With the charity benefit coming up this weekend, Sam and Tucker figured it was about time they taught the young Angel manners, but teaching Danny how to eat food properly was almost as difficult as trying to teach him the human language.
Yesterday they showed him some of Sam's jewelry and pictures of beautiful dresses and suits to encourage him. Obviously, the Angel was completely taken by anything shiny and pretty so he got to learn a new word to associate with the colorful outfits.
"No," Sam said, swatting the teen's wandering hands. Danny pouted. "You want to be fancy, right?"
"Fant-cy," Danny breathed, eyes wide as he squirmed with an expression of serious concentration.
Currently he was sitting at a poorly set up table with china plates and a nice tablecloth. The copious amount of Sam's necklaces and bracelets covering him were the only way they could get him to practice table manners and sit still for more than five minutes.
From across the table, wearing a tie over his t-shirt and boxer short combination, Tucker raised an eyebrow at Danny and leaned forward. "Your eyes are blue, like the ocean. And baby, I'm lost at sea," he smirked, resting a hand against his cheek.
Danny frowned at Sam. "I am not sea."
"Don't worry, Tucker's just being a bad date," Sam reassured, whacking Tucker with a napkin while using her other hand to balance the tray of appetizers against her hip.
"Excuse me," Tucker gasped, placing a hand on his chest. "I am being a positively wonderful and charming date. The waitress on the other hand."
"If I'd known you'd pull all these cheesy one liners on the poor kid, I would have switched with you," Sam snapped, slamming Tucker's food in front of him. "Then again, you aren't strong enough to carry all the food." She followed her insult by raising the platter in her arms.
"I am too strong enough!"
"Who's the first-place winner of the Casper High fitness test? Who's a black belt in karate since the third grade? Who stops Dash from beating you up while you run and hide?"
Tucker whined, dropping his head to the table and peaking an eye out to exclaim to Danny, "She's so mean to me!"
The Angel smiled and warbled a laugh. "Tucker bad, Sam say need poke-t." He then proceeded to reach across the table and poke his friend on the nose. When finished, he beamed up at Sam, waiting for praise.
"Good job, Danny," Sam snickered, pulling her fingers through his hair.
"Stop teaching him that," Tucker groaned, scowling at them.
"He just loves me more," Sam teased.
"Is that true, Danny?" Tucker asked, doing his best to fake tears as he wobbled his bottom lip. "Do you not love me as much as her?"
Danny gasped, shaking his head and accidently mixing his own language with English. His eyes were wide and worried, scared his friend was upset. "No! T-eck-r, no! Love Tucker! Love Tucker!" he pleaded, racing to his first friend. He was all over the other teen in seconds, humming and squeezing him to make sure Tucker knew he cared.
Tucker's smug grin made Sam roll her eyes. "Dick," she muttered, moving to set the rest of the table.
Danny lifted his head and chirped, "Dick?"
Sam and Tucker paled and ordered in perfect unison, "Don't repeat that."
Explaining why Danny could do things and why he couldn't do some things was still a difficult task because the Angel honestly did not understand anything, but he trusted Sam and Tucker so much that if they told him "no," he would listen.
Danny just nodded and smiled at them. Sam glared at Tucker who only sent her a sheepish smile. "You're so lucky," she hissed.
"Were you or were you not the one who taught him the word 'fu-'"
"Fuck!" Danny laughed.
The rest of dinner was as dramatic as one could imagine, although Sam and Tucker never figured out why Danny looked so affronted when the salad was placed before him. Something about "pets" and being told they were "no eat-ble," even if they were green instead of yellow and red this time.
The days dragged on with the two humans trying to stuff their best friend with all the knowledge of proper human etiquette. By the end of the week, they were just thrilled he knew how to hold a fork.
On the night of the benefit, Sam and Tucker had to force Danny into the nice suit Mrs. Manson provided. It was a struggle, especially since Sam was forced to wear a skirt and Danny didn't understand why he wasn't allowed to wear one too.
