-Payback and Realization.

POW!

Danny felt the impact of Valerie's fist against his face. Despite his superior strength, Danny was already wasted because of his fight against Skulker, and Valerie's suit, besides protecting her, increased the girl's stamina, so he actually resented that hit.

Valerie paused to see her enemy's reaction. When she realized he really had no intention to fight back, threw another punch, a lot harder than the first one, making him to back up a few steps.

Valerie grabbed Danny by his shoulders and kneed him on the belly. Danny wide opened his eyes in pain, and then received a sharp karate chop on his neck, sending him to the ground. Valerie kicked his ribs to turn Danny face up, and then, in a professional wrestling-like style, jumped over him, elbowing Danny's chest, taking out all the air from his lungs (AN: I think that, despite being half-ghost, Danny still needs to breath, even if using less air than as a human). Valerie stood up and leaned to grab him by his collar, forcing the boy to stand up.

Val slapped him hardly a few times before making a judo-toss over her shoulder, sending him flying a few feet away. Danny, stunned, stood up, and turned to see her taking impulse to give him a round house kick that impacted the boy against a nearby tree. Danny put his arms around his torso in pain, and then received a punch on the chin. Then, Valerie grabbed him by his hair and shoulder, and, after separating him a few feet away from the tree, slammed the boy back against the log at full strength, face first. She repeated the operation several times, sometimes kicking the boy before slamming him.

When noticing Phantom seemed to be losing conscience, Valerie started punching and kicking Danny with him leaning against the tree, this being the only thing that prevented Danny to fall to the ground again. After a couple of minutes, a very groggy Phantom lifted his head, looking at the panting huntress taking out her mini-blaster from the back of her hand, aiming at his head.

BLAAAST!

Danny didn't move a muscle to avoid the shot… but wasn't hit. Surprised, he looked over his head to see the charred tree's bark, and then back to Valerie, who had a playful smirk.

"Now we are even." Valerie said to him in a smug tone. "Don't give me problems again, and we'll remain that way. Deal?"

Danny wide opened his eyes, not believing Val's speech… but he wanted to believe, so nodded in agreement. Valerie grinned, and then used her sled to fly away from the park, leaving a bruised, confused, and living Danny Phantom behind her.

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Valerie looked down, getting a slight smile when ending her narration. Next to her, Danny waited for her to say something, but, when she didn't, he opened his mouth… and, at that moment, she talked again.

"I could have destroyed him at that moment, you know that?" Valerie said to him.

"Yes… but you didn't. Why you let him go?" Danny asked while leaning to take a better look at her.

"Well… there were many things that stopped me. Had you heard that, when you're about to die, you see your whole life flash in front of your eyes?" Valerie asked, and, without waiting for his answer, continued talking. "Well, guess what? When you're about to kill someone, you also have some kind of flash view."

"The moment I started hitting Phantom, I started remembering all the things that made me hate him… as if looking for more anger to finish the job. But, every time I got a nasty memory, I also got a pleasant one that covered the other. My dad lost his job because of him, but he has it back now. I had to take a job I detested because of the money problems Phantom caused to us, but that made me a more responsible person, and I got some new friends at Nasty Burger. He revealed my secret identity in front of my father, but, by doing it, he probably saved my life, because I was about to fight a ghost army with an injured arm and two broken ribs. And sure, he destroyed my old suit, but a ghost was controlling it, and he saw it attacking me, so he actually saved my life again. He had shot some ghostly blasts against me, but only in self defense, and never used his whole power; I had seen him fighting at his top, and believe me, he is extremely powerful."

"And, finally, he made me lose my popularity…" Valerie paused, and then gave Danny a fond look, "but, thanks to that, I realized that Paulina and the other popular guys never really cared about me, but about my status… and I got to know how nice and cute you are."

Danny blushed at Val's comment, and gave her a little smile of his own.

"Thanks… and, truth be said, I really liked the chance to really know you. You're a great girl, Valerie, and I enjoy a lot being your friend."

Val stared at Danny for a few seconds, then took a deep breath, and continued.

