Phineas and Eli stared up into the sky. There were no words. No hopeful chatter. No reminiscences of home. No exchanges about the brave men theyd lost on their trek for home. No speculations as to what awaited them when they got to the plane. No voice for the doubts if the plane would come.
It had been sixteen hours since theyd arrived at the lake, and there was still no sign of any plane. Eli shifted to throw some more kindling on the weak fire. They were saving the major smokers for the plane, when it decided to come. There was no doubt in his mind that the plane wouldcome.
Phineas simply stared into the endless sky. The same sky that beckoned him as a boy to do the impossible. The same sky he and his friends had soared past on more than one occasion. Now, something in that same sky held his and Elis only chance of getting home. The man hadnt voiced it, or even wanted to think about his battered, shattered, and broken leg, yet now he could not deny that the pain was intensifying with every day. Every passing moment the agony intensified. It was almost expected that it were to get infected now, after so long being exposed to the harshness of their journey. The pain had begun to penetrate his consciousness as it had his subconscious for the past couple of weeks now. For the past week, hed had to make a conscious effort not to cry out. Even now, he strained to keep the penetrating silence.
The time continued to wear on. Silence deafened the mens ears. The water lay in front of them, mocking them. The rocks to their side were taboo to look at. Phineas clenched the tags and necklace in his hand. If nothing else, he would tell them what happened, so they wouldnt live their lives not knowing. He wondered vaguely if hed even go back home. His heart ached at the thought of not returning to the place he thought hed always belong. To his family, to his friends, to his pet, to Isabella. Every time he thought of her now, his heart wrestled with itself. While part of his heart yearned to see her once again in the flesh, there was a part that was hesitant. What if shed found happiness? What if shed moved on, just like hed asked her to? What if
she didnt want to see him anymore
A dull throb reached Phineas ears, pulling him out of his thoughts. His triangular head jerked up and swiveled around, attempting to pinpoint the direction from which the sound was coming from. As he finally found the direction from which the sound was coming, Eli began to throw in peculiar leaves. Once they touched the flames, they grew substantially. The fire snapped and twisted this way and that quite violently. The smoke that it produced smelled rancid, and flared out with such a speed that even if Phineas had the ability to move at normal speed, even he could not have avoided the wall of smoke.
But he didnt care about the lung fulls of smoke that came. He didnt notice the way his eyes stung in the face of the dry heat. Even the sudden flare of pain that shot up his leg seemed to escape his notice for a while. He helped Eli by throwing as many of the leaves as he could find with his free hand. The fire expanded, and the smoke billowed to the mercy of the thankfully calm air.
In the light, you could see it, though it wasnt meant to be seen. It was a plane made to camouflage with the nights sky. The darkness almost covered it, except for small pinpricks of red light, set on the edges of the wings. It glided through the air seemingly effortlessly. The smoke reached the height of the plane.
And the plane began to swerve away. Away from the smoke. Away from them. Their rescue was swerving away. Phineas lost all feeling, except for a low drumming in his ears. For a long while, or only a few seconds, he felt nothing but the icy cold of despair. It began to claw at him from the inside out. His hands moved on their own to add more fuel to the fire. The smoke reached out to flag the plane as it evaded the light. It swerved sharply to the right and disappeared from view.
The plane was gone.
Eli hit his knees, a smile zapped of all energy on his face. A hollow laugh escaped his throat. Hed been so surethat they would be rescued. So sure. Phineas could sympathize. He held a tight grip on the tags and necklace and brought them to his chest. He sat like that for who knows how long, allowing the pain to eat away the numbness, but relinquishing no control over his vocal cords. He stayed silent as the pain flooded through him. Silent as his vision began to blur and tunnel.
Yet the silence had a comfort to it. Phineas heard what he wanted to. He thought he heard a platoon of American soldiers surround the area. He thought he heard Eli talking to someone, and someone talking to Eli. He thought he heard a familiar voice talking to him, but he didnt want Eli to think he was crazy, do he didnt respond to it. He thought he heard this familiar voice asking him if he were okay. Cry out in shock at the state of his leg. He thought he heard someone call for a stretcher.
As Phineas blacked out, he thought it now the best time to respond to the voice. Ferb, he croaked with a smile. I missed you, bro
I missed you too, Phin, the green haired Britt smiled with wet eyes as he ran alongside the stretcher hed called for Phineas. The red head finally passed out when he was boarded onto the airplane.
His leg should be in critical condition! a voice penetrated the darkness. It was unfamiliar, so Phineas chose to ignore it for now. He was sure he was hallucinating or something. Hed done so before hed passed out. He felt like he was laying down on a bed, but he didnt feel pain. There had to be something wrong with his brain at this point. How did you repair it with such speed to such an extent?
