Chapter 10: A Rainy Day
3rd person POV:
It was dawn and before the clock ticked towards the next minute and sounded the alarm, Phineas woke up and pressed the sleep button. "Hah, beat you again slowpoke!" The redhead laughed. "Hey Ferb, wake up!" He tossed a pillow at his green-haired stepbrother, whose head sprang up like a springboard. Perry's eyelids split open, awakened when Phineas called him. "Come on, Perry. Time to wake up, sleepy head."
"Just five more minutes, " he complained. "I had a stake-out mission last night and I'm tired." He was about to close his eyes once more when he suddenly leapt up in shock. I'm back, but how? His hind paw brushed against something so he looked down to see his fedora and a doll with a strand of teal fur on it. He let us go, he realized. He set us free, but why? He quickly hid the two in his fur as his owner picked him up. "Let's get you ready for school today, alright?"
That's right, Perry remembered, today's that 'Bring your Pets to School' day, when my boys would present me in their class for show-and-tell. Guess I would be using the one behind the whiteboard today. After a quick bath by his two boys, they headed down for some breakfast. Perry went to his bowl full of grub and starting eating, his mind still pondering about what had happened last night. I have to help Nicolas, he thought, but how? Just then, his watch beeped. He quickly covered it with his other paw. Looking around to see that no one had noticed it, he quickly finished the rest of his breakfast before walking to the living room and hid in a corner to receive the call.
"Agent P, there you are!" Major Monogram immediately cried out once seeing the agent's face."Are you alright? Did Rouge Agent R hurt you in any way" Perry nodded, assuring the major that he was fine. "Alright then, there will be a meeting at HQ about what happened last night. I expect you, Agent P and Agent S to be there, am I clear?"
Perry hesitated. He knew he was going to tell him what had occurred while he was held captive, but even so, what was the point? It wouldn't change the fact that he would still catch him. In hindsight, Nicolas was a victim. Circumstances forced him into this situation, so it was up to Perry to help him find a way to do it. He didn't know how, but he would cross the bridge when he get there. He nodded firmly at Major Monogram, deciding that the best way to help him was after all, capturing the slippery dog. "Very well then. Monogram out." Perry sighed, rejoining his owners in the kitchen.
After his owners finished their meals, they took him outside and sat by the doorsteps. The school bus finally arrived five minutes and the two boys boarded it. "Bye, mom." Phineas called as he and his brother waved from the bus window. Isabella came up and sat behind them, carrying Pinky for the show-and-tell too.
"Hey Perry, were you told about it?" Pinky asked.
"About the meeting?" Pinky nodded. " Yeah, during breakfast."
"What are we going to do then?" Instantly, Perry knew that he was thinking about Nicolas too.
"He may not be the dog we once knew, Pinky, but we have to help him in any way we can." Perry decided, determination flashed in his eyes. "I don't know how are we going to do that, but to get close enough to do it we have to capture him before he did something stupid."
"He's not going to make it easy, though."
"No, no he isn't."
The morning passed very quickly for the two pets. After the bus arrived at the school entrance, the students alighted it and went inside for their classes. They had briefly met Shelia on their way to their owners' class. Shelia had spotted them and nodded before walking away. After reaching the classroom, the two pets immediately zoned out during the rest of the lesson, knowing that they were only needed when their turn came. Even then, all they had to do was to act normal and do what their owners told them to do.
"Yay!" The students immediately left their seats and went out of the door, rushing down to the cafeteria for their lunch break. "Stay here, Perry," Phineas said as he placed the platypus into the cage set by the side of the classroom while Ferb filled a bowl with platypus food and put it in the cage as well. "We'll be back in an hour."
"You too, Pinky," Isabella said as she too placed the chihuahua and his food bowl in his cage too. After that, the three owners left for the cafeteria as well. When the coast was clear, the two pets lock-picked their cage doors open. Standing on their hindfeet, they put on their fedoras and ran towards the whiteboard. The whiteboard lifted up to reveal a hole in the wall and the two agents jumped into the hole and slid down the pipe to the OWCA HQ.
"Hey, Shelia," Pinky greeted as the Gerbersian Wolfhound landed moments after they did.
"Hey Pinky. Hey Perry." She greeted back. "So what are we going to do now?"
"Do what we can do." Perry answered as they walked together through the OWCA corridors towards the meeting room. When they entered the room, they saw Major Monogram seated at the far end of the circular table with Carl by his side, and the other twelve agents who took part in the ambush last night seated. The three saluted at the Major before taking their seats at the opposite end.
"Agent P, Agent P and Agent S," Major Monogram started. "As you know, the mission to capture Rouge Agent R had failed and worse, got you three captured as well. Are you sure you are alright?"
