Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom, Memory Blank, Doctors Disorders, Pirate Radio or Reign Storm, the CD Three Days Grace or the Hummer H2.

AN: This story contains rape, sexual content and male sex. If this disturbs you, please do not read.

Chapter 17: The Decision

"The Hummer H2," I replied, my eyes wide as I took in its massive size. This baby had it all. It could go anywhere, could do anything.

"You've got to be kidding me," Sam retorted.

"Isn't it everything I said and more," Tucker asked, him in the same trance-like state I was.

"Yes, it is," I said, just staring at its beauty.

"Ten miles to the gallon," Sam squealed. "Look at that, it's made with leather. Creatures destroyed for their hides! That's outrageous! Come on, Danny! You can't be in love with this stupid truck!"

"It's beautiful," I replied, wiping an invisible tear.

"Come on, guys, we're going to be late for school," Sam demanded. She stomped off in the opposite direction.

I caught sight of these buttons. "I wonder what this button does," I asked, pushing it. Suddenly the truck exploded and a giant cow roared at us. "Not that!" Tucker scampered away, a fifty foot cow too much for him to handle. I looked around the lot, seeing all the vehicles, hundreds of thousands of dollars in inventory. I had to get it away from here. I lifted into the air, summoning my ghost half. "Follow me," I called. However, instead of following me, it lifted up its leg. It wouldn't!

The cow released a gush of milk, covering me from head to toe. I heard Tucker cry in disgust below. I looked down to see him covered as well. "I just became lactose intolerant," Tucker retorted, shaking the milk off of his hands. This is so wrong on so many levels!

It didn't take long to defeat the ghost cow but because of my weakness, it took longer than normal. Of course, that didn't stop Sam from busting my chops about cruelty to plastic, un-living animals. She defended the beast, saying it was doing a public service destroying the evil trucks. I ignored her, walking towards the school. My body heat was starting to bake the milk, making my skin become cracked. I need to get this stuff off of me.

"Oh, duh," I replied, feeling completely stupid. I turned myself intangible, allowing the baked on goop fall to the concrete.

"Uh," Tucker replied. "Hello!"

I'm getting to it, I thought to myself. I touched my finger to him, turning him intangible as well. The milk drained out of his hair and clothing. "Thanks," Tucker called.

"Danny," a voice called from across the street. I looked in the direction to see Paulina running across the road. "Hey, Danny!"

"Paulina," I asked, confused. What does she want?

"You're very hard to find," Paulina complained. "Papa has rented out the Country Club for my quince. I've been trying to give you these all week!"

"For what," I asked.

"I want you to come, silly," she replied.

"Me," I asked, confused. What the heck is going on? Am I going to be on Punked - Amity Park edition?

"Of course," she replied.

"You remembered to invite me, right," Tucker asked, hopeful.

"And remembered not to invite me," Sam said, crossing her arms.

Paulina pulled out a flyer, "Everyone's invited!" She handed a second one to Sam. Tucker rejoiced while Sam cursed the day the girl was born.

"Everyone," I asked, not believing it. Why are you really doing this, I sent out.

I can't make it seem too obvious, Paulina thought. It sounded like me with a Spanish accent. Actually, it sounds like I do when I teach Spanish. Wherever he seems to be, the ghost boy seems to be. I really want him to be there!

Great, I thought to myself. Things just keep getting better and better.

"You will be attending, no," Paulina remarked.

"Oh, yeah, I'll be there. I promise," I replied, chuckling. I couldn't get the irony out of my mind. I'm the last person there when the ghost boy is around, in a sense. I am the ghost boy so therefore I am there but I'm overthinking this.

"Yes," Paulina celebrated. "See you Friday!"

"Unbelievable," Sam retorted. "Do you guys remember what this Friday is?" I went over the date in my head but came up empty handed. "The movie! Remember!"

"That chick-flick," Tucker asked, his brow ceasing.

"It's not a chick-flick," Sam defended. "It's just an action movie starring girls. It's going to be awesome."

"It'll probably have nudity," I whispered to Tucker.

"It's rated PG-13," Tucker shot back, "probably not!"

I chuckled. Maybe he's not as naïve as I thought. "Come on, Sam. We never get invited to these parties. Can't we go some other time?"

"Non-refundable tickets," Sam remarked.

"Oh, sure," I smirked. "Because the movie theater sells tickets before the showing!"

Sam blushed. "You promised, though!"

"And I'll keep my promise," I replied. "We'll go Saturday… or Friday after the party. Come on, Sam."

Sam crossed her arms stubbornly. I looked to Tuck.

"Pretty please, with those dark licorice sprinkles and black frosting you like with those little gummy bats on top," Tuck and I both pleaded.

Sam sighed, caving in. "Fine, I'll go to the party."

"Yes," Tucker and I called, smacking hands.

"Thanks," I said, smiling in her direction. Sam had a soft smile on her lips. I'd need to do something for her later. We continued walking to school, Sam leading. I heard Sam grumble about not being so cruel she'd wish something bad would happen to Paulina and the party would be cancelled. That girl really does hate Paulina.

XXX

We made it to school but Sam and Tucker wouldn't let me sit up. They practically pushed my head down on the table as I sat down. I didn't fight it, drifting off to sleep. When my ghost sense went off, I hadn't even realized the bell had rang. Apparently it had because class had started. I stood up, stretched and walked out of the class.

Sam and Tucker sat down beside of me in English even though they weren't supposed to. I drifted off to sleep before class began. My ghost sense, once again, woke me up. However, before I had the chance to stand up, the ceiling collapsed, a strange looking woman falling into the room. Mr. Lancer tried to be brave but abandoned that thought, pulling the fire alarm and running for his life.

As soon as the room was clear, I transformed into my ghost half and engaged in battle. I had gotten some sleep but I was still drained. The ghost added another gash to my arm. I held onto my injury as she hissed Sam's name. I stared at her in shock as she dissolved away. That was weird!

Third and fourth periods followed the same order while I was forced to stay awake for fifth period so I could teach it. Before I joined Sam and Tucker at lunch, I flew home to grab one of the specter deflectors. I didn't know what was going off, but somehow it involved Sam. I wouldn't jeopardize her safety. When I returned, I told Sam and Tucker about my encounter with the most bizarre ghost of the day. Something was different about that attack. They weren't related but something was going off that wasn't average.

When the screaming began from inside the cafeteria, I slipped the specter belt around her waist and went to fight the ghost. Luckily, it wasn't involving Paulina; it was just an average ghost. Gym, seventh and eight periods came and went, each one experiencing a ghost attack. Detention went like normal too. On our way home, however, another scream occurred. This one was familiar.

"Paulina," I replied, noticing the accent. "Again!"

"On the way home from school," Tucker asked, confused.

"Tucker, get Sam home," I replied. "Stay out of this. You might get hurt. You should just lay low!"

I knew the minute I said that I had opened a can of worms I should have left alone. Even Tucker picked at it, quoting me in sarcasm. She wouldn't leave now if I tried dragging her away. I didn't have time for this, though. I transformed and flew after the ghost. Sure enough, another strange looking ghost was attacking Paulina. This time, it was chasing her on her bike. Paulina was clinging to a dress.

"Hey," Paulina cried as the ghost shot a blast at her. It was not ectoplasm. "I just got this back from the cleaners!" Paulina tried outrunning the ghost but the ghost was just toying with her. When she chased Paulina into a corner, she cried out, "This is like the worse birthday week ever!"

I flew over to her, trying to cheer her up, "Let's see if we can change that!"

"And now it's not," Paulina cried, happily.

Hey, maybe if I invite him I can uninvited Danny Fenton and his dorky friends, Paulina thought. I really wished my powers hadn't chosen that moment to listen in on her thoughts because it distracted me. The ghost smacked me away without trouble and shocked me. Still being so weak, my power gave out and I transformed back into a human.

"Leave him alone," I heard a female voice. I looked up weakly to see Sam on a scooter charging at the ghost. If I'm not mistaken, Sam was on Paulina's scooter. The ghost landed not ten feet from where I laid in the snowy water fountain. The ghost stood up, staring at Sam. She whispered as the last one did and also vanished.

"Wow," Sam commented, "You were right. That specter deflector works like a charm."

"Thanks," I replied. I stood up but my foot slipped on the ice. Before I could catch myself, Sam had caught me. I didn't feel the choking sensation but instead but met with a painful jolt. I collapsed back into the water fountain.

"Are you okay," Sam asked me, concerned.

"That was different," I thought as an afterthought. "I can't help but think this has something to do with you, Sam."

"Well, you're welcome," Sam said sarcastically with a snort. "I can't believe you're blaming me!"

"It wouldn't be the first time you were the cause of an attack," I retorted. "Let's make the menu recycle-vegeterian! Let's let the gorilla out! Let's save the frogs!"

"Anything else you want to blame me for," Sam retorted defensively. "Puberty, world hunger, global warming!"

"I'm sorry," I declared, "but both ghosts knew your name. Don't you find that suspicious?"

"No, I don't," Sam demanded. "We fight ghosts every day! Do you think Paulina would have saved you back there?"

"She would have tried," I defended.

Sam grunted, "Oh, sometimes there are days I wish I never even met you," Sam screamed. She stormed off in the opposite direction, leaving the scooter behind. I stared after her, trying to figure out where this had gone so horribly wrong. You need to make this right, Fenton.

"Just great," I thought bitterly. "You just might have lost one of the only true friends you have!"

"Finally," another female voice cried. What is this, attack of the estrogen? I turned to see smoke rising. Desiree formed in front of me, larger than she was last time.

"Desiree," I asked, confused. "You look…"

"Different," she admitted. "More powerful! Why yes! The more wishes I grant the more powerful I get." Oh, no. I get it.

"What do you want," I demanded, triggering the rings. I don't have a lot of strength left.

"You out of the way," Desiree replied without hesitation. Why do I have a bad feeling about this. "By tomorrow night. But it's not about what I want, it's about what your little friend wants. And she just wished she'd never met you."

"And so she has wished it, so shall it be!"

Memories of the last two days flooded my memory… or should I say memories of the last eight years flooded my memory. Anyhow, I remembered who I was now. Pushing aside everything I was feeling, I pointed the thermos at Desiree and sucked her inside. I could have wished her inside but Sam already defeated her using her own powers against her. No sense in adding insult to injury. The various wishes started disappearing, the two evil bushes popping out of existence. I heard Tucker cry in sorrow as his truck disappeared.

