Walk a Mile in My Shoes
Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom, Butch Hartman does. No infringement on any copyrights or trademarks is intended in any way, shape, or form. This is just a story, and is meant for fun, nothing else. Enjoy!
Danny Fenton dragged his weary body slowly up the stairs to his home; he dreaded going inside. Once there, he would have to talk to his parents, and they would find out about the bad grade he got on the English mid-term, the food fight he was wrongly accused of instigating in the cafeteria, and the one hour's detention that resulted from it. He leaned his forehead against the door and sighed, then let himself in.
The house appeared to be empty, but Danny knew appearances in the Fenton Household could be, and most likely were, deceiving. A flash of light and a yelp of surprise told him he was right - his parents were home; they were downstairs in the lab. Danny contemplated hiding out in his room, pretending he was sick, but he knew that ruse would fail as soon as his nosy older sister, Jazz came home and told them all about his day. Best, he decided, that they hear it from him first.
Halfway down the stairs, he could hear his father yelling, blaming everything under the sun for the failure of his newest ghost-hunting invention - everything but himself, of course. Danny sighed. This was going to be unpleasant. More unpleasant than having Dash Baxter shove him into his locker. Again. More unpleasant than Mr. Lancer's pop quizzes. More unpleasant than spending an hour after school in detention for something he didn't do.
Danny took two steps into the lab and stopped dead. His father's face and the front part of his usually bright orange jumpsuit were black, and there was a gaping hole in the middle of one of the lab tables. His mother stood nearby, brushing black dust off her aqua blue jumpsuit, then lifted the goggles off her face.
"Are you guys alright?" Danny asked.
"Yes, son, we're fine," Jack Fenton grumbled. "I just don't understand what went wrong!"
"Maybe the calculations . . ." his wife Maddie began.
"The calculations were correct!" Jack insisted, then shook his fist at the swirling Fenton Portal, the entryway into the Ghost Zone. "It was probably the work of a ghost!"
Danny's father turned and looked at him. Quickly taking in the boy's slumped shoulders and hangdog expression, as well as the lateness of the hour, the man glared at his son.
"Are you just now getting home?" He asked threateningly. "Have you been in detention?"
"I . . . no . . . I mean yes, but . . . it wasn't my fault!" Danny stammered.
"I don't care if it was your fault or not!" His father yelled. "Fentons do not do detention! You need to shape up, young man!"
"But, dad!" Danny protested. "I swear I didn't do anything!"
"You must've done something," his father said. "You don't get detention for doing nothing!"
"It . . . I . . ." Danny sighed. "Never mind. Look, you're already mad at me, so you might as well know I also got a 'D' on my English mid-term."
"What!" Jack and Maddie shouted. "A 'D'?"
"That's it!" Jack said. "Danny, you're grounded!"
"What? Grounded?" Danny exclaimed. "But, that's not fair!"
"Of course it's fair," his mother interjected. "You got a bad grade, and you made trouble in school that resulted in your being given detention. We would be remiss as parents if we didn't punish you also."
"But, mom!" Danny whined.
"No buts, young man! There's no excuse for bad grades in school and even worse behaviour!" Jack insisted.
Danny's blood was boiling. It was bad enough he'd had a horrible day at school, did he have to get dumped on at home as well?
"You guys just don't understand!" He cried. "You have no idea what it's like to be a kid these days!"
"How hard can it be?" His father asked. "You hang out with your friends, go to the mall, play video games . . . that doesn't sound hard at all! In fact, that sounds like fun!"
"But, you don't understand!"
"I understand well enough!" Jack boomed. "I understand being an adult is a lot harder than being a kid!"
"Ha!" Danny spat. "You think you've got it hard, Dad? No way! You have it easy! You don't have to go to school and put up with mean teachers and even meaner kids, tons of homework, rejection, tests, not to mention the gho . . ." Danny caught himself just before he said the word 'ghosts'; he had enough problems right now, he didn't need to mention ghosts in front of his parents. He took a deep breath and finished, "You just don't know what it's like to be in my skin, dad."
"I was fourteen once, you know, Danny. I remember perfectly well what it was like," his father said. "Now, go to your room!"
"Fine!" Danny turned and raced back up the stairs, very nearly knocking down his sister who stood on the landing.
"What's going on down there?" Jazz asked. "I hear yelling."
Danny sighed exasperatedly. "It's just dad being . . . dad," he explained. "He just doesn't understand how hard it is to be . . . me. I wish he could see what it's like to live my life."
"If only he could walk a mile in your shoes, huh, Danny?" Jazz inquired with a sympathetic smile.
Danny snorted. "Yeah! He wouldn't last one day!"
He pushed by his sister, and raced up to his bedroom, slammed the door, and flopped face down on his bed. Danny refused to cry, but a few frustrated tears did manage to squeeze out of the corners of his eyes despite his best efforts. He rolled over on his back, and stared angrily at the long shadows stretching across the ceiling.
Just then a chill ran up his spine and a frozen breath escaped his lips. Oh, no! A ghost! Danny leaped up, ready to phase into ghost mode, and battle another spectral enemy, then stopped.
"Oh, what do I care?" He muttered. "If my dad's such a hot shot ghost hunter, maybe I'll just let him get this one!"
Danny sat back down on the bed, and pulled his English book out of his backpack. Turning to the day's assigned pages, he began to read about the literary importance of the works of the Brontë sisters on nineteenth century British aristocracy. He groaned. "Oh, man! This is so boring!"
