Author's Note: This is my Christmas gift to all of my readers, even the ones who don't celebrate that specific holiday. Without you guys, a very large aspect of writing wouldn't exist. Thanks forever. Oh, and there won't be SagePoints in this one, simply because I'm in too elated a mood to come up with trivia.
Danny laughed as he and Sam walked the snow-lined sidewalks of Amity Park. "Tucker is where?"
"Booby-trapping the town, just like I said. Apparently the mistletoe hat of last year's Christmas was too obvious. He's being more subtle now, hanging it in all kinds of frequented places in the hope he can lure an unsuspecting girl underneath some. Of course, the first piece was hung over the door of the electronics store."
That made Danny laugh even harder. "Is it just me, or does he get weirder every day?"
Sam smiled and nudged Danny's shoulder with her own. "It seems like every minute. That boy needs help."
"Not as much help as you need."
"What?" Sam turned to look at him just in time to have a snowball pushed against her face. She could hear her friend laughing as she sputtered and wiped the dripping mess away. With a devilish grin she stared at him. "You shouldn't have done that."
Danny went invisible. "No way, Sam. You're brutal with a snowball, and you've won almost all our fights in the past. It was time you got a taste of your own medicine," he taunted from somewhere above her.
Instantly she reached back and pulled the Fenton Thermos from her bag. "Do I really have to use this?" she asked menacingly.
For moments there was silence, and Sam thought that perhaps Danny had seen a ghost and flown off. It was then that she felt cold hands reach under her jacket to grab her waist, and she was lifted high into the air. Her bag slid off her arm, and she dropped the Thermos in surprise. When she realized what had happened, she kicked back and nailed her captor in the leg.
"Ow!" Danny yelled and immediately shifted his grip so he cradled her, bridal-style. She was less dangerous that way. He reappeared glaring at her. "Ow," he said again, with a guilt-inspiring look.
Sam just laughed and relaxed in his arms. "It's what you deserved. You're lucky I didn't think you were Skulker or something. Then I really would have beaten you up."
"Oh, I see. So kicking me like a soccer ball was just a warning? How kind you are."
"Yeah, I know."
Together, they flew over the streets and homes, all lit with colored lights and adorned with wreaths. Danny landed on the highest hill looking over the city and, still holding Sam, used an ectoplasm ball to melt away some snow and dry off a patch of grass. He lay Sam there and sat next to her as she tried to brush the snow off her shoulders. When she reached for her hair, Danny stopped her.
"Don't. It looks nice there."
She smiled. "Thanks."
He shrugged. "Just telling the truth." Together they looked over the city, and the plethora of colors was beautiful. "You know, it still surprises me how cheery you get around the holidays."
"Why shouldn't I? Is there a better time to be cheery?"
"I guess not. But I still remember Mikey's reaction last year."
Sam laughed and imitated the boy running away screaming. Sam lay back in the fading winter sun (much easier to deal with than the summer sun) and closed her eyes. They were open in another moment, however, when her mind processed what she had seen.
Tucker gazed through his binoculars at his two best friends, grinning madly. If he was right, Sam had just seen his little Christmas present to the both of them.
Danny and Sam were meant for each other, and it was about time they realized it. Tucker was just a catalyst, starting a chain reaction that would probably get him in lots of trouble, but ultimately would get his two best friends together. He had been following them all day, and he picked up Sam's stuff when she left it carelessly on the sidewalk.
Just one more sign that she was completely distracted by their resident phantom…
Danny saw the sour look on Sam's face and wondered what had put it there.
"Tucker? He's a freak. So what?"
In answer, Sam pointed up.
Hanging from the tree on the hill, perfectly suspended above them, was a tiny bundle of mistletoe. Danny could barely see it in the branches, but once spotted, it was easily definable in its brightness against the bare bark.
"That little weasel probably thought to bring one of his hussies up here in the dusk."
"Looks like we beat him to it."
Sam shot him a look, and then laughed. "I'm your hussy now, am I?"
"Only if you want to be." He paused. "In all seriousness, Sam, we don't have to kiss if you don't want to. There's no one around to fault us for it."
