Becoming

- Chapter Five -

Danny and Vlad had spent most of their Sunday actively competing and spending time. It wasn't a surprise that his family had taken notice and found their budding relationship to be precious. Even when watching television, Jazz had gotten up when both boys sat down on either side of her just so they could be nearer. She shoved Danny over and giggled to herself when he knocked knees with Vlad and instantly flushed.

And then Sunday night, despite that they were both tired, Vlad had insisted that Danny come with him outside to which both transformed into their ghost forms and flew into the sky. Vlad had him follow somewhere in Amity Park that Danny hadn't seen before, where an old gazebo lay in vined ruin against a backdrop of stars and a nearby graveyard. A church bell rang in the distance. And while Danny thought they had just gone there for a quiet evening, he was astounded to find that the real reason Vlad had taken him there was to fight ghosts back into their graves. A curious ending to a long night and a lot of fun. It'd felt good to unleash.

So when Monday morning came and his family were running about trying to make sure that he would have everything he needed for his trip, Danny could feel inside his chest the pull of curiousity of what would come next. He was both excited and terribly nervous. Everything was moving so fast.

"Daniel doesn't need to take his whole room as I will be providing necessities for him." Vlad told Danny's parents as they began speaking about how to get his bed on to the moving truck. "I assure you that he will be well provided for."

"Oh, I'm just nervous is all." Maddie admitted, "This will be the first time Danny will be so far away from us."

"Vladdie's got this," Jack interjected with a box in hand, "if he says he'll take care of it, then by golly I know he's a man of his word!" He threw the box lazily in to the truck. Something broke.

"Dad's right," Danny told her sheepishly, "I'll be fine."

She still didn't look convinced. A sigh. His mom smoothed down his hair and cupped his face lovingly. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

Danny chuckled. "Positive." She looked like she would cry. Danny quickly added, "I'll be sure to call; promise." She didn't say anything to that and just hugged him tightly. He held her back equally tight. He loved her even if she did make him feel uneasy around Vlad.

"Our plane will be leaving soon," Vlad said, "is everything that you want on the truck?" Danny nodded his approval. Vlad approached him kindly, looking at his family and then back at Danny. With his eyes he told Danny that now was the time for goodbyes. Danny swallowed.

His mom, dad, and Jazz stood by the steps in a line, all wanting to say their goodbyes while at the same time not. He wasn't sure if he was ready either. As he went to say something, a familiar voice caught him.

"You didn't think we'd let you leave without seeing us first, did you?" He turned. There stood Tucker and Sam, both looking as tired as he felt but still happy to be there.

"Tucker! Sam!" He smiled and barreled towards them, not caring at all that he shamelessly threw his body at them in a hug. His friends held him back. Danny's eyes felt wet. When he pulled away, Sam and Tucker's looked wet too.

"So this is it, huh?" Sam asked, although she clearly knew the answer. Whatever anger she had had before didn't show through.

"Yeah, I guess so."

"Off to Wisconsin." Tucker added.

"Yeah."

Sam's hand touched his cheek. "You'll remember to call us, right?"

Danny felt his heart leap. "Yeah I will."

"And you'll def let us know if Vlad starts doing anything weird, right?"

Danny laughed, "Of course! Wouldn't have it any other way."

"Then be safe, Danny." Tucker told him with another tight hug. "Sam and I will hold down the fort while you're gone."

"Thanks, guys." Danny told them, and he meant it a lot. Seeing them here was just what he needed to solidify his choice. He needed to go. He needed to be with Vlad. He needed this.

With heavy feet, Danny then held all of his family each at a time, saying goodbyes and last minute 'I love you's. His dad had never seemed so proud of him. His mother looked like she was beginning to accept this, and Jazz kissed his head and held him the longest of all. She would take good care of their parents. He was sure of it.

Then Danny went to the passenger side of the taxi where Vlad held the door open for him. A new chapter in his life was beginning. Danny took a deep breath and gave one last look to Fenton Works before he climbed into the car. Vlad followed and the door shut safely.

"Are you ready, Daniel?" Vlad asked gently.

Danny let go of his breath.

"I am."

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The flight to Wisconsin was quiet, not that Danny minded. It was nice for a change to just be a regular human traveling about in human ways. The long stretches of communities below looked like toys, like they weren't even real, and Danny touched the thick glass of his port.

"It's a bit different when you're not in control of your destination, isn't it?"

