It's In the Genes


Danny has lived through Complicated and Exceptional times, and now looks towards the future with Hope. But many questions remain unanswered from his other adventures. What became of Vlad? Who knows his secret? What strange and unexpected twists await the unique creatures created by the Ghost Portal? These answers are about to be answered in the worst possible way. As Danny finally comes to accept what he is, will he have to make the world do the same?

Disclaimer - I own nothing. Except the plot. So please, imaginary lawyers my paranoid mind insists are real, back off.

Hi! For Christmas, Santa dropped a big, steaming pile of inspiration on my head, so I'm back! Here's 'Its In the Genes', the fourth story in the EVOLUTIONS arc. (I really like the way that sounds. :D )

This story takes place in late August, four months after Hopes ends. That should give the rich Mansons and the ingenious Fentons time to rebuild their homes, and for several important things to take place elsewhere. You'll find out when it's most entertaining. And here's a little reminder to readers: I LOVE REVIEWS! Love them. I give complete, personal responses to every single one. I am also now accepting anonymous reviews, since that turned out great during 'Hopes'. Everyone who reviews, anonymous or otherwise, will get credit at the beginning of the next chapter. Seriously, folks, I love those things. They help encourage me to write and help me to improve on my style and structure. Just drop me a line: criticism, compliments, or a 'Keep it up!' I take all notes. Hope to hear from you!

Well, now that that's settled, on with the show!


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A Normal Day


Danny sniffled miserably from the living room couch. A small mountain of tissues littered the floor between him and the TV, which was currently off. You knew you'd been home sick too long when television got boring.

"Danny, you still there?" Came the call from the downstairs basement.

"Yeah." He called out hoarsely. "I didn't phase out of the house, teleport across town, or end up in the ghost zone." There was a brief pause.

"Did anything blow up?"

If there was one thing to be said of being a half-ghost hybrid, it made colds very interesting. Danny's family had already maxed out their home insurance policy rebuilding the house after it blew up in April. All things considered, his parents weren't exactly thrilled that he might accidentally sneeze and turn one of their nice new walls to vapor.

"No, nothing blew up. I think I…I…ah…ACHOO!"

Green energy flashed across the TV and it started smoking.

"Argh!" He groaned as he rolled off the sofa and unplugged the broken device before it caught fire. He was about to try channel surfing again! Grumbling about the universe's dark conspiracies, he shuffled back onto the couch and collapsed. He felt awful. Everything hurt.

It had started almost a week ago, when he started running a temperature of ninety seven. Considering his average was somewhere around ninety four, this wasn't good news. He felt fine, but his mom had practically tied him to the downstairs couch. (The Fenton Fisher was involved. He didn't like to think about it.) In retrospect, it was a good idea, because he woke up the next day sore all over and completely exhausted. Shifting into his ghost form only made him feel worse, and his control was slipping horribly. He'd taken surprise trips to the Ghost Zone twenty times in the last two days alone, and seen way more of Amity Park than a sick young man should.

Of course, his father had immediately shouted that he was sick with a ghost bug and run downstairs to test a sample of his nose drippings as fast as his casts allowed. Dani had been ordered to stay away from him, though as far as they could tell, whatever he had wasn't contagious. And that was all they'd found out. Knowing his luck, Danny wouldn't have been surprised if he was going to be sick forever. Although…

"Danny?" Sam asked tentatively as she walked into the living room. Danny bent his knees to give her room and she sat down beside him. "I brought your homework. And Lancer told me to tell you he thinks this is just some trick you're pulling so you don't have to come back to school this year."

Danny chuckled. "Right, like I was in class half the time before."

School had started yesterday, and Danny had suddenly developed a much better opinion of his cold. The change of heart was instantaneous, and seemed to have happened around the time Sam opened the door. For the last two days she'd brought him his homework and sat with him to help him learn how to do it. It seemed like over the summer all they'd ever done together was fight ghosts and go to the beach or pier or water park. Sitting together on a couch, even with a box of tissues, was a nice change, and Danny was sure he'd be sorry to see it go.

A few minutes later Sam watched with exasperation as Danny bit down on the end of his pencil, looking at his math book with dismay.

"Where are the numbers?" He asked helplessly. Sam shook her head.

"You really are hopeless at this, you know." She chided gently.

"I can't help it. Math is supposed to be about numbers. One plus one is two. Two times two is four. But since when does A plus B equal C minus D times E? I feel like I should be writing an English paper about this thing!" Sam laughed.

"Dani seems to get it. If you need extra help…"

"She still won't come near me. Thinks she'll catch whatever this is." Danny shivered. "Besides, if I asked for her help, she wouldn't stop ribbing on me for weeks."

