First things first, I'd like to apologize for how long it took me to get this out. Nearly two months, a sad but somehow unavoidable fact. I knew what I wanted to do with this, I just wasn't sure how to go about it since it doesn't have the same overtly sexual tone as the other five. This piece is (and was always intended) to wrap up the smutty oneshots; not to be an addition.
So forgive me if it's not like the others. Think of it as a happy beginning.
The Rest of Our Lives
Graduation dawned in sunshine and cheerful expectancy for four nearly former Casper High students. For one there was the excitement of graduating early, of heading into the world secure in the knowledge that she was well loved and wanted. For another there was the weight of a diamond ring in his pocket and the fervent wish to hear a jubilant yes when the question was asked.
And for two others was the contentment that plans that had been months in the making were about to reach culmination.
When Danny woke up early that morning, it was first with a frown; he had woken up alone. It was an unusual thing for him to wake up alone since Spring Break. He'd taken to spending his nights with Sam, whether making love to her or just holding her. Either way he was content. But this morning he woke at the customary time, just before sunrise, to find that he didn't have to wake up, to give Sam a hurried yes leisurely kiss, and dart back home before someone found him missing or her parents had found him in her bed.
Not that that was likely to happen; she had moved into her apartment the day she turned eighteen and been granted her inheritance. The day after, she had moved into her brand new town home. Their town home, she liked to correct him. Even if she had paid for it, she'd put his name on the paperwork. Payback, she called it, for all the times he'd been able to foist responsibility onto her. Now he was responsible for it, too. And soon, very soon, he was going to be responsible for her in every way that mattered.
Danny didn't try to go back to sleep. Instead he yawned once, and crawled out of bed to stretch and then maneuver his way around the boxes the remainder of his possession were packed away in and drop into his computer chair. Despite having already moved most of his things to Sam's house—their house, he corrected himself with a wide grin—Danny hadn't gotten it all yet, and definitely not his computer. Definitely not that, because he had something very special saved on it, something he'd been working on for weeks, something that Sam couldn't know about until this afternoon.
He booted the computer and opened a file. It was deceptively labeled. Anyone who first looked at it would think that it was an old English paper on some boring topic that had made Danny nearly pass out when he had written it. In reality it was something that he held very dear to his heart. The things he would say to Sam when she became his wife.
Nearly done, but not quite, and he rubbed the back of his neck wondering how he could finish it, say what was most in his heart, without making it sound to corny and clichéd. He knew Sam wouldn't care, no matter what he wrote, what he said. But he cared. He wanted it to be… not perfect. But as close to it as he could make it. His eyes skimmed the text as he mentally recited it along.
I, Daniel Andrew Fenton, take you, Samantha Elizabeth Manson, to have and to hold for the rest of my days, as my life partner, my one true love, my best friend, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health, in joys and in sorrow. I will…
"…cherish out union and love you more each day than I did the day before." His voice was quiet and steady as he closed his eyes, whispering the things he had tried so hard to put into words, the way he felt about her, the promises he would keep. "I will trust you and respect you, laugh with you and cry with you, loving you faithfully through good times and bad, regardless of the obstacles we may face together."
He sighed, his blue eyes opening once more as he stared at the blinking cursor on the screen. Still not finished, and it had to be soon. The sun was well risen now, it was after seven, nearly eight, and he would leave for graduation at nine. Commencement was scheduled for ten, and he was meeting Sam at one. There was no time to waste, and yet he couldn't think of anything that would tell her exactly how he felt about her, about them, about binding himself to her for the rest of their lives.
"Oh, Sam," he whispered and ran a hand through his hair. He breathed in once, twice, and began to type slowly.
I give you my hand, and he stopped, thinking for a moment. The train of thought that nearly derailed suddenly charged forward, and Danny's fingers were swift as the words appeared on the screen. …my heart, my life, and my love, from this day forward as long as we both shall live.
Another pause, and he typed three final words. And forever after.
"You know you don't have to wear a full suit for this, right?" His mother was watching him as he straightened the dark blue tie he had carefully tied around his neck without complaint, and then slipped the black jacket on, buttoning it and wondering if he should have seen about getting a different tie.
