I wasn't going to put this up until FFN fixed it's wonky email problem, but I'm an addict and I can't help it. So here it is, please ease my pain and review once you have finished reading. Thanks
The morning of the funeral dawned, bright, clear and warm. Sam and Tucker stood on the sidewalk at Danny's house waiting for the Fentons. They were going to all ride together the cemetery.
The front door opened and Jazz appeared, looking extremely pale in her black velvet dress, wearing a black head band with her long sun gold red hair slightly curled at the ends, and walked down the steps.
"Mom and Dad will be out in a few minutes," she said as she stopped beside the two friends. She smiled at Tucker sadly then adjusted his tie. Tucker took her hand, they looked into each other's eyes, then hugged.
Sam took a few steps back then turned around as the limousine arrived. She wiped her hand tiredly over her face then smiled slightly as she saw Valerie making her way down the street dressed in red. Sam knew why she wore red, it was symbolic.
"I thought I was going to be late," Valerie said as she hugged Sam, both girl's laughed a little as Sam's hair caught on one of Valerie's gold hoop earrings.
"Your eye looks a lot better," Sam told her as she pulled away and examined her friend's face.
"Yeah," Valerie replied as she laughed nervously, touching the healing bruise around her eye as she sighed. "I'm sorry I haven't called. Dad let me out for the funeral and that's it."
"I can't believe he still grounded you even after Jack and Maddie talked to him." Sam stated sadly then frowned as Valerie compulsively straightened the collar of Sam's purple lace dress.
"He said I should have trusted him," Valerie answered shrugged her shoulder then looked at Tucker and Jazz who were still hugging each other. "I guess I could have, but I was afraid he'd stop me, you know?"
"How are you holding up?" Valerie asked in concern as she searched Sam's face. The girl's skin was so powdery pale that Valerie could see the blue veins beneath it. She frowned and held Sam's sad purple gaze.
"Everyone keeps asking me that," Sam answered tiredly. "Do I seem that weak to you?"
"No," Valerie replied as she watched the limousine driver get out of the vehicle and look the door.
"This is the Fenton residence?" The driver asked.
Jazz moved away from Tucker and turned to the driver. "Yes," she said as she smoothed her dress. "I'm Jazz Fenton. We'll be ready to go in a few minutes."
"Thank you Miss," the driver said then walked back to the driver's seat to wait.
The front door opened and everyone turned and watched as Maddie, dressed impeccably in a white blouse and black skirt appeared. She walked down the steps, her black high heeled shoes clicking on the pavement, a black suit jacket was hanging over her arm. She drooped slightly as she reached the sidewalk, then pulled herself together quickly as she adjusted the gold necklace around her neck and looked at everyone and sighed sadly.
"Mom," Jazz said as she walked over and put her arm around her mother, who returned her daughter's embrace lovingly.
"I'm all right, Jazz," Maddie began as she looked from her daughter to Tucker to Valerie and then to Sam. "I'm so thankful that all of you are here." Everyone simply looked down at their feet, not knowing what else to say.
The driver appeared and held the door open for her. She closed her eyes a moment then climbed into the car without a look back. Jazz gravitated toward Tucker again, he smiled at her sadly and Sam sighed.
"What do you think he would have to say about all of this?" Valerie asked as she watched Tucker and Jazz.
"I don't know," Sam answered as she looked up at the window of Danny's room. "He'd probably be amused."
"Really?" Valerie asked in surprise. "Amused?"
Sam was about to explain when the front door opened and Jack looking very dignified and normal in a navy blue suit appeared. He stepped down one step then turned and waited.
"Dad," Danny said in irritation as he moved very slowly through the door. "I'm not helpless. I can walk down a couple steps." Jack said nothing as he waited for Danny who closed the door, looked at Sam and Valerie then smiled.
Both girls took a deep breath then Valerie pushed Sam forward. Jack waited until Danny was on the sidewalk then looked at Tucker and Jazz a moment, speared Tucker with a menacing glare, then smiled and climbed into the limousine.
"Who combed your hair?" Sam teased as she eyed Danny's perfectly coifed head. She grinned teasingly and he rolled his eyes at her.
He smiled sheepishly. "Mom," he replied. Then ran his and through his dark locks, returning them to their usual mussed up condition.