"Alright." Sam sighed. "Let's try this again." Rolling her eyes, Sam stretched over Danny's knees and grabbed the pencil from his hand. As she turned towards the paper, she froze as she felt a brief, cool touch on her cheek. With visible effort, she forced down a smile and scowled at her student.

"There's your problem right there." She scolded. "You need to focus."

"But you're so pretty." He complained teasingly, fixing on a pout. Sam smiled and turned up her nose. Then, she felt her butt hit the floor. Under the sofa. So much for flirting.


"Sorry, I couldn't help it!" He groaned as he pulled her back up through the couch and collapsed back onto the cushions. "This better wear off fast. I'm so sick of falling through stuff!"

"At least you didn't drop your pants." Sam teased. Danny blushed. After a quiet, embarrassed laugh of her own, Sam sat back down and got to work trying to force advanced algebra through her boyfriend's thick skull.

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"Right, so then you multiply both sides by five…"

"But you can't multiply a letter!"

"Ugh! Just put the multiplier in front of the letter, and…"

"Trying to learn algebra?"

"Whoa!" Dani gasped and whirled around, her feet hanging suspended above the floor. Maddie was standing right behind her with a knowing smirk.

"And what are you doing, Dani?" She asked casually as the young girl dropped to her feet.

"Um, er, I was just, um, getting a glass of water?" Dani asked hopefully, edging towards the fridge. Maddie smiled.

"Well you certainly have Danny's lying skills." She chuckled. "You shouldn't spy, Dani."

"I wasn't!" Dani insisted. Maddie raised an eyebrow and glanced down disbelievingly at the girl. "I swear! I was just checking to see if I was…interrupting anything." The older huntress frowned at this and motioned for the girl to sit down. Dani headed over to the table, Maddie right behind.

"Alright. What's this all about?" Maddie asked. Dani shifted uncomfortably.

"It's okay. You can talk to me about anything. You know that." The ghost girl was quiet for a while. Finally, she looked up, slightly red.

"I, uh, met this boy in Biology class." She admitted. "When I saw him in class today, I, uh, dropped my pencil. Through my hand." Maddie smiled.

"Ah." Dani's blush deepened, and she seemed to fade from view for a moment.

"Why didn't you want to talk to me about this?" Maddie asked. "I mean, believe it or not, I am a girl." Dani hesitated again.

"I didn't think you'd understand." She admitted. Now Maddie was confused.

"You thought Danny would understand falling in love with a boy?" Dani stared at the older woman for a moment, then giggled. The good mood didn't last long, as she remembered what she was talking about. Maddie resigned herself to working with an embarrassed girl.

"Why then?" She asked gently.

"I didn't think you'd understand the ghost part. Dropping stuff, disappearing, accidentally teleporting into his house…a few times…" She trailed off, redder than ever. "No offense, Mrs. Fenton, but he's the only one that really gets that part." Now Maddie understood.

"Oh." She said quietly, thinking. "Tell you what. Later tonight, all three of us will sit down together and talk this out. Danny can handle the ghost part; I'll handle the boy part." Dani nodded slowly, looking a bit unsure, and headed back towards the stairs.

"Dani." She froze. "Who's this boy, anyway?" Maddie asked mischievously. Dani turned around and pulled off a sly grin, despite her red face.

"You'll just have to wait for tonight."

With that, the young girl turned around and ran upstairs to her room. Maddie sighed. Teenagers were hard enough. But teenagers that could fly and blow things up? She and Jack were doing their best, but they were making things up as they went. And these kinds of problems were inevitable. How could they give their kids meaningful advice if they had no idea what they were going through?

Her musing was interrupted as the phone rang.

"I'll get it!" She called down to Jack, so he wouldn't drop all of their equipment to hobble upstairs. "Hello?"

"Mads?" She grinned.

"Damon?" She asked happily.

"The one and only." Came the traditional answer. "Did you see the paper today?" Maddie laughed quietly to herself as she looked down at the cover.

'Montez Impeached!

After evidence of irresponsible action and blatant corruption in office, Mayor Montez was officially impeached today. Given his years of service to the city, Montez has brokered a deal with Judge Farraday to plead guilty to all charges brought against him, provided his sentence be restricted to hours of community service with no prison time. Montez was officially stripped of his title and powers at five o-clock yesterday afternoon by Farraday and escorted back to his home, where he remains under house arrest until his sentencing at the end of the week.'

"Paper? What paper?" She asked innocently.