But this one was his favorite, not that he'd admit it. He liked the way it looked against the crisp white shirt, the way the black of the jack made it seem all the more blue. And no, he was never admitting any of that. Not even to Sam, or she'd try to get him to dress nicely more often than she already tried to. All those insipid excuses about looking good for dinner with her parents… He sighed on that thought. He could understand her sudden want to appease them to an extent. And besides, she'd made Tucker wear a suit, too.
"I know, Mom," he said as he shrugged his scarlet robe on and zipped it up, raising an eyebrow as he realized that it covered everything but the bottoms of is black pants and the black leather of his shoes. She'd never know until it was time. He smiled at the thought. "It's not for graduation. It's for after."
He caught the raised eyebrow she gave him and he leaned over and hugged her. "Don't worry, Mom. I just want to look good today. It only happens once."
"And the boxes, Danny?" she asked as he pulled away. "I don't like to admit, you're so grown up, but the boxes?"
He gave her an almost sad smile. "We all have to leave sometime. But it's not like I'm going far away."
"Right," she said halfheartedly as he looped an arm around his mother and started dragging her down the stairs. "You're only going to college, and it's not that far away."
Danny chose not to say anything. Better that she think he was moving to the dorms early. Better than having to put up with his family interrogating him over Sam, and him, and their relationship. It wasn't up for examination, and he wasn't sharing today with anyone but her. They were planning on having an actual ceremony alter on, anyway.
"Come on, Mom, we're going to be late."
Graduation had been long, boring, and not entertaining in the least. He'd been forced to sit far away from Sam, had crossed the stage ahead of her, and hadn't even been able to razz Tucker about his plans to propose to Sara that evening once they were official Casper High Alumni. He wanted so badly to tell Tucker that it wasn't as hard as he thought. After all, Danny had managed it, and Sam had said yes.
And everyone knew that Sara loved Tucker, even Tucker himself. He was just getting worked up.
Even after the ceremony Danny hadn't been able to get near Sam before she disappeared. They'd decided to leave separately, so no one could wonder where they were going, what they were doing. it was their business, no one else's right now. Danny's eyes slid to the watch he was wearing and he sighed. He had less than ten minutes before he had to leave. He really wanted to leave now.
The small black box in his pocket felt like it was burning a hole through the fabric, and he was glad that it had made it in before his mother had seen it and asked him. There was no way he could have gracefully gotten out of letting her look inside, and he didn't want to even think of how to explain the slim gold bands inside. White gold, a concession to Sam's favored silver tone in jewelry. Not that he was all that particular.
She didn't even know he'd gotten rings. When they'd talked about it, she had said they didn't need them yet. He'd told her flat out not to buy anything. He'd asked her, he was getting the rings. Not an engagement ring, and she'd told him forcefully that she didn't want one. The look on her face when he'd smiled smugly and said he already knew.
But he figured there was no harm in making the bands a two in one deal. Danny's was plain, nothing but smooth metal and the date engraved inside. Sam's, however, wasn't the same. More slim and slender, more appropriate for her delicate fingers, but set in the center of the top, directly opposite the engraved date on the inside, was a single diamond. Not large, no, but it was there, and it was flawless.
If Sam complained she'd have to put up with his puppy dog look. He'd wanted that ring for her since he'd seen it when Tucker was shopping for Sara's ring. He wanted to see it on Sam's hand, and to know he'd put it there, and that it was a symbol of the fact she was his, and he was hers.
And he had no intentions of being like almost every married man he saw. He was going to wear his ring. He was going to wear it proudly, the badge of the fact that Sam Manson—Sam Fenton, he thought with a dazed smile—was his wife.
And it would be a reminder to Tucker that Danny didn't need to be prodded along by his comments and his PDA. He was perfectly capable of acting on his own.
His break came when Tucker began looking at his watch, only minutes after Danny had checked his own. "Danny, the first party starts in half an hour. We going?"
Danny gave a noncommittal shrug, and the hugs and kisses between himself and his family went swiftly as he pretended he wanted to go part with his friends. But when he got Tucker alone, well before Sara was away from her family, he pulled him into a shadow.
"Tuck, cover for me, okay?" he asked quickly. "I have to go do something, it's really important. If anyone asks, I'm making the rounds. All night."
"Is everything okay, Danny?" Tucker asked, eyes concerned behind his glasses.
Danny gave him a brilliant smile. "Better than fine. I swear. And Tuck? She's going to say yes, so don't be too worried, okay?"
