Okay final chapter, and it's very long, so happy reading!
Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom
Chapter 15: Karma
Vlad calmly landed on the floor of his lab, before walking up to the computer mainframe. "Maddie, lockdown the lab, except for the ghost portal," he ordered.
"Right away, sweet cheeks," the hologram said as she appeared.
Danny shifted nervously in the man's hands and his ears lowered in apprehension as odd clicks and buzzing noises sounded around him. "Vlad?" he called fearfully, dropping the ball in his mouth, where it rolled somewhere on the floor.
Right then, he heard muffled pounding and his sister's panicked voice, which made him even more wary. Vlad, on the other hand, totally disregarded the sounds. "I must admit, I never thought things would come down to this, Daniel."
Danny looked up with a confused expression. Why did the man sound so upset? Vlad placed the badger down on a metallic counter, before pulling up a near by stool and sitting in front of the teen. The small animal slowly sat on his rump, his tail curling around his body, while his flashing eyes stayed fixed on the man's red ones. "You don't have the remote notion of what's going to happen to you, do you?" Vlad questioned dejectedly.
Danny just tilted his head. At this, the older half-ghost flicked the teen softly on the nose and smiled. "It's better that way, little badger."
The badger's ears perked and he stood in a playful stance. "Are we hiding from my sister?"
Vlad's expression changed into one of amusement. "You could say that. It's best that she doesn't witness whatever will happen shortly."
"Where did my friends go?"
Vlad sighed. "I wish I knew."
"Let's go find them!" Danny chittered excitedly, "I like to cuddle with Sam, and Tucker makes a fun toy; he even squeaks!"
The billionaire smiled sadly at his one track mind. "We can not. We wouldn't make it."
He then crossed his arms and shook his head. "And to my misfortune, I can not bring myself to take the only solution present to all this." Truth was, every time he even contemplated the idea of harming the teen, he felt sick within. No matter how angry he tried to make himself by remembering everything Danny had done to him, or how many times he would logically list the reasons the teen didn't deserve his mercy, he just couldn't do it! So here he sat with his young rival; awaiting what now seemed to be an inevitable fate for both of them… if there was a time he could be deemed pathetic, this was it, or at least he believed so.
Danny had no clue what Vlad was talking about, but after spending some time with the man, he no longer felt very afraid or untrusting of him, especially now that he looked so troubled.
The young badger placed his front paws on the man's crossed arms and purred as a comforting gesture. "Don't be sad," he cooed. Plasmius wasn't very surprised, and certainly not comforted, by the teen's actions. If anything, they caused him greater sadness. This wasn't the boy he had grown to know so well, because that boy would never act this way towards him.
Danny stopped purring at seeing Vlad's gaze move away from him. …He was ignoring his affection. The badger's ears dropped as he removed his paws from the man's crossed arms. He took a few steps away, before sitting back down with a dejected posture. The older half-ghost didn't notice the teen's flashing eyes slow down, staying green longer then brown. Danny sighed, immediately bringing his arch enemy's attention towards him. "I'm sorry," he said, causing the billionaire's eyes to widen in disbelief.
"What?" Plasmius whispered.
Danny looked up at him "I'm sorry that we have never been able to get along."
Vlad uncrossed his arms as his expression softened and a smile appeared on his lips. "So am I, Daniel. I truly wish things could be different," he said with all sincerity before patting the teen on the head.
Danny instantly became content from the man's display of affection and he quickly adapted a playful stance. "Wanna play?"
Vlad chuckled. "I suppose," he replied amused, "but allow me to switch forms; I no longer require my ghost powers." As black rings appeared on his waist, the older half-ghost picked up the ball from the floor the badger had dropped and handed it to him.
"Oh Pumpkin, Desiree, the wishing ghost has arrived in Amity Park," the Maddie program said delightfully.
Vlad's head snapped towards the projection, and cut short his transformation. He quickly walked over to the large computer system. "Exact location?"
"Amity Park's shipping harbor."
The older half-ghost spun back around and grabbed the teen on the bench, earning him a startled yelp. "Hey! Where are we going? I thought we were going to play with my ball!" Danny protested.
"We're playing a new game. It's called, getting to the pier before the sun rises," Vlad said hurriedly as he pulled open a nearby drawer.
He grabbed a red thermos from within and inspected it with a smirk. "This, my boy, is your new toy."
"It is?" Danny asked, curiously looking at the object the man was showing him.
The billionaire did not respond, instead, he secured his hold on the teen before flying upwards and phasing straight through his house. The small creature let out an alarmed cry at the sudden sensations and movement. "Calm yourself and pay close attention," Vlad scolded, soaring higher into the morning sky. "We are about to encounter the ghost responsible for our current state."
Danny cocked his head. "What state is that?"
Plasmius rolled his eyes. "Let's try this again," he said annoyed. "We are about to run into a dangerous ghost."
The badger's ears lowered. "Is it going to try to eat me?"
"No, it's going to try to kill you," Vlad replied bluntly.
Danny began to panic. "I want to go back with my sister!"
"You can not! Danny, listen to me; you must try to understand! You are still in there; I've seen it! You have to fight back these instincts; they are not your own! If we are not successful you will forget everyone you care about; we both will lose our life! Do you understand?"
Danny shut his eyes as he fought to push aside the haze inside his own mind. "Y-Yeah."
"This is a spectral thermos; it captures ghosts or in your terms, a very helpful toy. All you have to do is stay with it if for whatever reason I drop it." Vlad frowned deeply. "I am not certain if undoing the wish will have consequences in itself; I have learned the hard way that not all is as at it seems with Desiree, that it why it is imperative that you do not let her take this away from you. Do not part from this thermos no matter what occurs."
"Guard the toy, got it!" Danny replied.
"Good boy; Now, if I can not-" Vlad abruptly halted whatever he was going to say and let out a sharp grunt. "Blast! Not now," he said through gritted teeth as he halted in mid-flight.
The badger chittered nervously as he observed a strange, glowing, pink mist leave Plasmius' body in waves. "What's wrong?"
Danny's answer came in the form of two black rings appearing around the older half-ghost's waist. The man let out a panicked gasp as Plasmius disappeared, leaving a very human Vlad. "Aahhh!" he screamed as they instantly began to plummet down towards earth.
Vlad shut his eyes in concentration and attempted to call forth his ghost half again. But try as he might, he could not; he could barely feel his powers anymore. If it wasn't for the fact that he was scared out of his mind, he would definitely laugh at the irony in being done in minutes before Desiree's wish would, and all because of his own foolishness no less; how could he have risked flying so fast and so high in his current state?
Danny was beyond panicked. Even he knew there was no way they could survive a fall this high. He suddenly felt Vlad grab him close, in a protecting manner… It was in fact what the man was doing. The billionaire was certain he had no chance of withstanding such a fall, but maybe, he could protect Danny enough for him to. The wish nulled both ways, so at least something positive would come out of this; at least the young hybrid would return to normal. If Vlad survived this somehow, he knew he was going to spend a good deal of time pondering his need to save the boy.
Danny shut his eyes and whimpered as the ground closed in. He didn't notice the glow around his body intensify followed by a sudden halt in midair. Vlad, on the other hand, instantly noticed."
The man stared wide eyed at Danny before risking a turn of his head to confirm what he felt. Indeed they were no longer falling; they were hovering a few feet above the ground. Vlad turned his eyes back to the glowing and shaking badger.
"Daniel," he called in a raspy voice caused by the screaming he was doing a moment ago. The instant the teen opened his eyes, both half-ghosts dropped the remaining feet. Vlad moaned as the back of his skull, and his spine, impacted the concrete below. He sat up and rubbed his sore head. "That was extremely close," he mumbled.
Danny just stared at his surroundings in confusion. He had no idea how they had survived such a fall. It was then he noticed that Vlad didn't look like Vlad. The badger yelped and jumped off the man's torso. "What's going on? Where did Vlad go and who's this guy?" he asked nervously.
"Ow" Vlad complained, still dazed. He quickly came back to at seeing Danny slowly retreating from him. "No, Daniel. It's me. I'm Vlad. Remember, I told you I was half-ghost like you? Well, this is my human form."
