Taking a deep breath, Isabella leapt from her position on the tall building, nothing but the air slowing her fall. Then, removing the many hooks from her belt, she threw them as hard as she could in all directions, allowing them to snag signs, billboards, neon lights, weird architectural designs…anything within range. The wires connected to the hooks created a web around her, cradling her descent for a moment.
Without missing a beat, she pulled out the charge box and fastened it to the central knot, the converging point of the all the wires. With a quick twist, she slipped free and set off the detonation, continuing her rapid approach to the ground.
She landed nimbly and dove into a quick roll to lessen the blow, settling in a crouch on the ground as several explosions rang above her, destroying anything and everything that once had their former dictator's name or face. Rising to her feet, she looked up and watched the smoke dispersing, letting harmless bits of debris rain down. Hands on her hips, she smirked at her work.
The sound of heavy footsteps caught her attention, and she turned to see Major Monogram approaching her. Hesitating for a moment, she then saluted the man.
His arms folded across his chest, Monogram surveyed the area. "Hmm…excellent work, Ms. Garcia-Shapiro," he said.
"Thank you, sir," she replied, not entirely successful in keeping the curtness from her voice.
If he noticed, however, he didn't acknowledge it and simply nodded. "Well, since you've done such a good job today, I think you deserve to head home early."
Isabella frowned. There was still a lot of work that could be done, and she was more than eager to purge all traces of the evil doctor's rule. But she knew Monogram's 'suggestion' was really a veiled command, and she had no choice but to follow the man's orders.
"Yes, sir," she answered after a moment.
With a silent dismissal, Monogram then turned his attention towards another district, where other girls were busy taking down a Doofenshmirtz statue.
Isabella lingered for a moment longer, scowling at the new leader of the former resistance. After the incident concerning the other dimension and Doofenshmirtz was finally defeated, Candace had relinquished her leadership of the group – no longer a resistance having nothing left to resist – to Major Monogram.
Though she knew that there was more they could be doing, the man usually assigned Isabella and the other girls to simple jobs like cleaning up the city, removing anything with a Doofenshmirtz touch. And it always felt like Monogram didn't want them doing anything more than that; he just gave them easy jobs that they could finish quickly before sending them home.
Sometimes she felt like he was treating them like…like children.
Isabella huffed. What right did Monogram have to be giving them orders now, anyway? Where was he before, during all those years where they actually could have used his help? What good was his authority now that the war was over?
A little startled, Isabella spun around to face the voice addressing her. But then she glared, automatically dropping into a fighting position when she saw the platyborg.
"Oh, no, wait!" Suddenly Candace's brothers stepped in front of her, standing between her and their pet. "It's okay, Perry won't hurt you."
Glancing at the red-haired boy, Isabella then looked over him towards Perry. The cyborg held its hands up, his head bowed slightly to show that he really meant no harm.
Isabella forced herself to relax, dropping her stance. "Sorry, force of habit," she admitted. "It's still taking some getting used to."
Perry nodded in understanding.
Looking back at the two boys, Isabella placed her hand on her hip. "Whatcha doing?" she wondered.
The red-haired boy, Phineas, indicated his brother and Perry as he spoke, "Oh, we just rewired the city's power so it wasn't all channeled into Dr. D's building. We just finished up and were gonna head home."
Isabella nodded. "So why don't you?"
"Uh, well…" Phineas rubbed the back of his neck, appearing a little embarrassed. Then, as if he remembered something, he asked, "Hey, um…are you thirsty?"
She raised an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"
Phineas glanced at Ferb, but the taller boy didn't say anything. "We just saw how hard you were working, and I…I thought you might like something to drink."
Wondering just exactly how long they were watching her work, she frowned curiously and glanced at Ferb. The other still said nothing, but his eyes seemed to encourage her to accept the offer. So, with a shrug, she replied, "I guess so."
Smiling brightly, Phineas then turned to Perry. The platyborg's hand retreated into his arm, resurfacing a moment later with a blue plastic cup. Taking the cup, Phineas then offered it to Isabella.
She took the cup reluctantly, a little wary of anything Doofenshmirtz's former general gave her. Still, supposedly Perry had changed…
"You, uh…it was really cool…by the way."
Blinking, Isabella looked at Phineas. "What?"
Phineas smiled shyly, once again rubbing the back of his head. "While you were…while you were working. The…the stuff you did…it was just…you were just…amazing."
Isabella felt her heart skip a beat. No one had ever said anything like that to her before, and she wasn't quite sure how to respond. So she murmured a small, "Thanks", and took a sip of her drink.
Suddenly she recoiled, nearly dropping her cup as she sputtered a little. "Whoa!"
