*Total number of Chapters: 19*
*One Chapter posted per day*
June 11th was Phineas' seventeenth birthday. But today wasn't June 11th; in fact, it was June 23rd.
Though festivities and celebrations had finished well over a week ago, both Ferb and Phineas had deemed it still a "birthday week." They had partaken in all kinds of birthday projects, from a pneumatic balloon popper at the actual party, to an extravagant fireworks display they had just put on yesterday.
Yet, as the date grew further away, the two brothers had to finish up the last day of their birthday celebrations with a special creation. For this one, Phineas had to specifically order the power cells from an out-of-town supplier, and it took the delivery truck a whole four hours to arrive with the box.
As it was the final birthday invention, Phineas and Ferb decided they just wanted to have a little fun with it. Phineas had suggested the name "illusionation," due to the machine's function.
After Phineas had gently screwed and installed the slightly-glowing cylinders, he moved backwards to overlook the almost-finished machine. The powerful, perhaps slightly unstable, raw energy from the cores would run along the nozzle and focus it towards a target, which is where the illusionation came in.
Uncontrolled power, when controlled of course, made all varieties of objects turn into many sorts of silly things. Phineas squeed with glee when a pair of shoes turned into a fish bowl, and model airplane into a roll of toilet paper.
Naturally, all items harmlessly returned to normal after an hour or two when the effects wore off. Then, Phineas would suggest yet another object to try out.
"Hah, what would happen if we used a pile of grass?" Phineas put forward. He bent down to scoop up a handful.
"…Would it work on several blades at once?" Ferb asked in contemplation, placing a hand on his chin.
"Dunno. One way to find out, though!" Phineas replied, putting the floating pieces in front of the machine's targeting. "How many more cores do we have left?"
Ferb tipped his head over the edge of the brown cardboard box that was lying in the lawn beside him. He looked a bit surprised for a second, and then turned up to answer Phineas, "Looks like just one more."
With a slight disappointment, Phineas requested, "Which color is it?"
"It's a purple one," came Ferb's reply.
By now, Phineas had come to stand beside Ferb near the box. He bent down and grabbed the little glass item off of the cardboard bottom and held it up to the light. "Alright, so last one. Let's do something fun for the last one."
Pulling it over to the open inner-workings of the machine, Phineas leaned inside it, past the unlatched metal door. Here, there was already a central yellow core, and nearby was a vacant connector space. Phineas slid the purple cylinder gently over to it, where it fit perfectly.
"Oh wait," Phineas said as he heaved his body difficultly back over the edge, breathing slightly as he stood up in the lawn. "There's a loose bolt back there! But I can't reach it."
Phineas had pointed with a tossing finger towards the far side of the machine's inner wall, past where the cores were housed. He put his hand down and started over towards the garage. "Hold on, Ima go get the flange tuner. I'll be right back."
Ferb watched his brother as he rounded the corner of the house, heading for the side door. Then he looked back over to the machine.
True, the bolt was on the far side of the machine, but Ferb stuck his head inside anyway. As he rested his wrists on the side of the door, Ferb drew out his hand and looked down at it. Ferb knew his arms were much longer than Phineas' were; he could reach it, no problem.
Bending backwards, Ferb snatched a wrench off of the worktable beside him. He rolled up his sleeves and leaned further in. He nodded in satisfaction as the tool slid easily onto the bolt in question. Ferb could fix it in no time, and would surprise Phineas when he got outside.
As the tool spun around in a circle, Ferb had to reposition his other arm a little in order to hold on to the wrench as it made the rotation. After about fifteen seconds of this, however, Ferb felt a strange, almost burning sensation on the side of his elbow.
He looked down curiously, and jumped in alarm. Ferb let go of the wrench in a flinging motion as he staggered backwards and rubbed the red spot that had formed on his arm. Though he had not realized it at first, he had been resting his skin right against the yellow central core.
Ferb felt dizzy and he tried to maintain his balance. The machine hummed lightly, growing in its gentle sounds until the purple core finally popped, sending its colorful liquid into the drainage bin.
Now Ferb tried to blink as he attempted to make sense of it all. He wondered why his shirt was beginning to feel so loose over his shoulders, and he wondered why he couldn't stay standing upright on his feet. As he fell over into the grass, his belt seemed to have grown a few sizes, and now his pants and shirt had draped over him like a blanket.
He wanted to stand back up again, but when he tried to pull his arms around himself, he discovered that his sleeves were way too long around his wrists. Also in the process, he realized that his fingers had apparently disappeared.
Ferb wriggled in a slight panic around under his tangle of clothes. His feet came sliding out of his shoes and socks, which were not even the right size at all. As he ducked his head out from beneath the bottom of his shirt, he felt a strange tickling all along his back. It felt itchy, and as he tipped his head backwards Ferb took note of the long brown fur that was covering his back, sides, and… paws.
Tumbling out of his last articles of clothing, Ferb looked up at the machine, now a few feet above his head. If one thing was for sure: he wasn't a human anymore.
When he heard a shuffling sound coming from the garage area, Ferb spun around with a jump. He felt a horrible rush of guilt flow over him. Phineas had wanted that core for something special, and Ferb had went and wasted it for a stupid mistake. He knew better than to try to fix something as little as a loose bolt when it was so near that high amount of energy. What would Phineas think when he found out that Ferb had done something so dumb and insensible?
