Author's Note: This story is a work of fanfiction set in NotAGothChick's "Bitterness Trilogy" universe. It is not applicable to any of the characters in my fanon universe. In other words, to the characters of the first and normal dimension, none of this ever happened.
It was midnight over the city of Danville, the crescent moon and stars glowing gently from the nearly cloudless sky. In an alley, sinister and completely alone, a dark figure was running. He was sprinting with as little noise as possible, terrified of being caught, but he captured the attention of nothing but a pair of sewer mice. When he reached the end, it seemed to be desolate, and he let himself breathe again. He waited there for several minutes, drumming his gloved fingers against that wall. Every now and then, he pulled back his sleeve and checked his watch.
"Where is that runt?" He whispered to himself "She should have been here-"
He was interrupted by the sound of footsteps. Alarmed, the man turned toward the noise and reached for his weapon, but then recognized the second person and seemed to be relieved.
"About time, Sheryl, I was beginning to think you'd been captured."
The second person, about a foot shorter than the first, removed the cloak from her head, letting loose a curtain of disheveled blond hair. The second person was a woman.
"So what did you call me here for that was so important you had to risk our safety?"
"The boss has sent me to give you a message, a message you need to forward to everyone else."
"And that is?"
He reached into his pocket and pulled out a scrap of folded yellow paper.
"Memorize this, then destroy it."
The woman, Sheryl, decided she couldn't wait. She pulled a tiny flashlight from her coat and shined it on the note. It apparently wasn't too long, because she had it memorized within seconds. With a cruel, accomplished smile on her face, she pulled a second object from her coat, a lighter, and clicked it on. She carefully put the message close to the flame until it was ablaze. Immediately, she let go of it and let it fall to the ground, where it curled into a pile of ash. Then, without another word, she saluted him and went off, silent as a cat.
Phineas Flynn, a redheaded young man in his mid-twenties, was happily entering a number on his phone. He was about to place a call to his older sister, Candace, who was away on vacation with her husband, Alem, and their kids, Amanda and Xavier. After the defeat of the tyrant Heinz Doofenshmirtz twelve years ago, the two finally had gotten the time to marry, have children, and have a little fun.
"Hello?" said her voice on the other end.
"Oh, hi, Phin!"
"Nice to hear your voice again!"
"Phineas, you called me only thirty-six hours ago."
"Hehe, whatever. So, how're that niece and nephew of mine?"
The two of them talked back and forth for about half an hour, asking about news that they'd missed and laughing about amusing incidents they had experienced lately. They were eventually interrupted, though, by a knock on Phineas' door.
"I'll call you later, Candace. Love ya."
He closed the phone and put it back in his pocket. He went the door and, to both his surprise and delight, opened it to find:
He didn't know what his stepbrother was doing there, but gave him a high-five none the less.
"Good to see ya, Bro! Come on in! I must say, those sideburns are coming in nice."
"Actually, Phineas, I don't have time for any chit-chat. It's important."
"What's wrong? Is-"
His eyes suddenly got very wide.
"Is it Jessie?! Is she-"
"No, no, not that. Though I must agree that it's about time it happened."
Jessica, Ferb's twin sister, was expecting a baby.
"No kidding, her due date was a week ago."
"Yeah, and-...Why are we talking about this?"
"I have no idea. I believe we got sidetracked."
"What I came to say was, I got a rather alarming call an hour ago from Timothy Winklepeck. I expect you remember him?"
"I think so...wasn't he in the Resistance with us?"
"That's him. What he told me was important to any Ex-Resistee, so I came to you first."
Phineas stared at him, shocked.
"No, brother, I can assure you, I am being completely serious."
Ferb had just provided some alarming news. Despite the fact that Doofenshmirtz was long gone, some of his minions were still around. Most of the surviving ones had been imprisoned, but a few of them were still on the loose. After a few years of searching for them, they decided they were either dead or too weak to carry on. After that, the Resistance was thought no longer necessary, and was disbanded, everybody went their separate ways. Turns out that was a mistake. The handful of minions had regrouped and, in secret, gotten slowly stronger over the last twelve year. And that morning, Timothy had caught word that they now had a strong enough army to attack Danville and exact vengeance on their fallen master. Right when the city was unarmed and off-guard.
