I do not own Danny Phantom or the other things referenced in the following fan fiction.
Ectoplasm on a School Night
The bells of Casper High rang shrilly, signaling the end of the day. The last period English class shared a collective sigh of relief as each student stooped to collect their books and attempted to rush out the door before –
"Remember, class, we are going to discuss the readings over chapter nine and ten tomorrow. Come prepared!" The balding teacher called over the ruckus before the first desperate student managed to reach the door. The majority of the class groaned and slumped, wishing it were Friday already.
"Aw man," one blonde jock groaned as he passed the teacher's desk, "Why do we have to read tonight? I've got practice later."
Mr. Lancer rolled his eyes at his bemoaning students. Honestly, you'd think he'd told them to write the Scarlet Letter rather than read it. His gaze left the door and swept across the room before it fell on a certain black-haired, blue-eyed student who was busy gathering up his books to leave.
"Mr. Fenton," Lancer called, waving the boy forward, "Aren't you forgetting something?" He shouldn't have to remind the Fenton boy of his detention; he had abruptly asked to leave class and had not returned until well after lunch. It was the third extended disappearance this week and Mr. Lancer was beginning to consider revising his rules for bathroom breaks during the class period.
The youth slouched to a desk in the front row, waving off his two friends. He mumbled something along the lines of 'meet you guys later for homework' putting an odd strain on the word and sat down. The Goth girl and bespectacled boy waved their goodbyes and reluctantly left their friend alone in the classroom.
Mr. Lancer pulled out a stack of papers he had yet to grade and groaned internally. If his students only knew the pain of grading their homework, they would perhaps understand that he took no pleasure in assigning it. Though, it usually helped when the students had done more than read the summaries online. 'Fahrenheit 451! These people don't know how to appreciate the classics anymore.' The instructor mentally sighed at the tragedy and looked back up to his troublesome charge.
"Forty-five minutes and you are free to go, Mr. Fenton. I suggest you get a good start on your homework." And perhaps finish it. He added silently, pitying the teen. Though Mr. Lancer tended not to show it well, he was concerned for the young Fenton. He knew that Daniel – he preferred Danny, Lancer remembered vaguely – was struggling outside of the classroom. He suspected bullying was a factor – well, perhaps more than suspected – but knew that there must be more to it. What "more" there was exactly, he did not know. He certainly wasn't going to snoop around and point fingers; that wasn't his place.
Daniel nodded absently, selected a the small, beat-up novel from his stack of books, and, resting his head on one hand, began flipping through the brown and green stained pages. Lancer shook his head at the sight; the book looked like it had recently been thrown into a mud puddle. He was tempted to chastise the boy for being so careless with school property, but stopped short. Daniel was already in detention, he reasoned, no need to make things more unpleasant or distract his progress. Choose your battles wisely, Lancer mused and returned his attention to the dreaded grading.
The two passed the time quietly; only the sound of turning pages and pen scratching interrupted the deathly silence. At twenty until the hour, Mr. Lancer sighed heavily and tucked his finished grading away. He turned to inform his student he could go and frowned. The boy's bangs hid his eyes, but the teacher knew full well that he had fallen asleep... again. His hand supported his head loosely and a telltale drop of drool hung off of his chin. Mr. Lancer stood and, after gathering up his belongings in his briefcase, walked over to the slumbering teen and glanced at the still open novel. His eyes widened and he smiled at the pleasant surprise. He's read through chapter eleven. The teacher rocked back on his heels, happy to know his student was honestly making an effort to do well.
Figuring it was high time to free Daniel from this torture chamber of education – Lancer rolled his eyes at his own sarcasm – he tapped the boy's desk.
"Mr. Fenton, you're free to go–,"
"What!" The boy shot out of his chair, balling his hands into fists and startling Mr. Lancer. He looked around with still sleep-clouded eyes, "Ghost? W-where's the ghost?"
"Uh, no. No ghost." Mr. Lancer waved a hand defensively and took a step back.
"Hm?" Danny blinked several times to clear the sleep from his eyes and absent-mindedly brushed the drool off of his chin. His eyes found his teacher and widened in recognition. "Oh.. Oh! Sorry Mr. Lancer," he said as he rubbed his elbow in embarrassment. "I, uh, my parents must be getting to me. You know, with all their talk about… ghosts?" He finished uncertainly.
Mr. Lancer relaxed and straightened out his ruffled shirt. He nodded and chuckled awkwardly. "This town can get to you after a while," he agreed sympathetically. He didn't want to begin to imagine living under the same roof as the town's official ghost hunters where the mere mention of ghosts would set off the elder Fentons. Mr. Lancer inwardly winced at the memory of various parent-teacher conferences that seemed to always include Daniel's boisterous father, Jack, blathering on about ghosts and hunting them. It was no wonder the boy was so jumpy. He tucked away that line of thought and went to retrieve his classroom key from a desk drawer.
