Irving pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and tried to convince himself, once again, to work on the English essay that was due in eight hours. He opened his book and searched through it for another quote to use, but he couldn't focus on the words on the page.
"It's no use," he said hopelessly, chucking his book across the room at the opposite wall. The novel landed on his unmade bed, bouncing onto his pillow.
He heard the grandfather clock downstairs chime midnight, and slumped over on his desk in frustration.
As he had for years now, he instinctively switched the window on his computer to the live video feed in Phineas and Ferb's still-shared bedroom. Irving smiled as he saw his familiar friends already deep in slumber. Phineas and Ferb were the exact opposite of procrastinators; they'd finished their essays yesterday afternoon in the school library.
Irving next checked on Facebook: only 2 people on chat. Buford and some random girl he didn't really know. Irving supposed Buford was writing the essay as well, and he didn't want to talk to someone he didn't know.
He sighed. "It sure can get lonely at night."
Irving ran his hands through his hair. Loneliness was something he'd always had, but now it was far worse. Phineas and Ferb still talked to him on occasion, but very few other people did. High school was difficult, and Irving spent most of his day dreaming of love: love he could never have. The boy of his dreams- green-haired, British, tall, buff, and other words that generally describe freaking sexy- yes, Irving did have that word in his vocabulary- was frustratingly and undeniably straight.
The lock of Ferb's green hair had been carefully preserved in a plastic sheet cover, and he opened his desk drawer to stare at it for a few seconds.
He switched back to Phineas and Ferb's room on his computer. He noticed Ferb was tossing and turning, an unusual sight: Ferb always slept like a log.
"What? I don't need the matching mittens," said Ferb, wringing his hands in his sleep.
Irving looked on in interest. "Huh. I wonder what he's dreaming about."
Ferb turned over again. "I want to make the beetles go! Punch buggy!"
"Maybe I should just keep writing my essay," sighed Irving, moving to close the window. But something stopped him.
"I love you, Irving."
Irving was shocked. Forgetting Ferb couldn't hear him, he whispered, "What did you say?"
Ferb smiled. "I love...your little laugh..." He snored again.
"Ferb...? Are you awake?" Irving asked his computer hopefully.
"Take off your shirt."
Irving gasped. "Oh, Ferb...have you been shy all this time? Have we been...hiding from each other? I wonder..."
He stood up from his desk and spun around in silent delight. Ferb has just confessed his love. In his sleep. But still. Irving squealed, as he often tended to do, and collapsed onto his bed. He couldn't help but imagine what it would be like when he and Ferb actually talked about it. Maybe there could be some kissing arranged. Giggling like a seventh-grade schoolgirl, Irving pulled off his glasses, took out a Hymie Silverman action figure he'd stolen from his brother, and pretended it was Ferb.
"Oh, Ferb, that day at the sci-fi convention I almost took off my glorious robot costume and joined the ranks of my brother and Buford as a Finkie. All for love, dearest. All for you...and your hot Hymie Silverman outfit."
Pretending to be Ferb, Irving made the doll pretend to talk. "Oh, Irving, I'm truly a Speckie, and I'm so glad you've kept a lock of my hair. You understand me, Irving. Will you marry me?"
"Oh, of course!" Irving replied to the miniature Hymie. "I thought you'd never, ever ask, darling."
And then somehow the action figure managed to spring into a life-sized Ferb, and they were laying together on Irving's bed, just lying there and feeling happy to be alive. Irving turned to him and almost kissed him...
...but he was rudely interrupted by a tapping on his shoulder.
"Wha...?" said Irving, sleepily, sitting upright. He'd fallen asleep at his desk. Albert was standing behind him, expectantly.
"Irving, you were talking in your sleep. You woke me up, kid. Now come on, you gotta get to bed. It's almost 12:30."
"But...but I didn't finish my essay-" Irving began to say, as Albert stood Irving up out of his chair.
"It's okay. You can finish it in the morning. Go brush your teeth." He paused. "Your dream sounded nice," Albert said matter-of-factly.
Irving sighed, straightening his glasses. "Yes, it was a nice dream."
Albert walked off down the hallway. "Well, goodnight."
After Albert was in his room again, Irving checked on Phineas and Ferb. Sound asleep. Ferb looking normal.
A single tear rolled down Irving's cheek. "Goodnight, Ferb."
Irving climbed into bed and let the rest of the tears fall onto his pillow.