Chapter 1: The Tradition
Ferb's boots crunched through the thick sheets of snow lining the slippery Christmas-time Danville sidewalk as he made his way, headfirst through a cool, though that was a euphemism, headwind, back from the almost snowed-in mall; specifically, from Blueprint Haven. For the umpteenth time during his walk, the icy gale blew a long strand of the tall teenager's naturally green hair, something about which Phineas was always curious, from its neat position behind his ear to the rather annoying one between his eyes.
Ferb formed his lips into an 'o' and huffed with all his might to get the strand back into line. It didn't budge. Ferb stopped, put down the small fortune of blueprint cartons he was carrying carefully in the snow and wiped the strand away with an elegantly gloved hand. He sighed and picked the blueprints up to continue walking on. During his last hair-cut, something that had been desperately required when Baljeet had knocked over a miniaturized Hair-Growth Ray and given himself and Phineas both beards and bushy hair, the former of which had been shaved off and the latter almost given the same, only being spared because Isabella had stopped them saying that "their haircutting abilities would make her vomit", one single strand of Ferb's hair had evaded cutting.
It was a constant source of giggles for his brother and his best-friend, and a constant source of annoyance for the reasonably tall sixteen-year-old Brit. He was tall for his age, at least above the average, and reasonably lightly built, something that aided immensely in his running, biking and martial-arts - the latter of which he practiced surreptitiously. His hair was shaggy and short, running in waves like a mad-scientist's cut short, and a vibrant shade of green - something he claimed natural, a fact no one had yet been able to disprove.
He wore a long-sleeved gray thermal-tee covered with a shorter-shirt of dull purple and a black and green winter-overcoat draped over his shoulders, shrouding them both. Under the overcoat, Ferb sported a pair of puffy snow-proof pants and wore a pair of rugged rubbery snow-boots. His general appearance was quite… poofy. And, most important, across his back were slung industrially-reinforced blueprint tubes, the Phineas and Ferb variety.
Ferb rounded the corner of Madison Road onto Maple Drive and was met with a another gust of wind that promptly wheedled the hair out from behind his ear. Ferb ignored it determinedly and stared at the pearly-white sidewalk in an effort to make it go away, but was soon distracted as his ears were greeted by the sound of voices, one rather louder and peppier than the others, and his nose by the smell of cinnamon. Instantly his nostrils flared and he increased his pace, not even glancing at the Christmas decorations of his neighbors, until he burst through the gate, his red-headed and pointy step-brother being the first thing he saw.
At five-foot eleven, Phineas Flynn was a whole two inches shorter than his slightly-older step-brother. His crimson-red hair was longer and messier than Ferb's, hanging down almost to his ear lobes in places, though it tended to stick up, and his face more angular, severely contrasting with Ferb's somewhat blocky-nose. His eye's were a piercing mix of hazel and blue and were sometimes mistaken for a dull shade of purple, though his eyes were anything but dull. On a regular day there was a spark dancing in them that suggested trouble but made you unable to resist coming along for the ride.
He wore a rich blue beanie over his head and a similarly colored blue vest over his orange woolen sweater. Like Ferb, he had on a pair of grey snow pants and black boots. He was slimmer by comparison to Ferb in the shoulders and was quite evenly distributed, his sides looking quite straight. He was smaller than Ferb, both in stature and size, but had more muscle, though only slightly. He and his step-brother rarely competed in anything.
"C'mon guys, it'll be… Ferb! You're back with the blueprints?" Phineas spun around from where he had been talking to Isabella, Baljeet and Buford. They all too turned around to look at their silent friend and greeted him warmly.
Ferb nodded and moved closer to Phineas to show him each of the designs in turn. Phineas nodded excitedly and turned his face back to Ferb, "And guess what! Mom made cookies… cinnamon if I know my brother well…"
Ferb rubbed his stomach and it growled in return, getting him a warm chuckle from Phineas. "Thought so".
"So what are we doin' here?" Buford asked, cracking his knuckles to emphasize his already apparent annoyance, quite threatening when put in combination with his large build and medium stature.
