Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom.
"What'd you get for number one?"
"Twenty-three. How about you?"
"Crud. I got seventeen . . . we were supposed to subtract that number, not add it, idiot."
"No, you were supposed to add it."
"No, add. See the sign at the front? That means that we need to—"
"—Danny?" A soft voice called out to him and instantly he froze. He didn't realize that his sister was home right now, otherwise he would've been much, much more careful. Several dozen therapy sessions and six failed medication regiments had quickly taught him that lesson, since Jazz was more than willing to rat him out to his parents every time she caught them talking. "Is . . . Is everything all right?"
"Everything's fine, Jazz," Danny lied as he pushed his bangs out of his face, and even though she knew that was Danny's equivalent of politely telling her to get lost, his sister didn't hesitate to invite herself in anyway. Opening the door, the red head stood there and watched him warily, her sapphire eyes studying him with a precision that only his current therapist, Dr. Spectra, could match. It was unnerving, disturbing, and it made Danny want to run away screaming. But at least Phantom didn't insist that Jazz was a ghost when she called him crazy. Danny still couldn't get him to stop accusing Spectra of being a ghost during his sessions, and when he'd told the doctor this, it had just reinforced her suspicions about Danny being a paranoid schizophrenic. Danny didn't exactly have a witty comeback for that one, since it wasn't like there was any way he could prove that Spectra was a ghost and not just someone that he and Phantom both hated since she thought they were crazy. "I just suck at math."
Still, even though he never accused Jazz of being a ghost, Phantom wasn't any fonder of his nosy sister than Danny usually was. "Oh, great, it's Jazz," grumbled the boy floating cross-legged in the air beside him. "What does she want?"
"Probably to psychoanalyze me and lock me up in a bubble," Danny mumbled, and then wanted to smack himself in the head. He hadn't meant to talk to him in front of people anymore, but it was just so hard not to respond when someone spoke to him, especially when that someone occasionally had something useful to say. "God damn it, shut up for a minute, okay? She already thinks I'm crazy enough."
"Danny . . ." said Jazz slowly, obviously not sure how to broach the subject as she watched her brother responding to, well, nothing. "The new medicine isn't working, is it?"
"No." Of course it wasn't working. Danny wasn't taking it anymore, not after that first time where it had messed with his head so badly that he'd started hallucinating and walking in his sleep. It wasn't a good combination, and he hadn't been willing to risk it happening again when he knew he wasn't crazy.
Too bad he couldn't make his sister understand that. It wasn't like she could see the ghost floating beside him. For that matter, the only one who could was Danny. No one believed Danny when he told them about the accident with the portal and how he'd been inside at the time, about how the shock had sort of killed him for a minute, and how that was just long enough to leave behind a ghost . . . and how ever since then, he could now see the ghosts all over Amity Park and was haunted by his own spirit. It was the kind of thing that sounded crazy, even to him, and he lived through it.
"Did you tell Dr. Spectra?" she asked, her tone implying that she would tell his therapist if he didn't.
"I haven't seen her since I started this new stuff," he grumbled. "I'll let her know, though, so why don't you leave me alone so I can fail at my math homework in peace?"
"I could help you with it, you know," offered Jazz as she walked over to the desk, and frowning at his work she shook her head. "Danny, you needed to subtract the three, not add it. You have to do the opposite of the sign in front of it to cancel it out."
"HA!" laughed Phantom triumphantly, his green eyes shining brilliantly.
"Shut up," growled Danny, shooting his ghostly self a glare.
"I'm just trying to help," Jazz sighed, and glancing up at his sister he saw the hurt look in her eyes.
"I didn't mean—Jazz . . . I wasn't talking about you, okay?" he sighed. "He got it right, I got it wrong, and he was kinda lording it over me for a second."
"I wasn't lording it over you," said Phantom. "I was just gloating. Just a little."
"It's the same thing!" hissed Danny as he looked over at the ghost, and the disturbed look on his sister's face was infinitely worse than anything he could've imagined. "Look, Jazz, was there something you wanted? 'cause I get enough hell for talking to myself at school, and I don't need it from you, too."
"Actually . . . well, Mom and I didn't want to tell you because we were worried about how it might damage you psychologically . . ."
"What is it?"
"Dad invented this new thing," she explained, "called the Ghost Gabber. It takes whatever frequency ghosts are speaking on and brings it into something that normal people can hear. Dad thinks that if you really are being haunted by your ghost or whatever, then the ghost gabber should be able to pick up on what he's saying, but mom thinks that it's about as reliable as an EVP."
"Uh . . . okay," said Danny slowly, ignoring his sister's doubts about the invention. She didn't even believe in ghosts, so naturally she believed that their dad's invention couldn't work. Their father was the only one who thought that there might be a chance that what Danny was saying was true since the signs that he was being haunted-things like flickering lights, static, unusually high EMF readings close to him and cold spots-tended to follow him everywhere. Danny knew that his father desperately wanted to prove that his son wasn't crazy.
For that matter, so did Danny. He'd had so many people tell him that he was insane that even he was starting to have his doubts. "So what you're saying is that Dad might've made something that can prove Phantom exists?"
"That's what he says," Jazz sighed, shaking her head, "but—"
Grabbing her hand, Danny jumped to his feet and ran for the door. "Well, then, come on! What are you waiting for?" he laughed excitedly, and he didn't have to tell Phantom to follow. The ghost was right behind the pair as they charged down the stairs, flying intangibly through the wall and hovering excitedly nearby as Jack sat at the table with a strange looking device in his hand.
"Is that it?" asked Danny instantly, and his mother gave Jazz a kind of weary, hopeless look while at the same time seeming somewhat hopeful. She obviously didn't approve of this, of feeding into Danny's delusions or whatever, but they weren't delusions. They were real. Phantom wasn't just imaginary.
"Yup! This baby is the Fenton Ghost Gabber! If you're being haunted by that ghost like you say, then it should make it possible for the rest of us to hear it, too!" exclaimed Jack as he flipped it on. "So, uh . . . tell the ghost to say something, Danny!"
"Oh, please. I'm not a dog, I'm a ghost. Don't start telling me to bark on command, dad," said Phantom, and Danny gazed at the device nervously. For a second he thought nothing would happen, but then a monotonous female voice emerged through the speakers.
"Oh, please. I'm not a dog, I'm a ghost. Don't start telling me to bark on command, dad. Fear me."
"That's . . . that's . . . " Danny started, his eyes wide and shocked. He couldn't believe it. It was him. It was Phantom . . . well, all of it except the fear me part.
His parents and sister wore looks of equal shock as the ghost's voice echoed via proxy.
"It works," whispered Phantom.
"It works. Fear me."
"Except for that fear me part. I'm not saying fear me."
Except for that fear me part. I'm not saying fear me. Fear me."
"He's not," confirmed Danny. "Why's it doing that?"
"Does it matter?!" exclaimed his mother, throwing her arms around him. "Danny, don't you get it? This means that you're not—you're not crazy! Phantom is real!"
"Well, duh," said Danny and Phantom as one.
"Well, duh," echoed the device. "Fear me."
A/N: So I haven't updated in about three months. I've just been busy and lacking in motivation. Such is life.
Anyway, this weird little one-shot is one that I wrote way back for this collection and didn't post because I was toying with the idea of making a full story out of it. I still might do that, since I kind of like the basic idea even if I'm not totally thrilled with how it came out here (definitely needed more editing, but again, feeling sort of lazy and unmotivated), but I should probably finish at least one of my other stories up first. In any case, I hope you enjoyed it and hopefully it won't be quite so long before the next update.
'til next time!