Author's Note: Before you say anything, I know how weird this is. I got it as a challenge from moonrockblink1772, and as you all know, I can't resist a direct challenge. So here it is, a (gasp) TUCKER/PAULINA oneshot!
Rated M for adult themes, not smut. Themes: alcohol, potential rape
Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom, but sometimes I dream that I do.
"Hey Paulina, what do you say we get out of here? My car's really nice…"
Dash hiccupped and staggered forward a little, leaning in close to the popular girl. She smiled, but something about the look in his eyes was making her uneasy. She couldn't tell—maybe she'd had just a little too much to drink.
"This is your house, Dash. But I do think I should be going home. Papi will be getting worried about me."
"Ah, come on! Let's find somewhere where we can be alone."
He reached out and put his hand on her leg, leaning with the other on the counter where she was sitting. He'd trapped her in, and she backed up until her shoulders hit a cabinet. He was leering, and it was making her sick. What a perv!
"No way, jock boy. You just struck out majorly. Let me up."
Dash's expression turned angry. "I don't think so."
Across the house, two eighteen-year-old boys were sitting by themselves in a corner. A girl wearing mostly black stalked up to them and grabbed a chair, falling into it dramatically. She crossed her arms. "I swear, if one more drunken jerk comes on to me, I'm going to get Gothic on his ass. Please guys, can we go home now?" Sam pleaded.
Danny pouted at her. "But Sam, this is the biggest party of our senior year! And for once, we didn't get invited by a fluke. I just want to see it to the end, and it wouldn't be the same without you guys. Right Tuck?"
"Absolutely," he agreed automatically, though his eyes were glued to the PDA in his hands. "Do you guys think my gaming skills will come in handy at MIT?"
"Only as a social jumpstart, as sad as that is," Sam quipped, earning a momentary glare.
Danny sighed, but perked up as a new song poured from the speakers. "Hey, that's Three Days Grace! You like them, Sam. Dance with me, please? It will put you in a better mood and I'll protect you from any drunken jerks." He took on a muscular pose, making Sam laugh and roll her eyes.
"I'm not sure about the protection part, but you can give it a try, Clueless."
"What? Why do you guys always say I'm—?"
She cut him off, pulling him to the dance floor. Tucker laughed and put his PDA away, standing also. "I'm getting a drink, you guys!" he yelled, and as he walked away, he heard Sam yell back, something about non-alcoholic. He shook his head, looking for the kitchen. "Always ruining my fun…" he muttered jokingly.
When Tucker found the kitchen, there were quite a few people leaving it. That seemed strange to him, but he shrugged and went through the doorway. Once in the room, he saw that the only ones there were Dash and Paulina. Dash was up close and personal, obviously trying to flirt, even when he was hammered. What caught Tucker off guard was that Paulina looked scared, and after a moment he could see that Dash's hands were encroaching upon clearly forbidden territory.
"No, Dash. I told you to let me go!"
"Bitch! This is my party and I invited you. You'll do what I want."
Tucker didn't need to hear any more. He reached into one of his many pockets, searching for anything that would help. He found a Jack-o-nine-tails and pulled it out, creeping up behind Dash slowly. One heavy blow to the head had the jock laying unconscious on the linoleum. Tucker grinned and put the weapon away. "I'm not sure that's what Mr. Fenton intended it to be used for," he mused to himself. He looked at Paulina. "You okay?"
"Oh my God, you saved me! Thank you so much—ah… um…"
"Tucker. It's Tucker. Are you drunk?"
She giggled then. "Maybe just a little… You know, Tucker, you're actually kind of cute."
His eyes widened and he blushed, but held her off when she reached for him. "It's the alcohol talking." She smiled and closed her eyes, resting her head on his shoulder, and promptly fell asleep. Tucker sighed. "You're in no state to stay at this party. Dash isn't the only one here who would take advantage of you," he said to her sleeping form. He lifted her head and shook her gently, waking her a bit. "I'm taking you back to my house to get some sleep. For some reason I don't think your dad would be happy to see you this way, and from what Danny says about him, I don't want to be the one to take you home like this."
Tucker shifted and looped Paulina's arm over his shoulders and held her by the waist. But after four years of growth on his part, her feet didn't touch the floor like that. He frowned and just picked her up completely, carrying her awkwardly out the back door and around the house to his car. Once she was snoring in the front seat, he locked the doors and went back into the house.
