Full Summary: To you, life if made up of months, days, or even years. For me, I see the seconds. I see all the little wonders. The twists and turns that fate provide. The past, present, and future is at my fingertips. I am the ghost of time, and this is my story. My life, my death, and everything that falls in between.
A/N: I love starting out on a new fan fiction! I'm always was nervous and excited about how others will think about it. Anyways, like you read in the summary, this is what my imagination has come up with for Clockwork's past. He's always been such an interesting Danny Phantom character. And he's always been my favorite.
Before you read on, I have some things to say. Although this story will take place a lot in the 1800's, do not expect me to sound as flowing and poetic-like like Charles Dickenson and the authors like him. They were of that time period, so they have full advantage over a girl who was born in the whacked up 1990's.
Also, there will be plenty of Danny and the rest of the cast of characters from the show. I want to bring in as much as I can from the Phantom world Hartman has created into this story. So don't go thinking I'm throwing all of 'em away for the sake of Clockwork.
Lastly, for the people who know me from my other work, I don't have any schedule on when I'm gonna update for this one. This fan fic is a challenge I have created for myself, and I'm not gonna stress myself out by planning on updating every two weeks. I've already proven to myself I can do it, now I can relax and take my time.
Now, with all that out of the way, enjoy reading! And please review!
Disclaimer: All Danny Phantom characters belong to Butch Hartman and Nick. None of them belong to me. Some of the characters here are true people from real life. The way I portray them might not be how they were in life. A few characters are mine, though.
Written by Pixiegirl13
Chapter 1 A Beginning
I can tell you the exact year, month, day, and hour I was murdered. It was the year 1888. The month was November. It was cold that month. London's Novembers are usually very cold. Snow can do that to a city. It was Friday the 9th. The hour had to be about four in the morning. I've always been so good at remembering dates but, somehow, this one is the one I can't seem to ever forget...even if I want to or not.
At the time, I thought I was being noble. That I was being some brave and righteous superhero I had seen from the future of some sort. In the end, I died. I see now that I was young and reckless. Trust me, I've tried to fix that. You have no idea how many times I've gone back in time and tweaked my actions to try and prevent my untimely death.
What's ironic about this is that my death wasn't untimely. It was perfect timing. Everything is perfect timing. It took me a long time to realize this and even more to except it.
Nothing is ever untimely.
If you insist that that isn't true, you're saying I don't do my job well. You do not want to upset the ghost of time. Not a pleasant thing, I might add. I could put you in a perpetual time freeze while you're in math class and busy digging for gold as your boring teacher drones on about fractions. It is a fabulous method for entertainment. Not only do I enjoy a laugh or two, but your classmates will sure get a kick out it.
But I'm straying from my point. The reason for a story is for it to have a point, yes? Don't worry. There is a moral to this brilliantly told story. You'll see it eventually. First, though, I need a beginning. All stories need one. Sometimes they are the most crucial part. And at other times they tend to be boring and tedious. But I will start at the beginning nonetheless.
I don't believe the date of my death is the right way to begin. Really, it was the middle of my story, and it will not suffice. It is easier for a human to understand a story if it goes in orderly time periods. I can not just start my tale in the middle of it. I will have to go back to the beginning.
I'll begin the hour the day started. It was perfect, and the hour it finished was ruin.
-London, England. August 31, 1888-
The bed was so warm and comfortable. The homemade quilt had successfully held my body heat over the night. It hadn't been a particularly cold night, so it hadn't been a hard task. But I was thankful for it's job well done when I woke up. I wanted to bask in the bliss of the cozy covers for the rest of the hour.
Sighing with happiness, I stretched my arms and rolled over to wake up my wife. For a second I just watched her there in her peaceful sleep. Her long, chestnut, brown hair was spiraled out on her white pillow like an oriental fan. I knew the texture of it without having to touch those soft, weightless strands.
My lips were inches away from her exposed ear. They were ready to whisper a wonderful morning message to her that was guaranteed to make her day.
