Sam couldn't believe this was happening. It had been two weeks since Danny had saved the world. It had been two weeks since their first kiss with (she didn't count the 'fake out- make outs'). And it had been a week of blissful flying (both literally and figuratively) with him as they had finally established their relationship as the world celebrated its survival and paid tribute to Danny Phantom.
And now her parents had her cornered and were forcing her to have a seat in their oversized living room to have a "nice, pleasant chat." Somehow, she doubted that it would be just that.
"Samantha sweetie, we just want to talk with you," Pamela Manson had told her daughter (and ignored Sam's grimace at her full name). "There's no need to act as though we're torturing you."
"We never did get to have a chat while you were dating Gregory," added her father ("Gregor or Elliot," Sam silently corrected her father in her mind). "And we know that you have been friends with Daniel for a long time…"
Tuning him out, Sam turned to her own thoughts. Despite the fact that she had gotten closer to both of her parents when the disasteriod was threatening the planet, it hadn't changed the fact that she was still a creature of the night that lived with bright bushy eyed morning people. They wouldn't understand.
They wouldn't understand that back in elementary school she was the outcast. She had been that weird girl who got mad at someone stepping on a spider. She had been that strange girl who drew and read instead of dress up and giggle about whoever had peed their pants that day. She had seen nothing productive and worthwhile in those activities. More so, she had seen the tears and hurt it caused her selected peers. It had been her first taste of why society shouldn't mold you into who you were. And little did she know it then, but Sam had than started her campaign to be an individual.
Her parents hadn't liked it. They encouraged her to make some friends, but Sam hadn't wanted any part of what she saw. If someone wanted to be her friend, they would have to come to see her view and her thoughts.
It got to be lonely though.
Until that day in kindergarten she heard those three words… no not those three words but still very important and life changing three words.
"Wanna join us?"
She hadn't known it then, but when the little boy with the calm blue eyes and messy raven hair spoke those words she would have a friend for life. Danny Fenton never really did agree with everything she thought, but that was okay. He quickly learned to accept that – and accept her. And besides, he was an outcast too. Apparently he was that weird kid with the weird ghost hunting parents… Sam had found that different and kind of cool in an odd sort of way. And she was lonely; it couldn't hurt to make one friend.
And of course she did make another friend through Danny. Tucker Foley quickly became to be that annoying brother type figure for her. He was funny, but at times could be insensitive. He was caring, but at times insecurity could get the best of him. It didn't matter though; he accepted her just as quickly as Danny had. Which of course meant she had two friends for life.
But somehow, she could never really get that thought into her parents' thick heads. As the years went on, they wanted her to "branch out" and "explore her horizons." But with Danny and Tucker, she had everything she wanted. Acceptance.
Her school peers only got worse in their stuck up attitudes as middle school came and Sam found herself and her two friends labeled as "geeks." Whatever that meant. So they got decent grades and weren't part of the so called popular crowd, big deal. She'd see who was laughing when she was one of the successful adults as the others were flipping beef at the Nasty Burger. And she told Danny this as she watched him gaze dreamily at the A list. They were different; he was different. It was a good thing to not be confirmed to society's mold. And that was exactly what the A list was: a mold. Danny had rolled his eyes, clearly not agreeing with her, but he seemed to understand and accept her view.
Which was more then what Sam could say about her parents. She hated their extravagant and wasteful life style. Sure it had its perks; Sam could always afford those video games that Danny and Tucker enjoyed so much (she always enjoyed to see their amazement as she pulled out the newest version of Doom). She enjoyed being able to use her wealth in sharing the latest PDA or the most updated news on NASA. Because then and only then did it really make since for her to have it. That may be way she finally showed her friends all she had their freshman year; she knew they were her friends because of her and she had wanted to thank them by sharing what she had.
Her wealth was also way she became an ultra-recycle vegetarian (okay, so she made up the name). But really, when she had to do an argument paper for seventh grade English on the "progress" of society and its environmental impact, Sam found herself going full force. World hunger, hydrologic poverty… feedlots and other animal confiding facilities… the waste and energy it all used - it made her head spin. So she avoided meat at all costs and started her own garden for her lunch. Danny thought it was a little extreme, but went along with it any way, even to the point where he had some days where he'd go without meat with her (Tucker said they were both nuts, but accepted it). Her parents had thought she was insane. They argued with her that she was a growing girl who needed her protein. Sam argued back that it was fat and she didn't need fat. They just didn't understand. But she sat down with them anyway and explained her nutrition plan and how she was going to be getting all that she needed. Her parents reluctantly agreed only because she wouldn't change her mind, and her grandmother found her argument "impressive" and "sound."
It had been towards the end of her seventh grade year and the beginning of her eighth that the A list's gossip and stares really started to annoy her. And it just wasn't about her (that she could handle); oh no, it was about Danny and Tucker. Tucker because of his techophillia and Danny because of his parents' profession. And Sam was furious. There was nothing wrong with being a technology lover – it just showed that you were smart and curious about that subject. And it wasn't like Danny chose his parents' profession. If anything, he'd prefer it if they just gave up and went into a work office like any other parent.
