Here's chapter ten.
I wanted to clarify a few things:
1. They are juniors in high school.
2. They only have six class periods.
That's all, really.
Thanks for reading. (:
I don't own Danny Phantom.
If I Stay
August 22, 2012
Danny stared down at Sam's motionless figure, holding his breath. Tucker was still whispering excitedly behind Danny, bouncing on the balls of his feet at Sam's improvement.
"...means I might not go to jail after all!" Tucker finished, closing his eyes and clapping his hands together. Danny turned to face his friend sharply, feeling a familiar edge in his eyes.
"You're not going to jail no matter what happens here." Danny said shortly. Tucker immediately stopped bouncing, the grin wiped off his face. "While I was under, I talked to Sam a bit more about Meg. I think I know what we did wrong."
"What did we do wrong?" Tucker asked, looking offended.
Danny rolled his eyes and turned back to Sam. "We didn't try to sympathize," He said softly. He rubbed her lower arm absently, staring at her face. "We - I, mostly - didn't try to understand why Meg did what she did. We just told her that people would get hurt if she didn't tell someone."
"Well, it's the truth." Tucker grumbled. "Not that it would help Sam much, but...you know. I don't want to go to jail."
Danny bit back the urge to roll his eyes again. "We need to approach Meg differently." He said, still staring at Sam. "I think if we can get her to trust us, she'll be more likely to tell someone about what actually happened."
Tucker huffed and Danny turned to face him. Danny was shocked to find Tucker's eyes swimming in tears. "I hate hospitals." He muttered, wiping his face furiously.
"Hey, man," Danny stood and took Tucker's shoulder's comfortingly. "Everything's gonna be okay, alright? I'm figuring out how to talk to Meg, and Sam's there to help us, too."
"Yeah, but what happens if she isn't there anymore?" Tucker asked, refusing to meet Danny's eye.
Danny tightened his grip on Tucker's shoulders, the fleeting feeling of clinging to a life raft fogging his thoughts. "We can't afford to think like that, dude. Besides, you said you just saw her move, and that's an improvement."
"Yeah...I guess..." Tucker trailed.
"Stop overthinking things. Let's just take this one step at a time. Baby steps."
Tucker nodded and looked up, offering Danny a watery grin. "You're right." His grin faltered as his brow furrowed. "Can we get out of here now?"
"Did she know I was there just now?" Tucker asked as Danny flew them back to the school.
"She heard you trying to wake me up," Danny said, keeping his eyes on the horizon.
Tucker was silent for a moment. "She's still not mad?
Danny chuckled. "No, man. She's not mad. I think she felt bad that I forced you to go to the hospital."
"Yeah. I felt bad, too." Tucker grumbled, earning a snort from Danny.
Danny lowered their bodies to the earth outside of the school, setting Tucker down on his feet carefully before dropping to the ground beside him and transforming back to Fenton. He stretched his back as they walked slowly back up the steps to the front doors.
"What period are we in?" Tucker asked as they traipsed down the empty hallways. Danny glanced at the clock, which read 1:27 PM.
"Fifth?" Danny said uncertainly.
"That's physics..." Tucker said. They exchanged a look before sprinting toward the classroom on the second floor.
Danny was the first one to scramble through the door, with Tucker on his heels. The teacher, Mrs. Davensport, was a young woman fresh out of college. She glanced up at them curiously from the board, but did not pause her lecture. Danny and Tucker shuffled to the back of the classroom wordlessly, ignoring the stares from their fellow classmates.
Megan sat one row to Danny's left, and up a row, so that he could only see her back. Her shoulders were tense, as if it was taking every muscle in her body to refuse to turn around to stare at them. Her lab partner, Eileen, was leaning away from her fearfully. Danny could only guess the look Meg had on her face at that moment.
"How're we gonna do this?" Tucker whispered as they pulled their physics binders from their backpacks. Danny tapped his pencil on the desk, furrowing his brow.
"I don't think it's gonna work if we both try to talk to her at the same time." He muttered from the corner of his mouth. "It has to be just one of us."
"You do it." Tucker said quickly, glancing at the board and jotting down notes. "I suck at girls. And words."
"Hello? Have you forgotten that because of what I said, Sam is now in a coma?" Danny hissed, copying Tucker's notes. "I'm not exactly the best at words or girls either."
"That's because you're clueless..." Tucker sang under this breath. Danny kicked at his legs under the table, which Tucker dodged easily. "Just talk to her during the lab."
"Wait, we have a lab today?" Danny asked. Tucker peered at him over the rims of his glasses, before shaking his head and rolling his eyes.
"How do you function?" He muttered. He pulled a vaguely-familiar-looking packet from his binder and slapped it down on the table between them. "We're working on light refraction today. Remember?"
Danny stared at the packet blankly. "Was that the one that Sam was supposed to help us with?"
Pain washed through Tucker's eyes. "Yeah." He said quietly, dropping his gaze back to his notes.
Danny nodded. He remembered now, of course.
Once the class was released back to the lab half of the classroom, Danny and Tucker took care to ensure that they shared a lab desk with Eileen and Meg. Tucker, of course, decided to distract Eileen by creepily flirting with her, leaving Danny and Meg alone on the opposite end of the desk. Meg spared him one disparaging glance, before she became absorbed in the assignment.
Danny watched her working furtively, trying to appear as into the assignment as she was. He noted the way her hands shook when she lifted the laser pointer. When she scooped the crystals off of the counter, he noticed several long, thin, pale scars that wound up her left arm.
Scars that were eerily similar to Sam's.
"Let me help," Danny murmured, leaning across the table and grabbing several smaller crystals. Meg stiffened, but said nothing. "Meg, look -"
"Stop it. I'm not gonna say what you want me to say, so give up." She snarled. Danny felt a wave of fury rise in his chest, but he pushed it down.
"That's not what I was gonna ask," He said softly. Meg narrowed her eyes in disbelief. "Look, I wanted to apologize for acting the way I did earlier. I just...I'm just stressed out, is all."
Meg's expression was unreadable. Danny shifted nervously, suddenly feeling as if he was under a microscope. Meg dropped her gaze to the table, twisting her fingers together nervously. She glanced back up at Danny. "S'okay." She muttered.
The atmosphere at their end of the desk was much less tense after that. Danny did not dare bring up the accident or Meg's scars for fear of losing the ground he gained that day. They worked together in near silence, only pausing once to laugh at Eileen, who "accidentally" blinded Tucker with the laser pointer when he moved in for a kiss.
When the bell rang to release the class, Meg did not dart for the door. Instead, she stood and slowly gathered her things, offering Danny a small smile before turning and leaving. Danny watched her go, torn between the fury he felt when speaking to Sam and sadness at seeing Meg's scars. He wondered how many other people in his life had them, how many others whose pain he'd been obvlivious to.
Tucker appeared at his side, still rubbing his irratated eyes. "Get anywhere?" He asked.
Danny shrugged. "I think so," He said as they exited the classroom, walking slowly to avoid the mob of students rushing to their last class. "She's no where near telling me anything, but...I think she trusts me a little more."
"That's good," Tucker murmured, eyeing a gaggle of seniors shoving a freshman into a locker warily. "Baby steps."
"Yeah," Danny mumbled, wincing when the jocks slammed the locker shut and guffawed loudly. "Baby steps."