"Aldan, don't you say a word until you've made the coffee," she told me without opening her eyes. I noted, with loving annoyance, as her lips tweaked into a little smile. I opened my mouth again. "Don't even think about it, sir," she said. "Coffee. Now."
"Honestly, you're like a bear in the morning," I pouted with a roll of my eyes. "Why'd I have to marry such a grouch like you, Lottie? You're no fun."
"I'll be as sweet as a kitten once I have that coffee," Lottie told me with a giggle. She only acted this bold and outspoken around me. The second she was ready for the day and walking out our front door for work, she'd be just as lady like and cultivated as any other girl in this depressing city. I knew I had better milk the better part of her out of her before I had to say goodbye.
"Kitten, eh?" I asked, raising a lone eyebrow. "That does sound like an improvement. Too much fur, though. And don't tell me you'll be coughing up hair balls. Maybe I should keep you in bear form for a little bit longer."
"All right, you big baby, what do you want from me?" Lottie asked as she rolled over to face me.
"This," I said before taking her head in my large, calloused hands and kissing her softly. She deepened it as she gently ran her slender fingers through my shortly cut, brown and messy hair. I knew I was a lucky guy right then and there. This was the best wife I could have ever imagined. And the best part about it...she was all mine.
Finally Lottie broke the kiss with an excited and refreshed sigh. She gave me a sly grin before saying, "You're late with that coffee, sir."
"Oh, you really are a witch," I shot back with pretend irritation.
"Your words hurt me, Aldan," she said playfully. She placed her left hand against her chest in mock distress.
"I'm sure they do," I said sarcastically. "Now, we can bargain for this cup of coffee. You could give me something in return for my service. You know how preparing coffee is such a grueling and arduous task. I'll need some payment for all my hard work."
Lottie laughed at this. "Just get me my coffee, sweetie," she said with a demeaning nod.
A sigh escaped me with these words. I could take a hint. She wasn't in the mood. Instead of persisting like I usually would with any other person, I sat up, flung my legs over the side of the squeaky bed, and began yanking on my boots. She watched me in silence with weary brown eyes.
The early rising sun flittered through the usual smog that clouded the skies of the city. It came through the little window and rested on my wife's face, making it glow in the radiance of the sun. Even all her little freckles that dotted that small, pointed nose of hers seemed to sparkle in the light.
"I'm taxing you next time," I told her as I stumbled into my clothing for that day. They consisted of a loose, white cotton shirt with a worn green vest over top. The pants I shoved on were ratty. Many times Lottie had come to the rescue on them with a needle and thread. Lottie smiled at me when I said, "You can not escape the law, Lottie."
"Coffee," she said as I opened the door.
"Yes, I know, you want it hot, not warm, two lumps of sugar, and half of it milk. Am I right?" I asked with my own wry smile. "Or am I daft?"
"Smart-arse," she muttered. I caught the evil smile that crept to her lips after saying this. She knew she'd probably be shunned for the rest of her life if she acted like this in London's proper and pristine public.
It just made it more fun for me who had grown up all my life in America and was used to more dominant and headstrong women from my youth. I thought I'd never come into contact with a girl like the ones from my childhood when I moved back to England and saw all the snobbish ladies walking around with their noses held high. Lottie had been for me like a diamond in the rough. Some dreams do come true, I guess I could say.
"It's what I do, my fair lady," I said with an overdramatic bow. "I have to be one to qualify to be your husband. Thankfully, smart-arse is in my blood."
"Stop being so goofy and go already," she giggled, rolling the other way on the bed to prevent herself from looking at me. It squealed from the movement. I winked at her from the doorway when she carefully looked over her shoulder as if making sure I was gone. Her laugh rang through my ears as I quietly shut the wooden door behind me.
It was only when I had arrived down stairs in the back of my shop that I realized I had woken up a few minutes earlier than I usually did. To any other normal person, this wouldn't have been important in any shape or form, but to me, it was quite interesting. I had never woken up late or early before in my life.
