Maddie wasn’t exactly sure what to think when she had gone into her son’s room to dig out the trash from under his bed to throw away, only to unearth a small metal box with an odd little lock that had only corresponded with a specific fingerprint.
She hadn’t even been aware Danny was capable of using this sort of thing, or even that he had access to it.
Maddie furrowed her brow as she sat on the floor of her son’s messy room, light weight box in her hand and questions at the tip of her tongue. Curiously, she shook the box next to her ear. From inside she heard the clatter of several items in a small space. She put the box back in front of her to scrutinize the unusual lock, shaped not unlike a pad lock, however, the front slid off to reveal a glowing neon green grid much like the one that kept the portal locked tight.
Maddie had first tried her own fingerprint, just to see if it reacted to any Fenton fingerprint like most of the locks down in the lab. A light had scanned her thumb, but a small shock of electricity to her bare hand told her the print was rejected.
Maddie sat there, in her son’s room with the strange metal box for quite some time until she decided to move onto her son’s bed to sit. It creaked with her weight as she sighed down at the object in her lap before peering around his messy room for something else in her son’s room. As to what she had no clue.
Danny, ever since he turned fourteen has been nothing but a mystery to her these last few years. He stopped coming to her for advice, stopped following the rules set in their home, stopped getting good grades, and just generally stopped being the little boy she used to know. The little boy who was attached to her at the hip and shied away from strangers, who was her best friend, who could never hurt a fly, who always told her everything.
But not anymore. He made it a point to shy away from her, or even Jacks advice, from their hugs and family time. She would sometimes catch him flinching away from something as they talked happily about it. Most of the time this was about ghost related topics, and Maddie just assumed it was his constant fear of the entities that he more often than not ran from during an attack. He came home late, sometimes, somehow, through his second floor window. She had often seen old bruises on his arms or cheek when he didn’t know she was looking. He kept closer to his sister and to his friends and they would stop talking if she or Jack would walk into the same room as them.
It pulled at her heart to know she was no longer a center piece in her son’s questionable life. She still saw little pieces, flashes of the old Danny on occasion. He still loved to go stargazing, still built model rockets and filled his bedroom walls with space and NASA posters, and liked to stick little plastic glow im the dark stars on his ceiling. He was still messy, still hated toast, still was that sweet, kind hearted boy she raised.
But there was a wall now. A wall between him and her, his parents.
She looked down at the box. Could this tell her something? Anything that would help her understand her enigma of a son?
The mother bit her lip. Danny’s senior class was on their senior class trip for three days, they had left this morning so it wasn’t like he would know it was missing from under his bed. Jazz, as well, was off enjoying college life in New York and wasn’t due home until Danny’s graduation ceremony in a few weeks. So she couldn’t guilt her into putting the box back since it was an invasion of privacy. And Danny really liked his privacy more so than ever since he and Sam became a couple last year.
But was it worth it? Breaking her son’s trust in allowing his privacy by stealing what could just be a safe or a box of things important to him?
If it help her understand her son again then yes, yes it would.
That evening, when Maddie had sent Jack up to bed after two late nights in a row, the mother and scientist locked the lab door from the inside and set the metal box on her table with a fingerprint she had dusted off one of her son’s belongings. She cleared off an area and sat in her seat and just stared at it all, contemplating once more if it was a morally sound decision to do this to her son.
At some point the lifted finger print made it onto the pad of the lock and it clicked open. A pandora’s box of idea’s going through her mind as she thought what sort of secrets it could hold of her son’s.
A part of her actually hoped it was just a collection of dirty magazines. Or condoms…please, let it be condoms.
Curling her fingers over the open edge of the box and breathed in deeply. Her stomach fluttered nervously. Every time a new idea about the contents of the box and how it had to somehow hold the answers to all her problems with Danny and his long running misbehavior it made her throat constrict. Both guilt and a need to know plagued her.
She opened the box.
Peering inside, Maddie was both concerned and put off by the contents of the box.
A pile of pictures
A VHS that looked like the kind the lab security camera recorded on.
A small, handheld notebook with ‘Passwords’ scribbled on the cover in Danny’s familiar handwriting.
Four encased CD’s that where labeled in black permanent marker.
This…wasn’t exactly what the woman was expecting. Sighing to herself, Maddie slouched in her chair as she shuffled through the items stuffed inside her son’s safe box. She grabbed the CD collection first and read what had been scribbled over top each one.
Maddie’s mouth gaped in surprise.
