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December 7, 2006
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Title: What’s it Feel Like to be a Ghost (SongShot)
Rating: T
Summary: When Danny finally decides to tell Sam how he feels about her, it’s the greatest day of his life. Until something completely unexpected happens, and Danny faces the possibility of losing Sam. Forever.
Author's Notes: What’s it Feel Like to be a Ghost is by Taking Back Sunday from the album Louder Now.

For challengeAUTHORITY, a great sounding board. Thanks for tolerating my tendency to share ideas when I have no one else’s ear; it kept me from dying of plot-bunny-itis. :D

What’s it Feel Like to be a Ghost

And then you said a little more about your dreams, like it was my call (my call)
If you would only listen, bypassed everything and went straight for the neck
(I study) We study (Up nightly)
Dragged you out into the streets
Before you buckled at your knees (buckled at your knees)


It had taken Danny the better part of two years to gather his courage, gird his loins and suck it up enough to tell Sam how he felt. Sure, the length and breadth of his freshman year had been spent oblivious to the fact that she cared, interspersed with his pathetic attempts at catching Paulina’s eye and his hopeless romance with one Valerie Gray. But he’d caught on towards the middle of their sophomore year. And had sat on it for the rest of that year, and then nursed the wonder, the fear, the desperate lovesick hope all through their junior year.

And here it was, just past Thanksgiving and more than halfway through the first semester of senior year and he still hadn’t said anything. Done anything. Even admitted anything beyond his own whispered thoughts at three in the morning as he lay in his bed staring at the ceiling or floated above the city staring at the stars. It was pathetic. He was pathetic.

But not anymore. He was going to tell her and damn the consequences.

But, he figured, it was a good thing he was already half dead. The way his heart was currently thumping around in his chest would most likely kill him if he weren’t. Of course, he thought silently as Sam came into view, waiting with Tucker at their customary meeting point. It still could. He had to bite back the sudden need to rub his fingers across his chest, to try and ease the sudden aching tension that grew there when he saw her.

She was so beautiful. She was always beautiful, and even the scowl on her face from the school day from hell didn’t make her any less beautiful. She hadn’t changed much in all the time he’d known her. Still way ahead of him and Tucker in the maturity department, and the brains. Tucker’s technogeek status not withstanding. She’d grown taller, though not very much more than when she’d been fourteen.

Oh how it drove her insane, the fact that he and Tucker towered over her.

And she’d let her hair grow. Not very long, just until the tips of it brushed her shoulder blades. It had been the cause of some very embarrassing moments for Danny, always being caught playing with her hair, touching it, sliding his fingers through it when no one was paying attention. Usually not even him. He wouldn’t trade any of them for the world.

She sighed as he pulled even with her on the steps outside of school. The crowds were thinning as the other students headed for home, the Nasty Burger, and place but Casper High. By a miracle Danny hadn’t scored himself a detention. Tucker had, but not Danny. And Tucker had scored his detention on purpose, knowing that Danny wanted to talk to Sam. To ask her out.

Subtly ask her out, so that he could confess how very much he loved her, and was in love with her.

“I can’t help you with your history project, or your English paper,” she smirked at him as he gave her a grin.

He pasted on a heart broken puppy dog face. “I wasn’t going to ask you for help with either of them.” He slung an arm around her shoulders as they made their way down the steps, wondering if he was going to have something broken for doing it. But she didn’t say anything, just kind of shot him a surprised look and accepted it. So he added, “I was going to ask you to help me in Spanish.”

He never saw the slender hand that moved to whack him in the back of the head and laughed as he phased himself away from any more of her untender mercies. “Uncle! I cry uncle! I was joking!”

“Then what did you want, Danny?” Sam asked as she held one booted foot cocked back at a painful looking angle.

“I wanted to know if you wanted to go out with me later. Coffee. Tea. Something like that. I wanted to talk to you about something. Something I want to tell you”

There. it was almost a date. The same exact thing he’d done many times before, but instead of hanging at the Nasty Burger, he was asking her to go elsewhere. So that when he talked to her he could tell her that he hadn’t meant it as friends, and he wanted it to be their first date. Tell her he wanted it to be the first of many.

He even had a local in mind, too. A new little pseudo-goth café that had opened up a few months prior. Sam had been raving about how good their cappuccinos were, and something called Echinacea tea. He figured he could stick to the coffee end of things and avoid teas named after plants he’d never heard of. Even if Sam endorsed it, it was still a dangerous thing. She was the one that ate turf sandwiches after all.

She shrugged a little, her face a mask of confusion and hope that made Danny’s faltering courage grow tenfold. “Okay, yeah. We could maybe go to the new place?”

He nodded. “Yeah. That’s what I was thinking. You, me and some crazily named drinks.” And that would tell her in no uncertain terms that he wasn’t asking Tucker to go along. “Can you meet me there at eight? I’m supposed to do the requisite brother sister bonding time with Jazz while she’s visiting.”

Sam smiled and smirked up at him. “Alright. Eight it is.”

---

Friday nights were not meant to be shopping nights. Especially Friday nights between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Though Danny had heard the horror stories that his mom and Jazz had exchanged with relish about their shopping the day after Thanksgiving. It had been enough to make him resolve not to ever shop on that day, and proved that it had earned the title of Black Friday.

