Danny blinked and looked around, then jumped as a voice said, "Welcome back."

He whirled around to see…himself swiveling around in his desk chair, obviously bored. Looking around slightly, he realized that he was, in fact, in his room and turned his puzzled expression back to the apparition. "Shade?"

Shade chuckled lightly. "Can I keep your dad? He's funnier than my dad."

Danny stared for a moment longer, then scoffed. "No, you can't have my dad. What are you doing here?"

"Damage control," he answered shortly. It had somehow become his favorite phrase of the day. "Me and Val…my Val have been posing as you and your Val since last night. It was actually funny, watching her try to tolerate Star. They're not exactly friends in my world. So what happened?"

Danny's eyes fixed on the floor, and he shook his head. "Something I'm going to make sure doesn't." No matter what, he added silently.


The cemetery had always been a source of comfort as one of the few places people seldom went willingly. She didn't like people much; she never had. They were inferior beings, Neanderthals eating mud with no taste in the finer things.

Charles Winchester III. She laughed slightly at the name of her childhood hero. M.A.S.H. had been her favorite television show because of him. He was so knowing, so superior to everyone around him. He'd been her first obsession, in fact. She thought it was a pity she could no longer taste cognac. She'd acquired a great liking for it until her stepfather caught her in the liquor cabinet. Not that padlocks ever stopped her for long.

Then was theater and Phantom of the Opera. Well, Erik had ruined that one for her. Suddenly, the beloved illusion she'd maintained for so long gave her a sense of claustrophobia. No longer could she bear to be seen as a fourteen-year-old girl, the way she'd looked the day she fled her body for good. She'd never had regrets before, but she found herself wondering if she should have tried harder back then. She was certain she could have learned control if she'd only made the effort.

The stone was old and weathered. It was a milestone in her life, a symbolic representation of who she was. She put her hand over the gouge she'd once blasted into it, removing the date of death as a statement that she would never die.

She wondered what was taking Danny so long. She'd expected his enraged revenge several hours prior.

"Kat!" he called then.

"Speak of the devil," she sighed quietly. Louder, she said, "Is that Dad's work I'm hearing?"

"It's Valerie."

"What was she saying about Technus' work?" the ghost hunter whispered.

"I'll…tell you later…" the ghost replied. "Kat, turn around. We need to talk."

Kat did not comply, although she did stand. "There's nothing to talk about. I'm not apologizing."

"Yeah," Danny huffed. "I've figured that out by now. You never admit to doing anything wrong, do you?"

"Of course, not. I am perfect in every way."

"Then turn around."

Several seconds passed. Valerie looked between the two and wondered what was going on. At last, she shook her head. "Why bother? She doesn't care."

"Don't care?" Kat exclaimed, whirling around. "Apologies are a dime a dozen! They are meaningless. What do you want me to say? That I'm sorry? Because 'sorry' can't begin to encompass it!"

"Why did you do it in the first place?" Danny demanded.

She closed her eyes and looked away. "Because I'm the worst example of egomania that humanity can possibly conjure up. I am, as you're so fond of pointing out, my father's daughter. That's something I take great pride in." She tried to meet his gaze and found that she still couldn't. "And…I'm sorry…"

"I think you should go home for a few days," Danny said after a moment. Kat nodded acceptance and vanished.


A/N: Next up: Lament Impropmtu. And let me tell you, it certainly was impromptu. I'd like to thank everyone for reading; Darkflame, Sleep Warrior, and Random for making the effort to review every new chapter. That really means the world to me. And WingsofMorphius just for being so cool and awesome and writing Moments of Clarity, which is awesome. If you haven't read it, go do so! /squeals in fangirlish glee/