Danny had been right. Twelve had worn himself out quickly. Great globs of ectoplasm fell off of him, making wet thwacking sounds as they hit the ground. Danny stood back, bile rising into the back of his throat as he watched the clone start to dissolve.
Twelve was brought back to his original size, a howling noise starting up in his throat as he started to boil. His skin shifting and moving under the surface, rolling like waves. Danny and Vlad exchanged a look. They both took a step back, looking the clone over. His angry red eyes locked on him, his body starting to convulse.
"I—" He started, but was cut off as he coughed, a red bubble coming out of his mouth and falling, hanging out and attached by a string and Danny's eyes widened in horror. Twelve's intestines were starting to come out of his body. A convulsion and a cough brought out the rest of his stomach and Twelve screamed in pain. His skin was dissolving, pooling around his feet. The remaining intestines burst from his belly, splattering the ground in front of the two halfas.
Danny didn't want to look, but found he couldn't look away. As disgusting and horrible as this was, it was enticing and hypnotising. Panic flashed across Twelves face and he reached out a desperate hand, hoping that the two standing before him would help him; take him out of his pain and misery. But it was too late. They didn't know what to do for him.
There was a few more agonizing minutes as the pool of ectoplasm grew larger before Twelve's whole frame shook. He had time for a strangled gasp before his body exploded.
Danny quickly brought an arm up, shielding his face as droplets of ectoplasm hit him. Grimacing, he looked at the spot where Twelve had stood mere seconds before and finally let his stomach win. He gagged, moving away from Vlad and throwing up whatever he'd eaten that day. Seeing Twelve go was so much worse than the first time he'd seen clones die. Much more horrible and grueling; it was too much for the boy. He fell to his knees before his sick, coughing and gagging as the images replayed in his mind.
Twelve was dead, and had died in the most painful way the boy could imagine.
Danny started to sob, it wasn't fair that he'd had to die like that. It hadn't been Twelve's fault that things had played out the way they had. It wasn't fair that he'd been in so much pain before he died. He felt a hand on his shoulder and was shocked to find Vlad there. The billionaire gave him a small pat before removing his hand, and Danny struggled to get himself under control.
He'd let Vlad see him be weak, and it bothered him. But given the circumstances, he felt he had a right to react as he did. "Well," Vlad spoke, breaking the slightly awkward silence. "Now that ah, that's done…" He murmured, turning to look at the destroyed landscape and the rubble that was his home. "I suppose you should get on back to your friends, hmm?"
Danny didn't know how long their supposed truce was going to last; it wasn't something they'd agreed on, so he wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth. "I'm um, sorry about what happened." He muttered, rubbing his arm and avoiding Vlad's gaze.
He didn't really feel that bad. The man could afford landscaping and the rebuild, and he had brought it on himself by having cloned Twelve. "I thought you were done with the whole cloning thing," Danny mentioned, brushing as much dirt and sick off his pants as he stood up straight.
"I am now," Vlad said seriously, again studying the destruction and aftermath of their fight with Twelve. "After this little fiasco—I never want to dabble in that again." Though if he hadn't used his own DNA to stabilize the ghost—no he couldn't think like that.
"Good." Danny nodded, feeling the awkwardness of the situation weighing on his shoulders. He didn't want to stay here anymore. "Um, we're going…to go home now." Danny muttered awkwardly, backing away from Vlad.
The billionaire gave him an empty nod, turning away and pacing towards the spot where Twelve went down. Danny watched him for a second before turning and leaving, heading towards his friends.
"He going to be okay?" Tucker asked when Danny got close enough. "I mean, he seems pretty lost."
Danny looked back over his shoulder and shrugged. "I think so. I think he's just shell shocked."
Sam frowned. "I feel bad for Twelve," She muttered, leaning against Danny as they turned and started walking away.
"Why's that?" Danny asked quietly, though he thought he already knew the answer.
"Well, all he really wanted was a family," Sam said, looking down at the ground they were walking on. "He didn't choose to live like this. To have everything taken away from him."
Danny nodded, it wasn't fair that Twelve had had to go out like this. It wasn't fair that any of this had happened. But the fact of the matter was that it had and they had to get on with their lives.
"It's over now though," Danny replied quietly. "He can't be hurt anymore, now."
"Yeah… I suppose."
Ghosts were said to be the final stage of one's life. The final grasp at the world that one's body took. But it wasn't so. If you were lucky enough to become a ghost, but unlucky enough to have your body destroyed, you became air.
That's how it was with Twelve. He was a free being now. Something more than a spirit, and one with the air. He had no more cares; no more worries. Everything was free and nothing hurt.
He felt remorse for what he'd done, but only a very small degree of it. Mostly, he felt amazing. He felt free and revived and better than ever. He felt himself drift and he saw the three wanderers. The one he was designed after was in the middle, and the woman was leaning on him. Somewhere in his consciousness he knew that he used to like her. Used to want her. But those emotions were gone now.
He swirled around them happily, brushing against them like a playful breeze. He was happy that they had finally helped him to go. Let him be free in a way he hadn't ever been. Happily twirling around them a few times he whisked himself into the air, gliding on air currents and laughing silently into the breeze.
He was free and nothing could bring him down.
He saw Vlad. His father's figure was so small and alone down on those planes. He went down to visit, playfully circling him and brushed alongside him. The mad didn't notice, or he chose not to react. Twelve felt badly for what he had done. He'd destroyed the property of the man who only wanted to love him.
But that was in the past now. He'd never known this kind of joy. This kind of freedom. He was loving it.
Circling Vlad one more time Twelve shot back into the air with a whoop.