A/N: Yes yes, it's actually me. I'm actually updating, and ASU of all things! I know it's been forever (I'm too ashamed to put the actual time up) but words just…they can't describe my apologies. Seriously, they can't. Even if I expanded my writing talent ten-fold I still would not be able to find a way to express my apologies to you in a way that would be fitting. The amount of time I made you wait was inexcusable, and I know that and I'm so so so so sorry. I deserve to be completely cast out of the DP fandom for this and to lose all of you as readers, but I'm still going to keep trucking regardless. I have no suitable excuses and I have no suitable apologies so I'm just going to stop yammering and pray and hope that the chapter does it for itself (even though I know it won't).

First, another warning. While not as graphic as the last chapter might have been, this one's still a battle so there's still injuries and blood and such. As I said last chapter, if it's not your cup of tea, I can summarize it for you, but it's honestly not that bad for this one. Still, thought I'd put it in there to cover my butt just in case XD

Enjoy (you deserve to after all this time). Oh, and please forgive the unimaginative title, but I really couldn't think of one that I thought fit as much as this one did. I don't usually like using song titles to be chapter titles, but o me it kinda sums up a lot of the themes I tried to portray through the battle so, here's hoping it's decent.

Chapter Twenty-Three
My Immortal

Danny's mind was reeling. Visions of his unconscious and possibly dead family flashed across his mind's eye. He saw them caked with blood, spotted with bruises, bent at odd angles, looks of intense fear on all their faces. All these images came, each flashing like a strobe-light that paralyzed him so he could do nothing but watch the horrible procession of grisly images. He couldn't do anything, couldn't focus any of his thoughts on any one specific emotion or action, so many were present. He wanted to sob in desolation, scream in horror, demolish everything in his fury, but nothing happened as he just stared down the alley at their fallen bodies.

Finally a bemused cackle shook him from the horrific loop of visions, piercing the heavy silence permeating the air of the street. He looked up at the source of the inappropriate sound, eyes narrowed despite his overwhelming sadness.

Slowly Dan turned to face Danny, his face and clothes speckled with Valerie's blood, his eyes alight in ferocious glee. "There, now things are as they should be," he purred with delicious satisfaction. "You, facing me alone, with no advantages, no lucky chances for you to use to weasel your way out this time. Now, you are mine."

In an instant all of Danny's rage, anger, desolation, and guilt all solidified into one mass of absolute loathing towards the blood-soaked nightmare grinning fiendishly before him. His gaze hardened, the glowing green of his livid eyes reflecting off the tears still lingering there before he charged at him, filled with righteous fury and a need for revenge. Anger clenched his fists tight and thoughts of his family fueled his muscles as he swung at him, missing horribly as Dan simply just phased through his attack as he disappeared.

He laughed cruelly, appearing further down the street. "You honestly think it would be that simple? That you could just charge at me and lay me to waste with nothing but your fists? You will be a much easier prey than I thought," he cackled as his gloved hands wreathed with green flame that he promptly shot towards the beleaguered hero. The blast reached him before he could even process it and he hissed as it scorched his side.

But one measly burn wasn't going to hinder his righteous determination. He had a family to avenge and he would do it. This fight was no longer about clearing his reputation with the town or saving it; it was for much more selfish reasons now. It had begun noble and it still was in a way, but now it was more to wreak revenge in the name of his family, in the name of those that might have been lost…

His own hands filled with green light as he charged at Dan again, determination guiding his actions as he disappeared just before Dan and reappeared behind him to get the edge on him. The blasts caught him unaware in the back, drawing an aggravated wince from the malevolent ghost. He turned quickly, back-handing the younger ghost forcefully to send him flying. He skidded along the ground, the sharp contact burning him even through the spandex.

The dark silhouette of the enemy filled his blurry vision, red eyes piercing at him. "So dedicated," he mocked. "And what perchance is fueling that hm? Your family? Your need for revenge? You know that is a rather dark thought…"

Another bright light filled Danny's hand as he shot another furious blast at his alter-ego.

He laughed, dodging the blast easily. "Well that seemed to have struck a nerve now didn't it? But then again, I can see why it would. After all, this is all your fault, their murders. You didn't talk them out of helping you enough. I know you tried, because I know you, better than anyone possibly can, and I know that you didn't want them to come out here and help you fight me. And yet…you did. You failed to prevent them from coming and thus failed to prevent their death…"

The lingering guilt he felt from Massey's death was amplified, stretching out to not only his death, but the death of anyone in his family. He allowed them to come and he allowed them to be hurt and thus he allowed their death. It seemed like anyone who tried to help him ended up hurt or dead.

