WoM- Yeah, I'm starting this one up now. I've had a lot of people asking about this, so I figured it should be the next new one I get up. Tomorrow I'm putting up Ghost Town and after that I'll update MoC. PLEASE don't start with me about my updates right now, my dad and I are at war over my e-mail rights and I'm really not in the mood to have people demanding I update specific stories. Once again, I don't own anything. If I did, Danny Phantom would continue until I was old and gray.
And big thanks to moonymonster for betaing this for me! Considering the fact that she's my sole beta at this time because of the stupid block my dad has on my e-mails, I think it's safe to pity her.
"Man will do many things to get himself loved; he will do all things to get himself envied."
- Mark Twain
"Mo-om!" Star wailed, throwing her door open and leaning over the banister that separated the second floor from the first. "Where'd my backpack go?"
"Check your room, sweetie." her mother called back in a tired tone. Star huffed irritably at the lack of aid.
"I already did!" she growled out. "It's not in there!"
"That's because Hector took it." Turning around, Star frowned at her little sister, who was lounging on the floor of the bedroom both girls shared as she read a book. She didn't even glancing up at Star as she turned the page, though she continued to address her. "I think he's going to add it to his shrine." Star rolled her eyes and groaned.
"Why me?" she griped, storming across the hall to her brother's room and barging in without knocking. Finding the younger boy in front of her, Star rested her hands against her hips to give Hector her most scathing glare. "Give me back my backpack, dweeb. NOW."
"But it's sacred!" Hector protested, glaring right back at his sister with heavily lined eyes. "Danny Phantom fell on it when he was fighting a ghost! What if some of his sweat landed on it or something?" the glare turned into a grimace at the visual her brother had just provided her with.
"Look, I don't care, okay?" Star snapped, grabbing her backpack from the strange assortment of items her brother had gathered, "I just want to get to school with enough time to hang out with my friends before class, and I don't need to put up with your freaky collection right now!"
"Hey!" Hector said, glaring after her as he pulled on one of his combat boots. "My collection isn't freaky! Besides, ghost stuff is a lot cooler then what you do all day."
"What do you know about what I do all day?" Star asked, sounding a little annoyed as she threw her book bag over one shoulder and headed for the door. She stopped when her brother started speaking again, in a high-pitched voice that was clearly a (bad) mockery of her own.
"Like, can you believe Dash had to go on that trip to Washington for the summer? It's TOTALLY gonna be a gazillion times more boring without him! And you were supposed to go to that Gala with him, too, weren't you Paulina? The one you have to have a date for? Now you've gotta find someone new to go with!" flushing angrily, Star turned with a sweep of her long blonde hair to glare murder at the boy she'd been forced to live with for the past twelve years of her life.
"You rotten little RAT!" she screeched as she advanced upon her little brother, trying to figure out where to hit him so it would hurt the most. "You horrible excuse for a pet monkey! I can't BELIEVE you'd listen in on my private phone conversations!"
"Star!" the blonde heard her mother call up, "Hector! Callisto! You kids have five minutes to get out the door! And I'm not driving you this morning, Star, so don't ask!" huffing, Star gave her brother a bitter look.
"You lucked out this time, brat." she said darkly, turning and rushing down the stairs with her brother and sister at her heels.
"Bye mom!" Star called absently as she left, trotting down the driveway at a leisurely pace. Heading down the sidewalk to the bus stop, Star made a face and groaned mentally when her little brother and sister fall into step on either sides of her.
It wasn't that she hated her younger siblings, they were tolerable in small doses, but she couldn't help but wonder sometimes how she was related to the twins her mother insisted shared the exact same genes with her.
Her sister Callie was declared a genius at the age of four, and could have skipped to start school a grade ahead of Star, if it wasn't for the fact that their mother was concerned about her welfare in that kind of situation. Not that she wasn't isolated and mercilessly teased in the grade she was already in, but it'd probably be worse if she was getting better grades then people three years older then her on the exact same work.
