A note: This chapter will give an intimate look into the rest of the senior year for Sam, Danny, Tucker, Valerie, the Fentons, as well as the Mansons and the way the school was affected by Danny's return. It is all interwoven with bits and pieces of Sam's history report, given at the end of the school year.
Wow…This chapter took me forever to get out, but I like it! It's 27 pages long in 10 pt font in Microsoft Works!
The ending is really mushy, but I blame that on the fact that we have the hallmark channel and it's mother's day tomorrow and thus Mom has taken control of the TV…we're having a love story marathon! Lol…
And yes, yes the end does leave it open for another story, though I don't know if I'll continue it. :D
Chapter Eleven: Epilogue
United States History, 5th Period
May 5, 2009
The history of Roanoke is known only through the remnants…
"Mom," Danny walked up to her that Saturday morning, looking unsure and not entirely awake at 4:30, "I think…it's been a few weeks, and I know I told you I'd tell you what happened…"
"Sweetie," she pulled up another chair for him to join her at the breakfast table, "You don't have to talk until you're ready. Remember what Jazz said when she came down last week? You need time to sort it out for yourself. You've been talking to Sam, and that's enough for me."
"Not enough for me," Danny took a deep breath as he sunk into the chair, finally feeling as though acceptance and forgiveness were within reach, "Sam was there…I had to tell her, and I really am glad she understood, don't get me wrong, but a lot of it came out wrong when I explained it…I really think she thought I was horrible for what I had to do…until she understood all of it."
Maddie sat silently, waiting as patiently as she could for her son to form his thoughts into sentences, "Mom, you're not going to understand all of it though…"
"I might," her voice tightened as her mind finally began to wonder what exactly he had done or been forced to do, "You have to tell me first. I'll never stop loving you though, no matter what."
"I know," he smiled tiredly, a common place feature to his face now, "There's a ghost name Clockwork who controls Time…not just time like we know, but all Time together…"
An hour later found Maddie sitting silent and pale, horrified that her youngest child had faced such things. He'd had to take lives, and thousands at that, and was here before her, no less whole in body but hurting emotionally and ready to crack at even the tiniest hint of disapproval or anger or fear, 'That will not happen.'
Her iron will snapped her mind to where she needed it to be. Yes, he had done terrible things, but they had to be done. History could not afford to be re-written…and somehow, vaguely, she understood, even if she had not witnessed it.
"I believe you."
Three simple words from her mouth and she found her arms full of not the fearless and tired young man who masqueraded as both boy and hero, but her child, sobbing silently for every man, woman, and child he had sentenced to death, or to eternal not-death if one wanted to look at it that way.
It only lasted a few moments as he shook his head and chuckled to himself. A watery, snuffling sound came as he drew back, mumbling apologies and other uncertainties to his mother. She simply pulled him back to her and hugged him fiercely. She couldn't do much to repair him, but she would love him, and with time, that would do the job.
She woke Jack up at eight that morning and between herself and Danny, the story was retold with less stumbling and quicker explanations. Jack understood, and Danny was relieved again. No heartfelt tears or outbursts came this time, but it wasn't needed.
His father and mother understood, and for all Danny cared in that moment everyone else could curse his name.
The settlers landed on Roanoke Island, July 22, 1587. Later that year, Virginia Dare was the first English child born in the Americas.
People wondered where Danny Fenton had gone for two years, and though none asked about it, all had their own speculations. He was kidnapped, he ran away, he was stuck in the ghost zone, and in all situations Danny gave a bitter laugh. How true all three of those were, though no one would ever remotely understand it without being drawn into a tangled web of fractured reality.
More often though, people assumed that Danny had done something wrong, and had gone away because of it. The fact that he was often seen staring at children, almost wishfully, had the rumor mills working overtime that maybe he had a child somewhere with a girl that none of them knew.
Indeed, Tucker had noticed that Danny tended to watch children with an especial interest. The teen almost couldn't get enough of them, but always turned away with a heartbroken look on his face. Tucker figured it had something to do with whatever had happened to him, and tried his best to not mention it.
He didn't have to wait long to find out why Danny watched the little ones. Why he always seemed so sad when he saw a child or a baby. Five weeks after he had returned, Danny brought Sam with him to the park to meet Valerie and Tucker. The pair listened in amazement to an edited version of Danny's story.
Clockwork, the fate of the United States, missing civilizations, Pariah Dark…it was almost too much to take in. Sam simply took Tucker's hand and led him off as he numbly took it all in. When he found himself seated on a park bench with Sam still holding his hand, he shook himself and turned to her, "Did he really…?"
"Yeah," Sam nodded and played with his fingers in her own smaller grasp, "Yeah, I watched him."
"Even the children…Is that why he…?"
Silence reigned heavily for a few moments, "You don't hate him or anything do you?"
Sam's voice was thick with fear for Danny, and Tucker knew it. It was a ridiculous question, though, and with a frown he let her know as much. She laughed thickly, trying her best to conceal how worried she had been.
"Where's Valerie?" he finally managed to get out, having noticed she hadn't walked with them, but rather stayed with Danny.
"Danny wanted to talk to her," Sam withdrew her hand, frowning at the grass below the bench, "Alone. They had a lot to talk about, he said."
Tucker just nodded and enjoyed the peaceful moment with his best friend. He hadn't had much time alone with her since Danny's return, as the halfa guarded her jealously and spent almost all of his time with her.
'I would too though,' Tucker looked over at her, wishing he could find something to say to reassure her, 'She's his rock right now, and she was there with him…we may think we understand, but only Sam really knows what happened.'
An hour later found them still on the bench, talking about random school assignments. Valerie walked up from behind them and sat heavily on the other side of Tucker, "I…"
But nothing else came out, as Valerie could find nothing else to say. She had had a long talk with Danny, about everything that had happened, about when they were together, when they had fought, when he had hurt her, and when she had thought he had tried to kill her and it had only been her empty suit.
They talked about all the things he had done in his two absent years, and a few things he had done that not even Sam or Tucker knew about from when he had been a freshman. She would guard those secrets for him, just as Sam and Tucker had guarded his secrets.
They had talked about them, and where their relationship had gone, was at, and what it could have become. What it didn't become. He talked about Sam, and she, surprisingly, had talked about Tucker.
Danny had just smiled, and told her she better go and find them, so she did. And now, they just sat, soaking up the afternoon sun and trying to figure out life. They weren't very successful, but no one really minded so long as they were all there together.
The mystery is as much in the disappearance of the town's people, as what was left behind…
Sam had talked to her parents alone, and for that she was grateful. She left out a great deal, if only to protect her parents, and added parts of the original story of Danny Phantom that hadn't been told. Things from her point of view that helped her parents understand Danny and who he was then and now.
Later that afternoon, when he had dropped by as he did everyday now, they had asked him in. Danny was shocked, and the Mansons took advantage of his state of being. Questions flowed, but they were more aimed towards what they considered his 'hero work' and what his thoughts towards their daughter were like.
Danny blushed and mumbled, trying to find a way out without being rude, when Sam happened upon the kitchen and found him nervously fidgeting in a chair. It was almost unnoticeable, unless you had truly known him before, but Danny hated to be cooped up inside now. School had become nearly unbearable for the boy, and he took at least one restroom break per period to just get outside for a few moments.
"Mom," Sam rolled her eyes as she stepped into the kitchen and past her parents, "Dad, leave him alone. Yeah, he likes me and I like him. Yay. No, we haven't had sex, yes, we've kissed, no we aren't anywhere near to thinking about the future. Yes, Danny's the good guy, let us all rejoice, and now let us all leave him alone."
With his hand firmly in Sam's, she pulled him to his feet and out the backdoor, grinning sheepishly and waving to Sam's parents behind him. As soon as they were out the door, he reached forward and pulled her back into a hug, whispering a gently, "Thank you," into her hair.
She understood, and she always had.
…houses were taken down, a post had 'Croatian' carved into it, iron and other objects were thrown about…
There were funny things about Danny that everyone noticed now that he was back. He was a lot more assured and had definitely grown into himself. No more was he the Casper High punching bag, but he needn't of worried. No one really wanted to use him as one anymore.
Danny, everyone noticed, didn't seem to be just a teenager anymore. He was older somehow and many of the girls at school found themselves thinking of him more along the lines of 'man' than 'boy' or 'teen'.
