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Ghostly Ambitions

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Danny Fenton was quirkless.

There was no getting around it, no matter how hard he tried. His fourth birthday came and passed with nothing springing from his fingertips. Soon it was his fifth, then sixth, then seventh birthday and still nothing showed. He had spent hours staring up at his ceiling, covered in plastic glow in the dark stars, willing any sort of power to burst from his tiny body. And yet nothing came. No quirk where he could look at a person and know their very weakness like his mom, or be able to store things in his stomach like an extra pocket like his dad. He didn't even have an empathy quirk like Jazz. He had...nothing.

His doctor informed his family about his lifelong disability with finality around his fifth birthday. Danny had been so excited for the doctor to tell them he'd eventually get a quirk that he made his mom dress him in his NASA outfit. It was really just a shirt that had the space logo but it was small Danny's favorite shit ever. It was his good luck t-shirt.

Maddie Fenton tried to explain to the doctor that it just didn't make sense, her and Jack were both fourth generation quirk users. No one in their extended family was even quirkless. Her son by all rights should have one. He should be strong.

He shouldn't be useless.

Instead the doctor showed them his x-ray and sent them on their way. There was nothing any of them could do. Danny was just broken.

His sister tried not to look at him with pity, but with her empathic quirk running wild she got a full dose of his anger and drowning pain. She knew first hand how much it hurt. She even tried to tell their parents but… well. His parents tried to be supportive but they had little time on their hands to soothe his worries, they were too busy saving other people. Their jobs as hero's taking precedence over their young boy’s emotional issues. They had to save lives, his sister with the amazing quirk could help him.

So he coped. As best as he could in the only way he knew.

“Jazz, I swear to God, I'm just going to school. Stop fussing!” He snapped, his glare focusing on his elder sister. Her hands flitted over him making sure his uniform was perfect, like it mattered in some way. She didn't even flinch at his tone, fully used to the ball of repressed anger and steel her brother became.

“Danny, you and I both know this is more than just a regular school day! High school scouts are going to your school today! This could be your chance to wow them and get into a great high school!” She excitedly explained, finally getting his tie just right. She smiled wide, almost like she could just ignore his almost failing grades and an even more glaring reason why most good high schools wouldn't want him.

He was a liability. One that couldn't protect himself when push came to shove. He'd be lucky if any high school accepted him, let alone a good one.

Instead of telling her that for the fifth time today alone, he shouldered his backpack and shoved past her. He wasn't going to deal with her pitying looks again when he couldn't make it. He had enough to deal with.

The walk to school was uneventful like always. His middle school was small compared to most, rising to only one floor. They tried to make it seem as if the school was a good one, but most people knew it was more of a halfway station to even
worse high schools. His sister was one of the few exemptions, but with her stellar quirk and even more impressive grades almost every high school was vying for her application. She still chose one close and not even the hero course. She never wanted to be a hero like Danny did, she wanted to help people in her own way.

Trudging through the halls, he made his way slowly to his homeroom. He wanted nothing more then to just disappear entirely and not have to deal with any of his classmates, but he knew he had to stick through till the end of middle school. Afterwards maybe he could just get a job as a secretary or desk jockey at Fenton Works. Wouldn't his parents just love that? Their son unable to actually be a hero but still able to work with them.

He was dragged from his self deprecating musings by his homeroom calling for silence. It was the usual fanfare of making sure everyone was there as well as telling everyone what was on the agenda for the day. Which they all knew. It was all anyone could talk about, the high schools around the area all sent representatives to their school to try to recruit some students they felt would work perfect for their schools.

It was a waste of time.

Still he filled out of the class with the rest of his classmates to the gym, all of them buzzing about what school they wanted to go to. He muted them all out, his mind wandering to the video game he wanted to play when he got back home, and hoped this all would end sooner than later.

Slower then he liked, they all were shoved into the only large area in the school now populated by small tables, each one showcasing amazing high schools and what they had to offer to both young heroes and other professions, though the former was way more relevant. He was almost tempted to lean against the wall and ignore everything but with a quick look he saw his teacher there giving him the usual pity filled look.

Squashing down his rage and the urge to set the whole place on fire, he stormed through the carefully aligned tables barely looking at any of them but hoping it looked like he was.

A few tables vyed for his attention, the representatives almost showing their pamphlets into his face, trying to make sure all students saw them. He talked with a few, carefully skirting around his bad grades but the conversation always came to a halt when they joyfully asked about his quirk. When he hesitated one representative immediately assumed he had a “villian” quirk and tried to assure him as best as possible.

“You know there are no such things as bad quirks!” She cheerfully told him, the stack of pamphlets clutched in her blue hands, “it’s all about the user! If you're a bad person you'll use your quirk bad, but if you're good then you'll use it for good!” She was practically shouting about quirks now, and judging from the laughter he was hearing, some of the other students noticed who she was talking to. “ So I'm sure whatever quirk you have is actually really powerful and you should be proud!”

He was about to answer her, when he felt a heavy weight sling across his shoulder pulling him close. If the offending smell was anything to go by he knew all too well who it was.

“I'm sorry miss, but you must be very confused.” Dash spoke up, knowing full well he was ruining whatever chances Danny had with this school if his smile was anything to go by, “Fen-turd here doesn't have a quirk.”

Danny can almost see every thought the woman has telegraphed across her face. She shows surprise, even some disgust at the nickname but it slowly morphs to pity and rejection. She knows she can't sign her school up for a lawsuit waiting to happen. The quirkless are better not seen and not heard.

He’s dragged away from the woman by Dash who easily overpowers him without even having to display his quirk. He's almost pushed into a table that doesn't have a highschool placed on it, as Dash whirls him around and gets in his face, quickly using his superior height against him.

“Listen here, Fenton. Stop trying to get into the good schools. Everyone here knows you're not going anywhere and I don't need my chances blown up before I can even get there.” he hisses, his friends laughing behind them at the stupid quirkless kid.

“I don't even want to be here Dash” he manages to get out with as little bite as physically possible, which is to say still way too much. Dash seems to mull over his words before his body starts moving. Danny watches with boredom of someone watching something they saw a hundred times over as Dash's muscles undulate till the are three times the size they were previously. He crowds Danny's space once more with a grin, his quirk on full display of all the good hero schools, “better to learn your place now, Fen-turd, and just jump off the nearest building.”

With those caring parting words Dash finally leaves, muscles dying down to a still ridiculous amount of muscles, and gives the teen room to breathe.

“Fucking asshole,” he mutters to himself under his breath as he watches some of the more important schools practically run over to Dash. He's a shoe in to being a hero and everyone in the damned school knew it. Even when he was pummeling the resident quirkless kid into the dirt. To them, that's where he belonged.

“You seem to have some interesting friends.” A voice purred from behind him suddenly and entirely unexpectedly. Whirling around with more speed he thought capable, Danny saw one of the representatives for a school leaning against a nearby table.

The man looked plain at first glance, his silver hair tied neatly behind him in a loose ponytail over a suit that most of the others were wearing. Yet he looked like he belonged in it, like it was specifically made for him and everyone else was merely borrowing it. His stormy blue eyes bore holes into Dash's head, with all the emotion Danny wish he could show. Looking him over, it didn't look like he had a quirk, but Danny had learned early on the looks are deceiving.

Slowly the man's eyes moved to Danny, who in turn looked him over. They were cold and calculating, like this man could tear Danny apart and he knew the most painful way to do it. It was decidedly the most uncomfortable look he had ever received.

“He's not my friend.” He finally responded, the anger he always felt for Dash bleeding into his voice without his control. He glared at the well dressed man, hoping to convey how much he hated the idea of merely being associated with Dash.

Instead of being annoyed, he laughed heartily, startling some nearby tables and their occupants. “ No, I suppose he wouldn't be.” He chuckled out, his eyes thawing with interest. He held out a hand for the teen to shake, “I'm Vlad Masters”

He knew who he was. Of course he knew who he was. He was Vlad Masters, a billionaire and someone who had no business dealing with him or his school. Dumbly he took the outstretched hand, shaking it before realizing it was only proper to return the favor.

“ I'm.. I'm Danny Fenton.” he mumbled out, trying to keep it from looking like he was internally freaking out.

He could have sworn he was imagining it, but something like recognition flitted across the man's face.

“What are you doing here?” He blurted out quickly before he could question the look, suddenly remembering that Vlad did not own a School...as far as he was aware.

The billionaire smiled at him, his hand releasing Danny's to wave back at his table. It was filled with information about some company named Dalv, as well as a training program for heroes in training. It was interesting but confusing at the same time.

“But-”

“But why am I at your school?” The man predicted with ease, his toothy grin flashing. “ I've learned that the most underrated assets come from unexpected places.” His calculating gaze waved over his fellow students, “I came here personally to assess such potential, but alas all I've found as bullies and dullards. None of these students seem worthy of my company's time.” He sounded almost bored, as if he was expecting some truly amazing potential to shove itself in his face. And perhaps he was. He was a man who was worth more then his entire town would ever make, if he came down himself he must have been expecting so much more.

“ Sorry to disappoint.”

His gaze returned to Danny, a small smile gracing his face. “ Don't be, I should have known he wouldn't produce anything worthwhile.”

There seemed to be so much Danny should have been getting from that statement. It almost seemed like a personal insult, if not for the fact that Vlads eyes were back on the others. Just as quickly he was leaning back against the table, a sigh escaping his lips. His dimly looked at Danny again before grabbing a pamphlet to begin whatever pitch he was planning to give people.

“Well Daniel, what do you want to be?”, he started off with.

It was a typical question, most of the adults in the room were asking that same question as a gauge for their speil. It was a question Danny had been asked a hundred times over. But Vlad Masters asked him in a way that felt like his entire life depended on it. Like whatever he said would change how the man treated him. So for the first time since he was four years old, Danny answered truthfully.

“I want to be a Hero.”

He prepared for the laughter. The mocking smile, the pitying looks. Hell even for the billionaire the just stop talking to him. Instead he was meant with consideration and a smile that felt like it belonged on a wolf.

“A hero,huh?” With the knowing smile, Danny knew why he saw recognition on his face earlier. Vlad knew who his parents were.

He thought he wanted to be a hero merely because his parents were too. Which couldn't be further from the truth and….oh no, Masters was probably expecting him to have an amazing quirk just like them. That was probably why he was even still talking to him.

God damn him, he was going to ruin whatever chance he had now out of good conscious. Damn him.

“But I don't have a quirk.” He got out, pulling his emotions as far deep inside him as he could make them, trying to come across as bland. It didn't work.

Vlad didn't even raise a brow, he just nodded. “Yes I know.”

He knew. He knew and was still talking to him? Something didn't add up. No one continued talking to him as if afraid it was contagious. As if his disability was his fault.

“You...what” he sputtered dumbly. He could feel his cheeks heating up at how stupid he was acting but it didn't make sense.

The man gave him a new look, one that betrayed a deeper interest. “ Daniel, that buffon from earlier wasn't exactly quiet when he told Miss Marshin. If it's any consolation, I am as well.”

This was too much. Way too much. There was no way he was quirkless. He was.. well he was him! He was too powerful for it not to have gotten out earlier that he was quirkless. Yes there was constant speculation and wonder but there was no way to know because quirk use without a hero license or self defense in public was illegal and he always evaded that question in interviews and oh my God…. Vlad Masters was quirkless.

“Do you know you show almost everything across your face.” Vlad mused, pulling Danny abruptly from his thoughts.

“Why would you tell me!” He almost shouted, fully aware the man just revealed a very important secret. He in turn looked like he merely shared what color the sky was. It was just too much…

“I don't think you'd tell any one… also” Vka dragged out the o at the end as he reached behind him pulling a paper he seemed to have hidden. “ I plan to offer you a ...position.” he pointed to the paper, which Danny quickly noted was unlike the others on the table. It was smaller and only had a number and an address. “ Meet here on Tuesday if you still plan on being a hero.”

Danny was about to protest, when the bell rang, signalling the end of the scouting. Most of the others began packing up their tables and ending their conversations but the billionaire just stood up and walked out, as if nothing on the table mattered to him at all.

And maybe it didn't. He did say he saw little potential in the students here and….

Oh my God.

Danny gripped the tiny piece of paper with renewed energy and shoved it deep into his pants pocket.

Vlad Masters just offered him a job.

That was not how he thought today was going to go.