Silence was soon followed by some murmurs. Though Phineas heard most of them express awe, othersmallervoices expressed something akin to jealousy. A creaking to his right set all of the voices into silence.
I would like to be alone with him for now, as a visitor, a voice said quietly. The red headed man recognized that voice. He struggled to find his own. Yet he could not talk before the door opened and many pairs of shoes scuffle across a floor and away from where he lay. The door clicked shut and the familiar voice heaved a sigh.
when are you going to wake up? the voice mused aloud. Phineas searched for his voice, but couldnt find it. Ferb! he wanted to shout. He wanted to give some indication to his brother, but he could not move. He could not talk. His body wasnt ready. His brother chuckled softly.
Its been a while since your service
We all thought you were dead
Candace started a small music business with Jeremy. They plan to be closed every Veterans Day. Mum and Father are still trying to move on, last I checked in with them. They werent too pleased with my joining the military hospital wing. I managed to convince them Id do much better helping others than hiding in some college dorm. They still expect a letter every week from me.
I still havent told them weve found you. You and your friend, that is. Hes already told me about everything. From the plane crash to when we touched down to pick you lads up. Its rather fascinating to hear it from him, but I still want to hear it from you
Phineas Flynn, when are you going to wake up?
am, Phineas finally managed to force the words out. A sudden clatter to his side sent a billion pictures flying through his head. The funniest probability was that the Brit had fallen out of his chair. With some extra effort, the red head opened his eyes. He scanned around for his brother, but couldnt see the familiar green head. He was about to admit to insanity when the green popped in Phineas peripheral vision. When he saw his brother, Phineas Flynn smiled for a second. Then he asked an important question that weighed heavily on his mind. Am
Am I dead?
Not bloody likely! Ferb grinned widely as he messed with Phineas hair. The red head winced from the contact, but got over it as soon as it had bothered him. He reached up a hand to swat his brothers away, but he found that he couldnt. Looking over, he saw his arm hooked up to an IV. Why didn't I notice that before? Phineas questioned mentally. Ferb followed his line of sight to the needle. The fully grown man shuddered. I still dont like those things
Phineas lost it. He could help but laugh at his brothers phobia of needles. As he continued to laugh at the hilarity of it all, Ferb regained his seat. He smiled as he watched his brother. Even after ten days, it was hard to believe that he was still alive. When the laughter subsided, Ferb mussed up his brothers hair again, just to assure himself his brother was there. Alive and on his way to recovery.
Phineas said after a few moments of silence. On his face was a small frown. Ferb sat, listening intently. You
didnt say anything about Isabella
He was referring to what hed heard before. He was glad his family was doing okay. He was happy for his sister and was already planning to visit his parents as soon as he was out of this hospital. But Ferb hadnt said one thing about Isabella.
She doesnt do much anymore, Ferb said after a few moments of silent meditation on what he should say. In truth, he hadnt seen her since the
for Phineas. And shed cried so much on that day. She
I dont see a lot of her anymore, but she hasnt left the house be. She takes care of it. Ferb had hoped the news would have perked his brother up, but it didnt.
Thats good, Phineas said, attempting to be optimistic. If she hadnt let the house go to shambles, then maybe she
Well, perhaps she
But Ferb had said he hadnt seen a lot of her
What if she
How long before I can walk? Phineas decided to ask. He looked hopefully up at his brother.
There was a pretty nasty infection, Ferb began. We had to treat that before we could re-set the legto be quite honest, Im glad you were out for that bit. You should be up in a few days, and youll need a crutch for a bit. If youre going to see Isabella
Phineas intervened quietly. Ferbs eyes widened in surprise. I have something to do first
Ah, does it have to do with Brandon, Alex, and Miguel? Ferb asked quietly. Phineas quickly looked at his brother in surprise. The pilot was afraid you werent going to wake up, so he took the tags to their families. He also told me about everything that happened
Ferb eyed his brother. He seemed to be taking the news well. So he pressed on. He told me to tell you that you would be an idiot not to at least see her again.
Phineas felt as if those words had punched him right in the gut. He said nothing for a few moments, then smiled weakly. Well, before I go and see her, Im going to make sure Alex and Brandon are off the MIA list
I want to make sure they arent forgotten
Phineas walked alongside two men hed never met before into Danville's memorial for veterans. He did his best to walk in step as he was supposed to, but the crutch on his left side made it difficult. He looked around at all the people who were there. There were only a few, and he didnt know any of them. He faced forward.
Scratch that, he didnt know most of them.
Standing in front of the MIA wall was someone he thought hed never see again. Eyes shut and hands pressed close to her face, the girl of his dreams didnt even seem to register that there were other people nearby. Phineas eyes darted to her left hand.