So she decided to give them something to stare at and gossip about. Begging her grandma to take her shopping, Sam rearranged her wardrobe and makeup, while along the way using her grandma as her judge. They finally agreed on black and purple; the combination looked good on her and none of the so called A list would ever be caught dead with it. Her parents were mortified. In fact if it wasn't for her grandma's intervention, Sam would never have been able to force her way out of the house so great was the parental protest. Danny and Tucker though were a different story. Tucker was shocked, but he gave her a friendly nod in approval. Danny looked taken aback, but not at all in a bad way. He had told her that purple was a good color on her (while of course, blushing at his words). She remembered that she managed to somehow say thanks, but had felt the heat rise to her face in pleasure. Her parents didn't understand, but Tucker and Danny didn't mind her new style (which was good, considering she was doing it for them). Plus she was clearly not part of the A list, not a part of that confirmed society. It was an added bonus.
"Yes Dad we have been friends for a really long time," she agreed, now turning to her attention to her parents. "Which is way I really don't need this talk and way you guys really don't have to worry. Danny and I also want to preserve our friendship. That comes first before anything else while we're dating. And we both already know the bees and flowers and we know we're not going to ever go that far unless I get a pretty, shiny ring… well another one with a different meaning." She idly twisted the 'wes' ring on her finger, smiling. It was their promise to always be there beside each other in the future. She wasn't quite sure want that meant exactly yet, but she was willing to let time find out. Whether it was together as friends, a couple, or a married couple she was going to keep that promise and take it very seriously. And she knew that Danny would too.
"It's sweet that he gave you a ring, and we find that to be impressive that you two agreed to the meaning," Pamela told her daughter, noticing her actions. "But you two are still teenagers, and we know what that feels like…"
"Just make sure he keeps his hands above your shoulders," Jeremy Manson interrupted firmly. "I plan on warning him that there will at least a restraining order if I hear otherwise…"
"DAD!" Sam exclaimed, furious. "You don't have to scare him like that…!"
"…And there's still the matter of his … ghost abilities," he continued, clearly ignoring her protests. "That must also be addressed. Now I have no doubt that he has probably been in this house without our knowing and your room without our knowledge…"
"What the hell are you getting at?" Oh she was going to be in trouble for that. But at the moment she didn't care. How dare he even suggest that Danny would…!
"Language," her mother cut in, but Jeremy held out his hand to his wife, telling her that they would address one thing at a time.
"Not only that, but we have little doubt that his extracurricular activities have at some point led you into danger…"
Sam was seething. She really should have expected this coming up. She really should have. They were going to try to influence what type of relationship she had and what she would do with it. And if it didn't work, they were going to put an end to it. Sex they could almost deal with. Ghosts though were a whole other issue. They knew so little of it and they weren't going to try to understand.
They wouldn't understand that it had been her fault that Danny was what he was…it was Danny who turned it around and made it into something incredible. He had made himself grow into something incredible.
That fateful day, that portal accident. She had thought Danny had died. Died. His screams had pierced her, but the silence that fell afterwards was pure Hell. Danny had came out with a eerie spectral glow, his hazard suit inversed, his messy raven hair turned snow white… and when Sam had reached out instinctively to hold him up, his body fell right on through her. Through her. Like a ghost. And she had thought she had killed him. By urging him on into the portal she had killed one of the few people who ever truly understood her, accepted her…
So it had been a relief to see those two bright lights of energy change him back into the Danny Fenton she had known. Alive. With black hair and blue eyes and his normal red tee and jeans. So she hadn't killed him… just given him ghost powers. No biggie. That she could handle. The guilt didn't go away but at least she could be with him and help him through his new abilities. She wouldn't let him face it alone, whether he asked her to or not.
Tucker found it to be the coolest though. The whole superhero thing had been his idea. From the moment the first ghost came out, Danny somehow managed to scare it away. And every superhero need a super name right? Thus, Phantom was created.
And Sam watched in awe. Somehow, Danny went from this shy teen who barely knew how to fight the lunch lady ghost to fighting a mad circus ring leader for his own self control. And won. Yes, a part of him still looking longingly at the A list (and to my annoyance) Paulina. Yes, a part of him still wanted nothing but to be one with the crowd. But a part of him now knew what it was like to be unique, and how great it felt. And now a part of her saw something that she had always suspected but didn't expect to see anytime soon… a brave, selfless soul. And it grew.
Since she gave him the ghost powers, she figured the least she could do was give him a cool symbol. Or at least that was her excuse for doodling ghosts and DP all over her class notebook.
