The world isn’t split into good people and Death Eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. ~ Sirius Black
A MONTH AGO, while Phineas’ family decides to sit in on a more strictly conservative church service this time around, after being encouraged by a family friend, he could have never expected the words he was going to hear:
“Think back on your life,” a woman standing from the podium begins instructing in a harsh tone. “When was the last time you got down on your knees and spent some time with the Almighty, the Creator of the Universe?”
The congregation sits in dead silence.
“When was the last time you’ve seriously had a talk with Him? Confessed your sins to Him?”
“Heck, how often do y’all pray, huh?” No one dares to raise a hand, or move a muscle.
As the message drags on, the more Phineas would grow conscious of some unspoken guilt—until he couldn’t stand this anymore. Holding back pain and tears, he quietly excuses himself and leaves the sanctuary until the service concludes.
His family obviously takes notice, but no one says a word the entire drive home.
“Phineas, what’s wrong?” Ferb would kindly ask his stepbrother.
“N-nothing Ferb,” Phin stutters at first, and lets out a remorseful sigh. “I just feel really uncomfortable with the speech that lady just gave a few hours ago during service today, that’s all.”
But Ferb could tell Phineas was still hiding something very painful inside of him.
“I need to use the bathroom, if that’s alright with you Ferb,” Phineas spontaneously blurts out for Ferb to hear, and turns for a few seconds to face him.
“Go ahead, Phin. If you need anything, I’ll be in our bedroom,” Ferb replies with a warm grin on his face.
In contrast to his brother’s reassuring face, Phineas’ heart and soul was grieving. Grieving with pains that only God Himself could possibly understand. Trudging up the steps and flicking on a light in the upstairs bathroom, he turns on the faucet and starts to wash his face.
With every consecutive splash of water, Phineas eventually stops and stares back intently at his remorseful reflection in the mirror. His drooping sad eyes seem to tell the whole story—memories that suddenly re-emerge in his head that he had been trying to suppress all these years.
He wants to cry, but instead reaches for a towel to dry his face off, the voices trying to break his heart and crush his spirit all in the meantime…
It’s over, he quietly says to himself. I can’t go on like this anymore.
Letting out another remorseful sigh and putting his face towel down, Phineas quietly flickers off the bathroom light and paces towards the bedroom.
But before turning the handle, he shortly pauses and wonders if Ferb was already inside.
I can’t face him like this, came his initial thought, eyes lowering to the carpet he was standing on.
Can he understand how I’m feeling right now? Let alone, would he?
Phineas knew he and Ferb have shared so much of their daily lives together, ever since they were practically toddlers. But he also had an inkling of why it feels increasingly hard to suddenly face him now—because of his unwavering love, respect and devotion for Ferb.
He was also equally afraid of facing even more pain and rejection…
Sucking in his chest, Phineas slowly turns the knob on the door. “Ferb,” he calls.
“Yeah Phin?” Ferb replies, glancing up from a book he was musingly reading in bed.
“I wasn’t sure if you were in here earlier, so I hesitated a bit before coming in,” Phineas murmurs, trying to look away from Ferb, nervously reaching the back of his neck with his left arm.
“It’s fine, Phin. There was no harm in here anyways,” he gently responds and smiles.
“How are you so calm at this moment?!” Phineas suddenly starts yelling from the top of his lungs. “I mean, for as long as we’ve known each other, you’re always the quiet one. And the calmest.”
Phineas now wishes he did not just lash out at his stepbrother, and nearly slaps himself in the face for it, and lets out another painful sigh. Dammit! Why did I just yell at him?
“Phin…” Ferb now says, seeing Phineas slouch over in an almost half-dead appearance.
This is all your fault, Flynn. All your flying fault!
Infuriating with burning anger and pain, evidently, Phineas gets so pissed, he loses his stance and collapses on the floor.
“Phin!” Ferb now shouts from the top of his lungs, dropping the book that he was just reading onto the bed, and sprints over to where Phineas now lay: stone cold and passed out. Going with his first gut instinct, Ferb steadily lifts up his stepbrother in his arms, noting the morose and deeply sullen expression on Phineas’ face. Ferb wished he could do something to appeal to his brother’s broken heart, but no words could seem to describe the lamentations he was now vehemently experiencing within his own soul.
Like a loyal soldier aiding a fallen comrade, Ferb slowly and tediously carries Phineas over to his own bed, the christened SS Phineas, gently tucks him in and kisses him goodnight.
I can only imagine the turbulent storms his soul must be going through right now at this very moment, Ferb quietly contemplates to himself, sitting at the foot of his bed in silence.
True to Ferb’s thoughts, Phineas feels a steady darkness shroud his dreams:
He suddenly finds himself standing in the middle of a pitch-black forest, with not a soul in sight to whom he could holler to or call for help. Phineas clutches a wrinkled piece of paper in his hand—a sketchy drawing of Ferb he carries on his person in times of deep distress. He did not know why he was here, or why an eerie mist was shrouding his view from creatures that could be lurking within his vicinity.
