You know, the Comment Fic community on Live Journal is evil. Evil, I tell you. The prompt that got me this time was Phineas and Ferb, Ferb/Vanessa, Dr. Doofenshmirtz, officially meeting dad. And how was I supposed to resist that one? I ask you… *sigh* Anyway, the result was this little number. Hope you like! Be sure to let me know! Oh, and this can be considered part of the same timeline as my previous stories A Day in the Life and Fairy Lights.
"Are you sure we can't do this another night?"
"No. No, we can't. The reservations are for tonight."
"He won't like me."
"There's no reason for him not to like you. Well, as long as you don't give him one."
"What will we talk about?"
"I've said this before, you have lots in common. You'll find something to talk about." Vanessa paused in the act of straightening her father's bow tie. "Just don't talk about evil, all right? That's something you don't have in common."
Heinz sighed and tugged on the sleeves of his tuxedo jacket. "I don't know why you had to pick the most expensive restaurant in town for this. We could have called for pizza."
Vanessa smiled and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, that would have worked. Besides, Ferb picked the restaurant. He's determined to impress you."
Heinz looked at his daughter. "That's another thing. Who names their son Ferb? Is there something wrong with his parents?"
"Nothing's wrong with his parents, Dad. Ferb is a nickname, and he prefers to go by it, that's all. It took me forever to find out what it was a nickname for, too." She finished her task and stepped back to critique her handiwork.
"Well?" Heinz asked after a long moment that ended with Vanessa nodding in satisfaction and brushing lint off his shoulders.
"What is it a nickname for?"
Vanessa grinned with a touch of wickedness. "Oh, no. As you once told me, that would be taking the easy way, and you know what they say about that. If I had to go through that much effort, you can do a little work of your own. Ask him yourself."
Heinz couldn't help but chuckle slightly, then sighed and shook his head. "You know, what I don't understand is why you're here helping me get ready instead of doing the same for your boyfriend."
"Because I knew you'd be more of a wreck about this than Ferb would," Vanessa explained, ignoring the jealous sneer in her father's voice and moving him aside so she could use the bathroom mirror to finish putting on her makeup. "That, and he has his brother to keep him on an even keel if he needs it. He'll meet us at the restaurant, and he'll probably be early."
"Am I really so predictable?" Heinz whined. He blinked when Vanessa merely gave him a long, half-lidded look. "Yeah, I guess I am," he admitted, resigned.
Vanessa finished with her lipstick then straightened and turned to fully face her father. "So, what do you think?"
Heinz took in the sight of his daughter standing before him, the shimmering purple silk evening gown accentuating her curves without hugging them, her dark brown hair swept up on top of her head in a tasteful updo with two long curls framing her face, the amethyst teardrop pendant hanging from the thin silver chain around her neck and nestling in the hollow of her throat… She was twenty-six now, a beautiful full-fledged woman. She would always be his little girl, but it was moments like this when it was the hardest to see her that way.
And she wanted to introduce him to her boyfriend.
"You look absolutely beautiful, Vanessa," Heinz said softly and sincerely.
"Thanks, Dad. That means a lot," Vanessa replied in a matching tone, her smile gentle.
"This boy is lucky to have you."
Vanessa laughed and shook her head. "This 'boy' is twenty years old, Dad. And I'm lucky to have him, too." She glanced at her thin wrist watch. "We should really get going. Our reservation's at seven, and we should just make it if we leave now."
Heinz sighed again and followed her out of the bathroom to where she had both their dress coats draped over the back of the couch in the living room. "Are you sure we couldn't do a homemade meal at his apartment or something?" he asked, nervous all over again.
Vanessa handed him his jacket and started to put on her own. "Dad, I've explained this a thousand times. Ferb's brother is practicing a scene for the acting class his friends talked him into taking this semester and their place is the only one available for the group to use, so going to their apartment isn't practical. Mom's having a dinner party, and you wouldn't want to go over there anyway. Ferb wanted to treat you, so coming over here and having you cook for us - since I know you wouldn't want to let Ferb anywhere near your kitchen even though he's a wonderful cook - would seem to defeat the purpose. Now I know you'll like him, and I know he'll like you. Stop worrying so much, and let's get going. I don't want to be late."
"All right, Vanessa," Heinz said, pulling on his coat. "Anything to make you happy."
The two of them headed out for the restaurant.
Vanessa looked around in a state of mixed excitement and nervousness while she and her father waited for the hostess to return to the receiving podium. She spotted who she was searching for and placed a hand on her father's arm. "There he is, Dad," she told him in a low tone, pointing toward the head of green hair near the front windows. "I told you he'd be early."