The times I thought I had woken up late always turned out to be days it didn't matter if I slept in or not. And the days I woke up early were always days I unexpectedly had many things to do that day. It turned out by me waking up early was a prosperous thing each time. Never had I woken up and realized something bad had happened because I had either slept in too much or got up too early.
There was a reason for me waking up a few minutes early that day. I wondered what it would be as I stoked the fire and prepared the coffee. My eyes rested on the small bed beside the brick fireplace. The two tiny lumps sleeping soundly under the covers were silent for one peaceful moment. Worry for them clouded my eyes, and my head began to wonder about a future that seemed so bleak.
Blonde hair, blue eyes, both my children sleeping there were a joy to my life. Amelia, who was six, was so much like Lottie. She was brave and outgoing. I loved her sweet sing song voice whenever she talked. Frances, with five years under her small belt, was like me. Quiet and pensive, Francis had a way of looking wise and surprisingly witty for her young age. And when she smiled, she seemed to light up the world.
A knock from the shop's front door sounded just as I got the fire started. A knowing smile flittered across my lips. Typical. My powers of waking up on time had never ceased to fail me.
As I strolled into my shop, which was in the front of the house, I grabbed my brown pauper hat from a chipping wooden peg on the wall and shoved it onto my head. The shop was lit by the large window that showed the sidewalk. It was, as usual, over crowded with busy people walking briskly to their work or to other places they thought were important that morning. The street was clogged with horse drawn carriages being pulled to and fro. Their obnoxious calls and noises were blocked by the sound of millions of ticking clocks that covered every free surface in my shop.
The bell on the door to my shop rang melodiously when I opened it a crack to see who was knocking at the early hour. The man who stood at my doorstep was tall and clothed in a middle class wool jacket with a tuft of a white handkerchief blossoming out of his breast pocket. He wore leather gloves, even though London's weather wasn't very cold yet. To complete his outfit, a bowler hat sat perfectly on his graying head.
"Ah, Mr. Boone!" the man said as he closed the clasp of his golden pocket watch and put the device back into its place. His mustache curled at the ends as he smiled and said, "You're always just on time."
"Good one, Mr. Lusk," I said with a tight smile. "Haven't heard that one before."
"I know, I'm such a jokester, now aren't I?" George Lusk said with some pride evident in his voice.
"I'm sure, sir," I said with sarcasm that the man wouldn't recognize even if it hit him square in the face. When he didn't catch the hint in my tone, I let a grin cross my face for my own benefit.
"I came by to ask you something, my young man," Mr. Lusk said, mistaking my expression for one of liking him.
"I believe I have the time to talk before I open shop," I said only to be polite.
"Oh, good one, Mr. Boone!" the man laughed loudly. It was one of those overly boisterous laughs that were only meant to get attention. No one paid him attention.
I let him into my shop, sighing under my breath, "I'm hilarious."
"What was that?" Lusk asked as he gave me his bowler hat to hang on the peg by the front door for customers.
"Nothing, sir," I replied with a pleasant, fake smile. "Go ahead and make yourself at home. Um...please don't touch anything." The man nodded in understanding and tried to sit himself on one of the stools by my workspace without disturbing the sea of clock parts and innards that lay there.
I wondered why he was here if it wasn't for me to fix his pocket watch. My shop was probably one out the three here in London that fixed and made clocks. Mine was the best, I had to admit. I'd been able to support my entire family for seven years, and the business was always steady. There really wasn't another reason for Mr. Lusk to visit me on my off hours. I wondered what he could want.
I placed his hat on its peg as I silently pondered the possibilities. I was tempted to put a dent in it with a finger, just in spite, but I decided against it. Lusk was a good customer. That precious pocket watch of his always needed maintenance. He only trusted me to handle it besides himself.
"You like Robert Louis Stevenson's work, Boone?" Lusk asked as he went against my wishes and picked up the single book from my desk and flipped idly through the pages.
"Yes, I do," I answered tersely. I leaned over him and plucked the novel out of his hands while saying, "And it is brand new, so I would appreciate it if you'd wait later to borrow it because I'm only half-way through."
