Disclaimer: Danny Phantom, and all related characters, plot ideas, locations, inventions, ect. are the property of Butch Hartman, Nickelodeon, and their affiliates. I claim no rights to any copyrighted works. I certify that my ideas are all original. Any similarity to actual people, locations, events, or other works of fanfiction are entirely coincidental.

Author's Note: Thank you so much to everyone who reviewed the first chapter. Special thanks to dessyweird51, who offered me the greatest encouragement; to Dancing Carrots and Fernclaw, the Huntress, who motivated me to keep going; and to Devianta, who alone offered me constructive criticism. (I've made an effort to make Sam a little more sarcastic.) I hope you all enjoy the story.

Dear Diary,

Let's get things out in the open. I still hate you. Just because I'm writing again doesn't mean that anything has changed between us. You are, at best, convenient, and something inside of me is clawing at my mind, screaming that if I don't do something, I might snap. This didn't really work out so well for me last time, but as I so meticulously explained, my options are severely limited. That said…

I overheard something today in the girl's bathroom. Something that filled me with loathing and rage. I stood quietly in my stall, knowing that I couldn't emerge because if I did, I was liable to attack her. How dare she? What gives her the right to toy with people's feelings like that? Who does she think she is?

What scares me the most is that if she goes through with this, and I am inclined to believe that she will, he might actually tell her 'yes,' regardless of what happened last time. And I don't know if I could handle that.

It's hard enough falling in love with your best friend and knowing that he will probably never think of you in that way, but the mere prospect of Danny dating Valerie Grey, a deranged ghost hunter with a vendetta against the Ghost Boy, makes me physically ill. Danny takes enough risks as it is, and for some reason, dating a girl who hunts ghosts and has a particular grudge against his alter ego doesn't seem like a very bright idea.

But Danny has been known to make some stupid decisions before, so if he decided to take Valerie up on her inevitable offer and try dating again, I wouldn't be too terribly surprised. Depressed, sure, but not surprised. I want to tell him that I think it's a terrible idea, that she's dangerous, that she'll just end up hurting him again, but I don't want to risk damaging our friendship.

But what am I supposed to do? Sit quietly and watch while a crazy ghost hunter steals from me the boy I love? I feel so helpless, and I hate it. I want to stop this, but I don't know how.

And yet, part of me is only concerned for Danny's happiness. I suppose it is possible that he and Valerie could be happy together… But for how long? Honestly! How long could Danny expect to keep his secret from her? If their relationship ever got serious (God forbid) it's not like he could just feign ignorance all day and patrol the streets of Amity Park by night. And what if Valerie saw me or Tucker with Danny Phantom? She would have to be an idiot not to figure it out. (Like Paulina) So, what, would Danny expect Tucker and me to just stop helping him?

I don't think that I could handle that. Danny is my best friend. I've told Danny things that I've never told anyone else, not even Tucker. Only Danny knows that I took dance and gymnastics as a girl. Only Danny knows that I play the piano. Only Danny knows (because he's watched them with me) that I like romantic movies as much as horror. With everyone else, I feel the need to maintain my image as a Goth, a creature of the night, but I am in reality a multifaceted person. There is so much about me that most people don't know. Not even my parents. Only Danny.

I was scared after I had my first period. My mom had never taken the time to talk to me about it. I tried to prepare myself for it when I heard other girls talking about having their first period as early as seventh grade. When mine didn't come, I didn't know what to think. I was too embarrassed to ask anybody anything, so when I started my freshmen year…

I didn't know Jazz well enough at the time to talk to her about it. The only person in whom I felt I could confide anything and everything was Danny, so I eventually worked up my courage and broached the subject with him. I had expected him to at least feel a little awkward, even to look at me like I was crazy, but he didn't. As it turned out, Danny had found out details (that he probably didn't want to know at the time) when Jazz had her first period, so he was actually much better informed than I was. He told me of various symptoms that I might have over the course of my periods, and even came with me when I bought my first tampons.

Danny has been there for me during the most trying times of my life. When I was so frustrated with my parents that I just wanted to scream, Danny was there to take my mind off my troubles when I needed to, or to talk about them if that was what I wanted. When I was very seriously thinking about smoking to relieve stress, it was Danny who talked me out of it.