Danny smiled and turned from the port, peering at Vlad whom sat in front of him. Vlad was making himself a small cup of tea and appeared to be pouring Danny one as well.

"You can say that again. I can't even remember the last time I traveled so smoothly. The jet streams, and the cold, the bugs—it's nice not freezing my balls off while spitting out cotton spiderlings."

Vlad laughed, apparently understanding entirely, "And the frost catching on the water trapped in your hems."

Danny chuckled with a point, "Oh my gosh, I know, right? Can't tell you how many times I've dropped altitude because my suit was freezing itself stiff! And then you, Mr showoff, with your cape, it has to be worse."

Vlad took up his cup and sipped it gently, "I'll admit the cape can be more trouble than it's worth, but damn do I look menacing in it."

"Like a true villain." Danny replied, taking the cup that was obviously his without second thought.

"Heroes wear capes too." Vlad told him playfully. Danny caught his eye and smiled into his cup remembering the time when he had split himself in two and how his 'heroic' side had thrown a sheet about his neck as a cape. Capes were dumb.

They sat in comfortable silence for the rest of the flight, having small chitchat sprinkled in occasionally to distract them from the time. By the time they arrived, Danny felt time hadn't moved at all with how enjoyable the silence and private atmosphere had been, so it was quite a shock when he stepped off the plane with Vlad into a crowd of onlookers and cameras.

Vlad poised himself and smiled, giving small waves as suited officials blocked a few cameras and onlookers.

"Uh..." Danny started, feeling like he was about to choke on his tongue, "is this, uh, normal?" Vlad took him snugly under his arm and rubbed his shoulder, easing Danny a bit from the flashing lights and noises.

"You forget, child, that I'm the billionaire of Wisconsin, and owner of several major company names. The media follow me like gum stuck to a shoe, but don't let it bother you. They're going to journal later about how Masters was seen leaving a plane with a young boy and that nothing interesting happened."

That helped a little. "What about them?" He then asked, thumbing over to a bunch of women, and one guy, that were making cat calls and romantic gestures and calling Vlad's name. A few were the most gorgeous assortment of women he'd even seen in his life, while the others looked like older women in their mid-forties, an elderly woman, and a lanky flamboyant gentleman.

"Money attracts all kinds, little badger." Vlad told him resolutely. "You learn to ignore them." And he did just that, leading Danny on pass the hooting gold-diggers with his eyes strictly planted forward. Cameras followed in their wake. After a moment, another vehicle pulled up for them from the gate and all shutters and nonsense were left behind with the slide of a door. Silence encased them again with muted, dull sounds rumbling outside.

"Does this happen every day?" Danny asked.

"Only when out in public areas." Vlad responded while he pinched the bridge of his nose. "It would have been easier to handle all this in a ghostly manner but since it is Danny Fenton that is coming to live with Vlad Masters, it's better to go the legal route to keep confusion minimal and ensure the safety of this process. The last thing I need is the media thinking I've abducted some child. And believe me when I say that they'd rather a story like that than just 'billionaire Masters gets off a plane'."

Vlad sat back against the leather of the car, his eyes falling to what was outside the window. His jaw set firmly, and his brows set against his lids furrowed. The blue of his eyes reflected off the glass ghostly. Danny watched with him, looking at the crowd as they went by while the car, clearly driven by a private chauffeur, made its way to their destination. It was sad in it's own way. Back in Amity Park, Vlad had appeared as formal as ever, but far more at ease than how he looked now about the crowds and traffic. He realised that this was where Vlad not only lived and thrived, but also where he worked and maintained an image. The amount of pressure that must have had on him made Danny feel suddenly sick to his stomach.

Vlad must have noticed.

"Daniel," his voice filled the car with thick comfort; fatherly, "you know how private I am. You understand how empty my manor truly is, so do not think that staying with me means that you will be subjected to media mediocrity."

"I wasn't thinking that." Danny replied quickly, like he had to stop Vlad's worry before it began.

"I assure you that you will be safe with me." Vlad said anyway. And Danny smiled, not sure why. Those words were just so comfortable and felt like he meant them. Even if it was all a lie and a camera would be shoved in his face every day, that simple sentence had his worried melt away. How strange. But cool. Still strange but hella cool.

