Okay, I have been planning this for a while, and I decided to finally do it since I don't have many other projects on my mind at the moment.
So, some things that need to be said before the start of this story. First off, this is going to have some pairings in it. I'm not going to list them right now cause I think it'll be more fun to be surprised, however it does includes a yaoi pairing that I noticed there is quite a lack of, Clockwork/Dark Dan Phantom. If guy/guy bothers you for any reason, you may not want to read this. I would appreciate it if I did not get any flames simply because you don't like the idea of men together, because I stated flat out it would be in there. I don't mind if you don't like that sort of thing because everyone is entitled to his or her opinion, but I'd rather no one get offended.
Secondly, this is going to be quite a long and epic story, with quite a lot of characters (including Dani, love her too much to leave her out). I have outlines for a large part of it, and I plan to update once a week, probably on Saturday, simply because it's always my off day, but this may not always be the case. I will do my best to be diligent though. I also haven't seen Danny Phantom for a good year too (waaaah!) due to no longer having cable and the episodes are limited on the Internet. I'm going by memory and the info I can salvage online. So if I screw something up, I am really sorry. Some things to note though, Danny is now 15, the city knows that Danny is Danny Phantom, but Vlad is still the mayor. No one knows about who really he is and he is still doing… you know, stalkerish evil things.
… Why is he one of my favorite characters again?
Thirdly, I want to get the disclaimer out of the way now. I don't own Danny Phantom. This is purely for my own enjoyment (and I hope other's as well). No Copyright Infringement is intended, I am simply hoping to make a decent tribute to a great show. The only thing I own is the idea and some OCs. I'd list them, but I'm sure everyone will be able to point them out for themselves. If it doesn't sound familiar, than it's probably of my creation.
Chapter One: The Librarian
Candlelight flickered off the walls, illuminating the library that Opal was currently working in. Standing on top of a stepladder, she slipped a large leather-bound text back into place and climbed down in order to attend to the next stack of books that needed to be replaced. It had been a busy day, checking on the developing books, making sure everything was on course while her master was gone. She was eager to take some time to rest after she finished up with her current chore.
She picked up the three-pronged candle holder from the floor and made her way out of the long aisle that the bookshelves formed and to the desk where she had her final group of books that required attention.
A soft breeze blew past her neck and Opal suddenly stiffened, looking behind her in a confused manner. There were no windows, and the door to the realm was firmly shut. No wind should have been able to get in, and it was impossible for the Library to have any cracks in the walls. She was the only person here too… yet she could not shake the feeling that something was wrong. It was the same as that unpleasant feeling in someone's stomach when they knew they were being watched.
"Hello?" she called out to the barely lit room. She wondered perhaps if one of the Observerants had come to visit, in order to check on progress. But they were not the type to skulk around, and she would have felt their presence already. They had never hid themselves before and had no reason to do so now that she knew of.
She didn't receive an answer, but it only made her more suspicious. Placing the candle holder down on the desk, her hands traced over one of her earrings, ready to pull it out and "greet" whoever had the audacity to break into this realm without permission. A sudden series of loud thumps sounded behind her and made her whirl around to see several books had fallen from their shelves, seemingly on their own.
"Who is out there?" she called out, starting to get angry. "Make your presence known to me or face the consequences! Keeping to the shadows like a thief in the night, I would have your miserable body flailed for acting such a coward. Come out and state your business or be warned before I seek you out; you will not be pleased with my actions once I locate you in these shadows!"
"I'm sorry, but what that suppose to be threatening or something?"
Opal gasped and turned back sharply before almost doubling over from the sudden blow to her stomach. The hit had been too much to have come from a person; feeling more like a rock had been thrust into her stomach. Staggering back, she clutched at her stomach with one hand, the other on the desk to keep herself upright. Coughing lightly, she attempted to look up before a fist was slammed crudely into her face and knocked her to the ground, her head cracking sickeningly against the stone laid floor. Her eyes closed as her mind almost immediately blacked out against the impact, leaving her body sprawled pathetically on the ground, defenseless.
"To think that you of all people would have been chosen for such an important task as guarding the Library while Scrinium was away," her assailant muttered over her. "How pathetic. It's only a shame he isn't here to see what a mistake it was to pick you up in the first place. But it'll get to him eventually, if you even have the guts to face him."
The figure stooped over her for only a moment before seeing what the whole point of the little "visit" had even been for. Old keys jingled as the whole ring containing them was slipped from her belt before they were thrown into the air and caught in a joyful manner. Above Opal, her attacker grinned. So far, it was promising to be a very productive day.
