The Bigger they are the Harder they Fall
A.N. Timeline wise, like everything else I write for Danny Phantom this ignores both D-Stabilized and Phantom Planet, and is set after Claw of the Wild. I think it's just a good place to write from since there's already good character development and Danny's powers have progressed a lot.
This is NOT connected to any of my other stories.
Also, I still, unfortunately DO NOT own any rights to the amazing universe that is Danny Phantom.
Chapter 1: It Happened One Night.
It had been a busy night for me; I'd fought ecto-pus ghosts and giant snake ghosts, I'd played fetch for two hours with Cujo, I'd stopped Skulker from using some old people as prey, and I'd spent most of that looking over my shoulder for the Guys in White to find me again. Those government guys never gave up and what was worse was that they'd actually come up with a serious weapon to hurt ghosts - or so I'd heard Skulker say right before I'd sucked him into the Thermos. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit worried; hence why I'd been so nervous all night.
I had no idea what this new weapon was or even if it existed; Skulker could have been lying just to rattle me and I could be making a fuss out of nothing. But there was always that fear. The fear of being found and torn apart molecule by molecule by people like them...and people like my parents. It was strange to think that I both loved and feared my mom and dad at the same time. No one else understood that...Well...there was one person, I guess...but he was too much of a selfish fruit loop to care about my problems. In fact, he was the one who made them worse most of the time!
Gah, just thinking about him made me angry. Why did the only other half ghost have to be such a jerk?! I should be able to look up to him and ask him for help not have to fight him all the time. It was all just so messed up, but there was too much water under the bridge to change things now.
It was almost midnight and since I was having problems keeping my eyes open I decided to call it a night and go home. I flew slowly through the city using the backstreets as a short cut when I heard a small scuffle; it sounded like someone falling over.
I thought about just ignoring it and carrying on home, but my curiosity and I guess, my hero complex got the better of me and I moved invisibly towards the sounds. As I got closer I was sure that someone had been seriously hurt; the moans and grunts of pain were a dead give away.
What I found a minute later though, wasn't exactly what I expected; it was Vlad Masters in human form and he was wounded really, really badly. After having been hurt so many times myself I could see it was bad, but it didn't take a degree in medicine to tell just from a glance that this was one serious wound.
There was a huge puddle of blood around him and on the left side of his chest I could just see a piece of glowing metal or something sticking out. His breathing sounded painful and I winced just from listening to it. I could also see that his clothes had been burned by something and his pale skin looked charred black in some places. The cuffs of his black jacket and shirt were singed completely and his fingers were covered in blood.
He looked like a beaten man; completely beaten. I'd never once seen Vlad Masters look so defeated, and for some reason, for some really weird, inexplicable reason, this made me feel...bad. Maybe it was because I'd never seen anyone come close to being as strong as Vlad, and now, seeing him so weak was a real eye opener, because if this could happen to someone like him, then the rest of us didn't stand a chance.
Vlad was slouched on the floor in the shadows of the most sinister looking alley way I'd ever seen, it was empty though so that was good news for him, but it just had that kind of atmosphere that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I had goosebumps just from looking at it...and coming from a guy who fights ghosts, believe me, that's saying something.
It was honestly the most dirt filled, rat infested, graffiti stained, shadowed hell hole I'd ever come across in this city. There were small puddles of who knows what on the floor and the less said about the smell the better; it was like stagnant water...only much worse. I tried really hard to hold my breath but even half ghosts needed to breathe and I gagged as I tasted the foul smells.
Unfortunately this drew Vlad's attention and I was surprised he hadn't noticed me sooner; nothing usually escaped his notice. But then he was seriously wounded so I guess it was only natural that things would slip by his radar.
Even though I was invisible, his red eyes were now staring right at me and despite the fact that he probably wasn't strong enough to bat away a feather right now, I still felt afraid of him. It was dumb and it was really irritating, but I couldn't help it; every time I saw him I wanted to run for the hills, batten down the hatches and hide in a corner with a shotgun, he just scared me that much. I'd never tell him to his face but he was, besides the Ghost King, the most powerful ghost in the Zone and he could kick my butt easily.