Hector had also lucked out as far as brains went, but unlike his twin he wasn't a devoted student, preferring to spend his time in school trying to drive as many teachers insane as he could. So far, three of them actually had to be taken away in straight jackets and if Hector's bragging was to be believed, seven more were on their way after them.
Recently, though, the younger to the twins had become obsessed with current events; namely the ghosts haunting their otherwise normal city. Especially the mysterious Danny Phantom, ghost-boy superhero of Amity Park. He's made it his mission in life to collect as many ghost-related things as he could, to study them and find out more about the paranormal beings.
Hence the backpack crisis that morning…
Star was dragged from her thoughts by a blaring horn, and she couldn't help but grin flirtatiously as a red convertible pulling up next to her, crawling to a stop as the driver grinned right back.
"Star!" Kwan said, turning his radio off and waving cheerfully at the girl, who gave a cute giggle as she returned the gesture.
"Hey, Kwan!" she responded brightly, her grin becoming a little more forced when she heard Hector making a gagging noise behind her. She was gonna kill him for that later…
"What's a pretty girl like you doing walking to school?" the jock flirted as he opened the passenger-side door. "How 'bout a ride?" Star was about to respond when she felt an urgent tug on her shirt from behind.
"Star…" Callie hissed to her older sister, frowning self-righteously. "You know you're not allowed to ride with your friends if an adult's not in the car!" Rolling her eyes, Star jerked free from her sister's grip and climbed into her boyfriend's car.
Goody-goody. she snorted in distain as she closed the door and threw her backpack in the backseat. She was just adjusting her seatbelt when Kwan took off, leaving Hector and Callie in their dust.
"Anyways, did you hear about Dash?" Kwan called to Star over the wind that was mussing the hair she'd worked long and hard to perfect that morning.
"Yeah," Star called back, sighing slightly. "It's too bad he's gonna miss the Gala, huh?"
"Tell me about it." Kwan agreed. "I mean, he's gonna forfeit his award and everything!"
The Annual Amity Gala was the biggest, more formal event in the town. It was a weekend-long party held on an extravagant cruise ship, where they recognized some of the richest, most influential people in Amity Park. You couldn't even get on the boat if you didn't have an invitation or weren't dating someone who did, and the guest list was the depiction of exclusive.
Kwan and Dash had both been invited to attend, since Dash had been nominated as Most Influential Teen in Amity Park and they both were up for the Best Teen Athlete. Everyone knew Dash had the BTA award in the bag before he had to go to Washington for tryouts for a football scholarship into college, but now that he was gone Kwan stood a fair chance of actually winning since you had to be there to claim your trophy to actually qualify for the award. Still, nobody expected the popular jock to win MIT.
"I know, that really sucks." Star nodded her agreement. "But I guess it's worth it, if he gets into that college on a free ride. I just feel bad for Paulina, since she can't go now that her date's not going. I mean, she had a dress picked out and everything."
Actually, Paulina had her dress picked out since before Dash even asked her to be his date, since she had been determined to get to the Gala by hook or by crook. Anything else would be criminal after all, since the pretty and charismatic Hispanic girl relished in parties like the Annual Gala. Not to mention the particularly interesting guest list this year…
"Come on, Star." Kwan laughed as he pulled into the school parking lot. "That's Paulina you're talking about. She'll have another guy before the day's over!" Star frowned a little at that, a twinge of jealousy striking her at the look in Kwan's eyes as he said this. She shoved it back down as her boyfriend parked, assuring herself that like so many other boys in Casper High, Kwan's crush on Paulina would never get out of the 'fantasies' category.
"Guess you're right." Star said loudly to bring Kwan back to earth. "I mean, Danny Phantom's gonna be there too, and everyone knows nothing stands between Paulina and the ghost-boy."
"Tell me about it." Kwan grumped as the couple left the car. "You know for a dead guy, that Phantom's one lucky dude." Star giggled slightly at that as she and Kwan walked into the school.
