Summary: Danny arranges a meeting with Valerie, to clear the air and end their feud. But is she ready to listen? One way or the other, she's leaving with a Thermos.

Author's Note: Although this story focuses on Danny and Valerie, it is not a pairing story. There's nothing remotely romantic about the action here.

Disclaimer: Butch Hartman created 'em and Nickelodeon owns 'em. I borrow 'em for a little while with no intention of disrespect or hope of personal gain.

A Thermos for Valerie

by Bluemoonalto

Chapter 1

Half past three a.m. At least it was Friday night–no, very early Saturday–so I would be allowed to sleep late in the morning. Wounded, weary and sore, I dragged myself down to the lab to release Bertrand into the Portal, then fetched the first aid kit from the wall near the foot of the stairs.

I heal very fast and am pretty much immune to infections in my ghost form, but if I didn't get this wound on my arm cleaned up and covered before changing back, I'd have to explain bloodstained pajamas to my mother on laundry day. I unzipped my jumpsuit and stripped to the waist, used a couple of gauze pads to wipe the oozing ectoplasm away from the three parallel slashes running from just below my left shoulder halfway to my elbow, then wrapped the area with a fresh bandage secured with adhesive tape. I put the kit away and stuffed the goopy gauze deep into the waste basket, where it wouldn't be noticed by nosy parents.

I had just one last job to do before heading back to bed. I floated over to the highest shelf above the work bench, where five brand-new Fenton Thermoses stood in a gleaming row. Mom and Dad had been working on these all week, having redesigned the release button to make it a little harder to activate by mistake. I had already promised the first one to Tucker, who had a history of accidental releases.

I set my own dingy, battered Thermos on the shelf beside the new ones. Its surface had been dulled, dented and scratched over the last few months, from being repeatedly dropped, stomped on, slammed against walls, trees, boulders, parked cars. . . . The sturdy shoulder strap that Sam had rigged for me (I need to have my hands free!) was frayed in spots and singed in others, and in several places was blotched with stubborn, pale green stains. (Ectoplasm just won't come out in the wash. Thankfully, my jumpsuit mysteriously renews itself with each transformation, or it would be stiff with stains and held together with hundreds of mends and patches. Sometimes I'm amazed that I'm still in one piece.)

Mom and Dad had worked late into the night to complete the final assembly on these five Thermoses, so they could enjoy a leisurely Columbus Day weekend. All that was lacking now was the final, final step, which they knew nothing about and which only I could accomplish. I pulled Tucker's new Thermos down from the shelf and held it between my hands, enveloping myself and the device in a cloud of blue energy. After a few seconds, the Thermos began to vibrate as it came to life under my will. I did a quick test, firing off a blue-white beam at the ceiling, then placed it back on the shelf and picked up the next one.

This one was for Valerie.