You Saved My Life
Rated: Teen for romance (Danny/Sam) and thoughts of suicide
Summary: "Do you really think that I'd think you're a hero just because of Phantom? You were my hero long before you ever gained your powers." Post Phantom Planet
Disclaimer: Danny Phantom is owned by Butch Hartman.
LES: This sort of story is so widely spread that it borders on urban legend. Lots of people have heard stories like this one. Oh… for a good portion of my story Danny and Sam will be out of character. That's because it will take place when they are in seventh grade. This will be before Sam turns into a Goth vegetarian activist. She doesn't know who she is yet. Danny's a bit more clueless than normal. So this story takes place after Phantom Planet, with a large flash-back to seventh grade.
In every friendship-turned-romantic-couple relationship, there is a point when the two involved will just sit back and wonder why in the world it took them so long to confess their feelings for each other. Well, both Danny and Sam knew the answer to that. As friends, they'd had a really good thing between them and they were both afraid to jeopardize that by embarking on a relationship that might not work out.
But once they were actually together, they had to work to remember all their old reasons. Ever since the Disasteroid, they'd just fit together like they were made for each other.
Moving their relationship to the next level had been remarkably easy. Since they all ready knew each other so well, they could bypass that awkward 'getting to know you' stage. Danny had once heard someone say that love was simply friendship set on fire. And, for him and Sam, it was.
They sat up together in Danny's room. Of course, there were a few rules to follow under the Fenton's roof when it came to their relationship. For example, they had to leave the bedroom door open at all times. It was slightly annoying, but it was better than Sam's house. At least his parents were okay with them kissing. Sam's parents would freak out if he so much as touched Sam's arm.
Danny wasn't really sure what bothered them most anymore: that he was Sam's boyfriend, that he was not some society boy raised at the country club, or that he was half-ghost.
In the end, it didn't matter. The Manson's had long since given up trying to tame their daughter and now seemed content to sit back as long as she didn't get too wild.
So, there they were, sitting on Danny's bed, locked in a passionate kiss. One of Danny's hands had tangled itself in her hair, while the other rested just above the curve of her hip. Both of Sam's hands were wrapped around his neck, keeping him as close to her as possible.
Danny groaned into her mouth as her hands moved down from his neck to his shoulders and then down to his chest. "Sam…" He whispered against her skin as he aborted the kiss to nip down the slope of her neck instead. "I love you."
"I love you too, Danny…" Sam replied, gasping with pleasure as he nibbled on her collarbone for a moment before moving back up her neck again. "You are too good for me, Danny Fenton. How can I ever deserve you?"
Danny chuckled against her skin. "I'm too good for you? And all this time I thought you were too good for me."
This caused Sam to pull away from him, drawing a groan of frustration from Danny's throat as he was denied her skin. "Where would you get an idea like that?" She demanded.
Danny stared at her for a moment before he let out a sigh. "Remember when I lost my powers before the Disasteroid?"
"Lost? Don't you mean 'gave up'?" Sam asked.
"Same difference." Danny said flippantly. "When I lost… gave up my powers you said that I was just an ordinary, everyday human again. And you also said that you'd always be my friend. Without my powers, I wasn't special anymore. Without Phantom, I wasn't good enough for you. I wasn't a hero."
Sam stared at him for a few moments, feeling the rising urge to slap him soundly. Her mouth worked for a few seconds, but she couldn't get anything out. Finally, she managed to sputter out: "How in the world could you even think that? Do you really think that I love you just because of your ghost powers, that I don't think of you as special as a human? Do you really think that I'd think you're a hero just because of Phantom? You were my hero long before you ever gained your powers."
Danny stared at her for a second, confused. "But… you said…"
"What I meant was that you were not yourself anymore." Sam said. "It was like when you split yourself with the Ghost Catcher… you were still you but you were not you because you had removed something vital from yourself. The Danny Fenton I know selflessly cares for other people and risks his life to protect them even when they don't appreciate it… just because he can. The Danny Fenton I know is a hero. That is what you gave up when you removed your powers. You gave up a piece of you. That's why I said what I said, nothing more and nothing less."
