"A New Suit"

A/N: I feel obligated to warn you that the idea for this came from a dream I had (although by this point, having written the whole six thousand words, I can't quite remember which parts were dream and which came later). The goal here was to write the same kind of G-rated pre-slash ho-yay content you could find in, say, a children's show with a huge adult fanbase. So yeah, this is Perryshmirtz in intent, but as far as content goes... it's basically the tamest thing ever. I also never thought I'd write this particular cliche, but on the other hand, it was a lot of fun.


It was a school night when Perry chuted down into his secret base for an unscheduled mission, stumbling in the dark for a moment before locating the light switch. He'd be pleased when HQ got off of this whole "going green" kick. It was starting to give him more bruises than the average mission.

Perry slipped into his chair and pulled out his notebook. Immediately, like clockwork, the monitor above him winked on, and he let out a slight sigh of relief. The camera was in focus today and he was not about to be subjected to the sight of Major Monogram's underclothing yet again.

The major cleared his throat.

"Good Morning Agent P," he began, above the buzz of the speakers. "Your mission for today is a bit different than the usual fare. We've been reading Dr. Doofenshmirtz's mail—by which I mean we've been intercepting his deliveries and replacing his postman with one of our operatives because, as you know, opening someone else's mailbox is illegal. As of today, he received an invitation to the Mayor's ball. I don't need to tell you that as with any scenario involving both the Doofenshmirtz brothers, chaos and spilled punch are inevitable. We want you to keep a lid on any punchbowls. Now, this is the part where it gets a bit unusual."

Perry looked up from his notebook, curious. Since when had his missions been anything but unusual?

"As our top agent," Monogram went on, "of course we know that you're a grade A master of disguise, but we've received word from our contact in the Mayor's Office that they're installing one of those This Tall to Enter signs at the door, which would be absolutely disastrous to our efforts. They're on the defensive after last year's debacle with the evil travelling circus. And the year before that with the homicidal orangutan. And the year before that with Dr. Doofenshmirtz's daughter. And the… well, you get the picture. In any case, we thought that now would be a good time to do a test run of the big top-secret project our tech guys have been working on, since we only really need to get you in the door. We did a little more reverse engineering on some of Doofenshmirtz's old inators, and…"

A pneumatic hiss somewhere behind Perry caught his attention, and he twisted an arm over his chair to get a look at whatever was intruding onto his personal base of operations. As far as he could tell, it was a fairly innocuous cloud of smoke.

"Sir, I think we need to cut down on the smoke machines," Carl noted, nasal voice slinking out of the mist. Ah. Of course.

"Ignore Carl," Monogram ordered, scowling, "he's just a spoilsport. What you see—what you will see—amid clouds of dramatic smoke on the pedestal behind you, Agent P, is our latest stealth weapon. We've come up with a sort of… human-inator, although for trademark purposes we can't actually call it that. We thought it might help for undercover missions, like that fiasco in Brussels, for example."

Perry had the grace to look a bit sheepish around the bill.

"Don't forget to write those apology letters, by the way. This faceless, hypersecretive organization has an image to uphold, after all. Anyways, we've sent Carl over with the machine because it's still in the beta-testing stages and it needs a careful hand from someone with firsthand knowledge and a mechanical genius. Unfortunately, the only person we could spare was Carl."

"Hey!"

"Our tech guys are all busy trying to get Agent F's transport set up—Agent C absolutely insisted on a Paris wedding, and you know how she gets. You're invited by the way. I know, I know-" Monogram held up his hands, "-none of us were expecting it after what happened in Brussels, but your name's on the list so it looks like Agent C is willing to call a truce. Stop by the reception if you finish up your mission in time. We have Carl's... frankly unnerving mechanical copy of you holding your seat."

Perry sighed. At least he wasn't going to have to sit through the whole ceremony.

"Carl will give you the rundown on the machine. Good luck, Agent P!"

Perry hopped out of his chair and padded over to the pedestal where Carl was discretely tightening a bolt on the side. It was inelegant, lacking the color scheme and rounded, contained look of the inators it had been cannibalized from. Multicolored wires stood up in bunches like feathers on an angry parrot.