The teen just stared at him. He had no idea what the man was saying. "Oh, cherry strudels! He does not understand me and I-" He cursed once again before addressing the badger.
"Daniel, we really don't have time for this." Vlad said worriedly. He then quickly recalled the thermos in his hand. "Daniel, look, it's me. Remember this?" he asked gently.
The teen looked at the thermos the man held and his ears lowered. "The toy… Why does he have it? Unless…" He sniffed the air. "Hey, that guy is Vlad!"
The billionaire sighed in relief at seeing Danny had figured it out. He walked up to the badger and picked him up, only to receive a hard bite on his right hand.
"Aah!" the man screeched, grasping his bitten hand with the other. "What the blazes was that for?!" Vlad asked the growling badger, who was now sitting on his left shoulder.
"That was for scaring me, twice," Danny informed angrily
Vlad grabbed the teen off his shoulder. "Remind me to get you back for that when all this is over, but right now we need to get to the pier…" He looked around at their surroundings. Luckily, they were about two blocks away. "I don't suppose you can fly us there?" he asked the half-ghost badger.
Danny tilted his head to the side.
"I didn't think so," he murmured dryly. Without any other option left, Vlad ran towards their destination.
Sam jumped out of the speeder the moment the vehicle landed in the billionaire's lab. "Come on, Tucker, let's go find Danny!" she said urgently, a Fenton thermos in her right hand.
"Wait, Sam, we can't just run out there without anything to defend ourselves and Danny with," he said, before grabbing the first two ghost weapons he saw in the back of the speeder, which happen to be the Fenton ghost rod and the ecto-lipstick. Tucker jumped out of the ship and was about to head to the lab's mainframe, when soft weeping caught his and Sam's attention.
The goth girl ran over to the door, realizing that the sound was coming from outside the lab. "What? I can't get out! Tucker, the door's bolted shut!"
The boy ran up to his friend and attempted to pull the door open. "Hey, it's locked!"
Sam gave him a dry look. "Oh, yeah, you already said that," he reflected meekly.
"Hello! Is anyone out there?" Tucker yelled, knocking on the door a few times.
The teens heard the weeping halt, before loud shuffling, as if someone was sprinting to their feet, replaced it. "Tucker?" Jazz's cracked voice questioned.
"Jazz?" Sam and Tucker replied confused.
"Let me in!" she suddenly shrieked, pounding on the door again.
"Let you in? We want to get out," Tucker replied.
"No, you two don't understand; Vlad, he took Danny in there and I think he's going to…hold on, they're not in there?!"
Sam shook her head. "No; there's no one but us here. Vlad and Danny probably headed to wherever Desiree is," she stated, not understanding why her friend's sister sounded so scared.
"Are you sure? I-I was sure he was going to hurt Danny, Sam!"
The goth girl became really apprehensive as Skulker's words came back to her mind. No, she wasn't sure… what if… "Tucker, we have to find a way out of here! …Tucker?" she called, realizing he was no longer beside her.
"I'm over here, Sam" he replied, his attention to the lab's mainframe. "He locked everything down…. I don't know why…" The last part was just a murmur.
"Hang on, Jazz, Tucker's going to try to unlock the door." Sam said, before running over to her friend.
Right then the Maddie program activated and appeared next to Tucker. "You called, honey m- Wait a minute, you are not my cherry tart," the hologram stated looking at the techno geek with a frown.
"Uh, yeah…" Tucker said uncomfortably. "Man, I don't know what's more disturbing, that he named his cat Maddie or that he has a virtual program of her" he said under his breath.
"Unlock the doors," Sam ordered, walking up behind "Maddie".
The animated figure curiously tilted her head at the two teens, before shaking her head. "Sorry, no can do; Masters ordered me to lock down the lab," she informed, crossing her arms in front of her.
"Look, you obsessed man's crazy projection, if you-
"Sam," Tucker cut off, "it's a computer program; you can't argue with it; if anything you have to be tender to it; speak its lingo," he said with a smile as he turned back to the mainframe.
Sam looked at her friend weirdly, but then a whirling sound redirected her attention. The girl gasp at seeing a gun pointed at her from the ceiling. "There's nothing wrong with being a little obsessed!" the hologram growled.
"Ugh… Tucker?" Sam called warily, before dodging a blast. "Tucker! Turn this thing off!" she yelled as more guns appeared and aimed at her.
"Hold on, Sam, I'm trying to find out where Desiree's at," he replied, his focus fully on the mainframe.
The girl continued to dodge and duck as assaults came at her, while her friend calmly worked with the computer system. "Yes, I'm in!" the male teen exclaimed, "let's see… ooo, nice; I got to get me one of these; I wonder what…No, no, focus dude… Okay, mapping program….Here it is! ….She's at the docks!"
Sam stared wide eyed at the guns that now had her completely surrounded. "Masters has ordered me to terminate all intruders," the hologram said with a sinister smile at the girl.
Suddenly all the weapons retracted and Maddie gasped. She turned towards the other teen with a frown. "May I ask what you think you are doing?" she said, moving towards Tucker. "I'll have you know my love cake does not like others meddling with his things."
"Sorry, but we need to get to Danny," Tucker replied, "so please unlock the lab."
Maddie crossed her arms. "You might have gained control of the system, but you do not know the password, and without it I can not carry out your command."
"Maddie Masters" Sam and Tucker said at the same time.
Automatically the Maddie program snapped her fingers and the entire lab unlocked. "How did you know?"
Sam scoffed. "It's not that hard to figure out."
The projection watched as the two kids headed towards the door with a frown, but then her demeanor became its usual cheery one. "Oh well, I better go make tea and cookies for when my dumpling returns," she said excitedly before disappearing.
"Tucker, do you know where they're at?" Jazz asked as the two younger teens stepped out.
"I think they're at the pier…but the sun will be up any minute; I don't even think we'll make it there in time," Tucker said worriedly.
"We're going to try anyways; come on," Sam said before sprinting into a run down the hall. The other two teens raced after her and headed towards the exit as fast as they could, knowing every second counted.
"If… I knew….. I ….would… be running…… a marathon… I would have…. worn… the proper… attire," Vlad gasped out, his body hunched over as he tried to regain control of his breathing.
Danny's ears were lowered as he stared around their current location. Except for the sounds of seagulls the area was completely silent. Vlad straightened his position and walked toward the pier, his eyes narrowed with resolve. Desiree had to be around here somewhere and he knew she would most likely be expecting him. He had no means of surprising the ghost, especially now that he was in his human form, but that didn't mean he would let her surprise him. Luckily, his ghost sense would prevent that.
The man halted his movements at feeling Danny shudder in his hands, unaware that the reason was due to his ghost sense triggering a few seconds before. "S-Something's here" the badger warned.
Vlad bit the inside of his lower lip as he directed his eyes to a small warehouse a few feet in front of them. "Sugar canes! I should have brought an assault weapon of some sort," he thought angrily. He had never counted on having such a large energy drain before confronting the wishing ghost and so he didn't even ponder the idea of bringing any form of ghost weapon. Everything he needed to defend himself was naturally built into him, or it use to be; he wasn't sure if he could even form an energy blast in his hand at the moment. Vlad sighed before continuing forward; something told him the being he was looking for was somewhere within that storage room.
"Vlad," the badger chirped nervously as the man approached the warehouse. Danny didn't want to go where the older half-ghost seemed determined to go to. Whatever he sensed earlier it was in there. "Vlad… d-don't go in there."
"Daniel, be quiet," the billionaire whispered harshly. He turned the knob on the door and found it was unlocked. The man tightened his grasp on the thermos as he entered the small storage room. The badger's nervousness was indication enough for him that Desiree was in here, so why could he not sense her?
It was then that Danny's ghost sense went off again, and this time Vlad saw it. The man tensed as the teen jumped on his shoulder and growled at something behind him. He realized at that moment, his ghost sense wasn't working…
Vlad whirled around only to get blasted in the chest by a green beam. Danny instantly lost his footing and ended up on the ground, where he roughly rolled until a collision with a large box brought him to a stop. As for the older hybrid, he was tossed into several stacked, plastic containers that fell around him after impact.
