Just some fun Danny and Vlad interaction. No gross romance. :)
You know how when your in high school and you're trying to decide on a career, every single adult you ask says not to worry about it too much because it's bound to change anyway. It's always, "Well I never thought I'd be a math teacher at your age" or "Yes, I wanted to be a rock star too..." Turns out they weren't kidding. Their whole "expect the unexpected" speeches weren't total garbage. In fact, I never realized just how true they were.
It's not like I planned to end up in the job I have now. I mean, I still want to be an astronaut, but there came a point when I had to stop reaching for a pipe dream and face reality. Between my grades and my ghost powers, I was lucky to get into college at all. Majoring in astrophysics was so not gonna happen.
So I went in undeclared, completely and utterly without a goal. It was a lot like being in the middle of a hurricane on a tiny boat. Or a raft. It felt like that at least, but maybe that was because having no idea what I wanted to do with my life was such a drastic change from what I was used to. You know, the whole astronaut thing. I thought I had my life planned out, but...
I guess it was the other way around.
"Darn it, where did those stupid papers go?" I grumbled, rifling through the drawers.
The usual sounds of phones ringing and low chatter echoed around my ears, mostly swallowed by the pristine carpeting. I shifted through the papers on my desk, still mumbling to myself and glancing up at the clock. Fifteen minutes. Across the room my co-worker started entering the room, letting in the low chatter. She stopped halfway through, turning back and laughing with someone from down the hall.
"Yeah, you go ahead and try that. Just see what happen." she called, still chortling as the glass doors closed behind her and muffled the office sounds again.
"Morning Danny." She chirped, setting three coffee's on her desk and taking off her coat. "You loose something?"
"Yeah," I mumbled, yanking open the bottom drawer and about ready to start ripping the files out. "I can't find the notes to last night's meeting."
Sophia whistled lowly.
"He's gonna kill you."
"Yeah, I know." I tried not to sound too impatient. Soft thumps alerted me to her approach, her Prada heels coming to a halt in front of my desk. The sound of shuffling papers was heard above me for a moment, and she finally broke my frantic searching with a laugh.
"You're not very observant, are you?" She chuckled.
"What are you talking about?" I looked up at her, hoping I wasn't snapping to much.
Sophia grinned and held up exactly what I was looking for, mirth in her eyes. I blinked stupidly for a moment, finally relaxing with a sheepish smile.
"Thanks." I sighed, fully aware of how much she just saved my life.
"No problem." She smirked, walking back to her desk, "You might want to work on being a little more organized though. I'm not gonna be here forever, you know."
"Trust me," I snorted, "Me neither."
"Really?" she blinked, actually looking surprised, "Why not? You've got a pretty good shot at getting that office in there." she gestured her head to the grandiose doors separating our desks. "He seems to like you a lot."
"Exactly." I mumbled, grabbing a pen and slipping the notes into my planner. I looked up at the clock again. Five minutes.
Sophia shrugged at my cryptic response, plenty used to it by now. Luckily, she's not the type of woman to pry. Something that's been invaluable for the past nine months that we've been working together. After smoothing out the wrinkles in her tight, gray skirt, she pulled up her chair and opened her lap-top, brushing away a strand of coal black hair from her brown face. I, on the other hand, took a deep bracing breath for the day ahead and stood up, grabbing the planner and my blackberry. Sophia glance up from her computer as I approached her desk.
"You should be wearing your jacket." she sang, clicking her tongue.
I rolled my eyes, straightening my tie and brushing a speck of dirt from the white blouse.
"He'll get over it. Which one...?" I gestured to the coffees.
Sophia pointed to the ones closest to me without looking away from her computer, already typing away. I couldn't help but smile, thanking her and grabbing the cups. The black one definitely wasn't mine, so I calmly sipped the rejuvenating macchiato before setting it on my desk.
"Wish me luck." I sighed, triple checking to make sure I had planner, blackberry, and coffee in hand.
"Good luck." She replied, looking up at me with a knowing smirk.
I winced, pushing the ornate doors open and letting myself into Vlad's extravagant office.
Honestly, I didn't mean to end up as one of Vlad's secretaries. Life just likes kicking me in the face. ...A lot.
Beyond used to the creepy self portraits and breathtaking décor, I calmly walked to the glossy and elegant desk. Outside the sun was rising over a city scape full of bustling citizens, though everyone just looked like ants from this height. The heavy, dark green curtains were drawn back, letting sunlight spill across the spacious room. A final glance at the clock alerted me to my increasingly dwindling fruitloop-free time. Only two minutes left. I set his coffee down before relaxing back into his ridiculously expensive (but incredibly comfortable) chair, debating on whether or not to piss him off early and prop my feet on the desk.
