A Danny Phantom Fanfic by Quill N. Inque
I do not own Danny Phantom.
"I'm not gonna kill him. But I am gonna kick his ass."-Hellboy, "Hellboy II: The Golden Army" (2008)
Chapter 23: The Final Vendetta
The shrieking of the final bell had never sounded sweeter than it did to the ears of young Danny Fenton as he and his two stalwart companions joined the thundering herd of Casper High students as a massive exodus towards the parking lot turned the freshly-mopped hallways into congested, bottlenecked traps of cacophonous humanity. Snatches of conversation blended together jarringly in a discordant, enormous drone, and Danny opened the door wide with a flourish, denoting his cheerful demeanor, and held it open wide for Sam to pass through.
"You know I don't like that sexist crap," Sam told him teasingly, punching him playfully in the arm.
"Force of habit," Danny smirked back, glancing at her with love in his eyes. "I guess I'm just old-fashioned."
"I get enough of that from my parents," Sam shuddered. "I sure as heck don't need it here."
"Take it or leave it," Danny said sweetly, as the familiar, hulking form of Brody appeared in his peripheral vision amidst the telltale throbbing of his rental car's engine.
"Looks like our ride's here," Tucker nodded at the agent before putting on a Bruce Wayne impression. "Take me to Fentonworks, Alfred."
Brody's eyes narrowed dangerously. "One more chauffeur joke and I'm gonna take a kneecap, four-eyes."
"Sorry," Tucker backed off with extreme haste. "My bad."
"Damn right it was," Brody muttered. "Now let's get the hell outta here before those vultures who turned up at Danny's house this morning figure out we haven't left yet."
"I'm with you on that one," Danny agreed. "You'd think they'd get tired of trying to get a scoop on me after a while…"
"You kidding?" Brody snorted, draining the last of his Starbucks. "With the Society raid the other night and your name already famous, they're gonna congregate here like sharks to a whale carcass."
Sam stared at him, surprised by the expression the old cop had used to punctuate his point.
"I like 'Shark Week,' okay?" Brody told her testily. "It's one of the few things other than coffee that I look forward to anymore."
"Can we go now, please?" Danny's voice was nervous as he glanced to either side of where he stood. "Before I get blinded from camera bulbs again?"
"Already on it, kid," Brody replied, gesturing toward the Prius he rented.
"Nice car," Tucker told him sardonically. "Or is it a toaster?"
"One more word, geek-wad, and you're gonna be riding in the trunk."
"Maybe then we can get some privacy," Danny murmured teasingly, bending slightly to kiss Sam on the lips.
Ex-Major Andrew Skryme watched with glee as Danny Fenton's tell-tale mop of raven hair appeared through the doorway, and the young man's temple was in the middle of his rifle's scope as he adjusted his aim for only a moment. When the villain was sure that his round would fly true, he squinched one eye shut, took a deep breath, and pulled the trigger.
Yet, it was at that very instant, in spite of a million-to-one odds, that Danny decided to lean in close so as to embrace his beloved. The place where his head had been only a second before was now empty, and the crack of spent gunpowder rang with earsplitting volume as the bullet missed its mark cleanly. The entire student body began to panic at the sound of gunfire, their screams and shouts mingling with the pounding of feet as they scattered in all directions, and Skryme swore silently to himself as he abandoned his spent firearm and promptly fled across the roof to the sanctuary of inside the parking garage.
At the same time, Tucker Foley suddenly gasped with shock and pain and clasped a hand to his side, clutching the bleeding would where the bullet meant for Danny had struck him. The round, it seemed, had ricocheted off a nearby wall and drilled like a hot poker through snow into the side of Tucker's chest, and now Danny's friend collapsed almost tiredly as Brody dove to catch him.
"OH, MY GOD!" Sam screamed, her formerly tough nature seeming to have vanished at the sight. "What was that?"
"TUCKER!" Danny yelled, supporting his friend in as Brody eased him to the ground. "NO!"
"He's been shot," Brody told him flatly. "And it doesn't look good if we can't get an ambulance here. You got a phone?"
