140,000 words. 298 pages of text. 100 stories (give or take). Over 1700 reviews, well over a hundred thousand pageviews, over a hundred favorites and a dozen C2s… I'm going to start to cry, now that this is over. It's been a blast, and I love each and every one of you. EVERY review is cherished and loved to pieces.
And now… for the end.
A Danny Phantom FanFiction by Cordria
Danny grinned, dropping the last box on the hastily-set-up card table with a muted clatter. "Finally!" he crowed, twirling around with his arms open and laughing. "I'm free!"
"Not quite," Sam said, rolling her eyes at Danny's overdramatic display and opening the box to pull out the bits and pieces that had been stuffed unceremoniously inside. Three pizza cutters, two ice cream scoops, and a mangy collection of forks and spoons were quickly organized into piles on the table. "You still live in Amity Park and your parents expect you home every weekend to help clean the leftovers out of the fridge."
"Close enough." Danny couldn't let the grin die as he surveyed his tiny apartment. He'd finally saved up enough money to move out of his parents' house while he finished his degree at the local college. Nothing could dim his excitement about his first place – not the shag seventies-orange carpet, not the yellow stove, and definitely not the cigarette burns in the floor or the pea-soup smell of the place. It was far from perfect, but it was his in a way that made him smile.
Collapsed on the old couch Danny had found at a garage sale a few days previously, Tucker glanced over at Danny's small TV, shuddering a little at the antenna set on top. "No cable. No internet. No satellite uplink. How are you going to survive?"
"Technus-free," Danny said happily, knocking on one of the dog-chewed kitchen cabinets.
"True," Tucker grumbled, putting his foot up on one of the half-emptied boxes littering the floor. "Gotta watch out for the Box Ghost, though."
Sam, still sorting through the box on the card table and ignoring the boys' banter, wrinkled her nose in confusion when she pulled out two more pizza cutters, then shook her head. "You're paying four hundred a month for this dump?"
"It's better than your apartment," Danny shot back and decided that he'd done enough unpacking for the day. Sauntering over to the couch, passing straight through a teetering stack of newly-emptied boxes, he sat down next to his friend.
Sam stared around Danny's new apartment for a few seconds, trying to decide if the entire thing would fit into her bedroom. She sighed. "This place has enough spiders and cockroaches to occupy a small country, Danny. If you cleaned out all the spider webs the walls would fall down. I don't see what's so great about it." She pulled another set of pizza cutters out of the box and gave an exasperated groan. "And what's with the pizza cutters? You've got, like, seven of them!"
"You can never have enough pizza cutters," Danny said solemnly.
"Amen," Tucker added, holding up the TV remote like a glass of wine after a toast. He pushed the power button but Danny stole the remote before Tucker could find something to watch. "Hey!"
"My apartment, my TV, my remote… I get to pick." Danny flipped thought the fuzzy stations the TV antenna could pick up, searching for something that was relatively watchable. "And, Sam, my apartment is much better than yours for one simple reason."
Giving up on putting things away, Sam made her way across the small room to plop down next to her friends on the couch. "That is…?"
Danny slipped his free arm around her shoulders, pulled her close to his side, and grinned. "My parents don't have a key to my apartment."
Sam glowered for a moment, crossing her arms and easily remembering the number of times her parents had snuck into her apartment the past few months in an attempt to make her more 'sociable'. "Point," she muttered darkly.
"Your parents don't need a key, Danny… they could just blow a hole in the wall," Tucker said with a shrug and a forlorn glance at the low-quality pictures Danny was surfing through. "Maybe that would increase the reception on your antenna."
"'S not a TV antenna anymore," Danny said distractedly after he settled on a baseball game, his forehead wrinkling in confusion as he watched. "My parents 'modified' it."
Both Sam and Tucker hesitated, exchanging glances. Cryptic Fenton technology was not usually a good thing to have in a small space with the local half-ghost. "What's it supposed to do?" Tucker finally asked.
"Aside from collect dust?" Danny shrugged helplessly, unable to drag his eyes away from what was happening on the television. "Nothing, as far as I could tell. But now… Tucker… did you hook it up to the TV?"
"Yeah. I thought it was an antenna. Why?"
"Oh." Danny gave a half-smile and leaned back on the couch. "No reason." On the screen, the batter vaporized the baseball with an ectoblast before vanishing, apparently choosing to run to first base invisibly. The first baseman blocked the oncoming runner with a ghost shield long enough for the wolf-like pitcher to locate another ball and tag the invisible player out.
