Withering (13/13)

Rating: T

Warnings: Uh…violence, character death, romance that could be considered necrophilia , gratuitous abuse of our favorite halfa.

Pairings: DxS, TxJ

Summary: Based loosely off "Beauty and the Beast." A prince cursed to walk among the dead, and a maiden drawn to it…can she save him before all the petals wither away?

Note: Part of my mini Disney project…and because I think it's high time that Sam does some heroic work for a helpless Danny !

Disclaimer: I, in no way shape or form, own anything affiliated with Danny Phantom…Butch Hartmann and Nickelodeon has that honor. Nor do I own anything affiliated with Disney…I'm just borrowing and warping a story they borrowed. I'm a mere college girl attempting to entertain herself.


Chapter Thirteen: Epilogue: A Not so Normal Happily Ever After

"I now pronounce you Husband, and Wife…you may kiss the bride."

Sam smiled and cheered along with everyone else as Tucker and Jazz leaned in and smilingly kissed each other in union. She flashed Jazz a thumbs up as the red-head gave her bridesmaids one parting, brilliant smile before taking off down the aisle, hand in hand with newly christened husband. She looked around to see the Fenton parents, Jack and Maddie, smiling and cheering after their daughter while Jack tried to covertly wipe a beefy hand under his eyes and the Foley parents beaming happily as their son stared goofily at his new bride. She caught Valerie's eye, who had also graciously worn a dress instead of her usual breeches and sword in honor of being a bridesmaid, and the two shared a private smirk as they watched the couple fade from sight as the crowd converged around them. Weddings were always such sappy affairs.

Sam turned away from the fleeing couple and the many well-wishers crowding the castle entrance to shout their congratulations to smile at the black-haired young man across the way. Danny wasn't cheering anymore, just staring happily after his best friend and older sister even though he probably couldn't see them anymore through the throng of people, looking utterly content. She cleared her throat and smirked when he looked over at her, startled for a fraction of a second, and then fixed that same content look on her. Sam could feel her cheeks heat up, but she knew it wasn't form embarrassment or from shyness, merely from pleasure at seeing such a light-hearted expression on Danny's face.

Danny, Sam knew, was still dealing with many of the same issues he had been facing before his parents had been rescued from their stone-prison, which often caused him to focus on less than pleasant things. Being almost completely isolated for a hundred years, facing the prospect of a rather horrible death at the hands of a deranged fruit loop could have that affect on a person. Add on top of that his state of halfway- undead status and nobody could really blame him for becoming much more introspective than he had originally been before the curse. Sam hadn't known Danny then, true, but she had heard so many stories about Danny's childhood during her stay in the manor that she too felt a sort of pang for that loss. Plus, there seemed to be something bothering Danny, something that seemed to make his eyes look haunted when he thought no one was looking. Sam was confident that Danny would eventually be able to break out of his self-imposed shell, especially with his parents now returned, but she knew it wasn't going to happen anytime soon. So, whenever Danny was completely at ease, with nothing of his curse, confinement, or Plasmius on his mind, it was always something Sam treasured.

"So, I take it you're not going to secretly castrate Tucker later on for marrying your sister?" Sam asked. Her tone was nonchalant, but her eyes were sparkling playfully as she crossed the aisle and knotted their hands together.

"Of course not," Danny replied smoothly. He gave Sam a wicked smirk as they started to exit the hall, quiet far behind most of the guests who had already hurried out to bid the new couple good luck. "Can't phase through walls and ceilings anymore, can I? Too much of a hassle to have to sneak in like a common thief."

Sam let out a giggle that was probably quite unbecoming of her supposed demeanor, but she didn't much care as Danny's poker face slipped off and he began to laugh beside her. This moment Sam found herself in with Danny was too nice to ruin by worrying over whether anyone saw her acting even the slightest bit 'girly.' The two kept up an increasingly ridiculous conversation on their way to the reception in the main ballroom (now completely cleaned of any leftover bits of Plasmius, much to Sam's relief), concerning Tucker's reprieve from castration, but also exploring other excruciating demises he could meet if Danny and Sam worked together. The worked hard to control their now hysterical laughter as they walked into the ballroom, taking their designated places at the main table along with the bride's and groom's parents, drawing speculatively glances from other guests. Sam surmised it was probably because of the shaking, but she didn't know for sure; their faces probably looked interesting as well.