Chapter Text

After what happened, the entire school day felt too normal. Everyone went about their lives as if Danny didn’t just talk to one of the richest men in the world at his middle school Career Fair. The world seemed to try to find some balance to the insanity of what happened by just making everything...normal. Even Dash didn’t talk to him, too busy talking with everyone else about how many high schools wanted him to go to them. Especially UA, the best hero school in the country. The representative, a very tired looking man with what looked like a scar across his eye and a clock ticking within him, talked with Dash about his quirk for a good while. Despite not saying explicitly he wanted the teen, Dash took it as such. And he was telling anyone within hearing range.

It was maddening.

Dash was nothing more than an asshole with an over inflated ego due to his ‘perfect’ quirk , yet everyone wanted to be around him. Everyone loved Dash while they ignored the poor quirkless idiot.

They hadn’t even noticed Vlad Masters handing him an out to all this nonsense.

No they never paid attention to him unless it was to follow Dash’s example of making his life a living hell.

Danny tried to ignore the tiny piece of paper in his pocket, but it felt like a brand burning itself into his leg, demanding his attention. He knew he was fidgeting more so than usual, but he kept having to stop himself from taking the paper out for all to see. He knew Dash would zero in on it with uncanny precision, and he really didn’t need to lose it before he decided what to do with it.

To either rip it up or go to the address. It was an even split in his mind.

He somehow managed to get out of the school without too much incident, ignoring the calls of Dash and Kwan for him which probably would only end terribly if he decided for even a moment to stay. His shoes made little sound as he slowly made his way home, the walk taking about ten minutes. He didn’t particularly hurry home, his mind too busy processing what happened earlier to care.

He almost didn’t notice the crowd forming because of it. The only thing calling his attention to it was the sound of absolute destruction from the tv screens everyone was crowding around. Stopping by the edges of the crowd he could just barely make out the voice of the solemn newscaster trying to explain the situation with increasing dispare.

“-troying everything within the the two blocks of the fight, the villain doesn’t seem to be letting up any time soon. Several Pro Heros have shown up to the scene, including Miss Fortune and Gourgen, the Pro Hero couple. They seem to be handling the villain well but no one can seem to figure out the new villain's quir-” The feed cuts out briefly as Danny’s parents are thrown across the street and the reporter ducks at the debri flying towards her. The feed is back just as quickly, this time the image sending a cold tendril of fear through Danny. The villain was standing above them looking as if they were insects stuck on his shoe.

He was a blue skinned human looking creature, his eyes a bright glowing red of malice and victory. He stared down at Danny’s parents, a triumphant smirk showing through his sharp fanged teeth. His blood red eyes switched from their down forms to the stunned camera crew and all the people viewing though it. The smile only got wider as he floated towards them with purpose, his white cape barely stained fluttering behind him like they all saw so many hero capes do before.

Danny watched in stunned silence as the villain ran a hand over his dark hair, pointed to look so similar to those old images of demons. He looked so relaxed as he took in the destruction around him with little care. None of this meant anything to him, this was a normal day to the monster.

His gloved hands folded neatly behind him as he turned to once again look directly into the camera lens, Danny’s fallen parents still clear from where he stood. He seemed to have purposefully set it this way, wanting the world to see what he was capable of.

He could feel the rage welling up in him as he pushed his way to the front, ignoring the cries from the others. Those were his parents there, they could deal for five seconds. Finally after staring down the camera, the blue Man spoke, his voice deep and threatening.

“Hello, Amityville.” He calmly began, ignoring the camera man's shaking. “I have to say when I came here I expected so much better. But I should have known he wouldn't produce anything worthwhile.” The man gave a deep chuckle as if he shared a small joke and not crushed Maddie and Jack Fenton into the ground.

“Now, the duo,” he said the word with such disgust, as if they personally offended him by using it, “ are just fine. Wouldn't want to do too much lasting damage on my debut.” The man looked behind him, the terrifying grin never leaving his face. His words brought a small sliver of relief careening through the teen but it disappeared just as quickly.“ And what a debut this has been. Next time send competent heroes after me, this was just embarrassing.”

His eyes locked back to the camera, his red gaze seeming to stare down Danny himself, challenging the boy through the feed.

“My name is Plasmius, Amityville. And this is only the beginning.” If possible his sharp toothy grin grew wider as his hands lit with a reddish glow. The camera dropped as the person manning it ran away, his feet barely visible from the now tilted screen cracked from the fall to the ground. Then there was a flash of red and all they could see was the feet of the camera man as he laid prone.

There was several seconds of silence as everyone tried to process what just happened. Then the feed cut with a loud buzz, a replacement image saying they were experiencing technical difficulties.

Then they began again.

Danny could hear the people around him wonder why no other hero came to save Miss Fortune or Gourgen. Or why hadn't they been enough. Or where were they because the reporter never got to that part. Or….

Danny ignored it all. He could feel his feet pounding the pavement, his surroundings blurring as he rushed home. He didn't know how long it took but it felt like it had taken forever and yet no time at all. He yanked his front door open, not even wincing at the loud bang that reverberated through the house as it hit the wall. He skidded to the living room, wide eyes taking in the TV being off and his sister nowhere to be found.

Oh god, she probably didn't know.

He rushed upstairs, pushing his sister's door open with more force than necessary. She jumped from her desk, startled at the sudden intrusion. He could see her about to scold him till she took in his face. He watched her own turn to worry and fear.

“Danny?” She whispered, a silent question in the word. He knew she was taking in his emotions. She knew what ever was happening felt like it ripped his heart apart. She knew he wanted to just curl up and pretend it was all a dream, she just didn't know why.

“We have… We have to go, Jazz…” he got out, suddenly realizing how out of breath he was. His lungs tried to make up for it, but he could barely get any air in. It felt like it was fighting him. It felt like the room was closing in on him. It was terrifying. It was…

His mind flashed the image of Plasmius standing over his parents.

He felt two hands grip his shoulder, trying to ground him as his breathing refused to mellow out. He gripped them back with all of his might, latching on to what little he had in the moment. He could hear her gentle coaxing trying to get him to tell her why he was freaking out on her. He could hear the twinge of desperation in her voice.

“It's...mom and dad... villain… they're… they're…”

He couldn't get the words out but she seemed to understand. She grabbed his hand and yanked him out of her room, rushing down the stairs to grab her set of keys.

“Where?” Was all she asked of him. But it was also one of the few things he couldn't give her. He had no idea where. There were several hospitals in Amityville that the Fenton parents could've been taken to. He had no idea where the attack even happened! The area was so destroyed on the news it could've been anywhere.

“I don't, I don't know. I don't know.”he repeated to her, racking his brain for some information.

She merely nodded, grabbing her phone out. With a few taps on it, she shoved him into her car and took off. He ignored the way she broke several traffic laws, his own feet wanting to just run and get to them as soon as possible.

He just hoped they were okay. They had to be okay. His throat gave a choked sound as he remembered Plasmius standing over his parents with little care. He tried to push it away but if his sister's slight swerving was an indication, he did the opposite.

Not soon enough, they pulled into one of the many hospitals their family has been to. Somewhere in the back of his head Danny realized how close he had been to the attack. The hospital had been a minute run from where he had been.

Danny could see the chaos swirling around it like a hawk as doctors and nurses were running from ambulances to patients to people who desperately wanted to know if their family was safe.

Jazz practically jumped from the car, only last minute remembering to lock it as Danny followed suit. They both rushed the front desk as soon as they got through the door, ignoring a frazzled nurse's pleas for them to slow down.

“We're Maddie and Jack Fenton's kids.” Jazz immediately told the nurse working the desk, ignoring the look of annoyance making its way on his face.

“Sit down over there” he told them after a moment tapping on his computer with a slight wave of his hand, “ someone will come out to tell you how they are soon.” Jazz merely nodded and dragged her brother with her to the indicated seats.

With a gentle nudge from his sister, Danny sat with little grace, slumping in the chair as the day caught up with him. He saw his sister give him a slight look of worry but she zeroed in on the doctor approaching them with the determination of an elder sibling.

She patted Danny on the shoulder before standing up to meet her half way. The Doctor looked up from her chart and smiled slightly at the red head. It didn’t look too much like a bad news smile, so Jazz let herself relax slightly.

“Are you here for the Fentons?” She asked kindly, moving to put the clipboard against her chest. Her eyes wandered to the sagging form of the younger fenton before quickly moving back to Jazz.

“Yes, I’m their daughter.” Jazz just answered, her worry for her parents bleeding into her voice despite her trying her hardest to stay calm for Danny. “ And that’s my younger brother.” She answered the unasked question at the curious look the doctor gave Danny.

“Ah, good.” She moved the chart slightly, looking down before smiling again. “Your parents are stable. Thankfully the attack only knocked them out without causing too much internal damage. A few broken ribs on your Father, mostly due to his support items hidden within his quirk then anything the Villain himself did. Your mother did suffer a concussion, but it was nothing Recovery Girl couldn’t fix. You can see them now if you wish.”

Jazz could physically feel the worry lift from her. Her shoulders sagged in relief as she quickly thanked the doctor and moved to grab her brother again. Danny perked up when she told him they could see their parents, practically jumping up and running after the Doctor before Jazz gripped his arm and slowed him down. She smiled at his half hearted glare, but he did slow down in the end.

She got it, he wanted to see their parents after watching them get defeated as much as she did. Maybe more because he did witness it while she was too busy doing her homework. His panic had been enough to set her own off, but they were fine now. The doctor said they were stable, so they were more than likely awake waiting to see them. They could be polite to the hospital staff and patients by just walking to them.

The second the doctor stopped by a door and gestured, walking was no longer an option to Danny as he dashed through almost knocking the doctor over. Jazz didn’t even bother stopping him this time as she slowly followed after him,wanting just as desperately to see them.

It hurt Danny everytime he saw them like this, with wires and bandages wrapped around their bodies like a cocoon. Every single time he knew there was a chance that if one thing went differently one or both his parents could’ve died. Every single time he was faced with their mortality and how utterly useless he was in the long run.

He crashed into his mom first, wrapping his arms around her slim frame and just holding tight. He could hear her soft chuckles and reassurances they were fine but he knew the truth. That villain had gone easy on them.

When he closed his eyes he could still see the hate in Plasmius’s. He could still hear his voice gloating over his parents.

He could still see the power he had.

Jazz must have hugged their dad because Danny heard him comfort her as well with his loud boisterous voice. Both of his parents safe and sound brought him comfort but also reminded him he couldn’t help them when things go wrong. All he had done was watch in terror and it had only been through a tv screen.

He was quirkless and afraid ,and there was nothing he could do about either of those things.

Or could he?

In the safety of his mother’s arm he suddenly remembered the paper Vlad Masters gave him. He told him to go to the address if he still wanted to be a hero. He believed Danny could still be a hero even if he was quirkless. Maybe...just maybe he could help him no longer be afraid too.

Suddenly his dad let out a booming laugh, Jazz smiling back at him too, “ Don’t worry, Kids!” He exclaimed, probably in response to something Jazz said, “ Me and your mom will get him next time! We’re the best!” He beamed at his mom, who smiled back in turn her eyes crinkling in fondness.

She let out a small laugh of her own, “ Right, because we’re the best.”

Danny just hugged his mom tighter. If only they knew they really were the best in his eyes.

Chapter Text

Tuesday came a lot sooner than Danny expected. The days seemed to blur together as his parents almost immediately got back to work, their injuries healed quickly thanks to the work of Recovery Girl.

Danny wanted to stop them from going back to work even for just a little while but he knew more than most that a hero's job was never done. They weren't allowed to have breaks. Jazz seemed to take it in stride, going back to her school work as if the fight never happened in the first place. Hell, his parents didn't even seem fazed.

Then again, none of them saw the cold look in Plasmius's eyes. They didn't see his cold indifference to their lives. They didn't see how much that monster truly wanted to hurt them.

Or maybe they did. Maybe they were just used to it.

Either way, Danny knew what he had to do.

" Hey, Mom, I'm headed out for a bit." He yelled behind him as he shoved his feet into his sneakers. He heard a mumbled acknowledgment from his parent's workspace. He couldn't tell what she actually said but he knew it was consent.

He ignored his sister's looks, her eyes questioning him going out even if her mouth didn't. He never went out. It wasn't like he had friends to hang out with. For as long as his diagnosis came home he'd been friendless and they all knew it.

