Hello everyone! There's a good explanation for this, really, there is... Okay, so this is basically a spiffed up version of the original AWTEW I posted back in April. My writing's improved a lot since then and I realized that there were a lot of things I didn't like about my first story. So I did it over. I've kept the basic storyline and most of the scenes and dialogue, but I've also added a couple scenes and reorganized the chapters. Hopefully it's a fresh experience for all my past readers, and an enjoyable read for everyone new... Thanks to everyone who faved, alerted, reviewed, and/or read the original work. You guys are awesome, and one of the main reasons I kept writing!All's Well That Ends Well
Chapter 1: Field Trip
I do not own Danny Phantom, Hamlet, The Da Vinci Code, or Ghost World. Well, actually, I have a copy of Hamlet at home, and my sister has a copy of The Da Vinci Code, but that doesn't really count, does it?
"Hamlet!" The bald man screamed as he woke with a start, breathing heavily. His sheets had twisted around his body and his body was soaked with sweat. The man had dreamt that everyone he cared about, everyone who went to his school, were being held hostage by a giant gray man with flaming green hair and chunky armour. It had been his job to save them, and he hadn't been able to do anything. It had been horrible.
He rolled over, looked at the bust of Shakespeare resting on his night table, and groaned. It was four in the morning. He sat up, knowing that he wouldn't be getting any more sleep that night, and massaged his temples.
"I can't let that happen," he muttered. "I have a responsibility." He got out of bed and turned on his computer. Several minutes later, he was hard at work.
At seven o'clock that morning the phone rang in a large purple building across town. The fifteen-year-old boy living there was rudely awoken by a shout and a crash, followed by a surprising alert female voice.
"Hello? ... Mr. Lancer? Is this about Danny?"
"Gotta be on time. Gotta be on time." It was five minutes to eight and the boy, Danny, had his scooter at full speed. As a ghost-human hybrid (long story, don't ask), he'd been up late the night before fighting ghosts around the city. Already this morning, he'd been interrupted by a telephone, waited for the shower for far too long, avoided his flustered parents, and gotten the Box Ghost back into the Fenton Thermos. He was not having a good day, it was Monday, and now he was late for school.
Eight minutes later, Danny edged into class to Mr. Lancer's condescending glare. He smiled weakly, and slid as far down into his seat as possible.
"As I was saying before Mr. Fenton graced us with his presence," Lancer said dryly, barely missing a beat, "we are going on a field trip today. I have recently become aware that we residents of Amity Park are woefully ill-prepared for defending ourselves against the much too frequent ghost attacks. This is most important for our youth, who are the future of this town, and who are attacked most frequently at school, by ghosts such as Danny Phantom. I'm sorry, Ms. Sanchez, is there something you wish to share?"
The Hispanic brunette moved her head away from Star's desk and looked at the teacher with calculated innocence.
"Mr. Lancer, Danny Phantom is not evil. He is too cute to want to hurt people."
"Need I remind you that Danny Phantom possessed our mayor several months ago?" Lancer asked. "Looks are not a good indication of character."
The resident goth, Sam, leaned forward to her friend Tucker's desk. "Yeah, just look at Paulina."
The overweight teacher continued with his speech. "I believe that the first step in learning to defend ourselves is to learn about our enemies. I have researched the more prominent ghosts who haunt our town, and we will be reviewing them this morning. This afternoon, we will be visiting the most important building in Amity Park to continue our education. Now, if everyone will refrain from whispering and turn their attention to the projector screen, we will begin the lesson."
Once Lancer's attention was on the lecture rather than his students, Tucker Foley, an African-American boy in a red beret, turned around to look at his best friend, Danny Fenton.
"Dude, we're not going to your place, are we?"
"Yeah," Danny groaned. "Dad was going on this morning about how great it was that the school had realized we needed more education about ghosts, and trying to untangle the Fenton Fisher so he could show it off. Almost hit me with it three times. And I didn't get breakfast because Mom had covered the entire table in cookies."
Sam leaned over to join the conversation, with sarcastic optimism. "Well, at least we get cookies out of this."
"This is a disaster," moaned Danny. "My parents are going to show off all their gadgets and they're all going to point at me. Not to mention the huge embarrassment factor. And what if a ghost comes through the Portal while we're there? You know my dad can't hit the broad side of a barn if he's aiming at it."
"Relax, Danny," Sam said, patting his arm reassuringly. "We'll cover for you if we have to. And your mom can aim, so she can take care of the ghost. It won't be that bad."
After lunch, the class set out to walk to FentonWorks. Mr. Lancer had told them their destination before his standard "What To Do To Get Detention On This Field Trip" lecture. Valerie Gray, an amateur ghost hunter with a vendetta against Danny's ghost self, was anticipating seeing new weapons, and Paulina and her best friend Star were giggling, hoping that Danny Phantom would show up. Dash and Kwan, the stars of the football team, were talking about how they'd likely get to see "big guns, explosions, and general butt-kicking." The mood, like for all field trips, was festive and full of excitement.
It had grown cold and windy since the morning, and Mr. Lancer kept looking nervously at the sky. There was an electric charge in the air, and he was praying that the inevitable thunderstorm wouldn't hit Amity Park until they had at least gotten into FentonWorks. Alas, there was no such luck, as a flash of light and loud boom that caused the paunchy vice-principal to jump reflexively arrived at just that moment. Paulina screamed.
Then the sky opened up and the entire class was forced to run the remaining two blocks to Danny's house in the rain. Mr. Lancer pounded up the stairs and pushed a button shaped like Jack Fenton's head. It moaned eerily, and half a minute later a giant orange shape appeared in the doorway at the same time as another thunderclap hit overhead and Star shrieked.
