WoM- 'Banging head against desk,' I know I shouldn't have another story… BUT I COULDN'T HELP IT! 'crying' Damn my muses and their pointy steel-toed boots! Anywho, I hope you guys like this story! 'beaming in one of her usual creepy mood swings.' Oh, and I don't own Danny or any of his friends (All rights to the ingenious Mr. Hartman,) so no suing! AND BIG THANKS TO STELLA GOLD FOR BETA-ING FOR ME! 'huggles'
"Eighty percent of success is showing up."
"Chronicles of Narnia!" Mr. Lancer bellowed to his unruly class, slamming a book down and making a few kids jump in shock. "Settle down, children, it's just another ghost attack, no cause for alarm!"
'There's a line I never thought I'd say in my career as an educator,' he added dryly to himself. Still, Amity Park wasn't like other cities, and Casper High wasn't like other high schools. The most haunted school of the most haunted town, everyone in the classroom had witnessed ghost attacks on several different occasions.
Several in the room, Mr. Lancer included, had even been overshadowed by them for an extended period of time. Still, though ghosts were a major threat to all citizens, they had mostly become yet another daily annoyance of late, as three different ghost hunters kept the problem from becoming too serious.
Jack Fenton, though he meant well and was the brainchild behind the admittedly creative and original Fenton arsenal, was a bit of a bumbling fool. He tended to excite far too easily, causing more destruction and chaos then the paranormal spirits he was so hell-bent on hunting.
His wife, Maddie Fenton, was more competent and focused then her husband. She was also an accomplished paranormal scientist, and the best one to talk to when you were having ghost-related problems.
That wasn't to say that she too didn't tend to go overboard a bit, but she was still the most normal between her and her spouse. Not that 'normal' could be used to describe any Fenton to any degree, the whole family seemed to enjoy leaving a permanent mark on society.
The last human ghost hunter was something of a mystery to the whole town. She was a young woman who wore a black and red hazmat costume with some extremely impressive technology (including a sleek jet sled), and between the three human ghost hunters she was the best at her job with a strict, rabid determination that almost struck the teacher as more of an obsession.
Then there was the last one…
"Look! Look! There he is again!" Paulina squealed in delight as the ghost appeared yet again, blasting his opponent soundly. The popular Hispanic girl sighed happily as she watched him with a hero-worship glaze. "Oh, Phantom's so dreamy!"
Lancer shook his head and sighed, knowing his battle was a lost cause. The students were far more interested in watching the mysterious paranormal hunter Danny Phantom fight off undead forces of evil then they were in Classical Literature works of the 1830s.
That was to be expected, though. Phantom was 'cool' in the eyes of most of the teenage population of Amity. An excellent fighter with rather impressive strategic abilities, he seemed capable of overcoming any problem.
Not to mention the fact that he was rather handsome gave him far more leeway among his young female fans, most of which would risk breaking bones for a chance to be carried off in his arms after being rescued by him.
So far, though, the only one among them that was so lucky was Paulina Sanchez, which actually made perfect sense. Everything about the delicate, popular teenaged girl seemed to scream 'Damsel in Distress!' and the ghosts picked up on that just as easily as the living.
"Wow, you're right, Paulina!" Sam said with clearly feigned enthusiasm. "And you know what else? I don't think we heard you the other eighty billion times you said the exact same thing. And that's on a daily average, by the way." Mr. Lancer groaned as the girls geared up for another catfight.
"Manson! Sanchez!" he barked. "Behave yourselves!" Paulina subdued immediately, but Sam's eyes flashed in defiance before she looked away, sinking further into her chair and crossing her arms in a very unapproachable posture.
Sam Manson was Paulina's polar opposite since their freshman year together, and it was obvious from their appearance alone. The popular cheerleader was a dark-skinned social butterfly who followed the trends and degraded those around her, especially if they weren't in the higher social circles. Though she wasn't above belittling even those she hung out with.
