Good Behavior

Regret

And the single occurrence that sparked a chain of events that led to Danny's capture is...NOT IN THIS CHAPTER! Sorry, folks, you're going to have to wait a little longer.

(~0*0~)


Flashback: Three Months Ago.

Thump-thump. Thump-thump. Thump-thump.

He squeezed his hands over his chest in order to deafen his painfully thudding heart, which seemed dead-set on soaring out of him and giving him away. But he couldn't come out of hiding. Even though he knew he'd be found eventually; that it was really only a matter of time before heavy footsteps advanced towards the sofas again, he was terrified. He shook; squeezed himself into a tighter ball, and heard Vlad call out sweetly:

"Daniel? Daniel, where are you? Dear, dear, my boy...you aren't playing games with me again, are you?"

He was a coward. He hated himself. But if he crawled out now, IT would surely happen again, and he couldn't take it anymore. He'd rather die now than feel the man's strong hands on him; the very idea made his skin crawl with dread. He tried to suppress a whimper as Vlad laughed somewhere in the distance, sounding a little shrill.

"Playing hard to get, are we? Well...you know there's nothing I wouldn't grant you, darling. If you want to play hide-and-seek, then..."

Oh God, he craved for his parents to come bursting through the nearby windows right that second. He Vlad winded and bloody...winded, bloody, and UNABLE TO EVER, ever do what he so loved doing to Danny again-!

"Daniel..."

The voice was a distant purr, but Danny's eyes still filled with tears in the darkness under the large velvet sofa. He could hear various items of furniture hitting the floor with slight thuds from a distance as Vlad checked a nearby room. He heard the thumps and scrapes getting louder after a very short while, as if the man were setting them down with a lot more force than necessary. Danny pressed his pale hands over his mouth and trembled.

He wanted Tucker to stir him from this never-ending nightmare; to be made a fool out of once he realized he'd simply fallen asleep in one of Lancer's classes. He wanted Sam to tease him, Valerie to talk to, and Jazz to squeeze his hand the way she had when they were both kids waiting to get booster shots in the doctor's clinic. He wanted his mother to come hold him. He wanted out. Someone else to save the day for a change; someone who would allow him to call it quits and insist that he not offer himself up to this monster one more time.

"Come out, come out, wherever you are..."

The voice was becoming much more husky now, but Danny feared the honeyed sweetness that almost always meant danger. Danny wept silently, body trembling in fear. He craved a rescuer. Someone who would make sure he never had to see Vlad Masters again, someone to keep him safe, to take him home.

But he had no one to do that for him. Ever again. He was the alleged hero in this story, although he only felt like a filthy and terrified child. His eyes peered out under the small crack of the couch, where he hid like a cornered and terrified cat. His breath caught in his chest when he glimpsed Vlad's dark boots, and he very nearly fainted then and there.

"Daniel, where are you?" Vlad fretted, overturning a nearby gold sofa. "You're making me very unhappy. You have on the count of three to come out."

There was the horror again, basked again in honey and sugar.

"One..."

Danny cringed as he watched a grandfather clock fly across the room, smashing into pieces.

"Two..."

He would do this for them. They would live, and he would...well, not die, but live a fate worse than death; a life in which every day was a never-ending hell. Oh, why had he been left all alone, here? His heart was dying of loneliness, even with an almost constant-companion. Especially with HIM breathing down his shoulder every waking second.

But there could be no other option but death for his loved ones. There was no time for fear, especially when it meant saving the lives of the people he loved.

Danny wriggled out from underneath the couch just as Vlad drew breath to count "Three." He swiped the tears from his face with the back of his hand, trying to make it look as if he were only trying to nonchalantly smooth his hair back as he slowly stood up. He tried to smile, but his mouth was quivering an awful lot, which made his expression look like a grimace.

Now Danny's tormentor and forceful lover was glowering down at him, seething fury etched out into every line of his face. His gloved fists were quivering. Danny cocked his head, and made himself speak innocently:

"I'm sorry; I was just playing. I didn't want to make you mad, Vlad."

A deathly hush. Danny went extremely hot, then very cold. He weakly tried again:

"Welcome home. I...I thought I'd surprise you?..."

Still nothing. Danny exhaled, and braced himself for a blow. With any luck, it wouldn't be as bad as the one he'd gotten the last time.

