**This chapter has been edited as of June 7, 2015.
When the alarm went off, Vlad Masters began his usual morning routine.
He laid out his suit for the day, picked a matching tie, and lined the heels of his shoes up to the end of the bed.
His shower proceeded without a hitch.
At least, it proceeded without a hitch until he felt a crumb-like substance being mixed into his hair as he shampooed. He quickly cleared the shampoo away from his face before pouring some into his palm and carefully poking through. Colorful crumbs—they were certainly crumbs of some sort—dotted within the shampoo.
Vlad needed merely another second before angrily rinsing his hair clean and rushing to shut off the water. He securely wrapped a towel around his hips and held his breath for ten seconds before slowly releasing the air. He would never admit to Danny he used the exercises the teen had tauntingly suggested, but they were stupidly helpful on the spot.
Especially when he found cereal in his shampoo and felt the immediate urge to strangle a fourteen-year-old.
Vlad hurried to get dressed and pulled his damp hair back into a tight ponytail as he made his way to the kitchen. The hair on the back of his neck stood up as he glared around the room. It was impossible to consider Danny hadn't done more than ruin a bottle of shampoo, and Vlad opened cabinet after cabinet to check the contents. He would have to do a sweep of the rest of the mansion sometime later in the day, but for now he settled on the only place food actually belonged.
The cabinets were suspiciously untouched, and Vlad thumbed the wristband of his watch as he stood in the middle of the kitchen. After a minute, he pressed to start the coffee maker and opened the fridge for milk.
The fridge was stocked to the brim with boxes of Froot Loops.
Vlad wordlessly stared before slamming the fridge shut and scrambling to find his briefcase. He phased through his front door and paused long enough to shoot down the rigged bucket that had been waiting to fall the moment the door was opened.
"Nice try, Daniel."
He seemed to have spoken too soon upon discovering more cereal in the back of his limo. The drive to City Hall provided him with an irritating stare off between himself and more than a few Toucan Sam's. He blasted one and pinched the bridge of his nose when the colorful hoops exploded around him. The moment the limo rolled to a stop, he nearly jumped out. He stomped up the steps and through the doors, skating past his secretary and into his office. He took a glance around and only sat behind his desk once he found nothing appeared tampered with.
Vlad set his briefcase atop his desk, opened it, and didn't finding his files, no, but cereal and a picture of Danny grinning and pointing.
He connected to the secretary and announced, "Please hold all calls and meetings and send my regards. I have personal matters to attend to."
Forget breathing exercises.
Mr. Lancer had all intentions of teaching his class. He even tried to engage one of his more disinterested students.
"Danny, can you tell me—"
A knock at the door interrupted the rest of the question, and Lancer sighed as he answered. He blinked in surprise as Vlad Masters charmingly smiled and stepped inside.
"I apologize for intruding," Vlad said. "I intend to be as quick as possible. I just need to have a word with one of your students."
"This may be the greatest day of my life," Danny announced with a snorting laugh. Sam and Tucker didn't hide their agreement as they chuckled from their respective chairs.
"You must think you're hysterical, don't you, Daniel?"
"I do. I really, really do." Danny folded his hands on his desk and leaned forward. "So, Uncie Vlad, how's your morning been?"
"Please step into the hallway so I can have a word with you."
"My mom said I'm not supposed to."
The teen raised his hands in surrender. "No, seriously. My mom said not to."
"It was an interesting lecture," Tucker supplied with a nod from behind Danny. "Very clear directions."
Sam began digging around in her spider backpack as she said, "I think there might've been a handout. Did you two get one?"
"I may have a copy on my PDA—"
Vlad leveled a deadly smile at the trio. "Cease with the teenage antics, or I'll be forced to take harsher measures."
"That sounds like a threat," Danny said as he folded his arms. "Mayor Masters, you aren't threatening a bunch of idiot kids, are you?"
"I feel a little threatened," Tucker admitted. "Sam?"
She waved her hand back and forth. "An inkling of a threat."
"Daniel, come out into the hallway," Vlad ordered. There was a dark flicker in his voice, and Danny's grin nearly wavered. "I insist."
"I insist on continuing my education," the young hybrid replied. "We're learning important things about…"
"Shakespeare," Sam whispered.
"Shakespeare. We're learning important things about Shakespeare."
