Hi all! This here is the first little Halloween surprise of ours, a little Hocus Pocus au!  Part one has a typical teen rating, for the usual mild cursing and summoning of witches, so here is your warning~! And yes, I KNOW in progress works are not suppose to be tagged as Ectober Week, but this post would have been to long otherwise, so I am simply posting part two an hour from NOW, so it’s still on the same day! Yay, loopholes!  All that aside, enjoy the fic!

Hocus Pocus AU

Ectober Week, day 28th: Urban Legends

“Aw, come on Jazz, it’s Halloween!”  Danny whined as he flopped onto his sister’s small dorm bed, long braid of black hair nearly whacking himself in the face.  “Everyone else is out partying and neither of us drink!  I wanna dress up and go out and DO something!”

“You just want to show off that ridiculous pirate outfit of yours,” she replied, blue-green eyes not even looking up from her notes.

“Hey!”  he exclaimed, pouting at the back of her head.  “That is a historically accurate pirate costume you’re bad mouthing!  I got an A on my final with that!”

“You still have your other final to study for,” Jazz said with a sigh, finally glancing up at him from her desk.  “Just like I have mine.  We don’t have TIME to go out.”

“But Jazz, it’s Halloween!  We always do something on Halloween!”  Danny rolled over and stood up, coming over to lean against the back of her chair.  “Besides, I’m MORE then prepared for my performance final, and you’ve been studying for WEEKS.  One night isn’t going to kill us!  We could use the break…”

Jazz frowned, then sighed.  “I do suppose it would be a shame not to wear the costume you made me…”

Danny whooped, blue eyes bright in triumph as he punched the air.  “YES!”

“Alright alright, we can go out.  But we better be back by midnight, alright?”

Danny nodded in agreement, rushing to pull out the costume in question from her closet.  “Yes yes, of course!  We’ll just go walking around good old historical Savannah.  Oh!  We should go by River Street!  And the candy shop!”

Jazz rolled her eyes, but she couldn’t help but smile.  She stood, pushing him away from her closet and towards the door.  “Go get yourself ready and I’ll meet you later around seven.  Deal?”

“Deal!”

Danny practically skipped from the room and down the hall, pulling his keys from his pocket as he went.  Outside, the sun was just starting to set in a blaze of orange and pink.  Autumn was nearly nonexistent in Georgia, little pumpkin lanterns and streams of toilet paper hanging from naked, bare-branched trees; Danny brushed aside one of the fluttering paper strips, sidestepped a group of tiny trick-or-treaters, and got in his car, starting the engine and driving off down the street.  He practically bounced in his seat as he drove down the street, inhaling the crisp smell of autumn and mildly cold air.  Even though he missed the red and gold leaves of his hometown, autumn was still Danny’s favorite season.  The pumpkin flavors, the spooky decorations, a good reason to hold hands with somebody…

Suddenly, something in the corner of his eye nearly had Danny straying into the opposite lane.

//Speak of the devil…// he thought absently.

Sitting at the bus stop – pumpkin latte in hand, dressed in a black sweater with silver cobwebs, blocky glasses, and jeans that looked like he’d been poured into them – was Vlad Masters, Danny’s RA and TA for drama.  He was in his mid-twenties, having stayed to finish his master’s degree, and was possibly the hottest guy in Savannah, at least in Danny’s eyes.  Shoulder-length, platinum hair pulled up into a half-ponytail, a soft gradient of dark stubble on his strong jaw, and eyes like expensive sapphires… not to mention thick arms, big hands, and no doubt an amazing body under all those layers…

HOOOOOOONK!!

Danny nearly jumped out of his skin.  Vlad’s head flew up, gorgeous eyes wide as the younger student quickly got back into his lane and resumed with the crawl of five o’ clock downtown traffic.  The dark-haired boy turned bright scarlet, wishing he could race off, but was ironically kept in the spotlight; luckily, Vlad just laughed quietly and looked back down at his phone.

Once he was sure Vlad wasn’t looking anymore, Danny ventured a cautious glance back up at the older man… and sighed longingly.

His little blue volvo pulled to a stop at the red light, right next to the bus stop.  His windows were rolled down to enjoy the autumn weather… and because his air conditioner was on the fritz again.  Danny bit his lip, cheeks pink as he tried so hard to get himself to say something, ANYTHING.

His all-time crush was right THERE, he had to say SOMETHING!

“H-hey!”

Vlad’s head popped up again, eyes locking with Danny’s.  The younger boy blushed brighter, but shrugged it off as he smiled.  “You need a ride?  This bus is always pretty slow…”

On the outside, he was smiling welcomingly, the picture of a shy, endearing student.  But on the inside, he was cursing himself out big time.  

