Excuse the lack of knowledge concerning how a courtroom operates. I did my best using my one semester of high school law studies. Other than that, enjoy and keep in mind that this isn't really an ending, but a beginning. :)
-4 Months Later-
Vlad sat waiting in his psychiatrist's office. She had warned him that she might be a little late getting back from lunch and told him to just wait in her office. This was actually not the first time this had happened. It was, however, the first time Vlad had been allowed to wait for her by himself. That's right, no warden. And Vlad had to admit, it felt great! Not that there wasn't still someone keeping track of his every move. He was sure there was, but at least he didn't have to deal with being physically followed around by the person.
"Sorry to keep you waiting," Dr. Rosenberg said as she briskly entered the room, carrying her purse, a huge stack of folders, and a smoothie. She dumped everything on her desk and looked up to see Vlad smiling back at her.
"It's no problem, really," he assured her.
Dr. Rosenberg smiled back, her light brown hair falling out of her bun and her glasses slightly askew from her brisk walk into the building. "Of course not, I bet nothing could spoil your good mood today," she said as she attempted to put her disheveled appearance back in order.
"I'd have to agree," Vlad replied. Dr. Rosenberg may look like a stereotypical psychiatrist, but she didn't always act like it. Vlad liked that about her. They could actually talk; it wasn't all her talking down at him and then making him share his feelings like some other doctors he had encountered along the way.
Dr. Rosenberg slapped a newspaper down on the desk, facing Vlad. "You," she said meaningfully, "are a very lucky man."
Vlad stared down at the paper in front of him. "Huh, I knew I was the front page of Amity Park's paper, but USA Today?" He began reading the article with interest.
MASTERS CORRUPTED BY GHOST HALF, FINAL VERDICT: NOT GUILTY
It was the biggest trial Amity Park's humble courtroom had ever held. It was also supposed to be the easiest. Vlad Masters was finally standing trial for holding the world hostage during the infamous Disasteroid crisis.
"An open-and-shut case," the prosecutor had commented earlier, "No one wants to see this guy walk for what he did."
His statement was proven false almost immediately when, much to everyone's surprise, Masters entered the courtroom with the world's hero, not to mention his former archenemy, Danny Phantom, at his side. Team Phantom Jack, Maddie, and Jasmine Fenton; Samantha Manson; Tucker Foley; Valerie Grey were also present on the defense's side of the courtroom.
This should not have come as such a shock as it was common knowledge that Masters had been in contact with Team Phantom for reported "therapy sessions." However, many doubted that their young savior could really be attempting to befriend the man who had done him so much harm in the past. Yet now there was no denying that Phantom would indeed support Masters in his case and it was clear by the way the teenager was dressed that he meant business. Though in ghost form, Phantom wore a black suit and shirt with silver tie over his usual jumpsuit.
If that first moment were any indication, it was obvious that this would not be an ordinary, and certainly not easy, trial. The second shock came when Masters announced he was pleading "not guilty" on the grounds of insanity. Though it is true that Masters has been seeing a psychiatrist since he returned to Earth, it was thought that this was only to recover from the trauma he suffered from being alone in space for such a long period of time.
When Masters' psychiatrist, Dr. Debra Rosenberg, took the stand, the court found out otherwise. Dr. Rosenberg stated that she believed Masters had been battling quite a few psychological disorders ever since the accident that made him half ghost years ago.
"He's still got a chemical imbalance to prove it," Dr. Rosenberg explained. She then went on to describe Masters' positive reaction to treatment.
Her analysis of Masters' mental health was further backed by Jack and Maddie Fenton who knew Masters well enough before the accident to compare his normal behavior from back then to the manic antics they witnessed during the Disasteroid incident.
"There was a drastic difference, definitely," Maddie Fenton said from the stand, "But he seems to be changing again now, only for the better."
The Fentons were only the first of a whole slew of witnesses the defense had lined up to testify about Masters' attitude adjustment.
The most convincing, and probably most listened to, argument came from none other than Danny Phantom when he surprised the whole court by willingly taking the stand. It is no secret that Phantom likes his privacy and prefers to stay out of the lime-light as much as he can, which just goes to show how much the teen apparently cares about Masters' future.