"Aw," she complained. "Don't mess it up. You look cute." She attempted to finger comb his hair back in place, and he laughed. Sam shook her head then straightened the tie of his dark suit.
"You're worse than my mom," he told her as his vibrant blue eyes locked with hers.
"It's because you're an idiot," Sam told him playfully and he laughed then kissed her cheek.
"I guess I'm lucky to have you to take care of me then," he told her teasingly.
Sam fiddled with his tie for a moment then met his eyes again. "Dumb luck," she said
"Whatever it is," Danny replied. "I'm grateful for it."
"It's good karma," Valerie said as she hesitantly joined the conversation. Danny looked at her over Sam's shoulder and smiled then moved to hug Valerie, who regarded Danny worriedly as she returned the embrace as if he would break.
"I consider all my good karma points spent," he laughed holding her gaze a moment then turning to look at Tucker and Jazz who were still standing arm and arm with each other watching the display curiously.
"You're feeling all right?" Valerie asked worriedly. She'd been grounded since they returned from Wisconsin and the hospital with her father waiting on the Fenton doorstep with an angry look on his face, so she had missed most of Danny's recovery. She was present however, as the doctors announced his return to the coma, but she missed him waking, and finally going home. Jack and Maddie and tried everything they could to calm Valerie's father but he was strict and he was angry. It could have been worse.
"I'm not one hundred percent yet," Danny answered. "But I'm alive." Sam let out a deep sigh of relief and Valerie nodded her head and blinked back her tears.
"We need to get going," Jazz said then looked at Danny pointedly. He rolled his eyes at her and she shook her head as she climbed into the limo. Danny walked over to Tucker slowly, then hugged his best friend.
"If I ever catch you kissing my sister in her room again, with the door closed," he whispered in Tucker's ear. "I'll skin you alive."
Tucker laughed then gently tightened his arms around Danny, careful not to hurt him. "I'll be sure to tell her that next time she grabs me and drags me in there."
"I'm serious," Danny growled allowing his eyes to flash green. Tucker pulled away and looked at him worriedly then Danny laughed and his eyes returned to blue.
Tucker shook his head then looked at Valerie and Sam who were standing together, watching. His eyes filled with a devious light as he said, "Your harem is waiting. You better tend to them before they get jealous."
"I ain't part of no one's harem, Foley," Valerie said as she squeezed Sam's arm then followed Tucker into the car.
"Okay fangirl then," Tucker could be heard saying from inside the car.
Danny laughed then Tucker squeaked. "Jazz, do you have to pinch so hard?""They're just like mom and dad," Danny said as he turned back to Sam again.
"If you mean they're both insane like your parents," she started. "Then I agree with you."
Danny laughed then frowned, standing still instead of walking toward the car. Sam stopped and looked at him worriedly, wondering if he needed help. "I can't believe he's gone, Sam," he said sadly.
Sam nodded her head. "I know it's hard to believe."
"Like the end of a bad nightmare," Danny agreed then looked at the car. "I don't want to go to his funeral. I don't want to remember someone I'd rather forget."
"I think remembering Vlad is good," Sam started as she took Danny's hand. "He's a good example of what we shouldn't become, a nice warning."
Danny sighed. "You're right but I just feel too happy that he's gone. It's not right to be celebrating his death."
"Jazz told me that right now our victory is too close and that once reality sets in, we'll be able to mourn Vlad's misguided life, and we'll be glad we had this closure."
"Yeah," Danny said then moved toward the car. Sam waited to get in after him because he was still very weak and could possibly need help, then climbed in behind him.
Sam stood in the kitchen at the Fenton home, after Vlad's funeral. It wasn't really a funeral, it was a burial, with nothing really said, just a group of people standing witness, making things look at the very least like people cared for Vlad. Jack and Maddie brought him to Peaceful Pastures Cemetery out of sympathy. No one celebrated his life or mourned his death and they felt bad for that, especially Maddie. She wanted his grave close because she felt someone should tend it. He had been a friend once, a long time ago, and she was responsible for ending his life, she wanted him taken care of, at least in death.
Danny who, was sitting at the kitchen table, across from Valerie and beside Tucker smiled as he spotted Sam. All the chairs were taken, so she stood, intent on listening to what Jack and Maddie had to say.
