Amity Park's citizens start realizing things about the son of their most famous ghost hunters that they should have noticed a long time ago.
(Ch. 1) Ectoplasmic Encounters
In which ectoplasm is almost spilled and Danny saves a classmate's life.
"Class is boring and life hates me," Dash Baxter summarized.
"Did you get all that from staring at your locker wall?" Kwan Tao responded, amused.
"No, but my fractured shoulder seems to be sending me a lot of mixed signals."
"You sure it's not your massive ego that's the issue here?"
Dash's eyes turned away from the small mirror in the back of his locker to glare at his best friend. Used to these looks, Kwan snickered and shut the blonde jock's locker door before he could turn around to check the mirror again.
"Dash, you look fine," Kwan reassured, pulling his friend into the crowed hallway traffic by his good arm. "You're lucky that fall caused so little damage. It could have been much worse."
"Much worse?" Dash gasped, appalled by his friend's lack of situational awareness. "I'm out for the season, Kwan. That's four months of games and six months of training during my sophomore year of high school. We just started out and I'm already benched. Do you know how bad that's going to look to colleges and scouters?"
Kwan eyed his best friend. Dash's scarred lips were pressed tight and his eyebrows furrowed together in worry. Although he wanted to comfort the blond somehow, Kwan couldn't help but take a moment to recognize how much Dash had grown in the past year. Normally the jock would have been more worried about the scars on his face rather than his ability to throw a football, but time changes a lot of people.
"It was a ghost related accident, dude. Coach understands."
"Yeah, but out of state scouters won't," Dash worried. The town of Amity Park had quickly gotten over the fact the rest of the world thinks they're crazy, but claiming they were overrun by ghosts and needed government aid during the Pariah Dark incident and being attacked by a giant plant ghost caused relationships to sour even farther. It'd be extremely hard for someone like Dash to get a football scholarship out of state if adults would look at the location on his resume and throw it away without a second glance. He needed to be noticed before it was too late.
"Dash, chill. You've got two more years," Kwan said, rubbing his friend's back to ease his stress. "As long as you leave the ghost battles to Phantom from now on, you'll be fine."
Dash blushed and scratched his cheek as him and Kwan stepped through the doorway to their 5th period class. It wasn't in the newspaper because no one but him and Kwan were there, but when a large ghost with a flaming mohawk attacked downtown yesterday, Dash jumped in front of a falling light post to save a seven year old girl without thinking of the consequences.
"I just- well, I didn't see Phantom anywhere and I just couldn't let that kid get hit."
Kwan smiled, swelling with pride. "You did a good thing, man. Phantom would be proud." The blond wasn't so sure about that, it was just some stupid light post after all, but the thought itself made him grin like an idiot.
The classroom was set up with lab tables when they walked in, something that surprised the two jocks as they took their seats near the front. It wasn't very often they did labs in their chemistry class, as ironic as that may be, because their teacher seemed to enjoy children as much as he enjoyed brushing his teeth- which he obviously didn't enjoy doing if his yellow canines were any indication.
Dash winced as his sling was jostled and felt a cut on his elbow rip open, but Kwan helped him adjust in his seat without any other incident. The asian teen suddenly eyed the discolored test tubes in front of him.
"Were these even washed this year?"
"Were these even washed last year?" Dash said, pretending to gag at the rust and yellow substances coating the 'white' equipment. "That's got to be a safety hazard or something."
"It probably is, but you two better not say anything to ruin this lecture," Valerie hissed from the next table over where she sat with her assigned group: Mikey, Star, and Nathan. "I heard Mr. Trenton got permission to examine ectoplasm for educational purposes this week. If you two mess this up, I will personally see to it that you're expelled."
Kwan whistled. "Jesus, Val. You've always been a bit crazy about ghosts, but that's a little much."
The African American teen frowned and crossed her arms. "You guys don't understand. Mr. Trenton had to personally ask the GIW for a sample. This is a huge deal."
Mikey nodded from his seat next to her, already going through the process of reading through the lesson plan and lecture of the day. "She's not joking! It says right here that we're actually going to be able to see ghost blood up close and personal today."
"Nobody asked you, dweeb," Dash muttered, mostly out of habit. Mikey sent him an unimpressed look.
Kwan suddenly made a disgusted face and glared at the front of the room where their teacher was moving around a giant metal container.
"Don't you think it's a little gross that the GIW is giving us ghost blood? Like, whose blood is it? How did they get it?"
Valerie huffed and turned back to her station. "Who cares. A ghost is a ghost. It's not like it hurt them when it was extracted."
"Still," Kwan muttered, definitely not looking forward to this lesson. There was something odd about the way humans seemed to treat the existence of ghosts that just churned his stomach.
The rest of the class piled in as the bell rang, the last student racing through the door just as the teacher was about to close it. Fenton was usually late and Dash and Kwan rolled their eyes as the small teen shuffled quickly to his seat. Mr. Trenton locked the door- as was required in order to launch a ghost shield if an attack took place- and eagerly turned to his students.