I took a deep breath, putting my head on my chest. Strangely, there was some kind of symbol on my chest. "Hey," I cried, dropping the thermos. "What'd you do to my costume?"

"Nothing," Sam replied as I bent down to pick the thermos back up. "It's always been like that."

"Watch where you point that thing," Tucker retorted as I came back up. I glared at him, the memories struggling to catch up through my mind.

"I know what I'm doing now," I retorted.

I plopped down on the ground, triggering my rings. Sam and Tucker sat close to me, allowing my body heat to keep them warm. We watched the last little bit of the meteor shower.

"Weren't we invited to that party," Tucker asked after some time. The shower had slowed down considerably and even I was growing bored.

"Yeah, and Paulina's expecting a visit from the ghost boy, remember. You should probably keep your promise."

I checked my watch, seeing we still had time before the theater closed. "I probably should."

XXX

When I returned home that night, my mom told me she had a message for me. I noted it, heading to bed. Vlad would probably kill me for missing two days' worth of apartment hunting but hopefully amnesia would excuse me. I fell asleep, finally getting some of the rest I needed.

The next morning I dialed the number Mom had wrote down for me. "This is Danny Fenton, you called my house yesterday," I asked.

"Yes, Mr. Fenton. This is Gensteel. We're constructing your headquarters," the man replied.

"Is it ready," I asked, my heart leaping to my throat in anticipation.

"Yes, sir," he replied. "I just need you to come out here and inspect it. Once you approve of it, we will hand you the keys."

"When can you meet me there," I asked.

"Anytime, sir," he replied.

"How about noon," I asked.

"We'll be there," he replied. "Have a good day."

"See you at noon," I replied. I hung up the phone, laughing excitedly. Finally, headquarters is done. I dialed Sam's and Tucker's numbers simultaneously, making a party line. Once both were on the line, I made the announcement, "It's finished. Headquarters is up. All we have to do is approve it."

Both of them celebrated, sharing my enthusiasm. "When are we supposed to approve it," Tucker asked me.

"Noon today," I answered. "You guys can make it, right?"

"Wouldn't miss it for the world," Sam replied.

"What else would we do," Tucker remarked.

"Okay," I replied. "Meet me at the property at… no, wait a minute. That's enough time to give Sam pneumonia. I'll pick you guys up."

"Okay," Tucker replied.

"Very funny," Sam retorted.

"See you guys then," I replied. I hung up the phone, heading back up to my room. I picked up my team phone, dialing Vlad's cell phone.

"Hello," Vlad answered. I wasn't sure if he knew who this was or not.

"Vlad," I spoke softly.

"Daniel, where were you yesterday," Vlad demanded.

"Amnesia-stricken," I replied weakly.

"What," Vlad replied, his voice displaying his confusion.

"It's a long story," I replied. "I just wanted to apologize. I have some business to do today so if you wanted to do anything then now is the only chance I have."

"I don't work around your schedule," Vlad retorted.

"If you want this ass, then yes you do," I shot back. "Vlad, I'm incredibly busy. I have ghosts coming out of the kazoo, parents' who are freaking out, schoolwork that is never ending and chores to do. I'm sorry if I'm a little preoccupied."

"I could always take you," Vlad said.

"Oh, will you just drop that. I promise you if you take me from my town and my family, I will make your life a living hell," I said, my voice even.

"The only thing that should matter to you is me," Vlad replied through the earpiece.

"Well, I hate to be the bringer of bad news but you are the least of my concerns. I'm over all the heartbreak. I just want to get back to living the rest of my half-life."

"I can't meet you today anyhow," Vlad replied. "I have business to tend to at DALV."

"So I'll see you tomorrow," I asked for clarity.

"Probably," Vlad replied. "I know for sure Monday. We have an appointment at five o'clock like normal."

"Okay," I replied. "E-mail me the address to my team e-mail address. Don't send it to my personal account."

"Why not," Vlad asked me.

"Parental lock down," I replied. "Mom and Dad are keeping a closer eye on who I contact. They've started to monitor my calls and my computer activity. They don't know about Team Phantom or else they'd have that locked down. I don't have a cell phone yet but as soon as I get one again, you can be sure it'll be monitored too."

"Okay," Vlad replied. "I'll send it to your team account. I won't mark it. It'll just have the address."

"Thanks," I replied. "Goodbye, Vlad."

"Goodbye, Daniel."

XXX

With four hours free, I dug around in my closet until I found the bags that I still hadn't unpacked from my Christmas trip to Vlad's. I dug around for the dehydrator, emptying the contents of my suitcases on the floor. I came across a small black box and the memories of buying this for Mom filled my head. It's been nearly two months since I bought this and I still haven't given it to her. I placed it in my pocket, determined to finally give it to her. On the ground, I spotted the dehydrator.

I ran downstairs, the dehydrator in my back pocket. I walked into the kitchen where Mom was preparing breakfast. "Hey, Mom."

"Hey, baby," Mom greeted me. "You look much better."

"Thanks," I replied. I pulled out the box with the necklace, "I bought this for you during the week at Vlad's but I got so caught up I forgot to give it to you. I'm sorry it's taken so long, but here," I replied. I slid it on the counter, resting it just outside her reach. "I hope you like it."

I turned to leave while Mom walked over to the box. I didn't want to be here when she figured out how much it cost. I heard the creak of the case as I passed the steps and before I closed the door, I heard her gasp. I transformed, flying to Jefferson County. I went to the Lowe's there, shopping for some items I needed to fix up the house. Once I paid for them, I dehydrated them and put it in my 'pack', which was just made of ectoplasm.

XXX

I spent three hours insulating the house, removing the carpets, tearing up the floorboards, and de-junking the place. I took my time, knowing there was no hurry. If I rushed, I could finish all this in just one hour but I took my time, leaving a lot undone just before noon. I locked up the house, flying to Sam's. Next I picked up Tucker and we all flew out to headquarters.

"Oh, my goodness," Sam declared. The building was simple. It was just as we ordered. It was a one-floor unit but it was built to be as tall as a third story building. The entrance was at the top of the building and the contractor's had a scaffolding set up to enter the building. There were no windows and even the entrance wasn't apparent. I removed a small cube from my pocket, one of my parents' various inventions. I placed it on the snow, pushing the button to expand it. The cube expanded to that of an elevator. I pushed a second button, holding it in place. These railings started to climb and when I released the button, they ceased their climb. I pushed the button one more time and the railings anchored into the ground like a ladder.

"Just when you think they can't get any smarter," Tucker said in awe. "A portable elevator."

"Mom discovered the odds of getting stuck in an elevator. Most people carry car escapes, I carry an elevator escape. If anyone could, she said," I replied. It's the truth except now I have ghost powers to help me escape.

"Team Phantom," a man called from the entrance. "Whoa, when did this get here!"

"Hello," I called, "We'll be up in a moment, Mr. McAlister."

I lead Sam and Tucker onto the elevator and activated it. When it started to move, Tucker's curiosity got the best of him. "Where does it draw its power from?"

"A very small generator," I replied. "It uses ectoplasm to fuel it. It generates self-stabilizing energy. If Samuels would allow it, ectoplasm would be the best source of energy, beating out all the others."

"This is amazing," Tucker replied. When the elevator came to a stop, we climbed out and walked through the entrance. They had a scaffolding inside as well. They had installed our training area, the storage areas, the offices and the living quarters. Sam looked around in awe and even Tucker and I were impressed.

"Well, what do you think about it," Mr. McAlister asked us.

"It's amazing," Sam declared. "I'm so impressed."

"Thank you, Miss Manson," Mr. McAlister replied. "Mr. Fenton, Mr. Foley."

"Truly a work of genius," Tucker complimented.

"We picked someone who knew what he was doing," I replied. "Simply perfect!"

"Follow me," Mr. McAlister remarked. He lead us off the scaffolding and onto the main floor. The ceiling was equipped with the training programs we had bought and even some we had invented ourselves. On the main floor was the completion of training equipment, a storage area, a living quarters and the offices. The place had simple, smooth flowing rooms. There were really no boundaries. The only places that were closed off was the living quarters. Inside should be the bedrooms, a closet, kitchen, dining room, bathroom and a washroom. We had that installed in case we were ever pushed to stay the night.

"Did you have any problems installing the devices we gave you," I asked.

"No," he responded. "If it did seem challenging, the directions you included cleared it up. I do not understand how they were invented but how to install them I got perfectly."

"Don't try to understand how they were invented," I playfully warned, "It'll hurt your head. Believe me."

"His parents' are quite imaginative," Sam replied.

"I'm surprised you would even need someone to build this for you," Mr. McAlister replied. "Your parent's designs prove that they could do this for you."

"They could have," I replied, "but I wanted it to remain isolated. We needed a private work space."

Mr. McAlister lead us into the living quarters and showed us the room. Everything was perfect.

I looked to Sam and Tucker as Sam replied, "We approve."

"Okay," Mr. McAlister replied. "The payment has already been made, so there is nothing more for us to do. We'll clean up our work zone and clear out." He dug into his pocket removing a set of keys. "Here you go."

I took the keys, "Finally," I smiled.

"Now we can really begin," Sam smiled. No fear of exposure. No interruptions. A place where we belong. A place we own.

"Where do we begin," Tucker replied, the grin plastered on his face.

"Unloading our stuff at Danny's parent's house," Sam responded.

"Agreed," I replied.

"Let's go, then," Tucker replied. We walked for the door.

"Thanks again," I called before I stepped on the elevator.

"The pleasure was ours," Mr. McAlister replied. I closed the elevator, riding back to the ground.

XXX

At Fentonworks, we loaded up the various objects that we wanted to store at HQ. My blood work, our diaries, my computer program of our battles, the film documentaries we had created, and the equipment needed to continue our work. From my bedroom, I removed the footage I've cut from the cameras, my personal effects, and five outfits. I brought the boxes downstairs to the lab and stored them in the Specter Speeder. Once we had loaded the speeder up with all our belongings we wanted to store at HQ, we went to Sam's and Tucker's house to remove anything they wanted to store there.

Mostly they brought the five outfits, but Sam did bring down some personal diaries and a laptop. Tucker only brought two bags, one filled with clothes and the other's contents were a mystery to me. "I'll buy new equipment," I informed them. I still had nearly fifty thousand dollars in my checking account. I transferred that much for both projects, my new home and our headquarters. Which would be more expensive is still up for debate. While the house needs countless repairs and updates, HQ needs expensive equipment and the objects of daily life. Paying for the building was only the beginning.

