The air in the English classroom was stuffy and stale as the teacher droned on. Half the class was asleep and the other half was barely listening. The lecture had been going on all hour and they didn't have to take notes, which meant no one was paying attention.
Mr. Lancer paced across the front of the room as he spoke, so the only row not half-asleep was the front row, being forced to listen since they were the closest.
Some ears perked up when Lancer asked a question, but no one wanted to answer it. "Come on, class," He urged them. "No one knows this? Shakespeare wrote what plays?"
A girl in the front who'd been forced to pay attention cautiously raised her hand. "He wrote Romeo and Juliet…and I think he wrote a Midsummer Night's Dreams." She guessed.
"Very good!" Mr. Lancer praised her, and she smiled. "He also wrote MacBeth and Julius Caesar."
Danny had been about to fall asleep when Lancer asked the question and forced him to listen, just in case the teacher chose Danny to answer it. Who cared about some dead poet whose plays made no sense? Why did everyone love his plays anyway?
Well, unless it was Romeo and Juliet…and Sam got to be Juliet while I was Romeo…NO! Why do I keep thinking these things about my best friend? Just because her hair is soft and she tastes like sugar…NO!
"Well, the principal has asked us to do a play among all of our classes." The kids groaned. No, not Shakespeare! Please no!
Lancer paused for dramatic effect, but no one was looking forward to what he had to say. "And it will be…the Phantom of the Opera!"
The kids woke up to that.
"What? That's not Shakespeare! That's Andrew Lloyd Webber!" Sam protested.
Mr. Lancer chuckled as murmurs went throughout the students.
"Yes, well, as you kids might say today, I 'led you on with my phat beat.'" No one responded to that and the faint sound of crickets could be heard. Lancer cleared his throat, embarrassed.
"Yeah…but who's going to do all the floating things and fog and everything?" Tucker asked, mildly interested. He had a fog machine in his room, just for emergencies…and it would be fun to see how technology could make things float…
"Well, that was supposed to be a secret between the teachers." Lancer said mysteriously. Of course, all of the students perked up to that. A buzz went through the room and some brave souls demanded he tell them what it was. Some used petty bribery and others just begged.
Lancer laughed at their attempts to placate him. "Okay, I have a deal for you." He bargained. "If I tell you, you have to promise not to tell anyone, or I'll be suspended from the coffee machine for a week."
Danny, with his enhanced hearing, heard Lancer murmur, "And with you kids for four periods, I have no idea what that'll be like." which made the ghost boy stifle a chuckle.
"Come on, Mr. Lancer! We want to know!" Paulina said impatiently.
"We are going to try and ask Danny Phantom to be Erik, the Phantom!" Mr. Lancer said gleefully.
There was complete and utter silence in the room. Then, one by one, the students started cheering, yelling and talking to their friends about how awesome it would be. Phantom would come to their school! They might be able to talk to the superhero of Amity Park!
"Okay, okay, kids, it's almost lunch. I'll notify you once we get word from him." Mr. Lancer said with a big smile. Their reaction was better than he expected.
Sam just sat there, slowly packing her backpack. Woah. Danny would be the Phantom? She wondered if he would accept. Wait, wasn't there a kiss at the end? Did Erik and Christine kiss? She would look it up. If they did…Sam smiled dreamily at the thought of getting to be Christine, to kiss the boy of her dreams. Wait…didn't Christine and Raoul kiss, too? Ah, well, she'd have to watch it again. Maybe she could watch it with Danny, in her dark basement, their hands touching in the popcorn bowl…NO! Stop these thoughts! She reprimanded herself.
Danny couldn't really take it all in. They wanted Phantom to play Erik? Why in the world would they want that? Ah, well…wait, didn't the Phantom kiss someone at the end? Yeah, yeah, Jazz loved that movie…oh, yeah, Christine! Who would be Christine, though? What if it was Sam…and he got to kiss her sugar lips, run his hand through her silky hair, caress her milky soft skin…AUG! No! Think of, of Paulina! Bad attitude, screechy voice…No, good things! Ug…
"This can work to my advantage." The shadow of a person slinked through the hallways, watching the trio eat lunch. He saw Danny's hand accidentally land on Sam's, then they blushed and pulled away. Tucker didn't notice. The person's fists clenched with jealousy.
