It was a beautiful summer morning, six years in the future. The holovision in the Flynn-Fletcher living room projected a battle between pith-helmeted explorers and mole-men.

Sixteen-year-old Phineas said to Ferb of the Future: "When we journeyed to the center of the Earth, all we found was magma."

"Iceland was not the place to dig," Ferb said.

"Ferb, I know what we're going to - "

Romantic music filled the air. Phineas smiled dreamily as he answered his phone.

"Hi, Sweety. He-he. Oh, nothing. He-he. What are yooooou doing? He-he-he."

Ferb walked away, snorting: "A fine mind, reduced to mush!"

In the hallway, twenty-one-year-old Candace met his eyes on the same level.

"Hey, big guy. You look depressed."

"Phineas is lost in Isabella-Land, from whence is no reprieve."

"Well, acquire thine own comely wench!"

He murmured, "Vanessa is dating Johnny seriously now."

"You must hate him."

"He's a swell fellow, and I do."

Candace shook her head. "That pesky age difference between you and Vanessa. If only you could travel six years back in time and - "

"Candace, you're a genius!"

"Tell my professors." Candace sighed. Then her eyes widened. "Hey, I just remembered - Ferb?"

The hallway was empty except for a platypus.

"Oh, there you are, Perry. But where were you when we had this conversation the first time?"


Six years earlier, Perry the Platypus was in his lair. He saluted the big screen.

"Agent P, prepare to be shocked," Major Monogram said. "No, no, I didn't lose another bet with Carl, please uncover your eyes. This is about Doofenshmirtz. Apparently, after assuring you that he wouldn't do so, he intends more mayhem with his youthinator."

Perry waited.

"What I'm saying is, Doofenshmirtz lied!"

Perry shrugged.

Carl appeared onscreen and asked: "Is that really shocking, sir?"

"Carl, aren't you shocked when someone tells a lie?"

"Well, it's unethical, but expected from Doofenshmirtz. After all, he's evil."

Monogram's eyes narrowed. "So you're saying that lying is okay, so long as you're evil."

"No, just that if you're evil, lying isn't unusual."

"So you're saying that if a person is evil, it's okay to lie, so long as he does it frequently."

Carl drooped his head.

"You know what, sir. I am shocked that Doofenshmirtz lied."

"You're not just saying that, are you?"

"Well, would you be shocked if I was lying?"

"Of course not. You're only a teenager."

Carl's eyes narrowed. "So you're saying that - "


It was a beautiful summer morning, in the present. The TV in the Flynn-Fletcher living room showed a battle between pith-helmeted explorers and mole-men.

Ten-year-old Phineas said to Ferb of the Present: "When we journey to the center of the Earth, I hope we find more than magma."

Ferb squinted at a map of the world, then underlined 'Ice' in Iceland.

"Ferb, I know what we're going to do today! We're going to remake this movie for holovision!"

The house phone rang. Phineas answered casually. "Hi, Isabella. Starting a project. Sure, whatever." He noticed his brother's glare. "What?"

Ferb walked away, snorting.

Minutes later, fifteen-year-old Candace loomed head and shoulders above him as he stared out the hallway window.

"Hey, bigger little guy. Talk to me."

He opened his mouth to do so.

"Oh, wait. Being a teenage girl, I know that look all too well. You gotta bad case of relationship mal-ayzzzz!"

Ferb sighed.

"Let me guess. Isabella was making goo-goo with Phineas, who's oblivious. It reminded you of how Vanessa barely knows you're alive, so you snorted and walked away."

Ferb gaped slack-jawed.

"I'm a genius on relationships!" Candace shook her head. "That pesky age difference between you and Vanessa. If only your future self could travel six years back in time and - "

She heard the all-too-familiar hum of a time portal.

"He's right behind me, isn't he?"


Perry burst through the door to Doofenshmirtz's lab and assumed a karate pose. He waited. He waited more.

"Yo! Perry the Platypus! Over here!"

Doofenshmirtz waved from across the room, where he stood behind a large -inator raygun.