"I have one," Sam replied numbly, her tone shaking as she handed him her Blackberry. "Here."
The old agent swiftly dialed a well-known emergency hotline with practiced fingers, and before the receptionist on the other end picked up, he gestured for Danny to leave.
"You go and get the son-of-a-bitch who did this," Brody told him. "I'll look after Tucker."
"Where did the shot come from?" Danny asked.
"I think it came from over that way!" the cop replied, pointing toward the parking complex. "Now get moving! Don't let him escape!"
Danny's eyes followed Brody's pointing finger, and from across the street, he could just make out the silhouette of Andrew Skryme fleeing to the cement structure's lower levels.
Even from that distance, though, the man who'd made Danny's life miserable was unmistakable, and now Danny's eyes glazed over with rage as he shifted into his ghost form with practiced ease.
Oh, no you don't, he vowed silently, taking to the air like a vengeful falcon. Not this time! Not this time!
His palms glistened with ectoplasmic energy that roiled and sizzled like forked tongues of crackling electricity, and with tendrils of eldritch fire wafting down his arms, Danny Fenton let out a feral, almost animalistic snarl as his soared through the air like a vengeful spirit. His teeth clenched with fury at the sight of his dearest friend who now lay on the grass amidst a puddle of blood, the young hero felt the blood in his veins sing an angry, joyous song as the full might of his frightening power came to the fore. Joyous, because of the destruction that he knew he could wreak upon the fleeing Skryme, and anger due to the fact that he could not indulge in it at this very moment. The ectoplasm that coated Danny's molecules burned with a great and terrible fire, and so great was his wrath that day that the ghost boy was a terrible sight to behold. All the injustices and wrongs that Danny Fenton had suffered from Skryme's malice made his heart beat a frenzied rhythm like the drums of war as he pursued his quarry. A banshee's ill-boding shriek was Danny's cry as he bellowed his challenge to Skryme's back before the little man vanished into the garage's interior, and his anger turned to outrage as the very air seemed to impede his progress…
Thomas Brody felt blood well up between his fingers as he pressed a bloody hankerchief to the ragged, spurting hole in the side of Tucker's waist. The boy's face had utterly drained of color, white and pale as a year-old corpse, and the agent's wizened, coarse features sagged with worry as he slapped Tucker's cheek gently. "C'mon, kid, c'mon! Stay with me! You're all right!"
"It…hurts…" Tucker grated, tears of agony rolling down his face. "Make it…stop…"
"The paramedics will be here in just a few moments," Sam reassured him as Tucker's eyes rolled aimlessly, his tongue lolling not unlike that of a dog's. "Please, just hang on!"
"I don't think…I have…a few minutes," Tucker replied dryly, his tone sputtering as it went from sarcasm to frightened terror. He clasped Sam's hand tightly as his words devolved into a whimper. "I don't…wanna die, Sam! I don't…"
"Don't speak," she replied, returning his grip with anxiety that bordered on panic. "Stay with me, Tucker!"
Tucker tried to laugh, but it turned into a bloody cough as red spittle dotted his lips. "Never…mind…me…" he gasped. "Danny…Where's Danny?"
"Going after Skryme," Brody grated, his gaze harsh as the ambulance pulled into view. "And I'd hate to be in his shoes when Fenton catches up. Help me with your friend, would you?" he added, turning to Sam.
The police officer and the Goth gingerly lifted their wounded friend off the ground as paramedics stormed onto the campus, and the EMTs placed the injured boy onto a gurney before loading him carefully into the emergency vehicle's interior.
Sam watched them with worry, but then her eyes were drawn to Brody as he began stalking off in the direction Danny had taken. "Where are you going?"
"I'm going after Fenton," Brody replied.
"To make sure he doesn't murder Skryme," Sam nodded understandingly.
"You're kidding, right?" the agent flashed her a crocodile's grin. "I just want a chance to kick Skryme's ass myself before Danny's through with him…."
