"Behold! The Transformatron-inator!"
Perry did his best to behold although hampered by the current trap, a U-shaped piece of PVC pipe. His nemesis had hoped Perry wasn't too bent out of shape about it, ha ha.
As far as he could tell the inator was a standard model. The only new wrinkle was some kind of examination table standing in front of it.
"I know what you're thinking, Perry the Platypus. Why the redundancy? Why not just call it a Transformer-inator? Well, I crunched some numbers, and the -tron part adds nineteen per cent more evil! Besides, "Transformatron" just rolls off the tongue, am I right? Let me show you what this baby does."
Doofenshmirtz ran out of Perry's line of sight and returned hauling a plastic bag as big as himself. He cut away the plastic to reveal the nude corpse of a large, muscular man. Perry's eyes went wide.
Doofenshmirtz wrestled the body onto the examination table. "Okay, I'm going to -- what? Have I got something stuck in my teeth? Oh. Nonono, this isn't a RealDoll. It's an anatomically correct silicone mannequin with... yyyeah. Moving on, you ever notice how many politicians are really built? Like my brother Roger." He made it sound as if Roger had chosen his physique to spite him. "People idolize good-looking leaders. They trust them and love them and suck up to them. It's nauseating! So I decided to exploit that sucking-up reflex by turning myself into the best-looking guy in town. I know, I know, been there done that, but this time I'm going to run for office. The populace will shift their allegiance from Roger to me and make me ruler of the Tri-State Area!" He laughed evilly. Perry recognized his cue to start wriggling out of the trap.
Doofenshmirtz pushed a button on the inator, bathing the UnRealDoll in white light. "This silicone dummy is a perfect specimen of manhood. A 'man-equin', if you will. 'Man-equin'... I don't even know anymore. Anyway, my Transformatron-inator is scanning it for a template to turn my body into an exact duplicate of this, the ultimate hunk! Only not so floppy and rubbery. I'm pretty sure nothing will go horribly wrong. It's only a complete musculoskeletal realignment." He'd stopped paying attention to Perry, who was clear of the trap.
The inator pinged, suggesting Doofenshmirtz had yet again put a microwave to uses not recommended by the manufacturer. "Scan complete!" Doofenshmirtz got up on the table and shoved the mannequin to the floor with a grisly thud. "And now I'll -- oof!"
With a flying leap Perry slammed into Doofenshmirtz's midriff. The scientist was thrown against the machine, his shoulder mashing two buttons at once. He flopped across the mannequin, winded.
White light swept over Perry and the scanner unit pinged again. The transformer fired at random into the ether. The ray was deflected by a passing aircraft, bounced off a satellite dish and returned to its point of origin to zap Doofenshmirtz in the seat of his pants.
Perry hit the self-destruct button, exploding the inator, but he was too late. Doofenshmirtz had vanished. In his place there was a heap of clothes on top of a squirming lump. The lump struggled free of the lab coat and stood revealed as a large, physically perfect male platypus.
The new platypus looked down at its platypus body. "I did NOT see that coming."
Perry rubbed his eyes. An unearthly vision of monotreme good looks shimmered through the smoke from the ruined inator. The previous version of platypus!Doofenshmirtz had been average, to put it nicely. This one was a knockout. His limbs were sleek and muscular. His fur was a rich, warm brown shading into cream on his belly. As he turned to look at himself Perry got an eyeful of firm full haunches and a magnificent tail stiff with fat.
Perry was trained to obey orders. Mother nature was ordering him, loud and clear, to tap that ass. He pounced.
Doofenshmirtz didn't see that coming either. He let Perry pin him before his reflexes kicked in and he threw Perry over his head, then blocked an attempted tackle with a sweep of his tail. "Perry the Platypus! What's the matter with you? You destroyed my inator. We're done for today! Why are you still fighting?" He jumped and twisted around to stare over his shoulder. Perry had latched onto his tail like a snapping turtle. "Perry the Platypus, are you biting my tail? There's a question I never thought I'd ask," he added.
Perry opened his jaws and backed off. He shook his head violently to clear his dazed thoughts. Did he just sexually harass his nemesis?
"Are you hungry?" Doofenshmirtz said uncertainly. "I've got microwave pizza. Only you'll have to eat it raw. The microwave was part of the inator you blew up and I don't think I can rebuild it with these tiny platypaws. All my tools are me sized." He gasped, slipping into panic mode. "All my everything is me sized! The bathroom, the kitchen... What am I going to do now? How will I live?"