“Hey, Jazz. It’s after seven. Can we hurry it up a little?” Danny asked. He’d been watching the clock on Jazz’s dashboard since they’d gotten in the car and began working their way out of the crowded mall parking lot.

She muttered something underneath her breath and then glanced over at Danny. “Hot date?”

“Something like that,” Danny said with a shrug as Jazz crept towards the stoplight and salvation beyond the parking lot. “I sort of asked Sam out.”

If her eyes hadn’t been glued to the road, Jazz would have ogled him. As it was, she was glad she didn’t turn to look at him as the light flicked over to green and Jazz pressed down on the accelerator, following several cars into the turn lane and then out to turn to the left. “So you’re finally going to tell her?”

A noncommittal noise was all Danny cared to make, knowing that Jazz would start talking to him about it. And Jazz’s talking would make the butterflies worse than they already are. Of course, butterflies have a way of dying sudden deaths. Especially when the owner of the stomach that they inhabit happens to look out their window to see a massive semi bearing down on him.

“Uh, Jazz, you need to go faster.” His voice was calm. So terribly calm.

“I can’t, Danny. The people in front of me are slow.”

“Oh. Well. Alright.”

Danny’s hand shot out and clamped on to his sister, and he felt the tingle run down his arm and out of his hand as he turned her intangible, wondering all the while if anyone would notice the car going intangible and the huge truck driving straight through it to hit the cars behind them. But then it was too late, and the front grill was smashing into the side of the car and driving Danny into darkness.

His last thought was of Sam. She’s going to kill me for not showing up.

What's it feel like to be a ghost? (Well, louder now, louder now)
So what's it feel like to be a ghost? (Ahh)
Are you up for, are you up for this? (Well, are you up for, are you up for…)
Are you up for, are you up for this? (Well, are you up for, are you up for…)


Eight ‘o clock came and went. Then nine, and then ten. By the time eleven was swinging around Sam’s heart had broken and she was nearly in tears. She was so sure that he was going to make a move. He’d been antsy all day, and then finally had asked her out. Sure, it was for tea, coffee in his case, but the way he’d said it… And the way he’d Tucker her under his arm. She’d been so sure.

But he wasn’t there, and Sam blinked her eyes furiously as she realized she was starting to cry. No. if she was going to cry she would do it at home in the comfort of her own room. She let her tall skinny glass on the table with a twenty and a ten tucked underneath it. Nearly half as much as what the four drinks she’d had were worth, but maybe it’d give someone a better night than she was having.

It was definitely cold and there might be snow by Christmas. It was only two weeks away, and Sam wrapped her arms around herself to try and block the cold out. It didn’t work very well; the cold was already inside of her.

Her phone rang twice as she walked home. Both times she flipped it open and the closed, effectively cutting off the caller. It would be Danny, both times. Once had been from his house, and once had been from Tucker’s cell. Tucker trying to fix what Danny had messed up. Well, he couldn’t do it this time. She wasn’t going to sit back and let Danny do this to her over and over again.

It wasn’t the first time he’d made plans and not shown up. It wasn’t the hundred and first or even the thousand and first, and if whatever he wanted to talk to her about tonight had been so damned important he could have at least called to let her know he’d be late. There it was again, her cell ringing as she fumbled a key from her pocket as she stood on the stoop of her house.

Sam looked at the number. It was one she didn’t recognize, and she did the same routine with it. Only this time she quickly went into her voicemail controls and turned her voicemail off. Then she turned the phone off before sliding it back into her pocket and the key in the lock. It was warm in her house, and Sam shivered a little as the cold air that had followed her in swirled around her legs beneath the simple black skirt she’d worn in the hopes that it was an actual date.

Coat hung, she detoured to the family room with Jarrod, the butler, was kicked back on the couch watching the large screen television her father had to have for football season. Her parents were out of town and Sam and her grandmother had never stood on ceremony with any of the people her parents employed. They were very nearly family to Sam, having been more involved in her childhood than her own parents, and Sam would never begrudge Jarrod his Friday night obsession with Doctor Who. More often than not she would join him in it.

But not tonight.

“Are you alright?” he asked, leaning forward on the couch.

Sam shook her head and looked away. “Unless it’s my parents, I’m not available for phone calls. Okay?”

She didn’t want for an answer and hoped that Jarrod went back to his time travel glories without too much trouble. Sam tried not to think too much as she stripped her boots and clothes off, washed her face and pulled on a nightshirt. But thinking or not, she couldn’t stop the tears that came when she crawled into her bed.

---

“She turned her cell phone off. And the voicemail,” Tucker said as he flipped his cell phone closed.

“Try her house, Tucker,” Jazz ordered. “She needs to be here.”

“I already did,” he said softly. “She’s not taking any calls.”

---

By the time Monday morning rolled around Sam had wrapped her armor of indifference around her tightly, shoring up the weak links before she’d even stepped foot outside her house. Her cell phone was still off, but that made no difference. She’d been obstinate and bought a new one, and had a new number. And when the Fenton’s showed up over the weekend, asking to see her. She had refused.

