So, I got to float around and drop my boot. That's it.

Samantha Manson's smile faded slightly as she and her friend Danny Fenton fled from the hospital. They could still hear the unfortunate Tucker screaming in agony behind them. After a moment, Danny looked back with a sad look on his face.

"I really can't bear hearing Tucker scream like that," he said. You'd think it'd be better to help him rather than running away, don't you think Sam? Sam? Hello?"

"Huh?" the girl replied, shaking her head out its self-pitying monologue. "Yeah, yeah, it's a shame."

"You okay?" Danny asked as they slowed down.

"Yeah, I'm fine Danny... I'm fine," she muttered as she sat on a park bench.

"You don't look fine," he said as he sat beside her. "Everything all right?"

"Yeah, it's just the whole Spectra thing, I guess," Sam replied as she clutched her hands together and looked at the ground with a sigh. "I just... well..."

"Don't like seeing friends hurt?"

"Uh, yeah, yeah. I don't like seeing them get hurt," Sam mumbled. I also don't like them lusting after Latino bimbos that would know their face from their a--

"Uh, Sam? You're kinda breaking the board there." Sam looked down to see she was ripping one of the slats free of the bench framework, her nails sunk deep into the wood. She blushed and pushed the board back into place.

"Just stressed is all," the Goth muttered with a slight blush.

"Oh. Well, I should get back home... Stevens wants a paper on the consolidation of New York City, and he is a stickler about that kinda thing," Danny replied as he got up. "See ya later?"

"Sure, Danny. See ya later." Danny smiled and ran off, waving as he did. Now alone, Sam crossed her arms and idly scuffed her boot in the dirt at the foot of the bench. I might as well have just been a balloon, she thought to herself. No ghost sense, no plasma balls, no phasing... no actual flying. I bet the others would call me lucky. I sure don't feel lucky. Sighing again, the teenager got up and headed for home. She rubbed at her chest absent-minded for a moment as she left the park.


The cure had missed a bug.

Deep inside Sam's body, a lone green bug slowly crawled through the girl's bodily systems, deeper and deeper. She might have seemed cured with the others, but it was a red herring; the bug had gotten too deep inside. Falling after the others was another, as Spectra had bragged to Danny, "side effect." Now burrowed into his best friend, even Danny Phantom didn't know the bug was still in her body.

The bug finally crawled into Sam's heart, and stopped. It then disintegrated, its remains being pumped through her body via the bloodstream...


Home sweet home.

Sam flopped back first onto her bed, spread-eagled. She gazed up at the ceiling for a moment before reaching around, looking for the clicker. No use moping over non-existent ectoplasm. She finally found the wayward device, and turned on her TV. She was greeted with the third season finale of Enterprise in progress; Captain Archer trying to stop the Xindi superweapon from obliterating Earth. She smiled to herself; trying to picture a predicament that would lead to her staving off the destruction of humanity, bloodied by a fight, Danny at her s--

Well, okay, now she was daydreaming. She bit her lip in embarrassment and returned to the show. Archer's such a wuss, Sam thought idly. Seems like the only thing he did well was getting his butt kicked by aliens. After a moment more of watching the show, her stomach growled. She turned to her right to see the box of vegan-approved Cheez-its she kept on her bureau. Sam pushed herself off her bed, walked over to the box, and reached for it.

Her hand passed right through it.

Confused and a touch shocked, Sam immediately withdrew her arm. She blinked for a moment, then tried again. Once again, her arm passed through the box as if it wasn't even there.

"Okay. What's going on here..." Sam muttered. Before she could continue her analysis, the girl felt light-headed. She found herself floating again. Confusion turned to pain as her head slammed against the ceiling. Sam growled and rubbed her scalp, cursing to herself.

"Samantha! What are you doing up there? I heard a bang!"

"Nothing Mom," Sam groaned as she rolled her eyes. "I just... tripped on something. I'm fine."

"Well, if you cleaned that room of yours occasionally, young lady, that wouldn't be a problem!" With that, Mrs. Manson fell quiet.

"Okay, Sam, let's talk this through," the teenager muttered to herself. "I'm floating around again. And, I can't grab a box of Cheez-its. But, Tucker cured everyone. So why am I--" A flicker of an idea passed through her head, bringing a small smile to her face. She shook her head; before filling her head with delusions of grandeur, she should seek the one person who could know what was going on. With her "normal" arm, Sam fished her cellphone out of her pocket. She quickly speed-dialed the number.

Ring.

Ring.

"Hello?"

