Hey Everybody! Okay, so I use a POST-PP Quote, yes, but in fact, this is a timeline where nobody knows Danny's secret, and Danny and Sam aren't together…yet. So, yeah. THAT WAS IMPORTANT SO I HOPE YOU READ IT!
Never the Sidelines
"I can't live life just sitting on the sidelines. I'm surprised you think you can."
Sam thought back to her words, laughing at the idea. Danny? On the sidelines? Impossible. It was becoming more and more obvious, as well. Danny could not stay on the sidelines, even in his human form.
There were moments when he was a hero…and people were starting to notice it. Sam saw it. And others saw it. Those moments when he protected people instinctively…it was natural to him. He couldn't hold it in, because he did it without realizing.
But others realized.
Take earlier today, for instance.
"EVERYONE RUN!" Mr. Lancer shouted. Tables were overturned as the kids screamed and stampeded away from a giant bear ghost. The ghost growled, sweeping his paw and knocking down more tables.
"Danny, you have to change!" Sam muttered, hands out and people bumped and knocked past her. Danny flinched and grunted as other people elbowed him.
"I can't! Theres-ngh-too many people!" He snapped back. He reached forward and grabbed Sam's hands in the crowd, turning her intangible for a moment and yanking her towards him. Then stumbled together, then he pushed her forward, with the crowd instead of against it.
"Go! I'll catch up!" She glanced back at him for a moment, then was carried away with everyone. Danny glanced at Tucker and nodded firmly. Tucker hesitated, then he, too, was swept away.
Sam fought the crowd, but she kept stumbling back. She turned around, walking backwards and depending on the support of others. She watched, eyes wide as Danny looked frantically for a place to change. More students were running, though, and too many people were in the room. She watched Valerie grab Danny's hand and pull him in Sam's direction. Danny shook his hand, shaking his hand free. Valerie stared for a moment, but was then pushed away.
A girl screamed, louder than before. Danny's head snapped to the right and saw a girl, her leg trapped underneath a table. Danny dove, the bear ghost getting closer, sensing his prey's weakness. Danny lifted the table, Valerie running forward and tugging the girl free. Danny pushed them both back into the crowd, away from the ghost just in time. The girl looked back at Danny with wide eyes before she was submerged into the group, Valerie holding her arm and pulling her away.
The bear ghost snarled at Danny, zeroing in on him even with the tons of students streaming around him. Another teenager tripped, and Danny helped them up, letting them lean on him and slow them down. Danny didn't seem to care, not even flinching as a table banged against a wall, barely missing them. His eyes only showed pure determination. He took most of the teen's weight, pulling her forward and out. This time he spotted Sam, and she quickly acted, lending her shoulder. Danny transferred the girl quickly, then ran back in.
Sam glanced sideways and noticed the girl's eyes glued on Danny. Concern, and awe, shone out of her eyes.
They were out of the entrance and on the steps when they heard the ghost roar. Sam ran forwards and glimpsed Danny diving between the kids that were also watching. The bear slashed with his claws but his intended victim was gone. Danny rolled and smashed into a wall, but the short, stubby freshman was protected, trembling in his grasp. Danny grit out something to the freshman, hand reaching down to cradle his elbow. His eyes narrowed in tight control and pain, and he murmured something to the freshman. The freshman nodded, still shaking as the bear took a few menacing steps closer.
Meanwhile, Sam was pushing forward in the crowd, that was now in the doorway to the school entrance, watching the entire scene with some fear. The bear sniffed the air, pausing, and looked towards them. It growled, and the group took a step back, now screaming again.
"NOW!" Danny yelled, pushing the freshman forward. The freshman ran as fast as he could through the bear's legs, while Danny threw a plastic tray he had found on the ground next to him at the bear. Sam only saw the tray smash into the bear's face, and his enraged expression, but she was told later what had happened.
The bear let loose a roar, then dove at Danny, who quickly threw himself to the side. The bear's claws sank into the wall, tearing out chunks. Danny caught up with the freshman and yanked him forwards.
"What are you standing around for? RUN!" He yelled at everyone. The kids, startled, decided that was the best course of action as the bear released his claws from the wall, plaster and cement raining down. They all turned and scattered, Danny making sure the freshman got ahead. He then turned around, much to everyone's disbelief, and started yanking the doors shut. The bear, hearing this, turned to Danny. Danny, meanwhile, was pushing them shut.
"Any! Help! Here!" Danny grunted/yelled as he pushed at the slow-moving doors. Dash and Kwan looked at each other, and nodded, rushing forward. They, too, pushed at the doors with Danny. The bear dropped to all fours, and clawed the ground, much like an angry bull.
"If I die, I blame you, Fenton." Dash bit out. Danny let out a laugh, sweating.
"ONE! TWO! HEAVE!" He screamed. Dash and Kwan pushed on instinct. Danny leaned in, panting heavily. With one last screech, the doors close as the bear bounded forward. All three teens threw themselves against the door, keeping it closed as the bear hit it with a resounding "Thump". Then Danny yanked them by their sleeves.
"Come on!" They stumbled forward, then ran along with all the teens, away from the sight. The kids hit the streets, running along and separating. Sam and Tucker fell into pace along with Danny. The three panted, losing speed as they got closer to Fentonworks. Soon they were walking fast, and they all but collapsed against the steps of Danny's home.
