Courting Catastrophe

Rated T for mild language, sensuality, and some crude humor.

Party Where the Heat is On!

Author's Notes: Well, here's one more chapter to feed the addiction. I'm still swamped with homework though, so I'll be updating as soon as I can. I promise, I'm writing when I can, but I still have a lot of school work to do; sometimes I wonder if I should just scrap the history degree and go for English instead. Stupid college, getting in the way of my writing . . .

Ahem, in anycase, this chapter may feel a little disjointed, but I really wanted a few more scenes with dear old Vlad and a brief mention of Jazz's prom. Besides, Jazz freak-outs can be loads of fun. Read on, brave readers, read on.

Saturday morning dawned fresh and dewy, with sunshine attempting to slip past the blinds of Danny's bedroom. Slowly he opened his eyes before rolling on to his back and placing one head on his forehead. Today he would go out and be fitted for his tuxedo. He knew that Sam's dress was amethyst purple silk with black, but beyond that he knew nothing.

Inhaling deeply, Danny had a mini Zen meditation moment to focus himself for the day. He would be going out with Jazz and Tucker, and hopefully he would be able to avoid Vlad. The last week had been interesting, to say the least. The trouble with Sam was making his life difficult enough; he really didn't need the added stress of his archenemy sitting at the breakfast table as well.

Rolling his head, Danny glanced at the alarm clock next to his bed and took note of the fact that it was eight thirty. He'd told Tucker to meet him at Fenton Works at ten, and the boys would then set out with Jazz and head towards downtown Amity Park where the various tux shops were. Groaning softly, he pulled himself out of bed. Grabbing a pair of sweats and a tee shirt, he quickly dressed and went down stairs. He had figured on grabbing a bowl of cereal before taking his shower.

Instead he found Vlad in a bathrobe making pancakes while Maddie sat at the table reading the newspaper and Jack sipped coffee busily working on a sudoku puzzle.

"Flapjacks, Daniel?"

Still speechless, Danny gaped at Vlad before answering, "Uh, sure."

"Danny, isn't it nice of Vlad to make breakfast?" Maddie asked as Danny took his seat at the table.

"Wonderful," Danny replied with a yawn. He poured himself a cup of coffee as Vlad slid a plate of pancakes in front of him.

"I do hope you like blueberry. Your mother suggested it."

Danny gave Vlad a cautious glance, but nodded politely. "It's fine."

Giving Danny affectionate pats on the head (with the last tap being much harder than the previous ones), Vlad smiled at the boy. Only Danny was aware of the evil glint lurking in the blue eyes, because his parents smiled at the sign of their best friend acting paternally towards their most beloved son.

Jazz bounded down stairs in a pair of light blue sweats and a black tank top, her auburn hair pulled back into a ponytail. "Good morning!" she said cheerfully.

"Good morning, Jazzy-pants," Jack greeted. "Going somewhere?"

Jazz slipped into her shoes as she answered. "I'm going to take a short run. When I get back I'll have a quick bite to eat and then take a shower. After that, I'm taking Danny and Tucker to go look for tuxedos."

"All right," Maddie said as Jazz headed for the door. "Have fun sweet heart."

Danny shoved a forkful of pancakes into his mouth to avoid having to make a comment. Vlad placed some of the pancakes onto plates before placing them in front of Jack and Maddie. There was something up, since Danny couldn't see someone as rich as Vlad actually cooking. Then again, the entire time that they had stayed with Vlad at the college reunion, Danny hadn't seen any help either.

Yup, there was definitely a screw loose somewhere in the man, to live in a castle and not have a staff to maintain it. Maybe he needed some companionship. Danny smirked inwardly as he thought about finding a nice little cat for Vlad. At least Vlad could relate to something that was every bit as vain and egotistical as he was.

Vanity thy name is Vlad Masters.

Danny didn't realize that he had snickered aloud until Jack gave him a funny look. "Dan, is something funny?"

"Er," Danny said, trying to think of something funny. "Well, I was just thinking about what happened to Tucker in our creative writing class. He had written this poem to Valerie when he should have been working on his reading response and Mr. Lancer made him read to the whole class. I've never seen him so embarrassed. But, uh, don't mention it to him when he comes over later. He's still sensitive about it."

"Of course, don't worry about that," Maddie said. "So, a love poem to Valerie. That's so sweet and romantic. Have you written any poems to Sam?"

Danny dropped his fork and had to keep himself from choking on his pancakes. He stared at his mother in horror before he managed to squeak out, "I can't write poetry to save my life!"

