Paparazzi

(Danny + Vlad) It's not an obsession. Pompous Pep.

Hey, everyone. This isn't really one of my better stories; it's really OC, unlikely, and kind of weirdly fast at the beginning, but I hope you like it, nonetheless. Please review!


Vladimir Masters was no stranger to being followed whilst in public. His senses, heightened exponentially ever since his lab accident years ago, easily detected the quiet, eager shuffling gait he knew all too well belonged to some fanatical photographer keen to capture his likeness for their obscure newsarticle rags.

In the bushes surrounding his building, he was quite accustomed to hearing the branches quietly rustle while someone clumsily fumbled for their camera, always followed by a series of clicking noises and often a flash of light or two. On particularly slow newsweeks, the forty-year-old billionaire often had to wear sunglasses going in and out of his dark building.

It was even worse for Press Conferences or public events that bored the man stupid. How people on television managed to give a proper speech while hundreds of people were frantically extending microphones and always, always a dozen lights and constantly barraging their eyes with camera flashes at them, he thought he'd never know.

The first time he'd been hounded by the press, his eyes had watered, from the furious flare of what seemed to be many flashing fireflies from every direction.

But while he had a charming smile and great appeal, he annoyed the Paparazzi rats to no end. They craved incriminating evidence-to damn those who stood on pillars in the public eye. They lurked on the premises of his own estate (Usually being chased off by guard dogs), waiting. For something. Anything. The smallest hint of something strange or incriminating would be snatched at and fought over like food amongst starving sea gulls.

But Vlad had perfected his poker face, and preened inwardly at his prowess to thwart them. They took enough pictures of him enough as it was-why should he give them any reason to start converging into masses? As far as anyone knew, his slate was wiped clean. He was single. He created charity programs. (Mostly as a way to promote DALV, but no one really cared.)

The Pap had nothing on him.

Save until he joined their ranks a few years later.


Everything should have been lost after he'd been doomed to eternal solitude in space.

Only it wasn't.

A year after the Disasteroid incident, he'd made it back to the Ghost Zone, just miles away from the secret bunker he'd prepared for years ago in the unlikely event something of this nature was to occur, stocked with cash and supplies.

But the man had been almost dead when he collapsed on a rocky slab in the endless mires of the Dead Zone. Spirits whispered and hissed over his emaciated form, and color bloomed in and out of the man's eyes as he panted, exhausted, bruised, malnourished, dehydrated, and bleeding, waiting to die.

Only then, an angel came to the Ghost Zone, and looked at him.

In the form of an aghast Danny Phantom, staring down at the pitiable remains of his old arch-nemesis.

He'd saved him. Vlad had thought he'd been hallucinating when the white-haired ghost cradled his head in his lap, eyes torn between revulsion, pity, and something else.

Vlad had feebly murmured instructions that he didn't expect to be followed before blacking out in despair.

Again, the helplessness. The feeling he had despised so dearly had returned. He was going to die alone, unwanted, and unloved.

And he would deserve it.


But against all odds, he'd survived. He'd woken up in his safehouse bed just a week later, hooked up to several IVs, freshly bandaged, warm and safe.

Danny had been sleeping against his wall, looking exhausted.

Danny shrugged off the man's breathless thank yous, and said nothing to him. He arrived at the safehouse every day for two weeks to look after the man, and, once confirmed that Vlad was no longer marooned in bed, left, and did not come back.


Shortly after that incident, Vlad had taken to following Danny to school. At first, the man only flew above him at a distance, only following until the teen ascended the steps of the building and disappeared.

After the first week and enduring a particularly trying weekend for whatever reason, he decided to intangibly follow Danny in just as far as his locker. Just once. Then, he'd stop with the whole foolish business altogether.

Thankful that Danny's ghost sense did not go off around the man even as Plasmius, the former billionaire silently drifted behind the spiky dark head, nearly oblivious to the dozens of other bodies idling around the halls.

The man watched soberly as the teen paused by his locker, (The number was 0713, not that Vlad was….oh, he didn't know, mentally carving the numbers into his mind) swung it open, and started drifting through the mess for his textbooks. Vlad noticed that his class schedule was hanging up, held by a single star magnet.

