Title: Simplicity
Rating: Teen
Summary: "I like her and she likes me. Shouldn't it be that simple?" If only it were. (Sam's POV)
Fandom / Pairing: DP, subtle DS
Notes: Spoilers for "Flirting With Disaster." Sort of AU-ish, sort of a post-ep. I may have the timeline wrong, but I don't care at this point.
Notes II: Kind of an odd piece. I wrote this in two days, a week after I actually saw the episode. So, if there are any errors, they're totally and completely my fault.


Some part of her heart shattered as he said those words, but she had to be strong. He couldn't know, he wasn't allowed to know, and that made all the difference. She froze a smile into place and forced out the words of loyalty, of staunch friendship, and felt them scrape like broken glass within her throat. They fell from her lips, fragile and bloodied and wholly invisible to all eyes but her own.

She went home that day earlier than she normally would have. Ghost hunting aside, she wanted to get away from him, to stop the icy burn in her heart. The guys offered to walk her home. At least, Tucker did; Danny was in his own little world. She quietly deferred and walked off, Tucker looking at her with an unreadable espression in his eyes.

She didn't need that.

&&&

The garden was immaculate. When her parents had moved to Amity Park, they had leveled a prime piece of land. An old-growth forest used to be there. A very young Sam had begged that some of the huge, beautiful trees be spared for the backyard. Her parents acquiesced.

The builders erected a long, tall swing on the sturdiest branches of the white oak trees. This corner of the garden they called hers, and it was her place. There was a white bench there, where her mother had sat while she swung. Little by little, her mother had faded from there, and they were lucky if they ever ran into each other anymore.

She sat on the old rope swing, unafraid of it breaking; the steel-reinforced rope was only part of the security net her paranoid parents has insisted upon. She kicked off, bare feet soft against the immaculate lawn. The branch creaked, but the old oak stood firm and conciliatory. Sam pumped her legs back and forth, gaining altitude with each swing.

For a moment, there was only her and the wind.

&&&

"Shouldn't it be that simple?"

His words echoed in her mind, reverberating against the walls of her consciousness. She wished it were that simple, that everything was that easy. And she let herself get lost in a fantasy, but the words from his mouth sound awkward and forced, and from somewhere behind his eyes she thinks she sees Valerie. She shook herself out of the dream and sighed.

She rose from the four-poster bed and let out a frustrated scream, the noise absorbed by the plush carpet and soft bed. Padding over to the bureau, she faced her reflection. Dark make-up and purple eyeshadow made her look paler than she really was, and her violet eyes stood out from her face. She is every inch the goth and suddenly she didn't feel like it. Carefully, she removed it, wiping away the layers of her shield, opening herself up until she was bare-faced before herself and vulnerable as hell.

"Danny," she said nervously, practicing. "I...I've liked you as more than a friend for, like, a really long time now. In fact, you could say I lo--...that I lov---" She clapped her hands over her mouth and wanted to cry; even alone she couldn't say it. She ran her fingers through her hair in frustration and the ponytail comes undone. Raven tresses fell in wide ringlets around her face, some still damp from the morning's shower. As she ran her figners through her hair, she wished that life was just that simple, that Valerie could be hated in peace, that Tucker didn't care, and that Danny wasn't so clueless.

But she can't even voice her wishes; she has learned better.

&&&

He asked her to keep his ring, this piece of metal and glass meant for a girl of a darker nature than even hers, whose being she couldn't find the resolve to hate in peace. For an instant, she resented him. But then his blank eyes lock with hers and she realized she couldn't say no. Quietly, she accepted and walked away, letting him suffer in silence. He needs this, she told herself. He'll be stronger for it.

Isn't he plenty strong already? A mutinous part of her mind asked, softly -- so softly.

She tossed the ring in the air, over and over. It landed, heavy in her hand. The stone is pretty and the design a little bulky, but she knew what it meant; her mother had her father's class ring from when they courted.

She paused, staring into her reflection in the jewel. Pensively, she slipped the ring into her pocket and walked home, unsure what she should be thinking.

&&&

In the confines of her room she studied the ring. The class is all wrong; this was Jack's ring, and now Danny's. She wondered whether Maddie had worn this with gusto on her middle finger, a medallion of pride. The quality is mediocre; her mother has other rings far more beautiful and of a finer craftmanship. But none of those meant so much to her.

She turned the ring in her fingers, unsure of what she sought but certain it was there. The blue stone winked before deepening to a purple hue. As the color turned, she saw the inscription. Wes. Surely that wasn't right? She turned the ring again, viewing the logos on the sides; class of '75, academic decathalon.

Sam.

She felt her breath catch in her throat. That was her name. On the ring. The ring he'd wanted to give to Valerie. Her name. Had Danny asked Jack...? No, his dad had just given it to him; he'd told them that. But he hadn't mentioned the inscription bearing her name.

But if not Danny then...Jack? Surely...was it that obvious between them? Or was Jack just more intelligent than they gave him credit for? She looked down at the ring, at the lamp of knowledge on one side and the engraving on the other.

She threw the ring across the room.

&&&

"Sam?"

She looked up from her homework at Tucker. Danny was off patroling the city. "Yeah?"

"You okay?" Tucker set down his pencil and took off his glasses. She felt her chest constrict; Tucker never took off his glasses unless it was important.

"Yeah." She refused to meet his gaze, focusing on the math textbook before her.

"Sam." There was no question in his voice; it was commanding.

"Tucker..." She raised her eyes to his.

"Look, I know you guys think of me as 'the funny man,' but if y'all don't think I saw the same stuff you did, you guys got another think coming." His features softened. "I'm here for you. If you need me, if you need to talk, whatever. And Danny'll never know. Okay?"

She smiled, the first real one in days. "Thanks, Tuck." Gently, she squeezed his hand reassuringly and turned back to the textbook.

&&&

"Sam, I gotta know something."

"What?"

"You're...you're taking care of my ring, right?"

The ring flew across the room, striking the wall before landing on the plush carpeting. She was breathing hard for no reason; she was more than in shape. Then, as if compelled, she rose from the bed and moved towards the ring. She stooped down and picked it up. Still, it winked at her, the stone a swirl of blue and violet. After rummaging for a few minutes, she found the jewelry box her mother had gotten her many years ago. Simple and made of cherry-coloured wood, she kept her most favorite accessories her.

In one of the slots, she gently slipped the ring that was and wasn't hers away.

"Yeah, she's safe. Why?"

"Well," he paused, reconsidering his statement. She watched him carefully as he shrugged. "No reason."

"'Kay. Later." She turned her attention away from him and was fully absorbed by a novel until she heard a voice whisper in her ear. "It's yours..." She snapped her head around, ready to tear him a new one.

There was nothing there.


J'adore R&R.

I'm actually a fairly new writer to this fandom as is, but I've noticed something: there's not a lot of meta. Most of the work on here is action/adventure, and I wanted to do something off-the-wall and interesting. This is a take off on FWD, and Sam is a fun, flawed character to work with. She's got a lot of facets. For someone who's so brave in physical situations, she's certainly a coward in other ones.