Once we were content with the objects we had, Tucker flew the Specter Speeder to HQ. We had located this property while going over the books in the city hall. Because of the many attacks on the town, the insurance companies stopped paying the damage done on the homeowner's properties. Then there were the people who didn't have homeowner insurance and were forced to do the repairs themselves. We set up a fund that the people can dip into and we were going through the logs to see how much property was in Amity Park. We came across a small piece of land, no bigger than 500 yards, that was privately owned while the surrounding land was owned by the coal companies.

I contacted the landholder and asked if he was interested in selling. He told me the land belonged to his grandfather and when the coal company came in the area, he refused to sell out. I thought at first he would deny in the memory of his grandfather but he told me as long as I didn't sell it to the coal company I would be more than welcome to buy it. The land wasn't expensive. I paid a little over ten thousand for it. Sam and Tucker were ecstatic about getting a private place to hold our belongings.

The area wasn't very far from Fentonworks. Hidden under numerous tall trees, the area can't be seen. Even now, with the headquarters standing the height of a three story building, the area is still hidden. Surrounded by the coal companies property, the only way out here besides the way we're coming is on a small, winding road—all of it dirt. The community that use to exist here has always been wild. Most residents of Tillings Gulch owned farmland but most of the people lost their farms as times became rough. Those that managed to stay afloat done so barely so when the coal companies came offering money for their lands, so many of them jumped on the chance to live better lives.

However, the coal companies were surprised to learn that the bedrock in this area was so unstable that mining would be nearly impossible. The coal seam was deep underground so strip mining the area was out of the question. The companies were just left with expensive property that they could do nothing with. The entire town of Tillings Gulch, save for HQ, is up for sale if someone could afford the three million dollar price tag that comes with it. Not even this boy is that rich.

Tucker landed the Specter Speeder into the field we had cleared for this purpose and we began to unload the vehicle. It was after two before we finished unpacking. There was so much left to do but Sam and Tucker were growing hungry and weary. Time for a break. We boarded the Specter Speeder again and took it home, heading to the Nasty Burger for lunch.

XXX

We took turns watching the Specter Speeder while two of us went shopping. Both Sam and Tucker were on the checkbook so both of them could sign the check to pay for the purchases we were making. Since he was the one flying, Tucker took first shift. He flew the Specter Speeder out of sight while Sam and I shopped for home furnishings. We bought new furniture, three bedroom sets, kitchen appliances, and flooring. When we delivered it back to HQ, we went to various places for material. We needed bed sheets, throw rugs, pillows, and the like. We also picked up clothing while we were there. Sam and Tucker done that while I flew the Specter Speeder out of sight. We weren't in Amity Park; a flying vehicle was too dangerous to leave lying around.

Tucker and I shopped for computer programs and equipment after we delivered the half-packed material trip supplies. When we returned to HQ, the Specter Speeder was a far cry from empty. We had new computers, new laptops, several printers, and a bunch of other stuff I could only imagine what they did. When we unloaded that, it was after six. We still had one more shop to do but this one would be easy. I was going to buy new ghost hunting equipment from my parents but not let them know it was me. The only way to do that was order over the internet using the paranormal ghost hunting link.

We set up HQ until everything was perfect. I kept noticing Sam inching closer to me, her arms revealing goose bumps. I stood up, removing a quilt from the linen closet and draped it over her shoulder. She tried to shrug out of it but I tightly wrapped it around her. "Until I get a fire started," I instructed. With that, I floated out of HQ and searched for some firewood.

Tomorrow I'd have to cut down some trees for a more substantial source but tonight it was getting too cold out to leave Sam without heat. Knowing her, she's already shrugged out of that blanket.

I came back in with some wood and I placed it in the fireplace. The majority of HQ had electric burners but Sam wanted the living quarters to be pure and only have a large fire place and a small individual ones in the bedrooms. Tuck and I had no problem with that so we included it in the design. I formed ectoplasm around my human hands, removing the moisture from the wood. Once the wood was dry enough to start a fire, I shot a single, low powered blast to the bottom. The fire cracked to life as the blast made contact. I walked back to the couch, pulling Sam against my chest until the fire could take over for me. Just as I suspected, the blanket laid around her waist, her shoulders exposed.

"You are going to get sick if you keep this up," I scolded her, pulling her into my warmth.

"I've always been like this," Sam defended. "I can't stand something touching my shoulders. You remember my dress during the dance. By the time we had our dance, those sleeves were ripped to shreds."

I chuckled, "Yes, I remember." I allowed a few moments to pass. "What is it with your shoulders that make you hate contact so much," I asked, my voice soft.

Sam nestled her head in my shoulder, her breathing ragged. "My grandfather, Mom's Dad. Before he decided that I was too wild, he use to visit from overseas all the time. Every time he came around, he placed his hands on my shoulders. He was trying to change me, Danny. Anything touching me, except for you and Tucker, is like him trying to change me again. I won't be controlled."

I pulled her closer, my heart sagging, "You're perfect the way you are, Sam. I wouldn't change you for the world."

"I know," Sam whispered. "That's why you are the only one allowed to touch me anytime."

The fire cracked and popped as we lay wrapped up in each other. It reminded me so much of our future together. We have children early so it was never alone but we were always near each other. Sam went to college to become a lawyer and I went to college to become a teacher. I shudder at the thought but that's what my dreams tell me. I take comfort in knowing some things change in those dreams. I just hope the big picture doesn't change. Sam and I, sitting on the couch of our home, wrapped up in each other as our daughter toddled on the floor, a mixture of ghost powers and human abilities. A true halfa. The natural born halfa generation.

I love you, Sam, I thought to myself as I felt sleep coming over me. I hope that never changes.

I rushed through a strange place, knowing exactly where I was going. A faint smell had reached me but it was muted and unidentifiable. I tore through the living room, searching for some kind of book. Where is it? Where is that stupid book?

These kinds of dreams are my favorite. I'm not waking up. I'm not so close to the present that I mistake it for real life. It's a big flashing neon sign: pathetic dream!

I looked towards the door, expecting something. "What book are you searching for," Sam asked me as she entered into the frame. She held a cup of coffee in her hands and was dressed in a simple black dress with black leggings. A small crystal hung around her neck held by something that could have been a shoelace. The crystal was shaped like an elongated diamond.

"My biology book," I replied. I returned to searching for the book, neatly tearing the place apart. Once I finished ripping it apart, I put it back together. My future-self did not want to face the wrath of a nearly completed half ghost.

"Last I saw it, you were working on it in bed last night," Sam replied. The image returned to my head with a sigh. Both Sam and I wanted to do other things but we both had finals to study for. The last thing we wanted to do in that bed was study but we did.

"Right," I said, heading for the bedroom. "Thanks, honey."

"No problem," Sam replied from behind me. "You will be eating, won't you?"

"I wouldn't miss it," I called, my mind on my book. I ran into the room to see a tiny three year old on my bed. "Lilly," I cried as she sat around my shredded biology book.

"Hi Dad," she replied. Her voice was still child-like but her mind was completely activated. "It wasn't me. I'm trying to fix it!"

"Cujo," I said, turning my eyes in the room to find the dead puppy.

"He's not here," Lilly replied. "I chased him away."

"Good girl," I replied. "Are you doing it like I taught you?"

"Yeah," Lilly replied. "Imagine the page, pull up energy and attach it to the book. I've almost got it done."

"Good girl," I replied. I walked over to the bed and sat down, picking up some of the shredded pages. I imagined the page and formed ectoplasm in my hand. However, the page didn't appear. Instead, I imagined another page. I worked along with her, picking up the pages as I imagined them.

"Where am I going today," Lilly asked me as she held the torn page in one hand and the fabricated in the other.

""Grandma's," I answered her.

"Grandma Maddie, Grandma Carla, or Grandma Miranda," she asked.

"Carla," I replied. "I guess I should have said Great-Grandma, huh?"

"No hard feelings," Lilly chuckled. "I can only expect so much from you."

"Ha, ha," I retorted playfully. "Great-Grandma will be here in a little bit. Behave for her and Great-Grandpa, okay."

"Okay, Daddy," Lilly replied. She formed her last page while I picked up the last page on the bed. I imagined it, dropping the shredded page on the complete pile.

"Are you ready," I asked her.

"You go first," Lilly replied.

"Okay," I smiled. I extinguished the ectoplasm around my hand and extended a finger. "One finger, think of fire." Suddenly my finger sparked alive with real fire, like Grandma's, and not ectoplasm. "Okay, you try."

Lilly held out her hand then extended a finger as she tucked the rest away. Knitting her eyebrows together, she concentrated on her finger. Finally, it sparked alive like mine. She cried out in surprise but it eventually turned into a fit of giggling. "I did it!"

"Of course you did," I replied. "You're not the daughter of the two most powerful ghosts in the universe and not be able to do that."

"Okay," she giggled, her blue eyes blazing. She placed her finger to the pile of papers and they roared to life.

"Control it," I said softly. "Don't let it escape. Don't let it burn the bed."

"I control the fire," she giggled. "I know!"

I watched her until the fire extinguished. The bed was spotless. I touched my still-lit finger to my pile and completed her activity. "Are you ready for breakfast, Lilly?"

"Yeah," she called. I smiled at her and held my right arm out. The book floated from the bed from the corner of my eye and landed in my left hand. Lilly jumped into my arm and I carried her to the kitchen.

"There's my girl," Sam called. "Find your book, honey?"

"Yeah," I smiled. "Cujo decided to play tug of war and the book lost. Lilly fixed it for me."

"Daddy helped," Lilly replied. "I lit a fire today, Mommy!"

"You did," Sam replied, her expression of excitement. "And our bed is still good as new?"

"Yes, ma'am," Lilly replied, her head nodding in confirmation.

"Then I guess you deserve these apple fritters," she replied.

"I love apple," she cried. We all knew she loved apples.

I placed Lilly on the chair and took my seat beside her. Sam brought breakfast over and placed it in front of me. I started to cut her food but Lilly objected. "Daddy," she cried. "I fight ghosts. I can cut my food myself!"

"You do not fight ghosts yet," I playfully shot back at her. "Uncle Froot Loop would have my head if you did that!"

"I don't care," Lilly retorted. "Um, about Uncle Froot Loop. Not about him having your head."

