Danny Fenton, one of Casper High's Invisibles, was shoved quite painfully into his locker. He was at least a head shorter than every other male in his year (which he was quite paranoid about, what if it had something to do with the portal accident?), which made him an automatic target to those who picked on the weak and defenseless. Which explained his current predicament. It was almost tradition for one of the jocks to shove him into something in the locker room by now, a tradition Danny had loathed since he started in Casper High as a freshman.
But Danny was far from defenseless. Dash Baxter may have been taller than him by far and at least twice his width, but the blonde had never been in a real fight. He would probably never understand how to use small size as an advantage, or how winning is not always about strength, but agility and precision. Dash was able to pick on Danny easily since even before they entered high school, but midway into their freshman year, unbeknownst to him, he could no longer actually hurt his favorite victim.
It was Irony, Danny thought, with a capital "I". For over a year he had the ability to repay his least favorite tormenter tenfold, yet he couldn't. If he dared to show even an ounce of his true power, his greatest secret would be in jeopardy. Someone might make the connection between Invisible Danny Fenton and Quite-Famous Danny Phantom.
One year and two months had passed since the day when Danny Fenton could fight back. He'd gained ghostly power, in exchange for the responsibility of fighting off every evil ghost that went after him or Amity Park. Danny was stuck somewhere between life and death, and was still very much afraid of being rejected from the human world should they ever find out his secret.
There had definitely been close calls. Danny was very lucky that his parents hadn't figured him out the first few months when he still had trouble falling through floors and turning randomly invisible. He was very lucky that the only person to ever see him transform (besides his best friends Sam and Tucker, who were in on the secret from the beginning) was Jazz, his sister who chose to keep his secret safe. Danny's entire career of fighting ghosts was based on luck, good and bad.
So Dash could never really hurt Danny anymore. In fact, the only reason for Danny's outburst of pain was because he had obtained a very nasty bruise on his shoulder from his archrival, Plasmius, just two days previous.
Another rather negative side effect of Danny's secret was his grades. Ghost hunting took up time, and most spooks weren't exactly courteous about when they decided to show up. They hadn't been nearly as much of an issue in freshman year, since Grade Nine classes did not actually count toward his graduation credits and his teachers took pity on him. However, now Danny was a sophomore, so teachers could not be so lenient. He needed to pass desperately, but late nights of Ghost Patrol meant later nights of homework, which meant he was barely scraping by. This included his current class, Wellness 10.
The class was having a game period today, since their teacher Ms. Tetslaf (he refused to call her Mrs. because he refused to believe she was married) decided to give them a break after a grueling fitness test. Which she had just marked. She wasn't happy.
"Class!" she boomed. Everyone gathered around her, slightly winded from their warm up laps. This year the gym classes were separated by gender, so Danny was without Sam, and Tucker had been very ill today (which had nothing at all do to with the fitness test, Danny was sure.), so Danny was forced to stand awkwardly alone, as far away from Dash as possible.
"You're all a disgrace!" she yelled to the wary students, who had already experienced her temper from freshman year, "Only two of you," a nod to Dash and Kwan, "managed to pull even a pass from the first fitness test this year—"
"—And this!" she concluded dramatically, holding up her marking sheet, "is no improvement!"
"I know most of you are just a bunch of lazy layabouts," she continued in her masculine voice, "but I don't want to deal with you for another year after this! So today, we're going to do something special," and now a terrifying grin appeared on her face. A couple of band nerds backed away fearfully.
"Dodge ball!" she roared. Unable to help himself, Dash snorted.
"You may think it's funny Mr. Baxter, but your mark depends on this game," a startled look appeared on the jock's face, "for every hit you take, you will lose three marks and be forced to do a lap around the gym, and when you hit your opponent, you will gain four marks," she glared, "no one should be incapable of this, since the only reason you have all been failing is from lack of effort!"
This may have inspired another class to try harder, but this class just looked more defeated. With the exception of Dash and Kwan, the entire class was made of band nerds and techno geeks (and Danny). None of them were physically capable of keeping up with the jock standard that had been established from the first fitness test, and all were now thinking of how low their marks would sink after they completely failed Ms. Tetslaf's expectations.
To Danny however, this was an unexpected rose. All he had to do was dodge soft balls flying less then half the speed of the average ecto-blast, and land a few hits on some nerds who were more stationary than Technus on one of his rambling spiels. This rose had thorns however, he realized, since showing any sort of physical prowess was a sure-fire way to get discovered. Despite the alarm bells ringing in the back of his head, Danny knew he had to take the risk. He really needed this credit.
Dash and Kwan were made team captains of course, since putting them on the same team was too unfair for even Ms. Tetslaf to consider. Kwan unexpectedly picked Danny first, but based on the looks the two jocks shared they were only picking losers for the other to slaughter, and Danny had always been Dash's property. 'Typical,' thought Danny.
The game commenced. Kwan, without his favorite target (Tucker), just began picking off nerds on Dash's side with carefully aimed throws to the head. This was, of course, an illegal move, but he knew that if he forced one of them out then they would spend the next ten minutes walking around the gym at a crawling pace, and he would be left without a target. Ms. Tetslaf was easily avoided with an obvious excuse ("I'm sorry Ms. Tetslaf, but they're just so small.") that she either bought or didn't care either way.
Dash had an entirely different tactic. He was quick to pick off every person on Kwan's team except for its captain and, of course, Danny. Most victims just sighed dejectedly and started their slow march around the game space. Danny hadn't realized this, since he was busy picking off players properly a good distance away from Dash.