A soft groan escaped Opal's lips as her eyes opened. Her head was spinning, and her whole body felt sore as she weakly pushed herself up off of the ground. Sitting up, she placed a hand to her forehead, trying to stop the pounding on the inside of her skull that made her feel like there was a wild animal in her head, trying to escape by busting out through the bars.
Remembering what had caused her to wake up on the floor in such pain, she looked around suddenly, trying to locate the person. She was alone however, whoever had attacked her long gone. It didn't take her long either to notice that her belt was undone, and that her key ring was not at her side, or anywhere near her.
"No!" she cried out as her eyes widened in horror. She stood quickly, despite the painful protests of her body, and ran as fast as she could past the shelves and to the back of the Library. Her boot clad feet clicked loudly as she raced to the vaults, stopping short as her worst fears were confirmed. One of the heavy steel doors hung open carelessly, a skeleton key still inside the keyhole and the ring and other keys hanging from it. She stood there and stared, not even able to tear her eyes from the sight of the room past the door, books scattered around the floor and shelves. Someone had been searching for something relentlessly… and she had a feeling she already knew what was missing.
Slowly, she made her way into the room. Her body movement felt awkward, both from the pain and the horror of what was happening. Hearing glass crush under her boot, she looked down to the many shattered fragments of glass littering the floors. Looking up, she saw the once whole glass case laying on it side, broken beyond repair and its contents gone. Even the gold frame was in disarray, bent and twisted in parts, and other parts completely snapped, as if the framing had been little more than twigs.
Swallowing, she bowed her head before slowly looking up to the ceiling, as if praying.
She had no choice; she had to fix this. She had to go outside for help.
Danny Fenton was enjoying what could easily be considered a peaceful day. There hadn't been a ghost attack for the last week, and a lazy Saturday was in progress with playing video games, hanging with his friends and 'cousin' Dani, and eating so much take out pizza he would probably be sick later. It was the perfect time for the fifteen-year-old to just relax and be himself.
"Hey Danny," Sam asked suddenly from where she was watching the boy fight Tucker in the latest Tekken game. She fidgeted and looked at the wall a little nervously. "You have any plans for Halloween Autumn Festival?"
"Oh, you mean the dance at the school," he replied then went still. Tucker elbowed him in the ribs suddenly, Dani giggling at seeing the older halfa blush. Things between him and Sam had always gone back and forth between friendship and maybe something just a little bit more. But lately, well... the whole confession thing had finally come around to a head, and it was officially known they liked each other. There hadn't been any official date or anything between them, heck they weren't even calling each other boyfriend and girlfriend yet, but from the sounds of it, Sam had just thought up a perfect first date for them. "I… we can go together, I guess."
He winced almost immediately at the words that he'd said. Great, he sounded both lame and unenthusiastic.
Sam however looked surprised then blushed.
"Oh, right. Great. But actually… I'm kinda helping plan for it… and I was hoping you and Tucker could help."
"Hey, what about me?" Dani whined, saving Danny from having to respond. "I could be great at Halloween!"
"Well, it's just that you're not in high school yet," Sam said. "Most of the set up will be during school hours, but you know you can come during the dance if you want to. It'll be great, you, Tucker… and Danny and I. Right Danny?"
Tucker snickered slightly from the awkward position the two had suddenly found themselves in. Danny barely held in a sigh from how weird this whole thing was.
"Yeah. Yeah, sounds great," he said before immediately standing up. He needed to get away from this for a second. "Anyone want more soda? I'll get us some."
"Man, we already have the sodas out here," Tucker said with a raised eyebrow.
"Chips then. Gotta have chips with pizza," he replied a little too quickly and shot out of the room and into the kitchen.
"Gee, that went well," he muttered to himself as searched through the cupboards for the snacks. "Could I be any more lame?"
"I'm sure you could pull it off if you tried."
Danny whirled around to see Clockwork looking down at him, a bemused expression on the ghost's face.
"Man, what is it? I'm looking for-"
"You can tell me all the reasons why you ran from your girlfriend later on," he replied with a wave of his gloved hand. "I have something we need to talk about."
"Is now the best time?" he asked, seeing his peaceful Saturday go up in smoke.
"Well, I could wait until the universe collapses upon itself if your schedule is a little too booked with the teenage social drama, but that would hardly be prudent of me."
Danny sighed and shook his head. Talking to Clockwork was never what he'd call a ball of laughs, but he was pretty sure the ghost made a point of trying to annoy him at times.
