I've been looking through old photo albums. And I ran across one of me and my cousins playing a game. We had built a blanket fort, and we were pretending it was haunted.

As I sat there looking at it...you know where this thing goes ;)

I don't own Danny Phantom, but boy, I wish I did.


Relatives

Chapter One: The Invitation

July 31, 2011


Do you have those relatives? No, those relatives. The ones that no one ever really seem to talk about. The ones that never come by except maybe every other Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate). They rarely come up in family conversation, but when they do, the room goes silent. Uncomfortable awkwardness penetrates the ears of those involved, causing the topic to be quickly changed.

Maybe you're unlucky enough to have those relatives. Maybe you're fortunate enough that you don't.

Sam Manson did.

Her Uncle Zane and Aunt Nela. And her cousin, Kyler. They lived somewhere in upstate New York. Or, at least, that's what her parents would tell her before quickly changing the subject.

Sam rarely ever saw them. The last time she remembered seeing them was around the Hanukkah of her eighth year, when they unexpectedly appeared on the Manson's doorstep. They were all unnaturally tall, unnaturally thin, unnaturally pale. They barely spoke, but when they did, Sam found herself straining to hear the quiet whispers they called voices. Zane was the only one that spoke with any regularity. Nela had spoken once in Sam's memory, and Sam was positive she'd never heard Kyler's voice.

They were strange in every sense.

Strange appearances.

Strange auras.

Strange voices.

Strange names. Though, Sam was no stranger to that aspect of her family; she did prefer the masculine version of her birth name, Samantha (much to the annoyance of her parents).

The last time she had seen them, she was eight. At the time that this story begins, she has just turned seventeen.

Seventeen years spent in comfortable ignorance toward those relatives and the secrets they harbored. But, as is expected, that ignorance was quickly heading to its' demise.


"Jeremy!" Pamela Manson's strained voice rang through the Manson Mansion. Sam glanced up from the living room couch, where she was curled up beneath a blanket, reading. Her mother was pacing the kitchen, clutching the phone to her chest. Her eyes were wide and glassy. She looked terrified.

"What is it, Pam?" Sam's father asked, descending the staircase and entering the kitchen.

"That...that was Zane." Pam whispered, gesturing to the phone. "He...asked if Sam would like to spend the week with them!"

"What?" Sam asked. She marked her place in her book and gently sat it on the cushion beside her. Her parents both spun around and looked at her from the kitchen doorway, wearing identical masks of panic. "Zane as in my uncle, Zane?"

"Yes, my brother." Pam said. She sounded as if she was trying to swallow a particularly large lump in her throat.

"Well...what did you tell him?" Jeremy asked. He placed his hands on his hips and stared at his wife, who was paling quickly.

"I was so shocked at the sudden offer...I said yes!"

"Pam! I'm not sending my daughter to your insane bother's house for a week alone!"

"Zane's insane?" Sam asked loudly. She stood, depositing the blanket she'd been under on the seat she had previously occupied. The looks her parents gave her told her that they had forgotten Sam was in the room.

"Um, no." Jeremy said quickly, glancing at Pam as he said it. She looked miserable. "Is there any way we can get Sam out of having to go?"

"No." Pam muttered, looking more miserable by the second. "I know my brother. He...wouldn't be happy if we backed out." She seemed to be hinting at something; suddenly, Sam became aware that they both knew something she did not know.

"What are we going to do? I'm not sending her up there, Pam. Not by herself."

"I...I could ask Danny and Tucker to go with me?" Sam suggested, crossing her arms behind her back and batting her eyelashes at her father. She knew if she pouted hard enough, he would give in. Being around Danny, who always got everything he wanted by unleashing his lethal puppy dog pout on Sam, had its' advantages.

Even though he did not like either of the boys, he appeared to dislike the idea of her spending a week with her relatives alone even more. He stared at her, contemplating the two very unappealing thoughts.

"Fine." He said shortly. "You know I don't like either of those...hooligans, but if they can provide you with the slightest bit of protection, I'll allow them to go. So long as their parents agree."

"Got it. So...where exactly to Zane and them live?"

"On second thought, I'll call their parents."

Sam raced up to her bedroom as her father proceeded to call Tucker's family. She slammed her door closed and seized her cell phone, dialing Tucker first.

