This chapter is dedicated to QuietChick and GrimmInk who I can't PM as they are listed as 'guests'.

QuietChick, I'm honored to be the recipient of your very first review for this site! I'm glad you like my story and I hope you stay tuned!

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Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based upon subject matter that is not my own. Pop culture references also do not reflect ownership by me.


Five – Forgiveness and food fights

It was after school before Sam got a chance to apologize to Danny, mostly because she hid in the library at lunch and avoided eye contact with him 'til final period where she expressed her desire to talk about it with convoluted hand gestures and interesting eyebrow wriggles. Sam could see reluctance and hurt warring with the desire to reconcile on his face when he nodded his consent and she felt awful but determined. When the final dismissal bell rang Tucker sent her an encouraging thumbs up before he took off for home to serve the rest of his grounding in the hopes he'd get the weekend off for good behavior. Danny was waiting at the door for her to catch up before they both left the school in silence.

Sam had decided during her shameful hiding that she would take things in baby steps. She couldn't bring herself to apologize then explain that her hormones were responsible. When she did tell him, and she would she assured herself, it was going to be special. The walk home from school was far from special. Sam finally took a deep breath and cleared her throat, ready to fess up and apologize for being such a colossal bitch. "Danny, I…" she sighed, "I'm really sorry for…for earlier, the way I treated you. I was angry, and some very small part of that was at you, but not to the extent that I just unleashed at you. You didn't deserve that, especially after you'd just fought off Dash to keep him from caving in my face. And then right after you found out I was hiding something from you. That was really unfair and wrong of me, and I'm really, really sorry for fighting with you and saying those awful things." She couldn't bring herself to look up at him even though they'd stopped walking, instead addressing herself to his shoes. He also wasn't saying anything and the awkwardness was building with her tension so like open flood gates, words just kept spilling out.

"I don't even really get why I couldn't just tell you why I was upset, why I was blaming you, why I was overreacting. You're my best friend and I shouldn't be keeping things from you. I've been letting things get to me lately that I normally never would and I lashed out at the last person who deserved it. Especially after you came to check up on me last night. That was the sweetest thing and I never even thanked you! I didn't even acknowledge it and I yelled at you and threw it back in your face. My god, I'm such a bitch! Here you are coming to my rescue yet again and I just—"

"Sam!" She looked up at him startled out of her rant. His hands were gripping her upper arms and he was shaking her gently like he'd been trying to get her attention for a while. Oops.

"Yeah?"

"I was trying to tell you that it's okay; and you're not a bitch so I'd better not hear you calling yourself that again." his creased brows were allowing no argument on the sentiment. He let go and stepped back. "I also owe you an apology. I—"

"What? No you don't Danny, you haven't done anything wrong!"

He snorted, "Hardly, it takes two to tango you know. I shouldn't have gotten so angry; I was just…really worried. You could have been really hurt Sam."

"That wasn't your fault Danny. You're half ghost, even in human form you're still susceptible to being influenced by the emotions around you. You're allowed to be angry and it isn't your fault if you end up channeling everybody else's anger on top of it. I know I certainly wasn't helping."

"Doesn't matter." he shook his head stubbornly. "I should be more in control of myself. Besides, I'm supposed to get energy transference as a ghost, not emotional transference. I don't think I was channeling your anger, but I am sure I was reacting to it." he admitted with a sigh. "It doesn't help that I haven't taken any of your feelings into account; that was a lot of rage boiling over Sam. You've been feeling this way for a while and because you never felt comfortable enough to tell me how you feel it's built and been bottled up. It's no wonder you blew your top with all that resentment—"

"I have never resented you Danny." It was true, it wasn't Danny she resented. She really hoped he was picking up the earnestness she was doing her best to slather all over her tone, "and none of this is your fault. Granted I've been a little, frustrated, but that's my problem, not yours. The truth is," she sighed heavily and looked away embarrassed, "the reason I was so angry is that I don't like being a burden to you. I'm supposed to be a strong, independent individual that is perfectly capable of taking care of herself and not burdening the already burdened hero by him having to save her all the freaking time. I'm supposed to be strong and support you, not hold you back."