"Boone, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was first printed two years ago," Lusk pointed out with a scoff of a laugh. "Don't tell me it's taken you this long to splurge on yourself. Mrs. Boone must keep you in line, am I right? Not a good thing, my dear boy. Women aren't made to manage the money."
He would have died under my cold stare if it could actually kill him. The annoying man should have considered himself lucky I had woken up to greet him that day. Instead of his gratefulness, he was only making me want to hurt him.
"Well, it doesn't really matter now," Lusk said with a simple throw of his head. The motion made him look like a demented chicken, but I guessed it was his way of trying to go on to another subject. "Stevenson isn't as good as Shakespeare. You should have gotten Romeo and Juliet. Such a beautiful play."
The poor man. He didn't know the difference between a good adventure novel and poetry. I almost felt sorry for him. And I would have, believe me, I would, but he'd insulted the man who had written Treasure Island. I wasn't in the mood for forgiveness after that.
"Riveting," I assured the man, my tone flat. "I'll be sure to get myself a copy."
"Yes, you should do that," Mr. Lusk agreed with a conceited nod. "But only if you think you'll understand the complexity of his words. He doesn't write pathetically simple sentences like Stevenson, here." He pointed to the book in my hands. "William Shakespeare's stories have meanings behind them."
"I think I can handle it," I said, trying to repress a growl.
"Are you positive?" he asked, raising a fuzzy eyebrow in doubt.
"You'd be surprised how much I can comprehend, sir," I got out through clenched teeth. The urge to throw my book at the ignorant man only grew worse as I stared at him, but I didn't want to ruin such a nice and exciting tale with the harsh beating of it against his ugly, mustached face.
"Alright," I said after an awkward pause which he spent taking out his pocket watch and glancing at the time as if he had some important place to be. I guess he hadn't taken the time to notice that he was in a clock shop either. He wasn't the brightest person I knew, thankfully.
"Down to business, Boone," the man said finally. I thought the point of this silly conversation would never come. "Have you read the paper this morning?"
"No, I don't think I have," I answered, glad that I was getting out of this farcical conversation of his before it even had began. The smile on my lips showed this emotion of mine, but I don't think the man noticed.
I was suddenly greeted with Friday's paper sitting diabolically on my worktable with the hard slap of Mr. Lusk's wrist. The bold headlines screamed something I didn't take the time to read as I watched clogs and bolts scatter to the floor. Just what I needed: a scavenger hunt for clock parts. It was a grand way to start my morning.
"Oh," I said with a defeated sigh. "It's the paper. How wonderful."
"Read the headlines!" Lusk ordered urgently. He pointed a commanding gloved finger at the large letters blaring out of the page.
"You really want me to read the paper, sir?" I asked him with a sarcastic smile.
"Yes!" he practically yelled. "That's what I said, didn't I? Seriously, boy, it's like you don't even listen to me sometimes." He wasn't entirely incorrect there. Sometimes I actually chose not to listen. Other times I did it naturally. Such a wonderful habit.
My eyes skimmed across the thin pages of the newspaper but only to humor the man's dire needs. The more I read, the more my attention vanished from the room and settled itself in on the words that told the story of a woman who had been brutally murdered. It was a gruesome tale. The woman, a prostitute named Marry Ann Nichols, had been stabbed in the throat two times by a man early that morning near Whitechapel. It also said that her abdomen had suffered many attacks by the knife as well.
"This is awful," I said quietly. My stomach churned at the disgusting thought of any man who would be so perverted that he would do that to an innocent woman before murdering her.
"The worst part is that he hasn't been caught," Mr. Lusk said gravely. "That man is still out there on London's streets, acting like a normal person who hasn't spilled innocent blood. The police are trying their best to catch him, but I, quite frankly, believe they don't have the right means to do it."
"What do you mean?" I asked in wonder. My eyebrows knitted together in perplexity. "They are the professionals. I'm sure they know what they are doing here, Mr. Lusk."
