Yes, this is a re-post of sorts. I showed the alternate ending to a few people and everyone insisted I republish the story to include it.
You perverts know who you are... I love youse guys!
Chapter 1: An Unexpected Telephone Call
Dr. Doofenshmirtz was in the middle of battling Perry the Platypus when the phone rang. That was unusual enough to stop them both in their tracks. They exchanged a look as it rang again, and Doof said "Would you- would you wait just a bit, Perry the Platypus?"
The caller ID read GIMELSCHTUMP.
"Oh dear. I have to take this, Perry the Platypus, it's long distance from Drueselstein. It's probably important." He picked up the receiver. "Hello?"
After listening a moment he switched to German with a smile. "Ja, ist Heinz."
In a moment Doof's expression changed suddenly. "Ja. Ich bin dort, sobald ich kann." He hung up and hit the automatic dial. "Hello, Charlene, it's Heinz. Listen, I just got a call from Gimmelschtump. I have to fly out there early tomorrow."
Heinz listened for a moment and replied "I know it's my weekend, but I can't not go. If Vanessa wants to, she can come with me."
Another moment of listening. Heinz looked at Perry without really seeing him as he answered. "I have to go to Gimelschtump, Charlene!" His indigo eyes were sadder than Perry had seen in a long time. "I just got the news…" His voice cracked. "My grandmother is dying."
Perry was helping Heinz pack. Doofenshmirtz being Doofenshmirtz, he started telling Perry about his grandmother.
"My father never liked my grandparents, not that I can remember. The feeling was always mutual. Father and Grandfather Schmitt especially hated each other, so I didn't see much of them. They lived on the other side of town, so it was hard for me to go see them on the sly, especially when I was a garden gnome. Later, I was too humiliated by having to wear girls' clothes to go visit them. It wasn't until I was fourteen, and we were preparing to move here to Danville that I got to spend any time with them. "
Folding turtlenecks, lab coats and pants, a faraway look in his eyes, he went on.
"That was the happiest summer I can remember. I was free to go fishing, hunting, or just lie under a tree and do nothing. Grandfather taught me how to fix old clocks, make cheese, and set all sorts of traps."
That explained a lot…
"Grandmother made the best apple strudel in Drueselstein – heavy on the cinnamon. She gave me the recipe..."
His eyes were glistening. Perry felt badly for his nemesis.
"I wrote them often, but I didn't see them again for several years, until after I got married to Charlene. She was expecting Vanessa by then, and Grandfather had asked to meet her. He knew he wouldn't live to see the baby and wanted to give her his blessing although she was still in the womb."
The packing was done and he zipped the suitcase shut.
"He died a month before Vanessa was born. I haven't been back there since. Now Grandmother is ailing…"
Heinz wiped his eyes with his lab coat's sleeve. He felt Perry pat his shoulder in sympathy.
"Thank you, Perry the Platypus. I don't know exactly when I'll be back. Do you mind if we finish our little encounter after I get home?"
The platypus nodded. He could wait. After all, Doofenshmirtz being out of town meant only one thing: vacation time!
Chapter 2: Come Fly With Me
Dr. Doofenshmirtz picked Vanessa up at her mother's so early she didn't even bother to grumble, just dozed off in the cab. She woke to her father and the cab driver arguing over the tip and whether or not the cabbie would carry their luggage.
Doofenshmirtz lost, of course. He ended up juggling four bags, dropping each of them in turn at least twice on the way to the counter. At the counter checking the large bags he got notice that the flight was two hours late. The he got into trouble at the security gate when he set off the metal detector several times. He had to leave most of his remotes and portable Inators.
At the gate he joined a group that was singing traditional Drueselstinian songs. His bad singing was lost in a sea of other bad notes, at least. Vanessa was relieved when they finally boarded their flight.
She got a pleasant surprise. "Dad... first class! Really?"
He rolled his eyes at her in a perfect imitation of his daughter's "DUH" look. "It's a fifteen hour flight, not including the two stops in New York and Berlin. I'm six-two. I need the legroom in first class. The last time I flew coach I couldn't feel my legs until four hours after we landed."
That was the best thing Vanessa could say about the flight to Drueselstein. Otherwise, it was long, boring, and at the end claustrophobia-inducing. The turbulence over the Atlantic didn't help, especially after seeing her father turn green. He didn't need the barf bag, which was all to the good.
On arriving at their destination, they were received by a short, stocky man with a thick black beard. He greeted Doofenshmirtz with obvious affection.
"Vanessa, sweetie, this is my childhood friend Kenny. He was a lawn jockey back when I was a garden gnome. Kenny, this is my daughter Vanessa."
Kenny bowed and kissed her hand. The man made her skin crawl but she managed to hide it.
They came to a large, rough-looking truck. Kenny tossed the baggage in the back and held the door for them. Vanessa got in the back and got as comfortable as she could. Doofenshmirtz got into the front passenger seat and started talking in German with Kenny about people Vanessa had never heard of and didn't care to know about.
It was a long ride to Gimmelschtump.
Chapter 3: Oma
They arrived at the Schmitt farm in the late afternoon. Kenny refused to let them help with the luggage, saying he could get it. Dr. Doofenshmirtz didn't need to be told twice. Vanessa followed quickly. She wanted to get as far away from that creepy friend of her father's as soon as she could.
She stepped into the house and saw to her surprise several photos of herself at different ages. She recognized most as having been taken by her father. Others showed him with her, and there was one on the mantelpiece showing an older man that looked so much like her father it could only be Opa Schmitt.
Where was her father, anyway?
She walked further into the house and heard him speaking to someone. She peered around the doorway of the next room and saw her father kneeling at an old woman's feet with his head on her lap. The woman in the winged chair was gently stroking his messy hair and murmuring something in German. Heinz looked more peaceful than he had since Vanessa was five - before all the fighting and screaming and the horrible day when Mommy had told her Daddy wasn't going to live with them any more.