But now Valerie wants to take all of that away from me. Even if I've never told her as much, she knows that I have feelings for Danny. She had admitted as much to me before Danny left to fight Pariah Dark. She knows that I have feelings for Danny, and she doesn't care. The fickle little witch.

What does she even know about Danny anyway, besides that he's cute and funny and sweet and his parents are ghost hunters who can help her exterminate the Ghost Boy? Yeah, sure sounds like the beginning of a lifelong relationship! Give me a break. She'd probably figure out who he is, dump him, and proceed to make his life a living hell. No pun intended.

So what am I supposed to do? Do I go on like always, just waiting for Valerie to try and pry her way back into Danny's life, and risk him getting hurt? Or do I talk to Danny, tell him what I heard and why it makes me nervous, and risk harming our friendship by asking him not to date her? I just don't know. My head is telling my to go one way, and my heart is telling me to go another, so I end up with heartache and a headache, but no clue what to do.

And it's not like you're any help. Stupid diary. I ought to burn you.

Sam

Dear Diary,

Have you ever felt like you were being crushed with the stress of life, like the weight of the world was resting on your shoulders, and then suddenly had it lifted away? Wait, what am I thinking? Of course you haven't; you're just a stupid diary.

Whatever. That is essentially what happened to me today. I really wasn't expecting this, but it made me feel so…free.

I was at lunch with Danny and Tucker, eating my salad, minding my own business, when the scarlet witch herself shows up and starts touching Danny's shoulder and making faces at him. I thought that I was going to be sick. And, just as I expected, she worked her way around to asking Danny if he would be interested in trying to date again.

And he said no.

He said no! Oh, you should have seen the look on Valerie's face! She must have thought she had heard him wrong. She couldn't believe that she would get turned down by a boy so much farther down on the 'social ladder' than she is.

"Wait. What?"

"I said no. I'm sorry, but I'm not interested."

"But… I thought you liked me."

"I did."

"But now you don't. Is there another girl?"

That was the part that worried me just a little. Danny didn't answer; he just smiled to himself and kept on eating. Valerie walked away, tail between her legs, while I had to do my best to keep from laughing.

I wasn't really expecting Danny to jump up, tell Valerie that he was madly in love with me, and then kiss me right there in the middle of the cafeteria, but I also wasn't expecting him to turn Valerie down, so I suppose I can't complain.

In any case, that wasn't the end of it. It turns out that the best was yet to come. I had a good day; I was in high spirits after lunch, at least. Danny, Tucker and I were walking home from school, as always, when we were accosted by Valerie.

"Wait, Danny! Please, think about it. I really miss you, and we were having such a great time. And I think we could–"

Danny held up a hand toward Valerie, and she stopped talking. (Thank goodness.) "Listen, Valerie. You're a nice girl, and I like you, but… it's for the best that you ended it before it began. We were not meant for each other."

"What do you mean?"

"I need someone who can accept me for me. All of me. You don't know who I really am, and if you did, you wouldn't see me the way you do now."

"So, what does that mean? Is there some kind of secret that you never shared with me?"

"Actually," answered Danny, "there is. And you kept one from me, too."

"What?" asked Valerie, as if she had no idea what Danny was talking about. I rolled my eyes. Seriously, give me a break.

"I know that you've been working with Vlad Masters. I know what he's been asking you to do. And I know him well enough to know that his motives are not what you think they are. But that's beside the point. If we were meant to be together, we wouldn't feel the need to keep secrets from each other. But we did."

"You never really answered me before," she commented, now avoiding Danny's gaze. "If there was another girl."

"If it interests you so much to know," Danny answered, "then yes. There is another girl. A better match this time, I think."

"So, you think that you can trust this girl with the secret that you wouldn't tell me?"

"Yeah," Danny answered. "I do."

It's probably a bad idea for me to get my hopes up. Danny could have been talking about anyone. Just because I already know his secret doesn't mean that he would trust another girl with it. I'll guess I'll just have to wait and see.

Sam

Thanks again to all of my reviewers, and if you are going to take a minute to hit the little GO button just below and leave a review, thank you as well.

"What is it with you people? What kind of twisted upbringing did you have?"

Tony Lewis, The Tenth Kingdom