How The Other Half Lives
Jaybie Jarrett and DaniPhandom
Summary: Danny and his friends are invited to a very affluent school for unusually gifted students, which drops them into a new society with familiar politics. Meanwhile Vlad is given the chance to get what he's always wanted, but at the price of moral bankruptcy. DannyxVal . SamxOC
Disclaimer: Danny Phantom and all characters, names and places related belong to Nickelodeon and Butch Hartman, not us. However, Prometheus Institute, the Psi world and community, and all characters related (including the Monroes, the Blakes, the Strykes and the Toyakas) are creations of Jaybie Jarrett aka Danni George. I have been working on the society, systems and biology of this story since about 2009. Any questions about the OCs and world can go directly to me.
Not So Normal After All
A/N: This story is set Post-D-Stabilized but is not Phantom Planet compliant.
Danny never noticed the letters until that afternoon in the middle of July. He did, however, happen to hear a very odd conversation between his parents in the early morning. It was the first day of summer and he had planned on sleeping in until noon but it wasn't like he could exactly help getting hungry in the middle of the night. He tried ignoring the growls but they just would not shut up.
"Fine," he grumbled to himself and got out of bed. Creeping around without being heard had become easier to him after all this time hiding and fighting ghosts - even without going invisible.
As he tiptoed down the stairs, Danny couldn't help but notice that the floor wasn't cold against his bare feet like most normal humans. 'It must be a ghost thing', he told himself. He couldn't remember a time in the last few years when he didn't feel a perpetual chill in his body, even before the Undergrowth incident. It was just a little worse than normal that time. It had been this way since, well, probably the accident. That day in the portal (he shuddered to remember the pain) when he finally got himself together enough to turn into a human, it had seemed like a little bit of the 'dead coldness' he had as a ghost remained left over. He panicked, but eventually, got used to it. Now, he could hardly imagine it any other way.
His foot reached the bottom of the stairs, and he heard the clumsy thump it made. His breath hitched and he instinctively turned invisible.
" - What was that?"
"It's nothing, Jack, don't change the subject."
"That's a relief," Danny thought. He stayed still for another moment, hoping his parents would just forget it.
"I'm not changing the subject, I swear I heard something. What were we talking about again?" His mother sighed.
"Jack." Against his better judgment, Danny started listening in. Part of him knew he shouldn't be doing it but maybe what they were talking about pertained to his ghost half. Maybe they were building some big ghost weapon he would have to watch out for.
"Just kidding, baby. Anyway, I don't think ol' Uncle Jasper is anything to worry about. He's always threatening to cut people off or write them out of the will."
"I don't care about his will; I don't like being threatened over how I raise my kids. It's not any of his business, and I would like him to stop writing us." Danny had lived with his mother long enough to know when she was really mad and that whoever this 'Uncle Jasper' was, he knew he should watch out.
Really, who was this guy? Danny had never remembered seeing any Uncle Jasper as a kid or hearing about him. If the man was such an influential member of the Fenton family, why didn't either he or his sister even know him until now? From the sounds of it this 'Uncle', seemed to be pretty loaded.
"It would have been nice to know I had a rich great uncle," Danny thought, pressing his ear against the door to the kitchen.
"He's just concerned. He's got this crazy idea that Jazzy-pants is well….gifted"
"Jazmine is gifted. She got the highest score in the history of the C.A.T. and has scored all A's since she started school." Danny could somehow tell that was not what his father meant by 'gifted'. Anyone with eyes knew that Jazz was smart.
"Not school-gifted, I mean-you remember what I told you about in college, about my relatives being er…different?"
"Jack, I think we would know if our children had supernatural abilities." At this Danny almost snorted. Then realizing the full implication of what was going on, he froze. This mysterious 'uncle' somehow knew about him and his sister and their 'supernatural powers'. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to imagine he could know - or at least find out- about Danny's ghost powers. But it was crazy, right? Jazz didn't have any supernatural abilities. He went back up to his room, having completely forgotten what he came down for to begin with.