And Danny, in all his mysterious 'newness' to the school, had a new outlook on history. He was found to be chuckling numerous times in class and often had to be sent to the principal's office because of it. He would never explain himself, just mutter something about class being funny, and accept his punishment.
He told no one what had amused him, not even Sam, but she didn't mind. She was sure she wouldn't understand anyways as she had never had the privilege to travel through time as extensively as he had.
When Danny started laughing about the Roman Empire and said in a breathless whisper something about 'crazy skirt wearing cheerleaders' Sam just shook her head.
'I don't want to know, and I don't need to know,' she glanced over at the snickering halfa, 'and for some reason I'm kinda' glad I don't have to…'
She joined in his laughter simply because it was contagious. Sam realized that she would never know everything about Danny, but that was fine. Some things were better left unshared.
By the time Governor John White had returned with his small crew of men, the area inside the palisade had been overgrown with grass, showing that it had been abandoned for quite some time.
When Jazz came home for Christmas she was overjoyed and bursting with happiness that she could spend time with her baby brother. The week she had taken off from school when he had first come home had not seemed like enough time, and she was making up for it over the holiday.
In fact, Danny was beginning to think of her as, 'Energetically, and annoyingly, clingy.'
"Sorry I got you in trouble this afternoon," Danny planted a loving kiss to the top of Sam's head before pulling her back against him as they rested on his bed, "I didn't mean to…"
"It's fine," Sam tilted her head up to smile reassuringly at her halfa. He needed reassuring more now than he ever had before those two years, "Mom and Dad were just worried because I hadn't told them we'd left. Next time I'll just have to make sure to tell them, and no more randomly phasing out of the house, okay?"
"Alight," and a quick kiss to her nose was Sam's answer as she snuggled back down into his side to watch the movie on the computer screen. The warmth from the blankets under her on his bed, as well as coming from his body beside her had her drifting gently in her thoughts. The light kiss on the back of her neck pulled her right back into reality.
"I really did miss you," he nuzzled his nose against her neck, smelling her hair and enjoying her familiar scent of shampoo and soap, "I'm sorry I left you here and didn't tell you where I went. I wanted to."
"It's fine," she turned to face him, "You know that I'm just going to tell you that every time you say you're sorry until you believe it. I know what you did and why. No more being sorry, Danny."
She kissed him, moving down to his jaw and enjoying his hands in her hair, lovingly smoothing it down. They had become more familiar with one another as couples do in the time that he had been home, but as she found a kiss gently planted on her neck, followed by another and another, Sam realized they were moving forward yet again…and that it wasn't unpleasant in the least.
A sudden movement found Sam and Danny flipping over so she was laying on her back. Laying like this was new too, but for some reason Danny's weight over her was a comforting addition to their activities and the movie was long forgotten, blending into the background as noise they weren't paying attention to.
His hand eventually slid from holding her cheek, down her shoulder and arm, to grasp her right hand, pulling it back up and placing it on his neck so she could hold him as he was holding her. All these new additions were pleasant, and Sam was reluctant to stop as was Danny.
The muffled sound of footsteps walking up the stairs and down the hall went unheeded, and it was with little grace that Danny and Sam toppled to the floor at Jazz's ear splitting screech when she had opened the door and viewed the scene.
"What are you two doing?" Jazz was wide-eyed as she grasped the door's knob, then blanched at what she had just asked, "No, I don't want to know! Mom is going to kill you Danny!"
"Get out!" his head popped up from the other side of his bed where he and Sam had unceremoniously landed. Jazz had startled him badly enough that his powers had him and Sam in the air, then falling onto the ground before he could do anything to stop it, "God, Jazz, don't you ever knock?"
"I didn't think that you would be all over Sam," she retorted hotly, "so I didn't exactly think I needed to warn you that I was coming in."
'Well obviously she thought wrong,' Sam blushed to herself as Danny helped her to her feet, then moved quickly over to Jazz and backed her out the door. Sam sat nervously on the edge of the bed, picking at a loose thread on some old quilt while Danny and Jazz bickered.
"Can you just leave now, and not ever do that again?" Danny was gently guiding his sister out the door, "Seriously Jazz, out."
"I was just coming up to see," she caught herself in the door frame, refusing to budge another inch, "if you two wanted to go out to dinner tonight. Mom told me to come up and ask you."
"And you didn't knock because?" he glared down at her angrily, still bright red from embarrassment.
"Because I heard somebody moaning, okay?" Jazz bit out, blushing as she said it.
It took less than a second for the blood to drain from Danny's face and he slammed one hand against the door beside him and made the entire wall disappear, causing Jazz to nearly fall on her butt in the hallway when she had nothing to hold onto. The wall came back into place and the door slammed shut with Jazz trying her best to fight down her blush and keep from laughing.
On the other side of the door, Danny sat on the opposite side of his bed, not daring to look at Sam. He couldn't tell for sure, but her shoulders seemed to have been shaking when he had walked back to sit down. If he had made her cry…
"Danny," the laughter bubbling out of her voice hit him like a ton of bricks, "That was the funniest…oh God…Jazz saw us…"
Biting his lip to keep from laughing he turned around to see her laying on her back, staring at the ceiling and laughing for all she was worth. He turned and lay on his side between her and the computer screen, blocking the movie from her view, "That was funny, huh?"
"Oh, no," she tried to hold her serious expression, but it only lasted a few moments before her quite laughter escaped again, "Yes…"
"Yeah," the halfa rolled his eyes, "not to mention embarrassing…"
"So?" and Sam pulled his face down to kiss him again, his own hand coming to rest against her chin to tip it further up, angling it just right so he could…
"Sam? Danny?" Tucker's voice sounded horrified, and as the door slammed shut, Danny and Sam froze where they were, lips still touching as they listened to the boy stomping back down the stairs, "That is the last time I ever trust you Jazz Fenton! I am never going to walk into that room without knocking again!"
They both cracked up, and came down to the living room as soon as they stopped laughing. The rest of the night was spent with family, good friends, good food, permanent blushing, and lots of teasing. In all, it was a rather pleasant evening, even with Jazz being her overbearing sister of a self.
Danny wouldn't have traded it for the world.
The Governor believed that his daughter and granddaughter, along with the rest of his people, had found refuge with the Croatians, the local Native Americans. He was, in his own words, 'cheered' at the thought.
"Danny?" Jazz had once again invited herself into his room, though this time she gently eased the door open, giving him enough time to do…whatever it would be he needed to, "You decent."
"I would hope so," Sam's voice answered her from somewhere near the closet, "Although if he doesn't let me out soon, there won't be enough left to be decent…"
"Danny," his sister chastised teasingly, "What have we told you about kidnapping Sam and locking her in your closet?"
"Um," the boy was slightly distracted by the computer game in front of him, "Don't do it?"
"Daniel James Fenton!"
Aforementioned boy just grinned like a fool as Sam kicked the closet door violently, "Yes?"
"Let me out, I've been in here for nearly six minutes now," her voice had dropped threateningly, then returned to it's usual pitch, "Jazz, can you please let me out of here?"
"Sure thing," she started on her way to the door, only to find herself blocked by Danny, who was holding a pillow in front of him as though brandishing a sword, "Or, maybe not…"
"Why?" Sam sounded incensed, "Geeze, the Fenton siblings are both against me now!"
"Jazz?" Sam was mentally rolling her eyes now.
"Danny?" Annoyance was clear in the locked up girl's tone.
"If one of you two doesn't let me out of here this instant, I swear on whatever you hold dear or holy that I will skin you alive!" the closet door gave a rattle as Sam pounded against it, "Now!"
"Okay! Okay!" Danny rushed to do as he was bid, "But that's what you get for thinking you could win at video games by trying to distract me."
"Distracting, huh?" Jazz crossed her arms, pillow still firmly in her grasp, "That's why I always ask if you're decent you know."
Danny blushed, as did the girl behind him, but he held his ground, "Yeah well, it wasn't quite like that…though…"
"Danny," Sam's boot found the back of his leg. He was weary of that tone of voice…and even more so of the boots that had just accosted him.
"Just kidding you two," Jazz rolled her eyes, "Mom just wanted to know if you were both staying for dinner, or going out, or if you were going home, Sam."
"Staying," Danny chirped happily, not even giving Sam a chance to voice anything. Jazz watched a small frown pass over Sam's lips before Danny turned around and the look was wiped away, "You staying?"
"Yeah," she grinned tightly, and even if Danny noticed he said nothing, "I guess we should head down, huh?"