//A RIDE?!  Where they would be in close quarters and have to have small talk?!  I suck at small talk!  This man reduces me into nothing but a stuttering mess most days!  What am I THINKING?!//

“I-I mean, it’s no b-big deal or anything…  You live at the Terrace too, so…”

//Oh my god, Danny, shut UP, of course he lives there, he’s your RA!//

Oblivious to the younger boy’s internal dialogue, Vlad snorted, then glanced down the street both ways.  “Well, I guess you’re right about that,” he replied, in that deep, heartstopping baritone of his.  “I’ve been waiting here for ten minutes… you sure it won’t be too much trouble?”

“Not at all!”  Danny quickly said, almost unable to believe that the man was agreeing.  “I’m headed that way myself, so…”

He almost swallowed his tongue as Vlad quickly got into his car, just as the light turned green.  The young student quickly resumed moving his car along with the rest of traffic, quiet for a long moment.

“So um, what are you doing for Halloween, Mr. Masters?”  Danny asked, trying to keep his eyes on the road and not have them constantly straying towards Vlad.

“Danny, Mr. Masters is my father,” Vlad joked.  “You can call me by my first name.”

“R-right, of course…”  Danny stuttered out, cheeks pink.  “So what are you doing for Halloween… Vlad?”

The RA looked through his notes, shuffling paper and trying not to lose any between the seats.  “I’m going to the Pirate House, y’know, that old restaurant?” he said, glancing at Danny.  “People say it’s haunted.  I’ve always had an interest in the paranormal, so for my art history thesis I’m analyzing the various supposedly ‘haunted’ locations in Savannah.”

He nudged Danny playfully.  “Good thing I’m not out on Halloween or things might get spoooooooky~”

Danny smiled shyly at the nudge.  “Oh, that’s right, I forgot you were getting a master’s degree in art history on top of drama…  You’re really smart…”

He frowned slightly in confusion then, glancing over at Vlad.  “But um… Tonight IS Halloween, you know?”

“Wait, really?”

Vlad furrowed his brow, checked his phone, and blinked.  “Huh.”

He shrugged, putting his phone away.  “Well, at least I’m unintentionally dressed for it,” he decided, smiling at Danny.  “You got any plans tonight?”

Danny couldn’t help but giggle a little at how absent minded his RA was.  “Nothing special, but me and my big sister are going to walk around downtown tonight in the costumes I made.  We might stop by some sweet shops, get a bite to eat…  We’re not really party people, but we do love Halloween~”

“I’m the same, honestly.  I learned my lesson in freshman year.”

There were a few seconds of silence, where Vlad seemed to hesitate… then he glanced curiously over at Danny.  “Uh… like, um… I so don’t want to intrude if you and your sister just want to go alone, but would you maybe… have room for one more?”

Immediately, he raised his hands, face open and honest.  “I seriously don’t mean to invite myself, and if you say no I will be the opposite of offended!  But y’know, I don’t really get out that often and there are all those things like ‘be social if you don’t want your brain to rot,’ so I was just wondering–”

“N-no!”  Danny quickly cut in, turning his head to smile widely at Vlad.  “That sounds like a great idea, yeah!  It will be fun!  Walking around in costume and getting ice cream or candy and pumpkin spice this and… ha, you know, j-just being in the spirit!  The more the merrier and all that, y-you know?”

“Awesome!  Thanks a lot!”

He winced a little at his own rambling before focusing back on Vlad.  “You sure you won’t be too busy with the Pirate House or whatever?  I mean, I know how important your thesis is, I don’t want to like, ruin that or anything…”

“Oh, I’ll just go after!” Vlad smiled.  “I’ll just bring my camcorder and keep it in my bag.  Do you think your sister will mind…?”

“Not at all!”  Danny assured, knowing as long as he called her first, she would be fine with it.  “Besides, you can tell us all about these haunted places you’re checking out!  Our parents are sorta into the paranormal too, it kinda rubbed off on us~”

He shrugged, smiling as he turned the car into the Terrace parking lot.  “I guess you could say it just add into our love for Halloween!  We sorta grew up with it.”

“Oh, that’s awesome!” Vlad enthused.  “Your parents raise you on Ghostbusters or TAPS or something?”

Danny snorted.  “Or something.  Our parents were sort of their own form of investigators.  They were both engineers before they retired, now they are sort of, well, paranormal scientists, I guess.”

He pulled into a spot near his dorm, parking.  “Their work is actually backed, since they made a big breakthrough in positive and negative energies…” he flushed a little in embarrassment, shrugging.  “Kind of funny really, considering where me and Jazz are now and our interests.  The apples kind of fell pretty far from the tree, I guess.”

He suddenly blinked, turning wide eyes on Vlad.  “N-not to say that we dislike paranormal stuff!  On the contrary!  We just have… different passions I guess…”

Vlad was staring at him, wide-eyed.  “Wait, your PARENTS are legit paranormal investigators?  Danny, do you think they might be open to talking with me about my thesis?”