Regardless of her misgivings, she didn't say a word thankfully sparing Danny of having to explain all of this. Because really, there was no reasonable explanation. He wasn't sure what he was heading into but Vlad Masters was giving him a chance to be more and really what more could he ask for?

'They wouldn't understand,' Danny mused as he walked out of their house-slash-hero agency, a bright sign proclaiming Fenton Works for all to see. 'They had quirks and weren't beat down for just existing. They were heroes or therapists in training. They have a future. I only have Vlad.'

Checkin the paper to make sure he had the address right, Danny began the long trek. Briefly, he considered calling the number as well but figured Vlad Masters knew he wasn't going to give up on this opportunity. He'd have to be an absolute idiot.

It took almost an hour to get to where the paper told him to go, even after he shelled out some money for a train ticket. And when he did find the address he stood outside for an embarrassingly long amount of time staring dazed at the opulent building.

The Vlad Masters had given him his personal address.

Whatever potential he saw in him, Danny was starting to think it was misplaced. There was no way he did anything to deserve a friggen' billionaire giving him his home address. It was almost too much.

"Are you going to stand there all day, Young Daniel?"

Danny wished he could say he didn't let out a small scream.

Turning quickly he saw a grinning Vlad looking at him with amusement all over his face. Danny hadn't heard him move towards him but there he stood in front of his gates with a Cheshire grin. The man looked just as well put together as he did the first time they met except this time the silk tie was replaced with what looked like an old western bolo tie, a small ruby in the middle glinting in the sun.

"I wasn't ... I mean, I didn't mean too..." The teen trailed off, any excuse he could've come up with dying on his tongue just as quickly as he thought them.

"That's quite alright, Little Badger." He placated kindly, " It's a lot to take in, I know." His eyes moved to his home, pride slipping right in next to the amusement. The home in question was almost four stories tall, looking imposing yet inviting. The mansion, because really that's what it was, was wide as well. It looked like three of Danny's homes could fit in it and that was only based on what he could see from the front. It was elegant and extravagant, the gothic architecture complimenting what Danny knew of Vlad's character very well. It almost looked like it was handmade for the man.

"It took a lot of effort to get this house so I tend to flaunt it a bit." The man chuckled to himself as if he told a joke only he understood.

His storm blue eyes turned back to Danny, a smile still on his face. "Well, enough about my stuffy old home, why don't you join me inside so we can talk?" For a second the smile looked almost too sharp, like a shark finally finding its prey before the same kind look of amusement was right back again.

Danny merely nodded and followed Vlad through his gate to his impressive home. The man led the way through a large foyer decorated in green and yellows to a small room off to the side. It looked almost like an office of sorts, a desk placed by the large bay windows overlooking the lush greenery of Vlad's home. It was cozy but also gave off a feeling of power that followed Vlad where ever he went.

Masters gestured towards a chair in front of the dark wood desk for Danny to sit. Following the unspoken order, the teen sat waiting for Vlad Masters to finally tell him what this entire thing was about.

"I think I can help you." Vlad immediately started off with once he was sitting behind his desk hands folded in front of him genially. He smiled at the nervous boy in front of him before continuing. " I see untapped potential in you, Daniel. I see a boy who can be so much more than the quirkless child everyone else sees." He pauses for a moment, seeming to think something over before reaching into his desk to bring out some papers.

"With your permission, I wish to mentor you."

What.

No, He couldn't have just suggested what Danny thought he just did.

“I...what.” Danny eloquently stated, his mind still reeling and trying to come up with a reason for what Vlad Masters just said.

The billionaire in question just chuckled looking over a small packet of papers. " If you accept, you will have to follow the meal plan to a T. As well as the training regimen. Obviously, this will be kept secret, can't have every parent trying to shove their child on me. Now I think we can bring your grades up to a respectful B within our time restraint. I expect you to keep that up otherwise you'll never be accepted. " The man flipped a page, scanning over it quickly. “Well, maybe a C. Really Daniel, an F in English?”

“Are those my school records!?” He couldn't help but try to stand up to see what Vlad Masters was holding but the man continued on as if Danny never said anything.

“So it looks like I will be increasing our study time.”

“ Wait, I haven-”

“ I figure we have 8 months to get you ready. Which will be more than enough time for the new school year.”

“I'm sorry, wha-”

“After you get in, I will continue training you. I’m not sure how the school will try to teach you so it's best we also continue with what you know.”

“School?” Danny finally got in, mind trying to play catch up with all of what he was saying. Masters just smiled indulgently, as if he should have figured this all out himself.

“Yes, UA.”

It almost felt like his brain reset. He sat there silent for almost a minute before everything Vlad said finally hit like a speeding brick.

"You want to help me get into UA?"

"Yes."

"That's impossible," Danny couldn't help but point out, " They don't take quirkless students. Not even in the general education program."

Vlad smile titled slightly downwards before fixing itself. " Yes. I'm well aware." There was a tightness to his voice that said too much.

'He must have tried to get in...' Danny mused.

"Regardless, I have plans to for you" The smile turned sharp again, this time revealing pointed canines that Danny could've sworn were a quirk if he didn't know any better. " All you need to do is to sign here and we can begin changing the world."

It all seemed like too much. Vlad was going to try to get him into the most prestigious high school without a quirk. How was he supposed to get into his parent's alma mater as he was?

He looked back up at the billionaire, he was holding out a different packet of papers. Probably containing all the information on training and food he had mentioned earlier. He had a glint of hope in his stormy blue eyes. It was way too much.

"I'm sorry, sir, but can I have time to think it over? This is all just... It's a big decision..." He finished lamely, his sentence trailing off.

Masters only nodded and handed over the papers. " I completely understand, son. You have my personal number for when you make up your mind."

Danny clutched the papers like a lifeline, "Please just call me Danny, Mr.Masters. My dad's the only one who calls me son."

The man chuckled, a smile gracing his face as he showed Danny the door. " Yes, Yes of course. Wouldn't want to replace your dad, now would we?"

Danny just chuckled nervously himself, the sentence seeming just a bit off. " Thanks again, Mr. Masters."

"Anytime, Little Badger." He called as the teen walked out of his home. "Anytime."

Chapter Text

He only had one choice, didn’t he?

He had to accept Vlad Master’s offer. The man seemed so sure he could get Danny into UA, a school almost notorious for not letting quirkless students in. It was a pipe dream of his to always try to get in, maybe lie and say he had an invisible quirk and just study in general education. But he knew even if that worked his grades would be his downfall.

It was tempting. Vlad even said he’d tutor him. Which would at the very least bring up his grades and make his parents happy…

It was almost too good to be true.

“Something on your mind, sweetie? “

Danny jumped, head swiveling to his mom. She was smiling but her eyes held concern even he could read. In the corner of his eye he could see Jazz staring at him too, her concern much easier to see. God, he wished she’d stop using her quirk on him.

“No, mom. Just thinking about school.” He mumbled reflexively, picking at the now cold meatloaf in front of him.

His mom seemed to buy it, turning back to his father and continuing their previous conversation about their newest support items they made. His dad had built a net gun but their test dummy had exploded on contact somehow. Of course, his dad still wanted to use it whilst his mom was trying to explain how that'd be considered excessive force by the government.

It was the usual inane chatter that filled their dinner table.

He tried to listen like he always did. Tried to figure out if he could help in any way but his mind kept circling back to the man he talked with earlier that day. He just couldn't get him off his mind.

"Hey mom, dad... Do you know Vlad Masters?" He interrupted with no warning, his mouth moving before his brain.

The table grew deathly quiet. His mom chocked on her bite of meatloaf before waving a hand signaling she was fine. She quickly looked away from Danny before his dad jumped up excitedly.

"Of course I know V-man!" He practically yelled, child-like joy filling his face. "We used to go to school together!"

Well, that was news.

"You did?" His mom was still looking away, now fiddling with her fork. He watched Jazz give their mom a curious look, seeming just as confused as Danny.

"Yea! Your mom and I used to go to middle school with him. We all applied to UA together! We were all so sure we'd change the world." He smiled then, a wistful far off look taking over his face. " I was heartbroken that only me and Maddie got in, but he took it even harder. I haven't seen him in almost twenty years now..." His dad trailed off, his mom grabbing his hand to soothe some old wounds.

"I told him he wasn't going to get in." His mom finally inputted, her smile mournfull as she looked at Jack. " But he was insistent he'd get in on determination alone." Finally, she looked at Danny. " You remind me of him sometimes."

Danny couldn't tell if that was a good thing or not.

________________

The rest of dinner had been silent for the most part, everyone in their own thoughts. Danny was glad he gained some new information on his possible new teacher but it felt like he brought up something he shouldn't have. As if Vlad was a part of a past is mom wished she could forget.

Which was going to make this harder to bring up.

His parents went back to their workshop in the basement as soon as they silently cleaned their plates. Jazz and Danny were left with cleaning off the table and washing the dishes like they were every night. Which usually Jazz used to grill Danny. And today was no different.

"Why did you ask about Vlad Masters?" She questioned with no preamble as she dried a plate he handed her.

He just sighed, wiping a wet hand against his forehead in an attempt to keep his raven locks out of his face.

She waited a second before realizing he wasn't going to answer. "Come on, Danny, there's got to be a reason."

He sent her a half-hearted glare in an attempt to get her to stop but he knew his sister better than that. She'd keep prying till she got a satisfying answer.

"There is a reason." He cryptically said, goading her, knowing that that wasn't enough to satisfy her need to know everything in his life.

She just bumped him with her shoulder lightly, knocking the smaller boy off balance for a second. He glared back at her but she continued on drying the dishes as if it never happened. "You know what I meant. "

Of course, he knew. She was looking out for him and based on the unnatural silence that befell their parents after he mentioned Vlad Masters, what happened between them wasn't good. Damn her big sister tendencies.

" He's offered to tutor me," He finally said, giving her a little of the information he was given by the billionaire.

He turned his head to see her reaction and was met with a slack-jawed, wide-eyed version of his usually composed sister. Her blue eyes shone with emotions he couldn't place before she wrapped him in a hug, splashing water everywhere as he had to drop the dish he was cleaning if he didn't want it broken.

"Jazz?" He couldn't help but whisper out as she crushed him between her arms.

"I'm so proud of you, Danny..." She managed to whisper back, her voice creaking with unshed emotions. " I'm so glad someone outside of us realized how smart you really are."

Tentatively he wrapped his arms around Jazz as well, resting his head against her bony shoulder. She was right and he didn't even realize it till that moment. He was overjoyed that Vlad signaled him out from everyone else there. Vlad Masters saw something in Danny he didn't see in anyone else and it made his heart sore. Vlad thought Danny could get into the most prestigious school and didn't doubt it for a second. He earlier reservations about the training were wiped away in a single hug.

"Do you think I should take the offer?" She may not know everything the billionaire wanted to help Danny with, but she was his guide in situations like this. It made his head spin trying to figure out what to do and he knew his sister would help him out along the way, no matter what.

She pulled away, her hands swiping a stray strand of hair out of his face. Her smile was nearly blinding as she gazed at her little brother. " I think it would be the best thing for you." She told him softly, watching his face for any sign he didn't want to do it. All she was met with was a fire in Danny's eyes she thought had gone out long ago.

"So do I." He responded with determination. He was going to be more than some quirkless freak. He was going to be the best hero anyone had ever seen.

Nothing was going to stop him.

"We do need to tell Mom and Dad though."

One thing was going to stop him.

The teen groaned, wiping a hand down his face in exasperation. Based on their reactions to just the man's name -or at least his mom's reactions- this wasn't going to go well at all.

This was his one chance to be better than he was and he just knew something was going to go wrong.

"Come on, kiddo." Jazz motioned after she put her drying rag down. She gently grabbed his hand before pulling him towards the basement door, his parents' workshop.

His mom and dad weren't just the heroes Miss Fortune and Gourgen, they also specialized in making support items, though more often then not they tended to explode. Which was why they were their only clients too. His dad actually was put into the support department when he got to UA until he was transferred into Heroics after he almost won his first-year sports festival. His mom was the one who won that year. They always claimed it's when they fell in love, right on the podium as they were being handed their medals.

"Do we have to tell them now?" Danny couldn't help but whine even though he put up no resistance to his sister's pulling.

"If we wait any longer you're going to lose the courage." She smiled back at him, a knowing glint in her eyes. She knew he had no intention of ever telling them.

