William Lancer stood in front of his unruly freshman class in frustration. The majority of his students were laughing and conversing with their friends, while the select few were taking advantage of the lesson lull to nap. The few in his class who did care about their grades were doing the reading that had been assigned ten minutes ago, but they seemed to be distracted by the loud noise happening around them.
Why is it so hard for these kids to pay attention? Lancer thought in annoyance. The only thing they're focussed on these days are late night raves and Danny Phantom.
A sudden idea struck him and he dwelled on it for a moment. The project he had thought of wasn't necessarily English-related, but at the same time it would be just the thing to catch the interest of his students and help bring up their rather poor grades.
Lancer clapped his hands sharply and waited for the chatter to die down. Soon all heads were facing his direction, and he knew he better speak before he lost their attention again.
"Since you find the history of famous writers so boring, I'm going to assign a project you should all enjoy," he informed. "I want you to get into groups of three and write a three-page report, accompanied by a presentation, on ghosts."
The group immediately erupted into excited whoops and cheers.
Paulina squealed. "I'm totally doing Danny Phantom! He's so dreamy!"
Dash high-fived Kwan. "We are so doing Phantom! That dude rocks!"
Lancer snagged a piece of paper from the top of his desk and took notes on the groups that were beginning to form. Kwan, Dash, and Charles, their fellow football teammate. Paulina, Star and Valerie, the latter of whom trying to persuade her friends to reconsider doing Phantom. Then, of course, there was the infamous Amity Trio, Danny, Sam, and Tucker.
Lancer frowned. The trio were barely passing any of their classes and their teachers were getting fed up with their odd behaviour. But their faces were practically glowing with happiness at this particular project, which he found to be a bit strange. He didn't think they were as interested in ghosts as the rest of their peers.
Here's hoping this will be enough to bring them up to a passing grade, he thought.
Danny was having the same thought as he grinned at his two best friends. "How awesome is this? We are so gonna pass!"
Sam smiled. "Easy A," she agreed. "But do we have to do Phantom?"
Danny frowned, offended. "What's wrong with Phantom? I happen to think he's a cool guy."
Tucker smirked. "You would."
"Everyone is doing Phantom," pointed out Sam. "And we already know everything about him-"
"Which makes it the easy A," countered Danny.
"-which is why we should do another ghost in the Zone," Sam pressed on. "Lancer will be so surprised by our knowledge of ghosts and if we happen to present last, he should be sick of all the Phantom talk and he'll give us bonus marks for being different and creative."
"Am I supposed to be offended?" asked Danny uncertainly. "You seem pretty against doing Phantom."
Before Sam could give a sarcastic response, Lancer clacked a wooden ruler against the edge of his desk, catching the attention of his class once again. "Okay, settle down. I'm going to point to a group and you're going to tell me what ghost or ghosts you will be researching and doing your project on."
At each group he pointed at, the response was the same.
He quelled a sigh. The presentations might get repetitive, but at least they were finally showing some enthusiasm at doing schoolwork. His finger fell on the last group, which consisted of the trio.
"Not Phantom," said Sam, and she smirked at the shocked gasps that sounded after her declaration.
Paulina gaped. "What do you mean, 'not Phantom'? What's wrong with Phantom? Who else would you do?" she demanded.
Tucker lazily fiddled with his P.D.A. "First of all, the Phantom isn't as interesting as he seems. I should know. Second, we are going to do our report on a bunch of different ghosts, because Phantom isn't the only one in existence."
"You know the Phantom?" asked Dash incredulously.
Twenty pairs of eyes turned to stare at the trio in shock and envy. Danny kicked the back of Tucker's chair while Sam held her head in her hands, hiding her nervous expression. Tucker turned red. "No!" he said hastily. "I'm just saying he doesn't seem interesting, that's all."
Lancer narrowed his eyes. Danny had paled slightly and when Sam revealed her face it looked like she seemed ready to pass out at any given moment. Tucker's blue-green eyes had a fearful glint to them, and he returned to staring at his beloved electronic device.
"Didn't think you knew him," muttered Dash. "Phantom wouldn't spend time with losers like you."
Danny let out a small sigh of relief. "Yeah. Exactly. He wouldn't waste his time on losers like us. Right."
Do these kids really know the Phantom? thought Lancer, his suspicion flaring after the trio's odd reactions. Come to think of it, every time Phantom appears, Sam and Tucker aren't too far behind, and Danny normally comes into the picture a little bit later, just after Phantom disappears.
But after a moment, he dismissed the thought. Danny Phantom was Amity's idol. Why on Earth would he have close connections to three random freshmen kids?
Tucker breathed a sigh of relief as the attention finally came off of him. He grinned at his friends.
Danny scowled. "I'm going to kill you."
"What? It was an accident!"
Sam crossed her arms. "Yeah, well, we can't afford accidents like that," she snapped. "Try to watch your big mouth, alright?"
"Fine, geez. Relax. Everything's fine, and we're going to rock this project!"
A glint of nervousness shone on Danny's face. "Do you think anyone will find anything out?"
Though he wasn't terribly clear, his friends understood what he meant. Sam smiled comfortingly. "Not a chance. No one in a million years would even think about making connections."
Danny nodded slowly. "I guess you're right. But I'm still a little worried."
Tucker waved his hand dismissively. "It's just a school project. What can go wrong?"