"Erm...hi..." I tried to smile as I dropped the invisibility. Vlad didn't even blink as I floated above the dirt on the ground in the most non-threatening way I possibly could.
I don't really know why I didn't just turn round and fly home. I'd been fighting back ghosts all night and I was so tired I could barely keep my eyes open, but I just couldn't move. I didn't know why, it didn't make any sense and it was maddening to think that he would still probably be stronger than me, even in this state; I couldn't help but think that for a second. If I was that hurt I doubted that I'd be able to stay awake let alone give a look that denied feeling pain at all. Seriously, just looking at his face you wouldn't know he was hurt, but the hand he clutched at the wound showed that he did feel pain, and that he was feeling a lot of it right now.
"...Kindly...stop gawping...and leave..." Vlad managed to say and I could tell that it took a lot out of him just to do that.
"But I...you need...help..." I replied.
"I do not...require any...argh..." he broke off, falling fully to the floor with a dull 'thump'.
"Right, sure you don't," I rolled my eyes and started to move towards him. Once I was close to him, I dropped to the ground and I knelt down to get a better look at his wound but when his eyes suddenly opened and I jumped back as he shot weak energy blasts out of them. It didn't even graze my skin but because I was so surprised that he even had the strength to do it, I'd moved away about two metres out of habit.
"Go...away..." Vlad breathed heavily.
"...Fine..." I sighed; if he was well enough to be this stubborn he wasn't going to accept any help.
I still didn't understand why I was trying to help Vlad in the first place. The only thing I put it down to was a strange feeling of pity I had as soon as I'd seen the blood. No one deserved to be so badly beat up...even Vlad. But he was my enemy and I shouldn't be helping him, not after everything he'd done to me in the past. He was a selfish jerk. He didn't care about anything or anyone except himself and he didn't care about hurting people to get what he wanted. He was the most heartless person on the planet.
I thought then, my mind was made up, I was gonna fly home and just collapse on my bed; sleeping in my nice warm, comfy bed was a much better way to spend my night, rather than trying to help this jerk who didn't even want or deserve any help at all. So I turned around and started to fly away, but before I'd even got two feet away I heard Vlad let out a moan of pain and I froze in the air.
I turned back to look at him again slowly and I sighed. It would just be cruel of me to go home and sleep and leave him like this. I felt so guilty but at the same time I wondered if I was the injured one, would Vlad help me? More often than not it was him hurting me and I had to deal with my own wounds, but I'd never once seen Vlad so hurt. And it was especially strange seeing him so badly wounded as Vlad Masters, not Vlad Plasmius. I'd never thought I'd see something like that; ever.
I sighed and dropped my head before I floated back over to him and I knelt down in front of him again.
"I thought I...told you..." he began.
"Just shut up, Vlad, I'm trying to help you," I sighed again and ignored his look of deep hatred that he threw at me.
I reached out to touch the glowing metal bar jutting out of his torso but when I did, it started to glow even more brightly and it shocked my hands with green electricity. I pulled away from it in confusion as I looked at my hands. It'd felt as though my skin was burning and a made some snow and ice to cool off.
"Wha..what gives? What is this thing?" I frowned. If I couldn't touch it I couldn't phase it out. Then what was gonna happen to Vlad? "Why is it doing that?"
"I...it's ectoranium, Daniel," he said.
"It's what?" I blinked, throwing away the snow now that my skin didn't feel like it was being burned.
"Ghosts can't touch it, humans can."
"But...but you're half ghost..."
"But I'm human now," he ground out.
"...Right," I nodded and I morphed back into my own human half. "If this thing hurts ghosts its still bad, isn't it...'cos were not completely human even when we're not...y'know..."
"Very well observed, child."
"Hmm," I hummed as I reached out to touch the glowing green 'ectoranium' again. Fortunately this time I only got a small shock from it rather than a full scale electrocution but it was still really uncomfortable; I hated to think how much pain Vlad was in right now. "So...I can't phase it out...can I?"
