Reasons to Object
SUMMARY: After years of bachelorhood, billionaire Vladimir Masters is preparing to walk down the aisle with a woman that everyone thinks is his perfect match. Well, everyone but a certain spectral superhero who just doesn't know how to feel about her. Vlad/Danny
WARNINGS: Technically, this story is AU since I've pretty much pretended that season 3 and Phantom Planet haven't happened and fiddled around with some other things. And if it isn't obvious, this story is male/male, slash, BL, yaoi, etc. And as always, I apologize for any and all mistakes.
DISCLAIMER: The Danny Phantom Universe belongs to Butch Hartman and Nickelodeon. If I did own it, I would be busy producing the live-action movie.
I'm just gonna start out by saying that I've had this idea in my head for a while and this is going to be a chaptered story(my first official Vlad/Danny chaptered fanfic by the way). Although, unlike my other chaptered stories for other fandoms, I am not writing this all out at once. So unfortunately, there will be a bit of a wait inbetween updates, but no more than two weeks is my goal.
With that said, on with the fic!
CH 1 - An Announcement
"In celebrity news, there are rumors that billionaire Vladimir Masters, CEO of DALV Industries and mayor of Amity Park, will be getting married in the near future. There has been no official statement from Vlad himself or anyone from DALV Industries, however he has been recently seen with Charlotte Howard, daughter of retail conglomerate CEO, Jonathan Howard. The Howard Group and DALV Industries are in the middle of signing a contract worth $200 million, however rumors are circulating that the companies are partnering up in more ways than one. Perhaps the next legal document Amity Park's mayor will be signing will be a marriage license. We'll have more on this story as it develops!"
As Jasmine Fenton watches the gossip program, waiting for the actual news to come on, her violet eyes widen with surprise. The young woman has aged in the years since graduating Casper Senior High School and subsequently Princeton, both with honors, yet she still has her analyzing gaze and sharp mind. Processing the story that has just been announced, the young woman barely hears the front door of the Fenton household open and close.
"Hey Jazz," greets Danny as he walks through the family room and heads into the kitchen. Pleasantly surprised to see his elder sister in his parent's home, a smile is on his face. "What're you doing here?"
Not getting a response, the other Fenton sibling doubles back to see the odd look on his sister's face.
"Jaaazz, are you okay?"
"I'm fine little brother, I'm simply recovering from momentary shock," the young woman replies as she tucks a strand of long, auburn hair behind her ear.
"And what was so shocking?" teases the now young man, his blue eyes still holding the same mischeif they have since his adolescent years.
"Well, according to the latest celebrity news, Vlad may be getting married."
"Vlad's getting married?"
"The guy that was hopelessly in love with Mom for over twenty years?"
"Vlad, the guy who's a secret ghost villain that schemes and plots against me on a daily basis since I was fourteen?
There is a short pause as Danny seems to contemplate her words. His sister watches the slideshow of emotions projected upon his face, waiting to see which would one the ghost hybrid will settle on.
"THAT Vlad Masters?"
"Are you sure?" asks the younger Fenton with a skeptical look in his eyes.
"Look, I just saw the story on TV five minutes ago and if you still can't get it through your head, go online and 'Google' it!"
For a second, Danny just stares at Jazz. He realizes that his questioning may have been annoying, but the hero just wanted to make sure that he heard her right.
"Sorry, it's just, odd," comments the phantom before he leans on an arm of the sofa.
"Jeez, Danny why do you have such a problem believing that Vlad is getting married? I thought that you'd be more relieved than anyone that he's officially over Mom."
"Well yeah, of course I'm happy. But to be honest, he hasn't really been talking about 'making Mom his' in the last few years. Most of the time, Vlad just says it to annoy me, he's not even really serious about it. Surprisingly, the Fruit Loop's not so bad when he's not ranting, he can be kinda funny sometimes."
"Alright, then what's the problem?" asks Jazz, hiding her astonishment at her brother's defense of the villain.
At the question, Danny shifts his gaze to the floor before he returns his eyes to his sister.
"I don't know, it's just kinda weird. I mean, I've known him since I was in middle school and I've never seen him date anyone, ever."
"Danny, just because he is your enemy doesn't mean you know everything about him," the therapist points out. "Besides, I think it a healthy step for him and I personally wish him all the best in his attempt to move on with his life. I imagine that having a twenty-year-old obsession for a woman that had no interest in him has had serious effects on Vlad's mental state. We should only hope that he isn't projecting his unrequited feelings for Mom onto his fiancée. Now that would be really creepy."