A slurred answer from Star told him where Paulina's purse was. Once he had it, he went and found Danny and Sam, still on the dance floor.
"Guys, I'm taking Paulina back to my place."
Their eyes widened. "Paulina?" Danny asked in amazement.
"Yes, Paulina," Tucker answered. "She's stone drunk and passed out. I figured I wouldn't make it out alive if I took her home, so I'm just going to let her crash at my place. Can you guys find a ride home or do you want me to come back for you later?"
Sam smiled. "Way to get responsible on us, Foley. I'll call home for a ride; you don't have to come all the way back. As much as I dislike Paulina, I wouldn't want anything traumatizing going on…" She scowled at a group of guys who were laughing loudly. "With all these bastards around, I wouldn't be surprised."
She growled, and almost looked ready to go over and punch someone, but Danny grabbed her hand and held her back. "Go do your thing, Tuck. We'll talk to you tomorrow."
As Tucker walked away, he heard Danny reasoning with Sam on why they shouldn't go try to beat up the entire football team. He laughed and made his way to his car.
Back home, his parents were proud of him for doing the right thing—they let him take Paulina up to the guest room. Once she was comfortable there, Tucker went off to the inevitable lecture: you shouldn't have stayed at a party with alcohol. You should have called the police. You should have done such-and-such, but we're glad you're okay and acted fairly responsibly. Go to your room. Is the party over?
Knowing his parents would be calling the police if he said it was still going on, he lied a little. Danny and Sam were still there, after all, and he couldn't let them get into trouble. His parents believed him and he went to his room. The night had been eventful, and it was just a little creepy having the most popular girl in school in the room next to him. So creepy he couldn't sleep, and chose instead to go onto the computer, playing a few games. Somewhere about 4:30 he got hungry; maybe he'd go downstairs and get something to eat.
Paulina woke up around 4 am with the worst headache she'd ever had in a room she'd never seen. She tried desperately to remember what had happened before. She'd been at Dash's party, and he was being a totally jerk, and then—
Foley. Tucker Foley had rescued her. She was probably at his house. Oh, if the girls heard about this she'd be a social wreck for the rest of high school. She sat up slowly, feeling pain pulse through her mind. The walk out of the bedroom and down the stairs was slow and shaky, and part of her wished there was someone to help her. She found her way to the kitchen and sat down, but the lights were on and the room was so bright she had to put her head down. There was no way she was going through someone else's cabinets for aspirin.
Approaching footsteps were like hammers to her head, but something changed around her that was slightly more comfortable. "I turned off the light," said Tucker's voice from behind her. "You can put your head up now. I'll get you something for the hangover." She watched as he moved to one of the cabinets and took down a bottle of pills, then filled a glass of water. He handed it to her, along with two of the pills. She took them gladly.
"Why are you being so nice to me?" she asked.
"You looked like you needed it."
"No one saw you leave with me, did they?"
"Well, I asked Star for your purse. I think she's the only one. Why?"
"Star! Oh, my reputation is so ruined…" Her head thudded against the table again. Tucker frowned and narrowed his eyes.
"I could have left you with Dash. How would your reputation have faired then?"
He was right. Anything could have happened; they were all drunk, and she'd barely been able to keep Dash at bay. He was a football player and huge… she was a tiny cheerleader. And everyone else had left her to fend for herself. If Tucker hadn't come along…
"I'm sorry. You've been really good to me, Tucker," she said, though the table got more of her voice then he did.
"Oh, you remember my name now?"
She winced, but looked him in the eye this time. "I guess I deserved that. Thank you for all you did. I'm going to go upstairs… do you think you could give me a ride home in the morning? I promise you won't have to face mi papa."
"Sure," he agreed.
Tucker stared at her for a minute. Her clothes and hair were mussed, and her eyes were half-closed in sleep and pain, but she was still beautiful. She'd done nothing but torture him and his friends for as long as he could remember, but still he found he wanted to pity her. She'd relied all her life on good looks and charm to get by, and now that had been shaken. Good looks were, this time, what got her in trouble in the first place.
