“What the hell are you doing in my closet? Get out of there!”
“We must speak Phantom.”
“Didn’t Clockwork tell you guys to leave me the hell alone? Do I need to get a restraining order?”
“We do not follow his orders!”
Danny fell back as three ghosts floated out of his closet, like demented clowns coming out of a tiny car. The ghosts were essentially long cloaks attached to giant eye balls. He didn’t hate these ghosts because of their lack of fashion sense, although that didn’t help their cause, but more because they ordered his execution without so much of a ‘by your leave’ when he was 15 and Danny was the type to hold grudges. So were the Observants come to think of it. Clockwork had saved Danny, and his family, and the world, against the Observants’ wishes and they’d held it against Danny ever since.
Needless to say they weren’t friends, not even at the annual ghost Christmas truce.
Danny folded his arms over his chest. He was starting his 4th year of being half ghost and he had lost any and all patience for ghostly shenanigans in his bedroom.
“You’ve got 60 seconds before I transform and make it clear why I don’t let people on my turf.”
The Observant in the middle, the tallest one, was holding two very familiar artifacts. Danny hadn’t noticed at first because they’d been hidden by the sleeve of the ridiculous cloak the Observant was wearing. When the Observant floated forward and lifted up his hands, Danny hissed like a cat.
“What the fu-”
“Phantom. The strand of time has twisted and made the way forward clear.” Said the one in the middle.
“You must ascend and accept your place.” Said the one to the left.
“It is your destiny.” Said the one to the right.
“I swear to Clockwork if you’ve let Pariah Dark out again I will beat your asses until your eyeballs pop.”
“Pariah Dark sleeps on.” Righty promised.
“We have retrieved these artifacts of power, to present them to you.” Lefty explained.
“You shall be our new king.” Middle ordered.
“Why the hell am I king?” Danny demanded.
“You defeated Pariah Dark.” The annoying short one on the left said, as if Danny hadn’t been there.
“You have never lost a battle. Not even against yourself.” The middle added, as if reminding Danny about the time they tried to kill him was going to warm him to their insane idea.
“Time has spoken, you will lead all ghosts into a new age.” The right finished, as if anything the time stream said had ever been valid to Danny.
“Yeah no thanks.” Danny said, letting the transformation from human to ghost take over his body. “Get those things out of my house and do not ever get into my closet again.”
“We offer you ultimate power!” The middle shouted.
“The chance to lead!” The right argued.
“We will…leave you alone?” The left offered.
“No tha- Now wait a minute, what did you just say?”
“If you accept the position of king, the Observants will have no right to come to you or judge you. You will be above us. And we may only interact when you wish it.” Lefty said. “As it has been since the beginning of time.”
“Now that, is an attractive offer.” Danny said, letting his glow die down some to show he wasn’t about to beat the three Observants up for interrupting him in the middle of getting ready for school. “What else you got?”
“As King you can command spaces free of interference!” Righty said. “You could order Amity Park be left alone and your orders would be followed.”
“No more ghost attacks in the middle of the night?” Danny mused. “Tempting, truly tempting.”
In truth most ghosts who came to attack Amity were quasi-friends of Danny. Ghosts who had once been trying to kill him but now saw him as an annoying little brother that they could go to when they needed to let off some steam. There hadn’t been a real invasion for Amity in months and it had left Danny optimistic for his grades his senior year.
“So do you accept our offer? Will you become King of all Ghosts?”
“What’s the catch? Do I have to live in the Ghost Zone? Be in ghost form all the time? Will I lose my mind?” Danny asked, suddenly very suspicious. If things seemed too good to be true, they generally were.
“No.” The middle one said shaking his head, or rather his giant eyeball. “You may be called upon by ghosts in times of true crisis.”
“You will be the representative of all ghosts.” Righty explained.
“And you will have the power that comes with it.” Lefty promised.
“Yeah but why are you giving me that power? You hate me.”
“I could never hate you, you are our future king.”
“Cut the crap.”
The three observants looked at each other, blinked a few times in that weird way they did, and then looked back at him.
“Something is coming to destroy the balance between the realms of the living and the dead.”
“We have foreseen a sundering of the boundaries between the two.”
“Destruction, untold destruction.”
“And we see you at the beginning, a dam against destruction.”