VIDEO DIARIES: FRESHMAN YEAR
This was one wild year, right dude? Let’s not do that again ~Tucker
VIDEO DIARIES: SOPHMORE YEAR
Here’s to making it through another year without you on a lab table bro! ~Tucker
VIDEO DIARIES: JUNIOR YEAR
We’re here for you Danny, don’t ever forget that. ~Sam Tucker
VIDEO DIARIES: SENIOR YEAR
Hang in there a little more Danny, we’re behind you 100% with really big guns. ~ Sam
They weren’t CD’s.
Danny kept a diary. A video diary. She never knew. It looked, however, that Danny’s friends Sam and Tucker knew very well what were on these disks.
Maddie flipped through the four disks over and over again as if her luck was about to expire and the video’s would disappear. Goodness, they recorded all the way back to his freshman year when everything when wrong. What could this mean?
‘This was one wild year…’
Tucker had written that to describe their freshman year. Maddie glanced behind her to the closed portal. Surely she could understand. With the creation of the portal ghosts of all kinds had taken it upon themselves to run amuck in their small town.
And Phantom. Phantom appeared not long after and blew the Fenton’s research through a loop.
And that was the start of Danny’s fall.
Maddie looked back to the videos, and then took them to the computer near her. She popped the first disk in without a thought and waited for the ‘play’ option to show up.
She had to know the truth.
The screen went black just as she maximized the window and waited for the first entry to play.
The front of Danny’s shirt blocked the camera’s view while he adjusted the camera on its stand.
“There we go…I…think I got that set up right.” Mumbled her sons voice over the microphone. He sounded so young, so tired.
“Uhhh, huh, what this red light…Oh, whoops, I’m recording aren’t I?” he muttered to no one as the young teenager settled back into his desk chair to stare at the recording device with furrowed brows.
Maddie had to take a moment to marvel at how young Danny looked at the time of the video. He was no more than fourteen at the time. He looked so small compared to his current 6”1 at eighteen. Danny really started shooting up after ninth grade it was almost humorous. Every month she had had to go out with him to purchase new pants because his current ones were too short.
His growth spurt definitely slowed down and if it wasn’t obvious already they knew who he took after in the height department.
His other features had matured as well, though some more than others. His hair, which never really followed the laws of grooming still, looked just as messy, brushed as it did unbrushed. And while he still had a slim, lithe build she had notice her son had an impressive collection of muscles she hadn’t been aware he had. Not harmless little Danny. It was hard to imagine him looking so…strong. But here she was, three years after this video was taken and marveling in her thoughts about what an imposing picture her son could make if he really tried.
And sometimes…Maddie looked at the image of her little boy on screen. His expressive blue eyes like doors to his soul.
Maddie knew her son has lied to her more often than not. The truth was always in his eyes. They would get this steely or panicked look in them as he would smiled up at her and tell her something he thought was believable. He’s certainly gotten better at it, though.
A small, maternal smile quirked the edge of her red lips as she studied his slouched form as he wrapped his arms around the leg that sat itself on the edge of his chair. His dark hair mussed and not brushed his vivid blue eyes heavy with lost sleep.
“So, uh…Jazz sorta gave me this camera a few days ago. After some issues I had with the school councilor—“ Danny made a displeased expression.
“She said if I wasn’t willing to come to her for advice I still shouldn’t keep it bottled up. Thus…this…thing.” He waved his hands towards the camera before sighing and leaning back farther into his chair.
“I…I guess I can’t blame her for being worried. I’m worrying a lot of people lately. Mom, Dad, Jazz, Mr. Lancer…” the boys voice sounded strained.
He looked at somewhere passed the camera, probably his bedroom door, then at his bedside clock. It was late.
“I guess I can understand having something to talk to about everything that’s…happened to me in the last few months since well, everything has changed.”
“I guess, I’ll start at the beginning. June 26th after my parents failed to get their ghost portal working…On that day, I sorta kinda half way died.” Danny’s quirk of his lips revealed a strained, almost rueful smile. He ran a hand through his hair.
“I’m no longer completely human…I’m a halfa as the ghost call it…I’m Danny Fenton and I’m also Danny Phantom.”
Maddie couldn’t find her voice, her form, had been frozen in shock at her son’s confession, her eyes blown wide as her mouth stayed firmly shut. Her hand swiftly clicked the pause button as a ring suddenly appeared around her son’s midsection. Grabbing the edge of the table and feeling her bodies motion as she leans her head down, she reeled at her suddenly dizzying thoughts.
What did her son just say?
When it died down, the woman turned back to her son, pressed play. Suddenly the elusive, white haired Ghost child was in his place.