'Good morning, Agent P,' Major Monogram greeted her, formal and proper as ever. 'We just received report of Dr. Doofenshmirtz's girlfriend storming out on him. She is clearly upset at some evil scheme of his. Go check it out, and put a stop to it. Monogram out.'
Although Perry saluted with a straight face, she couldn't help but feel exasperated. Why did they have to be suspicious of his every move? The doctor was only a threat to himself most days. Couldn't they simply assume he and is girlfriend had an argument?
Nevertheless, her job was her job. And well ... Doofenshmirtz could probably use a comfort pillow.
Perry rode her scooter to the Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated building, deciding to be thoughtful for once and using the key to his apartment he had given her. If he had just gone through an argument with his girlfriend, he probably wouldn't appreciate having to worry about home repairs too. As she parked her scooter on the sidewalk and looked up at the large purple building, she had to sigh.
When she came in, she was surprised that Major Monogram might have actually been right about the evil scheme. There was a large contraption facing her, and when she stepped closer, she heard a loud thud of something falling onto the carpet.
'Ah, Perry, there you are,' said the doctor, appearing from behind is newest –inator. 'Oh I – I wasn't expecting you to come through the door ... Your trap is over by the window ...' He rubbed the back of his neck a little sheepishly. He could usually predict exactly where she would come in through. She waited patiently for him to continue.
'A-anyway,' he went on, 'I don't actually have anything evil planned today. I just brought out the Blow-Itself-Up-inator so Major Monogram would send you here.'
It was quite sad and rather pitiful that he had to have his nemesis lured to him using a fake evil scheme, just to have company. Perry sympathised. She had three siblings and two parents to call on if she was ever lonely.
'See, I don't want these cinema tickets I bought to go to waste, so I thought I'd bring you, Perry.'
The easy way he said it as if she wouldn't even dream of saying 'no' irritated her. It annoyed her even more that she knew there definitely was no way she was going to refuse.
'C'mon, it'll be fun. It's a comedy. I heard it got great reviews.' Grinning, he took her hand, but she remained resolute, frowning at him.
'What?' he said. She glared severely, tapping her foot, and he understood. 'You mean what about my girlfriend? It's fine, you're my nemesis,' he said nonchalantly, waving her disapprovement away. 'We'll just be going as, you know ...'
Well ... she could do with a little break. Her request for vacation had been rejected for the third time, and she was beginning to be fed up with Monogram. She shrugged and followed him out much to his delight.
They walked to the movie theatre together. Perry didn't realise he'd released her hand until he began talking again.
'You must be wondering what I'm doing with these tickets, right Perry? See, the thing is, I bought it so my girlfriend and I could go together, but when she came over, she saw that picture I hung up of Charlene and got all mad at me and stormed out! I mean –' he threw his hands up in frustration, '- what's that all about? Seriously!'
Perry rolled her eyes. No wonder he'd lost so many girlfriends. He really was that tactless.
'Don't you roll your eyes at me!' he said crossly. 'I guess I should take it down now that I'm single, but you know, Perry, Charlene's the nicest girl I've ever dated. It's too bad it didn't work out, don't you think?'
She silently agreed. They had gotten married, after all. She wondered what had gone wrong between them, but he never discussed his married life in his back stories, except to talk about Vanessa, or mention his alimony.
'I always have such bad luck with women,' he rambled on. 'Maybe I should make an –inator that will make me irresistible to all women. Then not only would I have great luck with women, they'll all do my bidding, and I can take over the entire tri-state area!' The maniacal glint was back in his eye, and even though the idea was terrifying, Perry couldn't help smiling. 'I'll call it the women-enslave-inator. With that, even you, Perry, will fall stricken at my feet!'
There was no doubt in Perry's mind that his –inator would work, and she made a mental note to be much more wary of his –inators from then on. Although she could spot one of his inventions from a mile away, he might get clever ideas about disguising it. Clever ideas were a rarity for Doofenshmirtz, but he had them from time to time, she admitted. Like the time he used her 'affection' for him and nearly crippled the OWCA. She still blushed at the memory. That had been a very embarrassing episode.
'... after all, you know what they say: "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned".'
Wow. He actually got one of those expressions right for once. She wondered whose wrath it was he had incurred for him to remember it.
Fortunately, or perhaps not, they arrived at the movie theatre then. Perry snatched the tickets from Doofenshmirtz, determined to avoid the ruckus he might cause. He protested loudly, but she was firm, and they ended up inside the theatre without any other hassle.
'You didn't have to do that,' he complained. 'I think I can handle getting seats on my own.'
Yeah, there was the rub. He 'thought' so. As if he hadn't embarrassed her enough already. Releasing a little sigh, she tugged the popcorn bucket out of his grasp.
'What, now you're in charge of the popcorn too?' He huffed and she smirked. It was nice like this, the two of them simply hanging out together. Without the whole secret-agent-vs.-evil-scientist thing, they got along quite well. She leaned back in her seat contentedly, fixing her eyes on the screen.