He whined as they worked their way up his body, helping ease the creases in his pants before pausing at his exposed back. Danny's- beautiful, large, otherworldly- wings fluttered uneasily before their gaze.
"It's a white shirt," Tucker pointed out, wincing. "A see-through white shirt."
"But the jacket will be too tight," Sam argued, sighing. "His wings will hurt all night. He's never had to wear something so constricting before."
Danny wiggled a little as they talked back and forth, understanding that they were trying to help him feel more comfortable. Being around other humans was going to be like an adventure, but if his wings hurt then the adventure wouldn't be as much fun as he was hoping.
"I have a binder my cousin left here a little while ago," Sam said, snapping her fingers.
Tucker snorted. "Uh, I remember your cousin and he was a stick. Danny's wings are like double his length. There's no way he'd fit."
"Bandages are a bad idea since they could cause damage."
Sam scowled. "And have to listen to my mom complain about how 'unpresentable the foreigner is?' No thanks." She took a step back to admire the Angel. Danny noticed her watching and grinned, shifting the tips of his wings until they gently brushed Tucker's face.
"Gah!" Tucker croaked, praying he didn't get a feather stuck in his mouth. "It's like I'm touching a bird. Or an uncooked chicken." Danny made an extremely offended sound.
"Look," Sam said, holding the jacket up for Danny. "We have to get you to wear this, but I know you aren't going to like it at all." She was pleased when Danny only looked upset at the object and didn't try and knock it away. "Can you at least try it on for us? Please?"
Danny knew the importance of the 'please' word, it was one of the first things they taught him after learning about the 'fant-cy.' To make his humans happy, Danny allowed them to slip the tight material around his body, being oh so gentle with his wings- his humans were so caring!
It was extremely constricting and once the jacket was set over his shoulders correctly, Sam and Tucker could see how upset it was making him. "He shouldn't have to do this," Sam sad stiffly, as if she were watching an animal being forced into a cage.
"It's only for tonight," Tucker pointed out, wincing when Danny seemed to curl into himself.
"Yeah, only one night," Sam echoed. Her parents called for them to leave.
On the car ride over, Sam and Tucker promised each other to never take their eyes off Danny. He was bouncing around in his seat, trying to ignore how tight the jacket was, and completely enchanted by the decorations outside when the Manson family pulled up to the country club. A bouncing Danny meant a hel-heck of a lot of work for his friends. They had to keep him away from people as much as possible if they wanted to avoid any instances.
Discovering their friend was a supernatural creature was an experience, and now that they knew the truth, they were determined to protect him at all costs. This meant keeping him away from the authorities in case they ask for identification or some type of believable back story, and keeping him away from supernatural believers like the Fentons.
Among the risks of someone figuring out that Danny wasn't normal, Tucker and Sam also had to seriously consider that he could be taken advantage of. The Angel didn't understand human culture- it took him weeks to accept grandma Ida's death and the concept of mortality- so someone could easily use that to their advantage.
Not to mention the fact Danny was beautiful and just seemed to draw everyone he met in. At this thought, Sam and Tucker each grabbed one of Danny's hands as they entered the doors to the charity benefit.
The beginning went extremely well; Danny was far too interested in the shiny table figurines to interrupt the speech with his usual excited noises, and with Sam's parents deciding to ignore his existence until it benefitted them, all seemed to be running smoothly. They ate their food without a disturbance, although Danny sometimes swung his knife a little too dramatically for the occasion, until Sam's mom dragged the Angel off to introduce him to knew people.
Sam watched her mother with disgust as she made a big show about taking the 'poor foreign boy in from a dreaded life of mediocracy.'
"Chill, Sam," Tucker said, waving a fork of steak in front of her face. "He's doing great."
"They're parading him around like he's some prize to be shown off at a fair!" she hissed, nails digging into the table. "The nerve of that woman!"
"I know," Tucker agreed. In all honesty, he was pissed at the Manson family too. Danny was their friend and he deserved better than this kind of treatment. He wondered how Pamela would react if she knew what Danny really was.