"You're looking for a trap, aren't you? Well, today I got lazy, so I didn't make a trap. I'm just going to shoot you. But first the monologue, since one is never too tired for a cool, refreshing monologue."

Doofenshmirtz sipped from a glass. "This by the way is mango juice, because there's no such thing as monologue juice." Clearing his throat, he continued:

"Instead of using the youthinator on myself this time, I'll just use it on you. You'll be transformed into a little boy platypus, forgetting your secret-agent persona. Then I can raise you the right way. And by 'right,' I mean 'evil,' and by 'way,' I mean 'way.' Comprender?"

Perry gave a firm nod.

Doofenshmirtz patted the -inator casing. "As you see, I converted the youthinator from chair configuration to ray gun configuration. So technically I didn't lie, I did disassemble the youthinator. And since I then rebuilt it and remembered during the monologue to turn it on and warm it up, I am now going to shoot you with it."

Doofenshmirtz fired. Perry dodged.

A door slammed open and Vanessa yelled: "Dad! Please keep it down, I'm on the - "

"Huh - what?"

Startled, Doofenshmirtz swung the youthinator - and the beam streaked toward her.


Candace dragged the Ferbs into the kitchen.

"Mom! Look!"

Mom turned from the stove. "Good morning, Candace. Since you're not hiding in your room, I assume the dancing squids are gone."

Candace gestured with a flourish. "BEHOLD! Ferb of the Future!"

Mom crossed her arms. "Ferb. Of the Future."

"Yes, 'cause he time-traveled from the future." Candace simultaneously tweaked both noses. "See the resemblance?"

Mom frowned. "Well - "

Candace hopped and punched. "And I've got the Bust!"

"Alas," Ferb of the Future said.

Candace froze. "'Alas?' She's looking right at you, and you didn't dissolve. I've got this!"

"Candace," Mom said. "You found a boy who resembles Ferb. That's cute. It doesn't prove time travel. I think you need a cyclotron for that."

"He sounds like Ferb too! Ferb of the Future, speak!"

Future Ferb said, "She's not going to believe you."

Mom smiled. "You do have the accent."

"Ah rest mah case!"

"Candace, there's a country full of boys with English accents. Called England, I believe."

"DNA matching! We'll swab saliva samples!"

"Eww, please! I'm stirring broth!"

Candace glared at Ferb of the Future. "How did you know this bust would fail?"

"I was here when I was him." Ferb of the Future inclined his head toward the shorter Ferb. "Can we go see Vanessa now?"

Candace slumped. "And how will that turn out?"

"Hopefully, different this time."

Ferb of the Present tilted his head and raised his hand.

"Quiet, you!" Future Ferb snapped.


Vanessa Doofenshmirtz glared at her father with all the intimidation a sixteen-year-old girl can muster.

"DAD! You almost blasted my head off!"

"Oh no, Vanessa!" Doofenshmirtz yanked his hands from the controls. "It's perfectly harmless!"

"What does it do?"

"It merely reverts people into their childhoods."

"Dad, that would be so embarrassing!"

"You wouldn't be embarrassed! You see, your memories would revert too!"

"Not better!" She placed phone to ear. "Still there, Johnny? It's Dad. More scientific mayhem. NO, NO IT'S NOT COOL! Yeah, later."

As she slid her phone shut, her father said, "Tell you what, this isn't going well, I'll just press the self-destruct myself and . . . no self-destruct. The one time - "

"Why is it doing that?"

The youthinator rattled, sparked, and smoked.

"Not good," Doofenshmirtz observed. "It's as if an improbably coincidental burst of chronoparticle radiation has overloaded the circuitry. Perry, I'm sensing a pattern!"

The machine spat another ray. Bathed in green light, Vanessa instantly dwindled. Stubby arms flapped from a pile of goth-themed fabric.

Doofenshmirtz side-glanced at Perry. "Be calm, it's not the end of the world!"

His phone rang.