Sam and I laughed at our daughter but I allowed her to cut up her own food. I began to eat, the taste there but subtle. A thought kept racing through my head though and I wanted to kick myself every time I thought it. I miss Vlad.

Sam came over, sitting beside Lilly. She sent me a knowing look and I looked away. I'm sorry. I can't help it, thought.

I know, Sam's voice came through my head. It was her voice, not mine. I don't blame you, either. Lilly and I aren't enough to give you the feeling you need. Just hang in there. I'll completely turn over in two more years, honey. Until then, you can feel through me.

It doesn't work that way, though, I said sadly. You feel what I feel but I have to access your mind to feel what you feel. I'm afraid to do that anymore. You are using my powers as it is. What could happen if I opened your mind anymore?

"Will you two stop that," Lilly cried, upset. "I may be three but you don't have to hide things from me!"

I looked at my daughter and smiled sadly at her. I'd hide her from this for as long as possible. She can't know that I still have feelings for Vlad… she just can't. She would never forgive me for that kind of betrayal. He hurt us and she still hasn't forgiven him. If she knew I have… she'd hate me forever.

"I'm sorry," I tried to put on a bashful face. "Mommy and I were discussing things Mommy and Daddies do."

"Yeah, right," Lilly retorted. "You were talking about him!"

I looked at Sam and her eyes held the same look I knew mine was. How much longer can I pretend this isn't effecting us? How much longer can I pretend that every night I'm with Sam, I spend another three nights wishing she were Vlad? How much longer can I keep this hidden from Lilly?

"Maybe someday when you're older you'll understand," I whispered to her softly. Damn Vlad! Why can't I move on with my life? Why can't I be with the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with? Why can't I forget him?

XXX

I opened my eyes to find I was no longer at HQ. I was in bed, Sam and Tucker lying around me. I guess it came time for curfew so they flew me home while I was still asleep. I wonder how they got by Mom and Dad with me. The same way they did it after the fight with Lunch Lady, probably. That was another inaccuracy with the show. Sam said Tucker's line and Tuck said Sam's line. The show!

I was supposed to meet the kids to watch the show. I haven't done it since Wednesday and it's early Sunday morning. They're going to kill me! I looked at the clock and it was barely two o'clock. I snuggled back into the covers and decided to get some more sleep. I wouldn't wake Sam and Tucker up just to say I'm out of my dream. They were sleeping too peacefully.

XXX

When my alarm started going off, I gently tapped it off. Six-forty-five. I stretched and sat up on the bed. My movements must have woken up Sam because I heard the quiet sounds of disturbed slumber. "You can go back to sleep if you want," I whispered.

"Danny," Sam called, sitting up. That woke up Tucker, him shooting up in bed.

"You're awake," Tucker cried, over joyous. "What did you dream of?"

I coughed. "The future. First year of college. Nothing too big."

"That's all you're going to tell us," Sam objected.

"There's not much to tell," I said. "I was hunting for my biology book and Cujo had destroyed it. It was fluff." I laughed to myself. I used a term used on Fan Fiction a lot.

"Fluff with Cujo," Tucker said, knitting his eyebrows.

"No," I retorted. "Actually, I didn't see Cujo. M-M—someone told me it was Cujo." What do I tell them? Do I tell them I had a daughter in my dream?

And where did she come from. She was three years old during the first year of college. That would mean Sam would be pregnant now? I haven't had sex with Sam and as far as I know Sam's still a virgin. Does that mean she will get pregnant soon? When do we get together? According to my dreams, it happens during that thing with the giant asteroid. That was my second dream and all of it was without sound. Talk about a bad time for the speakers to blow!

"Your what," Sam asked, my attempt to curb back my slipup not effective.

"My what," I asked, trying to sound genuine.

"Danny," Sam scolded. "You started to say 'My'. So your what?!"

"I'm not entirely sure," I tried to explain. "My dream told me she was my daughter," I said softly.

"Daughter," Tucker and Sam both declared, surprised.

"In the first year of college," Tucker cried. "Geez, Danny!"

"Tell me about it," I replied. "But I don't believe it was accurate. The girl was three years old. I'm not dating anyone and I'm certainly not having sex with anyone. Who could be the mother?"

"Wow," Sam commented, "Talk about the ultimate mystery."

I chuckled nervously, "Tell me about it!"

"Was there a woman in your dream," Sam asked me, her eyes displaying something I must have misread. Why would Sam be jealous of my future wife?

"Yeah," I replied, my voice soft. "My wife; the mother of my daughter."

"Have you dreamed of her before," Sam asked, her skin paling. What is wrong with her?

"Yeah," I replied. "Our wedding was the first pathetic dream I had."

"Do you know her," Sam asked, her voice soft and choked up.

"What is wrong with you," I asked her. "Are you sick?"

"I-I'm fine," Sam replied, turning her head from me. "I'm asking too much. It's none of my business."

"Danny," Tucker shot at me. "Tell her who your wife is?"

How does he know? I've never told him that! "I'm not sure I should," I spoke softly.

"I'm not sure you should either," Sam replied, sitting up. "I'm going to get dressed," she replied, grabbing her clothes and leaving.

"What was that about," I asked, watching her leave.

"I should beat your ass for that," Tucker retorted, angry. "You broke her heart. Because you didn't tell her she was your wife, you made her think you two don't get together, Danny!"

"Tucker," I retorted, "Sam doesn't love me that way yet. I don't know what is wrong with her but I plan on finding out!"

"You are so clueless," Tucker retorted. He stood up in a huff, grabbing his clothes and slamming my door shut. I stared at the door in shock. What the hell is going on?

XXX

Tucker and Sam left as soon as they were dressed and I wasn't sure where they went. I wanted to find out what was wrong with Sam but they wouldn't give me the chance to ask. I finally gave up on talking to them now and decided to go to my house in Elemerton. Before I headed that way, though, I ran to Jefferson County to get some flooring. I had no carpeting and some of the rooms had no flooring. This stuff I had delivered though. With the day being early I managed to get a same-day delivery. I was putting the hardwood flooring down in the living room when I felt it. I looked up in fear as I saw Vlad teleport in. How did he know to look for me here?

"Daniel," Vlad replied but stopped abruptly. "Where are we?"

"You don't know," I asked in shock. "You just teleported to me!"

"I can teleport to a location or to a person. I was just teleporting to you," Vlad replied. "What is this place?"

I stood up, preparing for the worse. I wasn't ready to show him this place yet. There's still so much to do. "This is the property I looked at… it's ours."

Vlad's demeanor went dark and his body became rigid. Shoot! There's still so much work to be done that there was no way in hell I could convince him this place would work. "Didn't I tell you to cancel that appointment?"

"I just wanted to find a better place," I tried to sound subordinate. I kept my voice weak and my body smaller than his in every term of the word. "An apartment was so wrong for us, Vlad. I know it wasn't my place and that you are the boss, but I knew I could convince you this would be better if I was given the chance."

"Are you repairing the place," Vlad asked me, his mood changing.

"Yeah," I said, hesitantly. "The place was a wreck. There's so much work to do. I wanted to finish the work before you saw it so you would know we could do this."

"You might have done something right when you disobeyed me," Vlad replied. "You're repairing this by human means, right?"

"Some," I replied. "I insulated the place by stuffing the insulation in the walls intangibly. Most of it I'm doing by hand, though." I hoped he wouldn't be upset about doing the insulation.

"No," Vlad replied, his voice gentle. "I want you using your powers more. This is good practice. You can learn how to use your powers in an everyday setting besides ghost hunting. I like it!" Vlad was actually kind. I stared at him in shock. "Don't disobey me again," he retorted, "but I'll let this one slide because you did good."

I smiled softly, seeing a side of Vlad I didn't believe existed. I shook my head, trying to push aside those stupid feelings that were trying to resurface. Wait for Sam, I thought to myself.

"You're not allowed to date her," Vlad retorted. "So you might as well give in to those feelings. They'll get you a lot of slack."

"You haven't seen what I've seen," I replied quietly. "I'd risk hell, fire and brimstone to live my dreams."

Vlad pulled out a cellphone and dialed a number, "This is Vlad Masters. I'm wanting to cancel the appointment I had scheduled today. Yes, I'm sure. I've found a place. Thank you."

Once he put his phone away, he walked over to me. "So," I asked, my heart blocking my throat. "What do we do?"

"Do you have a bed," Vlad asked me. There was no suggesting here. I knew what he wanted to do.

"No," I replied. "I haven't done anything to make this a home yet… just trying to make it a suitable house."

"I can make my own," Vlad replied, leaning in. I fought my racing heart and tried to remember Sam. I have my soul mate. I can last. However, I could feel my walls caving from the pressure. The feeling was returning and so was my other senses. I wouldn't be able to withstand this assault.

XXX

That night, Vlad went to a motel while I went home. He told me to meet him here tomorrow after school so we could work on this. I don't know how I'm going to make this work. There are only twenty-four hours in a day but I have enough items on my to-do list to fill forty-eight hours. I finished my homework and laid down, praying no big ghost attack would happen through the night.

School hadn't even started yet and the first ghost attack of the day had happened. I found the massive ghost to be odd but fought him anyhow. Normally animal ghosts are big in number, not size, but this mosquito was enormous. I tried to defeat it, but it was quite powerful and it trapped me in this sticky goo. Trying to escape it, I saw Paulina walking down the street. She was upside down… well, actually, that was me.

Paulina saw me too and gasped in excitement. Oh, this is so not the time for you to go fan-girl on me. "Paulina," I cried, trying to get her attention. However, her excitement grew when I called her by her name. "You should run!"

The stupid girl started to run towards me. What, do you think I like to hang upside down in a tree covered in goo for fun. "Not towards me," I said slowly, trying not to confuse her. "Away. Run!" Behind her, the bug was coming back. I guess she heard the noise or just turned in the direction I was looking in because she screamed and ran away. Dense! I put my energy into an effort to escape and broke the bond. I have to come up with a plan.

My eyes scanned the surroundings as I looked for a way to defeat this thing and suck it into my thermos. My eyes fell on the power lines. Perfect!

I made the ghost chase me and I planned on forcing him to hit those power lines if he wanted to or not. However, before I could come up with a plan, he hit them anyway and exploded. "Bug zapper," I quipped, not caring that I have no idea how that worked. However before my celebration could truly begin, a rainstorm happened. The bug exploded into millions of tiny mosquitoes. Well, that explains its size. It's just combined itself into a massive bug.