"This, right here- take in this moment, kids," he whispered to the quiet classroom. "This is the moment that will change your life." Dash heard Fenton ask his friends what was going on before their teacher started again.
"It took several months to get permission, but after piles of rigorous paperwork I was able to legally obtain a sample of ectoplasm for us to examine today." Mr. Trenton paused as a hand was raised. "Yes?"
"Where did you get it from?" Sam Manson asked, her tone flat, but her eyes holding a very different expression.
Mr. Trenton smiled. "The GIW so graciously offered us one of their old experimental pieces for us to work with," he explained. If anything, Sam looked more stiff than before. "If it's safety you're concerned about then have no fear, Ms. Manson. The GIW insisted that the safety of you students is their top priority and provided us with anti-ectoplasm gloves and goggles for the procedure. We're perfectly safe as long as we don't touch the sample."
Mikey raised his hand. "What happens if we touch it?"
"Ectoplasm is like acid to humans, so it will quite simply burn like hell, Mr. Driscoll."
"Cool," whispered more than half the class.
Mr. Trenton moved behind the metal container in the center of the room and clicked the lid to unlock it. When the class heard the noise, they eagerly leaned forward. Dash moved to sit up as well, attempting to see more and get closer to the action, but only succeeded in ripping his cuts open again. Kwan sent him a concerned look as the blond jock sank into his seat again to fix his bandages.
"Now," Mr. Trenton announced, using special anti-ectoplasm tongs to reach in and remove the sample, "here is what a chunk of raw ectoplasm looks like." The hardened blob was pulsating so intently with green light that the students had to squint behind their goggles to see it at first. "Don't worry, the glow will fade after a moment, it's just adjusting to the elements in the air."
Kwan wasn't sure what to make of the chuck of green before him, but for some reason he really wanted that thing to go back in the metal case. It just felt wrong. Like, really wrong. The jock heard someone make retching sounds from the back of the class so at least he wasn't the only one feeling this way.
"This, ladies and gentlemen, is the raw ectoplasmic core of a ghost," Mr. Trenton grinned, proudly, setting the sample down on a metal tray. "And what the GIW have been studying recently is the way it reacts to living tissue."
The teacher reached underneath his desk to pull out a vile of red liquid. "The Fentons, as you may know, have created many working weapons to fight against ectoplasm, but something only the GIW have permission to study is the reaction of blood and ectoplasm," he grinned, holding up the vial. "This is a tube of animal blood, recently extracted and very much alive and warm, the complete opposite of ectoplasm, which aids in the continued existence of the dead."
Mr. Trenton uncorked the tube. "Human blood is said to have too great of a reaction, so animal blood was suggested by the GIW to use as an example," he explained as he started to tip the bottle over the sample. "All we have to do is wait for-"
One minute the teacher was pouring a glass tube of blood onto the green mass, then suddenly the tube was shattered on the ground and a student held the raised wrist of Mr. Trenton. It happened faster than anyone could follow.
Mr. Trenton jerked his hand in shock, but was greatly angered when he couldn't budge it. "Daniel Fenton, unhand me this instance! What do you think you're doing?"
Danny stood clutching his teachers wrist with such a force that even the students in the back of the class could see his hand shaking. He was small compared to the forty seven year old adult before him, but didn't seem to care about the difference in strength or power. The class held their breath as Danny simply stood there, watching, until all the animal blood rushed down the drain in the classroom floor.
"Saving a life," he said, finally.
"Excuse me?" the teacher cried, swelling with anger. The blood was gone and now the experiment was ruined.
Danny's eyes met the teachers as he lowered the man's fist to his side. "I said," he repeated louder, "I was saving a life." After a moment, he added, "and your job by default."
"This-this is uncalled for! In all my years of teaching I have never had a student sabotage an experiment like you just did! Was it jealousy?" he demanded, finally freeing himself from the teen's grasp and moving to grab his student's shoulder. "Did your parents put you up to this because they are unable to research such a reaction?"
The teenager looked into the eyes of his superior. "What happens when you mix two elements that are completely incompatible in every way?" he asked, calmly.
"I do not care, Mr. Fenton. You had absolutely no right-"
"Mikey," Danny interrupted, calling out to his classmate. "What happens when you mix two elements that are completely incompatible in every way?"
Put on the spot, the red-haired male was suddenly extremely thankful he knew the answer to such a question. "Um, an antagonistic reaction, correct?"
Danny nodded. "And what do antagonistic reactions release?"
Mikey's eyes widened, suddenly following along. "Gas."
The class turned to their teacher who rolled his eyes. "You don't think I know that already? I explained it to you, as long as we don't touch the ectoplasm, not even the gas from the reaction can hurt us. The GIW have done experiments on this before."
"Yes," Danny responded, pointing backwards at Dash. "But they've never done experiments in the same room as someone who's injured."
Everyone turned to Dash who looked down at his own shoulder in confusion. Danny continued, "The GIW gave you a ghost core, the most concentrated ectoplasm out there. When blood and ectoplasm mix, it sets of a serious of bright flashes and gas as a response to the two opposing elements attempting to coexist in the same space."
