1/12 of the Home for the Holidays Arc.

---

Sweet Revenge

Friday, October 13th

"You guys do realize what tomorrow is, right?" Tucker asked, his voice a little hollow as it traveled between his computer and the computers of his two best friends. He glanced up at the two screens that overlapped the other dozen open on his own desktop and saw Sam fiddling with her Halloween costume—something black and gothic—and Danny flipping through a magazine.

"Nope," was the expected response from Danny, and Sam didn't even bother.

"Guys," Tucker tried against as he closed a window and opened another one, fingers flying as he coded into his computer to transfer it to his PDA. "Tomorrow is Friday the thirteenth."

"Cool," Sam said, her attention suddenly off of her costume and on Tucker.

This time it was Danny who didn't answer, but not because he wasn't paying attention, because he was burying his face in a pillow and, if Tucker knew what he was looking at, yelling at the top of his lungs.

"Friday, October thirteenth, at that," Tucker finally finished with a flourish. "I've got so many cool pranks planned."

Sam frowned, her lavender eyes unamused. "Pranks are for April fools. And freshmen. We're seniors now, Tucker. Isn't that a little juvenile?" She rolled her eyes at Tucker as he glared at her. "Right, forgot who I was talking to."

"Come on, Sam. The last time a Friday the thirteenth fell in October was six years ago. And it's not going to happen again for another eleven."

"You have way too much time on your hands," she muttered, but all the same Tucker chuckled to see her flipping through a calendar to confirm it. "Alright, so it's not that frequent. But not prank worthy."

"So glad you guys are amused by this." Danny had finally pulled his face out of the pillow and joined the conversation. "Don't you remember what happened the last Friday the thirteenth we were graced with?" The conversation stopped as Danny reminded them of what had happened in January, and the painful repercussions of ghosts pranking humans, and halfa's, most especially halfa's, because it was a holiday in the Ghost Zone.

"Forgot about that, didn't you?" Danny muttered. "What do you want to bet that tomorrow is only going to be that much worse because it's so damned rare?"

"Oh, Danny, come on. I was just trying to have a little fun," Tucker mumbled, knowing that he shouldn't be as annoyed with his best friend as he was. After all, Danny did have a point.

"Besides," Sam put it. "What's the worst that could happen?"

Danny shrugged and tossed his magazine to the side, stripping his shirt off as he got up and reached for his keyboard. With a smug grin Tucker glanced at the window where Sam was currently red faced and staring. "I don't know what's the worst that could happen, and I don't want to," Danny said as he tapped out a few commands, then waved at the camera. "But I'm going to go ahead and try to sleep, since the worst does tend to suck with me. G'night guys."

"Night, Danny," the other two chorused, and three webcams flickered out.

---

"You just had to say it, didn't you?" Danny muttered as he trudged along the sidewalk, feet squishing with every step.

"I'm sorry, Danny," Sam said as she trailed behind him trying not to laugh. Sure, she'd jinxed him, but it was still funny.

Sort of. She could have done without hearing Ember flying around the town singing that song for hours before the sun even came up. But she knew Danny had had it worse. Much worse, because once she looked past the completely soaked halfa's clothes she saw the circles under his eyes, the way they wouldn't go more than half open. There were bruises that just peeked out from beneath the edges of his shirtsleeves, greenish blue and darkening by the moment.

"So what happened?" she finally asked as they caught up with Tucker where he was waiting for them at the usual halfway point.

Danny rolled his eyes. "Can't we just say 'what didn't happen' and leave it at that?"

"Dude. What happened to you?"

Danny groaned at Tucker's question. In truth, he was still going with what hadn't happened. Klemper had shown at just after midnight, about the time Danny's body was just beginning to settle into a really interesting dream involving Sam, a bathtub, and a bowl of cherries, and never mind exactly why Danny was having erotic dreams about one of his best friends. It had been a painful and cold visit, and was the reason why his upper arms ached so much.

The annoying ghost could squeeze fairly hard, and he'd shown up first just so that he could be Danny's friend, hug and all. He'd managed to go back to sleep after that, but it had been an edgy half doze that had him jerking upright when his ghost sense went off next, only to find Ember hovering at the foot of his bed, her guitar poised and strumming the opening chords to her on and only song.

He'd chased her around for hours before managing to get close enough for the thermos to work, and his only bit of luck so far had been that Desiree had shown up just as Ember was screaming her way down a whirling blue vortex. Moments later, so had Desiree.

Of course the sun had already been showing signs of rising by the time he'd gotten home. There would be no more sleep. Especially not after a he found a small ball of green fur curled up on his bed, asleep. And surrounded by his backpack. Dozens of pieces of it, and mauled textbooks and drool and tooth mark covered homework. That had been painful, because Danny didn't bother doing homework all that often.

It just figured that when he did it would get eaten by a dog.

By the time he'd collared Cujo—who'd led him for yet another merry chase after he'd woken up—and dug out an old backpack that Sam had gone to town decorating with markered on ghosts sometime during the sophomore year, pieced together what was left of his homework (though he hoped he wouldn't lose points for all the tape and smudges) and set out for Sam's, he was already well and truly sick of Friday the Thirteenth. Especially when it fell in October.

Of course, if he hadn't offered to walk with Sam from her house, he could have avoided the fire hydrant, the random ghost he had never seen before (and certainly hoped never to see again because orange and pink were not a good color combination) and the fact that he was now completely soaked. Oh, and his homework was completely and utterly ruined. Again.

It didn't help to see the incredulous looks on his best friends' faces as they neared the school, his already terrible Friday the thirteenth making them fight against the smiles. Danny sighed. "Go ahead, laugh. I know you want to. You know you want to. So just laugh."

And they did as Danny shivered and groaned as his ghost sense went off again, icy breath streaming from his mouth as he looked around. But all he heard was a laugh, and then it was gone. That was weird, he thought for a moment as they turned the last block to Casper High, Sam and Tucker still laughing as he looked around nervously.

"Um, Danny?" Sam asked as she held in another laugh, one hand plucking a piece of paper that fluttered on his backpack and holding it out to him. "I think the ghost is gone. It did its prank already."

He took the paper and read it. Loser.

"Figures," he muttered, crumpling it in his hands and dropping it in a garbage can as they headed up the stairs and into the main hall. It was bustling with activity, students everywhere and more than half were pointing at the Halloween decorations that were already going up for the party that had been planned by the Honor Society.

He wasn't going to it. Not a chance in hell. And, as a matter of fact, neither were Sam and Tucker. They already had their plans in place for Halloween, they'd exchanged the hat after trick or treating last year, and Danny wasn't missing this for the world. Not after everything he'd put into it, he thought with a grimace as a hand drifted up to rub his left ear. Oh no. He wasn't missing Halloween.