"We call it the human-inizer!" the redheaded human informed him, beaming.

Perry gave the intern a doubtful look.

"I know I know," Carl said, shoving his wrench in a pocket. "It doesn't look very pretty does it? Does the job, though, and that's the important part. We try to leave a crippling obsession with style to the villains."

There was a faint zapp from somewhere in the belly of the great chrome beast, and a puff of black smoke curled out from underneath it.

"Yeeeah, that's probably nothing to worry about. We're using beta carotene as a stabilizer and we kinda ran out of carrots after we took the regulator out of the refrigerator to make the beta-carotene-injector."

The platypus and the human stared at each other for an uncomfortable minute.

"Well!" Carl started, clapping freckled hands together, "Let's get this thing rolling then, eh? Just step onto that big red X and I'll fire it up."

Perry hesitated. He had bad experiences with the de-evolutionator, and it looked like a huge chunk of this new monstrosity came straight from that failure of a project. He didn't much fancy descending the evolutionary ladder again, or jumping back and forth between other species' evolutionary ladders for that matter, which was what had ended up happening.

"Uh. Agent P? I hate to rush you, but the Mayor's ball starts in an hour and you're gonna have to take public transport once you're human. All your equipment is platypus sized."

Unfortunately, he had a point. The glider and the jet were about to become temporarily obsolete. At least the grappling hook would still work for him. Officially giving up, Perry stepped onto the big red X and awaited his fate.

Buzzing filled the room, and the buttons under Carl's fingers lit up.

"Alright! This may sting a little!"

There was light, and the sensation of being mercilessly pinched by an invisible but massive hand, and then Perry was much, much taller.

"Wow," Carl observed. "The human-inizer likes you. You're positively dreamy! Nice touch on the blue hair, actually. Um. We got you some clothes, let me just get those."

While the intern rooted around in a massive shopping bag for something suitable—humans came in a ridiculous range of sizes, and so did their clothes—Perry peered down at his new disguise. Appendages, brownish pink skin, appropriate muscle tone… looked like the machine had been up to scratch after all. He'd have to test it out before leaving the base, though, as there was substantially more mass to this one than the last human body he'd taken for a joyride. On the positive side, it felt a little less wobbly.

"Here we go!" Carl called out, popping up from the mountain of clothes that had sprouted up around his feet. "There's a suit—really nice suit, actually—and it looks about your size. You know you're kind of short for a full grown human male, Agent P. Anywho, see if you can get this on, and I'll start printing you off the appropriate papers."

Perry blinked at him.

"Oh," Carl replied, shrugging, "with a suit that nice we can get you in as anything. Might as well do it right, if you only get one night! I'm thinking something foreign, so no one will try to talk to you. Can you talk now?"

Good question. Perry frowned and tried to come up with something worth saying. There really wasn't anything, so he settled on "maybe".

"Maaaayuuuah," Perry the Platypus said.

He pursed his new lips, displeased. Human mouths were more trouble than they were worth.

"Right," Carl said, "foreign it is."

An hour later, Perry was dressed in a suit (much less comfortable than Candace's skirt had been) and standing at the entrance to the Trop Cher Hotel ballroom. The man with the list was glancing over his invitation, eyeing the curlycues of gold paint that Carl had somehow managed to copy down to the last flared angle.

"Well," the man said, smiling suddenly, "Mister D'Ornithorynqe, we're flattered that you would make time to attend Mayor Doofenshmirtz's ball. There should be a spare seat at the main table—they always keep one open, for one reason or another. Just go right in, and I'll inform the staff. Mister Ambassador."

Ambassador? Perry squinted at him, and then offered a thumbs-up. Oh well, he'd roll with it.

He slipped through the lobby and into the ballroom, taking in a quick appraisal of the setup. They had put together a stage at one end of the room—no doubt that was where the inator of the night was pointed—and the floor around it was an odd kaleidoscope of evening dresses.