Perry had an idea. He knew, or suspected, how Doofenshmirtz felt about him. For quite some time he'd been tempted to reciprocate, but there were solid practical reasons not to date his nemesis. However, if Doofenshmirtz came to live with him those reasons surely wouldn't apply any longer. Besides, it was on him that Doofenshmirtz couldn't use his own bathroom after being turned into a (stunning, irresistible) platypus. He held out his hand.
"You want me to go with you?" Doofenshmirtz interpreted. "You've got somewhere I could stay? That's great! I really appreciate it. Just, no more tailbiting, okay? That went too far into the weird zone."
He took Perry's hand. Perry had meant to imply 'come with me if you want to live', not an invitation to hold hands, but his nemesis was a literal thinker. Not that Perry minded. The other's touch sent a little thrill through him. He wondered if Doofenshmirtz felt it too.
"Are we leaving or what?"
In the event, since Perry's hovercraft couldn't carry passengers, the two platypuses did end up going hand in hand through the streets of Danville. Perry had to guide Doofenshmirtz, having blindfolded him to keep him from tracing their route. Doofenshmirtz accepted the blindfold after he and himself reasoned out that a secret agent's secret hideout had to stay secret. That didn't stop him from complaining.
"I'm a little nervous about not seeing where I'm going. That never ends well. It's hard to keep in step with someone you can't see. Whoa! Was that a curb? Man, they got steep overnight. Are we crossing the street now? Oh yeah, definitely. Swimming in exhaust fumes. Could we pick up the pace, I think I may be -- augh! Too fast!"
Perry was hurrying him along to avoid being spotted by Mrs. Garcia-Shapiro. He doubted Isabella's mom woukl recognize him as Isabella's friend's pet, but he wasn't taking any chances. The fewer townsfolk who noticed a platypus in a fedora, not to mention the talking one at his side, the better.
He needn't have worried. No one looked twice at them except other platypuses out for walkies, all of whom did double takes at the sight of Doofenshmirtz. Perry ignored them unless they were drooling openly, then he growled a warning.
They had a long weary trek to the suburbs. The pleasure of holding hands with the world's handsomest and chattiest platypus had just about worn off when the Flynn-Fletchers' fence finally came in sight. Perry raised the loose board in the fence, shoved Doofenshmirtz through the opening and crawled after him.
Feeling grass under his feet, Doofenshmirtz got up. "Is this it?"
Perry clamped Doofenshmirtz's bill shut and pulled him down on all fours. He whipped off his hat. Any second now the boys would --
What was he doing? He'd brought his nemesis into his home! The worst security breach next to revealing his identity! Monogram would fire him. Worse, reassign him. How could he be so stupid? He had to protect his family. Go back through the fence --
"There you are, Perry."
Perry had some difficulty keeping his face a blank. He and Doofenshmirtz were surrounded by the whole gang: the boys, Isabella, Buford and Baljeet. There was no escape.
Phineas smiled at him. "You were overdue for your entrance. We came looking for you when you didn't show. Hello, who's this?"
Baljeet was helpful. "It appears to be another platypus, but its fur is an unusual color. Very striking."
"Perry finally found a girlfriend," Buford smirked. Without thinking, as he did most things, Doofenshmirtz began an indignant reply. Perry chattered like a small machine gun to drown him out.
"No, that's definitely a male." Phineas held Doofenshmirtz up for inspection. "Look at the size of his spurs. Funny, I'd have thought Perry would chase off any other males from his territory. What gives, Perry?" Everyone looked at Perry, who showed them his best crosseyed poker face.
Though it was the correct way of handling an unfamiliar platypus, Doofenshmirtz resented being held upside down by his tail. He wriggled until the blindfold fell off. Phineas kindly put him down on the grass. Blinking against the sunlight, Doofenshmirtz took a couple of wobbly steps and fell on his face. The kids flocked around him.
"Is he sick?"
Perry had no way of explaining that Doofenshmirtz had trouble coordinating two legs, let alone four.
"There's something wrong with his eyes," Isabella said. Her Fireside Girl training made her the closest thing to the group's medic. "They're pointing in the same direction."
Phineas bent down for an eye to eye. "You're right! The poor thing's visually impaired! That's why he was wearing a blindfold. Perry must have led him to us. Good on you, Perry! Ferb, I know what else we're going to do today."