"...y-you aren't upset, a-are you?" he asked softly.

Vlad immediately struck him around the face; the impact sent him crumbling to his knees again, seeing red. His cheek burned as if he'd just received multiple bee stings. He heard Vlad gasp sharply, and through his watering eyes, saw the older halfa stagger away from him, looking sick and horrified.

"Why do you make me hurt you? You know it pains me to see you hurt! Why do you have to be so difficult all the time?"

"I'm sorry," muttered Danny, as he was immediately swept into a pair of arms, wincing as Vlad immediately started kissing the crown of his head, anxiously feeling around his forehead for any lumps or bruises. "I won't do it again. I'm sorry. I'm sorry."

Beatings, he could understand and recover from them fairly quickly, as much as he disliked them. This, on the other hand, made him nearly sick with nausea. It was a lie, the saddest, most pathetic excuse for a lie that he'd ever seen in his life.

But the lie kept his family from certain death at the hands of this psychotic madman, who both inspired feelings of terror and utmost disgust in the sixteen year old boy, and so, it had to endure.

With an inaudible sigh, Danny wrapped his sore arms around the neck, trying not to think of the irony as he gently soothed the nearly hysterical man, rubbing his fingertips through his glossy hair and laying light kisses on his neck. From somewhere in the distance, he thought he heard the strangled sound of a broken cuckoo bird attempting to chime from the wreck of smashed gears behind the two. The sad sound almost made Danny want to smile.

"Say it," breathed Vlad, his face buried in Danny's shirt. "Say it again."

Positive that Vlad could not see him, Danny rolled his eyes. Oh, God, not again. He fervently hoped that this was NOT going to become a habit.

"I love you."

"Again."

"I love you."

"Again."

"I love you."

The cuckoo feebly attempted to chime the hour, failed, and retreated into the ruins, its call cutting off completely.

(~*0*~)


Danny moaned loudly as Vlad went down on him, his vision spasming. Christ, you'd think that after this happening some fifty-fucking times, it'd die out to almost nothing, but it never did. His hands reluctantly wound into the man's long hair, needing something to hang onto as he started gasping, sweat beading on his already soaking brow. His eyes rolled back, and he stared blankly at the ceiling, still twitching, still moaning as Vlad lapped at him, a smirk on his face as Danny grew harder and harder inside his mouth.

Danny wasn't gay. Of that, he was positive. But it still felt so good. He'd long ago given up hope of rescue-he wasn't even supposed to make such a wish anyway; it'd only result in their deaths-but it still blew him away, at how much he could plead for it from a man he despised, who humiliated him, who sent him climaxing on a nightly basis. It was awful and magnificent all at once; he hated the feeling of Vlad's skin against his own, as if whatever brand of crazy Vlad had were contagious, but it always wound up feeling so good.

At least, until the self-hatred and the loneliness and the suicidal thoughts kicked in, which were always waiting for him when he came back down. There was no real pleasure for him anymore-only massive guilt that ruled his life, and everything he did. He found lasting joy in nothing.

Feeling himself close, Danny whimpered and squeezed his eyes shut, wondering what sort of horrible idea had inspired him to ask for a bath. Of course this was going to happen. What'd he expect when the two were stripped naked in front of each other?

Then again, he thought with bitter humor, there were very few things that did not end with sex in this madhouse.

Much to his consternation, Vlad just never seemed to want to stop, like a shark on a feeding frenzy. It usually happened maybe once a day, twice a day-three times a day wasn't completely uncalled for; if the man did not have to go to work, (Well, he didn't HAVE to, but that is another matter entirely) he'd have gone nuts by now.

Vlad's tongue dragged up the veined appendage, and caressed it hotly; with a startled squawk, Danny let go, stars dancing before his eyes as Vlad eagerly swallowed his seed, smiling broadly as he took Danny into his arms again, kissing his forehead. But instead of relief, the teen only felt more dread, especially when Vlad's fingers started crawling down to his hips.

More likely than not, Vlad wasn't going to be satisfied with this, and it would mean another night of wishing that he was dead while the man gleefully pounded inside of him. Hurrah.

