Midsummer's Nightmare

Through an elaborate hoax with the Disasteroid, Vlad manages to bring the world to its knees. Jack has been sentenced to exile, but the rest of Vlad's new 'family' wasn't so lucky. Spurned Affections.

Wrote this Twoshot feeling a little down...you can probably guess. :p Giving this a happy ending might yet be impossible, but you never do know what a change of heart can bring.

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine..."

Lovely, but would Daniel truly understand any of it?

With a slight sigh, Vlad lowered the heavy volume, and, after rummaging in his tuxedo pockets for a second, withdrew a dully shining pocketwatch. After flicking open the relic briefly to check its tiny, eleaborately carved hands, Vlad slowly stood up from the couch, stretching lightly.

It was about that time once again. He would do well not to be late-the boy was so fussy when the daily itineary was shifted, even just a little. The doctors had warned him against allowing Daniel to have another panic attack, especially in his critical...recovery stage. Though why the dubious fools Vlad had hired insisted on calling it that struck him as immensely irritating.

Whistling, Vlad tucked the book under his arm and withdrew from his study, whistling slightly as explosions continued to detonate underneath his bay windows, making the handmade glass and curtains tremble just the slightest.

At the very least, the decorative windows were set in soundproof glass. Even with his advanced hybricnetic hearing, Vlad wasn't able to detect the screams coming from outside.

"And therefore is Love said to be a child,

Because in choice he is so oft beguiled."

He'd forgotten how much he enjoyed reading this classic whilst he was in High School.

One hand holding open his book, the other leisurely trailing against a redwood balcony, the man smoothly descended a set of richly carpeted steps, absentmindedly turning a page as he crossed a corner, and began to head down another flight, still absorbed in the story.

Contrary to what Daniel believed, Vlad's own generation had grown up very much like his-with the same complaints exploding when the government force-fed the adolescents culture. It had annoyed Vlad to no end back then, considering the state of so many schools that could only afford second-hand copies of the precious volumes. Even now-or shortly ago-with the government practically spoon-feeding masterpieces to ignorant little boys and girls, young people still scorned and dismissed such material as beneath them, considering that none could understand.

In a sense, now they were being given better service then even the most entitled-feeling youth could demand. Now, every youth tied to their desks in classes was receiving a lovely copy of genuine culture, and made to understand, to appreciate.

Or at the very least, enough to appease the soliders standing near their homes and hearths, watching family members and loved ones attempt to move about the same as usual. Needless to say, there was no more foolish despoiling a copy belonging a school facility, or 'accidentally' forgetting to return one. New Student Handbooks for most educational facilities made it rather clear under the 'Disciplinary' Section that were assigned novels returned in less then perfect repair, said offendent would be shot on sight.

Literature was not to be denied. It was a golden age for the classics...pardoning the unlucky volumes, writers, and owners of volumes on the Black List.

After all, he couldn't yet allow his society to become too advanced. For whatever brilliance there could be, Sociology demanded that only a few could exist in the ruling class. And, for right now, that class was assigned to four members only. It would probably grow in time...for the lucky few who could keep their mouths shut, and value their necks.

Besides, this world hadn't yet been reaped of rebellion; of protests, of needless violence. Even before Vlad had seized control of the world, he'd seen enough stupid people marching towards soldiers in the name of 'peace' to their deaths. Same story, each and every time. People never learned-not after a death, not after tragedy-not after things got truly ghastly, and people understood just how cruel their master was.

Not until the world stood silent could there be any understanding, it seemed. It transpired it was the same story with his family.

Vlad passed another set of windows, tugging lightly on a silk tassel and sending the velvet drapes swinging softly to a close, just in time to avoid observing a building errupt into emerald flames.

But earthlier happy is the rose distill'd,

Than that which withering on the virgin thorn

Grows, lives and dies in single blessedness.

Vlad closed his novel once again, and murmured the words over a very thin, very pale woman still consumed in restless slumber on his enormous bed. His fingers ghosted over the gold roses and elaborate cherubs immortalized in the bed frame (worth a handsome fortune,) before they greedily moved on to his Queen's face, carefully brushing some hazel strands out of her eyes.

Even with the dark shadows now omnipresent under her eyes when Vlad's servants weren't wont to put make-up on her, she looked like a sleeping angel beneath the red and white sheets tenderly wrapped around her curvy form. When Vlad's hands moved to the woman's shoulders, however, her brow furrowed, and Vlad's Lady uneasily withdrew from his touch, unconsciously curling deeper into a ball, arms shielding her face, as if shielding it from humiliation. Vlad only smiled, however, and drew a few steps back. He glanced around the Master Masters Bedroom (How he loved a bad pun!), and withdrew a fresh red rose from one of the enormous Ming Vases Maddie learned to not break. After twirling about the lovely flower that had been stripped of its thorns in his hands, he carefully lay it next to Maddie's face, close to her nose so that the aroma could wash over her in her dreams, and tiptoed out.

Dear Madeline. Still so uncomfortable...

...he shouldn't have been surprised to find that she wasn't awake, yet. That rendezvous in bed last night had been quite the enjoyable one, and Maddie had a tendency to sleep for a long, long while afterwards. Vlad suspected that sometimes, she simply lay there pretending to sleep, as she so often did after her groans and cries of guilty pleasure had subsided, and she was left staring at the four-poster above her, wrapped in a vicelike grip in her husband's arms.

Well, her better husband's arms, at least. Jack's pathetic gold band had been unceremoniously thrown into a furnace after Maddie had at last agreed to marry Vlad. Vlad had custom-made a 9 karot blue diamond ring to rest in place of the band, with Vlad's heavy ruby college ring under it, exactly where Jack's ring used to rest.