She beat down the memory and stuffed it back into the vault she kept most of her emotions in. Especially the hurt.
Vanessa looked into the small bedroom again. The old woman looked almost like Grandma Doofenshmirtz, except for her smaller, snub nose. She looked up and saw Vanessa, and beckoned her close with a smile.
"Heinz, Liebling," she spoke in heavily accented yet understandable English, "ist dot hyu little Vanessa?"
"Not so little, Oma," he smiled.
"Tsch! Hyu gets to be my age, everyvun ist little. Come, child, let hyu Oma look at hyu better."
Vanessa stepped forward in spite of herself. The old woman was so charming her aloof pose melted away and she sat at her great-grandmother's feet.
"Hello, Oma... it's nice to meet you at last."
"It's nize to meet hyu in person, too, Schatzi. I saw hyu Muti vhen she vas carrying hyu, but after hyu Opa passed on, vell, I took off und vent traffeling. Now my traffels are almost done, so I vanted to see hyu Vati vun more time. I'm very happy he brought hyu."
"So am I. Oma... will you tell me about when Dad was young?"
Oma Schmitt's eyes twinkled. Heinz felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. "Oma..."
"Oh, i'm sure ve can find a story or tvo... like vun time he came across a sleeping Goozim."
"Oh, no... not that story. Please?" Vanessa grinned. So did Oma. Heinz saw such a strong resemblance between the two women then and there that he knew he had already lost that fight.
"Now, now, Liebling, hyu vas young, and to be young is to be foolish. Very foolish." She turned to her great-granddaughter, eyes twinkling even more. "But maybe I tell hyu vhen hyu Vati is not around to giff me dot look, eh?"
"Sure, Oma." Vanessa was actually looking forward to hearing that story. She had never seen a Goozim, but from the description, it seemed both silly and dangerous.
"Goot, now help hyu Oma up, please. I'm not so spry as I hyused to be."
Heinz helped her up and his heart ached when he felt how frail she was. She must be ninety-eight by now, he reminded himself. It's a wonder she's still in such good shape.
"Goot, thank hyu. Liebling, vould hyu please help mit de Eye Vee drip?" She motioned to the tube snaking out of her forearm. "It's a bother but I gots to hyuse it."
Heinz quickly had it in hand. "What's in it?"
Oma's reply was succinct. "Morphine drip." His eyes darkened with concern; Oma must be in a lot of pain to have finally accepted a need for medication.
She brightened again and said "Hyu room is still vaiting for hyu, and die guest room ist goot for Vanessa. I sleep down here now, ist varmer und no stairs to fall down. Now ve go to der kitchen und haff a nize hot chocolate, hyu looks tired."
"Oma, it's really not necess-"
She cut him off with a wave of her hand. "Shush! Hyu is haffing hot chocolate und apple strudel. End of argument."
Heinz replied meekly "Yes, Oma."
Vanessa saw her father grin behind his grandmother's back and realized the protest over the chocolate had been a ploy for some strudel. She hadn't thought he could be that sneaky, until she remembered he had once been a teenager, too, and greedy for sweets.
She knew Oma had been the one to teach her father to make strudel, and if it was anything like the one he made, it was sure to be good.
In fact, it was even better.
Chapter 4: The Horrible Truth
Dr. Doofenshmirtz spent a couple of days rediscovering the farm with Vanessa, showing her places he'd spent happy times in. The old oak tree right outside the kitchen had a branch low enough to sit on, the apples in the orchard were almost full-size but not yet ripe, and the goat pens got a thorough cleaning in spite of Vanessa's protests.
Oma was all smiles when they trudged back to the house and were rewarded with some more of her wonderful cooking. Heinz had rigged up an IV Drip-inator to make it easier for Oma to get around and she was so perky it seemed impossible she was ninety-eight and terminally ill.
That illusion collapsed utterly two days later. Vanessa found Oma on the floor of her bedroom and managed to get her back on the bed. She was barely conscious and in serious pain when her doctor arrived.
After a short conversation, Heinz went inside to check on Oma. She was pale and drawn, but awake.
"Oma?" He spoke in German. "How are you feeling?"
"Liebling... I have to tell you something..." It was hard for her to breathe, maybe because of the pain, maybe because of the emotional distress. "I've been keeping something from you since your Opa died, may he rot in Hell for Eternity."
"What...? Oma, what did Opa do for you to say that?"
Vanessa was sitting on the floor just outside the doorway. Her German had improved in the few days they had been there and it was easy to follow what they were saying.
"Heinz... I don't know how to make this understandable. God knows I still don't know how I missed the signs."
"Start with what you knew before he told you... whatever it was."
"Well... You remember that horrid dog of your father's?"
"'Only Son'? How could I forget?" He laughed bitterly. "I hated that animal."
"Yes... I did too, when I found out how Herr Doofenshmirtz treated the dog like a prince while keeping you as a garden gnome. Why do you think he said the dog was the son he never had?"
"I always felt he hated me but... oh. Oh God. Why didn't I figure it out before? I'm not his son, am I?"
Vanessa bit her lip. That explained so very many of her father's stories about his childhood.
"No, you're not, Liebling. Your mother tricked him into marrying her after she discovered she was pregnant with you. That's not the worst of it, though. I... I'm partly to blame for everything that happened to you."
"You? But... why, Oma? What did you do?"
"I was blind, Heinz. I was completely blind to what had been going on. I never knew until your Opa was on his deathbed, just after your visit with Charlene. That's when he confessed to me."
Vanessa could hear the strain in her father's voice. "Oma, please, stop drawing it out. What did he tell you?"
"I... I'm so sorry, Liebling. Opa Schmitt was your father."
Vanessa's hands flew to her mouth, managing to stifle the tiny scream of horror.
"What..." Heinz's voice was a thread.