The best he could do, and he enjoyed Tucker's flushed face as he transformed to Phantom and willing himself invisible, flying up and over the town until the slate gray of the courthouse came into view. There were people in front of it, and when he landed he ducked behind a bush to change back to his human form, shrugging off the red graduation robe and tucking it around the cap before stepping out to look for Sam.
As he headed to the courthouse and paused at the steps, he frowned. There were people, lots of them, but no one wearing anything that belonged in Sam's wardrobe. And then he caught sight of a flash of bright red flapping across someone's shoulder, and he blinked. Dark hair done up, just as he'd seen Sam's beneath the cap she'd worn. And a white dress that fell to her knees, skimmed across her shoulders in gossamer cap sleeves.
He smiled as he went to her, dropping a kiss to her shoulder to make her turn around in surprise, then smile as she wrapped arms around his neck. "You scared me," she murmured as she pulled back and ran her fingers down the lapel of his jacket. "And you clean up real nice, Danny."
He grinned crookedly as he skimmed a hand down her side to hold her at her waist. "I thought you said you wouldn't wear white."
She leaned up on her toes and pressed a kiss to his cheek before smiling up at him. "For this, I can make an exception. After all, it's tradition."
"I didn't think I'd be this nervous," Danny whispered as he stood on the stoop of his parents' house. Not his anymore, he'd come and collected the last of his belongings during the night while Sam was recuperating from his attentions. She'd insisted on at least a half hour to relax after dinner. Something about time to digest, even if he thought she just wanted to catch up on the sleep that had been in short order in the weeks before.
"You don't have to be," she murmured against his shoulder as he looped his arm around her. "We don't have to say anything about it today."
He frowned. "I know we don't, and I don't want to. I know Sara had to say yes, so that makes today hers and Tucker's. But I'm not walking in there and pretending that you're just my friend."
"Danny," Sam started, but he cut her off with a kiss.
"You're my wife, Sam," he said softly, "and if I can't scream it to the world, I'm going to at least walk in there and make sure everyone knows that you're mine."
She snorted and rolled her eyes. "I was going to say that I don't want to walk in there and pretend there's nothing between us. You're too impatient, you know that?"
He gave her a sheepish grin. "Yeah. Sometimes. Are you ready?"
She nodded and Danny reached a hand, surprised at how steady it was, to turn the knob of the door and open it. Music, the smell of food, laughter and talking. It was a heady rush and he smiled at the sudden near-silence when he walked in, Sam firmly tucked against him, his arm around her shoulders, her arm around his waist, and their left hands carefully hidden from view.
It wasn't their day. Their day had been the day before.
Besides, it was nice to still have a secret.
It was Tucker who saved them both from the questions Danny could practically see on everyone's faces. There was a hesitant clearing of his throat, and Tucker sheepishly grinning as the near-silence turned complete.
"Well, since everyone's here now, I kind of wanted to make an announcement," he began with a quick grin at Danny and Sam, and then another at his parents before pulling Sara to stand by him. "Last night I asked Sara to marry me." He paused with a deliriously happy smile for her, and then burst out with, "And she said yes."
Amidst the flurried congratulations Danny could hear Tucker and Sara explaining to both of their parents that they weren't getting married until after the finished college. Denials of sexual involvement were in response to Sara's father asking Tucker if he'd gotten Sara pregnant, and Sara's stammering as she didn't quite know what to say. For his part Danny just chuckled quietly and gave Sam a gentle kiss on her cheek.
"Thirsty?" he asked. She shook her head and brushed a few strands of hair back from her face. "Okay. I'm going to go grab something to drink, alright?"
"Do what you do, Danny. I'm going to go mingle," she said then scowled a little. "And I have to go and at least say hi to my parents."
Danny chuckled. "I still can't believe they actually came. They hate me and my family."
She shrugged. "And miss a party? Not them. Just make sure my mother doesn't happen to get her hands on any peppermint schnapps." She covered his mouth before he could ask and grinned a little. "Trust me, Danny. You really don't want to know."
"Okay, Sam." Another kiss, this time to her lips, and he disappeared through several people and Sam looked around with a sigh.
It wasn't that she didn't love her parents. She just didn't like them. They were, in everything they did, snobs, and would only be happy with her if she married a Vanderbilt or someone as appropriately stationed in social status. They couldn't stand Danny, no matter how good a friend he was, how considerate he could be as a lover. How wonderful he was even if he'd only been her husband for not even twenty-four hours. He just wasn't as well to do as they wanted for her.
