Panic! In the Pantry
Disclaimer: No. I don't. -sticks out tongue-
Rating: T (precaution for suggestive/interpretive material)
:AN: Yes, there are plenty of other things I should be working on right now. I am aware of how much I suck because of my neglect and I am sorry! My mind is too... inexplicable right now to focus on anything serious, so this one-shot will have to do. It's not in my one-shot series because I like to keep those short and almost drabble-ish... Anyway, I'm actually pretty proud of this thing, even if I do leave out certain details for the sake of my convenience. (Like, what happened preceding the begining...) And yes, I did take liberties with the title. Whoo! Well, I've gone on long enough! Enjoy! Review! Love!
They never saw it coming. The assault had come almost out of nowhere, they couldn't react in time. Suddenly, they were engulfed in darkness, the sound of their offender's laughter slowly fading into nothingness. All was still as the shock of what had happened began to lift...
Danny Fenton yanked on the chain, bringing life to the light bulb situated on the ceiling. It shed a feeble, orange light on the two occupants of the small room and the shelves filled with boxes, jars, and cans alike. He shared an exasperated look with Sam Manson, who tried the doorknob. They were locked in.
She arched an eyebrow at Danny. He took the hint with a slight nod of his head.
"Going ghost!" He called tauntingly to Tucker Foley, the offender in the situation, as two blue rings encircled his form transforming him into his alter ego, Danny Phantom. Sam moved out of his way to the further end of the space and Danny enabled his intangibility. He started for the door, only to be stopped in his tracks... by his face.
"Oops," said a loud, mocking voice they recognized immediately as Jazz Fenton, Danny's older sister. "It looks like I accidentally activated a ghost shield around the pantry. Oh well. It's not like there's anyone locked in there."
Indeed, Sam and Danny were locked in the pantry with no plausible means of escape short of breaking the door down. Neither was really willing to tempt that method as Danny's parents certainly wouldn't appreciate the action... and they wouldn't appreciate their wrath.
Danny rubbed at his soar face, clearly annoyed by the situation. "They are taking this whole 'love birds' thing to a new extreme," he groused, mostly to himself, as he reverted back to his human form. Phantom wouldn't come in handy in a ghost proof pantry... unless he wanted to use is ecto-blast (at a low power of course) to make popcorn or something. Personally, Danny didn't feel like popcorn at that particular moment in time.
Sam, whom had taken a seat on the floor near the back wall, glanced up at her friend. "You think that's why they locked us in?" She was taking the event in stride. Any other time, most likely because of her temper, she'd probably be pounding on the door demanding her release, but she highly doubted that would accomplish anything -other than Tucker's amusement. She wanted to avoid amusing that jerk as much as possible. And anyway, she was, otherwise, in a good mood. The day had gone freakishly well... until about a minute ago.
Danny leaned back against the door and crossed his arms. He glanced out the corner of his eyes and frowned, as if finding a substitute for his other best friend and his sister to glare at in a jar of pasta on a shelf. "What other reason could they possibly have to lock us in the pantry?"
"Well," Sam shrugged lightly, looking as serious as she could muster. She had found the perfect opportunity to have a little fun with her friend and wasn't about to pass it up. Thus she began her scenario... "They could just be desperate for some alone time... you know."
"No," Danny replied hastily, suddenly disgusted, pointing at her in outrage. "No, I don't know! Stop you, stop with your blasphemous speech!" His eyes grew wider with panic. Mostly though, he didn't take her statement too seriously, and even if it was the case... he'd get over it. But it wasn't. Or... He came to the conclusion that yes, such a thing would bother him. It was his sister and his skirt chasing friend for crying out loud!
Sam assumed, giving him the benefit of the doubt, that he was just joking... mostly. "Yeah," she continued with a sly smile. "They are probably getting pretty cozy right now-"
Danny, the ever mature sixteen year old, promptly closed his eyes, stuck his fingers in his ears and recited the mantra of "Lalalala, I can't hear you! Lalalala!" He let himself slide to the floor, on which he curled into a protective ball. Sam's words would never reach him now. He honestly didn't need the mental imagery that his mind seemed to relish distributing. Curse Sam...
Sam rolled her eyes and threw a juice box at him. There was a box full sitting right next to her, conveniently enough.
