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A Fire Kindled

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“Hey.  How’s it going?”

That sentence was the first Ferb heard the girl of his dreams say to him and it had changed his life forever. Vanessa Doofenshmirts was a high school girl while Ferb was still in middle school. He was a year older than Phineas, but still clearly too young for someone like Vanessa. The summer he met her, he did anything she asked—even when it meant helping her with her boyfriend. It had hurt his soul to sing while she danced with another man during her Halloween party, but he just wanted her to be happy…even if it meant he couldn’t be.

He saved her life, gave her advice, just listened to her when she needed to vent—anything she needed. At least he knew he’d made an impression. When summer ended they went back to school. Phineas and Ferb could see the high school from their middle school playground, and once in a while Ferb would climb the slide during recess just to see if he could see Vanessa.

Their first day back to school, he saw what he thought was Vanessa being carried by some monster with a lizard tail and gorilla arms up the clock tower, and Phineas saw too and said he couldn’t wait until they were in high school. Ferb nodded absently and watched until Vanessa was safely back on the ground. He couldn’t wait until high school either, but for very different reasons.

One weekend during November, Phineas and Ferb woke up early and went downstairs to find their parents packing their things. “Oh, hi boys,” their mom said, “I was going to wake you up if you didn’t come down soon. We’re going out of town today to go to an antique auction a few cities over. Candace and Jeremy are going to visit his family out of state for the weekend, so we found you a sitter. A friend of Candace is looking to earn some money so she reached out to us. She said she’s really excited to spend some time with you two. She has a car if you boys need to go anywhere, and here’s some money for food. We’ll call you when we’re on our way back. Love you! I think the sitter will be here around ten.” And with that, their parents walked out the door with one last wave.

“Well Ferb,” Phineas said sitting down to the breakfast their mom had made, “I guess we know what we’re doing today.” Ferb blinked. What friend? Surely if it was Stacy mum would’ve just said that. “Ferb? You gonna eat?” Ferb shook his head to clear it and sat down across from his brother and started eating.

After they had almost finished their breakfast, the boys heard Candace coming down stairs. She had her bags packed and seemed in a hurry. “Oh I hope I’m not late!” She said. “This is my first trip with Jeremy and his family! This has to be perfect!” She ran from place to place and then stopped suddenly as she watched her little brothers eat breakfast. “So…no crazy inventions planned today, right? My friend isn’t used to your crazy stuff—I mean her dad does build some weird stuff—but that’s not the point. Just don’t freak her out. She’s like my one link to the cool kids.” Ferb rolled his eyes. Phineas just laughed, “I promise we won’t scare off anyone, Candace. Have fun on your trip, sis! You want some breakfast before you go?” He handed her a plate. “Well, I guess so. Thanks.” Candace sat down and sighed. “Hey,” she looked around, “where’s Perry?”

*****

Perry looked around, put on a brown fedora, slid against- the wall in the living room and kicked it. A hole in the wall appeared and he jumped into it and went down a shoot which sent him to his secret HQ. He landed in his chair in front of a large screen. “Ah, there you are, Agent P.” Major Monogram appeared on the screen. “Doofenshmirts has been suspiciously quiet today and we want you to go check it out. I mean, he’s been pretty busy as a high school science teacher, but who knows? Anyway, we’re counting on you, Agent P.” Perry turned, hopped in his Platypus jet and shot out the exit leading to the yard and headed to his arch foe’s house.

*****

Ding dong! “Oh! That’s the door!” Candace jumped up from the table and grabbed her stuff. As she headed out the door where Jeremy was waiting she turned back to the boys. “Ok well have fun—not too much but—oh you know what I mean. Whatever. My friend will be here around ten. See you guys Sunday!” She waved. “Have fun, you guys!” Phineas shouted after his sister and her boyfriend while Ferb waved.

           

            For the next several minutes, the brothers ate in silence. Ferb and his brother enjoyed the quiet; with their older sister and parents around, the house was never this quiet. While Ferb was quite happy with simply listening to the sound of them munching their breakfast, he knew Phineas wanted to break the silence somehow. As if on command Phineas opened his mouth, but to Ferb’s amusement instead of speaking, Phineas let out a long burp then chuckled as his brother’s mouth twisted into a small smile. “Excuse me!” Phineas chuckled some more. “Mom makes a mean breakfast! I’m gonna go take a shower, Ferb. Then you wanna watch some cartoons or something until our sitter gets here? Or did you not do your homework for the weekend yet?” Phineas added slyly. Ferb shook his head and pulled his clearly finished homework out of his backpack Phineas hadn’t noticed there before. “Ha ha, yeah I thought so.”

Phineas stood up and took his and Ferb’s dishes to the kitchen and then headed back upstairs to their bathroom. Ferb stood too and after putting his homework back in his bag, he rinsed the dishes before his brother got in the shower then headed back upstairs to watch TV in their room while he waited for a turn in the bathroom.