"Hello?"

"Tucker! My dad's calling your folks, make sure they say yes to what he asks!"

"Sam, are you on crack? What are you talking about?"

"JUST GET THEM TO SAY YES!"

"Okay, fine! Don't kill me!" Sam heard him sigh. Shuffling footsteps could be heard, and the sound of distant, muffled voices began filtrating through the earpiece. "What is your dad asking, anyways?"

"If you and Danny can come with me to visit some wierd relatives that live in New York. Apparently they don't want me going alone, so I suggested you two come along."

"Oh. Are they rich like you?"

"I...don't know."

"...how do you not know?"

"They're wierd! I don't ever see them, I've never been to their house before. It's in New York, though."

"New York? I'm there!"

"Sweet! Thanks Tuck!" Sam flipped the phone shut, grinning. She flipped it back open and dialed Danny's number.

"Hey, Sam!" Danny's smile was evident in his voice when he answered; Sam felt her heart flutter at the fact that he knew it was her.

"Hi, Danny." She grinned. "Listen, my dad's gonna call your folks in a minute -"

"I didn't do anything to you though! God, if they're threatening a restraining order again, I'm gonna go ghost and haunt them until they burn it!"

"No, it's nothing like that. He's going to ask if you could spend the week with me and maybe Tucker at my relatives' house. They called earlier and asked if I could come, but my dad only feels comfortable with letting me go if someone else goes with me. So I suggested you and Tucker."

"Really? An entire week?" There was something strange in Danny's voice, something Sam had never heard before.

"Yep. I don't actually know what their house looks like -"

"I'd love to! I'll go ask my parents, I'm sure they'll say yes. Jazz is already gone to college and I'm pretty sure my parents are going out of town on a ghost hunting convention. So I'd have nothing else to do! This is gonna be awesome! Just you and me in New York for a week!"

Sam blushed violently. "Danny? Tucker's gonna be there too...not to mention my relatives."

"Oh."

There was an awkward pause. Sam nibbled her lower lip, wondering what in the world had just gotten into Danny.

"Hey, I can hear the phone ringing downstairs. I think it's your dad. I'll call you later and let you know how - beep - goes!"

"Good, Tucker's calling me on the other line, so I have to go anyways." Sam said, pulling the phone away from her face to see the words TUCKER FOLEY CALLING written across the screen. "Talk to you later!"

She switched the line. "What did they say?" She demanded, not bothering to say hello.

"They said yes!"

"AWESOME!" Sam shouted. "Now the Fentons just have to say yes, and all three of us can go!"

"Uh, Sam? I'm pretty sure they're gonna say yes. It's not like he has anything else to do. Plus he'd probably end up coming even if they did say no."

"What's that supposed to mean?" Sam asked, sinking back to lay across her bed.

"That he's totally in love with you and you're totally in love with him and he'd probably get jealous if it was just you and me alone for a week with your relatives."

"Okay, first of all, breathe. Second, I'M NOT IN LOVE WITH HIM!" Sam shouted, punching one of her pillows in frustration.

"Whatever, Sam. Look, I gotta go pack. You should do the same, since we're leaving tomorrow morning."

"We are? Jeez, I didn't even know that!" Sam lurched off the bed, yanked an old suitcase out from beneath her bed, and began randomly throwing clothes in, not bothering to fold the wrinkled fabric. "I'll see you tomorrow, then, I guess!"

"Cool! Thanks, Sam!" Tucker shouted as he hung up.

Sam smiled as she tossed her cell phone on the bed. Her suitcase was already overflowing, even after only a few seconds of packing. Her excitement increased tenfold when Danny called and confirmed that he would be able to join her as well.

But as she fell asleep that night, an extremely dark plan was beginning to unfold in upstate New York. One that would force her to look at her friends and family in a whole new light.


So there's chapter one.

Sorry about it being so slow...you know how setting up the rest of the story is. Ugh. So lame.

Anyways...

I don't know exactly where this is going yet. Actually, I don't know if this is going anywhere at all.

Meh. We'll see.

Review! Let me know what you guys think.

And if you have any DxS romance plot bunnies you can't tackle, PM 'em to me. I have a list of story ideas going. I'm gonna be busy for a while! But I'm looking for more (:

- Tori