Chapter 1: Caught in a Lie
Disclaimer: I do not own Phineas and Ferb. I am writing this story for the soul purpose of entertaining myself and others and not for any monitary gain. No copyright infringment is intended. Do not sue me, PLEASE!
A/N: First ever Phineas and Ferb fic that I've had the courage to post. Please be kind. Also, I feel the need to explain up front that this story will be centering around the Flynn-Fletcher family and while Perry the Platypus is part of that family he will not play much of a role in this story as I felt that an Agent P plotline would detract from the main story. So I apologize in advance to Perry lovers (myself included) He will definitely feature in other Phineas and Ferb stories that I may be posting but not in this one.
DEDICATION: To Lolli-S who gave me the courage to post this; to TheCuriousWriter who I know would have given me the courage had she been available and to everyone on Lolli's forum for putting up with me going on and on about things like Phineas and Ferb and Doctor Who when the forum is in the Pokemon section...
It was a lazy hazy Summer Saturday in the Flynn-Fletcher household. Linda and Lawrence were spending a quiet afternoon at home together, curled up on the sofa, listening to music. It was something they rarely if ever got to do these days. But Candace was out with Jeremy for the afternoon while Mrs. Garcia Shapiro had taken Phineas and Ferb along to the beach with her and Isabella. And of course Perry, their pet platypus had disappeared to heaven only knew where. So the couple had this time to spend together.
Even with their blended family of three children the couple hadn't seemed to lose their spark after over five years of marriage. While they thrived on the noise and energy provided by their houseful of love and joy, they still cherished these moments when the two of them could be together.
Lawrence inhaled deeply, the smell of his wife's hair overwhelming his senses. The scent of apricot shampoo and fresh cut grass. He loved the way that she tucked against him so perfectly on the sofa as the plaintive notes of music drifted from the stereo. There was nothing more perfect to him than these moments with her.
He let out a long, contented sigh as the song changed and a smile blossomed on his face "Remember this love?" he asked with a bit of a teasing tone.
Linda grinned up at him "Our first dance. Outside the coffee shop," she sighed and moved to kiss him.
Lawrence kissed her back and the kiss would have deepened if it weren't for the doorbell. The two reluctantly broke apart and Lina rose from the sofa with a groan of annoyance. Lawrence felt sorry for whoever was on the other side of that door.
"What do you want?" Linda greeted, not unkindly, as she opened the door. She stared in confusion at the visitor. A woman about Linda's height was looking her up and down skeptically. It wasn't the other woman's scrutiny that bothered Linda as much as the woman's uncanny resemblance to her stepson.
After a long moment, the mysterious visitor spoke in a rather curt tone "I'm looking for Lawrence Fletcher."
There was an audible gasp behind Linda "Diana," Lawrence breathed in a tone of shock, disbelief and if Linda had listened more closely instead of being too shocked herself, she would have heard the obvious fear. "What…? How did you…? Aren't you still supposed to be…?"
The woman who had been identified as Diana glared at Lawrence though she kept her tone civil "I have my ways Lawrence," she replied criptically to all the above questions.
Lawrence struggled to get a grip on himself. He finally dug deep and found it within himself to speak in full sentences "Diana, why are you here?" the question was asked forcefully and it was clear by the tone that this Diana woman was not welcome.
"I'm here to see my son Lawrence," Diana replied "I still have rights."
"The courts granted me full custody," Lawrence reminded her.
Linda looked from one to the other, feeling suddenly very out of place. She was standing directly between the two and they were conversing right past her. She stepped back, retreating to the door that led into the kitchen so as to still be able to observe the conversation without being in the middle of it.
Lawrence desperately wished that she hadn't done that. It was no secret that Linda was the stronger of the two. Lawrence was timid by comparison and he felt a lot safer conversting with Diana with Linda standing beside him.
"I still have a right to see him," Diana protested "So where is he?"