"So...when do they plan to attack?" asked Phineas, looking worried.
Ferb took a deep breath.
A little color drained from Phineas' face.
"So that means...we have only a matter of hours to get as much of the resistance back together and ready to fight an army of unknown size?!?"
"Yes to the first, yes to the second, but no to the third. We actually do know how big it is. It would've been a piece of cake a few years ago, since they're not expecting any defense, but now, it only depends on how many people we gather to fight."
Phineas was still for a second, then he stood up.
"Then we're wasting time then, I suppose."
"I'll call Goth, you go get Isabella. Meet me back at that old HQ in thirty minutes."
Even after the Resistance had been dispersed, the underground hideout had still been kept completely intact, preserved as kind of a monument for the city. As Phineas stepped in with his girlfriend, he paused and took a deep breath of the slightly muggy air. Dangit, it felt good to be back. The place may have been a little dusty, (Okay, "a little" may have been bit of an understatement) but it still brought back a lot of memories. Not all of them good, but still memories. Memories were things Phineas treasured in high regard.
"Just think," said Isabella "We were just kids the last time we were here."
Phineas smiled and gave her hand a squeeze. Right around then, Ferb stepped around the corner, his fiancé, Mara "Goth" Meddleshmirtz right behind him, and saw them.
"Excellent." he said "That makes two more."
"How many we got so far, Ferb?" he asked.
"A little more than two dozen, at the moment." he said "We've got us four, Baljeet, the former Firestorm Girls, Eric, the Fox brothers, Madeline, Ian, Timothy, Jessie-"
"Jessie's here? Where is she?"
"Second time today." Goth added.
"She doesn't actually plan on fighting, does she?" Isabella asked.
"Well, she never specifically said she would, but she seems to want to."
"Is she nuts?! She can't fight in her condition!"
"Who's nuts? You're not talking about me are ya?" said a female voice to their right.
Phineas wanted to give her a hug, but her very large belly made that kinda hard, so a knucklebump sufficed.
"Haven't seen you in a while, how's it goin'?"
As they talked, Ferb heard a trapdoor open, indicating that somebody had just entered the hideout.
"I expect that's..."
A woman with glossy black hair and sparkling brown eyes stepped in.
"...Stacy. Good to see you, Stace, we're gonna need a doctor out there."
There were greetings all around, then she stopped to chat with Jessie. The two had become close friends ever since Jessie had found out she was pregnant.
"So how's Baby Hershy doing?"
"Hershy" was Stacy's personal nickname for the baby. When Jessie and Buford agreed that they wanted their first kid's gender to be a surprise, Stacy quickly figured out that if you say "He or she" quickly it sounds like "Hershy". And the name just stuck. Jessie had a sneaky suspicion that nickname was going to haunt the kid long after it's born.
"Still stationary, at the moment." Jessie grumbled, rubbing her stomach. She was starting to get tired of waiting. Right around then, Baljeet stepped in, lowering his communicator from his ear as if he was just finished using it. Phones didn't work down there, so the Resistance had their own set of secret devices to converse over long distances with.
"I have some good news, some bad news, and some neutral news that is both good and bad. The good news is, now that Stacy is here, we have enough soldiers to be at least evenly matched with our opponents. The bad news is, I just got a call from Buford, and he apologizes, but he is not going to be able to make it due to his flight being delayed."
"At least he apologized." Jessie said to herself, smirking. Her husband was away on a business trip.
"And the neutral news is," Baljeet continued "Our opposing army is now on the move. That is good in the sense that we can now know their location and bring their presence publicly aware, but it is bad in the sense that they will probably reach the city in thirty to forty-five minutes. So, I am sorry for this short notice, but we must begin assembling for battle this very second."
"Alright, people, let's move out! We've got a city to save, and this fight is not gonna win itself!"
Phineas, who was voted commander of the newly-regrouped resistance, was seeing out the small but still-powerful army of soldiers out of the hideout. As they passed, he saw somebody that caught his attention. He immediately grabbed her by the back of the collar.
"Hoooold on there, Preggers," he said, holding Jessie back as she continued to try to march out. "You're not going anywhere."