Sam, on the other hand, was almost as pale as the ghost-boy himself, preferring the darker style of the gothic subculture. She was also an avid activist for those who would not or could not stand up for themselves, often dragging her two best friends along for the ride.
'Speaking of which…'
"Why hasn't Mr. Fenton returned from the bathroom?" Mr. Lancer asked suspiciously. "Surely he isn't that sick…" Sam and the third member of the infamous troublemaking trio of Amity Park, Tucker Foley, froze up and exchanged worried glances.
"What can I say, Mr. Lancer?" Tucker laughed nervously, "He reeeeeeally shouldn't have had that last Nasty Burger at lunch today!" Mr. Lancer sighed and Sam groaned in perfect union as the tech geek continued to laugh loudly.
Tucker looked like he should've been the perfect student. And he was in fact very intelligent, but he was also unmotivated, and preferred to spend his time and attention flirting or playing video games when he should have been studying, leading to less then adequate grades. Still, he was intensely loyal to Sam and Danny, his two closest friends.
Danny Fenton, the third member of the trio and the only one who had any sort of leeway over the other two, had probably changed the most since Lancer first laid eyes on him in freshman year.
When he first had Danny in a class, he couldn't find anything remarkable about the boy. Then, about three months into the school year, there was an abrupt and sudden change, and Danny was in the middle of all of the most perplexing cases of indiscipline he's ever seen in his many years of teaching.
The more unusual of the troubles faded with time, but other things, such as coming in late for class or even skipping entirely on some cases, began replacing it. Also the boy steadily became braver when dealing with those who used to pick on him, to the point where a glare from him could sometimes gain an instinctive flinch from even Dash.
Even Mr. Lancer found himself shaken at the way the boy could now trick people into trapping themselves in a corner without barely trying. Especially since his grades were mostly in the C range, with a low B peeking through here and there now a days.
Still, his cunning wasn't the only thing that's changed. He was moodier more, tired and distracted a lot, and some time he walked into the room looking as if a gang had just used him as a punching bag, despite the drop in bullying as far as the blue eyed boy was concerned. Honestly, Mr. Lancer was baffled.
"He won!" Paulina squealed, jumping up and down and clapping excitedly. Many of Phantom's other female admirers joined her.
"Big surprise," Sam snorted dryly.
"Well," Mr. Lancer sighed, "now that that's out of the way, can everyone kindly return to their seats?"
There was a little grumbling as everyone took their respective places, and Mr. Lancer waited impatiently for it to die down before turning back to the board.
"Now then, as I was saying-" He started only to be interrupted yet again. This time by the abrupt opening of his classroom door. This did little to improve his bad mood. "Feeling better are we, Mr. Fenton?" He asked dryly. A few kids laughed as the boy in question shut the door behind him. Instead of getting embarrassed, though, Danny looked deep in thought, and a little drained.
"Sorry, Mr. Lancer," he said in monotone, sitting in his seat. Sam and Tucker both shot him worried looks, but neither said anything under Mr. Lancer's suspicious glare.
"As I was saying," Mr. Lancer said again, "If you'll look at page seventy nine of your text…"
Lancer sighed irritably as he glared down at the papers in front of him, marking off one after another until he reached the end and flipped back to the front, marking B- in red pen.
"You're still here, Jacob?" a voice at the door said in surprise. Mr. Lancer looked up to see one of his colleagues at the door, dressed to leave.
"Just thought I'd get some extra grades in," Mr. Lancer sighed again. "I'm more comfortable here then I am at home." Curious, Mr. Poluka came in and glanced at the paper Mr. Lancer had just finished grading.
"Fenton, huh?" he said, a wry smile playing at his lips. "I've been having problems with that one lately…"
"Danny seems to enjoy making himself a thorn in everyone's side," Mr. Lancer said absently as he moved the paper to the 'graded' pile. "Still… I can't help but feel a little concerned for him,"
"Oh?" Mr. Poluka frowned at Mr. Lancer, "Mind if I ask why?"
