Yep. I'm doing the drabble challenge thing too. It's a good way to ward off writers block, I hear.
Most, if not all, will be about Vlad and Danny. Of course.
Comfort [kuhm-fert] -to soothe, console, or reassure.
People take comfort in different things, sometimes in unexpected things. Usually it's easy to see what or who people go to for comfort. For example, Tucker Foley. Anyone with a brain between their ears can tell he takes comfort in the technology he carries around all day. Or my Dad, Jack Fenton. He obviously takes comfort in food.
But sometimes, the things we take comfort in aren't all that good for us. Looking back at my Dad, food really isn't a good thing for him to take comfort in. It leads to obesity and heart problems. Luckily, he has my Mom to balance him out. I suppose some would argue that technology isn't a good comfort item either, seeing as it might promote anti-social behavior or carpal tunnel. However, I'm quite certain that what my brother has started taking comfort in is worse than technology and food put together.
It started a few months ago, when all the ghost hunting finally started taking its toll. He used to always walk around on edge, jumpy and anxious 24/7. His grades were plummeting, Mom and Dad were furious, and the ghosts were attacking more and more. Coupled with the fact that he was still struggling to gain better control of his powers...well it's surprising that I didn't see this coming sooner.
I guess I always thought he'd talk to Sam or Tucker if he was having trouble, or even better, me. He never came to me of course, so I assumed it was Sam and Tucker he was confiding in. Imagine my surprise when they came to me worried about Danny.
"Doesn't he talk to you guys?" I asked.
"No, we thought he was going to you." they replied.
"So who is Danny taking comfort in?"
The answer was always right in front of my face. He started coming home later and later, sometimes covered in dirt and blood, and sometimes with hardly a scratch on him. I now know that I just couldn't see the scratches.
"Danny, are you okay?" I would ask.
"I'm fine Jazz, okay? Stop worrying about me." He'd reply.
I never did, in fact, I started paying closer attention to him. I noticed that he started getting better with his ghost powers, but I thought that was just an effect of the countless ghost fights he dealt with. Then he started getting much better, having a degree of control that he'd never displayed before. I watched closer and noticed even more changes. He battled ghosts with a cool demeanor. No more witty banter, no more battle cries, just a single focused thought: victory. His style was achingly familiar, but I couldn't place it. It wasn't until he starting using the dirtier tricks that I figured it out. You know, shooting while a ghosts back was turned, using another ghost against the opponent, ambushing the weaker specters to cut the battle time in half. He could duplicate now. And warp. It's almost embarrassing that I didn't see it before hand.
I didn't say anything to Danny though, because things were steadily improving. Since he was so much better at ghost fighting, he was able to get more sleep, which improved his grades and lifted the stress of disappointing Mom and Dad from his shoulders. Logically, things should have been returning to normal, but they weren't. His grades were increasing, he was getting more sleep, and Mom and Dad weren't yelling anymore, but Danny was different. Instead of his usual loud, energetic personality, he was withdrawn, distant. Sam and Tucker noticed it immediately, and quickly came to me.
I didn't tell them my fears. I didn't want them to talk to Danny, because then Danny would know I was watching him. He's become much better at hiding things. And lying too.
It was a stroke of luck that caught their conversation. I was on my way home from the library and it was late. I hadn't bothered driving because it was such a short walk. I was passing a dark ally when I heard my brother crying.
"You know the deal, Daniel." a voice hissed, sick enjoyment in his voice.
"I can't. Please..."
There wasn't anymore talking after that, but I heard his muffled scream. I had dropped my books, running head long into the dark ally.
"Danny!" I called.
But there was no one there. Nothing but a few rats and an empty dumpster. I went home that night, scared and shaking. Danny wasn't in his room, but Mom and Dad had gone to bed early, so they didn't know. I couldn't sleep, too worried and scared. Where was Danny?
He crawled through his window around two in the morning. I was waiting outside his door, and I heard him stumbling. I was about to rush in, but I heard another voice.
"Not a word." he hissed.
Danny coughed and choked in response.
I waited outside his door, my hands pressed over my mouth to stifle my breathing. Too long, I waited, wondering if the coast was clear yet. I managed to muster up some courage and peeked in the door.
Danny was already asleep, not a scratch on him, snuggled up under the covers. Quietly, I tip toed to his bed, listening to his soft breathing.
"Danny?" I whispered, unsure and nervous.
He didn't wake, mumbling incoherently and turning in his sleep. My heart sank at the sight of him, realizing I hadn't gotten a good look at him in ages. He was so pale, and dark purple rings hung under his eyes. I wondered, if maybe things weren't getting better for him, if maybe it was only the outside that was improving. It made me think of the different types of comfort the world has to offer. Some soothe the soul, some console a grieving heart, and some reassure outside witnesses, leaving the black hurt to fester within.
Vlad was the reassuring type of comfort.