Damn sister instincts.

With an air of finality, Jazz loudly knocked on the basement door, waiting for their parents to hear them. It took two more even heavier knocks to finally rouse their parents from their latest invention.

"Jack can you get that," came the muffled melodic call of their mom.

Danny heard an even more muffled response but couldn't make out the words. It must have been about something his dad was tied up in because the door swung open revealing his mom in her blue jumpsuit covered in oil stains and some weird green glowing goo.

"Oh, you're busy!" Danny nervously exclaimed, " We'll come back later!" He moved to turn around and run to his room but Jazz stuck her hand out and turned him back around with more strength than he knew she had. He tried to glare at her but she wasn't even looking at him, her eyes trained on their mom.

"Mom, Danny has some great news!" Jazz grinned at their mom, who just looked confused and dirty.

"What is it, sweetie?"

Now or never. Preferably never, but Jazz was like a bloodhound on a hunt and wouldn't let him go. With a deep sigh trying to calm himself, Danny finally told his mom.

"Someone is offering to tutor me."

His mom's face lit up in joy, her violet eyes shining. She clapped her hands together while her smile grew wider, " That's great news! I'm glad you're finally taking interest in your studies again! Now, who's the lucky kid that gets to teach my son?"

"...vladmasters..." Danny mumbled out, averting his gaze from the beacon of joy that was Maddie Fenton.

"I'm sorry, who?"

The teen just groaned again, before speaking louder, " Vlad Masters! Vlad offered to teach me and get my grades up!"

There was silence again, the same tension-filled silence that had pervaded over their dinner just an hour ago. The same one that made Danny never want to bring up his soon-to-be mentor ever again if he could help it. But Jazz just had to drag him into this.

"Jack, Get up here."

He flinched at the almost monotone way his mom called their dad. This wasn't going well, just like he knew it was going to go. His mom had her no argument face on which just made everything a thousand times worse. He was never going to get into UA and he was never going to see the one person who believed he could be a hero ever again.

He could hear their dad lumbering up the steps his orange jumpsuit the first thing Danny could see before his Dad's face finally came into view. His face was covered with guilt while he was covered in even more glowing green goo then their mom. One large hand rubbed the back of his neck nervously.

"Now, before you say anything, I didn't know it'd react to heat like that." His dad started, trying to explain whatever happened in the basement. His mom just turned to look at him confusion drawn on her face before she sighed.

"That's not why I called you up here, Honey."

"Oh!" His face morphed into one of his characteristic childish grins, the guilt gone now that he knew he wasn't in trouble. " So what's up?"

His mom's eyes trained back on him in an instant, causing his face to now show guilt. " Tell him what you told me."

"Vlad masters offered to tutor me..." He mumbled out, his eyes trained studiously onto the floor.

"That's amazing!" His dad shouted, startling both his mom and him. Jazz just grinned back at their dad, almost as if she knew this was going to happen. Danny glared at her, maybe she did.

"Just think about it, Maddie!" His dad yelled, wrapping a wide arm around their mom and pulling her into a side hug, " My best friend teaching my son! Oh man, we're going have to say thank you to him! I'll go grab your purse!"

"Woah wait, you want to see him right now?!" Danny yelled after his dad as he ran into their living room. Crashing sounds followed before his dad reappeared with his mom's purse clutched within his grasp.

"Of course we're going now! I haven't seen V-man in ages! If he's tutoring you I have to say hi!" His dad was practically vibrating with excitement. His mom just looked on with increasing exasperation before sighing in defeat. His dad won this round with sheer overwhelming joy.

"Come on, come on, let's go!" His dad ushered them all out of the house with the gusto of a dog who realized they're going to the park. Jazz and Danny just robotically followed, shocked at this strange development, their mom trailing a little ways behind them.

Once out of the house Jack Fenton paused, a moment of clarity hitting him.

"Uh does anyone know where he lives?"

Danny ignored both the paper in his pocket with the address and his mom's sigh of relief.

"How about we go this weekend, Jack? We'll find out where he lives during the week, okay?" Their mom placated gently at his dad's sad dejected face. At her words, he perked up again. It almost gave Danny whiplash just watching it.

" But first," She turned to Danny, her eyes boring into his with the determination of a mother on a hunt, " How do you even know Vlad?"

Well, that was a bit difficult to answer. Did he want to tell them that Vlad watched him almost get the shit kicked out of him by his middle school bully? They didn't even know he was bullied. He painstakingly hid the marks Dash left so they wouldn't be even more worried than they already were. Or that Vlad saw something in him that not even his parents wanted to acknowledge.

Better to just lie with a dash of truth then.

"He was at the career fair. We were talking about my grades when I mentioned you guys were my parents. He just offered to tutor me then and there and I told him I'd have to ask you guys first." Lying to them should not be this easy, Danny decided, but the words just rolled off his tongue before he could even think.

This seemed to appease the Fenton Matriarch as she just nodded an headed inside with her husband in tow leaving Jazz and Danny standing in front of their house.

" He was who you went to see today, wasn't he?" Jazz mused aloud disturbing the silence that befell them. Just like her to guess on the first try.

"Yea." He saw no point in lying to Jazz, she was going to figure it all out eventually. " He said he could help me get into UA."

Jazz turned to look at him, stunned into silence before an almost conspiring grin took over her face. " Showing the world the quirkless aren't useless. I approve and will do anything in my power to help."

It was Danny's turn to be stunned into silence, his mouth gaping like a fish out of water. Jazz just shoved his chin up, closing his mouth with a clack. " Don't give me that look, little bro. You've wanted to be a hero since forever. What kind of sister would I be to just shit on your dreams?"

"The kind of sister I grew up with." He couldn't help but snark back.

Jazz knocked into him again with her shoulder, a small smile still on her face. " I mean it, Danny. You can come to me for anything. I'm going to support you on this cause I know they'll throw a conniption when they find out. So we won't tell them till you're in UA and there's nothing they can do about it."

They stood outside a little longer, watching the sky turn from a light blue to the orange and pink swirls of sunset. Both stood silently as they let the words wash over them like a gentle breeze.

"Thank you Jazz.

"Anytime, Danny."

Chapter Text

Danny  

I’m going to take you up on your offer- 7:03

But there are a couple of things you should know- 7:03

My parents want to talk to you about it- 7:04

And they think its only tutoring- 7:04

 

Masters

7:10 -I’m going to assume this is Daniel then.

 

Danny

Right sorry Its me- 7:11

I forgot i never gave you my number in return- 7:11

tho to be fair you never told my you knew my parents- 7:14

 

Masters

7:16 -It’s though, Daniel. Not “tho”.

       And I never told you because I didn’t think it was relevant.

 

Danny

It wouldve made dinner a hella lot less awkward- 7:18

Get used to it- 7:18

Im a teen- 7:18

We dont spell things correctly as a form of rebellion- 7:18

 

Masters

7:20 -Is it also a teen thing to forget punctuation and to send

       multiple texts in the span of a minute?

 

Danny

Yes- 7:20

 

Masters

7:23 -I do apologize about making diner uncomfortable.

        I didn’t realize I was a taboo subject.

Danny

Its fine- 7:25

But seriously my parents want to talk to you- 7:25

And they can only know it’s tutoring- 7:25

Theyd never allow you to mentor me and everything- 7:26

Theyre a little overprotective- 7:26

Also can I save you in my phone as V-Man- 7:29

V-Man

7:34 -He still uses that blasted nickname?

7:36 - I suppose I can lie to your parents if it’s in your best

        Interests. They can come by my home tomorrow at 3.

        Hopefully that will work out for everyone .

 

Danny

Awesome- 7:40

Thank you so much Mr.Masters- 7:40

I promise you wont regret this- 7:40

 

V-Man

7:50 -Please, Daniel, call me Vlad.

____________________

 

The Fenton family arrived at Vlad’s mansion with only a couple of driving laws broken a new record for them. Danny’s dad jumped from the driver side of his suped-up van dressed in what he would call his downtime outfit. It was slightly ripped jean shorts and a bright red Hawaiian shirt. His mom in turn slowly got out of her side of the front seat in a plain white t-shirt and jeans, opting to wear something a little nicer.

 

Jazz tried not to roll her eyes next to Danny in the back seat but couldn't help it when their father started pounding on the button by the gate.

 

"I should've come here alone" She groaned into her hands before trying to get out of the van and pretend she wasn't with them.

 

Danny just smiled weakly before following after her. He knew he told Mr.Mas-Vlad that his parents only knew about the tutoring but he couldn't help but feel something was going to go wrong. Maybe it had to do with the look his mom got any time anyone mentioned Vlad. Maybe it had to do with his dad yelling for V-Man to open up already. Maybe it was because Jazz knew and while he loved his sister she had a tendency to let things slip.

 

Maybe it was all three swirling around in his head, desperate to be in the forefront of his mind.

 

All in all, it wasn't going well.

 

As soon as Danny joined his dad at the front gate they swung open without a word. His mom rose her eyebrow at his dad but trudged forward nonetheless, determination of a mother flowing through her.

 

Just like the front gate, the front door swung open silently but this time Vlad was behind it was a beaming smile on his face.

 

"Madeline! It has been too long." He purred, taking her hand with a small kiss. His mom ripped her hand from his with a nervous laugh.

 

"It has. You look different." Her eyes floated towards his grey hair before going back to his face.  Vlad's smile grew strained for a second before going back to the sunlight incarnate.

 

"Yes, well, time changes people."

 

"V-MAN!"

 

Vlad flinched but didn't have enough time to get out of the way of the giant 300-pound man tackling him into a hug. A grunt was heard before Jack was pushed off roughly by a disgruntled Vlad.

 

"I see time hasn't changed one thing though." He hissed behind his now obviously fake smile.

 

The billionaire straightened himself out before holding the door open for the Fenton family with a flourish. " Let's get down to business, shall we?" He called after them as he led them to a parlor room on the opposite side of what Danny knew to be his office.

 

"Yes, let's." His mother began, "Why do you want to tutor my son?" She punctuated the sentence by laying a hand possessively on Danny's shoulder, who sat between her and Jack. Jazz, the lucky bastard, took an armchair slightly off to the side.

 

Vlad opted to take the couch across from them, leaning forward with his elbows placed on his knees and his hands clasped together. Even sitting the man had a regal air about him that seemed to pale whatever intimidating effect Maddie was trying to have.

 

"To put it succinctly, I see potential in Daniel. He is a bright young man who just isn't applying himself well. I believe, no, I know, with my help the boy could have his choice of any high school he desires." Danny held in the snort that fought it's way up. Vlad knew exactly what school he desired.

 

The grey-haired man waved over a butler who carried a tray of refreshments. He grabbed a grey cup, steaming with what looked like tea. "Drinks?" He questioned the group, smiling like a cat when they all took some but Maddie.  He took a small sip of his own drink before continuing.

 

"I, of course, was planning on talking to you about this, but you seemed to, how you say, jumped the gun." For once Danny's dad was silent, taking in all that his old friend was saying before jumping up with a shout.

 

"That's the best news I've heard all week!" He cheered, Vlad's smile thinning for a moment.

 

"Jack, sit down. We haven't said yes yet." His mom gently coaxed her husband back to the couch much to Danny and Vlad's dismay. Of course, his mom would be the hard one to sway.

 

Danny looked to Jazz for some support but she was too busy rolling her eyes at their parents' antics. His pleading gaze turned to Vlad but he seemed just as lost at how to get Maddie on his side.

 

Perfect.

 

Just perfect.

 

Danny ignored the overwhelming urge to just put his head in his hands and groan. Weren't they scolding him the other day for bad grades? Doesn't she want him to do good in school and all that jazz? So why was she not jumping on this opportunity for him to get some good ol' fashioned tutoring- as far as she was aware anyway?

 

Fortunately, and surprisingly, his dad was being the voice of reason.

 

"But why wouldn't we say yes?" His dad questioned, his head actually tilting to the side like a curious puppy. His mom sighed her eyes going from her husband to the billionaire sitting across from them who seemed to have the very same question on his mind.

 

" Yea, mom." Jazz finally piped up, much to Vlad surprise. "He's offering to teach Danny for free.  None of us have the time to tutor him so this is like a godsend." Jazz quickly flashed a thumbs-up Danny's way when their mom closed her eyes to sigh again. He fought his traitorous body again as a smile began worming its way onto his face with no regard to the mood of the room.