"He started forcing himself on your mother when she was sixteen, on market days while I was out. She never told me anything, and I never suspected. I never understood why she was so angry at me. I guess she expected me to read her mind."
Heinz was silent. Vanessa wondered what was going through his mind, if anything. The enormity of what Oma was telling him was difficult enough for her; for her father it had to be devastating.
"When she discovered she was carrying you she fooled Doofenshmirtz into sleeping with her and publicly pinned the pregnancy on him. He did the right thing, but he never really forgave her, or your Opa and me. She has never forgiven me either... and I've known why for sixteen years. I... I just hope you can forgive me, Liebling."
"Forgive you for what, Oma?"
"For being so blind to what went on in my house... for not telling your mother that she didn't have to marry if she didn't want to." Oma was weeping now. "If I had known, I would have thrown Opa out and let the Town Council throw him in a Goozim pit. I would have raised you myself, and you would have known love."
"It's all right, Oma... I always knew you loved me."
"Thank you, my child. Do you forgive me?"
"There was never anything that needed forgiving, Oma... you didn't know until it was too late to say anything. I'm grateful you were honest with me. You've given me answers to questions that plagued me all my life."
The relief in Oma's voice was obvious to Vanessa. "God's blessings be with you Liebling... thank you. You're a good man, Heinz, never mind how evil you try to be. No man who loves his child like you do can be completely evil."
"I'll still try, Oma."
"That's good... one should always strive for self-improvement. Go on, now, and let this old woman have her rest."
Vanessa scrambled to get up and pretend she hadn't been eavesdropping, but it wasn't necessary. Heinz stepped out, carefully shut the door, then made his way outside through the kitchen.
He made it to the oak tree before throwing up.
Chapter 5: Therapy, Anyone?
Heinz lay his forehead against the trunk of the oak, the revelations of a few minutes ago swirling in his mind - a black vortex of disgust, grief and loneliness.
Forty-four years of physical and emotional abuse were finally explained.
He had been pinned on another man simply to explain his existence. He had been unwanted even before his conception.
His grandfather had raped his mother. He was both son and grandson, son and brother.
He absently kicked loose dirt over the small splash of vomit at the base of the tree. He hadn't had much in his stomach, thankfully, but the dry heaves had taken a while to go away.
He looked at his hands as they rested on the bark of the old tree. They looked so much like Opa's... those hands that had been strong and agile even in old age. Those hands that had taught him how to tie a fly to a rod, or set a simple noose to catch the rabbits that tried to pillage Oma's garden. Those hands that had made the old guitar that still hung in the parlor sing like the angels... those same hands had pinned down an innocent girl and defiled her.
Heinz couldn't even begin to imagine those hands on his mother's skin. The very notion made him want to retch again. He couldn't really blame her for not holding any love for him, not any more, but knowing the reason didn't make it hurt any less.
He wondered what Perry the Platypus would think... but knowing Perry, it wouldn't matter. It was a small consolation but one he hung on to in a desperate bid to preserve his sanity.
Vanessa's voice brought him back to the present. "Dad... are you okay?"
He didn't bother to turn around. "You heard everything Oma said, didn't you..."
She decided truth was the best policy. "Yes."
"Then you know I'm not okay." Heaving a sigh he looked up into the spreading branches. "If Oma had any alcohol in the house I'd be getting shitfaced-drunk in one of the goat pens right now. As it is..." he lay his forehead against the tree again, "there are not enough days in the fucking week for all the therapy I'm going to need."
Vanessa blinked at that. She had never heard him use profanity before.
Heinz spoke again. "How is she?"
"She's asleep. The doctor says it won't be long now, though. A matter of days." His eyes closed.
She stepped closer and laid a hand on his arm. "I'm so sorry, Dad."
Without opening his eyes he put his hand over hers and gave it a squeeze.
She wanted to weep for him... but not here, not now.
Nobody would ever see Vanessa shed a public tear again.
"Do you want some water?"
"That would help, yes... Thank you, sweetie."
She went for a glass, her own secrets eating away at her.
If only she could tell him...
Chapter 6: A Jewel in Steel
In spite of the pain and being confined to her bed now, Oma sent for her attorney the next day. It was easy to know who he was; unlike most other Gimmelschtump residents who came to pay respects to Oma on her sickbed, he wasn't wearing lederhosen. Instead, the man was rocking an Armani business suit.
Herr Merkel had brought a large trunk with him. Oma had placed it in his keeping some years ago, but since she was still in possession of her mental faculties she had decided to transfer the contents to Heinz immediately rather than pay death duties after her funeral. The farm and a few other properties were also being transferred to him.
Heinz tried to object, knowing making him her sole heir would put him in an even worse position with his mother and Roger. Things were bad enough, especially knowing what he now did. Oma and Herr Merkel listened and agreed to change a few things by creating a trust fund for Vanessa. The farm in its entirety still went to Heinz. He conceded, since there was no way to make Oma change her mind once it was made up. Once the paperwork was done, Herr Merkel unlocked the trunk and took his leave for a while.
It took both Heinz and Vanessa to get the trunk open, even after oiling the hinges. It was four feet long, two and a half feet tall and two and a half feet deep, made of walnut so old the wood had turned almost black with age. The framing, hinges and hasp were rusty but in good shape, and the lock was new enough that it looked out of place on the ancient monstrosity.
Inside was a trove of silverware Oma's family had accumulated over the centuries, some jewelry acquired the same way, and a long case, the contents of which made Heinz gasp.
Lovingly nestled in deep purple velvet was a dueling sword. Unadorned except for the beauty of the Toledo steel it was forged in, perfectly proportioned, it was still sharp and rust-free. The scabbard was likewise simple but exquisitely crafted, strapped inside the lid of the case.
Carefully pulling it out, he moved to the center of the room and tested its balance. It sat in his hand as if it had been made just for him, and as he flipped it to inspect both sides of the blade he unconsciously straightened up to his full height. It was as if the steel in his hand somehow had put some steel in his spine.