The boy blinked, surprised.  “Well, yeah, sure!  They would probably really love that, actually…”

“Cheesecake, dude, that’d be amazing!!  You think I could get their number, maybe later this week or something?!”

//Can I give you my number instead?//

Danny stifled the thoughts down hard, shrugging as he got out of the car.  “Um, yeah, sure.  I’ll talk to them later about it and get back to you, okay?”

“Oh, hold on a sec.”

Danny stopped, turning around, only to have a big, warm hand touch his own.  

He turned bright red so fast he went dizzy; it took his a second to realize Vlad had only touched his wrist for a second, and now was saying something to him.  “–your phone?  The RA number isn’t my personal,” Vlad was explaining.  “Plus it’s only fair I give you my number after all this fudge I’m putting you through, haha.”

“Y-your number?”  Danny stuttered, blinking big blue eyes up at the other for a moment before he shook himself.  “R-right!  Of course, hang on!”

He pulled out his phone and opened it up to the contacts, handing it to Vlad with a blush.  “Just um, enter in your info and I’ll text you my number back, okay?”

Danny couldn’t help but fidget as he watched Vlad enter in his number, almost unable to believe that this was really happening.  They were exchanging numbers!  Vlad was hanging out with him and his sister tonight!  He wanted to meet his parents!

Well, not for THAT reason… but still!

“Do you um, need a ride back out tonight?”  Danny asked as Vlad handed him back his phone.  “I could text you when I’m leaving, and I could um, you know, give you another ride… if you want?”

“Sure, that’d be great!  I’ll pay for gas money if you want–”

“N-no, it’s fine!”  Danny cut in, waving the offer off.  “I just topped off today anyway, I don’t need it so… yeah!”  

He practically bounced on his feet as he headed towards his dorm.  “I should be ready by six!  I’ll text you, okay?”

“Oh, Danny, one last thing!!” Vlad called.

Danny turned, eyes alight.  “Yeah~?”

The older boy paused, blinking, then just pointed at Danny’s shirt.  “Cool shirt, uh… yeah!” he said, giving a little smile, then rubbing his head and heading back towards his own dorm.

Danny blinked, then looked down at his shirt.  It was a pale blue shirt with a vintage pin up style graphic of Wonder Woman on the front, the words ‘fight like a girl’ emblazed below it.  He blushed, shuffling his feet.  “Th-thanks!”  he called back to Vlad before tucking his head and moving quickly to his own dorm.

Inwardly, he was berating himself for not say anything more.  Surely there had been more he could have said?  He could have invited Vlad over for a drink even!

Little did he know, that Vlad was berating himself for similar reasons…

~*~

Bzzz bzzz.

Vlad nearly fell off his bed to grab the phone, checking it.  Unlike the last four times it had buzzed, it was Danny saying he was waiting out front.  The older boy jumped up, grabbed his bag and notes, and trotted over to the door – only to catch a peek of himself in the mirror as he went.

The RA scowled, groaning in distress at the sight of his wrinkled sweater, ruffled hair, and skewed collar.  “Ahhh… oh, screw it…” he muttered.  Hopefully Danny wouldn’t notice.  Or care.  He probably would notice, but he wouldn’t care.  What had he been thinking, inviting himself along with his crush and his big sister?!  Good gouda, he was dumb…!

With no time to berate himself, Vlad settled for fixing his collar and stuffing some of his hair into a black beanie, then he was out the door.

Outside, Danny stood waiting for him dressed in a pair of the tightest black pants Vlad had ever seen, cupping his bottom quite keenly from where the older man could see.  That round butt was hidden from view as Danny turned around to face him, pulling on a green, crushed velvet pirate duster, trimmed in gold.  Underneath that he wore a billowing white linen shirt that was open nearly to his navel.  A green sash was wrapped around his trim waist and he stood almost an inch taller than his usual 5’ 7’’ with the clunky leather boots he wore.  

His hair was pulled back in a loose, messy ponytail with a green ribbon, costume jewelry hanging around his neck and a coin earring hanging from his ear.  He wore a floppy pirate hat with a big green feather, the brim hanging low over those baby blue eyes.

The younger boy smiled at him, rocking on his heels.  “So um… what do you think?  There’s actually more to this costume… I mean, I made actual linen pants and stuff, but they are so uncomfortable, so I just decided to wear my yoga pants with it and stuff and… well…”

He blushed, holding his arms out.  “How do I l-look?”

//Good enough to frickin’ eat– OMIGOSH VLAD KEEP IT IN YOUR PANTS.//

“You look awesome~” Vlad said earnestly, trying to recover.  He coughed into his hand, smiling a little.  “I feel underdressed.”

Danny shook his head, smiling.  “No, you look great!  I love the sweater!”