'Alright Fenton, take it slow,' he told himself, concentrating, 'They're not ghosts, no need to go all out,' and as gently as he could, he threw a ball, which quickly slammed into Nathan's stomach, knocking him over. Danny winced, and Nathan stared at him incredulously. Fortunately for Danny, Nathan seemed to chock it up as a fluke, and went to start his lap, still rubbing his bruised stomach.
Despite being unprepared, Danny still heard the whistle of a ball flying closer and closer to his head, and managed to duck, the fastball scraping his hair before nailing one of the kids doing laps. He was barely able to stop himself from thrusting out his arm to shoot an ecto-blast back to the source of the attack, which was one Dash Baxter. Dash had prepared for a fluke dodge, however, and was already throwing his second projectile.
Danny dodged again. And again. Dash wasn't quarterback on the senior football team for nothing, so Danny's skillful dodges were getting attention. The jock pulled a double throw, making Danny dodge his slower left-handed throw then trying to nail him with his right since the shorter boy shouldn't have been able to stop his momentum in time to dodge again. Danny knew this, he could see the ball coming as if in slow motion, and he knew he couldn't dodge it without using supernatural speed.
So he caught it.
Dash was out.
A nervous sweat broke out on Danny's brow at his close call, but he knew he was in for it now. Dash's shocked face quickly turned into one of rage as he quickly began to sprint his lap. Danny knew he didn't have long, so he took out a couple more shell-shocked geeks he knew liked playing Magic cards and was able to grab another ball before Dash was back, barely winded. By then a few of the first boys hit were back, but they were doing nothing but staring at Dash's angry face and Danny's nervous one, which made them perfect shields for Danny and useless to Dash.
Danny was worried. Dash wouldn't stop until he dealt Danny a good finishing blow, which needed to be avoided if Danny wanted to improve his mark. One wrong move, one dodge or throw that seemed a little too not human, and Danny could bet that Tetslaf would phone his parents who would get a medical examination, and doctors with needles would take blood, and—
That couldn't happen. He refused to let it happen. So he lay back, ducking behind other kids and occasionally trying to take out someone on the opposite side other than Dash, since the first time he got Dash out ended in suspicion from his peers. He thanked whoever was watching, Clockwork probably, that this was an all-boys class (Except for Tetslaf, he wasn't sure about her gender yet.). If Valerie were there she would have been on to him like the Box Ghost on cardboard.
"Nerds!" raged Dash to the twelve or so kids standing throughout his side of the gym. They all started when he yelled at them, as if they were surprised to be talked to, "Grab a ball, all of you!"
They all complied, knowing defiance meant a beating after school behind the dumpsters, especially with the uncontrolled rage showing on Dash's face. A few of them stared at the balls in their hands like they never held one before. Most stared at Dash, wondering what he was doing. Dash had picked up two balls himself.
"Alright, on three you're all going to throw a ball at Fenturd at the same time, got it?" he snapped. There were a few nods, but most just looked nervously across the gym at Danny, who was alone now except for Kwan, who had taken to kicking balls across the gym so Dash could have them instead of Danny.
Danny knew what was coming when he saw all of his opponents raise their projectiles as one. The only ones left on his side of the gym were himself and Kwa—oh wait, just him. Kwan had started a lap around the gym in a stroll, grinning at the soon-to-be victim.
Conveniently, Kwan had removed himself right after kicking every ball on his side across the gym. Danny grumbled something that sounded like "suffering spooks" before backing up a step. No shields, no balls, nowhere to run.
They all fired at once. Dash's left-armed throw was still faster than everyone else's, so Danny was able to catch it with an extra second to spare. There was only one thing for it. He jumped.
Gravity and physics have a much different effect on ghosts than humans. Consequently, when a certain half-ghost tried to jump just above the range of projectiles, he ended up higher. A good ten feet higher.
Dash's second emergency fastball was never thrown. He was to busy gaping, like the rest of the class, up at Invisible Danny Fenton who was currently at the top of a record-breaking height. Even Ms. Tetslaf was gaping, her pen dropping from her loose grasp.
When Danny landed with a look of panic in his blue eyes, several things happened at once. Tetslaf's jaw snapped shut and a suspicious glare appeared on her face. The majority of students, starting with Nathan, began to applaud. Only Dash and Kwan remained unchanged, both still sporting a look that resembled a gold fish.
Then the bell rang, and Danny fled, red faced, to the locker room. Invisible Danny Fenton wasn't so Invisible anymore. Inside, he was trying not to panic.
"Get a hold of yourself, Fenton," he mumbled to himself, intangibly reaching for his things since no one else had come in yet, "Your just gonna have to live with it."
His little pep talk to himself seemed to do the trick, and he felt the feeling of panic melt away. People would be more suspicious if he acted like it was unnatural to jump fifteen feet in the air, so he would just have to play it cool. Right. He'd tell everyone that he'd received some ghost training from his parents, and it had made him more agile. Yeah, that might work. Maybe Tetslaf wouldn't call his parents if she thought they knew about it already.
Not a chance in hell, but it was this thought that kept him calm, kept him going. Staying positive was his only defense right now.
And for the first time, he realized as he walked to Mr. Lancer's English class, no one had shoved him against a locker after gym class.
Done for deadlydaisy8o8 and her challenge fic titled OMG another Challenge!
Because I felt like it. :D