Someone bumped his side, possibly on purpose. Perry frowned, letting out a low chrrr of disapproval.

Behind him a female voice squeaked out, "Oh, he's positively dreamy!"

Ignoring that, Perry did a quick scope of the layout, noting the vaulted ceilings and the decorative columns (probably hollow; not good for swinging from). He passed the table with punchbowl nestled innocuously between platters of finger sandwiches, and with a discrete glance around the room, snapped a cellophane casing over the whole thing. Now, to the other part of the assignment. The best place for hiding an inator, provided it was of the aiming variety, was probably behind the stage. He made his way to the streamer-hung edge and leaned a hip against it, surreptitiously checking for any glints of nefariously purposed metal.

(In the corner not too far away, a teenage female voice asked "Who's that guy?", to which a high pitched male voice replied "I don't know, but he sure is dreamy!")

Tuning out the various conversations around him, Perry finished up his search and found nothing of particular interest, with a twinge of highly unprofessional satisfaction. That was that for his first theory, looked like he'd be waiting this one out the old fashioned way.

Jewelry flashed all around the room. A thief could make a good living in a place like this. After a full round of the area in which he declined the advances of a few more females, Perry made his way to the long table in front of the stage and went searching for his name. Chair after chair passed by, until he reached the farthest right end where three seats lined up perpendicular to the stage. The middle one had a hastily, if neatly, prepared place card dropped on top of the plate. That would be his. Curious, he glanced at the card on his left, and found to his shock that the cursive writing spelled out—

"Doofenshmirtz! Heinz Doofenshmirtz!"

Perry whirled and found himself face to face with his arch nemesis, whose hand was extended in an open-palmed greeting. He suddenly had an inkling of the reason why they always left this seat open. Hesitantly, Perry reached out and shook the proffered hand.

"Looks like they found somebody to fill the seat, then, eh… uh, Paris?"

A server passing by snorted.

"It's clearly pronounced Pah-ree," the server informed the scientist, "as anyone with a middle school education could tell from the last name."

"Hey," Doofenshmirtz shot back, "did I ask for your input, waiter-guy? No. No I didn't. Shoo, or I'll zap you with my monster-truck-away-inator." He pulled what looked like a TV remote from his the folds of his lab coat and grinned down at it. "I got this little beauty down to pocket size."

The server snorted again and disappeared into the crowd.

"The staff in this place hate me," Doofenshmirtz informed his undercover nemesis, tucking the remote back into his pocket. He was watching the crowd with narrow eyes, peering over his long nose into the mess of people. "You summon one kraken up from the seething depths of the sea and suddenly everyone is ooh, don't let the crazy man in the lab coat touch the intercom!"

Despite knowing that ambassadors are basically paid to be patronizing, Perry couldn't resist rolling his eyes.

"I know, right?" the scientist squeaked. "It is so unfair. Luckily, this time, I have an ace up my sleeve—hey, look, Roger had them make cheese biscuits!"

And then he was rushing off into the fray in search of hors d'oeuvres before he could reveal so much as a hint of his plans for the night. Perry rolled up his sleeve and flipped open his watch. The screen inside fizzled with static—oh. Of course. Everyone else was at the wedding.

And then Doofenshmirtz popped up at his side, looking down over his shoulder at the tiny screen. Perry quickly dropped his arm, alarmed, and the genuine human stumbled backwards.

"Um. Nice watch," the mad scientist complimented, a little pink. "Sorry, that was a little too close, wasn't it?"

The agent gave him a slow nod.

Doofenshmirtz rubbed the back of his neck. "Right. Sooo, Pareeee. Is that French?"

Hesitantly, Perry nodded.

"Cool! It's such a pain being foreign, isn't it?" Doofenshmirtz asked, lighting up like a radioactive Christmas tree. "I grew up in Drusselstein, see, and I had such a hard time getting used to America, what with the hotdogs and the doctorate licensing. Of course, part of the trouble was that I had to ride over to the continent in the cargo hold of this zoo transport ship after my parents left me locked in a closet back in the old country—It wasn't on purpose I don't think, but you know, it's always a real trial making your parents remember you exist—so I kind of ended up alone in New Jersey with a roving band of carnies and look at me rambling like this you must think I'm such a total spaz. Eheh. Cheese biscuit?"

