Author's Note: Okay, I'm back. I do have reasons for why I was gone, but they're personal and I won't be sharing them, sorry. My writing is coming rushing back, and I'll be updating my other stories this week; no worries. This is a new idea I had that I absolutely had to try, so here it is. Each one-shot is rated for content individually, so if you're picky about that kind of stuff, read the description before reading the story. General disclaimers apply: I don't own the characters of Danny Phantom, and I never will. I've come to accept that. You should, too.

Leaving: AU. Imagine that Sam had never met Danny, and she's living in the next town over.Most of the story is self-explanatory...erm...I may actually turn this into a longer story in the future, but for now it's just a one-shot. Rated M for mild language and sexual content.

A thin girl dressed all in black slammed the stall door in the bathroom. It bounced back, hitting her arm hard enough to make tears come to her eyes… if they hadn't been there already. She stared at the toilet seat but opted for leaning against the divider, not sure how sanitary the bowl really was. Arms wrapped around her stomach, Sam let three precious tears fall.

It was her birthday… her damn seventeenth birthday, and that bitch had gone too far! Sarah had been Sam's one true friend through everything, or at least that's what Sam had thought. To find out that really, Sarah had been talking behind her back for almost the whole year? It was too much.

And it was her birthday.

Sam's anger overtook her sadness and she reached up to wipe away the tears and eyeliner. She opened the stall door and leaned over a sink, cupping water in her hands to splash on her cheeks. After a quick makeup check and a mandatory glance at the bruise forming on her upper arm, she left the girls' bathroom at Baron High School, intent on revenge.

Sarah had a boyfriend; a good-looking boyfriend.

Sam wouldn't be spending the night alone.

It had to be past midnight. Sam's satisfied grin wasn't at all tired as she rolled over and caught her breath. The muscular teenager beside her was grinning, too, though his was more a smile of wonder. Sam knew she had skills. After all, practice made perfect.

"That was…" Brock attempted, but Sam quieted him.

"You don't have to say anything. Just wait for your heartbeat to return to normal… then I'll speed it up again."

Brock laughed and leaned in, placing a kiss just below Sam's collarbone. He said something unintelligible against her skin, and then lifted his head. "You're talented."

But Sam's ears had caught something offbeat. "What did you say?" she asked slowly.

"You're talented. Did I stutter?"

"No, before that. After you kissed me. What did you say?"

"Nothing. I'm barely thinking… You wore me out, Sugar."

Sam sat up, clutching black silk sheets over her chest. "Tell me. And don't call me Sugar."

Brock slumped back onto the bed and sighed. "Carver was right."

"Carver…" Sam was confused. "What does he have to do with anything?"

"Nothing; nothing! It's just… he kind of told me that you were… great. I was agreeing. You deserve an award, Sugar. Hey, where you going?"

But Sam was already standing up and pointing at the door. "Get out."

"What the hell? No, you invited me in here. You can't just kick me out!"

"I can and I am. You wanna get with me because that idiot Carver told you I'm 'great,' fine. Just do me a favor and remember me when your little slut Sarah can't do anything for you. Now get out, and don't think of leaving something behind so you can come back for it later. I've seen that line too many times."

Brock didn't really have too much to say to that. He climbed out of Sam's bed and hurriedly put on his clothes. He grabbed his backpack and rushed out of the room. Sam thought she may have heard a curse directed at her before he left her earshot.

That was fine; he could swear if he wanted. She'd gotten her satisfaction, she'd gotten her revenge, and she'd gotten rid of one more useless friend. It got old having to deal with so many people hating her, but who cared? She didn't need anyone but herself; she'd proven that time and time again. Betrayal wasn't new to her. It was an old friend, and one she didn't reject.

Even so, a tear got loose.

The next day at school, she got the usual reactions. Evil looks and sneers from Sarah, total avoidance from Brock, and a new wave of stupid freshmen wanting to get into a junior's pants. Brock had probably been talking, but that wasn't new either. The rejected ones always talked.

It wasn't until just after lunch that the day turned ugly. She was walking back to class late, and she was tired. She'd been up until two, and though her Ultra-Recyclo Vegetarian lifestyle was a part of her, it didn't reward her with much long-term energy. She'd probably get another detention, but that didn't really bother her. She lounged in the hallway, not even bothering to move when she heard footsteps around the corner.

