Fifteen: Smell

Author's Note: Hey guys! Sorry for the long wait. I hope no one can tell by the writing how long I've been away from this fic. Anyway, I'm happy to be updating this, especially since we are nearing the end. This fic is seriously so fun to write and your reviews are always so great to read. Also, this story hit over 250 reviews! The response to this story never ceases to amaze me.

Oh, and before I end this note I need to make a shoutout to Rescuemesuperman, whose birthday was on October 31st and requested an update. I usually don't update for birthdays (because I surprisingly get a lot of requests like that?), but the request came in when I had time to work on an update for something, so, yeah! Anyway, happy belated birthday!

There are many parts of puberty that I would classify as being horrible, but only a few that I have to classify as being completely disgusting. Sadly there is one, and it's the smell that comes with sweat.

I'm not so unique that I've never sweat before. I've just never sweat this much before and it has certainly never smelled this bad before.

However, here I am 15 and sweating and smelling so bad I can hardly stand it. Being 15 has been awful, and now it's gross too. Perfect.

I just got back from a morning run and I'm attempting to sneak back into the house without running into anyone, especially Ferb. The last person I want to get a whiff of me right now is him.

See, when Ferb gets back from a run it's a blessing. Ferb looks like a god covered in sweat and I've never smelled anything bad because deodorant seems to actually do its job on him. Ferb can strut around the kitchen, bending over into the refrigerator to get a bottle of water and to give me a view that's unbeatable, before standing up and drinking to give me a nice view of his bobbing adam's apple. And he does it all without looking or smelling anything but perfect.

Me? I'm not so lucky. So cue me running early in the morning and returning around 6:00 a.m. to get to the bathroom before Ferb can wakeup to find me.

I open the front door, careful to be quiet so I don't wake anybody up. The lights are still off in the house, which gives me hope that I can actually make it up the stairs and to the bathroom.

I manage to make it to the stairs, still no sign of my family. It seems I'll be able to be successful at hiding my odor for at least one more day.

I make my way up the stairs, skipping the sixth step, which began to creak not long after I started 7th grade. It's only once I reach the top of the stairs that I start to realize the lighting is brighter than it should be. Before I can decide to do anything the bathroom door opens up, turning what was a crack of light in the bathroom doorway into a fully lit hallway.

And of course Ferb steps out of the bathroom without a shirt on. I swear my brother has forgotten shirts exist, which wouldn't be so bad if I wasn't so glad for it.

"Morning, Ferb," I whisper from a decent distance away from him. I can still salvage this if I keep my distance.

"S'early, Phin," Ferb announces although the look on his face tells me that he's not actually surprised I was out this early.

"Yeah, I've been running earlier. You know that." I'm doing an excellent job of keeping my distance and an almost okay job at not ogling my brother's chiseled chest. To be fair the second task is practically impossible. I think even a blind man would feel a draw towards Ferb's chest.

Ferb nods and for a second I think he will walk back down the hallway toward our room, but instead he takes a step closer.

"Should start running together again," Ferb suggests as he leans his shoulder against the wall.

I have to stop myself from immediately agreeing to the idea.

First off it's just hard saying no to Ferb. Ever since Ferb and I met we've been giving each other whatever we wanted whenever the other asked for it. Saying no has been a rarity between us.

Second off, the idea of running next to Ferb sounds…Oh gosh, how do I even explain? Running next to him? Seeing his muscles move? Watching sweat drip down his perfectly made body? It's tempting enough on its own.

Then there's the idea of having the extra alone time with Ferb. Even if we're not talking we have a way of understanding each other. And no matter how much time I spend with Ferb I can never really get enough. Ferb is the only person who completely understands me, and there's no one else I'd rather spend my time with.

But I can't let all of those things eclipse the fact that if Ferb smelled me right now he'd regret even bringing up the subject. No, I just need to keep our runs separate until my body odor gets under control. If it ever does.

If not I might have to go live in the mountains, which would suck because I don't know how long I could last somewhere without Ferb.

"That's okay. I know you prefer running at night," I say nonchalantly, hoping that it finishes the conversation.

"It'd be worth the change."

I can't help blushing and I'm glad I'm standing in a shadowed part of the hallway where he won't see.

I barely have myself under control when Ferb walks closer to me. I try to think of a way to back away from him without causing suspicion, but in the end I just flinch back before realizing how strange that looks.

Ferb raises a brow as I utter an awkward laugh. I guess it's time to fess up. Does it really matter if he thinks I'm disgusting and never wants to be around me again?

Only while I'm alive I guess.

"I, uh, kind of smell," I admit.

Ferb immediately gets close to me and takes a couple of quick sniffs. Then he surprises me by laughing.

Wonderful! At least this is funny to him. Maybe it'll be so funny it'll counteract the odor.

"At least you're fit," Ferb says with a cool smile.

And for a second I don't think much of it, but then I realize I don't know whether he means fit or fit. Like, American fit as in I'm in shape, or British fit as in he thinks I'm good looking?

As my brother I have to assume he means I'm in good shape. As the brother I have a crush on I have to hope he means I'm good looking.

Why do I never know what he means when it comes to this stuff!?

"Uh, yeah, thanks." Aw, look how articulate I am. Not. Gosh, why can't I be 16 already?

"Wash up. I'll run with you tomorrow," Ferb says before ruffling his fingers through my hair as he stands much closer than he needs to.

Then he turns around and goes back to our room, not seeming to care that his hand is covered in sweat.

I can't wait until my body gets its fluid dispensing under control, but until then it's nice that Ferb doesn't care.