Summary:Danny's life becomes impossible knowing he's ruined someone else's life. It's even worse knowing it's his best friend.
Rating:PG-13 for mature themes and language.
Disclaimer:I do not own Danny Phantom, Butch Hartman does. I do not own My Immortal, Evanescence does.
This pain is just too real.
Danny forced a slight smile as his mom turned the camera on him. It was obviously not convincing; he could read that in Jazz's expression. His mom always recorded birthdays. She claimed that way,onecould look back and see how much they had changed in a year. He wondered what would go through her head when she watched this birthday years later. The better question was; what would he think?
Sam dropped into the seat next to his. He tried not to stare at her, but watched her out of the corner of his eye. There was some other reason she had been in his room. If that was it, why hadn't she just hollered from the door? He couldn't help but notice the look that passed between the two girls when he had entered the room. Though Sam had only been here about three days, she and Jazz seemed to already have their secrets. Must have been that they were sharing a room now.
He hated to admit it, but he was slightly jealous of Jazz and Sam's new found closeness. He felt bad for begrudging themabout the closeness. Sam needed somebody to talk to, especially another girl. But all that kept going through Danny's mind was that it used to be him who Sam shot those looks at. But now that there was this wall between them it suddenly seemed like she would never be able to confide in him again. In all reality, though, he deserved it completely. But it was still a little disturbing how fast she could find a new best friend.
Danny sighed, trying not to focus on the negative. "You want to open presents or have cake first?" Maddie asked, sounding almost overly cheerful. He dropped his gaze to the table,scanning the acid-burned wood grain. He remembered when he was little and his parents got the house all decked out for his birthday. This year you could hardly tell it was a different day than most. He looked at his mom and just shrugged, hoping to keep his face emotionless.
"Talk," Sam hissed. He turned and studied her for a moment. Her violet eyes had almost a gray tint to them. He wondered if it was just a trick of the light or if it was just something he had never noticed before. It seemed so trivial, but he felt better for noticing it. "Talk," she whispered again. There was something in her eyes that seemed almost half between a plea and a command.
Danny opened his mouth to ask what she was talking about when his mom placed the cake in front of him with lit candles. He half registered his dad blathering to his mother about the candles attracting unwanted otherworld visitors. His mother shushed his father assuring him that aghosthad never invaded a Fenton Birthday Party yet. Danny's eyes never left Sam as her gaze dropped to the table. His mother straightened and started the ever-off key song of happy birthday. Danny wondered how old you had to become before people stopped singing to you and just wished you happy birthday.
"Make a wish, son," his father chimed as the song finished. Danny stared at the flickering lights for a moment. The little dancing flames brought to mind different birthday parties with much different atmospheres to them. He looked over at Sam who looked much older than she had at his fifteenth and even then she hadn't been the happiest.
Sure, Danny had a wish. He didn't even really know what it was. It was more than a wish; it was an overwhelming feeling of regret. He wished that nothing had changed since he was thirteen. He wished Tucker was here and Sam was still sporting her little gothic scowl with that sparkle in her eye. "I wish Sam and I had never gotten hurt."
The second it slipped out Danny wished it hadn't. There hadn't been much noise in the room before he said the statement, but as soon as he muttered it the silence seemed to become stifling. Danny tried his hardest to look at Sam, to apologize, take the words back, anything to break the silence that seemed to wrap its way around him, threatening to squeeze the air out of him.
Sam jumped into the growing silence, cutting it short. "May I be excused?" She was already pushing her chair away from the table. Danny watched his parents exchange a look and his mom nod. Sam threw the paper napkin that she had clenched in her hand into the garbage by the door as she stormed from the room.
The Fenton family sat in silence for a split second. "Jazz, dear," her mother started,"Why don't you go talk with Sam."
"I have a better idea," Jazz stated, "How about Danny go talk to her?" Danny instantly looked wide-eyed at his sister. "Oh, please. It's your fault she's in a tizzy anyway. The least you can do is go deal with it." Danny stared at her, not entirely believing what was coming out of her mouth. When her expectant stare continued, Danny leaned forward blowing out all the candles in a single try, slid out of his chair, and started towards the door.
After a quick survey of the house he still couldn't find Sam. Danny thudded back down the stairs, taking them more quickly than necessary. Stopping at the bottom he surveyed the room wandering a little further into the living room. It took him a double take to realize what was wrong. The door to the lab was open about six inches. He wandered over, slipping in and closing the door behind him.
He went down the stairs much more slowly this time. The eerie turquoise glow cast over the room with its swirling shadows was all too familiar. Danny hadn't been down here in weeks and when he'd left then he hadn't had any intention of returning to it ever again. But things change. He scoffed inwardly. If that wasn't becoming his mantra, he didn't know what was.