"Oh, Charlene. You'll be picking up Vanessa in an hour. Yes, everything is all right. No, I'm not repeating everything you say because I'm nervous. Yes, then I'll see you in an hour, Heinz."

He lowered his phone and smiled blandly.

"Noooow it's the end."


Phineas waved from beside a mammoth-sized contraption in the back yard. "Candace - whoa! Two Ferbs, one of the Future!"

Candace pounded the edifice, then glanced Ferbward. "Tornado? Shrink ray? Carried off by a giant bird?"

"The ground will swallow it," Future Ferb replied.

"Huh," Phineas said. "Knowing the future can make life seem Sisyphusean."

Isabella emerged from the housing with a wrench and grease smudges. "Candace, so was Ferb upset over Vanessa?"

Candace fidgeted. "Heh. What do you mean?"

"You remember, we talked about how Ferb had walked out snorting when Phineas was on the phone with me, and I suggested - "

"Isabella! Behold, Ferb of the Future!"

Isabella gasped. "Wow, Ferb! You got tall! And hunky too!"

"Yes," Phineas said. "Yes, he - what?"

"He traveled back in time to be with Vanessa," Candace said.

"That's so romantic!" Isabella wiped her hands and scowled at Phineas. "Unlike being lectured about one's ignorance of geophysics."

"Well, as Ferb has hinted, there is a fine line between virtual and actual earthquakes." Phineas smiled. "I could use some real help right now."

Isabella steamed.

"On a mission," Candace said. "But how do we find Vanessa?"

"With a Vanessa detector," Ferb of the Future replied.

"A gizmo to track a teenage girl? Dude, that's stalking."

"Talk to him. He built it."

Ten-year-old Ferb held up a blinking, beeping box.

"Awww," Candace gushed. "Puppy love!"


Doofenshmirtz fired the shrinkinator at Vanessa's clothes, then attached a stamp-sized device: "This microchip will automatically re-enlarge the clothes when I reverse the youthinator effect. That way there will be no semi-naked daughters to never let me hear the end of it!"

He knocked on Vanessa's door.

"Don't peek!" Vanessa squeaked.

"I'm relieved I don't have to change diapers again!"

The door cracked. A tiny hand snatched the clothes. The door slammed.

"Anyhoo, Perry the Platypus," Doofenshmirtz said. "Thank you for helping me through this family crisis. I hope we can still fight and curse later, though with my ex-wife certain to thrash me senseless, I can't promise."

Perry nodded understandingly.

Vanessa, half-teenage-size, emerged with her face one big pout.

"These clothes are dumb!" she said. "I like dresses and black is dreary!"

"I did not have input on that outfit."

"Daddy, where are we?"

"My laboratory, dearest."

"But your lab's at home."

"Well, I had to move when your mother and I - look, Vanessa, your new pet! His name is Perry!"

Vanessa squealed and hugged Perry off his feet.

Doofenshmirtz chuckled. "So I set a trap for you after all, Perry the Platypus. Now while I modify the youthinator, you two play - and Perry, I will pay for babysitting. Hey, next time, maybe you could sit Norm? He wants to see that Ducky Momo movie."

Flailing and squirming, his nemesis gave a thumbs up.


Phineas called inside the holoseismic generator: "Now attach the blue wire. No, no - that's teal!"

He flinched. Black smoke belched. Isabella exited, smoldering.

"I'm all right," she said.

"We'll have to replace that module." Phineas rummaged through a cart. "I sure wish Ferb was here. He always knows what he's doing."

Isabella gazed at his backside and contemplated her wrench. Then she sighed.

"Phineas, I've had it."

Phineas faced her and blinked. "What do you mean?"

"I'm wasting my time. You are incurably unromantic. So I'm leaving. We're through. Nothing can ever - "

"Isabella, I'd forgotten how adorable you were!"

Isabella whirled around just as the time portal closed behind a sixteen-year-old boy with an infectious smile and a conical nose.

"Me of the Future!" Phineas of the Present exclaimed.

"And I'd forgotten how quick to grasp the situation I used to be!" Phineas of the Future grinned at Isabella. "But this is back when I wasn't so distracted."