"He seems to be hiding something, don't you think?" Mr. Lancer asked, "He and his friends. Normally, I wouldn't bother with such a thing so long as it didn't interfere with their grades, but even though Danny's grades have risen lately whatever the problem is doesn't seem to be going away, considering he always seems to be distracted and jumpy."
"Could be a girlfriend," Mr. Poluka pointed out. "I've heard things about him and that Grey girl for a while now, and everyone knows Manson has feelings for him. Though whether or not the affection is shared seems to be controversial."
"It seems a little more serious then that to me…" Mr. Lancer sighed. "Maybe I'm just looking too far into it, though."
"Give it up, Jacob," Mr. Poluka chuckled. "We're the teachers, remember? The 'bad guys.' No way is Fenton or anyone other teen going to tell us anything, even if it kills them,"
"That's what I'm afraid of…" Mr. Lancer muttered.
"Well, I've got to head home," Mr. Poluka sighed. "Helen wants to visit her mother tonight…."
"Good luck," Mr. Lancer said absently as his colleague left.
Hours later, Mr. Lancer rubbed his sore eyes as he finished putting a grade on the last paper (Dash Baxter. He'd gotten a D-). He'd been grading all night, and the strain was starting to get to him. Things like that reminded him that he wasn't as young as he used to be anymore, which made him sigh wistfully as he yearned for days long pass…
Alarmed, Mr. Lancer jumped up, throwing his door opened and stumbling into Mr. Poluka's science lab, where he heard loud, suspicious noises. Considering what time of night it was and what town he was in, Mr. Lancer almost hoped for vandals or pranksters. Opening the door, he cringed at the sight in front of him.
The lab was totally wrecked. Bottles, beakers and other fragile glass items laid in shambles. The contents that these containers one held stained the walls and floor, and desks and chairs were broken all over the place. Even the whiteboard was now cracked and chipped in several places.
Mr. Lancer gaped at the scene for a good long while before his eyes narrowed into a glare. Leaving the room, he raced down the hall, scanning for any signs of a ghostly intruder.
"Oof!" a voice grunted at he knocked into them.
"I'm sor-!" Mr. Lancer started before stopping in shock and confusion. "Miss Sanchez?"
Paulina blinked and looked up at Mr. Lancer. "Oops," she said. Mr. Lancer frowned.
"Miss Sanchez, what are you doing in school so late?" he demanded.
"I was just… ah… looking for a book I left behind!" she said, smiling brightly, "I was so fascinated by your speech on Beowulf I checked it out from the library, but then forgot it here. I wanted to return for it since I'm close to the end and want to finish it."
Mr. Lancer frowned. "Smooth, Miss Sanchez," he said dryly. "Unfortunately for you, I haven't given a speech on Beowulf yet."
Paulina cringed. "…Ah…"
Mr. Lancer sighed. "Never mind, Miss Sanchez," he said dryly. "Go home. I need to find the ghosts that destroyed the science lab."
Paulina looked towards Mr. Poluka's room quickly, then turned back to Mr. Lancer before he could leave. "What makes you think a ghost did it, Mr. Lancer?" she asked. "And anyways, what are you going to do once you catch them? I mean, it's not like you can give them detention or anything…"
"Well, after I prove a ghost did it, it should be the proper evidence we need that the town is being overrun, and that the new energy shields those ghost hunters from Denver were offering to sell to us are a worthy investment."
Paulina froze. "Ghost shields?" she repeated. Mr. Lancer nodded.
"It not only keeps ghosts on the outside out, but also incinerates ghosts already inside its boundaries as well, making it the perfect defensive system," Mr. Lancer explained. "Unfortunately, it's also quite expensive, so as long as it seems ghosts aren't a major threat, we won't be ordering any. Now, if you'll excuse me…."
"They didn't do it!" Paulina said quickly, her voice echoing through the deadened halls. Mr. Lancer turned to her, confused.
