"Sometimes I really hate sharing a room with you."

It's said innocently enough, like most things Phineas says. He smiles and laughs as he says it, but even if he had been scowling or screaming Ferb wouldn't feel different about it. As far as room-sharing goes, Ferb believes the two have had a quite impressively easy time getting along.

Of course there's the obvious reasons of the two just getting along, but Ferb at least believes that their rules have had something to do with it, too. There's always been rules, even when they were little. More rules have seemed to pile up as they've aged.

No chewing on anything that shouldn't be chewed on.

No toys in the fish tank, even if we're mad at each other.

No food fights, especially with perishables (this one from their mother, not either of them).

Ultimate wrestling matches must be carefully considered for at least a few days before they're started.

I'll keep my favorite pens over here and yours can stay over there so they don't get mixed up.

I love you, bro, but don't touch that. It's sort of personal.

It's fine to punch someone below the neck but above the belt if he won't wake up.

"Are you still awake?" means "Get off the phone, I'm trying to sleep." Such a command should be obeyed.

No girls. Period.

Honestly, though, hide your porn well. If I keep finding it, it's gone. Don't laugh, I'm not kidding.

I'm seriously tired of listening to you and your girlfriend lie about what you're both wearing over the phone. By the way, everyone can here you even when you're in the bathroom with the shower on.

Please remember that I'm usually in the room with you. You apparently keep forgetting.

"I don't think you would mind so much if you and Isabella were running around doing the same things."

Ferb smirks as he speaks, but Phineas frowns. He's laying on his back, looking up at the ceiling. He looks almost dismal now, frowning the way he is.

Phineas and Isabella have been 'together' for quite a while now, but as far as he can tell Phineas simply frustrates her to no end. Ferb is not sure what she expected. He's never been that romantic - he never seemed less interested in any other topic when they were children, and since puberty smacked him in the face he's awkwardly ignored the topic as best he could.

Ferb has been spared details (Phineas tends to be sparse with such things) but apparently Isabella wants and expects things Phineas isn't giving her at the moment, and any mention of it gets Phineas all frowny-faced and pensive.

They have no rule against staying up to read as long as the light source used isn't obnoxious, but Ferb has learned that when it's Phineas up late reading, he can't ignore it. It's dangerously close to their usual sleeping time, and when Phineas goes to bed unhappily thoughtful, he reads all night and no one in the room sleeps.

Ferb hops out of his bed and patters over to his brother's, stealing his pillow to make him sit up, sitting where the pillow was, placing the pillow on his lap, and firmly pulling his brother's head back onto the pillow. Phineas relaxes cautiously when he realizes what's going on. He looks up at Ferb.

"Yes?"

"Talk."

"About what?"

Ferb looks at him knowingly. Even though he barely knows.

Phineas rolls onto his side, sighing and putting a hand on Ferb's outstretched leg.

"I wish Isabella would just break up with me. Or give up on me. Or something."

There's a pause that in a normal conversation would be filled with an unnecessary "Why?" or an comment. Ferb simply watches his brother's face as he gathers his thoughts.

"There are just things she wants me to do. She's okay with not doing them now, but she talks like we're going to do them eventually even though we aren't going to if I have anything to say about it."

"Perhaps you should just tell her outright."

"I was afraid you'd say that." Phineas rolls his eyes. "Isabella's so happy right now, and at the moment it's not so bad. I'm just worried about later."

Ferb waits for Phineas to look up at him. Phineas rolls back over the second he sees his face. "I know if she cares about me she'll understand, but the problem is I don't know if she actually will understand." Phineas is practically cuddling against Ferb's leg now, which remains completely comfortable for both of them. "And I sort of hope she won't, just so I have a good reason to dislike her."

Phineas huffs. Ferb puts a comforting hand on his head. "It's not that I just don't like Isabella. I like her, she's a good friend. But I don't like her that way. And I definitely don't like her," he pauses, putting weight on his next word, "that way. Or anyone else, really."

"Well, obviously," Ferb says. From anyone else it would be meaningless, but from Ferb they make his eyes pop open, and then slide down to half-lidded.

"It'd be nice if you'd tell me things you've figured out about me before I can figure them out myself."

"I doubt you'd believe me the majority of the time."

"Still, it'd be nice to know." Phineas huffs and grasps Ferb's foot, pushing it back and forth absentmindedly. "I wish Isabella was more like you. I'm pretty sure she thinks she understands me, but she really doesn't."

"You don't have to be with Isabella, you know. You can be with anyone you want. Or no one. Whatever makes you happy."

"Well, at least she's a good friend. My only other options are Buford and Baljeet and they're out of the question, and I don't really mind. She's happy." He rolls over to face Ferb again. "But I'm not, not really." Ferb's shirt becomes particularly interesting to Phineas, who laughs self-consciously before speaking again. "I guess you and I could have some weird technically-incestuous-but-not-really wedding and play scrabble all night on our wedding night." He laughs again, the sound staying more or less humorless.

Ferb normally - well, always, to be truthful - can tell what Phineas wants. Phineas isn't exactly all that mysterious to begin with, and living with him for the majority of his life has given Ferb some important incites. Unfortunately, for the life of him Ferb can't decide if Phineas wants him to laugh along or take him seriously.

"Well, perhaps if it was Super Scrabble of Doom…"

Phineas, still staring at his torso but more or less at nothing, smiles. "We could update it. Super Duper Scrabble of Doom II or something. For the occasion." He sounds drowsy. Ferb feels a dull, creeping worry that he'll be spending the night sitting here with his sleeping brother's head and a pillow on his lap, but ignores it, opting instead to nod and ruffle his mop of hair.

"Scratch that. You should stay single and marry a supermodel or something. You want kids. Just make sure you save a room in your super huge mansion for me. I'm good with kids. Dude, I'd be an awesome uncle! The good kind of awesome."

"I would honestly throw the supermodel out before you if I needed to make room."

Phineas snorts, batting at him weakly. "Don't say that, I might hold you to it. Just make sure I don't become a crazy cat man." Phineas looks up at him through eyes he's obviously trying very hard to keep open, and Ferb gives him a smile and an upturned thumb. He seems satisfied with the answer and turns over again, almost completely abandoning the pillow for his brother's leg. He mutters something about "warm."

It's strange, Ferb thinks, that everyone seems to expect Phineas to be the one with a beautiful wife and a huge family, with Ferb hanging on as a third wheel, while Phineas (and, frankly, Ferb himself), expects quite the opposite.

Besides the third wheel part. Ferb can not imagine a woman being more important to him than his brother.

Hearing a bit of snoring, Ferb looks down and observes that his fear has been realized (and, in retrospect, the goal of their little chat accomplished)- Phineas is asleep, latched onto his leg and snoring quietly.