"Sam," Danny said as he held out a hand to her. He had begun to look very tired and Sam was worried for him. She walked closer and he took her hand and sat her in his lap. She laughed as she put one arm around his shoulders then examined the dark circles under his eyes. He smiled at her and took her hand in his then cleared his throat as he realized that everyone was watching them. He flushed bright red and Sam looked at him in bewilderment then turned and noticed all eyes on her and Danny, she flushed shyly then leaned closer to Danny as if to say, "this is where I belong."
"So," Maddie said breaking the silence as she smiled at Sam and her son. She tapped the paper on the table. She frowned slightly and paused. "After probate, estate taxes and the liquidation of Vlad's estate. We'll have ten billion dollars to give to the charities of our choice."
"So fourteen million a piece?" Jazz asked in shock. Everyone was still stunned that Maddie had been named the soul inheritor of Vlad's estate. Maddie had said that she didn't want the money, Jack had agreed and Jazz had suggested splitting the money between them so they could heal by giving Vlad's money to the charity of their choice. Danny had insisted that Valerie join in what he called "the healing".
"No honey," Maddie said. "Ten billion each." Everyone's jaws dropped open and she nodded her head. "Vlad was terribly rich, and I really don't want to know how he came by such an massive fortune, but…but maybe we can repair some of the damage he's done."
"Or a lot," Danny said dryly. "Ten billion each? Are you sure?"
"That's the figure his attorney's gave me," Maddie said she looked everyone in the eye. "We're not keeping a penny of it. I know Vlad has caused us all a lot of pain, but…"
"We understand Maddie," Tucker said.
"We don't want his money," Valerie added.
"So what are you going to with the money Jazzypants?" Jack asked as he placed his hand over his wife's. Maddie smiled at her husband and turned her hand over to return the embrace.
"I was thinking a scholarship trust," Jazz began. "I think everyone who wants to go to college should be able to and well, I know a few brilliant people who want to go, but can't afford to so I thought setting up a scholarship in Vlad's name might be nice."
"It is," Maddie said happily.
"There is a charity who sets schools up with computers," Tucker started when it was his turn.. "I thought I'd give half of the money to them, and the other half to feed the hungry."
"Typical," Sam laughed. "Food and technology, the only things Tucker cares about."
"That's not true," Tucker said as he looked at Jazz out of the corner of his eye. Sam laughed and his skin darkened in a blush. Jazz's hand crept across the table and held his and they both smiled at each other.
"I'm giving half to the Red Cross," Jack began. "A half to the United Way."
"Real original Dad," Jazz teased and he smiled at her.
"I'm I am giving a third to the Amity Park Hospital to fund the E.R," Maddie began. "Because they took such good care of Danny and didn't ask half the questions they could have. The rest is going to the cure for childhood cancer."
"Mine too," Valerie said quickly. "I mean half to cure cancer, because I know how it feels to lose someone from it and half to the homeless, because…I know how that sorta feels too."
"I want to divide my portion between several no kill animal shelters," Sam yawned as she leaned against Danny tiredly. "And to a grey hound rescue organization."
"All good causes," Maddie said in approval. She paused at the notes she was taking then looked at Danny.
"What charities are you going to donate to son?" Jack asked.
"I was thinking," Danny began. "That I'd donate to an organization that helps teens in distress, you know run-aways and such." He paused. "But I'd like to keep part of it back so I could," he blushed and rubbed the hand that wasn't holding Sam, on the back of his neck.
"I want to commit random acts of kindness," he explained. Sam looked at him and smiled widely. "You know. Give money away to needy strangers, completely unexpectedly. I could use my ghost powers, I'd never get caught. It would be fun and Vlad would have hated the idea."
"That's awesome," Jazz said as she leaned on the table and smiled. "You could, pay for people's groceries."
"Buy people gas!" Valerie added.
"Slip hundred dollar bills into pockets," Tucker laughed.
"What fun!" Maddie said as she smiled at her son in approval. Danny returned his mother's smile then paled. Her eyebrows furrowed and Sam turned to look at him.
"I'm fine," Danny told everyone weakly. "Just tired." He forced Sam to stay in his lap as she tried to stand.
Jazz gave her brother a look of exasperation, stood and took a glass out of the cabinet. She poured Danny a glass of water then walked over and pulled Sam out of his lap.
"Take this," she said. "And go to bed." Danny looked at the glass of water in confusion.
"What's this for?" he asked.