She did move, however, when she saw who the footsteps belonged to.

"Brock," she said uneasily. "Didn't expect to see you here."

"You should have expected to see me again. I don't take rejection lightly, Sugar."

"Guys never do. I'm sure you'll get over it in time. And I told you not to call me Sugar."

She tried to move around him, but his bulky chest blocked her way. He gripped her arms with large hands, holding her in place. "I don't think so, Sugar."

Brock had left a while ago, but Sam hadn't bothered moving from her place on the grass behind the school. She'd pulled her pants back on, only to preserve the eyes of anyone who might come across her. She could care less about her own modesty. Half the guys in school had seen her anyway.

Sam's hands made tight fists in the springy grass. She refused to cry. He wasn't worth crying. He was trash, even lower than her. He hadn't taken what he wanted—she'd given it freely. She always gave freely. She was not one to be taken.

But she was crying anyway. The tears made direct lines over her temples and mixed with her loose hair. Looking up at the sky, she realized how cheery the day really was. It was still early afternoon…the day could yet be a good one.

Yes, this would be a good day.

Sam got up and this time didn't bother to wipe the tears away. She came to the front of the school just as the final bell rang and students poured out of the doors. Most of them saw her and pointed, jeering. Apparently, Brock had been talking again.

No matter. She'd never see any of them again. She lifted her middle finger high and kept going.

The walk home was fast, and she was surprised to see her father's car in the driveway. He should have been at work. She entered the front door and went to the kitchen where she found her dad reading the newspaper. Without looking up, he greeted her.

"Hey, Sammie. How was school?"

"Normal. Why are you home?" she asked from the doorway.

"I worked through lunch, so I'm taking a longer break. I'll be going back in an hour or so."

"Oh… Well, Dad, I'm going out."

"Sure enough. See you, Sammie."

Sam turned to walk away, but thought better of it. Stepping quickly to the only man she'd ever felt close to, she dropped a fast kiss on his cheek and was gone before he could say another word.

He wasn't used to driving. He could be flying. But somehow, he didn't feel like using his ghost powers to get to his uncle's house. Uncle Larry was almost as crazy as Danny's dad, and just as obsessed with ghosts. Using ghost powers to go visit him would probably not be the best idea. So Danny was driving, something he'd barely done after getting his license. The only things he really did were ghost hunt and go out with Tucker, his best friend. Who needed driving for that?

He'd cruised out of Amity Park and into nearby Baronburg in record time. This visit was business only—the dropping off of an invention from Jack Fenton, Danny's father. Danny would go, ring the doorbell, say hello, drop off the package, and leave. Staying any longer could result in some disastrous events. Something could blow up… or Danny could be subjected to another repeat of some half-cocked ghost-hunting expedition. Not fun.

Danny was almost to his uncle's house when he spotted something odd on the side of the road. Upon closer inspection he found it to be a girl, but she was dressed all in black and carrying a duffel bag and a backpack. A damsel in distress? Danny couldn't resist.

He pulled up alongside the girl and drove slowly as she walked beside him.

"Hey," he called from the window. "Are you okay?"

She barely glanced at him, but Danny could tell that she was beautiful in an unordinary sort of way. "Sorry, kid. I'm not a streetwalker and I've already had my lay of the day. You're out of luck."

"Lay of the day?" It took Danny a minute to understand her meaning. "No! I didn't pull over to buy your body." He paused. "And I'm not a kid."

This time, the girl took a longer look at him, and her amethyst eyes made Danny double-take. Wow… now those were eyes a man could be hypnotized by.

"You look like one," she answered him.

"And you look tired. Can I give you a lift somewhere?"

She chuckled, but didn't stop walking. "I'm not stupid, kid. I'm not about to get in the car of some strange guy who pulls up and tells me I look tired. I don't work like that."

He was getting nowhere. He should probably just give up and drive away, but there was something about this girl that wouldn't allow him to let go. Glancing across the street, he saw a local fast-food restaurant.

