Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom. I doubt I ever will, but while I don't, all the credit goes to Butch Hartman.

Author's Note: Happy New Year! This is my first story of 2008, and I hope you enjoy it. This is a part of another challenge I'm a part of. I do a lot of those, don't I? Anyways, this is another challenge 5-senses (underscore, not dash, but since fanfiction seems to not recognize underscores, I have to make due) on LiveJournal. Instead of the traditional five senses, I chose the second list, which is comprised of: thought, movement, love, laughter, and memory. I'm actually going for a plot this time, so be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

Preface: Even though I had originally intended on using another plot-line for this challenge, a better (and more interesting) plot bunny bit me in the ass. I haven't accumulated anything with a real plot in ages, and I'm attempting to map this out in entirety. In order to fully understand what's going on, you need to understand that the first four chapters go in chronological order, going by holidays. The final, and most important, chapter to the five-chapter series, goes back in time to the night before what happened in the first chapter. It's all within the same year (as you'll be able to grasp soon), except for the last chapter, which skips back a day into the year previous.

So, the dates will be arranged like this: January 1st (New Year's Day), February 14th (Valentine's Day), April 1st (April Fool's Day), December 25th (Christmas), December 31st (New Year's Eve).

You don't know how hard I tried to get all of this done by today so the first dates would match up! Enjoy, and don't forget to review!


Trial and Error

01: Thought

Theme: 01. Thought

January 1, 2008


Jolted from her sleep by a loud banging noise, Sam sat up quickly–too quickly for her head to catch up with–in reaction to the sound threatening her eardrums. She groaned, pressing a hand to her temple as the bed sheets around her fell to her waist, exposing bare skin. As she felt a breeze, she looked down, and in shock, pulled the sheets up over her chest. She felt sore all over, and wondered bitterly if she got hit by a car while she was knocked out. Frantic eyes surveyed the room, and in summary, realized that it wasn't her own. She didn't even recognize it.

Closing her eyes, preparing herself for the worst, she gulped audibly and looked down next to her. She sighed in relief as she viewed her boyfriend clutching his pillow while he slept, snoring softly.

However, the banging on the door would not stop.

"Danny! I swear to God if you did anything in my bed, you will be–"

"I'm up, I'm up!" Danny yelled, jolting up to a sitting position from his slumber. When the knocking stopped, he sighed, running a hand through his hair. His head pounded, and he was fairly sure he had more than he should have to drink; fairly a lot more than he should have, as a matter of fact. He rubbed his eyes, hoping to wake himself up before having to face the wrath of Jazz, and yawned sleepily.

She sat there, eyeing him, waiting for him to realize he wasn't the only one in the bed. She didn't move an inch, but after a minute of silence and obliviousness, she cleared her throat.

As sky blue met violet, he felt his heart rate speed up. The first question tumbled from his lips without forewarning. "We didn't, did we?"

"I think we did," she replied, looking down at the sheets that covered her.

"I think we did, too," he looked down guiltily, then back up at her. "You don't remember anything, do you? I can't," he sighed, "even though I really want to."

Pursing her lips, she tried to think. Coming to the realization that she couldn't remember anything past her fifth drink, when the alcohol must've caught up with her, she sighed. "No."

"I'm sorry."

The dreadful pounding began again.

"Don't be," she said, only to tear her eyes away to look back at the door. She groaned, feeling no shame as she got out of bed and began to gather her clothes and put them on as quickly as she could. Glancing over to her counterpart, he was doing the same. Good.

"Danny, Sam, you two better have a good–"

"Jazz, lay off," another voice broke off her tirade, and she immediately shut up. Curious, though they were grateful for that silence.

After she finished getting her clothes on, she glanced in the mirror to see if her hair was decent enough, but only noticed the two garish love bites on her neck. Trying to move her hair to cover the marks, she noticed Danny watching her. Giving him a look, she flashed the marks at him, turning around to face him, instead of looking at him through the mirror.

"Thanks a lot," she replied, though with the small smile on her face, he knew she wasn't overly upset.

"Sorry," he shyly smiled back, once again running a hand through his hair.

She glanced at the bed they shared their first instance of lovemaking in, and she couldn't help but wish she was sober the night before. Mentally berating her behavior, Sam forlornly wished she could've at least remembered even a little of it; alas, she only had sore muscles as remembrance.

Shrugging off her disappointment, she figured it would be for the best, seeing as she wouldn't have to feel the initial pain now–she hoped. She had heard horror stories from the girls in the locker room during high school which made her fear the worst.

Making her way over to the bed, she decided that she would at least attempt to make it; Jazz would most likely be furious with them. She knew she would have been if that were her in this situation, and Jazz brought some guy to her bed.

Eventually seeing what she was doing, Danny came over to help; he figured it was the least he could do, since his sister would probably read him his rights the second he exited the room. As they finished making the bed, they surveyed the area one last time to see if they had forgotten anything. Realizing everything else they brought with them to the party was probably outside the room, they both headed directly for the door, ready to face the worst.