"Uh, yeah. I guess it -." Danny gasped and Lancer turned back to him to see him shiver and tense slightly.
"Are you alright, Daniel?" It was nearly summer and a hot breeze had been warming the classroom throughout the day. There was no way it was cold enough to make a person shiver and… see his breath?
"Uh, yeah. Fine." Danny quickly gathered his things and smiled nervously. "Just remembered I promised to be home early today. So, bye!" He dashed out of the room, dropping a piece of paper as he ran though the doorway. Lancer, convinced he imagined seeing his student's breath, saw the paper fall and stooped to pick it up. It was a half-finished homework assignment.
"Mr. Fenton!" Lancer called, stepping out into the hall, "You dropped…" The youth was nowhere to be seen. Mr. Lancer sighed and looked more closely at the assignment in his hand. It looked to be due that Thursday… Mr. Lancer looked up and down the eerily empty hall again and made up his mind. Grabbing his briefcase and quickly locking the classroom, he rushed to the front of the school. Daniel had enough trouble turning in his homework; losing it wouldn't do him any good.
Mr. Lancer burst through the front doors with a force that surprised even himself and searched the front lot for his black-haired student. No luck. The boy was gone.
"Fast." Lancer mumbled to himself, trying to catch his breath. He cracked his stiff back and winced. Shows me what I get when I try to help a student, he thought. He tucked the assignment in his briefcase resolving to give it to the youngest Fenton the next day. Taking one last glance around the school grounds, he started walking down to his car when
The sound of glass shattering and a great rumble filled the air. Lancer dove to the ground and frantically searched for the source of the sound. A resonating boom! shook the ground and the teacher covered his head with his briefcase as bits of rubble fell around him. When the ground settled, Lancer looked up and yelped in surprise. A dark object flew past him and crashed into the ground, creating its own small crater.
"Ow. Going intangible probably would have been a good idea." The dark object – no! The town's ghostly hero – climbed out of his hole and rubbed his aching head.
Mr. Lancer's jaw dropped. It was Danny Phantom in the flesh – well, maybe not… do ghosts have flesh? – and he was hardly three feet away. Lancer was so completely shocked to find himself so close to the idol of his students that he didn't notice the large missile heading towards them both. It was at this moment that the Ghost Boy noticed the pot-bellied teacher. His neon-green eyes widened to the size of saucers and he dove towards Lancer, grabbing him and turning him intangible as the projectile exploded around where they sat.
"Through the Looking Glass! I've died!" Lancer exclaimed, seeing his semi-transparent hand and feeling the strange coldness surround him.
"You haven't yet, Mr. Lanc – er, I mean, citizen. But we'll both be six feet under if we don't move. So, hold on tight!"
Lancer's eyes widened, "What do you mean 'hold on ti – AAIIGHT!'" He screamed as they rocketed skyward, another explosion barely missing their feet. He tightened his grip on the arms that carried him through the air and yelled, "Gulliver's Travels! I'm afraid of heights!"
"Look, I need to make us invisible for a bit," Phantom called over the rush of wind, "So, I would appreciate it if you'd calm down and shut up! … Heh, that was kind of cool."
Too afraid to argue or be insulted, Mr. Lancer nodded vigorously and clamped his mouth shut.
And then he was simply gone. He almost screamed bloody murder when he could no longer see Phantom or his own body as the parking lot raced towards them… almost. His knees buckled under him as Phantom landed them behind his car.
"Okay," Lancer flinched as the Ghost Boy's voice echoed to his left, "when I let go," Phantom squeezed Mr. Lancer's upper arm for emphasis, "you are going to be visible. When you are, I want you to get as far from here as you can. I'll distract metal head and –,"
"Show yourself Ghost Child! I will have your pelt on my mantelpiece!" A robotic ghost roared as he floated around the school and stopped above the craters his missiles made. Lancer ducked further behind the car momentarily forgetting his own invisibility. Why didn't he take that teaching job in Lawrence, Kansas? It would have been a job at a normal school with no supernatural beings to attack you or turn you invisible. It had to be safer there than this ghost infested town.
"Ugh, speak of the devil." Phantom groaned, "Sorry, about him. He's always like that. He still can't decide where to 'hang my pelt.'" Lancer could practically hear the Ghost Boy roll his eyes.
"Are you hiding from me, whelp?" The metal ghost grinned sadistically, "Have you come to fear the Ghost Zone's Greatest Hunter?"
"This is where I make my witty comeback and when you run!" Phantom chuckled and, releasing his grip on Mr. Lancer's arm, flew to meet their attacker.