Too bad for them that she wanted him.
She spotted her parents across the room and sighed, weaving a path through the crowd to them and giving them as bright a smile as she could manage without gagging. "Hi, Mom, Dad. Great party, huh?"
"What were you doing with that boy?" her mother shot out, and Sam took a step back as her eyes slid to her father. He didn't look angry, more curious. But it had always been her mother who'd been more vehement in disliking Danny, even barring his family and their social level.
"What do you mean?" Her smile was pasted on, and already her cheeks felt sore.
"Samantha, you walked in practically wrapped around him."
Sam's jaw dropped. "You know what? My relationship with Danny isn't up for examination. Enjoy the party," and it was more sincere as she turned to her father. "And try not to embarrass me."
She turned on her heel and stalked off to a corner to fume in silence, massaging her temples as she wondered why on earth she thought it would be a good idea to say anything to them. Sometimes, she didn't even know how she was related to them. It would almost be a relief to have been adopted, or dropped off by some random person and taken in because… Well, there was no because. Her parents wouldn't take a baby in out of kindness.
No, they'd call the police and have it taken away. There really was no hope; she was actually related to them. Maybe they'd both been dropped on their heads many times as babies. She could hope.
"So, how's it feel to be a graduate?"
Sam nearly jumped as Jazz popped up next to her, and she shot Jazz a faint grin as she brushed another strand of hair out of her eyes tucking it firmly behind her left ear. "I've had more important things happen to me, but I suppose it's cool," she said on a smile as she quietly cursed Danny for being so fond of her hair down. It really was annoying to have to push it out of her face all the time.
Jazz made a noise as her eyes scanned the room. "So, are you avoiding them today? Or are you actually going to talk to them?"
Sam shrugged. "I think I'm going with avoidance. I told Danny I was going to talk to them. I did manage a few words," and it sounded very defensive even to her, and she didn't bother to add that it hadn't gone well.
Jazz arched an eyebrow. "About Danny… What exactly is going on with you and him? You walked in awful cozy together."
Sam fought the blush hard, and turned her eyes from Jazz's. "I just told my parents off for asking about that." Again she tucked her hair back behind her left ear, wondering if it was the start of a nervous habit as Jazz's eyes found hers.
"I'm not your parents, Sam, and I'm his sister."
Sam chewed her lip for a moment. "We're involved."
Jazz smiled brightly. "It's about time." Sam's nervy chuckle wasn't lost on her and she looked at the girl consideringly. "How involved are you, Sam?"
Sam shrugged, and Jazz glanced back at the room, wondering who, if anyone, would ask Sam the same questions to try and figure out the joint entrance. And when she looked back Sam was again tucking her hair away, pushing it out of her eyes were it seemed to be forever falling without something to tie it back. And that was when her eyes went round at the flash of pale metal, and icy fire on Sam's hand, her finger. Her ring finger, to be exact, and Jazz barely managed not to squeak.
"It's, uh, pretty serious, isn't it?" Jazz finally managed after she managed to wrap her mind around the fact that Sam was wearing a diamond ring on her hand. And that somehow, no one had even known anything was happening between her and Danny to at least expect an engagement so quickly.
Sam gave her a hesitant smile, and Jazz blinked. "Yeah," she admitted quietly. "It's pretty serious."
Jazz's face softened and she did something that made the girl tense, though not as badly as she'd expected Sam to. She hugged her. Jazz was even more surprised when, after a moment, Sam's slim arms came up and held her tentatively, like she was afraid of what she was doing. Or more likely, she was afraid that she'd be expected to do it again; the Fenton's were rather more affectionate than the Manson's.
But, Jazz surmised, it was something Sam would need to get used to if she was joining the family. But the changes had already begun. Nothing major, Sam was still wearing her favored dark colors, but Jazz could see it because she knew what to look for. Dark blue jeans instead of black, and pants instead of a skirt. Her shirt wasn't her customary sleeveless one, either. Instead it was, of course, still black, with capped sleeves and a fitted bodice that scooped down at her neck. Much more feminine than she was accustomed seeing on the younger girl. And Sam's black boots of course.
But Sam needed something to keep Danny in line.
