So...because I've got an obscene number of people asking me this...
NO SEQUEL IS PLANNED.
It was going to be a good day, Danny decided.
A couple of especially irritating ghosts had kept him up half the night, which was not so awesome. But he had managed to get all of his homework done in the evening! And that was definitely awesome.
And, by some miracle, he actually made it to school on time, sliding into his seat several seconds before the bell rang. Tucker looked up from his PDA, giving Danny a grin and a thumbs up. Danny returned them enthusiastically, because it was Friday, he was on time and prepared for school, and absolutely nothing could ruin this glorious, sunshine-y day!
Five minutes later, of course, he was ready to slam his forehead into the desk. Forcefully and repeatedly.
"Today, class, we're starting a new unit on symbolism! Now, in addition to reading all those wonderful books like The Scarlet Letter and Great Gatsby, you'll all be doing a group project on—shall we say—current events..."
Lancer looked far too excited about symbolism as he stood in front of the class, nearly bouncing on the balls of his feet as he looked around. There was absolutely no reaction; as Danny glanced around as well, he saw Dash making spitballs, Mikey being hit by said spitballs, Paulina fixing her makeup, Valerie fast asleep on her pile of textbooks...
"Lord of the Flies, people! I haven't even told you what it's about yet!"
The only answer, of course, was a yawn from someone in the front and the faint clicking of Tucker's PDA. "Well, I guess I just won't let you do a project on Danny Phantom, then. We'll have to talk about the significance of Hawthorne's color scheme..."
The results, of course, were instantaneous. Valerie shot awake as if she had a personal Phantom alarm; Dash jerked so badly that his spitball hit Star instead; Tucker looked up with wide eyes, apparently forgetting his record-breaking game of Snake.
"Aha!" Lancer looked far too pleased with himself as he strode to the projector, turning it on with a click. A grainy, unflattering picture of Danny appeared on the white board; an angry expression adorned his face as he charged an ectoblast. "Now, I'm sure you all know who this is—"
"It's the ghost boy!" Paulina's utter derision of authority seemed to be squashed in favor of eye-raping a picture of Danny.
(...That sounded so wrong.)
"He loves me! He saves me from ghosts and he'll carry me into the sunset like a princess and—"
Danny let his forehead hit the desktop while Tucker snickered quietly next to him. "Yes, thank you, Miss Sanchez. But returning to the assignment...since Phantom is such an iconic citizen of Amity Park, I've decided to make this unit a bit more—hip—by..."
Danny zoned out at this point, because really, Lancer was pretty much the most boring person ever. He lifted his head from his desk and began doodling on a scrap of paper...Vlad getting wasted by Walker getting destroyed by Skulker getting defeated by the Box Ghost...
Suddenly, Tucker's snickers from next to him increased in volume, and Danny looked up, wondering and almost caring about what he missed. "This will be due in exactly one week, so pick your groups and get started!" Lancer was saying, flopping gracelessly into his chair.
Danny glanced at his picture on the board, hoping for some sort of clue of what was going on. There were arrows pointing to different parts of his body (he felt rather violated), but before he could read more, Tucker grabbed his arm, a huge, ominous grin still on his face. "So are you ready to—uh—analyze Phantom?"
"What?" Analyze himself? This was English, not psychology...although, maybe he could bribe Jazz into doing the project for them—
And then he connected the dots. English. Symbols. Phantom. Analyze.
His head met the the desk again with a resounding thump.
That evening, after sending the Box Ghost to the Ghost Zone for the twentieth time that week, Danny, Tucker, and Sam were all congregated in Danny's bedroom, staring at each other.
"He wants us to—analyze my color scheme and personality, and explain why I may have based them off a literary character? Is he nuts?"
"Well, we've been thinking that for a while now," Tucker agreed conversationally. "It's just that, you know, fifteen percent of our grade depends on making stuff up about you."
"And I don't suppose 'because that's how he is' would cut it."
"Of course not! That would stopper our creative juices, Danny."
It was a lot harder than he thought it would be, making things up about himself. You'd think, with the secret identity...but this was just a whole new level of weird.
Sam was Googling characters that they could BS something about being similar to Danny, and the boys were left to BS something about his jumpsuit. "It's all monochrome...could we do something with that?" Tucker offered, staring over at Danny critically. He had changed to his ghost form in the hope that inspiration would strike...
No luck yet.
"Like what? That I'm from the fifties?" Sure, it'd definitely throw everyone off track, but he wasn't sure he wanted to be thought of as someone who said "absotively posilutely."
(Any more than he already was, anyway. Damn Poindexter...)
"No, like...you've got one goal. Or something. If you were colorful, you'd have tons of different places to protect, like hero-ADD!"
Danny considered this. It wasn't too terrible of an idea...they could definitely do worse. "Fine, write it down...maybe he'll buy it."
Tucker laughed and scribbled onto the looseleaf between them. "Maybe he'll pass us if we just bring in Phantom and have him tell the class what his jumpsuit really means..."
"While I go to the bathroom in the middle of a presentation?" Unless he went through the Ghost Catcher again—a rather trippy experience he was not willing to repeat—or could somehow be in two places at once...
Tucker and Sam were grinning at him.
Friday came much faster than any of them would have liked. After a week of near-nonstop practice, Danny had finally been able to maintain a duplicate, if only for a couple minutes... But just in case, Sam had a poster rolled up in her locker.
Danny still wanted to punch Lancer for assigning this stupid project, though.
