Danny couldn't remember the last time his family had gone out to eat together. It was probably because every other place in town had banned them, either all collectively or just his dad, for various ghost-related antics.
The only reason they were in this place was because it was new, and they were, therefore, not banned.
Danny just hoped it would be after he got to try some of their food. The menu looked to be full of the classic standards in any decent sit-down restaurant, and they sounded good.
He eagerly awaited his baked mac and cheese as he followed Jazz to the salad bar.
Jazz was taking forever to fill her plate because she was trying to avoid picking up any of the purple lettuce. He was about to tell her to just pick it out when they got back to the table. He was even going to offer his plate as her dumping ground because he didn't mind the purple lettuce.
He was, but he didn't.
He didn't because something was wrong. Terribly wrong.
He just didn't know what it was yet.
He set his empty plate back on the stack and looked around trying to find something out of place. Everything looked normal.
"You alright there, little bro?" Jazz asked.
He nodded slowly, still scanning the area. "Something's wrong."
"That" Jazz hesitated, "doesn't sound good."
"I'm gonna go back to the table," Danny said as he walked away unable to shake the feeling that something was wrong.
He didn't like this feeling at all. At least when his ghost sense went off it pointed to where the danger was. This didn't seem to work that way and it sucked.
He sat down and the feeling only grew. Or maybe he was closer to it?
He looked around to see if maybe someone new had come in, or if something had shifted.
"What are you looking for, Sweetheart?" His mom asked.
"Don't know." He answered honestly. "I think I need to find it first. I just-” he stopped dead. “Found it.” He couldn’t tear his eyes away.
The odd thing was that for something that was sending so much wrongness, it was awfully mundane.
“Found what?” his dad asked through mouthfuls of complimentary bread.
“I think,” he wasn’t really sure what to think. “I think I found out what’s wrong.”
Jazz placed a hand on his shoulder, “Are you sure you’re okay?”
It was starting to make sense now. What this feeling meant.
“He’s not going to get to finish his soup,” he said, feeling as if all his emotions had been shot into space and he was left with only the void.
“Danny, what are you talking about?”
“You should call an ambulance,” he said, still staring. Still feeling empty.
“An ambulance?!” His mom pushed his hair back from his forehead to feel for a fever that wasn’t there.
“Not for me,” he pointed to his only focal point. “For him.”
The eyes of his family followed his direction.
There was a man, just a regular old man, sitting in a booth across the room. He had a small balding spot on the back of his head that had been poorly covered by the thinnest wisps of hair. He wore a scratchy-looking cardigan with a plaid button-up underneath. He was patiently blowing off a spoonful of vegetable soup before taking another sip.
There was absolutely nothing about this old man that should be making Danny feel this way.
And yet he did.
He wanted to be wrong.
Never in his life did he want to be wrong about something more than in that moment.
But he knew he wasn’t.
He knew in the same way he knew what his ghost sense was from the very beginning. He had just known what that chill and misting of his breath meant on such a deep level that he didn’t have the words for.
This was the same.
But it wasn’t.
Because this wasn’t a ghost.
Danny really wanted to look away. To do something. Anything!
But this wasn't an enemy he could fight. This wasn't a problem to be fixed.
This was inevitable.
He hated that word.
The man before him looked over. He probably felt Danny's stare boring into him. Or maybe he heard their conversation.
Either way the second the two locked eyes Danny started crying.
And not just the slow silent dignified tears you see in movies. He was actually sobbing.
He just didn't really understand why.
Sure the feeling he was getting, the information it was telling him, wasn't great. It was actually really bad news.
But it's not like he knew this guy. He was just some random local.
Yet here he was bawling like a baby and sputtering out apologies for causing a scene.
Aw man, they really were going to get banned again and now it was going to be all his fault and he hated every second of this.
Someone was ushering him outside. His sister was saying something about panic attacks and needing fresh air.
"It's broken." He whined as they crossed the threshold, "he did everything right but it doesn't matter because it's broken."
His mom's face filled his vision as she held his head in her hands, "what's broken?" Her eyes desperately searched his for answers.
Somehow his mom understood why he was so upset. She pulled him into a hug, as they both sat on the sidewalk, both overwhelmed with the knowledge.
That was the first.
It wasn't the last.
Several weeks later he was sitting in class doodling in the margins of his notebook when he felt it again.
It had been long enough that he nearly forgot all about that feeling, but now it was back.
He looked up and locked eyes with his substitute teacher. His vision blurred as hot tears stung at the corners of his eyes.
He didn’t even bother saying anything, he just ran out of the room into the closest bathroom so he could sob in peace.
Why was this happening? Was this his fault? He couldn’t possibly be causing this, could he?
No that was ridiculous!
He was pretty sure looking at someone wouldn’t give them a stroke. Right?
He still didn’t know how he knew what he knew. How did he just know that she was about to have a stroke?
By the time he had calmed himself down again, the EMTs were rushing the sub out of the classroom on a stretcher; so he just went right back in the bathroom to wait until his next period.
He really didn’t like that he was right again.
It didn’t take long for the rumor to spread that death followed Danny Fenton.
Some thought he was causing it. Other’s thought of him as more of a bad omen. Most assumed that his family was cursed.
Either way, everyone that wasn’t avoiding him before because of his non-existent social status was definitely avoiding him now.
It took even longer for anyone to figure out what was actually happening.
He was happy he wasn’t causing bad things to happen.
He wasn’t thrilled about what it did mean.
Especially after Tucker made the joke, “Oh I get it now! You’ve got the ghostly wail because you're a banshee!”
Danny did not appreciate the comparison.
But it did sort of make sense.
Not that he would ever admit it though.