After agreeing to help his nemesis impress Vanessa during their very first “school night,” a lonely Perry the Platypus is excited to finally get involved. But what with dinner cooking and homework struggles, the conversation might get a little too personal for the monotreme’s taste.
“Krkrkrkrkr.” Perry chattered again, trying to look stern even though he found the situation amusing. Vanessa was so easily distracted. Every three minutes she wanted to “take a short breather” and check her fansite or look at her blog. Perry was reminded of Phineas- both children were smart, but also easily bored by the tedious grind of academia. Perry wondered how often Vanessa blew off her coursework to pursue more enjoyable activities.
“Alright, fine. It can wait a few more minutes,” Vanessa huffed. She reached in a bag and pulled out several heavy books. “Alright Perry, since you are so insistent, I’ll explain what I need to do. I have two tests and a quiz tomorrow. I guess I should probably study for the test in Biology and the quiz in German.”
“Ooh, you’re taking German?!” Heinz interrupted from behind the counter, his deft hands chopping and dicing so quickly it looked like a blur. Perry thought the man could have a lucrative career as a professional chef if only he could resist the urge to return to evil science after every petty slight.
“Yeah, we have to take a foreign language. It’s a requirement. I figured German would be an easy A, since I already know a bit from you.”
Heinz looked like he was about to start blathering about his pride in Vanessa for recognizing the merits of his native tongue, so Perry chattered to cut him off. “Oh, that’s right. You are busy studying. I’ll… I’ll just let you be.”
“So what should we tackle first, German or Biology?” Vanessa asked, but Perry was concentrating on something Vanessa had said earlier. If she had two tests and a quiz tomorrow, then why was she only bringing up these subjects? Perry pointed to her bag with a curious expression.
“What? Oh, you want to know about the other subject?” Perry nodded. “Look, we shouldn’t turn everything into a struggle. Let’s get this stuff over with and, if there is time, we’ll talk about the other test.
Perry nodded again. That sounded like a fair compromise. The two of them decided to work on German vocabulary first. Perry held up the flash cards that Vanessa had made in class and smiled enthusiastically whenever the young woman was correct. Heinz interrupted on occasion to correct Vanessa whenever the teen mispronounced a word. Fifteen minutes later Heinz was stirring something on the stove top and Perry was confident that Vanessa had the vocabulary down permanently. So far, so good!
Now for biology. This proved more difficult; Perry couldn’t read the questions on the study guide out loud and Heinz wasn’t near enough to get more involved. In the end they found several solutions. Vanessa went through the study guide verbally, explaining in detail the human skeletal system while Perry nodded to encourage her to elaborate. Then, while Vanessa read to herself, Perry wrote a mock test with small essay prompts. Vanessa spent a good twenty minutes writing out her responses.
Just as Vanessa was finishing her last paragraph, Heinz called over to them. “Dinner should be ready in ten minutes!”
“Good! I’m all done here. Now if Perry is satisfied, I want to get back on that Nuerotoxins forum.”
“Krkrkrkrkrkr” Perry pointed at Vanessa’s bag again.
“Ugh Perry, it’s fine! I don’t need to study for that one.”
The monotreme was having none of this nonsense; he wanted an explanation at least. He chattered and shook his head. The teen groaned and covered her face with her hands.
“Perry, you’re worse than Dad! Mom doesn’t boss me around like this! I’ve already studied harder than I have studied for anything in my life, other than my driving test!”
This sudden outburst startled Perry. He wasn’t ‘bossing her around’ at all! He was just making sure she succeeded! Maybe he had been a bit forceful or overenthusiastic, but after five years of sitting there and watching his own kids do their homework without him, he didn’t feel he had done anything wrong.
Wait, was Perry justifying his current actions on past experiences? Oh no, maybe Heinz was beginning to rub off on him…
“Vanessa, don’t be hard on Perry the Platypus. He’s a Secret Agent, not a tutor. He’s probably never done anything like this before.” Ouch. That bit of truth hurt, but Perry appreciated the sentiment behind it. “So, what other class do you have a test in, honey?”
“Geography.” Vanessa groaned and rolled her eyes before continuing. “I don’t need to study in that class though. I’ve already lived it.”
Oh no. Perry hoped this conversation wasn’t heading in the direction he thought it was.
“What do you mean, you ‘lived it’?” Heinz asked curiously as he placed a lid on a pot.
“That day when you ‘met me halfway’ in Paris I was traveling with Candace and Ferb and some of their friends. It was the summer equinox and they were going around the globe, following the Sun. I was with them most the time.”
“Ferb was the Pizzazium kid, right?”
Wait… Heinz and Vanessa had had conversations about his family?! This was worse than Perry had thought! The platypus knew that Candace and Vanessa had a reluctant yet budding relationship. Their moms were friends and they had a class together. Even though they had different tastes they still managed to get along. But he trusted that Candace wouldn’t bring the “meatbrick” up in conversation and that Vanessa would be too embarrassed to mention that her dad had an animal nemesis. He hadn’t worried about their connection too much.
The situation with Ferb was trickier. Phineas was either a very slow developer or a budding asexual, but Ferb liked girls. He was also a bit mature for his age. Perry could remember the first time he had found magazines with “well written articles” tucked under Ferb’s bed. Vanessa Doofenshmirtz was, by far, Ferb’s biggest crush. The young man had it bad.Perry knew from terrifying experience that it was a bad idea to hop into Ferb’s bed on the nights after he had an encounter with the young lady.
Perry knew that Ferb was a boy of few words who was unlikely to bring the family pet into a conversation. However, the more time Vanessa spent with Ferb, the more time she was likely to spend with Phineas. Eager, enthusiastic chatterbox Phineas, who was extremely likely to bring up the family pet. Perry didn’t want to destroy friendships, but he also didn’t want a casual slip up to cost him his family and his nemesis. Vanessa wasn’t her father. She would make the obvious connection.
Also, Perry didn’t like the idea of Heinz chatting about his kids. He trusted Heinz would never deliberately target children, especially his daughter’s friends, but it was the principle of the matter. Never the two worlds shall meet. Perry wondered if there was anything he could do to make the situation safer.
Perry was slowly pulled out of his thoughts and back into the conversation that Heinz and Vanessa were having.
“I’ve been to Rome, and Cairo, and all these places! I think I can find it on a map!”
Time to end this conversation. Perry chattered loudly. When Vanessa looked at him, he smiled and pointed to her laptop where the Nuerotoxins forum was still open.
Vanessa grinned. She seemed pleased, as though she had gained a new level of trust. “Thanks Perry!” she reached for the computer, eager to spend the last few moments before dinner chatting with fellow fans from across the globe. All thoughts of Phineas, Ferb, and Candace were gone from her mind.