Sam felt his fingers on her chin as he tilted her face towards him. She couldn't help but feel ashamed of her behavior all over again at the look in eyes. "Sam…you don't think I think of you that way, do you?" She gave him a small shrug and felt her chest squeeze at the shocked disbelief that flashed across his eyes. "Sam! Of course I don't! You're the strongest, smartest person I know! I couldn't have made it through half of what I have if it hadn't been for you! It isn't your fault that you don't have ghost powers, that you can't be up in the air with me trading punches. But you know what, even if you did, I wouldn't want you up there. I don't want you getting beaten to a bloody pulp, especially when you don't need to be. And it isn't as if you don't help me. You're better with a Fenton Wrist Ray than anybody I've ever seen. I've always been able to count on you to bail me out when I'm in over my head. Or when I really need my butt kicked into gear, who's there with size seven boots ready? When I'm feeling down about whatever, who's there with a strawberry soy shake and a dark witty quip about the world that brings me right up? Sam, the last thing you are to me is a burden."

"Well, that's not how it feels." she admitted in a small voice.

"That would most likely be because you have ungodly high expectations of yourself. I really wish you could just see yourself as I see you." he admitted with a sigh.

"A huge pain in the ass?"

"Well, I meant besides that." he smiled down at her. "You're my best friend who I know will always have my back, no matter what. Besides Tucker and my family, who can I say that about? You're at the top of short list of people I can trust implicitly. I mean, you already know my deepest, darkest secret and you're still here. Who else can I say that about?"

"You mean you haven't made it common knowledge that you are more afraid of toast than ghosts, like you've always claimed? Oops, that's what I've been telling everybody." she announced in a stage whisper.

"Sam! My deepest, darkest secret? How could you?!" he cried dramatically posing with the back of his hand to his brow failing utterly to suppress his grin.

"What can I say, I have to feed my raging popularity somehow. Secrets are the currency of High School, haven't you heard?" They both knew it was lame but he laughed anyway, which was what she was after.

"What I'd like to hear…" he began, his laughter fading away, "Is that really why you're mad at me Sam? You said it was only a little bit, but that's not what I got out of the fight earlier."

"Yeah, that's really it Danny. I'm not mad at you, I'm mad at me. It's just that you constantly have to worry about so much; you shouldn't have to worry about me too. But you don't let that stop you, do you? You take so much upon yourself and I can't help but worry about you Danny. I know you don't like to admit it, but despite…everything I guess, you're still human. You still bleed, you still need to sleep, you still have so many responsibilities…I don't want to be one of them. I don't want you to see me as some fragile little flower that has to be sheltered and protected by the big strong hero. I don't want you to look at me and see somebody that you have to worry about. I want you to see somebody who can kick ass and take name; someone who can support you. I want you to see somebody you know you can really trust to have your back, and I know you think I can. But I want you to know I can. And lately you've had to save my ass so many times and I don't think you can see the person I want you to see because I've done a piss poor job of being that person lately."

"Ungodly high expectations." he muttered.

"Hero complex." she muttered right back. Sam stepped close and wrapped her arms around him, "I really am sorry Danny, for everything." Her voice was quiet, but she knew he could hear her.

His arms wrapped around her and held her close, "It's fine. No harm done. Weren't you just telling me the other night that friends are the best people to fight with?"

"Just goes to show how often I can be a real idiot. Fighting with friends sucks." She could feel his laugh rumbling in his chest as close as she was pressed against him.

She'd never admit just how close to physical pain she felt as he pulled away. "Come over to my place? We can catalogue yesterday's encounter and get an early start on homework." She nodded her agreement and they started toward Fenton Works. "So," he started after awhile in a not-so-casual sounding tone, "are you going to tell me what happened yesterday, before I got there?"

Sam sighed, she should have known he wasn't going to let it go; at least he wasn't angry at the moment. "I didn't listen to you about waiting 'til you got there; I was trying to prove I could bag the ghost all on my own. For now obvious reasons." she added depreciatively. "Since he worked with fire I figured I'd put out his pilot light so to speak, and set off the sprinklers. Turns out that guy's really freaking fast. Caught me by surprise and he was taunting and gloating; you know, your typical villain sort of stuff with grand declarations of victory and monologing. Oh the monologing." she snorted with a grin. What was it with villains? Granted he wasn't as bad as Technus, but really?

"He was trying to scare me; I don't think he really meant to hurt me, not really. I called out for you, even though my Fenton Fone was off so it really wouldn't have done me any good, but it sure freaked Pyre out…well, you remember why. Anyway, you know what happened from there. He was falling over himself trying not to piss you off. I wonder what everyone in the Ghost Zone is saying about you to strike such fear into the hearts of those who've never faced you."

