So...I challenged myself to have all of my unfinished stories updated by my birthday.

My birthday was two days ago.

I failed.

As an apology to you, my ever-patient readers, I decided to start yet another chapter fic. The idea behind this one came to me a few days ago and I haven't been able to get rid of it. Seemed like a perfect opportunity to introduce it to you.

The name of the fic is a line from a song called Dead Hearts, by Stars. Really good song. I heard it in a movie called Like Crazy, but I think it may have also been in The Hunger Games. Not sure on that, though.

Okay, the rating is T, but...it's a strong T. There's no sex, but...well...it's kind of implied. Yes, in chapter one. You've been warned. In fact, rating very well may change. Be prepared.

I'm going to do better at updating, I promise. I just started a new job at Barnes and Nobel, and my hours are mostly at night. I get several days off each week, which will give me plentyyyy of time to update.

Yeah, I work at Barnes and Nobel. Jealous? (:

Alright. So. I don't own Danny Phantom. Let's get this show on the road!


They Had Lights Inside Their Eyes

Chapter One

August 6, 2012


"Did you remember your toothbrush?"

"Yep."

"What about toothpaste?"

"It's all in there,"

"Deodorant?"

"Mom..."

"More than one pair of underwear?"

"Mom!" Danny cried exasperatedly, blushing fiercely. Sam stifled a giggle behind her hand. She was sitting cross-legged in the bedroom of Danny's apartment, watching as Maddie fussed over Danny's packing skills.

"Don't 'mom' me!" Maddie said, scanning the list Danny had compiled of all the items he would need for his trip. "Have you forgotten the two-week trip to Japan where you only brought one pair of boxers?"

"That was because they lost my other suitcase, remember?" Danny groaned. He sank to his mattress and covered his face with his hands.

"Conveniently," Maddie said, shooting a significant glance in Sam's direction. Sam laughed appreciatively. Danny gave the goth a scathing glare through his fingers before his onyx hair fell forward and hid his eyes.

"It's different this time, mom," He mumbled into his hands.

"You're right. This time I won't be there to run to the nearest Japanese grocery store to buy you more underwear." Maddie said, still scanning the packing list. Danny moaned incoherently into his hands. Sam laughed again. "Are you sure one bag is enough?"

"It's only a month, Ma," Danny said, emerging from behind his hands again. Maddie was gazing down at the single suitcase Danny had packed, her brow furrowed. She nibbled her lip as Danny stood up. "This is plenty,"

"I don't know..." She said, glancing back down at the packing list. Sam shifted uncomfortably, feeling as if she was intruding. Danny glanced back at her and gave her a small half-smile, assuring her that she was more than welcome in this little moment.

It was drawing close to the five-year anniversary of the Disasteroid. Danny had been invited on a world-wide month-long trip to each of the statues that had been erected in his honor to celebrate the milestone, but his parents had been invited to speak at a week-long ghost convention in Rome. Danny had insisted that they stay home from his trip, assuring them that he would catch them when he was in Rome.

Danny and Sam had been nearly inseparable since the Disasteroid. Sam had insisted in the beginning that she still had her own way of doing things; and while that was still true, she had recently come to the realization that she no longer thought of herself as a 'me.' She had morphed into a 'we.' It had become Danny and Sam, or Sam and Danny. Never just Sam. She expected to be stifled by it. But instead, she found that she rather enjoyed it.

And that terrified her.

So she had opted to stay in Amity as well. Danny was rather surprised by it; Sam always went with him when he was invited on these things. He resented it a bit at first, asking a second time a few days after the first time she had declined while unleashing his most pathetic puppy-dog pout. Sam had very nearly caved, but she had to prove to herself that she could survive four weeks without Danny. So she politely told him she needed to stay home and work. He understood after that, defending her decision to stay home fiercely. Tucker, of course, was far too busy with his responsibilities as mayor, and Jazz was too busy moving in with her fiance, Micah. So Danny would be flying solo on this trip.

