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Jack hated listening to fights. 

As a kid he used to hide under his bed or behind the lounge the moment voices began to rise, his parents didn’t fight a lot, but when they did it was as though they were making up for lost time. It didn’t help that most of the fights had something to do with him. His behavior, his struggles in school, another disassembled device, another schoolyard fight. 

The other kids always started it, but nobody ever listened to him. 

He knew that he had the same problem, his temper would get the better of him. Like his parents, he and Maddie didn’t fight often, but when they got into it, they would go hard. He wished he weren’t like that, but he just never seemed to be very good at keeping a lid on himself, at maintaining control when he felt things so strongly. As a kid he resented his parents, as an adult he sympathized, had they struggled the way he did? Did they go to bed regretting every shouted word, thinking of their children hidden away somewhere curled up and crying? Did they feel the same pain and regret, and promise themselves that it would be different next time? That they wouldn’t shout so loud next time? 

Did his own children resent him? 

It was so easy to see where he went wrong in hindsight, to see where he should have just dropped it, that it wasn’t even that big of a deal, but it was just so hard to catch himself once he was in the middle of it. It always seemed so important that he was heard, that people listened to what he had to say. All his life people had dismissed him, told him he was boring, told him he talked to much, told him that nobody wanted to listen to him blabber on about how cassette players worked or what the inside of a clock looked like. Nobody wanted to hear about the ghost he’d seen, nobody wanted to listen to his strange theories, they told him he was a liar, they told him he was crazy. 

He just wanted to be heard, but that should never have come at the cost of his kids.

He hadn’t been spectator to a fight in a long, long time. Sometimes Jazz and Danny would get angry over little things, sometimes Jazz and Maddie would engage in heated debates, but they were never real fights. It was nothing like what he and Maddie would get into every Christmas, the whole Santa thing wasn’t even that important, who really cared if she didn’t believe in Santa? It wasn’t as though Jack had evidence, just a 42 year old memory and a few theories about global consciousness manifestations. It was a stupid fight, and yet somehow it kept happening year after year, and he always went to bed thinking it would be different next time. 

He wasn't prepared for Jazz’s broken voice echoing down the stairs. He wasn’t prepared to be that little boy behind the lounge again. 

“YOU can’t risk it!” They had only been whispering until that point, the sudden rise in volume made Jack jump. 

There was more harsh whispering, and then- 

“Maybe you’re willing to sit on your hands as dad watches his own murderer claw his way into our lives but I won’t just lay down and take it I can’t!”  

Oh, oh... they were fighting about him

His stomach sank into his feet, she sounded so anguished, he had never heard her like this before. She had always been so level headed, even in an argument she kept her cool. He had admired her so much for that, for being able to do what he couldn’t. 

Knowing that she had finally reached her limit, that she was so angry, so hurt, it was heartbreaking. 

And it was all his fault

All because he made his children afraid to open up to him. All this could have been prevented if Danny had felt safe, if he trusted him enough to tell the truth, like when he was a little kid, he would share everything with them. He told them any time he ever broke something or was in trouble at school, he would go to them any time he was upset or angry, he told them when he wanted to go clothes shopping in the boy’s section, when he wanted to cut his hair short, when he wanted to be called Danny. He had been so open, he had felt so safe. He had trusted them so much. 

But Jack had to go and mess it all up. 

He was horrified that Danny felt that the ghost hunting would come before his own safety. He was horrified that he had given Danny no reason to believe otherwise. Jack may have always raised them to never be ashamed of who they were, but he had also raised them to believe ghosts were nothing but soulless monsters. He never even considered what might happen if one of his children became one.

Jazz’s cries had stopped echoing down the stairs, Jack couldn’t hear what Danny had said to calm her down. 

He felt it though. 

Like a drop in air pressure, a prickle on his skin, a vice gripping his chest, he heard a lightbulb pop and he could smell ozone. It passed almost as soon as it hit him. 

The sensation was much like it was when Danny had used his voice on Jack those other two times. He wondered if it had the same effect on Jazz that it did for him, or if being a ghost simply made him more sensitive. He desperately wanted to ask Danny what on earth it was, but the time just never seemed to be right somehow.

Jazz came padding down the stairs, wiping her eyes. She glanced over to the living room, empty in her eyes, before heading into the kitchen. Jack could hear her rummaging about. 

Jazz always had a tendency to cook when she needed time to think. 

She’d once explained to him that she had a problem with her thoughts running away from her, and that sometimes things would shove their way in when they weren’t welcome. She had a lot of ways of managing it, she had assured him, but she often found that keeping herself busy with other things would help to ‘ground’ her mind. Cooking was one of them, she said it also made her feel productive. It was one of the few psychoanalytical things Jazz had told him that actually made sense to Jack, he himself often used his knitting as a way to keep himself concentrated when thinking up new inventions, or when he was trying to mentally map out a blueprint. 