Now I'm sure many of you are wondering just how the hell this happened to me. Well believe me folks, I often wonder the same thing. You see, shortly after my first semester of college it became blazingly clear that there wasn't even a miniscule chance of me becoming an astronaut. I could barely pass high school algebra, much less college level calculus.
However, seeing as all I ever wanted to be was an astronaut, I had no direction for my future what-so-ever. My advisor recommended that I major in Art, which was so not gonna happen. I may have been desperate, but I wasn't stupid. I took a few more science courses in the hopes that I could find a research job or something. I wasn't the top of my class or anything, but I was average. That meant I could probably find an average research job and do average work and live an average life. See the problem yet? Danny Phantom can't exactly handle average. Not after six years of ghost fighting.
And then I took a general education, business and marketing class. Ah, I remember the first day like it was just a few hours ago. The professor stood at the front of the class and literally sold us a tape dispenser. It was bizarre, and yet, I felt enlightened. Not because it was particularly glamorous or solved all my problems, but because the moment the guy sitting next to me actually held up a dollar to buy the useless piece of junk, I had a revelation.
This is where that stupid fruitloop learned it all.
I decided to take a few more classes, not planning on majoring in business or anything, but just to get a few more tips on how to give some of Vlad his own medicine. Then it turned out that I was pretty good at business and marketing. Actually, I was down right spectacular. I didn't tell anybody that I'd sort-of had practice with the world famous billionaire himself because at first I didn't realize I'd even had practice with the world famous billionaire himself. Marketing, it seemed, was all about manipulating the customer. When I realized that I realized the reason I was so good at it, and let me tell you, my morals were a little displeased.
At first I was tempted to drop business altogether, more than slightly terrified that I was turning into Vlad after all. However, my communications professor begged me to stay, and after a long, open discussion of my fears about turning into a big-suit dick wad, he successfully settled them.
"Danny, I know a lot of people who go sour when they get big in the business field, but you're the most honest and decent person I've meet in a long time. I'm pretty sure Vlad Masters himself couldn't make you a bad person."
I almost laughed at that point. I'm quite proud of myself that I held it in. That basically settled my issues with the subject though, so three days later I became a business major.
And it all went down hill from there.
Okay, so maybe that's a little dramatic. In all honesty, my life couldn't have been better those last few years of college. I had tons of friends, plenty of connections, and for the first time ever I was doing fantastic in my school work. I'm surprised I managed to keep my ego down, to be honest. It was inevitable that Vlad would find out about this, though. That nosy jerk still makes it a point to stick his nose into my business (ha. Pun.). It happened in the last half of my senior year. I was working on my thesis and searching for a good internship, seeing as I was about to graduate. I wanted to have a steady job ready while I continued on with a Masters degree. I'd had plenty of internships before, so there were plenty of places I could have gone, but I wanted something big, something solid. Graduate school was very competitive, and working as a manager of some little business wasn't gonna cut it.
And that's when he showed up.
Man, you should have seen the look on my professor's face when he got an email from the Vlad Masters. I didn't, and I'm quite glad I didn't cause I'm sure I would have barfed. See, Vladdie's something of a God among the business world, and the fact that I personally know him shocked everybody in the business department. I'd worked hard to keep that little fact under wraps. I don't exactly enjoy being associated with that fruitloop.
So Vlad pulled a typical Vlad move, personally contacting my professor about the internship rather than me. He knew if he went directly to me I'd say something along the lines of, "Hell no." However, going to my professor, and in turn the entire business department at APU, put me in a bit of a pickle. Basically, I couldn't turn him down without disappointing all of the people who spent so many years supporting and caring for me, and that stupid jerk knew it.
So, with a heavy heart inside and a forced smile outside, I accepted the offer. Then I was shipped off to Wisconsin and became the one thing I never ever in a million years expected: Vlad's secretary.
"Daniel, get your feet off my desk. How many times do I have to tell you that?"
I snapped out of my reminiscent thoughts and turned to Vlad, a teasing smile sneaking on my face.
"And good morning to you to, Mr. Masters! How was your evening?"
"You know damn well how it went, you insufferable boy. Now move."
My grin stretched wider, jumping up from the seat before Vlad hit me. Genius here tried to take over the ghost zone last night, but I put a stop to it. Needless to say, he probably wasn't very happy with me right now.
"So you've got a billion and one things to do today-which I know you're feeling totally up for-and you better down that coffee quick cause you've got a board meeting in five minutes."