"You know, you could always just go intangible and be dry, Danny," Sam offered as her laughter died down and she stopped in front of her locker, spinning the dial and tugging it open.

Danny shrugged. "And if I'm dry how do I explain the homework?"

"Didn't Cujo already rip and drool it to death? What difference does it make?" Tucker asked as he reached past Sam and dropped a book into her locker before stealing her literature book out.

"Hey!" she exclaimed, snatching it back from Tucker. "Get your own!"

Danny chuckled as he casually reached through his locker for his own book. If his homework was trash, he was at least going to show up with his book and attempt to pay attention. Especially since Lancer was his first period. It could be worse. Sam and Tucker could have had him for fourth, but they'd managed to luck out on schedules when they'd gotten them at the beginning of the year. With the sole exception of third period, all of his classes were chock full of best friends.

Sam would be in chemistry with him and Tucker, too, if she hadn't opted for physics. Well, at least one of the three liked thinking about things beyond food, video games and ghost hunting.

"What. The. Hell."

"What?" Tucker and Sam chorused and Sam slammed her locker door and watched Danny curiously as he spun the dial on his own locker, something he did rarely preferring to discretely reach through it rather than waste time opening it.

But open it he did, only to have the books that hadn't been in his backpack and already ruined fall out. In many, many pieces. Followed by four of Danny's notebooks, ripped to shreds, pens and pencils snapped, lead scattering the bottom and ink dripping down the sides. And his eighty dollar graphing calculator smashed.

"Today is officially the worst day ever. I'm going to go get dry," Danny said numbly as he closed the locker with a quiet click of metal and slumped his way to the bathroom, oblivious to the 'Kick Me' sign on his back until Tucker grabbed him and yanked it off, showing Danny before he crumpled it and tossed it at a garbage can. "Thanks, Tuck."

The bathroom at least was quiet as Danny let the door swing shut behind him and made a quick inspection to make sure all of the stalls were actually empty before locking himself in one and hovering above the toilet, going intangible and letting the water sluice from where his body had been into it. With a sigh he willed himself solid again and dropped back down softly, unlocking the door and heading to the mirrors. A quick finger comb later and Danny was late, the bell ringing as he reached for the knob of Mr. Lancer's classroom.

"Worst day ever," he muttered as he pulled the door open and tried to hurry past Lancer with a mumbled apology. Tried being the operative word as he was simultaneous pushed from behind as his pants were turned intangible and slid to his ankles.

"Swiss Family Robinson, Mr. Fenton!" Lancer shouted as Danny's knees hit the ground, his hands catching his pants and struggled to pull them up at the same time as standing. "Detention this afternoon!"

Danny didn't say a word, just kept his eyes trained on the floor as they blurred green in anger and embarrassment. His face was burning along with them, and he knew he was as red as a lobster as he slid into his seat between Tucker and Sam and just gave a resigned sigh, pulling the remains of his book and homework out. He felt more than heard Tucker's sympathetic sigh as the homework was produced, and winced himself as Lancer called for it all to be passed forward.

"Mr. Fenton," Lancer said quietly into the silence as the students turned to the assigned pages in the books, Danny leaning over to share with Sam. "I asked for homework. Not garbage."

"It is my homework. A dog, um, ate it," Danny said, his ears going pink again as he fought to return the teacher's stare and not sink into the floor from sheer mortification.

"You don't have a dog."

"I never said it was mine," Danny replied dryly.

"Yes. Well. Page three sixty-two, people."

And the day was only just beginning.

---

Sam pulled another 'kick me' sign off of him as he shrugged his backpack on at the end of first period and trailed him into the hall as Tucker led the way hoping that if they kept Danny surrounded they could cut off some of the ghostly pranks. Despite the laughter and the nonchalant realization the night before that Danny's day was probably going to suck (and the fact that no truer words were ever spoke) they were taking it to heart after seeing the level of pranking had risen drastically since the rounds he'd gone in January.

Back then the ghosts had only had the ectoplasm to snatch books and homework when he needed them.

But it wasn't meant to be as shrieks sounded from the hall in front of them and students parted to let another familiar face float through. Dora, minus the Amulet of Eragon. That was something at least—when Danny tried to avoid whatever stunt she pulled there wouldn't be a massive fire breathing dragon ghost roaming the school. Of course, if the school burned down, then Danny wouldn't have to suffer through the humiliation of the Ghost Zone's favorite holiday.

Halloween didn't count to them apparently since it was based in religion.

"If I just disappeared do you think anyone would notice?" Danny asked miserably.

Sam shook her head. "I think it'd be too late. She's seen you."

And Dora had, making a beeline straight for Danny and stopping to float in front of him, hands clasped and eyes filling with tears. "I want to go to the ball!" she wailed as Danny shuffled to the side trying to sidestep her.

He made the move to dart past her at a sprint when he was shoved by another set of invisible arms, this time so that he slammed into a locker, head hitting metal and teeth rattling in his head. "Ow," he murmured, one hand automatically checking for blood as he pushed away from the now dented locker. "Yeah, um, Dora? About the ball thing? We're not having any, so maybe we can talk about this later?"

And as Dora was gearing up for a world class wail Tucker and Sam grabbed Danny by his arms and dragged him straight through the staring students and to second period. Homeroom was bound to be safer for Danny since Dora didn't seem to be following. Danny did make one last glance back, pulling himself free of his best friends as he stuck his head back out to see that the student population was beginning to move again and Dora had either left or at least gone invisible.

Things were back to normal. Definitely back to normal as Danny was shoved to the side once again, but this time by Dash as he glared at Danny. At least some things would never change. Dash Baxter would still be a jerk to him, even when Danny could look at Dash and have to lower his gaze to meet his eyes.

"Move it, Fen-turd," he growled as Danny winced, a new shove sending him back, and this time having the icy feel of ghost. And then there was Dash and his cronies gasping as Danny looked down and realized that who—no, whatever had pushed him had also turned his shirt invisible. Not intangible, he could still feel it, and Danny focused all of his concentration into countering the other ghost's invisibility.

"What happened to you?" Dash teased him as the shirt returned to sight and Danny turned away. "Accident with a weed whacker?"

"Yeah, Dash, that's exactly what happened. I fell down on top of one," he shot over his shoulder angrily as he once again took up the semi protected place between Sam and Tucker.

"You okay?" Sam asked as he slid into the seat and Danny glared. "Right. Sorry. Standard—"

"Question, yeah, I know. I'm fine, just let me seethe."

"It'll get better, Danny. The day is over in," he paused to check his watch, "a little more than fifteen hours."

