Wow, the reactions to this really surprised me! Thank you all so much! Thanks to your repeated requests, here's Part II of 'Blank'.
The first thing he did was turn on the radio.
The quiet house was unsettling, though the man hardly knew why. The music soothed his frayed nerves somewhat, and Danny sighed, turning to face the gleaming kitchen. His stomach growled, and he moved towards the cupboard, only to stop in the middle of the room.
Scrunching his forehead in concentration, Daniel Fenton realised with a pang of unease that he couldn't even recall his favourite foods.
Bracing himself against the table, the halfa took a deep breath, trying to remain calm. Shaking his head as though trying to clear it, he moved to the fridge, opening it to appraise the contents. Well, at least I still remember how to cook, since it's a skill and not an actual memory…
Half an hour later, he placed his hands on slim hips and surveyed the table with satisfaction. Danny had made every breakfast he could possibly create with the ingredients in the kitchen, and the table now held small plates and bowls that contained five or six mouthfuls of each kind of food.
Smirking, the boy flipped the switch on the coffee machine and ascended the stairs. He paused outside the door that Maddie had disappeared behind the previous night, gently tapping his knuckles against the wood. "Mum?" he called quietly. "I made us breakfast."
He heard footsteps shuffle across the carpet, and then the door was wrenched open. A woman stood there in rumpled pyjamas, her titian hair in disarray. Maddie's eyes were rimmed with red, hands trembling as she fisted them by her sides.
Danny couldn't recall ever seeing her before the previous night, but he somehow knew that this woman was his mother. As sure as the sky outside was blue, he knew that he trusted her, and that whatever had happened last night, she would never hurt him intentionally.
"Danny?" Maddie licked her lips nervously. "Sweetheart, are you…?"
He shook his head. "Nah, sorry." He tapped his temple with a finger. "Blank as a clean slate. I can remember how to do things, but I don't remember ever doing anything or meeting anyone. It's like nothing existed before last night."
The slight woman seemed to deflate. "Oh, Honey. I'm sorry," she choked, throwing her arms around him.
Danny flinched, squirming away as the burns covering his body throbbed from the contact. "Ow," he stated simply, and planted a kiss on his mother's forehead. "It's alright – even if I don't remember you, I know just by looking at you that I love and trust you. I can just tell that you're my mum."
Maddie opened her mouth to speak, but he cut her off before she could. "I've made breakfast for us, and the coffee machine should be done by now."
Maddie smiled wanly. "Well, I guess we'd better go enjoy it, then. It's been a while since I've tasted your cooking…"
Gently looping his arm through hers, Danny led his dishevelled mother down the stairs and into the kitchen.
Maddie stared at the table. "Danny, what are you doing?"
The halfa shrugged, turning the radio down a little bit. "I was hungry, but I don't know my favourite foods," he confessed. "Since I can't remember what I like, I thought that I'd just make a little bit of each type of breakfast and figure it out from that."
A tear slid down Maddie's cheek, and the wiped it away quickly. "That's a fantastic idea," the woman croaked, reaching for the proffered mug of coffee with trembling hands.
Danny smiled, but it seemed wrong somehow. "Yeah, that's what I thought. By the way, I had the feeling to put two sugars in your coffee, and that soy milk stuff."
"Yes, that's how I always have it," Maddie whispered, sitting down and cradling the mug in her fingers as she blew steam off the top.
Danny took his own seat, taking a sip of coffee from a mug in his hands. The man instantly grimaced, placing the ceramic cup on the table and taking a swig from a glass of juice that sat next to his plate. "Alright, I officially hate coffee," he admitted.
Maddie chuckled despite the circumstances. "You've never liked it," she told the halfa. "Your favourite is hot chocolate with a couple of sugars and some marshmallows, and you also like peppermint tea, although you never tell anyone about that because Vlad likes tea as well, and you don't like Vlad."
Danny shifted uncomfortably, looking down at his food. "Thanks," he whispered, and lifted a spoonful of fruit loops to his mouth.