Perry opened his mouth, although he wasn't sure what he was going to attempt to say.

"The boat was full of spiders!" Doofenshmirtz burst out, promptly dropping his cheese biscuit and clamping both hands tightly over his bright pink face.

Perry closed his mouth.

They stared at each other in silence for a long minute. Perry was a skilled communicator in the realm of silence, but right now what he was experiencing was just the good old fashioned bewildered kind.

"Um," the man said. "So. What's your story?"

The former platypus dug around in his pocket for his papers, pulling out the relevant scrap.

"Ooh," Doofenshmirtz murmured. "An ambaaasidor. Has anyone ever told you that you would make a wonderful hostage, Paris the Diplomat?"

Perry quirked a newfound eyebrow.

"What?" The doctor blinked. "Too many syllables? Sorry, it just rolls off the tongue- I know this guy, well, he's not really so much of a guy as a platypus... no, you know what? That would take way too long to explain and I'm already talking enough for like three people."

Involuntarily, Perry felt his lips tilt upward. Luckily, Doofenshmirtz didn't catch that bit of unexpected reflex.

"You remind me of him, a little bit," his nemesis commented, reaching for a glass of something bright red on the table. "He is very easy to talk to."

A hand on both their shoulders distracted the two of them, and they both turned towards the grinning face of Mayor Roger Doofenshmirtz, who had come from apparently nowhere with the characteristic sneakiness of a successful politician.

"Heinz!" the younger brother exclaimed, "so glad you could make it! It's just not a party without you. You always bring something new to the family reunions, don't you? By the way-" he added, voice lower, "-Charlene is here and she was asking for you, something about you taking Vanessa off the continent? I didn't know you had those rights."

The scientist had his face screwed up and looked to be on the verge of exploding with some uncouth tirade when the mayor turned his attention to the secret agent.

"And Ambassador D'Ornithorynque!" he said, pronunciation flawless. "So pleased you could join us. Imagine, the ambassador to the entire tristate area here at my little soiree. You and I absolutely must speak after dinner, I'm sure you must have all sorts of interesting observations about Danville. Perhaps somewhere else, though—I had just about my fill of stuffy old ballrooms for the month! Well, no time for that now, you know how it goes. The public awaits! Don't let my big brother drive you nuts, though. He's a little high strung."

Approximately forty seconds later, when Roger had been gone for that better part of a minute, the doctor burst out with a high pitched, "I'll show you high STRUNG!"

Perry picked up the glass of bright red liquid and handed it to Doofenshmirtz, who knocked back the whole thing. Then broke down coughing while Perry rolled his eyes and patted his companion on the back.

Moments like these made Perry sincerely glad on a whole new level to live with a family like the Flynn-Fletchers. He wasn't entirely sure he could survive this level off sibling rivalry on a daily basis.

"Roger," the evil scientist pointed out, once he'd begun breathing properly again, jabbing a long finger toward the man at the distant head of the table, "is my brother. He also needs a cleat to the face if you ask me. Everything always comes sooo easy to Roger. The smile, the accent, the manners, the kickball... He just sticks out his grubby little hands and the whole world races over to fill it with... stuff. Well what about the rest of us? You know what I'm saying, Paris the Diplomat?"

Perry nodded. He was well and over again familiar with the story.

"But tonight," Doofenshmirtz went on, "tonight, I get even! I'm gonna give that goody-two-shoes jerk a taste of what it's like to be a little less than perfect. I'm—you don't mind if I monologue to you, Paris the Diplomat? I've gotten into the habit and, well, it helps me get my thoughts in order, you know?"

Perry nodded again, this time more enthusiastically.