Phantom had every eye and ear on him when he took the court by storm and started out his testimony by saying, "Vlad Masters is not insane."
This was followed by a dramatic pause, during which there was much confusion, though the room remained absolutely silent.
"Vlad Plasmius, by human standards, is insane," Phantom explained, "Most ghosts are. They're unreasonably obsessive, selfish, and violent. Vlad Plasmius, by ghost standards, is normal. However, Vlad Plasmius has a human half that for the past years he has struggled to keep subordinate to himself. Vlad was living with his ghost half ruling his life. But now that his human half has been given a chance to fight back, I am proud to say that he is letting humanity into his ghost half and I believe I have evidence to prove it."
Tucker Foley, the current mayor of Amity Park as well as one of the founding members of Team Phantom, then came forward with two pictures of Masters' ghost half. One was from before the Disasteroid while the other, Foley claimed, was recent.
This created an uproar as Masters was supposed to be restricted from using his ghost powers for the safety of the public. Phantom was able to calm the court by explaining that it was an emergency that caused him to allow Masters access to his ghost half.
"And," he stated proudly, "he did nothing while free to lose my trust. In fact, he saved me from a very tight spot."
Phantom would not comment further on the emergency and then moved on to point out how human Masters' ghost half was beginning to look.
It wasn't long after Phantom's speech that the moment came to announce the verdict. There is no doubt that the public's trust in their hero is what carried the decision as Masters was found not guilty of his crimes.
Total freedom, of course, does not come with the verdict since Masters used insanity as his plea. It was then announced that Masters would be required to live and receive treatment at Amity Park Psychological Institute with Dr. Rosenberg and her team of specialists. Living at the Institute comes with a curfew, but in comparison to prison it is more freedom than Masters had the right to hope for.
Dr. Rosenberg's intentions to keep Masters locked out of his ghost form unless it is part of therapy are a reassurance against Masters acting out now that he is no longer in prison. Although, not many fear this happening, thanks to one optimistic half ghost teenager.
"Vlad won't waste this second chance," Phantom assured reporters outside the court room after the trial, "He knows how precious it is." There was an obvious pause here as Phantom glanced around as if looking for the other half ghost. Masters could be seen farther away on the steps to the court house also surrounded by reporters. Only a second later he wasn't because Phantom had apparently flown over and grabbed him.
"And he knows what I'll do to him if he does waste it," Phantom concluded jokingly, now with Masters right next to him.
"Kill my dad and marry my mom?" Masters stunned the reporters by suggesting.
Phantom only chuckled, proving that all really is forgiven.
"Ugh," Vlad commented when he finished reading, "did they have to make us sound so chummy at the end? I mean, who is going to believe that? And besides, it's not like forgive and forget." He folded the paper and put it back down on the desk. "Danny and I still have to deal with the reality of what happened between us every day. I'm forgiven sure, but forgotten, never."
"That's very wise of you to realize," Dr. Rosenberg agreed, "It's kind of sad."
Vlad sighed, leaning back in his chair. Then he laughed, "Well, it's better than prison." He checked his watch. "I have to go soon; I'm meeting Danny and his friends for a movie."
"A movie?" Dr. Rosenberg questioned, "You almost got put in prison and you're going to use your new freedom to see a movie?"
Vlad just nodded.
Dr. Rosenberg laughed and went back to examining one of the folders she had opened while Vlad was reading the newspaper article. Vlad started to leave when the psychiatrist looked back up at him over her glasses. "You know," she began, "they just might forget you if all you do is sit around watching movies."
Vlad smiled. "Yah maybe," he replied, somewhat missing her meaning, and stepped out of her office. As he was walking down the hallway a college-age girl with wavy brown hair, most likely an intern at the Institute, passed by him. Vlad couldn't help but notice out of the corner of his eye the oh-my-gosh-is-that-who-I-think-it-is expression on her face, followed shortly by the flash of terror in her eyes.
"And maybe not," he thought sadly to himself.
Look for the first chapter of the one-shot series probably Wednesday. It will be the deleted scenes from this story. Then I most likely will not be posting or writing for a few days cuz I'm getting my wisdom teeth taken out (eek!) and I'm told that all I will want to do is pop pain pills and sleep! But I will return once my head clears and the pain lessens. ;)