"And you can take it out on them after school, too," Sam added with a dark smile. "Just think, once you aren't around all the other people you can go ghost and fight back."

"Right," Danny said darkly. "And once I'm not around all the people the pranks will lose their entertainment value and taper off. I know ghosts can be stupid, but I don't think even the Box Ghost will put in an appearance where I can go postal on him after today."

"Point," Tucker said.

The bell rang and Danny dropped his head onto the old backpack, hoping that none of the marker would come off on his face as he closed his eyes and tried to catch twenty minutes of sleep. After all, the morning show that had been instigated—initiated, he meant—during their sophomore year wasn't worth watching. All it did was share information that was already common knowledge and give the Media Club a chance to exploit their fifteen minutes of fame and popularity.

"I am Technus!"

"Please, no," Danny whimpered into the backpack before looking up and seeing a familiar face glowing from within the television that the homeroom teacher had turned on at the front of the room.

"Oh my god." This time the whimper was really was whimper because the screen wasn't filled with the current anchors of the morning show. No, now it was filled with Danny, at age three, standing with a diaper around his ankles and waving happily at the camera as he stood there in all of his naked toddler glory.

"Mama! I go potty!" toddler Danny squealed and the camera jiggled as claps were heard.

"I'm so proud of you, Dan-Dan!" and the camera went fuzzy and sideways as it was dropped to the ground a familiar blue jump suited ankles appeared in front of it and Danny was lifted up.

A new video flicked on and Danny glared at Tucker as Sam and Danny appeared on screen, much more recently that Danny's toddler years. It had happened sometime during their freshman year and Danny's massive crush on Paulina, and Tucker was off screen egging Danny to explain to Sam why Paulina was the object of his affection and how she wasn't shallow, she was just…

Paulina turned and glared at Danny in turn as that sentence was never finished as fourteen year old Sam smiled smugly at Danny, and then another moment of static and a much more recent video clip came on, again earning Tucker another glare as he asked Danny why he didn't follow Paulina around like a little lapdog.

It had been done over summer, just after Danny's seventeenth birthday and the crazy party that almost wasn't because of an ectoplasm infused cake that attacked the guests when they tried to eat it. Thank god the guests were all relatives, outside of Sam and Tucker who were wise enough to turn down any food that came out of the Fenton kitchen unless Danny cooked it. Especially if Danny cooked it, because Jazz's cooking, while turning out normal food, was even more dangerous than the food that tried to attack you.

"Let's see," the Danny onscreen said with a scratch of his messy hair. "Because she's a shallow witch?"

That earned him a laugh from both the onscreen and off screen Sam, and a hearty chuckle from Tucker where he was holding his PDA to record reactions around the classroom. Danny figured Tucker was lucky that Paulina was glaring at him, because the anger on her face might have melted the PDA. And Danny wasn't so sure that he wouldn't be hearing from her before the day was out anyway, especially as the clip kept playing.

Because Danny could remember exactly what he'd said that day. How could he forget? Tucker pointed out almost every day at least once a day (usually more) that everyone knew he was talking about Sam. Everyone being Tucker since he'd admitted that when it came to Danny's feeling, Sam was just as blind as he was, whatever that meant.

"Well, she's not perfect. No matter what anyone says, she's not," Danny started and was stopped as video Sam pointed out that no one was perfect. "I know that!" he argued. "But I don't need someone who's actually perfect. Just perfect for me, flaws and all." Video Sam blushed as Danny leaned back in his chair and continued on, oblivious to the fact that Tucker was recording him staring at Sam the entire time he spoke.

"She has a mole," he snickered, and Danny just hid his face in his hands as the television droned on. "And she wears colored contacts. She's kind of a jerk, but she doesn't really have a reason. She likes to flaunt herself, her looks, her money. I'd rather have a girl that was secure enough about herself that she didn't rely on that kid of stuff to get by. Someone who's smart," and another laughing argument about how Danny didn't know if Paulina was smart or not.

"Tuck, the only reason she's passing her classes is because she's on the cheerleading squad. Trust me, I know, I heard the coach talking about it before school ended." On screen Danny shrugged, and Danny dipped his face even further as he remembered his parting shot on why he could never be into Paulina again.

"Biggest reason, no doubt about it, is that she's…" The voice trailed off and Danny just groaned. "Look, we all know she and Dash have been an item since the end of ninth grade, right? Well, I saw her in the park with at least three different guys in the last month. And I don't mean that they were admiring nature."

"You're joking," Sam now, surprised but not unduly so.

Danny cracked his eyes open as he saw every head in the class turn towards him save for Sam and Tucker as his screen self confirmed it. "No joke. I want someone I trust."

Then the screen went to static one last time before the angry and annoyed Media Club was seen prowling in front of the camera trying to figure out who hijacked their signal. Well, he realized with a little relief, Paulina and Dash weren't glaring. She was teary eyed in her seat and Dash was staring at her with the strangest look on his face.

"This day sucks," Danny muttered. "And I'm going to kill Technus."

---

The walk to third period resulted in Danny losing his pants again, three more trips into the lockers, and Dora wailing about the ball again before he ducked into his chemistry lab with Tucker, a wistful goodbye to Sam as she happily walked on to her physics class. Now it was only Tucker between Danny and the ghosts. And the newest piece of crumpled paper that Tucker had ripped from his back.

"Do I even want to know what it says?" Danny asked as he shoved his bag under the lab table and waited for the teacher to show up.

"Probably not," Tucker replied as he tucked it into his own backpack. "Danny, I think you should find a way to miss this class. Nurse's office or something."

"Why?" Danny asked blankly.

"Chemicals."

"Oh," was all Danny managed as the teacher walked in and immediately turned his back to the class and scribbled across the board in front of them. It had something to do with hydrogen. That was all Danny could tell as a beaker went sailing past his head and he ducked, then watched in growing horror as it broke against the board next to the teacher.

"Fenton, Lancer's office, now."

"But it wasn't me!" Danny exclaimed. "It almost hit me, too!"

"Now."

"Damn it," Danny said softly as he dragged his backpack out and trudged away, barely hearing Tucker's whispered, "At least it wasn't full of acid," as he did.

---

An invisible shirt, two lockers and a yelling match with Dora later, Danny was on his way to lunch, hoping—nay, praying—that Sam and Tucker could help him stop the madness. Their table was still empty when Danny sat down, dropping his tray on the table and rubbing his face with his hands. Lunch, at least, was a better prospect than anything else. He was hungry, and the chicken actually smelled good. It looked edible too, so he figured it wouldn't kill him.

Well, not more than once.