He put the blindfold back on Doofenshmirtz and picked him up. "Guys, Ferb and I are going to the workshop. We'll make him a pair of glasses so he can get around more easily. Will you tell Mom we found a platypus that needs our help?"
While the rest headed towards the back door the brothers set off for the garage together.
Perry was unprepared for the stab of jealousy he felt seeing Phineas with another platypus in his arms. That he was actually holding an unbalanced evil scientist with a criminal record didn't make anything better. Perry followed at the boys' heels, telling himself Doofenshmirtz wouldn't harm a child. He seemed quiet enough now. Phineas was petting him as they went. Perry scowled.
Crossing the lawn they ran into Candace, who raised her eyebrows at Phineas's burden. "You're kidding. Another meatbrick?"
"He's Perry's guest. He's got an eye problem. We're letting him stay here for a while."
Perry hadn't known it was possible to be annoyed, secretly delighted and panicky all at the same time.
"Great. Twice the inaction," Candace said drily. "Wait, what? You took in some diseased platypus off the street and Mom okayed it?"
"I'm sure she will," Phineas said, sweetly optimistic as usual.
"We'll see about that! Mom!" Candace herded her brothers in the direction of the kitchen. Here we go again, Perry thought. He wished real life had cuts like on TV.
Doofenshmirtz's tail jerked up like a springboard. Ferb stopped tickling his side.
"Ten out of ten," Phineas said, noting down the figures on his clipboard. "Except for his eyes he's in great shape. Congratulations, little guy, you're a perfect physical specimen! Let's double check the belly-up reflex. There you go. Who's a good boy?"
Looking on while his boys gave his nemesis a belly rub was not how Perry had expected his day to pan out. He'd gotten over his jealousy, but he kept worrying that Doofenshmirtz would blow his cover. The scientist acted too aware for a normal platypus. Although he was supposed to be visually impaired he'd watched Ferb grind the lenses for his new glasses with obvious interest. Any minute now he might forget himself and talk back to the boys. That he hadn't already was a miracle. In all the time Perry had known the man he'd never kept his mouth shut unaided for this long. But he'd probably never had this much loving attention either. Maybe that was the way to stun him speechless? Perry could only hope.
"We'll try the glasses." Phineas held Doofenshmirtz steady while Ferb put the glasses on him. They were the classic geek chic type with a thick black frame. With the corrective lenses in place Doofenshmirtz's eyes unfocused instantly.
"Quite intellectual," Ferb said.
"It's a good look on him," Phineas agreed. He turned to Doofenshmirtz. "How'd you like your new visual aid?"
Doofenshmirtz voiced a croak that neither resembled human speech nor any form of platypus vocalization. So that's why he hadn't talked. His throat was dry.
"He's thirsty! We've got to get him hydrated!"
The boys grabbed Doofenshmirtz and hurried to the living room, leaving Perry to follow. Their mother had already put down bowls with food and water for both platypuses. Like almost everyone else she'd welcomed their handsome guest. Score one for the 'sucking-up reflex'.
What with all his worries Perry hadn't realized how hungry he was. It felt strangely comfortable to eat side by side with Doofenshmirtz. He wasn't sure the platypus chow would be appreciated, but Doofenshmirtz tucked into his mealworms like a champ. No doubt he'd had worse when homeless. Or at home, come to think of it.
Phineas nudged Ferb. "The new guy's settling in nicely. Look how he's bonded with Perry."
The reason Doofenshmirtz stuck close to Perry was that he had to follow his lead, since he couldn't see very well with the glasses on. Still, Perry buried his face in his food bowl to hide a blush.
"Don't get too attached," Linda warned her sons. "I'm sure his owners miss him."
"He didn't have a collar. Maybe he escaped from the zoo," Phineas suggested.
"Well, they'll want him back too. A perfect physical specimen like that has got to be a star attraction."
"We asked the gang to put up some posters of him downtown," Phineas said. "If nobody calls, can we keep him?"
"We'll see," Linda said with a smile and refilled Doofenshmirtz's bowl. "I have to go to the mall now. Who wants to come with?"
Both boys wanted to. The household would need a second litterbox among other odds and ends. "Perry will look after our guest, won't you Perry?"
Perry chattered a fervent agreement. For the first time he was glad to see the back of his owners.
As soon as the boys and Linda had left Doofenshmirtz took a deep breath, and then the dam burst. "I've got to get rid of these glasses, they're giving me strabismus. But it was nice of those kids to make them for me. Bright boys."