He slammed the book shut and sighed. The day's events ran through his mind: the mid-term test with the large red D on the front for all the world to see, as well as the not-so-complimentary comments by Mr. Lancer as he slapped the paper down on Danny's desk; Dash Baxter "accidentally" shoving him into a row of lockers, running into him as he walked down the hall, and finally, tripping him at lunch time, which lead to a food fight in the cafeteria for which he'd gotten the blame - and the detention. In between it all, Danny's more annoying foe, the Box Ghost, had burst out of a carton of new History textbooks, then he later had to deal with a sneaky specter who took great delight in animating all the band instruments during marching practice.
There had been little time for rest or relaxation in Danny's day, and he only got to spend about five minutes with his friends Tucker and Sam. Now he was home and grounded, and his ghost sense was acting up. Mentally and physically exhausted by the long, depressing day, Danny undressed and put on his pajamas, then crawled into bed, tugging the covers tightly over his head, and fell asleep.
The next morning, the buzzing of the alarm clock jerked Danny out of a horrible dream. In the dream he was being pursued by Desiree, the genie who granted people's wishes with horrific results - including his friend Tucker's wish to have ghost powers. She kept telling him his wish would be granted, that he would get his heart's desire, but Danny didn't know what she meant. He insisted he had no wishes, that there was nothing he desired, but Desiree just laughed and told him it was too late - his heart's desire was her command. His wish had already been granted.
Danny rubbed his eyes, then stood up, yawned and stretched. He took two steps forward, then stopped dead when he realized he wasn't in his bedroom. He was in his parents' bedroom.
Wait! How did I get here? He wondered.
Behind him, he heard a door opening. "Honey! You're finally up!" His mother's voice rang out. "I thought you were going to sleep all morning!"
Danny turned, and with wide-eyed horror saw his mother, clad only in fluffy white towel and green goo on her face coming towards him. His feet were frozen to the floor as she stood up on her toes and kissed him.
Danny shrieked, and his mother jumped back.
"Jack? What's wrong?" She asked concerned. "It's just my green clay masque. I use it all the time, you know that!"
"Eh, it's not that mom . . er . . Maddie," Danny stuttered, and slapped his hands over his mouth. Why is my dad's voice coming out of my mouth?. "I, uh, I . . . I'm not feeling very well!"
Danny shoved past his mother, and made a mad dash for the bathroom, slamming the door shut and locking it. He leaned against it, breathing heavily. What the heck is going on? He wondered.
His mother tapped on the door. "Jack? Honey? Will you be in there long?" She asked. Danny was afraid to speak; the silence stretched out. "Well, could you at least hand me a washcloth? This masque is starting to crack."
Danny grabbed a white cloth off the towel rack, and opened the door a few inches, shoved it outside, then slammed the door shut again.
"Jack? Are you still upset about having to punish Danny last night?" His mother asked. "You know we had to, dear, it was for his own good. He needs to learn discipline and respect."
"He's fourteen!" Danny croaked.
"He's not a child anymore, Jack, he's almost a man. We can't let up on him now. Just imagine how he'd turn out if we let him run around doing whatever he wanted. Look, don't worry so much about it. He'll be mad for a few days, but he'll get over it."
"I don't know about that," Danny grumbled then gasped, surprised when he heard the extra deep rumble of his father's voice.
"Well, I do! Now hurry up! I've got to get to the Women Geniuses Symposium downtown, and I know you're dying to repair those Fenton Ghost Goggles!"
Danny heard the bedroom door open and close, then let out the breath he'd been holding.
He stumbled to the sink and turned on the cold water, splashing some on his face. Looking up in the mirror, his worst nightmare was realized. Worse than discovering his first pimple, worse than discovering he had ghost powers: Danny Fenton discovered he'd somehow become his father!
Jack Fenton rolled over to silence the annoying rock music blaring from the bedside table, and promptly fell out of bed. He sat up, shaking his cobweb-filled head, and looked around the unfamiliar room. The closet door was taller than he remembered, the dresser was enormous, and when he looked up, the ceiling seemed to be very far away. He sat silently for a moment, then he screamed.
"Ahhh! Everything's huge!"
He looked down at a pair of hands much too small to be his own, and screamed again: "I'm shrinking!"
Danny in his father's body heard the cries, and raced down the hall to his bedroom. He burst through the door, then slammed it shut behind him.
"Dad, be quiet!" He hissed through his teeth. "You do not want mom or Jazz coming up here!"
"What the . . ?" Jack looked up and saw his own face looking down at him. "Where am I? Who am I?"
"Look, I don't know what's happened exactly," Danny-in-Jack said. "But, I think . . . somehow . . . we, uh, switched bodies."
Jack jumped up, surprised by how light and agile his new body was, and stumbled over to his own body.
"Danny? Is that you?" He asked his own face.
"Yeah, dad, I'm afraid so," his own voice answered him.
"Then, I'm . . ."
Father and son looked at each other through different eyes, but with the same emotion: terror.
"How did this happen?" Jack in Danny's body asked.
"I don't know," Danny in his father's body answered. "Wait! The dream! Desiree!"
"The what? The who? This has something to do with ghosts, I can feel it!"
Danny-in-Jack hesitated. For once, his father was right, but how could he explain the genie and the wish granting without exposing the fact that he had ghost powers?
Wait a minute, he corrected himself. What if I don't have the ghost powers anymore, but my dad does!
"Oh, man," he said aloud. "What a mess!"
"DANNY! HURRY UP, SWEETIE, YOU'RE GOING TO BE LATE FOR SCHOOL!" Maddie called up.
"YOU'VE GOT TEN MINUTES, DANNY!" Jazz shouted. "OR YOU'LL BE TAKING THE BUS, OR WALKING!"
"Oh, no," Danny-in-Jack said. "I can't be late for school again! Mr. Lancer will have me in detention for the rest of the year! Or worse - he'll suspend me!"
