A/N - well, i was going through my computer files...and i found this. it was originally the beginning of a DP story that i very soon realized wasn't going anywhere good, so i closed it and forgot about it. but when i found this ten mins ago...i kinda liked it, so i hacked off the end and fixed it up a bit.

my first oneshot :) hope you enjoy. reviews make the Fish happy, and suggestions are always welcomed!!!


The enormous oracle gleamed as the floating figure before it stared into it, as if he was looking though a window instead of into a mirror. His fingers were wrapped nonchalantly around the staff he held in his hand, his other hand carefully stroking his long beard.

Images danced around the oracle as he carefully made sure all time was going to plan. He watched all over the ghost and human worlds, skipping from one to the other. There really was no difference between the two for him.

An image flashed before him that he stayed the oracle on. A dark-skinned boy wearing a hat he was certain had stopped being fashionable many years before this time was curled into a precarious ball on a dark sofa, his arms wrapped nervously around his knees, his glasses slipping unnoticed to the very tip of his nose.

Next to him was a teenaged girl with jet black hair and clothes to match. Her feet were set firmly apart on the floor, her slender fingers gripping the very edge of the sofa they occupied. Her amethyst eyes were fixed in front of her in excited horror.

Next to her, his azure blue eyes shut, his head lolling against the back of the sofa was the boy whose destiny was intertwined with that of the entire world. He had no idea how vitally important he was. How many lives he would save. How many people's very existences would be bettered by him.

He was asleep.

But this magnificent future was to come at several costs. The first was evident as he slept right through what the other two unanimously considered to be 'the scariest part of the freakiest horror movie ever made'.

His white shirt and jeans were a pleasant reprieve for him from the black hazmat suit he now spent most of his time wearing. His black hair was severely mussed, not floppy anymore but just wild. A faint shadow was making itself known down the back of his jaw and above his mouth. His cheeks were gaunt, despite the relative bulk of his body. A monstrous bruise was spreading maliciously across his chest and neck, up above his collar where it could be seen curling across his collarbone and reaching for his jaw. Dark smudges marred the skin under his eyes. Clockwork knew that under the heavy eyelids were blue eyes exhausted and bloodshot.

He knew that their film had ended when the other two teens turned expectantly to their companion. The excitement in their faces died instantly when they saw him, a grim set coming to their jaws and worry radiating from their eyes. They exchanged worried and knowing looks.

Clockwork shook his head, letting the image fade from the oracle. Strangely enough he felt an emotion creeping into him for the boy. He normally distanced himself from everything and everyone he saw. As the Master of Time, he could not afford to let personal prejudices influence how time was meant to pan out. He had already made that mistake in this boy's life. But the feeling could not be suppressed.

It was sympathy. The pain and exhaustion the boy felt now was only the beginning. He knew that the boy could handle it. He knew that he would pull through. He knew that he would triumph and save everything he cared about in the end.

But right now he knew that the boy was suffering.

Clockwork had no heart. Inside his chest was a symbolic clock; ticking away mournfully the seconds as reality passed by. No – literally, he had no heart. But figuratively: well, he was beginning to think that something was growing inside him. A weak and tentative core that was feeling this sympathy for the half-human boy. And this small force within his mind somewhere was warring with his better sense and what he knew he had to do.

He could not interfere.

He brought the image back up on the oracle. The gothic girl and the badly dressed boy were stumbling under the weight of their future savior as they almost literally dragged him out of the wealthy girl's extensive basement and upstairs to a waiting limousine.

Clockwork skipped forwards slightly in time to watch the pair ease the unconscious teen into his bed. The girl pulled off his shoes in a typically feminine gesture. Clockwork felt amusement tickle in his chest as she scrunched up her nose and said something that made her companion laugh, tossing the offending shoes far into the corner of the darkened room.

The pair pulled the covers up over his sleeping body. Clockwork looked at the clock beside the boy's bed, to clarify what he already knew.

It was only four in the afternoon.

The African-American boy patted his friend sympathetically on the shoulder and walked towards the door. The girl stayed, crouching beside the bed. Clockwork moved slightly closer to the oracle in curiosity.

Her hand came up and brushed some of the messy black hair out of his face. She traced a finger across the bruise fanning out over his neck. She pulled down his collar slightly to see how far down it went. Her hand lingered, holding the shirt down a little longer than necessary. She suddenly pulled her hand back and glanced nervously at the door. She looked back at her friend.

Emotions were so abundant in her eyes that even the Master of Time could not identify a sole one. She gently set her head on his chest and closed her eyes. Clockwork watched as consciousness left her body slowly, her form calming and softening, relaxing into the body of the boy before her, until the pair was both asleep, one contentedly, one in terrible physical pain.

Clockwork knew he never told his friends the extent of his injuries.

"Keep your friends close," he advised the sleeping figure. "You will need them for what lies before you."

He frowned. It was hard – terribly hard. He had never known anyone before Danny Phantom with such monumental potential, such a delicate life, such a precarious future. It was too much stress for the young boy to handle – but there was nothing he could do.

He could not interfere.

voila :p please review!!!