Danny's fights slowly became more and more serious and life threatening though. Yes, her father was right he had been in her room without adult knowledge, but it had nothing to do with hormones. She still remembered the first time Danny had came floating into her room, his bright green eyes closed shut in pain, a mixture of green glowing ectoplasm and deep red blood running freely down his side. Immediately she had raced to his side, helping him ease down to the ground without causing farther injury. She raced to her bathroom to fill a plastic lavender tub full of water, a disposal washcloth, and bandages, lots of bandages. Balancing all of her supplies, Sam raced back to his side, tearing his hazard suit just a little more to gain better access to the deep wounds. She hardly noticed the sticky mixture of ectoplasm and blood staining her hands as she carefully cleaned the wound. Turning to grab some disinfectant, Sam had realized she didn't have any. Ignoring her impulse to do a face palm, she jerked open her cell phone and dialed Tucker's number. Of all the stupid things to forget, oh well Tucker would get some for her – he could even put it on her tab. For now she would have to make do with warm water and just wrap the bandages.
"It's going to be alright Danny, I'm right here…" something got caught in her throat. She wasn't use to any of the feelings that were hitting her right then and there. And she had thought the actual accident was bad…
Despite the pain, she saw Danny's grimace of pain curl into a small, yet genuine smile. His eyes had opened and met her own as he managed to speak.
Watching the guy fall for other girls had been pretty painful to. Tucker had known of her crush before even Sam herself had been willing to admit it. Not to mention the actual girls he had a crush on. Paulina was just too shallow. All she cared about was looks and popularity. All she cared was that the ghost boy was mysterious and a hero. There was no way she could have understood what Sam had understood. There was no way Paulina knew of the growing bravery and selflessness. Of the risks that Phantom took because he was not just any ghost. Of how that same Phantom was in fact the young man she and her A list had labeled 'geek' and bullied practically every day yet still protected them from the supernatural. Paulina would never know, and quite frankly, never understand. Valerie had been a little better, but only because she seemed to truly care about Danny Fenton the person. Too bad she had a grudge on Danny Phantom that involved high tech weaponry. Too bad that Danny never felt comfortable with tell her that Fenton and Phantom were one and the same being. Valerie would never know, and quite frankly never understand.
Yet here she was, Sam Manson, best friend since kindergarten who knew both Danny Fenton and Danny Phantom as one and the same. She has been there all the way and never really planned to leave. Because she knew, and she understood. And Danny was totally clueless; it was partially cute, but mainly very annoying. The guy understood everything else about her so why couldn't he tell how much she felt for him?
So when Danny had given her the "wes" ring to hang on to that was meant for Valerie and Sam later had the sense to flip it around and saw "Sam", she had found herself daring to hope. Maybe he wasn't as clueless as she had thought…
Because she no longer felt like a guilty friend. No, now the friendship and the guilt had turned into admiration and love. And she had to tell him… somehow, someday… he had to know. He had to understand.
And the disasteriod incident made it into a now or never situation. Not that Sam would admit it to anybody, but she had been scared. She had rarely if ever allowed her parents to hold her since after preschool, but she now felt herself clinging on to her mother's side the few moments that she had had with them. They didn't understand why she was scared… but they understood that she was scared. And at the moment, that was what Sam needed.
The next day, with Danny's departure to gather up the ghosts, Sam knew she had to face him. If the ring was nothing but a fluke, so be it. But he had to know how she felt; she had to make him understand. Sam would always be beside him, even if it was only just as a friend. Telling her parents and Danny's that she had something do. Sam hurried out, with the ring in her hand. Maybe if she gave him something to come back for…even if it was just a friend…
She didn't expect for it to turn out the way it turned out. She hadn't really meant to kiss him – even on the cheek. So to have him kiss her back on the lips… it had been almost too good to be true. Danny felt the same way… Danny understood.
And Danny had understood her all along. Which was more then what she could say about her parents…
"Jeremy, Pamela, is this necessary?" All three Manson jumped as the eldest monarch of the Manson family wheeled herself into the family room.
"Grandma!" Sam smiled in relief, happy for there to be a voice of reason and understanding in the room. The elderly woman smiled back at her, but her face turned stern once more as she faced the two adults. "I'll talk to Sam about this. I'll give a very similar talk that I gave you Jeremy dear…" (Sam couldn't help but giggle slightly at her father's now pink face). "And I wish to speak with young Danny myself when I can… along with your parents. I too wish to be more aware of his abilities and speak with the both of you about your boundaries and limits."
"I can call him and his parents if you want," Sam offered. "Ask them to come over." She inwardly winced at the idea of his parents and her parents being in the room together, but she knew her grandmother would keep everyone in line. And Danny had every right to speak, they were his powers.
"But mother -!" Jeremy Manson started, only to be hushed by his mother's stern look.
"But nothing, son. I have no doubts that Danny's ghost fighting is dangerous. And I have no doubts that he has the same hormones as any other young man. However, he and Sam have gained the experience in ghost hunting and they're now a couple. I will hear what he has to say and then we will decide with his parents on how to move forward."
Both husband and wife were hushed. Sam's silent thank you was not lost on her grandma as their eyes met, both pair of eyes holding an understanding of the other. Sam couldn't hold back her huge grin. She had little doubt that the upcoming group discussion was going to be awkward at moments, but at least she and Danny could have their say. Because they both understood their own relationship. And now, perhaps they could help her parents understand too.
AN: I think that's the longest one shot I've ever written… as always please tell me what you think about it!