Well, kiddies! It's that time again! Danny Phantom Slash Pairing Numbuh 3. Enjoy.
If there was one thing that Danny hated about superhero work, he thought bitterly as he glared at the top of his desk, it was how little time he had to spend on schoolwork.
He was just starting his senior year of high school, and he was lucky to have made it that far to begin with. He bad scraped by last year by the skin of his teeth with mostly Cs and Ds, and was advised-or, rather threatened by Lancer-that if he didnt pull his grades up to make a good-enough score on the ACTs (the evil twin brother of the CATs), then he could say goodbye to college. And for once, Danny didnt take offense to what the English teacher said. He knew that Lancer was right, but that didnt make it any easier. His worst classes were English, Mathematics, History, and Creative Writing; that last class he chose just to pull some much-needed credits in, but even so, he didnt have time to do the work in that class, either.
Danny let out a groan and flunked his head on his desk, feeling like setting his schoolbooks on fire. He really didnt need this kind of pressure right now; it was pretty much implied that if he didnt pass with As and Bs this year, then he wouldnt be graduating with his class. But between studying, keeping a secret identity, chasing Vlad away from his mother, and kicking some ghost ass-or tail, whichever the case may be-there were simply not enough hours in the day. Not enough time...
He lifted his head off of his desk. Time... That gave him an idea.
If there was one person he could count on to listen to his problems, it was Clockwork. The Master of Time had the patience of a saint when it came to the halfa, and was always willing to give up an hour or two of his time to help Danny clear his head. The old ghost nodded and listened intently to Danny as the halfa talked about his concerns for his future-the future that Clockwork had given him another shot at. When Danny finished talking, Clockwork handed him a glass bottle of soda (where the heck did he pull this stuff from anyway?) and Danny guzzled it, feeling a little better.
"I just dont know what to do," Danny finished, holding the empty bottle in his hands. Clockwork made a thoughtful sound.
"You have several options," he replied. "The first would be to completely give up on ghost fightig altogether." At Danny's horrified look, he continued. "The second would be to give up school." That sounded even worse than the first one. "The third would be to get yourself a tutor; someone know knows about your situation and can help you focus and learn to prioritize."
Danny relaxed a little at that last suggestion; it sounded good, to be honest. But who did he know that was incredibly talented in all academic areas, knew his situation, and had the time to tutor him? Jazz was out; she was too busy working on her psychiatric degree on the other end of the States. "...That last one SOUNDS good," he said, runnin a hand through his hair. "...But it sounds TOO good. I dont know anyone who fits all of those qualifications."
Clockwork gave him a knowing smile. "I do," he replied. "He's a master at prioritizing, and incredibly intelligent. He can help you pull all of your grades up the first term, guaranteed. That is, if you're willing to work for it."
Danny nodded vigorously; he NEEDED those good grades. "I'm willing," he replied firmly. Clockwork's smile broadened.
"Come back here on Monday after school," he said. "Your tutor will be waiting."
"Thank you, Clockwork!" Danny exclaimed, resisting the urge to hug the Master of Time. Clockwork affectionately ruffled Danny's hair and sent the young halfa on his way home.
"Oh...dont thank me yet, young Daniel," he muttered to himself, vanishing out of his clock tower to pay someone a visit.
"IT'S DONE, FINALLY!"
The Ghostwriter held up a newly-finished book dramatically, happy that his new novel was FINALLY finished. It had taken four months and six rewrites to get it just right. He flew up to a shelf and carefully slid the book into a free slot, smiling as it glowed slightly. In just a few short days, his new book would be on the shelves of all the bookstores in the mortal world, and he was sure it would be a best-seller. He heaved a sigh and sat down on his couch, flexing his fingers to get the kinks out and picking up a book to read; tonight, it would be Tolkien.
The Ghostwriter shot up, his book nearly going airborne as he whipped around to see Clockwork hovering right behind him. He heaved a sigh and put hit book down. "Dont DO that!" he snapped. "You'll be the second death of me if you keep doing that!" Clockwork smiled apologetically.
"My apologies," he replied. "I had no intention of scaring you. I actually came to ask you for a favor." Ghostwriter perked up a little; Clockwork had been something of his mentor when he had first come to the Ghost Zone, and as long as the Master of Time didnt keep scaring the daylight savings time out of him, he was happy to do anything for him.
"What can I do for you?" he asked, sitting back down.