"One down, a gazillion to go," I retorted dejected. This was going to be a long day.

XXX

I was late to class as always, however this time I was following Mr. Fuluka. I guess he was still shaken from the mosquito and was late getting to class as well. I followed him in and took my seat. Mr. Fuluka didn't say anything to me, just began teaching the class.

"Hey," Sam whispered. "How'd it go?"

"Not good," I replied softly. "One massive bug became a billion tiny ones."

"Sorry," Sam said softly.

"No problem," I replied, my voice not really displaying that. This was a huge problem. I shouldn't be in here; I should be out there, catching them. However, I had to stay here. I still had human responsibilities as well.

Second period proved to be interesting when we arrived in the classroom to find that Mr. Lancer had been called out of the building for an emergency meeting. Mr. Lancer being the only one with the key to his room forgot to give it to the substitute. On the door, a note sat telling the students to report to another classroom. Surprisingly, it was on the upperclassmen's floor. I guess they were out of classrooms on the normal floor. I don't believe Sam and Tucker have been up there.

We were walking past the nurses office when I heard the steady footfalls cease from behind me. I turned around to see Tucker staring at the nurses' office sign in horror. "Uh, Tuck," I asked, running my hand in front of his eyes. Tucker began to stutter an N. "What's wrong with him," I asked Sam.

"He gets like this every time he passes the nurses office," Sam replied. Tucker finally started to stutter out the word nurse. He started shaking, completely terrified. "This is a bad one," Sam continued. She removed her backpack and took out a paper bag. You've got to be kidding me. Is it April Fools? "Go to a happy place, Tucker."

"Yeah," Tucker quipped. "I'm not passing a nurse's office. I'm passing a modeling agency!" Once we put the place behind us, Sam removed the bag, stuffing it away for a latter use.

"You're scared of the nurse's office," I asked, completely baffled. The boy fights ghosts on a daily basis! But he's scared of a nurse?

"Yes," Tucker declared, finally in control of himself. "Nurse's offices, doctor's offices, hospitals! Any place with the smell of sick people!"

I shook my head, unable to comprehend this.

"Ug, speaking of sick smells," Sam said, covering her nose. "Do you smell that stench, Tuck?"

"Stench," Tucker asked, offended. Okay, what am I missing?

"It smells like Gym shorts and Snicker Doodles," Sam asked, coughing. Sounds like something my dad would carry around on him.

"Oh, that's my cologne," Tucker replied happily. "I call it Foley by Tucker Foley. It combines a natural manly scent with a sweet smell. It's going to be a real hit!"

"I doubt it," Sam gasped. "You know, Danny, you're lucky you can't smell."

"Hey," Tucker retorted.

I laughed but took a glance around the hallway. So many freshmen stayed in the hallway, ignoring the order to go to the new classroom. Star and Kwan sat propped up against some random lockers while the others just hung around. I paled, seeing Jazz walking down the hallway. There was nowhere to run.

Suddenly Jazz yelped out, smacking her skin. "Ow," She cried. I ignored her as Sam caught my attention.

"Is Paulina glowing," Sam asked in shock. I tried to find Paulina in the crowd and finally located her. She was staring at her skin in shock as it glowed against the florescent lights.

"I know she's got perfect skin, but that's ridiculous," I declared in shock. How did she manage to get that kind of glow? Usually only ghosts carry that kind of glow. Actually, ghosts don't even glow that much.

"Stupid bug bite," Paulina declared. I realized then it wasn't the glow she was staring at in shock. She had a blemish on her perfect skin and it pissed her off.

"Bug bite," I asked in horror. Could it be involving those stupid mosquitoes? Another gasp filled my ears and I turned to see several students smacking at bugs. It's the middle of February; no bugs should be out now! As I scanned the hallway, I noticed hundreds of bugs flying down the hallway. Each one was glowing. "Oh, no," I spoke, horrified. "Cover me, guys!" I ran into a random doorway and hoped it wasn't a classroom. Sam and Tucker blocked the door while I transformed.

I summoned the thermos and went after the tiny intruders. They were relatively easy to trap in the thermos and gave no fight once trapped in the light. However, their massive amounts made them nearly impossible to defeat. Every time I thought I had the last of them, more showed up. After a few moments of finding no more, I landed beside Tucker and Sam, triggering my rings. "That's the last of them," I declared, hoping the statement would be true.

Sam yelped, smacking her skin. Tucker glared at me. "Okay, that's the last one." I declared, watching Sam intently. A scream whizzed past me as Dash ran from about ten to twenty-five of them. "Or not!" I followed Dash into the men's room but couldn't find the bugs. "Dash," I asked, hearing his groans. "Not that I care but are you okay?"

"I don't feel so good," Dash whined.

I tried to make a joke with him. "Today's Monday. They're never any good. I think they're serving goulash today, too. That won't sit well." Suddenly, this rein of fire came at me, ripping through the bathroom stall. I landed on my butt but didn't react. "Although," I said, as dread filled me. "I've never seen goulash do that!"

The door ripped off the hinges and Dash charged at me with red eyes. "Get away," Dash screamed at me, his hulking form suddenly looking terrifying. I ran into another stall and transformed, flying through the floor and back into the room.

I hit him, sending him against the ceiling and wall. "I wish I could say I didn't want to do this," I declared but his form lost its edge and he slumped forward. He began to groan again, his head landing on my chest. I groaned. "So close to a lifetime of payback!" I landed him on the ground and transformed back, not afraid of exposure. He was sick—really sick.

XXX

Mom was arguing with Mr. Fuluka as Dad cried about Jazz being sick. Mom had two daughters in that room. Both Jazz and Sam were sick and I was worried. Even when Dad handed me a snotty rag, all I did was stuff it in my pocket. I so wouldn't have done that on any other circumstance. So many students had been bitten by those bugs and now every one of them were in the room, showing signs of a mysterious illness. When the doctor came out to explain the mystery illness, I became even more suspicious. I needed to check that hospital out.

Tucker on the other hand wasn't a willing participant. I put his fears at ease as I told him he didn't need to go inside. All he had to do was stand guard and if I needed him, help out. I tried to ensure him I wouldn't need his help. However, Spectra proved otherwise. I didn't know what she wanted but I knew I didn't want to give it to her. Sorry Tuck, I need your help.

"Let me go," I screamed as loud as I could.

Still, technically not a cry for help, I heard him echo in my head. Just as I suspected.

How about this. "Help!"

Well, not a cry for me.

I groaned. You're in denial, brother! "Tucker," I added, my anger sinking in. "Get your ass in here!"

Oh, dang it, Tucker thought. The Calvary's coming, Danny! Whether he wants to or not!

Finally, I felt him coming towards me. I know you're scared, Tucker but right now, so am I! There are dissecting tools on this bench!

XXX

We managed to swing by painfully so. Tucker broke his leg and before I could heal him, Mom and Dad had taken him to the hospital. Sam and I decided to leave Tucker to stew for leaving me in that dreadful place. However, Tucker had another idea. As Sam and I were heading away from the hospital, I heard Tucker call out. I looked in the direction I heard his voice to see him standing in the window. Before I could catch on, Tucker took the swan dive.

"Tucker," Sam screamed as I flew after him. I overshadowed him so he wouldn't be killed. Of course, as soon as I overshadowed him, I healed him.

"What are we going to tell my parents," I asked in horror once I exited his body.

"We'll tell them that the doctor made an error," Sam explained as she came to stand by us. "Tucker, don't you ever do that again. What if you hadn't gotten our attention?"

"Then my suffering would have been over," Tucker joked. Neither of us found his joke funny.

"Let's get you checked out," I sighed. We couldn't very well just walk out with Tucker.

XXX

Tucker faked a limp through the hospital and when we made it to Fentonworks. Mom was furious that Tucker had left the hospital but seemed to buy the fact that the doctor had misdiagnosed the broken leg. We went upstairs but the night was spent eerily silent. I wanted to get some answers from yesterday but I didn't know if I could take the awkwardness. Eventually, the night came and Sam and Tucker left. I just hoped we would never have a repeat of this. It was uncomfortable to be around them and not know what was going on.

I done some ghost hunting and of course there were plenty of opportunities. Finally at four I decided to give up and go back home. If I tried to stay out until they were all captured, I could probably be out here for days. While I was getting ready for school, I put the CD Vlad gave me into my stereo. I had plenty of time before school but it was much too late for sleep. If I started another pathetic dream, I wouldn't wake up until after school began.

I didn't have any homework due to school being disrupted during second period. So I sat on my bed, listening to the Three Days Grace CD. It was going to take a long time for morning to arrive. Hopefully the CD would help ease the long night.

When six o'clock came about, I had already circled through the CD several times. I decided to get a head start this morning and started laying my clothes out. I took my shower upstairs this morning so I could hear the songs through my wall although I could probably recall them from memory. After my shower, I checked all the areas I've been hurt at in my room. The areas where Invincible slashed me only had small scars, the area where Darcy experimented on me was absent of any blemish and so were the injuries I had experienced from exhaustion.

I fearfully looked to my chest for the blue lines. They were still there but I happened to notice that they weren't alone. Goose bumps surrounded my entire colored area of my nipple. I pinched my fingers over the nipple to get a better look at the blue lines to notice that simply touching them made me uncomfortable. I winced a little as it tingled and turned numb. I shook my head, confused as hell, but I continued to dress in my usual clothing and ran my hands through my hair.

I sat on my bed and listened as the CD once again turned over. 'Burn' began to play while I inspected my backpack. I inspected my weapons box, went through my school belongings and checked the pack for any breakdowns. 'Just Like You' started when I tossed my bag to the foot of my bed. I rested my head against my headboard, getting lost in the song. I never even heard the door open.

"Daniel James Fenton," my mom declared unhappily. I looked up in surprise when she made herself known. Oh, crap, I'm in trouble. "Didn't I say that CD was not suitable for you!"

"Mom," I asked, my eyes wide. "I can explain!"

"Then start explaining," Mom said, crossing her arms across her chest.

"It was a Christmas gift," I defended. "I didn't buy it."

"Someone gave you that CD," Mom asked. "You didn't ask for it specifically."

"No," I said. Not exactly. Does wanting it in my mind and the person who gave it to you can read minds count as asking for it specifically? Not in my book. "I swear, it was a gift. It's not that bad!"

