Having fun with this? Why yes I am! ;D I'm still playing around with the plot, but I do know I want to keep things like their Ghostly Obsessions close to canon—so expect things like Vlad becoming obsessed with Danny in the future, and of course Mr. Phantom playing hero. ;D
Vlad slammed his locker shut, biting the edge of his lip. Even wearing his luck Packers' shirt hadn't improved his mood much after the disaster from last night.
The mystery ghost was powerful and strong, more so than Vlad gave him credit for. After Phantom left, Vlad had intended to corner another roaming ghost for information but he couldn't find one! Phantom's sheer presence in the area had sent every ghost in the city into hiding. Either word that he was there traveled quickly, or they could all feel his power.
Vlad hauled his book back over his shoulder, and shoved his hands in his pockets. If he wanted to gather more information, he'd need to corner a ghost and ask.
Hopefully they didn't stay away too long after Phantom's appearance in town.
"Hey V-man!" A boisterous voice called from down the hallway. Vlad rolled his eyes, but smiled all the same. His best friend, otherwise known as the one and only Jack Fenton. The teenager that already towered over the tallest teacher in their school ran to meet Vlad. "Wait up!"
"I wasn't moving," Vlad said as Jack caught up and slapped Vlad on the back with a laugh. He wheezed from the impact, and sucked in a breath. "What's up?"
"Maddie did it!" Jack said, pumping his fist in the air. "She got us an in with the local Guys in White branch! We're going to get our internship back!"
"Oh?" Vlad asked, squeezing his shoulder strap. He swallowed hard and used every inch of his control to keep his limbs from going intangible from shock. "I thought after you blew up that portal when you turned it on that we'd never be allowed in there again."
"Well, she did some talking and convinced them it was an accident," Jack said. He rubbed the back of his neck, and hunched his shoulders together. "And they didn't hate us too much. I mean, they helped clear up that ecto-acne you got from it. Which I apologized about."
"I know you did, Jack," Vlad sighed.
Vlad wrapped his arms around his chest and squeezed. If this were before the accident Vlad would have jumped for joy at a second chance to join the Guys in White so early. It was exactly what he needed to procure a future in Ghost Hunting. However, this was after the accident. After that damn portal turned on in his face. After Vlad became half ghost. If Vlad were to go back to that facility now, he'd probably set off every piece of ghost equipment in the building.
And Vlad knew what the Guys in White did to ghosts.
"I-I'm very happy for you, Jack. You and Maddie both, I am," Vlad started. Jack's excited face fell, and Vlad became very aware that they were alone in the school hallway. Vlad chose his words carefully, "But I think, that I've had enough of that internship."
"What are you talking about, V-Man? This is the dream! This is it!" Jack said. "You're the only one I know who loves ghosts maybe more than I do. Why would you pass this up?"
"I almost died, Jack!" Vlad shouted. He had, technically. Half of him. But those were semantics and right now Vlad needed an impact statement. He enhanced the performance with a step back and a shake of the head; arms tighter around himself. "I can't go back there. Not again. I'm sorry, I'm truly sorry my friend but I can't."
"Vladdie," Jack said, voice full of something that sounded an awful lot like pity.
He reached out a meaty hand and Vlad stepped out of reach. He needed an out to think. He needed a more concrete excuse before Maddie got involved. She'd be more persistent that Jack. "I'm sorry."
Vlad turned and ran. Jack was fast for his size, but Vlad was small and light. He easily outpaced his friend and escaping him turned simple the second he was out the door. Vlad went invisible, flew up and took refuge on the school roof.
He watched Jack crash out the front door of the school, calling out Vlad's name, before cursing and heading down the street.
Vlad sighed and transformed fully into Plasmius before flying off the roof and heading home. His powers running amok on him, evil ghosts chasing him down and attacking him, super powered Phantoms with double meaning, losing his chance at his chosen future. These ghost powers continued to become a burden Vlad wasn't sure that he wanted.
He touched down in his backyard, and transformed back. He walked over to the picnic table set up on his back porch and sat down. He drew little ectoplasm squares in the air with his fingertip and huffed.
"It's not fair," Vlad said, continuing his square. "I've wanted to hunt ghosts all my life, and now I'm half of one.