"Well he deserves it, everything considered." she said brightly. "After all, any guy who can turn hazmat into a fashion statement is definitely boyfriend material."
"Hey!" Kwan protested with a hurt look on his face. "What's wrong with the way I look in a jumpsuit?"
"Nothing." Sar answered, rolling her eyes slightly. Boys… "You just don't have the 'Superhero Hottie' thing to really pull it off like Phantom does."
"That's not my fault." Kwan insisted stubbornly. "The ghost-boy's the only superhero in Amity Park, so he's in a league all his own. Why else would he be up for Most Influential Teen?" Star smiled slightly, nodding at the athlete's logic.
"He's gonna get it, too." She predicted confidently. "That is, if he bothers to show up… he's so mysterious, no one knows if he's even really gonna be there." Still, there was a chance the ghost boy would come, which meant Paulina was going if she had to beg, borrow and steal to get there.
"Yeah." Kwan agreed. "Hey, I gotta get to homeroom before I get into trouble. See you at lunch, Star!" The blonde didn't have time to respond before her boyfriend was gone. Sighing heavily in annoyance, Star turned and started towards Paulina's locker as she did every morning.
Fully prepared to deal with her Latina best friend in a full blown hissy fit, Star was a little surprised to find Paulina calm and collected, busy applying another layer of glittery pink lip gloss to her perfect lips, using her new Danny Phantom based locker mirror as her aid. (Where Paulina found all of her Danny Phantom paraphernalia was still a mystery to the girl, though she knew several stores had started to cash in on the ghost boy's popularity.)
"Hey Paulina!" a little wary (Paulina was infamous for intense outbursts when someone angered her, after all…) Star stopped a few feet from Paulina's locker, resting against the wall and hugging her book to her chest. "So… how are… uh… things?" Paulina glanced over at Star for a moment before turning back to her mirror, her expression never changing from the usual disinterested one she wore whenever Phantom was nowhere to be seen.
"Fine." Paulina answered as she capped her lip gloss and tucked it into her Sayonara Pussycat purse (Which would have been the sole thing Paulina owned without Phantom's face on it if it wasn't for the collection of Phantom key chains and buttons.)
"Really?" Star said brightly, smiling at the girl. "So you have a new date for the Gala?"
"Of course!" Paulina scoffed slightly, giving Star a dry look. "What, you thought I'd miss a chance to meet the ghost boy?"
"No!" Star answered quickly, knowing any other response would be blasphemy. "Just wanted to make sure you were still coming! After all, it'd be a shame if you couldn't wear that gorgeous dress you bought just for the occasion!" Paulina smirked a little at that, reaching into her locker for a book. Relaxing in relief, Star pressed on. "So, who are you going with, anyway?"
"You'll see," Paulina answered mysteriously before she pecked her Danny Phantom poster affectionately (Another morning tradition) and shut her locker door. "Look, I need to talk to someone. Go tell Miss Testlaff I'll be a little late. Tell her I have woman issues or something."
"Sure thing Paulina!" the blonde answered, sighing miserably as her friend left. Making a face, Star headed off to her first hour class, Health Sciences. She felt so low, doing Paulina's dirty work for her, but it was the only way the blonde knew that assured she could be friends with the popular cheerleader. And being friends with Paulina was the only way a girl could be popular in Casper High.
Just look at Valerie. When Paulina decided she wasn't interesting anymore, her popularity plummeted so fast that Star barely knew what'd happened. It was a shame, too, since Star found Valerie so much more interesting then Paulina. They were both assertive girls, but Valerie had more of an independent approach whereas Paulina conned and tricked her way to get what she wanted, never actually doing anything for herself.
Before Star could continue down this line of thought, though, a loud banging noise drew her attention to the janitor's closet next to her. Raising an eyebrow, Star slowed her pace as the banging was joined by a yelping noise before the door flung open and Danny Fenton spilled forward, knocking both of them to the ground.