"Listen; let me buy you a soda. My name's Danny Fenton, I go to Casper High. I'm not a stalker, and I've never killed anyone. My GPA isn't that bad, either. I'm not looking for sex or even romance, just a conversation. I need one, and you look like you could use one, too." When she didn't answer, he tried again. "If it makes you feel better, we can keep a can of mace on the table."

She laughed this time, and stopped walking, too. With one hand on her hip, she leaned toward the passenger window. "Are you serious?"

"Sure. I need something to help me avoid getting where I'm supposed to go. Share a few minutes with me? A soda?" He gestured across the street. She stared at the building for a long minute, and then smiled.

"You're buying," she said as she climbed in to the car.

"No problem." He drove quickly into the parking lot and parked, running around to get her door for her. She climbed out with a curious look on her face, as if she couldn't quite believe what she was doing. She took her bags with her inside, and once they sat down and Danny returned with a soda for her, she brought out of the backpack a can and set it on the table, close to her edge. Danny read the label. "Mace? Whatever," he said, laughing. "So, mystery lady, who did I pick up on the side of the road?"

She smiled around her straw.

"Danny Fenton, my name is Sam, and I'm running away from home."

"Sam Mystery-Lady, why is that?"

She sighed. "I've got nothing in this town. No friends, no purpose, no drive. I don't even think I have any tears left. I've used them all up. When that happens, there's not much else you can do but move on. I've got a lot of nasty secrets."

He was lost in her eyes; lost in her. "I think everybody has at least one."

"Oh yeah? What's yours?" she asked.

He answered. "I have ghost powers."

The moment he said it he knew he'd made a big boo-boo. His ghost powers were a secret, something only Tucker and his sister knew about. As Sam's eyes widened, he tried to think of a cover-up.


"Nothing. I was kidding."

"No, you weren't, and that's what's freaky. You have very revealing eyes, Danny Fenton. You were telling the truth. But… ghost powers? What the hell?"

And since he was the one that picked her up, he had no choice but to confess.

It was night before they realized it. Danny had explained about his parents being ghost hunters and creating a portal into the 'Ghost Zone,' and his best friend Tucker convincing him to go in. The shock that followed had given him ghost powers, which he used to protect Amity Park from the various attacks they now faced. Sam had been shocked, but to Danny's surprise, interested. She thought it was awesome. Under the table he'd shown her an ectoplasm ball and made his hand disappear. That was enough proof for her. In return, she told him about her situation she was running from.

"He brought me out back."

"You mean he…"

"No, he didn't rape me. I don't get raped."

Danny pretended to understand. "So that was it for you. Goodbye Baronburg?"

"Yep. I'm saying goodbye."

Danny was silent for a while. "You know, Sam, only two other people in the whole world know my secret, and apparently I'm the only one who knows your whole story. I think you're a cool girl who's been treated like shit, and you didn't deserve it. And I know we've only just met, but I feel like I know you. What do you say to not letting a good thing go?"

Her eyes became guarded. "What are you proposing?"

He smiled disarmingly. "A friendship. And a new beginning. Come with me and be my excuse to get away from my crazed-up-fruit-loop of an uncle, and don't tell my secret. I'll find you a new home in Amity Park, and I'll use my ghost powers to transfer your school papers. You can start a new life with a new best friend, far enough away from Baronburg without being totally out of your element."

Sam stared at him. "It sounds kind of one-sided. A new life in return for a ride in the car and some secrecy? What do you get out of it?"

"Well, I'd hope you wouldn't leave me in the dust. Come on, Sam from the side of the street. What do you really have to lose?"

She was crazy, but she was considering it. Any normal person wouldn't have even accepted the soda, but so far this kid had been good on his word, and he'd trusted her with a big secret. And she needed to get out. He was right, too. What did she have to lose?

She leaned over the table and brushed a kiss across his cheek. "You know, Danny, you're sweet. I think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Whoop, so there's the first one! What did you all think? I should have the next one up tomorrow, along with a new chapter for either KoD or Infatuated.

SagePoint: The SagePoints for this whole collection will be done like this: The story was inspired by the song. I'll give you the artist, you give me the song title you think is the right one. If you're right, kudos and a SagePoint to you! Don't be afraid to look up lyrics... the story lines should go pretty close to what the song says.

The artist for "Leaving" is Sugarcult... and no, the title of the story is not the same as the title of the song. Nice try.