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Falling Petals Chapter 12: comfort, a danny phantom fanfic | FanFiction

           Sometimes, late at night, Danny swore that he could hear his voice echoing through the darkness of his room.

           Dan’s voice.

           It plagued his nightmares and kept him wide awake, staring upwards at the same faded, peeling glow-in-the-dark stars that he had stared at since he was five years old.

           The familiarity of it did little to calm his nerves, though. In those stars, connected like constellations, he saw Dan’s face. He saw the outline of his jaw, the gleam of his fangs, and the flame in his eyes.

           Danny took the stars down, but they left marks of whiter paint against the dirty ceiling.

           He just couldn’t get rid of him. His laugh pierced his eardrums mercilessly, sending him to the ground in momentary mind numbing pain on the worst nights. At night, he dreamed of ruined buildings and the faces of murdered innocents. The dead, broken bodies of his family and friends were a common occurrence. Dan would materialize in front of him, he’d become nose to nose with his worst enemy and greatest fear, and then Dan’s chilling voice would remind him of something that he didn’t need reminded of. The thought never, ever left his mind.

           “I’m inevitable.”

           Danny started sleeping with a night light. He tried drowning his dreams in fuzzy blankets and pillows. He even tried eating healthier, as Jazz so helpfully suggested.

           Dan never left. He was always there.

           “I’m inevitable.”

           He supposed he shouldn’t have been surprised when, two weeks later, Tucker pointed out what had been gnawing at the back of his mind for a while. “Dude, are you okay?”

           “Stellar,” Danny answered, slamming his locker door shut. He offered Tucker a weak smile, who frowned in response.

           “Your eye bags are big enough to carry my geometry book,” Tucker stated, reaching out a hand to squeeze Danny’s shoulder. “What’s going on?”

           “Late night ghost hunting, that’s all.” Danny tried to sidle past him but was quickly stopped.

           “Jazz told me you’re still having issues with that Dan thing.”

           Danny tensed. That Dan thing. Like it wasn’t that big of a deal.

           Tucker wouldn’t understand. He couldn’t understand. He’d forgotten everything from that alternate timeline. God, how he wished he could forget just the same.

           “It’s just some nightmares. Nothing to worry about.”

           “Bro.” Tucker shook his head. “You’re not eating. You’re not sleeping. You hardly ever talk anymore. ‘Just some nightmares’ doesn’t even cover it. I need you to tell me everything, okay?”

           “K.”

           “I’m serious, Danny! I’m worried about you!”

           Danny couldn’t meet his eyes. He couldn’t let him know just how much pain he was in.

           He couldn’t let Tucker worry.

           “I’m sorry, buddy. It’s just stressing me out, is all.”

           “Well, it’s over.” Tucker said, slapping Danny on the back and steering him in the direction of the lunchroom. “Sam and I are here for you if you need to talk. When you need to talk. We care about you, Danny. We don’t like seeing you like this.”

           “What is this, a support group?” Danny mumbled, trying to distract from the conversation at hand.

           “You know damn well that I’ll throw your ass in a support group if you don’t get better soon.”

           “You make it sound like I’m sick.”

           “We don’t think you’re sick, Danny.”

           “No. Just mentally unsound.”

           Tucker huffed but didn’t respond. He continued steering Danny towards the lunch room and into the lunch line, where they got their food in silence and sat down at their usual circular lunch table. Sam was already there, salad spread before her. She looked up when Danny and Tucker sat across from her.

           “So, Danny,” Sam said through a mouthful of salad. She swallowed quickly. “What’s goin’ on?”

           “Oh, you know, same old same old.”

           “Bullshit,” Tucker muttered, fork clenched in his hand.

           “Tucker!” Sam chastised, but he persisted.

           “Why can’t you just talk to us, Danny? You used to talk to us all the time! What the hell happened?”

           “I grew up,” Danny snapped. Then, reigning in his anger, he looked down at his tray and spun his fork in the school’s spaghetti distractedly. “I just…you wouldn’t understand.”

           “Help us understand.” Sam said, but her voice wasn’t angry or demanding. How she was staying calm when Tucker wasn’t, Danny wasn’t sure.

           Danny continued to stare down at his plate. The spaghetti sauce suddenly looked very much like blood, and he pushed it away from him distastefully. “It’s complicated.”

           “Everything in your life is complicated, Danny. It’s been complicated since freshman year. That’s why we’re here.” Sam looked as though she wanted to reach out and grab Danny’s hand, but she restrained herself. “To help. We’ll always be here to help.”

           He knew she was right. He knew that Tucker was right to be angry and the both of them were right to be concerned and worried. So, with a loud exhale through his nose that blew his napkin across the table, Danny began to explain in a voice so low it was almost incoherent. Sam had to lean in to hear him properly. “I see him, Sam. I see him every night. He’s on my bedroom walls and he’s in my head. I can’t stop thinking about him.”

           “Dan?” Tucker whispered.

           Danny gulped and nodded once. “I see dead people in my nightmares. I see destruction. And I see Dan, over and over again, telling me that I’m going to become him. That he’s inevitable. That there’s no stopping him.” He huffed out a laugh, though there was nothing humorous about the situation. “You guys must think I’m insane.”

           “Oh, God,” Tucker muttered. “Danny, I’m so sorry. I had no idea.”

           “Is there anything we can do to help?” Sam queried hopefully, eyes wide.

           Danny studied his hands. They were shaking. “You can stay away from me.”

           “What?” Tucker and Sam yelled in unison, causing multiple heads in their vicinity to turn. Danny didn’t speak once more until every last person grew bored of the trio and looked away.    

           “If…If Dan is inevitable, if I am going to become him…”

           “Nonsense, Danny,” said Sam.

           “You won’t. You’re stronger than that,” said Tucker.

           “I don’t want you guys getting in the line of fire. I don’t…I don’t know what I’d do if you guys got hurt.”

           “Danny, we’re staying by your side. No matter what,” Sam said, determination lighting her lavender eyes.

           “Sam, I—“

           “Sleepover at my house tonight. Tucker, bring that giant blue blanket that feels like heaven. Danny, bring those rocket pajamas you love. We’re gonna marathon Doctor Who until our eyes fall out.”

           “I really don’t think that’s a good idea—“

           “Okay, so we’ll stop by Tucker’s house together since his house is the closet, and then we’ll all go and get Danny’s stuff and then head off to my house. We can stop at the gas station and get a bunch of junk food, too.”

           “Got it.” Tucker nodded his head, Sam’s determination and ferocity echoing in his own eyes.

           “Does my opinion matter at all?” Danny asked, growing rather annoyed.

           “Nope, not really.” Tucker grinned. “Look, whether you want to admit it or not, you need this. We all do. And don’t you dare think about ditching, Daniel Fenton. We have Fenton Thermoses and we’re not afraid to use them.”

           And that’s how Danny ended up in Sam’s theatre, sandwiched between his two best friends in a pair of fuzzy astronaut pajamas and surrounded by popcorn and Starburst wrappers. He fell asleep before they even got through the second episode of Doctor Who.

           It was the first night in weeks that he slept soundly.

Everyone’s talking about how they want a beach episode for Voltron, but all I really want is an episode where they go to a space theater and see this dramatic, unrealistic space odyssey about their lives and adventures.

And as they leave, grumbling the whole time about inaccuracies, Hunk chimes in with “At least the effects were decent!”