And when Jazz and Tucker had shown up in force and refused to leave without speaking to her, she had told Jarrod to warn them that the police would be called. Tucker had known, had left quickly after that. The police had had to escort Jazz from the property, but charges had not been filed. Sam had declined once Jazz had agreed not to overstay her welcome again.

But Monday morning… It was hard. Just getting up had been hard, knowing that she would have to see him. Knowing that he had blown her off so terribly. Like always. She didn’t want to hear whatever excuses he had spent the weekend coming up with. It was just like all the other times he’d stood his friends up, whether it was Sam only, or Sam and Tucker.

She was done with it.

She chose her wardrobe accordingly, the snow that had begun falling the night before was a light dusting on the ground as Sam trudged along the sidewalk, abjuring her usual route to take streets where she wouldn’t run into Danny. Tucker might understand. Probably would. She’d have to ask his forgiveness before the day was over.

Black jeans that went over her favorite boots. A black sweater that clung to her like a second skin, and a hooded jacket in matte black over that. She’d done her best to cover the circles under her eyes, used as many eye drops as she could, ands till her eyes were red. But that didn’t matter. She had absolutely no intentions of looking at him even while she told him to go to hell.

He was irresponsible, lazy. Immature. She didn’t need him. As a friend, or anything else.

This is quick but not quite painless it sits perched on your arm
Tacky and irrelevant (So what?)
A permanent reminder that, oh Christ
(I study) We study (Up nightly)
Dragged you out into the streets
Before you buckled at your knees (buckled at your knees)


She didn’t stop at her locked before first period. That in itself was unusual, but Sam decided that she’d rather get in trouble for being short a book than having to face him already. First period was boring, but Sam had never been into history the way some people were. Even at its bleakest, it was still something she couldn’t take in more than small doses. It was just too depressing to think that humanity was capable of all those terrible things.

He wasn’t anywhere around between first and second, or second and third. In fact, she didn’t actually run into Danny until after sixth period, when she was dumping her backpack and looking for a disk she needed desperately for her computer lab. It had hours worth of data saved on it, and she was so fixated on finding it that she forgot all about Danny and her plan to avoid him as long as possible.

“Sam.”

She closed her eyes against the sudden overwhelming joy at her name on his lips, and bit her lip against the quickly following lance of pain. As calmly as Sam could she began picking her things up out of her locker and shoving them in her backpack, and her eyes staring in disbelief as she saw the disk she’d been searching for poking out from between the pages of her biology textbook. It went in to the bag too, and she heard it again.

“Sam, please.”

“I have nothing to say to you, Danny Fenton.” She swallowed and continued adding her notebook, a new pen. “I know exactly where I stand with you. And now I know where you stand with me.” Her breath hitched as she finally said. “Go away and leave me alone.”

“Sam, please. I’m sorry, I couldn’t help it. I want to be there so badly.” His voice sounded hoarse, like his throat was raw. Like maybe he’d been crying. Not that he would.

She was nearly crying when she finally zipper her bag up and closed her locker door. The hallway was quiet enough that she could hear the soft snick as the lock caught, and Sam smiled sarcastically as she shouldered her book bag, still refusing to look at Danny. Fine, she thought. Let them see the break up of the lovebirds. Vultures.

“Danny, leave me alone.” It was almost a whisper, and Sam had no illusions that it wasn’t heard in the echoing silence.

“Sam.” He sounded so broken, and she did break when he laid a hand on her shoulder, a touch that burned like fire, even through her layers of clothing.

The tears came, and her voice broke as she did whisper, “I hate you.”

In that instant, she meant it. She truly meant it, no matter that the moment after she said it she regretted. No matter that she said it in anger and hurt and it the emotion would never last more than a split second. She did mean it, for that split second she hated the boy she loved best in all the world. Sam turned on her heel, fleeing down the hallway through the hoards of silent classmates, and then out the front doors.

And when Danny didn’t follow, she knew he believed it. And for some reason, that hurt more than all the rest combined.

What's it feel like to be a ghost? (Well, louder now, louder now)
So what's it feel like to be a ghost? (Ahh)
Are you up for, are you up for this? (Well, are you up for, are you up for…)
Are you up for, are you up for this? (Well, are you up for, are you up for…)


She hadn’t even looked at him. Not for a moment, not even for a second. Not a glance, not a… Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Danny sighed and winced, his hand straying to his side but careful not to touch it too hard. No ribs were broken, but there had been plenty of bruising and one had been cracked.

I hate you.

And there it was again, another sigh that bordered on something more, and Danny closed his eyes as he leaned against the row of lockers. He hurt. He hurt everywhere, but not even the physical pain compared to the way his heart felt at those three simple words. There was the sound of metal squeaking in front of him, and when Danny opened his eyes he saw Tucker, who looked almost as upset about it as Danny.

“She doesn’t know. I’ll talk to her.”

Danny shook his head. “You don’t have to, Tuck. You already tried. It didn’t work. I screwed up.”

Tucker snorted. “Yeah, you did. Next time don’t just turn Jazz intangible. Add yourself to that list.”

Danny grimaced a smile as he accepted the backpack Tucker had been carrying for him. His hero complex, again, and Danny began to limp slowly along the hall to his last period. He was lucky that he shared it with Tucker, because by the time he got there he was barely walking on his own. He’d been stupid to not phase himself during the accident. He’d been stupid to insist he could go to school. The doctor’s hadn’t even wanted him to be released from the hospital when he’d gotten Jazz to talk his parents into signing him out AMA.