His improved posture made him look like another man entirely, Vanessa thought, a thinner, less showy version of her uncle Roger. Tall, slim, strong... and dangerous. Downright handsome, in fact, in an anti-heroic sort of way – even if, being his daughter, she was rather biased.
She wondered what Perry the Platypus would think if he saw his nemesis right then. The semi-aquatic mammal would surely be astonished. Maybe even enamored. The thought of the suave, unflappable secret agent getting all flustered and puppy-eyed, surrounded by heart bubbles made her smile.
Oma spoke up. "That sword belonged to my father, Alexander Schmitt. He was a notorious duelist in his youth, and it was said that his skill made more cripples and fewer widows and orphans than any other fighter in his day. I never saw him fight, but he taught your Opa everything he knew... so everything Opa taught you comes from him."
"I haven't touched a blade since I moved to Danville..." His voice was low and strangely steady as he admired the steel.
"It doesn't look like it, Liebling. You carry yourself well with it. You have Father's build. It's yours now."
Vanessa spoke in English for a moment."I didn't know you fenced, Dad." She was willing to bet a certain monotreme didn't know that, either.
"Not fencing... dueling. Fencing is... sport. Dueling is life or death – or worse than death." He slid the blade into the scabbard, and it made a little 'snikt' sound as it hit home. Placing it back in the case, it suddenly seemed to Vanessa as if a piece of a puzzle had fallen out of place from him – and he reverted back to his usual self.
"So what am I supposed to do with all this?"
"Vhatever hyu vant, Liebchen, although Vanessa may vant to take a few pieces of jewelry for herself first?"
Her eyes sparkled like sapphires in the sun. "Oh... may I, really?"
"Go ahead, sweetie."
There were some magnificent pieces in the trunk. Most were Victorian in vintage, with a few ethnic necklaces and earrings Oma had picked up in her travels. Vanessa's favorite was a gold locket with space for several pictures. She kept that one along with a few others.
Heinz picked up a jeweled ring and studied it. It was simpler than most of the others, almost plain, which meant it was of modern make. The central stone was an oval-cut deep-purple amethyst flanked by two smaller heart-shaped diamonds. The band was high-carat gold in a two-toned design that reminded him of the sword's patterned blade.
Oma's voice snapped him out of his admiration. "Hyu should keep dot vun, Liebling. Hyu'll find a nize girl to giff it to vun day."
He opened his mouth to protest but Vanessa cut him off. "She's right, Dad. You do need someone." She patted his hand and smiled. "I'm cool with that."
Before he could say anything Herr Merkel returned. "Frau Schmitt... your daughter and other grandson have just arrived."
Heinz hissed a single word under his breath.
Chapter 7: Ugly inside and out
Nana Doofenshmirtz came in, skirts swishing. Roger followed close behind.
"Where is she? Where's Mother?"
"Frau Doofenshmirtz, Frau Schmitt needs rest."
"Who are you?" asked Roger.
Herr Merkel intorduced himself. When Mother Doofenshmirtz learned he was a lawyer she hissed in anger. "You come to meddle!"
"Indeed not madam. My meddling, as you call it, is done and all legal papers have been filed away."
"You dare rob my son of his inheritance?"
Oma spoke up weakly from her sickbed. "Your son has already received his inheritance, child."
"Lies! I know you leave Roger nothing!"
Heinz looked at Vanessa and mouthed two words. Out. Now.
She opened her mouth to protest but snapped it shut when he gave her a sharp look. Usually it was her mother who gave her that sort of eyes-only warning, but if her father, mellow as he was in comparison, was giving her one, prudence dictated she obey.
She turned and went out through the kitchen, thinking to visit the goat pens. One of the nanny goats had given birth out of season that year and the kid was just old enough to start nibbling on vegetable scraps. Carrot tops in hand, she went to wait there until she was called back in.
The little brown and white kid nibbled eagerly from her hand, then butted her playfully. Vanessa rubbed its head and it bleated happily.
"Ah, that's what you really wanted, isn't it, baby?"
The kid bleated and ran off to its mother. She realized why when an unctuous voice spoke behind her.
"Ah, Fraulein Doofenshmirtz, how are you on this lovely day?"
She turned to see Kenny's ugly, bearded face leering at her. "I'm well, Herr..." what was his last name? "Kessler." Yes, that was it.
She fervently wished for him to drop dead of a stroke.
"How is Frau Schmitt doing? I wanted to stop in to say hello."
"She's awake but my grandmother and uncle have just arrived. They're... discussing some family matters."
"I... see." He licked his lips. "In that case I won't bother them." He reached out suddenly and grabbed her hair, yanking her head back. "You'll do for company."
Heinz and Roger were standing aside while Frau Doofenshmirtz raged at Oma and Herr Merkel. Heinz had taken the sword out of its case again to show to Roger, who didn't care about fencing but was desperate for an excuse to ignore their mother's ranting. The sword was scabbarded and about to go into its case once more when Vanessa's scream reached them.
Heinz ran toward the goat pens, the sword still in his hand. Roger was close behind.
Frau Doofenshmirtz was so busy feeding her rant that she never noticed.
Vanessa knew she would have a bruise. Kenny had hit her across the cheekbone with the handle of the machete he'd been holding behind his back when he'd approached her. The blow had knocked her to the ground, stunned, and Kenny had grabbed her by the hair again to drag her into an empty stall. He had just shoved her in, deliberately knocking her head against the side wall when she heard her father call her as if from very far away.
She managed to call out again. "Daddy!"
Kenny slapped her again, cursing in German. Heinz had seen him. He picked up the machete and went to kill himself a garden gnome.
Chapter 8: The Wolf Defends His Cub
Heinz saw Kenny coming at him, machete in hand and snarled silently. He waved at Roger to circle around the goat pens. For once Roger got the message and veered to the right, looking for his niece.