By this time, Vlad had joined the Fentons at the breakfast table with his own plate of blueberry pancakes. Seated across of Danny, he raised a haughty eyebrow. "Really, is that so?"

"I meant it figuratively," Danny muttered darkly. "Mom, I'm really not good with words. I'll stick to leaving her flowers on her car and stuff like that."

"Well that's romantic too," Maddie said brightly. "Danny, you're such a thoughtful boy."

"Uh, sure. I gotta take a shower now." He put his fork on his plate and carried it to the sink. Dumping it there, he made a beeline for his bedroom for a change of clothes. After ten minutes of indecision, he finally grabbed a fresh change of underwear and his bathrobe, and headed down to the bathroom. He stepped into the shower contemplating how much time he had. Jazz would be out running for half an hour before she'd come home to freshen up and change. Then she'd have a bowl of cereal and then cheerfully usher him and Tucker to her car to face their dooms.

The cold water stung him like thousands of tiny pinpricks, but since he didn't feel quite awake yet, Danny needed the shock to his system. After about a minute, he was satisfied that he wouldn't fall asleep and turned up the heat.

Stepping from the shower ten minutes later, Danny felt cleaner than he had in days. There was something about trying on clothes that made him want to be so clean it made him look like a germaphobe. Tossing on his boxers, he made the quick walk to his room and looked at the pile of clothes that had accumulated on his bed during his frantic search for something to wear.

It wasn't like he was trying to find something that would impress a girl, especially since Sam wasn't going to be there, but the idea was for something that he could slip in and out of quickly. After digging through the pile for nearly five minutes, he located a pair of extra soccer shorts and a tee shirt. Making sure that he had an undershirt on, he dressed and then set about to finding a clean pair of socks.

A sharp rapping on his door nearly made him fall over as he tripped over several pairs of pants on his way the door. Opening it, he saw Jazz, sweaty and out of breath holding a laundry basket. "Mom said to give you this. I think it has your socks and underwear."

She thrust the basket in Danny's arms before marching herself off to the bathroom for a well-earned shower. Well, he had to hand it to his mother: she had timing. Finding a pair of socks that matched, he was finally able to put on his shoes.

Double-checking his appearance, he took a deep breath and headed down stairs. Maddie was busily cleaning up breakfast as Jack and Vlad played chess in the living room. Taking a spot on the couch, Danny picked up a magazine and flipped through it as he waited for Tucker. He didn't have to wait long, as a couple of minutes later Tucker walked through the door. After so many years as friends, Sam and Tucker were like family, and Jack and Maddie were always there to welcome them with open arms and a fresh batch of cookies.

"Hi Mr. Fenton," Tucker greeted. "Mr. Masters."

Jack waved a hand at Tucker as he studied the chessboard, but Vlad gave the boy a good look over. "I don't believe we've met."

"The name's Tucker Foley, I'm Danny's best friend."

Vlad nodded. "Best friends are a great thing, wouldn't you say, Jack?"

"Mm-hmm," Jack murmured before moving his rook. "Check!"

Vlad's attention snapped back to the chessboard. "But how-"

"It's a legit move," Danny observed. "Good job, Dad."

"Thanks, son. So you two will be off when Jazz gets down here?"

"It could be a while. The last time I saw her, she thrust a laundry basket in my arms and then stalked off to the shower. She'll have to dry her hair, get dressed, put on her make up and who knows what else. Girls take forever."

Jazz proved him wrong when she came downstairs ten minutes later. Her hair was damp, her make up minimal, and she was in a pair of jean shorts and a peach tank top. "All right, let's go." She slid her sunglasses on and motioned for Tucker and Danny to follow her out to her car.

"Well, later Dad, Vlad."

"Have fun!" Jack said. "Pick something really nice, but if you can't find anything, I'll have a hazmat suit all ready for you."

Vlad sniggered.

"Mr. Fenton, Mr. Masters."

"Young Tucker, it was so nice to meet you. Maybe I'll see you again soon? Perhaps at Prom."

"I'll be there, with the hottest girl in school."

"That's a matter of opinion. Valerie is pretty and all . . ." Danny countered.

"You're taking Miss Grey?" Vlad asked, suddenly interested and cutting Danny off.

Tucker suddenly had the sinking feeling in his stomach that he shouldn't have brought it up at all, which of course was confirmed by Danny's suddenly stricken look. "Er, yeah."

"Ah, well isn't that nice. You boys have fun and don't get into any trouble," Vlad said, waving as he sent them off.

As the door shut behind Danny, Tucker and Jazz, Jack raised an eyebrow at his friend. "V-man, are you sure you don't have it in you to be a parent?"

