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You Miss Things When You're Tired

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"Hold still so I can try this out on you!" Technus cackles, firing a few blasts from his "Mystery Ray." 

"You and I both know that's not gonna happen," Danny sighs, leaping out of the way and sending a few ectoblasts in Technus's direction. He just wants to sleep. That's all he's asking. 

The school's hosting a "C.A.T.egories of Fun" night that's supposed to be a reward for the ninth graders' "record-high" C.A.T. scores. Even though Danny had already had his C.A.T. ordeal last year, the night had turned into an experience for the entire school... mostly because teachers couldn't stop students from other grades from showing up. 

While there are games and activities spread throughout the entire school, Danny just wants to be in the gym, a.k.a. the designated "sleeping grounds." Sleeping bags are spread out all over the floor, and Danny just wants to crawl into his and catch up on all the sleep he's missed because of the of the recent uptick in ghost attacks. He actually managed to get all of five minutes snoozing before Technus showed up.

Fighting while exhausted... well. Adrenaline can only go so far. Through the haze of bone-deep tiredness, he's managed so far to keep awake enough to focus on "keeping civilians safe" and "beating Technus." Everything else just gets caught in the veil of a sleep-addled mind. 

Technus doesn't even know what his new toy does; the whole point of this fight, apparently, is to try it out on Danny. Which. What even? And Danny was already so done with this fight before it even started; between fatigue and annoyance, his attack strategy is more subpar than normal, and that's what made his attention lapse enough to let Technus get a hit on him.

The blue ray's impact throws him backwards a little, and he narrowly avoids crashing into a tree, but the pain is from the contact rather than the ray itself. Otherwise, he doesn't feel any different initially. Both him and Technus just kinda pause for a moment, waiting to see if anything will happen. 

Then Danny starts falling out of the sky. 

A dull agony blossoms in his back as he smashes through a wall, spilling bricks and rubble into the gym. He groans. He kinda wishes he could just lay here and not have to deal with anything, but unfortunately he's a superhero. And of course, this had to be the part of gym that his sleeping bag is in; the rocks and dust have definitely ruined it. Great.

He extricates himself from the pile, trying to charge up ectoblasts. Nothing. Alright, so his his powers are shorted out. He can deal with this. He's been without his powers enough times to have realized that he needs another way of defending himself. It's typically Vlad's fault, what with the Plasmius Maximus and all, but some of his parents' inventions have managed to put his abilities out of commission as well. He hasn't forgotten Skulker's Shrink Ray, either, and Technus... well. Here they are. 

Danny's taken to carrying a retractable version of the Fenton Anti-Creep Stick and some other weapons around with him, and being conveniently near his sleeping bag means he's near his bookbag as well. He pulls out the glorified baseball bat and some prototype Fenton Ghost Grenades that his mom's been working on. He's never used them before, but. Well. First time for everything. 

They work pretty well, as it turns out. It detonates expands into an odd green goo, spreading over Technus's body until only his head is left. Finally. Danny uncaps the thermos and pulls a screaming Technus into it. 

"Ghost defeated, except now I don't even have a freaking sleeping bag to sleep in," Danny grumbles under his breath, before looking up to inspect the damage. 

He'd taken the fight outside pretty early on to try and minimize damage to the school building, since it hadn't even finished repairs from the last fight he had at school. That being said... the gym looks pretty okay. Students are coming out from behind some overturned tables and a broken set of bleachers, and there are quiet crunches as people step on the broken glass from a fallen light fixture, but otherwise the room is relatively damage-free. 

Danny fights back a yawn and blinks sluggishly. Gosh, he's so tired. He has to get out of here; Phantom has to leave before Fenton can come back, after all. He tries to will himself to float, but nothing happens, so he starts heading towards the hole that he'd crashed through. He catches the eye of a nearby student, though, and the look on her face stops him dead. Eyes wide, mouth parted, like she's never seen a ghost fight before. Weird. 