She had started frying up some onion and garlic, the smell was mouthwatering. It reminded him that he hadn’t eaten a thing since his death, and that he would be sitting out this meal. A bitterness rolled over his tongue, a reminder of the last thing he’d ever tasted. He had to remember to ask Danny if regaining his tangibility would let him eat again. 

He was going to follow her into the kitchen, just to watch over her while she cooked, give her some company even if she couldn’t see him, but he wasn’t sure he could stomach the sights and smells of all that food, knowing he couldn’t have any. 

He focused back on his fishing show, as a distraction. It was nice of Jazz to put it on for him, Danny had tried to leave the TV on for him last night but Maddie had turned it off before going to bed. He’d had nothing to do but lay beside his wife, watching as she slept fitfully, wishing he could hold her again, provide even the slightest bit of comfort. He had never felt so helpless

Jazz came out of the kitchen, her eyes were still red but she looked far more composed. 

“Hey Danny?!” She called up the stairs, “Do you want to invite Sam and Tucker over for lunch? I’m making enough for everyone!” 

Danny’s bedroom door opened and he appeared at the top of the stairs, staring at his phone, after a moment he nodded. 

“Yeah, they’re on their way over, you got anything Sam can eat?” 

Jazz put a hand on her hip and looked up thoughtfully. 

“There's some carrots here that need to be eaten soon, and we have some chickpeas. I can make her some dip!” Jazz hurried back into the kitchen, calling out, “Oh, we still have some pasta, does she like Italian? I can make a sauce, where’s the basil...” 

Danny shook his head, still tapping on his phone as he made his way down the stairs. 

“I think I’m gonna go check on mom, at least ask her if she wants some lunch.” 

“Ask Jazz if there’s any eggs,” said Jack, “She never turns down Jazzy’s scrambled eggs.” 

“Will do.” He waved to Jack as he left the living room, still focused on his phone, muttering something about spelling. 

The smells were driving him crazy

It wasn’t just the onion and garlic now, he could smell the tomato and herb sauce Jazz had mentioned. He got a whiff of cheap powered cheese and oh no she was making that macaroni and cheese thing with the pork bits wasn’t she oh god he was going to lose it

Just as he was considering whether or not to leap through the ceiling again the front door opened and Tucker let himself in. 

“Hey Danny, I’m here!” he called out as he dropped his bag by the front door. “God that smells amazing.” 

“Danny’s in the lab with mom.” Jazz responded. “He’ll be up in a minute.” 

Tucker rolled against the doorway until he was facing the living room. He looked at the TV for a moment before glancing toward the lounge where Jack sat. He squinted slightly, and Jack could swear he was almost making direct eye contact. Then he smiled and gave a quick wave in Jack’s direction. 

“Hey Mr Fenton, almost didn’t see you there.” He waltzed over to the lounge and sat beside Jack, watching the TV. “My grandma loves this channel, she used to live by a river and they practically lived off fish when she was little.” 

Jack finally managed to get his mouth moving. 

“Hey, can you... see me?” he asked in disbelief. 

Tucker looked his way and grimaced. 

“Sorry Mr F, I can’t really hear you, all I get is sort of a quiet buzz.” he raised a hand to his ear and shook it in emphasis. “I can juuust see you though. Like a heatwave, sort of. You know the air ripples that come off the road in summer?” 

He wiggled his fingers in Jack’s direction. 

“You kinda look like that, but person shaped.” 

Jack stood, cupping his hands around his mouth he hollered into Tucker’s face. 

“HOW ABOUT NOW?!” 

A sour look crossed Tucker’s face as he stuck a finger in his ear and stretched his jaw. 

“Gods no need to fucking shout.” 

Jack felt almost giddy. Tucker could see him! Tucker could hear him! Was he becoming solid already? He had to go tell Danny! 

Tucker’s eyes followed him as he left the room, he could see him, he really could see him.  

The clash of smells was even more insane inside the kitchen. It hit him like a solid wall of delight, cheese, sauce, barbeque, eggs, toast, there was everything. The last time the kitchen smelled this good was during Jazz’s final exam week, it hadn’t been all that long ago, but it felt like an age to Jack. The past couple of days had been so long. 

Danny came up from the lab with Maddie in tow as Jazz buttered some toast and scooped up a heaping serving of eggs, she passed the plate to her mother with a soft smile. 

“Here, try to eat as much as you can, okay? But don't make yourself sick.” 

Maddie grasped Jazz with her free hand into a one-armed hug and kissed her on the cheek. 

“I don’t know what I’d do without you two.” she said, as Danny poured her a glass of juice. She took it, gave him a peck on the forehead and took her food back down into the lab. 

Jack watched her go. His good mood sinking slightly when he heard the pain in her voice. 

The front door opened again as Sam announced her presence, Jack turned to greet her, excited to be seen again, but she walked right through him. 

It was an uncomfortable sensation to say the least. He was used to going through walls and furniture at this point, but having a whole person just walk through him like he wasn’t even there? It was unsettling on a different level, the worst part was that once again he couldn't be seen.

