The two halfas thought they were good at hiding their relationship. They snuck kisses when backs were turned, held hands under tables, shared small smiles and winks when eyes were averted and managed to hold each other close when alone for a few precious moments. It was tough, but they believed they were doing alright. Of course, neither of them took into account their little slips, or mother's intuition.

Maddie Fenton was a very intelligent woman. A scientist, featured in Genius Magazine on more than one occasion, co-creator of the first Ghost portal, as well as many other advanced ghost hunting technology. But besides being an incredible genius, Maddie believed herself to be a great mother.

She loved her two children, adored the time she spent with them, and couldn't be more proud of the people they had become. Jasmine was off at an Ivy League, doing well in all her classes and excelling in her chosen field. Danny was exceptional in his chosen field as well, fighting ghosts when he was needed, sacrificing so much for his family and friends and this town, acting as a hero against the malevolent specters that plagued the city. In a way, both her children had taken after her.

Even with all the pride that came with it, guilt still haunted Maddie whenever she saw Danny "Go Ghost", as he called it. She still remembered the times she had considered Phantom an enemy, had aimed her rays at him with the intent to shoot. Aimed at her own son, the boy she had raised and loved, who was her whole world. When that shadow creature had finally been destroyed, and she'd watched Danny Phantom collapse and turned into Danny Fenton, Maddie had felt like her whole world had flipped over, leaving her disoriented and confused, with a gapping hole in her chest.

So many secrets her own son had to keep from her. So many lies he was forced to tell, because he was afraid of his own parents, afraid of what he thought she and Jack might do to him if they discovered his ghost side. That was what tore Maddie up more than anything else; that her own son had doubted her love for him. That he was forced to lie, because he was afraid of her. Maddie vowed to herself that she'd never make him feel that way again, that she'd always be willing to listen and to understand, no matter what Danny had to say. He should never be afraid to tell his mother anything.

So when Maddie began to realize Danny was keeping secrets again, Maddie felt a hurt like a fresh wound just healed being ripped open again.

It wasn't obvious at first. The first couple of days after Danny and Vlad had returned from Danny's birthday trip to Florida, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Vlad visited often, every other day, for brief visits, sometimes bringing lunch, always Danny's favorite. He'd spend time down in the lab with she and Jack for a bit, always making sure to go upstairs to say good bye to Danny before leaving. Some days he'd stay for dinner, sitting between Jack and Danny, across from Maddie, sharing news about the town, laughing about old college stories, asking Danny how school was going. Maddie was surprised to find herself once more enjoying Vlad's company. She'd missed his dry humor, his intellectual conversation, the way he and Jack geeked out about football like teenagers, even now that they were well into their forties. Just last Sunday, Vlad had stayed over for the game, downed in his favorite Packer's jersey, Jack wearing his old cheese-head hat. The two had screamed at the television, and bounced on the couch, she and Danny watching from the kitchen and laughing. It felt so good to see them like that again.

It had been harder to forgive Vlad's secret, when Maddie found out about his ghost half. Plasmius, the blue vampire, the Wisconsin Ghost. Maddie remembered the College Reunion, how Plasmius had overshadowed Jack, and then abducted her. She remembered the disaster in Colorado, now realizing it all was some plot designed by Vlad; sending the invitation, having the pilot abandon ship right over Vlad's mountain chalet, Vlad asking Maddie to dump Jack and have her and Danny stay with him. Maddie remembered the Wisconsin Ghost attacking Amity Park and Vlad Masters, the new mayor, attacking it, trying to make himself look good. And who knows what other nefarious deeds Vlad had been a part of all these years, that Danny had had to deal with. Knowing all this, in different circumstances, Maddie would have wanted to destroy Vlad the moment she saw him transform from one form to the other, reveling everything to her.

But he had been hurt. He had been hurt saving them. Saving all of them. And when Maddie and Jack spoke to Danny about Vlad, Danny said he believed Vlad was changing, that he was trying to make amends for everything. Maddie didn't want to accept it, had wanted to deem everything he'd done unforgiveable. But Vlad had saved Danny's life. Twice now. Maddie wanted to trust Danny, after everything. He wasn't her little boy anymore; he was almost eighteen now, almost graduated from high school. He'd fought all sorts of enemies, faced way too many dangers and obstacles on his own. He was strong and brave and smart and Maddie knew she could trust his judgement. Danny was a man now, and she couldn't be more proud.

So Maddie gave Vlad a chance, and she was happy she had. Despite everything, seeing Vlad over their house, no longer trying to flirt with her, laughing and goofing good-naturedly with her husband, training and tutoring her son…he was part of the family. This was everything the three of them had talked about in college; friends for life.