"Probably," Jazz risked a glance between the pair, then decided she needed some 'girl time' with Sam, if only a minute, "Hey Danny, we'll meet you down there…I have some…girl stuff to ask Sam about."
"I'm outta' here," he reacted quickly, heading out the door and supposedly down the stairs. Curiosity got the better of him, as usually, and he quickly phased himself back into his room, invisible and sneaky as ever.
"So what's up, you never need to ask me about girl stuff," the younger girl folded her arms and turned to sit on Danny's computer chair, "Anything wrong?"
"Not with me," Jazz followed her lead and sat on Danny's bed, the boy floating close beside her though she didn't know, "I'm just a little worried about Danny."
"Who isn't?" Sam sighed, "He's different…but he's still Danny."
"And he's still as clueless and thick headed as ever," Jazz cut in, "The truth is, I'm worried about you, too. You looked a little upset that Danny wanted to stay here for dinner…"
"It isn't that," Sam blushed slightly, embarrassed with her explanation would sound, 'It will sound as shallow as Paulina…Jazz isn't one to judge though…'
"What is it then?" the older girl prodded gently, "Are you jealous of him spending time with his family, or worried that your relationship is staying at 'friends' with a few, uh, benefits thrown in?"
"No, nothing like that exactly," a tiny blush passed over her face, then she ran a hand through her hair and turned from Jazz, "It's just…there's two things. One of them is he never wants to go out. I know that sounds horrible."
Jazz chewed on her lower lip as Sam buried her face in her hands, embarrassed by her seemingly petty comment, "It isn't bad to want that, Sam. It's natural to want to spend time at different places when you're with your boyfriend. Everyone wants to have variety in their life."
"I know, but I also know that Danny doesn't want to at all," Sam turned the chair and started to play with a pencil on the desk, "He likes being home, it's like a security blanket for him…and that makes him sound like he's three."
"I understand what you're saying though. I won't put it in technical terms, 'cause I know you don't like that," Jazz grinned wryly as Sam smirked her way, "but Danny is finding himself again. He's also staying in his comfort zone, and I think that every now and again he's going to need a push. He's going to need that blanket taken away from him."
"I don't want to pressure him."
"Sometimes," she smiled at Sam, "you're going to have to do it. You're going to have to help him find himself."
"Maybe," Sam smiled tightly, "I'll try, but he's probably not going to like it."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well," she shifted and smoothed her skirt, "I asked Danny about going and trying that new fast food joint, the Boom, or whatever. He just clammed up and kinda' demanded we go to the Nasty Burger instead. He wasn't mean or anything, but…"
"But you don't want to try that again?"
Sam just nodded. She wasn't usually an emotional person, but this was starting to touch on some deep seated issues, or so Jazz noticed. Danny was still Danny, but he had changed, and Sam was still dealing with that fact.
"What was the second thing?"
"Hm? The second thing?" Sam frowned, "Oh, right…well, I mean, it's kinda' stupid."
Jazz ignored Sam waving off the question, "It's not stupid, and you should probably get it off your chest."
"Well," Sam nervously smoothed her skirt again, "He's kinda' possessive sometimes. I don't mind it usually, but sometimes…like just now, I'd like to have the chance to answer for myself. I'm a big girl, independent, and I can answer for myself. I just don't want to say anything because I don't want him to be upset. I know that's stupid…"
"It isn't stupid," Jazz soothed, "It's a legitimate thought. I think you should just sit down and talk with him about it. Like you said, Sam, he's still Danny."
"He's just trying to figure himself out again," Sam shook her head and chuckled quietly, "I know. I'll try the next time, okay?"
"Alright," Jazz nodded, then offered her a hand and pulled her into a hug, "You really have been good for him…more than you know. Now, let's get down there so we can eat, okay?"
"Alright, let's go," she detached herself from the older girl, then put her hands on her hips, "but don't think that just because you hugged me this time, it's an open invitation for personal contact anytime you want."
"You got it," Jazz winked as she made her way to the door. Both were shocked to see Danny standing sheepishly in the hallway when they opened it.
"Hey, um," the halfa averted his gaze as the two girls continued to look at him questioningly, "I guess, um, are you two ready to eat?"
"Yep, we were just on our way down," Jazz smiled and moved past her brother. She knew that guilty look when she saw it, "I'll meet you down there."
"Sam," Danny blocked her path as she started to move downstairs, "I'm an eavesdropper…sometimes. Not all the time or anything, but um…I'm sorry."
He watched her as she thought over what he had said and what it meant. He had heard the entire conversation, knew what Sam had been feeling, and robbed her of the chance to bring it up in her own time. He felt horrible and hoped that Sam wouldn't be too upset with him.
With crossed arms and lowered eyes, Sam mulled over what he had heard and what had been said between herself and Jazz. It wasn't anything she wouldn't talk with him about eventually, and it probably was better that it happened now, rather than it turning into something they would fight about.
"It's…fine," she finally looked up at him, moving closer and pulling him into a hug, "I didn't know how to say it anyways, so I'm glad you heard it. At least now you know…"
"I didn't mean to do all that, make you feel that way," he returned her hug, folding himself around her, "You're not scared of me or anything are you? Is that why you never said anything?"
"No, Danny," Sam gently pulled back from him, "I just didn't want to say anything because I knew that you're still getting use to being back. It's hard, and I know because I can see it. Yeah, you're still Danny Fenton, but you've changed, and it's going to take a while to get used to everything. I'm not afraid of you or of change."
Her resolve strengthened him somehow, knowing that she was there to support him even if it was at some cost to herself.
"Have I ever told you," he leaned down to whisper in her ear, "how much you mean to me? You're my sanity, Sam."
A gentle smile broke across Sam's face as she met Danny's eyes, "Then I guess you'll have to keep me."
There were approximately one hundred and seventeen colonists, one hundred and fifteen of which were adults.
"Oh Danny, you got home just in time," his mother met him at the door and took his backpack from him, "Come into the living room and meet Mrs. Joneston. She and her husband just moved in next door."
"Um, okay," Danny nervously ran a hand through his hair, pushing down the unruly strands that always had a mind of their own.
"This is my son, Danny," Maddie led him to the couch where Jazz was sitting by a young woman, cooing happily at the baby in her arms, "Danny, this is Elizabeth."
"Nice to meet you," he nodded as he kept behind his mother, well away from the young woman and child in her arms, "Elizabeth is a pretty name, it's my…friend Sam's middle name."
"Well thank you," the young woman smile, "but really, just call me Beth. That's what I like to go by. Oh, and this is little Sarah. She's only a four months old, but already a handful."
Maddie shared a secretive laugh with the young mother as she sat back on the couch beside her and Jazz. Danny stood uncomfortably by the coffee table, keeping himself at a distance. Jazz shook her head and stood to pull her brother to sit in her place, right beside Beth and little Sarah.
"Here, you sit and coo at the baby for a while, I'm going to get us some lemonade."
"Make sure it's not glowing first," Danny joked, keeping his eyes firmly off the baby.
"Will do, baby bro."
"So, Danny," Beth pulled his attention to her, but still he kept his gaze from falling on the baby only inches from him, "This is your senior year in high school isn't it?"
"Yeah," he smiled sheepishly and nodded, "but don't ask me about college or anything. I honestly don't have a clue about what I'm going to do yet."
"Well, you still have plenty of time to figure it out," Maddie ran a hand lovingly over his back, "I really think you should take a year off from school, though I do want you to go eventually."
Beth shook her head in thoughtful agreement, "My husband, Will, did that. He said it really helped him to figure out where he wanted to go in life. Personally, I had to go straight to college, or I would never have been able to convince myself to go back to school."
A burble from Beth's lap had Danny looking down before he could prevent it, and he was caught by dark brown eyes and soft black curls. The baby looked gently on the blue eyed boy, as if frozen in place. The same was true for Danny, and for a second Maddie was afraid he'd bolt.
Maddie knew well how Danny had reacted to children and babies over the past months that he'd been home. Wary, cautious, almost afraid, 'Are you afraid of what you did, Danny, or what you know you can do?'
The question had bothered her to no end as she had watched her son shy away from children.
"Danny?" Sam's voice broke the moment and Danny jerked away so violently he nearly fell off the couch.
"Ah," a twinkle played in Beth's eyes, "Is this the friend, Sam with the beautiful middle name?"
"Um, yeah," he made to get up, but a hand from his mother stopped him.
