The Family Business

Chapter 4

He didn't say a thing.

Maybe that was worse. He stood up and turned away from me.

Yep, way wayyyy worse than I thought. He hates me!

But when I saw his face, he looked more conflicted than confused. Maybe he had mixed feelings or?

"Sam, can we talk? Privately."

Mom looked at me and back at Dad. They went and spoke to each other for at least 5 minutes.

Ya gonna get me a band-aid at least? I thought. Maybe they really do hate me.

"Phil, um, sit down," Dad cleared his throat.

"I am sitting down," I stated matter-of-factly.

"Right…Um, Phillip…"

I felt my eyes burning and knew they were probably bright green again.

My dad looked at me sympathetically. Not what I expected. And he didn't look too shocked either.

"I guess we really should have run those tests."

Mom nodded. "Guess so."

"What?" I stared blankly at them. "What tests?"

"Phil," my dad said, addressing me for the third time by name. I rolled my eyes internally. "Have you been experiencing anything strange lately?"

"Don't tell me I'm adopted."

"No, actually quite the opposite."

"Well, what then? Are you going to disown me? Throw me on the streets?" Tears filled in my eyes.

Dad shook his head fiercely. "No, you know we would never do that to you."

I shrugged. "Well, what are you going to do then?"

Dad chuckled. Laughing at a time like this? What the hell is wrong with him? Noticing the incredulous look on my face he stopped laughing. "Sorry, it's just…You remind me of myself at your age. All your thoughts…"

Huh?

"I - never wanted you to know. About me, the truth, any of this. And I definitely never wanted you to join the family business."

"Family business? Ghost-hunting you mean?"

He nodded.

"Dad, I - I - I think I'm turning into a ghost. My eyes are green, and I transformed into someone else overnight and I can walk through walls -"

"Disappear and fly. Yeah, believe me I know. And I understand what you're going through. I just never imagined you would have to…"

"How? How could you possibly know what I'm going through?"

He looked at Mom and they exchanged meaningful looks. A ring formed around my father and went up and down his body, turning his pajamas into a HAZMAT suit, and his eyes were green and his hair snow white. I gasped, both because I was shocked and because I guess I had some sort of ghost sense.

"What? You're - my dad is Phantom?!" I yelled.

My parents laughed. I looked at my dad. "So you never thought to - I dunno - check if I were like you?"

"Your grandparents thought it was a good idea, but I didn't want you to have to go through that. Getting those tests done makes you feel a bit like a lab rat."

I sighed. "Well, now I know. How am I turning into a ghost?"

"You aren't turning into one," Mom explained. "And you aren't a full one anyway. You're a half ghost. You must've inherited Danny's ghost DNA!"

"Ghost DNA? I guess I'm more of a freak now then huh?"

"Well, you are a Fenton," my mom said bluntly.

"And a Phantom apparently…"

Dad sighed and shook his head. "I'm so sorry."

"Are you kidding? This is the coolest *beep* that's ever happened to me!" I screamed.

"Hey, watch it," my mom said when I cursed.

"But…how did you become half ghost exactly?"

"Ghost portal. When your grandparents first made it, it wouldn't work so I wanted to know what was wrong with it. And so did Tucker and your mom. So I walked in then I turned it on while I was inside by accident and woke up as a ghost - or as most people knew me - Danny Phantom."

"Whoa…That's gotta be awkward. How long did it take to tell Grandpa and Grandma?"

"Years. They actually hunted me… Those were crazy times," he laughed.

"They definitely were," Mom smiled and laughed too.

"Yeah, they always said they were going to rip me apart molecule by molecule."

I couldn't help having a terror-stricken look on my face.

"Don't worry. They never got close. And of course, when they found out that I was Danny Phantom, they took back everything they had said."

"So you were always having to go behind their backs and lie straight to their faces?"

"Well…I never said I was the best role model," Dad struggled to say. "I wanted to tell them, believe me. But, with all those threats, I was scared that they might not accept me for what I truly am. Like I'm sure you were when you realized what was happening to you."

"All that time and they never figured it out for themselves?"

"It was an exciting time for them and their ghost research…which made it really easy to get away with lying."

"Though it was weird it took them so long considering all the hints…I mean, all their inventions marked you as a ghost and they never made the connection. Plus, you'd always disappear right before a ghost attacked, and you were never seen in the same room as Danny Phantom," Mom admitted.

My dad shrugged. "Regardless, those were fun times."

"Despite being hunted by your own parents?" I asked, stifling a laugh.

Dad chuckled. "They weren't the only ones who hunted me."

"How many ghosts did you fight?" I asked curiously.

"A lot," my parents said simultaneously.

"Are there any cool stories to tell?"

"Yes, plenty, but those are for another time kiddo," my dad said, ruffling my hair.

I shrugged.

"Anyway, just - don't tell anyone, okay? And make sure you always have a Fenton thermos with you."

"Sure thing Dad. Can I ask you something else?"

My dad nodded.

"Why -" I started but faltered. "How come, after you saved the world from that planet and there was that accident, you disappeared? And who…died?" If we were going to be honest with each other, I needed to know the whole truth.

"That was… a long time ago."

I shook my head. "Not that long. I need to know. I get why you didn't want to tell me about your ghost half, but why is it so hard to think about then? You were a hero… Who died? What happened?"

Dad closed his eyes and Mom looked down sadly.

"A very very dear friend…" Dad looked down. I could see tears forming in his eyes. He turned around.

Mom looked upset too.

"Who?" I had to ask.

Dad took a deep breath in and shakily let it out. "We - your mother, Tucker, and I - were battling Plasmius, my arch-enemy, for the last time on the roof of some store. Another one of our friends wanted to help us and I didn't think twice about letting her. She was like me - us, I mean. Half-ghost, half-human… So was Plasmius… Anyway, I didn't see that Plasmius had gotten a hold of her - Dani. I was too busy fighting Plasmius' doubles. By the time I defeated Plasmius' doubles and turned to her, it was too late. Plasmius sn-snapped her neck…" Dad flinched when he said the last sentence.

I didn't even know this girl (or why she had the same name as my dad…) but it still made me furious and beyond upset. To see my parents so depressed…Who was this asshole who hurt my parents so badly? "Did you kill Plasmius?"

Dad shook his head, hatred spilling into his glowing green eyes. "He got away," his voice was deeper, frightening even. "We tried everything. Went to his palace in Wisconsin. Searched the Ghost Zone. Everything."

"Why did you stop fighting ghosts?"

"We searched for Plasmius for years. Ghost-fighting wasn't our top priority and your grandparents - upon finding out his secret - took over to help your father get through school and his search. When the trail had grown cold, we gradually stopped, realizing that we most likely would never find Plasmius, especially when he didn't want us to," Mom explained.

"But - that man is still out there!" I yelled.

My parents sighed. "We know how he moves very well. But, this time was different. He had always been my biggest enemy, but he had never stooped this low. And he knew he had crossed the line. And he knows that if we find him, we are gonna make his life a living hell," Dad said spitefully.

"How would you - dispose of him?"

Dad and Mom looked at each other. "We've thought of several things…Killing him would be stooping down to his level. And it's not the way we operate," Mom said, turning to me.

"So, if you found him now, what would you do to him?"

"Send him somewhere to the Ghost Zone. We have allies there that could keep him imprisoned for eternity," Dad said.

"Wherever he can't harm anyone," Mom added.

I nodded. Good to know my parents aren't interested in killing anyone. That would be slightly disturbing…

"Until that day comes," my dad said, changing back into his human form. "We'll just wait."

Suddenly, I felt a cold tingling and let out a loud gasp at the same time as my dad.

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