Danny pressed himself against the large box behind him as he fearfully watched the being that attacked them float towards the man's fallen form. He wanted to move, to do something, as he watched the women's hands light up with green flames, but his instincts kept him frozen in place.
"I knew you were behind this," Desiree growled, staring down at the billionaire with a menacing glare.
Vlad didn't even bother to pull himself up. He wasn't trying to fight the ghost; that could wait until later; all he was focused on was getting out a few words from his mouth. "I wish- Aah!" he screamed as Desiree slammed him further into the hard containers.
"Oh no, you are not making anymore wishes, ever," she said sinisterly. The wishing ghost wrapped her hand around the man's neck causing his eyes to widen in alarm as she began to squeeze. "Fool, do you really think I'm going to let you undo this wish. With the ghost boy gone there will be no one to get in the way of my spell binding. I will become all powerful!"
All Vlad could do was glare at Desiree while attempting to dislodge her hand. He needed to speak, but she was cutting off his oxygen supply very efficiently. He knew, however, that the ghost could not waste him or the wish would null for Danny. She was just trying to diminish what little time they had, and to his increasing despair, he couldn't do anything to prevent it. "You should be glad, ghost man, Together, we have done what no one else has been able to; we have defeated the ghost boy!"
"Leave him alone!" Desiree heard from behind her. She turned her head and was surprised to see a small badger, growling dangerously at her.
Her shock quickly melted and she threw her head back and cackled hysterically. "Oh! This is too adorable! I should thank those two humans for forcing me out here. I can't even recall the last time I have been this amused!"
Danny's eyes narrowed. He could feel this ghost was very dangerous, but he refused to listen to his instincts. He was not going to sit back and watch her harm one of the only people he knew and liked. "I'm warning you; back off!"
Desiree raised an eyebrow at seeing the teen begin to glow green. Her surprise quickly vanished, however, and she let out a sympathetic sigh. "Tsk-tsk, you poor, naïve child, you don't remember who he is, do you?" She looked at Vlad and smirked. "You're very wicked. I'm surprised you haven't destroyed him in order to save yourself."
She turned back to Danny. "Don't waste your energy in trying to help the person responsible for your condition, ghost boy. This man here is no friend of yours, in fact, you two are sworn enemies; the only reason he is helping you now is because it benefits him to do so; Why else do you think those instincts of yours tell you he's dangerous? To keep away from him?" she said, an evil smile growing on her features.
Vlad growled and struggled harder against Desiree's iron grip. He didn't need to see the teen to know she had struck a nerve with her words. And he was correct.
Danny's aggressive posture dropped although his ears remained lowered, but from trepidation. Somehow he knew the ghost wasn't lying. He took a few steps back as his flashing eyes slowed down. "You're right; they are telling me that but…. these instincts are not mine," he said, shutting his eyes for a moment at recalling Vlad's words. He quickly opened them and glared at the ghost in front of him, "and I'm not listening to them or YOU!" A wave of ecto energy left Danny's body and slammed directly into Desiree. She shrieked in surprise as she was hurled back several feet, before she painfully collided into storage boxes. "He might be my enemy, but right now, you're a bigger one!" he snarled, running towards her fallen form.
Vlad rose to his knees, his right hand wrapped around his throat as he coughed violently. He looked up through blurry eyes and saw Danny lounge at the ghost. Desiree, however, turned intangible and flew up to a standing position. "Why you little freak!" she hissed, before throwing a large energy blast at the teen.
Danny yelped as he dodged the attack. Vlad stood just as Danny ran towards Desiree once more; this time, the ghost made no attempt to move away.
Vlad's eyes widened as the wishing ghost formed a large energy blast in her right hand, which she held hidden behind her back. An evil grin spread on her features as Danny came into range.
"No!" the man shouted, aiming his own hand at Desiree. He fired a blue ecto ray at her just in time to throw her aim array.
Danny gasped as a hot green blast flew past him, missing him only by a couple of inches. He looked back at Vlad, only to see him collapse to his knees. A pink mist once again formed around his body before it dissipated into the air. The teen immediately ran towards him. "Vlad?" he called worriedly upon reaching him.
The man just continued to breathe heavily as more waves left his body. "Danny… t-the thermos," he whispered, showing him his empty hands in hopes that the teen caught on. "F-Find it."
The badger tilted his head, before his eyes widened in realization. "The toy? Where- Aahh!" the teen cried as a hand painfully slapped him out of the way, and threw him a few feet away.
"You really should have conserved your energy more efficiently," Desiree said as she raised the billionaire to her eye level, only to slam him back down again. Vlad groan at feeling his weakened body jolt with pain.
The half conscious man felt himself get lifted by his shirt collar yet again, but this time the wishing ghost did so with another intention. "Let's take this outside, shall we? I'm sure you do not want to miss the last sunrise you will ever see," she whispered evilly in his ear.
Meanwhile Danny had finally managed to get his bearings. A distressed sound came from his throat as he watched Desiree float out of the warehouse with Vlad in her grasp. He was about to run after them, when he remembered the "toy."
The badger's eyes filled with hesitation. He wanted to help Vlad, but the man had told him earlier that if he dropped the thermos, he was to stay with it. Where was that thing anyways?
Danny sniffed around, and quickly picked up a familiar scent. He ran towards it and soon found himself catching sight of the red and silver device. He climbed over a few fallen boxes in order to reach the thermos behind them.
"Great, now what am I suppose to do? I can't just stay in here, and leave Vlad by himself," he pondered worriedly, "why is this so important anyways? I mean, I would get sad if I lost my toy too, but if he didn't want to lose it why did he bring it? ...but he said it was my toy; am I suppose to do something with it?"
Danny sighed. No matter how important this thing was he couldn't just stay in here, while Vlad and that ghost were out there… but maybe, he could keep it safe without having to watch it. Danny looked around for a good hiding place. "I need to put it where only I would think of going… there!" The teen quickly pushed the thermos out of its current location and towards the spot he thought it would be safe at.
Despite his weakened state, Vlad struggled to get free; he even attempted to phase out of her hold but it only left him feeling worse. "I-I-
"Uh-uh," Desiree said, producing an ecto gag and attaching it to the half-ghost's mouth. "I said no wishing for you, remember? I can not have you ruining one of the best spells I have ever performed; it would a crime!"
Vlad's eyes narrowed; he was sick of this wretched ghost! No one made a fool out of him and got away with it! The man grabbed the hand that held him by his collar and squeezed, before using his own momentum to kick the ghost in the stomach, or at least he tried to. His foot went straight through her, and instead of causing her pain, he caused it to himself. The man wasn't able to suppress a gag after his actions tightened the ghost's hold on his collar, and momentarily chocked him. Desiree laughed in response. "You're so pathetic, ghost man!"
"Hey ugly! Don't you know how dangerous it is to make a badger angry?" Desiree looked down towards the voice only to have Danny lounge at her face. "And you just made me VERY angry!"
"Aahh!" the women yelled from pain. She immediately dropped Vlad, her hands grasping unto Danny to pull him off her. An alarmed gasp left her at feeling the badger's body charging with hot, ghost energy. Knowing full well that signified, she growled and quickly wrapped her hands around his small head, tight enough to make him cry in pain.
Vlad glared at the ghost and quickly stood to aid the teen, but before he could do anything, the boy did. Desiree yelped as she felt sharp fangs insert into her hand, causing her to let go of the badger. Danny fell to the ground with a small whimper. The glow on his body began to slowly fade, and his green eyes changed into a sapphire blue.
Desiree quickly recovered and sent an energy blast at Danny, but Vlad saw it coming and grabbed the teen in roll before it could strike him.
The man got to his feet just in time to dodge another attack from the ghost. The older hybrid ran towards a large stack of boxes, knowing they needed cover fast. Before he could get there, however, Desiree materialized in front of him and punched him in the face.
Vlad fell back with Danny on his stomach. He quickly let go off the still dazed badger and grabbed the ecto gag on his face, desperately trying to pull it off.
"I think I'll just destroy you both now," the ghost growled, her eyes vivid with fury.
Danny looked up at the approaching ghost and pressed himself closer to Vlad, clearly scared out of his wits. Desiree raised her hands up in the air, a large ball of pink energy growing in between them. "The little hero and his nemesis will perish together." A sinister smile spread on her lips. "I truly can not think of anything more fitting. Good-bye to you both."
