"Danny Phantom" and all characters from the show belong to their proper owners, a.k.a. not me.
Enjoy the second chapter.
Mr. Lancer's mouth dropped open. He could hardly believe his eyes. "Where did the big, robot ghost..?" He gestured weakly to where Skulker had disappeared. He nearly jumped out of his skin when he heard a gasping reply.
"Ghost Wail. Takes … a lot out of you and the … other guy." Phantom was bent over, shaking slightly with a bright, goofy grin plastered across his face. He looked like he had won first in a marathon and not quite on the verge of collapse.
Danny Phantom lifted and shook what looked like a soup thermos. "Fenton Thermos… Keeps ghosts sealed and … cooled all day… Never leave home without it."
The ghost teen tucked the thermos away and heaved an exhausted sigh, wincing and holding his head as he woozily sat on the grassy ground. The weight of all that had happened suddenly overwhelmed Mr. Lancer and, to his and the ghost boy's surprise, he sat with a huff next to him. Without speaking, Lancer looked up into the bright blue sky, barked a quick laugh, and shook his head at the normalcy of it. Here he was on a perfectly beautiful, late spring day sitting with the ghost who had just saved his life, a ghost whom Lancer had helped in a small way. A ghost who, now that he thought about it, was oozing quite a lot of green – what had Jack Fenton said ghosts were made of? – ectoplasm and giving him a mixed look of concern and confusion.
"Um," Phantom started awkwardly, "Are you, uh, okay there?" he finished lifting an eyebrow.
Mr. Lancer just stared at the ghost. Had he actually asked? … Yes, he had…
"Oh," he shook his head in disbelief but admitted, "Just recovering from a ghost attack, flying, being turned invisible, and almost dying; nothing too out of the ordinary for this town."
To his surprise, the ghost's eyes twinkled with mirth and he burst out laughing. He quickly stopped with a hiss of pain and held onto his side, but the mirth did not leave his eyes.
"You should get that looked at," Mr. Lancer stated without thinking.
"Yeah, it might be fatal." Phantom rolled his eyes smiling but Lancer could see a hint of worry on his face. "Besides, the only ones who know enough about ghosts to fix them want to tear me apart molecule by molecule. I don't think that would be very good for my health," he finished with a forced chuckle.
"Let me." Mr. Lancer nearly clapped his hand over his mouth in shock. He was just full of surprises today, whether he liked it or not. Apparently, the ghost boy thought so too by the looks of him; he was busy picking his jaw off of the ground.
"W-what? Wait, seriously?" Phantom looked at Mr. Lancer like he had grown a second head.
"What I mean to say," Lancer corrected quickly, fumbling for a good explanation. "There are first aid supplies – and I know you're a ghost but I thought perhaps – you look like you could do with some cleaning up. You saved my life – well, the whole town on a number of occasions – and I want to repay you somehow?" He finished weakly, wondering if the town's ghostly hero had understood a single word he'd said. He stood and gestured awkwardly toward the school and mumbled, "It's just in my office…"
"Uh, thanks but no thanks." Phantom cleared his throat warily and stood up, "I can take care of – woah." He put a palm on his head and stumbled. Unconsciously, Lancer stood and grabbed the boy's shoulders to steady him but snapped his hands back as if they had been burned…Phantom was warm. Maybe he was not as warm as humans, but warmer than Lancer expected at the very least. Carefully, he placed a hand on the ghost's back to steady him again, shooting him an apologetic glance.
"I – I insist." Lancer said gently. When Phantom opened his mouth to argue, Lancer pushed him lightly towards the school saying, "It isn't like you have other pressing appointments to attend or ghosts to fight, right?" Phantom shut his mouth but sent Mr. Lancer a surprisingly childish glare. Lancer had seen that look before on a number of students' faces over the years: the 'I know you may be right but that doesn't mean I'm going to be happy about it' look. He almost laughed at the absurdity that a full-fledged 'superhero' was giving him that look now.
Phantom fidgeted nervously as they approached the doors of the school and stopped just outside. Mr. Lancer gasped as the feeling of ice water engulfed his hand and he yanked it out of Phantom's back. The ghost stood in the doorway, brows furrowed in thought. Suddenly, he shook his head.
"You know what? I really ought to be going. I have a … a thing." He jabbed a thumb over his shoulder.
"Really?" Mr. Lancer raised an eyebrow. Phantom sounded just like a certain student of his. How many times had Lancer heard feeble excuses to get out of homework or after-school activities? He may not know much about ghosts, but Lancer was suddenly sure of one thing: Phantom was still a teenager. "I'll have to make it quick then."
He put his hand back on Phantom's back and found it was solid again. Smiling somewhat triumphantly, he pushed the reluctant ghost down the hallway to his office.
"Ugh, really. As much as I appreciate the help, you really don't have to do this," Phantom reasoned, "It's not like I'll die from it. It'll go away on its own."
Mr. Lancer ignored him. Honestly, the more Phantom talked the more, well, human he sounded. The idea of dealing with a normal teenager wasn't nearly as frightening as dealing with a very powerful ghost.
They walked into Lancer's office and the teacher lead Phantom to a table by the wall.
"Sit here." Lancer commanded, becoming more confident, "I need to get my first aid kit. Don't go disappearing." He finished waving his hands in a 'poof' motion.
"And if I did?" Phantom challenged, mimicking the 'poof' motion.
Lancer paused, then shrugged. "Who says I can stop you?" and he continued to kneel and dig through his desk drawers.
The ghost boy crossed his arms across his chest and looked at the teacher curiously. "You're different than people imagine." He mumbled.
"What?" Mr. Lancer asked, standing up with a white box and walking back over to the ghost.