"We're in here Sam," Maddie answered, hoping that Sam could be of some help with the situation that she wasn't quite sure what she wanted to happen.
"Oh goodie," Tucker's voice was heard right before the two heads peeked around the door, "Got anything to eat Mrs. Fenton?"
"There are some cookies and fudge hidden behind the emergency ham," she smiled warmly, "And while you're in there, help Jazz get the lemonade please Tucker?"
"Gotcha' Mrs. Fenton," and Tucker was on his way to food. Sam smiled and shook her head before heading for the couch to stand by the arm nearest Danny.
"You took off after school, so me and Tuck decided to see if you made it home," she looked between him and the young woman, and raised an eyebrow, "We didn't know you had company or we wouldn't of barged in."
"Oh um, it's Mom's company," then he blushed slightly as both Maddie and Beth laughed, "Er, Sam this is Beth…"
"Joneston," she supplied.
"Beth Joneston," he smiled his thanks, "Mrs. Joneston, this is Sam Manson and the other boy who was so hungry that he couldn't stay and talk was Tucker Foley. They've been my best friends for years."
"Ah, nice to meet you," Beth shifted Sarah to stand and offer her hand to Sam, "This is Sarah, four months old if you were curious."
"She's…cute," Sam offered hesitantly, then smacked a laughing Danny on the back of his head at her chosen word, "Get over it, yay, I said 'cute'…"
"Well it's just cute because you never say cute because it's just too cute," Danny laughed and stood too to save his head some abuse. Being tall definitely had some advantages.
"Sam, would you like to hold Sarah?"
The question had Sam unfolding her arms and Danny sinking back onto the couch. A quick glance to Mrs. Fenton for guidance had Sam nodding and biting her lip, unsure of what to do.
"Okay, well you just sit yourself down by Danny and then I'll hand her to you," and as Sam arranged herself Danny started to scoot away, but she caught his hand and firmly demanded he stay where he was with her strong grip and pleading eyes. This wasn't exactly her cup of tea, and when they had been younger, it would have been Danny who would hold a baby long before she could be convinced to.
"If she starts to cry, don't worry," the young mother gently laid the baby girl in Sam's arms, "It's something that babies do all the time. She probably won't though, as she usually is so well behaved."
Just as the bundle was laid in Sam's arms, with a catious and curious Danny peeking over her shoulder, Tucker and Jazz walked back in. A smile played over Jazz as she saw Danny finally getting over his fears. Tucker, on the other hand grinned from ear to ear as a teasing opportunity made itself known.
"Whoo, I knew you two were close, but man, when did that happen?"
"Shut up, Tuck," both their faces burned red as they leveled glares at the unfortunate boy, Danny even adding in a flash of red in his normally placid, blue eyes.
"Right," his attitude took an about face under the combined wrathful glares of his friends, "Cookies anyone?"
"Such a good housewife you'd make Tuck," Sam ground out, trying to keep her blush from reaching new levels as Danny gently rested his chin on her shoulder for a closer look at the small being in her hold, not to mention the laughing eyes of Mrs. Fenton that she just knew were burning a hole in the back of their heads.
Tucker and Jazz made themselves comfortable and passed out glasses and food, as Beth and Maddie chatted away like old friends. Sam found herself focusing solely on the little girl in her arms and the young man resting against her back. Jazz smiled her way, then took Tucker's attention off their pair by asking a question about the latest upgrades she should get for her computer.
"Danny," she turned her head gently, a conversation about pushing him out of his comfort zone replaying in her head a week after the fact, "Touch her. She's very…soft."
"I can't Sam," he breathed against her shoulder, even as his hand betrayed him and appeared around Sam's side, edging closer to the baby before settling on her waist, "I've done such…I've been horrible."
"But you never did anything to Sarah," she shifted the baby so that bright brown eyes caught blue once again, "She isn't going to bite you…that's my job if you do something mean."
"Danny," Sam leaned the side of her head against his, "I was joking, it'll be fine."
Ever so slowly Danny raised his hand, fine tremors running from fingertips and through his body. A single finger lowered to touch the baby's hand hesitantly, and when the child gripped his finger and bubbled out a happy laugh, it took all the strength in Sam's legs to brace herself, the baby, and Danny. He had once again jerked so violently that Sam felt sure they would tumble from the couch.
The movement did not go unnoticed as Maddie and Beth both were jostled, and turned with inquiring expressions to find Sam hunched over braced by her legs, Sarah happily laughing and waving a tiny hand with Danny's finger in her surprisingly strong grip, and Danny's front molded to Sam's back, his face buried in her shoulder.
"It's fine Danny," Sam was whispering as he tried to burrow further into her shoulder, "She's happy, you made her laugh. It's all okay…"
"Danny," Maddie had moved quickly, as had Jazz, hovering over him, not sure if she should touch him or not, "Look at her sweetheart, look how beautiful and happy she is."
"She isn't afraid at all, Danny," Jazz added, soothing him with words if not touch, "She's touching you because she wants to."
He nodded his head, still breathing heavily as the sound of Sarah's laughter washed over him, her tiny hand playing with his own, much larger finger.
"Is everything okay?" Beth's worried voice broke them all out of the moment, and many hurried reassurances were given. Maddie pulled her over to the side and gave her an extremely edited version of Danny's two year absence and how something horrible had happened and effected him greatly where children were concerned. Beth nodded, lost in her own thoughts, then looked back at the pair on the couch. Danny was hesitantly peeking over Sam's shoulder, touching her child with the lightest, gentlest of touches she'd ever seen.
"He's afraid," she realized, watching as Maddie sadly nodded, "I can't imagine what happened to him…"
"I can't either," Maddie admitted, then realized how closely the young mother was watching her child, "Let me go get Sarah for you, I'm sure you're uncomfortable with…"
"Oh no," she laid a hand on the older woman's arm, "Let them be. They aren't hurting her and Sarah is happy. Babies often see things for what they really are, and if she isn't afraid of Danny, then there's no reason for me to worry, is there?"
"No," Maddie smiled, "He's a wonderful boy. He loves children, and I think this is just what he needed. I'm sorry we startled you, but you see, we had no idea that he would react like that…"
"Danny," Sam's voice drifted over to them as they turned to watch the couple of the couch once again, "She likes you rubbing her hand like that. You're putting her to sleep."
"I think she likes you," Sam turned so that she was no longer supporting him, facing him fully with an armful of baby, "See? She smiles at you…"
"Yeah," a happy light sparked in his eye, and Maddie felt her heart leap, "Yeah…she's really pretty."
His hand, not trembling in the slightest, reached out and gently smoothed over her curls, and the baby reached up to catch his thumb and bring it to her mouth. He looked confused for a moment before he laughed, Sam joining in with a quite chuckle. Tucker let out a happy sigh…little Sarah was healing his friend's broken heart.
There are several theories behind the disappearance of the colony and it's people…
Beth was a frequent visitor with Sarah at her side, and two months found the baby happily playing with Danny on the living room floor. He treated her like porcelain, always slow and careful in his movements with the tiny child.
Maddie and Beth would talk on the couch while their children played on the floor, both laughing at the other and exchanging the curious gentle touches that are often inspired by a baby. Beth made it a conscious effort to bring Sarah for Danny to be around, realizing that her child was somehow healing the young man.
A shriek from her child had Beth rushing from the kitchen where she'd been sharing a cup of tea with Maddie, the other woman right behind her. Sam had been in the other room with Danny, sharing in his afternoon playtime.
Shouts were heard and an angry yell from Danny demanding that something, "Get the hell out of here and just leave us alone!"
Beth rounded the corner to find Sam cradling Sarah on the couch, shushing her gently and…Danny standing angrily over one of the many resident ghosts that she had come to know in her few months of residence. He was different somehow though, and it took a second for Beth to realize that his hair was white and his clothes were not his normal t-shirt and jeans. The young man was positively bristling with angry energy, green snapping out from him and around the room. The ghost cowered on the floor in front of him, saying he'd go straight back, never come back again, leave his haunt alone.
Sam shook her head as she saw Beth and Maddie enter, sighing and rolling her eyes as she stood and walked calmly back to Beth. The young mother shakily took her child, calming her almost instantly, and stood watching as Danny seemingly pulled a…a…
"Is that a scythe?" the blood had drained from her face, "Where did it come from?"
