A/N: Okay, so I got this idea after watching Double Cross My Heart, and I wrote it, but I lost the last page, so I had to rewrite the ending. I don't think it's as good as the first one, but I can't exactly pass judgment without the piece in front of me. Anyway, if you've seen the episode, you can skip the italics, except for the very last one. If you haven't, there are some spoilers in the italics, but you might not get the story without them.
Danny rubbed his thumb over the smooth, sun-warmed surface of the stone in his hand before tossing it and watching it skip over the water. It helped his frustration none, so the next rock he picked, more jagged than the first, he chucked above his head and a long distance away.
"Yeah, I know, but it's not easy. I mean, do you guys realize what it's like to like someone you can't be with?"
The Paulina thing had stung. And his crush on Valerie had bugged him. But he suddenly knew that the feelings she invoked whenever present were far stronger, the envy whenever she was with someone else more desperate, the ache when he realized she'd never be his more intense. He remembered all of the times she'd been in danger and he had been scared out of his mind, the time she had kissed Dash and he felt like his heart had been ripped out, when she had kissed Gregor and he felt like his heart had been stepped on.
He chucked another rock. Gregor. He hadn't meant to sound to Sam as if no guy could like her when he accused Gregor of being a spy. He thought the opposite, actually. She was wonderful, amazing. How could a guy not like her?
…you're smart, you're fun, you're cool, you're pretty…
"You know," a voice came out of the darkness behind him. "If that's the best you can do, your rock-skipping skills could use some sharpening up." She was teasing him and, though it loosened his anger as it always did, it tightened the knot in his stomach.
"I can skip a rock," he jibed and then, as if to prove his statement, picked up a pebble and demonstrated his abilities. Even without turning his head, he could feel her smiling.
"Nice," she complimented as she threw one of her own. Her smile disappeared as she asked, "Danny, are you okay?"
"You do not like me because you want to protect your friend Sam. I respect this."
"It's not just that."
"You like her as more than just friends?"
"You hesitate. Which means you are unsure..."
Unsure? Yeah right! Danny thought. Of course he liked her as more than a friend. He had hesitated for one reason only. Just because he couldn't be with her because he didn't want to put her in any more danger didn't mean she could date any one else, even if it tore his heart in two.
"I'm fine," he said hastily. "Sam, I need to apologize."
She looked at him, puzzled. "You already said that you were sorry for spying on me. What else do you have to be sorry for?"
"He's so obviously working for the guys in white!"
"You think the only way a guy could like me is if he's in on some plot to get you? Ego much?"
"For making it sound like no guy could like you. I didn't mean it that way, you know? I was just…"
"Worried," she finished. "Danny, I get it. You just don't want me hurt. I just…I wish you would have checked him out before you said that. Then you could have had a real reason to believe it.
"Sam," he said, and then he sighed. "It's not that. Or, it's not just that."
"What else was there?"
"You like her as more than just friends?"
Sam smiled softly. "Why Danny? He's a fraud and a jerk. You're an idiot sometimes, sure, but he…"
"Thanks," he retorted sarcastically with a grin. "It's just…" With all traces of humor gone and complete seriousness over him, he continued. "I thought I was losing my best friends."
"You're not losing me, Danny. Sure, I got mad at you. But even if I had a real boyfriend and I had to chose between him and you…you'd win, no contest. You've always been there. And I know you always will. And Tucker? Lucky us, Danny…we're stuck with him."
He smiled, then turned to him. "Was that all?" Maybe he just imagined it, but she seemed to be hoping for him to say something else, something specific.
"…more than just friends?"
When he gave no response, she sighed, almost disappointedly, and turned away, saying, "I gotta go. I'll see you tomorrow." He watched her back regretfully as she walked away.
"…like her as more than just friends?"
"Hey Sam," he called. She turned back to him, waiting. He jogged up to her and continued. "The reason I was really jealous was because…I wanted to be the one to kiss you, but I couldn't."
"Why can't you?" she asked.
He was frustrated now, not with her, but with himself. He had no reasons, no good ones, at least. She'd be in danger, but it wasn't like it was any more danger than she was already in. And then he didn't want to mess up their friendship. But if that was a possibility, it was sure to have already happened, what with how much he had ticked her off in the past few days and how many hints he had dropped as to his feelings.
"… you are unsure…"
"You know," he chuckled. "I'm really not sure."
She put a hand behind his neck and pulled his head close to hers. "Then do it," she ordered. He obliged and, in an instant, Gregor was forgotten. She was kissing him now, and that's all that mattered to Danny.
"…more than just friends…"