"Uh, Danny? It's Sam."

"Sam? Look, I don't mean to be rude, but I really need to write this paper or I'm gonna f--"

"Um, I have a little problem here," Sam interrupted as she watched her other arm start to disappear. "You should come over. NOW." Before Danny could ask what she meant, her hand phased. The phone fell to the floor and shattered.


"Sam? Sam!"

Danny didn't like this at all. Sam had just told him something was wrong before he was disconnected. Redialing the number, he received a message that it was out of order. The boy gulped.

"Bad enough for me," he muttered as he tossed the phone onto his bed. His room lit up with a white flash, and the now ectoplasmic teen soared out the window for the Mansons' mansion.


Seconds later, Danny phased into Sam's room.

"Sam? Sam? Where are you?" he cried, looking around.

"Um, up here." Confused, the boy looked up. He gawked at the sight greeting his startled eyes. That was Sam, alright. Minus her right arm, some of her left, and about half of her legs. "I... sorta have a problem here."

"You're tellin' me," Danny muttered as he floated up towards his friend. He gently grabbed Sam's waist and brought her to the floor. He tied a sheet around her, and the teenager bobbed gently up and down. Irritated, she crossed what was left of her arms. A slight green glow shimmered in her narrowed eyes.

"Again with the tying me down..." she mumbled.

"Well, what else can I do?" Danny shrugged.

"How should I know!" Sam snapped, flinging her arms open. As she did, plasma balls flew from her invisible hands, crashing into the opposite walls. The projectiles left slightly smoldering holes. Sam bit her lip and blushed slightly. "Um, whoops!" she managed. Danny smiled gently; Sam looked kinda cute when she was blushing. The thought of that made his own cheeks red. He shook his head to clear it and cleared his throat.

"Okay, Sam... uh... let's get you back to my house and see what's going on," he finally managed.

"Yeah... with half of me missing and the other half having the gravity of a balloon, that'll work fine, Danny," she replied, rolling her eyes.

"Hey, I don't need the sarcasm!" Danny snapped. "This is serious. Now, let's get you to my house." He untied Sam and grabbed her fast before she could float off again. He blushed, looking her over for a place to grab. "Um, let's see," he muttered as he scratched his nape. He sighed, and finally grabbed Sam's waist from behind. "Sorry, Sam, but this is the only way," Danny said as he flew upwards.

"Oh, that's okay, Danny," Sam replied in a slightly giddy voice. "I don't mind at all..."


A few minutes later, the duo had arrived at Danny's house. The halfa phased himself and his friend back to a material form. Unfortunately, Sam was now but a floating head.

"Okay, as if this wasn't creepy enough," she said as she looked down at her invisible body, "it just got creepier."

"Ha ha," Danny answered as he pawed through his parents' myriad devices on a nearby table. "By the way," the boy said, "you left this here." Danny tossed the object, a notepad, to the floor in front of the portal.

"Way to respect my stuff, Danny!" she snapped.

"Hey, it's just a notebook. Besides... well, I'm just going to ignore puns on this one too." He returned to his search.

"Yeah, but that notebook has my design for my ins-- uh, inside for a new house! Yeah, that..." Danny gave her a funny look.

"Since when are you an interior designer?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Since a few weeks ago." Danny shrugged, and resumed his search once more. Finally, he snapped his fingers and picked up a small device. "Found it!" he called out, dashing back over to her.

"What is it?" Sam asked, her top knot having vanished.

"It's something Dad whipped up a few months ago. Scans people for ghost possession and the like," Danny replied as he ran the device up and down Sam's body. He studied the readout as it worked. He winced as it loaded.

"What is it, Danny?" Sam asked.

"Sam... you're turning into a ghost," he gulped.

"What do you mean, 'I'm turning into a ghost?' I'm still alive!"

"Yeah, but since when do people normally shoot plasma balls, float around, and start disappearing?" he countered.

"Okay, point taken," Sam replied. Her face hardened. "Is... there anything you can do?" she asked. I didn't want it this badly... she gulped in her mind.

"I... I don't know," Danny said gently as he put his hand on where her shoulder should be. "Sam, I don't even know what's causing it. You're not being overshadowed or anything, but something's happening to your DNA. I don't know what it could be, I mean, Tucker got rid of the b--" Danny trailed off as his eyes widened. He didn't remember seeing the bug leaving Sam. It left everyone else; Jazz, Paulina, Kwan, Dash... he didn't see anything coming out of Sam. A sickening feeling twisted Danny's stomach as he remembered what Spectra had sneered:

"...they'll be burned out and turned to shriveled husks."