"You did!" He crowed. "And about time, too! After everything he did to this town, to me personally, he had to go! The public finally came to its senses about him!"

"And I'm sure your ten hours a week of negative campaigning had nothing to do with it." She said dryly. Damon chuckled. "So was that the only reason behind the call? Because Jack and I were going to see you tomorrow and congratulate you then anyway."

"No, there's something else." Damon said hesitantly. "I wanted to know how Danny was feeling."

"Oh." Maddie stuttered for a second. She spared a glance towards the living room, where Sam was leaning against her son's shoulder, looking down at a math book and gesturing wildly. She smirked as Danny discretely snuck an arm around her shoulder while 'listening' to the lesson.

"He's feeling much better right now, but he's still sick."

"A whole week? Shouldn't he see a doctor?"

"No." Maddie answered quickly. "Er, no, that's alright. Jack was a little overexcited when Danny got sick and ran a full diagnostic to rule out possession or something. Danny will be fine; he's just got a stubborn bug." Silently, the older woman prayed that was true.

"Ah. Well, there was something else."

"Yes?" The line was silent for a moment.

"I know Valerie's been covering for Phantom this whole week. Is there…is there something you want to tell me about where he is, and why he can't go on patrol right now?" Maddie gulped, and looked back at her son.

"I wish I knew." She whispered. "I'm sure he'll be back soon." There was a longer pause.

"Right." Damon answered shortly. "Take care, Maddie."

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The ground shook, glass shattered. And down one dark alley, a pair of brilliant red eyes looked out from a body of bricks and stone blocks. Whole chunks of pavement had already been ripped from the ground, only to fly over and join the growing body. Chuckling darkly, the evil spirit lifted its heavy body and took a step towards the unsuspecting citizens of Amity Park. The ground cracked beneath its feet. At the opening of the alley, a beat up old car squealed to a halt, blocking its path. A pair of spectacled eyes stared at the creature from the driver's seat under a battered red beret.

"Val!" Tucker shouted into a two-way radio on the dash. "Ghost in the alley behind the Shop and Stop!" Glowing rocks hurtled from the monster's outstretched hands to bounce off a flickering green shield surrounding the car. "And it's mean!" A familiar whine could suddenly be heard over the slow, deep thuds of the rock creature's steps.

"I got it!" Shouted a voice back at Tucker. Sticking his head out of his car window, Tucker looked up into the sky to catch sight of his girlfriend flying towards the alley. Seeing a closer target, the creature tried a second volley. The rocks clattered off of the portable ghost shield, sending sparks through the air and…

"My hat!" Tucker shouted in dismay as his beret was vaporized by the energy discharge. The smell of burning hair filled the air, but Tucker only had eyes for the monster. Growling, he leaned over to the passenger seat and whipped out a large bazooka. Taking careful aim, he slammed his fist onto a button on the dash behind the wheel and pulled the trigger. A tight, powerful beam of ecto-energy ripped through the air the second the shield dropped and blasted the ghost in the chest. Flecks of molten rock spattered the ground around him, and it blew back several feet. Dropping the bazooka, Tucker pulled up a metal thermos and shot out a blue ray at the hole he made in the stone armor. A small, pathetic-looking spirit flew out of the gap and into the containment device. The stone structure collapsed.

Valerie landed in the alley a few seconds later.

"I said I got it!" She called to her boyfriend in exasperation.

"He got my hat." Tucker said through gritted teeth. Val laughed, and clicked her heels together. A few minutes later, the pair was tearing down the road; the huntress eyeing her boyfriend's singed hair critically as he kept his eyes on traffic. Her look turned exasperated as Tucker popped open the glove compartment and pulled out a brand new beret.

"You keep spares?" She asked incredulously.

"If you had a girlfriend who used laser guns, you would too." He said shortly, turning towards her apartment. "So are we done for now?"

"Yeah." She said, exhausted. "I think we've done enough for today. Let the anti-ghost crew handle the rest." Tucker nodded.

"I hope Danny gets over his…whatever…soon." He muttered as he pulled up to drop her off. "Fighting ghosts is fun, but we need a break." Val nodded, and smirked over at him.

"So what did you have in mind for this break?" She asked.

"Dinner? Movie? Build a new death ray?" Valerie laughed.

"It's a date. Saturday?"

"I'll bring the parts."

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Damon looked at the report in dismay. In the end, it seemed that Montez's 'free money' had actually set the Tower project back months, and thrown an extra million onto the price tag. Every single computer, automated device, and generator had been melted. The only thing that actually stayed up were the towers themselves, but gutting and rewiring them would be almost as expensive as tearing them down and starting over!