Heinz stared in the direction she gestured toward for a moment then frowned. "He looks like a hoodlum," he muttered quietly.
But not quietly enough. "Dad!" Vanessa protested through gritted teeth as she elbowed him in the ribs. "Ferb is not a hoodlum!"
"Then why does he have green hair?" Heinz refuted, rubbing the point of impact. "A hoodlum would have green hair like that."
"It's natural," Vanessa hissed. "And don't you dare comment on it."
"Natural?" Heinz repeated, surprised. "What kind of messed up genetics would create green hair like that?"
Vanessa shrugged. "I have no idea, and neither does he. It's not like it matters. Although his brother has a couple of theories about it. Ferb's just been hesitant to volunteer for the tests that would have to be done to prove or disprove them."
Heinz blinked, considering it for a moment. "You know, I don't think I blame him."
Just then the hostess returned, and upon being told who they were, led them to the table where Ferb was waiting. The young man rose as they approached.
"Hi, Ferb," Vanessa greeted him, moving over to give him a hug and brief kiss on the lips. "I hope we're not late."
Ferb smiled and shook his head.
Vanessa gave him a loving smile, then stepped back and gestured at Heinz. "Ferb, I'd like you to meet my father, Doctor Heinz Doofenshmirtz. Dad, this is my boyfriend, Ferb Fletcher."
Ferb held out a hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, sir," Ferb said politely. "Vanessa speaks very highly of you."
Heinz blinked a bit in surprise at the comment, then shook the offered appendage. "It's nice to meet you, too."
"Let's sit down and order our drinks," Vanessa offered. She smiled when Ferb stepped around to hold her chair for her. "Thank you." Ferb returned the expression and nodded.
"You know, I couldn't help but notice your accent," Heinz commented once they were all seated and drinks had been ordered. "Are you from England originally?"
Ferb nodded. "I was born in London then moved here very young. I suppose I absorbed my speech patterns from my father."
Heinz's eyebrows rose. "But not your mother?" he asked.
Vanessa gave him an incredulous look. "Dad!" she whispered harshly.
"It's all right, Vanessa," Ferb told her then turned to Heinz. "My birth mother died when I was five months old. I'm fortunate enough that my father got remarried to a wonderful woman here in Danville that I'm proud to call 'mother'. But I began speaking before then, so my foundations come solely from my father."
"I… I see," Heinz replied, glancing nervously at his daughter.
"My dad's originally from Druselstein, actually," Vanessa said brightly after one last warning glare at Heinz. "A town called Gimmelstump."
Ferb perked up at the information and gave Heinz a curious look.
The older man shrugged. "It's not worth talking about, really. My memories of my childhood there aren't the most… pleasant in general. Of more interest might be when I went back for some of my schooling." He glanced at Vanessa to gage if this was an acceptable topic. When she merely returned the look with a curious one of her own, he smiled and continued. "I had a hard time deciding on what I wanted to do. There was my original interest in ev…" Vanessa's brows crashing together stopped him from completing the word. "Ahem, my interest in science. Yes, science. I took some classes, but had some very harsh teachers." He cringed slightly, remembering Doctor Gevaarlijk and both her Evil 101 class so many years ago and more recent visit about ten years before.
"I have a chemistry teacher this semester that's especially harsh to students that aren't known to be chemistry majors," Ferb commiserated.
"And I have a psychology professor that has no patience with students who need a little extra explanation to get what she's trying to teach at any particular moment," Vanessa added. She huffed and shook her head slightly. "I am so glad she's not my advisor."
Heinz smiled happily at the sympathy. It was a rare commodity for him. But before he could continue the conversation, their waiter arrived and took their orders after giving them their drinks. He was happy to note, though, that Ferb had gotten an Italian soda instead of something alcoholic. He blinked. Thinking of Ferb…
The scientist turned his smile toward his daughter's boyfriend. "Now, Vanessa says you go by the name of Ferb, but that it's a nickname of some sort. Is it all right to ask what it's a nickname for?"
Vanessa covered her smile with a hastily raised hand as Ferb merely blinked. "Of course," the green-haired young man replied. "It's actually short for…"
Their waiter reappeared at the table with a basket of bread, cutting off Ferb's answer. "Fresh from the oven," the man announced with a polite smile. "Your appetizers should be ready shortly."
"Thank you," Vanessa told him while Ferb gave him a thumbs up. "Oh, that reminds me," she continued once the waiter had taken his leave. "I found that Amish bread recipe Candace was asking about. I'll give it to you at lunch tomorrow."