Vlad was curious to take a look at the boy's schedule. Yes. He wanted to know what subjects he was taking in his junior year. A perfectly normal curiosity, and a very valid excuse for him to metaphorically breathe down the boy's neck. The teen's breath smelled like peppermint.

At one point, he accidentally leaned through the boy. Danny shivered, and a puzzled spark entered his blue eyes, but it was gone the next second. Whistling, Danny slammed his locker just as Vlad remembered that he had followed Danny to learn his class schedule, and not be staring down Danny's neck.

Coloring, he watched Danny float away with his laughing friends. The sharp bell ring a few seconds later shook him out of the strange, obscure fuzz that had drifted in the older half-ghost's brain. He shook his head like a dog freeing itself of water, and drifted through Danny's locker.

"Butter biscuit," the man muttered to himself unhappily as he became tangible, than intangible once again. Goodness, but this was a tight squeeze!

He reached for Danny's schedule, red eyes peering down the reasonably basic curriculum Daniel was undertaking this semester. It didn't look too bad-hopefully, Danny was doing better in his classes ever since the world had discovered his true identity as Danny Phantom. With any luck, his teachers were being more reliant towards late or unfinished homework.

Regret entered the man's eye, and he turned around to leave. Unconsciously, he tucked Danny's schedule into his pocket.


Two more times Vlad rationalized following Danny to his locker, although admittedly, they weren't very good reasons: One, Danny had dropped a pencil on his way into school, and Vlad wanted to make sure it wound up back in his bag, and Two, that oversized blond bully was heading around the corner towards the boy. While Dash Baxter seemed to be perfectly friendly towards Danny after the disasteroid incident, it wouldn't be prudent to take chances, would it?

Watching Danny slam his locker as usual and animatedly begin arguing with his friends, Vlad decided to take another look inside the boy's locker.

It was a sad sort of thing to admit, but the man was bored, and he supposed he could be useful by cleaning the mess up. He wasn't being creepy; he was being helpful and considerate. And tidy. The latter one being something Daniel would in all probability never be.

Smirking invisibly, Vlad turned to the locker once all the students had hurried into their classrooms, swung it open (He just happened to remember the combination, is all), and started going through the many crumpled papers with an air of begrudging good humor.

Most unfortunately for the Day Janitor at Casper High, he happened to wander down that hall at that exact moment, turn his head, and see a bunch of pencils drifting serenely in the air, sorting themselves into a locker as a stack of papers began throwing themselves into a recycling bin.

The poor man dropped his mop, clutched his chest, and promptly fainted.


Danny was bewildered when he returned to an immaculate locker by the end of the day, and his friends certainly seemed unnerved as well. However, nothing but Danny's schedule was missing, so they deduced that some fangirl of the boy's had done it.

Vlad had returned to see the boy's reaction, and he nearly spit out a pastry-related obscenity at the words.

How sickeningly depressing, to have been mistaken for one of the giggling, empty-headed girls who haunted the boy's footsteps and gave what the youth these days called a "stink eye" to Miss Manson.

He supposed that was what made him so upset as he watched Sam punch Tucker in the arm with a fixed smile, possessively take her boyfriend by the arm, and drag him down the hall.

He supposed he might have some weak excuses for following Danny to his first period class. But he'd forgotten them already.

Once or twice, when it looked like the weary boy was going to drift off during a lecture, the man would poke him in the back of the neck to rouse him. Danny would start, and look around in some confusion, but the boy needed to pass his tests, much as the man felt bad for the teen.

Again, Vlad would wish his hopeless hope that Danny would stop the dangerous ghost-fighting, focus on school, get a good career, and be comfortable and happy. Or, better yet, accept Vlad's vast resources of money, go to school for the education, maybe become an astronaut if the boy grew bored, and spend the rest of his days in the posh and luxurious environment he so deserved with Vlad.

…..because he respected Daniel and liked his company. The teen was the closest thing he had to a friend.

In second period Italian, when the boy was having some trouble pronouncing a difficult phrase, the man (Barely audibly) whispered it into Danny's ear the first day Vlad had decided to follow Danny for another class.