Kenny approached, machete dangling casually. Heinz was not fooled by the nonchalance. At least the blade was clean, thank God. That meant Vanessa was in one piece.
"Where's my daughter?" The sword was still in its scabbard, but he had torn off the lab coat on the way.
"Waiting for me in the pens. I'm going to show her what a real man is," he sneered.
"She's sixteen! And even if she were older, she has better taste than to look at you, Schwein."
"Her mother liked the demonstration just fine."
Heinz's eyes were cold now. "That I don't doubt, but my daughter's not like her."
Kenny barked a laugh. "All American women are whores! You're just not man enough to fuck her yourself."
"I'd kill you for that, but death is too good for you." He smiled. It made him look like a wolf sizing up the rabbit he wanted for dinner.
"You're weak, Doof. You couldn't even kill a cockroach."
Heinz's grin was mirthless and predatory. "I said I'm not killing you... but you'll wish I had. I'll start with your hands. Your feet will be next. Once you can't move I'll gouge your eyes out... or not. I think I'll want you to watch as I cut your balls off before I shove them down your throat."
Kenny spat on the ground. Heinz ignored the implied insult and went on.
"I'll try to keep you from suffocating on them too quickly. Goozims prefer live prey." He raked Kenny up and down with a disdainful look. "I doubt you'll smell very appetizing to them, though."
Kenny shrieked "You lie!"
"Try me, horse's ass."
The last insult had its intended effect and Kenny swung the machete at Heinz.
Roger found Vanessa quickly enough, and made sure she was all right. Aside from the bruise forming on her cheekbone and a goose egg from hitting the wall of the stall she was responsive, although in shock.
He helped her out to the lawn in front of the pens and they stopped in surprise.
Heinz was facing Kenny, sword and scabbard against machete.
Vanessa dropped to her knees, too dizzy to stand, but not too dizzy to watch. Roger knelt beside her.
Doofenshmirtz was in fighting mode now, reflexes honed by years of near-daily combat against his nemesis.
The hairy man advanced swinging his blade to and fro. Trying to get to his opponent, he lunged, only to have Heinz sidestep him and smack the flat of the blade hard against Kenny's ugly backside. The short man roared in humiliation and turned, attempting a stab this time. It was deflected neatly and followed by a quick slash that opened the skin just under Kenny's right eye. The man screamed thinly and swung backhanded.
Heinz was too close to dodge it so he took a calculated risk and dropped to his knees, leaning back so the machete passed over his face by a couple of inches. It left him wide open for a downward slash but Kenny's momentum carried him too far for that. He was turning back when a knifing movement of Toledo steel opened a gash in his thigh as Heinz sprang back up, the scabbard blocking the machete's return swing. He had switched his weapons from one hand to the other as he dropped and the blade now slashed across Kenny's chest.
Kenny Kessler might be ten times heavier than the average platypus, but he wasn't a tenth of the fighter Perry was.
Now flailing wildly, Kenny tried to get any sort of blow in. It didn't work. Heinz blocked him, switched hands again, smacked him several more times with the flat of the blade hard enough it would leave welts, then ended it with a wrenching twist that sprained Kenny's wrist and sent the machete rolling along the ground to stop near Vanessa.
The point of the sword pressed under Kenny's left eye. Heinz's voice was ice and steel as he spoke. "Get off my land. If I ever see you again or hear of you even thinking about my daughter again, I will hunt you down and kill you like the animal you are. Have I made myself clear, Kessler?" The eyes staring into Kenny's were two roundels of hard and flat indigo lapis that promised him a galaxy's worth of suffering.
The bearded man whimpered assent and stepped back a few paces. The squishing of his shoes told Heinz Kenny has pissed himself. He grinned wolfishly again. "Go. Now"
Kenny retreated a few more paces, his eyes still on the sword.
Heinz turned and knelt in front of Vanessa. "Are you all right, sweetie?" He reached for her, sword and scabbard left aside, all his attention on her.
"I.. I'm OK... I think." She looked up and her eyes widened in fear as she saw movement over her father's shoulder.
Kenny had moved forward, reached into his waistband and was pulling out a gun.
Chapter 9: Grim Reapings
Roger had gone pale, and Vanessa's eyes were huge with fright as the gun came up in Kenny's hand.
Heinz had all but forgotten about Kenny, but Vanessa's eyes told him something was very wrong behind him. The sword was out of his hand, and too far to get to in time... but the machete was just within reach. Moving out of instinct and adrenaline, he went for it.
His long, lean frame turned as he rose at full speed, ending with a whip-crack of his arm that sent the point-heavy machete flying toward its target. It spun through the air and hit Kenny's arm, making him drop the gun with a string of curses.
That gave Heinz the second he needed to pick his own blade up and run Kenny through. The force of the thrust drove the steel to the hilt through his sternum and out through his back between the ribs. Heinz twisted his wrist, yanking back with all his strength and they all heard a sickening crack of bone as the blade slid free.
Kenny slumped to the ground, legs twitching, and the stench of voided bowels filled the air as blood pooled in the dirt.
"Oh, my God!" Vanessa gasped.
Roger was shocked. "You... you killed Kenny."
Heinz had only one word for his former childhood friend.
Between them, Roger and Heinz got Vanessa to the house. They left Kenny for the Goozims, if they came. If not, it didn't really matter.
Heinz sat Vanessa at the kitchen table and tended to her injuries while Roger went inside to report what had happened. After a few moments he returned, saying Oma was asking for Heinz. The look on his face told them it wouldn't be long now.
Heinz went into Oma's room and knelt by the bedside. She was breathing with difficulty, the IV-Drip-inator set to maximum.
"Oma... I'm here."
"Heinz... Liebling... are you all right? And Vanessa?"
"I'm fine, Oma. Vanessa's a bit bruised but she's safe." He lay his head next to her hand and she stroked his hair.
"Good... I... I'm very proud of you... I always have been..."