When Jazz pulled back she gave Sam's shoulder a squeeze and tossed another smile her way. "You behave, and stay away from your parents, okay?" The last thing that the party needed was the Manson's pulling Sam into a screaming match about the ring, and Danny. In fact, neither of them needed it either.
She got a grin in return. "You don't have to tell me twice. If you see Danny, tell him I'm looking for him, okay?"
Sam shook her head. "Nah. I'm too lazy. Besides, he'll find me before too long."
"Oh." But at least it gave Jazz a reason to comb the party for her brother. She could honestly say Sam had asked her to tell him she was looking for him. And if some interrogation happened to go on when she found him… Well, she was a psych major. It was to be expected.
It took her nearly forty minutes to track him down, but track him down she did. He'd been all over the party, and she knew he'd gotten back to Sam at least twice, since once Sam had been wearing a dreamy expression as she talked with Sara, and the second time Jazz had been questioned by her mother, who apparently had seen Danny kissing Sam on the stairs.
She'd talked to all of the Fenton's she could find, which was a considerable number considering that every living relative who was currently in the continental U.S. had shown up, and even one uncle who made his home somewhere in South Africa to study (and Jazz knew that Danny was doomed if his secret ever got out) the effect of ritual shamanism on tribal ectopopulations. Definitely in the blood, and since most of the Fenton's seemed to find their way into the paranormal… Maybe she was doomed, too.
She hit up the Foley's, who hadn't been able to say much beyond yes, they'd talked to Danny, and did she see the ring Tucker had gotten for Sara? The Manson's had been avoided religiously, Danny wouldn't go anywhere near them himself. And she'd slipped away from Sara's mother after a momentary congratulations on becoming part of Tucker's extended family. Because really, Tucker and Danny were as close as brothers should be.
She'd missed him with Tucker by a few minutes, but she had a solid lead from Sara. Danny was headed in to talk to his parents about something school related. She thought it had to do with moving out, and into the dorms early, because he'd said his mom had asked him about already being packed that morning. And since her parents were usually in the living room with the majority of the guests… Bingo.
There he was, next to both of them, and Jazz stopped in her tracks for a moment. It was almost frightening how much he resembled both of his parents when she saw him like this. He'd gotten so tall. Not quite as tall as their father, but that was a relief since Jack seemed to tower of just about anything and anyone. And with his black hair almost neatly brushed… She could see their mother in him too, but she wondered at that. It wasn't really a physical resemblance, but more of the way they both moved. Practiced and fluid and ready for anything that might come their way.
It almost made her wish her parents knew, or at least her mom. She'd love to see Danny and her going all out; it'd really let Danny have someone to fight against who was able of giving back as good as she got. And since it was their mother… No worries for injury. Even if Danny bested her, Jazz knew their mom was more than capable of keeping herself from injury.
But beyond that, he just seemed so relaxed. And he hadn't been relaxed since Jazz had come home for the summer and his graduation. He'd been so tense that half the time she wanted to sneak into his room and ask him what was wrong, like she'd done when he was fourteen and fifteen before she'd left for college. She hadn't done it, but she wasn't telling anyone she'd tried. And oh, how badly she wanted to ask him when he'd started locking his door at night, and why.
She watched her brother laugh at something his father said, and smiled. He looked so happy, and so grown up. Danny, grown up. It was a scary thought that startled her into a laugh of her own. But he really did, from the white button down shirt he was wearing, sleeves rolled up to his elbows, to the steady way he held himself. He just didn't look like… He didn't look like the wimpy loser of Casper High. It was almost like he was finally free of having to play that part, something she'd known he'd hated. He was more free to be himself.
And Sam was definitely a part of that change, Jazz decided as she made a beeline for her brother, pulling up short behind him before he could notice her. He was involved in discussing intended majors with Jack and Maddie, and Jazz's eyes were glued to his hand. His left hand, which was waving in the air before dropping back to his side as he emphasized some point. His left hand, where pale metal flashed on the third finger.
"Oh my god," she gasped, taking hold of his hand and forcing it up for a better look. And then she followed it with a shrill, "You and Sam got married!"
If the silence that had held the room when they first walked in and Tucker announced his engagement was used for comparison, the house was suddenly a tomb as heads whipped about to peer in the direction of the screech, and then back around and across the room to where Sam's startled violet eyes were meeting Danny's wide blue ones. He jerked his hand back and tucked it behind his back as he turned his eyes back to Jazz, knowing from the sound of her boots on the floor that Sam was making a beeline for him. But he could still try and salvage the situation; it was supposed to be Tucker and Sara's day, he didn't want to mess it up for them.
