Perry crashed through the roof and landed right inside a glass cage. Before he could do anything, the top of the cage closed, and Perry scowled. Doofenshmirtz had an uncanny ability to predict the exact place where Perry was going to break in. It was his one real skill.
He could see Doofenshmirtz on the other side of the room, adjusting a big Inator. After a few seconds, Doofenshmirtz finished what he was doing and turned around. "Ah, Perry the Platypus. How good of you to... Drop in!" He laughed manically for a second, then got down to business. "You know, I've told you a lot of backstories since we became nemesises." He paused. "N... Nemeses? Whatever. And it got me to thinking. My childhood was terrible! I mean, I knew it was bad, but I never realised..."
He cleared his throat and indicated today's Inator. "That's why I built the Time-Portal-Inator!"
So he just wanted to improve his childhood. That wasn't evil in of itself, but Perry had a feeling that it was a bad idea to mess with your personal timeline. He just couldn't remember why. Maybe Doofenshmirtz would explain it to him. He didn't seem like the type to care about the integrity of the space-time continuum.
"I'll just activate a time portal to my childhood," continued Doofenshmirtz, "pluck out my younger self, and deposit him here, and my entire emotionally-scarring backstory will just disappear! I could take care of myself much better than my parents ever did." He scowled.
Perry widened his eyes and began to bang on the side of the glass cage. He didn't know much about time travel, but even he knew that that was a bad idea. A really bad idea.
Doofenshmirtz smirked when he saw Perry's reaction. "I suppose your stuffy space-time continuum has something to say about that. Well, too bad!" He pressed a button on the machine, creating a portal to an earth-toned, subdued looking landscape. Doofenshmirtz stepped through, but the portal stayed open.
Perry knew that he had to act fast. It was obvious that Doofenshmirtz didn't know what he was about to do. He had to be stopped, for his own good.
Perry jumped upwards, intending to rattle the cage a bit and give him a better idea of how strong it was. But to his surprise, the top just opened. Apparently Doofenshmirtz had forgotten to include a lock. Perry wished he'd known that before, but it never helped to wish.
The portal showed no signs of closing, so Perry ran to Doofenshmirtz's computer. He needed proof. He quickly found what he was looking for and printed it out, keeping an eye on the portal the whole time. The proof was a scientific paper, published in an online, peer reviewed journal. Apparently, Doofenshmirtz subscribed to the journal, because Perry hadn't had to log in to anything to access it.
If only Doofenshmirtz had read it more carefully. He would have been very interested in the part about how, theoretically, a person who brought a younger version of themselves to the present and wanted to keep them there would most likely be erased from existence. The author had backed up their hypothesis with a page of impressive looking equations, which Perry would not have understood if he'd devoted the rest of his life to studying them, and had also talked about a mysterious spate of children with unpleasant lives disappearing without a trace, and reappearing years later without having aged a day.
The paper also claimed that doing this might possibly blow up the Solar System, but if you believed scientists, that was true for just about everything, so Perry had stopped worrying about it. He just didn't want Doofenshmirtz to annihilate himself. Nobody deserved that, not even somebody as evil as he was.
Perry grabbed the printout, put it in the same place that he kept his hat, and jumped through the still open portal.
Doofenshmirtz arrived in the middle of a horribly familiar town. Gimmelschtump. He shuddered, although he didn't understand why. The place just gave him the creeps.
Well, soon all those bad memories would be just a... just a... Doofenshmirtz gave up trying to think of a good metaphor, and looked around. It seemed to be the mud season, which would explain why his feet were so wet. "Oh great!" he said, looking down at the bottom of his lab coat, which was slowly sinking into the mud. "Now I'll have to get my coat dry cleaned." The sooner he could get out of here, the better.
The first thing Doofenshmirtz noticed when he got to his old house was a garden gnome. A real one. "Hm," he said, looking at it. "It's a bit later than I wanted..." It couldn't be earlier. He could tell because his father's stupid dog was lounging on the front lawn, gnawing on a bone that had more meat on it than Doofenshmirtz had ever had growing up. "Oh well."
He gave the dog a glare, which it ignored, and rang the doorbell.
There was a long pause, and Doofenshmirtz stared at the large, castle-like door. He was beginning to regret coming.
Finally, his father answered, with that same glower he'd always turned on strangers. "(Who are you?)" he asked, in Druelselstein German.