"Oh…" Danny said thoughtfully, and then "Sam?"
"What do you mean about me being your hero long before I got my powers?" Danny asked.
For a few moments, Sam only stared at him and Danny was sure that he was about to get slapped for prying. However, her gaze softened and she smiled softly at him. "Do you remember the day we became friends, back in seventh grade?"
"How could I forget?" Danny asked.
Anyone who is past elementary school can tell you that middle school is such a downer. When you are in elementary school, there are no cliques and separations between the children besides that first, all-important one: boys vs. girls. Sure, there are some indications about which kids will turn out to be the jocks, the nerds, or the geeks, but that didn't stop pretty much everyone from being friends with everyone else. Little groups of friends gathered on the play ground, but if someone started a game of kickball, everyone was willing to join in, and no one was left out.
It is in middle school that cliques start to form for the first time. Groups of friends are now cemented together with little or no mingling between them. The athletic, the rich, and the beautiful were turned into the A-List, and everyone else was regulated to the B through Z-list, with everyone picking on people who were below them.
Danny, unfortunately, was not in the A-List. He was nowhere near the bottom of middle school society, but being below the A-List had now turned him into a target for the bullies of the A-List, including Dash Baxter. Danny often had a hard time remembering that the boy who stuffed his head in a toilet every other day once spent a whole afternoon teaching Danny how to play kickball without embarrassing himself.
His lack of athletic ability, being best friends with a boy obsessed with technology, and being the son of two 'ghost obsessed weirdos' (an occupation that was considered 'awesome' until the end of sixth grade) placed him firmly, and forevermore, outside the A-List.
So when Danny saw Paulina, an A-Lister, knock books out of the hands of Samantha Manson, a perpetually gloomy girl whose constant frown was always in direct contrast to the pinks and whites that she wore, Danny was more than willing to sympathize with her.
Samantha Manson was one of those girls who looked like she could belong in the A-List easily. Her clothes were preppy and nice, so her family was obviously not wanting in the cash department. But the cloud of gloom that hung around her was just as much a deterrent to the A-List as Danny's lack of talent for anything involving sports.
Paulina walked away, laughing at her little act of bullying. Samantha barely acknowledged Paulina's presence, just staring down at her dropped books like she was digging up the will to bend down and get them.
All at once, Danny forgot that she was not in his circle of friends (well… one friend) and that she was a girl and, therefore, untouchable. He walked over to her and picked up to grab her books. "Here, let me get that." He said, gathering the textbooks.
All at once, Samantha seemed to snap out of her fog. She knelt down with him, reaching for the books that he hadn't grabbed yet. "I could have gotten them myself." She said.
"Uh… yeah, you could have. But you didn't look like you were gonna." Danny said, gathering the last of her books and handing them to her. "You're… Samantha, right? Samantha Manson?"
"Unfortunately." She said simply, finally meeting his eyes. "And you're… Daniel Fenton, right?"
Danny winced. He had never really liked the name Daniel. "Actually, I prefer to be called Danny."
"Oh. Well, sorry." Samantha said in a tone dripping with sarcasm.
Danny didn't know how to respond to this much sarcasm. Sarcasm wasn't really a thing that he had to deal with a lot. "Um… it's okay. You didn't really know." The two fell into a slightly uncomfortable silence. "So, um…" Danny began nervously. "I'm planning on going to the Nasty Burger. Do you wanna come with me?" Samantha gave him a look like he was completely insane. "I mean… it's just that you look kinda down…"
"More than usual, you mean?" Samantha asked.
"No! Not at all! I just…" Danny paused. "My friend, Tucker, says that the Nasty Burger's good for what ails you."
"Not if you see how they prepare those burgers." Sam commented. She wordlessly stuffed her books in her locker and shut the door. She turned back around to face Danny. "Okay, I'll go with you. But don't think this is a date, or anything!"
