The Fentons were not your average family. At least, that was always Danny's opinion. The things that the small child's impressionable mind would see on TV proved his own point, and, in a sense, formed it in the first place.
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Daniel Fenton knew his family wasn't normal. Commercials on TV showed families eating together, children playing ball with their parents, family picnics, and most of all, the mother or the father going to their jobs.
First of all, Danny's parents did not have normal jobs. Ghost hunters, is what they called themselves. “Ectoologists,” they used to say to an even younger Danny, so young he couldn't even pronounce the word. “We study ghosts, and hunt them. Ghosts are evil, nonfeeling, left-over bits of consciousnesses that used to belong to human beings. Don't ever get near them, Danny. They could seriously hurt you.” They used to warn him, back when they used to speak to him at all, that is.
That was the second thing. Danny's parents started to completely ignore him once he turned six. Not that they would know that; they hardly ever remembered his birthday. His older sister Jazz started to care for him then, after his parents started locking themselves away in their lab and only coming out on very few occasions. On those times that they came out, Danny could always hear the loud clang of the two-ton metal lab door crashing closed behind them.
Danny would shudder, wondering what would happen if he ever got caught between the door and the wall.
His parents would stumble out of the lab in a daze, grab some food, and shamble back down the creaky wooden stairs, mumbling something about ghosts and portals. Jazz would scoff, and bury her face deeper in her book. Then she would absentmindedly push a plate of eggs toward Danny, muttering begrudgingly about how ghosts weren't real and how his parents were tainting Danny's childhood with their insane proffesion.
Danny would sit at the table, feeling lonely. Then he would eat, and promptly go to bed.
It always took a while for him to sleep.
Presently, it was the evening before Danny's seventh birthday, and he was experiencing one of those sleepless nights. He tossed and turned, but couldn't seem to lose consciousness.
His throat clenched and his face warped as he started to cry silently into his pillow. No matter how hard he tried to not be sad about tomorrow, he just couldn't find a bright side. His parents would forget his birthday again, he knew it. He knew they didn't mean to…they were just too busy…right?
It didn't matter. They would forget, and Danny would have no one to hang out with because he had no friends at school, and Jazz was still at the boarding school his parents had sent her to when they realized how gifted she was. So Danny would be all alone again this year, and he couldn't take it.
So he cried.
And someone watched him cry.
Clockwork had seen this kind of thing countless times. But as he peered through the mirror at this boy, he could feel himself finally start to pity little Daniel. But, why? It didn't make any sense. Clockwork didn't feel sorry for people, much less humans. He was the ghost of time, not a charity case.
Clockwork had feelings, sure, but at this point in his afterlife they were mostly washed away by everything he has seen. Horrifying futures, scarring pasts, watching people's lives flit by so fast it was almost as if they had never lived at all…it was these things that seemed to dull the colors of his emotions, making him a rather stoic being, hardly fazed by what he saw anymore.
So why was it that little Daniel could paint these emotions back on in such a short span of time? Of course time was just relative to Clockwork, who could stop time himself, and look into the future. But still…why?
Maybe it was because Clockwork had been watching the boy for a while now, longer than most he had kept an eye on. Maybe it was because Clockwork was a fan of irony, and what was more ironic than the son of ghost hunters being helped by ghosts? Maybe it was because Clockwork, despite himself, had started to see the rather adorable and sad child as his own so-
That did it.
Clockwork sighed, running a hand over his ethereal blue face. He was going to help this child, wasn't he?
“Wulf,” he called, knowing exactly when his old friend would show up.
Wulf entered the Clockwork's rather creepy tower about twenty minutes later, having gotten a summons from the old ghost and not knowing exactly why.
“Clockwork,” Wulf rumbled in esperanto, his native language. “What do you need?”
“…I need you to bring a certain child to me, at this time, tomorrow. “
Wulf was confused, but didn't question it. “I would be delighted to do my friend such a favor…
Now, who is this child you speak of?”
Well, um, this is awkward. I don't know if anyone will actually read this…but I hope you enjoyed!! Fluffy bits are coming soon, um…new update soon too, hopefully! Also, cover art and story are mine, but the chapter art and the series Danny Phantom does not belong to me…Please vote if you liked it!