 

His mom finally opened her eyes again, a world-weary look replacing the sharp glint that always seemed to be hovering in her eyes. It was curious how much his mom was fighting this. But if he was honest with himself, he was going to sneak out to do this anyway if she said no. It'd be easier if she said yes, but nothing was going to stop him this time.

 

Dash wasn't going to kick him while he's down anymore. He wasn't going to have to deal pitying looks from his family and neighbors anymore. He wasn't going to sit down anymore and take it. Not this time. Not if he had anything to say about it. Not if he had Vlad on his side.

 

"Fine."

 

It was a simple word but it felt like his mom had just given him the world. It was one simple word that was going to change how the whole world looked at him. It was just 'fine' but to Danny, she might as well have screamed yes.

 

He couldn't help the smile that broke across his face this time. He didn't bother fighting it as he swung his arms around his mother in a hug. Her startled smile was worth it all.

 

"Thank you, thank you, thank you!!" He mumbled into her shirt as she gently patted his head and gave a small weirdly sad chuckle.

 

" I promise he won't disappoint, Madeline," Vlad stated from across the small table. His grin had grown more Cheshire after her forced acceptance. It felt like he meant so much more in that statement but Danny was too elated to unpack all that was in that one sentence.

 

He felt his mom's hand possessively on him once again, " He never disappoints me." She all but growled at him, the sharp glint finally back in her eyes.

 

Vlad just held his hands up placatingly, his smile going impossibly wider. Suddenly it just occurred to Danny that the man's smile never seemed to reach his cold blue eyes. " I never meant to imply anything, my dear." Vlad stood up, handing a previously unseen packet of papers to Danny's mom.

 

Danny recognized it immediately, it was the meal plan and training schedule Vlad had handed him a day ago. This time the word training didn't appear once, instead, it just had set times the two would meet up.

 

" A change in diet can do wonders to a young man's intellect," Vlad supplied as Maddie looked at him in confusion. "I mean to help him in any way physically possible. If he follows the plan to a T, I can promise your boy will have the pick of any high school he wants." Vlad looked at him briefly, both of them knowing exactly what high school he wanted.

 

Maddie just sighed, a strange look of pride and resignation playing across her face. " I'll make sure he does." With that, she stood up, a queue for the rest of the Fentons that it was time to go. Jack followed after her, a grin on his face, leaving Jazz and Dany alone with Vlad for the first time.

 

"Thank you again, Mr, er... Vlad." Danny quietly whispered, careful to not be overheard by his parents. Vlad just smiled in response. It was a smaller one compared to the ones he had been giving Maddie the entire time but it felt more genuine.

 

"The pleasure is all mine, Daniel."

 

_______________

 

He shouldn't have thanked Vlad so quickly.

 

This was hell.

 

Danny lay exhausted against the cold mat Vlad was teaching him on. Everything everywhere felt like it was on fire then beaten with a two-by-four for extra measure.

 

Vlad, that silver-haired bastard, barely looked like he was even out of breath. His jacket was off, but the man only rolled up his sleeves as if this was a minor inconvenience rather then hardcore training that was probably specifically designed to kill Danny.

 

"I.... Hate....You...." The teen managed to get out between gasps for air, glaring when Vlad merely chuckled and threw a cold water bottle by his head.

 

"What happened to the awe and adulation you were heaping at my feet?" Vlad joked as he plopped himself down next to the crumpled body.

 

Danny just glared harder, hoping he'd manifest a quirk that could kill people with looks alone. "That was before all...this" He waved a tired hand to the whole dojo that as located in a deep part of Vlad's manor, causing another laugh to spring from the millionaire. He eventually managed to get his body to cooperate enough to sit up and grab the heaven-sent elixir of life and down it all in one gulp.

 

"Well, all...this" Vlad copied Danny's previous hand motion, " Is for your benefit"

 

"yea, yea."

 

"I'm serious Daniel, It may feel like hell,"- Does the man have a  god damn mind reading quirk?- " but I promise, in a couple of months this will feel like nothing at all." Vlad laid a comforting hand on his shoulder, a light squeeze to show he was on Danny's side even if was trying to kill him by way of ass kicking.

 

"Now come on, Let's try for round two."

 

Loud groaning filled the training area covered slightly by more laughter.

 

_____________________

 

"Danny, I swear to god, if I have to clean one more of your gross sweat-stained shirts, I'm going to scream."

 

"Just get a pair of gloves, you baby."

 

"How about you get off your butt and learn to do laundry!"

 

"How about you stop being annoying and let me do my school work, Jazz!"

 

__________________________

 

" The Villain Plasmius strikes again. This time he seems to have targeted Fenton Works, the office and homestead of the pro heroes he attacked a few months ago, Miss Fortune and Gourgen. Thankfully no one was home and property damage was brought to a minimum when the Time Hero, Clockwork stepped in stopping the destruction. Clockwork, whose quirk is known as 'Time Stop', managed to freeze the villain before he saved the crumbling sign hanging above Fenton Works, saving the 3 civilians who were standing underneath it. Unfortunately, Plasmius managed to escape from the hero and remains at large. People are warned to stay away from Plasmius is seen, he is considered dangerous and deadly."

__________________________

 

His mom was crying.

 

She was practically sobbing as she clung to Danny as if he was just going to disappear the second she let go, which he was honestly contemplating if she didn't soon.

 

"My baby's first A!" She screamed into his ear as his dad proudly hung it up on the fridge like he was 5 years old all over again.

 

"Mom, please, it's not a big deal," He tried to reason with her, but Jazz was grinning in the background and he knew immediately who told them. Glaring at her over his mom's shoulder only increased the shit eating grin.

 

"I don't know, baby bro, it's a huge deal. Maybe we should  go out to celebrate!"

 

He was going to kill Jazz, he decided. By smothering her in his dirty laundry.

____________________________________

 

Danny quickly blocked the hand headed towards his sternum, grabbing the outstretched wrist and throwing his attacker off balance and into the nearby wall.

 

Vlad let out a low whistle of appreciation before jumping back in, trying to pin the smaller boy to the ground quickly. Vlad grabbed Danny's loose shirt and swung him around, going faster than the teen could avoid. Letting go, Dany crumbled into the stone wall face first with a loud crack that resonated through the dojo.

 

Both were still for a second before  Vlad realized his mistake and moved closer to his protege. "Sugar biscuits! Daniel, are you alright?" He questioned gently the teen who was laying against the wall cradling his nose in pain. He gingerly moved the boy's hands away from his nose but was shocked by the overall lack of blood he expected.

 

The last thing he saw before the mat was the mischievous grin on Danny's face before the teen kicked his legs out from underneath him and quickly placed himself on top of his mentors back, effectively pinning him to the ground.

 

"That was dirty." He commented, pleased even with a face full of floor.

 

He could hear the grin in Danny's voice as he quoted him " Nothing's dirty if it helps you win!"

________________________________

 

Danny noticed the muscles he gained, it was hard not to when almost every day hurt trying to get them.

 

His once loose clothes hugged him a bit snugger, his mom commenting on buying him new clothes if he was going to go through such a growth spurt.

 

Running in the morning had gotten easier as well, his once screaming legs now accepting this was the norm and getting with the program. But the best things about the muscles was Vlad not being able to pick him up and throw him as easily anymore due to the much needed extra weight.

 

The two sat next to each other after another rigorous training regimen, though this time Vlad was as equally out of breath as the teen. It was a small point of pride for Danny when he finally made the man sweat.

 

"One more month," Danny noted out of the blue. The entrance exam for UA was coming up and every day made him want to jump for joy and vomit from nervousness all at the same time.

 

"Is it really that soon?" Vlad questioned as he downed the rest of his water bottle. Danny just scoffed mockingly.

 

"As if you didn't know."

 

Vlad just grinned, proving he did indeed know it was a month away if not the very seconds till Danny stepped through the doors. " That does remind me. How are your parents? I hear they were attacked again by this Plasmius fellow."

 

A sigh was followed by a small shrug, "Yea, he cornered them again during one of their patrols. They managed to escape unharmed but he managed to get a couple of civilians in danger. Dad's not taking it well cause one died on the way to the hospital."

 

Vlad just hummed in acknowledgment, letting the matter drop.

 

"And how do you feel about Plasmius?"

 

Or maybe not.

 

"He's killed people, Vlad." Danny deadpanned as if that was enough.

 

Apparently, it wasn't for Vlad, "  That's not a feeling, Little Badger."

 

"Is this another one of your 'you need to think for yourself' lessons? Cause those are getting old." When no answer came besides a raised eyebrow, Danny trudged on, " Fine, I don't like him. He's got some hard-on for my parents and it's starting to piss me off. They're not even in the top 50, yet he's going after them like they're number one or something. "

 

"That is curious."

 

Danny leveled him with a glare and the man just raised his hands to concede and let Danny continue. "He's probably some fruitloop who thinks they wronged him somehow. But it's annoying and I just wish he'd bother some other pros so my parents could have a break once in a while. The stress is getting to them whether they want me to see it or not." He finished with an exasperated sigh, rubbing a hand down his face. "Is that too much to ask?"

 

They were silent for a moment, each in their own thoughts before Vlad spoke up again.

 

"I suppose it is not. Speaking of breaks, while we're on that topic, you have the day off tomorrow. I know it's not on the schedule but you earned it, my boy." He smiled his small genuine smile, the one that made Danny swell with pride.

 

"Thanks, Vlad."

 

"Not a problem, Little Badger, enjoy the day off. Spend some time with your parents. I hear they are over the moon with your grades. You all deserve a much needed break."

 

"Remind me to go back in time and never give Jazz your phone number." Danny groaned to Vlad's amusement.

 

"Then how will I get pictures of your grades on the fridge?"

 

"She is so dead."







                                                      

Chapter Text

Go hang out with your family, Vlad said. It'll be relaxing, Vlad said. You deserve a break, Vlad said.

Well, the universe decided otherwise.

Because it hates him.

With the fiery passion of a mass murderer.

Danny dodged underneath the thrown piece of concrete, his sister yanking him to the side a frenzy. Her blue eyes were wide in fear as their parents met the villain in battle, flashing red rays blasting off everywhere around them. Screams of civilians mingled with the manic laugh.

Plasmius had found them again.

"We have to get out of here!" Jazz hissed, her eyes scanning the now battlefield for any way out. All she could take in was their parents fighting tooth and nail with the bare minimum. They didn't wear their costumes because this was supposed to be their day off! They didn't have support items on them because who expects a madman to attack them in the middle of dinner?

"Oh, come on Jack," Came the gloating tone of the villain, his manic grin wider then one could think possible, " You have to be able to put up more of a fight than that!" Plasmius floated above them, looking both bored and exhilarated at having caught them unawares.

He wasn't trying, Danny realized with startling clarity, he was toying with them. He was going to kill their parents is someone didn't stop him! Jazz yanked on his arm in a death grip, pulling him back when he took a step he didn't even notice forward.

"Danny, what the hell!?" She demanded, her eyes displaying fear even while her voice took an angry tone. " You can't run in there!"

Danny looked from her to their parents, both of them struggling to subdue the threat to both their town and their lives. " Jazz, I have to help! They're going to die if I don't!" He pleaded, his eyes darting to Plasmius who smirked as he fired off another blast of red energy causing their dad to fly backward into a wall with a pained groan. Their mom ran forward, darting between his blasts before ultimately getting hit with one in the side and landing further away from the villain. Both of them got up and ran back in, knowing they were the only line of defense between him, their kids, and the many civilians running in fear.

"Danny," She hissed, her fingers digging into his arm painfully, "You'll die if you go in."

" I've been training for this! I can help!" He tried to pull away, but Jazz just tugged him tighter, pulling him until he was directly in front of her, her eyes blazing in anger.

"You can't!" She screamed, voice cracking with unshed tears. " You can't help! You've only ever practiced with Vlad, this is different!" She looked between the danger then back to her little brother, his eyes wide in fear at her anger. "You won't be able to do anything the heroes can't, Danny. You're... You're just a quirkless kid." Her voice died to a whisper as her eyes lowered to the ground.

The battle seemed miles away. Danny remained silent, staring at his sister in hurt. She said she supported him, she said he could do it! He yanked his arm away in anger and she finally let go. Her arms hung limply to her side, the weight of her words crashing down on her.