"Not that bad," Mom demanded. "That group is completely lawless. Listen to that! They're singing about ignoring and disobeying your parents. Is that the way you feel? Is that what has been creating this rebellion lately?"

"What," I asked, confused. "No! That song isn't about you guys," I defended. "I've just got this stuff to do. I'm not disobeying because a song tells me to. I'm not that shallow."

"Media is a powerful influence," Mom said in a typical voice. How many parents say that to their children?

"I'm sure it is," I replied gently, "but I do what I want and not what some artist or actor tells me to do."

"Good boy," Mom smiled at me. "I'm not sure about this group, though. It's dark themes they sing about, right."

"It's just music," I tried to put her mind to ease. Mom sighed but walked out of my room. I heaved a sigh of my own. That could have ended badly.

After picking up Sam, we headed for Tucker's house. Before I even walked through the door, I knew I owed Tucker an apology. I walked through the door to hear Mom Number Two lecturing Tucker about how when she says he can't have a certain CD she means it. Mom called Mom Number Two and now Tucker was getting the third degree. I guess Mom must have checked Tuck's music files because Tucker doesn't have the CD, only the tracks.

"Mom," I spoke softly. "He got it from me."

"Maddie told me," Mom replied. "You're in trouble, too, mister. But the fact is that Tucker knew I didn't want him having that CD and he still downloaded it."

"It's not that bad of a CD," Tucker defended. "I don't see what the big fuss is!"

"The big fuss," Mom shot back, "is I've actually listened to the CD front to back. You children probably don't even understand half of it. These people are targeting young audiences and they sing about things their audience can't understand. However they put a good beat to it so the children drink it up. It's outrageous!"

"Plenty of artists do that," Sam interjected. "But we understand the difference between right and wrong. I fell in love with 'Home' but I'll be the first to say there isn't much more on the CD. They had potential."

"What are you talking about," Tucker turned to her in shock. "That CD executed it's potential perfectly. Maybe even more than I expected."

"I'll admit it has some rockin' cuts," I smiled at him. "But my favorites are still the ones they released. I like Wake Up, Let You Down and Scared but that's about it besides the ones they released."

"I love, love, love Burn," Tucker admitted. "Now or Never and Born Like This are awesome and I agree with you about Wake Up and Scared. But Let You Down? Why would you like that song?"

"You didn't think he would," Sam asked, looking at Tucker. "That's the one I'd like to kill them for recording. You know how Danny's become."

"I didn't really get what it was about I guess," Tucker replied, worriedly. "What was it about?"

"That's my point," Mom retorted. "None of those songs should make sense to you kids."

"We're not kids," I defended. "I get almost all of them. 'Born Like This's' meaning escapes me, though."

"Meanings are overrated," Tucker waved it off. "You'll need to fill me in on 'Let You Down', though."

"Don't worry about it," I replied, brushing it off as well. "Can we go to school now, Mom?"

"Yes," Mom resigned. "Just next time I say you can't have a CD, please listen to me."

"You shouldn't worry about us and our ability to be molded as much," I remarked. "We're smart, we'll figure it out."

"I know," Mom smirked. "Maybe that's the problem. You're not fifteen yet and you seem to be grown up already."

"In a way," Sam remarked, "We are. Let's go, guys."

Tucker picked up his pack and swung it over his shoulder.

XXX

School was a buzz today. All the students were chatting about their experience and trying to figure out the mystery. So many of them had ghost powers and they couldn't figure it out. The ghost attacks remained consistent today like usual and I headed out during every ghost sense. I decided not to fight it anymore. I stopped asking for permission. What was the worse they could do? I knew the Secretary of Education on a personal level. How many of them could say that?

That night, I was doing some homework in my room when my computer kicked on. I looked in that direction, expecting to see Sam or Tucker but the sight caused me to go in shock. After a few moments, I started laughing as I started to piece it together. "Kevin," I asked, standing up from my bed. "I haven't talked to you in a while!"

"Tell me about it," Kevin said, his voice hard. My smile faded as I realized what this was. It was an intervention. "You used to call us every month—at least! We haven't talked to you in two months, Radar!"

I sat down on my computer chair. It was only Kevin on the monitor but give them some time. Soon, everyone from the Ghost Hunters Youth Camp would be online. "I know," I said sadly. "I've been really busy, lately. I've barely had time to breathe."

The dual screen turned to five boxes and these three blonde haired girls, slightly older than me, showed up on screen. I knew who they were. "Hi, Danny," the girls chorused.

I smiled softly, wondering what I was going to do with the triplets. "You guys couldn't be on the same computer," I asked with a smirk.

"Don't you want to see us in all our glory," one of the triplets asked. There was no system to the way they dressed, they wore their hair the same and they sounded the same. They've always been 'the triplets' to me.

"Okay," I spoke up. "Names! Now."

"Ali!"

"Ava!"

"Ana!"

Okay, Ava was the one who responded. I made a mental note of what box held what triplet.

"So, Danny," Ali began, "What's been going on that's kept you from talking with us?"

I chuckled, relaxing back in my chair and crossing my arms across my chest. "Where do I begin? I've been really busy lately."

"Doing what," Ana asked me.

I could feel myself being boxed in. These guys were my friends. They were my real friends, not like Sam and Tucker who are family. I didn't want to lie to them but I wasn't going to tell them that I'm half ghost. We're not that close. "You know, just normal teenager stuff. I've been hanging out with Sam and Tucker."

"Did we do something wrong," Kevin asked me.

"No," I declared. "It's just… I've been really busy. Things aren't the same anymore."

"And you can't tell us what's wrong," Ava remarked.

"There's nothing you guys can do from where you are," I replied, my voice soft. "So there's no reason to worry."

"If you can't talk to us, then there's reason for concern," Kevin remarked. Kevin was older than I was and he was actually the senior member of the camp.

A chill ran through me and I gasped as my ghost sense went off. I groaned, "Guys, I'm gonna have to run out for a bit. I imagine the others will be joining you?"

"They can," Ali remarked. "It was just Kevin at first."

"So this wasn't an intervention," I asked, surprised. "Well, I owe you an apology, Kevin."

"No harm, no foul," Kevin remarked. "I just saw that you were online when I came online."

"I'm always online," I remarked. "Sometimes Sam and Tucker need to get a hold of me right away." The sense became stronger. "Guys, I really got to go. I'll talk to you guys later!"

"See ya," Kevin replied. "Keep in contact."

"I'll try," I said, clicking off the connection.

XXX

The days were becoming eerily similar. I was constantly swamped and what was so terrible about it was how normal that was becoming. If I had a moment to breathe, it felt like I was being crushed by the apprehension. I knew something always happens in those moments of silence so I've come to dread them. I'd rather things stay loud so I'll know what's going off. When things are silent, it's completely terrifying. Absolutely no control. At least during the moments of chaos, I have a grip on the raging bull.

School was spent juggling classes, ghosts and sleepless nights. Evenings were spent juggling homework, ghosts, putting the house in order, putting HQ in order and dealing with the children. Nights were all about the ghosts; there was no room to juggle anything during that time. Vlad became accustomed to being the last of my concerns as I dealt with the ghosts however I've come to recognize when he's moody. To prevent some poor ghost from meeting an early oblivion, I'll abandon the ghost effort and satisfy him (literally).

Things were becoming routine for the normal things in our lives but the shit hit the fan on Friday, February 18, 2005. Tensions between the C-crew and us have been running high since we lead the investigation against the Axion Labs and the animal cruelty allegation but they will never cease after this day. I have to admit I was startled to find ten upperclassmen surround me on that Friday but it was no big deal. It would take an entire battalion to hold me down, I'll admit. But I was curious; why the sudden onslaught.

They admitted to me that this involved more than me. The leader of the group, not Gary but another one, told me that Gary's plan was to take out the 'Dweebs' once and for all. He knew where they planned on taking out Tucker but he didn't have a clue as to where Sam's attack was supposed to happen. Things were happening too fast. I could handle myself but if Gary and his cronies were attacking Sam and Tucker, the numbers would be too great.

I went to the library and to my disgust, one of the teachers stood outside the room. Mrs. Bowyer was one of the original teachers who had stuck it out through the ghosts but not anymore. I made my threat clear; if she did not leave town, not only would she lose her job but she would face criminal charges. I made it clear that Sam, Tuck and I were federal agents and she would be an accessory to the attempted murder of a federal agent. It didn't take her long to scram. If she ever returns, I won't hesitate to exercise my power.

When I made it into the library, five upperclassmen had beaten Tucker with ball bats. It boiled my blood and I know I lost control. Tucker was seriously hurt but it's not to say that the opposing team had gotten off Scott free. Tucker tried his best to defend against them but they were just too much. This drew the line. This was no longer two parties who didn't agree. This was war. They were willing to kill us. Now, I was willing to kill them.

After I took down the two of them with the ball bats, the remaining three scrammed. Seriously hurt and outmatched, the two I faced fled as well. I healed Tucker using my powers but I knew we weren't out of the woods yet. Sam was still unaccounted for and I had no idea where she was. Tucker wasted no time dwelling on what happened to him, putting his anger away to look for Sam. Just as he was synchronizing her cell phone with his PDA, mine rang.

It was her phone but she couldn't talk to us. I could hear the men in the background and I knew they hadn't touched her but I knew time was ticking away. I had never felt so powerless in my life—not even with Vlad. Sitting there on that line, her being able to hear me but I unable to help her. I had nothing I could do. I tried to sense her out but she was more than a mile away from me. I couldn't fly the skies searching for her signature. It would take too long. Finally, Tucker traced her call.

I took Tucker's arm, putting a shield around us. I couldn't allow Tucker to fly himself and I couldn't fly the normal speed. I hit mock speeds, only the second time I'd done it with someone else, and flew to the location. The sight caused a reaction I couldn't explain. There are moments I can't remember from that day. Sam laid unconscious and I realized why I never heard her voice. Calling me was the last thing she consciously done.

Sam was completely stripped of her clothing and her arms and legs were bound. Around her waist was a chain and attached to the chain was a cinderblock. They were on the Axion Labs property and more specific, the ravine that ran through it. They weren't just going to rape her, they weren't just going to kill her; they were going to rape her and then kill her by drowning her. My throat clogged and I don't remember breathing. I saw red. I wanted blood. I wanted Gary's blood.

The last thing I clearly remember was Tucker's announcement. "You just made the biggest fucking mistake of your pathetic lives!"

