Two years after the accident
In the still hours of the night, after the euphoria of his brand-new relationship settled, her words replayed in his mind, like a CD stuck on repeat. I thought you were dead.
What had that been like for her? For his family? For Tucker? When he couldn't find the answers in his own ruminations, he sought them elsewhere, deep in the heart of the Ghost Zone.
"I won't change the past," Clockwork told him flatly.
"I don't want you to change the past. I want you to show it to me. Show me what happened just before the asteroid hit."
It was hard, watching his loved ones react to the crash they believed had killed him. "Clockwork? What happens when I die?"
"Human philosophers have asked that question for millennia, and you ask me?"
"But I'm already half ghost. If my human half dies, will my ghost half just… continue?"
Clockwork paused before answering. "Ghosts are creatures of attachment. You, like all humans, are a creature of life. Your ghost half will not continue, not without life."
"But I have… attachments."
He was looking at the screen, where a black-haired girl was grieving for the one she thought she'd lost.
It was a long time before Clockwork spoke. "When a human dies and becomes a ghost, he is not the same as he was. When your life ends, you will not be as you are now. Boxes, music, the hunt… these are attachments that neither grieve nor feel loss." He sighed. "To be 'haunted' is to no longer have what you love, but to never be free of it, either. Is that what you want for her?"
Danny closed his eyes. "No."
"In life, hold fast to what matters most. But when life ends, as all life must, let go."