It would be a lie if Danny didn't admit to himself that he was a bit afraid. Sure, Vlad gave off an air of predictability and monotony, but once Danny stepped from the car with his schoolbag slung about his shoulder, the moving truck just pulling up in the distance, it dawned on him just how real everything was. And it was crazy. Danny had been to the manor several times by now, a few of his own free will while others were, uh, not so free willed, and yet the Wisconsin manor somehow looked different. Even in the high sunlight of afternoon, the windows—all curtained; the yard—completely fenced in; the parkway—armed with its own set of gates, looked lonelier than before. Was this real? Was Danny seriously moving in here? With Vlad? Vlad?

A hand squeezed his shoulder. Danny looked up to the tall and graceful form of the manor's master. Vlad looked down at him like the manor didn't even exist.

"I made arrangements and a room off the right wing has been set up for your stay. It's white for now, but after you've settled in, I can have it changed to whatever you like."

"I like blue." Danny said dumbly.

Vlad smiled and picked up his jaw which had fallen open apparently, "Quite." He laughed, "I can have it changed to any shade of blue to your liking. Now come, boy, your new home awaits."

And with that they began their walk to the front step. Each step felt like a quake in his heart. Behind him was his old life of constant worry and ghost hunting, his friends and family, his school, his life of crazy, and ahead of him was this new chapter. Like a beacon. Would Vlad's promises stay true? Would it be easier here? Would he be safe? Was this the right thing to do?

"Daniel," Danny stopped his thoughts and looked up. Vlad stood in the doorway with the heavy door pushed open, a key in hand, a smile on his lips, "welcome home."

Welcome home.

He smiled pitifully back.

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"Don't leave books about, don't use my paintings for ghost practise, don't phase through the walls just because you can. Always knock before entering a room; in public you shall refer to me as Mr Masters, however, in private, you are allowed to call me whatever suits you."

"Even 'fruitloop'?" Danny asked playfully.

Vlad rolled his eyes, "I was thinking more along the lines of 'Vlad', 'Vladimir', 'Uncle Vlad', or 'father'."

"Okay, seriously, the last one was kind of creepy."

"In time, I do believe you'll find it rather fitting."

"Yeah. I'll be sure to use it when I'm feeling particularly kinky." Vlad gave him a dirty glare. Danny laughed, "Kidding, kidding! Just kidding."

They continued their walk down the right wing hall, "Don't ask Walter to do any ridiculous request as he is loyal bound to do it and I would not like to find him breaking his back to please the young master. If a phone rings, you are not allowed to pick it up unless I say so. Stay out of my private study unless I invite you inside, and that goes also for my laboratory. You're welcome to go and do anything you please so long as you don't break anything, and for the sake of cheddar, do not touch any of my Packers memorabilia."

"Wow, fun police much."

"As this is still my home, I do hope that you'll respect my rules. As such, your room is your own. I don't care if you punch holes in the walls or take a ghost ray to every furniture piece, just be a good boy and keep the destruction minimal if at all possible."

They stopped at a door on the end of the hall. The door was large with a handle made of intricate curves.

"This is your new room, Daniel." Vlad told him while he simultaneously opened the the door. Light hit Danny in a way that he wasn't even aware the hallway had been so dark. The room glowed with a white and golden haze from the sunlight above that poured from sunroofs. White curtains blew like gossamer from the open bay window that breathed fresh air against his face. A flat screen television sat mounted on the black wall. A beautifully large white modern bed was pushed into the left corner with a rounded white end table and a small lamp. Two chests of drawers leaned heavily back on the walls, and a soft looking couch stood a distance away from the television. Danny stood in awe.

"These controls by the door will shut your sunroof and manage the lights. Always lock your window before bed. A walk-in closet is on the left of the entertainment station while your personal bathroom sits on the right with dual shower and bath, a sink, and toilet." Vlad pointed to a phone by the bed. "This is your personal phone line. Press 1 to access a direct line to my office, press 2 for Walter. If no one answers, press 3 for my private study, or press 4 for the kitchen. Do not abuse it, please." Danny was still in shock over it all. "Daniel, are you even paying attention?"

Danny blinked.

Vlad nodded. "I'll go and have your things brought up while you take it all in."

"oh...kay." Was all Danny managed, and then Vlad was gone. The door shut behind him naturally but Danny turned and opened it, loving how the sunlight looked falling across the deep carpets and stoned texture. Like another universe entirely. He breathed, again looking into the bright room and feeling himself tingle at the breeze that washed through the curtains. The windows above him shadowed the floor with the boxed panes. Clouds could be seen passing over head and Danny found that the temptation was too great for him to resist. He transformed.