Danny had definitely tensed up, and looked suspicious immediately. But while he awkwardly repeated the phrase and the teacher gave him a nod, Danny's suspicious frown did not fade for the duration of class, and goosebumps were erupting on the back of his neck. His eyes carefully drew around the room, and his fingernails were digging into his palms, his knuckles turning white.

Vlad thought it best to leave after that.


Soon, however, once he figured the teen had forgotten the incident, he followed Danny again into school, discreetly slipping a notebook the teen had forgotten into the pile he was carrying. Slightly bored with the lecture course in third period, he opted to watch Danny again, sometimes taking notes, occasionally doodling. He'd certainly drawn a great number of moons and stars on his notebook cover-he'd moved onto the back side by a day or two. Sometimes, he'd pass a note to Tucker, and, if his ghost sense were to go off, immediately request permission from the instructor to leave. Thankfully, the teacher was aware of Danny's profession now, and didn't have to give him bathroom pass after bathroom pass before the boy dived out the window to take out some spook skulking on the outskirts of school.

…not that Vlad would remember such things, anyway.

Once in awhile, Danny would simply turn and stare out the window, chin in hand. If it were a nice day, his eyes would reflect the same cerulean of the sky, thoughtfully drifting in and around the clouds. Vlad would have gladly given up a great sum of money to guess as to what he'd been pondering with that grave expression, but dreamy eyes.

He should have known he was a doomed man when one day, absorbed in staring at Danny staring outside, he flicked open his cell phone, and silently took a quick picture.

That picture was the first of many.

Two weeks went by in this way. Vlad began following Danny to lunch, occasionally slipping in a treat or an apple in his bag when he thought the boy was looking peaky. Thankfully, Danny still seemed clueless to his presence, and for as long as the man could control it he intended to keep it that way.

It was easy, following Danny around and observing him throughout his typical day. Fun, even, surprisingly enough. The boy had a number of little quips about him that said a great deal about his current mood or thoughts, and a few body language expressions Danny unconsciously made that did not escape the man's notice.

For example, when Danny opened his locker on Valentine's Day to find it overflowing with cards, flowers, teddy bears, balloons, and candy (Vlad had anonymously left him a gourmet box of chocolates because he thought the boy deserved something sweet and that WAS IT), the nervous, flabbergasted, helpless smile appeared. It also appeared when Sam gave her boyfriend a dirty look while Tucker dove through the treasure trove that had spilled onto the floor, gleefully rifling for chocolates.

Danny's shoulders tended to become very broad and rigid when caught off guard or nervous, such as when a teacher asked him a question he didn't know how to answer. When surrounded by the popular crowd, who now loved to hover in his presence, Danny usually awarded smiles that sometimes looked a little tired and fixed. Vlad curiously noted a hint of derisive irony enter his smiles when smothered by classmates. They seemed to say: Great, have all the fair-weather friends I ever could have wanted. Clearly, this was an awesome thing to want when it was just me, Tuck, Sam, and our good friends Peace and Quiet.

The weary look often appeared in Danny's eyes while uselessly arguing with Sam, who was impatient with Danny for spending so much time around other girls. The boy futilely attempted to explain that they just followed him (And they did in large gaggles), and were primarily just girls like Paulina who only liked him for his ghost powers, but this scarcely seemed to appease her.

When Danny was tired, he tried to hide it, but there was a sense of dull melancholy into his face, and his normally bright eyes kept dimming. At infrequent variables, he would tense up for no reason, and if he heard a loud noise or was startled, would sometimes move into an attack position.

Sometimes, Vlad would see a different expression enter Danny's eyes, and for whatever reason, it made a lump rise in his throat. The look was so….so natural, so sweet, and so very suiting to Danny, the man simply couldn't explain it, let alone comprehend it. It was a look of pure, sweet, loving goodness, and ridiculous as it sounded, the boy seemed to glow in his human form while wearing this natural look. It was happiness, and Vlad ached to see more of it.

So, he took a multitude of pictures-even a video of Danny making the face that the man replayed over and over again. For some reason or another, this warm smile made Vlad's heart ache just a little bit underneath his ribs.

The expression was usually reserved for Sam.


