IMPORTANT A/N: One, something about this fic is really unique. I don't know what it is yet. Danny Phantom is really a very cool show. Secondly, the character Kate is not fictitional. She's me.
Leave me behind, I'll still be in your heart.
It was noon, and Danny Fenton was still sleeping. His room was a complete disaster, the worst one in the apartment for sure, but so long as the mess stayed inside his best friend and roommate Tucker Foley didn't seem to care. Tucker was all ready out and about like he always was on Saturdays, looking at the latest technology that was hitting the market. Danny, who had no desire to waste his Saturday morning doing things hadn't bothered to set his alarm. When the phone rang it scared him so much that his ghost powers reacted involuntarily and he had halfway fallen through the bed before he pulled himself together.
"Who would be calling me?" He asked himself out loud. His parents never called on the weekends. His father, Jack, was usually locked down in the basement, working on one mad idea or another, while his mother, Maddie, was usually assisting him. His sister Jazz lived across the country in California, doing a booming business as Hollywood's number one celebrity psychologist. She only called during the evenings. Tucker knew better than to disturb him before three on a weekend morning. The phone continued ringing. Danny rolled out of bed, picked up the phone and uttered a guttural "Hello?"
"Is this Daniel Fenton?" The voice on the other side of the line asked in sweet female tones.
"Speaking," Danny said while yawning. "May I ask who's calling?"
"We've never met Mr. Fenton. You don't know anything about me, but I know everything about you."
Danny was suddenly very, very disturbed. He stood up in his boxers, and demanded, "Who the fuck is this?"
"I see that got your attention Ghost-Boy," the voice said slyly. Danny stiffened. Though he had eventually admitted to his family that he had unique abilities the Fentons had kept that secret from the general public for five years now. Danny was nearing his twentieth birthday, and his ghost powers were even stronger now that the day he had gotten them. Despite his nearly nightly crusades to rid the world of ghosts, his work never seemed to end. Even after the Fenton portal had been shut for good ghosts began to find their way to the real world in other ways. It was critical to leading a normal life that Danny's secrets remain his own. "Who the fuck are you?" Danny shrieked.
"My name is Kate, Mr. Fenton," the woman said. "Frankly, I've got no reason to respond to you if you've got that kind of attitude. I don't think that's what you want. So calm the fuck down and then we'll have a nice little talk."
Danny paused for a few seconds, gathering his thoughts. He sad down on the bed. "What do you want? Are you blackmailing me? I'm not going to give you any money and I won't do anything criminal, I don't care if you tell the whole world what I am."
"You know, I thought she was making all sorts of crazy shit up, but the way you're acting really is disturbing. You actually have these ghost powers, don't you?" Kate said.
Danny pulled the phone away from his ear and stared at it. Then he put it back to his ear. "Okay, look, you've told me your name but who are you? Who told you about my powers?"
Kate paused on the other end. "If I tell you, you have to promise me you'll do something for me."
"Fuck no," Danny snorted.
"Then I think we're done," Kate said. "Good bye Mr. Fenton."
Danny, realizing that Kate had been told by someone about his powers, suddenly went into a panic. "All right! So long as it's not illegal."
He could hear Kate's triumphant smile, "Good. That's a deal then." She sighed. "Listen, Fenton, I'm Kate- Caitlin- Fawcett, does that name ring any bells?"
Danny blinked. "Yeah, actually," he scratched his chin. He was in need of a shave. "Tell me why. Did we meet at a party somewhere?"
"I'm Sam's room mate," Kate said. A minute later she said, "Hello? Anyone there?"
"I'm here-" Danny said faintly. "I'm here." Kate said something else but Danny didn't hear it. He was really elsewhere, back about two years ago.
Danny kissed his girlfriend on the cheek quickly. "I'll see you at my party after the ceremony, right?"
"Of course!" she giggled. "I wouldn't miss it for the world!" She jogged off.
"And there goes short, blonde and brainless," Samantha Manson said dryly.
"Sam, jeez, can't you cut that out for just one day?" Danny hissed at her. "I mean, it's graduation for Pete's sake!"
"I'm not sure why they're letting you graduate Danny," Sam shot back bitterly. "You haven't grown up since you got your ghost powers. Another side effect, perhaps?"
Tucker came between the two of them. "Cut it out, both of you!" He scolded. "Sam, just because you don't like Tiff isn't any reason for you to go around bitching about it all day long." Danny looked happy until Tucker rounded on him, "and Danny, you need to just chill out. Like you said, it's graduation! This is the last time we have to see Lancer and all the rest of those unhappy, underpaid folks that call themselves teachers!" Tucker smiled. Danny and Sam scowled at each other.
"Fine, whatever," Sam said, crushing her cap in her hand. "I'm out of here." She stormed off to the girls section of seats on the field.
Danny shook his head at her. "I don't get it Tuck. What is her problem? Sam never even talks to Tiffany, but she hates her!"
Tucker gave Danny a sort of sad smile. "I dunno Danny, I dunno." He pat Danny on the back. "C'mon, we'd better hurry and get seated. They're gonna start calling names any minute now. We don't want to miss it!" Tucker trotted off towards the boys section and Danny dutifully followed after him.
Kate was trying to get his attention again. "Fenton!" She shouted. "Are you listening to me?"
"Yes!" Danny lied loudly. "Jesus. What do you want from me anyway? Sam and I haven't talked in nearly a year."
"Yeah, fucker, that's the problem," Kate snapped. Danny was taken aback by the amount of malice in her voice.
"Hey, it wasn't my fault!" Danny snapped. "She cut off contact! She buried herself in her little artistic cocoon and didn't need friends anymore. I believe the phrase she used was 'You're only a piece of scrap metal. I need to work with full sheets'."
"Men are such-" Kate grumbled to herself. "Listen you stupid son of a bitch-"
"No, you listen," Danny growled. "You wake me up, scare the shit out of me, make me relive moments of my past that should be long gone and left behind me, and to top it all off, you insult me! I don't care if you tell the whole goddamn world about my powers, I'm not taking this anymore!" Danny raised the phone to slam it down.
