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Recondite

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Chapter 3

Danny woke up feeling strangely… hollow.

It was like a large hole had been punched through him and everything and just spilled out. Horrible imagery, really, but that was the only way he could really describe it.

His mind went back to the events he last remembered, and continued to draw up a blank as soon as he recalled something hitting him in the back.

Whatever it was must have caused me to lose consciousness.

He suddenly felt something shift next to him, and he slowly cracked open his eyes to see what it was. Everything was blurry and bright, at first, but the room around him soon began to shift into focus.

The room he was in was unfamiliar, but reminded him a lot of some of the furniture in Sam’s house. Weird…

“Danny?” A voice he recognised came from his side, and he had to cringe at how loud it was. A moment later, his elder sister came into view. Her red hair was a mess, and she had a few red marks on her face from where it looked like she’d been sleeping.

“What happened?” He croaked out, although it sounded more like ‘wh hp’d’. Truly, he had such an eloquent way with words.

Jazz seemed to understand what he was saying, though. “Something stupid, probably.”

His sister had such a nice way of putting things. “Probably?”

“Valerie was with you when we found you, but she passed out and hasn’t woken up yet.”

That was right, Val was fighting alongside him against that ghost… Mr. whatshisface. Oh well, he’ll remember later.

And then another thought occurred to him, and he shot straight up. “Val- she didn’t see me switch back did she?”

He felt Jazz’s hands on his shoulder, trying to push him back down, but he softly brushed her hands away. He knew he had been wounded but, truth was, he felt absolutely fine. There was no lingering pain, no dull ache that usually came after every fight. He felt as good as new, which was impossible, considering all the bandages wrapped around him made it look like they were ready to bury him in a tomb.

Instead, he looked at his sister, staring her in the eyes. “Jazz.”

“As I said, we didn’t find you guys until after, but,” She bit her lip nervously. “It’s quite likely.”

Great. There’s another person who knows his secret, and they were someone who potentially still wanted to kill part of him. He shuddered to think about what Val would think about all of this, fearing that their relationship would never recover from such a shocking truth.

Wait, who’s 'we'-

The sound of footsteps echoing outside the door caught his attention, and it was only a few moments before Tucker burst in.

“Hey, Jazz we-” He paused, seeing Danny sitting up. “Oh, hey! Look who’s finally awake!”

When Jazz had first spoken, he had thought that she just sounded really loud because he’d just woken up. Now, it seems that that was not the case. He had to stop himself from visibly flinching when Tucker’s voice seemed to clang in his head. Ever since the Accident, he had noticed that his senses were slowly beginning to get better than before, but this was probably the most evident of them all.

“Hey.” His voice did not sound good, but he was glad to see his friend. “How long have I been out?”

He looked at his watch. “About… eight hours now. It was pretty late when we found you, and it’s late morning now. Speaking of sleeping, are you sure you’re the half-dead one? Because Val hasn’t moved an inch in her sleep. I swear, that girl sleeps like the dead.”

He laughed a bit, although it sounded more like he was choking.

A voice suddenly rose up from outside, and Danny was shocked by how easily he could make it out. “Tucker! What’s taking you so long? It’s all gonna get cold if you don’t get your ass down here.”

“Sorry Sam!” The boy called back. “We’ll be down in a mo’.”

“You’d better!”

Tucker grinned sheepishly, and turned back to the two other occupants in the room. “You gonna be alright to move? We ordered pizza and I could bring some up for you.”

The halfa smiled gratefully but shook his head. “Nah, I’ll be alright.”

He swung his legs off the bed, standing up and stretching a bit as he did so.

“Dude…” Tucker breathed. “How do you do that? You looked like you’d been hit with several trucks at once last night.”

Danny just shrugged and gave an uncertain smile, unsure of it all himself. His friend just chuckled and made his way out. Danny looked towards his sister who had been strangely quiet through the whole exchange, an indecipherable look on her face.

“Are you alright?” He tentatively asked. Unlike his friends, who had come to take his weirdness in stride, he could often see that Jazz would often still be startled or hesitate.

She frowned a bit more, but shook her head. “No, it's nothing. Let’s go get something to eat shall we? I’m starving!”

She left him no room to reply, quickly making her way out of the room, avoiding his eyes.

Odd, she usually speaks her mind when prompted to. I’ll have to ask again later.

He looked to the side where he could see his shirt, now more red and green than white, sat. It looked like someone had tried to clean it, but ultimately had given up. The fabric was dry when he touched it and, realising that he didn’t really have anything else, put it on, following the others down the stairs.

As he made his way around the house, he realised that yes, this is indeed Sam’s. He supposed that with Sam’s parents out for the while, this was the best place for them to go without anyone asking questions.

He entered the dining room, where a bunch of pizza’s had been laid out, Sam, Tucker and Jazz already tucking in. None of them seemed to notice him until he started speaking.

“Pizza in the morning? Really?” They seemed to startle a bit, Sam softening a bit when she saw him.

“Well, we were hungry and couldn’t be bothered to cook.” She said. “Also, it’s good to see you awake.”

He smiled, making his way around the table. They had ordered him Pepperoni, Hawaiian for Jazz, Meat Feast for Tucker, some Veggie… thing for Sam and a BBQ Chicken for Val.

They ate in comfortable silence, no one wanting to say something and ruin the moment. Instead, something else seemed to do that for them. A loud thump came from upstairs, and Danny was certain that he heard Valerie swearing a few times.

He looked towards the others and realised that none of them had heard it, all of them too absorbed in inhaling their food. He frowned, glancing back up to where he could hear Valerie's footsteps making their way out of her room, not noticing the concerned glance that Jazz gave him.

Instead of mentioning that Valerie, who was trying to make herself sound as quiet as possible, was awake to the others, he pretended that everything was fine and that he had heard nothing.

He reasoned that should Val realise that he had noticed her coming downstairs, that might just give her further reason to shoot him. She liked alive Danny, not spooky dead Danny.

The footsteps came louder, and Danny had to brace himself for when they stopped, eyeing her as she stood still in the doorway. Her suit was gone, and she was now left wearing the odd assemble of yellow pajama bottoms and a red T-shirt. Not exactly a good mix, but he supposed that ghosts don’t really wait for you to get fully dressed before attacking.

Val hadn’t moved from her spot, eyes glued to Danny, who still had a pizza slice in his mouth.

She looked like she was about to either fall over or say something, but was distracted from doing either of those things when Tucker held up a box of pizza towards her like it was some sort of peace offering (Which, it kinda was).

“Pizza?”