"I'm going to be a hero." He spits out at her, venom coating his words like honey. "I thought you believed that too."

He ran forward, leaving his sister to cower behind the broken concrete.

_____________________________

They had moved further down the street, the crumbling buildings leading to them like a demented map. Danny followed the carnage until he could see the red of Plasmius's cape. He moved to run forward again but was yanked to the side again.

The teen whirled around to yell at his sister but came face to face with a metallic chest. His eyes moved up slowly, following the twisted metal of the chest plate to the grinning visage of the man who held his arm in a death grip, sure to leave bruises in a few minutes.

He had a green goatee matching his equally green mohawk, his grin shining from behind a skull painted face. His eyes burned with malice Danny had only ever seen on Plasmius. There was no doubt in Danny's mind that this man was a Villain too, hopefully only here to reap the rewards of carnage and not working with the madman who was still attacking his parents.

"Nice to meet you, boy. " The man began, his voice gravelly and deep, sending a deep tendril of fear through Danny. "You're going to need to come with me." The man pulled him closer, dragging the teen away from the battle and from his goal.

"H-Hey! Let me go!" Danny tried to pull his arm out of the villain's grip, but the hulking man held onto him like he was nothing more than an annoying bug. "Come on!" He yelled, trying to plant his feet in the ground but being dragged regardless. The man was a virtual mountain of muscle and absolutely nothing the teen could do was stopping him.

"Boy, this would be easier if you would come quietly. My employer needs you alive, not unhurt." The man turned looked back at Danny with a wider smile, daring the boy to fight back.

And that was just what he did.

Danny kicked him squarely in the crotch, freeing himself the second the oversized man bent over in an inordinate amount of pain, mouth wide in a silent scream. Even with all that armor, the man seemed to have forgone a cup. Rookie mistake.

Barely looking back in sympathetic pain, Danny turned back to the fight and ran like his life depended on it. He could barely hear the screams over his own pounding heart in his ears and the pounding of his feet on the cracked and ruined pavement.

Hopefully, the chaos of the hero fight would lose his pursuer. He just needed to get away from the man and whoever the hell his employer was.

And once again life proved it's overwhelming hate of him.

He once again saw the red of Plasmius' cape, his laughter filling his head. Another hero had joined his parents in the fight but he was doing just as well as they were, which is to say not at all. Danny watched as the cardboard controlling hero, Amazon, was flung back from the villain with an aimed blast at his heart. His hero costume, which was mostly cardboard with steel around it, was burnt to a crisp. The red-tinged blast burning through the metal and setting fire to his only protection.

His mom ran forward to the monster, having picked up a steel bar from somewhere and swinging it at his head with deadly accuracy. Instead of moving out of the way, the villain looked at her with a smile on his face. Then grinned when the steel bar went right through him.

Danny could see the horrified expression on his mom's face as she realized they wouldn't be able to hit him if he was even actually here in the first place. She jumped back, landing next to his dad. He could see her frantically whispering to him but couldn't hear a word over the roaring flames and still screaming pedestrians trying to save themselves.

What was he going to be able to do, was the sudden thought that crashed into his mind. He ran here thinking he'd be able to help, thinking he could at the very least distract Plasmius while his parents got the jump on him. But now... now he realized he was incredibly out of his depth.

The villain was using some quirk to make hits pass through him, or maybe a projection quirk. His parents had no weapons, no costumes to protect them and now no help if the crumbled form of Amazon was anything to go off on. And he... he was just a quirkless kid that had a grandiose idea of being a hero.

A crushing hand on his shoulder brought him out of his spiraling thoughts with a flash of pain coursing through his arm.

" You're going to pay for that, boy." Came the low growl of the man who attacked him earlier. The teen didn't even bother turning to look at him, he was staring at the grinning Villain in front of him. He was firing more blasts at his parents, playing with them for some reason. He wasn't trying to hurt them, only to distract them it looked like. The only one he hurt was Amazon, who still wasn't moving from where he was blasted before.

But why? Why wasn't he trying to hurt them this time?

Suddenly red eyes locked on him. Plasmius looked from the boy to the giant behind him and his smile grew impossibly wider. A small nod from the villain and Danny felt the hand from his shoulder leave, the man seeming to listen to whatever unspoken command he was just given.

Wait.

Oh, fuck.

The man's employer was Plasmius.

Then the world went dark as a searing white pain exploded on the back of his head, knocking him out completely and leaving him with an overwhelming sense of dread as his last thought.

Chapter Text

"You have his hair, now go."

"Yes, sir." responded what sounded like several voices speaking at once, jarring the muddled, foggy brain of one Danny Fenton.

The first thing Danny had noticed when waking up was the blinding pain radiating from the back of his skull, it felt almost as if his brain as trying to pulse right out of his head. It made his head feel fuzzy and dulled as if his thought were wading through thick sludge before they could get to him. The next two things he noticed was he was tied down to some cold as fuck table and people were talking right next to him, causing his head to pound even further.

All in all, it was a very disconcerting way to wake up.

"You can open your eyes now, Daniel, I know you're awake."

"Barely" came his slurred response, voice thick with lingering drowsiness and pain, but still he opened his eyes to blink into the blue visage of his parent's tormenter, Plasmius.

The man was even more terrifying up close, his white-less red eyes staring into him with undue glee. Danny noticed pointed ears sticking out from his slicked-back hair and with the now evident sharp canines, gave the man a very vampiresque look and feel. The cape didn't help much either.

"What do you want, Dracula?" He mumbled, his head taking this moment to send another flash of pain through him, causing it to come out with a slight wince toward the end.

Plasmius pouted-actually pouted!- at the teen, his eyes surveying his ill-gotten gain. " No need to be that way, my boy. I merely wanted to make you an offer."

Danny's brain flashed to Vlad saying those similar words to him when he offered to train him to be a hero. It was almost funny how different the two men were. One was the kindest man he ever knew, the other was a walking nightmare to all who looked upon him. It was like night and day. Like hero and villain.

The thought brought a chuckle from the more than likely concussed teen, causing Plasmius to squint at him in confusion. " Did I say something to amuse you, Daniel?" He growled dangerously, a warning for the boy who better not be laughing at him. Which in turn made Danny giggle harder.

" I already got an offer, Twilight, " he managed to get out between chuckled breaths, " So stick your's up your sparkly ass." He belatedly realized he should be quaking in fear of the villain in front of him, but the big one did a number on his skull, so fear was right out the window replaced instead with sarcasm and not-so-witty one-liners.

Instead of a death glare and the threat of bodily harm that Danny was expecting, Plasmius just grinned. It was the kind that let you know the bearer knew something you didn't and was all too glad to gloat about it. Danny tried to glare at him for his preemptive gloating but winced when the man swam out of focus.

It was really telling that his concussion was the least of his concerns.

"Yes, I know all about that offer, how you were training to be a "hero" " The villain sneered as if there wasn't a dirtier word or profession. " How adorable."

"But, I digress, Young Fenton. I have my own offer," he gave a small chuckle as if he made a joke Danny was just too stupid to get. " One you really don't have a choice in."

"Not much of an offer, is it then," The teen snarked back, pulling himself slightly off the table only to be stopped by the shackles on his arm and legs.

Plasmius waved a hand dismissively, "Po-tah-to, po-ta-to. It would be much easier if you agreed but," his grin grew sharper and painfully more sinister, "I have no qualms about hurting you."

Danny stared at him wide-eyed, his considerably dulled brain slowly registering the overt threat to his life. Now that was more on level with what he had been expecting from him.

Plasmius just took his silence as acceptance and continued his little speech. " Have you ever heard of forced quirk manifestation? I doubt you have, it's not a pleasant subject to talk about during dinner. It's when the body undergoes a tremendous amount of stress, life-threatening even, and forces itself to give the quirkless person something to protect itself with. It is painful, " He hissed, " and can sometimes kill the person. And when it doesn't, they often wish it did. If they manage to survive though. Oh if they manage, they get what they always wished for. A quirk."

Plasmius let his final word soak into Danny, the very air filled with anticipation as he waited for Danny to finally get what he wanted from the quirkless teen. When the teen's eyes grew impossibly wider, pupils contracting to pinpoints in fear, the man grinned.

Danny thrashed on the table, struggling renewed as he tried his damnedest to get away from the madman in front of him. Instead, his binding held, his head hurt, and the man laughed, the noise lancing through his heart like an icepick. This man was going to kill, and he found it funny! The terror his brain refused to feel earlier surfaced and slammed into his chest with startling clarity shaking him to the very core.

He was going to die!

His last words to his sister were filled with hate, and he was going to die!

He was never going to see his parents again!

He wasted all of Vlad's efforts in teaching him, and he'll never be able to tell him he's sorry!

Oh god, he was going to die, and there was nothing he could do!

Plasmius's hand slammed on the table right near his head, causing him to still in blatant fear. He hadn't even realized he was shaking with repressed sobs until he chocked them back. The villain's eyes bore holes into his, the malicious now losing its previous mirth.

"Oh yes, it's a terrifying concept isn't it?" He hissed at him, baring his teeth in a snarl, "Thinking you're going to die. Being at the mercy of a villain and not knowing if at any point they'll just choose to kill you." His blue visage twisted into a mocking smile, his eyes still a cold deep red. " I should know. You're parent's did the same thing to me."

Danny didn't move. He didn't dare to breathe. Plasmius was so close he could feel the unatural heat the man gave off. He chocked down the urge to defend his parents with soul racking difficulty. Any little thing could set him off, and Danny wasn't about to die, not yet anyway.

Even if he didn't say anything, Plasmius seemed to get what he wanted to. He pushed off the metal table lazily, walking back a few steps before composing himself. The Cheshire grin returned, if not a little strained.

"No, of course, they didn't do it themselves. They're too good to even think of such a thing. No, no, they just let me walk right into Pariahs waiting arms and stood back and did nothing as my torture was broadcasted to every precinct and Hero agency in the country."

Pariah. The name was known far and wide as the worst disaster in quirk history, every child grew up on horror stories spread around playgrounds of the evil Pariah. How he'll get you if you walk alone. How he'll kill you if you're too loud at night. How he'll torture you and send the video to your parents. Or the heroes.

Because he did, and he never got caught. He just vanished after one brutal attack on a high school student never to be seen again.

He was a nightmare come to life, who did whatever he wanted no matter the consequence. No hero was able to stop him. No hero even came close.

Plasmius turned around, leaning bodily on the desk he had placed in the cold, sterile room he held Danny in. " Your parent's knew it was me too. I remember their faces when they visited the hospital. Maddie, oh sweet Maddie, her face was contorted in such rage I thought for a second they tried to fight to get me out. They didn't of course. 'we're just third years' they told me as if I didn't see them saving others with their agencies. 'you shouldn't have interfered with Hero business' they blamed me as if I had meant to walk into that living nightmare. " Plasmius turned to look at the still form of Danny over his shoulder, watching as the teen absorbed everything with growing horror. "They didn't care for their best friend because they were Heros and I was just a quirkless nobody."

"Just like you."

Plasmius was in front of his table again, surveying Danny with almost mournful eyes.

" So I will do to you, what they let happen to me. We will finally see how much they care for their quirkless child. How much they'll actually do when they get the video of you in insurmountable pain. Do you think they'll blame you for trying to interfere in Hero business? I wonder if they'll even notice it's not you at home right now..." The villain trailed off.

"And you will gain a quirk in the process. If you don't die, that is."

"Is that what happened to you after him?" Danny whispered, afraid that if he spoke any louder, the torture would start.

" Yes." He answered while absentmindedly nodding, his eyes gaining a faraway look. " Before I was nothing."

"Just like you, little badger." He whispered again, his eyes meeting Danny's for a sudden clarity ridden moment that caused his chest to feel as if it was breaking.

"Vlad?" Danny whispered, his voice shaking as he tried to keep his heart-rending sobs down.

"Hello, my boy."

Chapter Text


"How could you do this?" Danny questioned, voice emotionless as Vlad moved around the lab quietly. He saw Vlad pause for a moment with his fiddling of a particularly dangerous looking device before he put it down entirely to face his unwilling young charge. Danny stared back at him numbly, the fear replaced with a cold nothingness that threatened to swallow him whole.

He knew somewhere in the back of his head this wasn't good -the little voice sounding suspiciously like Jazz- this meant he was detaching himself from the situation. Separating himself from the bone-aching hurt he knew he should be feeling.