"You know what else stopped me? The way he acted when that girl was in danger. I always thought ghosts were totally evil, and I had full right to eliminate them, the same way you squish a mosquito trying to bite you. But the way he was willing to sacrifice himself to save her, and how he trusted me to aid the girl even if knowing I could kill them both… and that concern… the fear on his eyes and voice… how he remained loyal to his promise despite how bad I was hurting him! I am no expert, but I swear he was being, well, human. A very brave a noble one." Valerie said with no doubt on her voice.

"And besides, how would I kill the brother of the girl I helped save just a few moments before? No, I would never do that." Valerie sighed. "Sure, I had to hit him, and I liked to scare him with the blasting I made at the end, but that was mainly to relief all my remaining anger, and I had seen him recovering from worse things; he might be sore for a couple of days, but I'm sure he'll be alright. Once I was done, I felt absolutely no rage left, and confirmed he isn't as bad as I thought, because he never tried to escape or fight back. Guess Paulina is right for once, and Phantom isn't a menace after all."

"So, you're quitting ghost hunting?" Danny asked.

"No. I'll still be blasting ghosts back to that crazy zone, but I'll do my best to not getting obsessed with that, and not letting my rage cloud my reason." Valerie told him, and then placed a hand on Danny's chest. "And… well… remember I told you I only wanted us to have a friendly relationship?"

"Yes. You told me that your life was a little complicated at that time to be something else… I understand the "complicated" part now." Danny chuckled.

"Well… that was because I don't want any of my ghost enemies to hurt you. But now I realized my main enemy isn't really evil… and actually, never was, I would try to get back to where we left… if you want." Valerie said to him with hope-filled eyes. Danny sighed, and walked back a few steps.

"I would like that, Valerie… but first, I have to confess you a secret as well. And it's as big as yours… and you might hate me after I tell it to you." Danny said while rubbing his neck. Val gave him a confused look, noticing how both serious and nervous he was, but relaxed in a moment.

"Danny, if you didn't freak out because of my secret, I doubt I can't accept one from you, no matter how big. And remember this; I'll never, ever, hate you, Daniel Fenton." Valerie said in a half-serious, half-joking tone. Danny took a deep breath, and started talking.

"Well… you see, when my parents were still working on the portal, I took a dare from Sam, and entered it to give that thing a look… and, at that moment, activated it by accident."

"Mmmm… I remember now! It was when you couldn't attend classes for a few days, right? Dash kept telling all of us that your parents finally got fed of you, and sent you to a military school." Valerie said. Danny chuckled a little, but returned to his stern expression immediately.

"I got affected by that accident, Val, and I a way nobody can imagine… even the doctors at the hospital didn't notice it when they checked me, and I can't blame them. I hadn't told my own parents about this."

"Oh, my… you got cancer because of the radiation, or something like that?" Valerie exclaimed, scared at the idea of losing Danny. The boy shook his head quickly.

"No, nothing that lethal… but much weirder. My DNA got altered and… I am now capable of some things that are impossible for a normal human."

"What do you mean?"

Danny didn't say a thing for a few seconds, until he finally found his voice back and said something in a whisper.

"Going Ghost."

A large energy ring appeared on his waist, and then divided in two, passing over his body. As they moved through the boy's body, they changed his clothing for a black and white uniform with a white stylized "D" on his chest, and, when ending, Danny got white hair, and green bright eyes.

Valerie's jaw fell, and was unable to say a thing for almost a minute. Danny just stood there, waiting for a reaction. Val finally lowered her head, and talked in a whisper.

"So, you're…"

"Yes, Danny Phantom." Danny replied, looking down and nervously rubbing his arms.

"And you are a…"

"A halfa… that means I'm either a human with ghostly abilities, or a ghost-human hybrid. It's not clear yet."

"And you knew about my secret…"

"Since day one."

"The ghost dog…"

"He isn't mine. I was trying to return him to the Ghost Zone, and unfortunately, you and your dad were caught in the middle."

"And that ghost girl is…?"

"A female clone of myself. Long story."