And of course there was the scientific aspect to all of this; Danny and Vlad were half ghost. This defied everything Maddie understood about biology and the ghost world, this was against every law of nature, both for the living and the dead! It just didn't make sense that a being could be both alive and not alive! Jack and Maddie were discussing theories, with Vlad's input of course, about what exactly this meant. Whether their ghost self laid vacant inside them when they were human, or whether Danny and Vlad actually died every time they transformed and then were revived when they transformed back. The last thing Maddie wanted to do with make Danny feel like a science experiment, but Vlad was more than happy to give samples, be hooked up to machines and wires so they could further study his genes and structure. He said it would be good for Danny in the future as well, figuring out exactly what they were and how they're bodies were changing and growing over the years with the ghost genes.

Vlad was always very concerned about Danny. He was always asking about Danny's grades, any bullies at school, if his powers were acting up, if he was eating right. The two spent a lot of time together, traveling through the Ghost Zone, practicing with their powers, up in Danny's room working on homework. Danny would go to visit Vlad at his mayor office sometimes, helping out for community service hours for school. And sometimes Danny would go to Vlad's for dinner, explaining that Vlad's carrot cake was just too good to pass up.

Maddie could see them getting closer. Even before the whole episode with the shadow monster, Danny had went to Vlad's and spent the night, which had seemed odd and out of character at the time, but now made a bit more sense. Danny had a confidant in Vlad, someone who understood the things he was going through, something who was similar to him. The two got along very well recently, joking and playing video games in the living room, teasing each other and helping each other. Maddie would have thought, at a different time, Vlad was trying to play the father for Danny. Now, Maddie saw these interactions for what they really were; genuine care and love for each other.

And that's when Maddie started to really notice.

Long hugs during greetings and departings. Shy smiles at each other when they thought no one was looking. Vlad seemed to grow into the habit of affectionately petting Danny's head when the boy did something right in a homework assignment, or mastered a new ghost move. Maddie noticed Danny's pleased grins and lightly flushed face, similar to how Danny looked when he'd first started inviting Sam over to his house.

Maddie noticed how close they sat together on the couch. She noticed them sharing inside jokes, whispering to each other from time to time. Maddie wondered if it was their newfound alliance that now bonded them so much, made them so comfortable around each other. It was almost like a friendship Danny had with Sam and Tucker, so casual and fun, but strange to see between people so different in age.

It was something other than friendship though. Something deeper. Last week, Vlad and Danny had come out of the portal from a training session, Vlad's arm bleeding from some attack. Danny had been by Vlad's side the whole time, helping him upstairs, bandaging his arm, apologizing over and over again. Danny was always a caring boy, gentle and kind, especially to those he cared about. Seeing Danny so worried over Vlad, Maddie realized Vlad meant an awful lot to her son. And one time, when Danny had come home with a bruise underneath his right eye, Vlad had been next to the boy in a second, gently touching Danny's face, asking if he was alright, demanding to know who'd done that to him. These two were so protective of each other now, not only enjoying each other's company, but genuinely caring for the other.

Maddie watched them now, her mind reeling with everything she'd seen and observed. The two sat on the cough, thighs touching, Danny's head inclined towards Vlad, almost leaning against his shoulder. From this angle, Maddie could just barely see their hands. Vlad's gently cupped Danny's.

Jack sat in his chair, snoring loudly as the couple ignored him, watching whatever program was on television at this time. They talked to each other in hushed tones, chuckling softly.

Maddie finished up putting the left over dinner in the fridge, averting her eyes. They thought they hid it well, similar to how Maddie and Jack had probably assumed they'd hid their flirting back in their college days. People in love tended to forget the outside world sometimes.

If Vlad had been told he'd be happy with his life without it involving attending Jack's funeral and honeymooning with Maddie that same afternoon, Vlad would have scoffed and blasted through the speaker in his pursuit of revenge. Looking back now, Vlad realized what a truly horrible idiot he had been.

Every week, Vlad visited the Fenton home for dinner or to help the scientists with their latest creation. The comfort he felt in this house, the familiarity he felt now with this family…ever since his time in the hospital twenty years ago, Vlad had thought any chance at being friends with Jack again was utterly crushed. But Vlad was happy again, had his friends again like in college, all because of that amazing young ghost boy.

Vlad gazed to the boy seated beside him on the couch now, his heart swelling. The pair sat close together on the couch, legs barely touching, Jack's snores over powering the volume of the television but neither of them really minded.