"What?" Jack-in-Danny cried. "Suspension! You could be suspended? For being late!"
"Among other things," Danny-in-Jack confessed. "Look, I'm sorry I've been screwing up so much lately, dad. I . . . I can't explain it."
Well, I could, but you wouldn't believe me, he thought. Plus, it'd freak you out!
"I . . . I'm just under a lot of pressure!"
"How much pressure could you possibly be under?" Jack-in-Danny asked. "You're fourteen!"
"You have no idea, dad," Danny-in-Jack said sullenly, then smiled. "But, I have a feeling you're about to find out."
"What do you mean by that?"
"I mean, I can't have another unexcused absence, so you're going to have to go to school for me! Ha! I can't wait till you get home, so I can say 'I told you so'!"
"What? You must be joking! I can't go to your school! I can't be you!"
"You don't have much choice!"
Jack-in-Danny quickly contemplated his options.
"Wait, I've got it! You're sick! You've got the West Nile Swine Flu Virus! It's highly contagious! You're staying home, young man. Together we will find a cure, or solution, or something to fix this . . . this . . . thing that's happened to us!"
"Sorry, dad, that won't work," DiJ insisted. "Mr. Lancer's letting me do make-up exam during third period today; because of the mid-term I messed up on. I can't miss it! I'm in danger of being held back a year! Besides, this isn't going to be an easy fix."
"Held back! What?" JiD shook his head. His mind was spinning not only from the bizarre situation he'd woken up in, but the revelation that his son might flunk out of his freshman year of high school. He took a deep breath to calm his nerves, then asked, "How do you know it won't be an easy fix, Danny?"
"Er, I, um, well, it just seems like it won't be an easy fix," DiJ stammered. "Don't you think?"
"Okay, we don't have time to figure this thing out right now. You're late . . . I mean, I'm late for school."
"You mean, you'll go along with this for the day?"
"I . . . we don't have much choice, do we, son."
His father seemed resolved to their temporary fate, and DiJ sighed. "No, we don't." The two stood silently contemplating their situation.
I'm gonna need Tucker's and Sam's help, Danny thought. They've got to keep an eye on my dad, so he doesn't find out about my ghost powers. Wait a minute! What if he accidentally uses my ghost powers! Oh, man! This whole thing just gets worse and worse!
Danny looked down at his own face, but saw his father's spirit shining in his eyes.
"Well, this is awkward," JiD said. "But, we're FENTONS! We can handle anything! Do you understand me, son?"
"Yeah, dad. Look, I'll call Sam and let her know what happened. She and Tucker can get you to my classes and stuff today."
"Good idea," JiD agreed. "I'd better tell your mother. Maybe today you two can put your heads together and figure out a solution to our problem."
"But, isn't mom going to a Genius Women's Conference or something today?" DiJ asked.
"Blast! I forgot about that!" JiD said. "I guess we'll have to deal with this when you . . . when I get home from school."
"What about Jazz?"
"What about her?"
"Should we tell her?"
JiD considered for a moment, then said, "No, she doesn't need to know right now. The fewer people who know about this the better. These friends of yours, Tucker and Sam, can they be trusted?"
"Oh, absolutely! I trust them with all my deepest, darkest secrets!"
"You have deep, dark secrets?" His father asked. "And you haven't told me?"
"DANNY! IF YOU'RE COMING WITH ME, GET DOWN HERE RIGHT NOW!" Jazz shouted up to them.
"HE NEEDS TEN MORE MINUTES!" Jack shouted in Danny's voice.
"DANNY, YOU DON'T HAVE TEN MORE MINUTES!"
Jack and Danny exchanged a glance, then Danny cleared his throat and shouted, "HE'LL BE DOWN IN TEN MINUTES, JASMINE! DON'T LEAVE WITHOUT HIM!"
"Huh? Whatever!" Jazz glowered.
"Oh, now, honey, your father and brother are having a bonding moment," Maddie said, then shouted up the stairs. "JACK? I'M LEAVING! GOOD LUCK WITH THE GOGGLES, AND TRY NOT TO BLOW ANYTHING UP TODAY, ALRIGHT?"
"Great," Jazz grumbled. "So while Danny and dad are bonding, I'm going to be late for school. How is that fair?"
Upstairs, DiJ turned and watched as his father, in his body, pulled a tee-shirt over his head. He'd already put on a pair of jeans, and was now frantically looking for his sneakers. DiJ grabbed his backpack, and began stuffing books and papers into it.
"Okay, first period is American History," he said. "It's a real snoozefest, but try not to fall asleep in class, okay? The teacher really hates that. Second period is biology; you should be pretty good at that. Hey, maybe you could help my grade! Ha! Let's see, third period . . .oh, yeah, third period is the make-up exam with Lancer! Don't forget it! Mr. Lancer will have my head if I miss that! Look, if you have any questions just ask Tucker or Sam. They'll be clued in to what's happened by the time you get to school."
"Don't worry, son!" JiD said confidently. "It can't be that hard! I've been through high school once, already, you know. It was great!"
Yeah, maybe for you it was, DiJ thought morosely. But, things are a lot different for me, dad. You're in for big surprise!
He sighed and closed his bedroom door behind him. "I just hope it's not too big!" He said to himself as he followed his father down the stairs.
Tucker Foley and Samantha Manson stood on the top step in front of Casper High School waiting for Danny to arrive. Sam worriedly checked her watch again.
"He's going to be late!" She told Tucker.
"After yesterday, I don't think he'll show up at all," Tucker said.
"But he has to! He's got the make-up exam today, and he can't have any more unexcused absences!"
"It won't be unexcused. I'm betting he's sick. Really, wouldn't you be sick after a day like yesterday?"
