(Note about the German: If there's any mistakes in the German stuff, and I'm far from fluent so there's bound to be eventually, it's because they're speaking Druelselstein German, and whatever they said is completely correct in that dialect. I don't know why, but I can't resist the temptation to make jokes in German if I get the opportunity. And I know Doofenshmirtz speaks English in some flashbacks, but for this story, I'll pretend it was being translated to make it funnier.)
Perry crashed through the roof and landed right inside a glass cage. Before he could do anything, the top of the cage closed, and Perry scowled. Doofenshmirtz had an uncanny ability to predict the exact place where Perry was going to break in. It was his one real skill.
He could see Doofenshmirtz on the other side of the room, adjusting a big Inator. After a few seconds, Doofenshmirtz finished what he was doing and turned around. "Ah, Perry the Platypus. How good of you to... Drop in!" He laughed manically for a second, then got down to business. "You know, I've told you a lot of backstories since we became nemesises." He paused. "N... Nemeses? Whatever. And it got me to thinking. My childhood was terrible! I mean, I knew it was bad, but I never realised..."
He cleared his throat and indicated today's Inator. "That's why I built the Time-Portal-Inator!"
So he just wanted to improve his childhood. That wasn't evil in of itself, but Perry had a feeling that it was a bad idea to mess with your personal timeline. He just couldn't remember why. Maybe Doofenshmirtz would explain it to him. He didn't seem like the type to care about the integrity of the space-time continuum.
"I'll just activate a time portal to my childhood," continued Doofenshmirtz, "pluck out my younger self, and deposit him here, and my entire emotionally-scarring backstory will just disappear! I could take care of myself much better than my parents ever did." He scowled.
Perry widened his eyes and began to bang on the side of the glass cage. He didn't know much about time travel, but even he knew that that was a bad idea. A really bad idea.
Doofenshmirtz smirked when he saw Perry's reaction. "I suppose your stuffy space-time continuum has something to say about that. Well, too bad!" He pressed a button on the machine, creating a portal to an earth-toned, subdued looking landscape. Doofenshmirtz stepped through, but the portal stayed open.
Perry knew that he had to act fast. It was obvious that Doofenshmirtz didn't know what he was about to do. He had to be stopped, for his own good.
Perry jumped upwards, intending to rattle the cage a bit and give him a better idea of how strong it was. But to his surprise, the top just opened. Apparently Doofenshmirtz had forgotten to include a lock. Perry wished he'd known that before, but it never helped to wish.
The portal showed no signs of closing, so Perry ran to Doofenshmirtz's computer. He needed proof. He quickly found what he was looking for and printed it out, keeping an eye on the portal the whole time. The proof was a scientific paper, published in an online, peer reviewed journal. Apparently, Doofenshmirtz subscribed to the journal, because Perry hadn't had to log in to anything to access it.
If only Doofenshmirtz had read it more carefully. He would have been very interested in the part about how, theoretically, a person who brought a younger version of themselves to the present and wanted to keep them there would most likely be erased from existence. The author had backed up their hypothesis with a page of impressive looking equations, which Perry would not have understood if he'd devoted the rest of his life to studying them, and had also talked about a mysterious spate of children with unpleasant lives disappearing without a trace, and reappearing years later without having aged a day.
The paper also claimed that doing this might possibly blow up the Solar System, but if you believed scientists, that was true for just about everything, so Perry had stopped worrying about it. He just didn't want Doofenshmirtz to annihilate himself. Nobody deserved that, not even somebody as evil as he was.
Perry grabbed the printout, put it in the same place that he kept his hat, and jumped through the still open portal.
Doofenshmirtz arrived in the middle of a horribly familiar town. Gimmelschtump. He shuddered, although he didn't understand why. The place just gave him the creeps.
Well, soon all those bad memories would be just a... just a... Doofenshmirtz gave up trying to think of a good metaphor, and looked around. It seemed to be the mud season, which would explain why his feet were so wet. "Oh great!" he said, looking down at the bottom of his lab coat, which was slowly sinking into the mud. "Now I'll have to get my coat dry cleaned." The sooner he could get out of here, the better.