//And you look so good with that rumpled look…//

The boy quickly turned around to hide his rising blush.  “Are you ready to go?  Jazz is going to ride with us at the library so we can walk over to Leopold’s for food and ice cream.  I mean, if that’s okay with you?”

“Y-Yeah!  Nothing’s better than ice cream in the fall,” Vlad half-joked.

Danny chuckled sheepishly.  “Y-yeah, sorry.  It’s sort of an old tradition?  We always like to try out the new fall flavors and stuff..”

“Works for me.  Hey, Jasmine!”

“Hey, Vlad,” Jazz smirked, giving her little brother a wry look as she approached, dressed in a gorgeously made Greecian costume.  She nudged Danny and crossed her arms.  “So I hear Mr. Hot RA is coming along, eyy~?”

“J-JAZZ!”  Danny nearly screeched, face turning red.  “C-cut it out!”

Vlad snorted.  “Seriously, who calls me that?”

“Most of the underclassmen, man.  How’s the thesis coming?”

“Well, if you guys decide to follow me to the Pirate House after a night of pralines, ice cream, and other various junk foods, you can see firsthand.  Why didn’t you tell me your parents did paranormal research?”

“You didn’t ask, you gay tease.”

Vlad laughed aloud at that.  “HA HA HA!”

Danny huffed, growing a little jealous of his sister and RA’s banter, but brushed it off.  The general student body knew that Vlad was gay; still, his sister had met Vlad before he did, so it only made sense that they knew each other a little better.  Plus, Jazz was currently seeing that blonde photographer of hers on the football team.  He had no reason to really be jealous.  

“Come on you chatty cathies, I’m hungry!”

“Alright alright.”

The trio hopped into Danny’s little volvo and drove off, chatting the whole way.  Traffic was horrible on Halloween night, and worse since the main street had been blocked off thanks to the parade.  They had to park several blocks away, so once they’d gotten out, Vlad had shared almost his entire thesis with the pair.  “–And so, that’s why my next stop is the Pirate House!” he said, slamming the door shut; Jazz fished in her purse for quarters and walked over to the meter.  “The legend of the black-fire candle can’t be left uninvestigated.  I just have one problem, to be honest.”

“And what’s that?”  Danny asked, pulling his feathered hat out from the back seat and plopping it on his head.  He stowed his keys in a pocket of his coat, turning around to face Vlad.  “I mean, your thesis seems pretty sound!  And mom and dad will be more than happy to help with anything.”

“Well, yes, but there’s a bigger problem,” Vlad shrugged.  “One of the legends is that if a virgin lights a candle on Halloween night, the ghosts of the three buccaneer witches will return to the earth.  The problem is, well…”

Jazz actually snorted as she came back up to the pair.  “Let me guess, you’re no longer a virgin~?”

Vlad laughed off her accusation, commenting about how virgins were hard to find in this day and age unless they were children.  As they continued to talk about the rapid rate and changes regarding certain stigmas in today’s society, Danny’s cheeks just got redder and redder.

Jazz suddenly grinned, glancing over at her shy brother as they walked down Broughton Street.  “You know Vlad, I happen to know a virgin.”

“JAZZ, OH MY GOD!!”

Vlad reacted without thinking, looking at Danny with eager eyes.  “Oh, you are?  Do you think you could – oh, geez, ahhh.”

He cut himself off, tapping himself scoldingly on the forehead.  “Sorry dude, wasn’t thinking, uh…”

Danny shifted on his feet, face flaming red.  He shrugged, his shoulders shaking as they approached the ice cream shop, looking a little uncomfortable, but not angry.  Well, he WAS angry at his sister, but that was besides the point.

“It’s no big deal, don’t worry about it…”  he muttered, getting in line at the counter while still avoiding Vlad’s gaze.  “I can light a candle I guess… if it will really help your thesis…”

Vlad blinked, then frowned… looking a little guilty.

From a distance, a small black kitten stared at them with glowing red eyes.

~*~*~

As Danny expected, the night was pleasant – but now there was a slight degree of tension between him and Vlad.  The older man went out of his way to try and be considerate of him, from the ice cream shop to the ferry, to opening doors for him and Jazz, and Danny knew it was because he felt guilty about making light of him… but he couldn’t help but feel a little cross.  And that weird feeling of being watched wasn’t helping his anxiety.  The moon rose in the dark sky, and about the time that the trick-or-treaters were heading home, Danny, Jazz, and Vlad were heading down Bay Street, towards the Pirate House.

Jazz herself felt a little bad about bringing up the fact that her little brother was a nineteen year old virgin, but she couldn’t take it back now.  She turned to Vlad, hoping to help ease the tense silence.  “So, can you tell us more about these pirate witches?  I mean, why are they haunting the Pirate House of all places?  Surely a little restaurant isn’t that old…”

Vlad shook his head.  “Oh, the restaurant itself isn’t that old.  The underpart of the building, however, is still intact, and has been discovered that it was once a drop spot for pirates.  It could be just a tourist myth, but people say that a long time ago, during the time of the Salem Witch trials, the witch scare wasn’t as bad as it could be, but people still wanted protection.  A trio of women – the G’Nauxe sisters – were in business as pirates, bringing legitimate ‘anti-witchcraft’ charms to and from Africa, things like that.”