"Who says? Just cause I'm fighting for two now doesn't mean I'm not capable of kicking a few-"
"You're staying right here until we get back. You're gonna have your kid any day now, Jessie, you'd be way to easy a target."
"You sound like Buford." She smirked. "Seriously, Phin, I can take care of myself. I've been sitting around doing nothing for months now, shooting some Doofen-scum will make me feel good. And besides, you're gonna need as many people fighting out there as possible."
Phineas tried to argue with her, but Jessie was very difficult to win an argument with these days, so he eventually let her come, but only under the condition that she kept well away from the front of the battle.
"So where exactly are we going to be fighting, Phineas?" Ferb asked as he and his brother lead the army swiftly through the street.
Phineas' face became rather grim. "I doubt you'll believe me but..."
"Phineas, I've been killed and brought back to life, okay? There's not a lot left that I won't believe."
"Well, at our present velocity, I estimate the location of interception is...Jeffville."
Ferb raised a thick black eyebrow.
"You mean...that Jeffville?"
"The very same." Phineas sighed.
Jeffville was a city that had fallen in the war against Doofenshmirtz. It's destruction nearly killed Phineas in more ways that one, but that's another story.
"Shouldn't it be just a field of rubble by now?" In honor of the thousands of lives that had been lost on that fateful day, nobody had gotten the heart to agree to clear the remains of the city. So, like the Hideout, it was now a sort of landmark.
"It is just a field of rubble by now."
Ferb decided not to pursue the topic. The memory of that city was extremely painful, especially to Phineas.
A gentle hand reached out and held onto Phineas'. He glanced up and met the beautiful blue eyes of Isabella, who had overheard and knew what on his mind. Phineas smiled and kept his hand in her's the entire way. He and her had been dating almost ten years, and still nobody could lift his spirits better than she could.
"...What'cha got there, Phin?"
She'd caught him reaching into his pocket for at least the third time in the last few minutes, looking nervous. The moment she pointed it out, though, he retracted it as if it was suddenly burning hot.
Ferb, who happened to be one of the very few people who did know what was in his little brother's pocket, felt a smirk cross his face.
What are you so happy about?
Due to the fact that they had alien blood in their family (Long story), Jessie and Ferb had the ability to telepathically communicate.
What, you didn't hear?
About...oh, right, that.
About time, don't you think?
Yeah, I- OW!
Nothing, nothing, just got a cramp...
Their non-verbal conversation was interrupted by Phineas' voice, as the army finished it's ascend up a tall hill.
"There it is. Dang, and I thought it looked depressing the day it got bombed..."
Where the city of Jeffville had once stood tall and proud, there was now nothing but an ocean of lonely grey dust, crumbly piles of rubble the only sign that there were ever any buildings. Where there had once been roads and sidewalks, there were now just jagged shards of asphalt and cracked concrete. Here and there stood a few structures that were still standing, but these were precious few, and were still only fragments of what they once were. Huge scratches of ash snaked through the ground like scars. The whole place looked like a ghost town now. Phineas closed his eyes and shivered as horrible memories began to flow through his mind.
"Where are they?" asked Goth. It took Phineas a moment to realize she was referring to the enemy army.
"Ready your weapons." said Ferb, reaching for his belt and bringing Phineas back ot the present. "Make no mistake, everyone. They're out there. After so many years of practice, I'm sure they're masters at hiding."
Walking through the fallen city felt like walking through a graveyard. It was just as quiet and still as it was dead. The only sound that could be heard was the low moan of the wind and the many pairs of boots marching across the flat, barren ground. An ugly black raven watched them from the top of a demolished house, taking off as the passed by with a harsh, screeching call. It continued to circle overhead, as if it could already tell that there was going to be bloodshed in the city for the first time in over a decade.
After several minutes, Phineas gave another order:
"We need to split up. Ferb, you and Goth lead Alpha Strike Team down that street, I'll lead everyone else until we reach the border. If you find any evidence at all of the enemy, call me immediately. We're a lot stronger when we're one army than we are when we're several."
Ferb gave him a thumbs up. He and his half of the army turned to search through the directed street, but it seemed just as desolate as any other.
Jessie grabbed her brother's arm to stop him. She seemed to have heard something.