The first thing Doofenshmirtz noticed when he got to his old house was a garden gnome. A real one. "Hm," he said, looking at it. "It's a bit later than I wanted..." It couldn't be earlier. He could tell because his father's stupid dog was lounging on the front lawn, gnawing on a bone that had more meat on it than Doofenshmirtz had ever had growing up. "Oh well."
He gave the dog a glare, which it ignored, and rang the doorbell.
There was a long pause, and Doofenshmirtz stared at the large, castle-like door. He was beginning to regret coming.
Finally, his father answered, with that same glower he'd always turned on strangers. "(Who are you?)" he asked, in Druelselstein German.
Doofenshmirtz couldn't stop himself from looking down and twiddling his thumbs. "Uh... (Good day,)" he said. "(My name is Doctor Hein...)" He drew out the syllable as he remembered that he couldn't give his real name, "(...rich von...) Uh..." Doofenshmirtz looked around desperately at the house, and the mountains behind it. He should have rehearsed this. He was going to rehearse it, but he'd put it off, and then Perry the Platypus had shown up, and there hadn't been time... "(Hausenberg, and...)"
He trailed off. German was his native language, but he was more out of practice at speaking it than he'd thought. Beyond that scheme to remove all the formal second-person pronouns from the Tri-State Area - would it have killed his mother to have addressed him informally just once? - he hadn't thought about it in a long time. Vanessa kept telling him he slipped into it around his mother and his brother when he was upset, but he'd never noticed.
Doofenshmirtz's father regarded him silently.
Doofenshmirtz's mind raced. "(And I...) Well, I've..." He laughed, nervously. "(I've come to talk to you about your son.)" He was particularly out of practice at pronouncing the parentheses.
His father spoke at last. "(I have no son.)" He didn't say it angrily. He said it more like there had to have been a mistake.
Now Doofenshmirtz was more annoyed than scared. "What? (You don't have... You have two sons!)" What his father had said brought back memories of being shut out of the house for a freezing January night, because his own father had forgotten that he existed. He'd also forgotten that Roger existed, but that wasn't much comfort. At least the garden gnome costume had been warm.
Doofenshmirtz's father looked angry for a second, and then confused. "Roger?" he said at last.
"Nein!" snapped Doofenshmirtz, hoping that nobody had seen him cower for a second. "Heinz!" If he stayed angry, maybe he'd stop feeling like a nine-year-old.
Doofenshmirtz's father reached a decision. "(Come in, Doctor Hausenberg.)"
Perry landed in a stretch of deep mud and slipped onto his back. The mud closed over his face, and some of it went up his nose before he had the chance to seal his nostrils. He clawed his way up back up until he was in a sitting position, and sneezed until he felt better. Even sitting, the mud was so deep that he had to tilt his head back to be able to breathe.
He was in the village of Doofenshmirtz's flashbacks. That much was clear. He'd thought the brown tint on everything had been a cinematic effect to indicate poverty and... Eastern European-ness, but this was real life, and everything still looked like a next generation video game. The whole landscape looked like it was covered in mud. At least he'd fit in, Perry thought.
But where was Doofenshmirtz? The village didn't look very big, but it was big enough that Perry might not find him until it was too late.
Perry stood up and waded through the mud. He could see a few people, but none of them were Doofenshmirtz. They were all wearing subdued, brown-tinged clothing, and Perry was glad. A person in a white labcoat would really stand out around here.
He passed a strange mound of dirt, glanced at it, and hesitated. He'd got a flash of electricity from somewhere, and the mound was the only thing nearby. Perry turned to face it, closed his eyes, and was sure. There was an electrical field, and somehow, the mound was generating it. It was almost strong enough to make his fur stand on end.
Perry walked closer and poked the mound with a finger. Was this Doofenshmirtz's doing? Mud did not normally generate—
Someone tripped over him. Perry fell back into the mud, and sat up groggily. He felt naked, and realised that his hat had fallen off. He fished around for it.
"(A platypus?)" said a young voice. Perry was thankful for the intensive course he'd taken in Druelselstein German after Doofenshmirtz's attempt to remove all the second person formal pronouns from the Tri-State Area.
He located his hat, shook most of the mud off, and put it back on his head.
"(A platypus with a hat?)" said the kid, sounding shocked.
Perry looked up.
He'd found Doofenshmirtz. One of him, at least.