As she was about to reach for the door to unlock it, he halted her hand. "Sam, I... I'm really sorry about last night. I've wanted to do that for a while, but I wanted it to be special." She could feel the guilt practically radiating off his form, and couldn't help but feel a little guilty herself.

"It wasn't just you, Danny," she said, placing a hand on his shoulder for comfort. "I didn't exactly say, 'no,' now, did I? I've wanted that, too, believe it or not. I do wish it could've worked out in better circumstances, though... but... we'll have more luck next time. It's a trial and error sort of thing."

"Next time? You mean–"

"Yes, I mean. Let's just go out there now and face the music and not wallow in here like cowards." Leaning forward, she placed a tender kiss on his lips. He smiled.


She felt like she was walking death row as they left Jazz's bedroom, crossing her apartment to find her. They were heading right into the eye of the storm.

As the kitchen table came into view, Tucker came into view, as well. Sitting there with a smirk on his face, he wiggled his eyebrows at the pair, before speaking. "I wonder what you two have been up to." They just wished he kept his mouth shut.

"Keep wondering," she shot back, giving him a look. "Do you know where the aspirin is? My head is pounding."

"It's right here," another voice rang out, followed by the shake of a bottle.

Turning to the voice, Sam frowned, hoping to nip this in the bud before the yelling started. Her head couldn't handle that right about now. "Look, Jazz, we're sorry–"

"Forget it. I was upset earlier, but it's nothing setting fire to my sheets won't fix," she waved her hand in dismissal. "I had some persuasion earlier that helped me see the truth of the situation. Thank him," she jerked a thumb in Tucker's direction before sitting down at the table next to him, placing the bottle of aspirin in front of the pair. "Help yourselves. Coffee's on the stove, too, if you want some."

After a few minutes of doing what they needed to do, Danny and Sam sat down at the kitchen table, nursing their coffees and praying to God their headaches would go away soon.

"How did the party wind up going last night?" Danny asked, trying to turn the conversation onto safer territory.

"It actually went all right," Jazz said, nodding. "I kicked everyone out around three, and after the noises stopped," she glared at them, "we just passed out in the living room after watching a movie. You missed the ball drop."

Tucker shot a grin in Danny's direction, "I doubt–"

"Tucker, if you finish that sentence, I will shove this spoon so far up your ass–"

"All right, all right," Danny intervened with a frown, rolling his eyes at Sam.

"He started it," she grumbled, then smirked and stuck her tongue out at Tucker immaturely when Danny wasn't paying attention to her.

"Anyways," Jazz said, stressing the word for emphasis as she watched Tucker and Sam being immature, "nothing was broken, stolen, or damaged, so I'd say it was a rather productive night."

"You can say that again."

Danny and Sam glanced at each other, then looked away. Danny looked up at his sister who gave him a look in return. Sam looked up at Tucker, who wiggled his eyebrows at her; she rolled her eyes and gave him a swift kick in the shin underneath the table for good measure.

--

After the idle, mindless chatter for the next twenty minutes, they decided it was a good enough time as any to get going. With that mainly being Danny's decision, since he was the one driving, they gathered their things and headed down to his car.

It took more effort than he had at that point in time to ward off Tucker's comments; he would have a chat with the techno-fiend later, when Sam wasn't around. Definitely when Sam wasn't around.

After he dropped Tucker off, with a promise to call him later, he drove in the direction of Sam's house. She had been awfully quiet on the ride home, only adding in her sarcastic comments when she felt they were necessary.

Sam was so deep in thought she didn't even realize that they had reached her house and that he turned the engine off. He was patient, simply waiting for her to snap out it. Turning to him, she noticed that he was watching her; when their eyes met, he smiled warmly at her.

"Are we good?" he asked, his tone of voice hinting that he was fearing the worst with her answer.

Smiling, she reached for his right hand and enclosed it in her left. "We're more than just 'good', Danny. Don't worry about it, everything is fine. There's no need for awkwardness, neither of us remember what happened too well, and we have all the time in the world to get it right."

He nodded, reassured by her response, "Good. I'm glad that you're not upset with me." He hadn't been aware that he had been holding his breath until he spoke.

Unbuckling her seat belt and leaning over the console in the middle of the two seats, she kissed him. After a good ten seconds, she pulled away slightly to press her forehead to his. "I'm far from upset, Danny. I'm actually... intrigued. Tonight will be our chance. Come around midnight, so no one will expect that you're gone, all right?"

His eyes widened as did his smile. Nodding, he kissed her again before pulling away. "Your parents are still gone?"

"As always," she smiled, nodding. "I've never realized how well that could come in handy until now."

"I have–I mean, yeah, neither have I," he chuckled nervously, only to dodge (poorly) a light smack to his arm.

With a final kiss, she left him to find solitude in her room. Being alone allowed her to blast whatever music she damn well pleased to blast. That was exactly what she needed.

