Fourteen Ways To Say I Love You

Drabble series! Oh, no! Vlad and Danny's first Anniversary is coming up, but Danny is sick of dealing with workaholic Vlad. Can Vlad rekindle the love they've shared in just fourteen days, or will he lose Danny forever? Pompous Pep, secret message at end!


Hi, everyone! :D Am currently a little bamboozled by the workload (Am smacking self upside the head for having been epically lazy of late) coming up, because school's coming to an end soon…which also means finals, college packing, and assorted chaos…:'( ) Still, I've always wanted to try doing a drabble series.

Some will be much longer then others. But they call them drabbles for a reason, folks. ^^

Note: Roses are red, violets are blue.

I don't own, so please don't sue!

Oh, and there's a little code hidden in the story. ;) Let's see if you guys can break it by the time the story ends!

One last thing, I promise….

For this drabble, I want Vlad to know that while I don't especially care about football, I do supportChicago's teams…which includes the Bears, the Packers' big time rival. ^^ I don't suppose he'll be very cooperative for this story, now…

Drabble One: Volatile

He hadn't expected this.

Vlad stared blankly at the empty dining room table, briefcase slipping from limp fingers onto the green and gold carpet, making a soft thump. As if pulled by invisible threads, the dumb marionette's dark blue eyes slowly trailed to the thin wisps of smoke trailing from the now melted stubs of candles perched in the candelabras.

He mentally groaned, and wearily drew a hand over his face.

Oh, no….

That…wasn't tonight, was it? Fingers shaking slightly, the billionaire quickly drew out his electronic planner, countenance skeptical.

Of course today wasn't the day he'd promised to have dinner with Daniel for a change. He would have remembered; he would have been home early, he would have been certain to make arrangements ahead of time as to reschedule that board meeting with his corporation directors…..

"Apple Danish," the man murmured underneath his breath, as his eyes scanned the telltale electronic numbers.

Yes, that was exactly today. Blast. Vlad sank into one of the nearby chairs, trying to ignore the now-cold platters of food in front of him. Stupid classic soap opera scene.

Surely Daniel would understand-he was a busy man! This….this had happened before, yes, but Vlad didn't even remember loading the date into his personal calendar.

He started.

Oh, wait…..

"Daniel, you didn't have to wait up for me. You could have just gone to bed."

Danny's arms wrapped around the man's thin waist while the elder hybrid busily flicked through his TV settings, looking for the Packer's game he'd missed Friday.

"I was about to go home, to be honest. Vlad, haven't you been putting in enough hours as it is? Those new branches in Kyoto aren't-"

Vlad Masters scowled.

"They are very important, despite what you might think, Daniel. I need to pick out my newest executives carefully. I have no need for a staff that needs constant babysitting."

Danny had pouted…or something. The Packers were playing the Bears in a battle for the Superbowl, and Vlad was already sore about missing it. He admittedly wasn't paying much attention to the boy cradled in his lap.

Danny had put his chin in hand, staring unhappily at Vlad for a few moments.

"….I get that. Really. But you're never home, anymore-and I only get so much Summer Vacation before I have to get back to school, you know. I have an internship at the local observatory that'll hopefully lead to-"

"Mmm, yes. You told me." Vlad said faintly, avidly watching the players swarming in and out of the screen. If and when the Packers won, he would be more then prepared in his private box at the game…..

Danny scowled, then seized the remote, and paused the recording. Vlad irritably turned his head back to his lover.

"…what?"

Danny frowned at him for a second, then sighed, his countenance resigned.

"….Vlad. You said last month that this was a short-time program-that'd it be over by the next two weeks. It's been four."

Vlad slowly shook his head.

"I'm sorry. But it WILL be over soon, Daniel, I promise," he said seriously, turning to look down at the boy casting him a skeptic look.

"Truly. It's just that I have to oversee all the new Internship programs, and the transfer documentation, and all the tax credits that need-"

The younger hybrid raised his hands in defeat.

"Okay, okay, you win. I gotcha. But can't we at least have a nice dinner alone or something, sometime?" he asked wistfully, placing a hand on Vlad's cheek. The billionaire pressed PLAY on his remote, but said nothing. Danny tried again.

