Phantom in Hiding
Danny glared at the mirror. Or, more importantly, at his eyes in the mirror. Normally they were deep icy blue, but in his reflection they glowed a bright neon green. Now, seeing green eyes staring back at him wasn't a very strange thing for Danny. But seeing them without white hair and a black jumpsuit was different. Sure, sometimes his eyes flashed when he was angry or annoyed, but right now he knew his eyes were blue. It's only in the reflection that they weren't. And this was the problem. If someone were to glimpse his reflection, they would know something was wrong. They would know that Danny Fenton wasn't a normal boy.
Only very recently had this phenomenon of his reflection bearing the eyes of his ghostly self occurred. It was, in fact, not long after saving the world from the Disasteroid. Or, more specifically, after regaining his ghost abilities.
He hadn't expected it to work, going into the broken down portal again and repeating the events that had birthed Danny Phantom. The first time Danny had gone into the unfinished portal to the ghost zone, he had tripped over a loose cable and, while catching himself, pressed the ON button. It was kind of stupid of his parents, to put the button on the inside. As the portal powered up, Danny had been electrocuted. Effectively killed, but he didn't die. As the portal formed around him, ghostly DNA had entered his dying body and changed him. It was a change that Danny had only regretted once, when Master's Blasters had gained popularity. This change resulted in Danny Fenton's ability to become a ghost, and he took on the name of Phantom.
Danny always kind of wondered how the reversal of his powers worked. He technically had died in that accident, and had remained half dead ever since. He couldn't have been made un-dead (and not in the zombie way) when he lost his powers. Maybe he just became a little more alive. But during those few days he had felt sick and weary. Now, months after getting his powers back, he felt better than ever. But he also felt he was more dead.
Maybe that's why his reflection had green eyes. Danny wondered if, eventually, his reflection would be only Phantom and no Fenton. As long as he didn't die completely, he didn't really care, but it would still be a problem if someone noticed it. He should probably avoid cameras too. Before losing and regaining his powers Danny had never photographed well. There's no telling what would happen now.
He sighed and turned away from the mirror to finish getting dressed. Danny pulled on a loose fitting long-sleeved shirt to hide both his scars, and his muscles. No one knew that he, the weak nerd constantly picked on by one Dash Baxter, was Danny Phantom. Ghost boy hero, saviour of worlds, and the very same Dash's idol. There was a buzzing in his pocket and Danny pulled out his phone, seeing numerous messages from his best friends.
Not even they knew his secret. Danny wanted to tell them, but it was safer for them if they didn't know. Although having an alter ego was a little redundant when all the ghosts Danny fought knew about the halfa's human persona. But then again, ever since saving both the human and ghost world from total destruction, most of the ghosts had stopped attacking Amity Park. With malicious intentions at least. Danny still had to toss the Box Ghost back into the Ghost Zone a couple times a week, but not as often as he used to. Skulker was as persistent as ever in his quest to use Danny's pelt as an attractive wall decoration. In a messed up way, the black-haired teen supposed it was kind of a compliment.
"Danny, you're gonna be late!" Jazz called from downstairs.
Danny sighed once again, but grabbed his backpack and left his room. In the kitchen Jazz was flipping through a binder at the table, going over notes.
"We've only been at school for a week, what notes do have to go over?" Danny asked, grabbing a granola bar from the pantry.
"This is my last year of high school, Danny. I have to study hard and keep my grades up if I ever want to go to Harvard," Jazz explained. She closed the binder and looked up at her brother. "You should eat more than that."
"I'm not hungry," Danny answered truthfully. Just as he didn't need to breathe as much as a normal human, he didn't need to eat as much either. There were a few other things that would obviously note him as a little less than normal, but Danny was always careful to never let those things get noticed. "And Jazz, I've never seen you get anything lower than an A minus. And that was in gym. The only way you wouldn't get into Harvard is if everyone there was overshadowed."
"Thanks, little brother. And you better get going, unless you want to be late again."
"That was only once," Danny said, but he left anyways. And by once, he meant once that week. Which was a miracle, but ghost activity had been down since the Disasteroid. Not enough for him to be a perfect student in terms of class attendance, but enough that he wouldn't be late every day like last year, or missing almost every second class. That's how his day used to be. Leave for school, bag a ghost along the way, and arrive late. Get detention. Skip some class to fight another ghost and get more detention, then miss that detention to fight more ghosts. This year he was hopeful. Maybe he could even pull up his low average.
Danny ducked into an alley after leaving Fenton Works and changed into his ghostly form. His raven hair became a snowy white, his skin darkened to a light tan, and his normal clothes became a black and white jumpsuit with white boots and gloves. He flew the rest of the way to school while invisible. Just one of the many perks of having ghostly powers. As he neared Casper High, Danny found another hidden spot to change back and walked the rest of the way to school. Which at that point wasn't actually very far.
Sam Manson and Tucker Foley were waiting for him by the stairs.
"Hey, Danny, where were you last night? You missed the newest Doom update," Tucker asked, his head lowered over his PDA.
"Yeah, and why haven't you texted us back?" Sam added.
Danny looked at his friends closely. Tucker, an African-American techno-geek and mathematical genius with an iron stomach, was another of Dash Baxter's punching bags, although not as often, and had been Danny's best friend for forever. Sam Manson was a Goth ultra-recyclo-vegetarian. Her family was actually loaded, enough for her to be an A-lister, but she instead had been friends with Danny and Tucker since moving to Amity Park in middle school. They were two of the people Danny cared for most in this world. And it was for that very reason he had been distancing himself from them ever since he got his powers. Especially since a certain encounter near the end of the last school year.