"She loves you, you idiot!" Kate roared over the phone. "She's loved you since your fucking freshman year of high school, but you've been too goddamn blind to see it. She cut off contact with you because she thought it would make her forget all about you, or maybe make you realize how much you really cared about her." Kate took advantage of Danny's stunned silence. "She's in bad shape Fenton, and I swear to god if you don't get your sorry ass over here I'm hunting you down and hauling your sorry ass over here, ghost powers or none."
Danny's heart skipped a beat. "What do you mean she's in bad shape?"
"Sam saw you on the news last month, when that camera crew caught your fight with, well, she said his name was Vlad. She saw how badly you got hurt, and was crying about it all night long. Every night since then she's been going out and getting plastered. I've been going with her to make sure she doesn't do something stupid but I can only take this for so long. She's depressed beyond belief and she won't talk to me about it, so guess what? You're the lucky candidate."
It took some time for Danny to let this all sink in. Sam- in love with him? Since high school no less? It was hard for him to grasp. Suddenly he started seeing things in a whole new light. "Tucker must have known," he said softly. "Shit! He never told me!"
"He probably did, but you never listened that closely," Kate curtly interjected. Danny was surprised at the girl's keen hearing. "Now listen Fenton, I've been told all sorts of wonderful stories about you, and you sounded like a good guy, but in the last month that's all gone down the drain. If you don't come here, you're just proving you're an asshole."
Danny rubbed his eyes. "Of course I'm going to come. Do you think I'm going to leave her in that state?"
Kate made a satisfied grunt. "Good. Tucker said you would come."
Danny stopped. "Tucker knew about this?"
"News flash Fenton, Tucker still keeps in touch with Sam. When I told him about the problem, he suggested I go right for the source and gave me your number."
Tucker took all his calls on his cell phone, Danny reminded himself. He promised that he would make Tucker pay for not telling him about this before hand. "When should I come?"
"Today," Kate said. "If you start out now you'll be here by eleven. If you dial up to room 217 and ask for Jeremy he'll let you crash in his room. I'd open up ours, but I'm going to be baby-sitting," she said sharply. "We live in Courtland Hall, on the north side of campus. You do know how to find the school, right?"
"Yeah," Danny scratched his head. "The School of the Arts, right?"
"Yes," Kate said. "I'm expecting you to be here tonight, Fenton, so don't let me down."
"I won't," he said, "but next time you call, try to at least be polite."
There was a "Hmph!" then the phone clicked. Danny soon found himself listening to a dial tone. He lay down for a few minutes more, the phone on his chest. He had thought Sam and himself were nothing more than good friends. At one point in his freshman year he thought that maybe they'd be something more. Then there was that first incident with Ember the ghost. Danny was really heartbroken that Sam didn't have any feelings towards him- or Danny thought that she didn't have any feelings towards him- but he moved on anyway. His crush on Paulina had lasted until she and Dash started dating, then he met Tiffany and they went out for about a year, breaking up soon after he went to college and realized how shallow she was.
"Sam always said she was short, blonde and brainless," he muttered. Danny sat up, hung up the phone and got out of bed. He took a quick shower, put on jeans and a sweatshirt, threw together a suitcase, and was out the door in fifteen minutes. After he turned onto the highway he slowly cursed his life for being so abnormal.
"Now I will tell you what I've done for you. Fifty thousand tears I've cried. . ." Sam sang along with her CD. She blasted the music to try and drown out her thoughts in order to get some work done. Sam stared at the pages in front of her, trying to make believe she was studying. Sam threw her notebook down, frustrated, and Kate came back from wherever she had been and shook her head.
"Sam," she began.
"Don't lecture me again Kate," Sam grumbled. "I know what you're going to say," she drew the curtain around the bottom bunk, which was hers. "The curtain is up. I don't want to be talked to."
Kate yanked the curtain back. "The rule no longer applies when you start abusing the privilege." She folded her arms. "Are you going out to kill more brain cells tonight?"
Sam's violet eyes flashed with anger. "Fuck off," she said. She rolled over so her back was to her roommate.
"You have got to get over him!" Kate said desperately. "You were the one who broke off contact, remember? You never wanted to see him again!"
Sam ignored her.
"He's got a new girlfriend," Kate said.
Sam whirled around. "WHAT?"
Kate grabbed her arm. "I knew that would get your attention."
Sam groaned. "Leave me the fuck alone Kate. I all ready feel like shit."
"That's because of your new friend- Mr. Beer Bottle." Kate's tone challenged Sam to say anything to the contrary. Sam flipped her off. "Oh, that's so high school. If you're going to curse at me, please, do it out loud so I can laugh."
"Kate, you know, you're an irritating bitch sometimes-"
"I learned from the best, darling," Kate countered swiftly. Sam scowled at her. "Okay, so you still love him. Then call the ghost-boy up. He'll fly over, you can admit your long standing passion for him, make out, I'll leave the room and you just have to air it out when you're done."
Sam reached for her wireless headphones and switched them on. The blaring music went silent in the room but could faintly be hear from Sam's headset. Sam laid back and closed her eyes.
"Fine," Kate said, walking to her desk. "You know what this means." She picked up a bunch of papers with bad sketches on them ripped them all into four pieces and began crumbling the pieces into little paper balls. "We are at war." From her desk, which was on the opposite wall from the bunk beds she began throwing dozens of paper balls at Sam. The first few missed, then as Kate began getting used to the distance, more and more began hitting Sam in the head.
Sam's eyes snapped open. "Cut that out!" Kate said something that Sam couldn't hear over the roar of music. She tore off her headphones. "What?!" She demanded.
Kate tossed another paper ball at her and mouthed the same nothing she had 'said' a few seconds earlier. Sam fumed.
"Come on my little Goth dearie," Kate said, tossing another paper ball. Sam swatted it away. "You need to break out of this funk. You've got at least three assignments that you haven't even started on yet."