"No," Vlad said without emotion...except pain.
"Just...get on...with it."
"Okay..." I sighed sadly and looked down at my hands holding the glowing metal. Vlad winced when it moved even the smallest bit and I'd never felt more sorry for the guy than I did right now. I thought it was best to just get it over with. Like when I got glass or something stuck in a wound it was best to just pull it out quickly; it hurt like hell, but it was better than dragging it out.
I took a slow breath in and then I pulled the thing out of him; I wasn't a bit surprised when he screamed. I tried to ignore it as I tore some of the fabric from my jacket I'd been wearing, and from his black blazer to use to stop the bleeding. Luckily we healed quicker than normal people so I didn't think was gonna kill him if I could get him somewhere quiet to help him properly Rather than leaving him here and letting him bleed to death.
Vlad opened his eyes and held the fabric closer to the wound and he swatted my hands away. I moved back to pick up the thing that had caused Vlad so much pain. I lifted it up to get a better look at it, and at first glance it did just look like a piece of trash from a building site for something...apart from the fact that it was glowing. I caught a glimpse of my hands in this creepy, dim light and my breathing hitched when I saw that they were of course, stained completely with Vlad's blood. I gasped and I tried to wipe my hands on my jeans but that just ruined them as well.
"Vlad, I..." I began but I stopped when I heard someone walking close by. I walked slowly to the entrance to the alley and I made sure I was hidden in the shadows.
"What are they doing here?!" I whispered to myself.
"Maddie, I was sure I saw something on the ecto-scanner," I heard my dad say.
"Are you sure, honey, it might've just been a dream," my mom said to him.
"No way," dad insisted like a kid and my heart was suddenly beating a mile a minute; this could spell disaster. I flew back to Vlad who was trying to sit up against the wall whilst trying to cover the wound with the torn cloth which was already ruined.
"We gotta go," I said to him quickly. I pulled his left arm around my shoulders after I went ghost and I saw him quickly pick up the glowing piece of metal, causing the makeshift bandages to fall to the floor. "My parents are over there," I frowned.
"Of all the..." Vlad sighed and rolled his eyes and for once I agreed. This was so not the time for my parents antics; I had to get Vlad somewhere safe and ghost-hunter free and my house was not it. I couldn't go to Tucker's or Sam's because they'd ask too many questions that I couldn't answer and I didn't have time for.
Vlad was a dead weight and I supposed I could just use the Fenton Thermos; it be easier than trying to drag him through the city, I mean he was leaving a trail of blood everywhere, but he was so badly hurt I didn't dare think about what being shoved inside the Thermos would do to him.
...A trail of blood! Eep!
I jumped up and turned around to see just how much blood Vlad had actually lost here, "Oh man," I sighed. This was so not good. I knew it was bad but that was a lot of blood. And it was also a trail right back to him; really not good. I made a duplicate to quickly clean up all of it and look for more around the city just in case, and while it was doing that, I turned my attention back to my parents.
"...We want to at least examine the remains," my mom was saying and I swear that was her favourite line. I'd lost count of the number of times I'd heard her say it and you'd think that I'd have gotten used to it by now. I shivered lightly as a deep rooted survival instinct sent fear thought my body and suddenly I wanted to run away from my own mother.
But of course I needed to get Vlad away from them before they found him. If they did they'd of course try and help him. But soon they'd find out that he wasn't completely human and then it would just be a step away from 'hello ecto-gun, goodby old college pal.'
I needed a distraction so that I could move Vlad out of the alley but I was lucky that my first duplicate was even stable let alone functioning and Vlad was in no condition to help me on this. That's when it hit me. Cujo could be that distraction. He should still be here in the city and they'd never catch him, not in a million years.
I let out a quest whistle, one I knew he would hear if he was still in the city, and sure enough, a minute later, I heard him bark. I saw him across the street from me and I pointed at my parents and then I pointed down the street into the distance, hoping that he'd understand. Two seconds later he barked twice quickly and he jumped out to sit and wag his tail right in front of my mom and dad.
