Whoo! I have been super annoyingly busy these past two weeks. It feels so good to finally be able to sit down and write this. As I said on my profile page, I actually wrote the first two chapters of this before I got busy, but I couldn't post them. They weren't good. I wasn't happy. Now I think they're how I want them and I've written a few more chapters so now it's time for you to start enjoying them! Without further ado, here it is, my version of what could have possibly happened after Phantom Planet. Enjoy!
Danny stared at the man across from him through the clear plastic barrier. He observed how thin he had gotten, how his facial hair had grown out, how his eyes seemed lifeless as if they weren't really looking at anything. The man wore one of those bright orange jumpsuits they make you wear in prison. The bright neon color only made him look grayer, blander, and more . . . Danny couldn't help thinking it . . . like a ghost. Not the green glowing kind he fought, but the kind you see in movies, a spirit, solemn and transparent, yet still visible.
"Vlad," Danny suddenly said into the black phone at his ear, though Vlad probably could have heard him without it. No one else was in the visiting room with them except for some guards who stood at ease against the wall behind Vlad. It was obvious they didn't see him as much of an escape risk. Danny doubted that Vlad could even stand, he looked so weak and out of it.
Danny had startled him with the sudden sound. They'd been sitting in silence for the first few minutes of Danny's visit. Danny was gathering his thoughts. Vlad seemed unable to talk. For a second Danny could see some life in his eyes as he flicked them over to rest on Danny.
"Yah?" Vlad answered hoarsely into his phone on the other side.
"I'm gonna help you. I think you deserve a second chance and I'm gonna give it to you," Danny spoke slowly and deliberately, "but not right now. You have to do what they say for now. Okay?"
The body that once held Vlad Masters, powerful billionaire, confident mayor, and skilled half-ghost, simply nodded back without emotion. And then they were escorting him away.
Danny stayed seated wondering if this was really happening. These last few months had been so busy, it felt like an eternity ago when he'd watched his dad leave Vlad in space, when he'd gone on to save the world while Vlad melted into oblivion. The world seemed to have forgotten about the other half-ghost when all of a sudden, boom – he was back.
Danny had been sitting at home, just minding his own business. Actually now that he thought about it, he was pretty sure he was kissing Sam. Yup, he was definitely kissing Sam as they snuggled on his couch for what had become one of their traditions, movie night Sunday, when he found out that his arch-enemy had returned to Earth. The movie hadn't exactly been turned on yet so the TV was playing the news. Danny didn't even hear the news reporter say Vlad's name but Sam did and she stopped kissing him to look up at the TV.
"What?" he said, annoyed that something could take her attention off him for even a second.
But she didn't answer. She just kept staring, her mouth gaping open. So Danny looked too and also starting gaping.
"It appears that the small object that crashed to earth just outside of Amity Park only seconds ago is not in fact what it was originally thought to be. Authorities were not expecting the projectile, but assumed it to be just another after-effect of the disasteroid until they came out here and took a closer look," the reporter continued on in that funny way news people talk, "What they found appeared to be a person, but not just any person. The body has been identified as that of Vlad Masters also known as Vlad Plasmius, the corrupt half-ghost that attempted to take over the world during the disasteroid crisis. I have not heard word yet as to whether he is dead, or merely unconscious, though for the world's sake we are hoping for the former. I do know that upon coming in contact with the body, the authorities used some sort of weapon to lock Masters into his human form so that if he does regain consciousness he will be unable to use any of his ghost powers. Reporting live just outside Amity Park, I'm Amy Mills for Channel 5 News."
They hadn't let Danny see Vlad for a long time, especially once they realized he was alive. The press wanted to know why Danny was so eager to talk to the man who he called his arch-enemy. Danny ignored them, using one of his new favorite phrases, "No comment." When the time finally came and Danny was let into the hospital room that was also functioning as a prison cell, he only had one question.
"Why'd you come back?"
Vlad talked weakly through his oxygen mask without much emotion, "Not my choice. The helmet, it suddenly started flashing warnings and suggested I return to earth. I tried to ignore it, but it's programmed to keep the wearer alive no matter what. So it brought me back."
Danny later found out that some part of the helmet that helped with oxygen flow had broken. A few more seconds and Vlad would have silently suffocated to death in space. The helmet may have still returned his body to earth if it didn't just shut off when it realized its wearer had no pulse.
Over the next few weeks leading up to that strange and very orange interaction at the prison, Danny continued watching the news. When he learned of Vlad's full physical recovery he had come here to see him in prison. He was able to convince his friends and family that he needed to go alone. Now he regretted it as he sat in the uncomfortable plastic chair, wondering what to do next.
When Danny got home that night after speaking with Vlad, if you could even call it that, the news was already reporting what he had said, the "promise" he'd made. "It wasn't a promise," Danny thought bitterly, he distinctly remembered swearing off promises a while back, "stupid press, always twisting what you say and making it into more than what it is." Danny had had plenty of experience by now with reporters and he didn't like them. That's why he wound up doing most of his interviews on talk shows; the hosts were much more interested in him rather than getting a good story out of him.
Danny walked into his house and was immediately bombarded with questions. His parents were the most annoying.
"Danny, did you really mean what you said? Are you really going to help Vlad? After he's done so much to hurt you?" Maddie was practically yelling at him.
"You really think you can get him help? You really think he'll accept your help? Why would you even want to help him?" Jack bumbled, flabbergasted at his son's odd behavior. Danny had been awfully quiet in the weeks since they had learned of Vlad's return, worrying his family and friends. But they had left him alone about it. Until now.
Danny didn't want to look like he was betraying his dad and he really did want his parents to understand what he was doing, but at that particular moment he lost his cool. He couldn't help it. They were all just screaming at him "WHY?" And so he told them.
"Because I got a second chance!" he yelled over them.
Silence washed over the room.
"Honey, what," Maddie hesitated, unsure of what he meant but attempting to calm him down, "what do you mean? You mean how the town once thought you were a villain?"
"No," Danny said not making eye contact and stuffing his hands into his pockets, "it's something . . ." he paused to gather up his courage to continue, "it's something I've been meaning to tell you guys about, but it's complicated. But now . . . now it's time so as soon as I can convince the court to let me, we're all going to the Ghost Zone, Vlad included, and then . . . then you'll see."
Danny finally looked up to face his parents' reactions. They looked confused.
"Just trust me, okay?" he tried to sound normal and even forced a half-smile. His parents didn't even know half of the things Vlad had put him through and here they were already questioning his decision. Something would have to be done to convince them this was the right thing to do and on his way home from the prison he believed he had thought of what that might be.
Maddie walked forward and put a comforting hand on her son's shoulder, "We do trust you, Danny," she assured him, "we do."
I have to admit, I'm missing the old story. This one is kind of serious right now. But don't worry, it gets lighter. Whoa, I just read it again and yah it's kind of devoid of humor right now. It will definitely get better. Bear with me.