"I'll stay in my funk however long I please," Sam growled, putting her headphones on again.
"Your funk is affecting my work!" Kate said desperately. "At least if you're going to be miserable, keep it in the room!"
"You don't have to come after me," Sam barked back.
"Oh, right, I'm gonna just let you go get hopelessly drunk and come back after doing god knows what. Meanwhile I get to worry all night long about you killing yourself." Her roommate shook her head, and her short brown hair flew around her face. "Not gonna happen."
The goth rolled over so she could bury her face into her pillow. Kate waited. After only a few minutes, she could hear Sam's muffled sobs. Kate sighed, walked over, sat on the bed and pried Sam's headphones off.
"We were so close," she choked. "Danny and Tucker and I and now- there's just this big, empty gap in my life. Art used to fill it, but now I can't concentrate. I keep on imagining him getting severely hurt- even killed- when I could be there helping him."
"How could you possibly help him Sam? He's the one with the super powers, not you!" Kate hugged her sad friend.
"I could do something- anything!" She managed a strangled laugh. "He was so hopeless when we were younger. Tucker and I always had to lend him a hand." Sam wept all the harder after that reprieve. "I was so stupid. I should have just left things as they were. Danny and I were never meant to go out, otherwise we would have. We could have been friends. We could have stayed the way we were."
"Yes, and you would just have been this chipper every time he got a new girlfriend who wasn't you," Kate sighed. She began picking up the paper balls and tossing them, one by one, into the garbage. "It's these sorts of things that have kept me out of the dating game for so long. Everyone's always so angst-ridden, it's unbelievable! How do you all tolerate being this miserable? Oh, wait. I know. Drink." Sam looked up at Kate, her bloodshot eyes filled with anger. "You know I'm right. You've got to cut that shit out."
"It makes me feel better."
"It dulls your feelings and alcohol is a downer. You aren't feeling better, you're feeling worse until you kill all your senses."
Sam rolled over again, this time so that she faced the wall.
"Stay here tonight. I've got a surprise cooked up for you!"
"The last time you cooked the fire alarm went off."
"That was a faulty bag of popcorn and I've got witnesses! Plus I'm not cooking."
"Well, that's a relief. However I've dealt with enough of your surprises to know that they tend to be psychologically painful for me," Sam responded. "Look, Kate, I appreciate what you're trying to do, but I need to work through this shit on my own."
"Drinking yourself into a stupor is not dealing with it Sam!" Kate threw her arms into the air. "Am I going to spend another night chasing you all around campus, making sure you don't do something you regret in the morning? Am I?"
Sam shrugged. Kate yelled in frustration and left the room, slamming the door behind her. Same cried for a little while longer. She thought back to her freshman year in high school. The year when so much changed.
The crazed woman in red was bearing down upon them faster than she should have been able to, toting a full arsenal like she was. Sam couldn't even begin to imagine where she had gotten all of this ghost-hunting stuff from. Danny said something about running and she shouted at him that there wasn't enough time. Sam's mind whirred faster than she ever thought possible and she tackled Danny to the ground. Before he could ask what she was doing she had wrapped her lips around his. She wished she could savor the feeling of the moment, but as the woman in red burst out overhead, Sam looked up and shouted "Ahhh!"
"Ew! Geek love! I always knew you two would end up together!" The mysterious assailant said before flying away.
I always knew you two would end up together. Those words haunted Sam for years. Tucker had uttered them more than once when he saw Danny and Sam in some sort of unusual situation where he thought they were dating. I always knew you two would end up together.
"We proved you all wrong," Sam said to the people in her past. "We never did. We never will." She tossed her headphones aside and scooped up her long, black jacket. Wrapping herself up tightly she left the dorm room, and went outside, headed anywhere she could be alone.
Kate returned from her furious excursion to the vending machine with a fully popped bag of popcorn. She threw open the door. "All right now-" She looked around and realized the room was empty. "Sam?" She peered into Sam's little 'cave' as she liked to call it. Kate put her bag of popcorn down and smashed her hands into the sides of her head. "SHIT!" She shouted.
Danny's cellphone rang after her had been on the highway for several hours. He plugged in his hands free set and flipped the cellphone open. "Fenton here," he said, placing the earpiece in the proper position.
"Danny, where the hell are you?" Tucker demanded from the other end.
"Where the hell am I?" Danny said. "Tucker, it's officially all your fault that I am hauling my ass nearly nine hours upstate to an art school!"
"You're what?" Tucker shouted.
"You heard me!"
"How is this my fault?"
"You gave my phone number to Sam's lunatic roommate! She harassed me until she got me in the fucking car!" Danny shouted. He had to slow himself down as he tended to press down the gas pedal when he was mad. "Do you know what kind of morning-"
"Afternoon," Tucker corrected, well aware of Danny's sleeping habits.
"Do you know what kind of afternoon I had?" Danny yelled, not missing a beat.
Tucker sounded amused. "An eventful one to say the least."
"No shit Sherlock!"
"So, why are you going up there, exactly?" Tucker asked, nearing the verge of laughter.
"Because Sam's a royal fucking mess and it's all my fault- with no thanks to you, might I add!" Danny snapped. "Where do you come off not telling me Sam had a crush on me?"
"She never had a crush on you Danny. She was just plain in love with you," Tucker said. "If I had told you straight out, do you really think you would have believed me."
Danny was silent. "That's not the po-"
"You hesitated way too long," Tucker countered. "Listen, I'm sorry I never told you, but I thought you knew and you just didn't like her that way."
"I didn't. I don't."
"You don't sound too sure of yourself Mr. Fenton."
"I. Am. Going. To. Kill. You. Is that sure enough for you Tucker?"
"Does that mean I don't have to pay my share of rent this month?"
Danny made an angry hissing noise.
"So, ho long until you get there?" Tucker asked casually.
Danny glanced at his clock. It read 5:45. "At least another four or five hours."
"What are you going to do when you get there?"
