Danny Phantom's Challenge

Danny Fenton struggled up the steps, bent over almost double with the immense weight of his—and Sam's—backpack. Sam, a few steps behind him, capered lightly up the stairs and held the doors open for him. "Thanks," grunted Danny. Sam smiled distractedly and let go of the door. Tucker, behind them and tampering with his hand-held computer, ran into the door. "Ow! Saaa—amm," he whined. "Tucker," whispered Danny sternly. "Be nice." "What's the deal? Why are you treating her so nice today?" Tucker asked, out of hearing range of Sam. "He great-grandmother just passed away. She's really broken up about it too. Just...be nice to her today, alright?" "Sure, man," replied Tucker. The trio walked sullenly to their first period class. Across the hallway, Dash was making a popular, good-looking idiot out of himself by attempting to run and skid on a length of wetted hallway. Sam and Tucker stayed well away, but Danny, true to his fate of being constantly shoved in a locker, happened to walk in the direction that Dash was sliding in, and the two fell into a tangle on the damp floor. "FENTON!" roared Dash. "Dash," acknowledged Danny sarcastically. "Watch were you're going, tweeb! You threw off my slidey-ness. You'll pay, Fenton." As he said this, he stood up, fast as a jock, and grabbed Danny's collar. Danny made a choking noise, and one of Dash's buddies opened his own locker, where they effectively shoved Danny inside. Tucker and Sam watched with growing uneasiness, knowing that whoever interrupted Dash would be stuffed in their locker and then unable to attend to Danny. Dash slammed the locker shut and swaggered off with his friends. Sam approached the locker, rapping her knuckles softly on the metal. "Danny? You ok in there?" "I'm actually quite comfortable. Dash apparently keeps his old PE clothes and his lunch in here. I'm sitting on his lunch. I think I would be uncomfortable if this juice hadn't exploded under my butt." "What's the locker combo?" asked Tucker, a bit slow for his high intelligence. "Anyone around?" asked Danny. "Nope."

"Cool." There were two faint rings of light glowing inside the locker, then Danny emerged, dressed in a corny skintight suit. His hair was a shock of white, his normally blue eyes green. He changed back to human form, and his lower shirt and entire pant leg was dripping. "Mm," commented Sam. "Wild cherry." Danny growled in frustration. "Raspberry. I am so sick of this. I am not a book that can be shoved in a locker when Dash wants to impress his friends! I am sick of humoring him, just because he's like 100 pounds heavier than me! I will not show him that I am weak anymore! He will not be able to beat me up, carry me around, frame me, and I will never, never, ever have food in my hair or on my pants again!" Tucker and Sam watched him, mouths opening wider as the speech progressed. "Nice one," said Sam. "Audition for a slave rebellion film. You'll do good." "Seriously, you guys, I—"he paused as a wisp of blue smoke came out of his mouth. He caught sight of a bluish-green cloud over them, and Sam screamed.

"Ugh!" she yelled. "I'm all wet!" "Cover me!" Danny yelled, enjoying his macho, superhero sensation. Sure, it could get corny, with the hero lines and the air-fighting, but it was cool. Most of the time, though, he hated it. "Going ghost!" Two bright rings of light encircled him, and his teenage attire was replaced once again with a black skintight suit. He floated, green eyes searching for the ghost, but it was gone, leaving behind it a very wet, very mad Sam. "Argh, alright, that's it! I hate this place! If you're not getting stuffed into a locker, tied up by a teacher, or killed with monster homework, you're being peed on by a ghost!" Tucker and Danny stared. "Sam, you like school," Tucker said "No, I like school WORK, not school. I'm gonna go dry off. See you guys later." She sloshed down the hall, and Tucker and Danny headed once again toward biology. "What was that stuff, Danny?" asked Tucker. "I think it was just water is all." "In a way...it was kinda funny, wasn't it?" Danny could not repress a snicker. "Yeah, that was the first time I've ever seen Sam embarrassed." Mr. Gordon, the substitute, announced to the class, "please get out your notebooks. I will be coming along shortly to check that you all did your homework correctly." "Tuck, we had homework?" "Yup." "On WHAT?" "It—"SCREACH....BEEP SCREACH SCREACH... "Class, line up by the door, then proceed to the baseball field," said Mr. Gordon calmly. The intercom came on. "Students, there is a small fire in the girl's bathroom. Please go to your designated areas outside and wait for further instructions." "The girl's bathroom?" asked Tucker. "Isn't that where Sam is?" "I'm on it," said Danny. He ducked under a desk, and while everyone was preoccupied by the sudden interruption in their school day, went ghost. He phased out of visibility, and simply floated through the people and desks. As he went through one girl, he realized he could tell what she was thinking. No, not what she was thinking, but the emotion she was feeling. She was bored, and a bit scared that the fire might get out of hand. He floated through a boy, who was thinking about that girl he'd just passed. Interesting. He floated through another classroom, then another, pausing long enough to snatch Dash's backpack and deposit it into the biology sink, which was filled with disinfectant. Dash dashed out the door, playing a handheld video game. "Goal!" he yelled. Finally, Danny came to the girls bathroom. He used the door, and walked inside, though still invisible. Smoke came pouring at him, and he ducked lower. Under a sink sat Sam, stunned. She was coughing so hard he was surprised he hadn't heard her through the door. He phased into visibility. "Sam, come on," he said. She didn't move. "Can't...breath..." and sighing deeply, she slumped forward. Danny touched Sam, focused on the best route out, and then suddenly they were in an empty classroom. "Woah. I didn't know I could do that. That'll save a lot of time." Sam's hair was slightly singed, her clothes steaming, and her face was sooty; she looked beautiful to Danny.

When she came to, she was draped across her own bed, laid out on a towel. "What...?" she questioned. Danny was in the corner, reading from a girl's magazine. He snapped it shut, threw it down, and kicked a sweatshirt over it. "Oh, good morning." "What happened?" "There was a fire at school, and you seemed to be in the middle of it all." "Thanks, Danny. Hey, if that ghost hadn't peed on me, that heat might have been too much. It was the wetness that saved my life." Danny considered this, puzzled. Weren't most ghosts malevolent, vengeful creatures, with unfinished business and a mean demeanor? Then he remembered the Dairy King. Ok, maybe some were ok. "It wasn't ghost pee, Sam, it was just water." "How do you know?" she asked, but seemed relieved. "It—I just know. I can't explain it. I also know that he went under the school, into the water tanks, and took the water from there. Plus, ghosts can't eat, breathe, or do much of anything besides." Sam pondered this. "You know, maybe that was a nice ghost, like that Dairy King you told us about." "I was just thinking that." "And maybe he knew I was going to be in a fire...so why didn't he just prevent it in the first place?" Sam sat up. "Maybe it was a coincidence?" Danny shrugged. "Hey, where's my backpack?" "Aww," moaned Danny.