Wow, it's been a while since I've done a multi-chaptered story. We'll see if I can keep up with updates.

DISCLAIMER: All characters of Phineas and Ferb are the property of Dan Povenmire, Jeff "Swampy" Marsh, and Disney Channel. Any insinuation otherwise will result in the loss of an appendage. And you don't get to pick.


Chapter 1 - Monitor the Situation

Katie Brooke adjusted the red sash over her chest, opposite of her tan Fireside Girls one. The large capital letters were apparent, the words "HALL MONITOR" clearly visible for any passerby to see. This was her week as the fifth grade hall monitor, and as this was not a duty just anyone could have, she was determined to do a proper job. Of course, she had heard horror stories from past monitors (Gretchen in particular told of pulling six kids out of their lockers in one afternoon), but hopefully she wouldn't have to do that. For one, Katie didn't have the arm strength. Gretchen had to enlist the help of Buford to pull them out (ironic, Katie thought, because Buford put three of them in to begin with). Still, it was a great opportunity, so as Katie set off down the hall after meeting with the other grades' monitors, she set in her mind to do the best that she could.

Monitors were allowed to be in the halls ten minutes before the ending bell to ensure there would be nothing holding up traffic between periods, so this gave Katie a little time to reflect on the whirlwind year she had had. Being sworn into Fireside Girls Troop 46231 as the youngest member had been an exciting day for her. So was getting to meet Phineas and Ferb for the first time. She remembered that day vividly, since the kids where she used to live didn't construct giant things on a daily basis, much less the radio tower they were building. Helping on that project was memorable, if only for seeing Isabella, her troop leader, get flustered whenever Phineas spoke to her.

Katie turned the corner and headed past the sixth grade lockers, lost in her thoughts. Running her fingers over the numbers as she walked past, she saw that she was nearing locker #373, the residence of her most favorite person in the world.

And the feeling would be mutual too, she hoped...if she ever got the nerve to tell him-

Uh oh.

Looking up, Katie saw that said locker was currently occupied by its resident, the very same person that she had been thinking about seconds ago. From the looks of it, he was busy rummaging through it, presumably looking for something.

For a fleeting moment, Katie considered turning around and going back. However, she was already halfway down the hall, and her composure wouldn't allow her to escape as quietly as she had approached. Plus, she had a job to do. Making sure kids had hall passes during classes was part of the duties of a monitor. It didn't matter who that kid was.

She slowly made her way down the hall, as to not startle him. As soon as she got into his shoulder, she cleared her throat.

"Hi, Irving."

He looked up from his locker, just noticing Katie standing next to him. "Oh, hey Katie."

Now that she was properly close to him, she could see that his hair was damp, the water now residing in a towel on the top shelf of his locker.

"So...whatcha'-" Katie stopped herself, knowing that it would not be wise for Isabella's catchphrase to be uttered anywhere in her vicinity. "Sorry. What's going on?"

"Oh, nothing," Irving said as he wiped his hair back. "The usual. Just failing miserably at trying to go a day without running into Dylan."

Katie grimaced. Dylan was a bully at the school, not unlike Buford, that spent most of his days shadowing Irving. However, while Buford's relationship with Baljeet was mostly good, Dylan and Irving's was anything but. They weren't friends (not in the slightest), and most meetings ended up with Irving's head in a random object.

"I take it this was Dylan's doing?" Katie asked, motioning toward his hair.

"Yep." He grabbed a book from his locker and stuffed it into his backpack. "Today was a toilet. I sort of wish it was a trashcan like last week. He grabbed me on my way to third period and spent the entire time keeping me in the bathroom." He looked at her, a frown on his face. "I suppose you have to report me for not having a hall pass?"

"Irving, I'm not going to report you."

"That's kind of your job though. You wouldn't be much of a hall monitor if you weren't monitoring the halls."

Katie shook her head. "If there's anyone I should be reporting, it's Dylan. This is at least the fifth time this month he's skipped class. It doesn't help that he was skipping class to pick on you. I know that you couldn't help it because of him."

Irving closed his locker, looking down at the floor. It seemed as if he was avoiding any eye contact. "...Thanks, Katie."

"No problem." She was grateful that he couldn't see the small blush on her cheeks. "Listen, why don't you tell someone about Dylan? A teacher, a counselor, anyone?"

"I don't know." Irving turned and slumped down the wall of lockers, his mood continuing to sour. "I don't want to cause any trouble."

"Irving, you're being bullied. You shouldn't have to take any abuse from anyone, Dylan or otherwise."

"Baljeet gets picked on all the time, and I don't see you sticking up for him."

"Well..." Katie didn't want to divulge her complicated feelings about him, but she recovered quickly from her pause. "Buford waslike that in the beginning. Even though he can still be a righteous idiot and a jerk sometimes, he's mellowed out quite a bit. He's not a bad guy; Baljeet can attest to that. He's gotten a lot better over time."

Irving glanced down the hallway, saying nothing. Katie, despite herself, sat down next to him, mirroring his stance.

"Let's just go to the principal's office and talk to Mr. Humphries. He has to be able to do something about Dylan. I know for a fact that he's disciplined Buford before, and not even Buford is dumb enough to cross him a second time."