Tucker was all smiles until the fork froze just beneath his mouth, spotting something behind his friend. "Sam!"
The goth turned and paled. "Is that Lancer?"
Tucker nodded, standing quickly. "And didn't you tell your mother that Danny was a foreign exchange project from school?"
Mrs. Pamela Manson was suddenly way too close to their English teacher for comfort. In fact, they shouldn't even be in the same room as each other. "You take Lancer, I've got my mom," Sam ordered, taking off in the direction of their mission.
Ten minutes later, after directing her mom to the host of the party and Lancer to the wine table, both would realize they forgot to keep track of Danny.
"I do have to thank you, Mr. Shellwater, this gathering is as eye-catching as always," Pamela Manson complemented, giggling softly. A more naturally pleased smile fell across her lips when the man before her flushed.
"Mrs. Manson, what a pleasure to see you again," he charmed, tilting his head in the imitation of a bow. "I always look forward to your appearances."
Pamela waved a hand. "The pleasure is all mine. After all, you're the one raising money to… well- the orphans, of course. How heartwarming!"
Shellwater chuckled, casting an eye around the crowd mingling in his dining hall. "I do this every year, but it never feels any less important," he hummed, smiling. He was the type of man easily fooled by kindness, having no idea that everyone here simply showed up for their own benefit.
"I heard about the news," Pamela said, looking sympathetic.
Mr. Shellwater shrugged, sending her a sad smile. "I'm an old man, Mrs. Manson. If this cancer doesn't kill me then old age will soon."
Pamela chuckled politely at his attempt to find humor in such a depressing situation. "You're a kind soul." She felt the conversation wouldn't continue from there.
Pamela heard the snapping sound of a camera shutter and made sure she was standing very close to the host. It was extremely lucky that her daughter had led her to Mr. Shellwater. It appeared Samantha was good for some things.
"Where is your daughter?"
Broken out of her smiling appearance for the press, Pamela startled. "I'm sorry?"
"That little girl that kicked one of my guests for calling her Samantha all those years ago," he explained, laughing. "Such a spirit, that girl. Always knew how to make these things exciting."
Pamela forced a smile. "Ah, yes, my daughter. Knowing her- she's a teenager now and going through that faze- she's probably hiding in a corner."
Shellwater pointed a finger to the left. "Or raiding the food table," he said, amused. At the end of his finger stood Sam and her darker skinned friend arguing in front of the refreshments.
If this was another fight about her daughter being a vegan, Pamela was going to have a cow. "I apologize," she rushed, hurrying over to Sam, pushing past the other guests.
Shellwater watched her go, chuckling softly under his breath. He'd already made his speech for the night so it wasn't as if the host had to stick around and entertain his guests much longer; the food and music would do that themselves.
He was about to head upstairs to secure the donations from the event when he bumped into a small boy. The child blinked up at him.
"Oh, why hello there," Mr. Shellwater greeted, cheerfully. "Has anyone ever told you that you have the most exquisite blue eyes?"
"You were supposed to watch him!" Tucker snapped, jabbing a finger into Sam's collarbone. "He was with your mom, not Lancer!"
"He wasn't there when I found her!" Sam countered, hardly caring that they were blocking the food table due to their little spat.
Tucker pressed a fist to his forehead. "I swear, we are buying a leash."
Both knew they were only frustrated with themselves, but couldn't help but place the blame on the other in the heat of the moment. When they'd noticed they couldn't see Danny, Tucker's heart stopped beating and Sam felt like she couldn't breathe. Where could he have gone? Did someone take him? Did he finally leave them to go back home?
That last thought was the main reason why they were panicking, even if they wouldn't admit it out loud.
Behind Tucker, a predator stalked towards them and Sam muttered a PG version of a curse. "Wicked Witch, three o'clock." Tucker echoed her PG curse.
Mrs. Manson was extremely intimidating when she wanted to be, evidence being the feeling of a dark aura surrounding her as she approached and the amount of people making sure to stay out of her way. "All I ask is for you to behave," Mrs. Manson scolded, grabbing both Tucker and Sam by their wrists. "And yet you simply cannot follow the easiest of tasks."