Up he flew, through the windows and into the bright open sky. Higher and higher until below him all he saw was part of the manor's land. A forest stretched out far behind until it crashed into a distant suburban neighbourhood. All around him was greenery, stone, paved ways, cobble, fountains, and sky. So much sky. How did so much sky even exist? And in the distance was the city, their skyscrapers lining the horizon. It was beautiful, amazing, and most of all, Danny felt like he could breathe.

No Sam or Tucker, or Jazz, or his mother and father. No teachers or students to push him around or tell him what to do. He could do anything. He could—he could—take over the world. Danny laughed and flipped himself backward, falling smoothly and steadily through the air, cutting about the world with opened leisure and freedom. Fast, he raced around the manor grounds, rustling leaves and flowers, slicing a fountain's stream with his hand, blowing the hats off some of the movers while they moved his stuff inside.

Vlad was among them, ordering them where the items would be going but in a kind fashion that seemed sincere. He was even helping to move the boxes from the truck and laughed when one slipped on to the ground. Danny smiled and rolled towards him, circling him invisibly with a gush of air that caressed and lifted the man's hair. Vlad closed his eyes and smiled, not saying anything at all as it appeared he knew it was Danny. He came to stop with his legs ghostly twirled about Vlad's frame where he took his head into his palms and nuzzled his forehead like a flash of lightening before shooting off back into the open air. It went unseen, but it didn't matter. Nothing mattered anymore.

Danny felt free.

Minutes passed by as if time itself meant nothing. By the time Danny had found his way back to his room, the sun was beginning to lean into the horizon. An orange glow settled about the manor and it's vast ground. The movers had left an hour ago, and Danny had spent his time swimming about the air and exploring every new nook he could find. He went into town where he had checked out the local grocer and gazed longingly at the city from the tallest building. Danny had swirled through the old town district where he had fluttered a few skirts and blew a few hats off. He had latched on to one of the local buses and rode along as it stopped and went to various locations. Then he tip-toed across the powerlines as if he even knew how to dance.

Once in his room, Danny exhaustively transformed himself back into his human form. No curfews. No parental nonsense. No friends asking where he had been or if he was okay. No ghosts.

A knock.

Danny turned. Vlad stood at the door without his waist coat and his sleeves rolled up. His tie was missing too.

"How do you like it?" Vlad asked, telling Danny with his eyes that his room was set up. Danny glanced about and found his belongings tucked away, his backpack on his bed, and a few of his posters already on the walls. A desk had been moved in and on it sat Danny's computer.

"Its incredible." Danny replied after a moment.

"And the town?" Vlad asked with a step inside.

Danny turned on him with eyes as bright as the stars, "Incredible."

"Yes, you did seem to be enjoying yourself," Vlad chuckled, "even though you knocked over my football fountain piece."

Danny flushed, "I, uh, I didn't—"

"No bother, Daniel. I'll have it repaired tomorrow."

"No, I mean," Danny felt himself fumbling, flushing, and his tongue refusing to make the words form. He fought for a few seconds that felt like an eternity before he finally gave up in a huff and said, "This is incredible. All of it. I imagined I'd be put into some kind of weird prison with barbed wire and locks, but this, Vlad, this..." he motioned to the bright room falling golden, the sky painted above, "is it really all mine?"

Vlad didn't say anything, he only gave a small, warm smile and blinked slowly to switch his gaze for the clouds.

"You really thought I would put you in a cage?"

Danny looked at him. "You can't say you weren't tempted."

Vlad chuckled at that, "I was, perhaps, a bit tempted. The ghost child of Amity Park in my home? Of his own free will? Yes, I will say, bottling you and tucking you away in a safe deposit box was tempting indeed."

"So what stopped you, Grand Master Plasmius?" Danny wasn't sure if he was asking seriously or not. Vlad appeared to take it seriously, though, and gave a sigh as he looked about the room like it had taken years to make it as white as it looked. It have taken just that.

"I, frankly, don't like going to the post office." he said lamely after a moment and forced a laugh. He coughed and cleared his throat, switching his weight on his feet before poising himself in a well-groomed manner. He then turned and made way for the bedroom door. Vlad stopped at the entryway.

"When you grow hungry, there will be supper waiting for you in the dining room. You can show up at any time and it will be made for you. There's no rush. I'll understand if you'd rather sleep first. Today has been quite an adventure."

"Y-yeah." Danny said. As Vlad went to leave, Danny found his hand reaching out and his throat opening before he knew what he was doing. He must have called out because Vlad stopped again and looked back at him curiously.