The three friends fell into a comfortable silence, sitting on the old couch, watching the game play itself out. Sam rested her head on Danny's shoulder and shook her head in a bit of disbelief. "Ghosts play baseball."
"Apparently," Danny agreed. "Looks like it's the bottom of the seventy-third inning, tied at zero to zero. Nobody must be able to get on base."
"How long does a ghost baseball game go on?" Sam asked, curious.
Danny shrugged. "They've got to run out of baseballs eventually."
Tucker yawned. "As fun as it would be to watch an eternity of baseball, the fireworks are going to start without us and we need to get to the field to claim our spots." He pushed himself to his feet and grinned. "Come on, lovebirds."
Danny ignored his friend, tucking Sam a little closer so that she couldn't get up either. She was warm and soft and comfortable against him. "The fireworks don't start for five hours, Tuck."
"You know how the good spots go early," Tucker exclaimed, pulling out his PDA and showing Danny a graph on the screen. "I've got data on the last seven years of Amity Park Founding Day Fireworks, and the research shows that the best spots – with lack of tree coverage, no wet spots, close to the vendors, and far enough away from the jocks that we don't get tormented – are, statistically, gone by 4:08 and the picks of even 'adequate' spots decrease exponentially after that! That gives us only a half-hour to get to the park…"
"Alright, alright," Danny breathed, finally letting Sam get to her feet before drifting to his own. "Geez, Tucker. Calm down. They're just fireworks."
Shaking his head, Tucker disagreed. "This is the hundredth birthday of Amity Park. Our centennial! These fireworks will be a once-in-a-century display, set to music. I heard that Ember's even going to play."
Sam and Danny groaned in unison, rolling their eyes and allowing Tucker to lead them towards the door as he went into detail about what they were going to see. Danny grabbed his apartment key on the way out, making sure to lock the door behind him.
"I still say celebrating Amity Park's birthday is a waste of resources," Sam said as she handed out cold sodas, the fireworks scheduled to start in just moments. It had been an interesting five hours sitting in the park. Danny and Tucker had managed to lose a game of three-way War in record time, they'd wasted too much money on food and drinks from the vendors that had taken up positions in the park, and all three of them were decked out in multiple glow-in-the-dark necklaces.
"There'd be a riot if they quit," Tucker said simply as he grabbed his can with a smile of thanks. The geek had purchased a dozen of the glowing necklaces and had formed them into a long strand before winding it around his chest and stomach. "I'd start it."
Danny relaxed against the ground, staring up into the appearing stars, his hands behind his head on the warm grass. "It's a good community thing, Sam," he said, barely loud enough to be heard over the conversations taking place all around them. "How often do you get everyone in Amity Park to get together like this?" He hesitated, a grin. "I mean, how often does that happen when they don't have pitchforks, torches, or ectoguns, formed into a giant mob, hunting for me?"
Tucker chuckled softly, opening his soda can and holding it up for a real toast. "Here's to a hundred years of Amity Park. May they stop trying to kill you."
"Here, here," Danny laughed, sitting up to grab his soda from Sam and clinking it against Tucker's. "I'll drink to people stopping hunting me."
"May we have a hundred more years," Sam added with a smile, "without getting sucked into other dimensions, invaded, or wiped off the globe."
Danny shook his head with a wry grin. "You're asking for too much, Sammy."
All three friends chuckled as they touched their sodas together and took a drink. Overhead, a huge explosion of light caught their attention as the fireworks started. Grainy, echoing music blasted out of hastily set up speakers, the fireworks making an obvious attempt to explode in time to the music.
Danny snuck an arm out and curled it around Sam's shoulders, tucking her close as they watched the bright reds and blues and yellows in the sky.
"They're so pretty," Sam whispered, her fingers finding and interweaving into his. Another firework exploded in the air, showering them in sparkling lights. "Each one is like its own little story. A small plot line that shoots up into the air and bursts into something spectacular."
"It's kind of sad how they're all so short, though," Tucker commented softly. "One little flash and its all over."
"They're meant to be," Sam answered with a smile. "And they're not over… they're just the beginning of something special. Each one a blast of light in the dark – just like a star."
"Still," Tucker yawned, "I wish they'd continue forever."
"They can't," Danny finished, letting a contented grin settle onto his face as he looked down at the warm girl tucked close to him. "There's got to be an end at some point. They're just star shots after all."
Written August 29, 2008
Watch for the first drabble in the new series soon! 'Star Shots' is about to go supernova…
Thank you SO MUCH for reading!