Fingers brushed across his back and he looked up to see Sam sitting down next to him, smiling sympathetically as she read what was apparently the newest sign. "I am a turkey? That's stupid," she said as she crumbled it and dropped it next to her own tray. "Heard what happened in chemistry. Did Lancer do anything especially cruel?"

"No," Danny said. "There were witnesses who saw that I didn't do it. It just took most of the period for me to convince Lancer to ask everyone else who was there when it happened."

"It could be—"

"Don't!" Danny practically shouted as he clapped a hand over her mouth. "Don't say that sentence again. Ever again. Please."

Sam laughed behind his hand and pulled it down. "I was going to say it could have been full of something flammable, or toxic."

"Oh. That's what Tucker said."

"Speaking of, where is he?" Sam asked as she looked around.

Danny shrugged and grabbed a fork, poking it at the chicken before finally deciding it was safe to eat. No one was shoving him, his clothes were still tangible and visible and, thanks to Sam, he was currently sign free. Food. What could ghosts do to it?

The drumstick twitched, and Danny raised an eyebrow as Sam choked on her water and Tucker sat down, completely oblivious to the moving food. "Sup, guys? Chicken smells good."

A loud cluck split the air and the drumstick hopped up and started bouncing across the table. Danny closed his eyes on the groan and let his head drop to the table with a thud. "This is not happening to me," Danny said with another thump, and then another before Sam reached a hand over to keep him from banging his head against the table as the drumstick hopped to the floor and clucked it's way through the startled students.

"Lunch Lady?" Tucker asked.

"Lunch Lady," Sam returned with a sigh.

---

"I want to go to the ball!"

"We don't have any balls to go to," Danny muttered as he stepped around Dora on his way to fifth period. "And even if we did, I wouldn't take you."

Two more periods to go, the detention with Lancer, and he was free. He could lock himself inside his house, inside his room, and convince his parents to throw the switch on the ghost shield so that he could have the rest of the night prank free. All he had to do was make it another hour and forty-seven minutes. He could do that, right?

Maybe.

Maybe not, because this time Dora was following him into his fifth period and to the back of the classroom, continuing to wail about a ball as Danny just sighed at the familiar tingle at his waist and grabbed the waist of his jeans to keep them from dropping. Unfortunately the ghost wasn't so easily thwarted and flipped his shirt off of him, completely, not just letting it slide down his legs like his pants would have.

"Why won't anyone take me to the ball?" Dora wailed as Danny snatched at the shirt that was hovering midair in front of his face.

"Because you're annoying?" Sam asked sarcastically as she shouldered past the weeping princess and to her seat. Tucker followed, shoving the invisible ghost that was still playing keep away with Danny's shirt and off balancing it enough that Danny could grab his shit back and tug on over his head, all the while avoiding the questioning stares of his classmates.

"Please tell me the day is closer to over than I know it is," he mumbled as he sank into his seat and automatically scooted closer to Sam's desk so he could share her Spanish text.

"You want me to lie to you even when you know it's a lie?" she asked curiously as she shoved the book at him to open while she dug out paper and pens.

"It'll make me feel better."

"Okay, fine," she shrugged. "The day is nearly over, Danny. Just breathe in all that freedom that you'll have in just a few short minutes." She laughed at the miserable look on Danny's face. "Do you feel better?"

"I want to go to the baaaaall!" Dora wailed at an exceptionally painful pitch, and Danny's shoulders tensed as his jaw clenched.

"No. Not in the least," he finally said with as he shrugged at the Spanish teacher who was staring at the ghost currently crying behind Danny and still begging him to take her to the ball. "I'll feel better when school is out, detention is over, and I can start with the payback."

"I think I might feel better, too," Tucker chimed in from next to Danny, his shoulder cold and damp as Dora used it as her current weeping point. "Can we do something about her?"

"What do you want me to do?" Danny shot back quietly as the teacher began droning on about conjugation. "Go ghost right here in front of everyone so I can pound the hell out of her for being annoying? Doesn't work that way, dude."

"I know, I know." Tucker frowned as he set his PDA to record the lecture on conjugation. "But I can still wish, right?"

"Eh. At least until I let Desiree and Ember back into the Ghost Zone later." It occurred to Danny halfway through class that the weeping, wailing ghost at the back of the classroom certainly wasn't getting the response he'd expected. At the very last he'd expected his parents to have shown up half a dozen times as Dora was spotted repeatedly in the halls, and now with the disruption of the class, it should have been a sure thing.

Is it just me, or is something really strange here? he scribbled on a scrap of paper. Shouldn't my parents be here by now?

The startled look on Sam's and then Tucker's faces was well worth the potential trouble he was looking at for passing notes in English. For some reason, passing them in Spanish only got the passer and passee lessons on proper use of the language and whatnot. But if you dared pass a note that wasn't written in Spanish, have fun in detention. It made no sense to Danny. Note passing was note passing, and who cared what language it was in?

Tucker's crabbed script was above Sam's neater cursive as Danny got the note back. He had a theory: Maybe no one called them? I mean, ghosts are getting a lot more common since when we were in ninth. And Sam's scoffing, Don't be a dork. What do you want to bet they're dealing with bait far, far away from here?

Danny chuckled quietly as he glanced up and saw the second hand of the clock click another minute closer to dismissal. Twelve minutes and counting, and even Dora was being quieter than she had been at the start of class. Sorry Tuck. I'm with Sam on this; it actually makes sense.

"Sure," Tucker drawled in a whisper that made it as far as Danny's ears and not an inch further. "Side with your girlfriend." He smirked at Danny's flushed face and waggled a finger at him to remind Danny that he couldn't retaliate.

And abruptly Danny's attention was taken up by the textbooks, Sam's, floating up in front of him and starting to spin wildly, folded papers she'd stuck as strategic study markers and guides flying out and slicing into Danny, Sam and Tucker, and anyone who had the bad luck to sit close enough that flying paper could be dangerous. Or maybe just annoying, since apparently Danny was the only one who was getting hit hard enough to draw blood.

"Alright, this is getting ridiculous," Danny said as he stood up and snatched the book out of the air, ignoring as paper sliced shallow lines across his palm. His other hand was pulled back in a deceptively lazy fist, only to pop forward and snap the ghost who'd been pranking him straight in his nose, making ectoplasm drip a little as he screeched and immediately disappeared through a wall.

"Sorry," he said to the teacher as he sat back down, trying not to pay attention to the fact that everyone had been staring at him.

"En espanol, por favor, Senor Fenton."

Danny sighed. "Lo siento mucho, Senora Rizzi," he rattled off with a glance at Sam who nodded in approval. He handed Sam her book back and blotted at the few dots of blood he saw before just shoving the paper and pen Sam had given him in the bag and trying to tune out Dora's sobs as they grew in intensity as the clock moved a hand closer to the end of the class.

