Disclaimer: Don't own DP.
Thank you to Invader Johnny, Xand'r Coldhearted, Above the Winter Moonlight, AmethystFlare3, lightshadow101, and Zanza Flux for reviewing last chapter!
So, several people requested that I continue "Aftermath," which was Shot 2. This chapter is about as twisted as I can get without upping the rating, so I hope this satisfies. I may be convinced to make a Part 3, depending on what you all think.
Shot 5 Summary: Aftermath Part 2. Dan discovers that Valerie is pregnant with his child. Rating: High T. Genre: Drama/Angst.
Rated for creepy!Dan and non-graphic conversations of rape.
Shot 5: Aftermath Part 2
For several months, they managed to hide Valerie away from Phantom's sight. The increased number of wandering ghosts in the Wasteland confirmed that Phantom had been spending most of his time in the Ghost Zone, ripping it to pieces. The small resistance that protected Amity Park breathed a sigh of relief at that. His absence gave them time to think, to plan.
No one spoke of Valerie's condition. They all gave her space, watching their once-leader fall breathless under the weight of a growing child and a fractured mind. When she began to emit ectoplasmic signatures, they knew exactly who the father was.
They only hoped it was wise she had chosen to keep the half-human monster.
Soon enough, Phantom returned to tear down on Amity Park's ghost Shield, pacing like a panther in wait for Valerie. When she did not appear, he shattered the Shield into pieces with a new power—a Ghostly Wail. He flew through the open air, reveling in the emergency alarms that charged up at his presence.
Amity Park fell to chaos.
"Where's my favorite ghost hunter?" he called out among the panicking crowds, a pout on his face. He shot a few running citizens for good measure. "Oh, Valerie!" Her name nearly sung from his lips. "I'm here to see you!"
When nothing happened, he frowned. He raised a hand in the direction of a tall building. "If you don't show up, I'll have to take something away. Like the little orphanage down the road. Or these pathetic insects moving back into their hives."
A few more seconds passed with Dan awaiting in tense silence. But then the automatic locks on the resistance building clicked, and heavy doors unlatched, sinking back into concrete walls. Valerie appeared before him, weaponless but for her fire eyes. "What do you want?" she snapped. Fear bled off of every line in her body despite her attempts to hide it.
She did not wear her battle suit, for she'd been unable to fit into it for months. She wore an old, tunic-length tank top and wrap skirt that had once been her mother's.
Although her arms and face looked gaunt, Phantom eyes trailed below her chest, and he stared at her stomach, which bulged out beneath her hands with several months of pregnancy.
Phantom's eyebrows flew up. "Why, Valerie," he said, voice mockingly shocked, "what sort of mischief have you been up to?"
She could not fight him in the state she was in. She settled for a sneer, although it was a bit breathless from months without exercise. She'd rushed to the outside upon hearing his threats so quickly, she'd expended her energy. "Nothing, thanks to you."
He pouted a little harder. "And here I came to visit, only to find you've done the naughty without me. Whose is it?"
She crossed her arms over her chest and leaned against the wall to support herself. "Why don't you think really, really hard," she said. Her voice was snappish and pained beneath her sarcasm. "Don't tell me you can't remember."
Phantom focused on her stomach in deepening interest. He tilted his head. Then his eyes widened as his ghost sense went off in a flare of red smoke.
"…It's mine?" he said, voice unreadable.
Valerie nodded, but Dan did not need her affirmation to know.
For a second, the two stared at each other in silence, the emergency alarms whipping about them. The ghost's face contained an element of shock that was uncharacteristic for him. It widened his eyes and made him look younger.
Then Dan's body blurred, only to appear right in front of Valerie. Before she could react, he pushed her against the wall. His free hand moved to her stomach, where his gloved fingertips bunched around the material to feel the hard skin and large curve of her pregnant belly. "What a nice surprise," he said, staring into her terrified eyes. "To see you look so…domesticated."
"Get off of me," she snarled, voice wavering. She tried to move out from beneath him, but he held her fast with steel muscles.
He closed his eyes as he reveled in the way she trembled in hatred beneath the caress of his fingers. "Its aura is strong like mine," he commented, almost proud. "Stronger than most full-ghosts. Not bad."
Her heart was pounding out a tribal rhythm as she desperately tried not to cry. "I didn't think you'd care," she whispered, her voice harsh. Nausea overwhelmed her. Not again not again not again—
His large palm was cold. She inhaled shakily, and he opened his glowing eyes. "Aww, Valerie," he said, reaching up to stroke the soft skin of her cheek, "it's like we're a family or something."
She flinched. A too-wide smile split his face, and he ran his hand a little harder down her jaw and neck to her collarbones. He said, "Just think, we can play house all the time. I'm starting to like this idea."
Her heart stopped at the idea. "Uh, no." She tried to push him away. "Not if I have anything to do with it."
He leaned in despite her struggles and whispered, eyes dark with multiple emotions, "They say a man always searches for a woman like his mother. My mother was incredibly strong and overprotective, just like you." His voice was whimsical, reminiscent. "But she was always too busy with work to love us."