"I guess so, but . . . wait, there he is! Hey, Danny! Hurry up!"
Sam waved to Danny who was running across the parking lot towards them. As he sprinted up the sidewalk, über jock and all-around Casper High bad guy, Dash Baxter, stuck his foot out and tripped him. Danny flew to the ground. Dash and the other jocks laughed.
"Have a nice trip, Fenton," Dash taunted.
"Yeah, see ya next fall, geek," another jock sneered.
The letter jacket group walked away high-fiving each other and laughing. Tucker and Sam ran to Danny.
"Are you okay, Danny?" Sam asked.
JiD picked himself up off the sidewalk, and brushed dirt off his tee-shirt and jeans. "Yeah, I think so. What just happened here? Who were those guys?"
"Man, that Dash is such a jerk!" Tucker said angrily. "You'd think he'd give you a break just one day!"
"What do you mean by that? Wait, never mind! I just don't want to be late for class!" JiD exclaimed just as the second bell rang.
"Too late," Sam said as the trio ran up the stairs and through the door. Just as they stepped inside, Sam's cell phone went off. She reached to answer it, but Mr. Lancer's voice stopped her.
"Miss Manson! You know the rules about cell phones during school hours!"
"Oh, yeah, right, Mr. Lancer, sorry," Sam said, and turned the ringer off.
"But, she needs to take this call," JiD exclaimed. "It's really important!"
"That's too bad, Danny," Mr. Lancer droned. "School is in session, and that means all cell phones, pagers and any other piece of beeping, ringing or buzzing electronic equipment not associated with your education is to be turned off! Now, get to class, all of you! Oh, and Danny? Don't forget our appointment during third period today."
"What appointment?" JiD asked.
Tucker jabbed him in the ribs. "Your make-up exam," he hissed in Danny's ear. "For the mid-term!"
"Oh, yes, right," JiD said, rubbing his ribs. "The make-up exam! Yes, I'll be there! Third period. Um, where exactly will this be taking place again?"
"In my classroom," Mr. Lancer answered with annoyance. "Third period. Be there!"
Mr. Lancer stormed off leaving the three students alone in the hallway.
"Well, I'd better get to class," Tucker said, and darted into a nearby classroom.
"Yeah, me, too," Sam said. "I'll see you later, Danny."
"Wait! Sam! I need you!" JiD cried, grabbing Sam's arm.
"What?" Sam exclaimed, her eyes as wide as a deer's caught in the headlights of an oncoming semi-truck.
"I mean, that phone call, you have to take it! You don't know what's happened!"
"What do you mean, what's happened? Danny, are you okay? Are you in some kind of trouble?"
"No, he's not . . . I mean, I'm not okay, and yes I'm in some kind of trouble," JiD answered. He sighed. They really didn't have time for this - they were now both late for class. "What's my first period class again?"
"American History, duh!" Sam answered slightly annoyed, then added when she saw her friend's lost expression. "You really don't know?"
JiD shook his head.
"Okay," Sam said, suddenly all business. "Here, I'll walk you. Second period is Biology, remember? That's okay, we have that together, so I'll meet you after History and walk there with you. And, third period is your make-up exam with Mr. Lancer. I'll take you there, too. We can talk at lunch. And, don't worry, Danny. Whatever it is, we'll figure it out."
She paused in front of a classroom, and smiled at him. JiD smiled back. "Thank you, Sam," he said. "You're a really good friend to Danny aren't you . . . er, I mean, a really good friend of mine. Yes, mine. That's what I meant: friend of mine."
Sam tilted her head, and looked curiously at him. "Yes, I am. And, Tucker is, too. We both care about you, Danny," she said, then turned and walked away.
As promised Sam met Jack-in-Danny after first period let out, and they walked to Biology class together. JiD felt bad about being late to his son's first class of the day, and felt worse about his abysmal performance on a pop quiz the teacher had given about the Gettysburg Address. The teacher returned the paper to him with a frustrated sigh, and a few of the kids around him snickered at the bright red "F" at the top of the page.
Why do we need to know about American History, anyway? He thought grumpily. It's already happened! It's not like we can change anything!
In the Biology lab, Sam and JiD met up with Tucker, and the trio had a chance to talk before class began.
"Are you feeling better, Danny," Sam asked.
"Not at all," JiD answered. "This day is horrible! I think I'm gonna be sick!"
"I don't blame you," Tucker said. "Especially after what happened yesterday!"
"I, uh, don't really remember much about that," JiD hedged, hoping for more information.
"Yeah, I'd want to forget it, too," Tucker said. "Dash was in fine form!"
"Dash?" JiD inquired.
"The guy who tripped you out in front of the school this morning," Sam supplied nonchalantly.
JiD looked at her, and smiled. "Uh, yeah, right. Dash."
The teacher entered, called for order, and class began. Among the microscopes and bubbling beakers, Jack Fenton was finally in his element, and he surprised both the teacher and his classmates by answering several questions correctly, as well as flawlessly performing a very complicated experiment. He walked out of the class feeling better than he had since he'd woken up.
"Wow, Danny that was awesome!" Tucker exclaimed. "How did you know all that stuff?"
"Yeah, Danny," Sam agreed giving him a sideways look. "How did you just do that?"
"Um, I . . . uh," JiD stammered.
"Never mind," Sam said with a sly smile. "You can tell us at lunch. Here's Mr. Lancer's room. Good luck with your make-up exam!"
JiD stared at the closed classroom door, then turned to her. "What is this exam on again?" he asked.
Sam whispered the answer in his ear.
"But I don't know anything about that!" he exclaimed.