Jazz rolled her eyes. "This, Stupid," Jazz said as she handed him the pain pill she knew he'd skipped twice already that day. Danny chuckled weakly then took the pill almost gratefully from her palm then looked embarrassed as he swallowed it with a big gulp of water.
"Want me to walk up the stairs with you?" Sam asked shyly. Danny smiled and nodded his head. She waited for him to stand, which he did slowly poorly disguising the pain he was in, telling everyone good bye before leaving the room.
"I need to go," Valerie said quickly, not watching as Danny took Sam's hand and lead her from the kitchen.
"Jazz and I will walk you home," Tucker said quickly. Valerie grinned at him and Jazz gave him a wide eyed look.
"We will?" she asked. Tucker shrugged his shoulders. "If you don't want to I could…"
"No," Jazz said quickly. "I'll go with you. In fact, I'll drive." She kissed her mother then her father then followed Tucker and Valerie out of the house.
Maddie stood and gathered the glasses on the table and put them in the sink. She leaned against the counter and closed her eyes a moment, her posture reflecting the emotional distress she'd been hiding.
"I killed him," she said softly. "It wasn't my intention, Jack. I just wanted to stop him from hurting Danny, from hurting you, from touching me again."
"I know Mads," Jack said softly. "You weren't given many options. You took the only one you had."
"I don't think he deserved to die," Maddie said as she hung her head then turned on the tap to wash the dishes. Jack stood and put is hands on his wife's waist, turning off the water then turning her to face him.
"Thank you," he said to her. She smiled as she leaned into him.
"Thank you for what?" she asked as she tilted her face up for a kiss.
Jack kissed her briefly. "Being crazy enough to say yes when I asked you to marry me," he said. "For giving me two wonderful children and for being the bad ass that you are."
Maddie laughed. "I'm a bad ass?" she asked a look of amused disbelief gracing her face.
"Yes," Jack said then picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. She squealed in laughter as he headed toward the lab. "And a bad ass like you shouldn't do dishes. No no. You should come down to the lab with me and help me work."
"Oh Jack," Maddie giggled girlishly. "I love you."
Sam sat on the chest beside Danny's bed reading a book as he drifted off to sleep. She looked at him for a moment and found him watching her sleepily.
"Thanks for staying," he told her softly. Sam looked at him a moment then smiled. His eyes closed and she waited a moment before returning her attention to the book.
"Sam?" Danny asked very sleepily as his medication began taking effect, pulling him down into slumber as it alleviated his pain.
"Yes?" Sam replied as she put her book down and looked at him again.
"Would you," he began then took a deep breath. "Would you lay down with me? Just for a little while?"
Sam smiled as she uncurled her legs from beneath her then laid on the bed and stretched out next to Danny. He put his arm around and pulled her close as she laid her head on his chest.
"Good night," he yawned sleepily.
"Good night Danny," Sam said contently. "Sleep well. I'll see you when you wake up."
"I love you," Danny told her, his voice barely a whisper. Sam cuddled up against him and sighed, deciding to wait until he woke up again to return the sentiment. She closed her eyes and was grateful that she could sleep without the fear of losing him. His recovery, even with the benefit of fast healing from his ghost powers, was going to be long, but Danny was going to be all right, he survived.THE END
Thank you to the many many reviewers and readers of this story who read, reviewed, and help me get through this fic. I should have been finished much sooner than it was, but at least I can say I completed it.
I don't believe in leaving up unfinished work, it's cruel to the reader. I will now focus on my other works in progress and then I'm going to begin working on an original novel which I hope to submit for hopeful publication sometime next year.
Special thanks to:
Bluemyst19 - Because you're my best friend and for being the best muse ever. Thank you for holding my hand throughout this crazy fic and putting up with me. I know I am a PITA.
Gecko Osco - who has always been a kind and good friend.
Chaos Dragon - For her enthusiasm, talent, which has inpired me.
Miss Deeds - For everything.
Funkatron - Because he listens to my whine ALL the time.
KITHN - Because his optimism makes me want to puke...from envy.
To all the really wonderful nice readers and reviewers (many of them anonymous) who hung in there with me as I battled this fic. Thank you so much for your virtual cookies, cakes and rods of inspiration.
Now it's time for me to let go of Disclosures and you to hit that nice little review button!
Much much love,