Honestly, with all that happened his Senior year of High School college seemed like a pipe dream. Danny never expected to make it this far, especially given how he'd trashed his GPA the first three years of school. For the half-life of him, he couldn't understand why APU took pity on him but after a week or so of deliberation, he decided not to look a gift horse in the mouth. After all, his family was thrilled! That, and he wouldn't be alone—Valerie was joining him. While Sam and Tucker both were accepted into state universities he was just grateful that he had one friend on campus.
The weekend before classes started, Danny packed up a bag of essentials and set out to move into his dorm. He figured he'd get Mom and Dad to help him move the rest of his belongings into his room later since campus was only twenty minutes from his house. They were busy with a Ghost Conference this weekend and there wasn't any rush, after all.
However, when he arrived on campus and inquired with Student Housing Management… things got a bit more complicated.
Apparently, he'd never selected a room on the university website and due to an understaffed department, he was never 'officially' assigned a room. Now, all the rooms were booked—meaning he could rent an off-campus apartment or move back in with his parents and commute for a semester.
He'd lived at FentonWorks for eighteen years and while he loved his parents dearly he could not fathom living there for another five months. As a half-ghost living with aggressive ghost-hunters, the past four years had been something out of a horror movie. Sure, they didn't know that he was a halfa but that didn't mean that he enjoyed their long spiels about vivisecting his other half. He definitely didn't enjoy fighting reanimated food whenever he wanted a soda from the fridge. Not to mention, he'd gotten stuck behind ghost shields and targeted by the house's ecto-security system more times than he could count.
He could not go back there. He also didn't have a stable job to pay for an apartment since ghost hunting occupied most of his downtime.
That left one last option… take a refund on the housing payment and find some place on campus to haunt until he could figure out a more permanent solution. After all, he was a ghost! It really wouldn't be that hard!
The first week or so of school, Danny found refuge in an old computer lab. From what he'd heard, it'd been shut down for the past seven or eight years after APU won some grant and got all new computers for a brand new 'technology space'. There wasn't really a good place to sleep there, though, so after a few days of floating in his sleep Danny sought a new place to stay.
That led him toward the dorms.
Supposedly, all the rooms were booked but from what he could tell a few students had already moved out of their dorms in favor of joining fraternities. He half-wondered if he should go back to Student Housing Management and ask for one of those rooms, but that would mean he'd have to ask his parents to pay for housing again and now that he thought about it, that was just a waste of money. Financially speaking, this haunting thing actually wasn't a bad idea!
So, Danny moved into an empty room. Although, the dorm itself wasn't empty, so that made it difficult to stay hidden from the other occupants. He'd almost been caught a few times just by making too much noise, but any time anyone came close to discovering him he tapped into invisibility. One of the boys in his dorm, Jeremiah, was convinced that his 'empty' room was haunted and tried to warn the others. Danny thought it was hilarious and decided to up the stakes.
That night, he left his room in ghost form and flew down to the cafeteria for a late-night snack. By morning, half of the Freshmen were talking about the 'shadow ghost' haunting the dorms.
"Hey, Fenton," his new friend—Frieda—said. "You're from Amity, right? Do you think that it's actually a ghost? I mean, I've heard all about the attacks and stuff but… I thought at least campus would be safe!"
"Oh, the ghost is totally real. We used to get them all the time at my High School and my parents were ghost hunters. Though, I doubt we're in any danger. Since he hasn't done anything yet it's probably not a malevolent ghost."
"Yeah right," a guy in their Biology class argued. "I was there last night! When it came into the cafeteria the temperature dropped like ten degrees! It was like… it was like it sucked all the air out of my lungs! It's totally out to kill us all!"
"Whoa, you were there?" Frieda gasped. "What did it look like?"
"Okay, so you know those dark shadow things from the movies? It was like pitch black… except it was somehow bright at the same time. I don't know how to describe it but it scared the hell out of all of us."
Danny had to bite his tongue to keep himself from laughing. "So it didn't look like a person?"
"No, bro. It was nightmare fuel."
He nodded. "That's rough, buddy."
After the rest of the school caught on, Danny spent more time as Phantom outside of class. He didn't try to scare people, he just figured that it would probably be easier to move around campus as a ghost than Fenton since technically he wasn't supposed to live in the dorms. It was an alibi! And it wasn't like everyone was afraid of him—quite a few Casper High graduates recognized him and started spreading the word that their new campus spook was one of the 'good ghosts'. Before long, he'd been coaxed into making a few friends as Phantom rather than Fenton.