"Don't make me go to these things then," Sam said, glaring.
Mrs. Manson stopped walking and let go of them, having arrived at their earlier table. She gave her daughter an upturned nose. "Of all the beings in the world, I cannot fathom why I am blessed with you as a daughter."
Tucker visibly started, having never heard her convey such a feeling of hatred in her tone when addressing Sam. He noticed that behind Sam's unaffected exterior, her fingers were digging into her palms.
With one last look of contempt at the two teenagers, Mrs. Manson twirled around, over the top dress sparkling as she spun in search of the host once again.
Sam was quiet and Tucker didn't quite know what to say. "That was…" he trailed off, noticing that Sam was refusing to look at him. "Danny," he finally settled on. "Let's go find Danny."
At the mention of the Angel, the tension evaporated from Sam's shoulders. Her eyebrows were pinched together, but she nodded. For some reason, getting to Danny felt like the most important thing in the world right now.
"Honey?" the child asked, smiling and pointing at the glass in Mr. Shellwater's hands.
"Oh, this?" the man questioned, raising his arm. "Why, you're much too young for a drink."
The child made a humming sound, eyes following the glass. "Honey," he said again.
"Afraid not," Mr. Shellwater corrected, showing the teenager the glass long enough for him to smell its contents. He laughed deeply when the boy sneezed and made a disgusted face. "Yeah, it tastes exactly how it smells."
"Can I ask for your name?" the man wondered.
Mr. Shellwater smiled. The teenager really was quite adorable when he was happy. "That's a wonderful name. And how old are you? Where are your parents?"
Danny looked wide eyed at him. "Pair-eents," he sounded, as if testing the word for the first time.
"Yes, your mother and father?" The child still looked confused. "Did you come here alone?" he asked instead.
"Lone? No!" Danny finally laughed, bouncing forward. "Sam and Tucker!"
Mr. Shellwater visibly brightened. Of course, interesting people usually flocked together. "You keep very good friends then. The Mansons have always been such wonderful people," he sighed, looking at the ceiling. "I'm even thinking about leaving some of my properties for them when I pass."
His arm suddenly dipped as small fingers gripped it. Mr. Shellwater looked down in time to see Danny coughing and gaging on the drink he had just tried to sneak. "I told you it was awful!" the man laughed, clutching his stomach at the teenager's expression.
Danny huffed obviously believing it was Mr. Shellwater's fault he had stolen a sip of the drink. "No good!" he exclaimed, as if suddenly forgetting the word 'bad.'
"Well it certainly isn't honey," the man said, finally catching his breath. He watched as Danny seemed to search the crowd for his friends. His words sounded odd to the old man's ears. Maybe he was foreign; English really was a hard language to learn. "Are you looking for Sam and Tucker?"
"Yes! Sam and Tucker!" Danny exclaimed, turning back to him. "Find where?"
"Last I saw they were at the food table."
Danny groaned, hunching forward and startling Mr. Shellwater when he yelped and quickly brought a hand to his back, rubbing the area. "Bad fant-cy," the teen whined, sticking out his tongue. "Saaaaaaaaam."
"Danny!" two voices called out. The owners of said voices brushed past an amused Mr. Shellwater to embrace their friend in a hug that clearly expressed how much they cared about him.
Within his friends' arms, Danny pointed at them and looked at Mr. Shellwater. "Found!"
"I see that," he answered, extremely amused. He smiled kindly at Sam when she gasped and looked at him worryingly.
"I am so sorry, whatever he said or did I swear he didn't mean," she explained, moving her arms so she held Danny's left hand. Her friend held Danny's right.
"Well he did steal a bit of my drink here." He laughed, raising his cup to the teenagers. "Although the taste wasn't what he was expecting, I'm sure." Sam and the other boy- Tucker, was it?- groaned.
"A leash," Tucker muttered. "I swear."
"Thank you," Sam said, obviously trying to get away from the awkward situation as fast as possible. "He's… new around here and has trouble interacting with people."