The next few days, he watched Jazz, a little more than he usually did, as if looking for some sign of supernatural abilities. He was careful to be more subtle about it than she had been after finding out that he was part ghost. It wasn't as if it was difficult for him to believe in the possibility of these supernatural abilities, obviously. When you were half ghost, it was kind of hard to write things off as impossible. But he was a little surprised to imagine Jazz, of all people, with them. His completely normal sister who, until a year and a half ago, didn't even believe in ghosts.
"Have I got something in my teeth?" Jazz asked.
"No" Danny gave her a weird look, "why?"
"You've been staring at me all day." Huh, maybe not that subtle.
"No, I haven't, Jazz" His sister rolled her eyes.
"If you say so." She went back to working on her college paperwork when Danny blurted out something perhaps as an afterthought.
"Hey, um…hypothetically speaking, if you had uh…supernatural powers, you'd tell me, right? I mean you know I have, uh, you-know-what." Their parents were, thankfully, downstairs working on an invention, but he still wasn't going to openly admit to having ghost powers. Just in case. "Or if we had a rich great Uncle Jasper?"
"Oh, you found out about Uncle Jasper? He's technically more of a cousin, but for some reason everybody calls him 'uncle'- " Danny nearly spit out his drink.
"What? How did you know that?" Jazz shrugged and moved on to another sheet of paper.
"Extra credit Family Tree project in ninth grade. Lancer always announces it at the beginning of the year." Danny raised an eyebrow.
"I think we both know that I had other things to worry about then." He had the accident with the Portal during the summer before entering high school. Most of the beginning of ninth grade was a little fuzzy to him. There was an awkward silence as Jazz seemed to realize this.
"Oh…right. Sorry." She got up and went to sharpen her pencil. "So how'd you find out about Jasper then?"
"Uh…..accident," he stammered. Now was Jazz's turn to raise an eyebrow at him.
"Really, Danny?" she asked with a smile. "You can be honest, you know, I'm not going to tell Mom and Dad."
"All right, I overheard them talking, " he said. "Something about how this Uncle was threatening to write them out of the will if they didn't do something."
"Ohh." Jazz nodded. "He's always saying that." Danny was quiet for a moment and then he looked at her.
"How come everyone else but me knew we had a rich uncle-cousin-thing?" Jazz chuckled.
"I hate to break it to you, little brother, but you're a little oblivious." He frowned at her as she ruffled his hair. She would bring up Sam as proof, but that would just be mean. "Dad's family is distantly related to the Monroes, who are apparently this really wealthy and proud old family. Jasper is the head of the household."
He forgot about it for awhile after that, although he never did get a straight answer about the supernatural powers. Summer went on as usual; ghost attacks, hanging out with friends and more ghost attacks. Vlad was unusually quiet, which unnerved Danny a bit. He knew that whenever the other half ghost was quiet it could mean that he was planning something especially nasty.
Then, of course, in the summer was when the letters came in. Unknown to him, they had been coming before that. Maddie had been throwing them away and Jazz had been saving the ones she could find in a little box.
Danny found one when he came home from the mall with Tucker and Sam. He had a quick brush with Skulker and nearly trashed the F.Y.E. store. It would be a little awkward shopping there for awhile. Though the sight of a plate of his mom's cookies was enough to drive the troubles from his mind.
"Sweet!" Tucker said behind him picking up a cookie.
"I need to get your mom a vegetarian cookbook for Christmas. " Sam muttered. As both boys indulged on sweets, she picked up a couple of envelopes. "Hey, you and Jazz got mail. Sheesh, somebody has some cash to blow." She held up an envelope, which had fancy gold lettering on it. Danny snatched it from her, getting smudged cookie on it.
"Really?" He looked at it.
Daniel John Fenton
1245 Pleasantview Drive
Amity Park, IN, 12345
"Hey, check the other side to see if it has the Hogwarts crest on it" Tucker said. Both Danny and Sam gave him a look. "What, a guy can dream, can't he?"
"Tucker, it already has the name of the school in the return address," Sam said. "Prometheus Institute." Danny looked at the return address.
