WoM- I decided to go with this one after all, since I've been brooding about it longer. I Spy will come up after I finish another story. (I think Unmasked is closest to being done, with FCA behind it then Blackbird. I've still got way too many ideas for my Gender Confusions to let them die just yet…) And after that I'll start Duet, I think. Babbling done, I hope you enjoy this story!

Calvin- Uh-oh, here comes Moe, The class bully!

Moe- Okay, Twinky, let's have that ball.

Calvin- Sure, Moe. All yours. (After Moe leaves) Never argue with a six-year-old who shaves.

(Calvin and Hobbes, by Bill Watterson)


Valerie made no sound as she urged her jet sled forward, her eyes fixed solely on her target. The ghost, on the other hand, panted in exhaustion, working to try and stay ahead of her.

His efforts were futile.

'Blam!' The girl smirked under her mask as the ghost went down, ghost-proof restraints around his mouth, upper torso and ankles keeping him from moving. Stopping her jet sled, Valerie jumped down and walked forward, hitting a button on the side of her helmet.

"Valerie to Base," She said in a loud, clear voice, "Ghost 480241 captured. I repeat, the ghost known as Bertrand had been captured." There was a long pause.

"Excellent work, Valerie," A familiar but unexpected voice came back to her, making the girl blush and smile slightly. "Though I suppose I shouldn't expect anything less from my best Paranormal Hunter,"

"Thank you, Mr. Masters," Valerie said warmly, happy at the praise from her guardian.

"We'll send a collection team to pick him up," Vlad Masters continued, "Wait for us until we come there, will you?"

"Yes sir," Valerie answered, "Valerie standing by,"

"So, you're working for HIM, are you?" The ghost, who'd managed to free himself of the mouth restraint, sneered at her, "You're that Dalv Dog that has half the Ghost Zone up in arms?"

"Shut your mouth, ghost," Valerie snapped back, glaring at him, "Another word and you'll be unconscious when the collection team gets here."

"I think I might prefer that," Bertrand muttered darkly. Valerie would've rolled her eyes, but she knew the dangers of taking her sight off of a ghost. In her line of work, that was just begging to be blasted into the next millennia. (and probably further if the ghost was strong enough.)

"What does Mr. Masters want with you, anyways?" Valerie asked, "I mean, you're no where near strong enough to be a threat. An annoyance yeah, but a threat? Not likely."

"Hey!" Bertrand said, sounding insulted. "Just because we're dead doesn't mean you can hurt a ghost's feelings too, you know!" Valerie only snorted disdainfully still not looking away from him.

"Like I even care," She said coldly. Bertrand huffed.

"Then I guess you don't care about the information Your boss wants from me," He said secretively.

"Not if it means degrading myself in front of a ghost like you to get it," Valerie told him bluntly. Out of all the paranormal creatures she hunted, she had the strongest distaste for Ghosts.

After all, it was a ghost that murdered her father when she was just a little kid, leaving her to grow up orphaned and alone at six if it wasn't for the intervention of Valerie's guardian, savior and idol, Vlad Masters of the infamous Vlad Co.

The girl still didn't remember the attack too well, which Mr. Masters attributed to a sence of shock over her loss, her body's way of protecting her from the pain that memory would bring.

But she did, however, remember crying helplessly over her father's broken and bloody body, and if she strained herself, haunting evil red eyes came to mind, glowing at her tauntingly and full of a sadistic glee…

The ghost hunter couldn't prevent the involuntary shudder, which she immediately blamed on the brisk wind.

"So you don't like ghosts, huh?" Bertrand said, with a gleam in his eyes, "Now isn't THAT interesting…"

"I know you and your partner play mind games," Valerie snapped, "And I'm not gonna fall for them. So I'm only gonna say this one more time; Keep your mouth shut!"

That (Combined with the fact that Valerie's fists was glowing as she activated her supersuit's advanced ghost hunting technology) silenced the ghost, so Valerie allowed herself to calm down. She didn't relax, though, she was always tense on the job, especially against ghosts who were notoriously dirty fighters.

Which was proven moments later when all movement stopped, as if frozen in place by an unseen force.

Stiffening, Valerie felt her heart pound in her chest. Anger and suspicion consuming her, she wheeled around to face her captive.

"What did you-?" She broke off when she realized he was just as frozen as everything else.

"He didn't," A voice said softly, making Valerie jump. "I did,"

Turning, Valerie felt her eyes narrow as she faced down this new, (and clearly powerful if he could freeze time) threat. She glanced at her detector, which was silent despite the fact that the creature in front of her was clearly a ghost. He made no effort to hide his sickly pale skin and spectral trail, and he announced his entrance himself so he wasn't trying to sneak up on her…

"Who are you?" Valerie demanded. "Why are you here? Answer me!"

"Forgive me," The ghost said, speaking with an eloquence that reminded the girl of her guardian. "I am Clockwork, the Ghost who is Master of All Time. Rest assured young Valerie I am not here to do you any harm,"

"Oh, yeah?" Valerie snorted. "And why should I believe you, ghost?"