“Hey,” Phineas’ wet head popped out from the bathroom door, “who do you think our sitter is? I just realized nobody said her name. If it was Stacy someone would’ve.” He looked thoughtful as he dried his head with a towel. Ferb looked toward his brother and shrugged. “Well, it’ll be interesting to find out. She told mom she was excited to hang out with us so hopefully she’ll be cool.” Ferb nodded.

Phineas stepped out of the bathroom in his boxers and classic orange striped t-shirt and went to his drawer and pulled out some jeans. He sighed. “I miss summer, Ferb. I miss shorts. I miss seeing my knees during the day!” He dropped to his knees dramatically and Ferb clapped. His brother took a bow and proceeded to put on his pants and join Ferb to watch some cartoons. “Anything good on, Ferb?” Ferb pointed to the TV which showed he was watching Adventure Time. “That is a good show. He’s just thirteen and he goes on epic quests all the time! Wouldn’t that be awesome Ferb?” He looked over to see his brother sitting in full armor holding a sword. “You’re right. If our sitter is cool with it, I know what else we’re gonna do today.” Ferb gave him a thumbs-up then stood and removed all his armor in one motion and headed to the shower.

Chapter Text

Even in the shower Ferb was still pondering who their sitter would be. He was also drawing up blueprints on the shower wall with soap as ideas came to him for their adventures of the day. His mapping out was interrupted however by the sound of the doorbell ringing. Had he been in the shower that long?! He cleaned off the shower walls and hopped out, rushing to their room across the hall and throwing on his usual garb. As he was pulling on his pants, now unrolled at the bottoms so they covered his ankles, he heard Phineas opening the door and greeting someone. He didn’t hear if his brother had said a name though. He all but flew down the staircase and his heart began to pound as he rounded the corner and saw Phineas at the door. He stopped dead for a moment, eyes taking in the scene and brain desperately trying to process the information. There in the doorway stood a pretty, brunette girl dressed in all black, smiling at Phineas.

“Wow! Vanessa! What are the odds! Ferb! Its Vanessa!” Ferb saw their eyes were on him now so he relaxed his stance, put his hands in his pocket and strolled over to the two of them.

“Hey, Ferb.” Vanessa smiled again, “How’s it goin?” And she reached out her hand for a fist bump. Ferb obliged, his fist tingling from where their knuckles made contact.

“Hey, Vanessa?” Phineas was oblivious to his brother’s struggle, but still managed to save him from further scrutiny from their new sitter, “how to you feel about cartoons?” Vanessa looked around and saw a girl jogging outside behind them and she closed the front door and stepped a bit further into the house, once again looking around so see that nobody was around.

“If anyone asks, the answer is they’re for babies,” Vanessa smiled wryly, “but yeah I like some of them. Why?”

Phineas grinned and said, “Have you ever heard of Adventure Time?” Vanessa nodded.

“Good! Come on! Ferb! To the backyard!” Phineas raised his hand pointed towards the door to the yard and ran out. Ferb gently grabbed Vanessa by the wrist and ran out after.

 

*****

Perry flew over the Doof Inc building and jumped out of his jet, parachuting down and prepared to kick in a window. He saw Dr. Doofenshmirts waving his hands frantically and pointing to another window which was open. Perry adjusted his aim and jumped through the window. He braced himself for some ridiculously complex trap to capture him, but when he detached his chute, he looked to see Heinz with his back to him walking back to a desk covered in papers.

“Ah Perry the Platypus. How completely unexpected. And by unexpected, I mean COMPLETELY EXPECTED!” The disgruntled scientist threw another stack of papers on the desk in front of him. “Seriously, it’s like every day with you. I know I got kicked out of OWCA, but I really haven’t had time to do anything evil lately…except hand out a few Fs in my class but let me tell you they were WELL deserved.” He gestured to the stacks of papers. Perry walked over, and Heinz pulled up a stool for him.

“Sit, sit! Since you’re here maybe you can help me grade these. I was going to see if Vanessa wanted to help me, but she opted for a babysitting job that actually paid.” Perry gave him an incredulous look and smirked. “You know, I know I’m the one that said that, but it still hurt…” He pointed accusingly to the platypus, “If you could TALK I wouldn’t have to be the one coming up with all the banter. I mean, at this point what are you even contributing to this rivalry?” Perry glared at him, red pen and paper in his hand half graded. “Ah, well I mean aside from things like this. You know I appreciate your help, Perry the Platypus. I just wish we could have actual conversations sometimes.” Perry shrugged and took a blank piece of lined paper and scribbled for a moment before handing it to Doofenshmirts. He took the paper and looked at it. What would you like to talk about? The Dr. noticed there was a smiley face drawn next to it. His eyes lit up.