"Please, Oma... you need rest..."
"Liebling... I hope someday... you find someone... who loves you... the way you should be loved."
He took her hand in his. "You know who I want... I don't know if it would ever work out."
She closed her eyes and smiled knowingly.
Her last words to him were "We love whom we love... man... woman... animal... as long as there is love... it will all work out for you in the end..."
He sat there a long while, dry-eyed and silent, holding her hand until it was cold.
Heinz had never felt so lonely.
Oma had had a long time to prepare, and Herr Merkel was a top-notch manager. The wake and funeral went according to plan, with a huge turnout. Oma Schmitt– and by extension her descendants – were related to most of the residents of Gimmelschtump one way or another.
There were a couple of awkward hours during the wake as the local law enforcement came to question them about Kenny Kessler's demise. Once it was established that no less than a sword duel had taken place and that Kenny had broken the rules by drawing a gun - it still lay next to him, and his prints were all over it – the matter was closed under Drueselsteinian law.
Heinz felt sick thinking about it. He hadn't wanted to kill the man, but once he'd puled the gun there was nothing else he could do to ensure his daughter was safe.
After the funeral was over and everyone else had left he went out to the oak tree and sat on the low branch, wanting some peace and quiet. He didn't get it, of course.
Mother Doofenshmirtz came and started to berate him about the inheritance. He closed his eyes and let the abuse wash over him until he decided enough was enough.
"Mother... shut the fuck up already."
"How dare you speak to me that way! If your father were here-"
"He's not my father."
She fell silent.
"Oma told me everything." He opened his eyes. "I've had enough crap piled on me for something that I wasn't to blame for. It ends here."
"I'm still your mother! Your brother has a right to-"
"Shut up Nana, and leave my uncle out of it!" Vanessa had stepped up behind her.
"You disrespectful little brat!" Mother Doofenshmirtz turned to face her granddaughter.
"Nana, either you leave Dad alone now, or when I get back to Danville I will ruin uncle Roger's political career."
Heinz was genuinely confused. "What are you talking about, Vanessa?"
"What do you think will happen if the press gets a tip concerning Mayor Doofenshmirtz having an illegitimate child?" Vanessa's eyes were lapis, cold and hard.
"That's not true! My Roger would never do such a thing!" She was agitated now.
Heinz saw what Vanessa was getting at. "It doesn't matter if it's not true, Mother..." he sneered. "If people even think he might have done it, he's sunk."
"Nana, just leave my Dad alone. Or else."
The old woman turned on her heel and went back inside. They heard her yell "Roger! We go!"
Roger's reply was a muffled "Yes, Mother."
Heinz was impressed. "Wow... sweetie... that was really evil! I'm so proud of you!"
His delight turned to worry in an instant when she spoke again, not turning to face him.
"Daddy... there's something I need to tell you..."
Chapter 10: No more secrets, no more lies
Vanessa had just turned twelve and was looking for her mother to help her with her new underthings. Charlene was talking to someone on the phone and didn't notice her there.
She was saying "Well, I admit he's really great in bed, and he was a decent husband, but I just didn't feel like limiting myself to only Heinz for the rest of my life. I certainly didn't want him to knock me up. The funny thing is, it wasn't him that got me pregnant. It was an accident with someone else."
Charlene listened to the phone and replied. "Oh, come on, Linda! Of course I didn't do the DNA thing! It would have proved that Vanessa isn't his! That would have screwed me economically."
After another exchange from the other end of the conversation she went on. "If it did come out, there wouldn't be any legal reason for Heinz to have a relationship with Vanessa. I'd be stuck with her every single weekend. I won't do that, I already gave up way too much of my life for her. No, Heinz will keep on being her legal father. It's better for me that way."
Vanessa silently retreated to her room, weeping.
Her Mom was a cheater and a liar who didn't really want her around. She'd suspected the latter for a while, but now it was confirmed. Worse, her Dad wasn't her Dad, and if he knew, he wouldn't want her around, either.
Life was nothing but people taking advantage of others, or being taken advantage of by them, Vanessa concluded.
She managed to put her bra on straight, then pulled all the bright things out of her closet and kept only what was black.
She never wore any other color again.
Vanessa stood there under the oak tree, arms around herself, her back to him. It had torn her apart, telling him the truth, but he deserved to know it. Even if he never wanted to see her again after discovering he wasn't really her father, she couldn't live with the lies any more.
After what seemed an eternity of silence she heard him speak.
"When your mother told me she was pregnant with you it scared me to death. We hadn't been married that long, and I was just getting my career as a composer off the ground, but it was still the best news anyone had ever given me."
Vanessa had never felt such misery, and wished she had stayed silent... not that she could have any longer.
"The day you were born... I freaked out completely, so most of it's a blur... until the nurse handed you to me. I saw two little sapphires sparkling in the sun, and they were looking right at me. Then a tiny little fist gripped my pinkie... and I've been wrapped around yours ever since."
Every word was a dagger in her heart. To her surprise she felt his arms wrap around her from behind as he laid his cheek against her head.
"What I'm wondering now... what on God's green Earth made you think I didn't already know what you've just told me?"
"You... you knew?" She turned and looked up into indigo eyes full of love, understanding, and sadness.
"Since you were five. I'd figured out your mother was cheating on me, and when I confronted her about it she dropped that bomb on me. It didn't matter to me if you were really mine or not, but I couldn't stay married to someone who preferred sleeping around to her family's well-being. That threat of hers with the DNA testing... well, that's why I'm the one getting alimony instead of her." He smiled softly. "It's a small price to pay for you, sweetie."
"Oh... oh, Daddy!" The dam of her emotions finally burst and she dissolved into tears, her face in his chest as she sobbed.
He held her until she had cried herself out, crooning softly as he stroked her hair. When she was done he gently wiped her face dry with a handkerchief and asked her "So what are we going to do now? Do we let your mother know we both know?"