Danny's mouth fell open. "Oh, no! I didn't mean anything like that! I just wanted to…"
But Samantha was all ready a ways down the hall. "Well, are you coming or not?" She asked.
"Yeah." Danny said, jogging quickly after her.
Their meal at the Nasty Burger went off without a single hitch, except for the fact that Sam refused to have anything except a salad. "Have you seen how they prepare their food? It's enough to make anyone sick!" Samantha said.
Danny, however, just shrugged it off. "If I can survive having cafeteria food day after day, I figure that my stomach's like iron now and can survive anything." With that, he took a bite out of his Nasty Burger.
Samantha wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Disgusting."
Danny set his burger down and began poke his fries, contemplating eating them. "So, uh… was something wrong when Paulina knocked your books down? You really didn't seem like you were going to pick them up."
For a while, Samantha didn't answer, only jabbed at her salad a few times with her fork. Finally, she looked up at Danny. "My parents…" She paused again. "Do you ever get the feeling that your parents are trying to get you to be someone that you aren't? And if you aren't their vision of a perfect child you'll just disappoint them?"
Danny snorted. "All the time. Haven't you heard? My parents are ghost hunting freaks. They are always trying to get me to get interested in ghost hunting… but I'm just… not. What I really wanna be is an…" Danny trailed off, blushing with embarrassment. "An astronaut. I think they are disappointed that I'm… normal."
This time, it was Samantha who laughed. Danny stared at her in shock. He hadn't seen her laugh in years. And now that he had seen it, he realized that it was something to be dreadfully missed. "Then we're both freaks, aren't we, Danny?" Samantha asked rhetorically. "I live with 'normal' parents but wanna be abnormal. You live with abnormal parents but wanna be normal. We're both oddballs in our own way."
"I never thought of it like that." Danny said. "It's nice, you know?"
"What's nice?" Samantha asked.
"Your laugh." Danny said. "I don't remember the last time I heard it."
At that, Samantha's face fell a little. "No one can." But then she glanced up at Danny. "Then you are the first."
"That's, uh… great. So… there's still some daylight out. You wanna go to the mall?" Danny asked.
Samantha paused thoughtfully. "Sure." She said.
"So, tell me…" Samantha said while they were window shopping at the mall. "Why don't you like to be called Daniel?"
Danny shrugged. "I don't know. It just didn't seem like me. Now… 'Danny'… that's more like it. Now it's just what my parents call me when I'm in trouble. That sort of thing."
"I hate my name." Samantha said, and Danny glanced at her. "Just like you said… 'Samantha's not who I am. It's just… ugh."
"Then a nickname's all you need." Danny said. "Samantha… Sam… no, that's a boy's name."
"No." Samantha said quickly. "Sam. I like that. Sam… Yeah. That sounds more like me."
"Sam, it is, then." Danny said. "But don't blame me if everyone tries to tell you that's a boy's name."
"I wanna be abnormal, just like I said. So why shouldn't I take a boy's name?" The newly-dubbed Sam asked. Something caught her eyes, and she stopped in her tracks. "Ohhh!" She pulled Danny over to the window of one of the Goth shops in the mall. She was staring in the window, more specifically at a spiked choker that was on display there.
For a second, Danny couldn't imagine this proper-looking society girl wearing a spiked choker from a Goth store. But then he realized that her wardrobe was probably due to her parent's choosing. They obviously didn't allow her a great deal of freedom.
He instantly felt bad. Even though his parents did occasionally force him to listen to the Hunting-Ghosts-Is-The-Greatest-Job-Ever speech, at least they didn't try to control what he wore or anything like that. They'd had a white-and-black jumpsuit made for him, but he'd never been forced to wear it.
He felt around in his pocket for some money. He pulled out a handful of bills. A quick count and a glance at the price of the choker revealed that buying it would wipe out his allowance. But one look on her face as she stared at the choker convinced him. He took her hand. "Come on." He said, dragging her into the store. He got the attention of one of the clerks, which wasn't hard because they were the brightest things in the store. "Excuse me? I'd like that spiked choker in the window, please." Danny said.