"Well, then, I guess you can't do any worse on this than you did on the actual mid-term!" She shrugged, and followed Tucker down the hall.
JiD dragged his feet as he followed the crowd of students to the cafeteria. The make-up exam had been a nightmare - it had been years since he'd even thought about nineteenth century English literature, let alone had to write anything about it. He only hoped he hadn't completely destroyed his son's English grade.
"Hey, Danny! Over here!"
JiD looked up and saw Tucker and Sam already sitting at a table waving to him; he smiled and waved back.
Danny sure is lucky to have two such nice friends, he thought as he pushed his tray down the lunch line, pausing every foot or so to have another unidentifiable glob of food plopped onto his plate.
Once his lunch tray full, JiD headed towards his son's friends. He failed to notice the evil grin on Dash Baxter's face as the jock stood and walked towards him. Sam and Tucker saw it, however, and shouted a warning to him, "Danny, look out!"
It was too late. Dash's foot was once again stuck out where JiD was walking and he, along with his full tray of food, went flying. JiD landed hard on the cafeteria floor. When he lifted his head, his face was covered with mashed potatoes and gravy. Through the buzzing in his brain, he could hear the roar of the students' laughter.
"Danny, are you okay?" JiD looked up to see Sam Manson kneeling beside him and Tucker Foley on the other side handing him a napkin. Together they helped him clean up the mess, and get to his feet.
"I . . . uh . . . thanks," JiD said as he wiped the last of the gravy off his chin.
"Danny Fenton!" Mr. Lancer's voice boomed across the cafeteria. "You're not planning on starting more trouble today are you?"
JiD looked up at the teacher glaring down at him. His son's words from the night before suddenly burst into his head, I . . . no . . . I mean yes, but . . . it wasn't my fault!
"It wasn't his fault!" he muttered.
"What did you say?" Mr. Lancer growled.
"Nothing, sir," he said, trying his best to sound contrite. "I'm sorry, sir, I . . . I . . ."
"He must've slipped on something, Mr. Lancer," Sam covered for him.
"Yeah, this place is hazardous!" Tucker added. "You know, this might be grounds for a lawsuit!"
"Hmm, yes. Well, try to be more careful in the future, Danny," Mr. Lancer said, and stalked away.
JiD sighed. He suddenly felt a heavy weight bearing down on his son's slender shoulders. Tucker and Sam lead him back to their table where he sat glumly, resting his chin in his hands.
"Here," Sam said passing him a plate. "We picked up some extra lunch, you know, just in case."
"Wow, that was really nice!" JiD said, surprised. "Thank you!"
"Hey what are friends for?" Tucker asked as he handed Danny an apple and an extra carton of milk.
JiD looked gratefully at his son's two best friends, then, suddenly embarrassed, he looked away.
"I, uh, I need to talk to you kids . . . er, you guys," he began.
"It's okay, Mr. Fenton, uh, I mean, Danny," Sam said with an exaggerated wink. "We already know. Danny left a voice mail message on my cell phone. It was weird, at first, hearing your voice, but Danny explained everything."
"Yeah, so we know what happened to you two, but not the how or why," Tucker said.
"I wish I knew," JiD said, pounding his fist on the table. "Danny thinks he does, but I won't get a chance to talk to him until after I get home."
"Man, this is just so weird!" Tucker exclaimed. "I mean, we're sitting here with Danny, but we're talking to his dad!"
"Tucker!" Sam warned. "Keep your voice down! We don't want anyone to know there's something wrong with Danny!"
"What's wrong with Danny?"
The trio jumped in surprise and turned to see Jasmine Fenton standing at the foot of their table.
"Oh, uh, nothing," Sam said with a weak smile. "I mean, well, he's had it kinda rough lately and . . ."
"I know," Jazz interrupted, placing her hand on Danny's shoulder. "That's why I wanted to talk to you, Danny. To make sure you're okay."
"He's fine," Tucker said with a glare. "Sam and I are taking perfectly good care of him!"
Undaunted, Jazz continued. "Look, I know about what happened, and . . ."
"You do?" JiD exclaimed. "You know!"
"Wait a minute," Sam interrupted. "What exactly do you know, Jazz?"
"About the food fight Danny got blamed for yesterday. I know it was really Dash. I saw what he did just now, and I figured it out. I'm so sorry you got in trouble for that, Danny. I don't know why you didn't say anything!"
"Oh, yes. That," JiD said. "That's what you know about. Nothing else?"
"What else is there?"
"Nothing!" Sam and Tucker said together.
Jazz glared at them, then she turned back to her brother. "You know, Danny, you can tell me anything. You can trust me." She stared hard at him a moment, then stood and walked away.
"What did she mean by that?" JiD wondered aloud.
"I don't know. I'm wondering that myself," Sam said as she watched Jazz leave the cafeteria.
"You didn't want to tell Jazz about this, did you?" Tucker asked.
JiD shook his head. "No, the fewer people who know about this, the better. Hopefully Danny and I can figure this out when I get home tonight, and everything can get back to normal. The last thing I want to do is go through another day like this!"
"And, it's only half over!" Tucker said.
"Don't remind me!" JiD grumbled. "Please, don't remind me!"
The rest of the day dragged for Jack in Danny's body. Though he vaguely remembered learning the subjects of his son's remaining classes, it had been years since he'd seriously studied any of them, so he'd forgotten many of the details. The only bright spot in his otherwise dismal day was the final class: gym. The game was Dodge Ball, and Jack used his son's smaller, lighter frame to his advantage. He ran up and down the court whacking kids on the other team with great enthusiasm and aplomb.
Things were going well until JiD smacked Dash Baxter on the side of the head. The jock's face turned red.