I remember hitting Gary. I remember the force of that hit breaking his jaw and shattering every tooth in his head. I remember tearing into that group, all thirty of the ones who had gathered, including the fifteen that had attacked Tuck and I, taking no prisoners. I didn't kill anyone but I'm certain if it had been just a handful, I would have. I remember Tucker fighting them. I remember the cowards fleeing and I remember screaming at them. What it was I screamed at them I'm not sure, but I remember the pent up anger and the truthfulness of my words.

I remember phasing my hand in Sam, allowing the drugs they had intoxicated her with to drain from her system. I also remember how Sam seemed to soothe me more than I was soothing her. Sam and Tucker stayed at my house that night and the next morning, I gave them the guns. Just as I had predicted last month, they refused to use them but I was too angry. It was an order and they accepted it like the cadets they were.

As Saturday wore on, we began talking about it with less reactions. Sam told me that she had been dragged from her own bedroom when they took her and I realized that because she kept her window open, they had easy access. She refused to close it and honestly, I didn't know how to get around that. So we talked to my parents and Mom happened to have something like we were wanting already invented. Mom installed it in her room without any question.

The following week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, I had to deal with some pirate kid who kidnapped a large majority of the adults (and my sister). Following that, the buzz around school hit an all-time high. However, the biggest shock came on the last day of the month, Monday, February 28, 2005. Never in a million years would I have expected to walk in that day and find Vlad in my house. He managed to keep his distance from my family and I appreciated that. But there he was, in my house.

Today was the first day of the new month, Tuesday, March 1, 2005. I looked worse today that I normally do not because I got no sleep (which was the case) but because Vlad stayed in my room. With as often as my parents, my sister or my friends come into my room unannounced, the mental stress did a number on me. However, we managed to remain undiscovered. My patients were running thin and I wasn't in the mood to deal with Dash and his hijinks. Today, I didn't allow him to have his fun or back up my friends when they challenged him. Today, I did the challenging.

After giving Dash a pretty good headache, I tried to go deal with the massive ghost invasion. I knew nothing about today was normal. All the ghosts had fled, Vlad was hiding in my house, a massive onslaught of ghosts had attacked (green ghosts no less) and Valerie had been involved. The sword in the ground just made it worse (along with my headache. Why couldn't Fright Nut just say what he means instead of making us break the code?).

Things were not looking good. To make things worse, I was pairing up with my enemies to try to defend my town. Talk about enemy of my enemy stuff! This was serious. Whoever this guy was, he had no rival. Not even that suit would be enough without the right person… and time was running out.

I had to get some answers but the important questions were already beginning to answer themselves. "Meet me outside. The Specter Speeder's in the shed this week because of the suit. I have something I need to do."

"Okay," Sam replied as she and Tucker stood up. I floated out of the closet and went into my bedroom. I pulled out a sheet of paper and stared at it. My throat choked up as I came to terms with what I needed to do.

Mom,

This really is difficult to write and I don't have a lot of time but if you're reading this, and I'm pretty sure you will be, I will be dead.

Before I get into this, I want you to know first and foremost that I love you more than anything. I don't want to die but there are responsibilities that we all must answer to. This one is mine.

I've known about the issue with this ghost since yesterday and I can't really explain everything. Tell Sam and Tucker that it's okay. It's over guys, you don't have to continue to lie. Tell them everything we're going to figure out—they're going through enough already. I have to do this, I'm the only one who can. This is too big for me to leave on someone else. Anyone in that suit will die and the job needs to be finished before they do. At least I know I can finish the job before it's too late.

Mom, Dad, I want to say I'm so sorry for screwing up these last few months. I tried to do the right thing but when you're like the bad guys, people tend to stereotype. I never meant to hurt anyone, especially my parents. When I fired at you after Christmas, I really thought you were possessed too. I hope you can forgive me and you'll love me after this. Remember the good times and know that I'm okay with my decision.

I'll see you on the other side,

Daniel "Danny" James Fenton

Aka Danny Phantom

I turned invisible, folding the piece of paper up. I couldn't write down everything but that covered all the important issues. I wouldn't return from this. If that guy didn't finish me, that suit would. I just hoped I could hold off enough to complete the job.

I tucked the piece of paper away in Mom's good jewelry box. When it happens, she'll pull out her good jewelry for my funeral. I just hoped I'd have a body for them to bury. I also hoped I had a hereafter to go to. Before I flew to join Sam and Tucker, I went into the lab and reset the passcodes. When I was gone, I couldn't have Sam and Tucker try to turn half ghost. Especially when I wouldn't be there to protect them and help them.

We went to get some answers and the countdown to my death began.

XXX

On the roof, it was really difficult. I knew this was my last moments. I couldn't deny it any more. It took everything in my power not to shut down right there and then I saw their faces. They were scared of losing me. I couldn't allow them to be afraid. Oh, God, how difficult it was to tell them I'd be okay when I knew myself I wouldn't return from this. Looking at Sam and Tucker, especially Sam, it was hard to keep from breaking down.

"But if there's anything you wanted to say to me," I spoke softly, "now might be a good time to do it." I couldn't tell Sam how I felt. I couldn't tell her about the future we'd never have now. I couldn't put that kind of pressure on her. However, if she truly loved me, then she would do it with as much uncertainty that hung in the air. However, she didn't say anything. The King showed up and I had to go yet she didn't say anything.

It was just too soon and now it'd never happen.

"I'm going to need you to drop the ghost shield for me, Tuck," I replied as I rectified myself. I couldn't focus on what I was losing; I had to think of what I was giving to those I loved.

"You got it," Tucker replied, his attitude doing a one-eighty. My attempt to convince him I'd return worked but I'm not sure if I convinced Sam. She still had that shattered look to her. "Be careful, dude."

I gave a smile in their direction but I knew safety was the last thing I could afford right now. Defeating this guy would take everything in my soul. I triggered the rings and surprisingly it changed the suit to mirror my costume. Tucker gave me a thumbs up and Sam gave me a small smile. Maybe they'd be all right. I love you guys. I'm so sorry.

I flew into the air and headed into the heart of the Zone. From below me, a group had assembled on the streets. Paulina screamed out a cheer. "Go get them, Invisobill!"

Some good that note will do if my parents don't know my ghost form's name. "It's not Invisobill," I screamed out, making sure all heard me. "It's Phantom! Danny Phantom!" At least now they'll know who's dying for them. At least they'll know that even if they won't care. Even if they'll never truly understand what I'm giving up for them.

XXX

The suit drained me faster than I could have imagined. I tried to conserve the energy but it took so much just to run it. I was already down to forty when I first faced the King. The numbers kept going up and while that puzzled me, nothing was quite as confusing as why the suit displayed a 025 instead of just a 25 like it done before I duplicated. Whatever the reason, it stopped once I was just one again. As I pressed against the sarcophagus, I watched the display. Twelve. Ten. Eight. Six. Four. Finally, the King's screams ceased and the ghosts surrounded me.

I was so weak I could barely hold my head up. I looked back at the display and it read two. It's been a fun fourteen years. "…but you never really did," Vlad finished his ranting. I felt my body shutting down and I collapsed. "Daniel? Daniel!" Everything went black.

XXX

I opened my eyes groggily surprised to see the insides of a house instead of the Ghost Zone or… nothing, to be honest. "What," I asked. I struggled to sit up but I couldn't find the strength.

"Sit back down," I heard Vlad's voice. I looked around and found him over top of me, his hands on my side. "I want you to conserve this energy, Daniel. You are way too weak!"

"What happened," I asked, lying back in the bed. Everything hurt. I felt so drained. I could barely hear my own heart beat and my sight was fuzzy.

"The suit completely shut off," Vlad shot at me. "Why didn't you tell me it was killing you?"

"I don't know," I replied. I took a shallow breath, trying to relax. "Why am I not hurting back there?"

Vlad paused for a moment, his hands still on me. Energy radiated off of him and into me. "I couldn't…"

I was confused. "You couldn't get it up?"

"No," Vlad replied. His voice was hard and he found no humor in my statement. "I couldn't hurt you, Daniel! Damn it, I can't take this. I can't deny it anymore!"

"What are you talking about," I asked, confused. I tried to sit up again but Vlad pushed me back down.

"Damn it, Daniel. Sit still and conserve your energy. You're too damn weak! You dug into the reserves meant to keep you alive! Don't ever dig into those reserves!"

"I don't understand."

"Our powers… they're meant to keep us alive. That's their only goal. The very depths of our powers is a last ditch effort to save our lives. Once that reserve is used up, we die. You dug into that reserve, Daniel. You were dying!"

"Why do you care," I asked. I tried to make my voice go high but I just didn't have the strength.

"I love you," Vlad yelled. He hung his head, his voice going soft. "I love you. Seeing you there, lying on that floor—dying! I have never been so scared as I ripped you from that suit. I could see you slip away. You stopped breathing. Your oxygen reserves stopped sending oxygen to your brain. Your brain stopped preforming. You were dying. As soon as the energy left my body, you drank it up like a damn sponge. Your body was so desperate for power it soaked it up before it left my body."

"Vlad, this can't be. You can't love me. You're raping me."

"I know," Vlad replied softly. "But you have no idea how badly I wished things had started differently. When I'm with you, I feel. I know the same thing happens to you, but I haven't felt anything since Mom died. I'm not just talking about the half ghost side effects. I couldn't feel before that for nine years."

"You mean a different kind of feeling," I replied, realization dawning on me. "Human emotions."

"Yes," Vlad replied. "I'm not sure I could ever hurt you again. Before, I covered my feelings by saying I wanted the feeling but I could still rape you if you refused. Now… I don't think I can. You have gotten me so sick, Daniel. Watching you die has made me realize something. I need you. I don't just want you, I need you. But I can't just have possession of you; I need you to feel the same way."

"I-," I began, but my voice caught.

"I know it's hard but this is what I've come up with. I can't just own you. Bitches don't own a piece of their masters. You own me, Daniel. You're not a bitch anymore. My heart is no longer my own. I'm yours."

"I'm not sure what you're saying," I admitted.

"Be with me," Vlad said, looking into my eyes. "When I release you, come back to me."

"I'm not gay," I declared. "I've never found this enjoyable!"

"You've never had sex with a man," Vlad replied. "You may find this hard to believe, but I have had willing partners."

"You mean willing sex. Not rape, not a desire for the feeling, sex because that's what I want," I asked for clarification.

"Yes," Vlad answered. "I will allow you to advance at your own pace. Just please, give me a chance."

