Chapter One: A Brilliant Plan
Disclaimer: Nope, I still don't own DP.
"This sucks. Why do they have to charge twenty bucks a month to play online for the new Doomed?" groaned Tucker as he took a bite of his massive burger. It was about a half hour after school had gotten out, and as usual, he and Sam were at the Nasty Burger waiting for their friend. Once again Danny had been forced to ditch class to fight a ghost, and as per the norm, Mr. Lancer had handed him an all too familiar detention slip once he'd finally come back half an hour later.
"Because the developers are soulless, corporate jerks bent on making obscene amounts of money by taking advantage of children's clueless parents," replied Sam, and then she flashed him a brilliant grin. "And speaking of clueless parents, my mom and dad already agreed to pay for my subscription."
"Seriously?" said Tucker between bites. "How'd you manage that? Aren't they against the whole video games thing?"
"I promised my mom I'd attend one social a month with them if she paid for it," explained Sam, sounding a little bitter about it, "and that I'd wear a dress that wasn't black, too. Of course, that still leaves a lot of other dark colors that'll make her wish she'd never agreed to our little bargain, so it'll be worth it in the end."
"Wow, Sam," sighed the African American boy, for he'd only seen Sam succumb to such extremes like agreeing to hang out with her parents a few times, and usually it was for Danny's sake. Then again, maybe it still was. The goth girl had been in love with their clueless friend for a long time, and both Tucker and Sam knew that video games were one of the few breaks from reality that Danny had anymore. His life had slowly been turning into a never ending ghost fight, and it was rare when he got a full night of sleep or managed to get his homework done. Yet even with all of his responsibilities, they both still tried to make sure that he at least had some fun from time to time. "But my parents already refused."
"I know, I know," sighed Tucker. "My mom said that I need to take a little break from video games because she thinks that all I do anymore is goof off, that I don't know the meaning of the word "responsibility," and that I have an unhealthy attachment to technology. She actually tried to confiscate my new PDA last night! I mean, do you know how lonely Cindy would've been without me if my mom had thrown her in some drawer somewhere?"
"And your dad?" asked Sam, who couldn't help but find herself agreeing with Tucker's mom, at least a little bit. Techno geek or not, Tucker was sometimes disturbingly fond of his devices, and forcing him to take a break from it was probably for the best.
"Is staying safely out of the argument all together," he explained. "She said that if I wanted to play it, then I'll have to pay for it myself."
"Well, it's only like twenty bucks," said Sam. "You could do something like mow lawns or rake leaves and stuff."
"Actual physical labor?" he gasped, flashing Sam an overly exaggerated, horrified look as he took a bite out of his burger. "No way, Sam. Forget it."
"What about eating out less and using your allowance?" she advised, nodding pointedly at the burger.
"And give up one of my required daily doses of meat?" he scoffed, making her roll her eyes.
"Well, you have to do something, Tucker," said Sam, and just then their third friend sat down at the table, a box of cheesy fries and a huge soda in hand. His bright blue eyes had dark circles surrounding them, a clear sign of his lack of sleep, and his slightly shaggy, black hair seemed even more disheveled than usual.
"Hey, guys," he mumbled, obviously exhausted as he slumped down in his chair and downed about half his soda in one gulp. "Any ghost attacks while I was out?"
"Nope," said Tucker. "You okay, dude? You look pretty awful."
"I fell asleep in detention and Lancer called my parents," he grumbled as he took a bite of his fries. "Which means that once again I'm going to get a lecture about responsibility and bringing up my grades and stuff that I'm just not in the mood to listen to, and I've got yet another detention for tomorrow to make up for the one that I fell asleep in today. You think by now Lancer would realize that the detentions aren't going to change anything."
"Hey, he needs to feel like he's doing something, right, and making students miserable is the one thing he's an expert at," teased Tucker, but Danny just glared at him, obviously not in the mood to talk about it much.
"Oh . . . Well, Tucker and I were talking about the new Doomed," said Sam, pointedly changing the subject. "Think your parents will pay for it if you bring your grades up?"
Danny shook his head and chuckled grimly. "Nope. Besides, what are the odds that I'll actually be able to? The semester's more than half over, and I've barely got a 'D' in most of my classes. I'll be lucky to pass."
"But you still want to play, right?"
"Well, duh," he chuckled. "I need to have some fun, right?"
"Exactly," said Tucker. "Which means that we need to come up with a way to earn enough money to pay the monthly subscription fee, one which involves little to no manual labor and easy hours."
"Did you have something in mind?" asked Danny, eyeing his friend, and just then Paulina Sanchez came striding in through the door to the Nasty Burger, instantly making Danny forget everything else. Today she was wearing a bright pink shirt, but instead of her usual top, this one had Danny Phantom's famous DP logo stamped on the front of it. Even though Danny had long since learned that girls like Paulina weren't worth an ounce of his time, he couldn't deny that she was still incredibly beautiful and captivating, and that the DP logo was well-placed . . .