They had all come out there to fight for him, to help him despite his wishes otherwise. They convinced him that they'd be fine, that between all of them they could take him. They had argued so vehemently, so verbosely, that he was so convinced, so sure that no harm would come to any of them, that he had lost track of his need to protect them all. He had let Dan divide and conquer them all and it was all his fault. Any pain they were in, any death that may have happened, it was all his fault.

"No!" he cried angrily as another blast of green light shot through the air, only to be deflected by a lazily created ecto-shield. He couldn't let him know that he'd gotten to him, he couldn't. Was it hopeless? Most likely. Because as he unfortunately said, no one did know him as much as Dan did…

He simply laughed as he dissipated the protective ecto-shield. "Oh yes…you do feel it. I can almost see it surrounding you, weighing you down. You carry the burden of guilt, the burden of death. It was a burden I felt I had to bear for many of my early years. After all, I was to blame for the murder of my family. Our family. See how similar we both end up being when time has run its course? I lost our family through unintentional means and now, you have lost ours through similar unintentional means. Well actually, yours may be more intentional than mine since it was actually a form of you that did the—"

He was cut short as an angry ecto-blast caught him right in the face, making him stagger back in the air while a furious Danny seethed, his fists flaming green.

"Ah, I can see that struck a nerve now didn't it?" he smirked, brushing the blast to the face off as a mere surface injury. "What, you do not like hearing of our similarities? I must say that's a bit foolish and close-minded of you. We are nothing but similarities, you and I."

"I told you, I'm not you," Danny growled before charging at him, hoping to crack his fist against his jaw.

He ducked easily, bringing his own powerful fist up into Danny's stomach. He gasped wetly at the pain, crumpling off Dan's fist and onto the hard cement floor. Dan chuckled, leering over him imperiously. "Oh you continue to say that but do you really mean it? Are you really that dissimilar from me?"

"Yes," he grunted firmly.

Dan laughed, the sinister, knowing laugh of one who could see right past any façade and into the deep, inner truths pleading to stay hidden. "Just think about it," he taunted. "We have the same past, the same upbringing, that you cannot deny as much as you want to. We have both faced the agony of the portal accident. We have both struggled through gaining and learning about our powers. We have both faced the shun of not only our community but of our parents as well for what we had become. We both have endeavored to keep the balance between our grades and our duty as a hero, but alas we have both also failed. And now, we have both experienced the death of our family members. We are more similar now than we have ever been. The only difference between us now is that while you linger at the beginning of the path towards the blessing freedom of evil, I stand at the end."

Danny's eyes glowed fiercely as he boiled with rage. He didn't care how many similarities Dan found between them; they weren't the same. They would never be the same. He had swore to his family, had vowed not to become Dan, and he would keep that promise to them if it killed him. "I don't care how many similarities you find," he snapped. "What matters most are the differences. I've never murdered anyone. I've never tortured an innocent victim and enjoyed it. I protect the world, not destroy it. I'm not evil like you."

"Yet," he smirked, red eyes glittering.

A streetlamp near them exploded, darkening the street around them. And then, inspiration struck the young, troubled fighter as he finally realized how to get a hit on his seemingly untouchable opponent. He lifted up a trashcan behind Dan while feigning with an ecto-blast that was easily dodged by the experienced ghost. However, he didn't see the trashcan being thrown in the air behind him, slamming into his back powerfully. But even through the hit he still stayed standing, laughing at the attempt.

"Oh please? A trash can? My you are desperate," he chuckled. "Let me show you how to make a trash can really do some damage…" He lifted it above his head, making it glow with powerful green energy. But he never got a chance to throw it as the trash can exploded in his hands, searing his hands and scorching his gloves as charred trash fell about him like snow.

"You mean like that?" Danny smirked, actually managing a laugh. But Dan was by his side in an instant, squeezing a hand around his neck.

"I am not amused," he growled, throwing him into a wall hard enough to leave a crack. He charged at him, hoping to slam him further into the wall but Danny reacted quickly, phasing through the ground below while he concentrated on making the wall explode in front of Dan, charring him further. His new abilities were so easy to activate, like his emotions were producing a chain reaction for their use. Thinking about his family filled him with the sadness he needed to activate his telepathy, but it shortly turned to rage as he realized that the ghost he was battling was the cause of all his sadness and that activated the explosive ability of his anger. Finally, finally he was gaining the upper hand.

He fought Dan relentlessly, using every trick he could think of. Anything he could find in the street he used to throw at Dan. Trashcans, streetlamps, mailboxes, bits of debris that had fallen from ruined buildings, he threw it all towards his enemy, exploding it all when it approached his vicinity.