--

Sprawled out in a Danny-like manner on her bed, she stared at the ceiling, trying to place her thoughts. Her headache had subsided, praise whatever gods she believed in. All she was left to do was rest, think, and play the ever-so-hated waiting game.

Music surrounded her and seeped into every pore, calming the storm that was mid-cycle in her mind. They reflected on the night previous, wondering if it was a good thing that happened; no matter where she brought that thought, something felt off, amiss. She couldn't put her finger on it, but when Sam had a hunch, she was generally right. When those hunches happened and she couldn't place exactly what was off, it would drive her insane. That, in itself, should've given her another headache.

Pulling her phone out of her purse, she realized that she hadn't checked it in a good while. With three missed phone calls, two text messages, and a low battery, she rolled her eyes. People only seemed to call her when she didn't have her phone, didn't they? That, or three people would call her at the same time; she didn't know why that annoyed her so much. Voicemails annoyed her even more, she thought with a sigh as she checked them. One from her parents, wishing her a, "Happy New Year!" from some undisclosed location in the Bahamas about eight hours too late. Business trip my ass, she sourly thought. The second message was from Tucker, sounding extremely urgent. The third person who called didn't leave a message, so she didn't even bother. Checking her text messages, she had two from Tucker. Confused as to why it would be so important to get into contact with her, she decided to give him a call to kill time. She had nothing better to do.

"Sam, finally," he answered the phone.

"No 'hello' or anything?" she shot back jokingly, then continued, "What's the emergency? I haven't gotten this many texts and phone calls from you since the time you wanted me to get you the new upgrade for your PDA that was only out in Japan. Something's up."

"Something is up, all right," he agreed.

"And that would be..." she trailed off, expectant for him to fill her in with the missing information.

"Me and Jazz, man. We hooked up," he said, then paused for her reaction.

"You and... you and Jazz? How in the hell–"

"When you two stole her bedroom, I had to calm her down–you're welcome–and we were both kind of tipsy, and it... just happened, I guess," he said. "This year is going to be my year, Sam!"

"Wow," she said softly, leaning back on her bed. "I should have seen that coming."

"What do you mean?"

"I mean, weirder things have happened, and you two were starting to get closer... I mean, I should've guessed that something like that would–holy shit, Tucker, what are you going to do about Danny?"

"Um, well, that's the favor–"

"Tucker, I love you, but I am not and will not do your dirty work for you," she interrupted, trying to glare at him through the phone enough for him to get the hint. "You can't possibly think–" she took a deep breath, then continued, "You're going to have to bite the bullet on that one, man, if you plan on staying with her. Danny's gotten quicker with those things, especially if they're involving Jazz, if you haven't noticed. With me, they take some time."

He sighed, knowing she was right, "All right. Fine, I'll do it the next time I see him. Oh, or maybe Jazz could–" he paused, "That wouldn't be too smart, would it?"

"Not at all," she replied, somewhat glad he was catching on.

"Okay, okay. So, uh, how was last night?" he asked, hoping he wasn't invading privacy, and hoping she would tell him even a little bit.

"If I could remember, I would tell you," she sighed, crossing her legs. "I didn't think I drank that much last night. Did you see how much I drank?"

"Did you have any Jell-o shots?"

"Like three, I think, and then some of the blue stuff," she tried to remember, counting off on her fingers as she remembered what she drank. "Jell-O shots are like nothing, though."

"Uh, wrong," he chimed in, "they taste like there's nothing in them, but they're strong. That's where you messed up."

"Oh."

"'Oh' is right. So, you did... do it, right? Stop me if you don't want to tell me, it's cool."

"No, Tucker, it's fine. I'm pretty sure we did; without getting T.M.I., I can pretty much feel it."

"Gotcha. Does he remember anything?"

"I don't think so. It's fine, though. I'm not upset or anything, and we have plenty of time to–"

"Okay, you're going to stop that sentence right there before I get mental images I really don't want to have," he interrupted for his safety.

"All right," she chuckled. "But, hey, just don't tell Danny you know anything, since I'm pretty sure it breaches 'guy code' for the girlfriend to let the best friend know."

He laughed, "I won't say a word."

Flipping over onto her stomach, she listened to Tucker ramble on about how great Jazz was for another ten minutes. With the call of sleep being so strong and the need to not listen to Tucker anymore so great, they said their goodbyes. Not even a minute later, she was out like a light. She didn't know how much had been taken out of her the previous night; it was surprising to her, since she was the girl who could stay up for hours on end, but she didn't fight the impulse.

When she woke up, the sky was dark. Somewhat disheartened that she missed the entire day, she stretched and looked around her room sleepily. She glanced at the clock, and seeing the it was eleven o'clock, she figured she should get up, shower, and make the best of her time before Danny came. As that thought struck her, her nerves jump-started and she got out of bed with a grin.

She couldn't wait to see him. After all, they would be starting off the new year right... wouldn't they?