By Serenade Goryō
A/N: Don't own any of them, just like to play in their world. Mature content. Probably crackfic. Enjoy.
I guess it was only a matter of time before everything caught up to him. I'd always wondered how Danny dealt so well with what happened after the accident. Even through his awkwardness, he'd never really opened up to Tucker or me about what losing half of one's humanity was like.
I'd read in one of Jazz's psychology books that no matter how hard a person tried to maintain a facade, the reality of who and what they were would come trickling out, eventually flooding over everything else.
And that's how it started. Just a small and simple plea for comfort, a little refuge from the onslaught of responsibility, and the healing of some of the damage.
The very first night he came to me was shortly before midnight. We'd only parted ways two hours before, tackling the ghosts that had managed to slip through the portal after one of Jack Fenton's botched fishing expeditions, and we were all pretty beat up afterwards. Tucker was at home nursing a cut under his left eye, and I had just finished wrapping my twisted ankle with an ace bandage, icing it down until the pain reliever started to kick in.
And there was nothing unusual about the fact that Danny took the brunt of the injuries; a large gash running down the side of his right arm and a red welt on his shoulder that would certainly turn into a bruise by the morning.
So when I heard the knock at my window I was almost asleep, dreading having to wake up early and go to school the next day.
"Sam?" he whispered. "Please…can I come in?"
I rubbed my eyes and stretched, not bothering to turn on the lamp beside my bed. "What's going on? Is everything okay?"
But I could tell by the way he looked that it wasn't. My mind started to race as I thought about what could have left him so shaken as he phased inside.
"Sam…I…" Danny's voice was hesitant…afraid.
Danny shook his head. "Nothing happened. I just…do you mind if I stay for a while?"
I sighed, relieved. "Yeah, of course you can. Was it a nightmare or something?"
Danny went from Phantom to Fenton, sitting down on the foot of my bed. He shrugged. "Something like that I guess. Look, I 'm sorry I woke you up. Why don't you go back to sleep. I just didn't feel like being alone so I'll just sit here for a while… if that's okay." He looked up at me, his eyes reflective and filled with emotion.
I reached out to touch his arm. "Don't be stupid…we can talk…"
"No," he said almost forcefully. "I'm okay. And I don't actually feel much like talking. I just kind of need to be here."
And we sat there for a few moments before I let myself fall back onto my pillow, watching him sit at the foot of my bed while just staring at nothing, until he finally lay down with his head by my feet.
"I hope you feel better, Danny."
"Thank you, Sam."
When my alarm buzzed at 6 am the next morning, he had already gone, the partially open window the only sign that he'd been there at all.
And he and Tucker were both waiting at my door by the time I was dressed and ready, just like they always were.
"Hey," I said to both of them.
"Hey," Tucker said, "You guys ready for that quiz Lancer's gonna hit us with today?"
Danny shrugged. "Ready as I'm gonna ever be," he said, looking over at me, his eyes pleading. There weren't many things we kept from Tucker, but somehow, well…somehow I knew this was going to be one of those things.
The second night, the knock came after midnight – almost one am.
Danny's face was red, like maybe he'd been crying.
"Danny, you have to tell me what these dreams are about."
He just shook his head before turning back to Fenton, and sighed. "They're not dreams, Sam. They're everything. It's hard to explain. It's …just. You don't mind if I sleep here again, do you?"
"No, you know I don't mind. What time did you leave last night?"
"I didn't. I stayed until dawn. I didn't want to get you in trouble or anything in case your mom woke you up."
I scoffed. "My mom? Please, Pamela doesn't wake up until I've gotten to school. Something about premature wrinkles, but yeah, probably a good idea for you to cut out early."
He laughed a little, and I was grateful that I could do that; make him laugh even when I could tell he was suffering.
"But will you talk to me about it?"
He was silent, maybe thinking it over.
I handed him a fluffy purple pillow. "Look, we can just lie back in the dark and you can talk to me like I'm not here until you fall asleep. Just vent. I swear I won't judge you."
"What's the pillow for?"