"I... I'm not sure. Let's get back home first."
"Whatever you want, sweetheart, is fine with me."
Chapter 11: What happens in Gimmelschtump stays in Gimmelschtump
A few days later Vanessa woke in the middle of the night, feeling something had changed. She had been coming to sleep with her father, since it was the only way to keep the nightmares at bay, but tonight was different.
She thought about what it could be. Heinz was sound asleep, his breathing warm on the back of her neck... so that was it. Somehow they had ended up spooning and his arm was wrapped around her bared waist.
Heinz whimpered softly in his sleep and his embrace tightened. She pushed herself back into him and realized he was hard, his cock pressing against her ass through his nightshirt. The sensation made her want to wiggle her hips.
Vanessa was both fascinated and horrified at herself. This was her father, her Dad, the man who had dedicated his life to giving her everything he had never had. Love, most of all.
It made her want to cry, sometimes, knowing how much he had been hurt. That he had survived the abuse of his childhood and in spite of it all had so much love to give was amazing. That he still wanted to try and find someone to share a life with after what her mother had done to him, that was nothing short of a miracle.
Now that Oma was gone, Vanessa knew she was the only person who truly cared for him aside from Perry the Platypus... and there were things Perry couldn't do for him.
She tried to derail her train of thought but it sped on ahead, the mental brakes not responding. The warmth of Heinz's strong, rangy body pressed against her back only made things worse as her nipples hardened.
Dad or not, this was a man. An attractive man, in spite of what some might think. A man who had risked his own life against the animal that had tried to rape her, and who was still keeping her safe from the nightmares. She could understand at some level why her body was reacting this way.
What Vanessa couldn't quite understand was her intense desire for him to see her as a woman. As his woman, ready for the taking.
It wasn't going to happen, of course. Heinz had learned only a few days ago that he had been conceived as a by-product of incestuous rape. The idea of having sex – even consensual – with his daughter would almost certainly make him physically ill again. Never mind that she wasn't his biological child. He was her father, period.
Telling herself all this was as useless as the traps he set for Perry the Platypus. Her pussy was completely wet just from thinking about what she really wanted right now.
Vanessa wanted Heinz to fuck her. She wanted him to flip her onto her back and nail her hard, jackhammering her until she came screaming and he pumped his load into her – with bonus points for knocking her up.
She settled for carefully slipping his hand into the waistband of her pajama shorts until his fingers grazed the top of her slit. With a little luck his hand would twitch.
The last thing she would ever have expected was for his hand to slide down even lower to slip a finger into her as he gently bit the back of her neck.
Heinz had been awake for a while. It had taken every last drop of willpower to keep himself still, but when Vanessa pulled his hand down to her crotch he knew all hope for him was lost.
He had become physically aware of her almost from the first night they actually slept after the attempted rape – the evening after Oma's funeral, when she had come sobbing to his room, desperate to feel safe in his arms. They had fallen asleep holding each other, both sleeping the night through. When he woke at dawn and looked down at the warm, curvy young body pressed against him he realized with a pang that his little girl wasn't so little any more.
He could live with that.
It was the animal lust she aroused in him that made Heinz hate himself.
He could understand at some level why Kenny had gone after her. Since that first morning of awareness he had been having dreams of tying Vanessa's wrists to the headboard and putting a pillow under her hips, then massaging baby oil into her skin, using hands and mouth to pleasure her until she begged him to mount her. In his dreams he would take her, pumping her deep and hard until he came, deliberately impregnating her.
The difference between his sex-filled dreams and reality was that Heinz loved Vanessa more than his own life. That his brother had sired her made no difference to him; she was his daughter in every way that counted. He certainly loved her enough to keep himself from becoming the kind of monster to her that his grandfather-slash-sire had been to Heinz's mother. Nothing would ever induce him to do anything that might cause her any sort of mental, emotional or physical harm. Ever.
Heinz had hoped that she would be over the nightmares before they went back to Danville. Once they were back to their routine of seeing each other every other weekend it would be easier to forget she was a lovely young woman with a body ripe for sex. He hoped so, anyway.
With a little luck he'd meet someone new online that wasn't a complete nut job. That, or just try to turn Perry the Platypus into Perry the Person for a weekend in Las Vegas.
He whimpered softly and hugged her a little tighter, fighting against himself all the while.
The last thing he would ever have expected was for Vanessa to deliberately put his hand down her shorts.
Heinz mentally kicked himself; he had reacted instinctively and now each knew the other was awake.
They lay there, spooned together, neither daring to move. Heinz's hand was lightly cupped over Vanessa's mound, his middle finger halfway inside her vagina, and her hand over his. He could feel she was hairless there and the corner of his mind that latched onto trivialities wondered if she'd had a Brazilian wax.
He broke the stalemate, trying to pull his hand away. She allowed him to pull it back up to her waist, then turned over to face him, her leg sliding over her hip, trapping him.
"I... I'm so sorry, sweetie... I-" She placed two fingers on his lips, silencing him.
"I feel it, too... and now that we both know... what do we do?"
There were tears in his voice. "I would never do anything to hurt you... you know that."
"Yes... yes, I do know... but..."
She pressed her forehead to his. "What if... what if it helps us both?"
He knew what she meant and almost sobbed. "How in God's name can it help?" His hand had moved from her waist to behind her head and his fingers entwined in her hair in spite of himself.
"Because I trust you. More than anyone, ever." Her eyes met his, even in near-darkness twin sapphires in the sun. "You can make the fear go away... maybe for good."
"Nothing will ever be the same again. We can't ever go back..." he pleaded.
"It's already too late to go back."
"I... I know..." He felt like dirt, but he was harder than ever now.
"Besides," she breathed, "I thought we had agreed that what happened here would stay here."
Heinz couldn't fight her logic. He couldn't fight his lust any more either.