It had been a tough few weeks since returning from Florida. Vlad and Danny had discussed their plans for their relationship a few more times, deciding that they wouldn't say anything to anyone until graduation next year, or until any moment before that Danny decided was appropriate. As Vlad had said, this was all in Danny's hands now. When they told people, if they ever went public, it was all up to the boy. This frightened Vlad a lot, though he'd never admit it even to himself; allowing the boy this much control over him. Vlad was someone who always wanted to be in control, to know what's happening, to know when and how and to call all the shots. That why he got into business and became CEO, that's why he become Mayor. Power. Control.

But with Danny, and only with Danny, Vlad found he could let go of this choke hold he had on life. Vlad could relax, and enjoy himself. He could trust Danny, and even though he was scared to do it, he felt confident enough that Danny wouldn't hurt him. But after so many years alone, after so many failures and heartbreaks and betrayals, it was still hard for Vlad to completely feel secure in their relationship.

Every now and then, Vlad found himself slipping. Slipping into old habits, old vices. His prominent two being his controlling nature and his jealousy.

Sometimes Vlad didn't even know it was happening. Danny would be talking to his friends, or even his parents and Vlad would feel the need to stand next to Danny, to join the conversation or try to take Danny away from it. He'd feel this impulse to put his hand on Danny's shoulder or run his fingers through the boy's hair, to show some sort of physical claim on the boy in front of others. Something inside him just wanted all of the boy's attention, all the time, and he wanted everyone else to know he had it. Vlad's only priority was Danny, so in return, that's what he wanted from the boy as well. Vlad wasn't an idiot though, and knew Danny had family and friends he deeply cared for as well, and that he wanted to spend time with. Surprisingly, Danny was patient with Vlad. He didn't get irritated when Vlad got clingy, he didn't snap at Vlad every time he butted into a conversation he wasn't supposed to, never yelled at Vlad for sneaking into his room at night. He was seventeen though, so of course there were times when he got flustered or frustrated, but Danny tried hard not to let it show. It was in those moments that Vlad loved the boy the most.

No matter how much he'd changed, or what he'd learned, or what he had now, there was always a part of Vlad that was small, and scared and vulnerable. A small part of him that had driven ever scheme and plot to get Maddie. That vulnerable feeling inside him that craved love, that wanted to be needed and desired. That part of him had been denied so long, had festered and soured for over twenty years, and now it was like a dried plant, tasting water for the first time, needing more and more, craving more and more, until Vlad was desperate to just be near the boy, eager to hold him, to see him. Every time Danny smiled at Vlad, the man wanted to cry, every time Danny hugged Vlad or kissed him first, Vlad felt like he would never know sadness again. It was in those moments that Vlad could forget how close Sam and Danny were, that he could forget that he wasn't Danny's number one priority all the time, that he could forget that he had to hide his love for Danny from the world, despite wanting to scream it from the mountains.

Vlad smiled lightly as Danny commented on the program playing on television, enjoying the comfort and warmth of the boy sitting so close to him. He couldn't resist moving his hand slightly, quietly, gently closing his fingers around Danny's hand. His smile widened when Danny's fingers automatically tightened around his. They kept their joined hands between them, hidden. After a moment, Danny moved his hand slightly, threading their fingers together. A soft sigh slipped from Vlad's lips.

This was good. No matter what lay ahead, no matter the mistakes he's made and would no doubt continue to make, no matter the struggles, Vlad was happy, so long as this boy was by his side.

Maddie sat at the kitchen table, sipping a cup of tea. Vlad had joined Jack and had fallen asleep, his head leaning against Danny's as he slouched into slumber. Danny didn't seem to mind, smiling briefly at the sleeping man, a shy fondness in his eyes.

At 10:30pm, there was an excited knock on the door. Jack jumped slightly, awaken by the noise but Vlad slept on, until gently woken by Danny. Those two were so comfortable around each other…

"That's them," Danny announced, standing from the couch and walking over to his mother, who pretended to be engrossed in her book. "We'll get back to Sam's place around three, after the midnight premiere is finished. I'll text you, okay?"

"Alright, Danny, have fun," Maddie said with a smile. Danny grabbed his backpack from the stairs and Maddie looked back to her book, taking a sip of her tea. From the corner of her eye, she saw Vlad stand from the couch and walk over to her son. Vlad touched the boy's arm, voice low as he said something. Danny smiled almost reassuringly and said something back. The two embraced and Maddie felt her eyes turn away, as though seeing something too intimate and private to simply continue watching.

Vlad released Danny and allowed the boy to open the door for his friends.

"Hey man! Are you ready to see…

"MEGA SMASHDOWN ZOMBIES 2!" the three teens exclaimed in excitement. Jack grumbled from his seat as he tried to fall back asleep and Vlad couldn't resist lightly rolling his eyes. Teenagers.