Doofenshmirtz couldn't stop himself from looking down and twiddling his thumbs. "Uh... (Good day,)" he said. "(My name is Doctor Hein...)" He drew out the syllable as he remembered that he couldn't give his real name, "(...rich von...) Uh..." Doofenshmirtz looked around desperately at the house, and the mountains behind it. He should have rehearsed this. He was going to rehearse it, but he'd put it off, and then Perry the Platypus had shown up, and there hadn't been time... "(Hausenberg, and...)"
He trailed off. German was his native language, but he was more out of practice at speaking it than he'd thought. Beyond that scheme to remove all the formal second-person pronouns from the Tri-State Area -- would it have killed his mother to have addressed him informally just once? -- he hadn't thought about it in a long time. Vanessa kept telling him he slipped into it around his mother and his brother when he was upset, but he'd never noticed.
Doofenshmirtz's father regarded him silently.
Doofenshmirtz's mind raced. "(And I...) Well, I've..." He laughed, nervously. "(I've come to talk to you about your son.)" He was particularly out of practice at pronouncing the parentheses.
His father spoke at last. "(I have no son.)" He didn't say it angrily. He said it more like there had to have been a mistake.
Now Doofenshmirtz was more annoyed than scared. "What? (You don't have... You have two sons!)" What his father had said brought back memories of being shut out of the house for a freezing January night, because his own father had forgotten that he existed. He'd also forgotten that Roger existed, but that wasn't much comfort. At least the garden gnome costume had been warm.
Doofenshmirtz's father looked angry for a second, and then confused. "Roger?" he said at last.
Nein!" snapped Doofenshmirtz, hoping that nobody had seen him cower for a second. "Heinz!" If he stayed angry, maybe he'd stop feeling like a nine-year-old.
Doofenshmirtz's father reached a decision. "(Come in, Doctor Hausenberg.)"
Perry landed in a stretch of deep mud and slipped onto his back. The mud closed over his face, and some of it went up his nose before he had the chance to seal his nostrils. He clawed his way up back up until he was in a sitting position, and sneezed until he felt better. Even sitting, the mud was so deep that he had to tilt his head back to be able to breathe.
He was in the village of Doofenshmirtz's flashbacks. That much was clear. He'd thought the brown tint on everything had been a cinematic effect to indicate poverty and... Eastern European-ness, but this was real life, and everything still looked like a next generation video game. The whole landscape looked like it was covered in mud. At least he'd fit in, Perry thought.
But where was Doofenshmirtz? The village didn't look very big, but it was big enough that Perry might not find him until it was too late.
Perry stood up and waded through the mud. He could see a few people, but none of them were Doofenshmirtz. They were all wearing subdued, brown-tinged clothing, and Perry was glad. A person in a white labcoat would really stand out around here.
He passed a strange mound of dirt, glanced at it, and hesitated. He'd got a flash of electricity from somewhere, and the mound was the only thing nearby. Perry turned to face it, closed his eyes, and was sure. There was an electrical field, and somehow, the mound was generating it. It was almost strong enough to make his fur stand on end.
Perry walked closer and poked the mound with a finger. Was this Doofenshmirtz's doing? Mud did not normally generate—
Someone tripped over him. Perry fell back into the mud, and sat up groggily. He felt naked, and realised that his hat had fallen off. He fished around for it.
"(A platypus?)" said a young voice. Perry was thankful for the intensive course he'd taken in Druelselstein German after Doofenshmirtz's attempt to remove all the second person formal pronouns from the Tri-State Area.
He located his hat, shook most of the mud off, and put it back on his head.
"(A platypus with a hat?!)" said the kid, sounding shocked.
Perry looked up.
He'd found Doofenshmirtz. One of him, at least.
Perry stared at the boy standing in front of him. He only looked about Phineas's age, but Perry had sat through enough of Doofenshmirtz's flashbacks to know who he was. And even if he hadn't, the high pitched voice and pointy nose would have given him a clue. Strangely, he didn't seem to have developed his slouch yet. Perry had never noticed that before.
"(Hi, platypus,)" said the young Doofenshmirtz. If he noticed Perry's reaction, he didn't mention it. He looked... curious. "(I'm Heinz. What's your name?)"
Perry chattered to let him know that he couldn't speak. In a second, his mind would start working again, and then he'd figure out what to do.
Heinz looked thoughtful. "(I don't think I can pronounce that. I know! I'll call you Herr Schnabelsicht!)"
Perry didn't exactly know what that meant – something about looking at a beak? – but he did conclude that he should stick close to Heinz. His adult self was bound to come along soon. It was his whole reason for coming. Perry just hoped that Doofenshmirtz didn't do too much damage in the meantime. There was no telling what he'd do now that he was back in the past that he seemed to hate so much.