The three nodded. "Alright then, I expect a full report from the three of you." Major Monogram said. "But till then, did you notice anything about Rouge Agent R that could give us an edge?"
The three agents racked their brains, trying to recall the slightest detail about the doctor and his lab. Nothing, they shook their heads. "Well, did he bring you to his liar?" Three nods. A yes "Then, could you tell us where his liar is?" Three shakes, a no. "But is there anything that could tell us us next move?"
Perry and Shelia both shook their heads, unable to remember anything of significance at the doctor's place. "Sorry, sir." The Major rubbed the bridge of his nose in frustration. "Well, there has to be a way to be one step ahead of him, or else we'll never catch him!" Perry and Shelia sighed in defeat, knowing there was no way to help him now.
"Wait!" Pinky exclaimed. "I remembered something!" Everyone present looked at the shivering chihuahua. "There was a calendar, and there were red stars on it!" Perry and Shelia loked at each other, hope returning in their eyes. "Well, what does it means then?" Agent D asked.
"I remembered seeing them on every Sunday of the months." Pinky described. "Then there was a subscript in red as well at the bottom of the calendar, something like 'Park, midnight.'"
"Excellent, Pinky!" Perry commended. "Now that we have a specific place and time, we can properly take him down this time."
"I don't know what you are discussing, since Carl and I couldn't understand you" Major Monogram stated. " But I expect three reports on my desk!" He received three salutes before leaving the room.
"Yeah," Agent D retorted. "Just like the last time your ambush worked so well."
"We didn't know much about him then," Shelia spoke up instead. "This time we now know all his little tricks, so he won't get past us again."
Another agent spoke up. "So what makes you so sure that we can catch him this time? Last time I checked he can wipe 7 of us out without breaking a sweat!"
"We can take him down!" Perry assured them. "We have to, for his own sake."
"What do you mean by 'for his own sake'?'"
"We will explain everything in our reports, but for now we have to return to our owners." Pinky quickly jumped in. "Lunch break's almost over and we have to be there before they get back."
Quick thinking, Pinky! Perry thought. "We'll meet back here at 0100 hrs to discuss our plans. Dismiss!"
The agents then stood up and exited the room, returning to their cubicle to resume working on their assignments. Perry, Pinky and Shelia walked down the same corridor, making plans for tonight's meeting and a way to capture the slippery dog. When they reached their destination, Perry and Pinky waved to the oher dog agent before taking the tube back to the classroom. Once there, the platypus and the chihuahua rushed back to their cages and locked their doors, just in time to see the classroom door opening. The students came in, still in their small talks since lunch breaks. However, only one had remained quiet the whole time, save for the occasional word or two prompted by his three friends.
They knew why: Django was the only one who didn't bring a pet, and seeing everyone did made the situation worse. We have to help Nicolas! Perry thought. If we do, then maybe we could reverse this and hopefully everything will go back to normal.
The class resumed though it seemed to drag on for the two pets. Now that they were out of their cages, they couldn't communicate with each other, lest they were overheard. The platypus sighed, looking out of the window to see the sky turned cloudy. School ends in three hours, and he knew it was going to be a long three hours...
Perry woke up with a start. He looked around to see students around him standing up and packing their bags. I must have dozed off, he realized. Outside, he noticed the sky was gray and rain started splattering against the windows. Phineas placed him on his table and shouldered his bag before carrying him. He walked out of the classroom with Ferb and Isabella, who was holding Pinky. He was chatting amiably until he realized someone was missing. "Come on, Django." He said, pulling him along to join them. "Let's go home together. Our sisters were probably outside waiting for us right now!" The sudden action surprised the disheartened boy but it did bring a smile to his lips as the other three laughed alongside him.
"There you guys are!" A red-haired girl called out to them. "Took you long enough!"
"Sorry, Candace." Phineas said. "Come on, let's get on the bus." However, all but one of the buses had already left with their passengers and the last one had an engine failure, so it was towed away for repairs. Left without any choice, the four children and two teenagers had to walk home themselves. Luckily for them, Ferb and Jenny always have an umbrella in case of times like this. So they left the school and walked home on foot.
On the way, Perry and Pinky listened to Phineas telling Isabella and Ferb all his ideas while the silent one jotted them down in a sketch book. "So, Django, what about you?" Phineas asked the said boy. "Do you have any ideas for us to build during the summer? Maybe we could..."
"Don't get any ideas, bub," Candace immediately spoke up, interrupting his flow. "Because if you do, you are so gonna be busted for that!"
"Actually, the Jefferson County Museum of Contemporary Art would be featuring an exhibit made by Dad," Django offered. "So I was hoping you guys would come and look at them as well."