Sam paused, noticing Vlad standing just behind Danny. She moved closer to Danny and stage whispered, "He's not coming with, right?"

Vlad narrowed his eyes. "No I am not "coming with." You kids can enjoy your zombie smashers or whatever without me."

Danny sent Vlad a wry smile and Sam sighed in relief. "Not that I didn't want you there or anything Vlad, but I was just worried about you. There's going to be a lot of flashing lights and jump scares. I wouldn't want your shriveled old heart to give out."

"How kind of you Samantha. I'm sure you'll enjoy the show since wanna-be vampires don't have hearts to give out."

"Isn't it past your bed night, old man?"

"Isn't it past your curfew, little girl?"

"Alright alright ladies, break it up," Danny said in exasperation but still with a smile tugged at his lips, putting a hand to Vlad's chest as he stood between them. Vlad felt no actual hatred towards the girl. Irritation most of the time and slight jealousy the rest of the time but nothing that would actually warrant hate. Vlad had actually—and a bit reluctantly—grown to respect Sam. The mirror had been right after all; she was very much like Vlad in her focus and ideals, as well as being sharp witted and intelligent. It was actually fun, teasing her with biting comments as he had once bantered with Danny, back in their nemesis days. Danny too had seemed to sense that their banter was more so for fun and show than actual competition, and so let it be for the most part, taking it as a good sign.

Vlad smiled and ruffled Danny's hair affectionately. "Have fun then, Daniel. Be careful."

"Alright, night Vlad," Danny said and left with his friends. The front door closed and that empty feeling he got whenever the boy was away returned to Vlad's chest.

He sighed and returned to the living room area. Nothing enjoyable was on television. Vlad glanced to Jack, who was once again snoring away in his chair. Vlad smiled and shook his head. He glanced to the shelf above the fire place, noticing the family photos. He walked over, looking at the smiling faces, all so much younger than the ones he knew now. He paused to look at one in particular.

A small, freckle faced black haired kid grinned widely, one of his front teeth missing. A tan colored Band-Aid on his right cheek. Big blue eyes shining with delight, filled with the same life and excitement as nowadays.

"That was before everything." Vlad looked over to see Maddie walking over, her eyes on the same photo. "Before Jack and I had gotten back into ghost hunting. Before we started working on the portal. Before Danny…"

"Before Danny Fenton became Danny Phantom," Vlad finished with a nod. Danny was completely human in this photo. Completely normal, just like any other little boy. At that time in history, Vlad had truly been alone.

"You raised an incredible young boy, Maddie," Vlad said.

She nodded. "I still wish it hadn't happened though." Vlad looked to Maddie. "I wish he hadn't had that accident. I wish we had never created that portal, sometimes. He could have lived a normal, safe life. A life without fear, without all the lies and the pain. All those mistakes…"

"Daniel is who he is today because of all the struggles he's had to face," Vlad said, his voice firm and confident. "He's strong and brave. You're closer to him now because of all that. Don't regret the son you have now, in exchange for an ordinary one." Maddie looked to Vlad quickly, as though to deny that that's what she'd meant. "Danny was never meant to be ordinary."

Maddie looked to Vlad a moment, and then nodded. "I'm sorry, you're right. I'm proud of Danny. And of course, you'd have more reason to want things to stay as they are. It led to all this." Maddie indicated around her, and Vlad understood the meaning. Friends. Family. A home. "It led to you and Danny."

Something about her tone…about her phrasing, the way she said it…Vlad's heart beat just a bit faster. Vlad kept his eyes trained on the framed photo before him, silence enveloping the space between the two adults. It was thick, and Vlad found it hard to swallow around the lump forming in his throat.

"Do you love him?" The words were spoken in a whisper, as though afraid if they were actually voiced and heard, they'd become true. Whether that was a good or bad thing…

"Yes," Vlad answered just as quietly, his respond immediate despite his now rising dread, no doubt in that single word. Maddie looked to Vlad, and he saw her violet eyes shining.

"Honestly? And you'll take care of him?" Maddie asked, her eyes stuck to Vlad's, wide and vulnerable. Vlad saw before him, not the woman he had loved for over two decades, not the genius scientist filled with so much knowledge and so many ideas, not the huntress, deadly to both human and ghost alike, not the wife of his best friend, not his friend, but a mother. Danny's mother. This woman loved Danny just as much as Vlad did, Vlad realized with a shock. She cared for his safety and she held the same guilt inside her that Vlad held heavily in his own chest; we both hurt Danny in the past.

"I love him more than I've loved anything. More than I thought I loved you," Vlad said quietly, earnestly, not looking away for a moment. "I've made mistakes, but I will never let anything or anyone hurt him again. He's saved me. He's my whole world."

