Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etcetera, are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Title: Freefall.

Rating: Mature.

Fandom: Danny Phantom.

Summary: One, Danny didn't particularly like being in his Phantom half for longer than necessary. Two, Mr. Lancer had been staring at him like a fish catching flies for the past six minutes.

Warnings: AU. Discussion of depression, dissociation, and bullying. Slight OOC.

Notes: This is officially the last chapter for Freefall. I am so grateful for the attention this story has gotten, and so thankful for all the kindness people have given me. I have an idea for a sequel, but that won't come up for a long while due to school being in full swing for me. Thank you so much once again. And I truly hope you enjoy the last chapter. Goodbye, for now.

Chapter 13


School was a fickle thing. As a student at the end of sophomore year, Danny needed to begin to consider his options for the future. The problem with his options were they weren't very good ones. There was the future he was born into; his "legacy" as a Fenton, and the inheritor of FentonWorks, due to his sister's refusal of the business. There was the future he once dreamed of; working hard in high school and college, getting into NASA, making his family, his friends, his home, and himself proud.

Those weren't bad futures. Only now, they weren't exactly good futures, either.

Then there was the probable future. Whether how his family would die, if they would, and how it would lead to him splitting his ghost and human halves. But, what would happen to him after all of this? If, after almost one year of feeling positively wretched, his ghost and human halves did split? Would he feel better, emotionally and physically, if he were to rip out his ghost half? Would his ghost half duel with Plasmius's ghost half?

All of these possibilities were making him feel itchy. And, it's much better to focus on the present.

"Alright, students," Mr. Lancer said, calling to attention. "Now, remember, just because the summer is approaching does it mean you all can slack off your work. I'll be passing out the packets needed for your summer reading projects."

Are you fucking kidding me?

Danny let out a low sigh, leaning back in his seat. He supposed a summer project could keep his mind going, and with school being dismissed for vacation, it meant there was more time for actual rest. As soon as Lancer approached his desk, Danny accepted the project packet. However, he also saw a blue sticky note on the front page: See me after class.

Are you fucking kidding me?

Dash Baxter leaned over his seat with a wicked grin. "Hah. Fenton, you're fucked."

Danny glared at him, trying to push back his anger from actually manifesting. On one hand, it would horrify anyone to be glared at with sharp eyes framed with glowing veins. On the other hand, he didn't want to get into even more shit.

When class was dismissed, Sam and Tucker passed his desk. They both gave him a thumbs-up, but their smiles were tight on their faces. Danny approached Lancer's desk, feeling his chest tighten with trepidation. Mr. Lancer looked the picture of an organized teacher: desk neat, work graded, with a shiny red apple next to a photo of his "sister."

"Mr. Fenton," Lancer said, "take a seat."

There was a writing desk next to Lancer's desk with a wooden chair. At the beginning of the year, Lancer said any student that needed help with English assignments or essays for other classes could be helped by Lancer at that desk. However, that desk had been solely used to separate chatty students from one another, or to quietly punish students that consistently forgot their homework or just flat-out never did it. In Danny's head, that desk was basically a sentence.

Danny plopped down on the chair, and thumbed at the sticky note on his assignment.

"Mr. Fenton. I've noted a great decrease in the quality, and then the quantity, of assignments you've turned in. Not only in my class, either. Ms. Johnson and Mr. McCullough have both noted the same issue. Even Ms. Tetslaff is noticing a great decrease in the written work and the amount of effort put in the physical work in her class."

Danny flattened his hand over the note.

"I'm going to be honest, due to your grade history being average to below average in every class except the math and science classes, the administration had assumed you were merely slacking off. But, when even those grades were beginning to slip, it became worrying. Since I am also one of the advisers for the eleventh and twelfth grades, I am going to be the one in charge of what you need to graduate on time."

Danny's hand slowly began to crush the note in his hand.

"But, I need to know now is...how are you feeling?"

He wondered if all teachers either were plain stupid, or they pretended to be smart in order to hide the fact they were stupid.

"Mr. Fenton?"

"...Do you want an honest answer, Mr. Lancer?" Danny said, his voice rough from lack of use.

"Yes. Of course."

"...I feel like shit."

Danny quickly crumbled the note in his hand, tightening his fist around it as much as he could. "I have been feeling terrible for so long, it has become a habit. Yes, I do have good days. Hell, last week, I had one of the best days I've had in a very long time. But,...but in the back of my mind, there's this horrible feeling of just plain shit. And I, and I can't get rid of it.

"I can't get rid of feeling so detached to my own body, and I can't tell you. I can tell my parents. I have told my parents, my family, and they were willing to still help me. But, I don't know how other people are going to react. I'm...scared to know.

"I really am scared to admit this to anyone. Because, even though my family has accepted me, I don't know how people will react to how I think, and what I am. And it scares me more than anything."

Truthfully, he feels better by admitting these things.

"What is it that you're scared to admit, Mr. Fenton?"

