Chapter 9: Let The Torture Begin
I landed on the top of the roof of the building, perfect landing on the roof ledge might I add.
Danny was sitting there, giving me a confused look.
I quickly hid the box I was holding behind my back.
I was very happy to see the color was fully back in his face, and his eyes had their usual brightness back. Thinking back on it now, it was weird seeing him look so lifeless, to the point where he practically did look like a ghost. I never really realized how different from the rest of them he was, not just by the obvious, but by the way he just seemed so alive all the time. Well, he was alive. He was Danny Fenton. My mind was still tripping, trying to make some sense out of it, but I knew and that was all I needed. I knew for sure that this boy in front of me was Danny Fenton.
"So why did you tell me to stay here?" Danny said. It was a bit unsettling to see the same expressions on Phantom's face as Fenton's, but it was all Danny I can assure you.
I brought the box out in front of me, lifting the lid up to reveal what was inside. "I got donuts," I said, sitting down next to him and placing the box in between us.
"Donuts," Danny said disbelievingly. Then, he burst out laughing, so hard that he was clutching his stomach and teetering from one side over. I was about to tell him to calm down before he fell off the roof, but then I realized the stupidity behind that.
"What?" I said, finally getting tired of the apparent joke I was missing.
"We are eating donuts on a rooftop. A ghost and a ghosthunter," he said, managing to speak around his laughter.
I smiled, laughing. "Yeah, I guess that's not something you see every day."
"You think?" He said and with that, he took a donut, devouring it before taking another one.
I took one as well but was not as fast at eating it as he was. I knew this was only the beginning, hence why I got a dozen, I didn't know where that boy put it all, but Danny could definitely eat. I used to wonder what he did that made him eat so much; I guess I kind of knew now. Which reminded me...
"So," I prompted, taking a bite out of the pastry. "Do you know this kid named Danny Fenton?"
Danny stiffened next to me, his eyes becoming huge. "No," he said quickly. By now, he was watching me like a hawk, so I had to struggle not to smile.
"Well, weird how you two have the same name, huh?" I said, enjoying how he was beginning to squirm.
"It's a pretty common name," he said, still eyeing me like I was about to jump him.
"Yeah, I know," I said.
"So, why did you bring him up?" he asked, unable to stop his curiosity.
I knew that was the way to get him. If one thing was for sure, Danny was always curious. That was the only way to grab his attention.
"He's a pretty cool guy," I said, unable to suppress a smile. "Something tells me you two would get along."
If it was any more possible, Danny stiffened even more. "Uh, you don't say."
"I should really introduce you two," I went on, enjoying the expression on his face. "Although his parents are ghosthunters, so we would have to be a little bit careful. I mean could you imagine, parents for ghosthunters?"
"Yeah, can't imagine that..."
"But, then again, I bet you know the Fentons really well," I said, remembering all the times Mr. Fenton shouted about tearing him apart molecule by molecule. For a second, I wondered why Danny didn't just tell them; I mean it was obvious that they loved him and would accept him with open arms if given the chance. Then, again, I couldn't blame him. They were ghosthunters after all.
"Yeah, I sorta know them."
I laughed; I really couldn't hold it in this time. I've honestly never seen Danny look so uncomfortable, and it was even funnier because he was Phantom. I've never seen Phantom even close to being embarrassed; it was kinda surreal.
I smiled. "You know, Danny; you're really not good at playing it close to the vest. Although, I'm surprised it took me this long to find out." I knocked my hand against my head in a gesture, "Man, was I really that blind?"
Danny looked at me with his normal clueless expression, cocking his head to the side in that cute way he always did when he was really confused.
"Danny," I said levelly, realizing that I literally had to spell it out for him, "I know who you are."
"What?" he exclaimed, his eyes bugging out.
I sighed, "Okay, but I don't know how I can make this any simpler. You are Danny Fenton. And, Danny Phantom. And the sky is blue, and this town is full of idiots."
"Why is it full of idiots?" he said, although he sounded a little distant as if still trying to process that I knew who he really was.
"Because they can't figure out that Phantom is really Fenton. I mean really? You even look alike, and seriously Danny you couldn't pick any other name?"