Back at the parking garage…
Skryme's breath sobbed in his throat as his footfalls echoed deafeningly in the cavernous structure of cement and concreted, and the rows of motionless vehicles flew by him in an indistinct blur as his panicked flight picked up speed. His legs pounded the asphalt like the pistons of a train as he sought to evade his relentless pursuer, and with a slide that would have put a professional baseball player to shame, Skryme dove behind the nearest car to dodge the ecto-blast that was aimed at his head. As he did so, the villainous ex-officer pulled a pistol from his coat pocket and promptly opened fire, and the gunshots acquired earsplitting proportions as their echoes rebounded and rolled off the low-hanging walls and ceiling.
Danny, in hot pursuit, had seen this coming. Rather than expend energy turning himself intangible, he merely stepped to one side with frightening speed and let the hail of whizzing lead pass harmlessly. The rounds bounced and sparked as they missed their intended target, and no sooner had Skryme finished letting out a defiant snarl than he was back on his feet again.
Danny, seeing this, promptly became airborne and answered Skryme's hissing, wordless challenge by slinging a flurry of ectoplasm in Skryme's general direction. The searing-hot energy scorched the pavement and melted the asphalt wherever it touched, and one of them even set the sleeve of Skryme's coat on fire.
The rat-faced little man let out a shriek as he continued to run, patting frantically at the hungrily licking tongues of flickering fire that threatened to blacken and ruin the flesh of his upper arm. Before the hem of his jacket had even finished smoldering, Skryme cursed viciously as he slotted another clip into his sidearm with trembling fingers, turned, and let loose another volley of whizzing, metallic death.
Danny dove like a dive-bomber from the Second World War to avoid having holes punched in his chest, and Skyrme used that opportunity to take shelter behind a nearby column-
-Only to sob in terror as Danny's hand reached through the large pillar like the hand of Death himself and make to snatch him by the collar of his shirt. Skryme only just barely avoided being grabbed like a mouse in a hawk's talons, and, hissing defiantly, he took off running again as his lungs began to go into overdrive.
Danny was right behind him.
Skryme could hear his rasping breath just over his shoulder, he could feel the ghost boy's fingers seeking to wrap around his villainous neck and throttle him like a chicken. Danny's eyes glowed balefully like the pits of howling Hell as he resolved to pursue Skryme to the ends of the Earth if need be, and the former Major let out a terrified, rodent-like squeak as a blast of ghostly energy pockmarked the concrete where his foot had been scarcely a second prior.
"Face me, coward!" Danny screamed. tears of anguish rolling down his face as he remembered how Skryme had inflicted such suffering on his loved ones. "Face me, and answer for what you've done!"
"Go join your little friend in Hell, Fenton!" Skryme hissed back, putting on another burst of speed.
"You first," Danny snarled back. With furious speed, he lobbed another roiling thunderbolt of energy downward with all the swiftness of the Grim Reaper swinging his scythe, and the resultant shockwave caused by the small explosion knocked Skryme completely off his feet and into the air. Danny, sensing victory, moved in for the proverbial kill so fast that the air hissed, and his knuckles made a sickening, bone-jarring crack as they connected with the side of Skryme's face. The former officer let out a startled cry as the blow sent him plummeting earthward, and the asphalt caved in slightly where his body made contact with it. Skryme, fueled only by his hate of Danny, desperately tried to draw his weapon-
-Only to have his face fall in dismay as the ghost boy seized the firearm by its handle and deliberately crushed it. Danny's foot shot out in a sweeping arc as he took Skryme's legs right out from under him, and the villain let out a cry of dismay as his enemy followed this up with an elbow strike to the center of Skryme's face. The rat-faced man's nose shattered like glass amidst a geyser of blood as Danny broke it into a million pieces, and Skryme automatically clutched his wounded face as he tried vainly to get away.
But Danny had no such thoughts in mind. Lashing out, he grabbed Skryme by the scruff of the neck and whirled him round, hard, and the switch in direction was so sudden that the only thing which stopped the ex-Major's dizziness was Danny's fist as it connected with a mighty uppercut to the underside of Skryme's jaw. The fillings in the man's teeth came loose as he nearly bit his tongue in two, and Skryme howled in agony as Danny continued to give him the long-overdue thrashing that he so thoroughly deserved.