He turned, walking backwards as a spooky tone entered his voice.  Danny couldn’t help but smile a little as he saw Vlad’s drama side peek out.  “However, when bizzare and gristly deaths started surrounding anyone who purchased these charms, the people of Savannah turned on the G’Nauxe sisters and hung them!” Vlad oohed and aahed, wiggling his fingers above his head.  “No one knows whether they were witches or not, but their last words proved it to history, at least.  They swore to return from their graves, when a virgin lit their black-fire candle on Halloween night, and they would take vengeance on the entire city!”

“So, pirate witches, huh?”  Danny chuckled, looking up ahead towards the building in question as they grew near.  “Don’t hear that everyday.”

Jazz laughed too, giving Vlad a mock scolding glare.  “Now Mr. Masters, I do expect you to take responsibility for my brother’s virginity~”

Danny whipped his head around, looking horrified.  “J-JAZZ?”

“What?  I meant if you lighting that silly candle actually DOES bring three pirates back from the dead~!”  Jazz chirped, grinning.  “I need to make sure he is prepared to protect us, don’t I?  What did YOU think I was talking about~?”

Danny flushed, then huffed.  “N-nothing, whatever, let’s just do this.”

He stomped away towards the restaurant, making Jazz shake her head and laugh quietly.  “Oh, I shouldn’t tease him so much, but I can’t help it!”

She winked at Vlad.  “He just looks like an angry kitten, hmm~?”

Vlad smiled halfheartedly, raising a brow at Jazz.  “Yeah, sure,” he said, trying to preserve Danny’s dignity by pulling out a canister of grocery store salt and a squirt water bottle.  “Salt and holy water, freshly blessed, just in case.  It’s old-school, but I didn’t have access to much else.”

Jazz smiled and Danny actually looked a little impressed.  “You came pretty prepared…”

He met Vlad’s gaze for a moment before blushing and looking away, rubbing a hand against the back of his neck as he avoided any more conversation for the moment.  The Pirate House was deserted for the festivities, gravel crunching beneath their shoes as they walked across the empty parking lot.  Vlad pulled out a key and unlocked the door.

“They let me borrow a key for a few days, so I could study the place at night while they were closed.  We are allowed to explore and such, but we’re not actually allowed to touch anything.  So, uh, be careful.”

Danny nodded while Jazz voiced her agreement, the two of them walking in behind Vlad and looking around.  They had never really eaten here before, but it was a two story building with a bar, everything made of rich woods and pirate decor.  Vlad flipped on a light switch and lead them to the back of the building.  He pulled up a thick wooden trapdoor from the floor, pulling out a flashlight.  

“They didn’t put any electricity or wiring down here, since they wanted to keep the genuine feel of the place.  It’s going to be dark, so watch your step.”

They cautiously moved down a single curve of iron steps, down into the chill of the bricked in cellar.  Vlad lead the way deeper inside, lighting a few lanterns as he went.  Jazz rubbed at her bare arms, shivering.

“Okay, I admit it, this place is pretty creepy…”

“Yeah…”  Danny agreed, feeling uneasy as they entered the last room.  It was small, with a single wooden table at the center of the room.  On the old, worn table sat a single large, red candle.  It looked like maybe it had once been far larger, as nearly half the table was covered in rivers of red wax, all the way to the floor.  There was a small rope around the table and a plaque next to it, titling it the famous black flame candle.

“Looks like other people have tried this,” Vlad muttered, looking a little disappointed.  

Danny glanced at him, frowning a bit at the expression on his crush’s face.  He drew back his shoulders confidently and smiled a little.  “Hey, maybe they just didn’t have the right virgin!”  he joked halfheartedly with a blush, shrugging.  “We won’t know till we try…”

Vlad sighed.  “Alright, well…”

He popped the tab on the salt, pouring a generous amount in a circle around the podium.  Taking careful steps over it, he took out his camcorder, flicked open the side view, and turned it around so he was looking into the lens.  “This is Vladimir Masters, working on my senior thesis of paranormal activity in the ever-historical city of Savannah, Georgia.  The time is…”

“Ten!” Jazz called out.

“Ten o’ clock at night, October 31st, 2010.  I am here investigating the black flame candle myth of the Pirate House.  Here to either help me prove or debunk is my lovely friend and assistant Daniel Fenton!”

Danny blushed at being called lovely, quickly drawing upon his inner stage diva to get over himself.  Vlad turned the camera to get a shot of Danny.  “Say hello!”

He smiled at the camera and waved, blowing it a kiss.  “Hello~!”