"Well, it is in England," he said. He turned the letter over to see a seal with small white and black stones. He carefully opened it, wondering if the stones were really decorative fakes or actually worth something. The paper inside felt like some sort of stock paper and the ink glittered in a certain light. Someone in England with a load of money was interested in him. The first thing that popped in his mind, naturally, was 'Vlad'. He wouldn't be at all surprised if this was part of some elaborate new scheme.
Dear Mr. Fenton,
We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted at Prometheus Institute for the Gifted. Your grades and records from your previous schools have been faxed to us. We understand that your inherent Psi abilities were unusually late in coming-'
"Your inherent what?" Sam asked. For some reason that little word sounded awfully familiar to her.
"I don't know." Danny shrugged and kept reading.
You need not worry of course; it will not affect your admittance into the school, in accordance with 'Board Policy 99'. Your head of household, Jasper Monroe, has arranged travel accommodations for yourself and your sister. Your school dues have been paid for and a bank account has been made for your school supplies. You will be required to register beforehand and get your school ID. We also would like to inform you that while at Prometheus Institute, you are listed under the surname Monroe.
Thank you for your time, we look forward to seeing you.
Walton Alastor Freethy II
Senior Director of Board of Admissions
Three mouths were almost hanging open. The teenagers stared at the letter wondering if it was serious.
"Man….," Tucker said. Danny almost jumped when he heard someone come in.
"What is that?" his mother asked, picking up the letter to take a look. Danny made a grab for it, but it was too late. He watched his mothers' expression go from curious to what he could tell was a tranquil fury. "Jack. We need to talk." Everyone else in the room shuddered. Jack came in and his face fell, seeing the look on his wife's face.
"Hey, sweetie…what's the prob…lem?"
Maddie handed him the letter. "Your uncle has really done it now" He took the letter and scanned it. After he was finished, he just took a deep breath and said only two words. "Ohhhhhh boy."
Sam and Tucker decided that it was a good time for them to leave while Danny was torn between wanting to go before his parents started fighting and wanting to know what was going on.
"Danny, go outside, your father and I need to talk." He left the room, but immediately pressed his ear against the door.
"What right. …What right does he think he has... I cannot believe - "
"Sweetie calm down, it's not that bad, it looks like a nice school and it's paid for."
"It's not about the school, Jack! He did this without any say-so from us." It was not looking good. Danny could understand his mother's anger of course. Nobody asked him if he wanted to leave Amity Park for some snooty rich school in another country.
"I know, I'll talk to him about it." his father said.
As Tucker walked home he could remember how jealous he was about Danny's ghost powers a year ago. Now this? It seemed like everything interesting seemed to happen to his best friend. He knew it wasn't Danny's fault – Sam didn't need to remind him of that.
"Besides, I'm sure Danny's not excited about leaving his school for some place in England," she pointed out.
"I know Sam" he said. He wasn't going to take it out on Danny this time of course. His best friend was probably already bummed enough without his friends turning on him. "But doesn't it ever seem like everything interesting seems to happen to Danny?"
"Yeah, so?" She shrugged. "Look Tucker, if you're going to get all jealous -"
"I'm not," he said, "Can't I make an observation without you jumping on my case."
"Past history, Tuck." Tucker rolled his eyes. Sam never let him forget anything. "What are we going to do for a year without Danny?"
"Assuming he's going" Sam said, "Ms. Fenton looked pretty pissed."
"But what if he does?" Tucker pressed the question. The thought of his best friend leaving for a whole year made him worried. He and Danny had been buddies since kindergarten.
"We'll still have a job to do; we'll need to make sure ghosts don't completely take over the town," Sam said, "without ghost powers." He would have pointed out that Valerie did that but he figured Valerie was still a sore subject with Sam. They reached Sam's house only to find her parents standing outside with forced smiles. "Ooooh no, this is not good"
"What?" Tucker asked. It didn't seem too different to him. Sam's parents always seemed to look well…fake.
"Sammykins," Ms. Manson said.