"(It's because you have a bill on your face--)" Heinz used the words Schnabel for bill and Gesicht for face, "(--and you're a platypus!)" The German word for platypus was Schnabeltier, which, as far as Perry could tell, meant bill animal.
Perry hesitantly gave him a thumbs up. He had no quarrel with Doofenshmirtz at this age, so long before his fall into evil. In fact, Perry was tempted to try to steer him to the path of good, but if Doofenshmirtz wasn't evil, then Perry would not have come to the past to convince him not to be evil, and the space-time continuum didn't like things like that. So he just pointed at the strange pile of mud.
"(That's my generator,)" said Heinz. ("I built it myself out of mud. Do you like it?)"
Perry nodded. A generator out of mud... It was really impressive. It was almost like something the boys would have made.
Heinz looked downcast. "(At least someone likes it. Mother thinks I'm wasting my time with science.)" He sighed.
He looked so depressed that Perry patted him on the shoulder. He hated seeing kids sad.
Heinz grinned at him. "(But you...)" Then his face fell and he mumbled something that Perry didn't catch. "(You think I'm wasting my time too, don't you?)"
Perry shook his head emphatically. He wasn't sure that it was such a good idea to encourage him, but science wasn't inherently evil, and he had to admit that even though he had a tendency to miss the obvious, Doofenshmirtz was still a brilliant scientist. Perry just wished he'd use his knowledge for good instead of using it for petty grudges.
Heinz stared at him, his eyes wide. "(You mean it?)"
Perry nodded, and was taken aback when Heinz hugged him.
"(That's the nicest thing anyone who wasn't filled with helium ever said to me!)"
He wasn't squeezing him as hard as Perry would have expected. He was gentler than Candace was on the rare occasions that she was inclined to be nice to him, though that wasn't saying much. So Perry didn't struggle to get free. He was also beginning to feel a bit sorry for him. He really had been telling the truth about his childhood.
Heinz let go of him and added "(It's summer now. Do platypuses have summer?)"
Perry looked around in surprise. It was so dark and gloomy that he'd assumed it was the middle of winter.
Heinz traced a pattern in the mud with his leg. "(There's no school and I don't have to be a lawn gnome anymore. I want to make it count.)" He produced a big book, which he flipped through too quickly for Perry to read. "(This is my project book. It's full of everything I'm going to do over summer. I'm finally going to have a good day!)"
Perry couldn't help thinking of Phineas. He'd thought of him earlier, he realised, and he wondered why.
"(You know what they say,)" added Heinz, putting the book away again. "(There's a hundred and four days of giving a monkey a shower.)"
Perry was pretty sure he'd misunderstood that one. Maybe it was slang.
"(You're really easy to talk to, Herr Schnabelsicht,)" said Heinz. "(I...)"
A bike sped past, right through the generator.
Heinz whirled around. "(Roger, you... stupidhead!)"
Roger stopped the bike, spraying them with mud. "(What?)" He looked very young. The bike even had training wheels.
"(You destroyed my generator!)" Heinz glared at his brother, looking a lot like he would as an adult. It was a bit unsettling, and Perry wished he'd go back to being happy.
Roger looked at the trail he'd made. "(It was just a pile of mud.)"
"(It was a generator!)" insisted Heinz. He picked Perry back up and pushed him at Roger. "(Just ask Herr Schnabelsicht!)"
Roger looked at Perry in confusion. Perry noticed that the future mayor had crumbs stuck to his face. "(What's that thing? A green duck?)"
Heinz pulled Perry towards himself defensively. "(He's a platypus! Ducks don't have waffle tails, they have feather tails!)"
"(You made that up,)" said Roger dismissively. "(Platypus is a stupid, made-up word. They don't exist.)" He paused. "(They're made up,)" he added, in case he hadn't been clear the first time.
Perry shook his head and chattered, pointing at himself. It wasn't the first time he'd been called a green duck by a five-year-old, and it wouldn't be the last, but he disliked being told that he didn't exist.
"(Don't listen to him, Herr Schnabelsicht,)" muttered Heinz to Perry. ("Roger doesn't know anything about anything.)"
Of course he didn't. He was too young. Perry didn't try to say so, though. He realised that he liked the young Doofenshmirtz. He even hoped that his life would improve, even though he knew that it wouldn't for some time.
Roger stared at Perry. "(You shouldn't listen to him. He's a liar. Mother says he only wants attention.)"