Danny looked at him, then at Sam, then at Tucker, who had just entered the kitchen, stepping around Jack’s large frame. His mouth quirked sadly. 

“Oh dad, I’m sorry.” 

“What?” Sam turned around, staring right through Jack, “Is he here?” 

“She can’t... but Tucker, he just-” Jack faltered, more confused than anything else. Was it only temporary? Was his body fluctuating somehow? Popping in and out of the visible world? 

“Dad, you stay there, everyone else take a seat.” Danny instructed as he carefully closed the lab door so that Maddie couldn't hear them, everyone followed suit, except Jazz who was still plating up in the kitchen. 

Danny pulled a chair out for his dad, directly opposite from Sam and Tucker, Jack sat down but Danny remained standing. 

“Okay, so, we have a few things to explain.” said Danny. 

“Yeah, no kidding.” Sam huffed, teetering dangerously backwards in her chair. 

“First off, dad,” Danny turned to him. “You’re still invisible.” 

Jack’s heart sank. He knew it was too good to be true, Danny told him it would take time to develop a tangible form, but then how did Tucker- 

“Oh, uh sorry man,” Tucker fiddled with a gold ring on his finger, looking uncomfortable, “I didn’t mean to get your hopes up.” 

“Tucker can sort of sometimes see spirits too.” Danny clarified, “We found out a couple years ago that he’s reincarnated from some Egyptian Pharaoh and since then he’s had a lowkey sensitivity to spiritual stuff. We think it’s got something to do with him recently connecting with his past life.” 

“Duul Aman’s kind of an ass though so I try not to channel him too much.” said Tucker as he scratched at the gold stud in his nose, the piercing was new, it hadn’t been there the last time Jack had seen him. 

“He has Pharaoh Flare-Ups." Sam smirked. 

Jack must have looked about as lost as he felt because Danny laughed and clarified. 

“Basically Tucker’s past life sometimes comes through too strong and throws a temper tantrum, he’s kind of a brat.” 

Tucker threw him a casual peace sign in acknowledgement, still looking at his phone. 

“I’m basically a yugioh protagonist.” 

Jack didn’t know what that was but he had very little time to ask before Jazz started bringing food in, piling the table up high with everything from pasta to carrot sticks. 

“Okay, Sam this is for you,” Jazz set down a large cutting board with the sliced vegetables, a large salad and some cereal bowls filled with dip. “No cross contamination! But the carrots are kinda soft and the lettuce is pretty wilted, sorry.” 

“Jazz you are seriously the best.” said Sam, with genuine affection as she started dipping celery into the bowl of creamy coloured paste. "My parents' chefs can't even make hummus this good."

Tucker immediately went hog on the mac and cheese. Piling it high with a side of scrambled eggs. Danny didn’t touch anything, his eyebrows were furrowed, he seemed to be deep in thought. 

“I’ll be back in a minute.” he said, serving up a plate of the slightly wilted salad and a small portion of the macaroni and pork before heading back down into the lab. 

Jazz looked around the table, glancing in Jack’s direction, or glancing at the chair that had been pulled out for him at least. 

“Dad’s sitting there isn’t he?” she asked. 

Tucker nodded and she let out a breath before taking a seat in another free chair. 

“Good, I’d feel awful if I accidentally sat on him.” she looked over at Jack, not quite making eye contact, and waved. “Hey dad uh, oh.” 

She looked at the food spread, a sad expression crawling across her face. 

“Oh, dad I’m sorry, I didn’t think...” 

“Oh no Jazzy don’t feel bad.” He reached over to touch her shoulder, knowing that he was the only one who could feel it. “You guys dig in, I’ll be fine.” 

His stomach growled, he technically didn’t even have a stomach, and it was still hungry. 

“He said eat.” Tucker snapped, not looking up from his food. “And to stop whining already.” 

Sam kicked him, he yelped. 

“Ow! Shit!” he hissed, before looking over to Jazz, apologetic. “Sorry, I can sort of hear him better when I’m in bastard mode.” 

Jazz choked on a laugh, and had to take a quick sip of water. 

“No! It’s fine, it’s fine!” she put her hand to her chest as she spluttered a bit, still laughing, “Thank you Tucker, that was really nice of you.” 

The lab door opened as Danny returned, holding Maddie’s empty plate of eggs and humming a dramatic little tune as he displayed it for the room. 

“Nice going Jazz, she even took the salad and macaroni.” He grinned. 

“Yes!” Jazz’s fist pumped in the air, “We are on FIRE!” 

“And I also,” he pulled a small, green vial seemingly out of nowhere, “Managed to snag this!” 

Jack peered at it closely, it was full of ectoplasm and... something small and black. 

“Hey, that’s the heart from one of the poltergeists we dissected!” he exclaimed, “What do you need that for?” 

Danny tossed the little vial to Sam, who snatched it out of the air neatly and tucked it away into the front pocket of her overalls. 

“That,” said Danny, sitting down and finally piling up his plate, “Is how we’re going to jumpstart your core.”