"Ghosts," she said, "ghosts didn't destroy the science lab,"
"Then who did?" Mr. Lancer asked, frowning darkly at the girl. "No one else is here, Miss Sanchez…."
Paulina bit her lip. "…I did it," she confessed at last. "I got mad that Mr. Poluka gave me a bad grade on my last test, so I snuck in here to destroy the lab. All that stuff about Beowulf was a lie."
Mr. Lancer frowned. "I'm not sure I believe you, Miss Sanchez…." he said crossing his arms.
"Well I did it, alright?" she snapped. "You've got a confession, you can punish someone now, what more do you need?"
'She's lying about something…' Mr. Lancer thought as he studied the girl's face. She had lied to him about everything so far, actually - why she was there, what she was doing… but confession to a crime she hadn't committed? That wasn't Paulina at all….
"Very well then," Mr. Lancer sighed, "come with me. We'll call your parents and discuss your punishment." Chin held high, the Hispanic girl followed her teacher. She wasn't acting guilty or proud, but merely as she always did. As if nothing was bothering her.
'This could be difficult…'
"…But I don't understand." Mr. Sanchez frowned. "Why would Paulina lie about something like that if it would only get her into trouble?"
"Usually, it's the opposite with her," Mrs. Sanchez added. "She lies and claims her hermanos committed crimes she was responsible for."
"I don't know, Mr. Sanchez," Mr. Lancer said, "but as long as she withholds the name of the true perpetrator, we must hold her responsible for what has happened. Usually, a crime this severe calls for immediate expulsion." Mr. Lancer cringed as the cheerleader's parents paled. "But of course that won't be the punishment Paulina receives, as that may be a little too harsh." The couple relaxed, sighing in relief.
"Then what?" Mrs. Sanchez asked.
"A week of detention should do," Mr. Lancer decided, "and I'm afraid Paulina is suspended from cheering at the next football game."
The couple frowned. "We understand, Mr. Lancer," Mr. Sanchez said, standing up and shaking the man's hand, "I'm sorry for the inconvenience my daughter has caused."
"It's nothing," Mr. Lancer sighed. "I just hope we can see Paulina's behavior improve in the future."
The couple nodded and left. Paulina, who'd been sitting outside of the door, jumped slightly when it opened, looking up at her parents. Mr. Lancer frowned when he watched the family go.
While her behavior hadn't changed as drastically as Danny and his friends, she had undergone some changes since ghosts began attacking the town. Most obvious was her infatuation with Phantom, but there were other things as well.
Things such as the growing hostility towards Sam Manson, a girl she might've once considered beneath her, and the fact that she was even secluding herself from her friends a little more, the most surprising change considering the girl thrived on social interaction.
Yet, just like that Danny, Mr. Lancer could never ask her any questions about her problems because, like Danny, she would not confide him with any information like that. Mr. Poluka was right, teachers were considered untrustworthy by the teenagers today, no matter how much they wanted to help.
Normally, things like that wouldn't bother Mr. Lancer too much, but he'd been edgier ever since people began noticing how many ghosts attacks centered on Casper High. They were all still on thin ice over the Spectra deal, and Lancer never wanted to see his students being abused by ghosts again.
Too bad they were being so stubborn…
"Hiding ghosts attacks from us, keeping secrets that may put their lives in danger…" Mr. Lancer sighed irritably. "There are times I wish I knew what my students were thinking!"
Huffing and grumbling to himself, Mr. Lancer left to head out for his car. Maybe after a nice long sleep things would all look better in the morning….
The teacher stopped when he heard the throaty laugher of a woman he could not see. Shaking it off as nothing, Mr. Lancer continued towards his car, ignoring the playful whisper that reached out for him as he got in.
"So you have wished it, so shall it be…"
WoM- There you have it! 'laughs sheepishly,' Lame beginning, huh? It gets better, I swear! And for those of you who are wondering about Paulina… 'winks playfully,'
Next update; January 27th
See you then!