"He's out with his brother and friends," Lawrence replied curtly, not bothering to use the 'step' modifier. That modifier had disappeared for the Flynn-Fletcher family long ago and was seldom brought up at all in conversation.
Diana looked positively furious with Lawrence. She grabbed the man by his shirt collar and pulled him close to her. And in a voice so low that Linda couldn't hear the threatening message she said "Listen to me you little chicken shit, you thought you could take my son away from me. Well, you're greatly mistaken. I'll be back tomorrow and I want to see him. If I don't, you can bet that there will be hell to pay."
By this point Linda had returned to her husband's side and was glaring at Diana for daring to lay hands on the man. Diana released Lawrence who straightened his collar and took in a deep breath.
"And if he doesn't want to see you?" Lawrence asked.
"He will," Diana smiled, shooting a glare at Linda "After all, I'm his mother, his real mother," after a pause to let her words sink in she added "I'll be here tomorrow at noon to see him. Make sure he's dressed and ready." With that she turned and left.
Lawrence closed the front door with a sigh of relief and leant against it for support "Well," he said at last "That was a bit of unwelcomed news." When there was no reply to his statement he turned his attention to Linda. The betrayal and hurt on her face was evident.
"You told me that Diana was dead," she said quietly as she turned and walked into the kitchen.
Lawrence once again sighed as he pushed himself off from the door and followed her "I was hoping that you'd never have to find out…"
"What?" Linda asked, her voice rising slightly with the hurt and shock of it all "You didn't want me to find out that you lied to me. Are we even legally married?"
"Yes," Lawrence assured her, attempting to wrap an arm around her waist.
She pushed him away "So you divorced her?" she asked, to which Lawrence nodded "You told me she died when Ferb was just a baby."
"It would have been better if she had," Lawrence replied, attempting to wrap an arm around his wife once again. He needed her to be by his side. He needed her to understand. Most importantly, he needed her to not hate him.
"What are you talking about?" Linda questioned, her tone softening just a bit.
"It's a long story love," Lawrence sighed resignedly as he slipped into a chair at the kitchen table "It's the story of a cowardly mouse of a man and his son who was much braver at the tender age of three than the cowardly man could ever hope to be."
Linda came to stand behind her husband, her hands resting comfortingly on his shoulders "I'm listening," she said softly.
Lawrence closed his eyes and began to tell the tale.
"Phineas!" Isabella called out as she ran up to him across the sand.
"What is it Isabella?" Phineas asked as he looked up from the intricate sandcastle that he and Ferb had been constructing.
The young girl opened her tightly clenched fingers to reveal a perfect scallop shell "Isn't it beautiful?" she asked feverently.
Phineas nodded before returning to the business of constructing a sound parapet out of wet sand. The real beach did have some advantages over the beach that he and his brother had built in the backyard earlier that summer but it was certainly lacking in action in comparison.
The brothers had swum, had hotdogs and done every other possible beach activity. Now they were building a sandcastle. A nothing special, nothing out of the ordinary, regular sized sandcastle. While it had sounded boring at first the structural complications that presented themselves when trying to replicate a castle in miniature actually proved quite interesting.
Isabella pouted and plopped on the sand to watch Phineas and Ferb work.
Ferb was busy working on the arches of the castle and was having a bit of trouble as the wet sand continuously slipped through his fingers. The model castle was not even a quarter of the way completed when Mrs. Garcia Shapiro came up to the children.
"It's getting late," she informed them "And I promised your parents I'd have you boys home by five thirty."
"Aww," Phineas shrugged as he abandoned the project. He and Ferb followed Isabella and her mother back to the car. The boys feeling particularly down that time constraints had forced them to abandon the castle before its completion.
The drive back to Danville was rather quiet with Isabella and her mother being the only ones to initiate conversation. Phineas stared back at the beach for as long as he possibly could. All Summer long he and Ferb had never left something unfinished until now. Phineas couldn't help feeling that it was a bad omen.