The boy sat his head on his arms, chin resting atop them. It looked to appear in deep thought about the situation.

"Here." Katie reached into her pocket and pulled out a red slip of paper and pen. "I will give you a late slip that the principal can sign so that you won't get in trouble with your next class. I don't even have to come with you, if you don't want me to," she said, signing the paper with a flourish. Finished, she slipped it in between his fingers. "Just go talk to him."

Irving looked at the strip of paper, then back at Katie. The frown was still on his face. "Why are you doing this?"

The blonde giggled, rolling her eyes. "I think you said that earlier. It's kind of my job."

"No, not...that. This," he corrected, waving the slip for emphasis. "Why do you care so much about it?"

Confused, Katie cocked her head. "I don't understand."

"I've been under the impression that no one seems to really care about what happens to me," he said dejectedly. "I come here, get made fun of, get shoved around like I'm nothing, and I go home. And I get to do the same thing over and over again. No one seems to care."

"Irving..."

"Sometimes I feel like it would be better for everyone if I just left. Went away, and then people can go on with their lives without ever having to tell that I was even among them. Things would be so much simpler."

"Irving, stop it. You're scaring me."

"Actually, that doesn't sound like a bad idea. I wouldn't have to deal with Dylan anymore. Or anyone that messes with me, for that matter. Not that they would notice me being gone, anyway-"

SLAP!

Katie did not remember vaulting up in a fit of anger. She didn't remember bringing her hand back and careening it forward with the force of a hammer. She didn't remember connecting with Irving's cheek, leaving a bright red mark where it had hit him.

The very next thing she did remember was Irving's stunned face, glasses askew.

"...Ow. What was that-"

"Shut up."

"What?"

"I said shut up." Katie's entire body was shaking with a mixture of anger and desperation. "Don't talk about yourself like that. I don't like it when people do that."

"It's all true, though. Wouldn't it be-"

Katie had enough. With one fluid motion, she seized the front of Irving's shirt, and with the strength of a non-ten-year-old girl, pressed him up against the wall.

"No, Irving. No, it wouldn't. That is never the answer. You work to try to solve your problems, not take the easy way out."

The boy was struggling mightily to get out of the Fireside Girl's grasp, but to no avail. "Katie, you have no idea what it's like to be me. You don't have to deal with bullies and people calling you names behind your back every day."

Katie's vision was blurry from the angry tears threatening to fall, but she didn't need to see him in order for her to talk. "Yes, maybe I don't know what it's like to be bullied. Yes, maybe I don't know how someone can dislike another person just for the heck of it. But...I know what it's like to feel as if you're alone and no one's there. I used to be the new girl around here. Heck, I'm still the new girl. It took me some time and effort to come out of my shell. But I got through it. And you can too."

Irving narrowed his eyes, still hesitant about talking to a somewhat deranged girl. Taking a chance, he asked ,"And what makes you so sure I can do that?"

"Because I believe in you."

"OK, let me ask you something again. Why do you care?"

"Because I care about you, you idiot!"

She had not meant to say that.

But then again, that whole "not thinking" thing was never really working for her to begin with.

Katie froze, her eyes growing wide and her mind going blank. Irving's were just as big; the other thing she noticed was that he was no longer trying to worm out of her grip.

"...You what?"

BRRRRIIIINNNGGGG!

The bell reverberated through the hallways, shaking Katie out of her reverie. She could hear the rustling of chairs being scraped in the classrooms and some of the doors being opened. If anyone saw her with him like this...she would never hear the end of it.

She let Irving's shirt go, trying to shake the cobwebs out of her head. "Sorry," she mumbled. "I..."

She couldn't go on. All of her effort and strength had suddenly vanished with the bell.

"Take it." Katie grabbed the permission slip off of the ground, having been lost in the momentary confusion, and shoved it into Irving's chest. "Go talk to the principal." Her voice sounded distant, like it was on the other side of the school. Wiping her eyes, she stood straight, gathering her composure.

Or at least attempting to.

"I have to go."

With that, she turned on the spot, wishing to God that her disheveled look would go away. She set off down the hallway...

Leaving a stunned Irving in her shadow.


AUTHOR'S NOTE: Wow, this chapter got very serious there for a second. That wasn't my original course of action...but hey. It serves a purpose.

Before anyone says anything...yes, I do know what it's like to be bullied. I was bullied a lot in grade school and high school, for various reasons. It is not fun. It is never fun. I can't say that I have ever gotten to the train of though that Irving had in here, but it was still pretty bad for a while. So I was writing somewhat from the heart when I drew this up.

Unlike my other stories involving Fireside Girl pairings, this will not be a one-shot. There will be four chapters in total. Chapter 2 was originally going to be part of this one, but since this is the only chapter in Katie's POV (and there's a reason for that), I stuck it on its own. The rest of the story will go to Irving.

Chapter 2 will be shorter, but there will definitely be more action going on. It will still have a serious tone to it, but do stick around for the next few chapters; I promise it will not stay that way for its entirety.

Read and review, if you like. Until next time.