"(I'm not lying!)" yelled Heinz. Now he was holding Perry a bit too tightly. "(You're just too stupid!)"
Perry was beginning to feel like he was trapped in a backstory, and that soon he'd be back in the glass case, listening to Doofenshmirtz rant about how his latest Inator would make it impossible for anybody to lie, or something.
Wanting to end the argument, he wriggled out of Heinz's arms, grabbed a stick, and wrote "Ich bin ein shnabalteer" in the mud. Although he could understand German, he wasn't so good at writing it, but he hoped it got the meaning across. He hated injustice, in any form.
Roger stared at the writing, which was already disappearing, and sounded out the words. "(I am a... platypus.)" He glared at Heinz. "(You made him write that. You're not allowed to be cruel to ducks.)"
Perry sat down as they continued to argue. Desperate life and death battles he understood. This was just confusing and exhausting. Still, even with his anger problems, Heinz seemed like a much nicer person than Doctor Doofenshmirtz. Perry wondered what had gone wrong. From the sounds of it, everything.
Doofenshmirtz collected his thoughts, and tried to explain again. "You see, (Heinz is a very smart boy. A genius! So I want to take him away and give him a better... uh... education.)" He smiled nervously. Maybe this time it would get through to him.
His father rubbed his beard. "(Heinz told you that, didn't he? Well, he was lying again. He's stupider than a flock of Dookleberry bats.)"
Doofenshmirtz scowled. He'd forgotten all about that summer when nobody believed that he was smart, and he'd been happy that way. Now he wanted to build a Truthinator, but that could wait. "Argh, I'm telling you, (he is a genius!)"
He had one card left to play. He'd have done it earlier, but he'd been too frightened that it would work.. "(If... If I take him away, you'll never have to think about him ever again.)"
That got his father's attention. He leaned forwards. "(Never?)" His voice was hopeful.
Doofenshmirtz's scowl deepened. He'd always hoped that his father had loved him, very deep down. There was yet another hope dashed. But before he could say anything more, the door opened, and a very young version of Roger ran in, followed by a young version of himself, carrying... Was that Perry the Platypus?
"(Uh... excuse me for a moment,)" said Doofenshmirtz, and jumped up and ran after the children, reaching the kitchen in time to hear a kid say "(Mother, Heinz is lying again!)"
Was that... Roger? Doofenshmirtz had forgotten how high his voice had been. He sounded ridiculous.
His mother was stirring a pot of something pungent smelling that made Doofenshmirtz's mouth water. She turned around, glanced at Doofenshmirtz without interest, then glared at his younger self. "(Heinz! You know what I told you about lying all the time!)"
"(But mother, it's true!)" pleaded Heinz. "(Roger is just stupid!)" Then he realised what he'd said and cringed, holding onto... it was Perry the Platypus, wasn't it? What was he doing in the arms of his younger self? Doofenshmirtz paused to consider the last sentence he'd thought, and concluded that maybe he could have phrased it better.
His mother's face darkened further. "(What did you say about your brother?)"
Doofenshmirtz cleared his throat loudly. He couldn't bear to watch himself get another lecture.
They all turned to look at him. Perry the Platypus had the decency to look embarrassed.
"Uh..." said Doofenshmirtz. "(Hello, children, Frau Doofenshmirtz.)" He paused, and narrowed his eyes. "And Perry the Platypus, too. How... interesting to see you here."
Heinz followed his gaze. "(He's not Perrytheplatypus. He's Herr Schnabelsicht!)" He glared at Doofenshmirtz defiantly. "(And you can't hurt him!)"
Doofenshmirtz and Perry the Platypus exchanged a look, and Doofenshmirtz wondered if this kid was really him. No matter. He'd have plenty of time to teach him the error of his ways.
Doofenshmirtz's father came up from behind and clapped Doofenshmirtz on the shoulder, making him jump. "(Good news, dear!)" he said to his mother. "(This American is here to take Heinz away forever!)"
His mother seemed a bit less happy about that than his father, though she didn't look unhappy, and Roger just looked confused. But even though he should have been overjoyed, Doofenshmirtz's younger self cringed, trembled, and squeezed Perry the Platypus so hard that he looked like he was in pain.
"(No!)" he yelled, not seeming to notice Perry the Platypus's struggles, which suited Doofenshmirtz. "(I'm not crazy! Don't make me go with him!)"
What was he talking... Oh, right. Doofenshmirtz suppressed a shudder as a horrible memory came back to him. No wonder he was so upset. He laughed, both to calm his younger self, and to push that memory back where it belonged. "Oh no, (I'm the good... I'm not that kind of scientist. I'm here to, uh...) How can I put this... (Give you a good home.)"