Two minutes, he thought in something that was almost relief. Please, let me get out of here without going nuts.

The bell rang and Danny ran for it, making it to his locker and stopping long enough to shove all of his useless things into it and shoving it closed before Sam and Tucker caught up. And Dora. "Don't," he ordered as he pressed back into the locker, ready to drop to his knees and beg if she just wouldn't say it again.

"I want to go to the ball!"

And Danny snapped. "Lady! For the last time, I AM NOT TAKING YOU TO THE BALL! Any ball, ever. If you were the least creature on the planet that bore any resemblance to a human female, I'd take a pile of mud." He turned slightly demented eyes on Sam and Tucker. "Do either of you have a damned thermos?"

They both shook their heads as Danny let out a frustrated yell and turned on his heel to stomp down the hall to the locker rooms. Tucker followed Danny in and winced as he heard a more than familiar startled cry. What he was actually surprised about was the stream of rather colorful explicative's that followed the pained yell as things thudded against lockers. He hesitated before peering around the edge of the row of lockers, and realization dawned on Tucker's face as he saw the Deflector Bracelet that Danny's mother had designed and perfected before school started hanging from a lock across the aisle from Danny, who was currently dragging his gym clothes out of his locker and throwing his regular shoes in with a thump.

Tucker grabbed the bracelet off of the other locker as he edged past Danny and opened his own, tucking the bracelet in it and quietly changing his clothes before finally asking. "Forgot about it?"

Danny grunted in response but Tucker didn't miss the way he was rubbing the fingers of his left hand as he stalked out of the locker room and to where the students were mingled around the gym teacher at the far end of the basketball court. There were more than twenty students besides Sam, Danny and Tucker, among them most notably Dash. Paulina was conspicuously absent—Tucker had heard that she'd gone home sick.

Not surprising since Danny Fenton wasn't known as a liar. Just a loser.

Dash was up prowling behind the massed students as roll was taken, alternately kicking at the shiny wood of the floor, brighter where he was since the bleachers in the gym had been collapsed back for classes, and staring daggers at Danny. Danny ignored him. Possibly not the wisest choice, but in all reality he wasn't really afraid of Dash Baxter and hadn't been in years. Instead he used the other senior to keep up his image of a skinny, scrawny, just happens to tower over half of the upperclassmen, loser. In fact, since Danny's genetics had kicked in sometime during junior year with a vengeance, there were very few people in the school, teachers included, who didn't have to look up a little to meet his eyes.

It amused Danny to no end, though Sam complained about the ache in her neck whenever she had to stare up at him for more than a minute or two.

They were being assigned a free period, Tucker realized with a start as students began to move off. Free in the sense that no one thing was assigned, but you had to do something. He followed Sam and Danny and the trio made a bee line for the volleyball net set up across one side of the area, half a dozen students already teaming up and sending the ball bouncing over the net at crazy angles and laughing when it was hit in one direction only to go in another completely unanticipated direction. Laughter as a point was scored, cheering and jeering at the same time.

They were nearly there, safe and occupied when Dash's yell split the gym and silence reined as heavy footsteps rang out behind them. Danny turned, Tucker sighed, and Sam rolled her eyes at Dash's impotent rage. It was stupid to be angry at Danny; he was just as much the victim as Dash was, and Paulina. To an extent, her generosity didn't really extend that far. But to Dash and most of the other jock's at Casper High, Danny was only known as a loser, which somehow simultaneously meant target. Ah, high school grammar.

"Dash," Danny began before ducking abruptly at the basketball that whizzed past where his head had been moments before. It was impressive, fast and agile, even more so because Danny hadn't had more than a split second to see the ball coming at him. Dash had already thrown it when he yelled.

"Look, I didn't have anything to do with it!" Danny yelled as he twisted away from Dash. There was no response and he tried again, this time stumbling as Dash caught his shirt and ripped it at the hem tugging him close. "Do you think I want anyone to see my baby stuff? Come on, use your brain."

And then Danny was being plowed into the smooth wood floor, head bouncing off of it and eyes blurring as he stared up at metallic skin and flaming green hair. "I have you now, whelp!"

Danny narrowed his eyes, all of his anger, all of his frustration, every last bit of repressed helpless rage he'd been feeling since just after midnight welling up in a heartbeat as he pulled his legs up to his chest and shoved them out at Skulker, sending him flying before using the momentum to roll rear over head and regain his feet in a defensive crouch, legs bent at the knees, one hand supporting his weight forward as he tried to anticipate Skulker's next move and the other fisted, ready to lash out.

For a moment Skulker hovered where he was at, jets amazingly silent in comparison to the yells from around them as students (once again) fled, and then he shouted, "Your pelt will adorn my wall."

Danny grimaced as he glanced around and realized that Sam and Tucker had gotten the witnesses away from the action and left him plenty of room to maneuver in. "I am not wall art," Danny shot at Skulker as he rose a half a foot, the clenched fist loosening. "And that's just gross."

The next thing he knew Skulker's rocker launcher was activated and rising from his left shoulder, missiles powering up and bursting free. And heading directly for Danny. The way he saw it, he had two choices: try and run for it and wind up flat on his face as he moved into the path of said missiles or… Okay, so maybe he'd never get away with goofing off in gym anymore. But it was better than being Skulker's favorite skin.

With a mental commentary that would have gotten him detention until well past Christmas, Danny chose the second route, knowing that it was far safer than letting his ghostly identity out. There were eight missiles, Skulker fired them all leaving nothing in reserve as Danny pushed off from the ground and bent his body impossibly back. A touch of his ghost powers, nothing more than enough to help him avoid the shock waves as each missile went off, impacting on nothing but hints of his ectoenergy where he'd been moments before. Another back handspring later and two more out of the running.

Three more and Danny stopped dead, dropping to the ground in a crouch, his balance perfect as the last one exploded above his head raining down hot ectoplasm that singed his hair and burned his skin before he was up on his feet, sprinting at Skulker and stooping as he went to grab up a baseball bat that had found its way out of one of the equipment carts.

He ducked underneath a punch that Skulker aimed at him feeling the air move above him as he went upright again, the bat flying up beneath Skulker's arm and clanging against metal leaving a dent the size of a grapefruit. "You'll pay for that, Gho—" Danny never gave him the chance to finish the damning sentence as he slammed the bat sideways into the battle suit's helmet, then drilling low and up into the stomach, denting metal again. Another blow across the chest, downward at a shoulder leaving that arm dangling and useless, wires sparking and crackling, and Danny pulled back for a solid hit across the helmet again.