"Whoa, these are great!" he exclaimed, scoffing the remaining mouthfuls in the tiny dessert bowl.
Maddie chuckled, cutting the slice of French toast in two and handing half to her son. "Try this," she insisted, munching on her own half.
Danny did as she asked, grinning at the sweet treat. Sweeping his gaze across the table, he picked up a buttered piece of regular toast. After one bite, the young man gingerly placed the food back onto its plate and quickly drank a mouthful of orange juice. "Gross," he grumped, glaring playfully at Maddie as she giggled.
Pausing in his meal, Danny glanced at the ring finger on his left hand. "By the way, what's this ring that I'm wearing?" He held up the hand to reinforce his question. The ring consisted of a black band rimmed with silver, inlaid with glittering blue gemstones.
Maddie flinched. "Danny, you're… You're engaged. Sam, your fiancé, insisted that if she had to wear a fancy engagement ring, you had to as well."
Danny stilled. "Damn it," he whispered, running his fingers over the ring. "How old am I?"
"You just turned twenty. If it makes it any easier, Sam's currently at some sort of writing workshop interstate, and won't be back for about a fortnight."
The halfa buried his face in his hands, taking several deep breaths. "Tell me about her," he pleaded.
Maddie nudged a bowl containing a poached egg and a strip of bacon towards her son, waiting until he resumed eating before she spoke. Danny steadily devoured the assorted samples as she told him of his fiancé's interests, her diet, and the different things that they had done together. "She's your match," Maddie assured him as the man sculled the remainder of his juice, "and you've loved each other for a long time now."
"Is there anyone else?"
The huntress tilted her head in confusion, and Danny shrugged. "Y'know, do I have any other friends?"
"The only one you've held onto after graduation is Tucker – he's been your best friend since you stopped Sam from beating him up in second grade."
"Could you please tell me about him, as well?" the halfa asked, moving to refill his mother's coffee.
Maddie shook her head. "How about I call him and tell him to come over?"
"Danny, you have to face him sometime."
"Knowing about him'll make it easier."
"Trust me, I only told you about Sam because she can't come and see you right now. It'll be better for you to hear everything about Tucker from the man himself."
The young man nodded, moving to wash the pile of dishes from his breakfast adventure. "So, what am I doing with my life?"
Maddie sighed, blowing on the surface of her coffee before taking a sip. "You're working here for now, helping down in the lab, and you'll be taking over the family business eventually. You wanted to be an astronaut, but… Well, you obviously hunt ghosts as Phantom. That would be the reason you barely passed high school."
A pang of loss that he really didn't understand shot through the man. "But, I wouldn't have let ghost hunting do that to me if I didn't think it was important, right?"
The woman shook her head, responding in a voice that trembled. "No, I think keeping people safe from ghosts is one of the most important things to you in the world."
"Then why are you crying?" he demanded, dumping the dishes into hot, soapy water.
Maddie collapsed into her chair. "It was so important to you that you never even told us that you're half ghost," she wailed. "I-I get that you were scared, I really do, but why didn't you trust us?! We wouldn't be in this situation… I-I never would've pulled the trigger if I knew that I was shooting my own son!" The last few words morphed into a scream, and Maddie hunched over, sobbing into her hands.
A plate slipped through Danny's hands as he turned intangible involuntarily, shattering into pieces on the floor. He opened his mouth, but nothing came out – he couldn't find the words to make this better. He knew that he could somehow make this right again, but the reassurance just wouldn't come! He was a superhero, for goodness' sake, so why couldn't he save his own mother?!
You could fix this if you actually knew what was going on, but you don't know, and you never will again thanks to her! Danny pushed the thought away, reaching to place a soapy hand on her shoulder.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Maddie rasped, and this question snapped something inside the young man. Guilt, thick and cloying and inexplicable, ripped through his chest.
Danny's knees buckled and he fell to kneel on the floor, sobbing into his hands as Maddie reached out to run fingers wet with tears through his midnight hair.