Valerie stared at him, her breath shallow at his touch. She could not imagine any being loving the monster before her. "You're messed up," she whispered. "You don't love. You're insane."
Phantom nodded, but not to Valerie's comment. "And you look good like this. Not that you didn't look good before, but…" he leaned in, his lips touching her ear, "you're positively glowing with my energy."
She quickly turned her head away from his, breath hitching. "If you think you can break me," she told him, voice wavering only a fraction, "then you've got another thing coming. You just wait."
"Oh, I don't want to break you," he admitted, pulling away. "You wouldn't be fun if you got dull like all the other humans and ghosts. I want you to disobey me a little bit. You have to be strong and overprotective, remember? There's a pattern to these things."
Tears burned her eyes as she glared at him in rage. She knew she was just a toy, but he didn't have to rub it in. This was her life.
"I'm going to kill you one day," she whispered, leveling her gaze with his. "If it's the last thing I do."
She refused to cry before him. She was strong enough to control her emotions. She was strong enough not to give him exactly what he wanted.
He flickered his genuinely delighted eyes at her. "Well," he said, stroking his chin, "that poses a problem, because I suppose I can't kill you. I like the idea of our little…unexpected gift." He smiled something dark. "I'm the Ghost King now, you know. I need an heir to carry on my legacy. I need a queen to rule with."
Valerie's face twisted. "What—?"
"—I'll be sending some of my new servants to assist you for the rest of your pregnancy," he said. His smile was too wide for genuine concern. "You're what? Six, seven months along? Wouldn't want you to feel…alone in this time of need."
"No!" she said, teal eyes widening. She could imagine it now, Phantom's servants keeping her imprisoned, terrorizing the remains of the resistance. They'd all be horrifically ugly and worthy of nightmares. "No, I don't want your help. I don't want anything from you."
He looked a bit perturbed by her total denial of him. "But don't you want me?" he murmured, his large hands gripping her shoulders and digging deep.
"Absolutely not!" she said, voice hard.
He leaned in, his cold cheek brushing against hers. "You mean you didn't you feel anything that night?" he whispered to her. Her arms locked up, but he held her fast. "I know I said it was to help you face your fears, but…I lied. Don't tell me you haven't felt the tension all this time."
She screamed in her mind. Get off, get off, get off—! Her mind flashed back to memories she'd rather forget. "Stop," she said, but her voice sounded small. "I never wanted—"
Phantom pressed against her, his body oppressively wrapping about hers. "Yes you do. I think a part of you does want me," he said, almost sad. "I want you to want me."
In a blur of panic, she pushed against his chest in a sudden, bone-wrenching desperation to get away. "Don't touch me!" And then something strange happened. A searing, red light suddenly sparked from her palms and shot him backwards. He slammed hard against a surrounding building, its wall cracking in. Then he fell to the ground in a flail of limbs, remaining completely motionless, his fire hair falling into his face with the loss of power.
For one wild moment, no one moved. Valerie stared at her hand in shock, jaw dropping at the smoking red energy that still emitted from her fingertips. Ghost energy, she realized. She had just somehow used ghost energy.
Phantom grimaced as he tried to right himself, pain stretching his lips into a grimace. His fingers pushed against the burned skin of his chest. Pure confusion graced his face, even as his body healed from the attack. "What…how did you—?" He searched her over for any hidden weapons, only to grow more confused.
Valerie swallowed hard. The power she emitted was cold and from deep within her, storming from her veins. She'd never done that before. She'd never felt such power from inside.
Then Phantom's red eyes locked on to stomach, narrowing.
She instinctively backed away, covering her stomach with her hands. Oh my God, her mind raced. Oh my God, he's pissed.
He flew back over. "Nice trick," he said with a bit of a huff. His hand shot out, and he grabbed her chin, eyes dark. "How are you accessing its powers?"
Valerie's hands desperately moved to her waist, only to realize that she was not wearing her battle suit, nor her utility belt. "I don't know," she said, but he only clenched her chin tighter, making her wince. It hurt her to speak with his fingers pressing so hard on her face. "I don't know!"
For a second, a strange rage overcame Phantom. "Don't lie to me." His free hand pressed against her wide belly, pushing uncomfortably on it. She gasped in pain. "How long have you been able to do this? What were you planning to do?"
She grabbed onto his forearms in a blind attempt to steady herself. "Nothing," she whispered. "I don't know, I've never tried to—!"
"—I'll kill it," he said, his hand sparking with red light against her stomach. It was almost a searing heat. "I'll kill it if you don't tell me what your plans were."
Fear and rage tore through her. For all he'd put her through, she could not allow him to murder her only weapon against him. If he killed the child, the resistance would be over. She grimaced as she used her grip on his forearms to steady herself. "You can't," she whispered, mind racing as she cringed at her own desperate words. "Y-you just said…you needed an heir." She tried to find any strain of humanity in his eyes and swallowed hard when she saw none. "If you kill it, your won't have your family. I could die too. You don't want me to die, do you?"