The half-ghosts locked gazes with each other, and Danny's stare began morphing into a challenging glare as Vlad's jaw twitched. The seconds ticked by as the teen tilted back in his chair and refused to be the one to give in first. Danny made a show of sucking in a large breath as he smirked, and Vlad snapped.
"Give me the files, Daniel, or I'm calling your parents and explaining how their teenage son broke into my home and stole paperwork."
Danny hesitated, the air in the lungs quickly blowing out as he looked back to Sam. She had her pointer finger raised as she added, "You forgot the part with the cereal."
Danny thumped his head against his desk before holding a hand out behind him. "Tuck, give me the stupid papers." The techno geek handed them over, and with his forehead still firmly planted to the desk, Danny idly stretched his arm out. "Here. Suck the fun out of everything."
Vlad promptly walked over and snatched the files away; he picked through to make sure everything was intact as he casually said, "Maybe I will stop by to visit your parents, though. It has been a while."
Danny gritted his teeth and clenched his fists as he sat up, and Tucker flashed Vlad the screen of his PDA. Smiling, Tucker sang, "The second rule is to not let you in the house."
"I knew there was a handout," Sam said with a snap of her fingers. "Quick. What's the third rule—?"
"I'll be on my way," Vlad cut in. "Do try to act mature once in a while, Daniel."
"Do try to take a joke," Danny shot back.
Vlad oddly smiled—more a sneer, really—as he patted Danny's head and turned on his heel to leave. Danny cringed and slunk down in his chair, feeling uneasy at the way Vlad sauntered out of the room.
Something was going to happen. He just knew it.
If Danny had to act mature, so did Vlad.
Those were Danny's thoughts Tuesday morning at he miserably stared at the state of his hair in the mirror. He should have known better, should have predicted something like this would've happened. Vlad never just let things go with a warning. There was nearly always a consequence, and Danny was looking at it.
His hair was a shocking shade of blue—at least parts of it were. Chunks of his hair were still black as a midnight crayon, and that almost made it worse. It almost made Danny want to get back into the shower so he could properly scrub in the contaminated shampoo and even out the color.
Time, however, wasn't on his side, and if he spent any longer ogling his new appearance, he'd be late for class and one detention richer. So he quickly dried his hair and went about picking clothes off his floor to slip into.
His mother was going to kill him for ruining the towel. Right after she killed him for the dying his hair in the first place. Somehow, Danny had the hunch "Vlad did this—" wouldn't pass as a believable excuse, which meant he was in for a world of trouble when she saw him at dinner.
…unless he could convince Sam to dye it back before he went home.
Danny still had to get through the rest of the day as a target for his peers, but maybe he had hope in being spared from his mother.
"Where's Danny?" Sam asked. She hooked an arm over the back of her chair as she watched Tucker's fingers glide over his PDA. "Lancer's gonna kill him if he's late again."
"Probably overslept," Tucker said absentmindedly. "Or had some extracurricular activities to deal with."
When it came time to take attendance, Lancer sighed at Danny's empty seat before starting the lesson. Tucker texted Danny underneath his desk and sent Sam a clueless shrug when she raised her eyebrows for an answer. Ten minutes later, however, the door opened just enough for a body to slip into the classroom, and Danny quickly dropped into his seat.
Sam pressed her fingertips together in front of her face as Tucker already began snapping pictures. Dash made a joke about Fenton joining clown school and prompted the rest of the class off on a round of laughter.
Stoically, Sam inquired, "Since when did you become an Ember fan?"
Danny glared. "Since someone messed with my shampoo."
"I can't wait to put this on the Internet," Tucker snickered. Danny swiped the PDA away and his friend yelled. "You give Sarah back!"
"With or without an 'h'?" Sam asked.
"Sarah with an 'h.'"
"Look," Danny snipped, gesturing to Lancer. "Can you—? Can you please continue? Whatever you were doing? Give me the pink slip when it's time to go. Just distract them. Please. I'm willing to learn to escape this."
"I think it'll be easier said than done," Lancer mused. "I also think detention would just be cruel after this fiasco."
"Then give me detention for this." Danny pulled his cell out, held up a finger to Lancer's immediate complaints, and selected a specific number to dial. After a minute of listening to ringing and then mockingly mouthing the words to the voicemail, Danny had a simple message to leave.
"Listen up, fruit loop. This means war."