"Ow!" Star yelped as her hair tangled in his backpack, fighting to get away from the clumsy boy.
"Sorry!" Danny gasped as he struggled to his feet. Growling out her impatience, Star shoved the boy away and stood up, throwing him a scathing glare. She took no notice of the bruise forming on his right cheek.
Danny Fenton always seemed to be nursing a new injury, after all. Most of them were 'gifts' from Dash, who had more or less staked the boy as his personal punching bag. Star would've figured that fear of the quarterback's retaliation would've keep the rest of the bullies off of the geek even in his absence, but apparently that wasn't the case after all.
Not that she cared.
"Watch where you're going, loser!" she snapped angrily. Annoyed, Danny threw her bitter look.
"I said I was sorry!" he reminded her irritably. Snorting in distain, Star turned and walked away without bothering to respond, rolling her eyes in annoyance.
What a total—
Tucker chuckled as he swallowed the bite he'd just taken, grinning at Sam's disgruntled look as soon as his mouth was empty.
"No arguing with that!" he agreed. Danny sighed.
He'd just finished telling the two of them what had happened that morning with Star after his fight with Technus. While he was definitely glad no one had raised suspicions about him suddenly falling out of the janitor's closet without even going into it in the first place, he really didn't like the interaction with his blonde classmate.
"Well…" Danny said reluctantly, too chivalrous to actually agree with his friends. "I did fall on her."
"And you apologized," Sam reminded him with a pointed look. "It was an accident anyways, so she didn't have to be so rude about it." The goth shot the popular table an ugly glare, specifically the blonde who was a picture of arrogance as she bragged about going to the Amity Gala. Again. "And is she ever gonna shut up about that stupid party?"
"Yeah, well that's coming from someone who gets a private invite to attend every year." Tucker said dryly. "Heck, this year I'm the only one out of the three of us who didn't get an invite!"
"So?" Sam rolled her eyes in exasperation. "Trust me, Tucker, you're not missing anything not getting invited to that stupid Snobfest."
"And who said I was going?" Danny said, giving Tucker a strange look. "I mean, Sam's skipping out this year anyways, so the only people I'd know there are gonna be Star and Kwan, now that Dash and Paulina aren't going. And they don't even know I know them! Do you have any idea how awkward that would be?"
What are you talking about?" Tucker shot Danny a weird look of his own. "Paulina's going. I heard Ashley talking about it with Valerie in the hall after second period. Guess she found a replacement for Dash."
"Really?" Danny looked taken aback at that. "Already?"
"You're really surprised?" Sam scoffed in distain, glaring slightly at her blue eyed best friend, addressing him in the same tone as she continued. "Please tell me you're not going to go for her…"
"Go?" Danny said blankly before he caught on, "Oh! The Gala! No, no way! I mean, what the heck would I say to her, anyways?"
"Who said she wanted a conversation?" Sam asked disgustedly. Tucker rolled his eyes at the thinly veiled jealousy in the goth's voice.
Ah, well… the tech geek sighed in his head. One of them should make a move before summer. If not, then I'm out twenty bucks.
"Hey Star, can I talk to you for a second?"
Looking up, the three friends found their eyes drawn to the popular table once more as Kwan addressed his blonde girlfriend in the light, cheerful tone he always seemed to use with people.
"Of course!" Star chirped back, oblivious to Sam's fake gagging and the snickers this earned from Danny and Tucker. "What's up, Kwan?"
"Well, since Dash is gone and Paulina needs a date to the Gala, she asked me to take her instead," Kwan explained. "You don't mind, right?" The look of stunned pain on Star's face answered for her, but the thickheaded jock misinterpreted it easily. "Great! I knew you'd understand!" And with a cheerful wave, the jock was gone, leaving Star the center of attention in the embarrassing silence that followed.
When she finally realized what had happened and saw that everyone was staring at her, Star blushed in embarrassment and hastily stood up to rush out of the cafeteria, leaving her tray of food behind. Danny cringed slightly as he watched her go, conversation buzzing to life again as the doors slammed in the blonde's exit.