His handsome face twisted into anger.
Valerie feared he'd obliterate her right there and end it all—a small part of her wished he would. But then his anger melted away with a twitch of his face, and he began to laugh, running his hand through his hair. He pulled away from her, nearly allowing her to collapse to the ground. "Oh, you are truly too much! Only you, Valerie. Only you can call my bluffs."
She said nothing as she held onto the wall for dear life, glaring daggers of hatred and fear.
Phantom stared up at the sky above them, which was darkening. "Is this love?" he wondered out loud with a sigh. Then he turned back to her. A raw expression flickered across his face, but it disappeared as quickly as it had appeared, masked under that familiar, demonic smirk. "Sometimes, you just make my heart beat."
Valerie crossed her arms to hide the shake in her hands. "You sure as hell don't make mine beat," she muttered.
He scoffed knowingly. "Then why can I hear your heart from here?" He changed subjects with a swish of his hand. "The real question is: Why do you care so much if the child lives?" He moved towards her again, but this time with pure curiosity. "I'd have thought you would want it dead. I'd be doing you a favor to kill it."
She stalled for a second. He could not know her real reasons for keeping a child she never wanted. Then he really would kill them.
Disgust poured through her, but she managed to say, voice hesitant, "I…want to keep it. It's a part of me, and I don't kill humans."
He looked deeply interested. "Even half?"
She swallowed hard, then gave a curt nod. "Even half."
"What, do you want it in writing or something?" Everything about him made her want to pull out her hair and cry. He was mocking her. He had to be. "Yes, I'm keeping the damn thing. I would have gotten rid of it by now if I weren't."
At that, his lips split into a lopsided smile that was almost delighted. "Oh, I like nothing so much as you. You're just one surprise after another, and that's why we get along so well." He brushed ringlet curls away from her face. "You are the only thing that makes my afterlife tolerable."
She tried to swat his hand away. "Don't touch me," she snarled, tired of feeling cornered and unable to breathe.
Phantom sighed, mocking and tragic, "I do what I want. I thought you knew this." He nevertheless pulled away, giving her reprieve. "But I'm afraid I must be leaving. As the new Ghost King, I have several responsibilities now. People to kill, revolts to push down, castles to storm. I am very busy beyond just Amity Park."
"Then keep busy," she said, "and don't come back. "
"And how can I do that," he mused airily, "when the mother of my child lives in such squalor? Now I have a reason to visit you in the future, and to make sure the baby isn't giving you too much trouble with those…manifesting powers."
"I don't need help," she said, lip curling in disgust.
"I'll send along my servants soon to watch over and protect you while I'm away," he said, as if he did not hear her. Then he made a grand gesture of bowing at the waist, his cape fluttering about him in dark shadows. "Until then."
And he stormed up into the sky, his entire body blitzing with an electric storm that ravaged the air.
For a second, nothing happened.
Valerie stood in the dark silence, shaking. A cry of rage rose in her throat, and she barely managed to clap a hand over her mouth before she screamed. The streets of Amity Park were abandoned now, the resistance having moved down into the underground bunkers to protect themselves. She was alone.
She was always alone.
Her back slid down the wall, to where she sat a bit awkwardly on the floor, hands falling to her bulging stomach. Tears burned her eyes. Her breath hitched as her mind recalled Dan's bruising touch and self-satisfied, domineering smirk, which made her feel more nauseated than she could stand. She had flashes back to that night nearly seven months ago and flinched, sinking into herself.
Maybe it was a horrible idea, to keep the child. Maybe she was kidding herself to think that a small kid would be able stop Phantom's rampages in the near future. Maybe she was stupid to think that she could gain some form of revenge through it.
And of course Phantom would make everything twenty times worse—whoever these Ghost King servants were, they were sure to destroy the remains of her sanity. The broken ghost Shield would take weeks to rebuild, and no other resistance members were as strong at ghost hunting as she was.
The only good news was that Amity Park was still standing, and Phantom was gone for now.
She rubbed her stomach, as if to wipe away the feeling of Dan's hand. Her fingertips bunched around the rough material of her shirt as she closed her eyes. "Thank you," she whispered mindlessly to the ghost child within her, who had somehow given her the power to push Dan away—if only for a while. She'd had excessively wavering affections for it, especially in the last couple of months. She felt a little silly speaking to it.
But then something tickled at the back of her brain, prickling the hair on the nape of her neck with sudden consciousness.
An overwhelming sense of concern and love flooded through her. Welcome, the presence said.
A/N: Hope you liked my characterization of both Dark Dan and Valerie. I struggled a bit, because I didn't want Valerie to sound like a stereotypical victim, and I didn't want Dan to sound like a stereotypical villain. Let me know how I did and if you'd like me to continue this mini-story in another update.
Also, I uploaded a separate Dan and Valerie story titled Cancelling the Apocalypse. Be sure to check it out if you haven't already!
Thanks for reading,
Please review! I take requests and ideas.