A/N: Power has been cut off at my house, so I won't be able to get access to most of my files to continue fic-writing. Those affected are Union of Souls, Trick and Treat and Billy Hatcher: Hero's Nightmare. In the meantime, please enjoy the opening to one of the largest fanfic series I've ever written, previously available only at deviantart. I present to you Dimmsdale's dark reality without its shining star, canon up until Fairly OddBaby. I hope you enjoy the story I'm about to unveil.


Burning Black
Episode 1: Act 1
Dimmsdale by Black Light

1

"Hey, hi. I guess now's as good a time to say some things about my life... or lack thereof. Or am I somewhere in between? Wanda, you really have to help me figure this out one day... Okay, going off topic, sorry.

First off, my name is Timothy Tiberius Turner. Or at least it was. Nowadays you'll probably recognize me as Timothy Neogene. And it's pronounced 'Nay-oh-jeh-neh', okay? Caleb's idea. This way I can get my old Timmy nickname again, but no one gets the idea it's really me. Well, they shouldn't anyway seeing as the only Timmy T. Turner of Dimmsdale, California up and died some four years ago. Cosmo, quit crying over that, it's getting old. No, it's not your fault. Just... here, take this and blow your nose.

Now where was I? Oh yeah. So, if I'm Timmy and I 'died' four years ago, how can I be talking to you now? That's easy. Or not. Wanda! I'm confusing myself again! Never mind. Let's just say that the whole thing involved my fairy godparents, an ancient advanced android (too many 'a' words) who has a buttload of magic of his own, and my cousin from out of state who just so happens to be half-ghost.

And my enemies. It definitely involves my childhood enemies. See, 'cause without me to keep them in line with my crazy wishes that eventually makes things better (or worse if you see it from Wanda's view), they basically conquered all of Dimmsdale. So guess who has to free the town and make sure they don't spread over the world?

That's right. Me, Timothy Neogene, Timmy Turner to you guys; the kid who broke the most powerful rule of all. 'No one escapes Death.'"


Dimmsdale, California, 2006-

The night was clear and warm, and for once in his life the weatherman was right about it. At least, the fact that there was no light from a thousand torches obliterating the peaceful ambiance and no screams of outrage filling the air suggested that he had been right; for all Victoria knew he could have predicted a hurricane and was allowed to stay in Dimmsdale for being wrong about it. Of course the chances of there being a hurricane this far inland of California were somewhat remote, so predicting one and knowing he'd be wrong was probably the man's only hope at keeping his job and home.

Either way, Victoria didn't care. She had an appointment to keep.

Walking to the gravesite in Dimmsdale Cemetery was always a saddening experience. Among all the tombs and markers, this one was the most decorated and well-kept. She could see from just a yard or so away the dozens of flowers and toys and pictures left by any number of mourners. She paused for a moment, sighed sadly, then pressed on with her offering clutched in her hands. A small bouquet of pink flowers, all to represent the color he wore the most, trembled in her grip as she trudged on.

Brutal and vicious in the world of business, Victoria could dance with the best of them in any hostile takeover she undertook. Her keen senses for making money ranked her the best at it for such a young woman. And yet for all that power, all that she could gain, it was nothing compared to what had been lost so long ago. And nothing when getting jumped by a gang of thugs.

"Hey! Hands off the suit! It's worth more than the bunch of ya will ever make together!" she screeched in outrage as a pair of the grunts grabbed her by the arms and lifted her off her feet. The leader of the group stood before her, grinning as he aimed a menacing gun at her.

"Now, now, babe. We just want the money. Ain't nothin' bad gonna happen if you work with us." he chuckled harshly. He motioned to the flowers in her hand. "Visiting a boyfriend? How's about one of us replace him?" he added insinuatingly. Victoria shot him a glare despite shaking at the thought of having the weapon go off on her.

"Why you-!" she began, only to yelp in shock at sudden bursts of lightning that shot into the two thugs holding her. They were knocked away and sent sprawling into the ground, motionless. The air smelled of smoke and singed flesh as the thug spun around to see what had happened, where the lightning could have come from. Victoria stood still, staring beyond the oaf who was ordering his grunts to find out what caused the mess.

Someone was standing there.

The moonlight was strong tonight, and it played over the statues and tombstones to create hundreds of shadows and illusions, but the boy standing under a nearby oak tree was no illusion. She could clearly see his anger, half shrouded by the darkness. Odd, something about him seemed faintly familiar.