He turned them both over so he was on top of her, his weight pinning her down, and he pressed a hard, hungry kiss onto her mouth. She moaned in desire and kissed back, her arms wrapped around his shoulders. One hand under her head, his free hand slid down her body as he shoved his tongue into her mouth, demanding her surrender. She gave it, sucking on his tongue as she spread her legs. His fingers were both rough and gentle as they pulled her shorts off and stroked her pussy, rubbing her swollen inner labia and thrusting into her wet slit.
He worked on her one-handed while he explored her neck and breasts with his mouth. She moaned as he sucked on her nipples while his hand stroked her pussy, arching at the pleasure, then shuddered and cried out as she came around his fingers. He purred happily into her shoulder and kissed her again as she panted in delight. He lubricated his cock with the wetness on his hand and rolled them both over so she was straddling him while he pulled his nightshirt off over his head.
His hands slowly stroked her from knees to shoulders, waiting for her to take the next step when she was ready.
She peeled her t-shirt off and leaned down to kiss him again, then pushed herself back to take him inside her. Her eyes widened and became unfocused as her slick warmth slowly wrapped around his cock like a silken fist. Once he was almost completely inside her she spoke for the first time since he had kissed her.
"Oh... oh Daddy... this is so much better than a finger..." She lay her head on his chest and started rocking her body back and forth, his cock gliding smoothly in and out of her. He moaned softly, shifted his hips and pulled his legs up to thrust into her deeper as she slid down on him, his arms wrapped around her to keep her steady... to keep her close.
Heinz knew he'd be going to Hell for this, but the sensation of Vanessa's tight wet pussy around his shaft was a taste of Heaven.
When she came again, crying out as she pulsed around him, eternal damnation seemed a small price to pay.
He had held back for so long it would take him a bit more to let go. He carefully turned them both over so as to not pull out of her until she lay beneath him again, and took a moment to look at her. Her eyes were full of love and desire, and he kissed her once more before pulling her legs up to wrap them around his waist and pumping into her, making her gasp with each rough thrust as he let go of all restraint and fucked her.
Her grip on his shoulders tightened and she moaned loudly, but he was too far gone in animal lust to hold back any longer. The old headboard thumped against the wall and the bed frame creaked in time with their humping, sheets twisting under her as he took her. "That's it, sweetie," he grunted in her ear, "Yes... spread your legs, baby girl... Daddy's gonna make you scream..." He could feel her cervix rub against his cock's head, and his balls were pressed against her ass cheeks.
He soon felt Vanessa's contractions again, this time punctuated by shrieks of ecstasy. "Oh god... feels so good..." Her legs spread wider as she tried to pull him even deeper into her. "Ahhh... it's so hard... oh god... Daddy... unhhh... Daddy...!"
Her nails raking his back drove him over the edge and he cried out his pleasure as he finally came, pumping sperm deep into her body. Heinz emptied himself with one final hard thrust before collapsing almost completely on her. He managed to keep most of his weight off her, propped on his elbows... just barely. He couldn't bring himself to pull out of her just yet. Not when being buried to the balls inside his teenage daughter felt so evilly wonderful.
Breath ragged, drenched in sweat, they lay there a long while before either could get themselves to move. Their kisses helped to pass the time as they recovered.
After he finally mustered enough energy to pull himself off of her he pulled her back into his arms, laying her head on his chest.
Heinz's last thought as he drifted off was that he had never had a fuck anywhere nearly as glorious.
He woke at dawn to the pleasure of her lips and tongue playing with his nipples. He lay his palm on her cheek and she looked up at him, a loving smile on her lips. He pulled her close for a lovers' kiss, his hands roaming her body. She ground her hips against him and he accepted the invitation.
Once they were both sated, he spoke reluctantly. "So... what do we do now? We can't just go home and pretend nothing's happened. What if I've impregnated you?"
Vanessa sighed. "I hadn't told you because I didn't know how you'd take it, but Dr. Hirano put me on the Pill last year. My PMS was so bad she decided to try it as therapy."
"I... see. What does Johnny think?" Jealousy flared but he beat it down with an effort.
"He doesn't know and I'm not telling him. I've never let him or any other boy do more than kiss me, anyway."
Heinz was astonished. "I'm your first?"
The revelation that her virginity had been his was both humbling and intoxicating.
"Um... so why not Johnny? I thought you were really into him."
"He's not that great a boyfriend, and now... well, I don't think he could ever measure up to you," she giggled.
"Flattery will get you everything... but I'm serious, Vanessa." His eyes were sad, and full of love. "We can't be lovers in Danville. Not even on your weekends with me. Here it would be almost as hard; you are legally my daughter... unless..."
"Unless we prove to the courts that I'm not your daughter. I can deal with that. We can live here once it's done."
"Your mother will be thrilled," he said dryly. Another thought occurred to him. "What about school? What about your friends?"
"This is my last year of high school. I can home-school, then attend college here in Drueselstein. I can make new friends here."
"We can have a baby here."
His eyes widened when he realized she was absolutely serious. "I'm forty-four. You're sixteen!"
"Half the girls my age here are married to men old enough to be their grandfathers, and have two or three kids already. I've seen them. So have you."
He closed his eyes and thought. It could work... then he found what seemed like a way out for her.
"You might find someone else when you're older."
"I'm not my mother, you know. If it ever comes to that, I'd rather be honest about it. You deserve that much."
"Are you absolutely sure this is what you want?"
"More than anything. Besides, isn't it more evil if we both want to fuck each other's brains out?"
That clinched the argument for him. He kissed her again, then reached over to pull something out of the nightstand drawer. Turning back to her he took her hand and tenderly slipped the amethyst and diamond ring onto her finger. He murmured "Oma must be getting dizzy, spinning in her grave," as he watched her admire it.
"Maybe not... she wanted you to be happy." She lay her head on his chest again.
"I want you to be happy, too, sweetie... and I'm going to make sure you are."
They never returned to Danville.