By: Firefury Amahira

Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom. Butch Hartman does. I would never dream of making money off his work, this is but one fanatic's homage. So please don't sic the rabid lawyer hordes upon me, there's not much for them to sue out of me.

Author's Note/Warning: I know Dan has lots of fangirls, people who think he's simply misunderstood or just needs some love in order to get back onto the path of righteousness. I know there are lots of stories out there in which Dan is reformed, redeemed, or otherwise revealed to be not such a Bad Guy.

This is not one of those stories.

Prologue- Darkness

Here I wait, here I stew, trapped in this cramped blackness. I've given up on breaking free... for now. If I wasn't already certifiably insane, this silent blackness I'm trapped in would have done the trick nicely. Adding insult to injury, this damnable thermos is in the care of Clockwork, so I doubt it will see daylight again no thanks to that meddling fool.

But still, I won. All I had to do was run the clock down, stall that pathetic child until the explosion, and I did. I may have been beaten, but he was too weakened to do anything about the explosion. His future is sealed; the only thing changed is that he'll be able to destroy Amity Park so much the sooner. It will take him only a few months to accomplish what it took me ten years to do, that massive shield won't stop his attack for years like it did mine.

"I'm sure you're quite pleased with yourself. But I wouldn't be so confident." Clockwork's voice. The ghost was addressing me, trapped as I am. "Everything happened the way I planned it, Danny Fenton will not turn evil."

I stewed on the time master's statement, raging uselessly against the walls keeping me trapped, rendering my strength all but useless. "You saved them." I had to raise my voice to be heard through the thermos, but Clockwork obviously had no trouble hearing me.

"Mm. Yes, but you would have lost anyway." Clockwork's voice held not even a trace of smugness, just an infuriating knowing patience. "Your past self was running right into the explosion at the end despite being powerless, whereas you simply stood and watched them die. He chose well."

I remained silent, furious. It was impossible, he still must become evil; after all, I exist! He must still become me, somehow! I heard the time master chuckle, obviously well aware of my rage.

"Don't worry. Time works in interesting ways to prevent paradox. Your past is unchanged. His has changed. Like the forks of a river, your past goes on as you remember it. His has diverged, taking a new route, to a new future." I heard Clockwork chuckle again, and direly wanted out if only to pound the ghost like I had so many others before. I raged uselessly against my prison but got nowhere with it.

"I'm sure you'll put your time in there to good use and consider what you've done." Clockwork chuckled again at his lousy pun, and left me to brood in silence.

Who am I? Hah, so many names are part of me now; take your pick. I seldom bother with names now, but if I must select a moniker... Daniel, Dan for short. Dan Plasmius if I want to be particularly clever. After all, it still fits the nested DP emblem on my suit, and it's true enough, since I am partly both Danny Phantom and Vlad Plasmius at once. Though I've been called plenty of other names, most of them by Valerie.

Funny that. While the explosion set things in motion that led to my existence, it's probably far more accurate to say that she's the one that truly set my course.

Author's Note: First, I want it perfectly clear that my sister One is ENTIRELY to blame for this. We were discussing the story of my other fic Jeremiad, and she observed that the gaps in Jeremiad where Dan was in the Ghost Zone or otherwise not present might make an interesting story. From there, the idea morphed into a full-blown story parallel to Jeremiad, which is the ten-year span from The Ultimate Enemy as told from Valerie's point of view. This story is partner to it, but told from an entirely different point of view. Updates will be a bit sporadic, at least until Jeremiad is complete. Unlike, say, WingsofMorphius, I'd like to avoid juggling a pair of point-of-view fics at the same time!