"I can't even go back to that internship because of it!" Vlad shouted, slamming his hand on the table. He growled, and covered his face. He needed to calm down. All this aggression would cause a power flare up. He didn't need to set the back yard on fire again. "This bites."
Vlad went back to drawing the square. The bright pink glow of ectoplasm hung in the air as he drew each square over and over in the same place. He thought of how happy Jack had looked coming up to tell him the good news. Vlad's ectoplasm grew brighter as he drew. How he'd lost his chance once again to work side by side with Maddie in a real lab. He grit his teeth and his power surged.
"Butter biscuits! Vlad shouted, drawing the square quickly in the air with an angry stroke.
And this time it stayed there.
Vlad dropped his mouth at the glass like square that was floating in front of him. He reached his finger up and tapped it. Solid. He'd made a solid ectoplasmic shield.
He waved his hand threw it, and the ectoplasm wiped away in a swirling fog. Vlad drew the square again. Nothing.
"Come on! You can't show me a new trick and not let me repeat it!" He yelled, drawing the square again. He concentrated and after two more tries: Another shield. Vlad waved it away and remembered how it felt. He drew another, and got it on the first try. "Yes!"
Vlad turned away from the table and turned into Plasmius. Reaching into the boost of power he got from his full ghost form, he drew a bigger square. Made a bigger shield. The gleaming, translucent glass shield was amazing. Vlad wondered what it was capable of blocking. Ectoplasm shots? Nothing? Who knew, but Vlad had a new trick!
He wondered if Phantom could make shields.
"V-man! You home?" Jack called from the front yard.
Vlad dropped to the ground and transformed in an instant. He'd spent so much time pouting he forgot to come up with a better story! At least it was just Jack. He was easier to lie to.
"Come on Vlad! We just want to talk!" That yell was Maddie.
"In the back yard," he shouted, taking a seat back at the picnic table. He waited for the two of them, and as Maddie and Jack both climbed over his backyard fence, Vlad gave a tiny wave. "Hey, guys."
"Are you alright?" Jack asked, taking a seat on the other side of the table. The entire thing tilted up toward him, raising Vlad and his feet into the air. "You ran off pretty quick there."
"Ah, well," Vlad said. "You caught me off guard."
"That's okay," Maddie said. She took a seat next to Jack and looked up at Vlad with those perfect, determined eyes. "Jack told me everything and we talked about it."
"You talked about it?" Vlad asked, looking between the two. They looked like a unified front, and he couldn't help the stab of jealousy. "Talked about what?"
"We're going to turn down the internship," Maddie said, her voice every inch as determined as her gaze.
"What?" Vlad said, pushing up on the table with his hands. "You can't do that! It's your dream!"
"And yours," Jack said, licking his lips. "But dreams change."
"Jack's right," Maddie said. She reached over and put a hand on Vlad's. She squeezed and Jack did the same, putting his hand right on top of hers. Maddie said, "Vlad Masters, we are a team. And team's stick together! If you can't go back to that facility, than neither are we!"
"But," Vlad's voice choked, "What about the ghosts?"
"Who needs those stupid Guys in White to hunt ghosts?" Jack said, throwing a fist in the air. He gave a thumbs up and reached across the table to pull both Maddie and Vlad into a hug. "We'll just do it ourselves! How hard could it be?"
"Jacks' right," Maddie said, much more comfortable in Jacks' arms as she was not dragged halfway across the table like Vlad was at the moment. Maddie flipped her hair back. "The Guys in White had to start somewhere, too. They could use the competition."
"Guys," Vlad started. He pulled out of Jack's grip and sat on the bench again. Maddie and Jack both kept smiling at him, bright and welcome. He rubbed at his chest, where it had started to clench. "I don't know what to say."
"Teen Ghost Hunters?" Jack asked, sticking his hand in the middle of the table.
"Teen Ghost Hunters!" Maddie said, slapping her hand on top of his palm. She looked at Vlad and asked, "Team?"
"Team Ghost Hunters," Vlad said, putting his hand over theirs and closing his fingers in so that he held tight to their hands.
Jack threw their hands up into the air and yelled in a cheer. He did a little dance as he pumped his fists in the air and started to talk about uniforms and finding a lab space. Maddie clapped her hands and jumped up and down, and Vlad. Vlad crossed his hands on the table and felt a smile tugging on his face.
Maybe things would work out after all.