As Jazz ponders out loud, Danny has retreated into an internal debate in his head. However, he can't figure out why. The spectral hero has no right to care what the super villain does in his personal life, so why does it bother him that Vlad is getting married? Like Jazz said, he should be happy that the man is moving on with his life. But in spite of that, something is grating on his nerves, like something is off about this sudden announcement. Contrary to what Jazz thinks, Danny actual knows quite a lot about his nemesis, perhaps more than he should know. And one thing that is a given fact about Vladimir Masters is that he never does anything without an alternate motive behind it. The trick is to figure out what the other hybrid's motivation is before the manipulative man deems to reveal it, which is generally at the time when nothing can be done to stop his schemes.
So, suffice it to say, the young spectral hero is downright determined to get to the bottom of this development.
"I'll be right back, Jazz."
"Wait, Danny! Mom and Dad have plans for us tonight so don't be gone long," shouts Jazz, her tone alluding to her brother's ghost hero work.
"Don't worry, I'll be back in plenty of time."
Taking off out the door and into the late afternoon sky, Danny speeds across town. Soaring over homes and business of the small city at full speed, it isn't long until he reaches Amity Park's City Hall. Without announcement, the ghost phases right into the office of the city's mayor, Vladimir Masters. And as if he has been expecting the visit-in that way that makes it seem that the man knows everything before it happens-the mayor is still signing some documents and acting as if an annoyed phantom hero hasn't just appeared before him. Only once Vlad finishes signing the last page of his document, his cobalt eyes look up to rest on the familiar young man lightly glaring at him.
"Ah, Little Badger, what brings you here to my office? Is this a social or a business call?"
"Social, I guess," grits out Danny.
"My favorite. Though, you do seem a bit upset, my boy."
"And you seem to be a bit of a smug jerk, Froot loop."
"Now, now, you can continue to insult me or you can get to the point by telling me what I have done recently that has you so angry. Although, I'm not adamantly against either entertaining option."
Watching as the man leans back into his leather chair, Danny's powder blue eyes shift down to the floor for a moment before quickly returning to the gaze upon him. The deep, albeit curious, stare only intensifies on the elder's face as his condescending smirk grows in the uneasy silence. Remembering that he is here to actually gain information from his rival, the hero manages to remove the annoyance from his face.
"Why didn't you tell me you were getting married?"
"Am I to inform you of every life choice I make, Daniel?" returns Vlad without a second of hesitation.
"No, I guess not, " replies the teen, deflating a bit.
"Then why are you bothered by it? It has nothing to do with you."
Danny has no answer for that, just as he had none when Jazz posed the same question earlier. As the young ghost internally debates himself, Vlad watches the shifting expressions with another grin on his face. Danny's eyebrows are knotted together and his jaw is clenched, indicating the desire to deliver a comeback despite the fact that he has none in his arsenal. However, the annoyance on his face has a duality to it. Noticing the familiar expression threatening to come to the surface of his young adversary's face, the elder ghost's grin turns into a smug one.
"I've always thought that jealousy looks positively gorgeous on you, Daniel. Especially when it is generated on my behalf."
"I'm not jealous!" screeches the phantom indignantly, his green eyes narrowing. "Do whatever, or whomever, you want. It's your life."
Chuckling at Danny's typical, over-the-top reaction, Vlad leans forward in his chair. His elbows come to rest on the surface of the polished wood desk as his chin rests atop his folded hands.
"You see, Little Badger, it's statements such as those, that keep you from getting what, or whom, it is that you truly want."
"What are you talking about?"
"Never mind, Daniel," waves off the billionaire before continuing. "When it come down to it, there is no need to be jealous of a new person in my life. For better or worse, you are an important person to me and that won't change due to my upcoming nuptials."
"So, you really are getting married then?"
"Yes. I am."
For a moment, an uneasy silence lingers about the large room. Danny's head swims with the millions of questions now circling his mind, some expected and others surprisingly intrusive, yet manages to voice just one.
"You've been a bachelor for so long, Vlad, why now?"
"I have my reasons."
There is a pause as Danny tries to decipher the meaning behind the statement, however the man before him reveals nothing in his words or demeanor.
"Are you in love with her?"
"Love is a fleeting thing and not all of us are meant to have it. Though I am rather fond of my fiancée, and knowing my personality, that will have to suffice."
The casual statement bristles the hero and his plan to calmly interrogate the man flies right out the window. Danny turns to the man with a look of pure disbelief etched across his young face.
"You shouldn't marry someone that you aren't in love with, regardless of your reason!"
"Don't be so naïve, Daniel, it really doesn't fit you. People have been entering into marriages of practicality for ages, it is one of the simplest ways to merge two powerful entities into one. In this case, instead of influential families or countries, I'm marrying to join two companies into a powerful business partnership."
"Why? Don't you have enough money?"
