What Unusual halflives we lead

Chapter 1: The Unexpected Arrives Early

You ever woken up in the morning with a strange sense of foreboding? Maybe you're familiar with that moment when something important that was previously forgotten re-emerges and the realisation suddenly hits you like a ton of bricks or cinder blocks dropped from the heavens purely to spite you? Such was the ominous feeling that greeted young Daniel James Fenton one Friday morning. Technically speaking it was a school day, and if he would have taken the trouble to remember he was now running 23 minutes and 46 seconds late...but he hadn't. When he did eventually condescend to the possibility of getting out of bed he stumbled into the bathroom and made himself mostly presentable, then threw on his jeans and his shirt as he continued to stagger down the stairs.

"Morning Danny-boy" he heard his father shout, unaffected, as usual by the early hour, as he sat at the table in his usual orange jumpsuit. Around the kitchen table sat his sister Jazz, reading one of her many books, this particular choice was entitled 'How self-proclaimed female geniuses should assert themselves in the modern world.' His mother, he gathered was attempting to beat the waffle iron into submission, again, using the patented Fenton Anti-creep stick, and then his eyes fell on another figure reading the newspaper, which he found odd because they didn't get the paper delivered anymore. His dad used to and still thought that the paper boy was a ghost and had tried to get him with theFenton Extractor or the Fenton Foamer, the results hadn't been pretty.

Who else was there in the family to grace their table? His sleepy brain refused to co-operate so he paid little attention.

"Morning, guys," he yawned, "What'd the waffle iron do this time, mom?' he asked, a strange question for some families, perhaps, but not for this one, while he prepared a few rounds of toast, hopefully the toaster was still operational.

"Well," she began, only half listening as she continued her violent ministrations, "it refused to help me generate protons, so I decided to give it a little Fenton persuasion." She finished cheerfully.

"Uh-huh" he replied, "right."

"Don't you want to know what I'm doing kiddo?" Jack asked happily.

"Sure, why not?" Danny muttered biting his toast.

"Sure, why not - I am a ghost fear me!" sounded a computer generated voice.

"Huh" Jack muttered, "I still don't know why it likes you so much, it keeps doin' that to Vladdie too."

"No kidding?" replied his son, and of course the New and Improved Ghost Gabber said; "No Kidding – BOO!" and Danny sighed.

"Sigh – BOO!"

"Maybe you should give that thing a rest dad," Jazz said from behind her book, "all this repetition isn't helping my concentration."

"Alright, Jazzy, but I still don't get it." He threw the infernal contraption into the living room with a look of defeat and the device landed mercilessly with a thud.

"Hey Danny, aren't you forgetting something?" asked Jazz as she turned her attention to her brother, who had given her a look of thanks as he took a bite of his toast.

"Uh…er…yea…no…maybe?" he intelligently replied, and his sister sighed heavily turning back to her book.

As his brain began the slow process of waking itself up he recounted the people at the table, and his eyes rested on the fourth figure in the room, a man in a black suit, with white hair reading a paper with an amused expression. "VLAD!" he shouted, dropping the remnants of his toast and tripping over the leg of a chair as he approached the man. "Ah…" he muttered, lying on the floor rubbing his aching side which was still sore from what were soon becoming his routine his midnight fight with Skulker, who apparently didn't care for clocks. "This is not a good day." He whispered low enough for his family to miss, but high enough for Vlad's enhanced ghostly senses. He pulled himself up and glared at his arch-enemy.

"Now, Daniel really, if you wake up with that attitude of course the day will be a disappointment." The older hybrid smiled and turned a page in his paper.

"What's that, V-man?" Jack asked, working on yet another invention at the table.

"Nothing, Jack." Vlad replied, turning his attention to Daniel, and was less than impressed to see that the boy was a complete mess. He had a new scar running from his neck and presumably under his shirt, his eyes were tired and barely focused, Vlad could clearly see a stained bandage peeking out from under the shirt that had come loose from his fall, but the boy, noticing this, tucked it away and continued to glare. And, if it were possible he looked like he had lost 10 pounds he couldn't afford to lose, the overall effect prompted concern from the older hybrid - naturally it was well hidden concern.

Jazz of course had noticed her little brothers' state and was furious, but with their parents in the room she said nothing, Danny would not thank her for it, so she would berate him later after checking his wounds of course.

"What's HE doing here?" Danny asked with barely controlled anger.

"Now Danny, don't get so worked up," Maddie smiled, she was finished with the waffle iron and lowered her goggles.

Jack meanwhile was still hammering his new toy; "V-man was just passing through and decided to pay us a visit, right Vladdie?" he smiled.

"Yes, you know how much I enjoy visiting your family, Jack." Vlad replied, folding up his newspaper and sipping his tea.

"Uh-huh." Danny muttered, "Almost as much as I love late night ghost fights, and sneak-attacks," and Vlad grinned.

"What's that, sweetie?" his mother asked with a look of concern.

"Nothing, mom," he replied with a forced smile, "I…er…I'm goin' out…" he said as he rubbed his neck for a half-decent excuse to leave the house.

"Danny," Jazz began in an exasperated tone, "It's Friday, y'know as in fri-day, fri-day." She stressed the word.

"What about fri…day…" he began as his sister pointed to the corner of the room where he bag lay, with his books popping out…his school bag…and his school books. "Oh…crap…" he face-palmed.

"Danny…language…" his mother reprimanded as he ran out of the room and up the stairs where he hurried to throw on his shoes, and tied his laces while all but falling down the stairs, he grabbed his phone as it began to ring on the living room table.

"Danny, dude," he heard Tucker shout, "You better answer this phone or else I'll tell the whole school about that camping trip in kindergarten when you…" thinking it best to interrupt his friend sooner rather than later he replied; "I know okay, I'm coming…so I forgot about school…s'not the end of the world."

Their phone conversation was so loud it was heard from the kitchen, Vlad was stood leaning on the doorframe, unnoticed, as Danny held the phone by his ear, and pulled off his bandages from under his shirt, "Well you better hurry," Tucker said, of course with enhanced senses Vlad heard the whole conversation. Sam chose now to add in her four cents; "You know Prickly's out for tardy blood…more specifically your tardy ecto-blood if you don't get your but in here…like now…" Sam shouted.

"Don't shout in my ear, man; shout in the phone…at Danny!" Tucker shouted back, and Danny sighed.

"Alright, alright," the boy replied, pulling the zip closed on his bag and tossing it over his shoulder.

"We got gym today, remember," came the reply, Danny visibly deflated, and subconsciously held his healing ribs.

"Maybe I'll skip then, I don't think I can manage it today," he sighed, "or tomorrow." He added.

"Not good, dude, you gotta come in we got English too…" Tucker said sadly, "I'll keep you awake, okay…"

"Fine, fine…gimme a minute…"

"See you dude." Tucker replied quietly, his voiced laced with worry.

With that he closed the phone and threw it half-heartedly onto the sofa, and transformed into his ghostly counter-part with a moan of pain, he glanced at his mid-section and sighed, "Yup…another great day…" he muttered, and turning his head he saw Vlad, looking at him with an odd expression he couldn't place. He didn't have the energy to send him the usual green eyed glare of hate, so he just stared. While the man stared back with…concern… from Vlad? Impossible. Humour…at seeing him so weak, it was possible, anything was possible when Vlad was involved. With one last glance he flew out of the building and into the sky, why did he care anyway, Vlad was weird, he just was. It was no different from why the sky was blue or the grass was green, Vlad was weird. With that tone of finality he flew towards the school, morphed and ran to class.