Maddie nodded and swallowed, looking away. Vlad knew woman to be more sensitive than men, simply by genetic design, but Vlad had never known Maddie to be overly emotional. This was something new. This was something that mattered. "He truly cares for you too," Maddie said, breathing deeply, her voice steadying some. She looked to Vlad again, her eyes dry now, a small smile on her lips. Despite the feelings no longer being romantic, Vlad still loved this woman. She was so brave, so kind. She was beautiful, and she had given all this to her son, and more. "I can tell. He seems happier." Vlad smiled, a light feeling entering his chest. "He loves you too."

"He's never said so before," Vlad said, almost like an impulse, his smile fading slightly when he realized it was true.

"He does," Maddie said. "Mother's intuition." Vlad laughed lightly. Maddie smiled. There was a pause, more comfortable now. A weight lifted from Vlad's chest, this weight he'd carried for so long. In the beginning, Vlad hadn't been able to rid himself of Maddie's photo, of his thoughts and feelings towards her because he had clung to her, to this last connection to his human life and feelings, to his hatred and revenge. Talking with her now, confessing his love for another and having her support…it was like finally letting go of her, of her photo, of that dark suffocating past. Vlad smiled, breathing easy.

Maddie reached out, touching Vlad's arm lightly to get his attention. "Would you like some tea?"

Vlad nodded and followed Maddie into the kitchen. She poured him a cup from the kettle and refilled her own mug.

"Thank you Maddie," Vlad said quietly as he took the cup, his words heavy with meaning.

Maddie simply smiled and nodded, sipping her drink.

"Ahh…Vlad…"

"Is that good, Little Badger?"

"Mmm…r-really good. But—ah!—ease up a bit…h-hurts…"

"Like this?"

"Mmm, ohh, yes. God, Vlad you're hands are magical."

Vlad chuckled lightly, his slick slippery hands kneading into the boy's skin, his deft fingers massaging deeply. He was in his white button up, no jacket or red cravat, his sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, his top two buttons opened.

Danny, the darling boy, looked blissed out, his eyes closed, his mouth open in an O as Vlad squeezed and stroked, slick skin against skin, the boy's chest rising and falling deeply.

"Ahhh, god…Vlad, you were born to do this. You weren't lying back then when you said you gave a g-good foot massage," Danny mumbled, a lazy smile on his face. He cracked open a tired blue eye, which shined pleasantly. Vlad smirked down at him, the boy's feet resting in his lap as his lotioned hands worked on them, easing the tension.

"Yes well…there are other things I'm good at as well," Vlad said in a low voice, one hand moving up to Danny's ankle, around to his calf, massaging there briefly before moving to the back of Danny's knee. The boy jumped at the ticklish feeling, his eyes opening fully to regard Vlad. Vlad smirked, not moving his hand.

"Oh yeah?" Danny said carefully, a challenging look in his eyes. "Like what?"

Vlad's grin turned predatory, his hand moving higher up. Danny seemed to stop breathing for a moment, his cheeks turning pink, his blue eyes watching Vlad's hand as it moved to the back of his thigh.

Vlad kept his hand there, and then leaned over Danny, his left hand by Danny's shoulder propping him up. Vlad used his right hand to lift Danny's leg, moving his body to press down to Danny, letting the boy's leg drape over his waist. Vlad kissed Danny deeply. Danny gasped lightly and Vlad knew so much contact with the boy was going to drive him crazy. Before Danny could move his hands, Vlad pinned them down by the boy's head, moving his lips against Danny's, lightly biting his bottom lip. Danny moaned quietly, opening his mouth and their kiss became wetter, deeper, more desperate.

The sounds. The taste. Vlad loved this boy, wanted all of him. He wanted his heart, his soul, his mind, his body.

It's been two weeks since Vlad and Maddie had that talk. It's been a week since Jack, Maddie, Vlad and Danny all sat together to talk. It had been…awkward to say the least.

Vlad had sat beside Danny at the kitchen table, Maddie and Jack standing, arms crossed, asking all sorts of embarrassing questions. Well, more so embarrassing for Danny. Vlad didn't think he'd ever seen the boy so red faced and squirmy. It would have been cute if he hadn't forced himself to keep his eyes trained on Jack and Maddie as they talked. Obviously, most teens were a bit embarrassed to talk with their parents about their new homosexual relationship with their parent's old college buddy.

They asked questions like how long this relationship had been going on, whether it was physical, whether they've had sex yet, what they planned to do while Danny was in school and once Danny graduated, etc etc. Vlad, being an adult on the same peer group as Maddie and Jack and wanting them to know he took his relationship with Danny very seriously, answered the questions seriously, sincerely, and vaguely, to avoid Danny as much embarrassment as he could.