"We would like to," Phineas replied. "Ferb, what's our schedule like?"
Ferb looked though their schedule for a while before giving a thumbs up. "Sorry Django." Isabella said. "My mom is taking me to visit Nana Shapiro at the Danville Senior Lodge then."
"That's okay." Django smiled, grateful for their time. "Thanks guys." Jenny was glad to see Django happy for the first time in many weeks. She missed the joyful boy back then...before the accident. Before Rover ran away. She looked away for a second to the path in front of them when she saw something that made her gasp. The others, including the two pets, looked at her in surprise before glancing at where her finger pointed. Django, staring wide-eyed at the dog in front of them, couldn't believe the state his dog was in. Tears began flowing out of his eyes as the dog looked up from his trance in shock.
It had been a terrible night. In the light of last night's revelations, I just couldn't help but ponder over it. Who am I? What am I? The questions kept on bouncing around my head, denying me of peaceful sleep. What was it that I had overlooked? No matter how much I tried, all I did was tossing and turning in my bed, wasting precious sleeping time. And before I knew it, it was already late morning.
Sigh. I sat up on my bed, tired eyes staring into space. It was there, I knew, somewhere. I knew I had to research further, but right now I...just didn't feel like doing it. After sipping a cup of coffee from one of the hospital's vending machine, I wandered out into the city, not caring where I ended up at.
Walking along the streets while watching the cars ran by, I tried to ignore the questions, trying to put them at the back of my mind but they kept coming out. Shut up! I told the voice asking those infuriating questions. Just shut up! Unable to handle the stress, I ran as far as I could away from my imaginary attacker. Yet no matter how far or how fast I ran, I just couldn't get rid of them. Please, go away, I begged, tears flowing down my muzzle. Please, leave me alone.
My legs were starting to tire after a while, so I stopped. Gulping in lungfull after lungfull of air, I sat down to let my sore muscles relax. Ding! My ears perked at the sudden noise and I looked up to find myself in front of the same shop that sells mirrors when I was here a few months ago. Walking up to the window, I stared at one of the mirrors and what I saw in there was...in a word, pitiful. In the mirror I saw myself, but yet it...didn't seem like me. What I saw in there was a desperate dog lost in a world that he was supposed to be familiar with but was instead lost. My eyes were red and misty, as if tired of looking for something. The face looked haggard since I last saw it then, probably because I spent more time down in my lab than running in the sun. My body had also became thinner due to my self-imposed stress and...the recent troubles I had with some fedora-wearing animals.
"Hey," A bark came out of nowhere. I turned around to see three dogs snarling at me, the biggest among them with foam dripping down from his really angry mouth. I tilted my head, trying to remember when I last saw them. "I know you. You were the one who hit me last time!"
Now I remember, they were the ones I thrashed a few months ago. "I'm in a bad mood," I said. "So please, just leave me alone."
"So not happening!" The biggest of the three roared before charging at me, the other two followed close behind. Sighing angrily, I allowed them to get a little closer, waiting for my chance. Then, the three dogs jumped at me, baring their teeth for the kill.
Now! Quickly, I rushed forward until I was directly underneath the biggest one. Spinning on my front paws, I bucked his stomach with all the force I could muster into my hind legs and made him fly a few metres back. His two lackeys could only watch as they ran past us. Not giving them a chance to turn, I quickly sped up to them and jumped, landing a fist on the one on my right, knocking him into the store window. With my body still in momentum, I jumped with my left hind leg and gave the other a roundhouse kick to the jaw. With those two stunned by my attacks and the last one clutching his stomach in pain, I instinctively took the chance to get away from there. No doubt that Animal Control would soon hear of this and come to clear up the mess.
Just as I predicted, Animal Control arrived in about fifteen minutes since I left the mirror shop. And like before, I wandered aimlessly around town once more. Soon the sky turned gray and rain started to fall. Looking up, I wondered if the weather was also mocking me of my failure. At first, it was that mirror, now this. The fates must really hate me to prolong my misery. And once more, the questions came back. I clutched my head and moaned, trying to get them out of my head.
Like a bolt out of the blue, I heard footsteps amid the rain and a familiar voice spoke up. "Rover..." I looked up and saw the boy from which everything began. "Django..."
3rd Person POV:
The boy and the dog stared into each other's eyes, each not believing who was in front of them. "Rover..." Django spoke his name once more, tears in his eyes once more amid the raindrops splashing against his face. How much he wanted to see his dog again, to scratch his favourite spot, to hug and cuddle in his warm fur once more...the list just go on and on. He reached out his hand and began walking out from the protection of the umbrella, making noisy splashes in the puddles.