"Ghost mutt!" my dad yelled instantly and I heard the sound of ecto-weapons being fired; I could only hope my memory of Cujo's speed limit was right as the sounds of people running soon followed.
"Very clever...Daniel," Vlad coughed.
"I hope so," I sighed, "Come on," I said, pulling his right arm across my shoulder again.
It took everything I had to turn us both invisible and I had to ignore the increasing feeling of being slowly electrocuted. I guessed that it was because of the metal bar that Vlad was holding. But he was the one holding it and he was in human form and I was the ghost, so maybe that was why I wasn't writhing in agony or something.
I moved us slowly through the streets, careful not to jostle Vlad's wound, and to not fall over in exhaustion myself. After a full 20 minutes my duplicate had finished its job and all the evidence of Vlad's injury had been wiped from the streets; at least it was one less thing I had to worry about now so I focused on getting to Vlad's mansion. It was the only other place I could go.
I was just getting clear of the suburbs when the sound of rushing jet packs flew by.
"Operate O, I'm detecting a spike in ecto-activity," I heard an irritatingly familiar voice speak.
"Affirmative, scanning for location now," the second guy said and I huffed in annoyance. "It could be the ghost responsible for..."
"Oh come on...give a guy a break," I sighed; a run in with the GiW was all I needed on top of everything else. Like I didn't have enough to deal with - someone somewhere was laughing at me, I was sure of it.
I hid us both behind some trees and bushes and I took Vlad's arm off my shoulders, in case they found us and I needed to fight. But before I'd even dropped the invisibility, Vlad, still in human form, shot a small with bright blast of purple ectoplasm at them from his hand, taking them by surprise.
"Ah!" both men yelled as they were tossed off course on their jet packs and thrown right back down to the ground - painfully.
"Nice," I muttered with a small smile to Vlad and I pulled his arm over my shoulders again.I had to admit it was always good to see the GiW get blasted, but now they knew that they were right about a 'spike in ecto-activity' we needed to move fast before they back got up and started hunting us.
It seemed to take forever, and it wasn't easy because the whole way there, Vlad clearly didn't want me to help him since he kept trying to push me away, but he was so weak it wasn't even moving me off course at all; I hardly noticed it now.
"Home sweet home, huh Vlad?" I asked him when I finally saw his ridiculously fancy looking mansion. When he didn't answer back I frowned and looked across to see that he was totally out of it. "Vlad?" I repeated and I tried to wake him up by shaking his shoulder but nothing happened. I flew even faster just to get us inside the house the first room I came to was a really big sitting room, so I out Vlad down on one of the couches and I eased the creaks out of my back for a second. "Okay, this isn't funny anymore, Vlad, wake up!" I said to him.
I saw the damn metal thing sticking out of his pocket so I changed back not my human half; remembering what it did to ghosts, and I threw it into another room, then I flew back to Vlad. I lightly tapped his face and I shook him again but he still didn't open his eyes.
"Just great!" I threw my arms up in the air, "My enemy is wounded...possibly dying, and this is like the perfect opportunity for some pay back! I mean, it's not like you deserve any help, is it? I could just fly away now; I've helped you enough now, right?" I asked the still unconscious Vlad.
Of course he didn't answer me, and I paced the room up and down several times, sighing in annoyance, "...And by the way, just how many people actually have enemies anymore?!" I yelled as an afterthought.
I sighed again and again, finally I fell gracelessly to sit on the floor in front of the couch I'd put Vlad on and I leaned back against it. If Vlad did die...was was I gonna do? He was unlikely to die...but what would happen if he did? Would I miss him? Would anyone miss him? Did he even have a family? I didn't know much about him considering how much I thought I hated him. Was there someone I could call for help? I didn't think he had anyone to rely on like I had Sam, and Tucker, and Jazz; it was kinda sad.
"Okay, okay...I'll stay...I guess..." I said to myself; I could call Jazz later and tell her. But first I'd have to deal with Vlad.