"Wow, Paulina, I really like your t-shirt," said Starr, tossing her blond hair over her shoulder and breaking Danny out of his thoughts, and Valerie merely glowered beside her. "Do you think I could get one?"
"Well, my papa had them specially made and stuff for all members of the Danny Phantom Phan Club," she explained, batting her eyelashes at some cute guy sitting at the counter that had been checking her out, "and so all members will get one. Well, all the cool, official members will get one. I don't want to end up wearing the same thing as a loser."
The popular girl's eyes drifted over to Danny and his friends as she said the word "loser," which, of course, was hardly surprising. The trio had been at the bottom of the social ladder for years now, and the odds of that changing were only slightly better than the odds of Danny bringing his grades up. After all, Sam might've been rich, but she was just that creepy goth chick; Tucker was the desperate techno geek; and Danny was just the scrawny loser from that weird family as well as the favorite punching bag of their town's football star, Dash Baxter.
"Why the hell do you want anything to do with that ghost, anyway?" growled Valerie. "He's just a creep."
"He's not a creep, he's dreamy," sighed Paulina, practically swooning. "And someday we're going to be married. Now that I'm wearing his symbol, he'll just have to notice me and go out on a date with me and stuff."
"Hey, that's it!" exclaimed Tucker loudly, earning a few curious looks and glares, and wincing he looked back at his best buddy with a conspiratorial grin. Whispering, he said, "I know how we can earn some money, dude."
"Paulina really wants to meet Danny Phantom, right?" said Tucker slowly, and Danny had a bad feeling about where this was going since he'd also been listening to the girls when Tucker had had his "epiphany." "A lot of girls do, actually. So what if we charged them, say, twenty bucks for the chance to hook up with Danny Phantom for an evening of fabulous romance?"
Snorting, Sam almost spat out her ultra low fat soy latte all over the table. "Wait, what?"
"I'm serious," said Tucker. "We charge twenty bucks for a date with Danny Phantom. Two dates a month means that we're both covered, and in the mean time, you get to go out with some of the hottest chicks in town."
"They're women, Tucker," said Sam, scowling. "They might be shallow, mentally challenged women, but they're still women and they're certainly not chicks."
"Fine, then," he said. "They're super hot women who would definitely pay twenty bucks for a date with Danny Phantom."
"You know, Tuck, that might actually work . . ." said Danny slowly as he chewed on one of his fries.
"You have got to be kidding me," Sam scoffed. "You're actually considering letting Tucker whore you out like that?"
"What? That's ridiculous, Sam, he's not going to have sex with them," chuckled Tucker, giving a glance to Danny that clearly said unless you want to have sex with them. "Just a date. It's as innocent as a kissing booth, and it's a chance for Danny to get his good name out there and let the ladies learn a little bit more about him. Twenty bucks for a night under the stars with Danny Phantom . . . Hell, we could even limit it to an hour and I'm sure they'd pay for it. Oh! Or we could do like a speed dating thing, y'know? Have a twenty dollar entrance fee to get in, and then have whoever he picks as the winner go out on a date with him. That way he can pay the internet fees for the new Doomed and still be a gentleman by picking up the tab for dinner or whatever."
"Yeah, because there'll be nothing suspicious about Danny Phantom eating food," said Sam, rolling her eyes. "This is ridiculous, Tucker."
"I'll do it," said Danny, and Sam gave him a dark look. "What? I could use a little extra money, and besides, it'd be nice to get to know some of my fans."
"They're not fans, Danny, they're stalkers, and you're just going to give them a reason to keep coming after you. Haven't you ever heard of feeding stray cats? Same idea, only a lot worse because one of these stupid cats could blow your secret," Sam complained, but the two boys ignored her as they made their plans. It was a brilliant scheme, after all, and letting out a disgusted sigh, Sam cleared her things and left the boys there, waiting for the moment when it would all blow up in their face and she would be able to tell them "I told you so" without feeling a hint of remorse.
A/N: Hi, guys! I know it's been a while (ages) since I've posted anything . . . and for those of you reading my other stuff, you may be less than thrilled that I've decided to write something else rather than work on those stories. Sorry about that. But I've had the idea to do this for a long time (ever since I first read ghostanimal's challenge like a year ago), I have most of this plotted and sketched out, and I kind of wanted to write a sort of fluffy, cheerier story since things haven't been great and I could use a little humor and happiness in my life right now. I'm not abandoning things by any stretch, but with the exception of this and maybe my one-shots, I'm not making any promises about updating soon or anything like that, okay?
And yes, that does mean that you can expect another update for this within the week, as well as one for my one-shots.
Anyway, this story is mostly rated 'T' just for occasional language, and it is a response to ghostanimal's old challenge. It is DannyxValerie as well, so please bear that in mind, and if you don't like that pairing, then DON'T READ the story. I don't need anyone sending me flames about how they hate that pairing, or questioning why I would ever dare to put those two together, and so on and so on, so please, don't waste my time or yours crying over something that I'm not going to change.
Any other constructive criticism, questions, or just fluff, however, would be greatly appreciated, so please review!
'Til next time!