Walking over slowly, he stared into the swirling depths of the portal. The luminescence swirled with the shadows,giving it an almost menacing appearance. He hit the switch and turned. Sam stared back at him from where she was kneeling in the corner by the door. He couldn't have been three feet from her when he walked in.
The two just stared at each other for a moment, neither willing to say anything. Sam stood up and walked further into the room. "I would be mad at you, but I don't think you have any idea how aggravating you are."
Danny just stared at her blankly, the look conveying he had no idea what she was talking about. Sam rolled her eyes. Stalking past him, she faced the portal. Danny watched as she shivered and wrapped her arms around herself. "Do you realize how big a hypocrite you are being?"
Danny blinked. Of all the things he was expecting to come out of her mouth, that wasn't one of them. "What's that supposed to mean?" He instantly regretted how confrontational that sounded.
Sam's shoulders seemed to freeze but she didn't turn around. "It just is really bothering me that the person that swore up and down that there was nothing worth throwing your life away over is now doing just that."
A cold chill crept over Danny at hearing Sam talking about this whole situation so casually. "This is different," he stated, trying to put as much finality in his voice as possible.
Sam spun on her ankle. "How?" she spat. "Because this time you have to actually deal with it?"
"No!" Danny glanced behind her to the portal and back again in a split second. Meeting her eyes, it was obvious she noticed the little flicker. "It just is, okay?"
Danny turned and started towards the stairs. "Would you stop giving evasive answers!" She reached out and grabbed his arm, jerking him around. "And stop trying to run away." He turned but stared resolutely at the corner. "Oh, for the love of--" Sam muttered. Danny studied her out of his peripheral vision. She looked about ready to shake him till his teeth rattled.
Silence seemed to stretch on. Sensing that neither of them were giving in on this, Danny dropped his gaze to hers. Her jaw was still set, her eyebrows still knitted,but in her eyes was this look of despondence he hadn't seen on her face for a while. "It's just different," he said, surprising himself with the defeated sound in his voice.
Sam snorted and looked back at him. "Right," she bit out. She walked past him in a huff,jamming her shoulder into him. He listened as she stomped her way across the floor but suddenly the footsteps stopped. Caught off guard, he turned to see her standing at the bottom of the staircase. She seemed frozen for a moment, then looked at him over her shoulder. "You know I believed every single thing you told me about not giving up, about fighting your way out. In my mind, you had already conquered all forms of adversity in that year. It just hurts to find out it was all a lie for you."
It hurt worse than any accident or beating that he had taken over the past few years of ghost fighting. Sam took three steps up the stairs when it occurred to him that he may have single handedly undone all the healing Sam had gone through in the past year and a half. "Sam, wait a sec!"
Half way up the stairs, her steps only seemed to falter momentarily. "Why should I?" The betrayal in her voice stung but he deserved it.
Taking a deep breath, Danny gathered every ounce of courage at his disposal. "Because you need to know the whole story. Not just half of it." He glanced at his watch, not even caring what time it read. "Just listen, Sam. That's all I'm asking you."
Hey guys! First of all I want to thank 95 of you for being totally understanding sweethearts. You guys are totally amazing. I'm sure some of you noticed that this chapter has much fewer errors. I want you all to give a HUGE shout out in your reviews to my new editor. I think she has an account on FF.N but I'm not entirely sure what it is so you all can just leave it in a review and then I'll send her an email with all your glorious praise for a better quality of story! She's been a tremendous help, is totally easy to work with, and volunteers her time out of the goodness of her heart. J But enough about me, on to thanking you guy! My fabulous reviewers this time are: Lateraina Wolf, jen-jen12, whoo, Yayfulness x2, antonia x4, Mako-Magic x2, Encouraging fan, bbmylove, Ransomed Heart, Live2Write4Ever, WormmonABC, skittles-Chan x2, Seeiko, Zeon of the Twilight Blade, D a r k n e s s in H e a r t, Hwoarangsguardie, MayB, Cat o'thWind, Indome, Peircing blue, Tuckers-Ghostly-Girl, cmartist, Cheerin4danny, The Halfa Wannabe, Spice Of Life, Ryo's destiny, Lightning Streak, gothmiko, getfuzzyfan04, Sakura Scout, Wind91Rider, ames x2, Moody Maud, purrbaby101, Aeris9919, The Good Girl, Mujitsu Yume, and Terrasina Dragonwagon. You guys make this all worth the effort.
Plus, I wanted to let you all know that Fallen is all up, and typically is updated sooner, on DeviantArt so if you guys have an account feel free and check me out. Same user name, I'm not all that creative. I have some stories that are on DA and not on here. It's compensation cause those guys don't get On the Way Down. And fellow deviants have been totally generous with all the fanart they have drawn for Fallen so feel free to check that out. I have links to most of it in my journal, I'll get some more links on there soon.