Just when she was about to fire, a glowing string wrapped itself around Desiree's raised arms. Said ghost gasped, the ball of energy in her hands vanishing from her shock. "Leave my brother alone, Ghostly Geina!!" she heard behind her before being assaulted by a sharp jolt of electricity that quickly coursed her entire body.
Vlad smirked as the ecto gag disappeared the second Desiree began to screech from pain. Danny's ears perked at seeing his friends and sister a few feet away from him. "Sam, Tucker, Jazz!" he chirped excitedly and took off towards them.
The ghost genie managed to break free of the ecto rope, but the attack had been too much. She fell to the ground and moaned softly from pain. "Anytime, Vlad," Sam urged.
Vlad stood and approached the fallen ghost. "Desiree, I wish for you to undo the spell you have placed on Daniel and me."
Desiree moved herself to a sitting position with the help of her hands, but instead of raising her hands to grant the wish, she threw her head back and laughed wickedly.
The man raised an eyebrow at her actions; that was definitely not what he expected to occur.
Vlad felt his heart skip several beats at hearing gasps from Danny's friends and sister just before Desiree looked up at him with a triumphant and evil smile. "Too late."
Vlad whirled around to face the harbor; his eyes widened at seeing the sun slowly rising in the horizon. It almost seemed like time had stopped as everyone remained frozen, watching the beautiful yet dooming bright orb rise higher and higher into the sky.
It was Danny's cry of pain that brought everyone back. The badger, who had had stopped his approach towards his friends and sister, after hearing Desiree's laugh, was gripping at his head, a glowing pink hue around him.
"Danny!" the three teens cried, running to his side.
It was then Vlad felt his head spin, and he began to wobble unsteady on his feet. He looked at his hands and realized he too was glowing with a pink hue, but unlike the teen, the mist was moving away from him and towards the boy, where it wrapped faster and faster, creating a strange swirling cloud around him.
Desiree smirked as the man fell to his knees with a groan. The man's breathing turned shallow, while his remaining white strands of hair slowly began to change to their original dark color. Everything became distant to the man, except for the badger's now pained whimpers. He forced himself to look at the teen; his mind still unable to accept that this was actually happening.
Danny squeezed his eyes shut, unaware of the concerned and desperate people around him. He felt like his head was going to explode as images overwhelmed his mind. He could see his entire life flashing before him; everyone in it, everything he did, who he was…. He finally remembered… but as quick as his memories were coming back they were disappearing into what looked like an endless abyss. He felt his mind slowly drifting into darkness as if he was falling asleep, but somehow, he knew he would not wake again. The last thing the teen saw as he lost all form of awareness where the faces of his loved ones, and then, there was nothing else.
Vlad wrapped his arms around his torso as he felt his ghost half fade away from existence. He looked away from Danny unable to watch him any longer from guilt, but the moment he did so, he felt a hand painfully grasp his face. "No, you can not look away now; keep watching; this is the best part," the wishing ghost said with evil glee.
Vlad's breath hitched as the badger's eyes slowly opened. The man's eyes sadden and regret filled him at seeing them a deep brown. The small animal looked up in confusion at the three people around him. But suddenly, he snarled at them and his hair stood on end.
"Danny…" Jazz chocked out in a sob, they too had seen the creature's brown eyes.
The badger hissed menacingly as he retreated from them, before turning around and running towards the closest shelter he could find, which happen to be the storage shed he had recently been in with Vlad. He quickly headed in and found a good place to hide…
Feeling safe once more, he sniffed around before noticing something shiny a little further in. He tilted his head in curiosity, clearly intrigued by the strange object. The badger pushed it with its nose, causing it to roll away from him. The small animal's ears perked in contentment, before chasing after the rolling object; he continued to play carelessly, unaware of the events transpiring right outside…
Jazz wept in her hands. She couldn't believe that they had failed; that her brother was gone; all that was left was a normal, wild badger. Sam and Tucker, however, seem to be in a state of shock since they just stared towards the place the small animal had scurried off to.
Meanwhile Vlad had his face buried in one of his hands while trying to calm his breathing. He felt so weak, so helpless, and yet what really got to him was the emptiness he felt within; he had never felt something as horrible; and knowing why he felt this way made it even worse. Half of his self was gone, and it was only a matter of time before the rest of him followed…
"Still alive, ghost man?" he heard Desiree tease from somewhere in front of him.
Vlad's hands fisted on his side and his breathing turned even shallower. "You will regret this, you despicable wench," he wheezed out.
The ghost growled at his insult and struck the man in the abdomen with a powerful blow from her tail. Vlad's much needed oxygen supply was painfully taken from him as he was lifted off the ground before falling back down on his stomach. He heavily gasped and coughed, desperately trying to take in air.
At seeing Desiree attack the former half-ghost, Sam finally came to her senses. Her eyes narrowed, before she sprinted towards the ghost. This in turn snapped Tucker into action as well. "Sam!" he yelled chasing after her.
"I wish that you change him back!" the girl screamed, activating the thermos in her hand and aiming it at Desiree. The ghost quickly turned around and looked at the furious girl with a calm expression. "I can not; the wish has been fully carried out," she said with an even smile.
Sam's breathing became heavier, the device in her hand shaking with her own body. "Change. him. back! I swear, I'll trap you in here and never let you out!" she screamed, tears forming in her eyes
Desiree's expression changed into a dangerous glare, and her hands began to light with ecto energy. "Don't even think about it," Tucker warned, aiming the ecto-lipstick at the ghost.
Through this Jazz had run over to the billionaire and collapsed next to him. "Vlad! Vlad! Look at me! Tell me there's something else we can do! Tell me my brother is not gone!" she sobbed, grabbing the man's collar and shaking him the best she could. To her building panic, all the man did was limp in her hold, much like a rag doll; He looked like he was…
"Fools! This is over! There is nothing you can do!" Desiree shouted furiously.
Sam charged the thermos with the intention of trapping the ghost, but before she could Vlad's broken voice stopped her. "N-No," he grunted out as he slowly lifted himself to his feet, "This is not over" he said, glaring weakly up at the wishing ghost.
Before anyone could react, Desiree lounged at him and lifted him into the air. "Stupid man, don't you get it? You have lost! This game of yours is over! And it's time for you to accept the consequences," she said darkly, loosening her hold on him.
"I-I suppose I s-should," he responded softly, much to the spirit's surprise. He looked at her with half lidded eyes. "I-I have… brought this on m-myself… after all. I-If only…t-these last two days were erased… and Daniel and I remembered all this would …h-happen, we could prevent it."
Desiree shrugged carelessly "Yes, you probably could, but that's not-
Her eyes widened as the man smirked weakly at her, while the three teens below also portrayed disbelief at realizing the importance of what the man just said.
Vlad opened his mouth to speak again. "T-That was a w-Ahh!"
"NO!" Jazz screamed as Desiree blasted the man in the chest, sending him flying through the air, before his body impacted the hard ground. The sixteen year old ran towards the billionaire's unmoving form, while pleading he was alright.
Desiree's eyes glowed with hatred as she formed an energy ball in her hand. "Think you're clever, don't you?" she snarled.
"Tucker, Desiree! We have to stop her!" Sam shouted at seeing the ghost floating towards Vlad.
Tucker's hands fumbled with the ecto-lipstick, but he quickly fixed his hold on it and shot a blast at Desiree. The ghost caught sight of the incoming attack through her peripheral vision and narrowly dodged the attack.
Sam, who had found the ghost rod on the ground, quickly sent it towards the evil spirit. The line successfully wrapped around the ghost's abdomen. Desiree struggled fiercely as Sam began to pull on the rope with the purpose of throwing her off balance. "Tucker! Help!" the girl grunted, clearly no match for the strong women.
Tucker sprinted towards his friend and helped her pull on the rope just in time to stop Desiree from releasing an ecto ray. The genie cried in alarm as she fell to the ground face first.
Tucker chanced a look towards where Jazz had ran off to and noticed she was sitting beside Vlad, looking severely distressed. His attention went back to his friend and the wishing ghost as they continued to keep her at bay.