It was bare.
Did that mean shed moved on? Was she here to say her last good-byes? Was Eli right? Would it have been better to stay out of her life?
"Are these the men, sir?" one of the men asked. Phineas tore his eyes off of Isabella to quickly glance at the names. Alexander J. Raid and Miguel T. Seta were only a few names to the right of his own. Confirming the names with a nod, he returned his gaze to Isabella, who had finally opened her eyes. Yet she didnt see him, he was behind her.
What are you doing? Isabella asked, though it was more of a whisper. Phineas hadnt expected for her to go on the defense so fast. Her eyes practically drilled a hole into the poor worker, but he didnt seem to mind.
"We're moving this name, ma'am" the man whod confirmed with Phineas replied. He turned back to the names. It was then that Phineas realized his own name was being moved as well. He would have mentally face palmed at not realizing that were he not so focused on Isabellas answer.
"Where are you placing his name?" Isabella returned. On the outside, she was formal, but Phineas could tell that she was straining himself. The worker was just about to tell her it wasnt her concern, but then he saw Phineas, just standing behind her, staring. His hope must have shown on his facehe was never good with hiding thingsso the worker changed tactics.
"Are you family?" he asked, sending both Phineas and Isabella for a loop. Phineas waitednot too patientlyfor her answer. He was anxious. What if she said she was going to marry him? What if she said he was just a good friend? What if she said she
Isabella made a movement that surprised him. She took a long hard look at the palm of her hand before slipping something on her left ring finger. Showing the ring to the worker, she announced "I'm his fiancé".
Am. She is. . Isabella hadnt given up on him, though everyone else had presumed him dead. He didnt hear what the other worker had said, his head was spinning.
You did wait
Phineas breathed out the first thing hed said since he entered the building. Isabella froze, and he nearly went into another panic attack. But soon enough, she turned to face him.
Isabella still had those sparkling blue eyes, though they seemed a bit dimmer than Christmas. Her raven black hair still framed her face beautifully. Though paler than he remembered, she still radiated with beauty. It was his Isabella. And shed waited for him.
As if in a dream like state, she slowly reached up to him. Twice, it looked like she were going to back out, but her hand eventually made its way to his face. With his free hand, he met hers over his cheek. She was there. Shed waited.
"Your hands are colder than I remember
" he laughed softly, as if that were the most intelligent thing to say to your fiancé, whod thought you were dead for a good couple of months. Yet apparently, it was.
Before he could react, Isabella engulfed him in a sturdy hug. It almost caused him to fall over, but he soon stabilized himself and returned the gesture. He had to assure himself that she was still here. That shed waited for him.
I missed you
she whispered into his chest. Those few words sent his world straight. She had waited and missed him. She hadnt given up the hope that hed come home. He moved his head atop hers to speak more clearly.
I missed you, too
he murmured. He moved his head up, and she looked up into his eyes. Those eyes hed missed since the day that airplane had taken him to serve. Theyd gained some of their shine back. He didnt see anyone else except her. Time seemed to move slowly for the couple. They leaned in closer and closer
As they kissed, his world fell into place. He had his family, he had his brother, he had his best friend turned girlfriend turned fiancé here with him. He felt complete.
They would have continued, but there is this wonderful thing that we need to survive that loves to break up good kisses. As they drew apart to breathe, Phineas noted that the color had flooded back into Isabellas face, and a smile had taken the place of her worried expression. That smile, however, faltered for a second.
"Does this mean we get to stay together forever?" she asked. He could tell in the way she held him and the way she looked at him that she definitely didnt want him to go again. It was the same look shed unknowingly given when hed left, yet intensified.
"Do you still want to?" he returned, feeling the need to give her the option to live life without him. Though it killed him to ask, and he prayed shed say yes, he attempted to mentally prepare himself for a no. He told himself hed get over it if that were the case. Hed get over
Please say yes... Phineas wished. He didnt even realize he was rubbing her back.
Yes, Isabella's voice came out as a breath, yet the word had found its way into his anticipating ears. That word was the most joyful thing he'd heard in three months. His eyes searched hers, and he could tell the love that emanated from them. Love, joy, happiness, anticipation; all of these emotions and more. The look on her face told him something that he'd been waiting for so long to hear.
He had his life back. And the love of his life still wanted to spend it with him.
"Then yes, yes we can" Phineas answered her question properly. He watched as the news sunk in for her. Her expression, which had been tense in anticipation, melted into simple joy. That expression caused his heart to flutter. He smiled to his fiancé as he drew her into another kiss. Isabella couldn't have been happier at that moment. Her Phineas was back home. Safe. And even better, the love of her life still wanted to be a part of it. He still wanted to be with her.
The two felt such a joy that words would have done them a severe injustice.