Vlad's eyes flashed scarlet as he slowly closed the enormous doors of the Master Suite, an absolutely insane smile appearing below his hooded orbs.

Dear, dear old Jack. None of this-absolutely none of this-would have been quite possible without him. He supposed he might tell his wardens to slip the oaf another serving of gruel-if he cared to remember.

Jack was still agonizing alone in a 'Special Purposes' Lab somewhere in the depths of Siberia. Ironically enough, he still enjoyed a healthy schedule each and every day, as to not so overturn his life too much. One third of his day was spent in hard labor, another third was spent in being a lab subject for two sadistic ghosts, (Vlad so did love irony) and his last third was divided in two digits: A, Torture, and B, his cowering in a freezing prison in the dead of night while hardtack bread was unceremoniously shoveled into his room.

Vlad had already decided to allow Jack a sporting chance of escape sometime in the near future, tortured with the images of his former wife and children in his eyes. And then, after a few grueling days in the wilderness, he'd have him reach the borderlines of prison territory before ordering Jack to be shot down. After all, killing him now would only spare him torment, and what use would killing him later do when he was filled with so much pain as to be numb to any more be?

But better yet, if Jack did survive to meet this splendid plan, Vlad decided he would simply be the one to kill him-after letting the fool know exactly where Madeline and his children were. Where Jack had all but placed them himself, on a silver platter.

Casting a fond look at the doors behind him, Vlad softly started to whistle in the otherwise silent halls before he easily phased into spectral form, and, after turning intangible, phased through the floor, open book still in hand:

O hell! to choose love with another's eye.

"Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

More than cool reason ever comprehends."

Vlad stopped at one of his many Private Bars, and silently, his spectral bartender handed him a glass. Taking a sip of its freezing contents, Vlad took another pause to glance at his book. It was certainly lucky that he had chosen not to walk the entire distance in his elaborate new fortress that made even his Wisconsin Castle look a mite shabby, else he'd be walking for awhile. Forget practicing his powers-THAT was an actual workout.

Still lost in thought, he flipped the Shakespearean Treasury back to his old page, smug that he carrying about a three-hundred year old version. Appreciatively tracing the faded, elegant script and watercolored pictures, he figured he should really read the copy aloud to Maddie as well as Daniel.

Speaking of which...

Vlad exhaled, closed his eyes, and moved his face upwards, smiling faintly in disbelief.

If he'd realized just how desperate human beings would be to protect them from a false threat-a so-called 'Disasteroid' that was little more then an elaborate scam he'd elaborated in space, he would have attempted it the moment his sanity broke a year ago, directly after his final cloning failure.

But now, he had the true thing. A little damaged, perhaps, but his. It still awed him how it all came together all-too-neatly, all-too-sweetly.

It had been a few months since anarchy had at last stopped ripping and tearing through the already ragged corners of the world; since he'd lead his soliders-some human, some spectral-into the Fenton household. Such a lovely evening, with screams still fresh in his ears.

How every Fenton member had taken up arms against him...and toppled like dominos.

After closing his book and getting up from the posh barstool, the hybrid continued on his journey, passing through one of his many swimming pools, another bar, an indoor hockey rink, and a library, all the while frowning slightly.

Ah, how he pitied his dear family. How much enjoyment, leisure, and revlery could they reap, if they didn't insist on hanging onto their useless grief! Even Daniel, once he started speaking coherently again, would surely enjoy the fact that he no longer had to risk his life for thousands of ingrates, and start living the life of a Prince. Jasmine could easily have anything and everything she wanted-if she only didn't continue to throw her silver bell away like a baby enjoying a silly game. He didn't trust his family enough to go outside just yet, but one day, when all the violence had subsided and shrapnel and bullets ceased flying everywhere, they could enjoy a simple outing. (Not that 'simple' didn't involve dire luxury, of course.) Just together.

Very much so, he pitied Madeline, for having been so deluded into believing she belonged at Jack's side-for attempting to fight off the new chairman of the world the way she did. Although Vlad once again admired the fire that so endeared him to this beautiful woman, he did regret having to battle her. He'd apologized profusely for the wounds he'd accidentally inflicted on her when she woke up in his bed-not so much for the ones she'd inflicted on herself when she had attempted to get away.

But whilst Vlad had craved Maddie for too many years, he didn't particularly want the woman he loved to fight him, especially when it came to an act of love.

Which was precisely why he'd taken Jasmine alongside most of her family, although she was a liability. A collector's item, perhaps-but her betrayal had been one of the worst he'd received in a great, great while. Maddie and Daniel had been his real prizes always, though he'd never really been anything but indifferent to Maddie's oldest child.

But Maddie would never consent to love him if she thought Jazz were perishing in some prison, someplace. It had been enough to phase her to Jack's location, and let her watch her pathetic husband suffer. She'd begged for his life, she'd wept with a broken heart...but she truly responded when Vlad had made some...suggestions concerning her children.

While Vlad would have never...harmed her children, per say-after all, they were his as well, now-but he'd only made a few pleasant suggestions considering what he'd gladly to do to them.

After the first week, and learning just how series the man who loved her unconditionally was, the two were wed. Madeline had looked like a phantasma of herself walking down the elaborate carpet, so very pale, so thin, but so lovely in the dazzling wedding gown that Vlad had had made for her.

Vlad phased through a nearby ceiling, passing up through the soft white carpet of a pretty little room that very much looked like it had been designed for a little girl.

Vlad had decided to look in on his lovely on a whim, but now, he had another floor to visit before he came to his favorite wing of the house. Might as well see what Jasmine was up to.

Night's swift dragons cut the clouds full fast,

And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger;

At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there,

Troop home to churchyards.