What did Phineas say about being in the front of the-
She closed her eyes and concentrated, her sharp, elfy ears strained for any noise. After a second, she reopened them, looking terrified.
Whatever you do...do NOT order everyone to turn around.
The temptation, unfortunately, was too great.
It was a very clever plan, something only a a group as intelligent as the rogue minions of Doofenshmirtz would be able to pull off: Hide and wait for the enemy to separate in order to cover more ground to find you, and once they're far enough from each other, ambush them in between the two groups, so the army didn't have the element of united strength. It did give you them the disadvantage of being surrounded, but Phineas doubted that would be a problem, considering how strong they seemed to have become after so long. And to be brutally honest, he couldn't help but be the slightest bit intimidated at the sight of what he was up against.
"We have a score to settle, Phineas Flynn." said an evil, yet, cruelly attractive voice.
And from behind a brutishly tall soldier stepped a woman who nobody would've guessed they would ever see alive again.
It was Vanessa Doofenshmirtz, Heinz Doofenshmirt'z daughter.
There were two things about her that made her so creepy to look at. One was, despite the fact that she was easily as evil if not more so than her father ever was, she was, even in her grungy army clothes, stunningly beautiful. There was no point in denying it. And the second was, due to an extremely painful accident that had happened years and years ago, she was now a cyborg. At least half of her body, if not more, was made up of smooth, shiny black metal. Part of her face was obscured by a respirator, making her breathing and speech slightly mechanical and her expression often hard to read, and one of her eyes was missing, replaced instead with a glowing purple orb. By her side, a firey red lightsaber was clasped tightly in her hand.
"You stole my victory from me twelve years ago." She said, her voice low and steady. "Today, I'm going to take it back."
"I'd like to see you try." said Phineas, just as quietly.
Quick as a flash, he slammed his finger on the communicator by his ear.
And with a battle cry that could be heard all the way back in Danville, the entire army charged.
It was chaos like Phineas hadn't been in since he was a kid. The destroyed city, which had once been silent as the plague, was now filled with furious roars, cries of pain, and sound of firing blasters. Blazes and small fires caused by explosions brought sweat to everybody's brow. It was hard to tell who was fighting whom, or who was winning, but all he knew was this: It was a fight to the death for the sake of thousands of innocent lives, including everyone he knew and loved, and he was prepared to pay the ultimate sacrifice for it.
Ferb's situation wasn't looking very good. A minute into the battle, his fighting arm was pinned against a crumbling wall behind him by the very powerful hand of an enemy soldier. The cruel-faced man was about twice his size and, though he was rather buff himself, at least three times as muscular. He wasn't carrying a weapon: His fist looked easily strong enough to break his neck if he needed to. With surprising strength for a man so big, the foe threw the blaster out of Ferb's hand, grabbed onto his throat, and slammed him against the wall the way a bully would slam a nerd into a locker. Only, in this case Ferb was in very immediate danger of being strangled, and the enemy was about to deliver a punch that would do more than just knock him out. Ferb braced himself for the impact, prepared for the worst, when suddenly he heard a loud "UGN!" and the grip on his throat became slack. He opened his eyes, and saw that the minion's face now bore a stunned, almost surprised expression. An entire second later, he fell to the ground, dead. On his back, a long, bleeding gash indicated he had been cut by something, though there wasn't anybody behind him. Not directly, at least.
Ferb looked up and saw, to his astonishment, his sister, holding up her old throwing star as if she's just tossed it through the back of the minion and caught it again.
"Oh, yeah, that feels good!" Jessie whooped, shaking herself as if she'd just been doused by a refreshing splash of water. Clearly, despite her late pregnancy, she was still having a thoroughly good time doing what she used to do best: Annihilating minions of Doofenshmirtz.
Maniac... Ferb thought to himself with a smirk as he stood and thanked her.
"Don't mention it," she said as the two of them began to fight back-to-back, firing in all directions. "And I heard that, y'know."
Ferb just rolled his eyes and returned his focus to what his blaster was doing.