Jack had found out about this relationship once Maddie confirmed it for him, and he took it well, considering. Obviously he was confused and a bit skeptical, as well as, as one would expect from a father, suspicious of Vlad. But once this talk happened and everything was out in the open, Jack was actually happy for his son and best friend, if not a bit uncomfortable. Which is what caused the rules.

After about an hour of talking and discussing, rules were established for both inside and outside the house. In the house, Vlad and Danny couldn't kiss. They couldn't be alone in Danny's room with the door closed. Cuddling was to be limited to sitting beside each other, heads leaning against each other. Vlad had wanted to argue, not appreciating being treated like a child, but he held back, remembering that no matter how mature Danny was, Danny was still technically a minor. Jack and Maddie weren't comfortable seeing very intimate displays of affection between them at this point and honestly, Vlad didn't want to make out with Danny if Maddie and Jack were in the room anyway.

And so during times like this, when Danny came over to visit him in his mansion, Vlad could barely keep his hands off. They were alone, Danny had permission and acceptance from his parents which Vlad could tell was a huge load off the boy's shoulders, and so he always had as much of the boy as he could.

Outside rules consisted of curfews and public displays. They all discussed it, and all agreed Danny and Vlad shouldn't—and technically couldn't—go public yet. It was better if they were not seen together too often, unless someone else was with them. Obviously no holding hands, no kissing in an alley, nothing. Danny wasn't banned from staying the night at Vlad's, nor were they expressly banned from having sex. But Vlad and Danny discussed it, and agreed sex shouldn't happen until Danny was eighteen anyway. It made things easier, as well as gave them time and space to figure things out between themselves and within the relationship, before jumping into something like that. Trust is a huge factor when it comes to something as intimate as that, and since trust was something they never really had before, they decided it'd be best to strength that first.

Vlad took his mouth from the boy's lips and immediately attacked his neck. "Ahh V-Vlad, don't make a…god, last time I couldn't even—look dad in the eye. He…ow, ah geez…" Danny mumbled as Vlad ignored him, biting lightly, sucking and licking the boy's neck, loving the sounds he made, the way he squirmed under him.

After leaving multiple nasty looking marks that made that possessive little demon inside of Vlad purr, Vlad pulled away, pressing down on the boy and kissing him hungrily. His felt the lean muscles of Danny's heaving chest underneath him, beneath the thin t-shirt he wanted to rip off the boy. He felt Danny's soft, hot mouth and wet tongue. He felt the leg around his waist, pressing them closer, felt Danny's moans vibrating against his lips. His mind was getting hazy, his skin too hot in all these clothes, the space on the couch too small, Danny's squirming and moaning was driving him crazy…

Vlad pulled away and it was like a breath of air after being taken under by the tide. He had expected to be sitting up in bed, sweating and bothered, just another hot dream that Vlad had only seen back then as a sick confirmation of his twisted desires. He had seen Danny like this in the mirror; his face flushed, his mouth open and panting, his eyes filled with undisguised lust. It was all real now. And yet…

"I think…that's good for now," Vlad muttered, pulling the words out of his throat with herculean effort, forcing himself to push upright, detangling himself from the tasty boy beneath him. Danny's eyes widened and he immediately pushed himself up too, wrapping his arms around Vlad's neck, burying his face in Vlad's shoulders. Having the boy hanging onto him like this was definitely not helping his efforts to control himself.

"God I hate this…" Danny muttered. "I don't know which is worse. Not being able to touch you at all when we're in front of people, or being able to touch you as much as I want when we're alone, and enjoying it so much, only to have to stop when I'm…" Danny trailed off but Vlad knew what Danny was alluding to. He felt it, having Danny sitting so close.

He patted Danny's back briefly, trying to keep contact minimal, but preening that the boy desired him just as much as Vlad desired this boy. "If it's any help my boy, you've affected me greatly too." Danny pulled away slightly and looked between them, to Vlad's lap and then immediately looked away, his blush deep. Vlad chuckled, removing Danny's hands from his shoulders. He needed to breathe. "I know it's hard, Daniel, but we both agreed this would be for the best."

Danny nodded. "I know. It just sucks that you're always right…" Danny muttered with an irritated pout. "You are good at that too."

Vlad laughed and patted Danny's hair. Danny smiled and moved out of Vlad's lap, sitting beside the man, shifting uncomfortably. "Do you…need to go to the bathroom or…" Vlad looked away, scratching his beard awkwardly.

"No no!" Danny said quickly, his blush returning. "I'm fine just…need to think about other things."