Dash and crowd went first, lugging a badly-made poster to the front. Pictures of Danny were taped on, and football jerseys were Photoshopped—badly—on top of him.
He barely kept from letting his poor, abused head hit the desktop once again.
Their speech, while loud and relatively entertaining with mimed reenactments, really had nothing to do with the assigned topic. Until—"And in that last game, we threw a thirty-yard pass for the touchdown! ...And Phantom's awesome because he's brave and strong and the football team would be even more awesome with him on it."
As they all took their seats, looking quite proud of themselves, Danny finally let his head drop in despair.
Valerie, of course, was next.
Just his luck.
Somehow, she had gotten stuck in the same group as Paulina...and even Danny, unskilled in the ways of woman-folk, knew that was a bad thing. Half of the poster was pink, purple, and sparkly, while the other half was dark and showed the Red Huntress doing some rather awful things to him. Lancer opened and closed his mouth a few times before shaking his head and waving at them to go.
"The ghost boy is wonderful and beautiful and perfect and—"
"He's a blob of ectoplasm only out for his own benefit—"
"—who loves me and will marry me someday and we will have beautiful—"
"—and doesn't care about any of the citizens of Amity Park, only about his ego—"
Danny was torn between laughing and crying as the speech/debate continued. Valerie, while up against three A-listers, was holding her own, her voice rising to near-painful volumes as they went on.
"Thank you, Miss Gray, Miss Sanchez. Please take your seats..." Lancer finally cut them off; he looked nearly as frazzled as Danny felt. He almost—almost—felt bad for the man, until he remembered that he was the one who assigned the project in the first place.
The girls sat down again, all looking distinctly disgruntled, and Danny wondered vaguely if anyone actually followed the guidelines for this ridiculous assignment. Neither of the groups so far...
Mikey and a couple of other nerds went next, and Danny was so surprised by their evaluation of his mental state that he could only stare. He wondered vaguely if Jazz had helped them out with this, because it was just ridiculous. They had taken the assignment seriously—way too seriously—and the results were almost laughable. They were talking with such authority, as if they knew everything there was to know about Danny Phantom... Yes, of course you know more about me than I do.
"...The insignia on his chest represents a need to be known and loved..."
"...Everyone hating him will only make his insecurity worse..."
Lancer actually looked mildly impressed by their presentation, and Danny saw him scrawl what looked like an A on the evaluation form. He thought he might have been more impressed with it, though, if they hadn't made such ridiculous assumptions.
He was pretty sure he wasn't that insecure...the DP was courtesy of Sam in a rare moment of girliness, and while the hatred did kind of piss him off, it wasn't like he was about to go crying about it to anyone, as they implied.
(He resolved to ask Jazz about it later.)
Unfortunately, the three of them were next, and they strolled casually to the front, not a poster in sight. "Mister Fenton, where is your visual aid?"
"We've—uh—got a more practical one. I'm going to have to go outside to get it, though..." He walked toward the door and sent his best winning smile at Mr. Lancer, who eyed him suspiciously but said nothing.
Danny made it out and back in record time; Mr. Lancer looked honestly surprised that he had returned at all. But as he held the door wider, letting in—his other self (it was so bizarre)—his eyes nearly popped out of his head.
"Uh...hi," he said, waving with a grin at the class. "Danny said he needed my help with a school project...?"
Really, it was just supposed to be a short question and answer session, because Danny couldn't hold his concentration for all that long. (Maybe the hero-ADD idea had some merit.) But Danny had barely had time to say something about how the jumpsuit was the one he died in, and how his eyes had always been green, so clearly there wasn't anything symbolic about him at all...
It turned into chaos almost immediately when Valerie pulled out an ectogun, Paulina pulled out a Sharpie and some sort of undergarment, and Dash pulled out a football.
Needless to say, the wrong Danny ducked all three.
All hell broke loose.
Normally, Danny wouldn't have minded having Paulina's—ahem—on his head, but he couldn't see, people were yelling and running everywhere, and Valerie had a gun.
He ripped the offending garment off, looking around wildly. Mr. Lancer was wrestling with Valerie for her ectogun, and the rest of the students had backed up against the wall, looking utterly terrified...all except Danny Fenton, who only looked vaguely comatose, leaning against Sam's shoulder after she pulled him away from the fight.
He was just about ready to go invisible, return the duplicate to his original body before this got any worse, but Valerie got a clear shot and fired. So caught up in making Fenton look less like a zombie, Danny did not have time to make Phantom dodge, and it hit him square in the chest, sending him flying into the wall—
Right next to Fenton.
There was silence for a moment as both Dannys struggled to stand up, look alive, prepare for another attack because hell did those ectoblasts hurt. He looked around, ready to start damage control, ready to take this outside so at least the others didn't get hurt—
But everyone was only staring at him—both hims—with strange expressions. Sam and Tucker moaned from next to him, and he suddenly understood.
This is not good.
This is very not good.
Something seemed to be twitching in Lancer's left eye as his gaze snapped from Fenton to Phantom. Valerie dropped her ectogun, her eyes wide. Dash looked vaguely constipated—oh wait, he must have been thinking. Huh...
But, back to the (very pressing) task at hand... Even invisibility wouldn't salvage this situation. The damage had already been done. He felt his Phantom duplicate pop out of existence as his concentration was shot; he only stared around at them all, waiting for someone to say something. Maybe the overarching stupidity that seemed to plague Amity Park would hold up, because really how many times had he transformed in public—
But the looks they're giving him—
Nope. It's over.