“You shall keep the balance.”
“You who stands between life and death.”
“So you want me to be a body guard.” Danny finished, ignoring the weird prophecy speak. Finally, he understood why these guys were here. The Observants were able to observe the time stream, just like Clockwork did. Unlike Clockwork however, they could only see one possible timeline. Clockwork could see every single possible time line and made his decisions accordingly. The Observants saw time as immutable and the one timeline they saw, the be all end all.
Which meant that if they saw the end of the world in their time line, they tended to freak out and overcompensate. Hence Danny’s almost murder by the hands of three different future ghosts and then an evil version of himself. Something Danny tried to think about as little as possible. Even to this day he lived in constant fear of turning into that, of falling backwards into evil. A fear he hadn’t had until the Observants had declared him evil and condemned him to death for crimes he had yet to commit.
Danny had come to the conclusion months ago, that the only prophecies he’d ever listen to were the one’s Clockwork gave him. At least that guy had some sense. Don’t get Danny wrong, that guy was an asshole, but that was mostly because he was practically omniscient. The Observants didn’t have that kind of clout. Danny sighed as he looked at the far too eager Observants.
“If you’re lying to me, I will find out about it and I will make you suffer.”
“We tell no falsehoods!”
“Only you can save the universe!”
“Take upon yourself the ring of rage and crown of fire! Fulfill your destiny!”
“So, if I take this stuff. You’ll leave me alone? For the rest of my existence. And I can keep ghosts from attacking humans without having to fight.”
“Yes.” And that was all Danny needed to hear.
“You will represent all ghosts.” Yeah, yeah, yeah Righty, as you’ve said.
“As king you can be summoned to those who-” Danny wasn’t going to let them monologue anymore, he had to get to class.
“Yeah yeah yeah.” Danny said waving them off. He grabbed the crown and the ring and slipped both of them onto his body in the appropriate places.
Just as he was about to tell the Observants to get the hell out of Fentonworks, the crown lit on fire and energy coursed painfully through his body. Danny shouted in shock and fell to his knees. The Observants circled his fallen form and began to chant something, some ritual that sounded way too much like a creepy nursery rhyme for Danny’s liking. Danny listened as pain licked at every one of his nerves like flames. The pain increased in intensity until it rivaled the accident that had half killed him as the Observants got to the end of their stupid chant.
Just as Danny was about to black out from the pain, the nursery rhyme ended and the pain faded.
“It is done.”
“Rise, King Phantom.”
“We shall bow to you fore-”
“Get out of my house.” Danny growled, from his position of having his face half smushed on the floor.
“As you command.”
They disappeared with not even a pop to announce their departure. Danny sighed in relief and let himself fully slump onto the wooden floor. It felt cold compared to his overheated and still sensitive skin. He probably would have continued to lay there, agony coming and going like the tides, if it wasn’t for his dad banging on the door.
“DANNY BOY! You’re going to be late!”
“Sorry dad!” Danny shouted. “I’ll be down in a minute.”
Danny pushed himself off of the ground, he felt mostly the same, his ghost core was sharper than before however. He could feel the difference wearing both the ring of rage and crown of fire had done. His powers were…more than they had been before. It was impossible to describe, everything just felt more. Nothing he couldn’t handle though he was sure. He pulled off the ring, and the crown and to his disappointment his core felt the same. He didn’t revert back to a weaker form.
Danny looked at his half open closet and picked up the pile of dirty clothing he’d stuffed in there. He placed the crown and the ring in the bottom of his closet and reburied it. No one would find them there. He then transformed back into his human form and finished putting on his shoes.
And that was the last time Danny thought about the visit from the Observants, their dumb nursery rhyme chant, or the powerful artifacts hidden in his closet. He didn’t mention it to Sam or Tucker. The ghosts who came into Amity, if they even knew about the change, didn’t bring it up. It was easy to forget in the midst of a senior year where Danny had no solid plans for his future and advisors and teachers were on his case about not having any passions or drive.
Danny was pretty sure he would have forgotten about it entirely if it weren’t for his first summoning two weeks after his impromptu coronation.
Being magically kidnapped to a Hydra base somewhere in Russia was not anyone’s idea of a good time. But hey at least he got to meet the Avengers.
It wasn’t like it’d ever happen again.