She’d protested, she knew that Danny was hurting pretty bad. But she’d gone along with it because she could understand Danny’s desperation to get out. Thusly, he was signed out against medical advice, and then he’d convinced his parents that he was well enough to go back to school two days after the crash. Yeah. He wasn’t coming back tomorrow. And maybe not even the day after that. He hurt.

Tucker helped Danny to his desk and he eased himself down gingerly. His left wrist was broken. He’d slammed it against the emergency break because he refused to let Jazz go. A mercy that it was his left since he was right handed. If his handwriting was already illegible with his good hand, he didn’t want to imagine what it’d be like with the other. The ribs were almost the worst of it, though they said he’d had his internal organs knocked around a bit. Nothing he wasn’t used to, but Jazz had explained to him that bruising like that could be very dangerous, perhaps fatal if he wasn’t careful to let it heal well.

She and Tucker had volunteered to take ghost duty for a few days. They hoped that the worst of the injuries would be on their way to healed by the time Tucker and Jazz ran into something they couldn’t deal with. But they had no way of knowing how his ghost powers would help heal a broken bone. As far as Danny could remember, he’d never broken anything before.

His right knee was badly wrenched, hence why Tucker was helping him out. He’d declined crutches, they would have been a pain considering the shiny white cast on his left wrist. And stitches. Lots of stitches, some hidden in his hair, on the right side of his head. A reminder that head’s do not win fights with plates of glass. And across his right cheek, winding down from just above his ear to nearly the corner of his mouth. It hurt like hell to talk, but that was what the meds were for.

Now if the bell would just ring so he could go home and take them.

Oh. There was no chance of school for several more days.

“Mr. Fenton?” Danny turned bleary eyes up to see Mr. Lancer standing in front of him, and then closed them again. He wondered for a moment if he’d managed to get a detention even doing nothing, and then surmised that it was because he was doing nothing. But Mr. Lancer only picked up Danny’s book bag and gathered his things, putting them inside before telling Danny to follow him.

Danny did, at a painfully slow gait that had him leaning against lockers every five or so feet, as he tried to catch his breath and tune out the pain.

“Your parents are here.”

“What? What did I do?” Danny exclaimed, the surprise and worry overruling the ache throughout his body for a moment.

Lancer gave him a wry smile. “You came to school, Danny. You shouldn’t be here; you’re still far from well.” Without anything else Mr. Lancer wrapped an arm around Danny’s waist and helped him limp the rest of the way to the main office, where he was transferred to his father’s surprisingly gentle grip.

“Next Monday. I’ll have one of the students bring his class work to him every day, and if he needs it I can arrange for a tutor. I’ll do it myself if necessary.”

Danny watched his mother nod and smile, and her words blurred for a moment. The next thing he knew he was sitting on a chair in the office with his parents looking down at him worriedly, and Danny blinked up at them. “What happened?” he asked.

“Oh, Sweetie. I think you fainted.” Maddie held out a hand and Danny saw his prescription of Percocet in it. “You didn’t take any, did you?”

“Not at school. It’s a drug, and it makes me sleepy.”

“No more school this week, Mister. And you’re going to wear your sling, and stay in bed. And,” she added with mock severity, since she knew Danny had been trying to do the right thing by not taking the pills to school, “You’ll take your medicine like you’re supposed to.

Danny nodded. “Alright, Mom. Can we go home now? I don’t feel too good.”

---

“If it weren’t for the fact that you look like hell, I’d call you lucky.” Tucker laughed at the drugged look in his best friend’s eyes. The usually bright blue was a little blurry, and definitely somewhere in outer space.

But they did a really good imitation of a scowl as Danny looked up from the Lit text he was trying (key word being trying) to read and make sense of. “Right. Next time, you have the accident, so that the girl you love can decide she hates you because she thinks you stood her up again.”

Blue eyes flickered back down. Green eyes widened and Tucker’s jaw dropped.

“That’s it? All it took to get you to admit it was narcotics? Well hell.” He grimaced and tugged his beret off, tossing it to the foot of the bed as Danny followed a line of print with his finger. Three times in a row. The same line. And Tucker sighed and took the book away.

“Dude, so not working out. Maybe you should try again after the drugs wear off a little, huh?”

Danny shrugged and leaned back against his pillows. “Lancer’s gonna be here at eight. Tutoring or somethin’ like that.”

Tucker bit back the chuckle. “You’re funny when you slur your words.”

Danny didn’t respond and Tucker watched him for a moment before realizing that the boy had fallen asleep. More like slipped into something drug induced, but same difference at that point. It was Wednesday, and the accident had been five days ago. Six nights if you wanted to be technical. The first of Danny’s three follow up appointments had happened that morning, and other than the internal bruising being much better, and the crack along the one rib knitting up at a respectable rate, nothing had changed. Danny was still hurting, and from more than just the accident.

Jazz was too, she’d lost her car, and she had confessed to Tucker that she felt like she was responsible for what happened between Sam and Danny. in fact, she had made it a point to make arrangements to come home every weekend until Danny was better. He’d need first aid a lot more while he was already injured, than before. And he’d never been particularly graceful during fights, so… She’d only just gone back to school in Chicago.