It hit him square in the jaw and caught him by surprise. "Hey!" He cried in protest.
"Oh I'm sorry," Sam replied. "Was I just imagining you acting like a five year old and therefore begging for me to launch something at your head?"
Danny stuck his tongue out and jammed the straw into the juice box. "You started it, putting awful thoughts in my head about Jazz and Tucker." He shuddered involuntarily as he slurped his fruit punch. The sugary, red liquid served as a distraction from some very unpleasant thoughts. He focused hard on the beverage.
Sam nonchalantly placed her hand over her mouth in attempt to hide the small, adoring smile that had developed there. Danny was rather cute in his pouty funk, juice box securely in hand. Of course, she couldn't let him know that, hence the concealing hand. She let her hand drop as her smile fell into a thoughtful frown. It really was ridiculous, wasn't it? The whole situation? The tip-toeing? The constant evasion?
Her eyes refocused on Danny. He still sucked on the straw in the now deflated juice box, his face perturbed in thought -most likely the thought of Jazz and Tucker.
A sort of determination settled over Sam as she stretched her arms over head and cracked her back. "Well, okay. So Tucker and Jazz put us in here for a reason. Want to just humor them and have a "talk" about it?" She aided her question with air quotes in the appropriate places. "Then we can go out there and set them straight... supposing that is the reason we are in here and they do eventually release us..."
Danny, whose eyes had been following the fascinating rise of the hem of his friend's t-shirt as she stretched, took a moment to register her words. He sharply inhaled in response, making the already withered juice box convulse painfully as it shrank ever more. His jaw slacked ever so slightly, allowing the very dead juice box to fall away in peace. Danny managed a mangled, incomprehensible response, which was consent enough for Sam to ask the Dreaded Question.
"So Danny," she began in a relaxed tone and a wry smile, " apparently the world is dying to know; do you have more than platonic feelings for me?" While on the outside Sam exuded suaveness and confidence, on the inside she was nervous and anxious. A fast, repetitive mental mantra of "Shit" was her nervous companion. She put Danny on the hot seat, of this she was well aware. 'Better him than me,' she reasoned. A subconscious habit over fell her; she began nibbling on her lower lip.
Danny cleared his throat and sat up straighter. He attempted to mimic Sam's evident confidence. He could almost feel the sweat beading in every single one of his pours. "Well, uh. I mean, um. So... okay. Uh, what do you want me to say?"
Sam arched an eyebrow. There was no way she was going to allow him to turn the tables! She asked him first! "Doesn't it defeat the purpose of my question if I tell you what to say?"
"But, um... Sam, come on-"
"Danny, the world isn't going to stop turning if you answer the question. Your only crime is not having asked me first. I promise, cross my heart, that I'm not going to disown you or... something ridiculous like that." He still looked uneasy and she felt a little worse about forcing the question on him. Even though she told him otherwise, he still obviously felt their friendship was on the line, which could quite honestly be read either way. On the one hand, he could like her and think her indifferent and on the other he could know of her feelings and not reciprocate... "Danny I'm just asking for one syllable; a 'yes' or a 'no'. ...Do you like me?"
Danny stressed. Then a realization slowly spread over him; the world wouldn't stop turning. He could find out for sure and they could both just take things from there. It would be a good thing, it would be liberating. It might hurt, but wouldn't the piece of mind be worth it in the end? It was a stunning argument, to be sure, but he was still very apprehensive. Were his hands shaking?
He took a deep breath in preparation. Sam readied herself for the worst.
"Well," he began, "the thing is... I mean, considering everything... Okay, it is just that you are my best friend..." Between the lines, there were very heartfelt sentiments, ones he just couldn't seem to verbalize.
"Uhuh," Sam replied dully, trying to mask disappointment. They were just friends; okay, she understood. She completely understood and she completely wanted to stab the life out of an unfortunate box of cereal that had made the mistake of being in her peripheral vision. She replayed the maniacal attack through her mind multiple times rapid fire to avoid doing anything drastic physically.
Danny took her remark as something entirely different. He came to the conclusion that she was annoyed with his drawn out reply, that is answer wasn't good enough, clear enough. She thought he wasn't going to elaborate. So he hastily continued. "Okay, but can you blame me? You're my best friend! You're smart, pretty, dependable... I trust you completely... and I mean, yeah there's more to it than that, but you know me... I wasn't ever very good with words, or jokes," he added as a last-ditch effort to make light of the moment.