He looks around again, and realizes all the students and faculty in the room are staring at him, a large crowd standing in a circle around him. Um. Okay? He's not trying to be an egoist or anything, but people his age tend to cheer after a successful fight. He's gotten so used to it that the silence is a bit unnerving. 

It's weird, but he's tired and he thinks he's gonna ditch this thing and take a nap. He starts walking towards the hole again, but—

"Moby Dick, son, are you alright?" He turns again as Mr. Lancer pushes to the front of the crowd and walks briskly over to Danny, gripping him by the shoulders. Danny blinks. People doesn't really just try to. Uh. Grab him? In his ghost form. What's going on? 

"Yeah?" Danny responds. "I'm fine." 

"That was... you were so impressive."

"I mean... it was pretty par for the for the course, not sure what was special about that fight in particular...?"

He catches the gazes of Sam and Tucker just over Lancer's shoulder, who slipped to the front of the crowd just after Mr. Lancer. They both see him and look stunned. Tucker slowly wipes hand over his face, like he can't believe what he's seeing, and Sam is just gaping. 

Did he do something wrong? Maybe the damage to the gym is worse than he thought. Or... did someone die without him noticing?!

Danny focuses back on Lancer, suddenly alarmed. "Is everyone okay?"

"What? Yes, yes, everyone's fine. No one is injured, most of the damage was outside."  

Movement catches his eye. Sam and Tucker are frantically gesturing. Clearly there's something Danny's missing, but he can't for the life of him figure out what. Tucker is sliding his hand back and forth across his throat in a "STOP TALKING" motion, and Sam is mouthing something. Why do they seem so concerned? 

"But... when you say 'par for the course,' you mean you do this regularly?"  Mr. Lancer is saying. Danny stares back at him, still not understanding. 

"Well, yeah. I mean... you've seen me..." 

Danny glances at his friends again. Tucker has given up and turned around, hands over his face. Danny can practically hear him saying 'I can't watch.' Sam pulls at the shoulders of her clothes then points at Danny. Oh, she wants him to look at his clothes. He looks down. 


Technus's Mystery Ray hadn't just shorted out Danny's powers... had changed him back to human. 

And Danny hadn't noticed. 

"Is this why you're late to class and you have to go to the bathroom all the time?" 

Crap. Crap, crap, crap, what does he do?!

"Are you helping Phantom fight ghosts?" Lancer presses, when Danny hesitates. Wait, what? "Where did Phantom go? Why did you have to finish this fight?"  

Oh. Okay, Danny can work with this, this can still be—

"Mr. Lancer, you don't get it," a certain redhead calls, stepping out of the crowd with a vicious gleam in his eyes. "He's Phantom!"

Danny's never actually wanted to kill someone, but Wes Weston is really pushing it right now. 

"That's... that's ridiculous," Danny sputters, trying to salvage the situation. "Phantom is a—"

"Don't you think it's a little weird that Phantom crashed into the gym and Fenton came out?! Their names aren't even that different! COME ON!" 

"Is this true?" Mr. Lancer asks Danny. "You're... you're Phantom?"  

"No way Fenton is Phantom!" Dash calls from the crowd. "Why wouldn't he do anything about me wailing on him all the time?" 

"But has anyone ever actually seen Danny and Phantom in the same place at the same time?" Valerie adds, and oh no. The look on her face is dangerous. "Danny runs away, and Phantom magically appears right afterwards. Phantom flies off, and Danny shows up again." 

"YES!" Wes says, pointing excitedly at Valerie. "See?! I'm not crazy!" 

"You're still crazy, Wes," Sam says.

"Wait, so you're saying DANNY'S been Phantom this entire time?" a student from the crowd yells. 

"Is that why your eyes turn green sometimes?" someone else asks. 

"Are you even human?" a third voice cries, and then all of a sudden the entire crowd is talking at once and Danny can't handle this. 

He pushes past the crowd and runs.