"Can we talk to you…inside?" her father asked. "Say goodbye to Taylor, honey"
"It's Tucker." The two parents led, or more rather, dragged, her off. In their hands he spotted a familiar envelope. It looked just like the one they had just seen at the Fentons. "Oh come on! " He started back home in worse spirits than before. Not only was Danny getting an invitation, but Sam too? If Danny was going he knew Sam would go too. When he got home, his mother was working on dinner.
"Are you allright, baby?" she asked, noticing her son's less-than happy mood. "Have a fight with your friends?"
"Not exactly," Tucker said. He sat down and ate one of the cookies on the table. Not even a bad mood seemed to damper his appetite. "They got invitations to some ritzy school in England. Is it too late to start home-school?"
"Oh, I don't think they would leave you alone." Ms. Foley said, "and England's a long ways away. What was this school called?"
"Prometheus Institute." he said. His mother did a double take. "Prometheus? That place for gifted children?"
"Yeah. " Tucker said. With that little ray of hope he looked up his mother, maybe if she went there it would be easier for him to get in. "Do you know it? Did you go there?"
"No. I've heard of it," she said. She was acting very odd now. To herself, she muttered, "I always thought Danny might, but Sam?"
"Thought Danny might, what?" Tucker asked, "Mom?" She shook her head and muttered about talking to his father.
"Sammy, something came in the mail for you today" Sam could tell that her mom was trying to keep her temper down. "What is this?" She slammed the envelope down on the table. The Prometheus Institute address caught Sam's eye.
"It's an envelope. It's actually pretty snooty and pretentious, I thought you liked that sort of thing," Sam said.
"Don't talk that way to your mother." Jeremy Manson said.
"Talk like what?" she asked innocently, "I honestly don't get what you're so offended about. It's a school for the gifted. It means I'm smart….that's good by the way." Sam was getting irritated with her parents. She was also a little worried though she didn't show it. If they were getting this upset over a letter how would they react when they found out what she could do?
Since around the end of middle school, she found out that she had a strange connection with plants. She developed a love for the earth and enjoyed helping plants grow. Undergrowth didn't create her control over his 'children'; he merely amplified it, although she never told anyone that. Even before that though, she had quirks. Since she was very young she would sometimes see things like memories when she touched a person, or heard what they were thinking. The thoughts sometimes scared her, but somehow she knew better than to tell someone about it.
She had a memory of a doctor telling her parents - the couple must have been her parents but they looked nothing like the two people standing before her - something and they were distraught. He made a suggestion, saying it was for the best, but the man was busy trying to console the woman, as she cried. Shortly after, she was saying goodbye to them in an airport. It was her least favorite thing to remember and she tried to pretend that it never happened.
Now that they were about to find out, Sam feared that she would feel the same rejection all over again. She wasn't going to betray it to them. She told herself she didn't care what they thought.
"Don't try to play that with me, Samantha, I read the letter - "
"You know that's illegal, right?" Sam said, "It's a federal offense to read someone's mail" Pamela pursed her lips.
"What do they mean Psi ability and ESP? Are you in some kind of cult? I told you all that Goth nonsense would corrupt your soul." Sam rolled her eyes.
"No Mom, I'm not in a cult." She said. "I knew nothing about Prometheus Institute until today, and besides I don't think cults have schools. They usually have communes far separated from the rest of society. Didn't that letter you read illegally tell you anything?"
"How do you know that?" her mother shrieked. Her father held up a hand and tried to calm her.
"Samantha, please go to your room." She sighed and got up secretly glad to be away before she lost it as well.
"Great I'm being grounded for getting a letter. I love my parents." She rolled her eyes and went up to her room. She slammed the door and then screamed into the nearest pillow she could find. She pushed the pillow aside and then grabbed her journal before she hurt something.
After she had raged and cursed and written every angry thing she could think of, she closed the book. Her cat was hiding under the dresser.
"Oh, I'm sorry, Az!" Sam said. She got up, and coaxed Asmodeus out from under the dresser, regretting her outburst. She carried the cat over to her bed and scratched behind his ears in apology for scaring him. After all the cat and her grandmother were the only people she could count on in this house. Her parents had been talking about finding a 'nice place' for her grandmother to stay. She knew what they meant, of course -a retirement home - and told them in no uncertain terms that if they did it, she would never forgive them.