"Vlad!" Jazz yelled, grabbing the man's body and turning it over so he was on his back. Her heart almost jumped out of her chest as her eyes took in Vlad Masters appearance. His complexion had turned a ghost white, his eyes were closed, and she wasn't sure if he was still breathing since his chest gave no indication of it.
"Vlad? Vlad, can you hear me?" she asked, shaking him lightly. The man's dulled eyes open slightly, quickly giving her a small ray of hope. "Oh thank goodness! Vlad, you have to finish the wish! Please, I don't know how long Sam and Tucker can keep Desiree at bay."
The man opened his mouth, but all he did was take in a pitiful breath of air. The girl bit her lip as she placed two fingers on his neck and checked his pulse… It was barely there.
Jazz began to shake as her fear began to overwhelm her. "V-Vlad, can we finish it? Vlad! Can you hear me? Will it work if I finish the wish?!"
Vlad's eyebrows creased in sadness and he made a small "no" movement with his head, only to let out a chocked cough. Jazz's eyes widened with horror at seeing the billionaire's eyes begin to close. "N-no, no, no! Please! You have to finish it! You said everything except for one word; just one word! Please, say, wish!"
The man's breathing grew short and rapid; as a pained expression grew on his face. Jazz began to sob. "Vlad, please," she whispered, tears freely falling down her face, "y-you can't let this happen. Danny, my little brother, h-he doesn't deserve this! Vlad… he doesn't deserve this, a-and neither do you…"
"Jazz!" the girl heard Danny's friends yell from a few feet away, their voices sounding panicked. If she would have turned her head; she would have found Sam and Tucker being held on the ground by Desiree's stretched out hands, and the look on her face showed she held ill intentions for them.
"Finish the wish, Vlad" Jazz begged in a chocked voice.
Vlad opened his mouth once more; he wanted to finish the wish, he really did, but he couldn't even bring enough air to his lungs. Everything felt so numb, even the pain had left his body and an immense tiredness had replaced it. His body and mind begged him to give into unconsciousness, but that meant giving into this pitiful fate. No, he didn't want that. Things just couldn't end this way.
The man's breathing turned into weak gasps as he attempted to use his vocal cords and failed.
"Vlad!" he heard a voice scream as he felt himself drifting away… the former half-ghost halted his short intakes of air for a moment, his murky mind only thinking one thing.
This was his last chance to save himself… to save Danny.
With all his remaining strength, Vlad forced his body to take a single, but deeper intake of air.
He held it in.
And then his lips moved.
"W-wish," he said softly as he released his final breath and his eyes closed completely.
Jazz whirled towards Desiree just in time to see her hands rising above her; by the angry look on her face, it was clearly against her will.
A bright pink glow appeared around the ghost's hands before it extended in all directions. Sam, Tucker, and Jazz, let out a gasp as they became engulfed in the strange mist-like energy. Their minds began to spin, their vision quickly darkened, and then…
They knew no more.
"To kill a Mocking bird! Mr. Fenton!
"W-What?" Danny said dazedly as he finally became aware that someone was calling him. "M-Mr. Lancer?" he questioned confused, his vision still not fully focused.
The boy's teacher continued to give him a look of disbelief. He had been calling to Danny for the past minute without receiving any form of acknowledgement. He just stared vacantly at him, like he wasn't there. Now, the teen was acting as if he didn't know why he was with him. The boy was truly an enigma sometimes.
"I think I'll just pretend that you were reflecting on your deeds today and you have seen the errors of your ways," the teacher said dryly.
"Huh?" Danny replied, looking up at his teacher from the desk he sat in
Mr. Lancer rolled his eyes. "Detention's over, Danny; go home," the man said with tired resignation, and then left towards his own desk to sit down. "Oh and this is not the cafeteria; if you want soup, wait until you get home," he added in an annoyed tone, while pulling out a stack of papers.
"Soup?" Danny looked down at his hands and his eyes slowly widened with shock. There, in his grasp, was a red and silver ghost thermos. Like a strike of lightening, everything came back into his mind, and he jumped to his feet. "No way!"
"Yes way; it's amazing how time flies when you are daydreaming instead of doing your homework," Mr. Lancer said dryly, his eyes to an exam he was grading.
Danny didn't hear a word he said; he was currently staring at his human body and his surroundings in a semi-panicked state. He wasn't a badger anymore! He was human again, but… how did that happen? Vlad didn't make the wish in time! And why was he at school when he was with the billionaire at the pier a second ago… wasn't he?
The teen looked back at the thermos in his hand. All that couldn't have been a dream; the thermos was proof of that. He nervously walked up to his teacher, hoping the man would bring some order into his muddled mind. "S-So, I-I'm in detention?" he asked slowly.
Mr. Lancer gazed up at him and raised an eyebrow. "No, you were. As I said twice already, you can go home."
Danny just stared with unblinking eyes, causing the educator to frown. The boy looked completely lost. "Mr. Fenton, are you alright? Perhaps I should call your parents to pick you up…"
This got a reaction from the teen. "Huh? No! Don't call them! I-I mean, I'm fine. I don't… I'll just go now," he said, moving back to his desk, "… because… detention… is over," he whispered to himself in confusion. He bent down to grab his backpack, only to discover it wasn't there; he didn't have it with him. Before he could add this to his list of odd occurrences, his ghost sense went of, and he gasped.
"I'm fine! R-Really, I'm-I'm good," he said nervously, while Mr. Lancer stared at him with concern. Before the man could say anything, Danny all but ran to the door. "Later, Mr. Lancer," he stated quickly and walked out.
Once out there, the half-ghost sprinted towards the school's exit, the images playing over and over again in his mind giving him the fuel to move unbelievable fast. As he ran, his eyes darted around for any sign of the ghost that had triggered his ghost sense, all the while attempting to swallow his building panic. "Okay, just calm down, Fenton; there has to be a logical explanation for all this; you are not going crazy."
He reached outside and realized by the dusking sun that it was late afternoon. "Oh man, I haven't been this confused since my dad entered me in a math contest! What the heck is going on?"
"You're about to be hunted, that's what," a sinister voice replied.
Danny whirled around, only to get slammed with a green net that sent him to the ground. The teen gasped as he looked up and found Skulker hovering above him, a large gun aimed at him. "Skulker?" he questioned, totally lost
The hunter frowned. "Of course! Who else would want to claim your pelt?"
Danny yelped as he rolled away from an energy blast. He quickly turned into Phantom and phased out of the trap. With another gasp, he noticed Skulker was coming at him with a glowing blade.
The ghost boy dodged the swipe the hunter took at his head. Having enough, Danny's eyes narrowed as he raised a hand to fire an ecto-blast at his enemy, but the one he raised just so happen to be holding the thermos. Thinking quickly, he brought his other hand up and aimed the ghost device at Skulker.
The hunter, who was about strike down the teen with his sword, immediately froze, and dropped the weapon his hand. His eyes had grown wide as he stared at the ghost device inches from his chest. To Skulker's surprise the teen didn't activate it.
Danny took a few steps back from his enemy, and lowered the thermos half-way. "Okay," he said, breathing heavily from exertion. "I am so not in the mood for this, Skulker. Just tell me what's going on. You have to know something; what happened? Where's Vlad? How did I turn human again?!" he questioned angrily.
The ghost blinked at him for a moment. "What?" he could only answer. He quickly dismissed his bafflement and sighed in annoyance. "First of all, I don't have the remote clue what you speak of, and secondly… how did you get a hold of that device?" he asked warily. There was no doubt in the hunter's mind. That device was his employer's; he would know; he helped him make several of them. Why did his prey have one?
"… You don't know…But that's not possible! I mean, y-you were there; you know Vlad turned me into badger… you saw me…and…" The teen fell silent as his eyes darted in confusion
"Whelp, my employer must have hit you one time too many," Skulker said looking at him like he was crazy. Whatever the teen was babbling about, it definitely connected to his employer. The ghost bent over and picked up his blade, while his guns retracted back into his suit. "I've decided to leave this for another day," he informed, his eyes going back to the thermos for a moment, before taking to the sky.
"No, wait, don't go!" the teen shouted, flying after him. "All of that was real! You don't' remember anything?!"
