Warning: copious amounts of fruitloop musing.
Life is never fair. That lesson is constantly being taught to people no matter how miserable they think they are. It's has the uncanny ability to rear it's ugly head at the most unexpected of times, the times when you think that maybe your life is finally on an uphill track after over 20 years of bitterness.
It struck me again, as it has countless times before, in the form of an innocent child, a boy so precious to me I consider him my own son. I'd been a year since we met our true selves at the reunion, a year of struggles, battles, and desperation. As usual, Daniel has been fighting with his own ghost powers, always trying to gain complete control of them and never knowing how. Meanwhile, I've been doing as I always have, craving companionship.
This constant process has always been the expected, but lately I've watched it transform into something else. I can see that Daniel is tired of fighting with his powers, just as I am tired of craving companionship. We are at the turning point of our relationship, the eve of a new dawn. I know it wouldn't take much to convince Daniel to let me train him, even if it means changing my price. After all, I'd get my long desired companion, and frankly as long as I have that I don't particularly care about the price so much anymore. Loneliness is such a terrible thing.
But, predictably, the lesson that life is never fair must be taught to me once more.
Daniel has cancer.
Thats all the doctors can think to call it. The truth is they have no idea what the diagnosis really is. All they know is that something mysterious is eating away at Daniel's body, an "unidentified substance". Morons. If they would just let Maddie or Jack see the blood samples they'd easily be able to tell them it's concentrated ectoplasm.
I suppose it doesn't matter anyways though. Daniel is still going to die weather it's because of cancer or ecto-poisoning. There's nothing anyone can do.
I sighed miserable, dragging my sunken eyes to the appearance of my setting for the hundredth time. The moon was the sole light in the small, white hospital room. Jack and Maddie were curled up next to each other in the empty bed, Jack snoring slightly. I paid them no mind, they didn't matter to me anymore. Daniel laid below me, dark bags under his closed eyes, his face sallow and white as the sheets he was covered in. His frail form was thrown into sharp relief in the moonlight. The sheets looked as though they were crushing his skeletal body. I gently stroked his wispy hair, feeling the drained strands crack under my fingers. With a heavy heart, I knew he wouldn't last much longer. The ectoplasm had done it's job thoroughly. I would be completely and utterly alone within the hour.
Jack gave a loud snore and then settled back down. A flash of hate coursed through me, my human eyes flashing a furious red. I hated him. This was all his fault. He's the idiot that put the 'on' switch inside the portal. It's his fault Daniel was subjected to the intense blast of concentrated ectoplasm. It's his fault he was dying.
I took a deep breath, reigning control over my almost unleashed anger. I didn't want to wake Maddie or Jack. A fist was clenched at my side, it was several minutes before I completely calmed myself. There would be time to exact revenge later, for now, I just wanted to be with my boy.
Daniel's too slow breathing barely registered. I tried not to think about it, but he truly looked like a corpse. Only the heart monitor reminding me that he was still alive. It was devastatingly slow, much to slow for him to even be completely alive, in fact. I remember the look of shock on the doctors face when he first took his pulse and read his temperature.
"This can't be right! According to his heart rate and temperature he should be half dead!"
Daniel had laughed quite loudly at that statement. I'd even cracked a smile myself.
I smiled gently at his sleeping figure, momentarily lost in the fond memory. It faded though, just as everything does. I found myself once again stroking his pale face, wishing, hoping, pleading, that I'd wake up from the nightmare. Daniel was my world, I couldn't loose him. I'd been the only one of my kind for twenty long and bitter years until he came along. Even when he spurned my offers, I couldn't hate him, just as he couldn't hate me, no matter how much he wanted too. I didn't want to return to my lonely existence, I was desperate to have him with me, alive and happy. He's become my life line to this world without me even realizing it. He's the only person I can depend on.
I'll never know how he manages to remain so pure of heart after all the struggles he's dealt with. His naive notions of fair and just have always been a source of great amusement for me, but now they've become a smack I the face. Daniel is the embodiment of purity, and yet it is through him that the harsh lesson of unfair cruelty is learned. He's my fallen pillar of truth, the last string of hope I clung to all these years. I could always depend on Daniel weather is was during a scheme or even when I needed his help. Why is it he who must die?
I suppose some would say it's fate, but I don't believe in such ridiculous notions. It is simply a matter of science. Daniel suffered long term and delayed effects from exposure to the high intensity ectoplasm. This is the reason why his body is finally breaking down, while mine is still going strong. His entire body absorbed the blast, while only my face was hit. I suffered short term effects from the ectoplasm in the form of ecto-acne. It only makes since that Daniel would suffer greater than I. Therefore, instead of blaming fate for basically taking my child from me, I can easily blame Jack.
I felt my wrath start to return, but I forced it away, repressing and bottling it up for another time. Instead the dull ache of misery clung to my heart, making me feel ancient. Maybe if I'm lucky the ectoplasm in my body will exceed my human blood cells too and I'll follow Daniel. Of course, I know I have no luck on my side. It is merely wishful thinking. I will return to my lonely, forgotten existence as the sole hybrid once more and I will remain that way until the day I die. Perhaps I can loose myself in quests of power, just as something to do. Or spend my days bending the earth to my will, just as a distraction. But Daniel would hate me for that, and no doubt, even in death, he will hold eternal sway over my guilty conscious.
A deep sigh escaped me again and I pushed a haphazard hair away from my face. I sat next to him, watching him sleep, his eyes twitching slightly from beneath the lids. There was a frown on his face as he slept.
Daniel had confided in me that he doesn't want to die. Aside from me, he is the only one who knows his true diagnosis. I'm not sure why he chose not to tell his friends and sister, but he kept it between us, something that warms my heart even now.
His cold hand rested in my own, equally cold hand, and I gently rubbed the weak skin, my hand encompassing his smaller one. Daniel's head moved slightly and a shadow of a smile crossed over his face. I watched him forlornly, my heart crying out for him to live. Acting on a whim, I reached out and stroked his face again, the midnight hair slipping through my fingers. He smiled in his sleep again.
I could feel something breaking in me. I couldn't stay here. I moved to get up, but the frail hand in my own suddenly held on, preventing my flight.
I looked down and watched miraculously as Daniel forced his lids to open, determination glinting through his dulled eyes. He pulled himself from the deep recess of his mind. I watched, shock still evident in my expression.
"Please." He whispered so quietly, "Don't leave me..."
I'll never forget his words, spoken to me with such need. My breathing was shallow, afraid to break the surreal moment that hung between us. Slowly, I sat back down on the bed, my heart pumping madly, so unlike his dying beat. Somehow, I knew, this was it.
"I'll never leave you Daniel." I whispered back, holding his face in my hand.
He was smiling gratefully, still clinging to my hand so desperately. Our locked gaze held an indescribable moment, a sense of urgency between us. There were so many things I regretted in this moment, so many things I wanted to say.
A little glint of humor sparked in Daniel's weary eyes, a small smirk forming.
"Hey Vlad...." he whispered, about to say something.
He never finished it though, and I'll never know what he wanted to say. His grip faded and his eyes closed, the small smirk slipping away. The heart monitor was the only sound in the room I heard as I stared at the dead form of my Daniel.