Neither Sam nor Danny really paid much attention to the different speeches that random lords and ladies gave from Amity Park to their newly discovered monarchs, they had a much more important work to be done as they made random creations with their napkins and utensils, having a contest to see who could make the better napkin-house. Sam, naturally, won. Their attention did snap out of their own world when Tucker and Jazz reentered the ballroom, looking very pleased with themselves, Sam thought ruefully, and joined in with the cheers as they shared their first dance. Others eventually trickled onto the dance floor, including Danny and Sam for a time, until the entire floor was teeming with happy dancers celebrating. Sam left the floor for a break after a time, leaving Danny dancing with his sister after he expressed how happy he was for her. She watched the crowd for a moment before her eyes drifted back, almost unconsciously, back to Danny; that damn goofy grin she was always loathe to wear spread across her face as she watched him spin his sister with a genuine smile of his own.

"He does look happy, doesn't he?" a voice asked to Sam's left, startling her. Sam looked up and found the kind face of Maddie Fenton gazing back at her, her own eyes, a strange blue that almost looked lilac in some lights, fixed upon her with unwavering intensity. Sam looked over at a po-going Jack Fenton, who did indeed look happy, but her thoughts were interrupted by a gentle laugh from Maddie. "I was referring to my son, but I suppose the sentiment could apply to Jack too!"

"Oh," Sam replied. She felt stupid with her reply, but couldn't think of anything else to say to Maddie Fenton. True, the woman had been giving her dream visions through a shared gypsy blood-line, but Sam hadn't talked to Danny's mother alone in the month she had been back. Sam really didn't know why she felt so awkward around the queen, Maddie didn't come across as someone like her own mother at all, but Sam always felt...inadequate for some reason when around her. "I guess he does."

Maddie smiled softly in her son's direction before directing her strange eyes back on Sam, giving the violet-eyed girl a reassuring smile at the obvious apprehension in her face. "I want to thank you, Sam."

Sam's apprehension quickly morphed into one of confusion at the very sincere tone in Maddie voice, but couldn't voice anything aloud as the woman started to speak again.

"I know it doesn't seem all that incredible, to you, what you've done for my family, but it truly is. It took a big leap of faith for you to believe in the visions I gave you, and an even bigger one to fall in love with a being who could very well have been immortal to you. It took strength to believe in someone who didn't believe in himself and courage to defend him to an entire town of frightened townspeople. It took dedication to teach my son all that you did about life and himself, and it took love to come back to try and save him. You did all those things, plus so many more, and for that, I cannot thank you enough."

Maddie paused, and Sam felt her cheeks flare up again, this time in embarrassment and she murmured that anyone would have done what she did, and that she really wasn't that special. It was strange to receive so much praise from this strong and impressively gifted woman, and she suddenly felt the need to explain she really hadn't done much to help get rid of Plasmius or anything…after all, she had almost been too late and had left Danny in the first place. Maddie however, had over ideas and held up hand, effectively silencing Sam in a way Pamela Manson never could.

"Do not belittle the greatness of what you have done, Sam. As I said, not many people would have bothered to give my son a chance after seeing what he was, only fearing him and thinking him a perversion of nature. You, however, never saw him as that. Arrogant, brash, rude, and stubborn to be sure, but never a monster. He was a person to you, a person with faults and fears who was so lonely and hopeless you stuck with him even though I know he drove you crazy. That makes you quite a rare creature, Samantha Manson, one I am so happy listened to my dreams and found it in her heart to help a cold and near heartless boy return to the gentle and strong young man I see now."

"Oh…well thank you," Sam responded quietly. "I mean I love him so of course I didn't want anything bad to happen to him or anything…"

"Yes, you loved my Danny," Maddie interrupted with an enigmatic smile. "And that, my dear, is the truly amazing thing." She patted Sam's cheek gently before looking back onto the floor as her large husband bounced his way over and through guests. "Oh dear, looks as if I better stop Jack before he po-gos into the punch table. Sam, would you do my a favor and take Danny outside for some fresh air? I daresay there are a few things he needs to say to you before this night is over."

Sam's face grew even more confused at the last knowing look Maddie gave her before wading into the crowd. Why did every hint given need to be cryptic and vague? Was it a rule or something? Sam gave a sigh as she waded back into the crowd herself, latching onto Danny's arm after finding him dancing with an eager looking Paulina. Well, dancing was probably too loose a term for Paulina's hands gripping Danny's arms while he tried to pull away, insisting that he was with someone and needed to get back to her. The scene would have inspired jealousy, but for the utterly panicked and lost look on his face that quickly morphed into relief as Sam hauled him away. Sam resisted the urge to smirk back at the no doubt fuming expression that had probably over-taken Paulina's face, instead giving Danny a quick kiss as she lead him out of the ballroom.

"Uh, where are we going, Sam?" Danny asked once they were out in the hall. He smiled amusedly as Sam continued to haul him through the castle. "I don't think your mother would approve of us being alone together in a currently abandoned castle. Probably would accuse you of 'improper things unbefitting a lady of your standing' or something else to that affect."

