It's over. He's gone. He's not coming back. He's never coming back.
Dash knelt by the memorial, forehead resting against the cool stone. The night was deceptively pretty, with a full moon and billions of stars, but he knew better. The moon wasn't really there, it was gone, buried under the slab of polished stone- along with the halfa's belt and glove, the only things they ever found of amity parks ghost child hero. He had pretended not to care when he heard the news. He'd claimed to be glad that the phantom menace was gone, but inside, he was too shocked to react. He had believed the no one could beat the ghost boy. His ghost boy. His everything.
His head snapped up at the sound of soft, familiar footsteps, only to slump back down when he saw who it was. I never realized how much they look alike. “Whataya want, Fenton? Come to throw rocks at the ghost boy’s grave, like everyone else?” They’re all so happy now that he’s really dead. Even the ones who loved him, who cheered him on, they all hate him now. And he doesn’t deserve that. No one does, but especially not him. He gave everything to make sure that these people were safe, and this is how they repay him.
“Dash... He's not gone. I'm not gone”
“What is that supposed to mean? Of course he's gone. And why should it matter if you're gone or not, Fentina?”
“Dash, it's me. It's Danny.” Why don't you recognize me?
“I know who you are, loser. I just don't care.” What’s this kid talking about?
Danny smirked. He had always found Dash's insults amusing, now that 'Phantom' had convinced the other boy to stop wailing on him. He couldn't phase anymore, but he did have a couple tricks left, if Dash couldn't be convinced with only words.
“If you really haven't caught on, I guess you never knew me as well as you thought you did.” As well as I thought you did.
“You’re not making any sense.”
“You really never caught it, did you? Danny Fenton/Danny Phantom? Come on, Dashiel Mortimer Baxter, I know you’re not that stupid.” Please catch on, please, please. I need you to remember. I need you.
Danny saw realization dawning in Dash's eyes as the boy heard the use of his full name, something he told very few people, and certainly never tell the biggest loser in school, and Danny had been shocked when ‘phantom’ was able to worm it out of him.
“It’s…it’s really you…”
“Yeah…” they were both in tears at this point. “It’s really me”
“I feel pretty stupid now. I spent so much time looking at your face, but a little change of coloring and I didn’t know it was you.”
“Yeah” Danny countered “but look at me- I fell in love with the boy who spent all of high school beating me up”
Then Dash was holding him, and they were both shaking with laughter and clinging to each other tightly.
This was right. This was real. No ghosts, no friends, no family. Just them.