"I'm not gay," I declared again.

"How do you know," Vlad finally challenged me. "Without trying it, how do you know?"

"I love Sam," I declared.

"Does she love you back," Vlad asked me.

My mind went over the minutes on the roof. I asked her. But I also didn't want to tell her my feelings because of the fear of never living them. "Okay," I said, looking at him. "Give me some time. Let me see how this plays out. If she doesn't say anything, I'll know it's not meant to be. My dreams change all the time. Just because I liked the dream doesn't mean I should put as much faith in it as I have."

Vlad nodded, continuing to pump energy in my body. I still struggled to keep my strength up so eventually the action got the best of me. I passed out.

XXX

"Danny," I heard a soft voice. "Danny?" I opened my eyes but recognized my surroundings immediately.

"What," I asked, looking around the room. Mom, Dad, Jazz, Sam, Tucker, Vlad, Valerie and her Dad were there. "What happened?"

"You gave us quite the scare there, Little Badger," Vlad replied.

"Vladdy found you outside the dome," Dad said, worry evident on his face. "He saved your life!"

"Things might have been weird there for a while but if Vlad saved your life then I say bygones," Mom declared, looking at me with love and worry.

I tried sitting up again but still couldn't find the energy. Sam placed her hand on my chest and I sat back. I looked up to see Sam and Tucker's smiling faces. I smiled back at them. "He's still too weak," Sam replied. "Everyone out!"

"Wait," I said, softly. "I just wanted to say I love you all," I replied softly. "And thanks, Vlad."

"Anytime, Little Badger," Vlad said, his eyes kind and concerned. I took a deep breath but it hurt as I inhaled.

"Okay, out," Sam ordered. Sam pushed everyone out and I fell back to sleep.

XXX

Wednesday became clearer as I started to build my strength. Whatever fluid Sam had me on was doing wonders but I was still so weak. I kept noticing how outside my door, everything was so loud. Every time Sam and Tucker came in to check up on me, the sounds outside my room would reach me but when they closed the door, the sounds would disappear. I knew they had the soundproof walls on but I couldn't figure out why it was so loud outside. Sam and Tucker wouldn't let me know anything so I just sat there, staring at the walls.

I watched some TV, studied, played video games and even doodled some but nothing seemed to alleviate the boredom. Who knew I could survive the King and the suit but die of boredom? I had the TV in my room on but I wasn't really watching it. The door to my room opened softly and I heard some voices. "They're not in here. Come on." I looked up to see Dash, Kwan, Paulina, Star, Annie, Ashley, Katrina and Mikey come in the room.

"Hi," I said, confused. "Can I help you? How did you guys get in here?"

"How are you feeling," Star asked me, her eyes welling with tears.

"Fine," I lied. I felt like crap but it had nothing to do with low energy levels. A guy could die of boredom in this room.

"What happened, Fenton," Dash asked. "How on Earth did you get out of that dome?"

"I'm not sure," I replied. "How did you guys know about this? Is Sam and Tucker talking about this at school?"

"School was cancelled today," Kwan answered. "No power."

"No power," I replied, looking to my light. "It's fine to me."

"This is the only place that has power," Annie replied. "Nearly the entire town is here. The power company is trying to restore the power but it's not an easy task."

"What happened to the power," I asked, confused.

"The entire town was ripped from Earth," Kwan remarked. "It didn't exactly go cleanly. All the power lines leading into town were destroyed. They're rewiring the entire town."

"He doesn't need to worry about that," Star shot at Kwan. "Just get better, Danny."

"I'm fine," I replied. "I'll be in school tomorrow… providing we have school."

The door swung open again and one very upset Sam stood in the doorway. "How many times do I have to say this. Out!"

"Sam," I tried to calm her down.

"We're going," Star replied. She took my hand in hers. "Thank you. We owe you everything," she spoke. I stared at her in shock while her comrades started laughing. "Get well."

Star stormed out of the room in a huff while the others trailed behind her, laughing. "What was that about," I asked, looking at Sam.

"I don't know," Sam replied. "I don't really care. Your pulse is still only one hundred and thirty. You need it to be more like One-eighty. Your temperature is only one-fifty. Your hypothermic. Your blood pressure is…"

"I get it," I smiled weakly at her. "I'm bad."

"Too bad," Sam said, crossing the floor. She started testing me again and I felt like a stupid lab rat. Finally, she jotted down everything on her pad and rubbed my hair. "Get some sleep."

"If I sleep anymore, I'll be diagnosed with Sleep Apnea."

Sam smiled weakly at me but walked out, leaving me alone. This ordeal has made me understand the song 'Hello, Walls' by Jim Reeves. And I thought I'd never get that song!

XXX

With the following day came silence. I guess the power lines were repaired and rewired because the house was uncharacteristically quiet for as of late. However Dr. Sam still didn't release me from bed rest. The day after that, I was out of bed but not allowed back in the land of the living. I did sneak out though and destroy that note. I left no room for chances and actually burned it. I paced my room several times and got scolded each time Sam or Tucker came in the room. Not even Tuck would give me any slack.

When my alarm went off the next day, I made my mind up. I walked out of my room and everyone was already up. I dressed and came down the stairs.

"Danny," Mom cried as everyone snapped their heads up to me. "What are you doing out of bed!"

"I'm sick of staring at those damn walls," I said, grabbing a bowl. "I'm better. Since Sam and Tucker won't release me, I'm releasing myself."

"I'm still not satisfied with your energy levels," Sam admitted. "Your vitals are normal but you are still pretty weak."

"That's because I have a new enemy: boredom," I declared. "I'm not going back to that room until bedtime. I'm okay now."

Tucker grinned a sad smile at me. "Okay," Tucker replied.

"No, not okay," Sam declared. "You need to build your strengths. You can't be overloading yourself."

I poured a bowl of Froot Loops and poured the milk over them. "I'm not going back to bed. There is only so much a guy can take."

"I guess," Mom replied. "But you're staying home! I won't allow you to leave the house."

"I'm getting back to my life," I demanded. The suit didn't kill me so I won't go about the rest of my life like I'm dead.

"Sweetie," Mom spoke softly.

"No," I declared. "I'm tired of feeling like this. I ready to start living my life again!"

"What your mother means is you still need to build your strengths. You can do that out of your bedroom but you're not allowed to leave the house."

I finished my bowl of cereal, swallowing the milk in one gulp. "Try to stop me," I said, standing up. "You guys can stay home today, but I'm going to school!"

I walked towards the door, every chair there scooting away from the table. Everyone cried my name. Sam grabbed me first followed by Tucker. Dad grabbed Tucker and tried to help hold me back. Mom and Jazz brought in the rear. Like I said, a battalion.

I heard Tucker grunt. "Damn it," he declared. "Why do I even bother? Danny, it's Saturday!"

I stopped, causing everyone to fall around me. I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. "It is," I asked, feeling like I could die from embarrassment. Of all the things trying to take me out this week.

"Yes," Mom declared. "I thought you were talking about going to the Nasty Burger or something. Not school!"

"Then why is everyone up at seven o'clock," I asked, confused. I started to help everyone to their feet.

"We haven't been sleeping too well," Mom replied honestly. "We had no idea the ghost situation could get so bad and Sam, Tucker and Jazz have been worried sick about you. Nights have been pretty long around here lately."

"Well, I think he's got his strength back," Dad said, laughing. All but Sam and Tucker were laughing. My heavy breathing spoke volumes.

XXX

On Monday, I apologized to Dash for picking on him the last week. He forgave me by 'saluting' me on the flag. Of course, to prevent any more humiliation, I used my powers to hook myself on that pole. He wanted to make a point and was tossing me to the top. After the fifth try, I just hooked myself. Do like normal people do, Dash. Holst me up from the ground!

Monday was not normal, though. The ghosts were absent and had been for six days now and my 'famous' quote had spread like wildfire. In every class, the students were talking about the Invisobill/Phantom quote. They went nuts for the thing.

I kept waiting for Sam to say something but as the week hit hump day, I was realizing she wasn't going to say anything. Wednesday I flew to my house in Elemerton. We still hadn't finished furnishing the place but we completed the repairs. Vlad was living there full time now. I walked into the house without announcing myself.

"Daniel," Vlad replied, looking at me in shock. "What are you doing here?"

"I haven't seen you in a while," I replied. "Not for a week."

"Your friends know," Vlad replied. "And they were pissed. I didn't put it past them to rat me out to your parents so I left."

"But I've been better for four days," I replied. "You haven't come by during that time."

"Why would I," Vlad asked. Okay, this is weird. "Daniel, you were unconscious but I released you. You've been a free boy for eight days."

"You released me," I asked, confused. "Released me from what?"

"Your services," Vlad replied. "You're no longer a bitch. You've been pardoned, a first let me tell you."

"You really let me go," I replied. "Just like that."

"I gave up a while ago about you returning my feelings. I can't just own you. It doesn't work that way."

"I've given Sam plenty of time," I spoke softly. "And I've given your offer some thought." I took a shaky breath and walked forward. "I can wait forever for something that may never come," I said, stopping just in front of him, "Or I can seize what's in front of me." I tentatively wrapped my arms around his neck and prepared to take that plunge. Gently pulling him down to my level, my lips caressed his. My stomach was in knots as I put myself in the kiss. I closed my eyes, allowing myself to see in my mind for the first time who I was really kissing.

Vlad returned the kiss, his heart racing as I gave my heart and soul to him. Finally, I broke the kiss. "I just ask for one thing in return," I spoke softly.

"Anything," Vlad replied, his breathing ragged.

"Don't break my heart," I spoke softly. "I've had so much broken in my life and most of it has been your fault. I've given you a clean slate here. The rape never happened. You never hurt me. We're both pure here. All you have to give me is a promise to never hurt me again willingly. If you do, I'm gone."

"I promise," Vlad whispered. I pushed aside these feelings of regret and doubt. There are no preconceived notions. I don't know that this will end badly.

AN: And that's it for Bitter UNIONS! The chapter companions will be posted every third chapter, just as they appear on my profile page. When I post chapter four, I will post one through three. Four through six will be posted on my seventh update. My entire profile page (with the exception of the timeline) will go down Sunday.

Tomorrow I will post the first chapter of Danny's Story, Part 2: New Beginnings. Just as it is for Bitter UNIONS, the story will be titled as its subtitle only. I look forward to hearing from you in the second installment. Take care and thank you for all the feedback I've received.