Everybody Knows

Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom.

Danny had anticipated many, many situations about the day he told his parents the truth about what he was. He had imagined his mother crying, his father's stunned disbelief, or the understanding looks when they realized that this was why he seemed to be such a "failure" now. He'd imagined they might feel guilty about hunting him, even as they accepted him and applauded him for his heroism. He had even prepared himself for that other possibility, the chance that his parents would not accept what he was and that they would either try to kill or dissect him once the truth was out.

He hadn't, however, ever expected to hear those four words when he came in nursing a broken arm while his mother was cooking dinner. She had made him to go down to the lab with her so she could set his arm while he was forced to explain himself, and after a handful of lies that she hadn't bought, he finally forced out the truth, as quickly and simply as he could. She had sat there silently the entire time, simply listening to him, and the moment he was done he waited for her to give him one of the dozen reactions he'd already anticipated—stupefied silence, horror, guilt, anger, fear, disbelief, distrust, tears—yet it hadn't happened. Instead, she had looked at him, smiling, and simply said those four words:

"We've known all along."

"What?" he whispered, staring at her in shock. "But you can't—there's no way—I mean, you guys hunted me—or—but—" He couldn't form the words. His brain was running in circles, his heart was racing, and he just couldn't understand it. How the hell could they have known?

"Oh, sweetie, we were never really hunting you," his mother explained gently as she urged him to sit down. "We knew it was you, so we always tried our best not to hurt you. We'd set our weapons to the lowest settings and we'd miss as much as possible—well, I would miss. You know what your father's aim is like even when the targets aren't moving. But we had to at least pretend. You were so insistent on keeping your secret, after all, and if we hadn't been hunting you, you would've realized that we'd caught on ages ago, and all the other ghost hunters would've questioned why we were leaving you alone. Nothing we said to them would've made them actually believe that you were a good ghost."

"But how could you know?" he choked out at last.

"Really, sweetie, how could we not?" she chuckled. "You were coming home injured all the time after that lab accident, your grades were slipping and you were barely sleeping, and there were all those strange incidents—like you waking up in the kitchen, or that time I opened your door and saw you floating over your bed. Your father and I thought you were possessed at first, but then we realized that it was something different, that you were something different. Once we discovered that you had somehow obtained a fully spectral form, we also understood why all of our ghost hunting equipment reacted around you. In a way, it was a good test for all of our inventions. If they reacted to you properly, then we knew they worked. And Danny, sweetie, if we hadn't known, then you would've gotten hurt. We have ghost traps set up all over the house. If we hadn't recorded your ecto-signature and set our more dangerous devices to recognize it, then they could have seriously hurt you."

"But still . . . I just can't believe it," he whispered, shaking his head.

"Well, there was also the footage of your accident," his mother explained, and for the first time her smile vanished. "We were worried about you when you told us about it, Danny, but originally we didn't want to watch it. We were scared that—I just—well, I couldn't stand to watch you getting hurt by one of our inventions and not have the power to do anything about it, but once you started acting strangely and we noticed your powers from time to time, we knew that we had to look at the footage if we wanted to understand what was happening to you. I'm so sorry, Danny. It looked—it looked painful."

"It was," he admitted. "I've never felt anything that hurt as bad as that, and I've forced myself to do it twice now."


"There was an incident with a wishing ghost," explained Danny, rubbing the back of his neck uneasily. "I lost my powers, but I ended up going back in and doing it again . . . but I don't get it. If you guys knew, then why didn't you say something to me?"

"You clearly wanted to keep it a secret," his mom said quietly. "And you're as stubborn as your father is, and about as good an actor. Besides, as much as I really wanted to coddle you and keep you safe, I knew that I wouldn't be able to, sweetie. You're smart and with all of those powers, you'd find a way to do what you wanted to do no matter what we might've wanted for you. But you know, Danny, even though I know what you are and about some of the things that you've done, I would like to know more, and it wouldn't hurt if you explained why you were robbing those banks or what that whole incident with the mayor was about and—"

"—I was being framed!" he groaned, exasperated since he had said that a thousand times already, but inwardly he was smiling. "And apparently Dad's a better actor than me if he managed to keep this a secret for so long. Still . . . You really want to know everything, don't you?"

"Well, we should probably wait until your father gets home," she admitted, glancing at the wall. "He would be very disappointed if we started talking too much about ghosts without him."

"Okay," he agreed, and honestly, he was kind of glad that his parents had known all along. He'd always been worried about the guilt they would feel over hunting him and their plans to accept him the day that he told him the truth, but now he didn't need to worry about it. Well, that and it was both nice (and kind of creepy) that his parents were paying more attention to him and his life than he'd thought. Sometimes his dad and mom just seemed like they were in their own world, like he could've just disappeared for a week and they never would have noticed, but now he knew that wasn't true. His parents had been watching over him all along.

"Thanks, mom."

"For what, sweetie? You're the one who finally trusted me enough to tell me the truth," she said, smiling warmly at him. "I should be saying that to you."

"Yeah, but . . . you guys really were watching out for me and stuff, so . . . I mean . . . thanks," he mumbled, sheepishly rubbing the back of his neck.

"Well, of course we were watching out for you, Danny," said Maddie gently. "You're our son. We'll always be there for you."

A/N: So this one-shot is the first that I've written for MiniHayden's challenge (obviously, lol), and the first fanfic that I've ever posted on here despite my months of lurking and occasionally reviewing. It feels sort of weird. Anyway, as I was going through the list, this particular song title reminded me of an idea I had way back. I thought that it might be neat if maybe his parents knew and just played along (kind of like Jazz did until Danny realized that she knew), and this is what came out of it. To be honest, I don't think it came out as well as I'd hoped, but I'm a bit out of practice with my writing and I initially wrote this at one in the morning and did no serious editing, so . . . not too surprising, I suppose. Still, if you have time, then please leave a review.