Chapter 20

As the purple wave settled, Phineas made out the familiar shapes of his backyard. He glanced at the digital readout on the dash of the time machine. It read September 4th, 2015.

Phineas' chest moved up in a huge deep breath, as he leapt out off of the red seat. He hesitantly turned to look at the giant leafy tree that sat in the yard.

A rush of horror shot through Phineas' stomach when he saw the treehouse at the top. The wood boards were freshly painted. The ropes were not frayed. None of the walls were rotted anymore. They had already fixed it. Phineas had gotten here too late.

Dropping to his knees in the grass, Phineas stared upwards at the project before him. There was one board up there that hadn't been replaced. One board that was splintered nastily at the end.

Though his heart was beating quickly, Phineas didn't know why. It should have been stopped, he thought. He couldn't stop staring at that broken board waaay up at the top of that five-story tree. His eyes followed the path that a falling body might take. There was nothing between that board and the flat green grass far below.

"Feeerrrbbb," Phineas cried as he grabbed some grass in his hands. "I don't know how you could've been okay..."

"Heya, Phin," came a cheerful voice behind him. Phineas instantly froze in his slumped over position as he stared at the ground with huge eyes, trying to process what he had just heard. Was that...?

"Long time no see," the voice interrupted his thoughts again. A ginormous smile spread Phineas' mouth open as he spun around on the grass, and looked at the person who had spoken.

"Ferb!" he exclaimed brightly as he pointed at him. There, standing in the grass near the house's sliding glass door, was the now-welcomingly-familiar figure of seventeen-year-old Ferb.

He stood there smiling-slightly amused-at Phineas. But then Phineas noticed that he was wearing his left arm in a white cast, and a fabric sling around his neck.

"Ferb!" Phineas repeated again, now sufficiently on his feet to go running towards him. But as Phineas reached him, he misjudged the fact that he was his ten-year-old self again. Now, all Phineas could reach to hug him was the bottom of his left leg.

He craned his neck to look up at Ferb's face. Then Phineas' jaw dropped and he said in bafflement, "Oh my gosh."

"What?" Ferb asked questioningly as he stared back down to him.

Phineas gulped and kept awing at him. Eventually, from his place clutched onto Ferb's leg, Phineas realized, "You are reeeaaalllyy really REALLY tall!"

Ferb just grinned again, bending down to sit cross-legged in the grass. His movements were a little delayed with his arm in a sling.

Phineas looked at it and frowned, standing right next to Ferb and tapping his hard cast with his fingernail. He gazed back up at him and asked worriedly, "B-b-but how are you okay?"

Pointing to the very top of the tree, Phineas followed the falling path with his finger. He stopped when he was pointing at the ending patch of grass. He finally whimpered, "It-it's so far down..."

Ferb poked Phineas' shoulder to get him to look at him. He commented, "I'd love to tell you, Phin. I really would. But I had very specific instructions not to say anything to you about it."

"What! But I wanna knooowwww..." Phineas wailed. "Please please please tell me! It can't possibly that important that I shouldn't know, who told you not to tell me?"

"Somebody who I trust very much," Ferb replied truthfully. He smirked and gave a haphazard gesture over his shoulder to point his thumb at the sliding glass door.

Following Ferb's gesture, Phineas spotted his own seventeen-year-old self, sitting in the comfy chair by the window. When he noticed that both of them were looking at him, he smiled brightly and waved his whole arm over his head with enthusiasm.

"Whhaaa...!" Phineas reacted. "Myself told you not to tell me? But I'm myself too and I wanna know."

Ferb chuckled, "You made a pretty convincing argument to me, about ten minutes ago. And I'm perfectly fine, isn't that all that really matters?"

"But you hurt your arm..." Phineas made known sadly, lightly poking the cast with his finger again. "Did it hurt?"

"Only for the first hour or so," Ferb relayed with a shrug. "It's doing a lot better now, since it's been about a week."

"A week?" Phineas repeated with shock. "You mean all that happened LAST Saturday? I'm a week late?"

Then Phineas exclaimed loudly, "It's been a whole week and you're still hurt! Are you never ever going to be able to build stuff ever again?"

"Ph-Phineas, relax. You can stop worrying about me, it's making you think all irrationally," Ferb tried to console the distraught Phineas, placing a disproportionately large hand on his shoulder. Phineas looked down at it, and then locked hopeful gazes with Ferb again.