"Look, I… Wait, what? What do you mean, collapsing universe?" he asked incredulously.
"Danny, are you okay?" Sam asked as the others came into he kitchen. "We heard you yell and… Oh."
"Hey Clockwork," Dani said and waved her hand, as if the ghost had stopped over to play video games as well. "What's up?"
"Apparently the universe is going to collapse," Danny said and looked at Clockwork. "What's going on? Is there anything I can do to help?"
"I am quite sure there is. Otherwise I would not have not come to you in the first place," Clockwork replied. "I need you to come with me to the Ghost Zone, all of you."
The four exchanged looks before Danny looked back to Clockwork and nodded while shifting quickly to his ghost form. Dani gave a small grin and transformed too.
"I've always wanted to see Clockwork's place," she said to herself excitedly.
"Try not to break anything when we get there," Danny told her then, ignoring the tongue stuck out at him, turned to Clockwork. "Okay. I'm really not sure I know what's going on, but I'll help out if I can."
"Excellent," Clockwork replied and opened a portal. "Follow me."
They stepped in after Clockwork floated though and all four stopped, not seeing what they had expected. Thinking they would have been taken to Clockwork's realm to talk, they were instead surprised to see themselves in a rather impressive looking library. The ceiling was high above their heads, at least three or four stories tall, and the bookshelves were almost as big, crammed full with books of all sizes and colors. The shelves' ends faced them, making aisles and forming a large circled space that they were in, along with a large desk, and many rolled parchments and a quill resting on top of it. The floor was tiled with stones like a cobbled street and along the walls of stone that Danny could see, there rested gargoyles of all menacing shapes.
It looked like the kind of decoration that Sam would have loved for her house to have if she could only talk her parents into it.
"Uncle?" a voice asked and out from one of the aisles, a young woman stepped out. Blond hair was braided and looped in a tight bun at the back of her head, and gray eyes stared at the group in curiosity. She was dressed in a white blouse and black skirt, slit to her hips on both sides and white leggings underneath to protect her modesty. Her shirt had no sleeves attached to it; instead black coverings were on both of her arms, tied above her elbows by white string. In fact, string held most of her outfit in place, from the back of her blouse to the skirt tied to her waist. Black ankle boots and a black tie completed her outfit, along with a few rings on her left hand, studded earrings on her ears, a few bracelets on each arm, and a chain necklace with a charm that looked like a sword hanging over her chest "Uncle, you are back. I was worried while you were away. Do you yet know of the fiend who has stolen the treasure most precious to the Library?"
"Uncle?" Danny asked and looked to the girl who most definitely looked human and back to the ghost. "Uh, am I missing something here?"
"Yes," Clockwork replied. "But it doesn't surprise me much anymore."
Danny grumbled a little and Clockwork chuckled briefly.
"Danny Phantom, this is Opal, Assistant Librarian and Caretaker of the Library of the Worlds. She also happens to be the adoptive daughter of the ghost who is in charge of this library, my brother. Opal, this is the help I promised, Danny Phantom and his friends."
"Wait, library of what now?" Tucker asked.
"Library of the Worlds," Opal supplied. "It is no less than the safe hold of the worlds' histories. I am unaware if you posses this knowledge, but there are many different realities besides your own. Every time a decision is made that could alter the future, the course sometimes travels down the roads of all the possibilities. Wars, leaders that have been placed in power, people who have died or survived, if these events are powerful enough, they split from reality and create their own world. I believe the common term for this is 'Multiverse'."
"You mean there are other versions of us, that we don't even know about?" Sam asked.
"Whoa," Dani said. "That's pretty cool. Hmm, wonder how many of me are out there."
"So… since you're one of the librarians here, you take care of all these histories or something?" Tucker asked.
"It is as you say," she replied with a nod. "All of these worlds must be documented, and are recorded in these books you see here. My master, Scrinium, found me in the mortal realm as a child, alone and without a family to care for me. Taking pity on me, he took me in as his own daughter and gave me the duty to watch over his realm and home when he was away. However… recently I have failed to fulfill my duty as a guardian. An unknown assailant came and overpowered me in mere moments before ransacking one of the vaults, and took one of the most powerful and precious items to grace these walls."
"What was it? Some kind of weapon?" Danny asked.
"It could only be considered something so foul in the wrong hands, which I am sad to report is most likely the case," Opal replied and went over to the desk, picking up the quill and showing it to them. A pure white, it seemed to have a faint glow.