Of course Dan started to get wise, expecting the various items flying towards him and the accompanying explosions. He started employing more shields to protect himself, more ecto-blasts to shoot the incoming debris, and while it prevented more damage to himself, it aggravated him for he was too busy dodging attacks from his younger, less mature opponent than being able to do any damage to him. That wasn't how this was supposed to work and it was time for another strategy. He had been content verbally torturing and weakening him, but if he wanted to get physical, he'd get physical.

He waited for the right moment before he acted, sacrificing his own safety as he took an explosive blast to his shoulder. But by not paying attention to deflecting it he was able to duplicate himself into three. Two of them charged at Danny, grabbing his arms and slamming him into a wall while they held him there tight. He struggled, green ectoplasm trickling out the side of his mouth from the strong blow. Dan flew before him, grinning madly as his hands glowed green. With a sadistic chortle he shot a ray of ectoplasmic energy at the detained hero, channeling all the energy into his stomach.

Danny screamed as he felt the continuous, searing pain in his abdomen. It burned his stomach, scorching the spandex and skin beneath it with agonizing slowness. The putrid stench of burning flesh permeated the air around him, filling his nostrils and collecting in his throat. His legs kicked spasmodically as the duplicates held him, forcing him to endure the intense agony as the ecto-blast continued it's ruthless path through his abdomen.

"Hurts, doesn't it Danny? To be skewered on the end of an ecto-blast?" he taunted cruelly, increasing the power and diameter of the insidious blast. "This is the punishment you've earned for getting clever. Here I was, perfectly content with our simple conversation, and then you decided to get physical," he growled, increasing it momentarily in his anger.

Danny bit back a scream as he winced, his pained face framed by the ominous light of the blast.

"Something must have aggravated you, and I'm intrigued to know what it is…"

"You're…troubling me," he grunted as his head flailed back against the wall as he jerked against the hold of the other two Dans.

"Oh no, it's not just me that's bringing this out in you. Usually you are not the one to put an end to the witty banter, no matter whom you fight. No, there is something more…"

"Maybe it's because you…murdered my…family!" he roared in anger colored with pain.

"No…it is even something more than that… I think it's simply the fact that your family was murdered."

"Yeah, by…you!"

"The guilty party doesn't matter. They were murdered and that's enough to enrage you so. Can't you see it? The deeper meaning? I can and I can't even immediately feel what you feel. You're frightened, frightened of turning into me. I was created by the total annihilation of my family and now, here you are, facing a similar dilemma. For all your promises and oaths that you will never become me, you are currently facing the start of the journey yourself down the road that will eventually lead to me."

Despite the white-hot pain raging through his stomach he had to stop and ponder at that, the unfortunate truth of their situation. He was frightened, and he was scared that he was going to end up down the same path. He had retorted that he wouldn't and upheld that he was going to keep his promise, but he couldn't deny that he had always feared that he wouldn't be able to uphold that promise, no matter how hard he tried. Not that he had ever planned on admitting that to Dan, but it seemed like he knew it anyways.

He laughed. "Now you see it. A little slow I might add, but you see it nonetheless. So now here you are, fighting me in the hope of symbolizing the battle with the forces within you that are currently guiding you to become me. You hope that by destroying me and winning this battle you'll win the battle inside you, but it won't do any good. Even if by some miracle you, in your immaturity, are able to defeat me you will only be replacing me with yourself, eventually," he smirked, red eyes gleaming in his verbal triumph.

He choked out a scream as he closed his eyes, shaking his head vehemently. No, he couldn't think that; he just couldn't, no matter how truthful it sounded. This battle didn't have some deeper meaning and it had nothing to do with becoming evil. This was about him avenging his injured family and saving the town from this menace. It wasn't some symbol for an internal struggle and it wasn't fruitless. By defeating Dan he was going to save the town and his family and because he was never going to be evil, there was going to be no replacement. Dan had it all wrong. He was just trying to get at him, as usual. Unfortunately though, it seemed like he had done a decent job this time. He just couldn't get it out of his head, like a splinter wedged deep into his skin. No matter how much he tried to pry it out with his tweezers of logic, it stayed stubbornly in place, rooted to the spot as a constant reminder.

So there he was, fumbling for another, better pair of tweezers, another reason why there was no truth to these worries. The battle was for revenge. He wasn't going to become Dan and he had a sincere promise that he wasn't going to. His family wasn't dead.

His eyes opened as he looked at the street surrounding him, at the family members still on the floor. They weren't all dead. They couldn't all be dead. They were easily just as alive as they were dead. The injuries…they could be fatal but they…they couldn't be. And so long as at least one of them was alive, so long as there was one person there for him to watch out for him and be there for him, he wasn't going to turn into Dan. Dan had his entire family removed from him, his entire support structure. If he at least had just one family member or friend alive that could support him…he'd be okay. He'd be okay.