Doofenshmirtz's sources turned out to be right – it was a good movie. She and Doofenshmirtz laughed along with the rest of the theatre until her worries were forgotten awhile, and she felt light and carefree. She should really do this with her siblings more often, she thought. They always had so much fun at movies, but even then, she worried about her wristwatch going off. Sitting with Doofenshmirtz, however, there was almost no chance that was about to happen, and she felt happy.
The next events were very unexpected. Perry had known for years, of course, that Doofenshmirtz's life pretty much revolved around his plans for the Tri-State Area, thusly, his life revolved around her. There had been sexual tension for years, so much that Agent E teased her about it sometimes. But she never expected to the tension to resolve.
They were both laughing at a scene, and Doofenshmirtz was saying 'Oh, did you see that visual pun? That was just genius!', and they were leaning dangerously close to each other. Neither noticed, however, and when Perry regained breath and looked up at him, and saw the mirth and cheer in his face, she marvelled at how joy could so change one's features. It occurred to her she had never seen him laugh so innocently before.
Their eyes met and he smiled brightly at her. Perry's heart skipped a beat she looked into his dark eyes. She had always thought they were nice eyes; they were similar to Candace's and Phineas'. But now, there was something in them that both fascinated and scared her.
Then he said the most absurd thing, that it left her completely confused: 'You should laugh more often, Perry. It makes you look prettier.'
'Prettier', implying that he thought she was pretty enough already, and Perry began to blush. She'd never thought of herself as an attractive woman, and here was her nemesis, her supposed enemy, complimenting her. Somehow, that just made it all the more flattering.
'It's nice like this, isn't it?' he went on, and his voice was a lot softer than usual. 'I think we were destined to be good friends.'
She could have turned away then, or snapped her fingers, clicked her tongue, or a hundred other things, and broken the unusual moment, but she didn't. And she thought that he was right, too. The arrangement they had had forged not forged animosity. Instead, it was affection that existed between them.
'Have you had fun with me today, Perry?'
'Yes.' Her timid, embarrassed squeak caused her to blush harder, if it was possible.
'Good. I'm really glad.'
And then his hand was on the back of head and he was close, far too close, and again, it would have been too easy to sever the spell by pushing his hand away, or even with a well-placed punch to the chest. But she didn't do either of these things. She wasn't sure why. But she ended up rather glad she didn't. Not that she would ever admit it to him.
His lips met hers in a sweet, chaste kiss, which shouldn't have surprised her, but it did. Perry had never been kissed before, never thought much of it, but she liked being kissed by Doofenshmirtz. He was being nice to her after all, and she always cherished the moments he was nice to her. So she kissed him back as best as she could.
When they broke away, the rest of the audience were laughing at the movie again, but Perry didn't hear them. And judging from the way Doofenshmirtz was looking at her, he probably didn't too.
Perry knew from her soap operas and chick flicks that kisses between friends (for lack of a better word for what they were) often got awkward. They might begin acting like it never happened. She didn't know too much about romance otherwise, but she did know she wasn't going to let that happen.
'Thought you have a girlfriend,' she muttered.
'You of all people should know my romances never last long,' he said with a small pout. 'I haven't –'
'What?' she frowned.
'It's been a while since I've gotten as far as kissing,' he admitted meekly.
The audience exploded once more, but Perry paid them no mind as she leaned forward and kissed him again. She felt that it was the right response. She felt him start, but he responded eagerly. There was a swirl of new emotions within herself, emotions she didn't understand, but she did know one thing: she really liked kissing Doofenshmirtz.
'We are so screwed if anybody finds out about this,' he breathed when they pulled apart, but with their foreheads still touching, and his hand still in her teal-dyed hair.
Not least of all by your current girlfriend, Perry thought
'What are we doing?' he wondered in a murmur.
Perry smiled and shrugged. She had absolutely no idea.
'You're not ... angry, are you?' he said somewhat anxiously.
Of course she was. As a matter of fact, she was so angry, she could have kissed him again. She rolled her eyes.
'Good. Because I was thinking ...'
She straightened up to look at him curiously.
'It's ... you know ... I was just thinking ...' he began nervously, eyes searching her face. Perry tried to look at him encouragingly, her curiosity heightening. It worked, as a look of relief passed over him and he went on.
'We've been, well, you know, for the past few years ...'
'You know' was right. There wasn't a word for their relationship, really. They weren't enemies or friends, and even frenemies didn't quite place it. They were just 'you know'.
'But ...' he rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly, dropping his gaze as if afraid of her coming reaction, 'you're not just my nemesis, you're my best friend. You always listen to what I have to say ... it's wrong, but the best part of my schemes is you.'
Now he was making her uncomfortable. She didn't like talking about these feelings. They silently acknowledged them, but she didn't like them in the open. Perry knew she was a part of his schemes as much as she knew that she came to him because she wanted to keep him company; they didn't need to say it aloud.