Ferb was thinking along the same lines. Though Ferb didn't tend to believe in omens, good or bad. Though as the car wound through the streets of Danville's city center and they passed by a hotel plaza, Ferb's feelings about omens nearly changed when he saw a face he hadn't seen in many years.
The boy immediately ducked his head and his shoulders began to shake just the tiniest bit. Isabella and her mother in the front seat didn't notice but Phineas did.
"Ferb…?" Phineas questioned concernedly.
The other boy looked up at his brother and flashed a half smile that was meant to convey that he was fine but somehow Phineas didn't buy it. "Well, maybe we can go back to the beach next weekend," Phineas proposed, misinterpreting the cause of his brother's shift in demeanor "I bet the castle will still be there. We built it sturdy enough and maybe we'll have time to finish it then."
Ferb just nodded, not ready to let his brother in on the thoughts currently running through his head.
Linda and Lawrence had migrated back onto the couch by the end of his story. Linda was wiping tears from her eyes as she curled into her husband's arms "We can't let her see Ferb," she said decisively "We can't put him through that."
"Agreed," Lawrence replied, strokinghis wife's hair "She'll be back tomorrow though. What do we do?"
"I'll call a lawyer," Linda told him "I can't believe she'd still have any rights al all."
Lawrence pulled his wife closer "I won't let her near him if I can help it Linda, wheather the law is on my side or not. I won't do that to him."
Linda was about to reply when the sound of a car pulling up to the house forced her to suppress it "Kids are home," she sniffed as she attempted to wipe away the evidence that she'd been crying.
Both parents greeted their boys at the door. Phineas was excitedly telling them about his day but Ferb seemed distant. Even though the green haired boy was never one for long drawn out conversations, he was always affectionate and animated in the presence of his parents. Today he looked worriedly at the puffiness beneath his mother's eyes and the way in which his father's jaw was set and kept his distance.
Phineas rushed off to his room with some sort of rambunctious plan of calculating whether their sandcastle would survive the week and Ferb lagged behind. He followed his parents into the kitchen as they started to prepare dinner. When Linda sent Lawrence to the pantry to locate a can of tomatoes she took the opertunity to pull her son to the side. She knelt before him so that she could look into his eyes.
"Ferb honey?" she began "Is everything alright? Didn't you have fun at the beach?"
The boy nodded and without warning flung his arms around Linda's neck, burying his face in her shoulder. Linda returned the embrace "Sweetheart," she cooed "What's wrong?"
The boy did not respond. After all he wasn't sure if he had truly seen what he thought he'd seen. Then again it had been so many years since he'd been plagued with the thought that she would find them that it made no sense that he would have simply imagined seeing his biological mother now.
"I found them!" Lawrence called triumphantly as he nearly bounced back into the kitchen "They were playing hide and seek behind several boxes of pas…ta…" he trailed off when he saw his wife consoling Ferb on the kitchen floor "Well what's all this then?" he asked, kneeling down beside them both and laying a hand on his son's back "Did something happen at the beach?" If that was the case though, Lawrence was sure Phineas would have mentioned it if Ferb had been picked on by another child. Phineas was protective of his brother like that and Ferb was protective in turn.
Ferb withdrew himself from his mother's embrace carefully and turned to face his father "Dad…?" he began hesitantly "Is she here? Did she find us?"
Lawrence nodded slowly. He took the shivering boy itno his arms "I'm sorry Ferb," he whispered as he rocked the boy "I'm so sorry."
Phineas, who by this time had wondered why his brother hadn't been hot on his heels when he ran to their shared bedroom, had heard his brother's question and the reply but was thoroughly confused. He took a tentative step into the kitchen "Who?" he asked "Who found you?"
Lawrence turned to his other son with earnest eyes. He knew he couldn't lie to the boy "My first wife," he replied "Ferb's biological mother."