Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom or any of these characters.
Butch Hartman does.
The tear tracks on my cheeks went unnoticed by the people of amity. They were too running in fear of me."I used to be their hero" I weakly thought to myself as I felt my arm move, the ecto-energy being used to burn down another building. I tried not to think about whether or not it was someone's home or an office building or that someone could be trapped inside but it was a useless attempt. If I ignored it I would have been more like him then I ever wanted to be.
The people below my feet scrambled like ants at the slightest sign of me using my powers fearful I'll use it on them next. I could hear them screaming. It was so loud, why was it so loud? I felt my body move again, my hand charging with the green ecto-energy, casting my face in a ghastly green light that used to save the very people I was now destroying. I stared into the light willing it to go away, trying to make it go away, the light wavered slightly but then came back stronger as it was then redirected towards the ground, towards the people I desperately wanted to save.
The blast created a decent sized crater in the middle of the street by my high school which now was a giant ruin, catching a few people in the explosive radius. The air cleared in a second around the giant hole making my eyes widen in fear hoping that this was all a dream and this really wasn't happening. Oh god, please tell me this isn't really happening. I'll even take that this is a sick messed up joke then it really be happening. By the crater were the crumpled, broken bodies of Mr. Lancer and Dash. Their faces were matted with crimson. Please this has to be a dream.
I shut my eyes as a wave of disgust and the urge to throw up went through me. I…I just killed someone. My own hands created a blast and…and… No. Not me. Him. He did this. He's the cause. He's the killer. He made me turn on amity. The people who gave their trust to me and now I was ripping that trust away and smashing it never to be replaceable. I betrayed them. People were dead because of him... b-because of me.
I heard a distant laughter in my head as I struggled against the nano-bots flowing through my system and were controlling my every move. He was in my head. He was never letting me go. I would have screamed and yelled and cried and pulled my hair out if I could, but he stopped me.
The tears were now flowing freely, I long stopped trying to repress them. I didn't care if it wasn't manly or dignified. I had my whole life ripped away from me and was now being used to kill. Manly or dignified weren't on my list of priorities.
I closed my eyes tightly as I felt my hand being charged again with my energy that I used to save but was now being used to destroy. I didn't want to see what happened, I knew what was going to happen. If possible, closed my eyes tighter when the blast was let go. I didn't want to know where it landed, the guilt was too much to handle already.
The only problem with closed eyes is you can't see any possible threats coming towards you. Not like I could do anything about it, but it would have been nice to know. So I was shocked when I felt warm arms wrap around me in a hug. It didn't take long for me to figure out who it was when my arms fell limp to my sides and you took into account I was floating a hundred feet in the air. The very person I now hated more than anything in the world had his arms wrapped around me as if to stop me from the very thing he was making me do.
My eyes slowly opened and I glared at him with all my might but when he lifted his head from where it was buried next to my neck he was grinning like he won a prize. He left his hands on my shoulders putting on an act for everyone to see. Making it seem like he was trying to talk me out of what I was doing so he'd be the good guy. So he'd be the hero in the end.
"Are you ready to admit it, little badger?" He questioned as he moved behind me, moving his hands slightly so they were still on my shoulders as if keeping me in place. I tried to ignore him but it's hard when the person you're trying to ignore has complete control over your body and its functions. "You still view yourself as a hero," He continued ignore the way I was pointedly trying to lean away from his head which was placed slightly above my shoulder to talk in my ear. Freakin' creep. "You so irritatingly told me it's not how people see you but what you do. Well, son, look at what you're doing. You are literally killing people for no reason" I could practically hear him smirk as he allowed my mouth to move, finally giving me a chance to talk.
My voice was weak and pitiful, my usual defense of sarcasm falling short as I realized everything that was happening. This was no longer our little games of pranks of his half attempts to kill my dad. Vlad went all out and there was nothing stopping him.
"This is your fault, Vlad" I croaked out, the sound cracking from the sob that was rising in my throat.
"Ah,ah,ah," he chided as if I was a kid, " I believe you're the one with the proverbial smoking gun. People are dead because of you, Daniel. This isn't something you can gloss over with your silly little battle cry or your pathetic, weak friends. You are a murder, self-proclaimed hero of amity. You are now more like me than ever. I could go on, but we don't exactly have the time, oh who am I kidding? We have all the time we need." He floated in front of me , his hands finally leaving my shoulders and goignt o behind his back as he gazed at my town in unhidden disgust.