"They're…they're not all…dead," he retorted with a gasp, still writhing against the wall as the blast started burning a decent indentation in his skin.

"How do you know?" he pressed with a gleeful smile on his face. "The wounds could be fatal they could be concussive, you don't know and you won't, and that is eating you up inside. It's driving you crazy, not knowing. You can't pretend anymore that they're okay because you know, deep inside, that the possibility of one of more of them being dead is very, very high and it's breaking you."

"No!" he screamed out, trying to block out what he was saying. The thought of them being alive was what was keeping him going now; it was his fuel for the battle. He couldn't let Dan get to him, not again, not after he'd restored and renewed his willpower.

Dan chuckled at the continuous dismissal, but he knew it affected him. He could just tell in his eyes. "But I assure you that if they're not dead now, by the time I'm done with you, they will be. And maybe if you're lucky, you'll be able to join them," he snarled as he increased the intensity of the blast even more, the light of the blast almost blinding.

Another agonizing scream was wrenched from Danny's throat while onlookers shifted awkwardly, knowing that they needed to help their failing hero, but none of them wanted to go up against the menacing ghost, especially after what he did to that poor reporter. He had killed him so quickly and so effortlessly that it convinced them all to stay far away, despite all the bodies cast aside along the street and their hero about to be gored by the piercing ecto-blast.

And through it all Danny continued to scream as the blast almost burned it's way through his skin, threatening to touch muscle. He kicked and struggled, desiring to be free of the searing blast, but they were holding him too tight to even make them budge.

"There's nothing in the universe that can stop me," the Dan duplicates holding Danny taunted darkly in unison while the one controlling the slow progression of the blast continued to smirk, relishing in the expressions of intense pain creasing his victim's face, the sickly green glow of the blast only enhancing them.

Danny couldn't help but shiver, because he unfortunately had to admit that seemed to be the case now. He was the only one that could stop him, he knew it, and now it looked like he was powerless to do it. He couldn't struggle free, couldn't stop the continuous agony of the blast; he couldn't even phase through the wall because of the ectoplasmically enhanced grip placed upon him. He wasn't usually one for thinking that this was the end but it certainly had that feel to it. He couldn't escape, and there was no one left to help them because they had all been injured or killed trying to help him earlier, so now it looked as if he was going to meet his end too by being gored by Dan's cruelly inserted ecto-blast.

What a way to go. Speared on the end of a ray of ectoplasm. It was certainly something that would be talked about, that was for sure. At least, it was something that had better be talked about due to how much pain he was going to endure for it to happen. Maybe if he was lucky he'd just pass out from the pain before he died or once the blast destroyed his organs he'd be dead and wouldn't have to wait for the blast to make it all the way through. Regardless, it was going to hurt and it was going to be a much more painful and gruesome death than he would have ever wanted.

He found his eyes roaming about the street, falling upon each family member in turn, eyes lingering on his parents when something caught his eye that made his heart soar.

A breath.

He saw a breath, saw the gentle rise and fall of his mother's chest and as he continued to look on, saw his father's as well. They were weak and they looked forced, but they were still there. They were alive! They were still alive! He could have cheered if he wasn't in so much pain. Glowing tears ran down his cheeks, tears of joy that were mistaken as tears of desolation by his captor. His parents were alive! There was still someone there for him, someone to go back to once all this was over, someone to love and care for him and someone for him to love and care for in return. But their time looked short. The breaths were barely visible as it was and he knew they didn't have much time left if they didn't have any medical attention.

Suddenly, his entire outlook changed. This wasn't going to be where he met his end. He had to get through this, had to fight Dan, had to win. Only then could he take his parents to the hospital and get them the care that they needed. They were depending on him to save them, so he could take them to the hospital so they could live. Their lives depended on him.

He felt the sense of purpose within him, felt the great stirring of powerful emotion and he knew what he had to do. It was risky and he might end up being completely skewered on the end of the ecto-blast, but it was his only option and he went for it blindly, not caring for the risk so long as he had a chance of saving his dying parents.

With great concentration he stilled his shrieks of pain, facing Dan with a hard, dangerous glare. "Dan, there is one person in this universe that can stop you: yourself," he snarled before taking a huge breath, letting it out in a screech as sonic waves exploded from his mouth, knocking Dan to his feet and stopping the ecto-blast's progression. He turned to face the other two duplicates, the power of the wail making them disappear before he dropped down to the floor onto his knees. He panted profusely as he curled around his aching stomach, struggling hard to remain in his ghost form. It wouldn't do to change back, not right now, not when he needed his ghost form and it's powers more than ever. Dan was not going to be happy that he just foiled what he was sure was a deliciously evil and tortuous plan and he knew he was going to be out for revenge.