"….like, maybe this weekend, if you're free?

Vlad nodded absentmindedly, before kissing Danny chastely on the head.

"Sounds wonderful, but can you just type it into my-no, no, NO!"

Vlad sprung up from the couch, sending a flailing and squawking Danny onto the floor. His cobalt eyes were ablaze as a player in blue and orange zipped past several players with gold helmets-

"Get him! GET HIM! HE-AGH! Noooooooo!"

Vlad almost swore as he started stamping his foot up and down, looking sickened.

"YOU LET THAT GET PAST YOU? Oh, that's just perfect, absolutely perfect…."

Danny, rolling his eyes, and mentally comparing Vlad to a two year old, reached for the forgotten planner, and started to type in the date.

Oh….perfect. Absolutely perfect.

Vlad swore underneath his breath, rolling his eyes.

Well, this could hardly be called his fault, though the boy certainly must have been waiting a long time. Which meant…..

Vlad drew a mournful glance at the chair at the end of the table. Butter biscuits. Daniel must have gone to bed-probably angry. Hopefully, a little make-up make-love session would help, although the thought didn't really make Vlad feel any better.

Well, this was the fourth time in two weeks this had happened, but they would simply try again tomorrow. If he could just reschedule the next meeting with the board of directors…..

The prospects didn't look good, and Vlad bit his lip. He'd been absolutely delighted when the boy had promised to spend a month of his precious spring break with him…..but ultimately, between work, extra hours, and the work he brought home, there really wasn't much time for any quality time.

Vlad moodily spun around a wine glass in his fingertips.

The young college student had free access to his castle, three swimming pools, a fitness lab, tennis courts with pitching machines, plenty of those electronic games Daniel and his friends seemed so crazy about…..surely he had to be happy, here. He understood that Vlad's company was his pride and joy-pardoning the younger hybrid, of course-but ultimately, Masters was a busy man! He'd missed a few dates that he felt terrible about, but that could all change tomorrow.

Invigorated, Vlad phased into his spectral form, intending to zip through the walls and see if Daniel was still awake. He glanced at his pocket watch. It was now….

…..11:49 p.. Vlad's eyes widened in disbelief.

Good glory, did he really spend four extra hours at work then necessary? He hadn't at all kept track of the time….which meant that while Vlad had waited four hours to come home, Danny had waited for six for him.

Vlad rolled his eyes as a sudden wave of guilt burst over him. He had to go wake the boy up. He had to wake the boy, apologize for being late (Apologize for waking him up in the dead of night, but this could not wait), and promise promises that could actually hold water, this time. They'd almost made it to an entire year now, together. They could easily tread through this.

Hopeful, Plasmius zipped into the air-only to stop abruptly when a patch of white on the dining room table caught his eye. Curious, he doubled back.

A letter. A letter with his name on it-in Daniel's normal scrawl. Feeling both apprehensive and amused, Vlad scooped it up, carelessly ripped it open, and drew a small piece of paper out.

The small smile on his face slowly died away.

Vlad,

I wanted this meal to be something special, so I actually gave your cooks a hand in the kitchen. Turns out I'm a cook who can burn water and ruin cereal, and your staff begged me to take a leave of absence, but we still managed. You didn't.

Vlad winced at that part.

Ouch.

He read on.

It's now 10:00, and am now exhausted. I'm thinking you either forgot to message me ahead of time that you were working overtime, or you forgot about tonight entirely. Guess work can do that to a guy.

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I really do appreciate how hard you work for your company, and how tired you really are when you get home. (All that yelling and screaming you have to do in front of the TV can really take a number out of a guy, too.)

Oh, come now, Daniel, that was just…..maybe a little truthful….

But back to my main point. I'm going to respect your wish for a little peace and quiet around the place when you get home-and no nagging boyfriends who want to spend quality time pestering you. I'm going.

….

It took a moment for the consuming shock in Vlad's head to recede just a little for comprehension to understand thought.

'What?'