Which left Tucker alone on the ghost fighting front, but they weren’t telling Danny. they were hoping that Valerie and, by some miracle, the Fenton’s could pick up the slack until Danny was well enough to take up the fight again himself. But Jazz couldn’t miss anymore or she’d fall behind further than she could afford to. Tucker had told her to go. And he’d told her he had it covered.

And he did. Or would, if he could just convince Sam to help out.

Tucker only tugged the blanket that had fallen to Danny’s waist while he tried to study up around his shoulders and took the books and papers, laying them neatly on the nightstand. He tossed a quick goodbye down the stairs to the lab so that they’d know to go check on Danny every now and then, and resolutely Tucker began trudging to Sam’s house.

They hadn’t really talked much since school on Monday. Tucker had spent so much time trying to help Danny around, and then when the confrontation happened… No. he hadn’t really talked to her, and he’d been sort of avoiding her ever since. Like he was afraid of what he might say to her. He was angry, he really was and wanted to be. But at the same time he could understand, even almost sympathize with Sam’s reaction to Danny’s standing her up.

Except she didn’t know. He knew that she didn’t know, because she had been in class, out of class, and rushing around avoiding him right back. She wouldn’t have heard the whispers in the halls that started with Sam and Danny breaking up, though Tucker was beginning to think he was the only one besides the two in question who actually believed that they were dating. He knew better. But he knew that she tuned them out at that point and didn’t hear the part where Danny was pitied. Sure, he’d stood her up. But the school buzzed with the fact that it had been a car accident that had kept him from going.

Tucker knew she was ignoring the reactions she got from people right now. But it wouldn’t be too long before she couldn’t. Where their classmates had been completely indifferent to her before, aside from the razzing she got because of Danny, they were much more hostile now. It wasn’t fair. To her. To him. To any of the three.

He knocked. And waited. And when the butler opened the door he was surprised to be ushered in and sent up to Sam’s room without a comment other than, “She was expecting you.”

He stood there in the open doorway watching her for a minute before she broke the silence. “I saw you coming.”

“Oh. I was at Danny’s.” Silence, her back still to him. “He’s… Um, we need help with the ghost fighting. Danny needs help.”

Sam tensed, her shoulders squared and she turned to Tucker. He was surprised to see how upset she looked. Her eyes were still bloodshot, and puffy. Like she’d been crying right before he came up. Her cheeks were paler than normal, even if her skin was usually as pale as ivory. And she looked like she hadn’t slept in days. He spared a thought for a silent commendation to her skills with makeup—he would never have known she was taking it so hard if he hadn’t seen her outside of school—and then her voice cut the air between them.

“I don’t care, Tuck. I’m done with it. I’m done with him.”

Silence again, and then her voice came, much less steady than before. “Please don’t talk about him to me. Don’t even say his name.”

Because it hurt too much. He wasn’t blind, he could see it. Too bad she refused to.

I said so, look closely, there might be something you'd like
What was it like? (Oh and I...)
Looked so close, it's been months who knows if I
Will get this right? (Oh and I..)
Look so closely, there might be something you'd like
What was it like?


Three weeks had been enough time for Danny’s knee to heal well enough that, provided he didn’t try and perform any gymnastic feats on it, it held him up well enough. The cast was ever present, though he’d forgone the sling a week before. It kept getting in his way, and as long as he didn’t do anything foolish, his wrist didn’t hurt him too badly. The ribs were sound, the bruising all healed, and the stitches had been removed after ten days. In Tucker’s more amused moments he referred to Danny as ‘Captain Danny’ and asked him to get Captain Jack’s autograph.

The scar wasn’t bad, but it was a scar, and noticeable, too since it was still a vivid pink against his fair skin. He’d been assured that after six months or so, it would be nearly invisible, so finely had it been stitched. But it did annoy him, and he was grateful that he didn’t have to shave every day like some of the men he knew. Once every three or four days was good enough; his facial hair was thick or fast growing by any standard.

He’d seen her a handful of times since the day he’d tried to explain it to her. She hadn’t seen him, she was always in a hurry wherever she went in the school, and kept her head down. Like she was afraid she might see him. Might have to acknowledge that he existed, and she’d really just rather pretend he didn’t. They only shared one class, and she was always the last one on, first one out. She never turned around and, the one day he thought he might get the chance to talk to her, she had walked out of the classroom without looking back just so she wouldn’t have to work with him.

That had been the week before, and it had earned her the new name of Ice Princess though the less charitable called her the Ice Bitch. If she noticed, Danny couldn’t tell.

It was lunch time, and Danny was sitting inside, avoiding the table in the courtyard where he usually sat with Sam and Tucker. He’d done that since his first day back after the aborted attempt that had his dad carrying him to the RV because he was just too weak to make it on his own. Tucker was with him, and they were eating silently. Or rather, they were both pretending to eat while really just pushing the food around on their plates.

And Sam was sitting beneath a tree, outside, alone. She looked so sad.

“Tuck, go sit with Sam, okay?” Danny asked quietly as he shoved his tray back and massaged his elbow above the cast.