And he certainly was. It didn't take him long to recover before he teleported above Danny, raining ecto-blasts down on his weakened, pained body. The hero cried out as he felt the familiar burn of the blasts across his back, finally finding the energy to turn intangible and sink through the floor where he was safe from the slaughter. But even then it was only a passing sanctuary before he felt a searing hand grab his neck, ripping him out of the ground and throwing him down the street. He skidded along the ground as he was forced to regain tangibility, feeling the harsh burn of the asphalt ravage his damaged body.

Dan didn't waste his time in shooting over towards him, not even giving him a chance to return fire before sweeping him up again. He threw him harshly against another wall and he groaned as he hit the hard plaster wall followed by the smack of concrete pavement. He managed to get up onto one shaking elbow, looking up with teary eyes at the ghost that was hovering before him, hands glowing a dangerous green. Immediately he summed up his power and created a glowing dome of ectoplasm to surround and protect him as Dan's ecto-blasts ravaged the dome.

A growl escaped through clenched teeth before Dan tried again, hoping to break through the protective barrier or at least weaken him to the point where he would be forced to drop it. More ecto-blasts came hurling towards the ecto-dome and Danny grunted as he kept up the energy to deflect them all. More and more ecto-blasts came raining down on the poor dome that Danny struggled to keep up until finally Dan had enough and rushed towards it himself, punching, kicking, and hammering away at the dome.

Danny could feel each attack made on the dome. Each punch, each blast, each buckling kick further weakened the dome's defenses, requiring more and more energy to stay strong, energy that he was starting to lose as the minutes of the onslaught dragged on. He started wincing and grunting as he tried to keep it up, feeling the fogginess of unconsciousness begin to creep up on him as he started to feel more tired and weak by the second. Finally he just couldn't keep it up anymore and it flickered before completely disappearing. He was met with a further series of kicks and punches, only this time to his actual person, and he winced with pain as he felt the bruises form on his exhausted body.

Once his enemy was free from the dome, again Dan wasted no time in continuing with his relentless attack, slamming a powerful fist into his lower back, which wrenched a scream of pain from his victim. Another one followed and Danny spit out bright green ectoplasm onto the street while he groaned and cried out in his pain as the punches continued to plague his injured back. Punch after punch came down upon him, rendering him completely crippled at the hands of his opponent. He couldn't even think through the pain, too exhausted to do anything but try and stay conscious through the agony. His back was searing with pain; his mouth filled with the citric taste of ectoplasm. It was all he could think about, all he could focus on, until he heard a small but determined voice cry out to him from the sidelines.

"You can do it Danny!"

He managed to lift his tear-stained face from the ground, mouth dripping with ectoplasm and the faintest traces of blood. He recognized that small figure at once, the tiny girl dwarfed by the wheelchair that was her only means of transportation. "Alice? What are you doing here?" he asked weakly, surprised that she could even hear him.

"You can do it Danny!" she cheered, her smile wide and her eyes sparkling in confidence. "You can beat the big ol' meanie! I know you can!"

He cracked a smile at her confidence in him, feeling his heart warm in appreciation. Someone was cheering him on. Someone believed in him enough to cheer him on. Despite the massive beating he was taking, someone knew that he would make it through in the end.

"Oh will you shut up?" Dan snarled viciously before snapping his hand out. Danny's eyes widened as he realized what was coming next but he wasn't quick enough to stop it. A green blast of ectoplasm shot out at her chest, knocking her out of her wheelchair with a heart-wrenching cry before she was silenced.

"No!" Danny cried, his eyes flaming as he turned his direction towards Dan. He lunged up at him with lightening speed, attacking him with glowing fists. He was on him before Dan had any time to react, punching and hammering at him, his glowing fists leaving scorch marks where they came in contact with his skin.

He wasn't going to let him hurt another person. He had killed Massey, severely injured his family, and now he had shot at Alice, a poor, innocent girl whose only crime had been to believe in him and cheer him on. It was the act that pushed him over the edge. It made him swell with fury and newfound energy, making him feel alive and more powerful since he'd first started the fateful brawl. He didn't even think of what he was doing, just letting his instincts guide him as he slammed fist after fist into whatever part of Dan he could reach.

Finally Dan found a way to stop the slaughter, managing to grab Danny's fist and use it to throw him down the street. But he snapped back up with a vengeance, eyes glowing fiercely. An explosion was heard high above before chunks of a building began to rain down upon the ghost. Immediately he turned intangible, smirking as he stepped floated over the wreckage, unharmed. But Danny just smirked in return, eyes alighting as boulder after boulder of the wreckage exploded below Dan, filling the alley with green light and the hissing gasps of pain. He concentrated hard, finding more and more rubble to telepathically throw at the smoking heap and when that ran out, he just created more. The cascade of explosions surrounding Dan continued, their loud bangs echoing down the street like a grisly fireworks display until eventually everything just fell silent, including Dan's cries of pain.