"Accumulating ridiculous amount of wealth is but step number five in my master plan to take over the world, Little Badger. Right before crumbling the international economy and instilling fear and irrational panic into the hearts of the masses."
"Be serious Vlad," replies the younger man, trying to hide the amused smirk forming on his face at the villain's response.
"I am being serious. You know better than anyone else how relentless I can be."
The all-too-familiar look in deep cobalt eyes unnerves Danny for a moment yet intrigues him as well. Annoyed by the reaction, he quickly returns his face to its previous scowl.
"Do you ever say anything that hasn't been dipped in sarcasm or sprinkled with innuendo?"
"What can I say, Daniel? Something about your presence tends to influence my words. It's quite the fascinating effect, isn't it?"
"Golly gee, now I feel ever so special."
At the tone of mock joy, Vlad smirks to himself.
"You've become so shrewd in your recent years."
"I guess it's a reflection of the company I keep," replies Danny, before crossing his arms over his chest. "And just so you know, I don't trust this marriage thing for one second. You are up to something, and like always, I will foil your little scheme."
"Is it so impossible for you to comprehend that even I can do something without an ulterior motive?"
The spectral hero has to make considerable effort to not openly scoff at the suggestion.
"I've known you for the last ten years, Vlad, it's just not in your character. Everything you do is premeditated."
"You do know me, oh so well."
"However," continues the elder ghost with the hint of a smile. "Even I am capable of changes in my behavior."
At that, Danny raises an eyebrow. If anyone has ever been the embodiment of how a leopard can't change it's spots it is Vladimir Masters. Predatory intelligence and dark manipulation are integral components of the villain's complex personality that will never just go away. They are the parts of the man that Danny actually finds himself liking the most, as confusing as that realization is.
"What do you mean?" asks the younger ghost, realizing that he has just spaced out.
"I'm taking your family out to dinner tonight. It will be the perfect opportunity for you all to meet my fiancée, Charlotte Howard. You can find out for yourself what I mean."
"So that's what Jazz was talking about earlier. She mentioned that Mom and Dad wanted us to go somewhere tonight."
"Yes, I suppose it is. And who knows, you might even like Charlotte. The two of you are similar in some rather interesting aspects. For instance, neither of you take a word of what I say at face value."
"You say that as if anyone should, Vladdie. Besides, I doubt that I'll like her."
"Why not? You know from personal experience that I have excellent taste in potential spouses."
"Whatever," the hero replies, shrugging off the implication. "If Charlotte is agreeing to this marriage of her own free will, then maybe she isn't as desirable as you think."
Surprised by the rather harsh statement from Danny's mouth, Vlad's calculating eyes actually widen a fraction in response.
"My, my, aren't we behaving like a spoiled child that doesn't want to share their favorite toy?"
"Well, in all fairness, you were mine first."
"True," agrees the man with a reflective look in his eyes. "However, even favorite toys can be tossed aside and forgotten over the years. Shouldn't that object be able to find a new owner that will appreciate it?"
"Wait, what are we talking about?"
"Wouldn't you be the one to answer that?"
At the odd shift in their conversation, bright blue eyes study the emotion playing across Vlad's strong features. The seriousness it holds leaves Danny speechless as he finally begins to grasp the words that the man refuses to state clearly.
"Vlad, you know that I-"
"It's of no consequence Daniel. Forget I said anything. I'll see you and your family later tonight. Be sure to tell your parents that I'll be sending the limo over around seven, so inform everyone to be ready before then."
Judging by the finality lacing his tone, Danny recognizes that the man before him is finished with this particular conversation. The young hero is rather annoyed by the dismissal but by the time powder blue eyes turn to glare on the man, Vlad has lowered his gaze back to the paperwork on his desk. His anger deflates as quickly as it arose as the mayor's pen swiftly glides across the document before him, Vlad once again ignoring his presence in the way that manages to bother Danny for frustratingly-unknown reasons.
After a few moments of silent fuming, and with uncharacteristically little fuss, the ghost hero silently turns back into his spectral self and flies back home. But as he ascends into the clouds of Amity Park, Danny's mind is even more confused than it had been before his visit to Vladimir Masters.
To be continued.
Okay, here's the first chapter! I have to set the scene a little bit, however the next chapters should be moving a lot smoother as well as further explain some things.
Anywho, let me know what you think! All reviews and constructive criticisms are appreciated.
Next chapter, we meet Vlad's fiancee as well as get some good reactions.
*For the last year or so, I've been busy writing my own novel, so it's kinda nice to get back into writing fanfiction again. If you're interested, please visit my DA page for more details.(darkrenka . deviantart . com - just remove the spaces between the dots)