AN: This goes out to cosmonaughts and receiver-of-kingdoms on tumblr, who asked me to do a ParaNorman Norman/Aggie-style showdown between Danny and Vlad, complete with angst and feelings.
The father/son kind, not the Pompous Pep kind.
I hope you enjoy!~
Disclaimer: I don't own Danny Phantom or ParaNorman.
That was the only thing his mind could register, as the electricity raged through his body. And then it was gone, and Danny gasped for air as the fire ceased, falling to his knees in the street where the elder halfa towered over him. He could hear the faint sounds of Sam and Tucker's panicked voices over the headset just before Vlad crushed it beneath a single black boot.
Squeezing his eyes shut to deaden the pain in his head, he didn't see the gloved hand shoot forward to snatch him up roughly, lifting him to face Plasmius' enraged expression. Danny cracked open bleary eyes and watched as the scowl swam into view, just before Vlad slammed a fist into his cheek to send him tumbling to the ground once again. Shoulder bone met pavement, and Danny grit his teeth against the agonized scream.
"You...you foolish wretch," came a low growl. Danny didn't dare move, knowing it would only cause more abuse. He concentrated on breathing deeply, waiting for Vlad to make his next move. "You have the audacity to preach your naïve morals to me? To pretend that you have ANY inkling of understanding as to my life? Your empty head begets your nerve, boy, and I will not have it!" Vlad grabbed his injured arm- and this time he did let out a scream- and swung him into an abandoned building, pinning him against the brick. Lights danced before Danny's eyes- oh no, wait, that was just Plasmius' hand... firing up an ectoblast. This was getting way out of hand.
"Look, will you just listen for once in your life," Danny choked out, his hand coming up to grab the arm that was slowly crushing his shoulder. Nails dug into his skin as Plasmius' expression darkened, and he wrenched the boy up to his face. "Listen? You want me to listen? Should I listen to how you expect me to just move through life ignoring the wrongs made against me? Should I listen to Jack's never-ending babble about the family that was supposed to be mine? I've done enough listening for two lifetimes, Daniel, and it's time that you listened to me."
Thrown to the ground, Danny quickly scrambled over the wall, narrowly missing the blast meant for his head. "When that accident with the proto-portal happened, I was absolutely furious. My dreams for the future, everything I'd worked for; it was all taken away and I was left to rot in that wretched hospital while they searched for a cure. Imagine my further rage, Daniel, when your parents, the ones who called themselves my friends, abandoned me there, and didn't even bother to tell me of their wedding themselves!" Another crack of lightning hitting the brick, and Danny cringed. "Jack was always a fool, a bumbler, and now? He's taken the woman I love more than life itself, and still he dares to fancy himself my brother!" A hand shot out and buried itself in Danny's hair, painfully forcing his head up to see Vlad looming over him, eyes burning with fiery rage. "So don't expect me to enable your ridiculous notions of forgiveness and empathy while you claim that traitor as your father!" Vlad threw Danny further into the ruined building, his body bursting through a window and sending glass flying.
Danny groaned in pain, spots dancing behind his eyes as he fought to stay conscious. "...So you plan to stay this way," he croaked. "How long do you really think you can keep this up, Vlad? All this anger and bitterness? Don't you get tired of it, being angry day in and day out with nothing to show for it?" An ecto-blast to the back for his words, and Danny pursed his lips, refusing to show the pain. Electric green eyes flashed, meeting blood red ones as Danny continued. "You said you had everything taken away from you, Vlad, but the truth is, you threw it all away yourself. The family Dad 'stole' from you? It's always been there, but you're so fixated on making it into what you want it to be that you can't see that you already had a place in it."
"Quiet, boy," Vlad spat, but Danny rose to his knees, still talking.
"Maybe it's not the place you always pictured for yourself, but it was still yours, and it's still there. But you're so damn stubborn and thick-headed that you refuse to see and keep pushing everyone away! Dad never meant to hurt you Vlad, and he's tried over and over again for twenty years to get you to see that! You didn't see his face when he got the invitation to Wisconsin, it was like he was blind and saw the sun for the first time! He loves you more than you know, more than you probably deserve, and you're still throwing it away because you refuse to see sense!"