"I want to hire you as a tutor to...my protoge, you might say," he said. "He's an academically wayward boy who needs your organizational and educational skills." Ghostwriter arched a brow. "Oh, make no mistake, he's an intelligent boy," Clockwork continued. "But if he's to succeed, he needs help, and you're without a doubt the best man for the job."
Ghostwriter crossed his arms, thinking it over. "...Alright," he replied. "On one condition..."
"The missing pages of da Vinci's journals? Done." Ghostwriter smiled.
"So, who is the little wayward soul I'm meant to tutor?" he asked, picking Tolkien back up again.
The book slipped from Ghostwriter's hands and fell to the floor.
Danny could barely keep his focus durings school; it wasnt just that he was anxious to see who Clockwork got to tutor him, but also because he kept waiting for his ghost sense to go off at any moment. It was a paranoia that had developed that never really went away and although it was useful in keeping his reflexes sharp, it was an annoying distraction Danny wished he could get rid of.
Finally, the bell rang and Danny flew home immediately, calling his parents to tell them that he would be at the library, then instead flying into the Fenton Portal and to Clockwork's clock tower. He knocked politely, just as he always had, and Clockwork opened the door, smiling. "Good afternoon, Daniel," he said, letting Danny inside. "Did you bring your schoolbooks?"
"Yes, Sir," Danny replied, holding up his backpack. Clockwork nodded.
"Good," he replied,leading Danny up the stairs. "Now, I must tell you, Daniel, that the tutor I have for you is someone you dont have the best interaction with; however, he is the best and I want you to make a genuine effort with him. Can you do that?"
Danny nodded; if Clockwork actually went through the trouble to actually ask the person to tutor him, the LEAST he could do was cooperate. Clockwork smiled at Danny and led him through the door. Sitting down at a large table with what looked like a cup of coffee was the Ghostwriter.
...Somehow, Danny wasnt that surprised; someone who lived in a library and never left for anything HAD to be intelligent. Still, Clockwork was right; he hadnt had any interaction with him since the Christmas fiasco four years ago. ...On the other hand, thanks to Ghostwriter, he was enjoying the holidays more and appreciating his family and friends better... He just hoped Ghostwriter had forgiven him for destroying his poem...
Ghostwriter looked up when Clockwork entered the room with Danny, and couldnt prevent the scowl from appearing on his face. He STILL couldnt believe that he had been roped into tutoring the little urchin. And Clockwork had called this boy intelligent? From his experience, the kid was a few wicks short of a candelabra. But still, he had da Vinci's notebook papers within his grasp, and he wasnt going to let THOSE slip through his fingers. He gave Danny a curt nod as the halfa sat down across the table from him and gave him a nervous smile.
"I'll leave you boys alone," Clockwork said, grinning at the twin looks of horror from the two men in front of him. "Try not to ruin my tower." With that, he vanished.
Danny looked over at Ghostwriter, who was eyeing Danny like he was EXPECTING the halfa to start something. 'Well,' he thought, 'might as well break the ice...' "...Um...hi," he said awkwardly.
Ghostwriter arched a brow; my, how four years could change a person; the kid no longer sounded like a prepubescent boy. In fact, his voice combined with his still-boyish face was just...creepy, to say the least. "Hi," he replied disinterestedly. "What are your subjects?" he asked, trying to get this two hours with as quickly as possible.
Danny quickly dug into his backpack and pulled out a sheet of paper with his typed subjects and where the grades currently standed with each, and slid it over to Ghostwriter. The novelist picked the paper up and looked it over, his eyes widening with shock. WHY had Clockwork called this kid intelligent when the ONLY classes he was passing were Chemistry, Computer Science, and Phys. Ed.? He was about to roll over and die AGAIN at the Creative Writing and English grades. Two Ds! TWO!
The halfa noticed that Ghostwriter had acquired an interesting twitchin in his eye. Ghostwriter looked up from the paper, his green eyes flashing. "I have a question," he said tersely, "and answer me honestly. When was the last time you cracked a book open? Seriously."
'...That was just uncalled for,' Danny thought bitterly to himself. He scowled. "Yesterday," he replied, trying to keep the nastiness out of his voice. "We have to read 'Beowulf' for English class, and I finally had some off-time yesterday to read it."
"Really?" Ghostwriter said, putting the paper down. "Enlighten me, boy; how many pages did you get through?" Danny mumbled something incoherant. "What was that?"
"Three, alright!" Danny snapped. "Sunday was the only day this week I got any rest, and I spent most of it sleeping!" He folded his arms childishly on the table and put his head on them, scowling. Ghostwriter rubbed at his eyes under his glasses; this was going to be harder than he thought. He picked the paper back up and pulled a pen out of his pocket, then began writing things down on the paper.