I pushed myself up off the floor and I flew through the house in search of the kitchen. When I found it I had to blink myself out of an awe inspired stupor; it was the most amazing, shiny kitchen I'd ever seen. I shook my head as I opened cupboards looking for a big bowl and some towels I could use to clean Vlad's wound with. I made sure to boil the water first and I cleaned the towels as well before I carried it all back over to Vlad.
This sort of made me wish I'd looked into how to deal with wounds more; all I tended to do was hide the injuries I got, and then clean them out once I had the chance. I didn't know anything technical about medicine and because I was half ghost I didn't know what help regular stuff could do anyway. Vlad certainly wasn't going to be able to tell me anything anytime soon that would help either.
It was a good thing I wasn't squeamish because this was one nasty looking wound. Unfortunately the metal bar had gone right the way through Vlad's torso and now he was bleeding all over the couch, but it made it difficult for me to deal with, since it was like having to clean out two separate wounds. I wrapped towels around the wound on his back and I turned my attention to the gaping hole in his chest.
"Eeee..." I winced at the sight, "You seriously owe me for this, Vlad," I said to myself, "What am I saying? You can't even hear me," I sighed as I started to move his ruined shirt and blazer away from the wound. Little pieces of fabric had got stuck to dried blood and to the skin and it wasn't a nice job to have to peel it all away.
"Nmmm," Vlad hissed and he clenched his eyes tightly shut.
"Sorry," I muttered as I put the remains of the bloodied fabric aside and I picked up the first of the towels.
"Vlad," I replied, starting to gently clean out the wound on his front. "You're lucky you're half ghost, y'know," I told him, "'Cos if you weren't you'd probably be dead."
"Give me that!" Vlad growled at me and he tried to sit up and snatch the towel from my hand, but he fell back onto the couch with a sigh.
"Yeah, fat lot of good that did," I rolled my eyes and continued to clean the wound out.
"Why are you helping me?" he hissed.
"Just...because..." I shrugged.
"You don't...know...do you?"
I paused only for a second before I blinked and carried on. He'd surprised me by saying that because honestly I really wasn't sure why I was helping the worst of my enemies when I should be gloating to him about his weakness. "I didn't think so," Vlad smirked weakly.
"I...I don't expect you to understand yet...you're only a child," he said.
"I'm also the child that's helping you, remember?" I frowned.
"Hmm," he hummed; I think he was trying really hard not to scream out in agony and I couldn't help but respect that.
"So...isn't there anyone else who can help you?"
"No," Vlad said instantly.
"Well...isn't there someone..anyone I can..." I tried again.
"No," he sighed, "There is no one."
"What about your family?"
"What family?" Vlad scoffed and I felt a new wave of pity hit me like a ton of bricks again. It wasn't a nice feeling.
"No family at all? No one? Really?"
"Really," he gave a small smirk which was quickly replied by such an honest look of loneliness that I suddenly felt like I was the wounded one, not him.
"Oh," I looked down at my hands nervously. It was like someone was twisting a red hot poker in my gut every time he spoke. I felt so guilty. How had I not noticed that he was so lonely? No...that wasn't the right question...the question was...why hadn't I cared enough to so something about it rather than mocking him? I was supposed to help people, not hurt them.
Vlad didn't even need to say any more because the expression he had was enough to show just how lonely he was. When you got wounded it tended to make you forget about things you were supposed to hide - I knew because I'd been wounded before, and I guess when Vlad got wounded he got mopey. When I got wounded I got snappy, and I forgot that I was supposed to be nice to people, people like my parents, and my friends, and my sister, and my allies. I got angry and snappy; two things I didn't like to be so I usually kept them bottled up. I guess Vlad forgot his usual, detached, unemotional act, and emotional Vlad got a word or two in for a while.
"So...who did this anyway?" I asked curiously.
"...I..." Vlad just sighed and turned away from me.
"Come on, I'm trying to help you, you owe me some answers, right?"
"I don't owe you a thing," he said.
"Oh, well that's gratitude for ya," I rolled my eyes, "...Was it...was it the Guys in White...Skulker said something about..." I said but I stopped when his eyes shone red in anger, "Oh great," I muttered, "So he was telling the truth...But how'd they get you, anyway? The Box Ghost, maybe and Skulker...but you?"