Danny chuckled, apparently starting to get over his shock. "Sam said the same thing."
"Sam knows too?" I asked, a little bit surprised and a little jealous, not like I'm gonna admit that or anything. Just slightly angry with the fact that she knew before me.
"And Tucker. And Jazz. She found out later though."
"Well, I guess that makes sense," I said. "You guys are always together," I added grudgingly. I was well aware that the other two-thirds of the trio didn't like me. But, I guess I knew why now. I was trying to kill their best friend. As for his sister, I guess she probably figured out; she was smart like that. No wonder she was so overprotective. I used to think that it was unnecessary; but after seeing everything that's happened, I couldn't really blame her. "Why didn't you just tell me?" I asked, trying to get over the guilt I was feeling. "If you would have, I wouldn't have hunted you. I thought you were a ghost, an evil ghost."
"I guess I was sorta afraid," Danny said, looking down. He had a guilty expression on his face, which just made me feel worse because he had no reason to feel guilty. I was the one who was trying to kill him all along, and he was just trying to save the town. "Well, part of it was that, telling you that I was half ghost-I didn't even tell my parents. It's just not something I can trust anybody with, you know? I kinda like just being normal." He looked up at me, his expression growing tired. "Then the other part, which is the main reason. This whole ghost hunting thing used to be simple: put the Box Ghost in the thermos and put him back in the Ghost Zone. But, it got more dangerous. I have enemies now; enemies that wouldn't hesitate to attack the people around me. I was eventually going to tell me parents, you know. But, everything just got so complicated; and the deeper I got into it, the more I realized it wasn't safe for anybody else to know."
"Don't you think they should decide that? I should decide that?" I said. "I'm pretty sure we are used to danger."
Danny shook his head. "Val, I know you are going to try to argue with me, but you and my parents don't have the kind of enemies I do. The kind that their only reason for coming out the Ghost Zone is to take me down."
"All the more reason to have more people on your side," I said firmly.
Danny eyed me, probably realizing the stubborn look I was giving him, the same look I've seen in his face a million times. He cracked a smile, but it was a mixture of relief and a certain kind of sadness. "I guess I don't really have a choice now, huh?"
"Nope," I said, smiling at him. "At least not with me," I amended. I looked at him seriously. "Look, I'm going to back you up with whatever you decide, but I think you should tell your parents."
Danny blanched, probably thinking that I was going to force him to, which would be the normal Valerie thing to do, but this wasn't the case. I, probably more than anybody else, knew how hard it was to tell your parents that you had a whole other life they didn't know about. And, I didn't have to tell my dad that I was half of the species that he hunted for a career.
"I'm not going to make you," I said. He visibly relaxed. "But, I don't want something happening to you, Danny. How do you think they would feel to know that all this time they've been shooting at their own son, and worse if they actually harmed you? That would be the worse way to find out if you ask me." I paused, staring at his green eyes, it was funny how I didn't even see the weird glowing anymore; they didn't freak me out or bring on the usual anger. They were actually kind of comforting; I felt this kind of soft warmth when I looked at them. "I'm you're friend, and I don't feel great at all knowing that I've been trying to kill you for the past year and a half. I'm pretty sure this will tear up your mom and dad. What I'm trying to say is that the longer this goes on, the more awful it will be on them when they find out."
"But, I can just tell them they didn't know," he said, defending his parents.
"And, they will just feel like they should have known," I placed a hand on my chest, "I should have known, Danny. I should have been able to tell that was my friend I was fighting. I should have known that you were Danny. I shouldn't have done all those things; I shouldn't have blamed you."
"Val, it's not your fault," Danny said, his gaze becoming more intense. It was typical Danny. He hated when other people blamed themselves even though they deserved it.
"Like hell it is," I said, frustrated with him for thinking that by him just telling me it wasn't that I would just believe him and be okay with this. No, it wasn't okay. "I started this whole thing! If I wasn't there, you wouldn't have been kidnapped and poisoned. If I wasn't so bent on hunting you, hurting you, you wouldn't have gotten hurt! I could have killed you, Danny. Killed." I knew I was becoming hysterical. I didn't know why, but suddenly Danny was there holding me, trying to soothe me. I didn't even register that I was crying until now.