Danny panted, letting the cloud of debris fade from the street as he inspected his work, hoping it had made an indent or just…something. As the cloud began to clear he saw the stumbling silhouette of Dan's figure, his jumpsuit and cape singed and his skin burned. Danny grinned proudly, heartened by the damage he had done. It filled him with a sense of promise, a sense of hope. He really was doing something damaging. He really could come out victorious.

This newfound sense of hope gave him the push he needed to keep going despite his exhaustion and injuries. He closed his eyes tight in concentration as he fought hard to duplicate himself, finally feeling the bizarre state of being that came from controlling two bodies. His triumphant grin was reflected on both faces as he glared down at Dan, prepared to strike.

Dan scowled, quenching a small green fire on his sleeve with his fingers. "Two can play at that game boy," he snarled, duplicating into three to combat Danny's two.

But Danny didn't let the odds get to him. He was determined to be victorious. His parents could only receive the medical help they needed if he beat Dan, and he was going to do it for them, no matter what it took or no matter how hard it seemed. There were so many people counting on him, so many injured that he needed to take to the hospital, so many onlookers that were waiting for their savior to free their town of the newest threat, and he was going to do it for them, for all of them.

Both Dannys sent out two ectoplasmic whips, each one seeking in on Dan's ectoplasm and wrapping around their legs. He shot up into the air, yanking the whips down so the two ensnared Dans would crash into each other as they soared high above the city. The third Dan followed them up, shooting after them with a vengeance. They collected both sets of whips in one hand and pooled their strength, launching both Dans towards the third so they collided together. The crash was momentous and the three Dans fell to the ground, cracking the pavement beneath them. Immediately after each Danny charged up a large ball of ectoplasmic energy, holding the massive glowing balls above their heads. With great yells of effort they threw the balls down as hard as they could, both bulbs hurtling towards the conglomeration of Dans on the ground.

The yell of pain from the ground was tremendous as the two balls of energy created a crater in the concrete. The smoke cleared showing only one Dan, bruised and weakened from the fall, his clones unable to make it through the slaughter. As he struggled to get up Danny took advantage of his opportunity, flying down to the ground as both of them surrounded Dan on the outside of the crater. They both opened fire into the crater, shooting out a plethora of ecto-blasts to weaken him even further. Dan was forced to take them, too hurt and injured to move enough to dodge them. He tried to form a shield to deflect them, but the blasts just pierced through it, made stronger by Danny's determination and hope.

Finally they ceased, looking down at the pitiful figure of his enemy in the crater, his broken body smoking. It would be so easy now, so easy to suck him into a thermos, and his hand gripped around one at the belt of his jumpsuit. But did he really want to do that? Did he really want to end this with another entrapment in the thermos? What if he got out again? What if he was able to do all this again and maybe kill another member of his family? What if next time Dan managed to kill him? Did he really want to take the risk of that happening again? Would he ever want to fight against him again after this long, exhausting battle? He had caused so much trouble, so much more than any other ghost he had ever dealt with, and he didn't think he deserved to be left in a thermos with the promise of a possible escape.

No…he didn't want that. He wanted this to end. He didn't want to worry about Dan escaping again, didn't want to worry about what horrors he could do if he accidentally got out. He didn't want to bother with the responsibility of watching the thermos, making sure no one ever found it. He didn't want to think of this battle anymore, think of what he had done to his family. He just wanted this to all be over, to never have to think back on Dan and his troubles again, and the only way to do that was to destroy the ghost below him, struggling to get up and keep fighting. The only question was how…

He didn't know what drove him to do it or why he thought it might provide the solution, but both he and his duplicate instinctively took deep breaths and wailed.

The sound was deafening, echoing off the walls and down the street. Both wails pulsed outwards towards Dan, the sonic waves slamming into him with a great and terrible force. Dan arched his back in pain as he felt the wail attack him from all sides. He felt the force push at him, throwing him backwards against the other pulse that was pushing just as hard the other way. The two converging wails kept him painfully in place, the jostling causing him to scream out in an agony greater than he had ever before felt. It was like being pulled and compressed at the same time and his body was a mess from the build up of force and pressure.

Danny wasn't faring too well either. His most powerful ability coupled with duplication, which he could hardly do on his best of days, was a draining combination and it was all he could do to keep both him and his duplicate wailing. He struggled, grunting and yelling as he felt his knees buckling beneath him, just waiting for his vision to darken before he passed out. But he couldn't. He almost had him; he could feel it. He knew he was doing something damaging to him and he couldn't just give up, not when he was so close to this final victory. He was so close to ending it, so close. So close to stopping this menace from ever harming anyone again, so close to finally being able to check on his family and get them the attention they needed.