"No, no... oh jeez no," Danny whimpered as he put his hand to his mouth. Tears started to brim in his eyes.

"Danny? What is it?" Sam asked. "What's wrong?"

"You're gonna die, Sam," he croaked as a few tears trickled down his cheeks. "You're gonna die."

"Uh, yeah. I'm human... or was. Of course I'm gonna die."

"No, I mean in a few minutes," he sniffled. "The bug didn't leave you, did it? When Tuck did his thing?"

"I... don't think so," she said as she tried to remember.

"It didn't get out, Sam. Now nothing can get it out. It's draining you, and you're going to shrivel to nothing, and I can't do anything about it!" Danny snapped, hurling the device to the ground in disgust.

"...are you sure?" Sam managed.

"Spectra told me when she had me tied up... she was using parts of people for her plan, and the ghost powers were a side effect. She said if they didn't get out of the infected bodies... the victims would just... shrivel up. There's nothing I can do..." he finished, as more tears began to flow.

"Danny..." Sam squeaked as her own tears began to run.

"I'm so sorry, Sam," he replied as he hugged her... or where she was... tight. He couldn't physically feel her, but he could feel the warmth of her spirit; it was starting to slowly get cold already. Sam wrapped her arms best she could around him; she couldn't feel a thing with them, they passed right through him.

"I can't even feel you," she sniffled, burrowing her head against his shoulder. "This isn't fair! I didn't want this!"

"You think I did?" Danny replied.

"No! I mean, I wanted t--" Suddenly, there was a flash of light. Sam's body had returned... a sickly pale white. Sweat rolled down her body. "I don't feel good..." Sam whimpered as she clutched her stomach. She aimlessly wandered towards her notepad before keeling over. "I... guess this is goodbye, isn't it..." she whispered. Danny was about to reply when he saw something over the writhing teenager.

"No. No it's not." Danny rocketed to the wall, and grabbed one of his father's white and black jumpsuits. He ripped Jack's picture off; the grinning image was almost mocking the situation. "Quick, put this on."

"Danny, what are you..."

"Just do it!" he snapped. Realizing that Sam was far too weak to do something like that, Danny quickly phased it on. He soared at near subsonic speed for the control panel nearby; if memory actually served, it was all correct. Danny bit his finger, almost ripping a hole through his glove. I hope I'm right... he thought.

Sam, meanwhile, opened her notepad. She flipped to the pocket, and saw what she was looking for; a stylized "S" in the same font as Danny's. She'd designed it as a lark the same time she made her friend's. With what strength she had, Sam shoved the design against her chest, hoping it would stick and was on straight. No sooner had she pulled her trembling hands away, Danny roared over, flew her into the portal, pounded the infamous button with his fist, and soared out.

There was a great big flash; Sam writhed as her entire body was bombarded with spectral energy. Danny winced as the teenager's skeleton flickered periodically; even if this would work, Sam may have been too weak to survive the forces her body was now being subject to. They'd both know soon enough if Sam's molecules being rearranged would do what Danny was hoping it'd do. The flash died away, leaving a cloud of smoke and steam in the portal.

"...Sam?" Danny managed in a hoarse whisper. Stillness greeted his reply, and for a moment, he feared the worst. Then, a form moved and walked free of the cloud surrounding it. A perfectly healthy, white haired Sam, now wearing a photo-negative jumpsuit and an insignia of her own emerged, looking herself over.

"Not bad, Danny," Sam said as she looked her arms over. "It's kinda loose in the shoulders, but I think I can grow into it," She gave her body a few experimental twists as the spandex stretched around her. Danny gave a strangled cry of joy and swept the new halfa into his arms.

"It worked... it actually worked," he stuttered in relief, hugging her close.

"Whatever you did? Yeah, it did. But... what were you trying to do, exactly?" she asked him.

"Well, with your DNA being rewritten and your body tearing itself apart trying to reject the ghost energy, I thought if you got the treatment I got, it would be stabilized. How do you feel?"

"A heck of a lot better than I was a minute ago," Sam replied with a grin as she hugged him back. "Pretty clever thinking, smart guy." Danny blushed and tried to blink the last tears away before he squinted at her chest.

"What is that...?"

"Oh, just something I whipped up..." she replied, blushing. "Does it really matter? I mean, I didn't die."

"Right, right," Danny responded, smacking his head. "I'm just really happy it worked," he continued as he hugged her again. "I mean, if you died, I don't know what I would have done..."