Jazz laughed at his antics and handed him the lighter while he talked.  “Please, call me Danny, your resident virgin for this beautiful Halloween night~” her little brother said to the camera.

He looked past the camera to Vlad, holding up the lighter.  “We ready for this?”

“As we’ll ever be!”

Danny smiled once again at the camera before flicking on the lighter.  A soft orange glow reflected against his round cheek as he slowly lowered the flame to the candle, leaning against the table in order to reach it.  At first nothing happened, and Danny frowned as he had to use the lighter to melt away the years of wax built up on the wick.

But finally, the flame took hold.

WHOOSH!

All three of them took a step back as a tall, black flame erupted before them.  Danny dropped the lighter in shock, the little device clicking closed as it clattered on the stone floor.

“Is… is this some sort of tourist thing?”  Jazz ventured, eyes locked on the candle  “I mean, it’s not… not real of course…  black flames are impossible… right?”

“The color of fire depends on chemical makeup and temperature, so dark COLORS, sure,” Vlad muttered, eyes wide.  “But BLACK?  No…”

“Vlad…  J-Jazz…”  Danny stuttered, that uneasy feeling from before creeping back up on him as a chilly wind whipped around the windowless room, and around Danny in particular.  The freezing wind blew through the salt circle, and outside of it, Jazz felt goosebumps ripple up her spine.  Vlad kept his camera on the flame, wide-eyed in shock, then his eyes flicked to Danny and he grabbed his slender arm.  

“Get behind me…” he whispered, pulling Danny away from the candle.

Danny didn’t need to be told twice and moved towards Vlad, only to freeze once more as the candle’s flame suddenly roared towards the ceiling.  The wind picked up and knocked Jazz off of her feet, causing her to stumble and break the salt line.  Vlad was thrown back a bit as well, his back hitting the wall as he grunted, barely keeping the camera up.  Only Danny remained near the table, the wind beating at both his front and back, keeping him to one spot as he held on to the table in fright.

The wind roared and howled and the three of them were blinded for a moment, covering their eyes.  A chorus of female laughter filled the room as suddenly, all the lights went out…

All but the black flame…

Slowly, Danny lowered his arms and blinked, his hat tossed to the floor and his hair a mess.  He looked around.  “Vlad?  Jazz?”

A strange blue light had him turning his head in the other direction, only for his eyes to widen in shock and fear.  There was a woman dressed in 14th century pirate garb, right there before him, smiling at him, with hair made of blue FIRE.

“Hello there~”

A hand closed around his wrist, causing him to turn his head towards another woman, dressed like a gypsy pirate with coins and skirts and long black hair nearly to her knees.  “Oh, aren’t you precious~”

“Only took a few hundred years for a MALE virgin to light the candle~!”  came another voice on his other side, revealing another, more scantily clad female pirate with shoulder length green hair.  Her lips spread in a wide grin as she put a finger under his chin, looking him over.  “And isn’t he a cute one~!”

Danny felt his breath catch as fear took hold of him.  These women may have been beautiful, but their skin glowed either sickly green or grey, two of them even had red eyes while the other had wicked green.  They wore weapons on their hips and their teeth looked sharp as they smiled at him, TOUCHED him…

Ghosts… witches ghosts… PIRATE ghosts…

“V-V-VLAD!”

A squirt of water came flying over Danny’s shoulder, and while it was almost refreshing on his neck, the ghosts acted like it was boiling oil, scattering to opposite sides of the room.  Vlad dashed forward and snatched Danny, pulling him back to the trapdoor, where Jazz was already waiting up top.  “Let’s get out of here!!” he yelled, practically pushing the younger boy up the ladder.

Danny was dragged out by his sister, head spinning, and he heard the ghosts squeal again as Vlad squirted them once more for good measure.  Then the silver-haired man was up the ladder, and they were sprinting down the street.

“Awww, the virgin got away!” the green haired ghost complained, pouting.  “He was cute too!”

“Quiet, Katherine!” the dark haired ghost snapped, floating over the remains of the salt circle to get a better look at the candle.  “He doesn’t matter.  The candle is lit and we LIVE again!  But only for the night, before the candle burns out…”

“Which means,”  the blue fire headed ghost said, grinning wide.  “That if we want to be here for any longer, we best get started.  Desiree, will the spell still work?”

“If none of our supplies were compromised…”  she replied, looking around the barren room with a frown.  “But this place has been cleaned out, we have to rely on what we managed to bury, and if we can find it.”

“But we didn’t bury everything!”  Kitty whined.  “And there’s no way we can find our bodies before sunrise, they likely burned them!”

“Then you and Ember will have to hunt down that virgin.”

“Huh?”

Desiree looked up from the candle, smiling sinisterly.  “Once we find my spell book, we can use the virgin for a different spell, binding us to this plane of existence.”