"Yeah, Phineas, what are we doing here?" Isabella chimed in, coming to stand beside him as she did so. She, like Phineas, was also shorter than Ferb and skinnier than both, but she, unlike them, had a neat, curvy frame that was, in the summer, emphasized by her extensive use of pink sundresses and skirts. Her hair was long and hung down to the point where it was just tickling her waist. Her eyes were big, just as her mother's, and round with long unemphasized lashes. She had very fair skin, something she got from her father, and a very small, pointy nose.
Phineas grinned and winked at his step-brother before turning back to the small group and smiling, specifically to Isabella, whom he was closest to, making her blush and take a step back which Phineas didn't notice at all. "We have gathered you here" he gestured widely with his arms at the large, frosted backyard with its single bare tree, "to give unto you a secret Flynn-Fletcher holiday tradition."
"How secret is secret?" The pale bully crossed his arms, his face an expression of disbelieving curiosity that was highlighted evermore by his black, skull emblazoned beanie.
Phineas' expression changed to one of a teacher explaining a piece of interesting trivia. "Well… only Ferb and I know about it."
"How is it a Flynn-Fletcher tradition then?"
"We're getting off topic," Phineas said, dismissing Buford's question readily. "Anyway, around the holidays, Ferb and I like to right any wrongs we may have committed during the year and make amends in preparation for the new year."
"You commit wrongs?" Isabella asked, her expression vacant.
Baljeet rolled his eyes, "Everyone commits wrongs… duh," piping up for the first time since Ferb had shown up, his Indian accent one of superiority though his body clearly didn't show it.
"I'm losing interest," Buford grunted.
"Guys, guys" Phineas tried to silence them. Ferb nudged him and nodded and Phineas fell silent.
He cleared his throat and everyone went quiet. "It basically means we make you amazing presents to fix things" he said politely, using his British accent to its fullest.
There was a chorus of "Ohhhh" from their friends and Buford nodded. "Ok, I'm in." He refolded his arms.
"Oh, I would love to"
"Great!" Phineas exclaimed, "then let's get started!" He promptly turned and walked toward the house, Ferb sticking by his side the whole way, and gestured for the group to follow him. Once they were inside the warm house, Phineas took his winter clothes off. "Ok, now, Ferb and I have already done some of ours… I think Mom liked the new pie baking oven we made…"
"What did you do to your Mom?"
"We're her children, I'm sure we did something wrong" Phineas said happily, earning him a few half-exasperated half-disbelieving stares from Buford and Isabella. Phineas didn't seem to see and continued, "Candace is constantly complaining that we make too much noise during our projects so we made her some sound filtering headphones that allow you to hear only what you want to and can plug into your phone to make phone calls. And since she's in college, we not only outfitted it with a video calling capability, but also the ability to project anyone's image into your room, so when you video call, it can feel like they're really there," he stated proudly.
"Cool" Baljeet and Isabella chimed in unison.
Phineas smiled happily, "Okay, Ferb and I haven't done anything for you guys yet, but we are going to. Now, to make it fair we pulled your names out of a hat to decide who get's their gift first."
"We'd also like to think you will do the same for your families," Ferb added while Phineas gave him a satisfied nod.
"That's right. Okay, according to the hat" Ferb pulled out a fedora from under his coat that appeared to be filled with paper, "…Buford is first."
Buford squealed and looked around before becoming silent again. Phineas and everyone else stared at him for a sec and then continued, "Buford, remember that football game we made you late to during the Anti-gravity Freezer experiment?"
"Of course I do. You cost me two tickets to the football game of the season!"
"Then I think you'll be pleased with your gift. We got you a pocket teleporter so you'll never be late again - don't use it too much or your DNA will get scrambled, even worse you might just end up being an extremely magnetic puddle of gloop - and we also got you two tickets to the same football game."
"What good does that do me? It was played over half a year ago!"
"Not so fast Buford, we have a completely realistic 3D recording of the entire game that feels completely real. Better yet, as soon as you use it you forget the score and who won, so you get the full enjoyment of the game. Ferb and I tested it to make sure."