"Yes," Sam replied pulling what appeared to be a thermos out of her backpack, "that's a scythe. He pulled it from God knows where…I've never been able to figure that one out. He's being a bit dramatic, but when the stupid Box Ghost tried to grab Sarah, he got a little…um, irritated."
Sam walked over to Danny, who looked about ready to kill, and laid a hand on his shoulder, pushing him back gently and placing herself between him and the offending ghost, "C'mon, you stupid ghost, get in the thermos before he skins you."
"Beware," the ghost whispered in awe of the raging boy in front of him, before scooting himself into the thermos, not daring to complain.
"Really, Danny," Sam whirled on him, "that wasn't necessary was it? He wouldn't have hurt her, you know that."
"He…that ghost," the halfa raged, the startling blood red in his eyes fading to a sickly yellow before finally melting into a neon green color, "He…"
Danny was so angry he could hardly form a sentence, the weapon in his hand winking back out of existence as strangely as it had appeared. Sam folded her arms, crossly tapping her foot as he spent his full rage in her direction. She bore it semi-patiently, radiating her annoyance.
"It's fine," she started when he had finally stopped, only for his eyes to flash brighter as he marched towards her, an accusing finger aimed in her direction.
"It's not fine, and I'm sick of you saying that!" he stopped a hair's breadth from her, staring down at her even as she strained her neck to look up into his eyes. The glare between the two was heated, but neither was going to back down.
"Well, if you're so sick of it, then I'll stop," Sam ground out, unfolding her arms to ball her fists at her sides, "but you have no right to get angry at me, when I haven't done anything! Sarah's fine! She's not hurt, Danny…"
"She could have been," his anger was starting to deflate, but his attention was still focused on the young woman in front of him, "It would be so easy for a ghost…it was so easy to rip open a hole and throw them all to Pariah Dark! It would be so easy to hurt a person…a baby, even you Sam."
"I'm not afraid of you Danny Fenton. Fenton or Phantom, I've never truly been afraid of you," she slipped a hand up the side of his arm to rest against his cheek, "Now calm down…you've got an audience…"
"I'm sorry," he breathed out as twin blue rings appeared around his waist and traveled the length of his body, "I just…he tried to take her, and it was like looking at myself, watching as I condemned them…"
"Danny," Sam wrapped her arms around him as he sagged into her, holding her more tightly than he ever had before, "No one's blaming you. Sarah's fine, Beth saw that you weren't trying to hurt her. You were protecting us."
"What is going on?" Beth broke in, not able to stand it anymore, "That was that ghost…the box one. He's on the news all the time…and you…you're…"
"Danny Phantom," he answered calmly as he turned to her, "Danny Fenton too, but I guess you figured that one out…I'm uh, I gotta' go…"
"Danny," Sam tried to catch him but he disappeared from view before she got a chance, and she childishly stamped her foot, "Oh he is so dead meat when he comes back."
"So he's," Beth was shaken and Maddie gently guided her to sit on the couch, Sarah clinging to her shirt, not sure of the situation and aware that her mother was troubled, "Danny is…"
"Danny was in an accident our freshman year," Sam cut in, annoyed that he'd left her to explain, "He was electrocuted and somehow was turned into what the ghosts call a 'halfa'. He's half ghost, but still half human. He's been fighting the ghosts and protecting this town ever since. Tucker and I were there when it happened, Jazz found out a few months later, and then two and a half years ago he disappeared. He was forced into the service of an evil ghost and had to do horrible things."
"Those two years," Beth turned to Maddie, "You said you didn't really know what happened."
"I don't know," she admitted, "He's never told me everything. It's…he tries to deal with what happened by himself and he thinks it's his punishment for what he did…"
"I accidentally found him, and he managed to escape with me," Sam sat heavily beside Beth, relieved that she was taking it so well, "I saw what he did, and it was…bad, but he didn't have a choice. Danny is so gentle…"
Sam's voice broke at that, the few moments before flying through her mind. He had never spoken to her so harshly, never been so intimidating. Maddie immediately wrapped her in a hug, and Beth sat silently absorbing what had happened.
Danny had been furious that something had tried to harm Sarah. He'd been protecting her and Sam both, no matter how scary he had looked while doing it. She wasn't sure what she was feeling, but fear towards the boy was quickly ebbing in the face of all the things revealed about him. His life being a little more clear, Beth had a new respect for the Fenton family and all they had faced. She left when Sam did, wrapping the girl in a quick hug, and whispering into her hair that everything would be fine. She fought with her husband, Will, but they always made up.
Things would be fine.
…from the main theory of the people dispersing and being absorbed into the local Croatian or Hatteras, or even an Algonquian people…
Sam watched from the corner of her eye as Danny quietly closed his locker and shouldered his backpack, pulling the straps tight so it rested snuggly against his back. He hadn't really spoken to her all week, and she hadn't dared go to his house. She knew he wasn't upset with her, but something didn't feel right between them. Sam wasn't sure what to do.
His hand swiped through his hair, trying to push his messy bangs from his eyes, but failed as he always did. His unruly hair simply wouldn't be tamed, and Sam wished she could brush it back from his eyes. She shook her head harshly, trying to banish such a girly, wistful thought, but couldn't help admitting to herself how much she missed Danny's company.
Sam turned back to her locker, listening with half an ear to Tucker as he talked about the latest virus and how she'd have to check her computer and make sure it hadn't sneaked past her blocks and walls. It was mostly gibberish to her, but she didn't mind. Tucker was a comfort to her right then.
Grabbing the last of her books, she smiled at her friend as he held her books, waiting patiently for her to close her locker and load her backpack. She did so as quickly as she could, feeling bad that Tucker was being so attentive and she wasn't really paying attention to him.
"You okay, Sam?" he had asked her at least a thousand times that week, "I know, but it's a standard question…maybe you should just talk to him."
"I really don't think I should," Sam shook her head and readied herself for the rush of the hallway and after school activities.
"Hey Tuck," Danny's voice froze Sam in her tracks, "Um…hey Sam."
That shy tone brought her head around even though she told herself not to look at him. He'd been ignoring her, she should be upset and refuse to acknowledge him, 'Stupid body with a traitorous mind of it's own!'
"Hey Danny," Tucker smiled at him, unsure of what was going on. Danny hadn't talked to them in a week and Sam refused to say what was going on, "What's up?"
"Um, honestly," a hand shot to the back of his neck, rubbing in the same nervous habit that both his best friends recognized, "I wanted to um, ask Sam…"
He caught her eye and stuttered for a second, "Um, ask you, if you wanted to go out and catch a movie with me tomorrow night and eat at that new place you wanted to try…um, the Boom or whatever. If not, that's cool, I mean I haven't been the friendliest of people lately and I've been kinda' a jerk after I yelled and everything."
"I can't tomorrow," Sam fought to keep the grin off her face, then gave up all pretenses of trying to be cute as his face fell, "but only because I promised Mom and Dad I'd eat at home tomorrow night. I'd love to tonight, if that's alright?"
"That's fine," Danny nodded, still looking a little flabbergasted at his good luck that she had agreed, "I mean, it's totally up to you."
"Wow, Danny finally works up the nerve to ask you out and you both act like nervous little middle schoolers," Tucker shook his head in mock horror, "I saw you two sucking face a few weeks ago, for crying out loud."
"Shut it Tuck," Sam shot back, grabbing one last book from him, "Wanna' go eat now?"
"I'd love to," Danny pulled the book from her hand and held it in his left, offering his right hand to her, "Shall we?"
"What about me?" Tucker watched as the pair walked away hand in hand.
"Go as Val," Danny winked at him before he turned a corner, Sam laughing at his side.
The meal was delicious as they offered several vegetarian friendly meals for Sam and rightfully boasted the best burgers that Amity Park had ever tasted. The pair couldn't have been more satisfied, and Danny caught her for a sweet kiss as they left the restaurant, "Thank you."
"For what?" she turned to him, a curious smile playing in her eyes.
"For saying yes," he pulled her closer to him and walked along towards the movie theater, "I was kinda' worried that you would be mad at me."
"Well, I wasn't mad at you until I realized that you weren't talking to me," Sam chided gently, playfully bumping her hip against his, "Then I started to feel unwanted."
"No," Danny stopped them and looked down at her with a hard, meaningful gaze, "You're definitely not unwanted. You're very wanted…"
He dipped down for another kiss and Sam had to remind herself to breath. He'd never kissed her so openly in public before, and a few cat calls from classmates that happened to be in the area had Sam blushing and gently pushing him away. They shared a laugh and continued on their way, talking about their week and what had happened.