"Wait!" She cried, launching forward on hands and knees in front of Danny to get a clearer look at his face. She still wasn't sure, she still had to know. "So you do like me?"
"W-well," he blushed and rubbed the back of his neck. He attempted to lean back a little, as Sam had become rather close... not that she seemed to notice, but his efforts were futile. He was against the door. The locked, ghost-shielded door. Stupid family with their stupid ghost-protected pantry. He blamed his father for this, he was probably the only person on earth with the mental capacity to find it necessary to shield a normal pantry from the wrath of ghosts. "Y-yeah?"
She sat back with a funny expression on her face, "Yeah?" Hearing him say it was very nice, but the skepticism she had clung to for so long was slow to fade. Cloud nine only came gradually.
"Yeah," he repeated, wishing he had another juice box so he'd have an excuse to shut up. He studied the slightly dusty tile floor instead, following the grout trails between.
"Hmm," Sam murmured blissfully. How long had he liked her? "How long?"
"Uhh," he began shakily, "Since we met, I guess."
"Wait... wait a minute..." She said, "You mean when I made you fall down the stairs in the sixth grade? Did you forget the screaming match we had? The two weeks of detention?" It was true, their first meeting hadn't been on the best of terms... Sam, not having as much strength behind her defiance back then, had been forced into a 'very pretty' little dress for her first day of middle school. Danny had gotten in her way. Friendship was very slow going until the discovery that they had a mutual friend in Tucker Foley.
Danny laughed awkwardly, "I guess I'm attracted to abuse." He would have dearly loved to have turned invisible at that moment, and would have too... if Sam didn't know about the ghost shield which she understood to be capable of trapping him. He was stuck. She held all the cards now...
Sam paused and her eyes narrowed as visions of Paulina and Valerie passed through her mind. "That's actually very true, isn't it?"
Danny replied with a nod and, like a thick fog, an uncomfortable silence rolled into the pantry.
"So," Danny ventured after a small eternity. Was she just going to keep on holding him in suspense? Was she ever going to set him straight?
"So," Sam replied in turn almost dreamily. Cloud nine was a rather nice cloud, she decided.
"Well?" Danny asked anxiously. Or was she just going to hold him in contempt for the rest of his days?
"Well what?" she asked in annoyance. What did he want? Couldn't he tell she was too busy basking in the fact that he admitted to liking her to regard him just yet?
Yes apparently, yes she was. Clearly, Sam was a very cruel, cruel girl who was never going to set him straight. He despaired. "Sam, don't do this to me! Do you like me or not?"
"Oh!" She exclaimed in surprise. She never told him, did she? "Danny I've pretty much been pining after you since freshman year. Tucker knows, Jazz knows, Valerie knows... if I had to guess the whole school and half the state knows that I've liked you. This is why your code name is Clueless One. And why I hated Valerie a little extra much. And it's funny because, before you, I never considered myself a jealous person. And now, anytime another girl so much as looks at you I -Oh wow, look at that... I think I'm just going to go ahead and shut up now." Her face flushed and she averted her eyes to the ceiling. Danny did not need to know the vegetarian's violent day dreams...
Danny exhaled and a weight he hadn't noticed before floated off his chest. He could barely comprehend anything she said past the first sentence because the relief was so overwhelming. "Well," he said after he'd had a chance to regain some normalcy and the threat of cracking his voice lessened. "I feel stupid, how about you?"
"Pretty much my sentiments, yeah," Sam nodded, her face was still red. She fidgeted with her hands. "So... what do we do now?"
"Um, I don't know," he laughed uncomfortably. All of a sudden, the pantry seemed almost a claustrophobic atmosphere. It was very difficult getting his head around the idea that Sam did in fact return his feelings. He was too accustomed to being on guard, to suppressing or distracting himself from his feelings.
Sam suddenly paled and adorned a posture of panic. "Oh god. You don't think they have, like a recorder in here or something to you? I mean, what if they were listening in to our conversation?"