Buford smiled childishly, "Gimme gimme gimme!" he cried as Ferb handed over what looked like a small pen and a smooth piece of black glass.
"Next is Baljeet. Now, Baljeet, you'll have to tell us what you want - you're a hard man to buy for."
"Well… you already got me the Quantum Calculator for my birthday and the Complete Computerized Encyclopedia of Knowledge for Christmas…" The Indian boy's face showed mild unconcern as he thought, a crease appearing on his forehead as he lifted his mittened hand to his already fuzzy chin.
"I got it! Baljeet, what's something you wanted to do but we accidentally left you out of?"
"Uh… Ferb's British graduation party?"
"Uh… no. Besides, that was only the Flynn-Fletchers. Not even Ferb's fellow graduates were allowed to come. No, I was thinking… how about Ferb and I build the time machine you designed and take you back to hang out with dinosaurs?"
Baljeet's eyes widened. "Hang out with dinosaurs?"
"Yeah. It'll be as fun as last time, provided we don't run into each other."
"You mean observe Jurassic ecological fauna and flora in their unmodernized natural ecosystem?"
"Awesome." Baljeet's voice grew high.
"Well Ferb, let's get to it!"
"So… what's it supposed to be?" Buford asked.
Phineas laughed heartily, "Buford! It's a time machine!"
"It doesn't look anything like the other one" Isabella observed, raising an eyebrow.
"Uh… what other one?" Buford asked.
"Oh, right… you weren't there."
Truthfully, it didn't look anything like the first time machine they had used. The first was big and well-furnished with rounded majestic arches of polished bronze panelling and bolting that had a wonderfully steam-punk nature about it. It was large and almost spherical in shape, though it was squashed at the sides and a quarter was missing to reveal the inside, cushioned with soft red leather.
The Phineas and Ferb time machine, however, was from an entirely different era. It was about a yard and a half squared in size and stood to the height of most of the teens' hips. It was made of neat smoothly rounded arches that had an almost-translucent nature about them, sunlight sinking into them but not exactly going all the way through nor reflecting. Each was of a thin, spindly construction becoming attenuated where each met the other giving the machine the appearance of having a mesh-like construction. On the inside of the machine was a mass of thickly strung-together clumps of cables, each running to a different port on the machine. Around these were coiled sleek tubes that clung mist around themselves and on the side was a cleanly embedded control panel - touchscreen, of course.
"So how does it work?" Isabella asked.
Baljeet smiled and closed his eyes in a contended smile, though Isabella wasn't looking at him, "It is based off my original designs. Each of the high-quark density arches generates a powerful field of dark energy wh…"
"Okay, enough of the nerd babble," Buford exclaimed testily while pushing Baljeet aside to stand closer to the two brothers. "Are we going to see some dinosaurs or what?"
"Yeah, just as soon as we get the quantum spacetime stretch core warmed up." Phineas turned and flicked the single switch on the control panel and turned back to the others with an excited grin on his face. "Then all we have to do is input the four dimensional coordinates."
"Four dimensional?" Buford questioned.
"Yeah!" Phineas grin stretched wider. "Each coordinate pertains to each dimension. The first three detail where in space you want to go, this backyard, assuming there's no mountain or something here, though the machine should automatically account for that, and what time."
"You know, I think that I would rather study Pleistocene-era creatures."
"Okay Baljeet, it's your choice."
"What?" Buford burst out, a completely exasperated look on his otherwise pale complexion, "You would rather do that than run after dinosaurs?"
Baljeet rolled his eyes unconcernedly in an equally exasperated manner. "Buford, we would not be 'running after' dinosaurs. We would be going to study them. And, in answer to your question, yes, I would. That is why I said 'I would rather study Pleistocene-era creatures'. Obviously." Baljeet rolled his eyes again.
"Whatever" Buford rolled his eyes this time.