"Ouch…" he muttered sympathetically. "Talk about brutal. I mean, Kwan just dissed her in front of the entire school!"
"Who cares?" Sam asked scornfully. "It's her own fault for letting herself be reduced to arm trophy."
"Careful, Sam," Tucker teased. "I mean, remember what happened with the last A-lister who got booted?"
"I doubt Star's going to suddenly turn ghost hunter on us, Tuck." Danny responded, rolling his eyes. "But I do feel kinda bad for her. I mean, her best friend and her boyfriend hooked up with one another behind her back, how cruddy does that have to feel?"
"Hey, she had it coming with all the bad karma she's wracked up." Sam scoffed. "Just let it go, Danny, it's none of our business what those A-list snobs do."
"Yeah, Danny." Tucker agreed, "We've got enough on our plate with the whole ghost thing, we don't need to take charity cases now too."
"Guess you're right…" Danny admitted reluctantly. He sighed, turning back to his food. His friends were right, after all, Star's problems were none of his business. Besides, who was to say she wasn't over it already…?
Valerie sighed silently to herself as her patted Star's back in a soothing sort of way, silently wishing that the girl would let go of her shirt before the wrinkles she made became permanent.
"There, there…" she tried to soothe her distraught friend. "Come on, Star, it's not the end of the world…"
"Yes it is!" Star sobbed loudly. "You weren't there, Val, it was totally embarrassing! My social life is ruined now!" Valerie cringed as the girl dissolved into tears once more.
"It can't be that bad!" the ghost hunter said optimistically.
"Everyone was there, Valerie!" Star wailed. "Everyone saw! And he didn't even care! All he wanted was his precious date with Paulina." Valerie cringed at the venom in the girl's tone as she spat the name out angrily. "It's not fair! Paulina always gets everything she wants, and now I look totally lame because of her!"
"It could be worse." Valerie reminded the girl. "I mean, at least you're still an A-list girl, right?"
"Not much longer, if I don't hook up with somebody cool fast." Star sulked a little as she reminded her friend of this, and Valerie couldn't help but roll her eyes.
That was one of the things that annoyed her about her friend, actually. Star seemed to be in an irreversible mindset that she was worthless unless she was dating a guy. Why her friend felt the constant need to be an arm trophy she did not know, but it bothered Valerie to no end.
"Look Star, popularity isn't everything, alright?" Valerie told the girl firmly. "I mean, look at me! I'm happier now then I was as an A-list kid."
"But I'm not you, Valerie!" Star huffed angrily. "I can't pull double shifts at the Nasty Burger, I can't start liking losers like Fenton… I can't even stand eating a bag lunch anymore!"
"Well, you can teach yourself to, Star," Valerie reminded her friend. "Life isn't always like high school, you know, the sooner you wake up, the better." That's when all of what Star had just said fully hit the girl. "Wait, Danny's not a loser!" Star sighed heavily.
"Look, I gotta go." she said, standing up. "I'll see you tomorrow, Val." Valerie sighed slightly as she watched her friend leave her apartment, concern etched into her face as the blonde closed the door behind her.
Ah, she'll be all right. Valerie told herself firmly. After all, it's just social problems, right? Nothing she could get hurt over…
"It's not fair!" Star huffed to herself as she took the shortcut back home from Valerie's apartment, the hiking trail in the forest that separated their homes. She'd already been walking by herself for about ten minutes, with was the amount of time it took her to become very, very bitter towards a certain Latina.
Paulina this, Paulina that… Star made a face. One of these days, she should really get what's coming to her!
"Star?" Jumping slightly, the blonde looked up, surprised to see geeky Danny Fenton on the path in front of her.
"Oh, great," she said sarcastically. "What are you doing here, huh?"