He was looking for a new room to crash in one night when a guy with green-hair waved him down. "Hey, ghost! What's up?"
Danny turned around and debated whether he should float down to the floor or not before deciding to stay in the air. "Oh, uh. I'm just hanging around, I guess."
"Do you know what Smash is?"
He tilted his head to the side. "Like the video game?"
"Yeah! Wow, a ghost knows what Smash is… Anyway, do you want to play with my friends and I?"
He was a bit taken aback that this guy was asking the local campus cryptid to hang out with him and his friends, but it wasn't the weirdest thing that had happened to him. Danny didn't really have a real reason to decline. Well, he had some history reading to knock out but he could always do it later. Besides, he hadn't played video games since Tucker had moved away.
"Sure. Why not?"
He soon learned that the green-hair guy's name was Alex. Alex introduced him to his boyfriend Rashon and their friends Marian and Kaori. Apparently, they'd all been dying to meet him for weeks which Danny found it hard to believe. Even though they were eager to meet him, Rashon and Marian were a bit on edge though. He couldn't really fault them for that considering that he was, well, dead.
That still didn't stop Marian from crushing him in Smash, though.
They played for about two hours before Danny decided to call it a night. He made a half-assed excuse that he was due to haunt the library since he couldn't really explain that he was tired. That would only lead to more questions why a ghost needed sleep and the last thing he needed was to give himself away. He promised that he'd stop by for another game night sometime and resumed his search for a new place to sleep since his last room had been rented out again. It happened more than he liked to admit but that was fine with him.
Two months into the semester, Valerie confronted him. He'd hung out with her a few times as Fenton, but once she got wind of a black-and-white ghost haunting the dorms she decided to take means into her own hands. They had a truce now but he couldn't blame her for being curious why Phantom was haunting her school. She probably thought he was there for her since he'd stopped haunting Casper High altogether. That alone would give anyone paranoia.
"Why are you at APU?" she set her ecto-gun on him. They were alone in the corridor and she was dressed in her civilian attire. "Are you following me, Phantom!"
"What, a guy can't pursue higher education?"
"Stop it with the sarcasm and answer me! I know we have a truce, but I have boundaries."
He sighed and lowered himself to the floor. "Look, you don't have to worry about me stalking you or anything. I'm not here for you, I'm here for a change in scenery, alright? A guy can only take so many years of haunting a High School."
"So you 'coincidentally' moved to college the same time I did? Yeah, right." She lowered her gun and placed her hands on her hips. "Give me a break and tell me why you're really doing this."
He sighed. "You know that I became a ghost four years ago. The reason ghosts attacked Casper so much was because I was listening in on classes there. I want an education, just like you. After I went through all the grade levels, I decided I want to know more—so now I hang around here. I mean, yeah I fly into town to fight ghosts whenever they pose a threat but I stay on campus as much as I can."
"And what about when you finish your education, huh? What then? When does this end, Phantom?"
He shrugged. "Haven't gotten there yet."
"You're insufferable." She ran a hand over her hair. "If I sense you anywhere near my room or my classes, I promise that I am shooting you into the next decade, spook."
And with that, she spun around and left him alone.
He couldn't believe that actually worked. Then again, Valerie was elbow-deep in her courses and had better things to do than threaten Phantom all day.
Before he knew it, his first semester was over. He'd cultivated five months of experiences that he'd treasure for a lifetime, made new friends, and grappled with his coursework to the best of his ability. He hated to admit it, but he'd grown sick of not having a long-term place to stay. Maybe Dani was able to make it work but he hated the stress of having to find a new room every few days or weeks. The whole 'campus cryptid' gig was fun and he'd probably keep it up to a lesser extent but Danny needed stability. He'd hardly passed any of his classes due to poor study habits and having to drop everything at a moment's notice to go fight ghosts back in the city!
Fortunately, now that he had friends he could choose a roommate he knew he'd get along with. One of his friends' roommate had just dropped out so that made it easy to move in with him.
As he finally finished unpacking a room that was truly his, Danny sighed in relief. It had been fun haunting the campus, but it was a lot less trouble when he had his own bed.
Written for Enigmaris's Phic Phight prompt: "Due to an unfortunate housing mix-up, Danny arrives at his first year of college only to find that he was never assigned a room! Rather than be stuffed into a too small dorm with five other guys, Danny decides to take the refund for his housing and find a place on campus to haunt until he can find his own apartment. Write a story about the new campus ghost everyone keeps spotting."