Dr Heinz Doofenshmirtz and Guest
You Are Cordially Invited
To the 13th Annual Villain's Society Dinner
on Tuesday, the 22nd of May
at the Billsgate Hotel at 5pm
“Oh, now see, thiiiis is awkward.” Heinz announced to the world in general, scratching at the back of his neck in an unconscious gesture of discomfort. Perry stood in front of him, holding out the invitation for his perusal, looking supremely unamused.
“In my defense, it's probably a major breach of my privacy that you dug that out of my trashcan, Perry the Platypus.” There was a moment of silence before Heinz, intimately familiar with the agent's facial expression, caved to the need to fill it. “Well, yes, I suppose you probably wouldn't have come across it if I had taken the trash out yesterday morning like I was supposed to. But, I've gotten old, Perry the Platypus, I don't wake up as easily as I used to.”
There was no softening in his lover's face. Clearly an actual explanation was going to be required. “Look, you didn't want to go, did you? I've been retired for so long, I doubt I would even know anyone there, and the food at these things is always lousy. And, look,” he gestured toward the envelope, “they called me “doctor”, do you know how long it's been since anyone called me that?”
He thought maybe he was even telling the truth, as he said it. At first he'd kept up with what was happening in the villain underworld, scanning the newspapers every morning, keeping files on up-and-coming stars of the trade. But the years had passed, slowly the old names had been replaced by unfamiliar ones, and he hadn't bothered making new files. Patterns became clear, the same tricks and the same failures making appearances again and again, and it all seemed so much less important than his grandchildren's eager clamoring for his attention. It was nice, he thought, the slow fade away of things he hadn't known he could live without.
It wasn't just that, though, and Perry clearly wasn't buying it. He seemed like he would let it go, though, tossing the invitation into a nearby trashcan and turning back toward his study with a sort of disappointed twist to his shoulders. Heinz felt the tight pull of guilt within his chest.
“Oh, come now, Perry the Platypus.” he protested, following rapidly to overtake the retired agent. “You can't think that it's because I'm ashamed of you, or – or because I would be embarrassed...”
It didn't take his years of experience and intimate knowledge to read the challenge in his lover's face. 'Shouldn't I think that?'
“Is – is that how you feel? Well then, fine!” With a flourish he pulled the invitation back out of the trash. “I will send in the RSVP right now! Heinz Doofenshmirtz plus one! Are you happy now, Perry the Platypus? We will spend an evening eating terrible food together, and it will be entirely your doing.”
The gesture, once made, didn't feel large at all. “Do you remember what time Xavier and Amanda are getting here tomorrow?” he asked, and Perry rolled his eyes and gestured toward the wall calendar, where “11am, X & A” was written in large red letters on the date. This was their life now. The old things had no meaning anymore, and he was glad.