"Mom," Danny said, pulling the packing list out of her hands and letting it flutter to the floor by his feet. He took his mother by the shoulders and held her at arms' length. "I'm gonna be fine. It's just four weeks. You're gonna go to Rome with dad and you guys are gonna have a lot of fun at your convention and then you'll come back here and I'll be home before you know it."

"Sam?" Maddie asked, craning her neck around to look at her. Sam sat up a bit straighter. "Are you sure you can't go with him, just to make sure he stays out of trouble?"

"Ah -" Sam started.

"No, mom," Danny interrupted. Maddie looked back at her son. "Sam has to stay here and work. Ma, I'm twenty years old. You and dad got married and moved here when you were eighteen. I can take care of myself for a month,"

Maddie huffed and set to smoothing Danny's shirt over his chest. Sam bit her lip guiltily. Maddie struggled with Danny's celebrity status. Most of the people in Danny's life enjoyed it, excluding Danny; he was merely bewildered by it. Jazz opposed it at first, but soon realized that Danny's personality would not be effected in any way; she took pleasure in being referred to as Danny Phantom's sister. Tucker seemed too busy with being the mayor to really have an opinion, and Sam found it hilarious. Until the tabloids turned on her. Then she hated it with a burning passion. But most of the time it was funny. And Jack...

There was a clattering bang in the living room outside of Danny's bedroom door. The three snapped their heads in the direction of the door, which was flung open almost immediately. Jack Fenton's hulking figure filled the entire door frame. His face was lit with excitement. "Son, look what I just found!" He boomed excitedly. He extended his right arm, presenting an ancient-looking Danny Phantom plush doll.

Danny closed his eyes and sighed. "That's great, dad," He said.

"Wait, wait! Listen!" Jack pulled a string attached to the doll's back. As the string slowly drew back into the doll, it squeaked "goin' ghost!"

"Wow," Danny muttered. "Awesome." He shook his head and turned his attention back to his mother. "Mom, please stop worrying. I'm going to be fine. I promise. Okay?"

"Alright, alright," She sighed. She stooped and snatched the packing list off of the ground. She placed it neatly on Danny's open suitcase before glancing at her watch. "Oh, shoot. It's nearly seven. Jazz and Micah are coming for dinner. We should really go," Maddie appeared as if she did not want to go at all.

"I'll walk you two down to your car. There's something I want to ask you," Danny said, ushering his mother to the door of his bedroom.

"Eh...here, Sam," Jack handed her the Phantom doll. She accepted it, smiling up at the man. He ruffled her hair absently, before following his wife and son to the front door of Danny's apartment. Sam waited until she heard the door close.

"You're not so bad, you know," She murmured down to the doll. It smiled up at her. She chuckled and ran her fingertip through the doll's stiff hair. It was one of the original Phantom dolls. Sam wondered if it was the one Danny had snatched off the street just a few days before the Disasteroid. She shuddered at the memory.

"Sorry about that!" Danny called from the hall of his apartment. Sam stood and pocketed the Phantom doll as she went to join him in his living room.

"It's not a big deal," She said, plopping down on one of his plush leather couches. He threw himself across the same couch, laying his head in her lap. She ran her fingers through his hair absently, smiling when he groaned quietly in pleasure. "Everyone wants a little Danny before you have to go, and I can learn to share,"

He turned his head so that his face was buried in her stomach. "But not on date night," He said, his voice muffled against her skin. She giggled at his breath washing over her. He chuckled and reached up to intertwine his fingers with hers. "You shouldn't have to share on date night."

She shrugged, not trusting her voice. Danny tilted his head and peered up at her through ocean blue eyes, and she knew pretending she was happy was futile. If Danny had known her well before, he could read her mind now. He could sense every little emotion she was feeling with ease, and she could do the same with him.

He sat up and turned quickly, holding his arms aloft. Sam tucked herself into his side, sucking in a shaking breath. This was not the way to start out their last night together for a month.

"I'm fine," She swore, breathing deeply. The smell of his cologne calmed her. They remained quite still for some time.

"Well, we missed our reservations," He said forlornly. "I was gonna take you to Chez de la Lune...they have this vegan salad I heard is really really good..."