His hands tremble furiously as he holds up his drawing of Ferb, and cries, wishing Ferb were here to protect him.
A lone gray wolf howls far off in the distance.
Phineas dreadfully shakes. Where am I God? he sobs, fearing as though legions of demons would jump out and try to devour him at any moment.
“You’re in Purgatory,” a voice eerily moans somewhere near Phineas’ vicinity.
“Who are you?” he calls out to the voice, quivering in fear and feeling the hairs on his neck stand up on end.
“Me?” the voice now laughs in a wicked and distorted manner. “I AM YOU,” the figure slowly appears from out of the mist, now suddenly speaking in Phineas’ own voice.
Coming face-to-face with the embodiment of his own grotesque self, Phineas cowers in sheer trepidation, arms covering his head and face, and starts to rock back and forth in a fetus position.
“No, no, this can’t be happening!” Phineas screams. “You aren’t here, devil! Go away!”
The evil Phineas laughs again. “And why would I do that, huh?” he haughtily scoffs, putting his hands on his hips and evilly smirks.
“Because you’re evil, and I’m good! That’s why! Now shoo!” Regular Phineas attempts to rebuke the grotesquely looking figure.
“And if I don’t?”
Phineas did not give an answer, still quivering and blubbering like a baby.
“Oh, and by the way, I have a little something I think you remember!” the demon tempts Phineas, now revealing Perry in his arms.
“PERRY! NO!” Phineas cries and tries to reach out for him, the demon continuing to mock regular Phineas incessantly. “YOU LET HIM GO!”
“Oops…” the demon sarcastically jeers Phineas, trying to make him reach for Perry, who is also just as fearful for his own life and safety.
“Phineas! Phineas, save me!” Perry suddenly cries out.
Aghast, he could not believe what he had just heard as clear as day. “Perry, you can talk?!”
“Well, it is your dream,” Perry gently confesses, lowering his head down solemnly a bit.
“This isn’t a mere dream, Perry. I think this is a NIGHTMARE!” Phineas shouts, still wishing he could hold Perry in his arms.
“Well, good luck bub!” the demon cackles. “You’ll have to get through me to get your Perry back!”
“I WILL GET HIM BACK! YOU JUST WAIT AND SEE! YOU DON’T DEFINE WHO I AM!” Phineas boldly stands up for himself now for the very first time, and prepares to face down his own demon.
The hours slowly pass as Ferb sits straight up in his own bed, anxiously watching over Phineas like a hawk from across the room. He figured the only way to comfort his brother was to first let him rest.
He did seem like he had a very stressful moment this morning in church, Ferb would ponder to himself as he takes a break from reading his book.
“I just hope he’s okay,” he now mutters under his own breath.
Phineas momentarily shifts his body in Ferb’s direction, indicating he’s in NREM sleep.
Hope he didn’t just hear me, Ferb thinks aloud to himself again, nervously biting his lower lip.
The hours tick by into the late afternoon, shortly before dinnertime.
Phineas invariably wakes up from his nap with loud, irritable coughing.
“Need some water, Phin? Or tea? I’ll be happy to brew you a cup of Earl Grey,” Ferb gladly exclaims, greeting his companion awake to another warm smile, now sitting next to him.
“Tea sounds soothing, Ferb. Thanks,” Phineas sleepily replies, rubbing his eyes in slow and sluggish circles.
“How long was I out?” noticing he was already tucked into bed.
“About four hours,” Ferb replies. “You passed out after throwing that fit of rage at me earlier,” he now says in a melancholy voice.
“Right…look,” Phineas tries to start giving his explanation, and briefly sighs.
“I want to apologize about why I was so pissed off earlier,” Phineas starts confessing solemnly, breathing slowly, eyes lowering to the blankets covering his lower torso. “Several points that lady made in church today made me really irritable.”
“I know Phin, I know,” Ferb listens attentively, nodding with understanding and compassion.
“I’ll have Dad brew you some tea for your throat, alright Phin?” Ferb kindly offers Phineas, now standing up, walking over to the nightstand, and placing a hand on Phineas’ to show his courtesy. “Be right back!”
With Ferb barging out the door to find Lawrence, Phineas lethargically sinks back into bed with a soft groan. God, I feel awful.
How am I supposed to tell him? He still ponders over this haunting thought meticulously.
“If only Perry were here,” Phin now softly mutters, eyes now glancing toward the door.
Phineas often did not experience hangovers, due to his overly optimistic resilience and ambitions, but on days like this, nothing felt more regenerating than snuggling up under the covers and forgetting about the world for just a day.
Perry was his other comfort companion—or in this case, comfort pet.