"You don't know what you're talking about, Jazz," he said, hating the way that, even as he tried to be quiet, the words practically echoed through the house. A door opened and closed and Danny looked behind Jazz to see Tucker and Sara getting the happenings from his parents in a hushed whisper, and then Sam was at his side, hand sliding into his and squeezing.
"Danny," Jazz started, but was cut off when he felt a small, firm hand on his shoulder and he turned back to see his mother standing there, eyes wide.
"Danny? Is it true?"
He sighed and looked over at Sam. She could only give him a wry grin and a reassuring squeeze to his hand. Danny closed his eyes and nodded, drawing Sam against him as he did so and more grateful than ever before that he had such a strong woman who loved him. He was going to need all the help he could get now that they'd been found out, and with so many people present.
"We, uh, we were going to tell you guys in a couple of weeks. You know, after everything calmed back down," he offered quietly.
And then hell broke loose behind him as an enraged Pamela Manson snatched Sam from where she was safe against his side.
"Get your hands off of her," Danny said evenly as he took Sam's hand and began to pull her back and away from her mother, who smelled faintly pepperminty.
"She's my daughter," the woman shrilled at Danny, and he felt Sam shiver as his eyes started to slide to green in anger at the way Sam's mother was holding her tightly enough for her fingers to be pressing indents into her pale skin.
No one did that to his Sam, not even him.
"And she's my wife. I think that outranks you right now," he said as he took a firm hold of Pamela's wrist and pried her clawed fingers from Sam's arm, before shifting his body in front of Sam. "You don't touch my wife like that. You don't ever touch her like that, do you hear me?"
There was more silence before Sam's father made it to the center of confusion and wrapped an arm firmly around his wife. "Coffee?" he shot at Maddie, and she gave a faint nod before pointing to the kitchen. Jeremy nodded and then glanced back at Danny. "We're going to talk. Later, but we are."
Danny nodded, and turned his back on the older man to look down at Sam and see the faint red marks on Sam's pale skin and smooth his fingers across them with a frown. "Are you okay?" he asked and Sam nodded as she leaned into his hug.
"Does anything ever go right for us?" she asked quietly as noise began to rise up around them again, and she could feel Danny's silent laughter against her shoulder.
"No, I don't think so. Peppermint schnapps?" And when Sam nodded he pressed a kiss to her temple, smoothing the hair back for her and not caring in the least if his wedding band flashed brilliantly in the light.
"So," came a voice behind him, and Danny glanced back to see Tucker and Sara ranged with his parents and sister. He sighed. "You guys got married. That's why you wanted me to cover for you."
Danny gave Tucker a sheepish sort of smile, and was surprised to see Tucker turn and thread his way through the guests and to the backyard, the door closing quietly behind him as he disappeared through it. He sighed against and shot Sam a pleading look. "Damage control?"
She nodded. "Go get him, I'll talk with your parents." She leaned close to his ear then and whispered, "But if I get mauled to death by hugs, I'm so haunting you."
He gave her a grateful kiss and took off after Tucker, slipping through the door and closing it before anyone could stop him. He found him sitting on the stairs, and dropped down next to him without a word, knowing that it was better to let Tucker figure out what he wanted to say first, then respond. Tucker was like that when he was upset, and Danny knew he was from the way he didn't even look at Danny when he sat.
"Dude, I'm the best friend," Tucker finally said. "I should have known."
Danny sighed. It was about what he'd been expecting. "We've been keeping it quiet on purpose."
"How long has it been going on?"
Which part?" Danny asked blankly, not even realizing that his question would make Tucker's face turn red, an impressive feat with his skin tone.
"How many parts are there?" Tucker all but squeaked, and Danny's face blushed brilliantly.
Danny buried his face in his hands. "Perv. You are a perv." He sighed. "It started last July, at the park."
"And? You guys were acting weird all up until December, and then Sara…"
"Yeah. Sara caught us behind the Nasty Burger." Danny rubbed his eyes. "We got a lot more serious after Christmas," he said, relatively sure that even if he was keeping the exact details from Tucker, he was perfectly justified in wanting it to be his and Sam's alone.