And so he persevered, keeping all his focus on staying strong despite the exhaustion he felt creeping up on him. He kept going, doing it for the ones he loved. He did it for his parents: the ones that not only raised him into the boy he was but chose to still love him and care for him despite being a ghost. He did it for Jazz: the sister that always supported him and always put up with him, no matter what he did or how much he pushed her away. He did it for Tucker: the friend that had been with him since he was young and always promised to be, no matter how weird things got. He did it for Sam: the friend that had been not only a friend but sometimes…sometimes more than that, or so he hoped. He did it for Valerie: the girl that, despite occasionally being a pain, had understood and befriended him enough to help fight with him. And he even did it for Vlad: the half ghost that he knew whose help had made the fight much more possible.

He did it for his family.

An emotion so powerful, so overwhelming welled up within him that it filled him with it, extending throughout his entire frame until both his bodies radiated in green light, giving him the energy he needed to continue onwards. It was the energy Dan didn't have, the energy that didn't help him endure the attack while it only fueled Danny further, and as Danny stood fast and the onslaught continued, Dan felt himself fading, felt his body deteriorating as the conflicting wails tore it away. He was going to fade out of existence. He could just see it. The contrasting forces were too much for his body's unstable make-up to take. The wails continued to bombard his body until he started to dissolve in a flow of green mist, more and more of his body blowing away until there was nothing left of him but the echoes of his piercing screams. The eerie green mist dissipated as it intermixed with the rest of the cloudy air, leaving only two Dannys, surrounding nothing.

It was done.

He ceased the wail and fell to his knees as the duplicate vanished. He felt an exhaustion greater than any he had ever known, and all he wanted to do was to collapse and sleep for days, but he knew he couldn't. He had a family to see to. But despite his fatigue, despite the possible heartbreak he was afraid to find when he checked on his family, he felt a glowing sense of achievement within him as he looked down at the empty crater, the empty crater where Dan had once stood. He did it. He actually did it. He actually defeated Dan. And not the defeat where he sucked him into the thermos and called it a win, this…this was an actual defeat. He had won and he had emerged victorious, and that thought alone sent a surge of pride and triumph running through him. He had done it.

But that glowing feeling dissipated as he looked up at the street, at the bodies of his family and friends surrounding him, not knowing who to check first. He was almost afraid to check. He didn't want to crouch over one, feeling for a pulse only to find there wasn't one. But he knew the longer he waited the worse off it could get. So he sucked it in, flying over to his parents that he knew were alive, easing himself in to the disaster he could find with the other bodies.

He knelt down beside his mother's bloody body, checking immediately for a pulse and breathing a sigh of relief when he found one. It was faint, but it was there. He quickly scanned for other injuries, too afraid to touch her. There were so many broken bones, her body making so many strange angles that the possibility that she could have broken her spine was too great for him to touch her anymore than he already had. So he quelled his urge to hug his mother and cry like a little boy, instead turning his tear-stained face to address the crowd.

"Help me! Please! Someone help me!" he desperately begged out down the street, glowing tears pouring from his eyes. "They need medical attention! Please! Call an ambulance! Call a doctor! Call somebody!" But he couldn't wait and watch for someone to do their duty, for he still had more family members to see to, and he needed to know how bad off they were.

He shot over to his dad, blinking away relieved tears as he saw the gentle rise and fall of his chest. He still checked for a pulse, gratefully finding one there as well. Both his parents had made it through alive. Both were sporting major head injuries and his mother's body was broken pretty badly, but they were still alive and that's all that mattered at the moment. The rest could be fixed at the hospital later, but for now, they were okay.

He made to fly over to Vlad next, hoping to again slowly ease himself in, but he found Kwan already there, using Vlad's suit coat to staunch the hole in his stomach that was oozing more and more precious blood by the second. "Danny, this one's fine," he told him as he nodded his head. "Go check on your friends."

"Thank you…thank you," he choked before turning to look down the street only to find a number of people outside, drawn out into the open after the disappearance of Dan to respond to Danny's heartfelt plea in an effort to help the heroes that had just risked everything to save them all. Many were on cell phones as they tried to report the calamity to the hospital while a number of others rushed to the injured. He saw a few people inspecting Valerie's bruised and battered body, giving him the thumbs up from far away. He nodded to them, tears in his eyes as he shot over to his friends.