"Sammy?" There was a knock at her door.
"Come in ,Grandma," she sighed. Grandma Manson wheeled in on her scooter. She was always welcome in this room as far as Sam was concerned. "I heard Pamela shouting." Her voice carried distaste for the woman. Sam knew her grandmother never liked her mother.
"I got a letter, from this weird school called Prometheus Institute, talking about Psi abilities and ESP" Sam said, stroking Az. "It's pathetic, they're mad at me for being different. " Her grandmother sighed.
"Yes they can be foolish like that." she said. "There's nothing wrong with being different Sam, variety is the spice of life, like they say."
"Grandma," Sam said hesitantly. After all that had just happened, she decided that is was no use trying to ignore the strange memories she had. She had noticed that there didn't seem to be any baby photos of her when she was working on a project for school. She would have thought that her parents would have been all over that type of sentimentality - dressing her in all sorts of baby gowns (she shuddered at the thought).
"Are my parents, you know, really my parents? I have memories of other parents and it's probably not enough memories to be something like a past life-which would actually be really cool - but…" She took a deep breath, she was rambling. "What I really want to ask is…um…am I adopted?" Great, this was sounding like a teen soap opera already - she hated those shows.
Her grandmother smiled sadly and pulled a picture out of her wallet. It was a picture of a dark haired little girl in a black and gold dress. "This was the picture we were given when your parents finished the paperwork. I have to tell you, I could tell you were something special from the moment I saw you, ESP or not. I hoped your father at least would tell you someday, you deserved the truth. But Pamela was insistent on trying to make you something you weren't, I told her it was no use, but you know how she is."
Sam's eyes locked on the photo and took in the scenery in the background. She found she could almost hear the sounds of Beethoven's eighth symphony playing in the background in the lounge of the Plaza. Her mother took the picture while her father said, "Smile, love." Judging by the picture, she had to be around three or four. The strange voices were just starting. Her parents didn't know yet, but they quickly learned not to make her stay out on the town for too long. The picture gave her a small comfort, whatever happened afterwards; there was a time when they truly loved her.
Valerie's heart was racing. She had found one of Vlad's spy bugs; or rather Danielle had found it and managed to tinker with it. She came to Valerie's house one day (Valerie had told her father that Danielle was a girl from the shelter that she had been mentoring and he was more than supportive) with it in her pocket. She said that Vlad had taught her some 'basic' things about running the lab when he believed that she would never turn on him. Dani learned other things with access to a library, the internet and sheer will.
Valerie took the spy camera with plans to plant it in Vlad's house. She knew Dani was the more logical choice for this job, but she couldn't ask the poor girl to return to this place-after all, it held so many painful memories for her. For the time, she was fortunate; Vlad didn't appear to be here. He hadn't been doing much for a while, Valerie was suspicious and she could be sure Phantom was as well. She spotted him flying by there and presumably poking around.
She just had to watch out for a few maids and those creepy ghost vultures. If she attacked them too much, Vlad would know something was up. She stuck to using a stun gun on them. She watched for when the coast was clear again and made a mad dash for a room at the end of the hall. She prayed, desperately that it was Vlad's office, though she wasn't sure God would approve of her breaking into a man's house - even if he was a psychopathic skeeve.
She noticed a lock on the door and nearly swore under her breath. There probably wasn't enough time to break it; she knew that lock picking wasn't as easy as it looked in the movies. She shot her ecto-dart gun at the doorknob and then rammed her body into the door being glad for once for the slight density of the suit and her own body structure. She was certain Paulina or Star would never have managed to ram a door.
Victory! Her heart rate sped up for a moment when she heard something. Had someone heard her? She waited in a corner for a moment but nothing happened. She drew in a sharp breath looking around at Vlad's office. It was extremely spiffy as expected but a little disorganized. She had always imagined - no - knew that Vlad was a neat man. She went over and after taking a moment to memorize just how the papers looked, took a moment to look through them. Who knew if they might relate to her or Danny, and it wasn't as if Vlad never invaded her life. They were plane tickets to England and messages between him and someone named Kagami.