"Stop talking!" Vlad could feel his blood pressure rising, his anger reaching the boiling point as Danny laid his sins out before him, things he'd never allowed himself to think. Daniel could never understand his pain, the boy didn't live in his own personal hell day in and day out.
But Danny didn't stop. He shakily got to his feet, and began walking towards Vlad, anger burning in his own eyes as he chewed Vlad out. "And it's not just Dad that you've pushed away in your own selfishness, Vlad. You threw away the chance to have the child that you always wanted, because she wouldn't conform to your expectations either. Dani would've tripped over herself to have you as a father, and you could have had a child that loved you. But it's not ever enough with you! It has to be your way or the highway, and that's why you're never happy!"
"Boy you will be silent!" A bolt of lightning slashed through the air, but Danny managed to throw a shield up at the last minute. It felt like a truck had slammed into him, and he only barely kept his hold on his concentration. "The suffering that fool, that your entire family has heaped upon me, rest assured I intend to repay a hundred fold, Daniel! You will suffer as I have suffered, and then you will finally see that when you chose Jack Fenton, you chose wrong!"
Danny took a breath, and pushed his energy towards Vlad, sending the shield barreling towards the elder halfa in a desperate attempt to stop his assault. "We all have our cross to bear, Vlad, but that doesn't mean you have the right to cause misery to other people! You think you've been the only one in the world who's been hurt, who wants revenge? You can't just go through life acting like your feelings and desires are the only things that matter, Vlad, because you've lost everything that ever held any meaning to you that way!"
"Because one day, you're going to look around you and realize that your selfish actions have left you completely alone!"
"I'M ALREADY ALONE!"
The two panted, staring the other down in the silence that reigned. Danny found his voice first. "...what?"
Vlad lowered his head, shielding the sorrow in his eyes from the rest of the world, his voice a low croak. "From the moment I was hit with that ectoplasmic energy, I was cursed to be alone. Don't you see it, Daniel? We're different, so painfully different, from the rest of the world. This isn't some silly little quirk you can expect someone to laugh off and gradually come to accept; neither of us have any hope of someone ever coming to understand our ghost halves, not really. The most we can ever hope for is reluctant tolerance at best, but it's a pipe dream, boy. All the good you do, all the people you protect...they will never truly come to accept you. Yes, they allow you to do as you will now, because you're convenient. But the moment your usefulness ends, they'll cast you off and do their best to destroy you, because you're different, and that makes you a threat."
Vlad turned his back, staring out into the night. "I will never find someone to accept me as this creature. Even my hopes for Maddie are useless; she could never come to love the thing she despises. So I took the initiative, and I cast them off first."
Danny was still, staring at the man he'd seen as an enemy for so many years. The man who carelessly hurt others in his schemes for self-gain, who refused to even consider the fact that there was something more important than his wants and desires. The man who was so scared of being rejected that he closed himself off from the world around him, and guarded his heart endlessly against both the good and bad, just so there was never a chance that he could even begin to care for another, and set himself up for another fall.
He limped forward a step, and then another; his eyes still fixed on Vlad's tensed back. "You think just because you're so different, that nobody would even care to try to understand you? To understand both of us? There's still people who care about you, Vlad, even if you haven't been able to see it. Maybe you're right, and they can't ever fully understand what you are, but that doesn't mean they don't still care about you, and love you." Vlad finally glanced down, his eyes lined with pain. "Why can't you just let me go about my life, Daniel?"
Danny frowned. "Because what you're doing...it's not living, not really. That's why I came after you today, because I don't want to watch you just drift along anymore. I know you're scared Vlad, and it's okay." Deciding to be bold, he slipped his hand into Vlad's, squeezing slightly when the older man's eyes widened. "It's okay to be scared, but...you can't let yourself close off from the world, because then you get bitter, and it's changed you. It's not too late to fix everything with Dad and the others, but you have to actually try, and open yourself to them. You can't just take; you have to give, too."
"And who said you're in this alone? You're not the only halfa around here, you egotist," he teased lightly, a small grin on his face.
A grin that only grew as his felt the shaking hand in his grip squeeze back.
Ugh you two losers, just hug it out already.