Phineas' heart was racing. He hadn't fought like this in years, it took a lot of concentration just to keep himself alive, let alone succeed in striking down any enemies. Ferb was right, they had gotten stronger. Some of them didn't even need weapons: They were completely capable of dealing damage just with their bare hands. All of the sudden he tripped, breaking his fall with his hands. He got a bad scrape, but nothing serious. He'd tripped over something warm, firm, and heavy. Something alive. He turned and realized with a jolt that it was a person, somebody who had fallen unconscious during the battle, somebody that was on his side. Rolling her over, he recognized the face of Stacy. She was breathing, but their was a painful looking bump on her head. She had been knocked out.
The instant Phineas had dragged the doctor to relative safety, he heard a scream. It was a different sound than the other shouts that were surrounding him, it was a call for help. And he knew who it was. Every nerve in his body immediately went into overload. He turned in it's direction and bolted, diving and ducking past friend and foe alike, missing fires from guns by centimeters. When he reached the scene of the problem, a very unpleasant sight met his eyes: A small gang of enemy soldiers, each of them rather scrawny but sinister looking, had cornered somebody against a wall and were slowly advancing on her, grinning wickedly. All of them still had their weapons strapped to their belts. Phineas couldn't see the person they were threatening, but his instincts told him who it was. Pure, undiluted fury blazed through his blood, sending his brain into overdrive. Letting out a shout that probably made him sound like a lunatic, he charged.
The small gang was defeated within a matter of seconds. Phineas looked up, breathing like a winded rhinoceros, and saw the exact person he expected to see: Isabella. She was shaken and her face was white.
"Th-thanks." she stammered.
Phineas stood up and looked at her very seriously.
"Are you okay? Did they hurt you?"
"I'm fine, Phin." She said taking a deep breath to calm herself. "They didn't-"
She was cut of by Phineas, who pulled her into a very quick but very tight hug. Then, not letting go of each others' hand for even a second, they continued to fight.
Bad guy at six'o clock!
I'm on it!
At her twin's telepathic warning, Jessie swung her throwing star straight through the adversary's heart.
"Oh yeah! Take that you b- AH!"
Ferb glanced over his shoulder at her.
"Cramp, cramp...owwwwch....okay, it's gone."
Ferb looked away, then did a double-take.
Are you sure you don't need a bathroom break?
What makes you-
She ducked under a blow.
Well, I think you just wet yourself.
She glanced downward.
No, Doofus, my water broke.
She continued fighting, then after five solid seconds, froze, and realized what she just said.
Ferb blinked uncomprehendingly at her. Then, feeling rather stupid, asked:
"Umm...what does that mean?"
She grabbed at her belly and held onto it as if she was going to be sick, her breathing growing heavy.
"It means this kid is leaving the station..."
Ferb almost dropped his blaster.
"You heard me." She said through gritted teeth.
"Can't you at least wait until we're done fighting?!"
Ferb was very glad looks couldn't kill, because otherwise Jessie would've assassinated him with the glare she was giving him.
"You really don't have a brain, do you? AHH!"
She fell to her knees and bent forward, her face screwed up in pain.
Ferb was in a bit of a panic, but he managed to remember which button on his communicator contacted the doctor.
"Stacy, we need your help.....Stacy, do you read me?"
She didn't respond, all he got was static.
"Stacy, are you there?!"
"Stacy, this is really an emergency!...STACY, ANSWER ME!
After trying for several minutes to call her while simultaneously defending himself from the enemy forces, Ferb gave up and called in the first person he could think of next:
"Phineas, come in!"
"I'm here, Ferb, what is it?"
"How come Stacy isn't answering? We have a...bit of an emergency here."
"Stacy is unconscious."
Ferb bit back a curse
"What's the problem?" Asked Phineas "Who's hurt?"
"It's Jessie! She's...well, she's not hurt hurt, but..."
"What is it?"
"Her baby's coming. Now. "
There was silence on the other end as Phineas took in the meaning of that statement. Then:
"Yes, right now."
"...Darn it, I told her she shouldn't have come, I told her...Okay, uh...what do you suggest I do?"
"I was hoping you would tell me what to do, Phineas, you're the idea man!"
"Umm...is there anybody on your side of the fight that has any medical training or experience?"
"Not that I'm aware of, no."
He took a deep breath.
"Ferb, I'm really, really sorry about this, but I think you're gonna have to help her."
Needless to say, this news did not reach Ferb well.
"WHAT?!?! Why me?!"