He wished he could comfort her more. The only girl he'd ever really interacted with was Sam, and she didn't get upset often. But when it happened, he knew that she liked to be held—physical comfort wasn't something she got from her parents. Tucker wondered if Paulina was the same way. He wouldn't take the initiative though… she might be shaky about physical contact after what almost happened.
This notion was shocked from his mind when she got up and came over, dropping a light kiss on his cheek. "Thanks again," she said, and started to move away.
"Paulina, wait." She stopped and turned, and Tucker stood to face her. He placed one hand on her upper arm, not wanting to seem too forward. "I'm glad you're okay. No one deserves to be treated the way Dash was treating you. If you ever need me, don't be afraid to ask."
Her blue eyes widened slightly as she looked up at him. It took a few moments, but she slowly began to move, lifting her hands to his shoulders. He didn't move, keeping his hands at his sides so that she would be comfortable. Those sweet blue eyes lost their wariness; she looped her arms around his neck and buried her face in his chest, letting her tears fall. She'd been so scared the night before, so dominated. She'd never known what kind of trouble she could get into… She didn't know how her friends could turn on her. But Tucker—the boy she'd always seen as geeky and a loser, was the only one to step forward on her behalf. She needed this; to know that there was someone who wouldn't hurt her.
Tucker closed his eyes and rested his chin gently on top of Paulina's head. One arm looped around her waist, the other stroked her hair lightly. Right then, she wasn't the most popular girl in school, or the prettiest, or the most manipulative. She was just a girl… a girl that needed someone. They stood like that for minutes on end, Paulina venting her frustration and fear to someone who cared. Tucker was musing to himself about the utter oddity of the situation. Had someone told him this would happen, he'd have laughed in their face. But it seemed natural to have her in his arms, to be the one that she turned to. It kind of scared him.
Wait until Danny hears about this…
Finally, Paulina lifted her head. Tucker reached over to the counter and grabbed a paper towel, folding it so that he could quietly wipe away her tears. As he did so, she gazed up at him, confusion and amazement written on her face.
"I never knew you could be like this," she said at last.
"You never took the time to find out."
"Tucker…" Her voice was soft, he realized suddenly, like her skin. The full impact of the situation dawned on him, and for a moment, he panicked. Her eyes were closing, her lips were parting, and her face was drawing nearer. Paulina was about to kiss him, and his entire world was tipping upside-down. They were inches apart, and he could feel her breath. Part of him wanted this so badly, but he had to make things clear.
"I don't want to take advantage of you," he said, making her pause.
She didn't draw back, though. "You're not taking advantage of me. I know what I'm doing. I like you, Tucker, for real. I want to kiss you."
Her boldness shocked him, but not as much as the feel of her mouth against his. He'd never been kissed like this before, and the press of her lips felt so good. He tightened his grip on her involuntarily, and she nudged him a little. The motion broke him from his surprise and he began kissing her back, trying to keep the pace slow. His palm found its way to her cheek, which he caressed slowly. He felt her smile into the kiss.
"Paulina," he began when they broke apart slightly, but she shushed him.
"You're sweet. I think I'll stay here for the morning after all. You don't mind, do you?"
He grinned. "No. I don't mind."
She kissed him again, going on her tip-toes in happiness. She was feeling a way she'd never felt before, and though it was really strange, she refused to let it go. Screw her reputation—Tucker didn't care about that anyway, since he was willing to turn her away. She had to stay longer, to see where this went. It might just be something worthwhile.
Tucker chuckled and lifted her from the floor, spinning her in a little circle. Yeah, Danny was going to flip.
It had been one crazy night.
Whoo! Man, that was both harder and easier than I thought. It took me a while to get the idea, because I kept coming up with things where they were WAY out of character, or one of them had to dramatically change to make it fit. But I think I did a good job here. Paulina still worries about her reputation up until the very very end, and it's only after the physical connection with Tucker. Tucker--I know he seems kind of grown up, but they are older, and I certainly don't think Tuck would be the kind of guy to just leave a girl to fend for herself. COME ON! He is a ladies man. So booyeah people. I rocked this. (And there goes my humility, right out the window.)
I'm thinking of doing a D/S follow-up; what happened at the party after Tucker left. It depends on reader interest. If I get at least ten people that want it, I'll do it.
SagePoint: What is "schadenfreude?"