I made room for him on my bed which was a queen sized and plenty roomy. And anyhow, if he were going to stay until dawn it felt wrong to make him sleep by my feet like some sort of stray dog. "Just relax and lie back on it. It has magical powers. I swear it's like therapy made of velour."
Danny laughed again, but he lay down next to me and tucked it under the back of his head, kicking off his shoes. I reached across him and turned off the light. It was a new moon so the room was pretty dark, so much so that I could only make out his profile.
"So, the fluffy pillow commands that you speak, Danny," I said melodramatically.
Danny took a deep breath and closed his eyes. "I think I might be disappearing, Sam. I mean, completely. Like maybe I'm not really half human at all."
It was tempting to crack another joke, but his tone was too serious. Too insecure. "Why do you think that?"
Danny broke. And even though I'm pretty good at not getting caught up in other people's emotions this was Danny, my best friend, and a lump rose in my throat to hear him choking back tears.
I reached out and held him and he wrapped his arms around me, shaking.
"Most of the time I'm so numb, Sam. I'm so caught up in everything that nothing feels different or new and I think this might be what it's like to be fully ghost. I think I'm more dead than alive right now. I don't know…"
I wasn't sure what to say, so I just held him. I held him while he talked to me about what he was facing, what he was feeling. It was overwhelming for both of us. We'd been best friends for as long as I could remember, but this was only the second time I'd ever seen him this emotional – the first time being when his Nana died when we were only ten.
It flooded both of us, his grief.
So I didn't let go. I pulled him close to me, his head resting under my chin, until I felt his breathing slow down and the tension from his arms fade and he was drifting into sleep along with me.
When he and Tucker arrived at my door the next morning, Danny was the first to say, "Hey!" his eyes a little bit brighter and his shoulders less slumped.
I couldn't help but mirror his mood, smiling so much Tucker asked me if I'd over caffeinated that morning. But really, I was just relieved that whatever had its grip on Danny was starting to let go.
A week went by before Danny knocked on my window for the third time. I'd actually thought at that point that he'd gotten through what was eating away at him. His behavior at school was pretty normal, better than normal, and he had a renewed energy when he went after ghosts. Even his normally cringe worthy banter with the Box Ghost was borderline witty.
But that night Danny came to me, withdrawn and sullen, and this time I didn't ask him any questions. I just made room for him in bed and held him as he lay down next to me. I closed my eyes, sighing and running my fingers through his hair.
"It'll be okay, Danny," I whispered. "I swear it."
Then I felt it, at least…I'm sure I did…his mouth moving over my collarbone. A tiny kiss, warm and wet, and my heart raced a little. I wasn't a complete idiot –there was something more to what Danny and I had, but I'd been avoiding trying to put a label on it. Somehow, us 'dating' seemed like a step backwards from what we already had so I just figured if something was gonna happen it would.
But that was it, just that kiss, so soft and quick that I was left wondering if it was intended to be more innocent than it felt.
"I'm right here…and so are you."
We didn't have school the next day, but Danny was still nowhere to be found by morning. Tucker came over at ten to kill some time playing video games, but Danny was a no show all afternoon. I shrugged it off, trying not to worry too much about it, but it was tough.
"He might be in the Ghost Zone," Tucker thought out loud.
"Probably. I hope he manages to get a little rest this weekend, though," I said.
Tucker nodded in agreement. "I hear you. Have you noticed he's been a little off lately? More than usual, I mean. . I asked him about it but he says he thinks he's coming down with something. Maybe he's just getting a new power. You know how he gets when that happens."
I rolled my eyes. "Yeah, that's always an adventure."
But I couldn't help but think about what Danny said about disappearing and hoping, especially with all of the very real things he had to be afraid of, that this wasn't one of them.
The fourth visit was the very next evening. I was gonna give him Hell for ditching me and Tucker, but before I could I noticed a cut on the side of his face, still dripping blood.
"Crap," I said, "Get inside and I'll get something for it."
Danny phased out of Phantom and sat at the edge of my bed, waiting for me to return from the medicine cabinet.
I pulled out the alcohol wipe.
"This is gonna hurt, isn't it?"
I snorted. "Um…duh."
I wiped off the blood and held the cloth to his face to slow down the bleeding and he clenched his teeth to keep from making any noise that might wake up my parents.