He was holding a long thin pole of wood in both hands, positioned horizontally before him. A quick spin of it and he set it beside him in the soft earth. Victoria swallowed; what was this kid doing out here this late?

"Get away from her and drop that gun." the newcomer growled. All eyes turned to him as he finished speaking and the leader of gang bared his teeth in a fury. "I don't like anyone who disrespects the dead, or messes with the mourners."

"Tough talk coming from someone about to join the dead!" the larger man barked out and opened fire. Victoria shrieked in horror as the kid took every hit, not even attempting to block or dodge the spray of bullets that tore through his dark-colored shirt. When he fell forward, her heart sank and a sick feeling rose to take its place. This was the first time she actually witnessed someone die... now she could understand the trauma all those little kids went through that day...

She was only partially aware of the thug turning his attention back on her, as her eyes were still riveted to the body of the stupid, but still heroic, boy that lay on the grass. He had to be dead. No way was he getting up from that. If the Heart of Dimmsdale could fall, then anyone could. Mortality was mortality.

And yet that boy was getting up...

"Ow. Darn it... that hurts... I'm never getting used to stuff like that." the boy grumbled and complained as he pushed himself up and climbed to his feet. He grabbed his staff and pointed it at the thug. "Hey! You! I thought I told you to drop that gun and get out of here!" he shouted, "And don't even try shooting me again! It doesn't work!" The guy spun and stared at him in shock, disbelief sounding in the guttural noises coming from his throat.

"What the hell?! I shot you! I killed you!" he rasped, shaking violently as he tried to aim again.

"Meh. I get that a lot." the boy replied cheerfully and threw his hands with the pole forward, a circle of light blooming at his feet and a sudden gust of wind rushing up around him. Another miracle lightning bolt struck, slamming into the thug and sending him flying back to join the first two that were hit. Scrambling to their feet, the gang fled, at least three of them probably hoping there was a hospital of some sort nearby. Victoria only stood frozen to the ground, staring at the youngster who ran up to her. "Hey, are you okay? They didn't hurt you or anything did they?" he asked, then halted, a look of surprise and, recognition?, on his face, "Oh." His last word was only a whisper. He was definitely a kid, probably fourteen or fifteen, not old enough for a driver's license that's for sure. The boy turned away from her and pressed fingers to his chest, probably poking at the holes that had to have turned him into Swiss cheese. "Whoa. Bullets. That's new. I don't think I've been shot at yet." he remarked in mild surprise, "I suppose I'll have to get them out before I cast First Aid?"

"That was incredible!" Victoria cried in amazement, "How did-?" She pointed at him, then at the fading figures of the gang, "But they... and you...! You saved me!" The boy blinked up at her in confusion, familiar blue eyes and dark hair standing out against the light of the moon and several dozen candles marking the grave. She took the time to better study the strange kid. Dark red or maroon shirt, either that or it was pretty badly soaked with blood; black pants, okay, she could see that. Victoria was an expert on black pants. He had on a backpack, like he'd been traveling for some time, it was old and fairly tattered. The outfit would have been considered normal, if it weren't for all those weird accessories he carted around. Who ever heard of a green iPod, for heaven's sake? And there was a pink watch on one wrist; both the iPod and watch must have been from the same company, they each carried a gold crown logo. He also wore a strange silver necklace that looked as though it belonged in a Goth shop, and a slightly matching ring on one hand that she noticed still had a faint glow to it.

"Uh, why are you staring at me like that?" the boy asked warily. Victoria blinked and shook her head clear. She put her hand to her head, both to see if she wasn't dreaming the whole thing and to check on her hair. It was loose from the usual bun she tied it in.

"How did you survive that?" she finally asked hollowly. The boy shrugged and made a vague gesture with one hand, stepping away from her as he began to leave the area.

"Bulletpoof vest. Duh." he retorted and dusted himself off before searching around for his fallen staff. Victoria frowned at the answer and narrowed her eyes.

"Where does a punk kid get a bulletproof vest?" she growled and the boy hunched his shoulders suddenly, looking almost cornered.

"Erm... the Internet?" he replied weakly and forced a chuckle. She gave him one of her best glares and he straightened, grabbing up his staff at last and shaking his head. "Never mind. Look, what are you doing out here anyway?" he asked and tilted his head. The older woman scowled and folded her arms over her chest.