The wind fell out of the half-a's sails. "I- I-" Danny stammered.
"You've go not clue, do you?"
Reluctantly he admitted, "No. I thought Sam and I weren't going to see each other until our ten year reunion. I have no idea what to say to her."
"'Hello,' 'how are you,' or 'I'm sorry' spring to mind."
"You're a real riot Tuck."
"I'm serious Danny."
They were both very quite for a while.
"You know, I always had this hunch that you two would end up-"
"Tucker, cut it out. I'm not going up there to start dating Sam. I'm going up to make sure she pulls herself together," Danny said flatly. "And probably to apologize for being so insensitive. After that, I'm coming home to kick your ass."
"I'm the only one who can fix your computer," Tucker pointed out.
"Okay, so I'm just going to mangle you badly," Danny said. He turned off of the highway to stop for some food. "The point is, I'm getting you back for this."
"Tell Sammy I said hello," Tucker said.
"All right, I will," Danny said. "I"ll talk to you later."
Danny flipped his phone shut and yanked the earpiece out. Scowling he drove up to the nearest Wendy's.
"Hi! Can I take your order today?" Said a girl who sounded a lot like Paulina, much to Danny's disgust.
"I'd like a classic triple combo with a diet coke," he said, aiming to get the most grease in the least amount of time.
"And would you like that Biggie sized?"
Danny thought about it for a moment. "Yeah. Throw in another extra large fires too," he said. To himself he muttered, "This is gonna be a long trip."
When Danny had first come to visit her at the school Sam could remember him looking a little overwhelmed.
"These- artistic types-" he said as he watched two girls with unnatural hair colors and a boy with more metal than skin pass by, "They're an interesting bunch, huh?"
Sam nodded happily. "Yeah. I absolutely love it here!" She grabbed his arm. "C'mon, I want to show you this loom they have in the fashion department! It's enormous and it works like a giant printer, except for cloth! Kate's friend Jeremy is a fashion student here."
"Kate?" Danny asked.
"Oh, right, you haven't met her yet. I keep forgetting." Sam slapped her forehead. "She's the cartoonist in my basic sculpture class. She's dual majoring in animation and sequential art."
"Why is she in a sculpture class?" Danny questioned Sam as he was pulled along.
"She wants to make models of her characters. Some of them aren't so bad, but she's meant to be using a pencil, not a blowtorch or plaster," Sam informed him. "We're probably going to room together next year."
"That's nice," Danny said, slightly out of breath. "Can we take a break for a minute? You're wearing me out more than some of my ghost battles do!"
"I- I'm sorry," Sam said, abashed. "Sure, we can sit down." She sat, blushing slightly. "Sorry. I just get so excited."
Danny smiled. "I'm glad. This sculpture stuff has really opened up a new side of you."
"You think?" Sam said eagerly, her face glowing.
"Oh yeah!" Danny nodded. "Absolutely."
She beamed at him. "So, how are you doing, Mr. I swear I will never be a teacher?" She teased.
Danny rolled his eyes. "Sheesh. You just have to bring that up again."
"Of course I do! Where's the fun in not bringing it up?"
"Well, it's going all right," Danny shrugged. "I still have no idea what I want to teach..."
"Why not English? You could be the vice principal of your school too," Sam suggested, a smile tugging at her features.
"That's kind of interesting-" Danny stopped. "Ah! God no! I will not be like Lancer!" He exploded. Sam burst out laughing. Danny looked at her and groaned. She had set him up for that and he fell right into it. "You're a monster, you know that?" He accused. Sam continued to laugh. Danny had never noticed how pretty she could look with a smile like that on her face. "Yeah, yeah, laugh all you want," he grumbled.
Sam leaned over and gave him a hug. "Aw Danny, it's okay. Clearly your powers have messed with your head. Tucker and I understand, and your family is too weird to notice or care."
Danny laughed. "Gee, thanks Sam. I feel one hundred percent better."
Sam stood up. "Great. Then let's go to see that loom, shall we?" She winked at him.
He groaned loudly, but let himself be lead away.
Sam was sitting in that same exact spot now. It was a small brick wall under a willow tree. She has flirted unabashedly with Danny that day, knowing full well that he had jut recently begun to have doubts about the bimbo he had been dating at the time. "Whatever her name was," Sam grumbled to herself. "For all her flaws she was able to do something I wasn't," she begrudgingly admitted. "She was able to win Danny over. I never was."
Suddenly sitting there hurt a lot. She felt the chill winter wind slap her face. Off about fifty feet away she could see Kate hurrying outside, bundled up like an Eskimo, probably looking for her. As Kate passed out of view Sam slipped away in the opposite direction. Kate's heart was in the right place, but Sam just didn't feel like going through another epic battle with the stubborn cartoonist. She felt bad about foiling whatever plans Kate had to surprise her, but she really just wanted to be alone.
"Kate must have checked every nearby bar by now," Sam mumbled. She didn't plan on going to the bars until much later. If Kate had all ready exhausted them as possible places Sam could be, maybe she'd get to drink in peace for one night. Sam pulled her coat around her tighter, shielding her face from other art students who knew her. Kate would surely talk to everyone she could as she bumbled around in a state of total panic. She would probably call Sam's cellphone five hundred times as well. Sam reached into her pocket and made sure to turn her phone off. "Just in time," she muttered as she cut off a half formed ring. "Sorry Kate, but I need time alone."
"Hello-" Sam's voice said.
"Sam? It's me. Listen-"
"I not able to reach my cellphone right now, so leave a message and I'll get back to you."
"Goddamn it Sam! Answer your fucking phone!" Danny shouted at the automatic message. He hung up furiously. He'd long since started to regret setting out on this road trip. He was beginning to imagine several scenarios of how Sam would take his arrival. They were getting increasingly violent, with him often having to use his ghost powers to avoid sharp pieces of metal sculpture.
"Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" Danny swore, pounding the steering wheel. "How do I keep on getting myself into these situations?" After nearly causing five or six accidents Danny decided that extending his intangibility to the whole car was a wise idea, despite the fact that he would be exhausted later. It also allowed him to drive as fast as he pleased, which would cut off an hour and a half from his trip at least. "I just wish my life somewhat resembled something normal," he lamented as the car passed through a tanker.
He sped along the highway, frustrated with himself, thinking about the last time he and Sam had talked, just before he had broken up with Tiffany. He wasn't even sure how the argument had started, but he remembered how it ended.
"Don't you think it's about time you grew up Danny?" Sam shouted.
Danny's eyes flashed green. "Me? What about you Sam? You never have gotten past that high school disdain for anything mainstream!" His hands began to glow. "You're going to lecture me about being juvenile?"
"God damnit Danny!" Sam threw everything off of her desk with one sweep of her arm. Grabbing a piece of scrap metal she held it up like a weapon. "You're just like this piece of scrap here! Totally useless until you're welded into something!" She threw the piece at him and Danny went intangible to avoid them. "I'm done trying to figure out how to make you into a full sheet of metal!"
"Why do you always speak to me like I'm some sort of idiot?" Danny shouted. "Why can't you just talk to me for once?"
Sam, puffed up and screamed, "Because you never listen!" Danny blinked in shock. Sam rubbed the tears away from her face before he could say anything. "If you weren't dating that blond bitch maybe you'd actually mature a little."
Danny threw his arms up. "Why are you always, always criticizing Tiffany? You haven't even given her a chance!"
"I don't need to give her a chance! I know her type!" Sam turned away, and growled, "She's just like Paulina."
"There you go again! You bring her up all the time! I don't understand you Sam. You're not the same person you used to be."
"And you're EXACTLY the same!"
Danny finally had enough. He made a guttural cry of anger. His powers fired off without him thinking about it. They hit one of Sam's small sculptures and bounced off, blasting her across the face. Sam was knocked backwards and she slammed into her own workbench. Danny's eyes went wide with shock. Sam clutched her face, whimpering. Danny could see blood trickling out through her fingers.
"Sam-!" Danny said with a desperate tone. Sam scooped up the piece of scrap metal and hurled it at him.
"Get out Danny!" She said, still clutching her face. "I never want to see you again!"
"Fine!" Danny shouted. "Don't bother calling, because unless you change your attitude there's nothing we need to talk about!" He shot up out of the room using his powers, and even though he heard Sam crying behind him, he didn't turn back. He was much too mad. "I tried to apologize and she threw it back in my face!" He yelled to the wind. "What kind of friend does that? She's always abusing me! I'm better off without her."
And yet somehow he wasn't so sure. A few days later he called her to try again. When Sam picked up and heard his voice she shouted at him for five minutes then hung up without letting him get a word in edgewise. Frustrated, Danny gave up. They hadn't talked since that day.
"I was acting like a total asshole," Danny swore to himself. He fumed "She was being totally outrageous-!" trying to justify himself, but it even sounded lame to him. He drove in silence for a long time. He looked up to see the exit sign. "Exit 318?!" Danny exploded. "I was supposed to get off at exit 250! Shit!" He slammed on the breaks, and four or five cars whizzed through him. "Now I'm gonna be late!" He yanked on the wheel and turned the car around. "Fenton, pull yourself together!" He barked. "You're acting like a lunatic for what? For Sam?"
Suddenly the silence in the car became overbearing. He turned on the radio. Danny tried to ignore the little voices in his head and the overwhelming amount of emotions and memories washing over him. His phone rang. Danny fumbled for his headpiece, put the earphone in and flipped the phone open.
"Fenton!" Kate's voice came over the line frantically. "I lost her!"
Danny shook his head. "What?"
"She ran off somewhere and I've checked everywhere and I've asked everyone if they've seen her and no one knows where the hell she is and she's not answering her phone!"
"Who are you talking about?"
"Who do you think I'm talking about?" Kate shouted. "Sam! I've lost Sam!"
Danny stared at the phone. "You- lost- Sam? Isn't your school ridiculously small?! Where the hell could she have gone?"
"I don't know! I've been all over campus twice and there's been no sign of her!" Kate sounded like she was about to panic. "Danny, what am I going to do? We've got one of the highest rape rates in the country and she's out there, possible drinking herself senseless-"
Danny felt his heart leap into his throat. "Don't talk like that!"
Kate was quite on the other end. "Well, uh," she sounded a bit baffled. "Look," she recovered, "when you get here, still check in with Jeremy. He'd got my cell number. I'm going to be looking for Sam, give me a call when you get here. I could use some super powered help! I hope you weren't kidding about them."
"My powers? You practically threaten to blackmail me about them and you still don't believe in them?" Danny said incredulously.
"Seeing is believing, okay?" Kate shot back. "I have more important things to deal with right now Fenton. How long until you get here?"
"ETA is about 11:30. I missed the exit. I missed it by about seventy exits, actually."
"How could you miss seventy exits Fenton?" Kate shouted. "They have these big green signs with LIGHTS on them for god's sake!"
"I was thinking!"
"Thinking about what?!"
"Why Sam and I stopped talking, okay?" Danny roared back into the phone. Kate suddenly sounded more subdued.
"Fucking hell," she muttered. "Listen, I'll give you a call every hour or so until I find her. Get here fast Fenton. I can't take this kind of stress anymore!" Kate hung up abruptly.
Danny closed the phone slowly, his thoughts swirling. "Sam, what are you doing?" He whispered. "God, please let her be in one piece when I get there." Danny pressed the gas as far down as it would go, roaring down the highway back to the exit he missed. This time he would pay attention to those numbers as they whizzed by them.
Before Kate took off after her wayward roommate, she suddenly stopped and stared at her phone. "Wait- how the hell do you miss an exit by that much and still plan to be only half an hour late?" Her eyebrows shot into the air. "Shit. He must really be a super hero and I've got him all pissed off at me." Kate adjusted her scarf and pulled it over her lips, which were turning blue in the cold. She cursed her intolerance of winter temperatures and began jogging uphill to check out the Theater building again. Sam usually hung out there, as she was considering a minor in drama. "The girl all ready causes so much of it, I don't see why she needs classes!" Kate fumed.