"Great!" The evil scientist beamed like a spotlight, hands fluttering with nervous energy. "So, tonight, I'm going to make my brother look like an incompetent. He is always so charming and charismatic and oooh, I just can't stand it. I want him to shut up for once. Let him feel the achy knottedness of being inappropriately tongue-tied! Let him understand the cruel sting a smart remark to which there is no reply!"

At the head of the table, Roger was toasting a woman in red, dashing smile all white teeth and wide laughter. Perry had to admit, although it wasn't really any of his business, the human was unusually charismatic.

"With my latest invention," Doofenshmirtz went on, gesturing wildly with his empty glass, "I will render my sickeningly personable brother utterly mute! I call it, the gag-inator! Not that it actually, uh, shoots gags or anything because that would look a little weird if you know what I mean, it just sort of metaphorically gags a person. I figure if this works out, I'll try it on a larger political scale. With the rest of the world's politicians rendered mute, it'll be easy for me to work my way up to governor, and then as everyone knows it's just a short step away to dictator for life!"

Okay, that was actually a fairly respectable evil plot. Perry's eyebrows went up.

"And, I figure if it doesn't work out which it usually doesn't, I can always bring the roof down on these jerks' heads. See how much fun they have at a ball without a ballroom. How'd you like that, Roger!" he shouted, brandishing his glass at the little figure of his younger brother.

At the other end of the table, Roger smiled and waved his own glass back at them.

"Ugh," Doofenshmirtz said.

Perry tugged on his tie, already searching for an exit through which to begin his thwarting, when he felt his whole body start to vibrate at an intensely uncomfortable molecular level. His veins were doing jumping jacks inside his skin and, oh, then the nausea hit him behind the eyes. He crumpled over on the table.

"Paris the Diplomat?" Doofenshmirtz asked, prodding the agent's arm with a tentativeness that would have amused Perry had he not been shaking apart cell by cell. "You don't look so good. Um. Dang it, let me see what I can do. I'll be right back."

Pretty much the only part of that which registered with Perry was the fact that Doofenshmirtz was wandering off while he was in an unexpected ton of pain. He made a mental note to kick the crap out of his nemesis later on… for just generally being a jerk. Sometimes Doof just needed to have the crap kicked out of him.

And then there was a hand on his hand, and Doofenshmirtz was handing him something orange and white and he was talking again, for Pete's sake the man could talk.

"—fancy, but I figured you could pull off the garnish bits and the crackers might settle your stomach? I have a daughter and when she was sick I used to—"

Perry looked down at what he was being offered. In Doofenshmirtz's bony hand, there was a square white cracker topped with a sprig of parsley and a slice of—yes!—carrot. Perry's eyes went wide.

He snatched up the cracker and made himself a mental note to kick the crap out of Doofenshmirtz in a slightly less painful way.

"Wow, Paris the Diplomat you really like finger food. You know, I've never really understood why they call it—never mind. I guess that's what you needed, though."

With half the platter under his belt, Perry looked up from the hors d'oeuvres and allowed himself to indulge in one small, genuine smile. He could spare it. Dumb luck or no, the doctor did just save him a lot of physical discomfort and complicated escape maneuvers.

Doofenshmirtz looked pleased.

"Weeeell," the natural human said, tapping the table, "there's about thirty minutes till the toasts and Perry—with a Y, the guy I mentioned before?—he never shows up earlier than eleven minutes before my plans kick off. So, I've got time to spare… we should, uh, we should hang out as my daughter says. I'll introduce you to some people! We can get drinks! I don't usually drink before an evil scheme but it's a party and I don't think one will hurt me. Do you want to?"

There was a pause while Perry debated with himself. On the one hand, he was on the clock. On the other hand, Doofenshmirtz had a point—he really did have nothing to do for the next twenty minutes. But back on the first hand, he really needed to cut back on fraternizing with the enemy.

As the seconds ticked by, his nemesis' smile deflated a tooth at a time.

Oh, who was he kidding? He could never resist one of Doofenshmirtz's idiot plans.

Perry nodded, offering a hand which the scientist grabbed—grin back in full force—and they went barreling through the crowd at a completely unnecessary speed.