Am packing my things, and am accepting Tuck's invitation to go on that cruise he was talking about three week ago. If you don't remember, am not completely shocked. Sam, Dani, Valerie, and Qwan are going, too. Qwan was a bit of a jerk in High School, but he's not so bad when he's not hanging around Dash. Anyways, after what I'll do after that….I don't know. Valerie invited me to go down to Oklahoma to visit her relatives; Qwan invited me up to his parents' summer house in California. He said he had something he wanted to tell me. ? ? ? ?

….oh, no, oh, no, oh, no, oh, no, oh, no, oh, no …..

Someone was shaking the paper quite violently now, and the words were getting harder and harder and blurrier to read.

But Sam and Tucker want me to return to AmityPark once our flight comes back. Not sure. But I won't bore you with the details-though I'll be back in the States in two weeks. Don't worry about me coming back for my things-I was pretty thorough.

The words here with congealed, as though tears had run into the ink.

Vlad. I'm sorry. I love you. But your castle doesn't mean anything to me, especially without you. It never did. And maybe I never did to you, either-considering the moment I first told you that I loved you, you immediately assumed you had me forever, without even trying. And you did. For awhile. And you stopped trying.

Lo-Sincerely,

Danny Fenton

Oh.

The person quaking the paper so sadistically was Vlad. It trembled in his hands, before gloved fingers slowly curled around it in a vice like grasp, before the paper burst into pink flames.

He knew nothing. He saw nothing. Nothing was more acute then the waves of panic now racing before his blind eyes; and his mind was bolting out of its seams in fear.

'Daniel, Daniel, ….!'

His head shot up, eyes widening in horror.

"DANIEL!"

He wildly glanced at his watch;midnight. Daniel had written this note two hours ago, but what if, what if, by some miracle, he was still….?

Quickly becoming intangible, Vlad shot through walls, effortlessly passing room after room.

Billiard Room. No Daniel. Library. No. Daniel. Second Library. No. Guest Bedroom 1#. No Daniel. Guest Bathroom 2#. No such luck.

The older specter flew towards Vlad's master bedroom, with images of Danny rifling through the drawers for his belongings flashing through his mind. If he could just make it in-

Plasmius zipped into the room, stopping so abruptly he slammed into the wall, making the grandiose chandelier above them rattle. Cursing, he swung his head around-

No Danny. The drawers had been left open-either on accident, or as an insult to injury. Regardless, the latter was extremely effective.

Sick with dread, Vlad approached another little piece of paper perched on the now lonely side of the billionaire's huge canopy four-poster, mouth extremely dry-

If you bothered to look, I was serious when I said I'd be thorough. Sorry.


Amelia yawned wearily as she fumbled for her ringing phone next to her snoring husband. Whoever was trying to call her certainly was giving in without a fight. Crabby, she flicked her phone's receiver on, deciding that anything below a fire or a trip to the ER wasn't worth getting up for.

"Wha?" she murmured sleepily, eyes already closing once again….

"Mrs. Meahan," answered an angry voice. "I trust you've been sleeping well?"

Amelia Meahan, one of Vlad's personal secretaries, nearly fell out of bed from shock. Blinking wildly, wondering what in the world she'd done wrong this time, she turned on her bedside lamp, and drew her glasses on, blinking uncomfortably in the light.

"Oh! Ah, um…good evening, Mr. Masters," she said hurriedly, before glancing at her nearby clock. "Or, that is to say….good morning?"

"I won't be in for work tomorrow, Mrs. Meahan."

Amelia started, but efficient as she was, simply murmured an affirmative. "Alright. Then, I'll just push the meetings with the new executives for the day after-"

"Amelia, I won't be in for two weeks."

This time, poor Mrs. Meahan really did fall out of bed. Nearly dropping her phone, she frantically started recalling next week's schedule. Mr. Masters didn't have a vacation scheduled….and he was going to have that meeting with Mr. Perezzi, the owner of a business willing to sell her boss a new stipulant for DALV's…..

"Well, I, I…yes, sir, but several people are coming in fromJapanweek after next," she tried again, hoping this was her employer's terrible idea of a joke. "You see, they're-"

But Vlad's voice cut her off.

"Just handle it. If they have to pay for their flight reschedule, tell them that DALV will handle it personally. Talk to Finance."

But Amelia was still stumbling.