"Wuss. Who did this, anyhow?"
"Whoa…why didn't you call us?!" Walker was the sort of ghost that Danny avoided going after without Tucker and I, for very good reason.
He shrugged. "I don't know. I thought about letting him capture me."
"Why would you even think about doing something that stupid, Danny?" I snapped at him.
"I don't know…and anyway, I didn't let him, did I?"
"No. I guess not." I sighed, pulling the wipe away. It was already healing. He looked up, grabbing a hold of my wrists. "Can I stay?"
I pulled him into a hug. "You know you can."
I didn't really need to make room for him that time. I'd already been sleeping on 'my' side of the bed when he got there, so when he climbed in next to me it felt oddly comfortable.
This time, it was Danny who reached out to hold me. Instinctively, I planted a kiss on the top of his head.
"Am I more alive than dead, Sam?" he asked, closing his eyes and moving his mouth to my neck, kissing me.
I gasped, surprised at how bold he was being this time. He was holding me so tightly that it was almost painful. "Yes…you are very much alive."
He looked up at me, his eyes meeting mine. There was anger there, but I knew it wasn't directed at me. There was also desperation. And when he moved his mouth over mine he wasn't hesitant or cautious, but deliberate and forceful…so much so that I had to reluctantly push against him so I could breathe.
"Tell me, Sam. Please…"
"You're here, Danny. You're not dead. You're not disappearing. You're here…with me," I managed as he closed his eyes, finally relaxing into my arms.
"Thank you, Sam."
The very next morning Danny and Tucker were singing bad show tunes at my bedroom door, tapping out the rhythm, and trying to wake me up.
"Comic book sale, Sam! Seriously! You said we'd all go first thing and it's an hour into town!" Tucker said. "Wake up, Princess of Darkness!"
I groaned, looking over at the clock. It was only seven thirty. "I'm coming…"
"If you hurry, I'll buy you coffee…the good stuff!" Danny said, his voice light and cheerful.
And when I threw on my clothes and opened the door, he looked better than he had in months. "With a Turbo, shot," I grumbled, a little more cheerful myself.
It was two weeks after his last visit, but I wasn't surprised at all when I heard the knock. That day at school Danny looked drained. His mind was clearly elsewhere and his conversation with Tucker and I was polite at best.
So I almost expected it; the tiny knock, the apologetic stare, the sadness in his voice.
My Grandma once told me this awesomely twisted fairy tale about an Invisible Prince, and for some reason that was all I could think about since Danny's last visit. The Prince had fallen in love with the Princess because she'd made him feel real even though she'd never laid eyes on him. She knew him, even better than he knew himself. And so I thought that maybe Danny was also seeking something real, something from someone who knew him before the change from Fenton to Phantom.
"Its okay, Danny," I said softly, getting back into bed, him phasing through the window this time before returning to his human form. Then he took off his shirt and slipped in beside me.
Danny moved over me before I could speak. His lips claimed mine and his hands moved to my hips... then up to the swell of my breasts.
"Sam….please tell me…tell me I'm here…"
"You're here, Danny," I whispered, my face flushed as he kissed down my neck before he wedged himself between my thighs, grinding into me almost violently.
I could feel his growing erection pressing against me before he pulled back, but I didn't stop holding onto him.
He closed his eyes as I kissed his shoulder gently. "Thank you, Sam."
A month went by before I'd hear that knock again.
I guess it might seem weird that Danny and I wouldn't talk about what had been going on, but it never felt like the right time. It wasn't like we were pretending it didn't happen – I noticed that he'd touch me a lot more, his hand on the small of my back or a hug that would last too long, but there was something going down that was bigger than the both of us and it kept us both busy in the world we were familiar with, the one where we risked our lives to save the people around us without them ever knowing it.
"It's gonna be an all nighter," Tucker complained, taking a sip of his Mountain Dew. "Why don't you two try to get some sleep. I'm gonna be up researching this stuff for the rest of the night." We were standing in his Dad's office watching him pull up every piece of data he could find on Walker.
