Background: Amity Park has been attacked by a sudden onslaught of ghosts. The town has been destroyed, and most of the citizens have been lost. The few survivors have found temporary shelter in the forests outside of town. This story takes place after PP.
I do not own Danny Phantom or any of the other characters from the series.
As the fire weakly crackled at the center of the crowd, the lost expressions of each person's face were emphasized by drawn shadows. The tension could be felt as everyone tried to cope with their new reality. Several members of the small band sat huddled by the flames, fixating on the embers as an escape from their own desperate thoughts. A few murmured quietly to one another. Others paced just outside of the group, vacillating between the site and the surrounding trees. One gentleman, a stout man in his fifties, stared out into the bleak forest. Without a single glance at the group, he simply walked away and out of sight. A young man and his daughter watched as he left, but didn't dare say a word. No one did.
Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before the contemplative quiet was broken with a renewed sense of panic. Everything they each knew was now gone: their homes, their loved ones. Basic necessities such as food and water were no longer a guarantee. Although many had managed to survive the destruction, they were a shattered community. Without outside communication, there was no method of contacting help. For all they knew, the surrounding cities had met the same fate as the quiet town of Amity Park.
Daniel Fenton was pulled from his thoughts by the choked whisper from across the fire pit. Danny looked up through his dirty bangs to see the bruised and tear stained face of Dash Baxter. Crouched on the dirt with his knees tucked in, Dash barely resembled his usual hulking frame. He sniffed loudly before burying his face in his arms, trying to stop another wave of tears.
Despite their history, Danny couldn't help but feel for the resident sport idol. Dash sat completely alone, having lost his entire family (including his beloved dog, Pookie). All of the anger Danny had been harboring against Dash for his years of torment slowly faded away as he saw not a bully, or a self-absorbed idiot, but a boy with no one.
Dash lifted his face momentarily and returned Danny's gaze from across the fire. His eyes narrowed.
Danny frowned slightly and let out a heavy sigh. He turned his head to look into the forest, trying to ignore the fact that now he was the one being stared at. His eyes glanced towards Tucker Foley, who sat on a rock next to his distraught father. Tucker exchanged glances for a moment, trying to force a weak smile of sympathy.
"This is your fault, freak."
Danny's head snapped back towards Dash, as did many of the others around the fire.
"What? Me? What are you…?" Danny began to protest.
Dash suddenly straightened his posture, glaring at Danny as his jaw tightened.
"They attacked because of you, Fenton. They always attack because of you. And now, they ruined everything, because of you!"
Danny lifted his hands up, exasperated.
"Whoa, Dash, wait. Who do you think tried to stop them…?"
"And you failed!" Dash spat back, now standing at his full height. He started marching towards Danny, who stood to prepare for the confrontation.
Dash grabbed Danny by the shirt and lifted him off the ground. Although his eyes were alert, Danny showed no fear. They both knew he had ghost powers, and could disable Dash instantly.
"Dash, please…" Danny sighed.
Dash's eyes began to well with tears again. "Why didn't they just kill you?"
As he dangled from Dash's grip, Danny was at a loss for words. He thought of everyone in their town who had not survived: friends, teachers, families. His family…
Desperate to get away, Danny's eyes began to flicker green. "Dash, please, just put me down."
With a sneer, Dash extended his arms and lifted him even higher. "Or what, you'll finish the job your ghost buddies started?"
"Dash!" a female voice rang out in shock.
Danny didn't take his eyes off Dash for a moment, but he knew that voice: Sam Manson. Realizing he was at the breaking point, Danny quickly transformed into his alter ego: Danny Phantom. He phased through Dash's grip and reappeared on the other side of the fire.
Now at a safe distance, Danny looked around at the faces before him. What he saw were expressions of fear, anger, and most of all, loathing. No one spoke up in his defense, or offered their support. Even Tucker averted his eyes as he consoled his father. The only person who met his gaze without anger was Sam. She stood next to her Grandmother, their hands clasped tightly together. Danny looked at her with pleading eyes, trying to find a single ally. They stared in silence, a few seconds feeling like hours. Sam opened her mouth, finally ready to speak, but then stopped short. She looked at the distraught faces around her, and then at her Grandmother's shaking hand. Sam quietly sat down, and glued her eyes to her feet.
Danny's face twisted with hurt and his shoulders dropped in shame. He barely even heard the sound of the rock that whistled an inch away from his head.
Snapping his attention back to Dash, he saw the star quarterback pick-up another rock to hurl. He had good aim; the odds of him missing again were low.
Danny grit his teeth and once again phased out, this time seconds before the rock sailed through him.
He flew off of the ground and raced through the forest, leaving the campsite in the distance. Still clinching his jaw, Danny flew through the trees, his eyes stinging from the cold wind and the hot tears that formed.
At the fire pit, everyone looked in all directions, trying to guess which way the phantom had escaped. Dash scoffed loudly at the sky. "Coward" he taunted as he shuffled away from the fire and into the brush.
As his hand sat comfortingly on his father's shoulder, Tucker searched the sky for his friend. He looked over at Sam, and sighed at the sight before him. Sam, normally so strong and determined, sat slumped on the ground, her shoulders heaving as she sobbed.