Sam snorted as she imagined her mother yelling sternly at her that very thing…of course it would be her fault, not 'Prince Daniel's.' Although, upon further reflection, she probably would be correct in that assumption, Sam thought with a sly grin. "I just wanted some fresh air, thought you might want to accompany me."

"Uh, you never asked me, Sam."

"I know."

Danny laughed as he squeezed her hand and let her continue to lead the way. Sam led them through varying corridors and up different stairwells until they were outside in one of Sam's favorite gardens, the one she could see from her bedroom window in the castle. She inhaled the fresh smell of gardenias and lilies mixed with the fresh dirt and gave Danny a smile as she sat down on one of the benches, patting the spot beside her. He hesitated for a moment before joining her, that flicker of something appearing in his eyes before the happy twinkle there before replaced it. Sam wondered if whatever was bothering Danny, the whatever that Sam thought had nothing to do with what usually caused him to go quiet and melancholy, was what Maddie had been referring to. She had seen the haunted and almost desperately fearful look in his eyes again, the one that she sometimes imagined seeing, for a moment, as if Danny was dreading something. Dreading and expecting something…Sam's brows frowned in worry at his expression.

"Danny, what's going on? What's wrong?" Sam asked bluntly. Her suspicions were confirmed when the worry free expression crumbled into one of complete and utter dread as he dropped her hand and looked away. "What's bothering you lately? Today is the first time in a while that you've been genuinely happy, at least since your parents returned. I mean, I know you're dealing with other things, like Plasmius and the curse, but whatever you're usually thinking about is really worrying you, and I don't really know--"

"I guess you talked with my mom, uh?" Danny interrupted her softly, rising from the bench and eyes downcast. His arms were wrapped around his torso as he paced back and forth, worrying his bottom lip between his teeth.

"Well, actually yeah I di--"

The rest of Sam's response died in her throat as gasp escaped her mouth. Two silver rings appeared at Danny's waist and traveled in opposite directions over his body. When the rings were gone, a very familiar figure with snowy white hair and scared looking green eyes was looking back at her, body effusing a soft glow and dropping the temperature around them slightly. Sam was looking back at Phantom…but Phantom shouldn't exist anymore because the curse was lifted! "Danny…what…?"

"I-I don't know," Danny said softly, pleadingly, mistaking her astonished surprise for something else. "It just…it just happened one day with my parents. My mom thinks that Plasmius' curse was too powerful to completely overthrow, so even though I'm human, I'm still technically a ghost too. I can turn back and everything, become human and ghost, but I…I mean…I didn't want this to happen Sam…it just…"

Sam rose from the bench too and wrapped her arms around Danny, not caring that his skin was cold one whit. She could almost feel Danny shake with relief as he wrapped his arms around her as well, hugging her tightly to him and letting out a shaky breath in her hair. Sam pulled back slightly, only to raise her head and press her lips to his cold ones, one hand snaking through his hair while the other linked their hands together. She tried to pour everything Danny needed into that kiss: reassurance, humor, exasperation, understanding, and love…everything. She didn't know how long they stayed fused together, so close that her mind couldn't tell where she ended and he began, but when they finally did separate, she looked down and found that they were floating….just like when they had been dancing.

"Idiot," Sam whispered against Danny's neck as she wrapped both arms around his neck and held him close. "Why would you think this would matter? I loved you when you were Phantom and I love you when you're Danny…obviously that means I can love you as Danny Phantom."

Danny pulled away and gave her an unfathomable look, to which she just grinned and ran a hand through his soft hair again. "Danny Phantom, uh?"

"I know, catchy, isn't it?"

"Yeah…yeah it is." Danny smiled again, his flickering between blue and green as he grabbed the hand in his hair and linked his fingers with hers. "Although, let's not tell Tucker about it…I don't want a corny theme song about me fighting ghosts or anything."

"Of course not, love, of course not."

Sam and Danny danced in the stars for the remainder of the night, into really caring when Sam's mother came out, hollering for her daughter to come out from hiding that instant. All that mattered was each other and their fairy dance in the sky, miles above everything else. That was all that had ever mattered, they decided, and all that ever would.



It's done! Goodness, I've been waiting to write that last scene for AGES!!!! Ever since I came up with the idea for this story last year! I'm so sorry for the wait everyone, but I hope this was worth it! I cannot believe how amazing the response has been to this story and I heartily thank each and every one of you who has read and reviewed, or maybe even just read, this story from start to finish! I hope that you all will let me know what you think of this story, even if you maybe didn't review before! It feels very cathartic to finish this story…I'm actually pretty pleased with and I hope everyone else enjoyed Sam's and Danny's journey as well. I'm sure I'll see you all again…thank you so much for tagging along on this journey with me! Until next time then, I bid you all a fond adieu!