Vlad choked on his drink, the glare he'd been giving me replaced with shock.
"Five minutes? I thought that wasn't for another hour!"
"Wow Vlad, seems those late night excursions of yours really affect your job performance. I'd work on that if I were you."
He narrowed his eyes suspiciously, disbelief dawning on his face as he slowly stood from his chair.
"You little rat. You changed the meeting, didn't you."
"What? Me?" Yeah, I totally did. "That's crazy talk! That would require spending my valuable time sneaking around in here, busting your incredibly difficult personal password, and then emailing all your associates in the span of-" I glanced at my watch "-what, four? Five hours? How late did you keep us up last night?"
"I'm going to murder you." Vlad seethed, grabbing his brief case and promising much pain in my future. "Why in the hell I ever hired you in the first place is beyond me."
"Love you too, Vlad!" I called out, grinning and wincing as the door to his office slammed behind him.
Yeah, I'm being unusually difficult to the bastard today. Sue me. In all honesty, we usually work pretty well together, minus Vlad's snide remarks. However, he kept me up all night with his stupid take-over-the-ghost-zone-plan, a plan that very nearly worked, I'm sorry to say. Valarie was there and almost got killed too, which is why I went the extra mile and screwed up Vlad's morning.
As for the promise of much pain in my future, I can confidently admit that I'm a little nervous about that. Vlad's never once failed to uphold a promise, especially one that involves me and retribution. However, the look on his face completely makes it worth it. Definitely wish I would have had a camera. And as for his last comment, it's not like Vlad would ever really fire me. He's way to obsessed with me to do that. I mean come on, the guy gets his ass handed to him by his secretary in the middle of the night and doesn't fail to show up to work the next morning to deal with said secretary-on five hours of sleep, no less. That's just as admirable as it is creepy.
"Jesus Christ, Danny, what did you do this time?" Sophia peaked into the office, looking nervous and a little scared.
"Not much," I said lightly, strolling toward her. "Vlad just forgot his meeting was set earlier, and as usual, blamed it on me."
"Mmmhm." she rose an eyebrow, putting her hands on her hips and giving me a look, "You don't say?"
"It's crazy, I know." I shrugged, "Why he would ever suspect an meager secretary like me is way beyond my level of comprehension."
Sophia only shook her head though, cause like I said, she's not stupid.
"Sometimes I just don't know what to think of you, Danny." she turned around and went back to her desk. I followed.
"What do you mean?" I asked, curious now. Plus, I had another hour before it was time to cause more hell for Vlad.
"You can be as sneaky as that snake in there sometimes," she pointed to Vlad's office and I tried not to look offended, "But I know you, and you're nothing like Vlad Masters or any of these business suits. I just don't know what to make of you sometimes."
"...Call me an enigma." I grinned, not letting Sophia see how much her words affected me.
"Oh I'll call you something alright...like crazy!"
She laughed and I forced a convincing chuckle before making my escape, slipping back into Vlad's office after mumbling a relatively convincing lie. Sophia returned to her work with an amused smile still on her bold, red lips and I closed the ornate door softly, alone in the monstrous office.
In all honesty, there are still some things that really bother me about working for Vlad. Sophia pointed out a big one. It's not a good feeling to go home and have your best friends make nervous remarks comparing you to your greatest adversary, or worse, to have your Dad accidentally slip up and call you by his name. That one's just weird.
Working for Vlad certainly has it's perks-like the ridiculously concrete job security-but there are times when I really can't wait to get out of here. Every now and then I have to wonder if I'm doing the right thing by going into business. It's almost overwhelming how much I've strayed from a career in astronomy. I was always so sure that an astronaut was the only job for me. But then I got ghost powers and then I met Vlad and suddenly I'm his secretary. It's scary to think about how much he's changed my life, and even scarier to wonder if all of this has played out like it has because he wanted it to or because I wanted it to. Vlad's always been the puppet master in my life, and it hasn't been until now-now that I'm actually working in close quarters with him-that I'm starting to beat him at his own game without all that luck I had in high school.
Of course, that only makes Vlad want me more, which is super creepy, but whatever. As long as I can beat him in the long run...
For the next fifty five minutes I killed time by playing Doom on Vlad's personal laptop. Figuring maybe I shouldn't incur too much wrath, I quickly exited the game and removed myself from his chair when I heard him coming in. Vlad was still mad, giving me an angry look as he set his brief case on his desk and violently rummaged through the papers.
I winced when he handed me three very thick packets.
"If you have enough time to sabotage my meetings at three in the morning I'm sure you'll have plenty of time to run the numbers on these transactions and give me a report over the deficit."