-PF-

"And that's when People's Party of Russia declared the three of us persona non grata for as long as Heinz here is alive," Charlene finished, shooting her ex husband a faintly amused look.

The three of them—it would have been four, but Vanessa had slunk away into the shadows with her ipod on full volume after taking one look at Perry—stood at the punch table near the stage, exchanging anecdotes to some extent. The punchbowl was still thoroughly cellophaned. Currently, Doofenshmirtz had his hands shoved in his coat pockets and was quietly fuming as his former wife regaled them with some of his less flattering history. In spite of the frankly massive number of backstories the scientist had doled out in heavy handed portions over the course of their antagonist-ship, somehow Perry had never heard this one before. And he found himself, somewhat begrudgingly, quite amused by the whole thing.

"Yes yes," Doofenshmirtz muttered, "I'm sure you've got plenty more humiliating stories to tell complete strangers about me, but we really have to go. I still haven't introduced Paris to the district attorney, and you know I'm legally obligated after—"

Mid-way through reaching for Perry's arm, the evil doctor paused as the microphone sound system squealed to life. The whole room paused, actually.

"Attention! Dinner begins in ten minutes! If you haven't located your seat, do so now."

There was a slight pang of reluctance as Perry backed away from his companions, searching the room for an acceptable exit. He'd gotten wrapped up in the show and tell and the awkward introductions and the stupid commentary, and admittedly he had indulged for longer than he should have. Unprofessional, but true, that there was something he had liked about being a person with a face. As he started off for the side door, the agent felt a hand on his shoulder. It would be easy to shake it off, but…

He looked back at Doofenshmirtz, who was grinning nervously. The man snatched his arm back with a pained "eheh," after staring at it for an awkward second.

"I was, uh, I was thinking…" the scientist started, looking down at his intertwined hands, "…that, you know, you could hang around for my scheme tonight? I mean, not if you already have plans or anything. I know this is kind of whoa last minute and I'm going out on a limb here, but maybe you'd like to stick around for a… a casual plot? No pressure!"

Perry looked at him. And looked at him.

"No? That's okay, I get it, you've got ambassador type things to do. That's cool. I understand. I'll just be. Um. I'll just be off then. Waiting for my nemesis. Yeah."

And Perry watched him go, feeling a little bit inexplicably uncomfortable.

Well, no time for that. In a flash, Perry was ducking through the crowd on the tail of his enemy. They seemed to be heading for the stairs tucked neatly in the corner of the ballroom, which led up to what Perry assumed was an attic of some kind. At the doorway, he chanced a glance upward through the levels of steps and retracted his assumption. Those went on up for a more than a couple flights. Looked like there were some rooms on top of the ground floor.

Tailing the scientist silently was a bit more difficult with many times his usual body mass, but Perry wasn't the best operative in the agency for no reason. A little disadvantage was good for an agent's skill set. When Doofenshmirtz exited onto the roof level, Perry hung back for a second or two, checking his arsenal of gadgets just to be sure. Efficiency was the name of the game tonight. He'd spent too long here anyhow; it was time to wrap things up.

Through the cracked door, he could hear Doofenshmirtz muttering.

"Smoooth, Heinz. Real smooth. Well, whatever, he can do his fancy party stuff, I've got petty revenge to enact and I can do that just fine all by myself. I don't need help to make a mess out of things!"

In the dimly lit stairwell, Perry rolled his eyes.

"Where is Perry?" the doctor's voice demanded, followed by some heavy mechanical clanking. "He was supposed to be here like five minutes ago. Sheesh, looks like everybody's got something better to do tonight than deal with me. That's it, I'm not gonna miss my window of opportunity waiting around for him. I'm firing this puppy up!"

Ah. And there was Perry's cue.

The temporary human kicked the door open with the aid of his temporary human leg (nice muscles on these, actually) and burst into the autumn night, dropping into a basic kung-fu stance.

"It's about time, Perry the…" Doofenshmirtz trailed off, halfway through turning from his inator of the night, "…the Diplomat? Yoooouuu… are not the person I was expecting. Did you decide to stick around after all?"