Red eyes glowed wickedly.  “Seems that pretty boy is going to be of all sorts of use to us~”

~*~

“GHOSTS!!”  Danny screamed as they ran down Bay Street, causing a few heads to turn to look at them oddly.  “Real live freaking ghosts!  And not just any ghosts, oh no, PIRATE ghosts!  PIRATE WITCH GHOSTS!!”

“It seems that against all odds this myth has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt!!” Vlad was rambling to his camera.  “And right now we might be in mortal danger, so until further information has been gathered this is Vladimir Masters, signing off!”

He snapped the side view closed, stuck the camcorder into his bag, and grabbed Danny’s hand.  “C’mon, we have to get you to a safe place!”

“M-me?!”  he screeched, almost tripping in his bulky boots.  “Why am I in danger?!  All I did was light the candle!”

Jazz fumbled with her cell phone, face pale.  “Is it ritualistic?!”  she asked, looking worried.  “Do they still need him?!  Maybe I should call our parents!”

“I doubt there’s anything they can do from the other side of America, but we can give it a shot!”

~*~*~

“Hey, mom, dad?  We’re in a bit of a situation–”

As Jazz paced around Vlad’s kitchen nook – trying to explain the barely explainable to her parents – the two boys were in his bedroom upstairs.  Danny was perched on the older boy’s bed, glancing around with wide eyes; meanwhile, Vlad clicked his way through various websites.  “No, no… Ugh, there’s nothing that can stop this!” he snapped, shutting his laptop and burying his head in his hands.  “All we can do is wait it out and hope for the best…”

Vlad sighed, lowering his hands with a heavy heart.  “And it’s all my fault… I shouldn’t have dragged you into this…”

Danny glanced over at him, still shaken, but touched by his concern and worry.  “Vlad…”

He stood up and placed a hand on his shoulder, squeezing it gently.  “You couldn’t have known… I’m sure everything will be okay.  Mom and dad might still be able to help us and… and I’m sure, if we just wait it out…”

He bit his lip, looking troubled and little scared, but trying so hard to reassure Vlad.  “Vlad… I don’t blame you for this.  You didn’t know…”

Vlad looked up at the younger boy…

He furrowed his brows and sighed wearily, laying his hand over top of Danny’s and giving it a gentle squeeze.  “But… I did know…” he murmured, guilt laying over him like a smothering blanket.  “I knew the person to light the candle would have to have some kind of connection, if the myth were true… but I don’t know, I just… I thought– No.  I hoped I was wrong…”

Danny frowned, pulling his hand away as he hugged himself, that cold unease filling him once more.  “Do… do you know what KIND of connection?  What do they want from me?  I mean, I already lit the candle!”

“I’m not a WITCH, I don’t know!” Vlad exclaimed, head falling into his hands again.  “It was just a hunch, I don’t know… I don’t know, I don’t know…”

“I do.”

The boys whipped around, startled by a deep, angry sounding voice.  But there was no one else in the room that they could see…

Except for a small, black kitten that sat on the open windowsill.  

Danny inched closer to Vlad, eyes wide.  “Did… did that c-cat just talk?”

Said cat seemed to actually scowl, scarlet eyes boring into them both.  “Yes, the cat did, the cat’s name is Dan, and Dan is VERY angry right now,” snapped Dan the kitten.  “Sit.”

Danny sat down on the bed on reflex.  At that moment, Jazz came rushing up the stairs with the phone pressed to her ear.  “Danny, Mom wants you to tell her exactly what… happened…”

She froze at the sight of Danny and Vlad staring at the kitten in the window.  “Uh…”

Vlad blinked dumbly.

He pointed at the kitten.  “Cat talks.”

Jazz looked at the kitten.  “Um… what?”

“Unless you’re talking to a witch hunter, I advise you get off the phone,” Dan deadpanned.

The girl’s eyes widened, jaw going slack.  “M-mom… I’m gonna just… call you back…”

The cat rolled its eyes at the lot of them, jumping down from the window and into the room.  “You three fools went messing with ghosts, but these aren’t just ghosts, they are WITCHES.  This is different, and out of your field, and you are all STUPID.”

“H-hey!”  Danny cried, indignant, only to recoil a little when those angry kitten eyes turned on him.  

“Don’t sass me, virgin boy, you are in enough hot water.  And that’s just me attempting NOT to claw your eyes out for doing something so IDIOTIC.”

Vlad growled and shifted in front of Danny.  “Before you go threatening us, who the heck are you and what gives you credentials to know more than us?” he snapped, eying the cat up and down judgmentally.  “Oh, I’m sorry.  Credentials other than being a living Halloween decoration, I mean.”

“Watch your tongue, boy,” the kitten hissed.  “I’m the only thing you got that gives you a fighting chance against these wenches.”

“Care to elaborate?”  Jazz asked, trying to defuse the situation.  