"It's okay, Danny. I'm fine now," Sam replied, patting his back. They finally let go, taking the other's hands. They gazed into each others' tear-streaked faces, then slowly craned their necks forward. Their lips locked, followed by their arms, tightly wrapped around the other. Minutes seemed to pass before they finally let go.

"Well... I guess there's some stuff you need to learn now," Danny mumbled, his cheeks now a bright red.

"What, like how to stop floating around aimlessly?" Sam replied with a grin.

"Well, yeah, there's that," Danny agreed with his own smile. "Well, let's do it this way: What do you want to learn first?"

"Well," Sam said softly as she scuffed her foot, "there is something I've always wanted to do..."


Night had fallen upon Amity Park at long last. It was probably the longest day Danny and Sam had had in years. But, that didn't matter at the moment; they stood atop Danny's house, looking briefly at the constellations before going back to the task at hand before them.

"Okay, you sure this is what you wanna do first?"

"Beyond words," Sam replied without hesitation.

"Okay," Danny replied with a hopeful sigh. He took a deep breath, and stepped back slightly. "First off, try willing yourself off the ground. Slowly." Sam nodded and closed her eyes. After a moment, she slowly drifted off the ground. "Hey, I did it!" Sam cried happily, her eyes still closed.

"Well, good, that's the first step. Now, trying actually willing yourself up higher. Not too fast, Sam. Nice and slow." Sam nodded and tried the boy's advice. There was a beat, and then Sam soared haphazardly off the roof, dive-bombing towards the street. Danny quickly sped down and caught her.

"Okay," he muttered as Sam caught her breath. "Plan B." Danny looped his arms around Sam's waist and soared high into the sky. He leveled out at a decent altitude. Confused, Sam opened her eyes, seeing the city far below her, no bigger than a model.

"Uh, Danny?" she asked.

"We're gonna try it this way," Danny said gently. "I'm gonna slowly let go, and you tell yourself to just keep going straight without me. I'll catch you at the first sign of trouble. Okay?"

"Okay," Sam gulped. "This, uh, wasn't as easy as I thought it would be," she managed with a shy smile. Danny smirked a little.

"Well, that's because you were just a passenger until now. Okay," he said as he straightened out, "I'm gonna let go. Are you ready?"

"As I'll ever be," Sam answered.

"Okay, here we go..." Danny replied. He slowly let go. Sam sputtered forward for a moment before plunging belly first towards the ground. The teenager screamed, flailing her limbs. Danny caught her in an instant, holding her close. Between catching her breath she smiled a little at how close she was to Danny, feeling his calming warmth and heartbeat against her...

"Sorry, Sam. I don't think you're ready for this," Danny said as he started to take her down slowly. Sam shook her head.

"No, Danny, no! I just wasn't ready that time. Please, one more chance?"

"Well," he sighed as if in thought. A small smile suddenly crossed his lips as if he had figured something out. "Okay, sure. I'll just guide you for a ways, okay?" Danny continued as he flew forward.

"Sounds fair," Sam replied.

"Okay, here we go..." he said. Slowly, he let go of Sam; she continued to fly straight on her own. "Still got you, Sam, don't worry," he said as matched speed above her. "Not gonna let anything happen..."

"Danny, are you gonna let me try this or not?" she snapped.

"Oh, I don't know," the boy replied as he settled in next to her. "You tell me, Sam." The girl boggled as she saw Danny flanking her with arms crossed; she looked over her back to see she was indeed flying under her own power. "You're doin' great, Sam, doin' great," Danny continued as if he were coaching a child biking without training wheels for the first time in their life. Sam blinked for a moment.

"I'm... flying?" she sputtered.

"You sure are," Danny said with a grin. Sam paused, then screamed forward at full tilt. She let loose a war whoop as she now soared upwards in a loop. Falling back into a straight line, she sped through a cloud with a giddy giggle, feeling the misty dampness flow lovingly past her face, kissing her cheeks. She closed her eyes, savoring the warm, gentle breeze flowing past her. Finally catching up to her, Danny flanked her once again. "So, uh, how's it feel?"

Sam turned to face him, joyful tears in her eyes. "More amazing then I could have ever dreamed of. I've never felt so... alive," she said with an ironic smile.

"Yeah, it kinda does that to you," Danny agreed. On impulse, he took her hand. Sam looked down and closed around it after a moment. The teenagers blushed with large, goofy grins. Then they slowly flew upwards, still holding hands in a lazy loop before settling gently on the ledge of the city's tallest building. They gazed out into the night, arms around the other.