"Who else is gonna do it, Ferb? Both of them are gonna need help!"
"I don't know how to deliver a baby!" Ferb's voice was uncharacteristically frantic "I'm an agent for the government, not an obstretician!"
"Ferb, what other choice do you have?!"
"PHINEAS, IF THERE'S ONE THING I'M NOT PREPARED TO DO-"
"FOR THE LOVE OF GODZILLA, FERB, STOP BEING SUCH A WUSS!" Phineas was now literally screaming "THERE'S A DECENT CHANCE EITHER OF THEM COULD DIE IF YOU DON'T HELP THEM, THAT MEAN ANYTHING TO YOU?!?! YOU'VE FREAKIN' COME BACK FROM THE DEAD, FOR GRAVY'S SAKE, THIS SHOULD BE A WALK IN THE PARK FOR YOU! NOW STOP WHINING, AND TAKE IT LIKE A MAN!"
Ferb wanted to protest, but he was so intimidated, all he could do was let out a squeaky croak of complaint that, if spelled phonetically, would look something along the lines of: "Mnugeehehehhhh...."
Phineas lowered the communicator from his mouth, having torn it clean off his head during his furious rant. After a few seconds, he realized that he wasn't dead. He would've been an incredibly easy target while he was talking to Ferb, much less when he was shouting. Baffled, he looked up, and saw why. Everybody that was within hearing distance of him, friend and foe alike, was staring at him with a combination of confusion, alarm and, on a few, amusement. Phineas' ears turned red.
"Uh...sorry, that was my brother. He's, uh...being kind of a butthead at the moment."
Practically in unison, everyone blinked. Then, as if nothing at all had happened, the fighting resumed.
"What happened?" Asked Isabella, while removing the mechanical arm from an enemy cyborg's socket.
"It's Jessie. She just went into labor."
Isabella's eyebrows rose up, then shot even higher when she made sense of the conversation she had only heard one side of.
"And Ferb has to...ohhhh..."
After an awkward pause, a sly look crossed her face.
"Ten bucks he'll pass out?"
Phineas smirked "You're on."
Ferb, meanwhile, was undertaking the extremely difficult task of getting his sister to relative safety through the heat of the fight. In his desperation, he was willing to carry her if he had to, but she made it perfectly clear that it was unecessary when he tried. Eventually, after a lot of struggling, he got her inside a partially-demolished building. Half the walls were blown through and it could hardly be called a house anymore, but at least there was a roof over their heads, and a barrier between them and the fight. Jessie sat down on the bare floor and leaned back against a wall, trying to make herself more or less comfortable. Almost immediately, she let out an abrupt groan and put a hand on her disdented belly.
"Just sit tight, Jessie." said Ferb, giving her shoulder a squeeze. "Nobody knows you're here, so I think you'll be safe. I'll be back as soon as I can." Ferb had intentions on locating Goth for help. Shemay not be a doctor, but at least she was a woman. And he was going to need feminine support to succesfully pull this off.
"Oh, take your time." Jessie growled "It's not like I'm going to give birth in a few hours or anything..."
"Trust me, I'm...wait, hours?"
"Yessss..." She was speaking through clenched teeth "How long did you think it was gonna take?"
"Do you seriously not know anything about...Oh, great. Just great! I'm stuck with the one guy on the planet who knows everything about everything except everything having to do with c-AHH!"
Ferb took her moment of pain as an oppertunity to escape from her hormone-fueled rant, leaving his blaster by her side. He knew his twin well enough to know that, even in a situation as incapitating as she was in, she would be capable of defending herself should anybody discover her.
After half a hour of fighting and searching and more fighting, during which Ferb was so worried for both his sister and his sanity when this whole ordeal was over that he almost felt sick, Ferb finally found his fiance, busy beating the snot out of a pair of enemy cyborgs. He would have found her sooner, but the communicator had been knocked off her head.
"Mara! Mara, darling!" Ferb called, waving to get her attention "We need your help!"
She sent a laser straight through the mechanical heart of the smaller foe.
"Who's 'we'?" she asked, strangely calmly, without looking at him. "Bad guy, on your right."
Ferb dodged the attack before answering her.
"Jessie and me! It's serious!"
