Sam took a deep breath from her front stoop and watched her breath mist in front of her. She frowned, glancing over to where she could still hear the echoes of fighting far off in the distance. Even through the hum of the ghost shield around her house, the battle sounded fierce. Sam understood that sometimes she and Tucker, humans, were a liability to Danny but it still made her anxious to be stuck here waiting. Especially with the cold snap growing. Her cheeks were chill and her fingers were getting a little numb just sitting here. Great, here they go again, the other reason she hated being sidelined for big fights like this. With one last sigh, she entered her house.
“Tucker, grab a couple of large pots from the cupboard and fill them with water. We’ll want to get them boiling,” she said as she rubbed her hands together as soon as she stepped inside, kicking her front door shut. Her parents had been out when the ghost alarm had gone off so they were stuck at one of Amity’s ghost bunkers equipped with shields. Tucker’s were hunkering down at home and Danny’s were out fighting the small fry within the city.
“You think he’s going blue?” Tucker asked with a raised eyebrow even as he started gathering items. “How many do you think we’ll need?”
“Well considering my breath was fogging in the middle of June, I’d say at least three.” Tucker grimaced a bit as he dragged the pots over to the sink. “How long do you think we have?”
“We’d cleaned up most of the army by the time Danny took the boss and went outside city limits so he could really unleash. If he’s going blue, I don’t think it’ll take much time at all.” She checked her watch, it was just after midnight. “I’m going to get my parents’ shower going as hot as I can get it and get myself ready. If it gets any colder, let me know.”
“I’m glad I’m not paying your water bills,” Tucker dismissed with a wave of his hand as she made her way upstairs. “How do you know he’ll come here and not Fentonworks?”
“You know how he gets,” she spoke loudly as she got further away. “He’s all instinct when he’s blue; he’ll stay far away from the house with the weaponry. Besides, he likes tracking us, wants to make us like him blah blah.”
“How generous of him,” she heard Tucker grumble. Sam wandered into her parents’ bathroom, turning the water on nice and hot. The room was pretentious and an ecological nightmare but they had a top quality water heater. Satisfied that it was heating appropriately, she went into her room and dragged out the box under her bed with clothes made just for this kind of situation.
The Fenton’s gave her a custom purple jumpsuit ages ago, it wasn’t quite her style but it offered her more protection than anything else she owned. She pulled it on before pulling on thick wool leggings on top of it and then two more pairs of pants on top of those. Thick snow boots intended for hiking in deep snow went on top of them. Once those were laced, she pulled on three layers of increasingly thicker layers of shirts, followed by a thick, waterproof jacket. She tied her hair up, put it under a scrub cap then a thick beanie and a hat that folded over to cover her ears, tying under her neck.
A pair of Fenton made industrial goggles wrapped around the whole thing keeping the hats in place. Three layers of face masks plus a heavy scarf wound around her lower face completed the outfit. She felt and probably looked like the Michelin Man but she only felt a little bit warm. Danny was probably done fighting and on his way here now. She hesitated before tucking an extra precautionary tool into the pocket of her outer jacket. Just in case.
Tucker was looking out her front window when she managed to waddle downstairs, his hands on his hips like he wasn’t surprised but still disappointed. A glance into her kitchen found the three bots steaming, if they weren’t at a boil then they were close.
“He out there?” She asked as she rolled her shoulders and stretched her legs as best she could in her outfit. There was always the possibility she might need to run though it would probably be too late if it came to that.
“Yeeeeup,” Tucker said, popping the p. “You were right on the money, Sam, pun intended. He’s coming down the street now.”
“Fenton or Phantom?”
“Fenton but he’s floating a couple of inches off the ground, but it’s still frosting over underneath him. He’s subzero for sure so be careful. We better hope your highfalutin neighbors are in their panic rooms or else the Fentons are gonna get some angry phone calls about their son’s behavior.”
“How’s he look?” She asked casually, trying to act as if all of this was normal and alright.
“Uh how do I put this?” Tucker sighed, tilting his head and examining their friend thoughtfully. “A bit like if you started with a vampire then killed it, threw the corpse in a frozen lake and then reanimated them and showed them all the Ring and Grudge movies with maybe the best clips from the Exorcist for good measure.”
“So better or worse than last Halloween?”
“Eh, I’d say about the same,” Tucker shrugged, stepping back as the window he was in front of became thick with fog and frost. “He’s about two houses down now, that’s my cue to skedaddle. You gonna be okay by yourself?”
“I already have my gear on and, besides, you did this last time, so it’s my turn. Help me get these pots out to the greenhouse before you head to the basement.” Sam said as she pulled on her specialty gloves that were about as temperature resistant as humans could currently make. As an added precaution, she strapped her Thermos to her hip in case things really went sideways.
“ Samantha ,” an eerie, otherworldly voice whispered to her from the front door. “ Sam, it’s me. ”
“Hey Danny,” Sam answered, “get all the ghosts?”
“ Oh yes ,” the voice chuckled back and the temperature of the house took a sudden nose dive. “ Oh I sure got them all. They won’t soon forget me. ”
“Great, now it’s time to get you warmed up,” Sam nodded to her friend on the other side of the door, hoping he would make things easy. Fentons though rarely made things easy.
“ I don’t want to ,” Danny said, his tone something between a hiss and a whine. The lights in her house flickered for a moment. “ It’s so cold out here, Sam .”
“I can see that. You do know it’s summer, right? You’re gonna upset all the global warming scientists.”