This time instead of shutting Skulker up it sent the helmet flying halfway round to the back, Skulker's real voice shrill and screaming in fury because the electronics for the vocal program had been knocked out and the head was stuck. Danny paused for a breath, not bothering to look around and pulling back for another blow as he heard a shouted, "Beware!" from behind him.

He turned, the cracked baseball bat steady in his hands as the Box Ghost floated ten feet away, blue eyes blazing. A box manifested and hurtled at Danny who only ducked it before standing up straight and planting his feet, swinging and catching a solid piece of the next box the Box Ghost sent his way. It flew up and over the Box Ghost with appreciable distance as Danny stared him down and leveled the bat with him.

"You have someplace else to be."

There was no response except the sudden absence of boxes as the Box Ghost chose to err on the side of caution, no matter that the halfa was restricted from using his ghost powers in his mortal school. He would prefer to live to rule another day. Besides, he needed to find the box that the halfa had injured and make sure that it was still cardboard and cubical.

"You won't get away with this! I am the Skulker!" Skulker was screaming shrilly from inside the helmet when Danny finally turned back to him.

He thought that, for just a second, maybe Skulker might give up. His head was still on backwards and there was really nothing he could do until he fixed the problem. And by that time, it'd be after Friday the Thirteenth, and Danny wouldn't be stuck in school trying to survive the day from hell. But no, that would have been too easy, and it was Friday the Thirteenth, after all.

The battlesuit suddenly bristled with weapons that were whining as they powered up, and Danny sighed resolutely as he realized that there really was nothing good that was going to happen to him beyond avoiding whatever pitfalls Desiree might have been able to cook up for him. The battlesuit was dangerous; it needed to be removed from the equation.

He smiled ferally. This was the kind of math that he liked.

The weakest point on Skulker's battlesuit was the escape hatch, conveniently located on the chest, almost dead center and practically right in front of Danny as Skulker powered up the remaining weapons in the suit. Logically, Danny knew it was the wisest course of action to exploit the enemy's weaknesses. This was no exception. He took two steps forward and drew his arm back, hand fisted, and threw it forward, driving it into and through the door of the escape hatch and deep into the suit.

The moment it was inside he turned his hand and arm intangible to the elbow and arrowed up, fingers searching and then closing around the scrawny legs of Skulker's real form before yanking it out as the suit died and dropped to the ground, devoid of the ectoenergy to continue the weapons countdown. Skulker gave an enraged shriek as Danny took one final potshot at the ectoskeleton, a rough kick that sent the head of the suit flying across the gym to scatter students were they stood by the doors, watching in varying degrees of surprise and fear.

For his part, Danny thought he was doing awfully well to just be standing there instead of running for his life.

It took Danny sixty seconds to lose the battle that waged within him. He chose flight, considering he'd already taken care of his fight instinct. He stopped long enough to drop Skulker in a dumpster behind the school before he took off for the safety of the park, and detention be damned.

---

"Thought we'd find you here," Sam said with a sigh as she sank down on the grass beside Danny. He'd chosen a concealed hill to hide on and had an arm thrown over his eyes.

"Can someone just shoot me now and get it over with?" he asked, miserable as he blinked blue eyes up at Sam, dropping his arm back to the ground.

Tucker laughed as he fell down beside Danny. "Dude, after what you just did to Skulker, I don't think anyone wants to shoot you, hit you, or even look cross eyed at you."

Sam laughed and patted Danny's shoulder. "If it makes you feel any better, Dash is still completely ticked at you. Lots more. You're wanted for the baseball, soccer and track teams." She frowned and watched as Danny closed his eyes again, still fairly upset. "Why don't you go home and change? Then we can go do something. Mall, movie. I'll buy you that new CD you've been wanting."

Tucker groaned. "You have all the luck, Danny." He missed the startled looks that Danny and Sam shot him. "I've got to be home by seven. Family dinner. You'll let me download the CD, though, right?" He looked over at his best friends where they sat wide eyed and gape mouthed. "What?"

"All the luck?" Danny choked out on a laugh.

Sam couldn't contain it and dropped back on the grass laughing wildly. "He's been getting pranked all day and he has the luck. Oh my god, you have issues."

There was a wet splat from next to her and she looked at Danny, startled. On his face was a sticky, damp, gooey pile of pumpkin innards, seeds and stringy flesh clinging to his skin as he sat up wiping it off in disgust. She smiled sympathetically as Danny's eyes shot up in front of them and Sam winced as she saw the backside of the Fright Knight taking off over the entrance of the park at speed.

"Well, this day just keeps getting better and better," Danny sighed as he turned himself intangible and let the pumpkin mass slide through him. "I want a shower."

But a shower was not in the offing, he realized as he opened the door of his house, Sam and Tucker close behind him to guard his back as he made his way into his house with a sigh of relief. It looked quiet, safe. Beyond safe; it had the promise of a soon to be active ghost shield. It also had his parents rushing out of the kitchen, his mother clapping her hands together with a wide smile and his dad clapping a meaty hand to his back and booming, "There's my little ghost hunter!"

It took Danny two seconds to turn and grab Sam and Tucker to drag them out of the house. "And on that note," he said frantically as the door slammed shut behind them and he started to run down the sidewalk, "we're leaving."

---

"Aren't you glad you keep clothes at my house?" Sam asked him smugly as he tugged on a clean shirt and ran fingers through shower damp hair.

Tucker chuckled from her desk where he was checking his e-mail. "Yeah, and what would your mother say to see Danny fresh from the shower and getting dressed in your room?"

"Tucker!" they shouted, faces red and burning as they shot glances at each other before returning the glares to Tucker.

"Denial," was all he said as he closed the window he was working in. "Right, so you two have fun and don't do anything I wouldn't do." He smiled widely at the way Danny was looking at Sam from the corner of his eye while Sam stared at her hands red faced. "I have to go home for the dinner from hell. My great Aunt Edna is going to be there and she likes to pinch cheeks."

"It's better than your cousin," Sam muttered as she reminded him that the last time Tucker's relatives had visited he'd had a three foot shadow for a week during the summer. That had nearly blown Danny's cover, and she still hadn't forgiven the rug rat for being so clingy and annoying.

He'd had a thing for calling Sam 'mommy' every time she was within two feet of Danny. And only when she was within two feet of Danny. It had made great blackmail fodder.

"Maybe for you," he finally agreed as he grabbed his bag and shrugged. "I'll see you guys tomorrow. I'll be the one with bandages on both cheeks."

Danny dropped to the bed next to Sam. "So, you said something about the mall?" he asked with a pointed smile. He held his hands up at the automatic scowl she tossed him. "Hey, I don't need the CD. Hanging out with you cheers me up enough." He turned red and rubbed the back of his neck, but didn't offer to take it back.