"Your faith in my abilities is honestly astounding considering our circumstances," Vlad blinked his red, ghost eyes away.
"What? You're stronger than me. Is that what you wanna hear me say? You are. And those guys just don't..."
"It was...a lucky shot," he sneered, "That is all; I'll be sure to exact a suitable revenge as soon as I..."
"Lucky shot? You really expect me to buy that?" I scoffed, "Fine...you don't have to tell me and I won't ask any more questions about it. Deal?"
"Very well," he shrugged but winced as soon as he moved.
"So...there's really no one else?" I asked.
"I said no more questions about what happened," I said to him, "Not that I was gonna stop asking questions about everything else."
"Ha!" he laughed quietly, "Very good, Daniel...very...thorough."
"If you say so," I nodded once. "D'you have any bandages here?"
"...Lab," Vlad said.
"Lab?" I repeated.
"In the lab...basement."
"Oh..." I nodded and I flew down through the floor and straight into said lab.
I went straight to work and I rooted through every cupboard and I scoured every surface for medical supplies, throwing things aside that I didn't need; I ignored everything that didn't come under the medical category. Since I was actually in the secret lab of my enemy I supposed I should really be paying a lot more attention to details I could later use against him, but that thought just seemed so unimportant right now.
I was making a real mess of Vlad's lab but that was also unimportant, and soon I sighed in relief as I came across a cabinet full of bandages and bottles and small boxes. I took as many things as I could back through the ceiling and into the sitting room.
Surprisingly, Vlad was still awake and he had somehow sat up on the couch, with a grimace on his face. "Still not gonna tell me what happened?" I asked skeptically and he glared at me, "Okay, okay, just curious...can't blame a guy for trying," I said calmly as I sat down with the supplies.
The sound of me unwrapping the bandages filled the silence and then I started to wrap them around Vlad's torso. He didn't say anything either but I could tell he was uneasy. It made sense; he was a proud person and he was accepting help from an enemy; it couldn't be easy. I yawned as I paused in my task for a second before I carried on again. I was so tired. I needed to sleep.
"Go home, Daniel," Vlad hissed as he took the bandages from me and finished the task himself.
"What?" I asked and he raised an eyebrow at me.
"You've done more than enough..."
"Uh-uh," I shook my head, "That's a serious..."
"I'm more than capable of dealing with..."
"You were dying!" I yelled. He just stared at me and leaned back slowly on the couch and I was suddenly feeling very self-conscious. Vlad looked at me with a look I didn't understand and a minute later I spoke again, "What was that...that thing?" I asked.
"I told you, it was alloy made from base metals and ectoranium," Vlad said, "Ghosts can hardly touch it. As half ghosts we are able to do so in human form for a limited amount of time, but it doesn't do us any good, which is why I wasn't able to heal until it was gone."
"I've never heard of...ectoranium."
"Not many people have," he told me, "Which is why I was so surprised when it was used as a weapon when ghosts can't even touch it. But, this was diluted with several base metals so that we can actually touch it. It could prove very dangerous for us, for all ghosts."
"Was it really the..." I stopped, remembering my earlier promise of not asking any more questions about it.
"Yes, Daniel, those blasted government agents have been given new funding," he hissed, "I have tried to keep them under my radar; after all I don't want them developing serious threats to the Ghost Zone if I am to one day rule it," he smirked and I rolled my eyes. "I tried to discover who it was, but I have been rather over worked...and perhaps...acting tonight was a rather large miscalculation."
"You can say that again," I muttered.
"I did, however manage to destroy their records and files of the substance so I don't believe they will be able to use it again," he said, and I got the feeling there was something he wasn't telling me.
"What else?" I asked, deciding to take advantage of his sudden good mood.
"You're usually a better liar."
"I don't usually get wounded by moronic government agents," he shot back.
"Since when are they interested in you, anyway?"
"They weren't particularly," he shrugged, "But I don't suppose that's the case now."