Vlad, Plasmius..... whatever he wanted to be called now, stayed silent a moment longer before turning around again. " I don't expect you to understand, Daniel." He said into the device, not even granting Danny his full attention. " You've never felt the cold burning hatred I've had to endure."

"I trusted you."

The man paused again, turning his head slightly to view the boy out of the corner of his eye. For a moment he looked almost sad before it was wiped away and he turned to his machine again.

"I know."
_______________________________________________________

There was something wrong with Danny.

Jazz knew precisely what was wrong. Everything he was doing was perfect except this one particular thing. This one thing she couldn't even tell her parents was wrong because they'd think she was ridiculous.

Her brother didn't hate her.

After she lost sight of her brother during that terrible battle, she had tried to think of anything she could do to help but came up empty. Wracking her brain did nothing but waste time, and then the fight was over. Plasmius had retreated followed by a giant green haired man. He left Amazon crumbled in a broken pile and her parents panting in exhaustion.

The dust settled, panicked civilians calmed down, and cleanup began. The dead were being accounted for, and the missing were being looked for. Her parents, despite their bone-deep exhaustion, helped the now rescue mission their fight had become.

.That was when everyone finally noticed Danny was missing.

The rescue efforts were put to the side by her parents as they searched for their boy. Her dad was just throwing concrete out of the way in a mad dash while her mom used one of their support tools to search for life in the area. Jazz stood their helplessly, her own emotions of guilt and fear rolling in her stomach as her brain kept supplying her images of her poor baby brother dead, or worse captured by Plasmius when no one was looking.

She had heard her dad shout for help and had run over, hope swelling in her chest on the off chance it was him.

It was terrifying.

Her brother lay under a steel rebar beam, seemingly knocked out by it when it crashed into him during the fight. He was thankfully not crushed by the beam, but the nasty and bloody wound on his head needed looking after immediately.

But he was fine when he woke up in the hospital. No concussion, no broken bone, only a cut on his head turning an ugly shade of greenish-blue.

That honestly should have clued her in on something was wrong. No quirkless kid got hit with a rebar beam and got away with minimal injury. But she was too happy he was alive at the time to care....now, though?

Now, she knew something was wrong.

He acted so normal, was her annoying little brother through and through but his emotions.... they weren't his.

Her quirk was annoying itself sometimes, a weird combination of her parents' quirks where she got a gut feeling what someone else was feeling, and she could never turn it off. She just felt. All the time.

And now it was telling her that her brother was excited. He had been going on a tangent about UA for the past thirty minutes to her as if that fateful day never happened. As if she didn't call him the worse thing she possibly could've called him.

She was hoping maybe he didn't remember it, that the beam jostled his brain more then they thought. But no, he recounted everything that happened that day in perfect clarity. Except for their conversation.

It infuriated her, all she could do is sit there and nod as he went on about the entrance exam that was coming up in a few days. Was he pretending it never happened? No, she'd know, she'd be able to feel his resentment and pain. This was different, and she couldn't tell how but something was wrong with her baby brother, and there was nothing she could do.

She felt helpless.

She felt like a failure.

She felt like something happened to Danny and she needed to know what. Because whoever was sitting in front of her ranting about his future quietly so their parents couldn't hear didn't care about what she said.

There had to be something wrong with him.

Otherwise....otherwise he never trusted her in the first place.
_________________________________

He screamed.

He could hear the skin tearing where Plasmius placed his scalpel, even his screams of pain and cries for him to please, please stop, he'll do anything, just please stop, couldn't mask the sound of the cold steel on his skin.

He squeezed his eyes shut, unable to look at the now normal visage of his mentor, the cold, clinical look he got as he pulled back the skin, ignoring the teenager's pained whimpers.

He just wanted to go home, he just wanted his parents, he just wanted this to end, he just wanted this to end, he just wanted this to end, he just wanted this to en-

Electricity coursed through his body, causing him to seize up, causing a flash of intense pain in his open gaping chest wound, bringing him back to the harsh reality the bastard created.

"Now, Now Daniel. You have to be conscious for this to work. "

He was going to kill him, Danny decided. He was going to painfully and slowly kill him when he gets out of this hell hole.

No, death would be too kind. He'd destroy everything this man ever loved and make him watch. He will rain hellfire down on him, show him he made a mistake ever thinking he could take him in as a protege.

What a mistake it was ever gaining his trust.

"The tears are new, at least, I suppose, you aren't screaming." Plasmius clinically input, any remains of the kind caring man Danny once knew gone without a trace.

Or was he even ever there?

Was everything he ever said a lie to lead up until this moment?

"Was..." Danny weakly coughed, trying to ignore the blood that came up with it, "Was everything... fake? Did... you....never care?"

For a second, barely even a blink of an eye, Vlad was back, and Danny thought he was going to save him, take him away and apologize for ever even thinking of hurting him. Then Plasmius was there again, his cold blue eye staring into Danny's own without a hint of caring.

"Would it be easier if I said no? If you thought this was a spur of the moment decision and not years in the planning?" There was a small metal on metal clink as Plasmius put down his tools. He placed his hand in a steeple in front of him, leaning his elbows on his knees to face the teen. " That I didn't come to that damned career fair with the explicit purpose of meeting you to take you under my wing?" He paused again, looking over his work on the teen's chest, the skin pulled back and pinned like a macabre butterfly. " You could chalk this up to a temporary loss of sanity and that I'll wake up and save you and we'll be fine again. But you can't Daniel. This is real life. And in real life... No one saves you."

He looked to his side, picking up an item that looked suspiciously like a turkey carver. " And it hurts." He continued, pressing a small button on the front bringing the machine to life. "It hurts until you can't hurt anymore." Plasmius brought the carver closer to Danny's chest, resting right above his bottom rib.

"Then why?!" Danny blurted out quickly, his panicked eyes darting from Plasmius and what he could now say with certainty was a bone saw. "Why train me? Why teach me to fight if you were just going to take it all away?"

The buzzing stopped, and Danny mentally gave a sigh of relief.

Until it started again and immediately went into bone.

All Danny could do was scream.

All he could see was white, blinded by the fire that consumed his every nerve.

He was dying, he had to be dying, there was no other way he could go through this and live. Plasmius was killing him, and he didn't care, maybe it would finally end.

It felt like hours till the faint buzzing stopped, and it was removed from his ribs. It must have only been minutes, but it could've been years for all Danny was aware. He knew he was sobbing, he knew his chest felt like an actual fire was in his cavity, he knew he was dead even if he made it out of this alive.

"I got weak." Danny realized Plasmius hissed in his ear, dimly aware the monster was still in front of him. " I let myself believe for those moments you were my son. I lost sight of what I needed to do. What needs to be done. Well, Never again, Daniel. I will not be blinded by love again. It killed me once, I will not let it happen again."

Danny felt him pull back, his pain-addled brain letting him now his eyes were squeezed shut as if that would keep the nightmare at bay. He squeezed them harder when he heard the saw begin again.

"Well, one down, 23 more to go."

_____________________________________________________


"Jasmine?"

Jazz stared up at her brother mentor, his eyes conveying worry as he looked behind her obviously looking for her parents. It made sense, she hadn't seen him since they managed to convince their parents on his tutoring. But she also knew he was the only one who'd understand what was going on.

" I'm sorry for bothering you, Mr.Masters, but it's about Danny." She pleaded silently that he'd get the severity of the situation in so few words. She didn't know how else to go about it. But if anyone knew something was up with Danny, it'd be Mr.Masters.

"Please, call me Vlad, Jasmine." The man opened the door wider allowing entry for the young woman. She nodded her thanks and quietly went in.

He led her to the parlor room where they first met, gesturing to the couch for her to sit on. While she took her's, she watched as he took the one across from her, worry etched into his face.

"What's wrong with young Daniel?" He started right off, getting to the crux of the matter.

But that was the thing. What was wrong with Danny?

"I..." She sighed running a hand through her red hair in frustration. " I don't know!" She finally acquiesced, hands balling at her side. She didn't know what was wrong and it bothered her because something clearly was! "He's just not acting right! I think... Ugh, I don't know!" She threw her hands up in exasperation before covering her face with them.

"So, if I'm getting this correctly, something's wrong but also not?"

She could understand the confusion in his tone. She herself was confused.

"No, I think... something is wrong. But I'm not sure" She mumbled into her hands before removing them to fully talk to him ." He's not mad at me, Mr.Masters... and I don't know if it's because he's hiding it reaaalllyy well, or... he just never trusted my opinion anyway, or he hit his head harder then they said he did, and he just forgot the whole thing! Either way, it's not good. And he won't listen to me, and you're the only other person I know who cares about his wellbeing and will understand all of this." She waved her hands about to emphasize what 'all this' meant.

There was a moment of silence between the two. Jasmine peeked up at him and saw his face drawn in contemplation, obviously taking her words to heart. She breathed a mental sigh of relief. She knew it was the right move to come to him.

"I'll talk to him Jasmine," He finally said, a small smile gracing his face. " But you also have to understand, he went through a traumatic incident. Regardless of he got out with a scratch, he also could have died. And the brain has a peculiar way of protecting itself from trauma."

She nodded, standing up to shake his hand. " Thank you, Mr.Masters, that's all I can ask of you. You've been a tremendous help with, well everything. I know Danny probably doesn't say this, but he trusts you, more then he's ever trusted me. So if anyone can figure out what's wrong with him, it's you."

The billionaire smiled again, gently showing her to the door, " Oh, I'm sure he's mentioned it once before. I think after a rather grueling training and said just a tad bit accusingly." He chuckled lightly at his own joke, before opening his door, "But on a serious note, I think I know what is wrong with Daniel, and I'll be sure to address it with him tomorrow at training. Thank you for stopping by, my dear."

"No, Mr. Masters. Thank you."
___________________________________

He smiled and waved as he watched the girl leave his property before slamming his door shut and turning to the man behind him, a cold gaze gracing the cowtowed form of Danny Fenton.

" I told you to get everything right! She's a thrice-damned empath you imbecile!" Vlad closed his eyes before breathing out and opening them again. The boy looked sufficiently frightened. Good. Next time he will know the cost of such a blasted mistake.

"I-I did what you asked!" The many-voiced response came, albeit a bit shaky. " You said he confided in her about hero training! Everything was perfect!"

"Obviously not. Otherwise, I wouldn't be getting random visits from a teenage girl, now would I, Amorpho?" Vlad titled his head to survey his underling before gesturing his hand in a very clear dismissal. The apparent teen boy scurried from the room to escape the cold wrath that eminated off his boss in waves.

"I work his simpletons" He lamented to himself as he traveled further into his home. Well, at least one part of his plan was working flawlessly.

A quick descent down a flight of stair brought him to a heavy metal door, a keypad set into the wall next to it. Nimbly putting in the code, the door slid open revealing the small lab and a bloody, now sewed up Danny Fenton laying passed out on the metal table Vlad had him restrained on.

Yes. This part was going perfectly.

Snapping a pair of gloves from his drawer on, Vlad moved to the table silently. The boy looked almost peaceful if you ignored the blood gracing his form.

"Wakey Wakey, Daniel," He cooed as he tapped the boy's face, "We got work to do.

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

Vlad couldn't help the growl rolling from his mouth, causing the boy in front of him to whimper at the undisguised rage emanating from his once mentor.

"How many blasted times is someone going to bother me while I'm busy?" He hissed, glaring up his stairs to where his doorbell was being rung. With a sigh, he placed his tools down noticing and cataloging the flinch Daniel gave at his slightest movement. He patted his head on the way out, smiling at when the boy whimpered again.

Things were progressing so nicely with Daniel, he mused as he nimbly climbed the steps and stripped himself of the bloody gloves and splattered apron, so why did every time he got to a wonderous development did someone have to show up to his damned door?!

He straightened himself out, fixing his bolo tie with deft fingers before finally pressing the intercom button to answer the person who pressed the pager button like they had a personal vendetta against it.

"Hello?" He drawled.

"Vlad."

Vlad felt his heart skip a traitorous beat at Maddie's voice, sending him for a moment reeling into the past before his mind caught up with him and the implications of her at his door.

Why is she at his house? Amorpho should have taken care of things after Jasmine's visit. If that useless villain fucked up again, Vlad would make sure he wouldn't survive their next encounter.