Glowing red eyes glanced her, before snorting.  “I was the witch hunter that outed them, back in the day.  Before they were caught and hung, they cursed me to walk the earth on four legs.  I’ve used this cursed existence to watch over their old hideout and make sure they never come back.  And it was easy at first, because the curse wasn’t just for any old virgin, noooo…”

The kitten’s eyes flicked back to Danny.  “It had to be male virgin, in the cusp of his youth.  Those witches had some taste, after all…  And it was fine at first, as no one knew the real parameters of their spell…”

A loud growl that did not fit in a kitten’s body filled the room.  “But then you just had to go light that candle, didn’t you?”

“We didn’t know!”  Danny exclaimed in their defense.  “We thought it was a story!”

“And if you three don’t start listening to me, this ‘story’ is going to take a very unhappy turn.”

“What do you mean by ‘unhappy?’” Vlad demanded.  “Teletubbies-start-crying unhappy or Hiroshima-after-World-War-Two unhappy?”

“I may have lived a long time but I’m still a CAT,” Dan snapped.  “I don’t get either of those references, so let me break it down for you.”

He sat down on his haunches, looking them each in the eye.  “The candle will burn out at dawn.  That’s when the spell’s power runs out and the witches will be no more.  If we could, I would suggest just waiting them out.”

“Then why don’t we do that?!”  Jazz demanded, frustrated.  

“Because there is a way for them to STAY.  To bind their new, powerful ghost forms onto this plane of existence.  It required things from their old home, but that is gone.  It won’t take Desiree long to find her spell book, and when she does, they will come after the second thing they need.”

“And.. and what is that?”  Danny asked, trepidation filling him.  

Red eyes met his. “The virgin who woke them.”

“Okay, first of all, over my dead body,” Vlad growled.  He took Danny’s hand, squeezing it.  “Second of all, enlighten us!  What do they want with him?  Why do they even need him?!”

“A connection was made when he lit their candle, it can be no one else but him now,” Dan explained, scowling.  “They need his energy and life source to power the spell that will bind them here.  Surprisingly, I don’t know if the spell will kill him, but it has the likelihood of turning him into a vegetable.  And even if it didn’t…”

Glowing green eyes glanced at Vlad.  “Those women are pirates.  I don’t think I really need to explain to you what ELSE they will do with a pretty virgin boy like HIM.”

Jazz bristled and Danny whimpered, eyes going a little unfocused as fear gripped him.  The spell was one thing, but he really didn’t want to think about what else the cat was hinting at…

“Of course, there is one other option.”

Vlad rounded on the cat, eyes wide.  “Well, what is it?!” he demanded.  “Talk, Whiskers!”

“It’s Dan.  And I don’t know if you’d be open to it.”

“I’m not letting my brother get assaulted and likely KILLED by a group of freaking pirate ghosts!”  Jazz snapped, hands on her hips as she stomped towards the cat.  “So tell us what we can do to stop this!”

Dan cast a disdainful look at Jazz.  “They can ONLY use a VIRGIN for the ceremony.  As in, someone who’s never done the do.  Yet.  So, DO you get it YET?”

Danny froze, blue eyes flickering down towards the cat.  “You… you mean they can’t use me… if I wasn’t a virgin?”

“Exactly.”

Jazz’s eyes flickered to Vlad before back to her brother.  She shifted on her feet, arms crossed as she thought outloud.  “You don’t have a boyfriend or a girlfriend…”

Danny glanced up at her, seeing the way her eyes flicked to Vlad, and blushed.  “Jazz…”

She glared a bit at him, clearly displeased with his inactivity.  “I’m not going to let them hurt you!  Should I call Kwan?  You know he would–”

“J-Jazz!”

“Enough!” Vlad snapped.

He turned on Jazz.  “You know, Jasmine, I like you, but you’ve been saying inappropriate things about your brother to me all night.  We might be slower to the trigger than you’d like either of us to be, but I don’t appreciate it!  Can you just back off?!  Please?!”

“Considering my brother might be used as the meat of a spell tonight by three freaking ghosts, that last comment wasn’t a joke,” Jazz snapped, eyes zeroing in on Vlad.  “I am dead serious.  You two wanna continue dancing around each other, that’s fine.  But only AFTER this is taken care of.”

Danny put a shaky hand on Vlad’s arm, trying to calm him back down.  “It’s fine, she was just trying to help… Kwan actually would have… you know…”

“Would’ve and could’ve don’t help you here,” Dan deadpanned, standing up and walking towards the stairs.  “Figure out your next move.”

Jazz huffed and turned to follow the cat.  “You two need to finally talk this out.  It’s been almost a year.  The timing isn’t ideal, but I care about you two.  Please, just TALK, if nothing else.  No one will think less of either of you depending on what you may do.  Danny, you have Kwan’s number.”

With that, the door clicked shut.

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