Heinz didn't seem convinced. He looked at Doofenshmirtz warily. He didn't appear to be hurting Perry the Platypus anymore, but for some reason, Perry was still struggling. Doofenshmirtz concluded that he was struggling because he wanted to kick Doofenshmirtz in the face again, and glanced around the room for anything that could be used as a trap. The pot of food was a possibility, but then it would smell like platypus, and that would be such a waste...
"(It's already been decided,)" Doofenshmirtz's father told Heinz. "(You're going.)"
His mother jerked in surprise. "(What? I didn't agree to that.)"
"(He's come to take the boy away!)" said Doofenshmirtz's father, like that explained everything.
"(Forever?)" said Roger. He sounded sad, but that was obviously just wishful thinking.
Doofenshmirtz's mother put her hands on her hips. "(I wish you'd stop promising our sons to strange men!)"
"(But it's just Heinz this time,)" protested his father. He'd never known what to do when his mother got upset.
"Perry the Platypus, back me up here!" said Doofenshmirtz. His mother could ruin everything, though he couldn't help a feeling a little gratified that she didn't want to send him away anymore.
Perry the Platypus stopped struggling for a second and shook his head.
"What, are you still going on about your futzy space-time continuum?" He'd always known that Perry the Platypus could be a real jerk sometimes, but this... He'd outdone himself. The space-time continuum thought it was so great, with its hyphen, and its doubled vowels that normally weren't doubled in English, but anyone could see that Doofenshmirtz's happiness was far more important than anything else.
Perry the Platypus struggled more vigorously in response.
Heinz had his head bowed in concentration. "Space-time continuum... (I know that word!)"
Doofenshmirtz swallowed. He'd learnt a bit of English by this age, mostly from all those science documentaries narrated by that same British guy. He'd forgotten.
Heinz stared at him, then touched his own face. Perry the Platypus dropped to the ground, but Doofenshmirtz was too worried to care much. He didn't want his family to know who he was. It wouldn't make his plan any less likely to succeed, he just didn't want them to know. Things would get awkward, and he hated that.
Heinz looked down at the floor, then back at Doofenshmirtz. "You..." he said, in such a heavy Druelselstein accent that Doofenshmirtz nearly didn't understand him. "You are future."
He'd be glad when he learned enough English to make statements with less than five possible meanings. "No... No I'm not," said Doofenshmirtz lamely. He looked at his family. If he recalled correctly, none of them knew as much English as he did at that point. It looked like they hadn't understood all of that. He hoped not.
"I'm not from the future, honest," he added, more to fill the silence than because he thought his younger self would understand him. "I'm from 19... whatever year this is, just like everybody else." He smiled at his family, who looked at him solemnly.
Heinz kept staring at him, and Doofenshmirtz began to wish that he'd worn something more impressive. Maybe he should've rented a tux. He'd proposed to his ex-wife while wearing a tux. It always impressed people.
Perry the Platypus pulled on Doofenshmirtz's lab coat to get his attention, and handed him a sheet of paper.
Doofenshmirtz looked at it. "Huh? What? What is this?" He recognised the title from one of the scientific journals he subscribed to, but he hadn't read it all the way through. It had looked really dry and boring, and what was with that page full of equations, anyway? But, to humour Perry the Platypus, he read the rest of it, mumbling to himself as he did.
He finished, and the piece of paper slipped from his hands. Doofenshmirtz risked blowing up the Solar System every second day, and he didn't know what the Solar System had ever done for him anyway, but he almost never risked removing himself from existence. He'd heard that being erased from existence was very dark and cold, and unpleasant. It wasn't something he wanted to try for himself.
Perry the Platypus was looking at him reproachfully.
"What?" said Doofenshmirtz, annoyed. "Oh, you just think you're so smart, don't you, Perry the Platypus? Well..."
He trailed off. Heinz was holding the paper he'd just dropped in one hand, and an English-German dictionary in the other.
"(Give me that!)" said Doofenshmirtz, snatching the paper off him. With his luck, letting his younger self read it would blow up the entire galaxy. "Well, (I... I'd best be going. An immutable law of nature came up, and...)" He started to back out of the room. "(Goodbye!)" Another brilliant plan foiled by Perry the Platypus.
It wasn't until Doofenshmirtz left the house that he realised that somebody other than Perry the Platypus was following him. He turned.