Skulker glared. "Look, ghost child; I'm letting you go; I suggest you leave before I change my mind." Danny threateningly aimed the thermos at him, causing the ghost to let out a fearful gasp. "O-Or I'll leave…" he said meekly.
"Answer my question!"
"I already told you, I don't know what you're talking about! You must have dreamt whatever you're babbling about. How in the Ghost Zone would my employer turn you into an earthly animal, and even if he could, he isn't that crazy!"
"Good bye, ghost child," the hunter cut off angrily, before flying away.
Danny was too stunned to do anything but watch the ghost leave. The teen's eyes went to the thermos as he floated back to the ground.
"Do not part from this thermos no matter what occurs"
"Vlad dropped it," he recalled, "I-I…. hid it, and then I…left it" he slowly added, his eyebrows creased with uncertainty. He left the thermos in the warehouse to aid Vlad, so how did he end up with it? He didn't remember anything after the sun came up.
He gave a glance back at Casper High and shook his head. As much as he tried, he couldn't make sense of any of this. "How did I end up here?" he asked himself once more. He growled in frustration. "I don't even know why I just had detention! The last time I did anything to get me in trouble was Fri-"
Danny's eyes widened in realization. "Friday, I had detention Friday because I showed up really late to school after what happened with Cujo," he whispered, "I left my book bag at home and forgot to-" The teen changed back. "I'm in my gym clothes" he said in shock as he looked over his attire. "No way; this has to be some freaky coincidence! But… I also fought with Skulker Friday! Oh man! I ran into Skulker and-"
Danny's ghost sense went off.
"Me," the wishing ghost growled. The teen shouted in alarm as a large clawed hand came down on him from above. He quickly rolled out of the way, before he ended up pinned between the hand and the ground.
He jumped to his feet as he looked up at Desiree, who held a severely ticked off expression. "That arrogant freak might have managed to find a way to slither his way out of his fate, but you won't be as lucky. I'll make sure of that right now!" she assured, lounging at the teen.
From pure reflex, Danny fired an ecto blast at the ghost, effectively pushing her away. "What? You mean Vlad did all this?" he questioned, clearly more interested in getting answers then fighting.
Desiree, however, ignored him and quickly fired a ghost ray at the unprepared teen. "Aahh!" he screamed, as the attack struck him square in the chest, in turn, making him drop the thermos.
The teen moaned in pain as he pushed himself to his knees. His mind was in such chaos he just couldn't focus, but he knew he needed to or he was going to be taken out quickly. "Well, at least I have a thermos this time," he mused dryly, only for his eyes widened with understanding.
Desiree took the ghost boy's distractive state to grab a hold of him. "Hey, let go of me!" he protested, fighting against the ghost's grasp around his neck.
"Sorry, you didn't say, wish," she teased darkly, "and I'm not giving you the chance to." An evil smile grew on Desiree's features as she tightened her hold on him.
Danny struggled frantically to escape; somehow she was blocking his intangibility power. Forcing his mind to think past the depletion of oxygen, he produced ecto energy in both his hands, which were grasping the ghost's own hands.
Desiree cried out in pain and immediately let go of the teen. Danny violently coughed as he fell to the ground, but quickly recovered at seeing the wishing ghost do the same. He dodged an ecto ray by flying out of its path. He quickly spotted the ghost device he had dropped and flew at it.
Danny grasped it and quickly spun towards the ghost, who was flying full speed at him. The evil spirit halted in surprise as a mischievous smile spread on the teen's face while he held the ghost thermos in his hands. "I'm pretty sure this was meant for you," he said, before activating the device.
Desiree screamed in alarm and…pain? As a red beam shot out of the thermos and pulled her in.
Danny capped the thermos with a thoughtful frown.
"I am not certain if undoing the wish will have consequences in itself; I have learned the hard way that not all is as at it seems with Desiree, that it why it is imperative that you do not let her take this away from you. Do not part from this thermos no matter what occurs."
The teen's eyebrows creased. "That's why he brought the thermos; he knew…" The half-ghost quickly took to the sky with a set destination. There was no doubt in his mind now; today was Friday; today was two days ago! And by what Desiree said, Vlad was responsible for this. He needed to find him, and if it was indeed Friday, he knew exactly where he was
Danny landed down on the top doorstep of his house. Making sure no one was around he changed back. The teen lifted his hand to open the door, but quickly remembered the device he held. "Oh, right," he mumbled, before setting it down on one of the lower steps. He would have to come back out for it later. The last thing he needed was to complicate things with his parents by walking in there with a ghost hunting device that wasn't even his father's creation. Finally, without anymore hesitation, he stepped into his house.
"Look who finally arrived. Hello, Daniel, how was school?"
Danny's eyes instantly locked with Vlad's humor-filled ones. As before, the man sat in the living room with his father, playing chess… and Cujo's toy in his hold.
"Danny!" The young half-ghost's attention ripped away from his arch enemy at seeing his mother walking towards him; he didn't miss her reprimanding tone of voice. "Mr. Lancer called me earlier today and told me you missed almost all first period! Not only that, but you arrived in your pajamas, bare feet, and without your school supplies!"
"Care to explain, Mister?" his father piped in, walking over to his wife and standing next to her, while he sent a disapproving look at his son.
Danny momentarily looked back at Vlad, only to find his smirk had widened. "Great," he thought, "I have to go through this again."
"Well?" his father prompted.
Danny rubbed his neck. "I-uh… can't. I mean, I guess I just-
"He was with me."
Everyone turned their attention to Vlad. "He came to my aid after those two ghosts attacked me, Jack," the billionaire calmly explained, "I called this morning in hopes of reaching one my two dearest friends, but Daniel picked up instead. He must have been so concerned that he came right over; the rest I'm sure is self explanatory. So, you see, if you should be upset with anyone, it should be me," he finished, feigning guilt. Danny's lower jaw all but fell off his face.
"Well… I suppose we can't ground him if he was helping someone in need," Maddie said, her anger fading "… even if it just so happens to be him" she thought annoyed
"Of course we can't!" Jack beamed. "He saved my pal! Way to make your old man proud, son!" he said, giving him a hard pat on his back. Danny stumbled forward a bit from this, in turn, getting pushed past his disbelief. Still, he didn't say anything; he remained severely disturbed by what the evil half-ghost had just done.
Vlad stood and calmly fixed his jacket. "Well, Jack, Maddie, I thank you for your hospitality, but I really must be going."
"Going? But I thought you were staying for dinner, and then we would study that ghostly object!" Jack protested.
The billionaire sighed regrettably. "Yes, I would love to spend more time with you and Maddie, Jack, but I just remembered, there's something I left unfinished. I wouldn't be very responsible if I pushed it aside, now would I? But here; I'll leave this in your capable hands; I'm sure you will be able to put it to good use," he added, handing him the ghost dog's toy.
Jack accepted it with a sad sigh. "I understand, V-man; sometimes I forget we are not regular old college guys anymore," his face suddenly brightened, "We are both highly respected and needed citizens of society now, Vladdie, my man!"
His "friend" gave him a tight smile, but didn't comment. "Well, Ta, Jack, my dear Maddie… Daniel," he said, ruffling the boy's hair as he passed him.
Something in the boy finally snapped at seeing his arch enemy leaving as if nothing had occurred. "Wait!" he yelled, earning quizzically looks from his parents. Vlad turned around and raised an eyebrow at him, a small smile on his lips.
"Yes?" he asked, innocently.
"I-I… I'll ….walk you out;" he finally decided to say and walked over to him.
Vlad's smile widened. "Ah, what a gentleman," he replied, only Danny catching his mocking tone.
Jack watched with a proud smile as Vlad opened the door, and allowed the teen to step out, before doing so himself. "It's so wonderful to see, my son and best friend, on such good terms," he stated, wiping a tear from his eyes and sniffing a bit.
Maddie sighed helplessly. "Yes, wonderful; come on Jack, help me set the table.
Danny crossed his arms as he watched Vlad close the door behind and walk down the steps to where he stood. "Okay, Vlad, talk; what happened? How the heck did you manage to erase two whole days?!"
The man chuckled. "Ah, so you figured it out, eh? Tell me, my boy, how long did that take you?" he asked teasingly.