"I was… erm… just going to see Valerie about something?" Danny explained sheepishly before he frowned at the girl. "Uh, look, Star…about what happened today…"
"Don't you DARE!" Star hissed, glaring at him threateningly. "The last thing I need right now is sympathy from LOSERS!"
"All right, all right, chill out!" Danny huffed. "Jeeze, sue a guy for caring…" Star opened her mouth to respond to that, but before she could Danny shivered slightly and groaned. "Oh no…" Then, without another word, the boy jumped over the fence separating the trail from the forest and stumbled through the undergrowth and deeper into the wilderness.
What's with him? Star wondered, raising an eyebrow after the loser. She didn't have time to wonder long, though, when the loud roar of a motorcycle had her turning around in confusion.
Which promptly turned to horror when she recognized the rider as a ghost.
"Hey, you!" The greasy blonde biker called to Star. "You see any losers around here acting like they were in a hurry?" Star blinked in surprise at that. Fenton? They were after Fenton, of all people?
Before she could answer the ghost and save her own skin in the process, a green blast of energy struck the motorcycle. The impact caused both the rider and the girl riding shotgun (Star figured she was his girlfriend or something) into a tree.
"The only loser around here is you, Johnny!" Danny Phantom taunted from where he floated above tree level. The biker growled as he glared at the boy.
"Shadow!" The ghost barked out, pointing to the superhero. "Attack!" Star's eyes went wide when the biker's shadow came to life and flew off after the ghost kid, knocking them both out of sight for a minute before a green blast had the shadow-thing shooting for the moon.
Maybe now would be a good time to go home and crawl under my bed… Star tried to sneak off as quietly as possible. Before she could make a run for it the green-haired ghost disappeared and reappeared alongside her, seizing her arm in a painful grip that had the ghost's nails biting into her skin.
"I don't think so," the ghost scoffed disdainfully. "We're gonna need you for leverage once Johnny and his stupid bad luck shadow lose again."
"Yeah!" the other ghost (Who must've been the Johnny everyone was talking about) agreed before the words fully hit him. "Aw, Kitty!"
Before anything else could be said, though, the shadow-thing hit the ground painfully in front of them, which drew everyone's attention to the ghost now glaring at Johnny.
"When are you guys gonna give up already?" Danny asked, sounding annoyed. "Clockwork gave it to me for a reason. He knew I could protect it from lame, second rate ghosts like you. Now then…" Star sighed in relief as Phantom took out the thermos-looking thingy he always carried with him to contain ghosts. "Any last words before I bring you back to the Ghost Zone?" Johnny looked desperate for a moment until his eyes landed on the power lines that ran along the side of the trial.
"Just this," the greasy ghost said with a grin. Before the ghost boy could stop him, Johnny pointed at the power lines. "Shadow, sic em!" The shadow ghost grinned evilly at the command, shooting up to pass through the power lines. The two ghosts abandoned Star to take off like the devil himself was on their heels and the shadow ghost disappeared in a wisp of smoke.
Star rubbed her arm where the ghost had grabbed her, relief filling her for a minute and making her miss the fast that the power line was falling…
…and heading right for her.
"STAR!" The ghost boy yelled, having a keener attention span then the blonde girl below him. Shooting down, he knocked the girl off of her feet before the power line could do any harm. With Star still in his arms, he twisted around to fly backwards so he could see if the power line had done any harm to anything else.
Which was when his head introduced itself to Mr. Oak.
Yelping in pain at the impact of bone on bark, Danny slid down the trunk of the tree and to the ground. This had apparently been the last straw as far as his powers were concerned, given the fact that he'd been fighting off more ghosts then usual that day thanks to Clockwork's stupid antique.
But Danny didn't think of this. All he had time to realize (with a growing sense of horror) was that he'd just reverted back to his human form.
And Star was gaping right at him.
WoM- Poor, poor Danny... Sorry this didn't get up yesterday here like it did on DA, people, but I had a little problem with the new stories system (My computer freezes up every stime a new page pops up.) I'll try and get more up soon, but I'm headed up north for the weekend.