"You're beginning to sound more and more like the Box Ghost." Lancer heard the ghostly hero laugh, "'Fear you?' Really, Skulker? Next thing you'll start saying is 'Beware!'" Phantom finished, raising his arms and wiggling his fingers menacingly.
"Why, you insolent –!" The bright green rays of light shooting from Danny Phantom's hands interrupted the metal ghost, Skulker.
Mr. Lancer shook himself and tore his eyes away from the fight. Phantom gave him the chance to get away; he couldn't possibly waste it. He fumbled for his car keys in his pant pocket but found himself drawn to look back at the aerial battle. It was terrifying and awe-inspiring, like watching Macduff and Macbeth on stage or perhaps more appropriately, David and Goliath.
Phantom flew up and around Skulker. His legs becoming a black blur as he twisted through the air, sending a steady stream of the powerful ghost rays and knocking the metal ghost to the ground. Skulker raised an arm and shot a number of whistling missiles. The ghost boy darted upward and threw up a wall of green energy around him. The first and second merely scratched the shield, but third burst threw, barely missing Phantom who had shied to the right as his energy shield collapsed. Skulker rose from the ground and charged at the white-haired ghost with a bestial shout.
"Toro! Toro!" Phantom shouted. "Ole!" With a wide grin, he swung himself over the charging ghost, extinguishing his fiery mohawk with a swipe of blue energy. The blue light brightened and ice formed along the back and shoulders of the armored ghost as he flew past.
The grin on Phantom's face faltered and he frowned as the mohawk burst into flames again, cracking the ice around the ghost's shoulders. With a shrug, the ice fell off, shattering on the road below.
"New tech?" Phantom asked with narrowed eyes. Not waiting for an answer, he dove for a punch but at the last second was caught by his wrist and thrown to the side.
"Predictable and easily countered!" Skulker bellowed as Phantom righted himself in the air, "I have adapted my technology to your every move, whelp. Nothing you do will catch me off my guard!"
Danny Phantom suddenly gasped, a look of horror masked his face as he pointed behind Skulker. "Look! A purple-back gorilla!"
"What?" The metal ghost's eyes grew wide and he turned. Phantom leapt into action, a green aura growing around his hands as he flew towards the distracted ghost.
Then Lancer saw the blade.
Time slowed for a moment. Phantom didn't see the hidden glowing blade protruding out of the metallic ghost's wrist. Mr. Lancer, not quite aware of what he was doing, ran around his car. Why would he run into full view of both ghosts? He was just a poorly paid teacher! This wasn't Doomed; he wasn't playing some game in which if he died he'd go back to his last save point. This wasn't a staged drama; if the curtain fell here, it was for good. Yet his legs carried him towards the battlefield and he waved at the ghost boy in warning.
"Phantom! Look out!" He heard himself yell, and time sped forward again.
Skulker glowered at the teacher and turned back, slashing a glowing blade at the white-haired ghost. Phantom twisted in the air too late; the blade slashed along his side and he tumbled to the ground.
Lancer watched in horror as Phantom jumped back up only to fall to a knee, clutching his side. A bright green liquid oozed from between his fingers and he gasped in pain. A look of fear and rage flashed across the boy's face.
"Leave him alone, Skulker!" Only a moment too late did Mr. Lancer understand Phantom's shout. He stepped back in horror as Skulker, blade still protruding from his broad, metal arm, rounded on him.
"I shall teach you, fat one, what happens to those who interrupt my hunt!" Skulker growled, lifting the blade in the air.
"Skulker! I said leave him alone!"
Danny Phantom was back on his feet and had moved to stand in front of Mr. Lancer, glaring dangerously at the metal monstrosity. "Plug your ears, Mr. Lancer." The teacher heard the ghost boy whisper…
Mr. Lancer thought he had heard the worst, most foul noise when Mr. Foley decided to try out for a part in Bye Bye Birdie. Only by a slight margin was he still correct.
The sound, if he could call it that, radiated outward with rings of green light, tearing the armor off of Skulker. Pressure hammered Mr. Lancer's skin and shook his aching joints; it took everything he had to keep standing with his hands clamped over his ears.
The assault ceased as quickly as it had been dealt, leaving the loudest silence Mr. Lancer had ever heard. The air buzzed with energy and brightened as the clouds dispersed. Lancer let his hands fall to his sides and he released a breath he hadn't meant to hold.
There was a flash of a bright blue-white light and Mr. Lancer's eyes jumped up to where the ghost boy had made his attack.
Constructive criticism would be great. Let me know what you think. The more details the better.
Also, would anyone be interested in Beta-reading for this story? I have some more progress on this already, but I would really appreciate some pre-post feedback. Just shoot me a PM. Thanks.