Phineas frowned. "You don't like it?"
Isabella hesitated. To be honest, whatever she tasted wasn't bad. She was just expecting water, not something so sweet. "What is it?" she wondered, chancing another sip.
"Lemonade," Phineas replied, glad to see her drinking more.
Swallowing, Isabella looked at him curiously. "What?"
"Lemonade. They said it was the perfect drink to help you cool down on a hot day."
She knew 'they' meant the Phineas and Ferb from the other dimension. She pondered the other kinds of things those boys might have told these two. "What's in it?"
"Lemon juice, water, and sugar," Ferb responded.
"Ah." No wonder it was so sweet. Finishing off the rest of it, she sighed contentedly. It actually was quite refreshing. "Thanks."
Phineas took the empty cup from her, handing it to Perry who quickly disposed of it. "Sure," the redhead replied. Then he paused, looking as though he wanted to say something but not wanting to bother her with it.
So, taking pity on him, Isabella decided to help him along. "What?" she prompted.
"Uh, well…" Phineas glanced at Ferb once again, who only gave a slight nod. "You're, um…heading home now, right?"
Isabella frowned, throwing a look in the direction Monogram had gone. "Apparently."
"Well, do you…do you wanna go home together? I mean, since we live across the street from each other 'n' all."
She blinked, watching the redhead as he fidgeted nervously. She hadn't expected a question like that, and she wasn't sure what to make of the strange boy in front of her. Even with all the years of working under Candace, she never met the brothers until recently, when the other dimension Phineas and Ferb brought them to her house. Even then, she didn't speak to them all that much, and when they were recruited into the resistance there still was no time for any real interaction.
That was weeks ago, when Doofenshmirtz was finally locked away for his crimes. And since then, all Isabella knew about these boys was that they were the reason Candace gave control of the former resistance to Monogram in the first place. That…and that they were finally gaining some color from all the time they were spending outdoors.
So just what was Phineas up to, inviting her along like this?
Still, there was something about the look in his wide, blue eyes – something almost hopeful – that she found herself unable to refuse.
"I guess," she replied.
"Great!" Phineas said. Holding his hand out to her, he added, "C'mon!"
Puzzled, Isabella regarded him uncertainly for a moment. When she finally did take his hand, she barely had time to realize that he and Ferb were both holding on to Perry until the platyborg shot up into the air.
She gasped, holding tightly to Phineas' hand while her other kept her beret from flying away. She couldn't help looking down; instead of feeling scared, Isabella marveled about how much progress they've made in the city so far. Almost done…
"So, Isabella," Phineas suddenly said, breaking her out of her thoughts. "What are your plans when you get home?"
"Plans?" she repeated.
"Yeah. What are you going to do?"
"I…" A wave of dread unexpectedly settled in the pit of her stomach. "I…don't know."
Because she had spent so long fighting…She had spent so many years trying to overthrow an oppression, had spent most of her young life planning little attacks, organizing raids and working to provide some relief to an otherwise hopeless world. That was her life for longer than she could remember, and it was why she wished Monogram would give her more to do.
Because without something to do, she just didn't know what to do with herself.
Phineas, seemingly oblivious to her predicament, grinned a bit. "Well, if you're not doing anything, you're welcome to come over to our house."
Ferb flashed a thumbs-up in agreement.
"After all," the redhead continued, "there's still some hours left in the day. It is summer, after all."
Isabella looked up at him, confused. "Summer? What's that?"
Phineas laughed, once again sounding nervous. "Well, the other Phineas and Ferb told us a lot about it. And it's supposed to be something totally fantastic and fun. But…" He paused, and he and Ferb exchanged a look that she couldn't quite describe. "To be honest, we're still trying to figure it out." Looking down at her, he smiled shyly. "We could use some help, and…and you're welcome to join us…if you want, I mean."
She frowned, unsure. She didn't know what the other Phineas and Ferb told them about this 'summer' thing, but if it was anywhere near as incredible as those boys had been, then what could she do to help? How would she help them discover the unimaginable secrets of something she's never even heard of, when she didn't even know how to keep herself occupied at home?
Yet spending an afternoon with them sounded much better than being alone and doing nothing for the rest of the day. And as she looked at Phineas, eagerly waiting for her answer, she couldn't bring herself to disappoint him.
"I suppose that sounds all right," she answered, trying to sound nonchalant.
"Awesome!" Phineas cheered, a large grin spreading across his face.
Seeing him so happy, Isabella felt a small smile on her own lips. She decided that she liked seeing him smile like that.
She'll have to try and get him to smile like that for her more often…