I didn't even respond, my eyes fixed on a nearby fire. It was green and no water the firemen were using was putting it out.
"But all this could be fixed. I could have you in a sense, exonerated. I could make them all forget. Oh don't give me that look. You know I can do it with no remorse." He snapped at me." They'll rebuild thinking some Ghost you usually protect them from got to them before you could stop it. The dead will be slightly harder to explain being ghosts rarely kill…." He trailed off thinking about what to do , mumbling a little about how they could maybe be explained with a fire. As if it wasn't just human lives I ended. As if they were just pieces of clothing or something. It was sickening.
He quickly snapped out of his musings to finish what seemed to be a prepared and practiced speech. "So they'll fix it and you'll go back to being hunted down by your parents and helped by your friends. If they're still alive that is."
I looked at those impossibly red eyes trying to find out if he was lying or not but all I found for the first time was honesty, pure and simple, but something wasn't right. This wasn't his style.
"What do you want?" I weakly asked, mentally wincing when it cracked with emotion.
He just gave me that irritating smirk, but not before messing with my hair like my dad did. I attempted to glare but it was weak and we both knew it had no power behind it. "My, are you getting wiser? Maybe prolonged exposure to me has done you some good" He kept that insufferable smirk up as he looked down at me.
" The only thing prolonged exposure to you has given me is a headache and trouble."
The smirk wavered slightly but he knew I was reaching to have some fake confidence.
"What I want, Daniel is for you to be my apprentice. You let me train you, be your mentor, help you where I never had help! We could be amazing together. You could be so powerful if you just come with me."
He had to be joking. I searched his eyes again and saw the same unguarded look of honesty He had nothing to hide from me and it scared me. But he had to be joking he wasn't that cruel…right?
My voice was barley a whisper, it was surprising that he heard me over the noise that was happening below us."You had me kill all those people, to get me to be your apprentice?"
He looked unfazed at my question. Most likely he was prepared for it.
"You naïve boy, I have killed more than this to get close to you and I will kill more. They are but insects in the grand scheme of my plans and compared to you. Now I know you were going to act like this so here's a little stipulation. You come with me or I begin killing more people from this backwater little town. Purloining their lives will mean nothing to me and eventually you"
"Pur-what?" I swear for an evil genius that controls every aspect of my life he keeps forgetting I'm a D student.
"Purloin, Daniel" He replied with a quick roll of his red eyes. "To steal. What are they teaching you in that god forsaken school?"
I thought of Mr. Lancer laying down on the cold ground below me. He was most likely trying to save Dash and the few other students that got caught in the blast and he died for it. He tried to do something right even if he paid for it. He actually cared. "Morals."
He sighed shaking his head as if I answered an easy question wrong, "Daniel it's an easy choice, especially when you take your 'morals' into account." He stood in front of me, not even looking at me but at the rubble that used to be Casper high and the rest of the city with utter distain. Really the fact that he had no care for the life of another human being really shouldn't have been a surprised to me but I suppose I always hoped he wasn't as bad as I thought. The lengths he went to get me with him did shock me though. All those people, gone without a second thought.
"This is wrong"
"This is good business, son" He replied after finally turning to me again. He grabbed my limp hand and held it in both of his. I would have pulled away if I could. No, I'd punch him in his pompous face if I could. "Listen to me Daniel. I could help you. I could help you with school, I could help you keep your secret from your mother and Jack. I could make everything easier on you if you just let me"
I had long since tried to tune him out, but tuning him out made it easier for me to hear the cries and the screams and the cackling fire and the sirens of help that wouldn't be able to.
I closed my eyes, shutting Vlad out of sight but not out of mind. I was finding it harder to breathe the more I thought about what I was going to do.
I felt Vlad tense then relax "What's that my boy" He asked sickening sweet acting like he didn't just hear me.
"Alright" I repeated louder, opening my eyes briefly then closing them again so I didn't have to see that look of satisfaction that was playing on his face. "I'll go with you."
He let go of my hand but I still didn't open my eyes to see what he was doing. His hands found my shoulders again then wrapped around me in a hug.
"Of course you will" He whispered.