"Nothing." Phantom leaned back against the wall and his hand brushed over the spot where he had been cut. A breath hissed through his teeth but he smiled and rubbed the back of his neck. "I guess you didn't expect to treat ghost wounds after school, huh?"
"No, honestly, I didn't. Who would? I didn't really know ghosts could get hurt…" Lancer grabbed a roll of bandages and froze. How in the world was he supposed to treat a ghost? Sure, he knew all his basic medical care but not for a ghost. How different would it be? Should he wear gloves?
The question pulled Lancer out of his thoughts and he turned back to the ghost. Unnatural green eyes met his and he nearly jumped out of his skin.
"Your name is Lennox? Really?" Phantom asked again, indicating the name on the first aid box and lifting a single brow in question. "Lennox William Lancer?"
Lancer nodded with lowered brows. Here we go… He thought, not amused. There was a reason he went by William. No one questioned an ordinary name like William.
Danny Phantom smirked and chuckled. "Your parents must have had a major thing for Shakespeare." The ghost paused and put his fist to his chin in thought. He snapped his fingers, "Macbeth, right? … Sounds right, I think," he mumbled, unsure.
Mr. Lancer's knees nearly buckled under him. "Why… yes. Yes, it is," he confirmed, a genuine smile gracing his face. The pleased but awkward look Phantom gave him shook Lancer from his revelry and he slipped on a pair of rubber gloves. "Yes, well, let's take a look at that cut, shall we?"
The ghost boy flinched back at the sudden advance of the gloved hands; mistrust and unease brightened the green in his eyes. Mr. Lancer held up his hands as a sign of peace and took a step back. The light in Phantom's eye faded and was replaced by an irritated, hurt expression.
"I'm not going to do anything." The ghost said, rolling his eyes and holding up his own gloved hands in surrender. "What did you expect?"
"You're a ghost. I'm used to – well – not being this close. I apologize if my ignorance of the supernatural offends." Lancer retorted shortly. "Especially when it comes to…" he gestured at Phantom's wound.
"Well, let's just say I'm not like the other ghosts." Phantom muttered the phrase like it was an inside joke and a prayer. Lancer raised an eyebrow but did not question the ghost. He certainly wasn't going to press his luck.
Lancer turned his attention to the wound again and gaped. The material of the ghost boy's suit was repairing itself. It was slow, but the sliced hole was noticeably smaller.
"Does it always do that?" he heard himself ask. Lancer nearly buried his forehead in his palm. He just couldn't seem to keep quiet and leave the ghost alone. Never get in a life or death situation with a ghost again. You might ask him about his favorite pastime, he thought to himself in annoyance.
Despite the teacher's own irritation, Phantom did not seem to mind the question. Instead, he looked down at the suit and picked at the mending material. The teen shrugged and pulled at a loose thread. "I don't know. It's always done that." Phantom seemed to grow thoughtful, "Weird."
"Of all things relating ghosts and this town, you choose that to describe as weird?" Lancer commented as he brought out supplies to clean away the drying ectoplasm.
"Hey, I don't know!" Phantom defended, crossing his arms stubbornly. "It's just my suit. I never really paid attention to it."
"Well, the top of it has to come off. I can't clean that cut if the material fixes itself over it." Lancer said bluntly, fighting to keep any embarrassment out of his voice. Nothing was going to be simple for him today, was it?
"What? No!" Phantom floated up slightly, only to fall back on the table with a soft thump. He held his head, blinking the stars from his eyes, "Stupid Wail. If I wasn't so beat this'd be healed by now." The ghost winced, "Not to mention it hurts like a son of a –"
"Language! Mr. Phantom." Lancer scolded, suddenly in teacher mode. Some habits never went away regardless of the situation.
"I was going to say gun," Phantom retorted, narrowing his green eyes. After a short stare-down, the teen grunted, "Fine. Just – I don't know – don't go telling people you've seen Danny Phantom shirtless. My 'Phan-girls,'" he mocked with air-quotes, "might send you to the Ghost Zone out of jealousy." Phantom rolled his eyes but shed the top portion of his suit, tying the gloved sleeves around his waist.
Lancer had to refrain from flinching back. From the looks of him, Phantom had been through worse than he had that afternoon. Faint scars and marks spider-webbed across the ghost's torso. They had faded, but Mr. Lancer knew how serious the wounds must have been at the time. Most of the previous injuries looked like they could have killed him… Ah. Well, I suppose that doesn't matter now. Lancer thought with a tinge of sadness.
"Uh, you're starting to freak me out a bit," Phantom said, slouching forward slightly in self-consciousness.
"Sorry." Mr. Lancer mumbled as he quickly poured antiseptic onto a sterile cloth. "You just seem so…" he trailed off with a shrug.
"What?" The ghost teen pressed with a frown. Suddenly, Phantom's otherworldly glow, the green of the ectoplasm staining his skin, and the ephemeral echo of his voice struck Mr. Lancer. Of course, he was dealing with a ghost. A post-human. Someone who had already died.
Lancer lightly dabbed at the cut, wiping away some of the green ooze around it. The teacher sighed, "You seem so alive."
"Oh," the teen scratched the back of his head and chuckled lightly, "I wasn't expecting that."
Lancer brushed away the last of the ectoplasm on the teen's side and pressed a sterile pad against the gash. "Hold that there." He ordered quietly. Phantom obeyed and the teacher turned away from the ghost and lifted the white roll of gauze. Winding the bandaging around Phantom's waist, Lancer bit back the question that buzzed in the forefront of his mind.
"Uh, you alright there?" Phantom asked, "You look like you tried the burrito grande burger over at the Nasty Burger." The ghost seemed to shutter in memory.
"I was thinking," Lancer admitted as he adjusted his grip on the shrinking roll. How could a kid like you die so young? What is it like to die? Do you miss your old life? Do you even remember it? "What's your favorite pastime?"
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