“Are you sure?” Tucker asked, looking at Danny surprised.

Danny nodded. “She needs you more than I do right now. I can get around on my own again, remember?”

Tucker nodded and took his tray, dumping it in the garbage on his way out the door. Danny watched as Tucker dropped to the grass next to Sam, saw the way she hugged Tucker tightly, said something he couldn’t hope to hear. His good hand, his right hand, pressed against the glass of the window for a second as he wished that it was him out there with her, that it was him she was hugging.

But it wasn’t meant to be, and Danny stood up, collected his backpack and tray, shouldering the one, dumping the other out before heading out of the cafeteria and to his next class. No one would mind that he was twenty minutes early.

He missed the way she stared at the window he’d been sitting next to moments after he left.

---

“That hurts, damn it!” Danny tried not to writhe beneath his sister’s not so tender ministrations as she poked at his newest and apparently recurring battle wound.

“Daniel Andrew Fenton, if you move again so help me I’ll cut the thing off.”

He stopped moving immediately but couldn’t help but taste blood as he bit into his lip to try and stop from crying out, or just crying. There was another dazzling burst of pain and Danny’s vision blurred. “Tuck, hold him down for a minute, then we’re done.” The words sounded like they were coming from so far away, and try as he might Danny couldn’t be prepared for the final tug that made him scream.

By the time it died his breathing was ragged and his chest was heaving. He cradled his wrist to his chest, careful of the cast, and used his good hand to wipe at the tears that streaked his face. Tucker’s arm was around his shoulder as Jazz dug in her bag and found a bottle with Danny’s name on it. The Percocet that he still took on occasion when he was exceptionally stupid while fighting. Five weeks since the accident, and still he had problems.

“If you’d quit phasing the cast off while you’re fighting, I wouldn’t have to reset the bones all the time. Do you want to lose the use of your left hand?” Jazz asked as she handed him two of the little pills, and a bottle of water to drink down with them.

“I’m sorry, I can’t seem to help it. I’m not used to having to work with something permanently attached to me.”

“You have to try and remember, Danny,” Tucker added as he helped lift Danny to his feet, steadying his friend as he wobbled a little, the last dregs of dizziness clearing. “If it doesn’t start to heal soon the doctors are going to have a field day trying to find out why.”

“Yeah,” Danny muttered. “I’ll try harder.”

Jazz sighed. “You’re lucky I’ve been home the last few weeks. But I have to go back to Chicago in a few days. You have to be careful, okay?”

Danny shrugged and followed Tucker and Jazz through the snowy wonderland that was the park in the center of town. Christmas had been nearly two weeks before. The cheer of the season had escaped Danny. it wasn’t the same without Sam, and she still refused to hear his name unless she could possibly help it. Hell. She’d even taken the gift Danny had sent with Tucker one day and tossed it out the window. He supposed he should be grateful that it hadn’t been fragile.

A sweater. Fine knit and soft enough that Danny could almost imagine laying his against it while it was wrapped around Sam. Black, with the craziest thing knit into the center of the chest. It had taken him forever to track down someone who would do custom work, and when he’d requested a Danny Phantom symbol knit into it he’d felt like an idiot.

She hadn’t seen it. She didn’t care.

And he wasn’t going to try and force her to listen to anyone, to let him explain. She’d said to leave her alone; he would. He was. He had been. And it was killing him.

“We’re not trying to be hard on you, Danny. You know that, right?” Jazz asked as she dropped back to walk next to Danny.

Tucker followed suit, and chimed in with, “We just worry. And you haven’t been yourself since…”

Since Sam had told him she hated him.

“I know,” he said softly as the park fell behind them and the steps to Fenton Works showed, white and slick in the icy snow. “I know.”

He did know. But he didn’t think he could ever be the same again. Not when she hated him.

Well, oh and I...

Seven weeks and two days since she had looked at him. Seen him more than shadowed glimpses through windows, corner of the eye things as he flitted from one classroom to another and she refused to turn around to see him. Seven weeks and four days from the night he’d left her waiting at the café by herself.

And two weeks and one day since she had heard the rumor that he’d been in an accident. Nothing more than that, people grew silent when she was present now. But she’d heard that. And she would believe it, except that she hadn’t seen anything wrong with him. He moved fine, hurrying around. And maybe she’d been a little too stubborn when she decided that seeing him would be too much.

Except she knew that it was. It hurt far too much for her to be able to see him every day and know that she would always be second best in his heart. Or lower. Usually much, much lower.

School had let out early for a Teacher’s planning day that they turned into a half-day. It was after six and she was wandering the park trying to find something she could do that wouldn’t involve going home. Home was unbearable right now. Between her mother’s ecstatic showing off of the newest addition to the family, a rat with fur that passed itself off as a purebred dog, or her father crowing about his sighed Arnold Palmer driver that he’d picked up in West Palm Beach.

Even her grandmother was intolerable. The old woman had known that something bad happened, and that it involved Danny. And lately, as Sam got more miserable, her grandma had begun truly pressing for answers. And Sam couldn’t take it. She just couldn’t take it. She already felt like she was stretched tight enough to snap, and she was trying to avoid anything that might break her nerves in half.