"FENTON! YOU'RE A DEAD MAN!"
Tucker grabbed JiD's arm and pulled him aside.
"What are you doing?"
"What does it look like?" JiD asked, his eyes shining with excitement. "I'm playing Dodge Ball!"
"You're going to get Danny's body killed!" Tucker exclaimed as he watched Dash glare daggers at them from the bleachers across the gym. "Danny's no jock, Mr. Fenton! He can't go up against guys like Dash!"
"What! Do you mean he's no good at this game? But, this is a great game!"
"No," Tucker explained. "I just mean he's no good at throwing the ball or getting the other players out. Dodging the ball; yeah, he's good at that!"
JiD stood dumbfounded for a moment. "But, what's the fun in that?"
"Fewer bruises for one." Tucker released his friend's arm and sighed. "Look, maybe you should just let someone hit you," he suggested. "Preferably a girl, so you don't get Danny's body too badly damaged! We'll sit this one out so nothing bad happens and nobody gets suspicious!"
JiD pouted, but let a straggly-haired waif roll a ball onto his toe and get him out. He reluctantly joined Tucker on the bleachers.
"Yeah," he grumbled. "This is fun!"
"I'm sorry, Mr. Fen, er, Danny," Tucker said. "But Danny, I mean, he's not like you were as a kid. He's not a jock; he's clumsy sometimes and uncoordinated."
"And, he calls you a friend?"
"Look, I'm not saying anything about Danny that's not the same for me. We're . . . geeks, sure, but, who cares? We've got each other, plus Sam. We look out for each other."
JiD smiled. "Yeah, I guess. My son . . . I mean, I'm lucky to have such great friends."
"Yeah, and we're lucky to have Danny around! Especially now that he's got ghost pow . . . wow . . . er, I mean, PARENTS! Ghost-fighting parents. Yeah, that's what I meant. Heh heh."
Tucker turned back to watch the Dodge Ball game, but felt JiD's intense gaze on him.
"You're . . . interested in ghosts?" JiD asked with a hopeful gleam in his eye.
"Who, me? Uh, no, not really," Tucker answered. "What I meant was, it's nice to know you and Danny's mom are around in case we ever need any help fighting ghosts. I mean, GETTING AWAY FROM THEM! Yeah, away! We don't run towards ghosts, we, ah, run away from them. Yeah."
JiD shivered with a sudden chill. "Brr! Why is it so cold in here?" He asked as a frozen blue mist escaped his lips. "Why, I can see my breath!"
"Ah, cold?" Tucker inquired innocently. "It's not cold. Nope. It's perfectly fine in here. It must just be you."
"No, it's definitely cold! And why do I suddenly feel so strange? My whole body is tingling!"
"Strange? Uh, I dunno. I guess Danny, I mean you must be coming down with a cold or something."
Just then the gym was filled with a high-pitched shrieking sound, and ghoulish bright green entity materialized in the middle of the room. Students screamed and fled from the apparition, but Tucker and JiD sat staring dumbfounded from the bleachers.
"A ghost!" JiD declared. "A real, live ghost! I'm so excited! Too bad Danny's missing out!"
"Oh yeah," Tucker said sarcastically. "He'd be real disappointed."
"Dang it! I don't have any of my ghost fighting equipment with me," JiD said glumly as the ghost flew from one end of the gym to the other, scattering red rubber balls in its wake.
Tucker reached into his backpack which was sitting beside him, and pulled out the Fenton Thermos.
"Ah, well, we do have this," he said handing the Thermos to JiD. "It's not very exciting, but . . ."
"The Fenton Thermos! This is great! But, why do you have it?"
"Uh, Danny doesn't like to be without some sort of ghost fighting equipment," Tucker said, shrugging helplessly. "You know. Just in case?"
JiD beamed, and leapt down onto the gym floor with Tucker right behind. The ghost was gleefully bouncing balls all around the gym. JiD opened the thermos and peered cautiously inside it, then turned to Tucker. "It does work, doesn't it?"
"Oh, yeah," Tucker confirmed. "It works."
JiD grinned, and aimed the thermos at the ghost, which was promptly sucked up inside.
"Yes!" JiD celebrated as he slammed the lid back on. "It works! It works! Wait till I tell Maddie!"
"Yeah, it works. That's great. Now can we just go?" Tucker's voice echoed in the empty gym. "I think class is over."
JiD and Tucker headed back into the locker room, and quickly changed out of their gym clothes and back into their street clothes. JiD just finished tying his shoe, when he felt a hand on his back, and before he knew it, he was being shoved head-first into his gym locker, the metal door rattling as it was slammed behind him.
"That's for hitting me in the head today, Fenton!" The familiar voice of the blonde-haired jock reverberated in the tiny locker. "You better watch your back from now on! I'm gonna be on your case more than ever!"
JiD sighed, and waited for the sound of Dash's footsteps to fade away before peering through the slots to see Tucker hanging on a hook by his backpack.
"Does this sort of thing happen often?" he asked the boy.
"Only everyday," Tucker responded.
"Why doesn't Danny stand up for himself?"
"Sometimes he does, but that usually makes things worse. That's when Mr. Lancer catches him, and he gets in trouble, and gets the detention."
"Why doesn't he tell Mr. Lancer about this?"
"Oh, please! That would be a disaster! Think about it: Danny tells Mr. Lancer that Dash is bullying him, Mr. Lancer talks to Dash, then Dash beats the crap out of Danny more. Don't you see, Mr. Fenton? It's best to just lay low, and avoid trouble whenever possible."
"And, when it's not possible?"
Tucker shrugged. "You do your best to get through it in one piece."
The two were silent for a moment, then JiD asked. "So, how do I get out of here?"