Mr. Shellwater was about to explain that it was no trouble at all, Danny happened to be a joyful and polite guest, but was interrupted when said teen pointed a finger at his head and proclaimed, "Numbers."
Sam and Tucker stilled. The adult remained silent as he watched them exchange uncomfortable looks. "That's just something he does… sorry," Tucker apologized, looking upset for some reason.
"We should go," Sam added, tugging Danny and Tucker away. She sent Mr. Shellwater a sad look over her shoulder.
Feeling as though he had missed something important, the man sighed and looked down at his drink. Now that the only interesting people at his gathering had left, the man felt his thoughts consume him like a cancer. Ha. His disease was such a depressing topic for his own mind.
Thankfully he was distracted when another man slipped next to him. "Mr. Masters!" Shellwater exclaimed, surprised. "How kind of you to join me."
The billionaire with long silver hair smiled down at the shorter man. "Hello," he offered. Mr. Shellwater wondered why the man was looking slightly above him so intently. "Enjoying yourself?"
"I wish," he sighed in response, swirling the liquid in his glass. "Just trying to do all I can before…"
Masters looked surprisingly sympathetic, gaze drawn slightly upwards again. "I understand." He suddenly pointed at the host's unfinished drink. "Are you going to finish that?"
Mr. Shellwater shrugged, hardly caring that a teenager had taken a sip from the same glass, and downed the rest of the burning liquid quickly.
Above his head and invisible to the human eye, a countdown fizzled out of existence.
The ride back was silent. Sam was obviously extremely affected by her mother's earlier words, and Mrs. Manson, seeing as she did nothing wrong in her eyes, was not speaking to her. Mr. Manson was silent as well, following his wife's lead as usual.
Tucker sent a look to Danny who in return frowned in Sam's direction. The Angel knew something was wrong, and by the looks of it he thought he was the one who caused their depressed mood.
"Sorry," Danny whispered, hesitating, as if he wanted to lean his head on Sam's shoulder but was afraid of being told no. "Am sorry. Sorry."
Sam breathed deeply and reached over to grab his hand. "It's not you, Danny," she said, shaking her head. Danny made a sad noise, because if it wasn't him then how could he fix it so his humans weren't sad?
"You actually did really well today," Tucker said, smiling. "We're proud."
Danny straightened up a little and warbled. "No honey. Fun fant-cy. Hurt now fant-cy. Gone?"
Tucker assumed he was wondering if he could take off the jacket now. "Not yet, dude. Once we get back, we'll get you in the bath." Danny grew excited, already imagining spending quality time with his friends.
"Sam?" he asked.
"No," the girl responded, head sinking into the arm she had propped against the car door. "I'm just going to head to bed this time."
"No bath?" Danny clarified, looking sad. He faced Tucker and declared, "No bath."
"No, you definitely need one. Sam's going to sleep early."
"Sleeeep," Danny echoed, nodding seriously and deciding tonight was one of the few nights he would join his friends in their strange ritual of falling unconscious. "Sleeeeep too."
"Sure," Tucker chuckled, clenching Danny's hand as the silence stretched on. After several moments, Sam reached out for both of them and they held her tightly.
"Everything's okay," Tucker reassured. "We've got you." Danny hummed happily in between them, looking back and fourth as they smiled at each other.
Sam still looked upset, but at least she was with the people she cared about the most. "Us against the world, right?" she laughed, raising their combined hands.
A/N: The charity benefit has passed and new plot devices are introduced! Sorry about my month-long disappearance. I got hired and school got hectic!
Danny is precious and must be protected at all costs.
Someone was watching (x3 chapters)
Stranded with My Class (x2 chapters)
I want to try and finish those two stories by summer, or at least update SWW a hell of a lot and finish SWMC. TCAP might be thrown into there somewhere simply because it's everyone's favorite story and it's super easy to write compared to these.
Oh, and to the guest known as NaniNan, all I can give you is a deep, well meaning, evil cackle. Enjoy!