"Doesn't matter," She said, sitting up. He was searching her face anxiously. "I don't really care about going to a fancy resteraunt or anything like that. As long as I get to spend a little time with you, I don't care,"

"Well that can be arranged," He said playfully, leaning forward and stealing a kiss. She sighed and leaned into him, ignoring the voice in the back of her mind that cried out he was leaving in the morning.

He pulled away, his eyes opened before hers. He was still searching her, as if trying to pinpoint the emotions she was feeling.

They eventually ordered a pizza and turned a movie on. It was mindless, really; the perfect movie for that night. Sam was not paying attention; she was distracted by Danny, who demanded her attention with soft kisses and gentle caresses. Eventually, the movie ended, and Danny scooped Sam up and carried her to his bedroom, leaving the pizza half-eaten and forgotten on his coffee table. They laid in his bed together, kissing and touching, not speaking save a quiet whisper of the other's name. At midnight, Sam's phone alarm went off mid-kiss. Danny growled frustratedly as she scrambled out of bed, straightening her shirt, and dug through her purse, which was still on the chair she had occupied earlier.

"I should go," She said after she had shut it off, not wanting to go at all. Danny's eyes were wide and pleading already. "D, stop it. You have to be up early for your flight and I have work first thing -"

"Sammmmm..." He moaned, falling backwards against his pillows. "Don't go..."

"I have to," She said, bending to put her shoes back on. "We both need sleep."

"No," He said, sitting up suddenly. His sheets fell away from his exposed chest and Sam had to swallow hard to keep her jaw from falling slack. To say that he was well-defined was an understatement; he was muscular. Definitely muscular. Faded scars stretched across his pectoral muscles. Sam licked her lips subconsciously. "I don't need sleep," he continued, smirking at her. "I need you."

"Danny..."

"Sam, please. For the sake of my sanity, please stay here tonight," His voice was gruff and full of emotion. Sam stared at him a moment longer, before sighing and dropping her purse. Danny smiled triumphantly as she kicked her shoes off and climbed back into his bed, burying herself in his arms.

"Only 'cause you're leaving tomorrow," She mumbled against his collar bone. He squeezed her lightly, chuckling lightly. He ran his hand down her side, pausing when he reached her hip.

"What's this?" He asked, running his fingers over a slight bulge in her pocket. She blushed fiercely, and even in the darkness of his bedroom, Danny could see it. Before she could stop him, he had phased the doll out of her pocket and twisted away from her. She cried out and reached around him, bringing her body flush against Danny's bare back as she did. The Phantom doll was illuminated in a shaft of moonlight slipping through Danny's window. "You kept this?" He asked incredulously, craning his head around to look at her disbelievingly.

"Yes." She huffed, snatching the doll out of his fingers. She rolled onto her back, clutching the doll to her chest. Danny rolled onto his other side and propped his head against his hand, watching her inquisitively. She sighed again, refusing to meet his gaze. She stared at the ceiling instead. "You asked me to stay here tonight for the sake of your sanity. I need this" she lifted the Phantom doll away from her chest a few inches, "to keep mine."

Danny was silent. Sam glanced at him anxiously, to find him watching her with a most peculiar expression on his face. The look he was giving her was absolutely smoldering; she had never seen him looking so passionate before. He tugged the doll out of her hands gently, placing it on the mattress on the other side of her head, before lifting himself off of the bed. He positioned himself directly over her, their chests pressed together, and kissed her fiercely. Sam felt herself turning to mush as his tongue darted between her teeth and delved into her mouth. She was certain that had she been standing when Danny delivered this kiss, she would be on the ground in seconds. He growled lightly, nibbling her lips with his teeth before thrusting his tongue back into her mouth. When she thought she might pass out from lack of oxygen, he pulled away. Her eyes fluttered open and she gasped. Danny's eyes were burning green with the intensity of the emotions he felt.

"I love you," He breathed. He brushed her hair away from her face with one hand, his eyes never leaving hers. "You know that?" She nodded, unable to form words. "Good."

And with that, he kissed her again.