“ It’s so cold, so beautiful. Come out into the cold, Sammy. You always look so pretty but you’ll look especially good with your breath frozen in your lungs, your skin pale as ice .”
“Pass,” Sam said with an eye roll.
“ Then let me come in ,” Danny pleaded again, she heard him thump against the door but he wasn’t quite human enough right now to pass through the shield. “ You’ll like it as a ghost, I know you will. I’ll take care of you, just like I always have. ”
“I think you have it backwards, mister,” Sam grumbled. “Dad says I can’t have boys in the house when they’re not home. Only part of the greenhouse is covered by the shield, I’ll meet you back there.”
“ Thanks Sammy, you’re the best ,” a shadow passed by the frost covered window and she caught a glimpse of piercing blue eyes. Ugh her neighbors were going to be complaining to her parents about her ‘bad influence’ friends again, weren’t they? Your friend floats and looks sickly and possessed a couple of times and no one ever forgets it.
Sam grabbed the last pot off the stove which was going at a roiling boil. Tucker had already dragged two of the pots out to the greenhouse, set on two portable burners to keep them hot but it was hard when the air got colder the closer Danny got. He’d even had the forethought to move some of Sam’s more temperature sensitive plants. She’d trained that boy well. The greenhouse was already equipped with the best space heaters money could but it was like trying to warm up the arctic with a single match.
Danny phased through the unshielded section and the part of Sam that wasn’t totally desensitized to the absolute insanity that her life had become, flinched. The first time Danny had used too much of his ghost powers, fell too deep into those instincts and “gone blue” as they later called it, Sam had thought Danny had finally died all the way.
As the name implied, Danny’s skin was blue but a pale frosty blue as if he’d been left out to die in a frozen wasteland and had crawled his way back for revenge. His hair was black but bits of white peeked through making it seem closer to dark grey, it moved in an invisible wind. His eyes were blue, but the unearthly blue of his ice powers beaming at her like flashlights. He extended out one hand to her and it was white as death, his fingertips blue like a bruise.
“ Sammy my Sammy ,” Danny said in that detached echo voice. “ You look so uncomfortable, so warm, take all that silliness off and become my ice queen .”
“Get better pick up lines,” Sam grunted, throwing the pot of boiling water onto her best friend. There was a loud hiss as the water connected and Danny reacted to the sudden temperature change. Throwing the pot aside, she grabbed the next pot and poured it over him before doing the same with the third. The exertion had her panting, hoping that the water would be enough to make Danny cognizant, make him human enough, to warm up himself properly. The chill in the air didn’t dissipate and the steam turned into a light snow, falling gently to the floor of her greenhouse.
“ Now Sammy, that wasn’t very nice ,” Glowing blue eyes narrowed at her through the foggy snow. Danny was in her face a second later, the cold radiating off of him was less than it had been before but it still was enough to burn her with its intensity. She didn’t think, only reacted as she reached in her pocket and activated the portable blowtorch on his chest, directly over where his ghost core was. Because of the cold, the flame was weak and slow but it was enough to light his shirt on fire.
“ No, no, no! Oh crap! I’m on fire, Sam! Sam, help! I am on fire!” Sam could see the moment Danny came back into himself. He jumped back away from her, patting his shirt and putting out the spreading fire. He was still deathly pale and not quite human but at least he didn’t look like he was going to ice over the rest of her poor greenhouse. “Sam, did you light my shirt on fire? You know I love this shirt!”
“Your shirt was covered in blood and ectoplasm, not even the strongest detergents could have saved it. Now come on, we have the shower running, we need to get your temperature up. Can you float upstairs? I don’t want to have to explain icy footprints to my folks on top of whatever you did to get here.”
Thirty minutes in the shower at the hottest temperature possible, a pile of blankets, hot cocoa and Sam and Tucker tucked into his side saw Danny Fenton back to normal or as close as he got to that nebulous notion these days. His eyes, the soft baby blue she was used to, were lidded with comfort and exhaustion as they lounged on the couch and watched a bad horror movie. She might’ve found it scary once upon a time but Sam’s fear meter had been broken for years.
“I can’t believe you used a blowtorch on me,” Danny grumbled, sipping on his cocoa.
“I’m sorry, should I have let you freeze out the last of your humanity?” Sam countered, elbowing him a bit in the gut. He was still cold but it was his normal level of uncomfortable chill. “Or make me into your quote unquote Ice Queen?”
“Ice Queen, huh? Want me to leave you two lovebirds alone?” Tucker teased, wagging his eyebrows. Danny winced and hid his face behind his mug.
“I uh wasn’t fully in control at the time. It took a lot to beat back that ghost, I had to tap into a lot of energy to weaken him enough and you know what it does to me. I barely even remember finishing the battle and coming here,” he glanced over at her. “Thanks for helping but uh, you know I wouldn’t actually hurt you, right?”
“Yeah, of course I do,” Sam lied. Tucker frowned and looked down into his coffee. It was just one of the things they had to deal with having a half ghost as a best friend, sometimes going ghost meant going blue. Tucker scooted closer against Danny’s side and Sam let her head drop onto his shoulder. “Now finish your cocoa and turn up the volume, I want to hear the girl’s screams as she begs the poltergeist for her life.”
“Jeez, you guys are weird,” Danny said with an eye roll even as he complied and increased the volume on the TV.
“Dude,” Tucker drawled. “You just went full Sadako on us, you have no room to talk.”