Chapter 13

Ferb took a loud breath as he focused his eyes. The bright yellow lamp beside him cast long dark shadows throughout the room. He tipped his head slightly to the left, and saw the dark outline of Phineas sitting upright, clipboard and paper propped up on his knees.

"...You're still up?" Ferb asked sleepily as he craned his neck.

"Oh, Ferb. I'm really glad you're awake again," Phineas sped out all in one breath. "I thought maybe, I mean... When I saw you close your eyes last night I thought maybe..."

"...That you wouldn't see me open them again," Ferb finished for him. Phineas tried both to avoid it and make eye contact at the same time, tossing his stare back and forth between nothing.

"I was... I was going to word it differently," he finally said. Then, he looked back over to the unmoving Ferb beneath his covers. "...Are you feeling any better?"

"Nothing worth getting excited about," Ferb answered, attempting once more to shift positions but making no headway. He chose to keep Phineas uninformed about the fact that he could no longer feel his toes, but he had a sneaking suspicion that Phineas somehow already knew.

"What time is it?" Ferb offered his question.

Phineas kept his eyes on the page. "I dunno. I checked about an hour ago and it was three."

Ferb struggled to look out the window. He saw the pitch-blackness of the starry night sky. "It's four... a.m.?"

Without an answer, Phineas kept his wide, red eyes fixed on the plan he was drawing. He scribbled over it with his eraser, digressing, "I can't get it, Ferb. I keep thinking I have it, and then remembering something different and changing the whole thing..."

He wiped the side of his palm over the paper, fluttering the many little eraser shavings. "It-it wasn't even supposed to do this... How can I write a reverse plan for a machine to fix something that it wasn't even supposed to do in the first place...?"

"Phineas," Ferb started, doing his best to look him in the eyes. "I don't know what happened to that basketball. But whatever happens in the next few hours... I don't want you to think you caused it."

Phineas finally glanced up from his paper for the first time in several hours. Ferb just gave him a sigh and wanted to look downwards.

"Would it help if I told you I can feel our arm again?"

Taking a little breath, Phineas paused his gaze over Ferb for a moment, and then lifted his and Ferb's arm away from its place supporting the clipboard. He balanced the board on his knee so that he could use his left hand. Almost hesitantly, Phineas rubbed his hand all over their arm with vigorous pushes. "...You can?"

"No. No, I can't feel you rubbing it," Ferb sadly conveyed. "But it hurts."

As Ferb said this, Phineas grew quiet and paid a moment of attention. Then he looked down and realized, "Yeah... it hurts for me, too. Like a sharp ache."

Ferb nodded sideways on his pillow. "I can't feel it, but it hurts from the inside."

"That's good, right?" Phineas said with a glint of optimism. "Hurting means healing, that's what Mom always says."

"Yeah," Ferb answered in a whisper, turning his head to find a more comfortable position. He began to shut his eyes once more.

Then he heard the light sounds of a scribble coming from the direction of Phineas beside his bright lamp. Ferb didn't bother to reposition, but spoke up, "Go to sleep, Phin."

"No, I can't. I'll stay up all night until I can fix it."

Ferb returned to closing his eyes. "You're tired. You need to get some rest."

But Phineas refused, shaking his head as he blinked at the paper before him. "I'm not tired. I can stay up."

"I know you're tired, Phineas. Or had you forgotten that I can read your mind?" Ferb said with a smile hidden in the darkness.

Phineas tried to smile back. "Oh, yeah."

Ferb went back to his sleeping position, adding, "We both need our rest. And your staying up is making me more tired."

"It is? I'm sorry, Ferb," Phineas apologized. "I guess it would be nice to get some sleep..."

It looked as though Phineas was exhausting a large amount of willpower to simply put his pencil down. He bit his bottom lip and a tear formed at the edge of his eye, as he let out a suppressed cough, eventually forcing himself to leave the clipboard on the floor beside him.