"Yeah, like I'm gonna tell a freak like you what I'm doing!" she snarled viciously, "How do I know you're not gonna 'magic' with my head?!" The boy sighed in exasperation and shoved one hand into a pocket, grumbling for a bit.

"Because if I wanted to, I would have done it by now?" he replied in an insulted tone, "Geez, give a guy a break. It was just a simple question." He looked around at the ground and took in the sight of the pink flowers scattered around the area. "I didn't think you were the type for flowers... especially pink ones." he added in a puzzled voice, "C'mon, indulge a kid. What are you doing out here by yourself?" Victoria muttered to herself in frustration as she began picking up the flowers, lessening just a bit when the kid bent to help her.

"Fine." she grumbled and led the way to the grave marker that had been her goal the entire night. The boy walked along beside her, looking appropriately somber for the trip. When they reached the grave, Victoria arranged the small bouquet into a soup can left by the tombstone. "If you laugh, you're dead." she threatened the boy over her shoulder. It was habit, and one she wasn't going to suspend just 'cause this kid saved her. Not that she needed saving or anything... "I was visiting an old friend." she finally admitted quietly, reaching out to run her palm along the stone in a strangely affectionate gesture. The boy stepped closer to see the marker, then gasped sharply, scuffling back. She looked back at his pale and shocked expression.

"Him?! But I thought you hated this guy!" he blurted out in surprise. Victoria glared at him in suspicion and he flinched. "I was a pen pal of his. We wrote to each other during the summers." he explained quietly and made a weak gesture at the stone, "I figured something had happened, so I came to see what I could do. For him, for his loved ones, for his home."

"I didn't really hate him. That was just how I was when I was younger." Victoria sighed mournfully, "He was a pain sometimes, and could be awfully stupid, but he had a good heart." She managed a smile at the marker. "Sometimes, I wonder if he'd turn out to be cute when he grew out of that dorkiness. Now, we'll never know." she went on softly. The boy remained silent, gazing down at the assorted flowers and mounds of small toys that decorated the grave.

"Were you at his funeral?" he finally asked, words heavy with a strange emotion. Victoria propped up a fallen plush doll against the marker, nodding slowly as she felt her eyes watering with unshed tears. She bent her head to hide them.

"Kid, the whole town was there. How could anyone miss the funeral for the Heart of Dimmsdale?" she managed to say and shut her eyes tightly, wishing she had more control over her tears. "It all felt so unreal. Like, it didn't really happen. Some mornings I wake up and look out the window, expecting to see him run by doing stupid crap." She covered her eyes with a hand, unwilling to let the falling tears be revealed. "Those days are the worst." she managed to sob out. There was a slight gust of wind and she heard the boy sigh softly in relief. Victoria looked over her shoulder at him a second time, wondering what he was up to. He had one hand over his heart, a relieved look on his face.

"Sorry. I needed to heal. The blood loss was making me feel dizzy." he murmured an explanation. Huh, Victoria remembered him saying that he had worn a bulletproof vest. Why would he have been bleeding then?

"What's your name?" Victoria asked at last, "I don't think I've seen you before in town." The boy gave a half shrug at that.

"I moved in a couple of months ago. Usually I stay home. There's nothing I need in town that isn't provided for me there." he replied evasively and bit his lip, "As for my name, well..." He glanced at the grave marker and smiled. "How about I borrow his name for a while?" he asked, pointing at the tombstone. Victoria followed his gaze, blinked, then glared back at him angrily.

"You can't have that name!" she hissed almost protectively. The boy smiled wider.

"Why not? He's been dead for four years, right? It's not like he's going to be needing it anymore." he remarked brightly, "He has no future, and I have no past. I like his name and everyone knows it already. It's perfect!" He began to run off, waving goodbye to her as though they were old friends. "Thanks for the name, Vicky! See ya!" he called and disappeared into the darkness.

"I said you can't have that name!" Victoria screamed in a fury, but he was already gone. Sighing at the thought of the strange kid laughing at her, she turned her sad eyes towards the small grave. "Well, I can at least trust you not to blab about this, right, Timmy?" she laughed weakly, "Dead Turners tell no tales." She knelt and gently traced her fingers over his name before freezing in place, eyes wide.

Name...

That boy called her Vicky, the name she went by when she was sixteen.

She never told that boy her name...