"That's a really good question. It's been a while since I visited the GZ. Maybe I should head to Clockwork's and see what's going on."

"But he hardly ever actually answers any of your questions."

"True, but who else am I supposed to ask?"

"I figured you'd visit Frostbite."

Danny winced, "Frostbite's awesome, but I really wish he'd cut it out with all that 'Great One' stuff."

"At least he doesn't think of Tucker and me as your servants anymore."

"Yeah, sorry about that." he replied with a nervous chuckle, rubbing the back of his head absently.

Sam rolled her eyes, "Please, it's not like you told him that's who we were, he just assumed and once that guy gets an idea in his head there's really no getting it out. Besides, it was really great of you, defeating Pariah Dark and all."

"It's not like I didn't have help."

"Please, Mr. Modest, just because Vlad turned the key doesn't mean you didn't do all the fighting on your own." She waved off his attempt to argue, "I know, I know, you used a power enhancing suit…that doesn't mean it wasn't you fighting. Danny, that suit was draining you and you still managed to defeat the evil ghost king. Don't you get how freaking powerful that makes you? It's no wonder that the ghosts don't take your fights seriously; you could easily destroy any one of them if you really wanted to. And they know it." Sam stopped, distracted by the memory of something else Ember had mentioned. "What do you think she meant by a Ghost's Obsession?"

"Don't know. Something else to add to my list of questions to ask."

"Do you…do you think that it would apply to you?"

"Don't know. I'm only half ghost, but a lot of stuff that applies to ghosts applies to me…like the whole sensing and feeding off of emotions. Do you have any idea how weird and creepy that is by the way? I feel like a pervert and a leech at the same time."

"Here's something I've been wondering, which emotion tastes best?" Sam asked. She couldn't help but feel there was something about what he'd just said that ought to concern her. Something important.

"Really Sam?"

"Hey I'm Goth, I'm allowed to be morbid." Since she couldn't pin down the thought she shrugged it off content with just enjoying Danny's company.

"They don't really have a taste, just a sort of feel, an energy level I guess. In general the emotions themselves don't differ in how much energy they transfer; it's more the strength of the emotion being felt by the person at the time. The stronger the emotion they're feeling, the more energy transferred. The emotion itself isn't relevant mostly, just how strongly people feel it. Ghosts go for fear because it's quick and easy to make lots of people, really scared, really fast. Kinda like an all you can eat buffet."

"And you call me morbid."

"Hey, you asked.

Sam smiled, genuinely happy to have all that pent up anger off her chest. Now she just had to figure out when she'd actually confess to Danny her feelings. Why was it so hard to admit it? What did she really have to fear? Their friendship was far too strong to be shaken by her admission should he not like her back. And what was the worst that could happen? Danny might not reciprocate her feelings but he would never throw them in her face. Just look at last night and how he'd come to check on her. So why was she so freaked? And speaking of last night…

"By the way, thank you for coming to check on me last night. I don't really remember at what point I fell asleep; I honestly woke up thinking I'd dreamt the whole thing I was so out of it, but Salem was quick to assure me I wasn't completely out of my mind."

Danny cocked a questioning brow but seemed to dismiss her comment with a shake of his head. "You thanked me last night Sam. Quite thoroughly I might add." He cleared his throat before hesitantly asking, "What was the last thing you remember, if you don't mind me asking?"

"The last point I'm sure I was awake?" She thought back, fingers tapping her chin idly, "Uh, the profuse thank you since you remember that too; after that is anybody's guess as I woke up thinking you were still…there." she finished hastily. No need to tell him that she had woken up thinking he was still holding her. "It really was sweet of you to put so much thought into trying to help me out. But never fear, Tucker definitely set me straight. I think I might buy him something new, electronical, and shiny as a thank you. He really doesn't get enough positive reinforcement when he does something non-annoying. What do you think?" Danny seemed lost in thought and didn't answer. "Danny, you still there?"

"What?" he asked, snapping his head in her direction.

"I asked what you thought might make a good thank you present for Tucker knocking some sense into my head. I was sorry the moment I let my temper get the better of me, but if Tucker hadn't talked me out of my funk I wouldn't have worked up the nerve to apologize just yet." she admitted, thoroughly embarrassed.

"Oh, uh…there's a new game out that Tucker's mentioned a couple of times. It's only a matter of him getting ungrounded before he'll have Doomed: Trinity beaten. He'd like that I'm sure."