Present Phineas furrowed his eyebrows. "So you've come to warn me that I'm about to be overcome with a mind-clouding affliction?"

"Trust me, you don't want a cure. And actually, I'm here to warn you that Ferb - Future Ferb - is disrupting the space-time continuum. There could be unforseen consequences."

Just then, a rift in the space-time continuum parted overhead. A screeching pterosaur swooped through and snatched the holoseismic generator from the yard.

"Like that."


Little Vanessa Doofenshmirtz carried Perry the Platypus on her shoulders as she entered the park. She bounced like a rabbit over the hopscotch squares and said:

"Perry, Perry, Perry! You're such a funny-looking dog. That hat is kee-yoot. I have doll clothes you can wear. Look at the bird up there, it's like a dinosaur. Oh, monkey bars!"

Vanessa set him down and raced toward the set. Perry sprinted after. Humming lightly, Vanessa climbed and walked across the top bars like they were highwires. Perry ran zig-zag beneath her, his arms outstretched.

"You know, I think my dad is ev - Oops!"

She slipped but caught herself. Perry swallowed. Vanessa dropped to the ground.

"High heels are dumb. Where are my friends? Why are those big kids staring at me?"

Just then a heavy metal beat filled the air. Vanessa looked down at a pocket. She removed the phone and crinkled her nose at the display. "Johnny. Who's that?"

She slid open the phone and said:

"Hello? I'm Vanessa, that's who. I don't sound different, I sound the same. I'm in the park. Monkey bars. Okay, see you."

She closed the phone. "That was weird. Anyhow, if he's mean, you'll bite him, won't you, Perry? Perry?"

Perry dove for the bushes.


The beeping blinking box navigated Candace and the Ferbs through the park.

"Candace!" Stacy approached. "What's this crisis you texted?"

"Behold." Candace gestured limply. "Guess who time-traveled from the future."

"Well, since we're alive I assume it's not a killer robot." Stacy rubbernecked between faces. "Hey, he looks just like - OH! Ferb, you got hunky!"

Future Ferb bowed. "You, Stacy, are lovely as always."

"Suave!" Stacy giggled.

Candace scowled. "Eww, please!"

They reached the monkey bars. The little girl in the black outfit returned their stares.

"Excuse me," Candace said. "We're looking for a girl around my age. You look like you might be a relative. Her name's Vanessa."

"I'm Vanessa."

Ferb of the Present gazed at Ferb of the Future. Noticing the intensity, the others joined.

"Fine!" Future Ferb replied. "Anything odd happens, blame the time-traveler."

There was a crash as the pterosaur dropped the holoseismic generator and screeched. Present Ferb raised an eyebrow at Future Ferb.

"Seriously, you see one extinct prehistoric species, and you sweepingly assume the entire space-time continuum has been destabilized?"

Present Ferb squinted.

"NO! You're the one who's changed!" Future Ferb reddened. "Okay, that doesn't make sense. But I was you, so I know exactly what you're thinking, and I am NOT an obsessive jerk! Twerp!"

They raised fists. Candace interposed.

"GUYS! Big Ferb, how 'bout you and Stacy go for ice cream?"

"Love to." Ferb of the Future said. "Since I don't have difficulty talking with girls."

Ferb of the Present growled.


Norm the Giant Robot rolled the youthinator onto the deck of the Doofenshmirtz Building.

Doofenshmirtz swept the telescopic viewfinder across the panorama. "Hmm. The park has a busy summer schedule. I see temporal rifts sundering the sky, and a malfunctioning holoseismic generator. Oh, and the parkgoers are being menaced by a giant bird with razor sharp claws."

Norm asked: "Is it Ducky Momo?"

Doofenshmirtz adjusted the focus. "It's more toothy and prehistoric."

"Sounds like a pterosaur. They're reptiles!"

"Appreciate the paleontology lesson, Norm."