"Right," Sam finally said. "Mall. We should go there now."

Danny pulled her off the bed and narrowed his eyes as his ghost sense went off a bare second before his pants tingled and dropped to his ankles. Without a second thought he turned, pants still pooled at his feet, and whipped his hand out to the throat of the invisible ghost behind him, squeezing. "We're not at school surrounded by witnesses anymore," he growled as ghost energy flared around his hand, making the ghost squirm as it burned into its ectoplasm. "You should spread that news, because I can hit back now."

Danny tossed the ghost through the wall and pulled his pants up, turning back to Sam and knowing that his eyes were glowing green with his anger. He smiled darkly. "I'll get some back, at least," he said as he moved past her to the door. "But I deserve a strawberry milkshake for all of this."

"My treat," Sam said on a laugh as she followed him down the stairs.

---

Two more face full's of pumpkins innards, a lost shirt and twice dropped pants later, Danny was strolling with Sam through the park on the way to the mall. Finally. He had the pleasure of tormenting the ghosts who had messed with his clothes, though he hadn't done more than glare after the Fright Knight as he disappeared on his horse after each incident. And he was full. That was one of the best things, since Sam had bought him not one, but two strawberry milkshakes and timed him as he chugged the first.

He'd broken Tucker's record by more then seven seconds. Not that it was something to be proud of, Sam had pointed out as his head ached after that and forced him to nurse the second slowly as the brain freeze receded. The best thing had been the way she had laughed. The best thing was always the way she laughed. And smiled.

Not that Danny thought about his best friend like that, bathtubs and bowls of cherries aside. Or inside. He'd take her either way. No, bad Danny, he corrected himself forcefully as he glanced at her in the rising twilight. Her. He needed to grow a backbone.

And then he felt it. The icy chill of a rapidly approaching ghost and he smiled, stopping in his tracks and willing himself intangible. "Ha!" he shouted as the pumpkin goop flew through him this time and he turned to point an accusing finger at the Fright Knight. "You missed!"

The next batch hit him square in the face.

He sighed and turned intangible again as Sam chuckled next to him, then groaned as his ghost sense went off again. "Can't you guys give it a rest!" he yelled as he turned, expecting to see some anonymous ghost floating there.

There was a dark chuckle. "Enjoying your day, little badger?"

With a growl Danny shifted to ghost mode, launching himself into the air and leveling a glowing fist at Vlad. "What do you want?" he ground out. "I know you're not here for some stupid ghost prank." He hesitated. "Are you?" he asked, a look of disgust on his face as he considered the thought.

"Oh, no, Daniel. I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing," Vlad said with a flourish of his cape. "I prefer to gloat. Taa!"

Danny dropped back the ground in frustration as Vlad disappeared in with a swirl of his cloak. "He lives to torment me, doesn't he?" he asked Sam pitifully as she linked an arm through his and pulled him down the path.

"Probably," she said with a shrug. "It'd be a good idea if I weren't seen with a ghost," she reminded him and shivered as he shifted back to human. "You've been a good boy today. Let's go see what kind of cheering up my credit card can do."

---

"We left at closing and you didn't let me buy you a single thing," Sam said in amusement as she followed Danny down the street. "Who are you and what have you done with my best friend?"

Danny laughed, one of the few completely real and happy laughs he'd let loose the entire day. "I don't need you to spend money on me to have fun. I had fun just window shopping with you."

"Right. Which is why you dragged me into Victoria's Secret and tried to get me to model."

"Aw, Sam, it was funny." Danny laughed again as he remembered the look on Sam's face when he'd held up the lacy black bra and panty set and asked her to try them on for him. It had been priceless, though the smirk she'd shot him after hadn't made any sense.

"No, it really wasn't," she said reasonably as she drew even with him so that she could see his face. "If you wanted me to try something on you should have picked out something that I don't already own."

It was worth it. Even better as she realized that unless he rifled through her underwear drawer he had no way of knowing that she really did own it and, in fact, was wearing the bra half right now. She snickered as she thought about giving him a peek, but knew that she wouldn't. It would be a bad idea. Sure, Tucker said he was crazy about her, and sure, he was certainly acting kind of interested. He had been since the school year had started.

But better safe than sorry.

"It could be worse, Sam," Danny was saying as Sam glanced at her watch and realized that she was lucky her parents had gone out of town. It was already eleven, and when they were in town she had a strict ten o'clock curfew. That she never paid any attention to, true, but at least she wouldn't have to wear pink or go to some stupid social function to appease her parents now.

"I thought we weren't allowed to say that," she asked.

"You aren't. You started this whole mess," he teased. "But I can."

She shoved a shoulder into his arm. "Fine, whatever," she laughed. "So, how could it be worse?"

"At least I don't have a diary or something for any ghosts to try and plague me with."

"Right. Then what's that?" she asked with a casual finger pointing behind them. "Because it's been following us since the mall."

Danny turned suddenly, hands lighting up as he saw a black and white composition book. A very familiar black and white composition book, he realized as he kicked himself mentally. He'd said it this time, and he'd written it down too. The book had to die.

"What is it?" Sam asked from next to him, curious.

"Nothing," he said a little too quickly. "Just that English project Lancer assigned last month."

"Oh," she drawled. "You mean the dream journal. Because that's nothing like a diary, right?"

"Not in the least," Danny said evenly, knowing that he was lying through his teeth.

The book didn't have names, it didn't even accurately depict half of the dreams he'd remembered during the three week assignment. Most of it had been made up, because he'd have been living in detention if Lancer had any idea half the things he dreamed. The other half would have outed him as Danny Phantom. Of the two choices, Danny was fairly sure that he'd rather be exposed than to have Lancer reading about some of the erotic dreams he'd had about Sam Manson.

No, he was absolutely positive.

Especially since he'd actually kept using the dream journal after the assignment was over and had actually written some of his real dreams down in them. But those were mostly ghost related. Of course, there was the one about Sam and the can of whipped cream. And cherries. What was it about cherries and Sam? He didn't get it, not in the least.

But the real kicker was the two pages in the very back where Danny had, on some stupid, foolish, painful whim, decided to scribble Sam's name. Just… not. Sam Fenton. Two pages worth of it, covered in hearts and doodled swirls.

Without a blink Danny fired on the damnable book, smiling with pleasure as it went up in a heap of ashes and fluttering scraps of singed paper. He stalked to it looking around to see if he could sense the ghost, but he realized that opening fire the way he had must have scared it off. Which was worthwhile, too. All in a good cause, he decided as he glanced down and let a little ectoblast loose to char a few pages that hadn't been completely immolated.