"I guess I'll take a look when we go shopping for your mom." she shrugged.

Danny slapped his forehead, "Crap! I forgot about that! What the heck am I going to get her?"

Sam rolled her eyes, "Really Danny? Your mom is easy to shop for. You could get her a fudge recipe book, a gift card to that mechanical emporium store she gets all the parts for Fenton gear from…I bet she wouldn't mind a spa day voucher, I can get a crap ton of those from my mom; that way your mom could take Jazz when she's home on break and get in some mother/daughter bonding. Your mom would eat that up."

"Sam, have I ever told you you're a genius?" Danny's grin was positively infectious.

"Only every time I pull a solution from my magical bag of tricks." She nudged him playfully, "I'll have them for you probably by tomorrow." She couldn't help but grimace at the price her mother was probably going to demand.

"What's with that face?"

"Just picturing what I'm going to have to wear to procure those vouchers. My mother would normally hand them out like candy but since I've never wanted any she's going to want to know why and if I tell her the truth she's going to haggle me within an inch of my wardrobe for them." She shrugged, "But hey, I owe you; no big." Before Danny could protest Sam waved him off, "It really isn't a big deal. Besides, it's for your mom; aside from being completely oblivious to your alter ego, the woman rocks. I mean, who else would completely alter all her cookie and fudge recipes to make them Ultro-Recyclo Vegetarian friendly?"

Sam enjoyed the rest of the walk to Fenton Works with Danny in companionable silence. It felt good to have that back, to lose the awkwardness and frustration she'd been feeling for so long. Now that she was committed to the idea of confessing to him all she had to worry about was the where and the when.

"Mom, Dad, I'm home!" Danny called out as he walked through his front door. "And I brought Sam with me!" he added as he slung his backpack on the couch.

"Hi, Sweetie!" Mrs. Fenton greeted him, walking out of the kitchen into their living room. "Hi, Sam. Tucker not joining you guys today?"

"Nah, he's still grounded."

"That's too bad. Well, I've got a batch of cookies in the kitchen if you kids are hungry. They're the kind Sam can have."

"Thanks Mrs. Fenton, you're the best!" she smiled widely as she and Danny approached the kitchen. She really was too. Sam's own parents had a problem with her choice of life style but all Mrs. Fenton had asked was what it meant she didn't eat before she smiled and said it wouldn't be a problem.

"Oh, Sam honey, it's no problem; you're family." Mrs. Fenton told her, giving her a warm hug before Sam could protest. She blushed at the motherly attention but Mrs. Fenton didn't seem to notice as she continued once she'd let her go. "Besides, it's refreshing that you eat so healthy; and it's the perfect excuse to make only the healthy alternatives for all the sweets I keep around the house for Jack and Danny."

"Where is Dad, by the way?"

"Jazz called and he got all panicky before he told me he had to run some errands and he just disappeared." she answered, sounding perplexed. Ah, Jazz was calling him to remind him of Mrs. F's birthday next week, typical Jazz. Sam exchanged a knowing look and smile with Danny. "So, what are you two up to, homework?"

"Some." he answered her vaguely. "What are you up to Mom?"

"Well, with your father gone I decided I'd get a little work done in the lab."

"You mean you're going to tinker with whatever his latest invention is so that it doesn't blow up in his face?" Danny asked with a grin.

"Danny, honey, you're father is a brilliant man and don't you ever doubt that; it's just that his enthusiasm gets him ahead of himself and he doesn't always double check his calibrations to make sure they're precise enough to do their functions without overloading."

"That's what he has you for Mom; you keep him safe and sane with all the little details when he's preoccupied by the big picture."

"Aw, what a sweet thing to say Danny." her smile lit up her whole face as she kissed his forehead, which she had to stand on tiptoe while he bent down in order for her to reach, before heading down to the lab.

"That was a really sweet thing to say." Sam admitted with a soft smile. A small voice in the back of her head was frantically trying to draw parallels between what Danny had said about his parent's relationship and how it might be implied for someone else's relationship. She squashed the small voice and with a heart wrenching shriek the last of its life was gone.

"Eh, it's not like I told her that Dad knows that she does it and really appreciates that she does it on the sly so that he can think it was all his doing. That he knows she does it and doesn't say anything is because he knows it makes her happy to do it for him." he rolled his eyes and pretended to gag on their mushiness. "My parents are almost sickeningly perfect for each other."