"Th-Thank you." Was all he could manage to say.

Vlad smiled and bowed his head, saying nothing, only lifting a switch that began to close the sunroof.

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Nothing felt quite as wonderful as the fresh air that breathed over his face while Danny sat at the open bay window. He was sitting in his boxers and a plain shirt, not quite ready to sleep, but also not too awake to do much else. He had reorganised his things, showered, and unpacked a little, still taking it in that he wasn't going back to Amity Park. He distantly wondered if Jazz was holding up alright, and if his mother was crying. He missed Sam a lot too, wondering if she was still angry with him or if Tucker had honestly talked her down. It felt weird missing them, but at the same time, he knew it had to be done. He wasn't sure why, but this felt right. For whatever reason.

The stars began to poke out in the sky. They glimmered dimly with the nearby city's lights haloing on the skyline. So different from Amity Park. He could barely see the stars in the suburbs and the constant creaking and movements below would cancel out the quiet lull of night. Peaceful.

"Man, what am I even doing here?" He asked no one, shifting around so that his back lay against the sill. He looked at his hands as if they would have the answers. They didn't. "I left my home, my parents, my sister, my friends, practically everything I've ever known and for what? Some fancy room with a window on the ceiling? Some old lonely man that talked his way into having me believe I'd be better off with him? Open spaces? Long halls? Silence?" Danny groaned and held his head. "Nothing about this seems normal. Any other kid would have this shit together and know what they're getting into. And then there's me. Ha. One weekend and I've moved in with the only guy that's ever wanted me as badly as I want Paulina to be a Fenton." He sighed.

"What's wrong with me?" He asked the floor. "Why did I come here?"

Danny gave another frustrating groan and decided he would head for the dining hall or the kitchen. Probably the kitchen since he was too lazy to wait for anyone to make him something. Maybe Vlad kept junk food. Or maybe cereal. Did Vlad eat cereal? What does a billionaire eat? He left his door open and began down the hall. Immediately the darkness enveloped him. Danny shrugged it off and followed the hall to the winding stairs of the foyer. Slowly he walked down, then paused as he wasn't sure where anything was. Heh. I'll wing it.

He choose a path and went wherever it took him. He saw so many doors that he was sure a door factory somewhere had Vlad's name on top of their list. And they all looked to same. How did anyone find anything around here? He tried opening a few, but stopped when he remembered he was supposed to knock, so then he tried opening a few after he knocked. The rooms were empty. Most held books, others held storage and nonsense. One was a theatre, another some kind of bath house.

"Money does not buy happiness." Danny said aloud. "Just space with no one to share it with." And he shut the door.

After a few minutes, Danny grew bored. This was getting ridiculous. Although he knew one of Vlad's rules was not to phase through the walls, the kid inside him told him he'd just be doing it this once so he gave himself a pass and began phasing through to find his location quicker.

One room after another only had him more confused.

"Okay, seriously? I'm done. How many rooms does one man need?" Danny huffed. At this point he wasn't even hungry anymore and just wanted to head to bed. So that's what he did, phasing up through the ceiling and on to the second floor. A hallway greeted him, dark and barren. He wasn't sure if he was going the right way, but figured if he reached the end and his room wasn't there, he'd just turn around and go the other way. It all looked the same regardless. And if he met up with Vlad, then he'd ask for directions to the kitchen.

As he walked, he saw light beneath a few of the doors, but nothing substantial. A noise lingered in the distance but Danny shrugged it off as owls outside until he heard it grow a little louder.

Okay, that had sounded like a groan.

Now he was curious despite that he knew he was clearly going down the wrong hall. Wouldn't Vlad be working? It was Monday after all. As he drew nearer the room, the groaning had stopped and was replaced with dull shifting. He was close to whatever it was. He knew it was Vlad, felt it in himself, but his teenage curiousity pulled him along. While if it had been anyone else, Danny knew he'd ignore it and go about his business, so it was weird that he felt compelled to follow the sounds. Was he being nosy? Or was he just lonely? Or hungry? Or both?

Danny found himself at a door with light brightly spreading beneath it. It was silent now. He wasn't going to knock, he wasn't going to look. He absolutely wasn't going to interrupt Vlad's work. Would he be angry? Would he welcome him inside? Would he mind if he just knocked a little and came in?

He stood at the door, blinking at himself, wondering why he was standing there at all and why he felt the need to go in. He could smell something, like a musk, and curiouser he grew. But why?