Sam was wandering around pretty aimlessly when she spotted a very cold, but determined looking Kate. Luckily for her the light was fading and her dark jacket made her blend in with the background. Kate stormed past her about twenty feet away, and Sam simply slipped out of sight. Once Kate was gone, Sam walked over to the sculpture building. It was still open at this time at night, and she slipped inside. Sam entered the metal shop and flicked on the lights. Over in a corner, hidden under a large, ugly tarp was her latest piece. She'd been working on it for months, but had stopped since seeing Danny on the news. She pulled the tarp away now to look at it.
It was a huge abstract piece, twice as big as Sam in height alone. It's main feature was a large distorted 's' shape, that seemed to be falling over under the weight being put upon it. The main shape was at the same time being impaled by dozens of spikes. All over there were pieces of scrap metal stuck to the 's', in all different shapes, twisted and flat, some decorated, some plain. She called it 'Agony' and it was exactly how she felt at the moment. Burdened and impaled by her emotions. Kate, in a bout of anger over Sam's depression suggested she go melt some beer bottles and throw them on there as well. "Then it would really be you," she had snapped before storming out of the room.
Sam had actually liked the idea of adding colored glass to the piece, but she wasn't ready to yet. Sam really just wanted to be pounding some metal into any shape she could think of, listening to Evanescence, their pounding beat driving away her painful memories.
"It was my fault," she said to the sculpture. "I was so jealous and so angry that he couldn't see that. How was he supposed to? I never said anything about it, and he was 'in love'. Love is blind." The sculpture said nothing in response. It just sat there, agonizing over it's own unfinished self. Sam sighed. She took off her jacket and tossed it over the sculpture. "I have to work out this frustration somehow," she said.
She found a large piece of sheet metal and a mallet, and began slamming all of her emotions into it.
Kate's hourly updates were not good. She had looked around campus in general during the first hour and found nothing. The next hour she had checked all the bars. Still nothing. Then she heard that Sam had been in the metal shop, and despite the fact that Kate had sprinted over, There was no sign of Sam. She must have escaped earlier. Danny knew full well that if Sam didn't want to be found, she wouldn't be. When they had fought in grade school she perfected the art of avoiding him and others. She had only gotten better as she grew older.
Danny finally pulled off the highway and onto the road that would bring him to the school. Once there he parked and followed the signs to Courtland hall. After swearing his head off because he couldn't remember Jeremy's room number, he finally gave up and called Kate's cellphone.
About five feet away a girl who was jogging towards the dorm scrambled for her cell and said "Hello? Please be Sam."
Danny looked over. "Kate?" he said loudly.
The girl looked up. "Oh!" she said, trotting over. She closed up her cell phone and looked at him. "Well. I thought you'd be more- I dunno- dead looking, what with being half a ghost." She held out her hand. "I'm Kate. You must be Danny."
Danny shook her hand. "I don't suppose you've found Sam yet, have you?"
Kate shook her head. "Just about everyone on campus knows I'm looking for her though." She sighed. "I asked her to stay in tonight. This is how she reacts!" She sounded pained.
"Sam's always been like that," Danny said.
Kate looked him over and one of her eyebrows perked up, "She's always had good taste, too." Danny blinked and sputtered something. "Chill Romeo, I'm not making the moves on you. I've all ready got someone in mind." She frowned as her phone started ringing again. "Hang on," she answered the call. Danny listened to the one-sided conversation. "Kate here. What? You did? Where? Oh no. She is? Okay. What? Shit. No, don't let her leave. I don't care if she'll kick your ass, I'll kick it twice as hard if you do! Oh, wonderful. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Five minutes, do you hear me? Don't let her leave."
Danny grabbed Kate's arm as she hung up. "Where?" He said, unable to form a full thought.
"Up on main street," Kate said, dragging him along. "If we hurry we can catch her before someone else does."
"Shit," Danny hissed. They both broke out into a run. "Kate," he said, "there's a faster way-"
"Huh?" Kate said. She glanced at him, then yelped as two circles of light passed over Danny's body. Suddenly she found herself staring at the snowy-haired Danny Phantom. "Shit! You've got to be fucking kidding me!"
"Seeing is believing, right?" Danny shot back at her. He grabbed her arm. "Let's fly!"
"Fly?!" Kate sputtered. "You're not serio- ahhhhhhhhhhhh!" She screamed as she and Danny lifted off of the ground. "You drop me, and I swear to fucking god I'll be the biggest pain-in-the-ass ghost you ever had to fight!" She shouted up at him.
"Kate, has anyone ever told you that you talk too fucking much?" Danny snapped at her.
"It's how I relieve stress when I can't draw!" Kate said clinging to him for dear life. She looked at the ground. "Oh shit." She squeezed her eyes shut. When she opened them she saw them heading full speed for a tree. Kate shrieked and braced for the impact that never came. They passed through the trees and Kate looked back, eyes wide with shock.
Danny looked down at her, ready to burst out laughing for the first time today. Kate was sheet white. "Enjoying the ride?"
"Oh god, I feel like I'm gonna hurl. . ." Kate sputtered, then threw her arm out. "There! There! That's the place," She gasped.
Danny landed behind the bar and Kate staggered over to a trash can. Danny allowed her privacy for a moment. He looked through the window into the bar. He saw a familiar figure and his heart skipped a beat. "Sam!" He shouted.
It was nearly midnight and Sam hadn't had more than two drinks. She had a third drink in hand but hadn't actually started sipping it yet. She was feeling more depressed, and slowly beginning to admit to herself that Kate was right. This is stupid. I'm just fucking myself up more. She didn't want to just leave the drink behind. As she bowed her head to take a sip she could have sworn she heard someone call her name. She glance through the bar, and thought she caught a flash of light from outside the small back window.