And she was almost chasing the one thing that she knew would break her heart again. Danny had flown past her not more than ten minutes before, with Skulker in hot pursuit. He hadn’t seen her, but she wasn’t surprised. Despite being the only thing that wasn’t covered in snow in the entire park, he’d been too preoccupied to notice her as she saw him thirty feet up in the air.

Not that she was trying to find him.

Her brain was almost completely numb when she heard the cursing from behind a clump of trees at the foot of one of the hills that was so popular for sledding. The snow crunched beneath her boots as she walked closer, her ears nearly burning at the creativity she was hearing. Things that just weren’t right, and one that she hoped was anatomically impossible. Because if it wasn’t, it was just… Eww.

And the closer she got the more familiar that low stream of anger became, until Sam was sure it was Danny as she stood behind a tree, almost afraid to look around it and see if she was right. His throat sounded raw, like he’d been doing a lot of yelling, or was just trying to catch a cold. Or maybe, she realized, it was because he’d been breathing the harshly frozen air during a prolonged battle with a ghost. It made more sense that way, because he certainly didn’t sound like he was actually getting sick.

She leaned around the tree hesitantly, gloved hands tight on the bark of the tree as she tried to see what had him so frustrated. And when she could see she almost didn’t realize what she was seeing as she watched him working along methodically. His wrist, his left wrist, in a slightly battered cast. Extremely battered if you paid attention to the dozen or so spikes sticking out of it, and he was trying his best to yank them out with little success.

There were three on the ground beside him, long slim dark shapes in the snow, and she could see that Danny’s jeans were soaked through, and that he was shivering beneath his jacket. A scarf was forgotten around his neck, and he had a dark blue knit cap shoved back on his head as he tugged, twisted and viciously verbally assaulted another spike that he just couldn’t get to move.

And then Sam lost her balance.

“Come on, you ruddy bitch, you,” he muttered as her leg snapped out to catch her from falling. Her boot hit the ground, her body steadied, but a twig snapped underfoot, and his dark head swiveled to pin her with a startled blue gaze. “Sam,” he said hesitantly, and her eyes were round violet puddles against her pale skin.

The cast, the scar that she could see easily against his cold pale skin. The way he looked like he wasn’t sleeping, or even eating. The way that, as he sat, she could tell he was favoring his right knee by the way it was extended instead of curled up like his left leg. It was true. It was all true. He’d been in an accident, he’d been hurt. But when? It had to have been weeks and weeks ago, the wound on his face was too healed for it to be as recent as the cast suggested.

She took one step forward, two, and another before dropping to her knees and letting the cold seep through her jeans. “You’re hurt.”

He gave her a crooked smile. “Yeah. But you should see Skulker.”

She almost laughed, but couldn’t find the humor past the tears in her throat. “You should just phase them out of the cast,” she offered, afraid to reach out and touch him and more than half desperate to do just that.

“I can’t,” he explained. “If I screw up I’ll phase the cast off. Again.”

“Again?” Sam glanced down at the cast and the spikes, then back up at the scar on his cheek. She tugged off her gloves and reached out, wondering if it was bad that Danny closed his eyes before she touched him, running a slender finger down the length of the winding cut from his ear across his cheek and almost, but not quite, to his mouth. “What happened? When?”

His eyes opened and Danny raised his right hand, cast free and warm to touch her hand, then to cradle it to his cheek. “We had a car accident. Me and Jazz. Semi plowed right into my door.” He squeezed her hand as she inhaled sharply and her eyes darkened in worry. “It happened the night I was supposed to meet you.”

“Oh,” she whispered, tears slipping through her dark lashes to slide down her cheek, leaving icy trails that quickly chilled in the frigid air.

“I’m sorry, Sam. I’m so sorry.”

“They tried to tell me,” she said. Almost a question, but not quite. “Oh, I was so terrible to you, Danny.”

Danny let go of her hand abruptly, letting it fall from his face and looking away. “I don’t blame you, Sam. I understand why you did it. You were right.”

“No, I wasn’t,” she breathed as she sank down into the snow, curling her legs in front of her as she gently took the wrist with the cast and laid it on her lap. She reached into her pocked and pulled out one of the more useful things she’d gotten for Christmas, a multi-tool that had pliers on it. Without a word she began picking the spikes out, grabbing their slender lengths and twisting and pulling at the same time, holding them much more tightly than Danny had been able to with only his hand.

He watched her work and didn’t dare wonder what she was thinking, or if she was even thinking at all. And when she was finished her raised an eyebrow at the multitude of holes in the cast as Sam smirked a bit. “You might need a new cast, you know.”

Danny shrugged. “I get a new one on Friday. Two more days and I’ll be hole free.”

“A new one?”

“It just finally started to heal,” he said sheepishly.

“Ah. Phasing it off again.”

“Yeah. Something like that.” He pulled away from her gently and climbed to his feet, trying to ignore the way the cold ached into his right knee. Battle wounds were one thing, but it hadn’t been a fight with that semi. Nope, that had been entirely too one sided, even if Danny was going to be feeling it for a long time to come. Like every time the weather got wet, or cold, or he tried to do stupid things like trampoline jumping.

Not that he’d tried that with his wrist in a cast. Really, because he would never…

“Thank you, Sam,” he said softly. And then, “I’ll see you at school maybe.”