The long arm of the Ghost Zone law had been causing some serious chaos lately, and Danny had nearly fallen into a trap that got us all a lot closer to certain death than we'd ever been before. The only thing that saved us was the Ecto-Zapper gadget I swiped from the Fenton lab to try out. It was small, but Walker wasn't expecting the punch it packed and it distracted him just long enough so Danny could get us out of there.
But Walker was still loose, and we were desperately trying to come up with a plan for the next evening when he promised Danny he'd come looking for him.
When Danny reached out to pat Tucker on the back, I saw his hand shake. The circles under his eyes had returned and the joy in his voice that I was starting to get used to sounded like it was nearly gone.
So I lay in bed, not really trying to go to sleep, but waiting for the knock that I suspected would come that night, the night before what was shaping up to be an epic battle with Walker and his allies.
"You know you can come in…" I said, as I heard the knock.
He phased in quickly as I lowered the bed covers. His hair went from white to black and his eyes from blue to green before he undressed and lay down beside me, pulling the covers up around us.
This time, it was me who moved over him.
I rolled him on his back, cupping his face in my hands before kissing him full on the mouth as he slid his hands under my nightgown.
"I'm scared, Sam," he admitted, and I could see it, feel it all around him. This fear he tried so hard to hide from Tucker and me. "I'm scared."
"I know, Danny. But don't be. It'll be okay."
"No, I'm not afraid of fighting Walker. I'm already half dead." He held me perfectly still, his hands gripping my shoulders. "I just don't want this to happen to you, Sam. What's happened to me, I mean. I don't want you to die…"
In the story of the Invisible Prince, he gives the Princess a pebble, something she could feel even if she couldn't feel anything else, the numbness of the life of captivity she was forced to live often overtaking her. I knew that was the pain Danny was feeling; uncertainty, invisibility…loss. But he was wrong.
"Humanity isn't measured the same way as you'd measure a cup of tea." I freed myself from his grip, kissing him again. "You're not dead, Danny. I'm not dead."
He met my advances, flipping me off of him and onto my back. I arched up to him, but he laced his hands through mine and pinned me down before kissing me.
I kissed him, nibbled on his lower lip. "You're alive. I can feel you."
He moaned. "Can you?"
I increased the pressure of my fingers at the nape of his neck…down his back.
"Can you feel me?" I asked.
I grabbed Danny's hand and moved it nervously between my thighs. "Then how can you be dead?" I whispered.
I'll be perfectly honest; I wasn't sure what I was doing at the time, but it felt like something I needed to do. I wanted to give him something he could hold onto, something that would help him to remember how very human he still was. I wanted to help him fight the feeling of invisibility, make him whole…tangible.
And so I fought down a rising panic as Danny enthusiastically began kissing down my body, the spots where his mouth had been quickly chilling as he left them and his hands tugging at my skimpy underwear, not a pair I would have picked out if I hadn't been already expecting him.
"Show me, Sam…"
His eyes were closed and his lips were slightly parted as he angled himself between my legs, his breathe quickening. Then there was a growl deep in his throat as he slowly pushed inside of me.
I whimpered as softly as I could.
"Am I hurting you?"
"A little," I lied. It hurt like Hell, but I didn't want him to stop. "But that's because you're real. If you weren't I wouldn't feel this. I want to feel this…"
Danny started making small movements in and out, and once I got past the pain I rocked into him, trying to keep up.
"Tell me…please…" he begged.
"You're alive, Danny. You're here..."
"Making love to you…" he said.
"Yes…making love to me…"
"Oh, God….Sam…" he said after a while, building up to the moment before collapsing onto me, biting down onto my pillow to keep from crying out. "I love you…" I tensed against him, trying to catch my own breath as he shuddered.
"I love you too, Danny." I reached up to brush the sweaty hair from his forehead but he grabbed my hand, kissing my fingertips.
I touched him everywhere that I could. I wanted him to feel me, to feel himself. I loved him, before Phantom and after Phantom, and that was what I could give to him. That was real, something that wouldn't fade away at will. And what I could give him was something he could hold on to, something he could cling to when he felt like he was lost. I would give that to him, to my invisible Prince, best friend, and lover...
"Thank you, Sam. Thank you…"