"That's for Tucker!" Danny cried, bringing his fist around again and backhanding Skryme across the face with a satisfying smack that busted the villain's lip and nearly dislocated his jaw.
"That's for Brody!"
Skryme collapsed at Danny's feet, trying desperately to crawl around the corner to make his escape, but he was only able to pull himself halfway round before he let out a horrified screech as Danny pulled him back. The vile, rodent-featured little man coughed wetly as Danny's foot connected with his rib cage, and an ecto-blast to the chest made him airborne before he collided jarringly with the windshield of a nearby car. Skryme let out an agonized groan as Danny continued to take his revenge for all the hardship he'd endured at the villain's hands, and as the ghost boy landed a punishing, gut-wrenching blow to his innards.
"AND THAT'S FOR SAM!" Danny roared, lacing his fingers together and bringing a double-fisted pile-driver down onto the back of Skryme's neck. Seizing the stunned little man by his shirt collar even before the villain's head had stopped ringing, and with brutal force, Danny swung him round and bashed his forehead against the hood of a nearby car.
The skin of Skryme's upper cranium split under the merciless impact, and tears of anguish squinched from his eyes as Danny's iron grip threatened to wrench his hair from his scalp. The thick metal buckled as though it were made of cheap plastic, and Skryme's head left a large indentation where it had connected with the once-pristine coat of paint.
Skryme's jaw rattled with the force of the blow as Danny brought his head down upon the ruined metal once more, and his eyesight became blurred and unfocused as a thin ribbon of red-stained drool dribbled onto his shoes.
For a third and final time, Skryme felt his skull threaten to shatter as the metal rushed up to meet his descending head. Blood ran into his eyes from the gash in his skin as Danny contemptuously shoved him to the ground, and yet, despite the ex-major's now pitiable state, he had hardly made contact with the pavement than Danny was on him like a ravenous wolf sensing a kill. The ghost boy's knuckles became skinned and bloody as Skryme's cheeks swelled and bled under the torrent of blows that rained down upon him like a vengeful torrent. Crimson ichor seeped out of the corner of the villain's mouth as he opened his mouth to speak, and when he finally summoned up the strength to speak, Skryme's tone was a hoarse, gasping, croak not unlike a toad's.
"You didn't show Brody, Sam or Tucker any mercy, so why should I show any to you?" Danny hissed, staring down wrathfully at him as he hauled his enemy to his feet and shoved him back down again. Skryme grunted with pain, stretching his hand upward, but the young hero growled furiously and brought his heel down on the extended fingers like a razor-sharp guillotine. Several bones crunched audibly as the former officer writhed and bucked like an agonized worm, but his groans turned to gasping , breathless whines as Danny clutched him by the neck and swung his feet clear off the floor. His glowing green eyes met Skryme's with all the terrible fury of an avenging angel, and the villain's heart quailed with horror as fear unlike any he'd ever felt before clenched Andrew Skryme's blackened, shriveled heart in a vise-like grip.
At that point the combination of excruciating pain and the gravity of his wounds, coupled with his sudden spell of mind-numbing, soul-searing fear, became too much for the battered Skryme. The beaten and bloodied little man who'd caused Danny so much suffering let out one final, agonized moan before his consciousness deserted him, and he sagged, like the pathetic sack of humanity he was, against the side of the car as Brody came huffing up behind Danny's turned back.
"Next time," the agent panted, wiping sweat from his brow before digging a pair of handcuffs from his pocket. "Take the elevator. Not all of us can fly, kid, and my old bones can't handle running up eight flights of stairs. Jeez, he looks like a wreck, doesn't he?" Brody added, nodding at the prone form of Skryme.
"He deserved all of that and more, after what he did to Tucker," Danny said fiercely. "Speaking of which, is he okay? Tucker, I mean."