"Sir?" He looked up. Anne Hoss was standing in his door, looking a bit nervous. Ever since he'd officially broken off the Anti-ghost Division from the regular police and moved headquarters to Tower 1, Anne had been growing increasingly awkward about her position as second in command. He relied on her a great deal to manage the officers while he got the Tower Project back up, and she'd always been capable before. Some day when he had time he'd try and puzzle out why she'd suddenly become so hesitant and uncertain, but for now he just needed to get her to talk.

"Go ahead, Hoss. What is it?"

"It's that Foley boy again. We saw him fighting ghosts with the huntress. We know we're supposed to leave her and Phantom alone to do as they wish, but he's a civilian. I was wondering what course of action you recommend."


"Sir?" Damon sighed.

"Tucker Foley has worked with me closely for several months, helping to construct the Tower systems and even designing some of them. He is a capable technician and ghost hunter, and has worked closely with Phantom and the Huntress in the past."

"So is he…with us?"

"He's freelance, like Phantom and Huntress. You will give him the same freedoms and consideration you give the others. Also," he lowered his voice, "I'd appreciate it if you didn't repeat any of that to anyone else. Mr. Foley doesn't have the luxury of a secret identity like Huntress, and I'm sure he'd like some privacy. I don't want the people of Amity Park to know what he's doing until he tells them himself. Understood?"

"Yes sir." Hoss started towards the door.

"Was there something else?" She froze, and turned towards him. For a moment, it looked like she wanted to say something. But it passed, and she seemed to sag before giving a second salute.

"No sir."

"Thank you Hoss. Dismissed." One of these days, he'd figure it out. When he had time.

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"Computer. Run diagnostic on samples V8 through V22." Lights blinked, sealed glass dishes were lifted out of warm baths, numbers flickered over screens.

"All samples in terminal necrosis except V19." Vlad's eyes lit up. One of them wasn't dying! Perhaps this was the one!

"Run diagnostic on V19." He said, trying to keep his voice steady despite his excitement so the computer would understand. There was a brief pause.

"Sample multiplying virulently. Several mutations on genetic level present, as well as four different new types of cancer."


Vlad punched the top of his lab table in fury, blinking moisture from his eyes. It was impossible. The proto-portal that gave him his powers all those years ago was long-since destroyed, and the precise energy wavelength, delivery method, and pulse duration gone with it. He had reconstructed a copy of the original device with religious precision, but the horrible truth was that it would do no good. A slight difference in the length of a wire from the original, an impurity in one of the parts, an electric hiccup; it would take no more than that to make his new proto-portal completely useless.

The billionaire took several deep breaths, once again surprised that in his anger, the room was not lit with that familiar red glow. It was strange what you missed. But Vlad Plasmius had been destroyed by the twice cursed GIW, his ectoplasm levels drained below some unknown critical point while he slept. And Masters had no way to get him back. True, he'd escaped federal prison and GIW labs alike, but he'd take on such punishments willingly if it would bring his powers back.

"Computer." He managed at last. "Run a new series of exposure tests on samples V23 through V40, making small changes from the V19 settings."

"It shall be done. Expect results in one week's time."

Grimacing at the necessary time delay, Vlad made his way out of his basement lab and into the study of his rebuilt Wisconsin mansion. Getting new genetic research equipment hadn't been easy after all of the negative publicity he suffered in April. But money talked. And Vlad refused to give up on regaining his power. When Vlad Masters wanted something, the world obliged. It was only a matter of time. Eyes narrowed in impatience at how slowly the universe was moving to obey him this time, Vlad began his daily web scan on world events of interest.

"Ghost Zone." Nothing new.

"Masters." Lots of stock information, all good. But nothing he didn't expect.

"Amity Park."

'Montez Impeached!'

"What's this?" Vlad asked curiously, scanning the article. A small smile began to grow on the billionaire's face.

"It seems that Amity Park needs a new mayor. Someone to help them with their Ghost troubles."

There was simply no way they'd have him. At least, not now. But Vlad found, to his slight surprise, that he wanted to give it a try. Certainly power over Amity would help him to neutralize the rapidly growing threat Daniel presented, and would be ideal for his future relationship with Maddie. Not that she would join him willingly. Vlad had no illusions of that. But he wanted it. And when Vlad wanted something…

A dark smile on his face, Vlad closed the window and started laying his plans. It would take every ounce of his cunning to even attempt this. The Fentons would do their best to destroy his chances, and Daniel was now a powerful influence in the city. But with the right leverage, and the proper circumstances…

"I think I shall try my hand at politics."