Disclaimer: I do not own Danny Phantom, or anything from American history.


America's Past/Danny's Lessons

Tired after watching Fourth of July fireworks, eleven-year-old Danny Fenton pulled on his blue pajamas with white stars, yawned, and rolled over in his bed. The fireworks had started after dark, and continued for a good half hour or so. Danny closed his eyes and was immediately asleep.

He had a strange dream that night. He was in some sort of tower, surrounded by clocks. "Tick-tock-tock-tick-tock-tick-tock-tock-tick," they sang. "Coo-coo! Coo-coo!"

There was a short, simple melody emerging from the bells at the top of the clock tower. The melody repeated three times. Then, once the song was done, the largest bell rang eleven loud tones that reverberated inside the tower. It was a quarter to midnight.

Slowly, a blue ghost, with red eyes and a scar materialized in front of him. Seeing a ghost would've normally scared the boy, but he was asleep, and there was something about him that made him seem nonthreatening.

"Good evening," the ghost greeted him. "I am Clockwork, the Master of Time. I have many things to show you, before you grow to have white hair. Doubtless, you will forget what you'll be shown here, but the lessons will remain in your subconscious. The lessons will come to you when you need them."

"Up until you see yourself, the you'll see scenes, and hear quotes from your nation's history. In honor of Independence Day, of course."

"Okay," said dream-Danny. "I'll watch, Clockwork."

The tower dissolved around Danny and Clockwork. It was replaced by crowded cobblestone streets, filled with people dressed in long-outdated fashions, and lined with old styles of buildings.

"Welcome to the American colonies," said Clockwork. "I thought we'd start with this scene, because this is the Fourth of July. Danny, would you kindly go into that building on your left?"

Despite the heat of the day, the windows and doors of the building were all shut. Danny walked up to the door, and reached to open it.

Clockwork, however, stopped him. "I think they'd prefer the door to remain closed," he said, in explanation of his actions. The ghost gave a small, somewhat amused smiled. "Just walk through the closed door. You'll have to get used to things like that eventually."

Danny's dreaming mind gave no question to Clockwork's words. It just ordered his dream-self to walk intangibly through the door.

He entered the room full of people, each giving their opinions boldly for everyone else to hear. In the corner of the room, sat a man with an old writing utensil in his hand, and a piece of parchment in front of him.

"That is Thomas Jefferson," Clockwork told Danny. "He is writing down the Declaration of Independence."

"Everyone in this room knows, Daniel," Clockwork continued, "that they must challenge the King of England in defense of the land they live on. They know that their chances of defeating the king aren't bright, but they still need to challenge him if they want to be rid of England's ridiculous ways of dealing with the colonies. They believe God will help them, if they are fighting for the right things."

"You too, will have a king to defeat one day," Clockwork foretold. "Your chances of winning won't look good, but you too can get help."

"I'm going to fight a king?" Danny interrupted. "Now I know I'm dreaming!"

"As I was saying, you should follow these historical examples. They were willing to put their lives on the line for their home. You will need to be willing to do the same, for the sake of everyone around you."

The room in colonial America was fading, and it was being replaced by a workshop.

"Daniel, meet Thomas Edison," Clockwork said.

"Hello," said Danny.

"He can't hear you," Clockwork informed him. "He can't see you. You're only here to watch."

Danny watched as time raced by, at an amazing speed. He saw one lightbulb after another fail. Finally, one lightbulb produced a steady supply of light.

"And the lesson here is not to give up on something important to you. Thomas Edison himself said that he never failed at making a lightbulb - he just discovered a thousand ways that don't work."

"You may not find one thousand methods that won't give you the skills you want, such as the ability to duplicate, but you will still discover many ways that won't work. Don't quit trying because you don't get the results you were aiming for."

Edison's workshop slowly disappeared. Danny found himself and Clockwork floating in the air. They looked down on an old city filled with damaged and destroyed buildings.

"Berlin, Germany, not long after World War II, " Clockwork whispered. "Look over there, Danny."

Danny looked where Clockwork pointed. He could hear and see low-flying airplanes.

"Those US and British planes are airlifting supplies into East Berlin. The country that controls that section doesn't want them in East Germany, but they won't abandon their humanitarian mission. You will have to help others, later in life, and you will get hurt for your efforts. Learn to care for others enough to help them, even at personal cost to you. You will have to learn to help those who aren't so friendly to you, as well, like Dash."

As Danny watched, food dropped down out of the planes.

"Will you help others out, if you know you'll be hurt for it?" Clockwork asked Danny.

"I guess," he replied. "But I don't want to, Clockwork."

"Sometimes you'll have to do things you don't want to do, Danny, but you'll still have to do them," Clockwork replied. "Doing those things is a sign that you're growing up. I'll leave you for now, but there are still a few things for you to hear and see."

Clockwork faded as he spoke. In his place came John F. Kennedy.

Kennedy was talking. Danny stood and watched his lips move for a while before he heard Kennedy say, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country."

Kennedy was swiftly replaced by Teddy Roosevelt. "We have nothing to fear but fear itself," he said.

Slowly, Roosevelt too disappeared. In his place came something flat and thick, laying face-down.

Danny picked it up to examine it. He discovered the item was a mirror, so he looked at his reflection.

There was something wrong with the mirror. It was his face the mirror was showing him, but his hair was white, and his eyes glowed green.

"GET OUT OF HERE, PHANTOM!" a voice screamed. Danny couldn't see who was yelling, but the voice continued. "I DON'T WANT TO SEE YOUR FACE IN TOWN AGAIN, GHOST BOY!"

Then, echoing in his mind, he heard: We have nothing to fear but fear itself - Nothing to fear but fear itself - Fear itself - We have nothing to fear but fear itself -

The face in the mirror stared back at him, with obvious ghostly qualities, and the look of fierce determination in its eyes.

- Fear itself.

Danny woke up in the early morning, screaming.