"The doctor says that I'll have the cast off in a couple of weeks, and I'll be good as new," Ferb explained, pausing to give a promising expression. "I'm going to be perfectly fine. There's no need to worry."

"I c-c-can go back... home, then?" Phineas stuttered as he pointed to the machine behind him. "...and, here in the future I haven't jumped anymore?"

"Yep," Ferb nodded, pushing himself up off of the grass to stand on his feet again. "It's been pretty quiet jump-wise here in the future since last week. Looks like that one was your last jump to here."

Phineas kept looking up at the now-really-tall Ferb and asked softly, "...Ferb?"

Ferb looked down attentively and responded, "Yes, Phin?"

Phineas shuffled his feet as he glanced down at them for only a moment. He mumbled, "...Will I ever see you again?"

One of Ferb's eyebrows went up in confusion. He replied, "That's a strange thing to ask, Phineas. You'll see me again in five minutes when you go back home."

But Phineas just kept looking at him as he twiddled his thumbs. Ferb gave a comforting sigh and squatted down, this time not sitting all the way in the grass. He looked Phineas in the eye and assured him, "And you'll see this me again in seven years, I can guarantee you of that. And by the time you get here..."

Ferb dipped his head down, but grinned to show his hidden teeth. He held out his flat palm up towards Phineas. "...I'll still be your brother."

Phineas giddily took out his own hand and slapped it onto Ferb's. Then, they both swapped to fists and punched each other, even though Ferb's fist was considerably bigger than Phineas'. Phineas spun around in a big circle, as Ferb waved his fingers like a firework. Then, Phineas fell over into the dewy grass, giggling.

Ferb laughed happily, reaching down to help Phineas up, as he mentioned, "When I'm thirteen you can ask me to play you Flight of the Bumblebee, okay?"

"Okay!" Phineas answered, hopping up to start towards the time machine again. But then he stopped right in his tracks and jumped around to face Ferb.

"OH wait!" Phineas called out, running back up to him and pointed at his arm. "I want to sign your cast! Can I?"

"Haha, Phineas," Ferb laughed again, gently lifting his left arm out of the sling. He bent down a little and showed it to him. It was covered everywhere with colorful names, and Ferb tapped his finger at the top of it. "You sort of already did."

Phineas got up on his tiptoes to read some of it. He spotted the signatures 'Mom' and 'Dad,' as well as the flowing name of Candace, carefully symmetrical lettering of Baljeet, large print of Buford and delicately written name of Isabella. But written in a big, orange marker along the top of Ferb's cast was the playfully scribbled name of 'Phineas.'

"Oh," Phineas responded. But then he reached up far enough to pull on the corner of Ferb's shirt. "Well then I'll sign it twice!"

Ferb placed his hand over his mouth and choked on a giggle. He lifted his arm again, this time turning it a bit. He tapped onto the underside of it. "Phin… you actually already signed it twice."

"Huh?" Phineas questioned, jumping forward to see the spot. There, squeezed between a few other names, this time written in fine-tip blue marker, was a little signature of 'Phineas.'

"Why did I sign it twice?" Phineas said with a confused, cocked head.

Ferb just shrugged. "You just wanted to sign it twice for some reason. But really, nothing you've told me the past week has really made much of any sense, so I just went with it."

Then Ferb leaned over to a rolling workbench and grabbed a red marker. He handed it down to Phineas and said, "Here. Sign it thrice."

Phineas brightened up and snatched the marker, pulling off the top. Ferb leaned down to Phineas' level as Phineas grabbed the cast in one hand, and with the other, found an empty spot to draw his name onto it.

After Ferb had stood up, Phineas looked at Ferb's arm and nodded his satisfaction as he watched Ferb put it safely back into the sling.

Phineas then reached forward and gave Ferb another hug around the leg. He released him and mentioned, "Feel better soon, Ferb."

Ferb's face lightened and he nodded encouragingly. He watched as Phineas went back over to the machine and leapt into it. Ferb waved at him, saying, "You have nothing to worry about, Phin."

Phineas placed the golden bar over his lap, adjusted the dials, and looked back. He couldn't stop himself from smiling as huge as he could. Why shouldn't he? He had all this to look forward to!

And not only did he have all this, he still had all this PLUS seven more summers waiting for him back home!

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All My PnF Fanfics:

PnF: Timeloops

PnF: Ghosts

PnF: Stolen Identity

PnF: Stuck Like Brothers

PnF: Mind Trapped

PnF: Species is a Constant

PnF: Lifeleap (Viewing)