Goth swerved to the side to avoid a stabbing punch.
"How serious is serious?"
"It's about her baby."
Goth's attention was captured in an instant.
Ferb quickly told her of the problem that had arisen, and the unfortunate task he had been given as a result. When he was finished, she raised an eyebrow."
"That is serious..."
Ferb grabbed both of her hands.
"Please, Mara, you've got to help!" Ferb hardly ever acted this desperate, especially around a lady as important to him as his Mara, but this was an emergency. "I'd completely screw it up! I could end up killing either of them!"
"I seriously doubt it's as difficult as you seem to think it is." she said, somehow both irritated and amused. "But fine, I suppose she's gonna need all the help she can get..."
Ferb kissed her.
"What on earth would I do without you?"
"Probably drown in a gutter somewhere with a horseshoe stuck up your sniffer."
On their way back, Ferb sent Jessie a telepathic message, saying he was on his way. As he expected, the one he got back was both delayed, and very angry.
"Back as soon as you can", huh?!
I'm sorry Jessie, I had trouble finding her!
Sure, fire away with your excuses! When you get back, I swear I'll- AHHH!
Her thoughts were drowned out by another severe stab of pain. Ferb glanced over at Goth, who could tell from his expression what had happened.
"Don't be take it personally, she's not gonna mean half the things she'll say for the next few hours."
By this point, Phineas and Isabella were now having quite a bit of fun, placing bets back and forth on what the outcome of Ferb's predicament. The stakes were now: Ten dollars to Isabella if he passes out, seven dollars to Phineas if he throws up, fifteen dollars to Isabella if he chickens out and asks somebody else to do it, and twenty dollars dollars to Phineas if he manages to succesfully pull the whole thing off. ("Hey, gotta have a little faith in him, eh?")
"...You think he's still concious?" Phineas asked after a while of relatively quiet hand-in-hand fighting.
"Why don't you find out?"
He broke into a grin very similar to hers, and pressed a button on his headset.
"'Ello, brother of mine, do you copy, or have you already capitulated to your gag reflex?"
"...Phineas? Is now really a good time?" Ferb sounded like he was under a lot of stress.
"I'm going to take that as an 'Isabella is gonna owe me twenty bucks.'" he joked.
"Are you...putting wagers on me?!"
"No, of course not!" It took all the concentration Phineas wasn't using to focus on the fight to keep himself from laughing.
"Phineas, if you are, I swear on my American Flag leotard I will end you..."
Phineas snorted, then took his hand off the button and turned his head away, because he risked breaking a rib if he held in his laughter any more, and that would make him very easy prey on the battlefield. When he was finished, he turned back to the headset, and his voice became much more serious.
"So what's your status? How is Jessie doing?"
Ferb gulped, now reminded of his problem.
"I, uh, can't really answer that...Because she's not exactly...here at the moment. I went looking for Mara to help me, and...well, I haven't gotten back yet."
Phineas didn't know what horrified him more: The fact that Ferb had left their sister unattended in her condition, or the fact that he now owed Isabella fifteen dollars because of Ferb's wimpiness.
When Ferb finally made it back to the broken down building Jessie was in, which took even longer than finding Goth had since they were attacked by an exasperatingly relentless band of enemy soldiers, they found her on the verge of hyperventilation. Every breath she drew seemed to take a lot of effort. With one hand, she was clinging to the only object in the building she could get her hands on, the blaster Ferb had given her, and with the other, she was holding onto her belly as if she was going to be sick.
"About time." she snarled, not looking at them.
Her snarky remark was quickly dismissed as another, agonizingly intense contraction hit her, making her cry out and lurch forward. Worry stung Ferb's heart: Jessie normally handled pain very well, and she didn't seem half this hurt when he'd left to find Goth.
"Is she gonna be okay?"
Goth was now kneeling by Jessie and was holding onto her hand.
"Just keep breathing, Girl, you're gonna be fine. Yeah, Ferb, I think she will." She sounded completely honest, but Ferb could tell, from the look in her eye, that she was lying through her teeth, for Jessie's sake. She didn't want her to know that, in truth, there were many, many things that could go wrong, most of which could be prevented by the medical assistance they didn't have.