"Oh you poor baby, subjected to love and contentment on a daily basis; how do you cope?" Sam mocked with an eye roll as she followed Danny up to the Ops Center.

"Yeah, yeah." he muttered good-naturedly. Danny grabbed a wheeled chair and dragged it over to the Ops mainframe computer so Sam could sit next to him while he updated their ghost files. "So, Name: Pyre. Appearance:" he began before turning to Sam, "would 'medieval' be the proper time period for this guy?"

"Judging from his garb and speech patterns, not to mention his choice of vocabulary and unfamiliarity with modern technology and what-have-you, yeah, I'd say so."

"Appearance: Medieval garb consisting of tunic and trousers, body builder's physique, flames for hair." Danny listed out loud as he typed. "Unique Powers: Fire."

"You should add something about his speed and agility. The guy was unnaturally fast, I blinked and he was just there."

Danny frowned but didn't say anything before he added 'Enhanced Speed and Agility'. "Goal:" he turned to Sam again, "What did he say before I got there?"

"He actually sounded very reminiscent of the Box Ghost with all his fire metaphors but he definitely mentioned taking over the "market" so he could control the "trade route", my guess is that he was a merchant of some type before he died." Danny added that to Pyre's file before moving on.

"Threat Level:" Danny just sat there staring at the screen and Sam wondered if he was waiting for her assessment before he gave his own opinion.

"I'd like to say minimal, but I honestly don't know. As soon as he heard your name he was tripping all over himself to apologize and beg me not to let you annihilate him." Danny didn't say anything but did type 'Undetermined' in the provided space.

Danny scooted his chair over so that the keyboard wasn't blocked, "You want to put in the description of 'First Encounter'? I wasn't there so…" he trailed off.

That devious sneak! He wants to know if there's something I didn't mention to him. He knows I have to provide a thorough and accurate account for the records and he's going to sit there and watch to see if I left anything out! Upon reflection though, Sam decided it didn't really matter because even if he wasn't hovering he could always just check the entry later to see what she wrote and this way she was actually here to calm him down should he lose it again. Even so she couldn't help but gloss over the up close encounter she had with Pyre. She also played down his preconceptions of her and Danny's relationship merely stating that he had gotten his information from Kitty and Johnny 13. Finished, she relinquished the keyboard back to Danny. He quietly added that Pyre had surrendered and returned to the Ghost Zone without a fuss just like he said he would. Once Danny had added anything else he thought relevant he shut down the computer, but didn't move to get up.

"Everything okay Danny?" Sam asked, brow furrowed.

"How'd you get the bruise Sam?" he asked her quietly.

"I told you, he grabbed me out of a pile of cell phones before dropping me back into them."

"How long did he have a hold of you?" his voice was still quite, but it had a hard edge to it. He was angry but doing his best to keep it from overwhelming him.

"Long enough to gloat about his superiority before he nearly wet himself at my saying your name." she grinned. Granted Pyre's assumptions were embarrassing, but that didn't mean she didn't enjoy the idea those misconceptions were based on.

"Sam…" Danny hesitated, obviously debating how to word whatever he wanted to say, probably in a way so that Sam wouldn't react badly to it.

"Danny, I'm fine; you should just let it go. I learned my lesson. I won't approach any ghost that I know nothing about, I admit it was stupid. It was really stupid, but you know me; I only have to learn something the hard way once."

Sam was leaning over Danny's shoulder having stood in anticipation of leaving the Ops Center and was taken completely by surprise when Danny swiveled his chair towards her and wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close. Her face got hot as Danny buried his head in her stomach. "Damn it Sam, it only takes once!" Sam was at a loss as to how to react to this. Danny rarely got this upset about anything and he really wasn't letting this go. She was also rather distracted by his hair tickling the sensitive skin of her stomach, his forehead leaning against it, so she almost missed his next words, "Once, and you could be gone."

Sam brought her hands to his head and threaded her fingers through his hair, massaging his scalp. She was doing her best to soothe him, and was pleased she could see the tension in his shoulders relaxing slightly. "Danny, I'm sorry if I scared you. I really have learned my lesson in underestimating one's opponent. But I also think that you're taking this too much to heart. I'm fine, really I am. You can't let this eat at you." Because that was it. That's why he'd gotten so unbelievably angry that morning. He felt guilty about her getting hurt. He blamed himself, because he hadn't been there. She did something stupid so of course he'd find a way to make it his fault. Stupid hero complex.