"You seem pretty calm about this," Danny said after a while.

"Considering everything that's happened lately, I could use some calm," Sam replied as she marveled at the lights below.

"No, I mean about being a halfa," Danny clarified.

"Oh, that..." Sam responded. "Guess since I'm used to you being one, it was kinda easy to go to." Danny raised an eyebrow; it had taken him months to accept he'd never be normal Danny Fenton again. Sometimes, that feeling still rose up. He thought back over the past year, and all the times Sam had been with him as he fought for his life, looking spooked and helpless. Then he reflected over the recent bout with Spectra, Sam looking down with frustrated disgust, as if she were so close yet so far to something she wanted...

"You wanted this, didn't you," he said. Sam sat for a moment, idly kicking her legs. She looked down at the street.

"Yes," she finally said softly.

"Why, Sam," he asked softly, gazing into her glowing eyes. "All my enemies... Skulker, Plasmius, Spectra, Walker... heck, even that box idiot... are now your enemies. The police are going to look at you like some monster. You're in so much danger now..."

"And I wasn't before hand?" she replied.

"Well, no, you were, but..."

"Danny," Sam interrupted, taking his hands. "I didn't want this because I wanted to do tricks in the sky. I wanted this for you."

"Me?"

"Yes," she continued with a nod. "Seeing you under attack, getting knocked around, beaten... I felt so angry and helpless. I wanted to do something, but I've always been useless. Now that I got these," Sam said as she made her eyes glow a brighter green, "you got someone to watch your back."

"I'm gonna need to watch yours until you got your, uh, ghost tail," Danny replied. "There's a lot you have to learn before you can go off and kick a ghost's butt, Sam. Believe me, I've learned... the hard way."

"Oh, I know. But... I'm gonna have a pretty good teacher," she whispered in his ear before planting a kiss on his cheek. Danny put his hand on it with a shy smile.

"I don't think I've ever felt this close to you," Danny said after a moment.

"Me neither. Almost like we have a psychic connection or something."

"Well, I didn't know I could read minds," Danny replied. "Maybe because we've... gotten so close," he said with a shrug. The two shared memories of their adventures over their years of knowing each other, and the year since the lab accident. Sometimes they saw things they didn't want to see. Sam winced at finding out she had fallen victim to the Amulet of Aragon and wreaked havoc on the school, nearly killing Danny; Danny himself grimaced at Sam's memory of Freakshow forcing him to push her off the train. They turned beet red.

"I don't like to think about that," they said in unison.

"Yeah, I'd say we were linked," Sam said after a moment.

"Seems it," Danny replied as he helped her up. "Well, like I said, I have a paper... I really should get it done..."

"You need help? Two heads are better than none."

"Sure, why not," Danny smiled as he took her hand. Sam squeezed it back, and they flew for Danny's house.


Two weeks later...

"Man, I thought I'd NEVER get out of there!" Tucker Foley scowled as he stumbled down the steps on uneasy crutches. "And where the heck were Danny and Sam? They didn't show up at all..." he grumbled. As if in answer, he looked up; Danny was standing a few feet away, holding a small box.

"Hey, Tuck," the boy called out.

"Hey, yourself. Where were you guys? If I had to hear that guy tell me what he did and didn't have one more time, I'd have strangled myself with my IV tubes."

"Uh, sorry, Tuck," Danny blushed. "We've... kinda been distracted by things beyond our control."

"Ghost trouble?" the bereted one asked.

"You could say that," Danny replied. He handed the box over to Tucker. "Here, Sam and I got you this to make up for it." Tucker raised an eyebrow. He opened the small box to reveal a video game inside.

"Halo 2? Sweet! I've wanted this for a while!"

"Yeah, because you kept... killing me in two seconds on the first," Danny grumbled, looking at that ground.

"Speaking of Sam... where is she?" Tucker asked, looking around.

"Well, that's kinda why we couldn't visit, Tuck. See, things have kinda... changed since you were in the hospital." Tucker smirked.

"Did you two finally come to terms about yourselves?"

"Again, you could say that," Danny admitted. He looked around for a moment, then looked at the ground, as if he were mentally talking to it. After a moment, a form phased out of it with a giddy smile; the hairstyle and clothes were unmistakable. Tucker boggled at the sight.

"You mean she's...?"

"Tucker," Danny said as he wrapped his arms around the new figure, "I'd like you to meet 'Sammy Spectre.'"