Danny Phantom is a former fandom of mine. I wrote this in 2005, before Season 2 finished airing. I guess that makes this AU.

I could never see the adults in DP as the show portrayed them. Especially Vlad. The one-dimensional megalomaniac routinely curb-stomped by a teenager just breaks my suspension of disbelief. There's more to him than that. This is one interpretation.

This is a work of fanfiction. No money is made off of this. This story is rated K.

-00000-

Vlad rubbed his eyes. In the darkness of his lab at 4am the burning glow of the computer screen finally reached a torturous brightness. He dropped his head in his arms. His head shot up, suddenly awake before fading again.

The computer pinged. "At last," he sighed as he blinked and squinted into the bright.

For some reason, computer records are always easier to infiltrate in the wee hours after midnight. These records were no exception. Vlad saved his findings for further study but couldn't help looking at them immediately. Only for a little bit.

Interesting... Expected... Wait a minute... "They did what?"

Vlad sat back in shock, all exhaustion forgotten. The empty room didn't answer his sudden outburst. He leaned forward to make sure he read that right. Yes, there it was in black and white. Vlad disconnected his computer and stumbled to his bedroom in a daze. He fell into the welcoming softness of sheets and pillows but his mind raced too fast and too long for sleep to come that night.

Wait… This is quite the advantage. He grinned madly at the ceiling. The room was graying at the approaching dawn. I can use this. All I need to find is something he wants…

-00000-

Around noon Vlad shooed the underlings out of his office. He waited until they'd all left before giving in to a jaw-cracking yawn. He looked down at the phone on his desk. Alright, fine, I'll do it. He dialed the one number he both loved and hated with all his being.

"Hello?"

He basked in the glow as the voice of his angel flowed out into his tortured mind. "Maddie? It's Vlad."

"Vlad? This is unexpected. How are you?"

"I'm doing well, still can't get the Packers, but there's something I need to speak to you about. It's about Daniel."

"Danny? What about him?"

"I just heard this yesterday and I need to know if it's true. Did you name me his godfather?"

Vlad heard the faint sound of a chair scraping along the floor. She must have sat down. "Why yes, I do believe we did."

He listened to the pause as though it held the secrets of the universe.

"Vlad? Are you still there?"

"I'm here…" he whispered. "Why?"

"Well, I remember when Jazz was born we didn't know who to choose. We didn't have many friends in Amity Park. Too many people thought we were weirdos. Do you know the feeling? Well, anyway, Jack automatically named you as godfather while I was still in recovery. I guess in his eyes the two of you were still best friends and I wasn't going to destroy what little bit of happiness he still held onto."

For the first time in over a decade he lost momentary control over himself and fell through the chair. He sat awkwardly on the carpet, knees still trapped in the chair. He tried to pull himself out but found he'd need two hands for that and was unwilling to put the phone down. "Jazz is my godchild as well?"

"Yes, well, when Danny was born we didn't want to have to split them up if anything happened, so…" She sounded worried.

One leg kicked idly, half-phased through the chair. He let it fall through to the floor, leaving the other still stuck. "I see," he said, voice carefully neutral.

There was a long pause before she spoke. "You're not upset, are you?"

Vlad tried to free the other leg but it was stuck. He'd have to fully go ghost to remove himself from inside his chair. He opened his mouth to speak his mind then closed it. I have… family. He tried talking again. "I have one question," he said, feeling an evil plan forming.

"Yes?"

"May I spoil them rotten?" he asked, grinning madly.

-00000-

Maddie put the phone back on the cradle. The time had come. They needed to know, especially if Vlad was going to keep his promise of spoiling them. "Well, at least we'll have no problem paying for their educations," she said with a sigh.

"What was that, honey?" Jack asked from under the sink.

"Vlad knows he's godfather to the kids."

"That's nice," Jack said, distracted. He couldn't get this one pipe unscrewed... He reached for the Fenton Monkeywrench.

"Jack! I thought I told you to leave that to a qualified-" Maddie's words were cut off as the sink exploded.

Jack stood up as the floor quickly covered in water. "I guess I should have turned the water off, huh?" At least he had the sense to look sheepish.