The teen walked towards the blond jock who could only gaze up at him in surprise. "The gas can harmlessly bounce off the human skin if someone is healthy, but if someone's blood is out in the open for the ectoplasm to latch into," Danny explained as he lifted Dash's bad arm gently to show everyone the bleeding cuts on it, "you can burn them from the inside out."
The class and teacher were silent as Danny approached Mr. Trenton again. "Don't mess with something you don't understand," Danny warned, narrowing his eyes at the adult before him. "The GIW don't understand blood and ectoplasm yet so why would you think, even for a second, that a high school chemistry teacher would?"
It took a while for class to get started after that.
Dash spent the rest of the day in a daze. Kwan and him split after 5th period and could only meet up again after school before football practice, or in Dash's case sitting on the bench for three hours, so his best friend had no idea how his close brush with death was affecting the blond.
Kwan took one look at his friend after 7th and pulled him into a hug. "I could have died," Dash mumbled into the shoulder of Kwan's jacket, wide-eyed. "If Fenton hadn't stopped him, our teacher would have killed me."
The asian male squeezed his friend once more, being mindful of his fractured arm, before letting go. "I know, dude. I know."
Dash shook his head. "No, you don't get it! I could have died, Kwan. Like, been turned into a ghost and stuff, and it wouldn't have even been painless either- burned alive holy fuck man."
"But it didn't happen. Fenton saved you and you're all right. You're not a ghost, I promise, although your Phantom-like tendencies might show up again if any little girls need saving from light posts," Kwan teased, attempting to cheer up the panicked jock.
A small gasp from behind them caught their attention. Danny Fenton stood there clutching something in his hands. "That was you?" he asked, eyes wide. "The little girl that almost got hit Tuesday- you're the one that saved her?"
Dash was unsure what to say now that he was confronted by the kid who saved his life. Blurt out a thank you for earlier? Answer the question about the girl? Ask how Danny knew any of these things- the girl and the ectoplasm? He settled for stuttering out, "W-what? I, uh, yeah. It was nothing."
Danny shook his head. "That girl came running back into the center of the battle to tell everyone that a blonde man saved her. She was so happy, Dash, thank you."
Before the jocks could shake their heads and respond with how thankful they were Danny saved Dash's life, the smaller teen held out his hand. "Here."
Confused, Kwan excepted the object since Dash only had one good arm. "Jesus, it's cold," he cried, shivering from the tiny crystal in his palm.
"It's a healing remedy," Danny explained, softly. "It's, um, a special one so don't tell anybody about it."
"This thing?" Dash questioned, gazing at the beautifully crafted blue diamond. "It looks like a pretty piece of jewelry.
Danny grinned. Were his eyes always that blue? "Right, well, it's a ghost type crystal, and it's not made out of harmful ectoplasm so I've heard its supposed to help humans heal faster. Just keep it on your arm for a few days and you'll be back throwing game winning passes in less than a week," Danny smiled, sheepishly.
The blond gaped at this small, wonderful boy he used to bully. His attitude was bashful and playful compared to the calm anger he exhibited in the classroom earlier, and Dash didn't know which personality was the real him.
"You're joking," Dash breathed. Danny grinned and waved goodbye quickly, attempting to exit as quickly as he usually enters classrooms. Dash quickly blurted out "Thanks!" before the teen disappeared around the corner of the school building, and although he was embarrassed, the jock secretly hoped Fenton heard him.
"Wow," Kwan muttered, running the crystal over his palm. "That kid really is something."
Thinking back to all the times they pushed him around Freshmen year and made his life miserable, Dash honestly wondered why Danny would even care enough about him to not only save his life, but his career as well. The two stood there for several seconds.
"Nice people are terrifying, Kwan," Dash finally whispered.
A/N: New story where the side characters of Danny Phantom start to notice the little things about Danny that they would normally miss. Maybe Clockwork finally decided Danny needed some help and has been pushing the kids of Casper to be more observant. This one is drama and hurt/comfort (with a little bit of angst in later chapters) so it's definitely a different tone than "Things I Can(not) Do in Amity Park."
Future chapter titles (in no particular order but included to keep you interested):
Ghost Speak for Jocks: In which Danny tutors the football team but writes in a different language.
Food and Friendship: In which Tucker's parents discover some concerning things about their son's relationship with Daniel Fenton.
Reason to Fight: In which a teenager makes the GIW realize they're fighting on the wrong side.
Shocked to the Core: In which thunderstorms and Danny Fenton do not mix.
Masters and Disasters: In which Vlad Masters and Danny Fenton are closer than everyone thinks.
Lights Out: In which a blackout at Casper High leads to Danny seeing in the dark.
Reality is Relative: In which Jasmine and Daniel Fenton reveal they know more about ghosts than their parents.
Religion vs. Fenton: In which Danny fights God.
Hospitals and False Hope: In which Casper High students visit a hospital and chemo kids seem to love Danny.