"Oh, no! You don't have to! I can…" Sam began as the clerk walked over to the window display to get the necklace.
"I want to, Sam." Danny said. She looked like she was going to protest, but her words died as the clerk returned with the necklace and Danny paid for it with the last of his allowance. Once the transaction was complete, he turned to Sam, holding the necklace up. "May I?" He asked. Sam nodded and allowed Danny to put the necklace on her. He pulled away once it was secure, glancing at her, and then snorted with laughter. "It doesn't exactly match the rest of your outfit." He said.
Sam glanced down at herself. He definitely had a point. The choker clashed completely with the pink, white, floral get-up that she wore. She smiled at him. "It's a start." She said. "Thanks, Danny. I really enjoyed spending time with you."
"I did too." Danny said, and then added jokingly. "Even if you are a girl."
Sam rolled her eyes. "You'll eat those words someday." She said, and then she glanced at her watch. "Oh no! I've got to be home!" She started to rush off, but then stopped a few feet away. "Danny?" She called.
"Thanks for the food and the choker." She said. "And, uh… I'll see you tomorrow."
"Uh… yeah… see you tomorrow." Danny replied.
As they parted ways, it occurred to Danny that he'd just made another friend. He grinned to himself and started to head home with an extra bounce in his step. So what if he wasn't popular if he had friends to share it with: Tucker and now… Sam.
"Yeah, I remember the next day too." Danny said, smiling at the memory. "You showed up to school dressed completely in black with most of your hair cut off. You nearly gave everyone a heart attack. They thought you were a new student, and when you said you were Sam Manson… the looks on everyone's faces… priceless." Danny laughed.
"You remember when you asked me if I was okay when Paulina knocked down my books?" Sam asked. "How I didn't seem like I had the energy to pick up the books myself?" Danny nodded. "Well… I answered you… but I didn't tell you the whole truth." She took a deep breath, her hand drifted up to his chest, like she was using him as her rock. Danny stared at her, confused. Sam Manson was a person who didn't need a man for support, either physical or emotional. She was with him because she loved him, not because she thought that she needed a man in her life. "Sorry… I've never told anyone before…" She met Danny's eyes. "When you saw me at that moment… I made the decision… I was going to go home and… kill myself."
Danny's eyes widened and he sat up straighter, taking her shoulders. "What? What? Sam, you…"
"It's true." Sam said, shaking her head. "I was tired of it, Danny. Tired of it all. Tired of pretending to be someone that I wasn't. Tired of being sad, angry, and depressed all that time. I was tired of my parents ignoring just how messed up I was just because I could fake my way through." She met his eyes again. "And then you walked up to me, Danny. You picked up my books, took me out to eat, and bought me a spiked choker. I still have it, you know?" She smiled at him. "But you taught me to be who I was. You let me know that it was okay to be a freak."
"But… I just wanted to be normal." Danny said.
"You were freakish in your normality, remember?" Sam asked. "Once I went Goth… of course I had my parents on my back all the time. But it was easier to bear because I was being true to myself at last." She kissed him. "You saved my life that day, Danny Fenton. Not Danny Phantom."
"Sam…" Danny gasped as Sam moved closer to her, pressing her forehead against his, her breath mingling with his.
"You're a hero, Danny Fenton." Sam said. "It only took Phantom for you to realize it." And she kissed him for everything that she was worth. Danny pressed into her kiss, returning all of her passion. Sam moaned as his tongue slipped into her mouth to tangle with her own, her hands drifting to tangle in the hair on the back of his head. "I love you, Danny." Sam whispered against his lips as they broke their kiss.
"That's why you're my hero." Danny whispered. "I love you too."
LES: Sam was difficult in this one. For one, remembering to write out her full name before she changed it. Sam wasn't a vegetarian yet, but I still couldn't write her eating meat. It just seemed… I couldn't do it. So she just protests against the Nasty Burger's cooking method. Hope that you enjoyed it.