I just kept thinking over and over again about that night when he was shot down by Plasmius for protecting me.
His body falling.
His limp body.
It was too much like he was dead.
I could have done that. I almost did. I almost took a life, almost tore apart a family, took a friend, a son, a brother. Just like how my mom was taken from me. I almost did the same thing. I didn't know why I was thinking about my mom or even relating this to her. I knew it was different. I hadn't thought about her in years; I already had closure about what happened to her, about how she was killed in a robbery, of how we moved to Amity to start again. But, still, one of the reasons I started ghost hunting, after I got over the extreme revenge part, was to protect people. I wanted to protect people. "I thought I was doing the right thing," I choked out.
"It's okay; it's okay," Danny said, rubbing circles in my back.
I was starting to relax, some of the panic ebbing away. "No, it's not."
"Hey, you're acting like you already killed me," Danny said, I could practically hear the smile in his voice, his Danny smile, the one that made you reassured that everything was going to be okay. "I'm still here, Val."
I nodded, not really having anything to say to him.
"Val?" I heard him say. His voice was strangely serious and sounded kind of funny. So I looked up at him. He had this odd expression on his face, looking somewhat ashamed and unsure of himself. Two things that I wasn't really used to seeing when it came to him. "I know from experience that you can't focus on what you could have done or what you did in the past. If you keep doing that, it will eat you up inside. You have to let go and just try to make things different now, in the present. I don't want you to blame yourself." He eyes grew distant as if he was seeing something else besides the towering buildings and landscape Amity. "Everybody deserves a second chance," he whispered.
"How do you know that?" I asked. I could tell something must have happened to him. Something big.
He looked down at me, looking very much like he didn't want to answer that question at all. "I've made some mistakes, but thank God, I fixed them. And, I realized that what I do can affect everybody in both a good and bad way."
"No pressure or anything," I grunted, not liking the almost haunted way his expression took on.
Danny laughed, somehow it sounded carefree, breaking from the serious moment. "Tell me about it."
"Fenton, I never thought I would say this to anybody, but you have a crazier life than me," I said, smiling. For some reason, I felt a little lighter, a little less guilty.
"At least we can help each other out, now," Danny said with a smile, he put out his hand, "Partners?"
I took his hand, shaking it. "Partners," I confirmed.
We both smiled at each other. It was a beautiful moment, and like all beautiful moments that are in my life, it ended very quickly. Danny's breath became visible, sending a shiver down his back. "Ghost sense," he groaned.
"I AM THE BOX GHOST!"
We both groaned, slumping back on our ledge exasperately.
"Seriously?" Danny yelled. "I swear can you stay in the Ghost Zone for one day?"
"What? Afraid of my evilness, Phantom?" the Box Ghost wailed dramatically, making a lot of unnecessary hand gestures. "You should be."
I stood up smiling, might as well have some fun since I had to do this, I cracked my knuckles menacingly, activating my glider, letting it form under my feet. "Hello, misplace aggression."
"Hey," Danny said, standing. His tone sounded offended, but it was playful. He had a smile on his face, the kind that made him look very wicked and unpredictable. "That's usually my line."
I ignored the butterflies in my stomach and cut my eyes at him, flashing a predatory smile as I leaned into a battle crouch. "Whoever gives Box Ghost the most bruises wins. Loser buys Nasty Burger."
"You're on," Danny said, before donning a menacing glare at the poor ghost, who looked pretty scared shitless now to my amusement.
"Uh..." the ghost looked uncomfortably to the side then looked back at us, trying to pull of a menacing face, "BEWARE!" Box Ghost yelled, before taking off, flying in the opposite direction.
We zoomed after him. With Danny and me now partners, I knew the Box Ghost didn't stand a chance. I didn't think any ghost stood a chance because now, I had Danny's back no matter what happened. It was weird to think that a couple days ago I hated Phantom, but then I thought we could be friends. But now, I realized he was my friend all along.
A/N: Finished! Man, I'm so sorry for the long wait you guys! But, I hope you liked the story; I definitely enjoyed Valerie's perspective. thanks for all the reviews and sticking with me (even with my long updates). You guys are awesome!