"I've already called the EMTS, so your friend's probably in intensive surgery by now. I'm no doctor, but I've seen enough wounds to make an educated guess. From what I saw, if our luck holds, I'm guessing that he should survive his injuries, assuming there aren't any complications. And besides, Danny, what you did was more merciful than what I had in mind, to be perfectly honest."
"Is that so? What did you have in mind?" the ghost boy asked, his curiosity aroused.
Brody merely winked cheerily at him in response, and Danny would later reflect that he had never seen anything more terrifying.
5:00 A.M the following morning, Amity Park General Hospital
The world outside was still dark as Tucker Foley let out a soft, muted groan between clenched teeth as the numbing effects of the anesthesia began wearing off. He tried to sit up, gasped with pain, clutched his side and promptly fell back onto his sheets like a fallen tree. His torso was bare, covered in fresh, white bandages, and his belongings lay on a table just out of arm's reach as his vision began to clear.
Tucker moaned as he clutched his side, feeling the tender flesh that still had yet to heal from the wound Skryme had so callously inflicted. "What happened?" he asked no one in particular, probing the ragged hole with curious fingers through the swathes of cloth that bound it tight.
A wave of nausea, brought on by the effects of the medicine, washed over Tucker without warning, and he flopped back onto his pillow as his stomach threatened to rebel. "As if I didn't need another reason to hate hospitals," he muttered, clutching his belly. "I think I'm gonna be sick."
"You will be, if you keep moving around like that," a thoroughly disapproving Dr. Dourman replied as he went about his ministrations. "Just lie still and let the painkillers do their work, okay? If you squirm too much, you could reopen the wound, and then the past hour that I spent stitching it up will have been for nothing."
"Your sympathy is overwhelming," Tucker muttered under his breath.
"You do realize that you are the third person in Mr. Fenton's immediate circle of friends and family that I've treated in the space of a month," Dr. Dourman glanced over his spectacles at him. "Is it a requirement that all his friends and family get injured in some fashion?"
"It wasn't Danny's fault!" Tucker cried instinctively, rushing to defend his friend.
"I know," the physician nodded. "I was merely commenting on the coincidence, that's all. And while we're on the subject of your friends, I was told to inform them the minute you regained consciousness. They're waiting right outside, Mr. Foley; shall I send them in?"
"You really have to ask?" Tucker smirked back.
As if on cue, Danny Fenton phased right through the door and, running at top speed, embraced his friend in a fierce, tight hug. The ghost boy utterly cast aside any notions of invitation or propriety in his desperation to see his friend, and Tucker gasped in surprise and pain as Danny pulled him into a crushing hug that aggravated his injury.
"That…hurts…" Tucker gasped.
"Sorry," Danny said hastily, releasing him as the rest of his friends and family filed into the hospital ward. "My bad, Tuck."
"It's about time you woke up," Brody grunted in Tucker's direction. "I was beginning to think they'd given you too much anesthetic."
"That's his way of saying he was worried about you," Sam clarified, nudging Brody teasingly.
"Where's Skryme?" Tucker inquired.
"He's unconscious and drooling in the back of my car," Brody said with a ferocious grin. "And he's facing about fifty years in prison for everything he's done. He'll be an old man if he ever gets out of the clink, and I think we've seen the last of him for a long, long time."
"Without his direction, the Society of Light is all but beaten," Danny added. "Brody and I have spent the last twenty-four hours mopping up what's left of it."
"And, of course, the Casper High school administration is groveling to get on Danny's good side," Sam snickered. "They're afraid he'll sue, after what happened with Barousse, and the paper issued a recall on the article that it printed about the two of us the other day."
She grasped his hand discreetly, and a blush spread across Danny's face as Tucker asked, "How long am I gonna be in here?"
"Optimistically, at least six weeks," Brody shrugged. "The bullet nicked your kidney and fractured several ribs, and the damage only worsened when they had to dig it out of there."
"Six weeks?" Tucker was aghast. "I'm supposed to spend six weeks in a hospital? I HATE hospitals!"
"We know," Danny said ruefully. "But we'll come by often to visit."