Sam stood up. She had taken about three steps towards the back door when she was intercepted by a large guy who's breath reeked of alcohol.
"Hey, babe," he draped an arm around her. He paused for a second, his face scrunched up in intense concentration. "You're skirt is shiny. I can see myself in it!" He said triumphantly, reaching around to pinch her butt.
Suddenly Sam saw the perfect use for her drink. She threw it in the guy's face. He let go of her, wiping off her face. Sam turned and began running out.
"Hey! Get back here you little bitch!" The guy roared. He threw his glass at Sam. She shrieked and ducked. The bar erupted into chaos. Danny and Kate were trying to push their way through the back door as Sam made a beeline for the front door.
"Where is she?!" Kate shouted.
"I don't know!" Danny shouted back. A big fellow stumbled into him. He was covered in someone else's drink. Danny shoved against him. "Out of the way, asshole!"
The guy spun around and took a swing at Danny. Danny dodged and landed a mean right hook across the jaw. Kate hopped up and down, too short to see over the heads of the crowd. "Danny! Danny there she goes!"
Danny turned around, and began to cry out, "Sam wait!" But was cut off as the big guy lumbered to his feet.
"That's it! You asked for it you little shit!" He grabbed Danny and threw him to the ground.
Sam turned around to see a fight brewing behind her. Again she could have sworn she heard someone cry out for her. For a second she thought she saw Danny's face in the crowd, but it disappeared. Sam's eye went wide, then she shook her head and pressed a hand to it. "Shit, Kate is right. I'm really fucking myself up this way. Now I'm starting to see things." Sam left the bar, her coat swirling around her.
"Sam! Sam!" Kate tried calling out over the voices of everyone else. Danny's little brawl with the drunken brute that Sam had rejected earlier had increased the noise by about a thousand fold. "Gah! I hate being short!" She looked back at Danny and yelped. "Danny! Duck!"
Danny just barely ducked a large meaty fist. "Oh, that's it!" He said. When the guy tried to tackled him next Danny went through the floor. Kate hopped up and down, looking for him frantically.
"Fenton! FENTON!" She shouted. "Shit! Sam's gonna kill me!"
"C'mon! Let's get out of here!"
Kate jumped nearly five feet in the air. Danny's head had popped up out of the floor. "What are you, Kitty Pryde?!"
Danny grabbed her ankles and pulled her along. Soon they were outside the bar. Inside the chaos had doubled as Danny had 'disappeared'. When they once again became solid Kate was shivering.
"Warn me before you do that!" ordered Kate, who looked very much like she was going to be sick again.
Danny rolled his eyes. "Where'd Sam go?"
Kate looked around. "No clue. While you were doing the mambo with Colossus she left!"
The half-a yelled in frustration. Ha grabbed Kate's arm. "Come on-"
"Fuck no!" Kate shouted. "We are not pulling that flying trick again! Sam couldn't have gone far on foot, so I plan on walking." She folded her arms. Danny looked at her, furious at first, then he took a deep breath and calmed himself. "There are only a couple of other bars. They're all nearby. We can check them out, but please, don't get into any more fights."
"Let's go then," Danny said.
"Okay, just let me check in with Jeremy and tell him what's going on-" Kate opened up her phone. "Oh, damn. My battery's dead." Danny handed her his phone. "Thanks." She dialed the number quickly and spoke to Jeremy for a few seconds. Then she hung up and nodded at Danny, passing him the phone.
Kate lead the way up to the bars. Sam, on the other hand, was heading back to Courtland Hall.
The key clicked in the lock and Sam shoved open the door. "Kate?" She called inside. The room was empty and pitch black. Sam flicked on the lights, then looked at the white board on the front of the door. A note was scribbled there almost illegibly.
Looking for Sam. Call me if you see her!!! -K
The goth sighed and shook her head. "Right, well, now I know where she went." As she entered the room Sam tossed her coat over her desk chair and flopped down on her bed. She dialed up Kate's cellphone, but it went to Kate's answering service. Sam didn't feel like leaving a message, so she hung up. She grabbed her white board marker, erased Sam's message and wrote: I'm here. Tell Kate to stop panicking if you see her- S. Her head was beginning to hurt. She laid down and curled up into a ball. Sam stared at her phone for a while. "Should I call him?" She asked herself. She tilted her head and looked at the clock. It read 12:45. Danny was probably out somewhere and didn't want to be disturbed. "Probably picking up another bimbo," she said bitterly. Tucker had informed her of Danny's breakup with Tiffany, but it hadn't brought her any joy. After all, she and Danny weren't speaking.
Sam slipped under the covers, feeling sleepy and depressed. She cried a little, then got mad at herself for crying, then cried some more. She thought of all the years she and Danny had been friends and cursed herself for throwing them all away in one moment of irrational anger. She remembered how the cut on her face didn't heal for three days and how the mark took even longer to dissipate, making her furious. Danny hadn't actually done it on purpose, but Sam had convinced herself that he had. Slowly Sam began to drift in and out of a fitful sleep.
A very panicky Kate and a worn looking Danny made their way to Courtland hall at around one-thirty. Kate had gone over one disastrous scenario after another until Danny ordered her to shut up. He was worried. Very worried. Kate was right of course, the school had one of the highest rape rates in the country and a fairly poor system of blue lights. Sam could be in trouble, and he could do nothing about it. That thought made Danny furious at himself. How could I have been so blind? He wondered. If I had just been able to see what she was trying to tell me this would have never happened!
Kate let him into the hall and led him to the room she shared with Sam. She stopped and looked at the door, then went rigid. "Ohmigod!"
Danny stopped. "What? What?" He strained to hear any noise inside the room. Kate was staring at the white board. He looked over her shoulder, read it, and said "Open the door Kate!"
Kate fumbled for her keys, and after dropping them twice, managed to open the door. She scooted off to the side and Danny practically fell into the room. He took a deep breath. Kate scooted in behind him.