"This is what my master uses when he is out working. His duty is to document all new worlds that come into existence. After the first few chapters are written, the book will begin to fill itself, needed only to be checked upon occasionally to ensure the time flow is continuing as it should. This quill is not as powerful as the one my master uses, for it can only affect one book, the book it was original created with. You see, once my master is finished writing, he will make a duplicate of his own quill to continue without his assistance. The world that this quill recorded has long since crumbled, making it quite useless for little more than regular writing. However, there is one quill, the Quill, that he leaves here, in case of emergencies."
"What can that quill do?" Danny asked.
"These are no mere books, young Danny Phantom," she replied. "They have a power to them. To change the writings, the histories, would to be to change the worlds. Such an act is forbidden to be practiced, unless the circumstances are most grievant. We must allow people to forge their own destinies, to be allowed to make their own choices. Even in the event of when you met your own evil side, you were given the choice not to become him. To write your life out, simply to change you, would have been wrong."
"Wait, you know about that?" Sam asked.
"I do," Opal replied. "I have read many of these books. The tale of Dan's world is a sad one, though thankfully, closed now. Only the book remains to tell the story. However, sometimes there is no other choice. Sometimes a world happens where there is no good to salvage. Sometimes, we must rewrite it, much like burning part of a forest, so the whole wood can flourish later. It is not a task I have ever enjoyed, and sometimes, the way we write it can only make it worse. No one but Uncle Clockwork can see the future for certain, and it is not his task to protect the worlds in the same way it is ours. It is an action that we weigh heavily before we chose to follow through with it. That is why there is only one quill that has the power to rewrite the books. In our hands, it is only a tool to herd in the right direction, but in someone else's…"
"In someone else's," Tucker said. "They could try to rewrite whatever they wanted. They could make themselves unbeatable, or take whole worlds hostage."
"Okay, that can't be good," Dani said. "So why don't we just find the guy and take him out before he can do anything?"
Clockwork shook his head while chuckling softly.
"Amazing how the young always think that problems are so easy to solve. I'm afraid it's going to take more effort than that."
"Luckily, we do have something to our advantage. The Quill is not all powerful. There are rules implanted within it," Opal replied. "They would still need the right book to write in, but I believe if this person knew about the Quill, than he or she must have knowledge of the Library and a potential world to conquer first. I have searched extensively since the theft, but have found no books missing. However, as you can see, there are quite a few of them. I doubt the thief would have left with only half the prize, especially since there was no one to stop his search."
"Each book for one world," Sam whispered. "There are so many. It's kind of… daunting actually."
"Do you have any suspects?" Tucker asked. "Call me crazy, but I don't think that a lot of people should know about a feathered pen that can rewrite or destroy the world as we know it."
"And they do not," Opal answered. "The knowledge of the Quill has always been a guarded secret, however I can not say for sure that no one of ill intentions knows of it. My master only took me in a mere three hundred and fifty years ago. Much of this library has existed long before I, along with the people who would visit it. If there is someone with cruel intentions, I do not know of them, but my lack of knowledge is no proof."
"Three hundred and fifty?" Danny repeated back. "Man, the candles must be a pain whenever your birthday comes around."
"I bed your pardon?"
"Danny," Sam chided. "Try to be serious here."
"Right, right," Danny said. "So, can't Clockwork just tell you who did it? I mean, that would just be easiest, right? Or heck, just have him go back in time and change it."
"Easiest yes, and already thought of," Clockwork answered. "I don't know how it was arranged, but I have no idea how this happened, or who did it."
"Oh, well…" Danny said, feeling a little deflated. "Now that can't be good. I don't understand though, I thought you were all powerful and junk. How could someone affect your powers. Is there a book or something to control you?"
Opal looked at Clockwork, incredibly worried.
"There… is a book for every realm, including the Ghost Zone. But… I would not even know where to find it. An item like that, it's so well hidden even I have never been told of it's location," the mortal librarian stated.
"So… there's no way to check if it's gone," Dani said. "Bummer."
"It's not gone," Clockwork said suddenly. "Trust me. It's unsettling not to have full access to my powers in this situation, but no quill would have the hope of affect the Ghost Realm, or any of the keepers like Scrinium or I. We aren't capable of being affected. Whoever the thief is may not be letting me see the any time line concerning him, but I still control myself."
"Well, there's that at least. But still, what am I suppose to do?" asked Danny. "Give us a bad guy to trash, no problem, but this is a bit more difficult."