"So you guys got married. Is she pregnant?" Tucker asked, unusually blunt.
"No!" Danny said, startled. "No, no. not pregnant, not yet. But no."
Tucker arched an eyebrow. "So last night wasn't your first time."
"Not going there, Tuck," Danny said warningly. "That between me and her."
"So you eloped because you're in love, and nothing else. Why no actual wedding?" Tucker asked.
"Do you see us having a normal wedding where her mother is concerned?" Danny asked wryly, knowing that Tucker had witnessed the entire altercation inside the house.
"Point. But you could have told me and Sara." Tucker reached a hand out to Danny's shoulder. "We don't hate you like Sam's parents."
Danny grinned sheepishly and rubbed his neck nervously. "I'm not sure that her dad hates me. Well, he will once he realizes…"
Tucker snickered. "That you're sleeping with his daughter?"
Danny considered and shook his head. "I don't think it's the actual sleeping part that's going to have him pissed." He laughed at Tucker's surprised face, and then gave him a roguish grin. "I think it's what happens before we go to sleep that'll get on his nerves."
Tucker yelled and batted Danny on the shoulder. "Too much info, dude! Oh my god, I need to bleach my brain!"
Danny laughed and climbed to his feet. "Are we cool?" he asked once Tucker calmed down from mental images he'd never wanted.
"We're cool," he said as he followed Danny back to the door. "But never say things like that to me again. I don't ever want to think of you and Sam like that again."
Danny cocked his head to the side. "So when we have kids, do I tell you that the stork dropped the baby off?"
"Danny," Tucker said in a deadly tone. "You are a dead man."
With a laugh Danny disappeared through the door.
"I can't believe they were betting on us," Danny said as he rinsed his toothbrush out and stuck it in the holder next to the sink. He heard Sam's laugh drift in from the bedroom, and smiled as he turned the light out and saw her digging through one of the boxes that had come from his room.
"Would you flip if I told you it wasn't the first time?" she asked as she emerged with one of his old pajama tops in hand.
"Um, no?" he asked as he watched her turn her back to him and tug her shirt off, then shrugged on the top to cover creamy skin that made his thoughts stop in their tracks.
Sam laughed as she turned around, buttoning it as she went. "They did it before, and Lancer won enough to have electrolysis done."
"Lancer? Eww. You sure know how to kill the mood," he said as he watched her slide into the bed, then flipped the lights off before crawling in next to her and holding her close.
He felt her laughing quietly as she rolled over so she was facing him, sliding her body against his until she was comfortable against him. "Yeah, well, it can't be helped. I want to sleep tonight."
Danny kissed her gently. "Fine. One night. But after this, you belong to me, Miss Manson."
"That's Mrs. Fenton to you," she said sleepily as she tucked her head beneath his.
"Alright," he answered fondly.
"I never thought your family would bet on us," Sam murmured, and Danny laughed.
It had been interesting when Danny and Tucker had made it back in, and Danny had reclaimed his wife from the frighteningly affectionate attentions of his parents. No sooner had Tucker appeared than did Sara instruct him to hand over the cash. Eyes had followed as a fairly large wad of fives and tens made it to Sara's hand, and she counted, then frowned at him and demanded the rest of it.
And Tucker's face when he admitted to Sara that someone else had called Danny and Sam eloping after graduation besides her.
And the look on his mother's face when Tucker had handed the other wad of cash he'd been carrying to Danny's father. It had been priceless, even if it was somewhat embarrassing to them.
"I know. It just seems so wrong for Dad to call that," he whispered. "And Tucker told me that your dad had put money down on us engaged, but not married." There was silence to that statement, and Danny looked down at Sam in surprise. Her eyes were closed, and she was asleep. Danny smiled and pressed a kiss to her forehead before closing his own.
"I'll tell you again in the morning, Sam. After all, we've got the rest of our lives."
And so it went, their lives joined and enriched by the struggles of marriage, the birth of children, and the adventures that only Danny Phantom could find himself part of.
But that, my dear readers, is a different story.
I'm sorry about the peppermint schnapps thing, and I'm not saying that P.M. gets sloshed at her society parties. But it was just too much fun to pass up. At any rate, if you or anyone you know has a problem with drinking, give your local AA branch a call. Trust me, it's worth the pain to save yourself and your family a world of heartache and misery.