She's mine. He thought possessively.
"Okay, so tryouts are tomorrow?" Sam asked.
"Yeah, if 'Phantom' can make it." Danny said with a smirk. Sam nearly swooned.
"So, are ya going to do it?" Tucker asked, noticing the romantic tension between his friends and grinning smugly.
"I don't know." Danny replied, taking a bite of his sandwich. "I mean, if I would be able to fight ghosts if they show up during rehearsal, I'd be fine. But there have been less ghosts around lately, so I might not need to."
"That's great, Danny!" Sam congratulated him, giving him a knockout smile. "The ghosts know not to mess with you anymore!"
He grinned back at her. "Exactly. But first I want to know the rest of the cast, ya know? I want to see who gets the part of Christine before I agree."
Me! I want to be Christine! Sam though fervently. But then she realized what would happen if someone else got the part. They would get to be with Danny every day, rehearsing, they would kiss him for the play, they would laugh and joke around with him.
Sam swallowed hard and then looked at Danny worriedly.
"I…don't think you should do it." She said uneasily.
"Why?" Danny asked incredulously. He had just seen her face change different emotions, and now it was fear.
"I…don't know." She said, with a shrug, with attempted casualness. "It seems really hard, and you need to get your grades up."
"Thank you, mommy, he'll think about it." Tucker teased. Sam flushed angrily.
"Shut up, Tucker. I'm just saying." She bit back at him.
"Oh, Sam." Danny chided, placing a hand on her shoulder. "It'll be perfectly fine. Besides, I think Andrew Lloyd Webber is the next subject in English, so it'll help my grades to know more about it." They were just looking at each other, leaning every closer…
"I'm going to go get some more food! You guys want some?" Tucker announced, breaking through their silent, loving cocoon they had made. They flushed and pulled back.
"Thanks for caring." Danny murmured when Tucker left. An electric shock went through his body when she cupped his hand in hers, squeezing it gently.
"Always." She said softly.
"Oh, Mr. Phantom, thank you so much for coming!" Mr. Lancer gushed when, the next day, Danny flew into the auditorium after school.
Danny smiled at him. "Please, call me Phantom. First, I want the girls to audition, so I know who will be my Christine."
"Oh, of course, Phantom!" Mr. Lancer said hurriedly, then he scuttled backstage to get everything set up. The girls auditioning for Christine walked by him to get up on stage, all primping and smiling sweetly at him.
"You are so using this to your advantage." Sam muttered when she walked by.
Danny grinned at her. "Always."
The one word made her blush and smile, giving Danny weak knees. Paulina saw the exchange and glared at Sam, but then smiled at him sweetly, causing him to chuckle. This would be fun.
Backstage, all the girls jostled and pushed to be first and see Phantom, all except for Sam who stood back and watched the girls make idiots of themselves. Star was the first to audition, because Paulina wanted to fix her hair and makeup before going onstage.
"Think of me, think of me fondly, when you say goodbye!' Star warbled in an alto voice.
Danny winced. "Definitely not." He muttered under his breath.
"Thank you Star, but I think we're going to go a different way!" Mr. Lancer said quickly when she was seconds into the song. "Next!"
Star huffed and stalked off the stage. Paulina soon came waltzing out onto the stage, holding her black hair, trying to look as innocent and cute and adorable as possible. Danny didn't even notice, just sat back, crossed his arms, and waited for her to begin. He glistening white hair fell in front of his piercing neon green gaze, making the girls swoon, and even if Sam didn't show it, she did too. He just sat in a padded chair, (courtesy of Lancer), looking cool, confident, strong, and handsome.
"Omigosh, he is so tasty! I wish he would go out with me!" She heard the girls whispering and giggling. They never said this stuff in front of Paulina, for fear that she would kick them out of the 'In' crowd, or bully them and steal their boyfriends.
"I know! He is so yummy!" Another girl squealed.
"I wish he would take me flying!"
"He could take me to Cloud Nine!"