Danny paled too. That would be bad. They would absolutely never hear the end of this. A confession of "like" in a pantry? He'd never be able to go in it again... not that he had any real desire to, he'd never payed it too much attention before. Anyway, the point was that Tucker and Jazz would mock them and tease them and... "If Tucker has anything to do with it, we're on camera too."
"Great," Sam muttered. "Why do I suddenly feel like I'm trapped in a cheap porno?"
"Because, aside from the overly suggestive banter and promiscuous behavior, we pretty much are." Danny laughed.
"Oh god," Sam chuckled. "What do you think Tucker would do if we did do something like that?"
"Wash his eyes out with soap and regret being born," Danny suggested.
And suddenly it was all too clear that this was not the best conversation topic for two people who were still getting acclimated to the fact that they liked each other in a way stronger than simple friendship. Too many censor worthy scenarios were developing on either side.
Sam saved the day, "Tucker's just lucky that we aren't disgusting enough to try something like that. I mean, who does it in a pantry around food people eat? Gross!" She made a face. And then grimaced further as she realized that, to an extent, she really wouldn't mind doing certain things with Danny right then...
"Yes," Danny agreed, hoping for a change of subject, his mind was going places that it shouldn't... places Sam probably wouldn't appreciate very much. "Movies?" He asked suddenly, after swallowing a lump in his throat.
"Movies, you and I should go see a movie... or something, like an activity." He shrugged and looked poignantly in a direction that didn't include her person. 'I must be the smoothest person alive,' he thought sarcastically... 'Smooth, smooth, smooth...'
"An activity?" Sam smirked, the innocent, awkward remark that was the epitome of Danny Cuteness wiped all naughty thoughts from her mind. "Sure Danny, I'd love to do an activity with you. A movie sounds great. But clear something up for me, is this activity a date-like activity?" The innocence of a movie where they might share a drink and he might reach and arm around her shoulders sounded impossibly nice...
"Yes, the act of going to the movies with me would be a date-like activity," he clarified, smiling. This was getting really stupid. Really fast. He was in a secluded location with a girl who he liked, and liked back. And they were stuck to no more that not-so-witty banter. Someone was playing a cruel, cruel joke on him. Tucker was going down. Eventually!
"Alright," Sam said, studying the tile floor. "Okay. Great."
"Yeah," Danny agreed, focusing intently on cracking his knuckles.
"Yeah," Sam repeated, no longer remembering what she was talking about. Danny had caught her eye, or maybe she had caught Danny's... either way it was quite distracting.
The light in the pantry suddenly flickered. Before they realized it, everything was dark save for a sliver of light beneath the door. Notice of the light was forsaken by the duo for something far more enticing.
Neither one would be able to tell who had made the first move, but a move had been made nonetheless. Their lips were locked, their hands were wandering, and their captivity was about to end...
Thanks to an unfortunate Tucker.
Natural light suddenly filled the small quarters. "Well I think you two have -oh god, my eyes! My eyes!" Tucker clamped his hand over his eyes and ran into the other room. "Oh god, I'm going to be sick!"
"I told you to knock first!" Jazz called with a laugh. Then quite seriously she added, "Wait, what were they doing exactly? We eat that food, you know!"
Danny and Sam blinked in the new light. This was awkward.
"Well," Sam said after a moment, "At least we know they weren't recording us."
"Yeah," Danny nodded. "That's true. Besides, he so deserved any discomfort he got for locking us in here."
"Yeah," Sam agreed. "He completely deserved it. And it's probably a good thing, you know that came in when he did... we shouldn't have... well..."
"You're right," Danny nodded. "It was a bad idea and..."
"I'm just glad that we won't have to face them for a while," Sam announced, staring after where Tucker had ran off.
"Yeah," Danny agreed, staring in the same direction. "Tucker probably won't want to see us for at least a little while and Jazz is to busy grilling him about us to come after us."
"Uhuh," she nodded returning her attention to Danny. "If we want to avoid Tucker's unrelenting mockery and Jazzes unending lectures, we should probably go hide... Where's the last place they'd think to look for us?"
Suddenly it was dark again.
"Oh darn it," Danny grinned almost devilishly, "looks like we're locked in again."
Sam's arms snaked around his neck. "Whatever shall we do?"
:AN: Again, I implore you not to hate me for my neglect! I hope you liked this and I would love for you to tell me what you think! Please?