"Because I've nothing to gain from hurting you, and much to lose," Clockwork answered.

"I don't work for ghosts," Valerie said coldly, "Ghosts like you are nothing but trouble, and I don't trust a single one of you!"

"Ah, that's a rather crude generalization, my dear," Clockwork said, unfazed by the ice in the girl's tone, and the heated glare she was now throwing him. "Among the humans there are the cruel and the kind, who's to say ghosts are not the same?"

"Ghosts aren't humans," Valerie reminded him.

"But they were," Clockwork countered with a secretive smile. "This is not the topic I came to discuss with you, though. I am here on a much more specific mission,"

"Oh?" Valerie said, crossing her arms and raising an eyebrow, "And what kind of 'mission' is this?"

"A warning," Clockwork said simply, "I came here to tell you that you will be the one to defeat the ghost known as Danny Phantom, but only at a great personal cost. You will lose something you need badly right now, even though you do not acknowledge it yourself."

"What are you talking about?" Valerie asked, "Who's Danny Phantom?"

"The ghost your guardian looks so desperately for," Clockwork answered, "The one he'd give all his fortunes to possess," Valerie's eyes widened. This Danny Phantom was the character who Mr. Masters was running around in circles trying to get? And she'd be the one to catch him?

"News flash, ghost," Valerie laughed, "Warnings are supposed to carry bad news. I don't care what I have to give up, it would be worth it to make Mr. Master's proud! I'd give my life to pay Mr. Masters back for everything he's done for me!"

"Perhaps that is what he's counting on." Clockwork said in an even tone. Valerie scowled at him.

"I don't fall for tricks," She said coolly, "And you're not going to get me to betray the one man in this world I trust."

"I have no intentions of doing so," Clockwork responded, unfazed by her cold attitude. "After all, your choices, your actions, are all your own, Valerie. I'm just trying to steer you to a path where your regrets will weigh less on your conscious."

"Well don't!" Valerie said, "I can take care of myself just fine! I don't do regrets!" She didn't, either. Valerie had a strong philosophy of learning from the past and moving on, never apologizing for who she was or what she'd done. Apologies were cheap in her world, actions were what she based all of her opinions on.

"If that is how you honestly feel," Clockwork sighed, "then I supposed we're done here. All I can tell you now is to keep your mythology in mind,"

"My mythology?" Valerie repeated, bewildered.

"Particularly the myth of the Goddess Artemis and her love for Orion," Clockwork instructed with a nod. Valerie huffed in annoyance.

"Look, pal-!" She started.

"Farewell, Valerie," Clockwork cut in, a bright light blinding the ghost hunter and forcing her to shield her eyes, "For now…"

When the light cleared Clockwork was gone, and time had started right back up where it'd left off.

'That was weird…' Valerie mused. Shifting her weight, she felt something tap against her chest. Looking down, she saw that she had a medallion hanging around her neck, with the insignia CW gleaming in the center…

"How's everything getting set up, Danny?" a warm voice behind the boy asked.

Immediately going on guard, the Danny turned and gave the woman an unreadable look. He had to be careful not to show any emotion, not to get attached, since he'd be gone again before long anyways…

"Fine," He answered airily.

"I'm glad," The woman, who was named Jolene Summers but preferred to be called Jo, smiled at Danny unfazed by his attitude.

Then again, this woman was supposed to be the best when it came to 'troubled teens.' She was the one all the screw ups no one else wanted got sent to, and boy did Danny ever fall into that category…

"Down the hall is the electronics room, where we have a computer and some video games Dash and Lenny picked out. But you're only allowed in one weekends or when you have to use the computer for school projects, and the weekends are only if you have less then five marks against you. It's locked at all times, and I'm the only person with a key and as I'm sure Lenny will tell you, it's hard to take it away,"

'Maybe for a human,' Danny thought, not bothered by the rule. Locks didn't matter to him. He could get into any room anytime he wanted with his powers, and he knew he may have to eventually.

"Dash and Lenny will stay in this room with you, and the girl's room is four doors down," Jo continued, "That's where Morgan and Trish are staying. Bathroom's to the right and storage room is after that. My room is upstairs and the kitchen and den are both on the main level. We've got exercise equipment in the basement, too. Mrs. Jordan mentioned you like to work out…"

Danny smiled dryly at the hesitation in the woman's voice as she mentioned this. His baggy blue jeans and red and white T-shirt hid the fruits of his long, strenuous work out sessions well, as Danny preferred it to. He'd never been much of a people person, even before the accident, and after…

The boy pushed those thoughts absently from his head.

"Any questions?" Jo asked.

"Nope," Danny responded, "I think I've got it,"

"Good," Jo said, "School let's out in an hour, so you'll meet the other kids then. You'll start going too, but only tomorrow after you get settled in."

'Joy…' Danny thought bitterly.

"Dinner's at seven every day, and lights out is ten. I catch you snaking in or out and your dead, you hear me?" As sternly as she said this last part, it was obvious that Jo had heard about his complete and utter disregard of any and all curfews known to man.