"(I knew it was too good to be true,)" said Heinz. He kicked the dirt despondently. "(Nothing ever goes right for me.)"
"(Weren't you just saying...?)" began Doofenshmirtz, then realised that Heinz was looking at Perry the Platypus. He didn't know what his younger self liked so much about Perry the Platypus, but he was glad that he'd grown out of it.
Perry the Platypus patted Heinz on the shoulder, then looked at Doofenshmirtz nervously, like he was asking permission.
"Fine, go ahead, whatever," said Doofenshmirtz, with a flip of his hands. Perry the Platypus was too much of a goody-two-shoes to do him any damage.
"(Are you going back to the future now, Herr Schnabelsicht?)" said Heinz, sounding sad.
Perry the Platypus nodded. Then he seemed to realise something and looked up at Doofenshmirtz. At the same time, Doofenshmirtz remembered that he had control of the Time-Portalinator. He could just leave Perry the Platypus stuck in the past forever, while... was while the right word? Whatever, in any case, Doofenshmirtz could be rid of Perry the Platypus forever and make his younger self happy in the process. Everybody won, except the forces of good.
But... It'd feel so empty without him. A victory that didn't involve thwarting Perry the Platypus was barely a victory at all. Doofenshmirtz couldn't see himself tying up some new nemesis and telling them his evil schemes. It wouldn't feel right. "Come along, Perry the Platypus," he said.
Perry the Platypus turned away from the house, but he looked over his shoulder as he did it.
"(Wait!)" said Heinz. "(Herr Schnabelsicht... Perrytheplatypus.)"
For some reason, Perry the Platypus didn't look thrilled to be addressed by his real name, but he turned around.
Heinz stared at Perry for such a long time that Doofenshmirtz got uncomfortable and started whistling a song, remembered that he'd been taught it by the ocelots, and stopped abruptly. Finally, Heinz said "Auf Wiedersehen."
Perry the Platypus tipped his hat sadly.
"Uh..." said Doofenshmirtz. It was his younger self. He should be the one having the awkward goodbyes with him, not Perry the Platypus. "(Just between you and me,) don't... (don't take Karla to the puppet show when you're fifteen. It... It's just a bad idea.)" He patted his younger self on the shoulder awkwardly. "(Be evil,)" he said as a farewell.
Heinz's only response was a puzzled stare.
Once they were out of earshot, Doofenshmirtz said "(Oh, I hate that!)" Realising that he was still speaking German, he said "I mean, oh, I hate that! I've always hated it!"
Perry the Platypus looked at him curiously.
"Auf Wiedersehen," said Doofenshmirtz. Perry the Platypus seemed to be fluent in German now, so how could he not know this? "It doesn't mean farewell, it means see you later! You think just because it's formal, it means the same as in English, but no! It..."
He trailed off. Perry the Platypus was looking at him with one eyebrow raised.
Doofenshmirtz thought for a second, then realised what he probably meant. "Look, I don't care what it means in Germany." He folded his arms and looked away. "In Druelselstein, it always means see you later."
He looked back. If anything, Perry the Platypus looked even more sardonic. Apparently that wasn't it.
"What? What is it? It's true, you know. Everyone knows you say..." Doofenshmirtz trailed off. He'd known that for as long as he could remember. In fact, he'd always felt smug as a kid whenever somebody else used it incorrectly. So what...? "Th... That's weird..." Then he shrugged. He didn't feel annihilated from existence, so whatever his younger self had been implying, it wasn't a big deal. "Oh well!"
Perry the Platypus seemed to have something else on his mind now, but he wouldn't tell Doofenshmirtz what it was.
"But it was right here!"
It looked like Candace was as confused as Phineas and Ferb about the spatial-temporal anomaly that had erased their puppet show with talking puppets from existence, and after all that trouble she'd taken to show their mom, too.
"Candace..." began their mom, then changed her mind about whatever she was going to say, and just sighed. "Who wants snacks?"
"I do!" said Phineas. He knew that Ferb did too.
Before he could go inside, Phineas felt something headbutt him in the knee. He looked down. "Oh, there you are, Perry." He picked him up, and realised as he did that Perry was all tensed up. "Hey, what's the matter, boy?" Phineas turned Perry around so that he could see his face, but he looked the same as he always did.
Perry chattered, and put his front legs around Phineas's shoulders.
"Oh, you just want a hug!" said Phineas, and hugged him.
Perry slowly relaxed, and Phineas wondered what had happened to him to scare him so much. "It's okay. You're home now."
Perry chattered contentedly.