The man rolled his eyes as if I was being ignorant. He leaned closer to me, eyes shining with intensity. I felt my heart start to beat faster in my chest as he whispered to me, "This murder was committed by a wild man, Boone. He will strike again soon. I will bet on it. The police do not realize the murderer can not be found by simple procedures of the workforce. To find him, we need something...more."
"No," I said firmly. "That is a stupid idea."
"Don't stay that, Boone," Lusk said, wagging a scolding finger at me. "You could actually be a hero and find this murderer."
My eyes darkened as I leaned my scowling face into his and told him seriously, "I didn't tell you about those dreams just so you could use me as some damn gypsy fortune teller. Be a gentleman and move on to some other freakshow. I'm in no mood to go chase a killer down dark, dank streets in the middle of the night."
"Aldan," Lusk said in shock. "Please reconsider. You'd be doing this for the greater good."
"I never asked for those visions, George!" I hissed back at him. "And I shouldn't have told you about them if all you want to do is use them for your ridiculous hunts for a crazy man."
Lusk leaned back and away from me as if to give us some space and let both of us breathe. He gave a long, tired sigh while I glared at my worktable in growing distress. My past visions had never been troublesome, but they had changed for the worse a few months ago when I "dreamed" of another murder before it happened.
It had been a mistake to tell Mr. Lusk and his buddies at the pub about it. To make a long story short, there was a lot of alcohol involved and an excessive amount of prodding on Mr. Lusk's part. He picked at me and demanded for the story at a time I was most vulnerable, and he knew that at the time. He had used me then, and he would use me again by getting me to find the killer before he struck again. But it wasn't as simple as that. He didn't understand how these visions of mine actually worked.
"I don't want to use you, Boone," Lusk said calmly. "And, if you feel so strongly against the matter, then I suppose all those poor, innocent people out there on the streets will have to wait patiently for the police to find the murderer."
His eyes didn't make a connection with mine. Instead, he stared out of the window, trying to make it look like he wasn't interested in me anymore and that I was beneath him because I didn't want to help. I wasn't a dolt. I knew he was trying to get me to feel guilty. What I hated so much about it is that it worked.
"Fine," I sighed. I will always be a proud man. I didn't like to admit defeat. As if to hide this distasteful emotion with myself, I put my face in one of my hands and rubbed my forehead before saying quietly, "I'll tell you if I have another one of my visions."
The thought of that innocent woman's death was what changed my mind. What if that girl had been Lottie? What if Lottie was killed and someone out there had the means to have prevented it? Even if my visions were now unsettling things, I still needed to do something about them. If I could actually save the fate of another victim with my visions, I needed to be willing to at least tell someone about them. Mr. Lusk was more than ready to listen. At least he had good intentions.
"You're a good man, Boone," Lusk told me with a pat on my shoulder.
"Thanks," I said sarcastically. "I feel so much better now."
"That's good," Lusk said with a stupid smile and nod. Idiot. He got up from the stool with that triumphant little smile still plastered to his lips as if in a gloat. I stood up with him, my face showing no amount of joy. "Now," he said with finality, "I need to be going."
"Let me show you to the door," I said while turning around and heading straight for the entrance. I knew I was behaving a little rudely to someone who was above me in the social ladder, but I was thoroughly too annoyed by the man to see this clearly.
"Well, Mr. Boone, I believe you made a very fine choice today," Lusk said as I handed him his hat and opened the door for him. The bell jingled once again. It didn't sound so pretty now.
"Of course you do," I stated in a soporific tone.
"Oh! Good day, Mrs. Boone!" Lusk suddenly called into the shop. My eyes widened in surprise as I turned my head sharply to the side to see my wife dressed and ready for the day in a plain, sky blue, cotton dress. Her corset gave her already beautiful body a perfect hourglass figure, and the bottom of her dress billowed around her legs, swinging like a bell to each precise movement she made with her hips. She softly closed the door to the back room and smiled pleasantly at both of us. In her hands was a regular cloth bonnet which she deftly threw upon her head and tied into place.