Lancer does not look threatening. He does not look pitying, either, which is okay. And it should be okay to admit this to his teacher. Although Lancer was tough on work and even tougher on grading, and the part of his human half that was still immature and rebelled wanted nothing to do with Lancer, Danny knew it'd be a good way to get some help academically.

And he sure as hell needed help academically.

"I can't tell you here at school," Danny said. "But, if you can come to my house, I can explain it."

There were two issues, currently.

One, Danny didn't particularly like being in his Phantom half for longer than necessary. Although he was trying very hard to feel better, (and, damn, was he trying,) he still felt very iffy about his feelings. And was worried about how he'd react to his own emotions. His Phantom half was cold naturally, (supernaturally?) and he didn't like feeling like it anymore.

Two, Mr. Lancer had been staring at him like a fish catching flies for the past six minutes.

"You're...I...Dickens, Mr. Fenton. I can't believe this."

"Well, uh, you know the phrase. Believe it. Heh."

Danny folded his legs Indian-style, floating a good four feet in the air. He took notice of how his own hair and his clothes were floating as well, but focused on his teacher, who still hadn't picked his jaw up from the floor.

"You...You're the town's hero. You're Phantom."

Jazz sighed, arms folded. "Honestly, I should've seen it earlier. Danny Fenton and Danny Phantom sound so similar, it's insulting. Not to mention Danny having inverted coloring."

Danny smiled a little, "Sometimes, regular humans don't catch the same things halfas and ghosts can catch."

"You're Phantom."

"I think we've established that, Mr. Lancer," Maddie said with a chuckle. "You can benefit from some tea. Would you like chamomile or earl gray?"

"...Chamomile, please."

Danny, in his home, was even more messy-haired and picked at his pajamas. His skin wasn't the vibrant tan it was in his ghost form. Rather, it was sickly pale, with heavy shadows under his eyes. The boy looked basically unhealthy.

Lancer wanted to ask why his parents had been so blind. But, he had been blind as well.

"I'm...not quite sure how we can give a good excuse for accommodation, Mr. Fenton," Lancer mentioned. "But, I will make sure I do my best. I know for a fact you deserve help. Danny," Lancer sighed. "Why didn't you say anything sooner? We all could have helped you out so much sooner. Was it all truly just fear?"

Danny stared at Lancer, eyes looking through the man, not at him.

"...You know what they do to animals in bad farms, right? The ones with the shitty owners? You know they kill animals if they're not perfect, right?"

"Yes, of course, but what-"

"If anyone figures out I'm half-ghost, half-human, they will want to experiment and study me. And when they're done with me, they're going to kill me. Do you honestly believe the Guys In White, or any other government funded business involving ghosts are just going to study me and let me go?"

Danny shook his head. "They're going to study me, of course. Then experiment on me. Then, most likely, try to use me as either a weapon or the base for human experimentation. Then, lastly, they'll kill me. And I'm not going to die by any other terms, except my own."

If it weren't for the fact Lancer knew how bad Danny had gotten because of his ghost half, the teacher would assume the boy was just being a heroic martyr.

To know one of his students had injured themselves, and had wanted to die, and for all he knows, still wants to die,...it's more than just scary, but Lancer, as an English teacher, as an English student himself, had no words to describe this.

And Danny was only sixteen. He turned seventeen in only two weeks.

"Mr. Fenton," Lancer began. "You still have to do the summer reading project. However, I can give you resources for any help you'll need either in English, or any other classes. I want to see you succeed in school, and in the future."

I want see you succeed.

Holy shit, someone actually said that.

Danny smiled, life returning to his face. "I'd greatly appreciate that, Mr. Lancer."

If you had told Danny when he first received his powers that he would go through Hell with them, Danny would assume you're right, but he would never expect just how much Hell he would go through.

He appreciated the idea. Because with his powers, he'd been able to help others. But, because of his family, he'd been able to help himself. And he sure needed that help. And he wasn't sure just how to show how much he appreciates the help.

Danny curled against his mother's side, his father's big hand resting on the crown of his head.

He smiled. Though he still felt bad, he was better. And he knew, rationally, what he feels and how badly it feels won't go away over night, regardless of how much love and support is stuffed into him. But, he was beginning to be okay with that.

Danny looked down to his arm, his wrist encircled with a thin, shiny band of silver. The bracelet was made of pure, unfiltered ectoplasm harvested from the oldest, deepest parts of the Ghost Zone. The parts that only ancient ghosts had entered and exited willingly. Pure, unfiltered ectoplasm shined like silver, was strong like diamonds, and didn't hurt him in any way.

Be safe. Vlad wrote on the note attached to the bracelet. A quiet sign Vlad cared, an extra bit of proof that Vlad did want to help as much as he said he did.

Danny sighed. His sadness, his weariness, was lessened a little. The shock of seeing how much love surrounded him definitely shook him out of his disconnected state. And for now, everything is okay, maybe not completely gone, but okay, and he was alive, here at home.

He was here.