"Jeez, what am I? An account?"
"And I want this done by noon." he added, smirking and pushing me towards the door.
"What! Are you out of your mind? This is gonna take me all day!" I turned to him angrily, ignoring the perplexed look Sophia was giving us as Vlad shoved me out of his office.
"Then I suggest you get working, little badger." He grinned, and closed the door with a snap.
"...Danny!" Sophia hissed when I flipped off the door.
I didn't reply, grumbling to myself because I knew something like this was gonna happen. That didn't make me any less pissed, though. Stupid pointless paperwork. Sophia had dropped her scolding expression and was now watching me with a smirk, shaking her head again.
"What?" I scowled, but she only chuckled.
"You brought this on yourself, you know." She replied lightly, writing a few notes on what ever it was she was working on.
"So?" I said stubbornly, "That fruitloop deserved it."
"Really? And just what did Mr. Masters do to you that warranted your spite?"
"He was born." I mumbled, opening one of the packets and grimacing. I hate numbers.
Sophia shook her head again cause that's really all she can do in response to my shenanigans sometimes. I sighed, grabbing my calculator and getting to work.
To an outsider, it's probably completely appalling that Vlad lets me get away with half the crap I pull on him. I certainly don't treat him with as much respect as some of his other associates do, but then again, all of his associates grovel. I pretty much treat the fruitloop like I usually do-but only when we're alone or Sophia is the only one within hearing distance. As shocking as it may sound, I do make sure to keep it relatively respectful when other big wigs are in the room or people lower on the business food chain are within earshot. Not because I respect Vlad or anything (Okay, maybe I respect him a little bit, but it's more like the intimidating kind of respect. Vlad can be scary sometimes.), but because I know how the system works. If people see me as disrespectful, that would greatly decrease my future job opportunities. And I really wanna get out of here as soon as I possibly can. Unfortunately for me, I'm starting to get the sinking suspicion that Vlad is going to put a stop to any job offers that come my way, assuming he hasn't already.
In all reality, people would kill to have my job, which makes it strange that I'm so desperate to get the heck out of dodge. I know for a fact that Sophia went through hell to get here, but she made it and that's all that matters to her. It makes me feel kinda guilty, actually, like I cheated the system. Sophia is here because she's proved her worth in this business. Being Vlad's secretary isn't for the faint of heart, and Sophia has the patience to put up with him and the skills necessary to complete any tasks designated to her. I'm good at what I do, I guess, but I haven't really had the chance to get my feet wet. Guess that's why I work so hard at all the crap Vlad makes me do, even if the entire point of the work is to drive me nuts.
Needless to say, I made sure to have those numbers done by eleven thirty.
Sophia raised an eye brow when I stood up, completed packets in hand and a smug smirk on my face.
"You sure there's no mistakes?" she asked for my sake.
"I sent the numbers to a friend of mine. If he says they're right, they're right." Sometimes I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have Tucker to check my math on a daily basis. I'm surprised he hasn't charged me yet.
"Alright, if you're sure everything is correct..." She frowned cautiously.
"Don't worry, Sophia," I grinned, patting the packets confidently, "I got this."
She restrained a snicker when I rapped on Vlad's door, singing my favorite pet name to get his attention.
"Oh Vladdie, I'm done with those papers. Don't you wanna let me in and boss me around some more?"
His voice crackled over the intercom set into the wall.
"Daniel, you are an insufferable human being. Get in here so I can make sure you didn't screw anything up."
"Sure thing, my liege." I muttered, resisting the urge to roll my eyes.
When I let myself into his office he was already on the phone with someone, chatting away in French while simultaneously looking at a thick packet in his hands. He glanced up at me when I entered, pointing to a chair distractedly as he jabbered away. I debated not listening to him, but decided to be a little more grown up today and took a seat. I was freaking exhausted anyways.
Vlad spoke for a few more minutes, and I could tell his tone was direct and focused even thought I had no idea what he was saying. It made me wish I could speak a foreign language. Sam always told me to take a class, but I never got around to it... I had a moment more to reflect on how detrimental not knowing another language was in my career field before Vlad finally hung up the phone with a click.
"Let me see them." he held out his hand expectantly. I pursed my lips but did what he said, unable to help the smug smirk creeping on my face as he flipped through the packets. He didn't find any of the mistakes he was looking for, despite his ardent attempts. I actually felt rather proud of myself when Vlad dropped the packets to his desk, looking impressed.
"Well Daniel, I must admit, your work is more than satisfactory here, even if it was completely pointless busy work."
