Disclaimer: It's all Butch Hartman's fault. Then again, if he hadn't created Danny Phantom, I'd probably just be wasting my time writing lame fluff fic about someone else's characters.

Rating: T (may really be more K+ -ish, but there might be some language that's more in the T realm in later chapters, so just to be safe...)

Warnings: Spoilers for pretty much the whole series. DxS.

Yeah, I know, I'm supposed to be working on the Infinite Potential sequel. But that's not flowing, and my schedule hasn't allowed any concentrated writing periods where it's worth forcing myself to work on it, so I figured I should probably do something else to just keep writing. This is a series of vignettes alternating between Danny's and Sam's perspectives on some of the more shippy moments of canon, with a few from my own personal fanon for good measure (pre-canon—reading Lunch Club might be helpful, but not necessary—and maybe post-canon if I feel like it down the road). Since it's a series of one-shots (or two-shots, really), I won't stick to my usual routine of waiting until I write the whole thing to post, but will just write and post whenever the muse hits.

But to be clear: this is nothing but pure fluff—and in some cases, retreads of stuff I've covered in my stories with actual plots—with no redeeming value, except maybe as comfort food for us DxS shippers. Well, DxS fluff is my comfort food, anyway. So if you're looking for something with substance, move along. Nothing to see here.

Acknowledgments: As always, my undying gratitude to the fabulous DragonDancer5150, who has WAY better things to be doing with her time than beta-testing for me, but she's always willing to do it anyway. Thanks, Dragon. You're the best!

Defining Moment

Every life has defining moments. Some you know the instant they happen: an event so cataclysmic that it is crystallized in time, forever dividing life into Before and After. The Accident was like that for me—my own personal 9/11, so significantly ending the life I knew before and beginning something completely new that it needs no other qualifiers. Not an accident. Not "that one accident I had back in ninth grade." But the Accident.

Most defining moments, however, aren't like that. They slip in, unnoticed, like a ghost in the fog, and it's only in hindsight, months or even years later, that you realize how life-changing that moment was.

Years before the Accident, my life changed forever, not in a hollowed-out tube of circuitry and ectoplasmic energy in my parents' basement, but in an ordinary middle school classroom, on an ordinary day, when my best friend and I were serving lunch detention for the most ordinary of reasons: ditching school. The girl who was stuck there with us, however, was anything but ordinary. In fact, I'd have to say she was pretty extraordinary.

Don't take that wrong, though. I'm not talking about an "our eyes met across a crowded room and I knew I'd found my soulmate" kind of gag-worthy extraordinary. Or even a drop-dead gorgeous kind of extraordinary. It wasn't like that with me and Sam, not in the beginning. If anything, I was afraid that if I got on her bad side, I would drop dead. Black hair shaved on one side, black eyeliner, black clothes, black lipstick, black army boots. You get the picture. Not exactly the kind of girl that would get my heart beating faster, except maybe out of fear. So not my type.

I'd seen her around, of course. Amity Park isn't exactly New York City, and most of the kids I went to school with were the same kids I'd been in school with since pre-K. And there was that whole incident with Tucker throwing up in her lunch box in second grade. But like I did with every other different and creepy thing in my life—and thanks to my parents, there were a lot of different and creepy things in my life—I tended to keep my head low and stay out of the way whenever I saw her. If I noticed her at all.

So I'm not really sure why I chose to talk to her when we were serving detention together. Probably because there were only three of us in the room, and it seemed rude to talk to Tucker and ignore her. Or maybe my curiosity overcame my instinct for self-preservation for one brief flash in time. But whatever the reason, talk to her I did, and my life has never been the same since.

Now, it would be easy to say it's because the Accident would never have happened if it hadn't been for her. She was, after all, the one who talked me into going into the Ghost Portal my parents had invented but hadn't yet managed to get working. Or I could just as easily say it's because she's the only other person besides Tucker I ever called my best friend. Then there's the fact that by the time we were sixteen, I had fallen pretty hard for her.

So much for not my type, huh?

But to stop there, with any one or even all of those reasons, would be to minimize exactly what she's meant to my life, and the impact just knowing her has had on me.

Most people can imagine what their lives might have been like if they'd never met someone who made a difference for them in some way, but thanks to all the weirdness that comes with being the kid with the ghost powers, I'm one of the few who got to actually experience it, George Baily style. Only, instead of It's a Wonderful Life, my little trip into a Sam-less alternate reality was more It's a Wonderful Friendship, and when I look back on that week that exists only in the memories of Sam, Tucker, and me, it isn't the fact that I didn't have ghost powers that stands out at me, or makes me cringe at what my life would have been had it not been for her. It wasn't even the way I'd drooled like an idiot when she'd dressed like a Barbie doll just to get my attention, since she was the only one who remembered our real history and the hero I was supposed to be. Rather, it was the way I did what I always did before I met her that makes me burn with shame. When there was a threat, be it the normal abuse-from-the-jocks variety or an honest-to-God ghost attacking kids in the school hallway, my response was the same. Keep your head low. Stay out of trouble and below the bad guys' radar. So long as they're not picking on you, what do you care?

But she changed all that. And she did it twice. She did it when we met for real, when I watched her stick up for a kid getting picked on outside the classroom where we had detention. When she got in trouble for the food fight that resulted, I did something I'd never done before. I stood up for her. To a teacher bent on blaming her just because she was the weird girl, and to a jock looking for anyone weaker than he was to put in his crosshairs. And she did it again when we "met" in that didn't-really-happen week, and she showed me that not only could I be a superhero, but that she already was one, even without any special powers.

Every life has defining moments, but the truth is, it's not the moment that matters. It's how you choose to respond to it. So I wonder... what would have happened if I'd never met her, but still had the Accident anyway? Would I have chosen to do more with my powers than stay out of the bad guys' radar? That is the one question our alternate-history week never answered, because then, as in reality, I got the powers only after meeting her. But I think I know the answer. And that, more than anything, is what makes me so grateful for that ordinary day, in an ordinary middle school classroom, when an extraordinary girl walked into my life... and stayed.