Words were never her preferred communication tool.
'I just realised ... there's something we can do with that, you know?'
No. She did not know.
'So what do you say, Perry...?'
He looked at her with pleading eyes and she wanted to dive underneath the seat. Shit, he knew she could never resist when he puppy-eyed her.
Her fear and apprehension must have shown on her face as he gently took her hand in a gesture that was unexpected to her. 'I'm not forcing you, I'm just asking.'
Again, no, he was forcing her with those damned eyes.
'Perry ... will you be my girlfriend? At least give me two weeks? I'm not asking you to stay with me or anything. Just let me take you out for a few and ...'
'What – ' she stammered, unsure of what to say. Why couldn't they just come to another of their unspoken agreements? She liked knowing, without him saying a word, that he liked her. Why couldn't they do that now? 'Your girlfriend ...?'
'I got a text fifteen minutes ago saying she wanted to break up,' he said meekly.
Oh how convenient. She narrowed her eyes suspiciously.
'It's true!' he protested. 'I wouldn't lie just to get you as a girlfriend, Perry!'
She had no idea how to take that statement.
'Maybe I'm evil,' he went on, 'but I know you aren't. I wouldn't have kissed you if I still had a girlfriend. I knew you'd just beat me up or something.'
Silence fell for a moment and the only sound was that from the continuously flickering cinema screen. The characters appeared to be having a deep conversation now, but neither Perry nor Doofenshmirtz were listening.
'So ...' he began again tentatively, but she cut him off.
'What?' He looked as if she had agreed to be his partner-in-crime.
There was no way she was answering that. She refocused on the movie as if she had merely been distracted by him asking for exposition. She was a little loss, but preferred to watch and be a little confused than continue talking about her feelings. Even when she was concerned and suspicious, Linda knew when to back off from questioning Perry.
It was difficult. She was painfully aware of Doofenshmirtz's gaze on her. It irritated her that she could no longer enjoy the movie because their conversation kept replaying in her head.
When the credits began rolling, Perry threw the empty popcorn bucket at Doofenshmirtz in a huff.
'Ouch!' Doofenshmirtz looked as if he had been snapped out of a trance. 'What was that for?'
Pouting, Perry slouched in her seat, crossing her arms over her chest. People were streaming away around them, but she made no move to join the crowd. She couldn't feel anything but anger.
'Is it that bad?' he said, leaning over to look at her. 'You know you didn't have to say yes. Nothing would have changed between us.'
There was a crease on his brow that bothered her. She shook her head.
'Then what?' he looked frustrated. It was a moment before she realised what he was saying: he was concerned. He wanted her to be at peace with herself with him. She was glad that this was another unspoken arrangement between them and she felt happy. So she spoke up.
'Don't be surprised,' she said in a low voice – lower than her usual, short and clipped tone.
'Surprised? What does that mean?
A lock of hair was falling over her eye, and she blew it away. She wanted to just leave it alone, let him figure things out for himself like he always would. But today was a day for the unusual, it seemed. Yes, she thought to herself, perhaps it was not so unusual after all. They broke their usual routine often enough to simply enjoy each other's company. Doofenshmirtz asking her to be his girlfriend was just ... something else happening during their routine-break.
Lover of soap operas, romances, and chick flicks as Perry was, it hadn't been so unexpected after all. It had simply been a matter of time.
'I'm not surprised by you asking me,' she said flatly.
Another silence, and then Doofenshmirtz realised what she was saying. He smiled. 'Aw Perry, that's so sweet.'
Well that was settled. She stood up, picking up the popcorn button with her for proper disposal later.
'Always the good guy, Perry,' he smirked. She was about to give him the evil eye when he put an arm around her waist, and the thought was wiped from mind.
'Do you want me to walk you home?' he said rather generously, but Perry bristled at his words. Bring him home where he could potentially meet her family and plan their harm for the sake of his petty schemes? She quickly shook her head. Besides, her scooter was at Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated.
'Yeah, I wasn't expecting a yes,' he said, completely unfazed. 'But you know, you should introduce me to your family some time.'
No. Perry would give up being Doofenshmirtz's nemesis before she put her family in danger.
As they walked back, he took her hand again as he had earlier on their way to the theatre. Naturally, he talked all the way. She had never seen his eyes so bright, or his manner so relaxed. And all he talked about was Vanessa. He talked about her school, his friends, the things they did together. They were the most innocent back stories he had ever given her.
Once they arrived at Doofenshmirtz Evil Incorporated, he said 'So you'll be going now? I have an evil scheme planned tomorrow, and afterwards we can go for a pizza or something, okay?'
It was weird and new for Perry to be planning a date. Her brow was slightly furrowed, but she nodded. Then, after a tenth of a second's hesitation, she reached up and kissed him. She had to tiptoe to reach him, but then he bent down to return it and she was much more comfortable.
She could get used to it. It had been coming on for years anyway.