Perry shook his head, pointing at the inator.

"What, the gag-inator?" the scientist guessed, glancing back at the vaguely satellite-shaped machine. It glinted innocently in the moonlight. "I was just about to use it, yeah. You get a better effect from an altitude so I brought it up here to the roof—I figure it might take a couple shots to get down to my brother, but eh, there's probably not too many people in the levels between me and him and this city could use a few less chatty cathies anyways."

Great. Well, what was a battle without a couple civilian casualties? He'd just have to check around tomorrow after he got back from Paris.

Perry sprung into action, darting past Doofenshmirtz and underneath the inator, swinging up to the other side to search for the usual self-destruct button. He was having trouble with the diurnally inclined human vision, and he was eager to get this done for any number of reasons. He ran his hands over the panel of blinking buttons, bright green in the darkness. Yes, that one was just big and red enough to be it.

"Whoa," Doofenshmirtz said, and Perry glanced up from his work with one eyebrow arched.

What?

"Whoa," the human said again, "are you trying to thwart me, Paris the Diplomat?"

Perry shot him a withering look.

The scientist held up his empty hands, looking very nervous. "I'm sorry, you seem like a really top notch good guy and everything, any villain would be lucky to have you, but I've already got a nemesis. And I've kind of got a history in this area and it's probably better for both of us if you don't do this while hey hey hey don't press that button!"

Perry pressed the button anyways, biting down on the inside of his human lips to keep away an unexpected smile.

And then the night was shot with beams of bright red, and the concrete under Perry's still-seemingly-pointless shoes was starting to rattle, building up vibration like a tuning fork. The agent stumbled back, unpleasantly surprised. He glared up at Doofenshmirtz, silently demanding an explanation.

"You pressed the button!" Doofenshmirtz moaned. "That was my fake-out button for Perry the Platypus! You remember what I said about bringing the roof down? This thing doubles as an earthquake-inator!"

Below them, Perry could hear the first hints of a crowd rushing for the exits as the whole building started to sway ominously. He grabbed at the edge of the machine's control panel as it took a particularly jarring roll, one foot slipping out from underneath him.

"Whoa!"

Perry looked over, and found that it wasn't only his unfamiliar body having difficulty maintaining balance right now. Doofenshmirtz was teetering dangerously at the ledge of the roof, white-coated arms windmilling stupidly in empty air. For a guy like him, who tripped on insects, this was probably going to end with a four story fall.

In a matter of seconds, Perry was across the roof and had caught his foe around the chest with one arm, pulling them both into a messy roll across the concrete. They came to a stop with Doofenshmirtz plastered over his front, literally nose-to-nose with him.

"Oookay," the scientist said, "I really really hope Perry doesn't decide to show up right now, because I have no idea how I'm going to explain this one."

Perry sighed, and dug around in his suit, and pulled on his agency-issue fedora as best he could while lying flat on a horizontal surface.

Doofenshmirtz squinted down at him. "Perry the Diplomat? Paris the… Platypus?"

The building gave another unsettling heave, and Perry started to wish he'd just worn the hat into the ball in the first place, regardless of whether the brown clashed with his suit. As amusing as watching Doofenshmirtz squirm was, he was quickly running out of time to indulge in that sort of thing.

"Well," his nemesis said, propping his chin up on a fist that was propped up on Perry's chest, "that makes me feel a lot better about the whole 'thwarting' thing. Ooooh, but now I also feel embarrassed about the 'casual plot' thing. Wow, I am really conflicted right now!"

In lieu of response, Perry curled his legs up under the deadweight of the evil scientist and kicked him up through the air with about as much strength as he could get behind these new limbs. Doofenshmirtz went flying, and landed on top of the gag-inator-slash-earthquake-inator. Perry spared a moment of something akin to pride for the machine; he always appreciated the effort that went into a plan B. Even if plan B was even more idiotic than plan A.

It was the thought that counted.