"Huh," I said, but I thought it was best not to keep asking questions; you never new when his usual bad mood would return. "It was weird...me hiding you from my parents instead of...y'know..." I shrugged nervously.
"A rather cruel example of irony, at least for me," he frowned and he slowly stood up and phased through the floor.
He was probably headed for the lab and I dreaded to think about what he was gonna say when he saw the mess I'd made. But, I still had something I needed to deal with, so a second later, I flew back into the kitchen and I picked up the cordless phone I'd seen earlier. I dialled Jazz's phone that she always kept on in her room in case of emergencies and she answered pretty quickly considering that she had probably sleeping.
"Hey, Jazz," I yawned.
"Danny? Where are you?" she asked me quickly.
"I'm fine, I'm...look, it's difficult to explain, I was coming home and I found Vlad..."
"Yeah, he was hurt...really hurt...I had to help him," I said.
"You...helped...Vlad?" she repeated.
"What was I supposed to do?" I hissed, "I couldn't just leave him."
"But after everything he's done..."
"I know," I sighed, "I know...but he's still half ghost...it's not easy to explain...you're not half ghost...I can't even understand it..."
"Jazz, look, he's hurt real bad, I can't just go."
"Okay, Danny," she sighed, "If that's what you think is best. Will you be back by morning?"
"I don't know," I shrugged, "Maybe...but if I'm not, tell them I'm at Tucker's."
"Thanks," I said and I hung up.
"Why are you still here?" Vlad asked me as soon as I put the phone down.
"Gah!" I jumped, "I thought you were...in there," I said, as though that explained it. I turned around to see him staining in the doorway, leaning against the frame.
"I...I don't know..." I shrugged, "I guess I feel kinda responsible 'cos I'm the one who found you...I know...it doesn't make any sense. I'm being stupid. I shouldn't be helping; you hate me, I hate you...blah blah blah..." I yawned again.
"You really are obnoxiously childish at times," he said and I snorted.
"Says you," I scoffed, "'Oh, I don't need help...I'm fine...I've only got a massive hole in my chest, but really I'm fine...I can deal with anything by myself, I don't need any help'," I said, trying to copy his voice. "Yeah, I'm the childish one, right," I added quietly.
"Touché," he chuckled.
"You heal up a lot quicker than I do..." I said, surprised that he was actually standing up so soon.
"I've been half ghost a lot longer than you."
"So," I shrugged.
"So, I can manipulate them to suit my needs; I know a lot more about ghost powers than you."
"Don't I know it," I said to myself, but I forgot that he had sensitive hearing as well. "So...about the Guys in White..."
"I would suggest keeping away from them for a while until I can be sure that I completely succeeded in destroying their records," he said.
"I thought they'd given up ages ago," I said.
"No, no, they were out of the field, so to speak, for a while, but as I told you; an anonymous person or persons is funding them now and I can't control what they do any longer."
"Can't you just...I dunno...buy 'em back?"
"It doesn't work like that," Vlad shook his head, "They are still technically owned by the government, but they act through their financial backer. If the government elects to sell them that is their business. This new financial backer has an agenda of their own."
"Like me," he smirked, "But after so many of their failures I lost interest and I found other projects. The government clearly found someone else and this person knew about ectoranium; fortunately that does narrow it down to only a handful of people in the world."
"Do my parents..."
"Yes, we researched it together in college, but it was never of much interest to either of them...or to me, for that matter."
"What mind of idiot would give the Guys in White something like ectoranium?"
"An idiot who wants rid of ghosts," Vlad said, "But after a blow like this perhaps they'll give up. I did put most of them out of commission for the foreseeable future before..." he coughed and stopped talking.
"So...there was a fight?" I asked.
"...An explosion..." Vlad corrected.
"And as you know; an explosion in a confined space full of anti-ghost weapons never ends well."
"Hmm," I nodded; I still couldn't believe he was telling me all this. This whole night - well, the while time since I found Vlad, was just one weird thing after another. "Well...since you're erm...okay...I'll just...go home, I guess..." I rubbed the back of my neck awkwardly as I went ghost.