Vlad nodded. He still felt too hot. He still wanted to lay Danny down on his back, strip them both of all their clothes and—

"When do you want to have a talk with Sam and Tucker?" The words were out of Vlad's mouth before he could think and he was grateful to his mouth's quick thinking, not wanting to dwell on those kinds of thoughts right now with Danny sitting way too close.

Danny looked to Vlad, who, despite himself, still couldn't keep his hands completely off the boy, his right hand moving to gently pet the boy's soft black hair. Danny scooched a little closer until their sides were pressed to each other and then leaned his head against Vlad's shoulder. Vlad smiled, putting his arm around the boy, still gently stroking his hair. It was amazing how their whole dynamic and relationship could completely flip in just about a month.

"Next summer. When we're all talking about leaving high school and getting jobs and going to college, I'll just casually bring up my secret boyfriend."

"I bet they'll be thrilled."

Danny nodded. "That's only if they both don't figure it out on their own first. Mom figured it out, Jaz is gonna figure it out the first day she gets back…Tucker might not realize it but give it a little bit more time, and Sam might start to realize it. Mom's right, we don't really hide it that well." Danny and Vlad shared a look and laughed quietly, touching their foreheads together.

"Sorry, it's probably mostly my fault," Vlad said quietly, a small smile on his lips. "I get…giddy around you and I never want to stop looking at you, or touching you."

Danny averted his eyes a moment, embarrassed but quickly looked back. "Yeah well, we're both a little obvious I think." He chuckled lightly and shrugged. "Guess that's what happens when you're in love, right?"

Vlad's eyes, which had slipped closed in contented bliss, now snapped open. His mind went blank for a moment and then buzzed with thoughts, with words, with hopes. He slowly pulled away, an arm still around Danny. He moved a bit to fully face the boy, put his hands on the boy's shoulders, gripping tightly as though letting go would wake him from this dream. He searched the young face, his mind reeling. Those words, spoken so casually, as though they had been completely natural… Did he just…could he have just said…

"Danny…" Vlad swallowed, his heart beating too fast. He didn't want to hope for it, didn't want to believe it but wanting to reach for it anyway. He gripped Danny a little tighter. "Danny…please. S-say it…"

Danny's initial shock at Vlad's sudden intenseness melted away. He smiled, a smile filled with understanding and affection, and a twinge of pity that Vlad was reacting this way.

Danny didn't talk immediately, the tops of his cheeks and ears a light red. Vlad waited, blood pounding in his ears, his heart in his throat. He didn't want to hope, but he found every fiber of his being almost vibrating with anticipation. He was shaking slightly, waiting for this thing he'd wanted his whole life. Danny took a breath and then looked Vlad square in the eye. "Vlad. I love you."

Just like the first time, when those three words had been uttered to him by this boy, Vlad felt something move inside, some kind of physical reaction, wrenching his heart and squeezing his throat. But back then, there had been a glass wall separating Vlad from the boy, a ghost spirit torturing him with visions of what he hadn't realized he wanted so much. Now, he had this boy, the real live boy, in his arms, and he couldn't cling tighter to him. "Again."

"I love you."

"Please, again."

"I love you, Vlad."

Vlad couldn't stop the smile, couldn't stop the laugh, couldn't stop himself from crushing the boy into his chest.

"Ack, Vlad!" Danny choked with a laugh, struggling slightly in Vlad's arms.

Finally. Finally, Vlad had it. Had the one thing he wanted most. It wasn't revenge, it wasn't power, it wasn't lust, it wasn't control. Finally Vlad Masters was loved, completely and genuinely.

"I love you too, Danny," Vlad said, moving to kiss the boy on the cheek, on the forehead, on his lips. Danny kissed back, hand behind Vlad's neck. Vlad felt Danny crawl closer, into Vlad's lap, never stopping the kiss. In between, while gasping for a breath, Vlad kept muttering those three words.

"I love you, Vlad," Danny said with they pulled apart. "I love you very much." He kissed Vlad firmly, their lips moving together. Vlad moved his hands to cup Danny's face, holding the boy close. He never wanted this to end. But when they did part, breathing deeply, Vlad couldn't keep the smile from his face.

He stood suddenly, excitement rippling through his veins. He transformed, a flash and then black rings circling him to create Plasmius. "Let's go for a fly!"

Danny blinked up at Vlad in confusion for a moment and then laughed and stood. He stretched his arms over his head and transformed, a big grin causing his green eyes to shine. "Let's do it!" Danny floated upward and fazed threw the ceiling, Vlad following close behind.

