Description: If you really love someone, you'll let them go. DxV, implied DxS.

Dedication: To anyone who has the pessimistic attitude towards love that I currently am trying to shake.

Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom, just my melodramatic writings.

A/N: This is just me, writing as much fanfiction as my fingers can handle before they go numb. I'm on a major sugar high.

If It's Really Love

"Hey, Danny!" Valerie's voice echoed across the school courtyard and Danny, Tucker and Sam all looked up. Danny beamed and waved Valerie over. Sam scooted over to make room, but did not withdraw the hostile stare she was giving the other girl.

Sam had good reason to be angry. Two weeks ago, she had been thinking about asking Danny to go to the school dance with her--as friends, of course--because, she knew that they couldn't be more than that. At least, she thought so. Unfortunately, Valerie had swooped in with an apparent change of heart and suggested that she and Danny could be more than friends after all. Sam didn't know what had caused the second thoughts, and she didn't care.

So now Danny and Valerie were an 'official couple' and it looked like the whole school was talking about them.

They seemed like the perfect pair, that is, when they weren't at each other's throats as Danny Phantom and Valerie the ghost hunter, even Sam had to admit. But knowing that didn't stop the ache she felt when she saw them walking down the halls, hand in hand.

At least they hadn't kissed, as far as Sam knew. She didn't know what she would do if she saw them kissing. She might actually loose it. Jeez, why did she have to fall for her best friend?

"See ya after school, guys!" Valerie said, breaking into Sam's thoughts. She waved and ran off for her next class. Sam looked at Danny suspiciously as she gathered up her books; a dull red flush was coming into his cheeks and he smiled sheepishly.

"What does she mean, she'll see us after school?" she asked, raising an eyebrow. "I thought the three of us were going to the movies."

"Yeah, well, I kinda told Val she could come along." he muttered. "If that's alright with you guys." he added quickly.

Tucker opened his mouth to speak, but Sam cut him off.

"Oh, sure." she said, her voice positively dripping with sarcasm. "Why shouldn't we include dear old Val." She threw he book bag over her shoulder and stomped off towards class, without waiting for the boys.

Danny watched her go, the hurt on his face, evident. "Why does she hate Valerie so much?" he asked his techno-geek friend.

Tucker mumbled something indistinct and then started back towards the school. Danny stared at the back of his head for a moment, as if trying to read his mind, and then followed him. Obviously, he wasn't going to get any answers from Tucker.

Sam was distracted all through her last period English class, doodling in the margins of her paper and thinking about Danny. She felt bad for being so sharp earlier, but she didn't know how else to respond. She hated Valerie!

It had taken her long enough to finally come to terms with why she hated Valerie, now she wasn't sure how to stop hating her. After all, she obviously liked Danny, and Danny liked her. If Valerie made Danny happy, then shouldn't Sam feel happy too? Wasn't that what love was? The selfless concern only for what made someone else happy? And Sam loved Danny. So she should want him to be happy. And Valerie was the girl who made him feel that way.

Having come to a decision, Sam ripped a clean sheet of paper from her notebook and began to write, in neat cursive. She filled up the whole page and signed her name at the bottom. Then she slowly folded the note into a tiny square and printed Valerie's name neatly on the outside. She stuffed the letter into her pocket and waited for the bell to ring.

The last bell of the day finally rang, ninety minutes later. Tucker and Danny walked down the hall to Sam's locker, expecting to meet her there, just as they always did. But Sam wasn't there. Deciding she may have been held up, they waited for a few more minutes. Sure enough, less than five minutes later, Sam appeared at the locker.

"Hi guys." she said, smiling weakly. Danny grinned too and shuffled his feet, wondering if she was still mad at him. Sam stuffed all her books into the locker and closed it with a bang. She turned around to see both Tucker and Danny looking at her curiously.

"So, where is Valerie meeting us?" she asked, trying to sound normal.

"At the park across the street from the movie theatre." answered Danny, looking confused. "So--you aren't mad at me for inviting her?"

Sam shook her head, almost positive she could feel her brain rattling around inside. "No. Why would I be mad?" Danny smiled again and her heart raced. She couldn't help but grin back. "Come on, let's go, or we'll be late."'

They walked to the park in silence, where they met Valerie. She hugged Danny and smiled at Tucker, before looking over at Sam, questioningly. Sam avoided her eyes and they crossed the street and went into the cool air-conditioned lobby of the theatre.

"Let's get some popcorn." Danny suggested, heading for the concessions. Tucker went with him, and Sam started to follow, but Valerie grabbed her arm.

"Sam?" she asked, hesitantly. "Did you really mean all that stuff you wrote in the note?" Sam nodded, looking over her shoulder at Danny. Valerie smiled gently and hugged Sam. Sam returned the hug, feeling rather melancholy. Danny and Tucker returned with a huge bag of popcorn and four sodas. They handed the girls their sodas and they went in to watch the movie.

Sam tried to focus on the movie, but it was too hard. She kept thinking about what she had done and wondering if it had been the right thing to do. She still didn't know.

Finally the movie ended and the credits started rolling. Sam stood up to go and saw Danny, three seats down, lean over and kiss Valerie. She felt like some one had squeezed her heart until it had burst. Valerie looked up, concerned, and Danny followed her gaze. But Sam was already gone.

Half blinded by tears she hadn't even realized she was shedding, Sam hurried out of the theatre and into the bathroom. She looked in the mirror. Already, black mascara was smudged on her cheeks and under her eyes. As quickly as she could, Sam washed of her face and looked in the mirror again. Her eyes were still red, but at least the makeup was off.

Valerie stepped into the bathroom and saw Sam at the sink. The Goth girl caught her reflection and spun around.

"Sam, I…" Valerie started.

"It's fine." Sam heard herself say. "I'm fine. I don't care." She brushed past the other girl and back out into the lobby. Tucker and Danny were waiting by the doors. Valerie followed Sam out, but didn't say anything else.

"Well," Danny said, uncertainly. "Let's go home."

"No," Sam spoke up. "I have to pick up something for my mom downtown."

"D'you want us to come…" Danny started.

"No." Sam interrupted. "I can do it alone." She turned the opposite direction and hurried off.

Danny watched her go, a scarcely detectable flicker of sadness behind his baby blue eyes. Even though he was dating Valerie, Danny still loved Sam Manson more than any other person in the world. But he knew he couldn't have her. She was his best friend and probably didn't feel the same. If he asked her now, it might ruin their friendship forever. Besides, everyone knows that nobody actually ends up with their childhood sweetheart. Right?

A/N: Now this is me feeling rather the same as Sam right now. So please leave me nice reviews to cheer me up!

PS: After reading through this again, I'm wondering if it might do well as a full-length, DxS story. What'd you think? Leave some input about that in your reviews and I may make it longer.