She didn't find the tickets suspicious - after all he was a multimillionaire businessman. Or perhaps he might be visiting family (he did have the accent). But who was Kagami? She examined the emails and noticed a corporate name in one of them. New Capulet Inc. 'Never heard of it'. It was probably a business thing. As much as she was tempted to invade his privacy more, in revenge for what he had done to her, she didn't have that kind of time. She arranged the papers just as she had found them and then started looking for an inconspicuous place to plant the bug. She found a place in a plant and managed to position it just so. Perfect.
Valerie took a deep breath. Now she just had to get out of here. With quite a bit of difficulty and a lot of luck, she made her way out of the manor. Only when she was miles away from the place did her heart rate return to normal. She walked back instead of taking the hover-board. When she got home she was going to have tall glass of country style lemonade and wait until the buzzing of adrenaline calmed down.
When she reached her house, she found a large envelope addressed to her. She didn't order anything, did she? With hesitation, Valerie picked it up and looked at it. It was from a PO Box and only listed a few initials. As she walked into the house she opened it up and read it.
Dear Ms. Grey,
I had quite a hard time coming by your address; I do hope this is the right one. I apologize if I have alarmed you, I mean no ill will.
I am, you could say, a friend of your mother's family. I cannot be certain how much you have been told about our lot or the circumstances of her untimely and tragic passing. You have my sincerest condolences - she was an amazing woman.
Your mother was part of a secret community of people who possess what you might know as "ESP". Her family, the Blakes, were a fairly old and well respected family amongst our kind. She had a lot of spirit and courage. Her ability was human – to -human shape shifting. I regret being the one to tell you this, but she was murdered- as quite a few of our kind have been throughout history- by mundanes (those not endowed with our brand of abilities).
I have written to you not only to tell you bad news but to inform you that you are one of her kind - of our kind. I am not quite certain what your abilities are but I've noticed that you are uncommonly skilled with technology. I also have some connections with her alma mater, Prometheus Institute For The Gifted, if you wish to attend. I have enclosed some necessary forms and an address that you can send them to. I am certain that your relatives will be all too happy to get you to the school. I look forward to seeing you amongst our kind once again, Ms. Grey.
Jasper F. Monroe
Valerie could feel herself shaking more and more as she read the letter. It had been at least 14 years since her mother's death. Her father never told her very much about her and how she died, though one time when she snuck downstairs-hoping to catch hints about her birthday presents- she heard him lamenting about the police 'giving up' on her case and filing it with the cold cases.
She reread the letter over and over again. Her numb shock quickly turned to anger .She crumpled the letter up violently, and then threw it in the trash. She didn't know what kind of prank they were playing, but it was just sick. She tossed the envelope in the trash, no longer caring what was inside it.
She could still hear Vlad's words ringing in her ears. 'For a smart girl, she is very easily led'.
Not this time.
A/N: WHEW! This story was actually the most fun I've had writing in a while. Huh, it's amazing what happens when you turn that 'oh no, what will the reviewers think' feeling off and just write. I do hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
By the way the credit for the name of Sam's cat goes to my friend Jeff McKissock, aka Hordak's Pupil . It was a name he came up with that we used in a previous fanfic that I found and recycled. I really hope that he doesn't mind me using it again.
Also we got the idea for Sam being a telepath from the old abandoned 'Psychic link' bit that the DP writers scrapped. Though for note telepaths are already a part of my invented world. Dani Phandom and I just decided for ironic fun and plot purposes that Sam should be one. She was adopted by the Mansons when she was about 4. She has memories of her birth parents but was never actually told she was adopted until now. Any other questions you have I'll try to answer in the beginning of the next chapter.
This story started as an RP sort of thing between us and was built and changed from there.
In the next chapter there will be more answers and tying up of some things. We'll get to find out if Tucker can go with them and what Jazz's power is and soon we'll get to see Jasper face to face.
Until next time,