Maddie sighed and rolled her eyes.

-00000-

Danny trudged up the sidewalk after another riveting day of idiocy and drudgery: high school. He got all the way to the front steps before his ghost sense went off. "What now?" he groaned, looking around.

The door swung open. "Hello, my boy, so glad you could join us."

Danny started. "Vlad?" He moved closer in case someone was listening. "What are you doing here?" he hissed.

"New information has come to light," Vlad said, grinning. "I believe you'll find it quite illuminating."

"Vlad! Stop hogging the door and let Danny in." Jack's distinctive bellow echoed from inside.

Vlad's eyes glowed red for an instant as he sighed. He stepped to the side and let Danny enter.

Danny stalked cautiously into the living room. "What's going on?" he asked suspiciously.

"Danny, sweetie," Maddie crooned, "there's something we need to tell you."

"Vlad's your godfather!" Jack gushed joyously. He grabbed Vlad in a bear hug strong enough to lift the thinner man off the ground.

Vlad bared his teeth in a grimace. He squirmed out of Jack's vise-like grip and turned his attention to a stunned Danny. "It's true, Little Badger. I just found out a few days ago."

"But… but but…" Danny stammered, "he's evil!" He punctuated his accusation with a pointed, shaking finger.

"Now, Danny, Vlad isn't evil," Maddie scoffed. "He's the head of a corporation but that doesn't make him evil. Remember that time with the Ghost King when he helped us perfect the EctoSuit?"

"Which the ghost boy then made off with," Jack mumbled.

"Now, Jack, remember that the ghost boy did use it to save the city," Vlad pointed out.

You're defending me? thought Danny. His anger melted visibly into shock as his pointed finger of accusation dropped.

"Don't worry about Danny," Maddie said sweetly, "I'm sure he just needs some time to get used to it."

Vlad smiled with equal sweetness as Maddie shoved her son upstairs to "do his homework."

As she came back down the stairs Vlad excused himself and hid in the bathroom. A few seconds of phasing through walls brought him to Daniel's room. He regained human form. "I know this is a shock for you," he said. "I imagine you feel as I do, having your worst enemy as virtual family, but I honestly didn't know."

"Oh really?" Danny demanded. "You didn't find out long ago through one of your shady ghost contacts?"

"No, I found out last Thursday through one of my shady human contacts," Vlad revealed. "I do have human contacts." He sat down on Daniel's bed while the boy glared at him from the relative safety of his desk chair.

Danny snorted.

"You must admit, we work together quite well when the opportunity requires it."

"And until then you're going to continue to try and seduce my mom and kill my dad, is that it?" Danny accused.

"I'd settle for making your life interesting," Vlad said. "After all, with that stupid hero complex of yours-"

"Hey!" Danny protested.

"-I figure I should at least keep you out of trouble by making some. And if my schemes happen to involve seducing your mother and offing your inept buffoon of a father, who's to say it wasn't random chance?"

Danny stuck his tongue out at the man, at his godfather. "I knew you weren't going to give up that easily, you fruitloop," he snapped. "You're not going to be... grandiose about it, are you?"

"Of course I'll be grandiose about it," Vlad scoffed indignantly. "What do you take me for, human?"

Danny groaned.

Vlad clapped Danny on the shoulder. "You may want to reconsider my offer at a partnership, Daniel. Our powers, our abilities, your strength, my influence, our familial connection, we'd be unstoppable."

"I don't want to conquer the world," Danny said, sullen.

Vlad lifted Danny's chin with a finger, drawing the boy to gaze into his eyes. "We don't need to conquer the world in order to rule it," Vlad promised. "Remember that." He pat Danny on the head and left him to his thoughts.

So much potential. So much power barely constrained in the mind of a teenaged boy. It could unravel so easily. Vlad knew just what might happen if the boy ran unchecked. Danny needed guidance and Jack Fenton was incapable. There were many ways to provide that guidance.

A new scheme formed in his mind as he put up with Jack as he blathered. As he gazed at his beloved Maddie over a cup of tea. The boy refused a mentor. Very well then. He would not refuse a villain.

End