You have no idea, Perry thought.
Doofenshmirtz kept going. "Are they yours? I mean, is this your family? I assume it is because you probably wouldn't invite me to stay with someone else's family. Are they always this friendly?"
"Phineas?" A familiar sharp cry sounded from upstairs. Yawning, Candace came out of her room and stood on the landing. "Ferb? Mom? Who's there? C'mon, I can hear you talking!"
Perry was annoyed with himself. Normally he kept track of all family members' whereabouts so they wouldn't catch him out in his agent identity. But Candace had caught him napping, or rather vice versa. He'd just assumed she'd gone out because the house was quiet.
However, he'd had close calls before and didn't let them faze him. He grabbed the TV remote from the coffee table and switched on the TV. When Candace came into the living room Perry sat on the couch, chewing dully on the remote.
Candace snatched the remote away. "Cut it out! Ew, you got spit all over it!" She turned on Doofenshmirtz. "Hey, nerdface! You better not be teaching Perry bad habits. I don't care if you're a platypus supermodel, you'll be out on your -- "
Her phone rang. The self-appointed hall monitor transformed into a slightly flustered kitten. "Oh, hi, Jeremy! No, nothing. Of course I can!" She hurried to the hall and opened the front door with her free hand. "In fifteen minutes? That's great! I'll be waiting." She kicked the door shut behind her.
Doofenshmirtz peered through the cat flap. "Is she really going to wait around on your front lawn for fifteen minutes? Talk about intense."
He turned around. Perry stood facing him on two legs, wearing his fedora. "What? What'd I say?"
It was less what he'd said than what he'd done, namely give Perry a superb view of his rear. Perry had to remind himself he was a professional who didn't go biting other people's tails without permission.
Doofenshmirtz rose on his hind legs as well. "That's better. Well, Perry the -- eh, I can hardly keep calling you 'the platypus' when I'm another. What happens now, Perry? That's not a rhetorical question. Your staring is beginning to freak me out."
Perry decided that was as close to permission as he was likely to get. He took Doofenshmirtz by the shoulders, removed his glasses and looked him deep in the eyes like the soaps had taught him. His heart hammered.
"Perry...? Y-you know this could be misinterpreted as coming on to me?"
Perry kissed him.
It turned out there was a reason the soaps didn't star platypuses. Kissing was incredibly awkward. With their bills mashed together Perry ended up sucking on Doofenshmirtz's lower mandible. He tasted of mealworms. Perry would have kept trying to get it right, but Doofenshmirtz had frozen at his touch. He wasn't cooperating at all.
Perry had been certain they both wanted this. Now he felt hot and foolish and not much like the suave Agent P. He let go.
Doofenshmirtz's bill opened and shut. He broke into laughter. "You're blushing!"
Perry turned away angrily. Doofenshmirtz stopped laughing.
"...You're gay, aren't you."
Perry didn't respond.
"And that just now -- that was for real." Rather than the words, it was his tone that made Perry turn around. His nemesis had a dazed look, like he'd just been kicked in the head but in a good way. "You were trying to hit on me. Hit on me. On me."
Perry let the silence speak for itself.
"In that case..." Doofenshmirtz scraped one webbed foot against the floor. "I may be out on a limb here, but -- would you like to try again?"
Perry's whole body tingled. He reached out to trace his paw delicately down Doofenshmirtz's chest. He hadn't been wrong. Doofenshmirtz was definitely interested.
It was the worst possible moment for Lawrence to walk in the door, so of course he did.
Lawrence saw the two platypuses scatter in separate directions with mild surprise. "I thought we only had one of those."
There was a new litterbox in the Flynn-Fletcher household, and a new platypus bed. That bed wasn't going to see any use tonight, though.
Two shadows slunk though the living room. The family had retired and it was time for the platypuses to come out and play.
Perry led the way to the laundry room. Not the most romantic spot in the house, but guaranteed private at this time of night. He stood on Doofenshmirtz's back to reach the doorknob and gave the door a precisely calculated shove so it would open without squeaking. They pushed through the gap together, tumbling and rolling in a heap across the tiles. Then they chased each other around the room, diving into the laundry basket and bouncing off the walls just for fun. Perry caught up with Doofenshmirtz and bit down on the tip of his tail. Doofenshmirtz twisted and turned trying to dislodge Perry, who never let go his grip.