"Dude! I'm never running that much again! It's like the mile all over again!" Tucker shuddered. Danny laughed, breaking out into coughs. Sam smacked him on the back and he sent her a grateful glance. All kids paused for a moment before laughing, feeling, strangely victorious.
"I guess Danny Phantom should head out." Danny said once his heart had calmed down. Sam touched his arm gently.
"I think Danny Phantom did enough for today. The ghost is probably already gone anyway." She smiled. He grinned back, and then the door shot open, the Fenton Parents staring down at the kids, phone in hand. They had already gotten the call from the school, it seemed. Luckily Danny hadn't transformed, and all three kids were quickly pulled into the building to check for any injuries, Jack frantically trying Jazz on her cell phone. She picked up, telling them she had taken refuge at a friend's house, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
Sam, now freshly showered, ran her hands over her face. Her towel was wrapped firmly around her hair.
This wasn't the first time Danny had done something like this. Ghosts had been attacking more frequently during the day now, in crowded places. When they were nearby, he would always make sure everyone was evacuated safely. He'd never run away first.
And a saved person rarely forget their savior.
More people smiled at him, just for that shove that had gotten them out of harm's way. Danny didn't notice, but Sam did. And Tucker was realizing too, that less people laughed when Dash pummeled him. Some people even looked…dare he say it, mad.
But Danny was oblivious. It was his instinct, after all. Not always as extreme as today, but always there. That unconscious need to make sure a person was safe…
Danny may not have been 'popular', per say, but others noticed. And they appreciated it. And sometimes, they even told their friends. So Danny was being noticed.
Sam wasn't sure whether she liked it. She flopped on her bed with a groan, releasing her frustration with her feelings. She wanted to believe it was solely because she was worried about the safety of his identity. If Danny gained followers, it wouldn't be safe to transform. Half of his secret identity was based on his anonymity in high school.
But there was a little part of her that said it wasn't just that. The idea that a few girls appreciated him-the real him, not just his Phantom form-made her feel, well jealous. She had always prided herself on recognizing that part of Danny that was so special. The hero in the human.
And now, she wasn't as special.
Sam threw her towel towards the chair, startled when she instead heard a yelp. She sat up.
"…Danny?" The boy materialized, rubbing his head and her towel in his hand. His sheepish expression told all.
"Hey, Sam." Sam stared at him, sputtering.
"What are you doing here?" She asked, confused. Danny blushed, suddenly. Sam blinked.
"I just wanted to make sure you were, y'know, okay." Danny coughed.
"It was kinda nasty today, so I just wanted to make sure…" He rubbed the back of his neck, still flushed. Sam glanced down. Nope, still in her pajamas, not a towel. Why was Danny acting so nervous?
"So you checked up on me?" The incredulity shown in her voice, and Danny flinched.
"Well, uh, yeah." There was an awkward silence, before he smiled, and tossed the towel back to her.
"Better be careful. You might just hit a poor defenseless ghost with a towel." Sam smirked, catching the cloth.
"Yeah, well, if the ghosts weren't in my room, then they wouldn't have to worry about being hit." She grinned, tossing it to her chair again. Danny went intangible, letting it pass through him and grinned back.
"So, you are right?" He asked, losing his silly expression for a moment. Sam's brow furrowed.
"Okay, I mean." He clarified. Sam nodded, understanding and feeling warm for some reason.
"Are you going to go check on the others?" Danny paused. He stared at her. There was a long silence.
"Uh…what?" He asked, genuinely bewildered. Sam gave him a puzzled look.
"The other kids. That got attacked..?" She clarified at his blank look. Danny blinked, then flushed suddenly, eyes widening in understanding.
"Ahh, yeah, well, uh, yeah! I'm gonna go…visit them…yeah." He finished, rubbing his neck. Sam's eyes narrowed, seeing through his lie right away. She relaxed, feeling that warmth again.
"Really? Who are you going to go visit first?" Danny blushed harder, mouth opening and closing.
"Well, that is, uh, of course-" He floundered around for their names at first. Sam watched, smirking.
"I've-I've already visited them! You were the final one! So, I'm done. You're okay?" Sam nodded. "Good!" Danny nodded.
"Then I'm done. Bye Sam!" He flew towards the window, pausing before her. For a moment, she expected a good-bye kiss. Danny struggled with himself, before finally patting her on the back with a awkward smile.
"Bye Danny." She smiled. Danny blushed again, then blew out of her window, turning invisible. Sam watched him go, hair flapping with the wind he created. Sam bit her lip, then, unable to contain her giggles, laughed out loud.
She had been wrong after all. It might not have been in the same way, but she was special.
She hadn't been saved by him, but he had still checked up on her, instead of the others. She was special.
Special to him.
And then there was that warmth again. Flooding over her and settling deep in her chest, ghosting over her face, almost as if she was being embraced all over. As if someone was nuzzling her face.
And then, suddenly, she felt a distinct difference from the warmth. A cooler, softer difference. Only noticeable because she felt engulfed in heat. A soft press against her forehead, a single, gentle caress.
And then gone. Her hair blowing again from the wind coming in from her window, and her face feeling ridiculously flushed, though her forehead feeling quite the opposite.
And she wondered whether she's imagined it, but it had felt more like a heightened perceptiveness, rather than a drunken haze.
So maybe, she could believe in that moment, she was special to him. In a way more similar to the way he was special to her.
And tomorrow, when she convinced herself it had been just a figment of her imagination, she could see his blush as he picked her up in the morning, and begin believing all over again.