He made it three steps before her hand was wrapped around his right wrist and pulling back so that she could wrap her arms around him in a tight hug. “Please don’t walk away, Danny. I’m sorry I said those things. I don’t hate you, I miss you.”

He buried his face in her hair and wrapped his arms around her, careful as he could be with the cast. “I missed you, too, Sam. I didn’t mean to leave you hanging. I don’t want to fight with you anymore. Or ever again.”

“No more fighting,” she agreed in a whisper as he held on to her. She breathed deeply, memorizing the cold snowy smell that came from him, and she wondered if it was because of the weather, or his ghost half. He was still shivering a little, and she pulled back to undo the zipper on his jacket and worm her way inside, listening to the rumble of a laugh in his chest as he wrapped the jacket around her and held her tightly.

He didn’t stop altogether, but it was a vast improvement, and Sam pressed a kiss to the skin of his throat as she listened to his heartbeat, felt it beneath his skin. “Danny, what did you want to tell me that night?”

She felt him tense a little and held him tighter, and then shivered as his lips found her ear and brushed against them, sending tingles through her body. “That I love you.” It sounded helpless, hopeless, and Sam buried her face against his chest and held on tightly as she tried to figure out whether she was going to cry or not.

Then she pulled back and met his eyes. His wonderful, beautiful blue eyes that looked so scared of her at the moment. She smiled at him. “I’d hoped that that’s what you were going to tell me.”

It was the only warning he had before she flung herself back into his arms, hers wrapped around his neck as she kissed him, hard and hot and furious. And when she tried to pull away thinking that it was too sudden, his arms held her tighter, and she could feel the clench of his right hand against her jacket, the press of the cast above it. And then he kissed her. Slower, just as hot, but so much more fervent and driven.

She shivered beneath his mouth as he let her go, pressing a gentle kiss to the corner of her mouth, then the tip of her nose before settling his forehead against hers and sighing.

“I’ve been dying without you, Sam. Please don’t ever leave me again.”

“I won’t, Danny,” she whispered as she drew him back down for another kiss.

Later, much later, they found their way out of the park, a pocketful of cold metal spikes for Danny, and a warm arm around Sam’s shoulders, pulling her tight against him. If anyone was surprised when Danny walked into his house with her, no one said anything. His parents went back about whatever invention they’d been working on, and Tucker didn’t do anything more than shoot a surprised look at Danny and Sam as they slipped down on to the couch, never letting more than an inch come between them.

They stayed that way for a very long time.

What's it feel like to be a ghost? (Louder now, louder now)
So what's it feel like to be a ghost? (Ahh)
Are you up for, are you up for this? (Well, are you up for, are you up for…)
Are you up for, are you up for this? (Well, are you up for, are you up for…)
songshot for challengeAUTHORITY; crossposted at ff.net at the lj group dannyphantom.

(danny phantom and crew are not owned by me. if they were, i'd put them through a lot more than butch ever does and they'd all have hit puberty years ago.)
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:icondisneyfreak16:
Awsome :clap: i absolutly love songfics (thus explaining why ive written several of them, mostly danny and sam ones)and i :love: this one :w00t:
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:iconplotqueen:
very glad you did!
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:icondannyphantomfn2:
whoa...no way i love that song! I saw Taking Back Sunday perform it live at Projekt Revolution!! They rocked!
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:iconplotqueen:
>.< oooh i hate you with unadulterated jealousy. i had to work the day of projekt revolution. i cried because i missed them at it. i cried because i missed them at next big thing 6 last december. i cried when i realized that i couldn't drive to jacksonville to see them too. dammit. the jealousy!!!

mostly kidding. don't hate you. but yeah, jealous. i do so love that song too, but it's not the only tbs song that will be made into a songfic. so far i have plots for i'll let you live, liar, and a passel of tbs going into a rocker danny fic i've had on the burner for a year. :D glad you liked it.
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:iconcordria:
cordria Apr 5, 2007  Hobbyist Writer
So... I read it. Took awhile. (darned job *grumble* keeps getting in the way *grumble*)

I liked it! :) I'm not much for songfics - so I apologize for skimming over the lyrics - but overall a very nice effect. Kinda... I don't know. Sappy/scary? Does that even make sense? O.o Cute though.

Now I gotta run. Life is encroaching...

-Cori
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:iconplotqueen:
eh. i usually skim lyrics myself. but i'll say in my defense that, besides being excellent segment dividers, the song/lyrics are usually very guiding. i get a lot of inspiration from some songs. taking back sunday more than most.

it also never hurts to listen to said songs while you read it because i've noticed the tempo of my songshots tends to flow with the way the songs go.

at any rate, i recommend any song that i write a songshot to.

glad you liked! and huh. you must've missed it when i posted it to ff.net like ages ago. well, there'll be another one tomorrow i think. or monday at the latest. tbs's makedamnsure.

and if you do read that one, really, really read the lyics over before you read the fic. i betcha might get an extra oomph from them :P

*glomps* more pits woman!
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:iconchallengeauthority:
yay! :w00t!: love it!! so excited to finally see one of these after leaving me with merely ideas for so long. :hug: wonderful, wonderful stuff. wanting more now. :XD: (not to be demanding or anything... ^^;)
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