They all sighed in unison, and even Sam couldn't help thinking how nice that'd be, to snuggle into the strange warmth of his arms, as he flew her up, into the night sky, above the city…
Danny was so tired of these songs. When would Sam come on? He watched, bored, as Paulina carried on in her slightly shrieky voice. Her eyes were locked on him, begging him to choose her.
"Thank you, Paulina." Mr. Lancer called out, wincing slightly. "Sam Manson, you're up!"
Danny immediately straightened in his seat. The girls noticed this and were annoyed. Danny eagerly awaited for Sam to sing.
"Say you'll love me every waking moment
Top my head with talk of summertime
Say you'll need in me your love and always
Promise me all you say is true
That's all I ask of you."
Her adoring voice washed over the ghost boy, making him feel happy and contented. The words caressed him, soothed him, made him want to sigh. His gaze flickered up to her.
"All I want is freedom
A world with no more night
And you always beside me to hold me and to hide me."
Oh, it was so nice, so incredibly nice. Sam's voice and words made him think of just cradling her in his arms, saving her from danger, protecting her. He looked up at her, feeling incredibly dazed and happy. She was so beautiful, a dark angel, a wicked fairy, and she was his. Mostly. A small, slightly seductive smile curved his lips, and the girls in the back sighed unanimously.
"What do you think?" Mr. Lancer asked, excitedly, seeing the ghost boy's glazed over expression.
Danny swallowed thickly, his voice breaking.
"She'll do." He whispered.
"Okay, now it is time for Raoul auditions!" Mr. Lancer called out. Danny watched out of curiosity. Eager boys participated, but none were actor material. Finally, a boy with scraggly brown hair that fell over his face came onstage. His gaze was a deep green, but not nearly as much as our favorite Phantom's. Speaking of Danny, if he was paying more attention to the audition, instead of thinking about nibbling Sam's wrist, gently caressing her soft curves, he would have noticed something…familiar about this boy.
The boy cleared his throat, and began singing 'All I Ask of You'. The ghost boy felt a slight jolt of jealousy. This boy and Sam would go perfect together if they sang that song.
"I don't think he's that good." Danny scoffed, but Lancer was too smitten with the boy's voice to hear him.
"You're amazing! You got the part!" Lancer said, smiling widely. Danny's jaw dropped in surprise, but he quickly closed it, then crossed his arms and glared in simmering frustration.
"Hey, Fenton!" A cruel voice yelled from behind Danny. The boy groaned and turned to see his human arch nemesis, Dash Baxter, advancing upon him.
"What, Baxter?" Danny growled. He had grown more since Freshman year, and he was more courageous, so he wasn't as scared as he used to be. He was still Dash's favorite, though.
"I heard about your stupid girlfriend getting the part of Christine in the play." Dash said with his gravelly voice. He crossed his beefy arms and glared at the boy. They were about the same height now, so he didn't look down upon him anymore.
"Hey! Sam is not stupid!" Danny hissed, intent on protecting his friend whom he regularly thought about kissing.
Smirking, knowing that he'd caught a slip in Danny's defensive technique, Dash said, "Like I care. Is it true?"
Blood still boiling with the need to hurt Dash for insulting his Sam, Danny glowered at him. "Yeah, why?"
Whoa…MY Sam? No, she's not mine! At least, not yet…
"Paulina wants that part."
No! She'll never be mine! We're just friends! Whoa…why does that make me feel so depressed?
"You really don't get it, do you, Fenton? Paulina wants that part. She's my girlfriend. I'm going to make sure she gets that part." Dash said, annoyed. His gaze was narrowed with determination. Danny's was the same. It looked like a show down was about to happen.
"Paulina's never going to get that part. She was horrible, and Sam is amazing." Danny said, words coming out with a bite. His blood was bubbling heatedly.
"I don't care. She wants it. That's where you come in. Make sure she gives up the part, or she will get hurt."
Danny's stomach recoiled in fear, feeling sick. What would Dash do to Sam? He wouldn't let anything happen to her!
"Think about it." Dash smirked, then walked away, pushing a random kid into a locker, out of his way.
Danny cringed and fell against the locker, his thoughts in turmoil.
The shadow fell across the wall again. The young man smiled to himself, red eyes flashing.
'Excellent. My part has been secured and soon Samantha shall be mine. And this time, she won't be able to get away…'