Ferb nodded in response, missing the frustrated look father gave daughter.
"Do you want to go off-campus for lunch?" Vanessa asked.
Ferb shrugged and gestured at her, signifying it was her call.
She smiled. "I'll see what I feel like tomorrow then." She looked at her father. "You were talking about your post-high school education, weren't you, Dad?" she asked him innocently.
Heinz wasn't fooled; he could see the impish twinkle in her eyes. He decided to play along anyway. She looked so happy. "Yes, I was. Anyway, I reached a point where I was completely frustrated with science, and decided to pursue art and poetry…"
The conversation remained pleasant throughout the appetizers and main entrée, and even as they all enjoyed a wonderful raspberry sorbet. Once the meal was over and paid for, the three of them headed for the exit, Ferb excusing himself to retrieve his car since he and Vanessa would be leaving together. Heinz decided to wait until the couple had left before getting his own vehicle, taking advantage of the younger man's absence to talk things over with his daughter.
"So what do you think of him, Dad?" Vanessa asked before Heinz could start the conversation.
"He doesn't actually talk much, does he?" Heinz asked in return, remembering plenty of looks and gestures but not nearly as many words and sentences.
"It's just his way," Vanessa replied. "He talks when he has something to say, and is still a pretty effective communicator when he's nonverbal. I'm starting to get pretty good at interpreting. But if you want to see a true master of that, you should see him with his brother Phineas. Those two are on their own separate plane when it comes to communication." She gave a quiet chuckle and shook her head fondly.
Heinz really looked at the young woman, his little girl, and saw how relaxed she was. Her smile spoke of an inner contentment, and there was a twinkle of true happiness in her eyes. This new young man in her life had given her all of that. As much as he never really wanted to let her go, how could he possibly disapprove of someone who had touched her so deeply?
Vanessa looked at him again. "Is there something wrong, Dad?"
Heinz smiled at his daughter. "Nothing's wrong, Vanessa. In fact, I'd say things are pretty good. Does Ferb make you happy?" He knew the answer, but wanted to hear it from her.
"Yes. Yes, he does," Vanessa said simply.
"Then that's all I need to know," Heinz said, smiling a little wider. A moment later his expression changed to something more serious. "But if he ends up hurting you, I reserve the right to create an inator that will obliterate him from existence."
"Dad!" Vanessa said with a laugh, swatting him on the arm. "Ferb's not going to hurt me!"
Heinz looked at her haughtily. "Then there's nothing to worry about, is there?"
Vanessa just rolled her eyes and shook her head again. "You're incorrigible."
"But you love me anyway," Heinz sing-songed, finally breaking into a wicked little smile.
"Maybe." She laughed when her father's expression fell then hugged him. "I do love you, Dad, very much." She pulled back and met his eyes. "And I'm glad you like Ferb."
"I love you, too, Vanessa. I'm just glad Ferb makes you happy. As long as he does that, he's safe." He hugged her one more time.
A car pulling up to the curb made the pair separate. They both smiled when Ferb got out of the car and came around to open Vanessa's door for her. "You'll be okay getting home?" she asked just before getting inside.
Heinz nodded. "I'll be fine, Vanessa. You just enjoy the rest of your evening." He gave Ferb a stern look. "But don't enjoy it too much."
Vanessa rolled her eyes one last time. "Dad…" She shook her head and slipped into the passenger seat before giving her father a wave and letting Ferb close the door.
Ferb turned to face Heinz. "It was a pleasure spending the evening with you, sir," he said, offering his hand once again to shake.
"I had a good time myself," Heinz replied, taking him up on his offer. "You just take good care of my little girl, okay? I don't ever want to see her hurt."
"That would be one of the last things I would ever want to be the cause of, I assure you," Ferb said sincerely.
Heinz met the younger man's gaze fully and saw how deep the sincerity ran. He was satisfied. "We may have to have a talk about inventions one of these days. Vanessa mentioned you like to do that during your free time."
Ferb smiled. "You could say that. Perhaps the next time we get together."
"That sounds good. Well, have a good night."
"And you as well."
Heinz watched as Ferb went back around to the driver's side and got in, the car leaving soon after. The taillights blended quickly into the traffic. Heinz sighed. He wasn't the only man in his daughter's life any more, but at least she'd chosen well for herself. He was willing to share, for now. As for the future…
He'd just wait and see about that. There was still a Tri-State Area to conquer after all.
With that in mind, Heinz headed off for his own car, an extra bounce in his step for his daughter's happiness and a plan already forming for a new inator. Life was taking a huge turn for the better.