He rubbed his head wearily, feeling fairly lightheaded all of a sudden. Ugh. Okay, maybe he should have eaten something at dinner. He'd just nodded politely while Vlad had prattled on about his day at supper and had surreptitiously slid all of his food into a napkin. Lately, his stomach had been feeling as though it had been twisted into a pretzel, and his head kept hurting. Badly.

A lightbulb went off in Danny's head, and he leaned his head against Vlad's shoulder, wondering why it felt so heavy all of a sudden.

"Um...darling? I...I think I better get out. It's too hot."

"Thank you, Daniel."

Feeling ready to hurl for more than one reason, Danny shivered and interjected just before Vlad's hands could start stroking his bottom.

"I..I mean, I feel dizzy. I think I'm going to be sick."

Vlad abruptly stood up; frowning anxiously as his hand went to Danny's forehead. For once, the teen didn't mind; Vlad's normally hot hand felt comfortingly cool against his own skin...

"It can happen-I suppose you're still not quite used to the temperature. You can lie down for awhile, and-Daniel?"

There were spots dancing in and out of his vision. Vlad was grabbing his face and saying something, just to be annoying. His stomach twisted again, and he felt his head sear with pain. He lolled it back, feeling ready to throw up. Vlad was gliding out of the hot water, sounding next to screams:

"Daniel!"

And he was gone.

Flashback: Three Months Ago:

For weeks, Danny had been shut inside Vlad's manor, his spectral shackles shocking him into unconsciousness if he so much as touched one of the windows. As a result, even though he craved be flying in the sunlight again, he shrank away from the long halls covered in gleaming bay windows out of fear of more pain.

There was another pain that went far beyond physical injury that went alongside looking out. Each time he tentatively approached a window and saw the beautiful, emerald grounds flowing away from the dark, magnificent house, his heart nearly broke.

He could eat but little; thankfully, he normally had lunches separate from the obsessive man, so he wasn't constantly humiliated by Vlad's attempts to hand-feed him. Dinner and Breakfast meant forcing himself to participate in polite conversation with the man. Sewing his head to the carpet with steel wire seemed just as appealing. His blood often boiled before, after, and during his "friendly conversations" with the man, but he couldn't afford to lose his temper. Ever. Not after what harm he'd already caused.

The very memory occasionally had Danny waking up screaming and sobbing in the dead of night.
When he'd first been trapped here, and the shackles been attached to his wrists and ankles, he'd completely lost it; started screaming at the man with all the loathing and panic his heart could muster.

He'd told the man that he hated him, that he would die alone, and that Danny would rather be dead than stay another minute in his awful presence.

Something crucial must have snapped in Vlad's mind. The ghost had lost it, going so completely berserk that he'd attacked Danny as Plasmius, hurling him across the room with several vicious bolts of ecto-energy, nearly killing the teen. But in Danny's eyes, that had been far from the worst.

Still ballistic, Vlad had angrily switched on a nearby screen in his study, and the dazed boy had looked up from the smashed and splintered remains of the cabinet he'd flown into. There had been blood, blood everywhere.

And on the screen, to his horror, had been his father, writhing on the ground, screaming. His left arm was nothing more than a stump spraying blood everywhere, all over himself, painting the ground, his wailing wife's jumpsuit as she'd cradled her dying spouse in hysterics…

That had been the last time Danny had defied Vladimir Masters.

He remembered weeping nonstop as he watched his father being rushed into an ambulance, still surrounded in a sea of broken wood and glass. After that, he remembered Vlad hastily approaching him, rage dying in his scarlet eyes for whatever reason. He'd touched Danny's forehead, ignoring the hysterical teen's desperate pleas for his dad's life...

And Danny remembered looking down at his hands at last, also soaked in blood. In his fragile state of mind, he wildly assumed that it was Jack's blood on his quivering hands, and the sobs had increased.

But he'd been carpeted head to toe in deep gashes and burns from Plasmius' attack. He'd been sitting in a pool of his own ruby red blood without even realizing it.

Soon after Danny's renewed sobs, Plasmius had transformed back into Masters, and the man had pulled Danny out of the wreckage, speaking urgently. But the teen had unable to understand anything-hadn't wanted to understand anything. He choked on his tears as Vlad had cupped his face, shouting earnestly to him.

What had it been? It sounded like a panicked, slurred plea.

He remembered pain finally creeping up on his frozen, shaking form, horrible pain throbbing in every sector of his dying body...

Nothing after that.