"Well-I-er, yes, gladly-but, but-"

"There will be a bonus for you in your pay check next month. I will see you in a fortnight." Vlad's voice definitely sounded harried. "Goodbye."

And just like that, he hung up, leaving Mrs. Meahan aghast in her bed.

Groaning, she reached for her personal notebook, blearily noting she was probably going to hear a few more people shouting before this ghastly night ended….


His pilots were certainly surprised to see their employer at 1 in the morning, and even more surprised when he demanded that they fly out toNew York Cityimmediately. But they'd sluggishly began to prep the man's private jet for travel as Vlad made a series of hasty and abrupt calls as one of his maids hurriedly loaded in a packed suitcase or two.

Expression dark, Vlad held his phone to his ear for one more phone call, drawing in breath sharply.

"Hi. You have reached Danny Fenton. Chances are, I'm kicking back, or kicking some ghost's behind, so leave me a message after the…."

Vlad growled as the dial tone switched to the messaging machine, but his expression changed almost immediately.

"Daniel, Daniel, love, I'm sorry. I'm truly sorry, but I just can't-"

The machine cut him off. Settling in his leather's passenger seat and haphazardly pulling his seat belt around him, he redialed.

"Daniel, I didn't get to finish. Just please, please pick up. I need to talk to you. If you want to go on this cruise, excellent! I'll come with you. Just-"

Beep!

Vlad was cut off again, and the pilots in the cock pit distantly heard a swear word they'd never quite heard before-at least in that context.

"Daniel, you left your flight receipt in the wastebasket. I know you're probably already on the flight toNew Yorkfor the ship departure, so I can't reach you by then, but I just want you to know that I-"

Beep. Oh, yes, Vlad was buying Danny a new phone for Christmas. Or better yet, as soon as possible.

He leaned back in his seat, adrenaline still pumping through his veins as the jet began to pick up speed on the runway.

Daniel hadn't 'spoken' to him like that in years, and the hurt was bitterly palpable. As for allowing him to go on this trip alone….

It left Vlad feeling even queasier then before, even as the jet geared for takeoff by rocketing near the gate. He started rocking back and forth in his chair, recalling that that arrogant little brat who had given Daniel such a hard time in High School was suddenly interested in telling Danny something 'important,' and wanted to invite him for what had to be a private retreat.

If he didn't already know that the jet moved faster them he did in the air, Vlad was ready to simply phase out, and fly the distance toNew Yorkhimself. Teleporting fromWisconsinto there, however, would probably leave him half-dead.

He was almost willing to risk it. Miss Gray had once dated Danny, and also seemed interested in asking the young hybrid to go with her on a miniature vacation. And then there was Miss Manson-who'd never confessed what she very obviously felt to Danny.

Vlad tried to wave his worries away with a scoff. That was too unfounded. Danny had chosen him after all, hadn't he? Yes, he was upset-and had every right to be-but he hadn't heard Vlad out yet.

What he was going to hear other then pleas and assurances that all would be better, Vlad didn't know.

Getting lightheaded, and recalling that he did have to breathe, Vlad exhaled, but his eyes still glowed a bloody red when recalling Daniel's wretched friends.

Daniel would come back to him. Yes, yes he would-and all could be as it should be again. Absurd as it was, Vlad needed Danny. After Danny, he had money, but it had done so very little for him in those twenty dark years he'd spent alone. After that was his company….

The company that had gotten him into trouble in the first place! The man grit his teeth, and threw his head back, shaking hands covering his face.

No. He couldn't lose Danny. He had nothing left after the raven-haired halfa.

Trying to calm down, Vlad stared at the sea of lights below him outside the window, wondering if Danny was passing them as well, or very, very far away….

His fingertips dug into his palms.

This was all his fault. He should have known. Danny was, in many ways, fragile, and almost as volatile as Vlad Masters.

He didn't notice the small cuts his nails left behind.

The end of Drabble One! Oh, no-Vlad's made a terrible mistake, and Danny's making a dramatic exit straight out this country! D:


As to why I brought Qwan into the picture…not quite sure. Ditto Danielle. I guess I feel that she's kind of misunderstood. Sorry, guys, you're not getting straight-up pompous pep and good old-fashioned angst every corner. ^^ That's just 65% of the story.