One peek, he told himself and phased his head through the door.

Danny immediately pulled back out.

"Holy," he whispered, feeling his face flush. Was that really...? He phased in again, only to come back out just as fast. He covered his eyes. "How does he have naked pics of my mom?!" Only a day in and already Vlad was back to old habits, taking time to pop off to nude pictures of his mother. It was disgusting and why was he doing it now? Didn't he understand that it was early and Danny would be or could be running about lost? Danny had given him a chance to have his way with his mother and he turned it down! Vlad hadn't a reason to be masturbating to her! Especially not now! Emotions bubbled up from odd places. He wanted to go back to bed and to vomit at the same time. He was angry and also sad. Mostly sad? No, it was anger. Okay, yeah, sad. All the good feelings he'd had from the day were gone in an instant. But it wasn't that Vlad was having private time during hours when Danny may still be ghosting around, but more to the fact that it was his mother. And maybe it wasn't that it was mother, if he was honest, but just that... it was someone else. And that made little sense to him.

His chest tightened and Danny frowned. Hadn't they had fun over the weekend? Wasn't Danny being a good 'little badger' and finally giving in to what Vlad had always wanted? Didn't Vlad want him as an apprentice more than he wanted his mom? It wasn't his mother that he had invited to stay here! And why was this upsetting him so much?!

I'm going to knock, he thought eagerly. He would knock and make Vlad stop. Make him get up and put the pictures away. It didn't even matter to him how Vlad had acquired them, he just wanted him to stop.

The knock was louder than Danny had intended.

Shuffling was heard inside, but not much. Danny knocked again, hearing steps before light hit his eyes and made him squint to see Vlad's standing figure flushed at the doorway.

"Daniel?" He asked as if he was surprised. "I, I thought you had gone to bed." The musky smell he had whiffed down the hall suddenly hit him full force. It was fabulous in a very odd way. Danny tried to form words, finding the smell distracted him a bit.

"I'm lost." Danny told him. It was true. "I was trying to find the dining hall or the kitchen but I got lost and thought I'd come see you instead."

Vlad stared down at him. "You could have called."

"Yeah, well, I didn't think trying to find the kitchen would be like a Where's Waldo of manor fun times. And everything looks the same!" When had he come inside the room? The laptop on the desk was closed lid down, and anything that may have looked like Vlad was doing private time was removed. Danny felt himself feel happy about that.

"If it is that much of a problem, I can have Walter take you around the manor tomorrow and give you a floorplan to find your way, but seriously, Daniel, wandering about? I told you earlier not to do just this."

Danny smiled cockily, "I don't know if my teachers told you, but on a scale of 1 to 10 for my attention span, it's roughly a negative two." He took up Vlad's desk chair, feeling the warmth of where he had just been sitting, loving the feel and spinning around teasingly.

"Please don't do that, child, I'm working and very busy."

"I know." Danny chirped happily. It was obvious that Vlad was sexually frustrated from being interrupted. Good.

Vlad sighed, holding his forehead. "I can escort you to the kitchen or to your bedroom. Pick one."

"I don't want to be alone." Danny replied quickly, almost cutting Vlad off. Vlad stopped, looking up as if the word 'lonely' triggered something deep inside him. It wasn't a complete lie, but Danny didn't want to leave knowing Vlad would just continue where he left off.

Vlad sighed again, coming to some kind of silent resolution. "Ah, it's to be expected, I suppose." He breathed. "I've lived here for years on my own so the quiet doesn't bother me much these days. But you, boy, I can understand that the quiet may seem... unsettling."

"So, can I stay in here with you? Just until I'm sleepy enough?"

Vlad thought on that, looking between Danny and the floor for a moment. He then nodded. "Yes. You may stay. I'll put you to bed when you're ready."

Danny grinned stupidly from the chair. A small victory. His chest untwisted itself and relaxed. He could breathe again. Then he moved from the desk chair over to an armchair by yet another shelf of books. Vlad reclaimed his chair and was quick to open the laptop and close out whatever he was doing, rummaging through a drawer for his glasses. Danny only watched. After the glasses went about his nose, Danny couldn't help but to smile like an idiot as Vlad began to work. Typing away and calling on his mobile. It brought him a kind of sick glee that he knew Vlad wouldn't finish off to a picture of his mother. And while he knew that was some creepy self-satisfied factor all its own, he couldn't bring himself to care.

The last thing Danny heard was Vlad on his mobile before finally, peacefully, he fell asleep in the chair.

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