"My dad was giving me one of his 'ghost hunting' lessons," Danny lied easily.
"Still? Man, you're the only one in your family who hasn't hunted ghosts. You'd think your old man would have dropped it by now," Tucker smirked. Danny nodded. At some point last year, around the time when he had gone with his mom to that bogus convention Vlad had made up, Jazz had actually gotten interested in ghost hunting. Funny, since she had always been the most adamant that they didn't exist. That was, of course, before it became blaringly obvious to not just Amity Park, but the whole world, they were, indeed, real.
"Yeah. But he's persistent," Danny reasoned. Inside he laughed at the irony. The whole town believed Danny was the only Fenton not interested in ghosts. If only they knew.
"We better get to class before the bell goes," Sam nudged her friends, who nodded in agreement. They headed inside, stopping at each other's lockers before going to first period English. Lancer glanced at the trio as they entered the class.
"On time again, Mr. Fenton? I'm impressed. Does this mean we can expect to see much more of you this year?" He asked.
"I'm hoping so, sir," Danny replied truthfully as he sat down. The class slowly trickled in, some more rushed than others. When the bell rang, Lancer glanced around the classroom, pleased to find that the entire class was present.
"Before we start today's lesson, I would just like to inform you that during third period today there will be a presentation in the auditorium," he stated. Some of the students whispered amongst themselves, excitedly determining which class they would be missing for the presentation. During the clamour, Lancer started a video that was related to the day's lesson, and gave a brief explanation of its importance. Danny just rolled his eyes and doodled in his notebook.
But his doodles weren't the average stickmen most of his classmates would resort to. His doodles were Latin phrases. It wasn't something Danny meant to do, he just did. He had learnt the language quickly, along with Esperanto, after becoming a halfa, and used to practice by writing out random phrases. It became an absent habit after a while.
Some of the things he wrote were old nursery rhymes, and creepy ones too, that Ember McLain had taught him after they became some form of friends. Others were some of Clockwork's favourite cryptic sayings. When Danny glanced at his paper to see what exactly he had been writing, he noticed that one sentence was repeated several times across the page.
I still exist.
Danny's hand stilled. It had been months, almost half a year, since he had heard that sentence spoken out loud. Now he shuddered at the sight of it scrawled across the page in his surprisingly neat handwriting.
"Danny, you okay?" Sam whispered across the aisle, having noticed Danny shiver.
"What? Oh, I'm fine," Danny reassured her, and looked back down at his page. Why had he written that?
"Mr. Fenton, on time and taking notes? I really must say I'm surprised."
Danny turned around to find Lancer standing behind him, and felt a few mildly interested gazes turn his way.
"Fenturd, taking notes? As if," Dash scoffed from a few seats over.
"They're, uh, not notes," Danny said, correcting Mr. Lancer. He hated to prove Dash right, but hoped that Lancer's interest would cease with the revelation. It did not. Instead, the overweight teacher leaned closer to inspect the paper while Danny casually slid his hand over top.
"To Kill a Mockingbird, Fenton, is that Latin?" Lancer exclaimed. Danny shifted uncomfortably as even more eyes drifted his way, including two very questioning gazes.
"...Yes," Danny answered hesitantly. Lancer reached out and snatched the paper from his desk before Danny could either protest or pull it away.
"My, this is impressive sentence structure. I even believe the grammar is correct. Where did you learn it?" Lancer asked, his eyes skimming the page before placing it back on Danny's desk.
The halfa quickly folded the paper and slid it into the back of his notebook as he replied "From a book."
Tucker chuckled at Danny's smartass reply.
"Of course," Lancer said. "Who taught you?"
"No one. I learned it on my own." And languages, like science, come easily to me. But Danny never said the second part out loud because, just as he had to hold up a reputation of being a wimp, he also didn't make a habit of broadcasting his true intelligence. Although that had less to do with hiding his ghost powers than it did with not wanting to stand out.
Being a Fenton practically guaranteed being a genius. Maddie Fenton, Danny's mother, was a mildly famous inventor, an excellent weapons technician, and a professional ghost hunter. Jack, Danny's father, wasn't nearly as good a ghost hunter and gave off the image of a bumbling idiot, but he too was a great inventor (though not as well known), and had designed many ghost-grabbing weapons. Some of which Danny actually made a note of watching out for. Jazz had been an honour student all her life and would no doubt one day move on to become a world-renowned psychologist, her professional field of study being ghost envy, and the psychological analysis of ghosts and their obsessions. If she didn't become as big a ghost hunter as her mother, that is.
Danny? He was a linguist, and quite the scientist. But after a brief stint in elementary school when he had boasted his intelligence and showed of his ability to speak conversational German (Jazz had taught him, and for years they had used it as a secret code so they could speak privately in front of their parents), Dash had started bullying the young Danny, jealous of his smarts. In response Danny had never strived for an A again, and kept his knowledge of languages a secret. His grades would still be in the Bs if ghost hunting hadn't gotten in the way.
He could strive for a straight A average, like Jazz, but even though Dash had long forgotten the reason why he started to bully Danny, the raven-haired halfa never forgot.
So, while Lancer continued to stare at where the Latin covered paper had disappeared to, Danny ducked his head and fixed his gaze firmly on his desk to avoid the curious stares sent his way, which included Dash's glare.
Thankfully, the bell chose that moment to go off.
"We will be having a quiz on this video in two days. Tomorrow you'll have the opportunity to watch it again, if you wish to, and prepare for the quiz. I'll see you all at the assembly," Lancer spoke quickly. Danny, meanwhile, swept everything off his desk and into his backpack, swinging the black and white bag over his shoulder as he strode swiftly out of the room.