tell you h-how h-honored I-I am t-that y-you're t-trusting m-me w-with t-t-this. T-thank you s-so m-much."
Pamela hugged Danny tightly, making the boy gasp as his broken shoulder blade twinged painfully in protest.
"It was nothing, Danny," she whispered. "We made the obvious choice, and it honestly feels like Sam is smiling at us from heaven and telling us that we did the right thing. I know you'll do wonderful things with it."
Danny swallowed the huge lump in his throat, and nodded. Suddenly, the limo stopped, and the door opened. The Mansons exited, then Danny, followed by the Foleys, all straightening and dusting off their black mourning clothes before marching up the small hill to the huge granite statue at the top. The statue was adorned with the busts of Jack, Maddie, and Jazz Fenton, Tucker Foley, and Sam Manson, all grinning happily.
If they weren't made of stone, I'd have thought they were alive, Danny thought morosely. His gaze dropped down to the inscription on the pedestal of the statue: "Gone, but Not Forgotten".
How can I ever forget them? Danny wondered, as the priest began to speak. When he finished the prayers for the Fentons and Tucker, a rabbi took over and said prayers for Sam, whose family was Jewish. Four urns held the remains of the Fentons and Tucker, while a simple pine box held the body of Sam, per Jewish tradition. Danny watched with silent tears as one by one his family and friends were lowered into the ground around the memorial, starting with his father in an orange urn (reminding Danny of his dad's favorite jumpsuit), his mother in a blue urn (reminiscent of his mother's favorite jumpsuit, as well), Jazz in a turquoise urn (her favorite color), Tucker in a yellow urn (his favorite color), and finally Sam in the pine box. Feeling like a robot on autopilot, Danny shoveled a small bit of dirt into each hole, the pain in his chest that he'd felt the first time he'd realized his family was gone returning worse than ever before. He wandered away as the rest of the mourners (a surprising amount, including members of the school A-list, who under normal circumstances wouldn't have been caught anywhere near Danny and his friends) slowly filled in the holes where his family and friends had been laid to rest. He stayed away until everyone eventually left, until only the Foleys, the Mansons, and Vlad remained, standing down at the foot of the hill by the limo.
Danny moseyed back to the monument, refusing to look at the freshly filled holes around it, and focusing only on the faces presented by the statue.
"I don't know what I'm going to do without you guys," he murmured brokenly, clenching his fists in emotional agony as the pain in his chest increased yet again. "Who's going to yell at me to do my chores and my homework? Who's going to remind me not to abuse my powers? Who's going to be my partner in Doomed? Who's going to keep me from going insane from the pressure at school and the hate from everyone in town?" He took a shuddering breath. "I can't imagine life without you, all of you. Mom, Dad… I keep thinking that I'll come home and find you guys in the kitchen or the lab, testing out some crazy invention that'll either work brilliantly or completely destroy the place, and fighting off mutated food and ghosts and psychotic billionaires like it's as normal as breathing. Jazz… I'd give anything right now to listen to one of your stupid psychology lectures, to have you tease me and laugh at me and hug me when I really, really need it, even if I snarl at you for doing it. Tucker… man, this is going to sound really corny, but it feels like a huge chunk of me's been ripped away, because you're not here anymore. You're not destroying my eardrums with your terrible singing, you're not helping me play pranks on Dash and the other football players, you're not doing goddamn magic with that stupid PDA… you're not here, Tucker, and it hurts so much. Sam… Sam… I never thought we'd ever be separated, much less torn apart like this… oh, Sam, I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry… I was an idiot… a complete, bumbling idiot! I should've listened to you, Sam, I know that now. You were right. You're always right… I should never have taken that stupid answer sheet… and now you're gone… Sam… I miss you so much it scares me. It really, really scares me, and I… oh, I hate myself, Sam, I really do, but I feel like it would be better if I'd never met you than be in this much pain… and yet I'm terrified that I will forget you, forget what you look like, the sound of your voice, how you stood up for everything and never let anyone tell you what to do and what to believe in. It hurts to remember, and at the same time I'm scared to forget." Danny fiercely wiped his face with his good arm, clearing his eyes of the tears that were building up. He sighed; trying in vain to release the now blinding pain in his chest, pain that he knew wasn't from any injury he'd received at the hands of his future self. Sighing again, Danny slowly got up from where he'd fallen onto his knees during his monologue, and backed away, not wanting to leave but knowing that he had no choice.
"I swear to all of you, Mom, Dad, Jazz, Tucker, …Sam, that no matter what, no matter how miserable and depressed and lonely I am, no matter how angry and hurt and abused I feel, I will never, ever turn into that monster of my future," Danny vowed. "I swear on my powers, my life, my soul, that I will do everything and anything I can to keep from becoming that. I won't dishonor your memory by turning into him. You have my word, both as Daniel Martin Fenton, and Danny Phantom, for whatever measly amount that it's worth. I love all of you, and I'm going to miss you all like crazy. Goodbye…"
A warm summer breeze drifted through the silent cemetery, playing with the leaves in the trees and teasing Danny's shaggy, unkempt raven hair. It may have been his imagination, but he could have sworn that he faintly heard his family and friends calling to him.
"Goodbye, Danny. We love you…"