So marks the beginning of the final chapter of Darkness. *sqeal* I DID IT! :D

I don't own Danny Phantom.

Enjoy (:


Chapter Eleven: Even Better

January 5, 2012

"Careful, Sam!" Danny said sharply. He seized her hand and pulled her away from the edge of the bridge she had been teetering on. They were on a walk through the park. They held hands and snuck glances at each other, blushing and smiling and looking away when they made eye-contact.

"Relax, D," Sam smiled, squeezing his hand. "I was fine,"

"Sorry," He said, forcing a smile. "It's just...I'm still so protective of you,"

"It was two months ago," Sam reminded him gently. She was nearly healed now. The stitches in her head had long since been removed, leaving behind a clean white scar that was completely hidden when her hair fell the right way. Her minor wounds had completely healed, and her two stab wounds were nothing more than shallow cuts by that time. It would only be a few more weeks before the scabs fell away and left her with two horrible, but well-earned scars.

"I know. It still feels like yesterday, though," Danny admitted. He pulled her closer as they crossed the bridge, closing his eyes and breathing in the scent of her shampoo. He was exhausted; he'd hardly slept a wink the night before. He had to stay home that night, something he was not used to anymore. He had been spending every night with Sam since the day she was released from the hospital, but that night she had to be with her parents at the hospital while her grandmother went into surgery. He had offered to wait with her, but she told him to stay home and sleep.

He suffered from a terrible nightmare. He had dreamed that Sam was gone, that she was dead, and that he had only imagined her coming home alive and safe. Dan was after him, laughing, his mouth pulled into a wide leer. His mouth was stained with Sam's blood. Danny awoke screaming, thrashing around in his bed. He was drenched in a cold sweat and tears were streaming down his face. He had to call Sam to ensure that she was, in fact, alive.

She seemed to understand.

She squeezed his fingers between her own, smiling again. "Only it wasn't," She sang teasingly.

He grinned and pulled her against his chest. He pressed his lips against hers, revelling at the fact that he still felt a jolt of electricity down his spine the moment he made contact with her. He rested his forehead against hers when they pulled apart, staring at her violet eyes. He could look at her forever, he realized. Being that close, their heads touching, their noses skimming across each other occasionally, breathing each other's air, was his favorite place in the world. Hands down.

Before, when he had imagined being with Sam the way he was now, he imagined constant make-outs. Fiery, passionate, caution-to-the-wind make-outs. He had a particular fantasy where he would fly into her room, grab her as forcefully as he dared, slam her against a wall, and kiss her senseless. But actually being with her was so much more calm, more gentle. Everything they did was feather-light, full of love instead of lust. They would get a bit more passionate on occassion, but mostly, they stuck with lingering kisses and skimming the tips of their noses across the other's. And Danny loved it so much more than he could have possibly guessed he would.

"I love you so much," He whispered, feeling a boost in his ego when he watched her eyes flutter close as his breath washed over her face.

"I love you, too. You're my hero," She whispered back. And he knew she meant it, she wasn't just trying to make him feel like the man of their relationship or anything like that. He saw the conviction in her eyes, the conviction that she wore during her most heated moments of independence. He kissed her again, getting lost in the sparks she alone created behind his eyelids.

It was a disgruntled call of "Get a room!" that jolted them back to reality. They broke apart and laughed and resumed in their walking, ignoring the looks of disdain other pedestrians shot their way. They didn't know, they didn't understand what a miracle it was for that couple to be in that park. Danny and Sam moved among them, outwardly appearing to be like their fellow citizens, but inwardly being anything but. Their connection was so much deeper than theirs.

Danny was Sam's hero.

He would do anything, he would die, to stay that way.

He would tell her eventually, he was sure. He would try to describe the beast living just beneath the surface that would lie, cheat, steal, kill, and destroy to keep her safe. The day would come when he didn't get tears in his eyes thinking about where his life would be without her. But until then, he would always answer her whispers of 'you're my hero' with the thought:

When the darkness consumes you, know that I will always try to start a fire. It may burn down the forest, it may consume me, but if it can save you from that darkness, I would burn it all.

I hope you guys enjoyed reading as much as I enjoyed writing!

Thank you, and goodnight (:

- Tori