The shampoo Danny used? It had a soft, honeysuckle scent to it, though Vlad wasn't sure of the exact brand; he hadn't yet gone into the boy's shower to steal a bottle. The idea was sickening, revolting, and would remind him of just what sort of raving lunatic he was turning to.

But he didn't WANT to stay away. He couldn't. When Danny was surrounded by ghosts, Vlad would begin helping him from the shadows, slaughtering the ones that were more likely to cause greater harm towards the frazzled boy. Yes. He needed to be near Danny for Danny's own safety. That was a perfectly valid excuse. He would just need to remember his boundaries.

….but the idea of having one of Danny's pillowcases was even more enticing than the thought of owning the 2011 Packers' Super Bowl trophy, signed by all the players.

And that truly terrified him.


Danny's hands were callused after his years of ghost fighting, but they still looked oddly beautiful in their rugged fashion. The base of his throat looked irrevocably soft and smooth, and Vlad had to refrain from looking at it if he didn't want to become a slack-jawed idiot.

He was so PERFECT. Such perfection could never be cloned-no wonder his experiments had failed so badly. He was glad of it; glad he lost his home, reputation, company, and dignity to stare at this perfect lovely boy.

At times when he would have such insane thoughts, the man would immediately take flight for his bunker, resolving to never leave it again, never to see the boy again, never to think of him ever again.

Only to follow him again the next day. He needed to. There was an unexplainable tenderness that he felt for the boy that left him vulnerable; weak. He needed to observe Danny so that he'd have the upper hand if the boy tried something. Yes; that would do.

But he wanted to massage Danny's neck when he would notice the boy patting the sore muscle in class, looking dismayed. That could be called fatherly. He wanted to throw a football around with the teen; also fatherly. Perhaps he was not as sick and twisted as he knew himself to be.

But he wanted to hold the younger hybrid, and above all else, see him looking at him with the same trusting sweetness that Samantha got so often. He wanted to inhale the boy's clean scent and not feel disgusted with himself. Hate himself.

But maybe it was better that he did. He tried to take over the world, for Lord's sake. He'd lost his place here on Earth, and was now publicly loathed as a devil. It was only by Daniel's unbelievable kindness that he'd been saved; allowed to hole up in the Ghost Zone like a sorry rat with broken dreams. He'd created this lonely doom for himself, and it just so happened he made the public realize what an angel Danny truly was.

He didn't deserve to have this wonderful boy as a son. Or whatever else his awful mind could have cooked up, because there could BE nothing else there.

He'd loved a Queen amongst women for too many years. How could this slip of a child hope to compare? Why did he care? If he did, how much?

Vlad didn't know. And, as much as he wanted to know, as the months went by, so did his desire to remain ignorant bloomed.

It had to happen; he followed Danny home. Thankfully, the Ghost Alarms were fairly easy for the man to disarm-now came the trick of not ruining himself. At least, not more so than he already had.

He told himself he wouldn't. That he was a sick, grotesque, pedophiliac man. That he needed to leave Earth again, travel far beyond hope of finding his way, hopefully get struck by an asteroid, and die.

But he stayed by Danny's side as the boy read, did some homework, started playing video games, and started contently humming, enjoying his rare downtime. Vlad looked over the boy's shoulder to see what he was reading, and lay beside the boy, invisible.

It wasn't until Maddie called Danny down for supper that Vlad did what he so desperately told himself he would not. His resolve snapped.

He stole Danny's pillowcase, and hugged it to his chest.


The pictures he used to collect religiously of Maddie went untouched on his computer. Now, he'd become one of those freakish, depraved men people warn you are lurking on the Internet in scary TV commercials. A stalker. He had a collection of keepsakes the boy had "lost" (In all fairness, Vlad returned them at double the value), which included: a hat, a red scarf, his star-covered notebook, a fancy pen with his DP insignia on it, a moon rock Danny had on his desk, an eraser he'd chewed on, and a locket the boy had been meaning to give to Sam. (He'd neglected to replace the latter, strangely enough, He supposed it'd slipped his mind.)

He had over a hundred pictures of Danny that were brooded over, and one that he printed of Danny's loving smile went under his pillow. When the boy went to sleep at night, Vlad would watch over him, often carefully massaging his sore back muscles, relishing the feel of Danny's supple skin, and smiling at the groans of pleasure Danny made in his sleep.