"Just jiggle the lock on the inside," Tucker said. "Most of them are loose."
JiD did as Tucker suggested and after a couple of tries, the door swung opened. He unfolded his legs and stepped out, then helped Tucker down.
"Danny? Tucker? Are you guys okay in there?" Sam's voice echoed through the locker room.
JiD and Tucker went out to see the goth girl waiting for them, a look of concern on her face.
"I saw Dash leaving, looking pretty full of himself. I figured he'd done something."
"Oh, just the usual shoving Danny in a locker and hanging me by my backpack," Tucker said.
"I'm really sorry, Mr. Fen . . . I mean, Danny," Sam said.
"Yeah, well, I guess I'm . . . I guess he's used to it," JiD replied miserably.
"Danny, there you are!" The trio turned to the sound of Jazz's voice. "Are you ready to go home?"
"Yeah," JiD moped.
"Mind if we come along?" Sam asked. "We'd like to see how Danny is, I mean, hang out with Danny for a while."
Jazz shrugged. "I don't care. Do you mind having company, Danny?"
"No, I don't mind," JiD muttered, and slowly made his way down the hall dragging his backpack behind him.
Jazz, JiD, Tucker and Sam could hear the yelling before they'd even opened the front door.
"Jack Fenton! Have you been sitting here watching television all day?" Maddie Fenton asked.
"Well not all day. I played video games for a few hours this morning." Her husband Jack answered.
"You were supposed to be down in the lab, fixing those Fenton Goggles!"
"I didn't feel like it! I'm an adult, and I can do whatever I want, and what I want to do is sit here and watch television!"
Jazz opened the door and the group stepped inside. They saw the Fenton patriarch slouched on the living room sofa slurping on a soda, surrounded by empty snack bags, a grease-spotted pizza box, and empty soda cans. An infuriated Maddie stepped up to Jazz.
"Your father has gone insane. I'll be in the lab," She said before storming down the stairs.
Jazz sighed. "I don't think I want to know. I'm going to my room." She headed quickly upstairs; a moment later they heard a door slam.
JiD dragged himself over to the sofa, abandoned the backpack in the middle of the floor, and flopped down on the cushions with a groan. Sam and Tucker stood in the middle of the living room looking from one Fenton man to the other.
"That was one of the worst days ever!" JiD declared.
"Really? Bummer," DiJ said unsympathetically. "I've had a great day! Didn't do a thing! You know, because I'm an adult, and I can do that if I want. Hey, Sam! Hey, Tuck!"
Sam and Tucker waved weakly. "Hey," they said back.
"You did nothing?" JiD asked. "All day?"
"Well, I played video games for a while, and then I got bored, so I've just sitting here watching TV." DiJ tossed a cheese crisp in his mouth and munched happily on it.
"Danny, we've been worried about you!" Sam said with annoyance.
"Worried? About me? No worries here! I'm not the one who had to go to school today. I'm not the one who had to deal with Lancer, and Dash, and everything else!"
"Well, I did," JiD whined. "And it was horrible! We've got to fix this!"
"What? No way! I'm having way too much fun being a grown-up!" DiJ said standing up and brushing crumbs off the orange jumpsuit.
"Danny, no!" Sam exclaimed. "You have to change back!"
"Why should I?"
"Dude, do you really want to be that old this soon?" Tucker asked.
DiJ paused, looked over at his own fourteen-year-old face, and choked on a chip.
"Oh, my gosh! We have to fix this!"
"But, how?" JiD asked. "We don't even know how this happened!"
DiJ smiled sheepishly. "Uh, actually, dad, I'm pretty sure I know what happened."
"You knew all this time, and you didn't say anything?" Sam asked angrily.
"Yes. I mean no! I mean, I just . . . it was just nice to not have to be . . . me for one day. I'm sorry, dad, this is all my fault."
"What do you mean this is your fault?" JiD asked.
"Well, remember last night when I said you didn't know what it's like to be in my skin?"
"Yes," JiD said with a warning tone.
"Er, well, I guess I sorta wished you knew what it was like, and well, see, there's this genie, and . . ."
"Desiree?" Tucker gasped. "Desiree did this?"
"Yeah," DiJ said. "I'm pretty sure it was her."
"Oh, man! This is a disaster! Last time, all the wishes she granted turned out to be nightmares!"
"What are you two talking about?" JiD demanded. "What genie? What wishes?"
"Never mind, dad," DiJ said. "But we've got to find her before something really bad happens to us!"
"Something really bad?" JiD exclaimed. "What do you call what I've been through today? Picked on by some jock, yelled at by that Lancer guy, getting mashed potatoes in my hair, and worst of all: being forced to dodge a game of Dodge Ball!"
"Well, that's a typical day for me. Except no one has to make me dodge at Dodge Ball. I got pretty good at that on my own!"
JiD sighed. "Son, I . . ."
DiJ held up his hands. "Dad, we don't have time right now. We've got to find Desiree, and get her to take back this wish!"
"But how are we going to deal with Desiree when he's in your body," Sam asked, then whispered loudly behind her hand, "with your powers?"
"Oh, man," DiJ moaned and slapped his palm to his forehead. "I forgot about that! Wait! Nothing happened today, did it?"
"Not that I know of," Sam answered.
"Oh, well, there was this ghost during last period gym," Tucker confessed.
"That's right, the ghost! I'd almost forgotten about that!" JiD perked up. "It was incredible! Danny, you'd have loved it!"
"Yeah, dad, I'm sure."
"And, the Fenton Thermos worked perfectly!"
"You let him use the Thermos!" DiJ and Sam yelled at Tucker.
"What was I supposed to do?" Tucker asked with a shrug. "Let the ghost trash the gym?"