Danny had History, English, Creative Writing, and Chemistry on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays; and Computer Science, Phys. Ed., and Mathematics (Algebra II) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It wasnt a hard schedule at all, to be honest. History, English, Creative Writing, and Algebra were Danny's worst subjects (three out of four ironically his top subjects). What intrigued him was Danny's passing low B in Chemistry; Chemistry included a lot of equations and numbers, and yet the boy was flunking Algebra (D-).
"You're terrible in Algebra," Ghostwriter commented. Danny scowled, but Ghostwriter ignored him. "You're literate, at least, so there's no reason for you to be flunking English. As for Creative Writing..." He shook his head. "I wont even go there. And History? It's remembering dates and what happened in those dates. Read a book. What time period are you studying?"
Danny ignored the commentary. "World War II," he replied. Ghostwriter's fingers clenched into the pen, a gesture Danny didnt fail to notice. "We dont go chronologically; we're skipping back to the French Revolution next month."
"Ridiculous," Ghostwriter muttered. "No wonder you're failing History; it should be taught chronologically. I'm quite sure foolish children nowadays cant tell the difference between the first two World Wars, if they take THAT approach." He pulled out a notebook from his satchel and began making notes. Danny sat in uncomfortable silence as Ghostwriter scribbled away. "What is your book list for English?" he asked after a moment.
Danny dug back into his bag and pulled out another sheet of paper that Lancer had given all of them and handed it to Ghostwriter.
"...'Beowulf', 'The Canterbury Tales', 'To Kill A Mockingbird', 'Odyssius', 'Hamlet', 'Moby Dick', and various poems and writings of Poe and Robert Frost." He sighed. "Starting low and working the way up to the hard things." He looked up at Danny. "Do you have these books with you?"
"No, we keep them at school," Danny said. "I only have 'Beowulf' at home because my sister had a copy of it." Ghostwriter scowled.
"How can they expect children to pass if they dont give the books out?" he asked himself. "Do they have copies at your library?"
"They're always checked out."
Huh, so the boy at least TRIED to find them. That was a start.
"Is it too late to erase and reinroll in classes?" he asked Danny. The halfa looked confused.
"Um...no, not really, but why...?"
"Drop Phys. Ed., you dont need it," Ghostwriter said. "Take up study hall instead. As for the books, I want you to go out and buy what's on your book list." Ignoring Danny's indignant stuttering, Ghostwriter wrote something else down and slid it over to Danny's side of the table. "Splurge on the complete works of Shakespear, Poe and Frost, it'll be worth it. I also want you to buy what's on this list; you need a planner, notebooks, pens, pensils, highlighters, and tabs."
Danny looked at the list, his head hurting from the calculations of what this was going to cost.
"You also need to do some extra work and reading," Ghostwriter went on, holding up his hand and making it glow a pinkish-purple. When the light faded, he was holding a small stack of books. He slid these over to Danny. "These will stay with me and will be used for tutoring only."
They were books on math theory and practice, History books on WWII and the French Revolution, and a book of practice subjects for Creative Writing. He gaped at Ghostwriter, who only stared back.
"From what Clockwork told me," he said, "you have no job and no prior responsibilities to keep you from your work. If you sacrifice meaningless free time in favor of studying and reviewing, then you will pass your courses with flying colors, I can guarantee it."
"But...I DO have other responsibilities!" Danny replied. Ghostwriter rolled his eyes.
"What, your ghost-fighting?" he asked. "Leave it to the Guys in White, the Red Hunter, and your parents. I'm sure they'll survive without you. If you're not getting paid to do it, then stop it. Passing your classes and graduating WILL pay off." He gave Danny a level stare. "We will meet for tutoring every day until the end of the term, then lessen it to three times a week after that. I dont HAVE to do this, you know; and I HATE having my efforts wasted for nothing."
Danny let out a shuddery sigh and looked down at his new responsibilities; it looked like a LOT. He would have to do a LOT of reading. But, what was it that Lancer said last year? Something about everything he needed to know was 90% reading? Yeah, that. He needed to make a decision now, and the mature decision would be to take Clockwork and Ghostwriter's advice and focus 99% on schoolwork; the other 1% on making sure the 99% didnt kill him.
"...Alright," Danny said, putting his new schedule changes and to-do list in his backpack. Ghostwriter nodded.
"Now, what's your homework for today?"
Urgh...-dies- Chapter 1, done, and out!