Moving down, Phineas situated his feet comfortably under the covers. He turned with the secret intent to keep watch on his brother, but reluctantly realized that Ferb had had a point. Once Phineas felt the warm and fluffy pillow on the side of his face, he could not help but give in to his tiredness.

With a wipe against his face, Ferb rubbed his temples in an effort to get rid of his splitting headache. It was this that had woken him up, not the bright sun through the window, and not even the escalated pain in his arm.

Making circles with the tips of his fingers, Ferb thought he might have suppressed it, when he froze. He could feel the shape of his fingers pressed over his closed eyelids, and realized that it was he who had put them there. He also remembered that he was successfully sitting upright in his pile of covers.

Shooting his eyes open, Ferb pulled his hands away from his face and looked down at them. He was holding all his fingers spread out before him, as he recognized them as his own. Then he quickly pulled up his left arm and checked it, seeing nothing there but a bare, quite normal elbow.

"Uhh, Phineas!" Ferb called out, grasping a handful of covers in both his fists and tearing it off of his brother. There, Ferb found Phineas fast asleep, happily snuggling his pillow.

Ferb cleared his head with a shake. It did not take much for Phineas to be awakened, as Ferb pushed gently at his shoulder.

"F-Ferb?" Phineas asked as he blinked his eyes open. The first sight that met him was Ferb kneeling beside him, with his hand on Phineas' shoulder. Phineas' face slowly grew from interrupted sleepiness, to confusion, and then ecstatic hope. His eyes opened wide as he uncurled his arms from around his pillow and looked down at them.

"Ferb!" Phineas repeated a second time, now dropping his fog of sleep instead for bewildered happiness. He sat up quickly out of the covers, finally able to give Ferb a proper hug.

Then he pulled back and looked at him with a slight doubt. "…Are we dreaming again?"

At this, Ferb looked around at the room. "…I don't think so," he said with reasoned thought.

"But, what did we do?" Phineas asked, still trying to process between his joy and skeptical bafflement.

"It had to have been something we did. Something like this doesn't just randomly happen," Ferb suggested. "What did we do all yesterday?"

Taking out a finger to point and aid in his thought, Phineas looked upwards and relayed, "That day was so long, it couldn't have been anything we did in the morning."

"Okay, so we came home from the picnic," Ferb started.

"…We went upstairs," Phineas thought out. "…and then we got our shirts off."

Ferb nodded. "Right. Then we just sat there for a bit."

"And…" Phineas dipped his head. "And then I reset your brain again… I'm sorry about that, Ferb…"

Stopping him, Ferb just replied, "It's okay, Phineas. But we're trying to find out what fixed it."

"Yeah," Phineas said with a shake of his head. "So then we went outside. But the machine had been gone for a while, nothing out there could have done it."

"Alright, so then we came inside. We ate peanut butter."

"Magical curing peanut butter?" Phineas looked at Ferb with surprisingly convinced eyes. "With everything we've seen, I'd believe it."

But Ferb, taking Phineas' comment as seriously as he could, was tossing his finger back and forth as he looked to the corner in contemplation. "No… but then something else happened. We were drinking our water, and Candace came in and said-"

"That our cups were covered in gunk!" Phineas exclaimed in realization. "We were drinking the oil runoff from our machine?"

Ferb scratched his head. "I was wondering where those cups went."

Phineas drew up his lip in revolt. "Wow, Candace was right, that is actually kinda disgusting."

"Well," Ferb pointed out, at Phineas' reaction. "I'd rather drink a cupful of oil than, apparently, the alternative."

"Most definitely," Phineas replied. Then something occurred to him, and he looked as though he had been struck with a sense of regret and loss. "Ah, but Ferb… you think we can still read our minds?"

Ferb looked back with a prompting stare, but after a moment he released it. "No, no I don't think so."

"Too bad," Phineas said with a glance downwards. "That was pretty awesome."

But then Phineas moved his glance over to his ready blueprint paper as a plan started to form in his mind.

"But Ferb, that gives me an idea!" Phineas said as he pointed at his brother. "I know what we're going to do today! Telepathy!"

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All My PnF Fanfics:

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