Vlad chuckled. "I'm sure, Jack. But I do like to think of Daniel and Jazmine as if they were my own."

Jack shrugged. "If you say so."

Tucker apologized profusely the entire ride downtown. "I am so sorry! I should have known better than to say anything to Vlad."

"Relax," Danny sighed. "I'm pretty sure that Vlad won't try anything, unless he makes Val a dress with accessories to kill me."

"I'm so sorry!" Tucker said again, causing Danny and Jazz to cringe.

"Okay, Tucker, I hate to interrupt your self-loathing, but do you have any idea where you want to get your tux?" Jazz asked.

Falling silent, Tucker considered the possibilities. "How about the Tux Stop in downtown?"

Jazz nodded and changed lanes so that she could make her way downtown. It had been a while since she'd had to drive in Amity Park, so she found herself reliant on Danny passenger side driving. Thankfully Danny had spent enough time flying over Amity Park so he had the best knowledge of how the streets were set up.

Danny and Tucker continued debating whether or not Vlad would try something sneaky at Prom as Jazz let her mind wander back to her own senior prom. She could vaguely remember it, which she found depressing on many levels. Senior proms only happened once, so there should be plenty of reasons for her to remember, but she couldn't really name one interesting thing that happened.

"Well darn it!" she muttered to no one in particular.

Danny and Tucker had paused in their conversation at just the right moment to hear Jazz mutter. "Uh, Jazz, something wrong?" Danny asked, giving his sister a side glace.

She let out a frustrated sigh. "I can't remember my senior prom. I can't even remember the name of my date, and it was only two years ago. There's something wrong with me!"

"Nah," Tucker disagreed. "It's only because you didn't have a mortal enemy, jealous best friend or potential riot on your hands."

Glaring into the rearview mirror, Jazz growled at Tucker. "Not helping!"

"Jazz, I thought that you had a box of stuff that you saved from high school. You know, pictures, souvenirs and so forth," Danny said, wondering why his sister was all of a sudden in a bad mood.

"I do. I just don't know where it is at the moment. Anyway, they always say that your senior prom is the most memorable part of your high school experience and I can't remember my date's name!" she burst.

Danny couldn't stop the chuckle, and regretted it immediately. "Oh come on Jazz. You were always way to old for that kind of thing anyway."

"That's what I mean!" Jazz nearly screeched, causing Danny and Tucker to cover their ears. "I killed my inner child when I was still a child!"

Tucker leaned in next to Danny and hissed, "She's just now realizing it?"

Danny swatted Tucker away and placed his hand gently on her shoulder. "Aw, don't worry about it Jazz. It was probably really boring anyway."

Another disgruntled sigh came from the driver's seat as Danny and Tucker exchanged worried glances. It wasn't like Jazz to be upset over these sorts of trivial matters. She probably couldn't remember her Prom because she had been in the bathroom doing therapy sessions with various girls who were freaking out over pimples, date problems, dress malfunctions and bad seafood. Danny had gotten an earful the next afternoon when Jazz confided that she felt as if she had made breakthroughs with many of the girls in her class. Never mind the fact that her date, Adam Broenburger, had been abandoned on the dance floor as soon as a girl dashed off to the bathroom in tears.

"If it makes you feel any better," Danny said gently, "your date's name was Adam Broenburger. You spent most the dance trying to convince every girl in the women's room to get back out on the dance floor and have fun."

"Was that what happened?" Jazz asked, biting her lip in confusion. "I was giving therapy and left my date alone?"

"If memory serves, yes," Danny answered.

"Wow, that's got to be a first. Most girls don't care about what happens to the others," Tucker mused.

"And since when have you been an expert on female behavioral patterns at large social functions?" Jazz asked irritably.

"Well, never," Tucker answered sheepishly.

"Then you'll understand when I say you're full of it."

Danny's hand flew to his mouth to stifle his laughter. "This has been interesting, but we're almost to the Tux Stop, so let's put on our happy faces and make it look like we want to be trying on penguin suits."

"Fine," Tucker and Jazz answered, glaring at each other via the rearview mirror.

Like I said, I personally feel like it's a little disjointed and doesn't flow as well as it could, but sadly I couldn't find a way to make it flow easier.

I'm honestly trying here, folks, but at the moment, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein is filling my brain, along with the years leading up to the Civil War and Tang Dynasty China. Not to mention I still have that 10-15 page paper on the Vietnam War to deal with. Updates may be few and far between following this one, depending on how much school work I have to contend with.

Always, leave a review since I love to know what you people think!