"To be put simply Danny Phantom," Clockwork replied. "You're very unique in many cases. You have proven yourself time and time again to be relentless and willing to fight against all evil, even yourself. Whoever this person is, even without seeing the future outcome of this, I have a feeling I know his plan. Anyone of power written in these books could be manipulated, forced to be slaves to this person, to form an army under him. He could give himself unmeasured power, or simply kill any who would oppose him by writing that they never existed. You however… are safe from his control."
"I am?" Danny asked. "How?"
"When you met and fought Dan Phantom," Opal answered, "you did so much more than just save your family and friends. You gave yourself the ultimate defense against the Quill. You see, your actions put you in two books, your own, and the darker world of Dan Phantom, a world that no longer can be manipulated. There are exceptions to the quill's power. A book of a world that had already run its course cannot be affected, for there is little point to rewriting the history. What's dead is dead, and we can only hope for better outcomes of the others. Also, if one somehow visits another world, and finds himself as a player in two separate stories, one cannot be changed without changing the other. Since Dan Phantom's world cannot be affected, you cannot, nor your friends who went there with you. Even if the thief had both books, which he has neither, that I can attest to, he cannot affect you. You, and your friends, are very close to being the only hope we have."
"So, is this Scrinium aware of the situation?" Sam asked. "I mean, this is pretty important. He should know."
"My master is recording as we speak," the librarian answered. "I fear there is no means to contact him when he is working, and the recording of a world can take quite a while."
"Define a while," Tucker asked. "What, days, weeks?"
"Years," Opal supplied. "This is why he needed an assistant to take care of the library in his absence. Even a ghost like him, his work is complicated, and requires more power than I could ever posses, or even contemplate. In all my years being here, I have never encountered an emergency like this. My chores have never been more than to make sure the books did not stop writing themselves. While I do have power to fight off intruders, there has never been a case before of my actually having to defend it in such a way. My failure, though unforgivable, was no doubt foreseen and counted on by our enemy. I believe he has planned well. And, I fear he will come back, for the books of course. He may have stolen some that I have yet to account for, but I imagine it is only a starting point. Such a power, I do not think it will satisfy him at such a limit of a few worlds when he could have them all."
"But we can't wait for him to come back," Dani said. "This guy could have a hungry army of mean and ugly bad guys by then! We need to take him out as fast as possible, right Danny?"
Danny stared at his younger clone. Something was slowly clicking in his mind.
"You never went to the future," he said slowly. "You hadn't even been born yet."
"Yeah, so?" Dani asked. "You told me all about it. Cross between my dad and you. What's your point?"
"Don't you get it Dani? You aren't in both books. You aren't safe like we are," Danny said.
"So?" Dani said, suddenly seeing where this was going and not liking it one bit.
"So… you could be controlled," Sam said as she and Tucker realized the same thing.
"Not if this creep doesn't get the book," Dani said quickly, her fist clenched up and feeling a little scared. "We just beat him first. Come on Danny, don't leave me out! I'm just as powerful as you are."
"Dani, you know I can't risk it," Danny said and put his hands on her shoulders. "It doesn't matter how powerful you are. What if something bad happened and this person got control of you? I couldn't fight you, don't you understand that?"
"No buts. Besides, someone needs to go back and tell the others-"
"If you think I'm going back just to tell our family about this than you're nuts Danny! I'm helping you," she argued back. "Come on…please?"
Danny smiled a little at the pout. Any other time he'd be happy to have Dani back him up. He knew she could handle herself and she was a great partner. This was different though, and he just couldn't risk it.
"Don't worry," Danny said and gave her a thumbs up. "I'll have this guy taken care of before you know it."
"Heh, so sure of yourself," a voice sounded from behind the group. "But, we always were cocky, weren't we Daniel?"
Danny knew that voice; it was one that was burned in his memory, despite the time that had passed since he had last heard it. It still made him wake up in the middle of the night sometimes, and made his blood run cold at hearing it now. Whirling around, he came face-to-face with Dan Phantom, smirking down at his younger self.
"Hello Daniel," he said cruelly.
End Chapter One
DUN DUN DUN! All right, I doubt anyone was shocked, I said already he was in the story but HEY, I bet Danny didn't see it coming! Anyway, sorry for leaving it at a cliffhanger like this, well… no I'm not. Not really. I will be getting the next chapter out soon though, so you can see what the hell is going on. Till then, please review. I always love hearing from fellow fans. Whether it's good or to tell me I royally screwed something up, all of the comments really help.