Danny let out a sigh when he saw Sam sleeping. Kate looked about ready to put her hands around Sam's throat. She clenched her fists and then murmured, "I'm gonna go tell Jeremy she's okay." Danny nodded absentmindedly. Kate gave him a funny look, but Danny didn't notice. She rolled her eyes, and closed the door softly behind her.
Danny suddenly felt the bottom drop out of his momentum. All day he had been functioning solely through anger and frustration. Now he had neither and he felt very tired. He sat down on the very edge of Sam's bed and leaned over. He remembered her complaining about how uncomfortable it was to sleep with her ponytail in, and noticed that part of her hair was still tied up. He gently moved his hands over her head and undid the stretchy green band that held her hair up. As he pulled his hands back Sam shifted she opened her eyes slightly. Danny froze. "Hey Sam," he whispered.
"Danny?" She mumbled, her words slurred by sleep and drink.
"Yeah, it's me," he murmured with a smile.
"Danny," her eyes closed and tears slid down her face. "I'm so sorry Danny."
"I'm the one who should be sorry Sam," he stroked her head. "Just rest now. Everything's going to be okay."
She sighed his name once more and slipped off to sleep. Kate returned, took one look at Danny sitting there and stroking Sam's head, and began to rub her temples. "Couldn't you have figured this out in high school? That would have saved me a month of pure stress."
Danny jumped. "What?" He said quietly, so as not to disturb Sam.
"This-" Kate gestured at the other two occupants. "I mean, look at you two! It's like some sort of Disney Channel Romance playing out before my eyes." She put her tongue into her cheek for a moment. "Actually those are really disturbing because they're so faked."
"Kate, please," Danny said, exasperated. Kate stopped, then smiled.
"It's good to know she has someone like you Fenton. Even if you're 'just her friend,'" Kate went over to her mini fridge and pulled out a water. She held it out towards Danny. "Want one?"
Danny held out his hands to catch. "Please."
Kate tossed him the water, pulled one out for herself and opened it with a quiet snap. Danny watched as she pretty much chugged it, then tossed the bottle into the recycle bin. There was a soft knock on the door. Kate got up, stretched, and said, "Come in." A tall guy with dirty blonde hair and glasses poked his head around the side of the door. "Danny, this is Jeremy. Jer, this is Danny Fenton."
Jeremy slid the rest of himself into the room and held out his hand. "Nice to meet you Danny. Sam's told us a lot about you."
Danny shared a quick look with Kate, who shook her head. Jeremy, apparently, was out of the loop concerning Danny's powers. "I hope it wasn't too damaging to my reputation," Danny replied with a chuckle."
Jeremy eyed the sleeping Sam. "Well, maybe we should get you set up in my room, that way we can all rest for the night." He jerked his thumb in Sam's direction.
"My bag's in my car," Danny stood up.
Kate gave Jeremy a pleading look. Jeremy sighed. "I guess this means I'll be hauling my ass out there in the freezing cold."
"If Sam wakes up I want to make sure she doesn't get any brilliant ideas- like going out again," Kate said. "Plus she might want t kill me for bringing you here," she addressed Danny, "and you don't really want to be in the middle of that fight."
"Right. . ." Danny said. He edged away from Sam's bunk. Kate flashed the boys a thumbs-up and climbed up onto her bunk.
Jeremy and Danny left the room and proceeded to walk out to Danny's car. "So," Jeremy said, "Sam says you're an education major."
"Yeah," Danny rubbed the back of his neck. "It was unexpected. I want to teach at the high school or college level. Possibly chemistry or psychology."
"Interesting," his companion said. "You know, Sam's been considering an education minor so she can teach art. She said you were her inspiration."
Danny tilted his head. "When did she say that?"
"Oh, gosh, I think she last mentioned it about. . . A month and a half ago maybe. Before she went into her funk."
"So you know about that too?"
"I know that it's about you," Jeremy shrugged. "She saw you on the news- a car crash, Kate said. She thought you were hurt really badly, but you look okay to me," Jeremy looked at him curiously.
"It looked much worse than it was. I had a concussion," he lied through his teeth.
Jeremy nodded. "Oh, I had one of those once. Not fun." He kicked a stone on the ground. "I'm assuming Kate dragged you up here somewhat unwillingly. I apologize for her," he laughed. "She's always gotten fed up with people and their love lives a tad too fast. Kate likes to get things over and done with, then try to move on."
"Why is that?"
"Lack of a love life to call her own, primarily. She's tried with a couple of guys, gotten shot down, and just gets frustrated when she sees two people who clearly 'have a thing for each other' doing what she calls 'the dance of denial'." Jeremy accented his words with hand gestures. "She tries to push people in the right direction. She's been successful a couple of times too." He waved it off. "Anyway, she figured that bringing you up here was the only thing to get Sam to act normal again. You're lucky she waited for a long weekend to drag you up here. She was about to go crazy and call you last Tuesday, threatening you with death."
And other things, no doubt, Danny thought of the threats of exposure Kate had thinly veiled. "To be honest," he said without thinking, "I'm glad she got me up here. I've missed Sam." He added, "A lot," very quietly. "That's my car," he pointed. As he and Jeremy approached it Danny popped the trunk. Jeremy hauled out Danny's suitcase. Danny closed the trunk.
The boys were quiet as they returned to the dorms. Jeremy opened the door with his swipe card and Danny hauled his suitcase in. Once they had entered Jeremy's single, Jeremy pulled out an air mattress from his closet and inflated it. "I only have a blanket, no sheets," he said apologetically.
"That's okay. I'll manage." Danny said. He changed quickly into pajamas and lay down on the air mattress with his arms behind his head. He felt very weary, which wasn't usually how he felt on a Saturday night. Of course, using his powers to drive like a madman for several hours, getting into a bar fight and running halfway across a college campus was not his usual Saturday schedule. He closed his eyes. Jeremy was asking him questions, and he answered intelligently for a little while, then he mumbled things, and before long he was asleep.