Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom. That's owned by Butch Hartman and Nickelodeon and whoever else lays claim to this awesome show.
First Danny Phantom fic. Gees, I'm scared. I adore this show, and I'm so, so sure I'm going to ruin it. *sigh* Well, what I'll ask of you is to tell me all the ways I suck so I can get better and not disgrace the fandom if I try again!
Danny was used to Jazz when she was in the house. She was his older sister who devoured psychology text books and had her one hundred and four percent stuck on the fridge next to his rare ninties. She was the one who defended him from dinner, both before and after he got his powers, with a strength and skill unexpected from a girl her size. Then she would make him cereal and tell him how this was going to scar him in the future and how she could help him start healing now if they could both talk for a while.
In school, though, Jazz was different. Not in personality, though. She was the same girl in that she was studious, made smart girl jokes and psychoanalyzed like mad. But, in school, he was the only one related to her. That meant having to face the fact that his sister was pretty. Not only that, but popular, with a short line of boys behind her that, unlike Paulina, she never flirted with and let down gently.
Then she would come up to him in the hall, and everyone would gawk but Tucker and Sam. She would do something sisterly like fix the books in his locker or ruffle his hair and smile. "Danny, I'm picking up Chinese tonight, since Mom and Dad are…cooking. What do you want?"
Still haunted by nightmares of ghostly hotdogs and hamburgers, he shuddered, and ducked when she tried to comfort him. He said, "Can I have eggrolls and pot stickers and the orange beef? Extra sauce."
"White rice or yellow?" she asked.
"I hate rice."
"Danny," she warned, because he wasn't developing properly, apparently, and she was very concerned over what he was eating. Clearly she was winding up for a lecture that would include the word puberty no less than twenty times, right in front of a large group of his peers.
"You choose," he muttered.
"And Mr. Lancer says he'll give you until the end of the day to turn in your homework." She sighed, ruffling his hair. "Do it for me, Danny?"
Then she was gone, and Dash was behind him. "Fenton, I will never understand how the two of you come from the same family."
"Sex Ed is next semester," Danny said flatly.
And Dash snickered, punching his shoulder in a way that was meant to be friendly but made his whole arm throb. "You should get some advice from your sister, Fenton. Learn how to be a popular girl."
Then he got shoved in a locker and has to wait until Tucker knocked twice so he knew it was safe to phase through. But, something Dash says stick out in his mind, and that night while things are exploding in the basement and their sucking down Chinese food, he asked, "How are you popular?"
Jazz giggled. "I'm not popular."
He snorts and argues, "When was the last time you were shoved in a locker?"
"It's different for girls, you know that. Sam's never been shoved in a locker ether."
"What do girls do?"
Jazz paused, eyeing him. "Doesn't Sam tell you?"
"What do they do to Sam?" He exploded, leaping to his feet. Sure, he had seen a few snide remarks from Paulina and a couple of the other popular girls, but nothing violent. He hadn't seen any bruises or marks, and he definitely hadn't seen Sam upset.
Jazz grabbed his arm, breathing only when his eyes changed back to blue. "It's just teasing, Danny, nothing she can't handle. Sit down."
"Sit down and I'll tell you how to be popular," she bribed.
He threw himself back in his chair, crossing his arms at her. "If you say something stupid, like being nice, I already tried that."
"It's luck, Danny."
"It's not looks, believe it or not. Standards change, especially in high school. And it's not personality because there's plenty of nice popular kids and plenty of mean unpopular kids. It's about being lucky enough to be good at what's popular, and what's popular at Casper High right now is being a cheerleader of a football player or being in a rock band. And that's not what you're good at, Danny. Your talents lie in, well, fighting ghosts."
"You're not a cheerleader," he says suspiciously.
"And I'm not popular. I'm just normal."
"You're always getting boys asking you out!"
"I'm pretty!" she snapped, crossing her arms back at him. Then, she calmed herself and took a deep breath. "Boys like me, but that's it. I'm not held to some golden standard like Angela or Marie or Paulina."
"Senior? Hot? Redheaded goddess of Casper High?" she asked, and when he shook his head she shrugged. "Maybe it's an upperclassman thing. Point is, Danny, you're fine. So stop worrying about it."
"Do they pick on you?" he asked lowly.
"They say I'm a nerd, and not that often." She rolled her eyes. "Just worry about your own bullies."
"What about Sam's?"
"She's also fine," Jazz emphasized, "but if you really want to help, you could try giving her compliments about how she dresses and acts and looks, and keep telling everyone you're not lovebirds. That might stop some rumors."
"There are rumors?" he asked.
"About you? All the time." She snorted. "I swear, Danny, if you would take five minutes just to listen, you'd know that you and Sam and Tucker are some of the hottest topics at Casper."
"Why? We're not-"
"You're different. That's what gets people talking and keeps their attention. That's why they keep coming back to you."
He smirked. "I thought Dash was just a jerk."
"That too," she amended.
"So how can I stop being different?" He paused. "Aside from the obvious."
"No one knows you're phantom. It's you. Your personality, the way you talk, the things you do, Danny. You're just different and you probably always will be. But that's what makes you famous, and that's way better than popular."
"Doesn't feel that way."
"It will, once you get older." She grinned as another explosion went off downstairs, then said rather cockily. "I got a perfect score on my English essay."
Danny sighed and settled into normalcy. "Lancer accepted my homework."
And there it is! I'm not sure where it falls on a scale of sucking, but I hope it's not too embarrassing.