Doofenshmirtz spotted Vanessa hanging on the monkey bars. "There's my scamp! We'll set the youthinator to restore-mode and carefully - "

"Don't hit Perry!"

Doofenshmirtz flinched. "Norm, don't distract! You almost made me bump the willy-nilly button!"

"Perry's taking me to see Ducky Momo!"

"And the way you chatter during movies, he will know that I have cursed him. Now let me concentrate!"


"Norm, I - oh." He whirled and grinned nervously. "Charlene. You let yourself in."

"Where's Vanessa?" his ex-wife asked.

He shifted eyes. "Uh, in the park. Uh, unharmed."

"I told her to meet me here." Charlene sighed. "Sometimes she's such a little child!"

"Since I am unthrashed, I assume you mean metaphorically."

"What's with your machine?"

The youthinator rattled, sparked, and smoked.

"Not good," Doofenshmirtz observed. "It's as if an improbably coincidental burst of chronoparticle radiation has - "

She strode past him. "Well, we'd better turn it off."

"That's not the - "

He cringed as the rays flew willy-nilly.


Another beeping blinking box navigated Isabella and the Phineases through the park.

"So are we going steady?" Isabella asked.

"Can't discuss the future," Future Phineas replied. "It destabilizes the timeline."

Isabella pointed. "What's that for?"

The band around his wrist read, 'P Heart I.'

"'Phineas Likes Inventing?'" Present Phineas suggested.

Future Phineas blushed. "Let's go with that."

Present Phineas gaped. "Speaking of destabilization - "

Parkgoers scattered as the pterosaur swooped. The malfunctioning hulk of the holoseismic generator shook the cityscape. Green beams rained down, transforming adults to children and children to adults.


Spotting Candace, they rushed to the monkey bars.

"Why is this happening?"

"Well - " The Phineases spoke in unison. Future Phineas meekly shrugged and Present Phineas continued: "Ferb created a time loop. With each cycle, the timeline is altered randomly, until highly improbable events occur and the very fabric of space-time is unraveled."

"Not when I have reason again to live!" Isabella cried.

Present Phineas frowned. "Isabella, has something been troubling - "

Future Phineas swatted.



"So what's the plan?" Candace asked.

Present Phineas replied: "Optimally, send Big Guy back to the Future."

"I'll take you to - "

A temporal rift opened ahead. A visigoth legion marched, clanking broadswords and swinging battleaxes.

"Hoo-kay!" Candace twirled homeward. "Candace is out. Pea - "

A blonde teen girl and a mop-topped little boy approached.

"Susie," the little boy said. "Can I play on the monkey bars?"

"Sure, Jeremy. Who's my favorite boy?"

Candace twitched.


A short distance from where visigoths were being bowled aside, Future Ferb and Stacy bought ice cream cones.

"NOOOOO!" Candace lunged and knocked the cones from their hands.

"Hey!" Stacy said. "You'd better have a good reason, missy!"

Candace jabbed at Ferb. "He's destroying the universe!"

Stacy blinked. "With ice cream?"

Ferb rolled his eyes. "I'm not destroying the universe. Maybe risking it. A tad."

"How could you!" Candace demanded.

"You don't understand. She's all I think about. To me, she is the universe."

Stacy tossed her hair. "Why, Ferb, I didn't know you felt - "

"NOT YOU!" they shouted.

Stacy looked down. "Now I really need ice cream."

Ferb sighed. "You're right. I'll return to - Vanessa?"

Amid moaning visigoths, Vanessa approached - as a teen.

"Back to normal," Candace said. "How? Why?"

Ferb burst into a grin. "Because we are meant to be!"

Vanessa smiled and waved. Ferb waved back. Candace frowned.

"She's not waving at you, Ferb."

In the opposite direction came a teenage boy with a purple stripe of hair.

"Johnny," Ferb muttered.

Candace's eyes widened. "Oh no! That bird is attacking!"

Behind Johnny's back, the pterosaur spread its wings, splayed its claws, and screeched. Too late, Johnny turned.

Then a sprinting Ferb of the Future pushed him aside. The claws gouged and yanked Ferb skyward.