"Why shouldn't I use it?" JiD asked. "Tucker said you use it all the time."
"Oh, really?" DiJ glared at his friend. "What else did Tucker tell you?"
"Oh, that you get shoved into your locker a lot, and, well . . . no, really I found that out for myself. Danny, I . . ."
"Dad, we really don't have time for this," DiJ insisted. "Ooh! I wish I could take this stupid wish back!"
A loud explosion rocked the room, and when the smoke cleared, the green-skinned, raven-haired genie Desiree hovered above them.
"So, now you want to reverse the wish?" She asked. "After all the trouble I went through to grant it in the first place!"
"I didn't mean to make a wish of it in the first place," DiJ insisted.
"Oh, but you did," Desiree purred. "In your heart, you wished your father could live your life for just one day. And, now, he has."
"So, what does this mean? Will you switch us back now?" DiJ asked.
"The spell was designed to wear off by midnight anyway, but if you can't wait that long . . ."
Desiree shrugged, and waved her hand. A loud clap of thunder rattled the house, and Jack and Danny were caught up in a ghostly green glow, and lifted off their feet.
"What's going on up there?" Maddie called, running up to the living room.
"What's going on down there?" Jazz called, running down the stairs.
The two women stood side by side on the landing, staring wide-eyed and open-mouthed as Danny and Jack were both suspended in mid-air by an eerie otherworldly being.
"GHOST!" They screamed, and raced down into the lab.
"Whatever you're going to do, you'd better hurry," Sam cried.
"Yeah, then you better get outta here, because they're going to come back with who knows what!" Tucker added.
Desiree clapped her hands together, and Jack and Danny's bodies slammed into each other. There was a loud crash, and a flash of light so bright Tucker and Sam had to shield their eyes. When the light dimmed and the rumbling faded, they saw Danny and his father sprawled out on the living room floor; Desiree was nowhere in sight.
Tucker and Sam ran to their friend and his father just as Maddie and Jazz reached the top of the stairs, covered from head to toe with ghost fighting paraphernalia.
"Where's the ghost?" Maddie demanded, then noticed the prone figures of her husband and son on the floor. "Jack! Danny!"
"I think they're okay, Mrs. Fenton," Sam said, as she helped a moaning Danny to sit up.
"Oh, what hit me?" Jack groaned as he struggled to sit up with Tucker's help. "Wait! I'm me! I'm Jack Fenton!"
"Who else would you be, dear?" his wife asked, lowering the Fenton Ghost Peeler.
Jack and Danny exchanged glances, then Jack leapt to his feet and went to his son.
"Are you alright, son?" He asked, lifting Danny to his feet.
"Yeah, dad, I think so," Danny answered. "Phew, it feels good to be back in my own skin again!"
"Yes. Yes, it does! Son, about yesterday . . ."
"Oh, forget it, dad," Danny said. "I understand. You're just being . . . my dad."
"Yes, I was, and just because I now know difficult your life can be, it doesn't mean I can let up on you," Jack said.
"I know, dad," Danny insisted. "And, I promise I'll try to do better, to not screw up so much, but . . . sometimes it's just . . ."
"Yeah, hard. Sometimes it's just hard."
"I understand. But, I still have to punish you when you screw up!" Jack said loud enough for Maddie to hear, then leaned down to Danny. "You know, so you don't grow up to be a slacker!"
Danny smiled. "I know, dad."
A sudden stabbing pain in his lower abdomen bent Jack over double. "Ooh! The pain! What the? What did you put in my body today, son?"
"Uh, some toaster tarts, a triple cheese pizza, six cans of soda, and a couple bags of cheesy chips."
Jack moaned, then turned and raced up the stairs, with Maddie following behind.
"Jack? Jack! What's wrong with you? Jack!"
"What just happened here?" Jazz asked.
"Apparently dad's not used to eating junk food all day," Danny said with a smirk.
"Not that," Jazz said. "I mean you and dad, and the ghost! What was that about?"
"Oh, uh, that," Danny stammered. "Well, it was . . . uh . . ."
"Just a ghost," Tucker said stepping up beside Danny.
"Passing through," Sam added, standing on Danny's other side. "It's really no big deal."
"Besides, everything's okay now," Danny concluded. "The ghost is gone, dad's okay, er, well, he will be, and I'm fine, and so everything's okay! Okay?"
The three teens grinned innocently.
Jazz eyed them suspiciously, then smiled knowingly and finally agreed, "Yeah, okay."
She mussed Danny's hair with her hand, then turned and headed back down to the lab.
"Phew!" Danny sighed. "That was close!"
"You ain't kiddin'!" Tucker agreed.
"So, Danny? Is everything really okay, now?" Sam asked.
Danny smiled. "Yeah, I'm back in my own body, my dad's back in his . . . so, yeah. Uh, did everything really go okay at school today?"
"Yeah, as far as I know," Sam said. "I figured something was wrong with you right away, but I didn't get to listen to your voice mail message until almost lunch time."
"Your dad really rocked in biology class," Tucker said. "But, I'm not sure about Lancer's make-up exam."
"Oh, well, at least he can't ground me for that!" Danny smiled. "C'mon, let's grab some sodas and head up to my room. You can tell me all about it!"
The three teens just reached the foot of the stairs when Jack's voice bellowed down to them, "DANNY! WHEN I GET MY HANDS ON YOU . . . AARRRGGGHHHH!"
"On second thought, why don't we go to my house for awhile?" Sam suggested, and headed for the front door.
"Good idea," Tucker agreed, spinning around and running after her.
"Yeah, I'm right behind you guys!" Danny replied as he followed Tucker and Sam out the front door.