Finally Doofenshmirtz stopped. He was too breathless to say anything, but he angled his tail aside in an unmistakable gesture.
That's when instinct failed Perry. He hadn't trained for this. How would he know if he was doing it right? What if he injured him?
Doofenshmirtz had noticed Perry's loss of enthusiasm. "Uh, Perry? Still unravished here. Just saying." He paused. "Or we could, you know. Not do it if you don't want to."
He was hurt and trying not to show it. Perry's insides knotted with frustration. He had no idea how to communicate the problem.
Then Doofenshmirtz had one of his mindreading moments. "Have you done this before? I mean, ever?"
The look on Perry's face was enough.
Doofenshmirtz was shocked. "But you're a secret agent! That's like, a license to pull! You could get any girl you wanted!"
"Right. Gay. My point stands. Who can resist secret agents? Look at their hats! They're manlicious! ...I'm doing it again."
Perry was still digesting the hat fetish reveal when Doofenshmirtz seized the initiative. He laid his chin across Perry's neck and pushed down gently on his hindquarters.
"I got this."
Perry woke up warm and snug in someone's arms. His internal clock told him it was nearly time to get up. Eyes closed, he scratched lazily around with one foot and noted that the bed felt really messy, almost like a pile of laundry. The next moment he bolted upright.
Doofenshmirtz must have felt Perry tear himself away. He yawned and stretched. "I had the weirdest dream..."
Perry threw himself on top of him to make him keep it down, but he needn't have bothered. Doofenshmirtz was dumbstruck for the second time in two days. Waking up stark naked on the floor of a strange laundry room was novel even for him.
Linda searched the laundry basket for her husband's sweatpants, which she'd promised to wash first thing in the morning, but came up empty. She didn't have any better luck in the bedroom.
"Well, they didn't walk out of here," she said to herself.
She was more right than she knew. If she'd broken the habit of a lifetime and checked her surroundings she'd have seen the missing sweatpants fly past the bedroom window, worn by a middle-aged man with a jetpack on his back and a pair of black-rimmed glasses on his face. The family platypus sat on top of the jetpack, steering.
Later the kids had gathered in the back yard, Phineas had decided what they were going to do today and everyone was ready to get to work when:
"Hey, where's the new guy?"
Their nameless visitor was gone without a trace. Perry was missing too.
"I guess Perry took him home to his family," Phineas concluded. Despite scant evidence, he and his brother believed Perry could do anything he put his mind to. "It's too bad he couldn't stay, but if he got back safely that's all we can ask. At least he got new glasses."
In the DEI penthouse Doofenshmirtz had changed into his normal clothes. He handed the borrowed sweatpants to Perry.
"Think you could use these glasses? They didn't do much for me, but then I'm not a real platypus. No? Guess I'll keep them." Doofenshmirtz turned the glasses over in his hands, possibly thinking about the kindness of strangers. Then he tossed them aside.
"There's no evil plan yet," he announced. "I keep thinking I should have a backup inator for times like this, but I just never get around to it. Give me a couple hours and I'll whip something up out of spare parts." He laced his fingers together. "After that, I thought maybe we could hang out? Catch a movie or something. Letters to Juliet is showing tonight at seven thirty. Unless you're too busy, that is."
Though Perry might not have a lot of romantic experience, he got the message. Did they have a one night stand, never to be spoken of again? Or something more? It was his call.
Doofenshmirtz was trying to make a cat's cradle out of his fingers. Perry contemplated his nemesis. No longer a smoking hot platypus but his ordinary slouchy, lantern jawed, potbellied human self.
He was perfect.
Perry gave him the OK sign. Any doubts he may have had melted like snow in the sun when he saw Doofenshmirtz's reaction. He hid his own sudden shyness by strapping on his jetpack and going out on the balcony.
"Want me to pick you up?" Doofenshmirtz asked. "I know where you live, now." He grinned evilly. Perry rolled his eyes and shook his head. "What do you mean I don't? I can retrace our flight p- oh. That's why you made me wear those glasses." As Perry took off he heard Doofenshmirtz cry, "Curse you Perry the Platypus, and don't forget, seven thirty!"
On his way to the OWCA headquarters Perry wasn't thinking about the pros and cons of dating one's nemesis, or the pitfalls of dating Doofenshmirtz. He'd deal with all of that later. Right now he was enjoying being happier than he could ever remember.