Sam sat up and rested her arms on her knees. "It's not like we haven't done it before…" she said quietly.
Tiny butterflies had started to flutter in Danny's stomach. "It'll be different, though. Those were fake-out make-outs, done because they were necessary. If we kiss now, it will be…"
"Because we want to," she finished for him. And she did want to. She'd wanted to for a long time now. It figures she, the Goth girl, the freak, would fall in love with a boy that was half ghost. Wasn't it fitting? The only thing was, she was fairly certain the half ghost didn't love her back. But if he kissed her then…wouldn't it mean something? No one was watching; it would just be the two of them. "It would be my first real kiss," she told him.
"Mine, too," he responded, thinking of all the times he'd almost been kissed by Paulina. Now, he was kind of glad it never happened. "And you know," he said, speeding up now. "Maybe we should do it. I mean, we're best friends. We'll kiss, and then move on. It's not going to ruin our friendship. We can think of it as…" He searched for the word he wanted, but couldn't really find it. "Practice." That was so lame.
But Sam seemed to agree. She was nodding, and shifting to turn toward him. "You're right. We're caught under the mistletoe; it's a tradition, and it's not like it'll change anything."
"Right…" Danny said, swallowing thickly. "Nothing will change."
They were both sitting, their torsos facing each other. Sam seemed nervous, though why she would be, Danny had no idea. It was him with the butterflies, him with the feelings for his best friend that shouldn't be there. But she wasn't moving, so he leaned in. It was just a kiss, right? He pressed his lips to hers.
This wasn't just a kiss. This was the best thing that had ever happened to him. Sam's mouth was warm and soft and it felt so right that he should be there, at that very moment, doing that very thing. He reached up and under her hair, cradling her neck so that her face was leaning up toward his. He shifted a little more, pressed a little harder, and fell into oblivion.
Sam barely knew what was happening. When Danny's hand touched her she shivered, and not from the cold. She was falling deeper, ever deeper in love, and she wondered if maybe this had been a mistake. But then Danny deepened the kiss, and she had to fight to hold her composure. It was already slipping. She pushed against him, and when he pushed back until she was leaning on the grass, she let loose all the feeling she had.
The sound that issued from her throat unnaturally high, but held a resonance that shook them both. It was immediately echoed by Danny's lower voice. It was because he had moaned without even thinking that Danny woke up. He remembered why they were kissing in the first place.
He pulled away, but his hand remained at her neck. Blue eyes gazed into violet until they blurred when he leaned his forehead against hers. They stayed like that for ages, catching their breath and rearranging the thoughts in their heads. Their hot breath made steam in the cold night that mixed and rose to disappear above them.
Danny was the first to speak. "Things have changed, haven't they?"
Sam nodded mutely, but seemed to find a breathless voice moments later. "Let's change them again."
She moved first this time, lifting her head and pulling him down to meet her. She let her back fall to the grass and Danny followed her, his hand taking a moment to find the warmth of her waist. Sam's arms managed to wind their way around his neck, and as he held her close, it seemed as if they were in their own little world.
Danny liked the way things had changed. He'd wanted to do this for ages, but either the time was never right or the opportunity wasn't clear. Finally here was his chance, and once he had taken it, he found the best Christmas gift he could imagine. He ran a hand through Sam's hair and crushed her to him.
There was one word flying through Sam's mind at warp speed. Finally.
Slowly, a sound made its way through their haze of happiness. Both turned to look at what was causing it and were surprised to see a bright red sleigh, led by huge reindeer, sitting not twenty feet away from them, when there had been nothing there minutes before. The noises they heard were the sleigh-bells on the reindeer's necks. And in the sleigh, large and red and completely real, was a man with a snow-white beard. He waved to them and smiled, then flicked the reins and twitched his nose. The deer began to move, and soon all of them, sleigh and all, were soaring through the air. Distantly, a deep laugh echoed through the night.
"A merry Christmas to all," Danny whispered.
Gently Sam reached out and touched his cheek, turning him to face her. Their lips were a breath apart, and she closed her eyes. "And to all a good night," she said, leaning in once more.