"Quit it, Plasmius; just tell me!" the teen snapped in frustration.
Vlad causally leaned against a light pole, his arms crossing as he gave the teen a smug smile. "You'd be surprised the things you can do through a wishing ghost's powers… or perhaps you shouldn't be; little badger. "
Danny cringed at the name, much to the other hybrid's amusement. The teen quickly covered his unease with a frown and pondered on what the man had just said. He was certain his arch-enemy wasn't able to undo the wish in time; the painful headache he received because of it was the last clear memory he had. "A loop hole?" he concluded.
The man chuckled once more. "Something like that; more like a high risk, second plan, Daniel…I wasn't entirely sure if I would have the time to try it or if it would prove effective… luckily it all worked out," he stated, lifting a hand to his eyelevel and willing pink ecto energy for emphasis.
Danny couldn't help but smile. "Not bad, cheese head, too bad no one else thought of that; we could have avoided a lot."
"Oh no, dear boy; this little trick wouldn't have worked if it had been attempted by anyone other then me. You see, my wish against you was binding, and so any wish that went against it would null unless it came from me. It might have been too late to undo the spell directly, but I had a feeling I could do so indirectly... if it came to it."
Danny nodded, and they both fell silent. The teen rubbed his neck as he looked anywhere but at the man next to him. Vlad, on the other hand, was watching the nervous boy with an amused expression. "So… you're really not staying?" Danny asked awkwardly.
"No," he replied evenly, although his eyes were smiling. Danny nodded once more and slipped his hands in his pockets. "Odd, you almost look… disappointed."
"W-What? No! Of course not! I-I'm just surprised you'd pass up the opportunity to flirt with my mom, and insult my dad," he explained in an annoyed tone.
Vlad laughed. "Yes, I so enjoy doing those things, but I think you have forgotten the reason I came here tonight, Daniel"
Danny frowned at his words. He couldn't believe how drastically the man could change his attitude towards him. Wasn't this the same person that had told him to fight against Desiree's spell; that had tried to protect him when they fell from the sky; that had told him he wished they didn't have to be enemies? The teen sighed and looked up at the sky. "Look Vlad, I just came out here to…"
"Yes?" Vlad urged with a smirk.
Danny looked at his enemy with a serious expression "Why did you cover for me back there?" he asked, choosing the easiest question out of the many that swirled in his head.
Vlad's amusement fell, his expression becoming unreadable. He knew what the boy was really asking. The man stood up straight, but kept his arms crossed. He remained silent for a moment, his eyes staring at nothing in particular. Just when Danny was sure the man wasn't going to answer him, he looked back at him with a raised eyebrow. "I was sure it was obvious, Daniel. I see no reason to let you get in trouble with your parents or to stay, when I have already accomplished my goal," he replied offhandedly
The teen's eyebrows creased with uncertainty. "Goal?"
Vlad smiled coldly. "To teach you a lesson; to humiliate you; don't tell me you have forgotten?" he chuckled smugly. "Surely not, because I made sure you remembered; no one else might recall everything that happened, but you and I do; and that's enough for me, little badger. Technically, those events never happened, but in here," he said, tapping the boy's forehead, "they have; so, do avoid yourself any further humiliation and stop trying to thank me; isn't that what you were about to do? Don't waste anymore dignity, Daniel; I did nothing for you."
Hurt momentarily flashed in Danny's eyes, but they quickly narrowed with anger. "In your dreams, Plasmius; I would never thank a selfish jerk like you!" he assured hatefully.
His enemy laughed heartedly. "Of course you wouldn't," he agreed sarcastically.
Danny roughly shoved the man away from him. "Just leave already, Plasmius!" he shouted angrily
The older half-ghost raised his hands in mock surrender as he let out a small chuckle. "Gladly, but I have a question for you," he said, a large grin forming on his face, "should I throw away that water bottle or would you like it?"
Danny's face filled with complete fury. What the heck had he been thinking? He must have been really messed up to have even contemplate the possibility of his enemy having a heart. "Give that stupid bottle to your lonely guy cat, fruit loop!" he growled before stomping up the stairs and slamming the door behind him. Danny never saw Vlad's smug look fall into a sober one.
"Danny?" Jazz questioned as she walked down the stairs and caught sight of her brother. "Are you alright? Where's Vlad?" she asked concerned.
"He's gone," he mumbled, his arms crossed in anger.
Jazz's expression filled with confusion. "Really? He was in here a minute ago telling mom and dad something about the ghost boy and his dog wrecking his house and endangering him. Danny, you're not pulling pr-"
"No, Jazz; calm down," Danny cut off, knowing exactly what she was about to say, "it's over; he already did what he came to do," he added bitterly, before raising a questioning eyebrow at his sister, "You don't… remember?"
"Remember what?" she asked with a frown.
"What… he… did," the half-ghost replied carefully. Jazz gave him a lost look. He sighed in defeat. "Never mind; Look, Can you tell mom I'll be down for dinner in a little while?"
"Okay," she replied, looking strangely at her brother. She watched him jog up the stairs with a pondering frown, but she soon shook her head and left towards the kitchen.
Danny was about to enter his room, but then, he suddenly halted. "The thermos; I left it outside!" he told himself, smacking his head. Deciding he didn't want to walk down the stairs again, he went ghost and flew out his window. The hybrid landed down at the doorsteps, only to discover the device he came for wasn't there anymore. "Hey, where did the ghost thermos go?" he wondered as he looked around the area for it.
Danny's eyes quickly lit with realization and anger. "Plasmius," he mumbled. The teen growled as his hands fisted. "Darn it! He distracted me so that I would forget about the thermos… He took it."
Danny sighed tiredly, his anger fading. He didn't need to ponder why the man took the ghost device, it was obvious… but what did he plan to do with the ghost genie; what could he do? "Ugh, whatever," he dismissed and flew back to his room. If Vlad wanted to get into a fight with Desiree that was his problem; heck, if he was lucky, they'd kick each other's butts so he didn't have to deal with them for a good while
Danny quickly turned human as he landed back in his room. With a relieved sigh, he threw himself backwards on his bed. He lifted a hand in front of his face and inspected it thoughtfully as he passed his tongue over his now fangless teeth. "That had to be the weirdest thing that has ever happened to me," he contemplated, remembering what it was like to be a small animal.
He was so glad to be himself again, but he knew the evil half-ghost was right; he would never forget this. He was sure he would cringe every time Vlad called him "little badger" and what was worse, he couldn't decide if it was a good thing or a bad thing that his friends or sister didn't remember anything. Should he tell them?
Danny chuckled dryly "Would they believe me?" Alright, so they probably would, considering the things they saw every day; heck, even Sam had used Desiree's wish granting abilities to erase a fight that had occurred between. Still, he wasn't eager to tell them about these events or at least not anytime soon; maybe once he sorted and made sense out of his somewhat obscured memories would he then tell them. Speaking of obscured memories, there was one in particular that bothered him.
"I'm sorry that we have never been able to get along."
"So am I, Daniel. I truly wish things could be different,"
Danny sat up with a deep frown on his face. He had meant what he said to the man, but he never thought he would find himself actually admitting it to him. But it was true, everything would be so much better if his arch enemy wasn't his arch enemy. What truly disturbed him most though, was that the older hybrid had also meant what he said; Danny was certain of that much. But Vlad couldn't truly care for him as a son, could he? Especially when just a few minutes ago he assured him that nothing which had occurred was of any importance…
Danny shook his head and banished the thought for the sake of his own sanity. "Vlad's just nuts" he told himself, standing up and heading to his closet to change his clothes.
Despite that his enemy's words angered him; he didn't really feel humiliated by the events… He actually had a lot of fun as a badger. The teen's lips spread into a wicked grin as he remembered all the things he had done to Vlad. "Heh, he might have humiliated me, but I got him right back… I say it's another draw," he said proudly as he finished changing. With a light hearted chuckle, he left his room and finally headed down to dinner.
Vlad let out a tired sigh. He wasn't very content with everything he had said to the boy sometime ago, but he couldn't have his young rival thinking anything would be different. For the sake of his own sanity, the older half-ghost had already forced himself to push aside some of the things that had occurred. He knew he held fatherly feelings towards the teen. However, he refused to accept those feelings were stronger then his despise for him. Plasmius wouldn't and couldn't accept that Danny was more then a very important pawn to him because it would ruin all his future plans… he didn't need another weakness.