Danny tried to apologize, but Sam wouldn't let him. The movie played and they only halfway watched the plot unravel, not really interested in the story. They were more focused on the person beside them.
"Did you like it?" Danny asked as they walked along the brick wall of the theater, "It wasn't my type of movie, but it was okay."
"It was alright, but it wasn't really my sort of movie either," Sam shrugged, then pulled Danny towards the park, "Why did you run away? Beth was really confused and I don't think I explained it all that well."
"I just," he shook his head and dragged them both down to lie on a hill and stargaze while they spoke, "I wanted out. I hate feeling trapped, and I did. I just wanted to cool off. I was mad at the box ghost, mad at myself for letting him get so close, mad at you for trying to calm me down…and I didn't like yelling at you."
"I didn't like yelling at you either, but it seemed to help you," Sam let her eyes lazily trace shapes in the stars, "You have to let it out sometimes, Danny, or it will kill you."
"I know," he whispered to the night in general, "I was scared."
"I wasn't," Sam turned and tugged on a wisp of his hair, "You've never let anything happen to me before, and it was just the Box Ghost. He didn't stand a chance…and Sarah was fine."
"Is Beth angry?" he turned away, only to find his head jerked back by his hair again, "Ow."
"Sorry, but you keep looking away," Sam frowned, "She wasn't angry, just a little shocked and confused. It would probably help if you talked to her, but she probably isn't angry at you."
They lie in silence for a while, enjoying the evening air and the stars. Eventually Danny noticed the dew starting to form on the grass beside him and gave a slight shiver at the coolness around them. He huddled closer to Sam and drew her up against him, sharing his warmth. Sam turned into him, glad that they were finally talking again.
"You know this was a date, right?" Danny chuckled as soon as he had said it, hoping that the dark would hide his blush.
"I know," Sam smiled and leaned up to give him a kiss, "and it was a wonderful date. Thank you."
"My pleasure," Danny rubbed his nose against hers, making Sam laugh and try to wriggle away from him. He caught her easily and slid into being Phantom, pulling her up into the air to lay on his chest as he hovered over Amity. Floating above the city, Sam found herself feeling as though she were in a dream.
Eventually, Sam found herself right outside her own window, and Danny had her upright and inside in seconds. She barely had time to register the sweet good night kiss before Danny brush a few stray strands of hair from her face and leaned to whisper in her ear.
"You know what Sam?"
"What Danny?" she whispered back, willing to play whatever game he wanted, "Is it a secret?"
"Not really," he shook his head and brought both hands to hold her face, placing another gentle kiss on her lips, "I love you."
"Oh," Sam pulled back slightly from him, a shy smile growing on her face as a grin split her halfa's, "I love you too."
"See?" Danny smiled as he leaned in for another kiss, already halfway through her wall to leave, "Not a secret at all."
"No, it isn't," she smiled, watching him fly away through her window, "Thank God it isn't."
…to American anthropologist Lee Miller's belief that the colony was sabotaged by Francis Walsinham…
"Maddie, it's Beth!" the young woman eased the door open, ready for another visit with the older woman who was quickly becoming a fast friend, "I know I haven't dropped by in a while and if you're busy…"
"She's not here," Danny's voice startled her slightly, and the tiny jostle of her turning around had Sarah awake and fussing her discomfort, "Sorry…I didn't mean to scare you or anything."
"No, it's fine Danny," she watched the boy shy away, and realized she hadn't seen him since the incident with the ghost a week ago, "I just wasn't expecting you to be behind me."
"I just got back from…uh, well a ghost was up to something and…," he sighed heavily, shaking his head. He looked awfully adorable in that moment Beth decided, "Anyways, Mom and Dad are out of town visiting my Mom's side of the family. They got a call last night and packed up this morning. They'll be back in a couple of days I'm sure."
"Oh," she moved so he could get inside his home, watching as he eased himself by her, not making any fast movements or anything that might be considered threatening, "Is everything alright?"
"Probably. I have no idea why they went, but they weren't worried about anything," Danny smiled, nodding towards the kitchen, "Do you want something to drink?"
"That would be nice," Beth stepped forward and followed him to the kitchen, "How was school today?"
"Oh, um, good I guess," he pulled down a couple of glasses, "What do you want to drink? We have some more lemonade somewhere…"
"Water's fine for now actually," Beth smiled and watched the young man move around the kitchen, getting ice and filling the glasses. He was tall and lithe, and now that she knew who he was she understood how he was so graceful. She'd asked Maddie if he was in sports, and when she'd answered that her son was far too clumsy for sports, Beth was puzzled. He had a very different grace, that seemed more practiced than natural. Being a fighter, she figured, probably had forced that grace on him.
Sarah gurgled happily when Danny finally passed her line of sight, and he cut a look to Beth before placing the glasses on the table and bending down to run a finger over Sarah's nose. The young man played for a while, then sat at the table, taking a light sip of water and keeping his gaze on the tabletop.
"Danny," Beth laid a hand on his arm, "Thank you for what you did last week. You protected Sarah, and that means the world to me."
"You're welcome," Danny met her eyes, far more fearful of her judgment than she was of him, "I'm sorry that you just found out like that…and for just leaving. Sam was mad at me for that one. You won't tell anyone, will you?"
"I told my husband," she answered honestly, and caught his eyes as he looked nervously away, "but I haven't breathed a word to anyone else. I'm not going to betray you…you saved my little Sarah, and I don't think I'll ever be able to say thank you enough for that."
"You really don't have to thank me," he shook his head and took another sip, "Look, Mrs. Joneston…"
"Beth, please," she stated sternly, "I've never minded you calling me Beth, so don't change that now."
"Right, um, Beth," he started nervously tapping on the table, "I did some…really awful things while I was gone for those two years. The whole story is a bit long, but basically I would drag whole cities into the ghost zone…the dimension where the ghosts live and come from. It was men, women, and children, and when they got there…they were there for eternity until their master was gone."
"So they're still there?" Beth asked sadly.
"No, Pariah Dark was defeated twice," Danny frowned, "Once by the ancient ghosts, which set all his slaves that I helped gather free. The second time he pulled Amity into the ghost zone. I bet him that time."
"Maddie told me the story, or at least what she knew," Beth nodded, "Sam filled in a lot of the blanks. You've done some amazing things for this city."
"It's just what's right," Danny shrugged, as if the weight of his responsibility wasn't as pressing as Beth figured it truly was, "I can't stand for people to be hurt…especially after what I had to do."
"I know," Beth smiled, then pulled Sarah from her carrier, "Now, this little one has missed you, so you better kiss and make up."
The smile that split Danny's face was forever etched in Beth's memory. She was so thankful that she had met such an amazing young man, and even more thankful that he was watching over her family. Beth saw both the child and the man in the boy before her, and couldn't help but smile as he played with her child. Living in Amity Park promised to be an amazing experience, made even more so by one Danny Fenton, the protector of the town and normal, next door neighbor all wrapped into one.
Out of all the theories, the one most speculated upon and ridiculed is the theory of alien involvement, with numerous believers that it's location near the famed Bermuda Triangle had a disastrous consequence for it's people…
'Man I haven't been by here in a long time,' Valerie found herself looking up at the glowing Fenton Work's sign from the sidewalk, debating on whether or not she should head home or knock on the halfa's door, 'I probably shouldn't bother them…'
She turned to find Tucker and Sam walking up to her, warmly wrapped in coats, scarves, gloves, and hats to keep out the cold air from the sudden cold snap they were experiencing. Tucker was grinning as he quickened his pace and met her before Sam could, "What're you doing out here in the cold?"
"I was debating on whether or not I should bother them," Valerie admitted, looking back towards the house, "I haven't really talked to Danny since that time in the park, and when the three of us get to hang out, Danny always seems to be busy."
"Hero stuff," Sam rolled her eyes, and caught Valerie's arm pulling her along to the front door where Sam pushed the doorbell and waited impatiently, "but then again, when isn't he playing hero? Clueless boy…"
"Um, hi," Danny answered the door with sparkling eyes and leaned in to peck Sam on the lips, "What's with the doorbell?"
"I brought a surprise," Sam leaned her head towards Valerie, raising her eyebrow as Tucker leaned on the both of them, pouting at being left out, "Okay, two surprises."