"Got it," Danny said, sighing, "Can I unpack now?"

"Sure thing," Jo said, heading for the door, "Oh, and we're really glad to have you here, Danny. Our foster home welcomes everyone with open arms," Danny grunted, not meeting Jo's eyes. As soon as the door shut behind her, the boy dived for his cell phone, dialing out a familiar number.

"Henderson Law Office, this is Jazz Fenton speaking,"

"Jazz, It's me," Danny said quietly, not saying his name. Jazz was silent for a moment.

"Hey," She said in a gentle, quiet tone, "How are… things?" Danny smiled wryly.

"I'm surviving," He told her with a sigh, "But he's still after me. He nearly found me last time, so I had to switch out Foster Homes again."

"You're never going to fit in if you don't find a permanent residence," Jazz told him disapprovingly, "Everyone needs a constant in their life."

"Yeah," Danny agreed, "You're mine," The boy could almost feel his sister's smile and blush. "Anyways, I just wanted you to know I was still alive." Danny wanted to talk to his sister more, but feared having his call traced back to him. He knew Vlad Masters had the money, power and resources to tap any line he pleased, after all.

"Got it," Jazz said, obviously taking the hint, "Stay safe,"

"You know it," Danny responded, hanging up.

Sighing, the boy absently put his hand straight through the wall, hiding the phone on a support beam for the house. Cell phones, he knew, were strictly forbidden, and it wasn't like anyone else would find it hidden like this. After all, no one else in the house COULD put their fist through a wall without it showing.

But Danny Fenton was far from a normal teen. Hanging out with his friends in his parent's lab, he'd been in an accident with one of their experiments that left him with the supernatural powers of a ghost, and the alias of Danny Phantom.

His friends had been delighted straight from the start, convincing Danny to keep his new powers secret from his parents and use them to fight off the ghosts that plagued their city. Danny had been less then enthused at first, but agreed after a while. Soon his whole life and quite a bit of his friends were consumed by ghost hunting and the effects that came with it.

Then the city found out.

That was a pretty low point for Danny, who though he'd lost all hope when those he protected turned against him, but once again he pulled through with his friend's help. Through sheer hard work and ingenuity, he even managed to convince a small amount of the public (Most of them teenagers from his own school) that he was a good guy, not the evil ghosts the city officials had made him out to be while they were overshadowed.

Things started looking up then, and Danny actually grew to enjoy his life. At least until an accident sent him and his friends to the hospital, where the doctors found out about his new genetic make up and questioned his parents about it. It hadn't taken long for them to sort out the truth, and their rage at being deceived by their own son…

Danny sighed, trying to dispel the thoughts of his parents, and his friends who were both still in comas the last he heard. Sam was likely to pull through in time, but Tucker… things weren't looking too bright for the Tech-geek, from what Jazz had told him over their minute long phone conversations at random intervals.

Still, Danny had made a promise to himself a long time ago, a promise to everyone he ever loved. A promise he would keep no matter what happened…

Danny's head jerked up as he felt a familiar chill, not unlike that of his ghost sence. This one, however, was everywhere at once, which could only mean one thing for the young half ghost…

"Hello, Clockwork,"

Turning, the boy crossing his arms as he fixed the ghost with a pointed 'what-the-heck-are-you-doing-here?' look. Clockwork smiled back wryly.

"Danny," He acknowledged. "I trust you're settling in fine?"

"You're not here about my new home, Clockwork," Danny sighed, "No stalling thins this time around."

"Very well," Clockwork nodded, "There is merely something I wish to warn out about." Intrigued, Danny leaned in closer to listen to the ghost's words, knowing that they could potentially save his life… or afterlife, whatever you wanted to call what he was living now.

"There is a threat on your life, Danny," Clockwork warned, "Plasmius will send an agent to try and capture you,"

"How's that news?" Danny asked.

"Because if you allow her to, this one will succeed," Clockwork sighed.

"Then I won't let her," Danny said simply, "She's not the first ghost to face me,"

"She's not a ghost, Danny," Clockwork said, shaking his head, "She is a human, and she is the only opponent you will ever succumb to, if you even for a moment choose to fight her with less then your all,"

"What makes her so different?" Danny asked. His parents had been hunting ghosts since before he was born, and they certainly never posed too much of a threat to his ghost half.

"You will know in time," Clockwork answered, "For now, you may wish to finish unpacking. You'll be here longer then you suspect…" And without further warning, Clockwork disappeared and time started up again.

Danny sighed and shook his head, turning back to finish unpacking.

'Well that was ominous…' He thought dryly, not too bothered by what had just occurred.

After all, Danny Phantom had seen much weirder.

WoM- I don't think you see too many AU D/V stories, though there's a million AU D/S ones. Once again a plotline with much potential that people just won't give a chance… 'sighs mournfully.' I'm probably ticking people off with my refusal of picking a pairing and sticking with it, but the way I see it, why choose just one when there's so much fun to be had? 'giggles madly,'

Next update; February 5th

See you then!