Only ever his back, neck, or arms, however. Vlad wholeheartedly told himself that THAT particular space in his heart had only ever belonged to Maddie. There was an animalistic craving inside him yes, but that was natural. He desired Maddie. Maddie's lovely, curvy hips and twinkling violet eyes. Not Danny. Not Danny's soft skin or his feathery soft hair or his gentle breathing when he slept or his beautiful smile.

And he would prove it to himself.

Once he stopped inhaling the scent of his newfound treasure.

He would do it tonight.


Thankfully, Tucker was at the dentist's and Miss Manson was visiting relatives, (Not that Vlad was looking at Danny's planner recently) so Danny was alone tonight. His parents were out on a date, and Jasmine was at a friend's house for the night.

There would be no chance that he would be caught. Vlad waited beside Danny as the boy munched on a couple of chips as he read, looking the picture of comfort as he read his comic book, humming slightly.

His eyes were drooping, however. It wouldn't be long before the younger halfa's exhaustion caught up with him, and he nodded off.

Flaming at the idea of following Danny into the shower, Vlad sat on the boy's bed, wringing his hands, his heart pounding a mile a minute.

But a strange sense of calm had taken over his mind, cast like sterling steel in resolution.

Soon enough, it happened. Danny came back clad in pajamas, slipped under his covers, and resumed reading. He was only a few pages in when the volume slipped from his fingers, and the boy fell asleep.

Vlad stared at him. Now that it was actually happening, he started trembling. And wondering. What would happen if he woke up Danny now instead of later tonight. What the boy would do if he discovered his clothes had been torn off, and his chest were pressing against a hot, sweaty one with a racing heartbeat thumping purposefully. What Danny would say or do if hands were sensually rubbing him in his private area the way Vlad rubbed his back. What Danny would feel if Vlad pulled him against him, tucked his head under his chin, and rocked him back and forth, whispering hotly into his ear and caressing his thigh while his lips trailed down the milky hollow at Danny's throat, stopping at his nipples, and suckling them both before trailing to his navel.

How Danny would writhe when he felt Vlad's passion in his body.

Vlad closed his watering eyes, and shuddered.

No. There was no use in denying it anymore. It wasn't an obsession he had for the younger halfa.

It was a need. He needed Danny more than Danny needed him-even an idiot could tell as much. He craved his company, yearned for his body, and loved him irrevocably.

There was no need to give Danny a "test" kiss tonight to discover the truth. It was only a matter of time before he crushed something he loved yet again by maddening desire. He, Daniel, had his whole future ahead of him, whereas he, Vlad, knew permanent exile.

If he could not have the boy, there was nothing left to live for. He would quietly do away with himself, and never touch the boy again. This way, Daniel would not be harmed.

With a heavy heart, the tears came down, and Vlad silently returned Danny's pillowcase, wearily pulling out a photograph that had been left inside it. Must be Saman-

….

Vlad's mind went blank from disbelief as he befell his own smirking face-one he didn't seem to know anymore. Fingers numb with shock, he prodded his picture gently, as if to confirm the thing were real.

Why on Earth did Daniel have….this….of all things?

Flabbergasted, Plasmius looked down, and, to his horror, saw that Danny's cerulean blue eyes were open.

Staring at him.

Vlad let out a cry of despair, and a desperate stream of pleas excuses poured from his mouth in a rubble of gibberish as his own picture slipped to the ground.

A hand took Plasmius' gloved one as the man wildly turned around to go, and tugged him back. Startled, Vlad turned his head, only to yelp when he was pulled onto the bed itself, hovering over the slim teenage boy who kept blankly staring at him.

Rapid breathing. Vlad could feel Danny's heart fluttering beneath his like a butterfly's. Oh, God, do NOT let Danny feel him, do not, do not, do no-

"Fruitloop."

Unwillingly, Vlad's scarlet eyes trailed up to Danny's, and they were dazzled.

Which made it all the easier for Danny to slide his arms around a stunned Vlad's shoulders and pull him in for a very passionate, very needy kiss.