"Well come on in," he backed away, pulling Sam in and Valerie and Tucker along with her, "Beth and Sarah are here, and Jazz is having a blast talking sociology with her. Apparently that's what Beth majored in."
"Beth?" Valerie turned to Tucker, "Who's Beth?"
"Beth is the new neighbor, and Sarah is her six month old," Tucker explained, shedding his winter clothing along with Sam. Danny had already disappeared into the living room and could be heard making strange airplane noises, "Danny is absolutely in love with Sarah."
"I got told 'I love you,' the other day for the first time, but I still can't get more than a hi when Sarah is around," Sam led the way into the den where Danny had Sarah propped up in the air, her belly to his feet. He lay on his back, holding Sarah's hand as he pushed her up with his legs, then lowered her back down gently, making funny noises, "See?"
"Oh," Danny, took Sarah off his feet, and propped her up in the nook his folded legs made as he sat up, "Valerie, this is Beth Joneston. Beth this is one of my friends, Valerie Gray."
"Nice to meet you," Beth smiled, and Valerie returned it, with a quick, "You too."
Tucker settled himself on the floor next to Sam who was leafing through one of her books and Valerie found herself looking into very dark brown eyes, "This is Sarah. She's six months old and cute as a button."
"I see that," Valerie caught one of the little hands waving in front of her, "Hi, Sarah."
A coo and a little spit answered her, and Valerie laughed as she watched Danny start playing with her again. Tucker laughed at something and Sam rolled her eyes as she flipped a page. Valerie was about to move, when Danny caught her attention.
"So, what's up?" he pulled Sarah up a bit, frowning when she overbalanced, then smiling as she caught on, "I haven't seen you in a long time. It's a little hectic at times."
"No lie," Valerie smiled, "though I haven't had much work to do in the way of…you know."
"Ghosts?" Danny laughed, then shot a look at Jazz and Beth on the couch, "Everybody here knows…we had a bit of a mishap one night and she found out."
"I see," Valerie frowned, "I thought the rumors around school was that you were afraid of kids or something."
"Terrified," Danny answered, looking her straight in the eyes, "I could kill a kid before you could blink, heck, I could probably kill you without breaking a sweat Valerie. That scares me to death that I have that much power."
Valerie nodded as she took in his words. It hadn't been a threat, just the truth, and displayed just how he felt and how strange his life had become, "So Sarah was different?"
"Nope," Danny chuckled, "She just happened to be the baby that Sam was holding when she convinced me to try…and she helped. Jazz says Sarah healed my heart."
"You don't think so?"
"I think she healed my soul," the halfa lovingly ran a finger down the baby's arm, causing the baby to coo and grab for his finger. His eyes scanned the room, then he turned to smile at Valerie…that wicked little smile that came from when Danny Phantom was up to mischief.
"What?" she asked, irritated that he was casting that smirk her way, "Why are you looking at me like that?"
"Did you know that Tucker was looking at you?" Danny winked and tried to stifle his laughter as Valerie blushed slightly, "So you didn't know?"
"He probably just looked up," Valerie squeaked, then cleared her throat, "Besides, what do I care."
"I bet you care a lot," Danny laughed, then stood and whirled Sarah around, much to Beth's dismay.
"Really, Danny," she stood and snagged her child from his arms, "You're going to make her sick, she didn't eat that long ago, and I'm not going to clean her up again. This time it'll be your turn."
"Okay, okay," he shied away, acting hurt though he was smiling, "Anyways, he was looking Val."
"Who was looking?" Tucker's voice came first, with a slight edge, "At Valerie?"
"Yep," Danny laughed, "Probably the same way that I look at Sam sometimes…it was kinda'…what's the word Sam?"
"You're not funny Danny," Sam frowned, "Honestly."
"Oh yeah," Danny grinned and moved to sit beside Sam, "The word is cute!"
"I say cute one time, and now I never get to live it down," she grumbled, even as he pulled her into a one armed hug, "So who was looking at Valerie?"
"Oh this guy," he laughed, enjoying the teasing as Valerie scowled at him, "I think he's sweet on her."
"Who even says that anymore?" Val snapped, then turned to Tucker, with a huff, "Anyways, what were you two doing out this late? I was just on patrol and found myself here."
"We came over to see if we could drag Danny away from the baby to have a movie night," Tucker answered, studiously ignoring the whispered conversation between Danny and Sam that had Sam glancing between himself and Valerie, "Wanna' join?"
"Yeah, you should," Sam added in, "Danny said he wouldn't mind, and that he had a new movie off the net on his computer. If we push the bed back there should be plenty of room for all of us to sit on the floor. The bed isn't that hard to move either."
"Oh, and you'd know that because you've moved it, Sam?" Tucker teased, but quickly found himself face down as Danny wrestled him into a headlock, "Alright, I'm sorry Sam! I know you and Danny wouldn't do that…"
"I suppose it is getting late," Beth sighed and stood, "We'll be heading home."
Goodbyes were passed around and Danny was sickeningly cute with Sarah once again. Jazz retired to her room for the night and the four teens headed upstairs to Danny's room. The bed was moved, quick snacks were fixed and brought upstairs, and the movie was started. Danny, Sam, Valerie, and Tucker had an enjoyable night and went home feeling a little closer.
Danny felt like he was back to where he was supposed to be. Back with friends and family. Back with loved ones. Back home, and it truly felt good.
In all, modern society may never truly know what happened to the colony of Roanoke Island, though theories and beliefs are widespread and greatly celebrated for their possibility. From Native American involvement to aliens, the wide range of ideas holds a certain amount of mystique and draw for the average person. With so many ghosts in our everyday lives, who's to say that another theory may not be added to the list?
"So, it's just you and me for a while tonight," Danny opened the door and helped Sam shrug out of her coat, "Jazz had some hot date, Mom and Dad went to some ghost convention tonight, and Beth said Will was actually going to be home for dinner tonight."
"I'll bet she was happy," Sam pulled her boots off, and enjoyed the warmth that seeped into her feet from the floor, "but that means no Sarah for you tonight."
"Oh, I'll manage," Danny laughed then pulled her around to him, "Besides, I have a beautiful woman to keep me company."
Sam laughed, and tried to back away but Danny had her tightly held in his arms. A gentle kiss stilled her and had her melting into the young man in front of her. A few more kisses had Sam with her back to the wall and Danny splitting his attention between running a hand through her short hair, kissing her senseless, and his other hand gently running over the exposed skin of her stomach.
"Sam?" Danny pulled back, placing a light kiss on her temple, "You know I love you, right?"
"Yes," she answered slightly confused, "I love you too."
"I just…don't feel like I tell you often enough," he leaned down to press a kiss to chin, then another to her neck, and then another.
"You tell me, but I'll never get tired of it," Sam responded in kind, running a hand through his short hair, then bringing one to the edge of his shirt and slipping under to run up his chest. His muscles shifted in response to her gentle touch, and Sam felt she'd never get enough of touching his skin.
Danny was apparently having the same thought as the hand that had been playing on her stomach gently started up, running over her ribs and settling just below her breasts. Danny wasn't shy, but he was a gentleman. Any inclination that Sam was uncomfortable and he'd stop in a heartbeat. He was just about to slid his hand up further when the phone shocked them both from their euphoria.
Sam laughed a little and quickly withdrew her hand, as Danny did the same and rushed for the phone. She noticed she was shaking a little as she fixed her mussed hair and wrinkled shirt, and was pleased to see a tiny tremor moving the phone as Danny held it to his ear. She wasn't the only one so deeply effected.
"H-hello?" Danny cleared his throat, realizing how strange his voice sounded and ran a hand through his own messed up hair.
"Danny?" Beth's voice crackled across the line, "Are you alright, you sound a little out of breath?"
"Oh, hi Beth," Danny laughed, glancing at Sam and noticing how well-loved she looked with rosy cheeks, messy hair, and freshly kissed lips, "I'm fine, I just uh…"
He cleared his throat again and firmly resolved not to look at Sam while on the phone, "Sam's over and uh…"
"I see," Beth's voice was slightly teasing, "but I trust you're both behaving?"
"Yes ma'am," Danny sheepishly answered, even though they hadn't been behaving at all, and as soon as the phone call was over, he planned on misbehaving all over again.
"Well, that's good. You're mom isn't home is she?"
"No, she and Dad went to a convention tonight," he frowned, and Sam walked over to him to lean against his side, "Jazz is out too on a date or something."