All he wanted right then was to have his friend, his best friend back with him once more and forget everything that had happened. Please, he begged, please. Nicolas saw him approaching and stepped back, his eyes showing fear. He was scared of him, he knew. But he didn't know why. "Rover, it's me." He tried once more, with every care and compassion he could muster into his words. Yet, still the dog retreated, giving a scared little whine.
Jenny watched the whole thing sadly, her heart pitied her little brother, knowing that only the return of Rover could repair the hole in his heart. But it would not be today. "Django," She tapped his shoulder. "We have to go."
"But..." Django muttered, turning to face her. "Rover, he..."
"Whatever Rover had been through, Django, was probably still too much for him." She said sagely, shaking her head. "Give him time to settle his problems, and when he is done, it is then that he is ready to come home."
Django wanted to deny it, wanted to say she was wrong and ran towards Nicolas and pick him up and hug him. Yet he knew she was right. He sighed heavily and withdrew his hand. "Alright, let's go home." He relented and the two immediately walked past Nicolas, trying not to look at him. The others, though confused, followed anyway. Nicolas stepped aside to let them walk pass and resumed strolling around aimlessly once more.
However, a few steps later, he heard Django's voice. "When you are ready to come home, my door will always be open for you." Nicolas turned around and saw Django smiling at him. "So until then, I'll always be waiting for you, my friend. Goodbye." Tears flowed down the dog's face as he heard his last word. Never had he had an urge so powerful, to run to him and be with him. His heart ached, as if he was missing his one chance to have a real family. Right now, his obsession for locating his lost memories seemed to pale as compared to this. A home, he cried, that was all I ever wanted. It was then he realized, it wasn't his identity he was looking for. It was a place, a place where he could finally belong, and that boy was giving him just that...
"WAIT!" Nicolas barked and dashed towards the boy. "STOP!" Django stopped, then slowly turned around, surprised to see the desperation behind the tired eyes. "Please," Nicolas mumbled, his tired legs gave way from carrying all the mental stress. "Please."
Django left the shelter of his sister's umbrella once more and reached out. But this time, Nicolas did not retreat. Instead, he sat there crying, allowing him to come closer. Finally, Django managed to close the gap and stroked Nicolas' head, calming him down. All around them, Jenny, Phineas, Ferb and Isabella broke into tears, for they also knew how much their pets mean to them. Even Perry, Pinky and Candace smiled at the happy reunion.
For so long he had trapped himself in his obsession and his lab, but that only gave him misery and disappointments. And the recent discovery only made it worse and almost broke him. Yet in that single moment when Django stroked him, he had never been so happy. It felt as if all his troubles were finally over. What a relief it was to him...
Wait, Nicolas thought. What am I doing?! He quickly pushed himself away from the boy and backed away, his body shaking once again. Tears sprang up in his eyes again and he looked away to hide them.
"What's wrong, boy?" Django asked, confused at the sudden rejection. How would I tell him? The dog wondered. And how would he react? He was afraid, afraid of making him cry again when he left once more.
But he didn't want to leave him, he really didn't. Yet he knew that the boy's heart was only on Rover, not him. Not Nicolas. He also knew that if this went on, then he would be stealing him from the real Rover. If Django knew the truth, then this would only break his heart even more.
No, now this wasn't a matter of just searching for his memories anymore. It's about him now. Him and Rover. He had to find the old Rover and bring him back to his rightful owner. And first step to this was to find out what really happened during the accident. But how to do that was the problem.
And he knew that if this dragged on any longer, then things would probably get even worse. And he couldn't do that to Django and Rover. He really is a nice boy, Nicolas mused, and that Rover is really lucky to have him.
Summoning the courage, the dog turned back to the boy. "I'm sorry," He promised, even though he couldn't understand what he was saying. "I'll bring Rover back to you. I promise." And with that, Nicolas ran away, back towards the hospital.
Django watched his dog ran away from him like before, but something inside him said that this time was different. "I will always be waiting for you, Rover, when you come home." With that warm thought he returned to his sister and together they went back home. The others however could only watched on in silence, for they instinctively knew that this was a private matter and it was best not to interfere. Wishing for the best for the two of them, they continued on their journey back to their homes.
I quickly reached the hospital within twenty minutes and rushed back into my lab. Locking myself in, I reflected on my encounter with Django. There were so many questions now. If who I was before was truly Rover and I did bring him back, would that mean I would not be with them as well? Would I forget everything about Nicolas just as I had forgotten about Rover?
His eyes, his warmth, I don't want to lose them. I don't want to forget them. But if I had to lose them so as to reunite a lost dog and his owner together, then I guess it would be worth it.
Finally finished with this chapter. Honestly I thought that this chapter would be about 3000 words or so but heh, oh well.
Thanks for reading.