Vlad banished his thoughts as he arrived at his intended destination. He smirked evilly at the thermos in his hold. The moment he stepped out of the Fenton residence, he had caught sight of it and knew immediately who was within. The evil hybrid was well aware that Danny would run into Desiree and Skulker, Friday or rather today, so he knew if the teen would have the thermos in his grasp, he would use it. The billionaire didn't need to worry about Skulker being caught with it because his ally wasn't foolish enough to risk being trapped in this device….
Vlad chuckled. "An improved version of Jack's ghost thermos… very improved," he said wickedly. Originally, the device was designed with Danny in mind and so he had given a few to Valerie Grey… This ghost thermos was the perfect snare; the teen would surely have found himself in quite a pickle if the girl would have caught him with it…
Of course, that was never the case. Danny proved to be too quick for the huntress. But now, this device had served another purpose… Despite everything that was occurring, he had been planning his revenge on Desiree that entire time. He was not about to let the wishing ghost get away with tricking him scotch free.
That was the main reason he had brought it. Either he would use it after he undid the wish or he would make sure Danny would if he resorted to his alternate plan. Vlad had to admit, however, neither of his plans went like he had expected. He was very close to losing…
The man found it really ironic that even though he had dropped the thermos, the teen had found it before he made the wish. Vlad concluded that Danny must have run into it after he fled into the storage shed… "It's so wonderful when everyone does their part to assure my success," he said smugly.
The half-ghost had planned a darker fate for the wishing ghost then the one he would give her now… strangely enough, he felt light hearted, even after being so close to losing his life. For some reason he couldn't grasp, he wasn't as angry as he used to be and so his need for revenge had greatly diminished. Perhaps it had to do with the fact that he had been very bored lately; Amity Park was such a dreadful place to live and being the mayor of it even more so. For the most part, these past events had proven amusing at the very least. …He actually had fun.
Vlad landed on a barren Island in the Ghost Zone. He floated just above the thick layers of snow that blanketed the entire area. The half-ghost looked around for a moment, before lifting the thermos and releasing the ghost within it.
Plasmius calmly smiled at Desiree as her form solidified. She groaned softly before her blurry eyes lifted to the figure in front of her. "You!" she growled, lifting herself off the ground, only to suffer from vertigo and fall back down.
The man chuckled smugly and crossed his arms, while he observed the extremely weak looking ghost. "Something wrong, my dear?" he asked causally
Desiree slowly stood and pressed a hand to her head. "W-What have you done to me? I feel so…strange."
"Ah, yes, that might be due to the side affects that come with this device," he informed, momentarily lifting the thermos in his hand for emphasis. Desiree looked warily at the device the ghost boy had used to trap her before moving her eyes to the man in front of her as he continued. "You see, this device here isn't the one Daniel usually uses on you. It's my own device and I have made it so that it weakens any ghost it traps for twenty four hours. In short, you're powerless, my dear."
Fear briefly flashed in Desiree's eyes, but she quickly hid it with anger. "So what now? Are you going to destroy me?" she asked, rolling her eyes at him and crossing her own arms.
Vlad floated a step towards her, causing her boldness to waver "I could, couldn't I?" he replied darkly, but quickly adapted a smirk and waved his hand dismissively, "but no, I'm feeling merciful and have decided to cool your ego instead," he said calmly.
Before Desiree could ask what he meant, a voice brought an answer. "At last! You will be my friend!!"
Vlad glared at Klemper, who was flying at full speed towards him with a large grin. "No, you over affectionate ice freak!" he yelled. The ghost instantly halted his approach and his bottom lip began to quiver while ice began to form in his hands. "But I have brought you a friend," he added, his glare falling into an evil grin.
Klemper's face lit with hope "Really?" he asked, not bothering to hide the excitement that surged through him upon hearing the half-ghost's words.
"Um-hmm," the man replied, looking over at the very nervous wishing ghost. "Klemper, Desiree here has decided to spent a full day with you, isn't that wonderful?"
The ice ghost laughed with glee and quickly flew towards the wishing ghost, but Vlad quickly stopped him by raising a hand in front of Klemper. "Ah-Ah, just a moment, my obsessive friend," the ghost smiled brightly at being referred to as friend, "I have a condition you must meet if you want to enjoy her company."
"You're insane! I'm not staying here!" Desiree shouted furiously.
Vlad grinned widely at the angered ghost before turning back to Klemper who was shaking with anticipation. "You must promise me that you will use this day to the fullest, despite those sorts of outburst from her; Trust me, she really wants to be your friend; make sure you treat her with very special care, hmm?" he asked innocently.
Klemper nodded furiously. "Yes! She will be my best friend!"
"Wonderful; she's all yours," he said evilly, stepping aside.
A look of pure panic showed on the wishing ghost's face as Klemper flew at her with a look of pure happiness "No! Stay back!" she screeched, backing away, but she couldn't do it fast enough and the ice ghost was soon constricting her in a hug.
"Friend!" Klemper exclaimed, his happiness triggering his ice powers.
"Get off me!" Desiree yelled, feeling her body begin to turn cold; she glared furiously at the half-ghost as his amused laughter caught her attention. "Do not dare leave me here, you arrogant freak!" she growled angrily.
Vlad smiled calmly. "It Plasmius, Vlad Plasmius; perhaps your time here will allow you to finally remember that, hmm? Ta, my dear; for your sake, hope our paths do not cross again." With a satisfied smirk on his lips, he flew away from Klemper's home and headed to his own in Amity.
As the wishing ghost's cry of anger and mortification slowly faded into the background, Plasmius smiled at the ghost thermos in his hand. Whoever said karma's rules couldn't be bent, had never met anyone like him. "Only a master of manipulation is capable of bending such rules and there's no better one then me," he said with a smug chuckle.
-sniffles- it's done. hmm, how long did that take me? -looks at published date- 3/15/07... that's... six months and eight days...wow... can't decide if that's good or bad, but here we are. I hope everyone was satisfied with the ending chapter and the story in general. As you saw, Vlad had never planned on harming Danny like I made you all believe.. yes, I am evil, or rather my Vlad muse is evil. I also wanted to add a few twists to this ending since I'm sure everyone had been expecting Vlad to undo the wish in time and Desiree to simply get tossed back in the GZ..heh-heh; So, I hope those small twists were to everyone's likings. Vlad's alternate wish was really a play off Sam's own wish in MB; she wishes that she never fought with Danny, that they remember everything, and that the emblem stayed... I'm sure you can see the similarity, so yes, not very orginal but I think it worked.
As you noticed I had Vlad and Danny think of each other differently after everything, even if Vlad pretended like he wasn't affected, but I did so with the purpose of showing Vlad's more human side. I don't think the fruit loop is completely evil, and it would be nice to see Vlad one day enjoy what he has, instead of focusing on what he doesn't...sadly that won't ever occur in the show...but in my mind... Moving on. Desiree's fate... what can I say, I thought it'd be hilarious if she was forced to stay with Klemper for a bit, she was quite evil to the half-ghosts... and she needs to make friends! lol! Oh, about the memory lost thing with everyone and regrading Danny's own memories; first, I decided to keep these events between Danny and Vlad because I believe it made the occurences between them more significant. Going to Danny's memories, he does remember everything but some of it is hazed, but parts where he's eyes had become fully brown in some scenes and after the sunrise he does not. See, despite that Danny was losing his ability to rationalize, he was still in there, like Vlad said at the flight scene. Just wanted to make that clear in case anyone was confused by that. Alright enough yapping, time to close.
I want to thank all of you for your support, for reading and for reviewing. Also, special thanks to those who drew those lovely pictures for me some time back. Not including this chapter I have 153 reviews; truly you are all too kind... let's see by how much that number grows with this final chapter -hint-hint- Seriously, though, let me know what you thought about the ending and the story in general, kay? Thanks again, and I hope to continue seeing you all over at "Checkmate" and my soon to come AU, "Dawning of a Sun" Hugs and badger shaped cookies for all!