The girl clenched her fists, and growled.

"Change. Back. To. Human. NOW!"

Danny nodded, and turned back to Fenton. Then, Valerie lifted her face, and drew back a fist. Danny gulped and closed his eyes, guessing what was about to happen.

SMACK!

And failing.

Danny placed a hand on his right cheek, where Valerie had given him a fast kiss. Danny got a surprised expression, looking at Valerie, who was now smiling at him while getting teary eyes and placing the same hand Danny thought was about to hit him on his shoulder.

"You knew it was me the huntress shooting at you all the time… and yet you tried being my friend?" Valerie asked, a little surprised for thinking about herself as the bad one for once. Danny finally got his voice back, and rubbed gently her cheeks to wash away a lonely tear.

"Val, I already told you, I had enjoyed your friendship a lot. And even when you were chasing me, I knew you're not evil at all, just misguided and a little short-fused... okay, maybe VERY short-fused, but you get my point. You're very important to me, Val, and when you forgave someone you claimed to hate that much, I was joyful because that confirmed what I always knew… how a nice girl you are on the inside. If I had to take a beating from the most beautiful and coolest girl in Amity Park so we could be honest with each other and finish our feud, then you can kick my butt any time you want." Danny chuckled a little at the end of his speech before smiling fondly at the Afro-American beauty in front of him.

Valerie turned off her battle suit, and got her regular clothing back. Then, she grabbed Danny by his shoulders, and gave him a deep kiss on the lips; Danny placed his hands on the girl's waist, and kissed her back. After a few seconds, they broke apart, and stared at each other.

"I'm so sorry… for all. The chasing, the shooting… the beating I gave you." Val was cut by Danny's finger on her lips.

"You said it. We are even. Now… will you mind if Phantom carries you back home?" Danny asked with a playful smirk. Val chuckled and poked his chest in a teasing mode.

"Only if you don't drop me, ghost."

"I would never do that." Danny smiled widely, and then changed back to Phantom. He carried Valerie bridal style, and then flew away from the school. Val smiled at him, and leaned her head against his, finding that his ghostly skin, even if a little colder than the human one, was quite comfortable.

"You know, I still have something to ask you." Val said.

"Shoot… not literally, of course." Danny joked, making her to laugh.

"Dork. Okay, seriously… why did you send an explosive missile to Wisconsin?"

Danny laughed at her question, and lowered his speed.

He would need a very long flight to explain that one.

THE END.

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And that was it! (Nice story, dude. Now, just put me in Danny's role, and let Val give me some sugar so everyone can be happy.) Tucker… (I know I would be.) If that's what you want, then I'll make you Danny's stunt man for the beating scenes… that way you might have some action with Val. (Eh… on a second thought, breathing and conserving the proper use of my limbs are top priorities in my list, so I guess I should pass.)

Thanks a lot to all those who read this story. (Thanks for the support, guys, and for pointing the missing or OOC details; all that helps Ramiro to be a better writer.) You said it, Tuck.

One thing before leaving; I like Danny's pairing with Sam in the series… (Of course, I mean, it's so obvious they are in love.) Thanks for the interruption, Tucker. Anyway, as I said, I like Danny/Sam in the series, but there are many excellent fics with Danny/Val, so I decided to do this one. If I can write another DP's fic, I might do it Danny/Sam if I have the right idea. (I have the right idea… Jazz, Valerie, Paulina, me, and a hot tub.) Calm down, Tucker, or I'm writing a fic with you swimming in a Siberian lake. (Hey, why that?) That's the coldest shower I can imagine right now.

Again, thanks for reading the story. (And if any of you is a hot girl, please feel free to give a call to the coolest geek.) That's not a good idea, Tuck; Chuckie Finster is already dating someone. (HEY! Okay, let me rephrase that; if any of you is a hot girl, please feel free to call the coolest TECHNO geek in AMITY PARK for the experience of a lifetime.) Watching you eating ten T-bone steaks in less than five minutes? (Very funny, man… but you gave me a great idea.)

So long, folks, and keep the good writing.