"Okay, Ferb, here's what I need you to do: find something soft that's big enough for her to lean against, something sturdy something for her to hold onto, some fabric, some water, and something that Jessie finds visually interesting."
Ferb accepted most of these requests without question, except for the last one. Why in the world would that be important at a time like this? He was about to question it, when:
"It hurts!" Jessie sounded terrified "Goth, it hurts so much!"
"I know it does, Jess, I know. Just keep breathing, and push when I tell you to, okay?"
That's when he got it: If the next few hours were going to be almost nothing but drawn-out pain to her, she was going to need all the distraction she could get.
"Ferb, hurry!" Goth commanded.
He left without a second to lose.
As Ferb feverishly searched for the items he'd been so vaguely assigned to find, sweat stung his forehead. What if something went wrong? What if she died? What if the baby died? After she'd been so happy and excited the last so many months about her and Buford becoming parents, just the thought of that made him feel nauseous...
Finding the water was a cinch, since many of the fallen enemy soldiers had canteens strapped to their belts (Why do that anyway? It's not like they can say "Wait, hold on a sec, guys, I need a drink of water" and everybody will stop fighting until he's done), and he was able to find a pair of metal bars in the rubble of a building as things for her to hold onto, but finding fabric that was even mildly soft was almost impossible. Battle armor isn't supposed to be comfortable, it's supposed to keep you alive. Frustrated, he leaned back against a pole staked into the ground and sighed, running his hand over his forehead and through his green mess of hair. Then he heard flapping above his head, looked up, and found just what he needed.
Ferb managed to make it back to the building, which was lucky, considering his hand were full. When he entered, Goth went straight to work. First she piled the coats he'd collected from fallen soldiers in a pile on the floor, helping prop Jessie up against it, then staked the iron barns deep into the ground on either side of her, testing them to be sure they were secure. Jessie gripped them, her knuckles going white. Goth took the flag Ferb had taken down then, using her kife, cut it into shreds. She took one of the pieces, doused it with the canteen of water, wrung it out, then used it to gently mop the perspiration from Jessie's forehead.
"How much longer?" Jessie moaned, her voice full of pain.
Goth sighed "If I was a doctor, I could tell you. Your contractions are getting closer, so probably not that long..."
She looked up at Ferb.
"Here's the plan," she said "I'll stay here and take care of everything, all I need you to do is guard this building. Whatever you do, do not let anyone inside."
Good. Ferb had never wanted to do something more than how much he wanted to leave right then and there.
"Don't worry, I'll keep this place safe. I-"
It wasn't Goth who'd spoken. It was Jessie.
"No...have Ferb stay..."
"Jess, I'm not sure that's so good of an idea..." Goth said, looking nervous.
"Who's the one giving birth here? Me or you?"
"Well, you, but..."
"So who's in charge here? Me or you?"
Ferb and Goth exchanged a defeated glance, and traded places.
"I'll keep this place safe, guys, don't worry about a thing."
"Easy for you to say, you're not the one who's - Ahh-AHHHHHHH!"
Ferb looked at Goth with an expression that clearly said "Help". In reply, she tapped her ear, indicating she'd replaced the communicator.
"You'll do fine, Hon. I'd trust you with my life."
And she left, leaving Ferb alone with himself, his sister, and a promise that he doubted with every fiber of his being he'd be able to keep.
It was quiet for a while. Ferb handed Jessie one of the canteens he'd pillaged, and she took a long swig of it.
Thank you, by the way. She said in her mind.
For stickin' around. I honestly thought you were going to chicken out and let Goth do all the work.
You don't really think I'm that much of a yellow belly, am I?
Actually, I do.
Another awkward silence fell, broken by a another contraction, which caused Jessie to let out a long bombardment of alien words that Ferb couldn't understand, but judging by how she said them, were probably obscene.
"Sweet Samosa, this is painful..." she croaked when it was done and she could breathe again.
Ferb had never felt more unhelpful in his life.
"Is there uh...anything I can...get you?"
Jessie was clearly having similar thoughts.
"If you happen to have any spinal anesthesia, that would be very much appreciated. But other than that, the best thing you can do to help right now is to not talk to me unless I tell you to talk to me."
That should be easy enough, not talking was probably Ferb's most recognizable skill.