"I did just warn you about being cautious, didn't I?"
"I'm plenty cautious, but I still have to go home," I said but now that he'd just said that, I was a little worried. There was still at least two of the Guys In White out there and they knew that there were ghosts around the area because Vlad has attacked them, and they'd be on the lookout for the 'ghost punk', surely. I didn't want to be found and then end up getting hurt by that weapon thing of theirs. But maybe I was over exaggerating; Vlad did say he destroyed everything...so I'd be fine...right?
"Perhaps you should stay here until morning," Vlad said, and I think I got whiplash from how fast I spun my neck around to stare at him.,
"What?" I gasped; he so hadn't just said that. He was being almost...nice. Was it a trick? Was he just going to use this in his arsenal of 'get Danny to be my creepy apprentice / son thing?'
"I don't get you, Vlad," I said, ignoring him, "One minute you wanna rip my guts out and now you're being...not like you at all...Is there two of you?"
"Hilarious, Daniel, really," he chuckled.
"I'm being serious!"
"So am I," Vlad said, "I don't expect you to understand anything I do, at least not for another few decades; not everyone's motives are black and white like you seem to think."
"What d'you..." I frowned, "You're try'na confuse me."
"...I don't believe you," I said.
"Yes, you do."
"Don't tell me what I..."
"Believe whatever you want but the truth is that you will be safer here tonight than you be will if you go out there right now," Vlad told me.
"Uh-huh," I said sarcastically but I yawned a second later, and it was becoming really hard to stay awake. I went to rub my eyes but I saw that I was still covered in blood and I breathed heavily when I saw it.
"...Especially if you leave looking like that," Vlad said, looking at my hands. I had to admit that he had a point on that one. "At least go and clean up before you leave," he added.
"...Right..." I nodded. I think I was in some sort of a daze; I'd never been covered in someone else's blood before. So, without even stopping to question him, I floated up through the ceiling, looking for a bathroom.
As it turned out, there were several bathrooms but I didn't stop to look around before I jumped straight into a shower. I knew I could've just phased the blood off, but for some reason, wherever it was my blood and I did that, I always felt sticky and dirty and I always needed to have a shower anyway.
It was really...surreal to see Vlad's blood swirl down the drain; I'd never seen him so weak. Usually I thought he was unbeatable, but now it was clear that he wasn't.
I had no idea how long I stayed in the shower, but when I got it I passed the water off and I half floated, half stumbled through the wall. I saw that I'd come into a bedroom with a very comfy looking bed right in front of me. I wouldn't have even considered the idea of staying here if I wasn't so darn tired; I just couldn't stop yawning and my eyelids felt as heavy as ten tons each. Maybe just staying here for one night wouldn't be so bad. I mean I had helped Vlad, maybe he saw this as paying a debt or something. It didn't really matter right now anyway, I just wanted to sleep.
I collapsed on the bed and once my eyes had closed, I fell asleep instantly...
I sighed deeply as I watched the boy sleep; I was still deeply troubled. I hadn't told him complete lies; after all, the weapon had been made from ectoranium and dulled by base metals. However, what he was better of not knowing, was that the GiW had been targeting him, rather than the entirety of the Ghost Zone. I still wasn't sure who was providing their funding and for some reason they seemed to have some kind of vendetta towards Daniel, and it irked me that I still didn't know why. There was a lot about this business I didn't understand completely.
It may have cost me a serious injury but Daniel was safe now and I had seen that he did care for me...he just didn't understand why. He didn't understand the connection we had as half ghosts and it scared him. I couldn't blame him; I had no idea how to felt to have a connection to someone much older and stronger than I was because I had always been alone with my powers. No one else would understand but he was like a son to me, and even I had a difficult time explaining why. He was the child of the man I hated more than anything, but her was also the son of the woman I loved more than anything; it was a strange concept.
Despite the injury, the night had been a success; I had destroyed dangerous scientific research, I had made Daniel face this connection we had, and I had shown him that I could be trustworthy by letting him spend the night here. No matter how bad things got I could always find a way to tip things in my favour, and I always would.