"Okay, Ferb's programmed the coordinates in. Should we get going?" Phineas looked around at the group, excluding Ferb, who was standing ready with a remote. There were nods and Baljeet walked over to where Ferb was standing, while Isabella scooted over to stand right next to Phineas.
Phineas smiled and gave an 'after you' gesture to Ferb. Ferb nodded and pressed a button on the remote. "Now, the time machine will cast a field around us, and then we go."
Everyone nodded once more and Buford walked a few steps closer to the machine. "Okay, we should be going in… five… four… three…"
"Let's go see some dinosaurs!" Buford whooped, moving right up close to the machine and running his hand across the touchscreen.
"Buford! No!" the group cried as one as they leapt forward to stop him. But in mid-air, they froze in place. Phineas with an outstretched arm, grabbing towards Buford, who was ducking out of the way and away from the control panel, while Isabella held onto his arm and was dragged along with them.
For a split second their frozen bodies decorated the Flynn-Fletcher backyard; Mrs. Flynn-Fletcher in the kitchen, not even noticing. Before the sun could even shine on them a second longer, their bodies stretched and dissipated into tiny particles which flew around the time machine before disappearing in a flash. The machine emitted a low, monotone beep, flashed a green light and was silent.
Approximately six years earlier, at the end of Maple Drive.
There was a flash that stunned the neighborhood for a jiffy, temporarily outshining the sun, and then five figures started to appear. Immediately, after he was unfrozen, Phineas continued charging at the spot where Buford now lay on the ground until he realized his surroundings and the fact that the time machine was no longer there. He stopped, wide-eyed, and stared at Buford before he turned to Ferb who was already moving around and making adjustments with the remote.
"Ferb," Phineas rubbed his head and rubbed his eyes, letting go of Isabella's arm as he did so. "Ferb, where are we?"
"Maple Drive." But it wasn't Ferb who answered.
Phineas turned to Isabella, completely taken aback. "How did you know that?"
Isabella pointed simply at the street-corner sign that sat right next to them. "Oh… right." Phineas rubbed his head again and laughed a bit. "Okay, silly question. So, when are we?"
Ferb held the scanner up in the air for a second more, pointing at the clear blue sky, and then handed it to Phineas. "Huh, six years earlier. How serendipitous."
"I'd say that we haven't done too badly," Ferb put in while Phineas nodded, not really listening.
"Okay, okay." He continued studying the remote and adjusting it for himself. Ferb raised a green eye brow at his brother but didn't question it and instead walked to the corner of Madison and Maple. This was definitely weird; but then, wasn't everything they did weird? This was the same corner he had walked down not… well, six years later. It just looked newer and not as covered in snow.
"What is the time?" Baljeet asked, speaking up for the first time since they had arrived and ignoring the still pavement-ridden Buford.
Ferb took his eyes of the sign and looked at his watch. Hopefully it had adjusted for the time change. After all, he had built it himself. "Six thirty."
Baljeet shook his head in bewilderment. "Six thirty in the evening?" he asked rhetorically.
"No, Baljeet, the sun's in the east," Isabella pointed. "That means it's six thirty in the morning."
"Hey, guys," Phineas put in, "I think I know what day it is today."
"What day is it?" Isabella and Baljeet chorused.
"You won't believe this, but, coincidentally, it's the day we all went to the future." Phineas looked up from the remote to peer at the startled faces of Baljeet and Isabella.
"Weird." Buford sat up, apparently having listened to the whole conversation.
Baljeet turned angrily to him, seeing that he was conscious. "Buford!" he screamed, taking the bully by surprise. "Are not you a little too old to be messing with time machines?"
Buford stared goggle-eyed at the Indian nerd, "Yeah, yeah I am".
A/N - Okay guys, rage at me all you want and I probably deserve it, but hey, I'm lazy.
Anyway, this is the first chapter of my newest story. Hopefully I should be quick in updating it... but that's what I always say, isn't it?
Basically, if it was confusing, Buford tried to reset the machine to take them to see some dinosaurs but ended up transporting them six years back in time instead.
Oh, and PS, a 'jiffy' is an actual scientific term that denotes a tenth of a second.