He dashed over to Tucker first due to proximity, checking his vitals. A huge rush of relief escaped him as he felt a pulse, and a relatively strong one at that. His head was bleeding and he had a large burn on his chest from where the ecto-blast scorched him, but he was alive. There was another that was still alive.

He was about to rush over to his sister when he saw Lancer bending over her, checking her out, so he headed over to Sam instead. He placed a hand to her neck, feeling the sought-after pulse. But before he could let the relief sink in he felt the problem: she wasn't breathing. His heart clenched as he felt a weight drop into his stomach. Immediately he started to panic. How long had she been without air? How long had he been fighting Dan? At times it had seemed like hours and yet sometimes it only seemed like minutes. But instead of continuing to pester himself with questions he knew he didn't have the answer to he instead did the only thing he could do.

A burst of light changed him back to his human form and he knelt over her, pressing his hands into her chest to start CPR. He didn't know what he was doing, not having ever taken a class before, but he hardly cared. He couldn't just sit there and do nothing while she went without air. He pumped her chest ten times, deciding it was a nice round number before he pinched her nose and breathed into her mouth. He did this a few times before going back to the pumping, eyes blurry with tears as he fought hard to save his friend's life.

How long he continued with the CPR, he didn't know, but eventually he started hearing voices around him, asking him to switch with them. He looked up, making out the shape of an adult that was unmistakably a paramedic. He almost buckled onto her right there with relieved cries, somehow managing to transition smoothly to their professional CPR before collapsing onto the ground beside her. Their emergency treatment was all a haze through his relieved and exhausted tears, but he was able to pick out words like "crushed windpipe" and "tracheotomy" and finally "she's breathing". Whether her brain had been starved of oxygen too long remained to be seen, but at least she was alive and breathing, and that was more than he could ask for at the moment.

He turned and looked around, seeing the previously deserted street filled with people and ambulances. He saw the paramedics lifting stretchers bearing those he cared about into the ambulances, and he prayed they were able to receive all the treatment they needed. He even saw little Alice being helped into one, her eyes open and blinking, which was a good sign. But as he continued his survey around the alley, touched at the generosity and benevolence of all the people helping, his eyes caught those of Lancer's and he froze, his heart plummeting as he interpreted the tears and the sorrowful look of apology.

They didn't all make it.

A/N: I wanna take it back! Please, lemme take it back!! bawls I don't wanna kill her anymore! Please don't make me kill a character, please! And one of my favorites too! sobs

takes a moment to compose herself

Anywho, I hope that was tolerable. I tried real hard to do a good final battle scene, but I horribly suck at battle scenes and I realize this, but I also knew that this had to come. I'm sure it gets a little repetitive and a little cliché and possibly even a little boring and rushed but…I really couldn't help it, sorry . I ran it past a friend of mine when it was only nine pages in and she said it was all right so…here's hoping!

And did anyone notice the Firefly reference XD I couldn't help myself, I've been on a total Firefly kick XD

Anywho, just a brief note about the death of Dan: I know it's a stretch and I know it's impossible to kill a ghost (believe me, I've had arguments with myself for months on it) but I just…I didn't want a thermos ending. I wanted this to be the end-all-be-all battle and you just can't end that kind of battle with a thermos. I wanted Dan to be wiped off the face of existence and so I tried to figure out the best way possible. Scientifically, I'm quelling my OCD need for explanation by saying that I've always found ghosts to be highly unstable. They're not meant to exist first off, and they're basically just manifestations of ectoplasm, which could be a highly unstable compound; you don't know. Still, if it's something so powerful that it can do all this cool stuff in the DP-verse, then it's most likely unstable. So I figured that putting a being made up entirely of this compound (and not a very stable manifestation of it either) through extreme force and pressure, like what would happen being stuck between those two wails, that the chemical make-up just wouldn't be able to hold together anymore and thus Dan goes poof. That's my rationale of it and it somehow makes sense to me, so I took it and ran with it.

And sorry about the kinda-cliffie, though it's not really that much of a cliffie in regards to Jazz. Yes, she really is dead, if my bawling above didn't indicate as much, though if I'm sadistic enough to kill one of my favorite characters, who am I sadistic enough to kill on the operating table in the next chapter….

Oh, and fingers crossed about getting my 1,000th review on this chapter! I only need like, 22 more to go! (is majorly excited) Oh, and on the topic, I wanted to thank you all so so much for your resounding reviews on my last chapter! huggles all According to my stat calculator I got 92 reviews on the last chapter alone, so thank you all so so so so much!! I really don't deserve it but still, I love you all!

And one final thing, sorry, I haven't forgotten about the spoof I promised of this two-part battle, I just figured you'd appreciate me updating this before spending my precious time on something like that XD But I'll let you know when I get around to posting it. It's going to be really short so it, hopefully, won't be too long.