Then, before I could even enjoy his flattery, he grinned and picked up the papers, setting them on fire with a sudden flash of ectoflame. My jaw dropped, watching my hours of tedious work go up in smoke.
"What the hell Vlad! I spent forever on that!"
"I know. Consider it payback for the meeting fiasco. I actually already have the accountants handling these numbers on the fortieth floor, so I really didn't need you to waste all your time on this."
"...you're such a pain in the neck."
"The feeling is often mutual, little badger."
"So why am I in here other than for you to mock me? Or is that it?"
"Well actually I wanted to discuss matters of important business with you."
"Yes, really. Such as your unnecessary interference during my little plot last night."
"You tried to take over the ghost zone. I wouldn't call that little."
"Technicalities," Vlad waved a hand, grinning for some reason. But then his smile fell. "What I'm more concerned about is why you felt the need to go so far as to destroy my lab in the process."
"Hm." I put a sarcastic finger to my lips, "Maybe that had something to do with the pot shots you took at my friends the entire night. Or maybe, it was because of that machine you had in there. You know, the one that messes with a ghosts ectoplasmic stability levels and has the potential to eradicate any ghost within its radius should they try to question your nonexistent rule or something? The one you just so happened to be using to take over afore mentioned ghost zone? Yeah. That might have been why I destroyed your lab."
"The level of destruction you inflicted was entirely unnecessary. My ecto-decomposer machine took up only a small corner of my lab."
"You triedto melt my ghost half. I was a tiny bit angry there, Vladdie-cakes. I think my 'level of destruction' was completely called for."
"Tch. There you go, justifying your temper again. How do you ever expect me to privilege you with more difficult tasks if you can't even handle your own emotions?"
"Wait, are we talking about my job here at Dalv Co.? Cause you give me plenty of difficult tasks to do here. Namely, putting up with you for eight hours a day."
"Cute." he gave a tight smile, glaring at me from over the tops of his fingers. "I'm not going to fire you though."
Vlad's phone suddenly rang again and without hesitation he picked it up. His piercing gaze kept me pinned for a few more moments before he focused on the call, this time speaking in German. I watched the exchange with a dry stare, deciding to take this window of opportunity to escape the rest of Vlad's biased lecture. Seriously, working for your archenemy can be such a pain in the ass sometimes.
So naturally, his nagging voice called me back just as I was reaching out to grab the ornate door handle.
"I'm not finished with you, Daniel."
Stifling a groan and rolling my eyes, I turned around just in time to see him finish up the call and place it back on the receiver. Vlad made the 'come here' sign which I glared viciously at. I hated it when he did that. His stupid pompous smirk didn't make it any better, either.
"Since you handle difficult tasks so well," Vlad began, using a light tone that never preceded good things, "I have a job I'm going to need you for."
"This wouldn't happen to be another sneaky attempt to get me involved with your ghost affairs, would it?" I asked dryly. Vlad chuckled.
"No dear boy, I'm actually talking about your job here at Dalv Co. this time."
"My job at Dalv Co. is the only job I have with you, Vlad."
"Of course it is." He replied offhandedly. I felt my left eye twitch, but let his unsaid implications go. He always tries to get me to work for him as Phantom...
"The Axion Charity Event Dinner is next weekend and I'm going to need you to accompany me for the evening-"
"What! Come on, why do I have to go? Can't you take Sophia" I whined extra hard because I knew he had to have an ulterior motive with this. That and I so didn't wanna be Vlad's shadow for three hours while he mingled with rich people.
"Sophia has already asked for vacation time next week and there's no reason you can't do it. There are going to be several potential clients there and I don't want to miss a good business opportunity. Besides," He grinned at me like I was his latest investment, which to him I was. "Why would I let you miss out on an excellent chance to learn the delicate art of manipulation?"
"Wow Vlad. Manipulating and cheating your way into more money at a charity event while simultaneously sneaking in a how-to-be-a-jackass lesson for me. How very you."
"I never said anything about cheating."
"You're Vlad Masters. You don't have to."
"Alright, enough of your lip, boy. It's a shame you never grew out of that sarcastic flair of yours. Now get out of my office. I've already sent you an email of the details for the event, so check your inbox."
"Sure thing, Vlad. Anything else you want me to do? Play catch? Roll around on the carpet? Kiss the ground you walk on?"
I snickered at his half-hearted glare, strolling away with a satisfied grin on my face. Working for Vlad can be a pain in the ass sometimes, and he definitely tries to turn me to the dark side waaay too much, but I can't deny that having the opportunity to mess with him all day is just too perfect.