"A nice night," Danny commented, looking up around him. The skies were a navy blue, the stars just beginning to peak out as the Sun disappeared far low on the horizon. Danny smiled at the skies for a moment and then grinned at Vlad. "Ready?"

Vlad smiled as he floated over to Danny, expecting to take the boy's hand and fly through the calm air, but was surprised when Danny hit Vlad's shoulder with his palm. "You're it!"

Danny's laugh vibrated through the night sky as he sped away, his spectral tail trailing behind him. "Oh you little…" Vlad muttered, chasing after the boy at top speed. They zigzagged through trees and cars, around buildings, chasing each other around and around, tagging each other, flying up and up and hiding in the clouds. Vlad's heart was pounding, adrenaline zooming through his limbs, his fanged smile almost painful and his lungs burning as he laughed. He'd never felt so alive.

In a moment of silence as Vlad hide in the clouds, Danny nowhere in sight, Vlad lifted his face to the stars, breathing deeply the nighttime air, fresh and cold in his lungs. It was getting dark, but Vlad never wanted this night to end.

He wasn't exactly sure how it all happened, when it all started falling into place and making sense. Vlad knew he wasn't the hero here, knew he never would be, but he wasn't the villain anymore either. That was the thing; he had been the villain before, Vlad knew that now. He realized all the mistakes he'd made, saw all the changes he'd had to make in order to stop his pitfall into tragedy due to his own evil, self-destructive ways. He wasn't that monster anymore and that, he supposed, made it okay for him to have his happy ending as well.

Vlad vaguely wondering about the spirit who had kept watch over the mirror that had changed everything. Was she now free? Free to live her own dreams, free to follow the path to her own heart's desire, instead of being forced to assist others in theirs? Whether it was foolish sentimentality or Danny's goodness rubbing off on him, Vlad hoped she was free. He owed this to her, for breaking past his many walls and showing him, not so much what he wanted, but what he could become. He could become kind. He could become patient. He could become accepting and open and giving. He could become happy and loved.

"Thank you," Vlad said to the air, to the stars. He turned away from the sky just as Danny popped up from the clouds like a daisy, tackling Vlad in the air.

"Gotcha!" he yelled with a laugh. Vlad wrapped his arms around Danny, laughing as they floated through the air. They looked upward, Danny noticing all the stars and pointing out all the constellations, naming them and their stories.

Orion was Vlad's favorite. His and Artemis' love was forbidden, but it was strong. Other than the ending where Orion was killed, Vlad wanted this moment to stay alive forever through time like Orion's image in the sky. This moment with him and Danny, high over everyone else, over the school and the town and their problems, and their past, high enough that they could smile and hold each other, high enough that Vlad could be happy. He wanted this moment forever.

Unknown to the blue skinned halfa and the pale haired halfa, a benevolent smile was aimed toward them, a smile upon a white face, solid blue eyes watching silently as they laughed.

THE END.

And there it is! :) I can NOT tell you how many times I rewrote this chapter, struggled over how to wrap things up and write what I wanted to. FInally I wrote this and thought this was a good way to summarize everything and end it, hope you all agree ^^ Leave a comment, question, anything about what you thought! They always make my day!

That being said, THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR EVERYTHING! You guys are the best readers, leaving such nice comments and I've gotten WAY more followers and favorites for this story than I thought I would, especially since the first chapter was only supposed to be a stand alone one shot. Its been so amazing and I'm so grateful you all love this ship just as much as I do, so that you can enjoy my writings of them (seriously though, I'm always surprised by the amount of people who still ship these two despite the show having ended like ten years ago o.o its amazing)

Now some of you might not have like how i ended this, or thought maybe I left something out, or should have added something. So, I got this idea from my absolute favorite fanfiction writer who writes for Slade/Robin on here (Wynja): if you like this story idea, the plot, all that but wished something was different, you can steal the plot, the idea, the characters (Mirror Spirit) and write you're own spin off ^^ You can do this for any of my stories honestly, have fun! Just remember to refer to my story and leave me a message so I can read it too ;)

Okay, so now that this lovely story is over, I will be posting the revised edition on Ao3. Revised simply meaning fixed the grammatical errors, fixed some wonky sentences or phrases, added in a word or two, nothing major. I will also be posting the sequel to Trust Me, first chapter coming out on Friday and (since I actually wrote a bit ahead this time) a new chapter for that story will be posted every Friday, so it'll be a bit more organized xD At the same time, I will also be working on a Billdip fanfiction that I've been planning for a while, so if you're a fan of that, yay! x3

This A/N is long enough I think so once again, thank you all so much! Remember, my PM is open anytime, I love chatting with people who love the same ships as me, love writing, or just want to talk! :) I love you all and have a great day!