Gasping, Vanessa watched the prehistoric monster depart with human prey. Then the others swarmed around.

"Ferb!" Candace cried. "Ferb said you know what to do!"

Present Ferb shut his eyes.


"Shhh," Present Phineas said. "He's resolving never to time-travel back here."

Ferb of the Future vanished.

"And since there was nothing to cause temporal rifts - "

The pterosaur and visigoths vanished.

"My work here is done," Phineas of the Future said. "Later!"

He vanished.

"Bu-bu-but!" Candace said. "If Ferb of the Future never traveled back in time, then why do we remember it and why did we come to the park?"

"We don't and we didn't," Phineas replied.

They all vanished - except for Vanessa.

"Oh, there you are, Perry," she said as the platypus reappeared. "But why?"

Her phone throbbed. "For once, Johnny, I'd rather talk to Dad." She pocketed the phone as her father arrived.

"Vanessa!" Doofenshmirtz said. "I'd hoped a willy-nilly failed to miss!"

"Dad, everyone disappeared because of a time loop!"

"Don't worry, it's like a bachelor party. They end up somewhere else and don't remember."

"How come we remember?"

"We're protectively-coated by chronoparticles leaked from the youthinator. It's one of the youthinator's many positive features."

"There are others?"

Doofenshmirtz slumped. "No."

Vanessa noticed the teenage girl in a lab coat behind him. "Dad, who's that?"

"Uh, new intern."

"Hello," the girl said. "I'm Charlene."


"An accident! Willy-nilly!"


"Once I invent a forgetinator. Or have I done that already?"


It was a beautiful summer morning, six years in the future. The holovision in the Flynn-Fletcher living room projected a battle between pith-helmeted explorers and mole-men.

Sixteen-year-old Phineas said to sixteen-year-old Ferb: "When we journeyed to the center of the Earth, all we found was magma."

"I rather like magma," Ferb said.

"Ferb, I know what we're going to - "

Romantic music filled the air. Ferb smiled dreamily as he answered his phone.

"Hi Gretchen. Yes, we were just discussing that. Phineas, what are we going to do today?"

"We're going to take Isabella and Gretchen to the park."

"An adventure in the park. See you soon, ma douce amie!"

Phineas smirked. "You're mushy!"

Ferb snapped Phineas's wrist band (Phineas: "Ouch!"), snorted (contentedly), and bounded away. A moment later, he encountered Candace.

"Big Guy! Did you hear? Vanessa broke up with Johnny. Now's your chance."

"Be serious, Candace. Gretchen and I are getting along famously. Besides, Vanessa is twenty-two and I'm only sixteen."

"If only you could travel six years back in time and - "

Suddenly Perry growled: "Rrrl! Rrrl! Rrrl-RRRL!"

Candace and Ferb retreated against the wall.

"Or," Ferb said, "I might simply wait until we're old enough that the age difference doesn't matter."

Perry calmed and trotted off.

"I forgot," Candace said. "He acts that way whenever someone mentions time travel."

Ferb nodded. "Platypuses don't do much with the space-time continuum - and apparently don't want us messing with it either!"


You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Actually, that probably oversells it, because in fact it looks like a stage with a curtain.

Phineas and Ferb (ages 10) walk onstage. Phineas faces the audience and says:

"A reader of this story once commented that she was disappointed because there was no Ferbessa. I've been asked by the author to explain that the story doesn't rule out Ferbessa. It's just that the achievement of Ultimate Total Absolute Ferbessa will require both parties to be well into their twenties. In other words, a wait of a dozen years at minimum. And so the moral of the story is . . . . "

Ferb raises a control box and presses a button. With a crash of thunder the curtains part, and lightning reveals towering letters of stone which declare:



Phineas rests a hand on his brother's shoulder and asks, "You're cool with that?"

Ferb sighs and says:

"The journey is the destination."

Breaking into a wide smile, Phineas waves to the audience and shouts:

"Thanks for reading! Your reviews are appreciated!"