"What?" the doctor was asking, hooked over the back of the machine like a boney saddle, "what, why did you kick me, I—oh, I see, you want me to press the real self destruct button. Well too bad! This inator doesn't have one!"

Perry stopped miming pressing a button and sighed for the umpteenth time that night. The old fashioned way it would be, then.

The agent executed a flying kick that would have done his old trainer proud, air whistling past him as he hurtled foot-first at the glittering silver contraption. As the thunk of collision rattled through his joints, he snatched up the scientist's prone form and backflipped neatly onto the still-shaking concrete.

The inator wobbled, and then went tumbling over the side of the roof to its timely demise. The crunch that followed was highly satisfying, and Perry took a brief second to bask in that as the structure under his feet settled down to a bare shiver. Down below, on the other side of the hotel, the murmuring of voices had reached peak volume—everyone was out, then, and not a single civilian bruised. Of course, the party was still ruined, but he supposed that every victory couldn't be a complete victory…

"People, people," Roger Doofenshmirtz's distant voice rang out, as confident as ever despite the wild situation. The crowd quieted down.

Curious, Perry approached the far side of the roof with a whining evil scientist still tucked awkwardly under one arm.

"Look, people. I say," the mayor went on, "that we may have received a bit of a blessing in disguise just now! As I was telling my good friend the ambassador to the tristate area earlier tonight, who agreed with me of course, I've really seen enough of that ballroom in the last month or so. It's a beautiful night, why don't we have the servers bring the tables out here?"

Folded over Perry's arm, Doofenshmirtz hissed. "No, no no no!" he yelled down, "You can't do that, I just ruined your dinner! I ruined it! I had a plan A and a plan B and you are not allowed to have a good time!"

Of course, the mass of people below were too busy cheering and patting each other on the back to notice a lone villain's screech.

Perry let out a chrrr of resignation and dropped the irate doctor flat on his stomach. There was still a reception to attend, and his mission was an inarguable success. He pursed his lips unconsciously at the thought of taking the bus home again—if only the humanizer would wear off now, so he could take the jetpack straight to France.

"Hey wait, Perry the Platypus, where are you going?"

The agent glanced back at Doofenshmirtz, who had pulled himself up to a sitting position and was staring after him with a lost-child sort of look.

"You're just leaving?" the mad scientist demanded, visibly deflated. "You're not even going to stick around for dinner? I mean, there's clearly still going to be a dinner, and you're not even going to stick around long enough to gloat?"

Perry chrrrred. Good Guy Guidelines chapter three clearly state that good guys do not indulge in gloating.

Doofenshmirtz waved his hands for some reason. "Look, it's nine o'clock on a Thursday night, where do you have to be? You could… stick around, for a while. Just to make sure I don't try anything else, right? And I can still introduce you to the district attorney, and you can sit next to me at dinner and I'm not going to dance with you or anything, I mean, unless you want me to?"

Perry blinked uncertainly.

"Right, uh, never mind. Look the point is, it would be rude to walk out when they've got a place set for you, wouldn't it? And I could use the company."

There was laughter in the courtyard below them, and the evening was bright with moonlight and lamplight, and Perry was conflicted. On the one hand, he had obligations. On the other hand, he was still in disguise. On the first hand again, fraternization.

"They'll have more fingerfood, you know," his nemesis wheedled, singing out the words like they were the most tantalizing pitch known to man. It was ridiculous, and mildly insulting.

Oh, who was he kidding.

Perry offered his fleshy pink hand for the second time that night.

"Really?" Doofenshmirtz bounced to his feet. "Great! Oh, you know Perry the Platypus, most human males don't hold hands. Well, I guess you can pass it off as being French, that's what I thought it was—hey wait a second, I just realized! I totally saved your butt with that platter of crackers! Somehow! You owe me, man!"

Perry shot out a leg and tripped Doofenshmirtz in one quick motion, leaving him a crumpled, whiny heap on the top of the building. He figured the man could catch up when he was appropriately chastised.

In the meantime, the ambassador had a dinner to attend. Agent C's reception could wait.

-End