Sam was finding it really difficult to concentrate on what she was saying. She was suddenly hyperaware of every nerved ending in her abdomen. Her lower back was really warm and she could feel the corded muscles in his forearms pressing into her. She could feel his arms encircling around her sides. She could feel his forehead and the tickling of his hair just above her navel. Her hands were also proving distracting as she could feel his hair tickling the pads of her fingers and her palms. His hair was really soft and a distracted, absent part of her mind wondered about his shampoo. She was probably most distracted by his temperature though; it was such a strong difference from her own warmth. Even though he was in his human form, Danny was much colder than the average person; not deathly cold like he was as a ghost, but definitely a pleasantly cool contrast to her overheated skin.

She forced herself to focus; he really needed to calm down. "You're really letting your hero complex get out of hand, Danny. You couldn't have gotten there any faster. You couldn't have stopped me from doing something stupid. You couldn't have done anything different or created any other outcome. But you didn't have to because everything turned out fine. So I got a bump and a bruise. I'm a big girl. The mortification on the other hand I really would have rather done without." she teased him gently.

Danny's grip tightened momentarily before his grip relaxed and he looked up at her and her breath caught. His eyes were a blazing, bright green and though she couldn't read the maelstrom of emotions tearing behind his eyes, she knew it was a storm that he would weather alone if his determined expression was anything to go by. Too bad she was much too stubborn for that. "Whatever it is, my answer is no."

"Sam!"

"No, Danny. I know you far too well, you're about to do or say something I'll find overbearing and overprotective and I'll get unreasonably angry. Angry, and I'll lash out and start another fight." Sam suddenly felt very tired; the emotional turmoil over the course of the day bearing down on her shoulders and she really didn't think she could withstand anymore. "We just got done fighting." She slid her hands from his hair and cupped his face, "Danny, I don't want to fight anymore. Please, I'm begging you; let it go, just this once."

Danny's expression was torn between his wanting to declare whatever it was he wanted to declare and his desire to give in to her plea. He heaved a sigh and looked away, his concession obvious. Sam smiled tiredly, suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to kiss him. She decided she'd compromise. Leaning down she kissed his cheek and murmured a soft thank you before turning to head downstairs so that they could start on their homework. She heard Danny move to follow her once she'd reached the stairs, so she continued down them more determined than ever that she was going to come out and tell him how she felt sooner rather than later.

DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP o.o DP

Sam and Danny were working on their homework in his bedroom when Danny's phone rang. Danny all too eagerly abandoned his chemistry report to scoop up his singing cell; his face had a warm smile knowing who was calling by the ringtone. "Hey Jazz, what's up?" Sam could obviously only hear one half of the conversation but she had a feeling she knew exactly what Jazz was calling about. "For your information I already know what I'm giving Mom, I'm just getting help from Sam for it." He paused in his gloating, "Wouldn't you like to know; I'm afraid that you're just going to have to be surprised with Mom." He listened for a moment more, "Yeah, Mom doesn't know where he went or why, just that he was slightly panicky." Danny looked over at Sam, "Yeah, she's here, why?" Danny shrugged swiveling his chair to face Sam before launching himself towards the bed, landing forcefully next to her. Sam swallowed a surprised and annoyed shriek as his bounce displaced her own notes and very nearly sent her off his bed. "Hey Sam, Jazz wants to talk to you; probably about what you're helping me with." Danny covered the speaker and whispered, "Don't tell her!"

Sam rolled her eyes before taking the phone, "Hey Jazz."

"So, what is it that you're helping Danny with for my Mom?"

"Sorry Jazz, Danny asked me not to tell you. He likes having something to lord over you I think." she snuck a look at Danny's mock disgruntled look, he really needed to work on his poker face because his smile was quite clearly hiding beneath his mask.

"Yeah, that's Danny. That's okay, just pretend I'm still pestering you to tell me so that he can bask a little longer." she giggled.

"Nope, there is nothing you can bribe me with to make me give up this secret. I'm sorry Jazz; you're just going to have to wait." Sam grinned over at Danny, smiling even wider at the happy look on his face. Jazz laughed a little louder.

"How big is his grin?"

"Your Mom is going to love this gigantic surprise."

"My brother, such a goofball." Jazz laughed harder. "Speaking of my brother, when are you going to step up and ask him out?"