"GHOST! GHOST! GHOST! Oh, Mr. Lancer, Danny's friends ... uh, sorry, such a klutz ... thanks son." Jack Fenton retrieved the Ghost Gabber from Danny, and luckily didn't hear the "Here Dad. I am a ghost. Fear me" over the downpour. The boy was mildly relieved when a smaller blue shape appeared in front of his father.
"Hello everyone," the woman said brightly. "Hello Danny! Come on in out of the rain, dears, and we'll begin the tour. Jack, go get the Fenton Blankets."
Maddie Fenton ushered everyone inside and provided them with gray blankets with Jack's face all over them. The blankets, amazingly for a Fenton product, dried everyone off quickly, and soon they were heading downstairs, lead by a very enthusiastic Jack, for the Fenton Tour, as he insisted on calling it. Everybody was dressed in orange Hazmat to protect themselves from any radiation or harmful substances, and casting funny glances at Danny, who wished he could go invisible and escape. Why did parents have to be so embarrassing?
Once everyone was grouped in a rough semi-circle in the middle of the lab, Jack Fenton began the talk energetically.
"All right, kids, the first thing to know about ghosts is that they're souls who can't really pass on because they have unfinished business. They come to our world to have their revenge. This is the Fenton Ghost Portal, which leads into the Ghost Zone, where ghosts normally live. Maddie made me close it to keep ghosts from invading the lab while you're here."
"Mr. Fenton," Valerie asked innocently, "can you open it just for a second? Please? So we can see what it looks like?" She was hoping to get the access code, so she could go inside and do some serious damage to the ghost population. Jack looked uncomfortable and conflicted for a moment before speaking with muted pride.
"Well, I suppose, just for a second. I'll just scan my thumbprint on the Fenton Genetic Lock and..." Valerie deflated. "... there we go!" A whirling, glowing green circle was revealed as the barriers slid back. The class gasped and Lancer got a queasy feeling in the pit of his stomach. Seasickness from looking at the swirls, no doubt.
The storm outside howled and the lights in the lab flickered. There was another boom directly above them, and the power went out. The lab and the Ghost Portal became a single yawning darkness. There was a moment of silence, and then everyone started panicking at once.
"Help!" "Where am I?" "Where are the stairs?" "Da Vinci Code!" "Eeeew! What did I just put my hand in?" "Ouch, Dash, that was my foot!"
Maddie Fenton, ever the professional, took charge quickly and grabbed a Fenton Flashlight from her belt. "Everyone upstairs! It's too dangerous down here in the dark. Follow me. I've made cookies, and I suppose we'll just eat them now rather than later."
At the mention of Danny's mother's cookies, the entire class stampeded upstairs, Danny, Tucker, and Sam included. In the turmoil, Mr. Lancer was pushed to the back of the crowd. He lost his footing and stumbled backwards, landing hard on his back with a jarring smack. He lay there for a moment, trying to calculate how much aspirin he would need to take that night, then suddenly there was a blinding flash of green light and a stab of ice-hot pain.
"Ghost World!" Lancer curled into the fetal position in preparation for the ghost attack he was sure was coming. After nothing further happened, he turned around cautiously, feeling eerily chilled, and saw the lab in front of him. He managed to drag himself painfully onto the concrete before he passed out.
Lancer woke up several minutes later on the couch in the Fenton's living room. Two Dannys swam back and forth in front of his eyes.
"Wha-what happened?" the teacher asked groggily, squinting upwards.
"You must have hit your head in the blackout," Danny said matter-of-factly. "We found you in the lab unconscious when the generator kicked in."
Jack Fenton pounded up the stairs then, looking as boisterous as always. "Everything's all right, kids! The Ghost Portal's closed again, so we can go back to our tour."
The Portal! exclaimed Lancer mentally. I must have been inside it when the power came back on. That would explain the light, and why the lab seemed so big. But why the pain? Whatever that was, it wasn't electrocution, I'm fairly sure of that.
He tried to struggle up to join his class, who were now moving back downstairs for the rest of the Fenton Tour, but met with a firm but gentle resistance. He looked up. It was Danny's mother.
"You need to rest," she said warmly. "Too much strain after a fall like that could do a lot of harm. You might have a concussion. Your students will be perfectly safe in Jack's hands."
Lancer smirked inwardly. Can anyone really be safe in Jack's hands? The man's a klutz, he even admits it.
He did stay on the sofa, though, and allowed Maddie to fetch him tea and cookies.
Funny, he thought, if I hit my head, why doesn't it hurt now? And if I didn't hit it, what did happen down there? He pushed his worries to the back of his mind, reminding himself that the Fentons wouldn't have anything really dangerous in the lab when two children were in the house.
Maddie stayed with him until the tour was over, chatting gaily about Danny's and Jazz's childhoods. Lancer half-listened to her, interested in understanding more about the enigma that was Danny, but also preoccupied with wondering how the tour was going (there was shouting and laughter coming from downstairs, so nothing very bad could be happening) and, no matter how he tried to stop it, a nagging worry about the accident downstairs.
Eventually the tour was over and he was able to take his students back to the school. They were laughing and joking on the way back, but there was a slight air of sobriety, as the teenagers were worried about their teacher. The quietest student was Danny, surprisingly. He was always chatting to his friends at school, especially during class time, but now he was lost in thought and kept giving Lancer concerned looks. It was making him slightly uncomfortable, but it did feel good to know that Danny, even if he showed little respect at school, was attached to his teacher.
The events of the day had worn him out and Mr. Lancer felt more exhausted than normal. Once he'd finished marking the essays he was going to return to his students the next day, he changed into his pajamas and fell asleep almost instantly, barely making it into his bed first.