He didn't see Sam follow him and stoop down to pick up a handful of scattered scraps, and suddenly go very pale and then very red as she read them. Cherries. Whipped cream. Cherries. Chocolate. Cherries. She stared to laugh and the laugh died in her throat as she read the last, the largest piece, and her eyes shot up to Danny's back as he stooped to run a glowing hand through the remainders of the book. As he stood to turn to her she shoved the piece of paper in her pocket and pasted a smile on her face as the other pieces fluttered to the ground behind her where he couldn't see them.

"So," she said brightly. "I'm hungry. We should get something to eat."

Danny shrugged as Sam glanced at the scrap of paper at her feet as they walked away from the remainders of the notebook. Danny Fenton had a thing for cherries. She felt the other piece where it burned in her pocket, one hand pressing against her hip where it rode, his messy scrawl completely legible. Sam Fenton. And Danny Fenton apparently had a thing for her.

This made life much easier.

---

"Do you think he'll be back?" Danny asked as he wiped another face full of pumpkin insides off and then floated over the edge of the Op Center to let it fall through him. Again.

Sam shrugged from where she was sitting behind the railing. "We can hope. There's only a half hour left." She glanced at her watch. "Little less than. You have twenty-eight minutes until the day from hell is over."

He grumbled incoherently as he dropped back down beside, just shaking his head as his shirt disappeared and then reappeared floating in front of him. "You know, half an hour ago I would have gone to town on that ghost. Now, I'm just too tired."

"Mmm," was all Sam said as she dug behind her for the bag with the results of her late night grocery shopping. She rummaged, finally lifting out a small bag of fresh, ripe cherries and a bottle of water. She glanced over at Danny and smirked. His eyes were closed.

He wasn't going to know what had hit him.

She made a mental note to thank whatever ghost had chased him around the grocery store with a can of whipped cream. Sure, it was a waste of perfectly good whipped cream, especially if the scraps she plucked from Danny's journal had anything to say about it, but it did keep him occupied until she'd bought and paid and tucked the cherries from sight.

"Hey Danny?" she asked casually as she plucked one from the bag by the stem and lifted up. "Want one?" she asked as he jerked upright, his face red as she plucked the cherry from the stem with her teeth.

"Where'd you get those?" he asked, and she heard a distinctly different tone to his voice than what usually passed Danny's mouth. Quiet desperation, tinged with desire.

Oh yes, Danny Fenton had a thing for cherries.

"They're really good," she grinned as she dipped a hand into the bag and held one out to Danny who stared at it like it was the devil incarnate. "Don't want it?" She shrugged and popped it into her mouth, making a show out of how sweet it was. "More for me."

Danny coughed, sounding more strangled then anything else. "Am I safe yet?" he asked as he reached for her wrist and turned it over to look at her watch. He sighed. "Fifteen minutes." Then he cursed and Sam tensed.

"What's wrong? Serious ghost?"

He shook his head. "No. I'm so screwed on Monday. I skipped detention. Lancer is going to kill me."

Sam laughed as he fell back to the deck of the Op Center with a groan. "No, you're fine. Your detention got rescinded after gym."

"Liar," he muttered. "You're just trying to make me feel better."

"No," she said with a laugh as she danced a cherry over his mouth, smiling as he opened it and let her drop the cherry in. "If I was trying to make you feel better I'd do this." And before Sam could lose her nerve she leaned down and pressed a soft kiss to Danny's cherry stained lips.

She was surprised when two strong arms came around her and pulled her lower, but went willingly as Danny held her to him, deepening the kiss with a bare moment's hesitation. Sam had the presence of mind to shoot a mental thank you to whatever ghost had dug Danny's journal out, and whatever fetish he apparently had for cherries being readable on the scraps before all thought fled her mind. He tasted sweet like the cherries, but underneath she could taste something different, a little sharp and spicy, and she moaned softly as Danny's fingers threaded their way into her hair.

"Sam," he breathed against her mouth as he pulled back, blue eyes dark and stormy as he looked up at her. "Tell me you don't cheer Tuck up like that."

She chuckled and arched an eyebrow. "I'll have you know, Mr. Fenton, that you are the only person I kiss."

"That's good to know," he said before dragging her back down for another kiss as he shivered against her.

"Danny, what's wrong?" she asked as another shiver ran through him, and he flushed pink, then fully red.

"Would you believe a ghost?" he asked as he lifted his hips and tugged his jeans out form beneath him and started shoving his legs back into them.

Sam choked on a laugh.

"Keep laughing," he muttered at her playfully. "You should consider yourself lucky that I didn't phase us all the way to the basement when you kissed me."

"Ah, point. That would be awkward, to say the least," she said still smiling as Danny shifted his hips back into the air and then zipped and buttoned his jeans. "Are you going to strip yourself for me every time I kiss you?"

And he laughed. "I'll do my best not to. Does that mean you're going to kiss me again?" She nodded and he reached up to her, pulling her back down for another kiss. "Sam?" he asked softly when her face was inches from his.

"Hmm?"

"Why'd you get cherries?"

She blushed. "A little bird suggested it?" At his bemused look she kissed him softly and said, "A little ghostly journal floating birdie so that a certain halfa blows the journal to kingdom come and I just happen to find a few scraps of paper that mention cherries kind of bird?"

"Oh," he said and blushed bright red, and Sam was amused to see that the color didn't fade until it hit his neck right at his chest.

"Here," she said as she sat up and handed him his shirt from where it had suddenly dropped to the deck of the Op Center. She glanced at her watch. "It's midnight, Danny. You're safe. From the ghosts, at least."

He shrugged the shirt on and gave her a wary glance. "What does that mean exactly?"

"Nothing, really. But I did have a few questions for you." She sidled closer to him letting him slide an arm around her.

"Me first," he interrupted. He rubbed the back of his neck but smiled at her, looking her in the eye as he did. Nerves, she realized, but mostly under control. "You want to see a movie with me tomorrow? Just me?"

She smiled and nodded. "I'd like that. Now, my turn," and the wary gaze was back. "You like cherries," she said matter of factly as she lifted one up and dropped it into her mouth, the stem popping off and his eyes never leaving her lips.

"Yeah…"

"So, what about the whipped cream? And the chocolate?"

Oh yes, it made life so much easier.

---

The comment about Halloween being based in religion is true, so please don't argue. All Hallow's Eve, which is actually November 1st, is one of the days of the year that the veils between the realms of mortal and spirit are thinned and the dead can walk the earth again. According to certain religions, not all, and most commonly found in Wicca and Druish based faiths. Trust me, I know, I've researched it and happen to know a great deal about Wicca based faiths. So please no flames, I shan't be nice if you flame me.

Edited: 12/17/06.