Sam's smile faltered and she panicked a little, "What's that Jazz, you want to talk to Danny? Sure!" She shoved his phone under his nose, "It's for you!" Sam could feel the heat radiating from her cheeks at the sound of roaring laughter from the phone.

Danny cocked a brow before pulling the phone up to his ear, "Mind if I ask what was so funny Jazz?" He rolled his eyes, "No I will not tell you Mom's surprise in exchange," his grin reappeared, "I'll just have to get it out of Sam." He looked a little too intrigued at Jazz's renewed laughter. Danny and Jazz talked for a while longer while Sam worked on her history paper hoping Danny wouldn't remember to ask what Jazz found so hilarious.

He was still on the phone when Mrs. Fenton knocked on his bedroom door, opening it with a smile at her son and his friend. "Hey kids, dinner's almost ready; are you staying Sam?" Danny nodded eagerly at Sam in an attempt to get her to say yes while making 'uh-hmm' noises at Jazz.

"Sure Mrs. Fenton."

"Okay, you kids wash up then, dinner in ten." she left, closing the door behind her. Sam couldn't help but compare Danny's Mom's behavior with that of her own mother's. At Sam's place she wasn't allowed in a room with Danny alone, let alone with the door shut. Her mother had a butler whose sole purpose was to supervise them when he was over. It irked her beyond reason which was why they were almost always at Fenton Works or the Foley's. Danny wrapped up his talk with Jazz before they both went down to dinner.

It would be an understatement to say that dinner at the Fenton's was interesting. Depending on what it was they were having, it could be downright terrifying. If it wasn't a turkey trying to eat them back, it was dancing carrots or green beans swimming in the mashed potatoes. No matter what though, Sam always left with a smile on her face. The Fenton's were amazing, even discounting the fact she was in love with their son. Sam was waving goodbye as she and Danny stepped out on the stoop after Mrs. Fenton had volunteered him to walk Sam home; not that Danny wouldn't have anyway.

They were laughing at Mr. Fenton's antics trying to sword fight a ham wielding asparagus when Danny reached over and ran his fingers through her hair. Sam immediately felt her face on fire but Danny didn't seem to notice as he was currently pulling something out of her hair. "You've got peas in your hair." he laughed. The ham had attempted to use heavy artillery against Mr. Fenton by loading a spoon with peas and corn before launching it like a catapult at all that dared near.

"Well, how many people can say they've been in a food fight where it was the food they were fighting?" she smiled, turning her face forward trying to pretend that she wasn't blushing like mad.

"Only the people who hang out with the weirdo Fentons."

"Hey, I happen to enjoy hanging out with your family, so that makes me at least an honorary weirdo, right?" Danny just shook his head at her.

"So, earlier—"

"You mean when you mentioned going to visit Clockwork?" Sam interrupted with the first thing that popped in her head that wasn't about Jazz or Jazz laughing uproariously.

"Uh, not where I was going, but you bring up an interesting point. You want to come with?"

"Depends when you go. I think it would be best if both Tucker and I went with you, just in case. Like you said, it's been a while since you've been and the ghosts have some weird ideas about what's going on."

"What about next weekend?" he asked as they approached her stoop.

"You mean before or after your Mom's birthday?"

"Oh, right." he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.

"Don't worry, we'll figure something out. When Tucker isn't grounded that is."

"Sounds good. Goodnight Sam." Sam turned to look at Danny and realized that being on the steps made her tall enough that she was eye level with him. She also noticed that the situation was rather reminiscent of the end of a night out with him dropping her off. All she was missing was the goodnight kiss.

She blushed before smiling back, "Goodnight Danny." She didn't look back as she entered the house. Sam made her way upstairs after checking on Salem's food and water dishes. The house staff took care of them and the litter box but she checked anyway since Salem could be a huge pain when he was in the mood, feeling slighted. She grabbed her cat up in her arms before watching a very familiar figure walk back the way they'd come. Before he got too far he looked up at her window. Caught by surprise she waved before ducking back further into her room. She fell asleep with a smile.


AN: You like? Leave me some warm and fuzzy feelings! Chapter 6 will be up as soon as I have a spare moment to read through it to remove any glaring mistakes. I really haven't read any of these chapters since I started working on Shades so hopefully they don't require too much editing as the whole point is to keep posting something even if it isn't what I was originally posting and don't currently have time to work on at the moment. Again, fuzzies make me happy!