"At least I have my PDA," Tucker grumbled. "Otherwise I don't know how'd I manage…"
"Yeah, about that," Danny rubbed the back of his head nervously. "Your PDA is…broken."
"It shattered when the bullet pierced it," Sam shrugged. "Sorry, Tuck. I know how much it meant to you."
"I'm gonna kill Skryme," Tucker howled. "Now I'm stuck in a hospital with no technology!"
"It could be worse," Danny reminded him. "You could be dead."
"True," Tucker admitted. "It's better than the alternative, I guess."
This was followed by an awkward silence, and Sam was eventually the one to break when she turned to Danny and asked, "So what now?"
Danny gripped her hand again and kissed her lightly as a roguish grin sprouted on his face. "We do what we've always done. We fight ghosts, and we keep Amity Safe."
"I'm sure I could convince my buddies at the Bureau to let me stick around a while," Brody grinned. "Maybe you guys could teach me a thing or two about this ghost business."
"We'd be happy to have you," Danny told him, his smile wide as he relished the simple pleasure of being with those he loved.
"Hey Danny, check it out. The sun's starting to come up," Sam noted, pointing out the window toward the golden rays that began to peek over the distant horizon. The sun, as fiery as a ruby dipped in molten gold, tinged the clouds in shades of pink, red, orange and purple as though they were colored cotton balls, and the fiery orb's reassuring illumination bathed the hospital room in its honey-colored embrace as its angelic presence banished the darkness of night away. The inky blackness disappeared like water on a hot day as twilight turned to morning so as to herald the dawn of a glorious new day, and the chirping of birds was as a herald's trumpet as the flora and fauna welcomed the morn with the glorious symphony of nature. It was as though the great artisans of ages past had used the heavens as their canvas, and as his eyes took in the beautiful and promising sight, Danny Fenton felt the weight of his hardship begin to at last vanish from his shoulders.
"Yes. Yes it is," the young hero murmured in Sam's ear kissing the back of her hand softly. "In more ways than one."
A/N: Well, it looks like that bastard Skryme finally got what he deserved! ^^ It is with great pride and pleasure that I present the final installment of my humble tale as a parting gift, and I thank all of those who have blessed and humbled me with your continued subscription and encouraging feedback. A special shout-out goes to all of those who took the time to review my story, and so to Arteesta, DBack47, AnneriaWings, Eratic Lilium, monster, ToiletFacility, my talented pupil Namara Jane Knight, Codiak, Frostphantom, EmberMclain13, MOONLIGHT-97, BrandyMyDog, Dren's Kitten, chocolatebubble, WinxPossible, Desiree Phantom, Riye Wryder, Hypnotic, Supersonic, ultimix, Ryvan17, Jakkeirafan223, GollaG, Rosewaver, aslan333, Phantomgirl96, Lanina15, Blufox15, Insane Expectation, SRL541, DPhan28, WolfGirlHowlsAtMoon, EnderMoon, SoundlessSong, Rogue Alice, badluckgirl11, Mary Penelope, GIGA-XISBASS, Sperry426, LMDragonwing, Patch-of-Grey, ichigov13, Shadeslayer35, Hellbreaker (still LOVING that name, man!), Francois B, Out-Of-Control-Authoress, PoisonedRose12, Biisaiyowaq, ZecoreZecron, MiniSoulReaper, Aquilinus Gaspar, and Gabry, dearest Gabry, who has been reviewing my stories since day one, I send you all my undying gratitude and humble thanks for your warm comments, useful feedback, and wonderfully patient and helpful support. But I know that there are many more who followed this story to its conclusion, and so I thank you, all of you, for giving me the privilege to write for such wonderful readers. It is folks like you, my dear friends, that make me want to keep coming back for more! I take a bow as I present this final conclusion as a gift to you all, and I bid each and every one of you a fond and tearful goodbye. I have never been sadder to see a story end than I am today, and I thank you so, so much for giving me the wonderful opportunity to write for you. I hope with all my heart that you will honor me with your continued readership for many, many stores to come.
Until we meet again, I am, and shall forever be,
Your humble servant,
-Quill N. inque