"Ah, I was hoping she was home. Sarah's been crying for a while now and I just can't get her to settle down," she was clearly a little frazzled by this and if Danny listened close enough he could hear Sarah's cries in the background and a man's voice gently hushing her.
"Um, I don't know if it'd make that much of a difference," Danny swallowed, "but I could come over if you want and try some stuff…sometimes I can get her to laugh with…"
"Would you?" Beth sounded so hopeful, and Danny nearly rolled his eyes. He knew how nerve-wracking a baby crying could be, "Even if it doesn't get her to stop, Will and I could take a break for a moment."
"No problem, I'll be right over," Danny smiled into the phone, and looked down at Sam, "Mind if I bring Sam?"
"The more the merrier," Beth replied, "See you in a moment."
"Right, bye," and Danny hung up the phone and grabbed Sam, "Ready to go?"
"Go?" Sam raised an eyebrow, "Can I get my coat first?"
"Nah," he laughed, and phased them through the wall, "You don't need it when you're intangible…"
The landed in the living room of Beth's house and looked around for a moment, before Danny hesitantly called for her. The answer came from upstairs and they followed the baby's cries to the hallway where Beth sat propped up against the wall, phone in hand and a man, supposedly Will, walked the crying Sarah, singing to her as he went.
"We're here," Danny smiled and leant a hand to Beth to pull her up, "That's the infamous Will huh?"
"The one and only," Beth smiled tiredly, "You got here fast…"
"One of the perks of being me," Danny laughed and watched as Sam walked over to Will, "One of the perks of being my girlfriend too I guess."
"Probably," Sam smiled at him, "Hi, I'm Sam, and I think you're Will?"
"You got it," the man smiled, and hesitantly relinquished the crying baby to her, "So, Sam huh? Are you the miracle worker?"
"Nope," Sam rolled her eyes, "Just the delivery girl."
"No, you hold her for me," Danny shook his head, "I want to try something…"
"Alright," and Sam sat down facing Danny holding the wailing Sarah so she faced Danny as well, "but you better hurry it up, she isn't happy with me."
"Right," he smiled, and held out his hands focusing on the energy flowing through him. The green spiraled out, cold as ever, and Danny focused as he started to bend it as he wished. The bright color drew Sarah's gaze immediately and the baby's crying started slowing as the wispy energy danced in front of her. Hiccups soon followed, but so entranced was she by Danny's ethereal images, her crying stopped altogether and a tiny coo sounded.
"Wow," Will breathed, amazed at what he was witnessing, "I didn't really think…"
"I told you," Sarah smirked, happy that she was in the right and her husband was corrected in his line of thinking, "Amazing guy, isn't he?"
"You can say that again," Sam was just as entranced as the other three, "When did you learn to do that?"
"Right now," Danny shrugged as he made a tiny heart and winked at Sam, "I think this has potential…"
"And I think you're flirting," she shot back, and glanced down at Sarah, "but it definitely worked."
A half hour later, Sarah was asleep in Sam's arms and Danny had ended his lightshow in the hall. Will had a thousand questions, but Beth curbed the inquisition, claiming it to be too late and that the pair needed to get back to their personal time. Danny had grinned and Sam had blushed, but both agreed that it was time to leave.
"Thank you again," Beth saw them to the door as Will lay Sarah down for the night, "I owe you big time."
Danny just grinned roguishly, "Well…next time that you think I sound out of breath…"
"Danny!" Sam hit him on the arm and Beth laughed and suddenly they were gone, only she knew they weren't as Sam continued to be upset, "You are a jerk."
"But you love me," the voices drifted to the quietly laughing Beth.
"Yes, but that doesn't mean I have to kiss you and is you think that mph-"
'Oh young love,' Beth laughed to herself, 'That must have been one heck of a kiss to get her to be quiet…'
And indeed, it was.
Perhaps it is not so far fetched to believe in otherworldly involvement, though many may ridicule the idea as surely as they do aliens. The truth behind the matter will never be found though, and surely the speculation will continue. Not knowing Roanoke's fate, will forever be a part of what makes up the many mysteries of our world.
"So, ready for this month?"
"Not really," Danny shook his head as he adjusted his tie using the mirror in his room. Valerie and Sam had taken possession of the bathroom for last minute touches and Tucker and Danny had taken refuge in his room to dress, "I mean, we have senior Prom today, then the senior banquet, senior skip day, senior finals, senior game day, graduation, and then project graduation that night. This is going to be the worst month ever."
"It's not going to be that bad man," Tucker patted his back, buttoning the cuffs of his shirt, "Besides, after this, school is over."
"Yeah, but all you guys are going away after this summer," he heaved a sigh as he shrugged on his jacket.
"I happen to know that Sam is staying here and attending Amity U, and I got into Perksville. That's only thirty minutes up the road. Val got into Perks too, you know," Tucker smiled, "I think I got a chance with her."
"You know you do," Danny rolled his eyes, "You two are worse than me and Sam. You're going to tell her tonight right? Ask her out or something?"
"Yep, definitely," Tucker nodded as he donned his jacket as well, "It could possibly be the worst mistake of my life…"
"Or the best," Sam's voice teased through the door, "You never know until you try."
"You're way too cheerful for your own good," Danny opened the door, and took in the sight of Sam all dressed up for the night, "Wow…Sam. You look…wow."
"Thank you," Sam smiled as Tucker slipped a kiss on her cheek and then swept past her. They listened for a second and then smiled as they heard Tucker and Valerie.
"Yeah, kinda' clean up nice, don't I?"
"You know, you can just call me T.F. for too fine, and I'll just call you V.G. for Venus-like goddess."
"Tucker, you flatter me, but I'm not buying it…"
"I'd buy it…"
Danny and Sam both chuckled, and he pulled her into his room for a quick kiss, "You're beautiful. You're going to be the envy of the prom and I am the luckiest guy alive."
"Now you're the flatterer," Sam rolled her eyes and ducked another kiss, "Ready to go?"
"Not really," he pouted and then pinned her against the door, "I don't really want to have to share you with everyone and I don't think I'll be able to stand all those guys looking at you."
"Well deal with it," Sam laughed, "because I put up with all those girls looking at you all the time."
"Have I told you I love you today?"
"Several times, but I won't say no to you saying it again," Sam teased as she received another kiss.
"Well, I love you," Danny pulled back and pulled her hand up for a kiss, "And I wanted to tell you something, and it's really important and you can't laugh until I'm done."
The laugh was already playing on her face, but it died away when he pulled out a tiny box from his pocket.
"Danny, you," she nervously looked at the box, then up to his face, "We're awfully young, and it would be a long engagement, I mean…I want to finish school first…and…"
"Sam," he smiled and gave a little chuckled, opening the box to reveal a silver ring with a heart made from the folded silver band itself, "It's just a promise ring. I know we're kinda' young…but I don't want to ever give you up, so I figured this was a good compromise. It's not exactly what you were thinking, huh?"
"A promise ring," Sam gently touched the ring then turned smiling eyes to the suddenly nervous Danny, "I'd love to wear it."
"Good," he slipped it over her ring finger, "I was hoping you'd say that, 'cause I definitely would love to see you wear it…and then another ring after that with maybe a diamond…and then maybe a regular gold band…if you want."
"I'd love that, Danny," she leaned into him, his arms coming around her and holding her, "I'll never take it off."
"Never is a very long time Sam," he tilted her chin up and kissed her gently.
"Good, a very long time is just how long I think we should be together," she laughed gently as she felt the door move behind her.
"The limo's here!"
"We're coming Tuck," Danny laughed and snuck in one last kiss, "Come on, let's go make everybody really jealous and act all mushy. I'll say I love you a lot and kiss you senseless and then you can be all, 'Oh, I love you Danny!' and we'll confess our undying love and make out and somebody can call a priest…"
"Let's just go to prom," Sam held her hand over his mouth to stop his rambling, then opened the door and led him out, "We'll figure everything else out when we get there."
"I like that plan best Sam," Danny laughed as they ran down the stairs to catch up to their friends and enjoy life.
And enjoy life they did, for a very long time after that, whether in the present, the past, or the future. Running or walking through life and learning the ins and outs of their world and one another, time passed and Time continued, forever swirling around the happy pair and pulling them in for more adventure in their life than they were ready for. Even little Sarah found life to be an ever changing swirl of Time with Danny and Sam in her life, but that of course, is another story.