"Madeline," He cooed, mind racing. "To what do I owe this pleasure to?"

"Let me in, Vlad. I know what you did."

Butter Biscuits.

He numbly pressed the button that would open the gates as his mind ran a mile a minute, trying to figure out where he went wrong. He could kill her. He could do it so quickly, and no one would notice. Unless she had that oaf with her.

He reached for his quirk, letting only a bit of his power seep through as he readied himself for what would probably only end in one of their deaths.

He quickly whipped his head around when he heard her knocking on his door.

Why would she knock if she knew what he did? If it was him- and it had been once or twice when people thought they could double-cross him- he would have burst the door down and go in guns blazing.

Slowly he reached for the knob, powering up his red blast in a hidden hand as he pulled the door open with a friendly smile and greeted his less-then-welcome guest.

"Madeline," He started before being pushed back by a slightly miffed mother who wanted in that house. He tried to move out of the way as quickly as possible, but she bumped into him in her mad dash, making him lose concentration on his blast and causing it to dissipate with not so much as a single injury.

"I get it," She started, confusing Vlad even further as she paced his foyer, "You were only trying to help, but you can't do that kind of thing without talking to me first! I'm his mother!" She whirled at him, pointing her finger in his face, "I need to know if Danny's going to be in a dangerous situation!"

Vlad was lost. Truly and utterly lost. He realized she was talking about Daniel, but none of what she said just made sense. He expected screaming, yes, but more while trying to kill him. Not...this.

His face must have shown his confusion because she huffed and crossed her arms, "Did you really think lying to me was a good idea, Vlad? I'm a mother, I know my own son."

She found out about Amorpho, and this was her reaction?! The great hero was giving him a lecture like he merely lied about spilling milk, not having her son in his basement.

He said as much, " And you're not angry?"

She glared at him, in what he could only assume was a look that sent Jasmine and Daniel running, " Oh, I am furious." She crossed her arms in front of him before deflating. "How could you think I wouldn't notice? Do you think I'm that stupid?"

"To be honest, I thought I had a couple of more months before you figure it out," Vlad admitted, truly thrown by this out of place reaction. He gave them a couple of months because that's when he was going to send the video. He didn't expect to found out this quickly. He stared at her wide-eyed as she perked up at that, all her mom rage flying back into his tiny body.

" A couple of months?!" She yelled incredulously at Vlad, "He got his letter from UA today, and you thought I wouldn't realize by now?" She held her head in her hand for a moment, before redoubling her glare. "He's the first accepted quirkless student in the gen-ed department, and you thought I wouldn't suspect something?"

"I know he had gotten stronger in the last couple of months. I know it only happened after you started tutoring him. And now this?"

"When were you going to tell me you were training him to be a hero?"

Vlad visibly relaxed, a deep breath passing his lips as he finally caught on to what she was talking about all this time. This was much easier to deal with than what he had thought. " Daniel was insistent on telling you it was only tutoring. He said you would not approve of him trying for UA, even though it is your alma mater."

"Because I don't approve, Vlad!" She threw her hands up, " He's quirkless, and I know he's going to try for the Hero department. It's all he's ever wanted and... and... It's dangerous. I don't want to see my baby getting hurt. Least of all by some villain." She deflated again, all her anger seeming to have run its course, and now she was left with only the thought of her child being hurt.

"I know why you did it." She sighed, " I get it, you wanted to prove a point. You proved it, Masters. My boy is going to get himself killed because of you." Her bright purple eyes looked to him, shining from unshed tears. "I hope you're happy."

As her anger left her, Vlad felt it fill his own soul. He sneered at her, his friendly mask falling to the wayside. "Yes, I suppose I did want to prove something. Your boy is not as weak as you think he is and getting into UA should have shown that to you. But, I suppose, you haven't changed since we were children."

Vlad yanked open his door, gesturing to it with as much politeness as he could muster in such a situation, "I will not be looked down upon in my own home." Maddie walked briskly to the door, obviously annoyed on how this conversation went. As she stepped outside, Vlad called for her again.

"Oh, and Madeline?" She looked over her shoulder to him, her glare not as strong as when she first showed up, " You should be happy your child is doing so well, despite his condition." She could hear his utter disdain for the word dripping from his tone, "You never know when his uselessness will catch up to him." With that, he slammed his door shut, leaning against the closed frame as he waited for the woman to leave his property.

The intercom beeped as the gate closed behind her, her presence gone from his immediate vicinity. For now.

He let out a deep breath he didn't realize he was holding now that he knew she was gone for good.

That could have ended badly, he mused to himself as he went to go back to his latest past time. He paused before he got to the door to his basement, taking in the training room opposite.

She really was just upset he gave her child a fighting chance, huh? He smiled to himself, Oh if she only knew what kind of chance he would have soon.

He reached for a small chocker like device he had placed on a small end table, toying with it as his grin grew wider.

He and Daniel were going to shock the world.

 

 

Chapter Text

Danny winced as he heard Plamsius walk down the steps, every footfall sending a spike of fear through his heart.

He was hoping he'd be distracted longer, just long enough for him to finally get some actual sleep, even for a minute. He didn't know how long he'd been up; he didn't even know how long he'd been in this hell hole.

Maybe days, weeks, months, or something entirely worse.

He had to hope it was just days. The dim lights of the lab and irregular times Plasmius showed up made it hard for him to count the days, or even attempt to. They all blended together in a painful blur.

He couldn't even remember the last time he was feed.

Weakly he lifted his head to look at the approaching figure, knowing by now that not looking made it harder for him to attempt to steal himself from the next torture.

Plasmius grinned at him, causing his heart to race as his eyes grew wider. Grinning was not good. Grinning meant something so much worse was about to happen to him. Grinning meant getting dissected like a frog in science class. Grinning meant his finger being crushed before not so carefully set back in place.

Grinning was Plasmius's way of telling Danny hell had arrived.

"Ah, good! You're awake." He said as if Danny had any chance of falling asleep. "I have a gift for you." He cooed, stepping forward with a small collar like object hanging loosely from his fingers, drawing Danny's eyes like he wanted it to. "If you let me put this on, I promise there will be food for you."

Danny's eyes flew to his face, searching for any sign of a lie. He knew he wouldn't find one. This man was able to trick him for almost a solid year, a simple lie about food would easy to cover up.

Still...

The mere thought of food caused Danny's stomach to clench around the emptiness that filled it. Even if it was a lie, on the off chance it wasn't Danny was sure he'd let Plasmius do anything to him.

He must have seen the reluctant acceptance in Danny's eyes because he smiled wider, stepping closer till he was right next to the table Danny had been strapped to for as long as he could remember.

"Good boy." He cooed again, lifting the bulky collar to strap around the teen's neck. " Now give me a moment to set this thing, and you'll have your food."

Danny wanted to fight back, wanted to scream on the top of his lungs. He wanted to bite at the hand so close to his neck, to headbutt the looming face of his torture as he fiddled with the collar.

But he didn't.

He stayed silent, not moving an inch in fear that his movement would set Plasmius off. He even tilted his head so the villain could attach it better.

"There! Perfectly attached, and no seams just as he promised. Technus really outdid himself this time." The man mused to himself out loud, admiring the piece of equipment now firmly attached to Danny's neck.

Danny felt him gently caress the piece of metal before stepping away with the same grin still plastered on his face.

"Now, I did promise you food. You'll have to give me a moment, my boy, I'm going to have to cook it." He patted the teen gently on his head before heading back up the stairs, leaving Danny alone once again.

Danny squashed down the part of him that went to call out to Vlad and beg him not to leave him, cry out that being alone scared him more then Plasmius.

Because when he was alone, he only had his thoughts.

He thoughts always circled back to his family, wondering if they were even looking for him. If they even cared enough to search for their quirkless child. He hoped they did, but as the days trickled past with him left in Plasmius's care, he began to assume the worst.

They hated him.

They never wanted him to begin with.

They were glad to be rid of the disappointment.

They thought he was dead.

He squeezed his eyes shut, trying to block out the thoughts as they swam through his head. But with no distraction, they stayed at the forefront of his brain, each one vying for his attention and fighting to stay.

He had to hope they were looking for him, that they even knew to look for him. It was his only chance to get out of this place.

It was his only hope for freedom.

Danny relaxed his face, sighing internally as he fought the thoughts to go away so that he can have this moment of rest that didn't require him passing out from pain first. He knew cooking took some time, so Plasmius would be busy for long enough for him to finally sleep.

He felt the thoughts back off, his body relaxing at the first chance of sleep in far too long. He comforted himself with being able to escape into a dreamless sleep, feeling too exhausted for his mind to come up with any reality where he was gone. Just simple rest would be enough for him.

He felt the tendrils of unconsciousness grip at his mind, lulling him to escape the awful reality he had become a part of, and he welcomed it with open arms. He fell into the sweet embrace of nothing with the zeal of a drowning man given air.

His entire body jolted with pain, seizing up as his mind refused to cooperate and just focusing on the pain centered around his neck. He scrambled and clawed at the metal table, trashing around it in hopes he could just get it to stop! He could feel the metal keeping him to the table biting into the skin around his wrist, but it felt like nothing compared to the burning pain on his neck.

As suddenly as it happened, it stopped, leaving a panting Danny to wonder what the hell just happened before his brain caught up with him.

His neck flared, the pulsing of his racing heart causing the skin around the collar to beat in time. Every breath rubbed the raw skin right up against the metal, making him grimace in pain.

He groaned as he let his head slam against the table, the loud clang echoing through the empty lab, as he realized what exactly was going on.

He fucking let Plasmius put a shock collar on him.

Practically helped him put it on with the mere promise of food.

Danny squeezed his eyes shut again, this time fighting the stinging at the back of his eyes. He knew he shouldn't have let Plasmius put the collar on, but he was just so hungry. His stomach clenched again, causing Danny to moan in pain.

He couldn't fight the tears any longer, nor the sobs that raked through his chest as what little hope he had left shattered into a million broken pieces.

He was going to die here.

And no one cared.


 

Vlad grinned as the allotted 15 minutes passed. He checked his feed to the lab, watching as the boy writhed on the table before collapsing in a sobbing mess.

Good, he thought as he stirred the contents of the pan, sleep deprivation was an excellent torture method. It was used by a wide variety of governments on their more difficult subjects. And that was just what Danny was. Difficult.

The boy hadn't even begun to show signs of a budding quirk. No electricity that had pained Vlad when he was coming into his own. No feeling of something shoving its way into your body, like a new organ that you couldn't control. Not even the slightest amount of color change anywhere on the boy.

It was frustrating.

Vlad was following his own torture to a T, and he knew by this point his hair had begun its transformation to the shining grey it was now.

So he was improvising, hoping that this newly added element on top of his misuse of medical knowledge would at least encourage him to save himself.

Unless...

Unless he gave up already.

Vlad paused his cooking, staring at the gleaming granite countertops filled with a variety of different food, mostly for himself. He planned a small portion for the boy, to keep him just on the edge of hunger without succumbing to death.

But if he gave up already, it wasn't going to matter how little he fed him. Vlad growled as the thought. If the boy gave up, it means his body wouldn't try to save itself. He knew when he was being tortured that his friends would save him. He had latched onto that idea like a lifeline, knew he had to see his friends again no matter the consequences.

But if the boy gave up, thought no one was going to save him or care if he was dead, he wouldn't have the same need to change. He would give up living completely.

Vlad glanced at the live feed again, a small tv playing it on his countertop so he could cook while making sure everything went perfect with his life's work. The boy was still sobbing; the cries were wracking his body as the table shifted while each one. He was curled up in on himself as much as one can while strapped to a table.

He was the perfect picture of a teen giving up.

Slowly the cries stopped, and Daniel was left with a blank expression on his face, his eyes taking a glassy look to them as if he had fully accepted he was going to die. It was concerning, to say the least.

He wanted to torture the boy, not cause him to give up life. That would defeat the purpose of this whole experiment.

With a sigh, he added more food to Daniel's portion. Not enough to sate his hunger but hopefully enough to give him hope.

Vlad would have to think of a new way to hurt Daniel. Maybe something to do with his family. Something to show him his loved ones still cared for him.

Otherwise, this was all for naught. All his scheming, all his building of Daniel's trust, all those years wasted.

No, Vlad wasn't going to give up that easily. He would come up with something. He had to.

It was the only way to hurt Jack and Maddie.