The sound of a door unlatching met Ferb's now-enlarged ears. He fell over backwards, tripping over his awkward paws as he attempted to make his way to the base of the back steps. He couldn't suppress his shameful feeling as he scrambled into the shadowed place beneath the wood steps. He could hide for an hour until it wore off.
Though he hadn't meant to, Ferb had ruined the finale to his brother's birthday week. He pushed his head into the dirt and leaves as he tried to ignore everything, and tried to quit imagining what disappointed thoughts Phineas would think towards him.
"Hey Ferb, I finally found it," Phineas called out as he rounded the corner. He was waving his prized red, metal industrial tool. "It was under the—"
Phineas left his feet planted in the grass when he stopped and noticed the empty backyard. "…Ferb?"
It was then that Phineas' eyes fell onto the pile of familiar-looking clothes, dropped messily in the grass near the machine. Phineas' jaw slacked as he limply released the grip of his tool, which landed with a clank beside him, and he rushed frenetically over towards the pile of unmoving articles.
"Ferb!" Phineas exclaimed, kneeling down and lifting up the corner of a sleeve with one hand. With the other he picked carefully through the folds of the fabric with concerned, searching eyes. "Ferb, where'd you go?"
Phineas tossed first the shirt, then the pants, around a couple of feet, before running his fingers through the green blades where the clothes had been resting.
Falling over, Phineas grabbed one of the shoes, and closed one eye to look inside it. He rested his elbows on the ground as he did the same with the other, before dejectedly dropping both back into the soft grass and pushing himself up.
Staring upwards to the bright, blue sky, Phineas called out, "Ferb…! Were you abducted off the face of the planet?"
When no answer came from the white clouds, Phineas sadly turned his gaze back to the now-quiet backyard. He frowned as he kept surveying. "Feeeerrrrbbb."
Shaking some of the dust off his face, Ferb's ears perked up a bit when he thought he heard the muffled shoutings of his name. His guilty mind kicked him when he heard the saddened tone behind the voice.
Ferb poked his head slightly out of the shadows. Phineas, looking for any movement, fixed his eyes on the obscured brown figure.
"Oh hi, Puppy," Phineas greeted sweetly, bending over a bit. "Are you lost?"
With a little shake of his head, Ferb tried to sneak back under the porch. He was stopped by the soft request of Phineas.
"Wait, Puppy," Phineas started with a hand placed haltingly forward. Ferb only stuck his nose out this time; he could still hear Phineas' low voice.
"Maybe you can help me find my brother?" he asked with a visible hint of distress. Phineas looked up again and glanced around the still backyard. "He's went missing…. An-and I'm really worried… about what might've happened to him."
Worried? That hadn't been at all what Ferb had meant to do. He had wanted to keep Phineas from feeling let down… He never had any intention of worrying him.
So, after giving a reluctant breath, Ferb pushed his head out of the shadows as he slunk out from the safety of the porch. He kept his head low as he trudged his paws over the ground, then coming to sit right at the base of Phineas' feet.
He looked up at him with bashful eyes, before breaking contact and staring down at the sides of his feet. He just gave a little, sad whine.
Phineas looked at him comfortingly, until a quite different expression came over his face.
"Hey, wait a second…" he started, bending over to try to see Ferb's tipped eyes. Phineas was analytically rubbing his chin with his hand, before he suddenly used it to point straight forward. "FERB, is that you?"
Still not looking up, Ferb just closed his eyes and nodded. When he heard no reply from Phineas, he was forced to stare upwards curiously. There, he saw that Phineas had already put his curled fingers near his mouth and had begun to giggle.
"You're so FLUFFY," he said through laughter. Then he settled down slightly and remarked, "But I'm glad you're okay."
After glancing down to his own furry chest, Ferb lowered his ears and gave a contradicting glare up to Phineas.
"What? I just meant that…" Phineas said, with shifting eyes left and right. "Well, when I came outside and saw the pile of clothes over there, I thought maybe you had disintegrated."
Ferb just lowered his chin into the grass and stuck his paws over his nose. Phineas came and sat cross-legged in front of him as he leaned closer.
"Hey, c'mon Ferb…." Phineas consoled. He laughed again. "If it was gonna make you change, at least you're not a whale or something, right?"
Rolling his eyes, Ferb tried to smile. It felt weird with a few pointy teeth.
"So," Phineas suggested, leaning back into a sitting position. "Can you talk English still?"
Ferb looked up at him. After a second, he opened his mouth and began, "I don't kn—" However, he interrupted himself and crossed his eyes when nothing more than a bark came out.
"Hrm, I'll take that as a no," inferred Phineas. Then he stood up out of the grass. "But the purple one wasn't really a too powerful one, anyway. You'll be fine by dinnertime."
Still refusing to get up, Ferb left his chin in the grass. Phineas reached down and poked him.
"Hey! In the meanwhile we can go find that old animal translator from way back when," Phineas suggested to him. This made Ferb tip his head up a bit to look at him. "I think we made a handheld one, didn't we?"
Shrugging, Ferb got back up to his feet, trying to remember to stand on all four of them. He still felt kind of itchy from the grass and strangeness of his fur. Phineas was already making his way towards the house by the time Ferb had gathered himself and followed.