"Good morning, Mr. Lusk," Lottie said in a gentle, kind voice to the man standing beside me who hadn't left. "What a nice surprise to see you this fine morning. What brings you here today, sir?" Like always, she had the greatest charm. She was such an amazing woman.
"Your husband, here, has just agreed to join a certain committee with me," Lusk explained as he indicated me with a wave of his hand. I returned his gesture with a lazy glare. "We were discussing the morning paper as well. But you shouldn't read it. The subject matter is much too harsh for a delicate woman such as yourself."
Only I saw the flare of indignation in her eyes after he said this. A knowing smirk crossed my lips as I stared intently at my wife. She managed to keep herself calm and collected as she always did. It was a beautiful art how she did this, really.
"Thank you for the warning, Mr. Lusk," Lottie said with a gentle dip of her head.
"You're welcome, Mrs. Boone," Lusk said with some satisfaction in his voice. I saw the look of want in his eyes, and it made me sick to my stomach with a fury that could hardly be contained. The urge to kick him out the door was the dominant thought in my head.
"I will talk to you later, Mr. Boone," Lusk said after an awkward pause between the three of us. I watched him carefully as he stepped out of the shop and dusted off his jacket, as if trying to get rid of me and my poor status already. His eyes pinned me with one last stare as he said in a low whisper, "Tell me if you have another...you know."
"I know," I said.
"Good day to both of you," Mr. Lusk said with a slight bow before turning lively and walking down the sidewalk with the proud essence of a flaunting peacock. I had a quick wish that he would trip. It wasn't granted, unfortunately.
Once he was out of sight, Lottie crossed the room to stand beside me at the door. When she stood like she did with her back straight, hands placed precisely in front of her, and head held highly, I always thought of a flower trying to out stand the oncoming season of fall. There was a certain amount of dying dignity in those eyes of hers. It always broke my heart when I saw her like that.
"Lottie, I'm sorry about the coffee this morning," I started clumsily. My hands seemed to try and explain with erratic motions as I searched for the correct words I could use to apologize. "Mr. Lusk came and wanted to talk. I got distracted." I would have gone on, but the calm raise of her left hand clammed me up immediately.
"Tomorrow you can redeem yourself," she told me with a small, controlled smile. "Please take care of the girls. Their fevers still haven't gone down since yesterday. The poor things. They will need more attention from you today."
"I understand," I said.
"Do well today in the shop, sweetheart," she said with a lighter tone of voice. Although she gave me a placid smile, I didn't feel the usual warmth of a real one. I so badly wanted her to be happy, but I didn't know how to go about getting it for her. It felt like I was pathetically helpless.
Before I could come up with words of comfort, she was already out the door and walking down the sidewalk without another glance behind her. My body reacted without much thought. I threw a hand up into the air and waved goodbye to her fleeting form. She didn't see me.
Sighing heavily, I leaned my back against the door jam and watched the crowd with a pensive stare. It hadn't been a good morning. First, just the sight of the man Lusk was a disappointment for the entire day. Second, I didn't like being manipulated by him like that. Lastly, I had let down my wife. It had only been a cup of coffee, but I still felt like I was trying to please the girl I loved. I was still a boy who wanted to impress his first crush. In a way, I felt like such a child.
A greeting nod from a patrolling police man broke my contemplative state. Of course I returned the nod, but I wasn't fooled. This police man had stared at me for too long of a time for my personal taste. Before that day, I had never seen him monitoring my street. That fact alone was suspicious and unnerving.
This didn't sit well with me. I quickly went back inside my shop and closed the door shut behind me. For a second, before I went to work on my clocks, I glowered at the floor in thought. One dominant thought stood out for me.
Mr. Lusk wasn't the only one who wanted me for my visions.
A/N: Whew! First chapter is done! They are always some of the hardest chapters for me. Anyways, I hope you liked the first chapter. The next will be up next weekend hopefully. I always like updating on weekends. I'll see you guys then!