As years of memories come sweeping back into Phineas’ mind, he starts to hold back tears again. He really wanted to snuggle with his Perry in his time of need.
Choosing to not dwell on his melancholic thoughts any longer, Phineas groaningly rotates himself to turn off the light on the nightstand and closes his eyes yet again, still with a lingering ill feeling in his stomach.
Downstairs, Ferb maneuvers his way into the kitchen, where he and Lawrence offer to brew up a steaming cup of Earl Grey and set aside a plate of crumpets for Phineas.
“Phin not feeling well, eh son?” Ferb’s dad now sadly inquires the green-haired lad.
“No Dad, not at all,” Ferb could only reply, downtrodden.
“He was about to apologize to me, but I excused myself because I figured he better have this tea for his throat first.” Lawrence nods affirmatively.
“Go easy on him then Ferb, my son,” he says with a warm look in his eyes. The assuring, fatherly kind of look.
“I will Dad. Of course,” Ferb vows as he embraces his biological father for a mere minute before taking the tea and crumpets up to the bedroom.
Phineas lay shivering and whimpering under the covers, praying that his ill feelings and remorse would go away. But the more he shivered, the colder his body seemed to feel, as though he was entering a state of hypothermia.
“Please God…” he finally utters a faint, weak cry. “Forgive me.”
As tears began to silently stream down his face, he hears a voice echo in the silence.
“Phineas…” It was his biological father Francis.
“What’s wrong, my boy?” the older redheaded man would now ask, placing a hand on Phineas’ shoulder.
Phineas dared to not look at his father, for fear of ostracization and judgment, but only continued crying.
“Dad,” he sniffles. “Dad, I—”
“I can’t look at you, Dad.”
“But why not, Phin?” he asks worriedly.
“Because—because I have a secret I dare not tell anyone, not even you,” Phineas depressingly answers, his body facing away from Francis.
“Phin,” Francis now replies, embracing his son. “I understand if you miss me. I can feel it in my spirit. You visualize me being physically there in the room with you when no one else can understand the pains you are feeling, or the tears you are crying.”
“So promise me you won’t judge me when I confess this then, Dad. Please,” Phin suddenly asserts, turning to look at his dad’s face, tears still lingering in his eyes.
“I promise,” Francis reassures his son.
With a lump in his throat, Phineas admits, “I have affections for Ferb, deep, deep affections for him.”
“As your brother?” Francis asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Maybe more than that, Dad. As a boyfriend. It’s really hard to explain,” Phineas finishes saying, crestfallen, his voice lowering and trailing off.
“And do you have feelings for Isabella?”
“At this point, just as a friend,” he mutters.
“Like the ‘I got your back’ kind of friend?” Francis tries to humor with his son.
“Well, yes, but I haven’t developed deep romantic feelings for her yet,” Phineas shyly admits.
“You feel like you’re obligated to fall in love with her, huh?” Francis asks bluntly.
“In time, yes,” Phineas admits. “But I’m much closer to Ferb right now.”
“Because he’s always there for you?”
“Yes Dad, yes.” Phineas emphasizes, letting out a sigh.
“I’ve always heard it’s a sin in the Bible to love another male as a romantic partner, but after you left, and he and his father joined our family, I’ve grown to be very fond of him.”
“Well, I have seen how you two connect, if that’s what you’re referring to, son.” Francis answers with a disarming smile.
“He’s the brother I always have wanted to ask for, Dad.” Phin now starts to look up and smile at his father as well. “All I ask is that you love me, hold me, and bless me.”
“And I do, son.” He re-embraces Phineas tightly. “I do.” Phineas begins crying tears of relief this time.
“Just remember that I will ALWAYS LOVE YOU, no matter what you choose to be in life, Phin. Never stop smiling, and never stop loving others as you love yourself.”
“Thank you, Dad.” Phin now says with a smile spreading across his face.
“Phin, you alright?” Ferb now asks, knocking on their bedroom door. “May I come in?”
“Ferb? Ferb, is that you?” Phineas asks, still in confusion over the dream with his father he just had.
“Yeah Phin, it’s me,” he warmly replies. “I’ve brought you a steaming glass of Earl Grey tea and crumpets for you to enjoy.”
“Set them on the nightstand for now,” Phin answers, clearing his throat.
“You seem calmer now. Everything okay?” Ferb asks inquisitively, and takes a seat next to his brother on the bed.
Phineas still wouldn’t dare make direct eye contact with his brother, but gazed coldly down at his hands clasped between his legs.
“I just woke up from a dream,” he starts to say.
“Like the one you were having a few hours ago?”
“Well yes, except this one was more peaceful, and reconciling.”
“Reconciling?” Ferb almost recoils at hearing the word.
“I just had a vision about seeing my dad again, and I told him something—” Phineas stops talking abruptly, to gaze into Ferb’s deep ocean-blue eyes, nearly as saturated as his own.
“Something about—?” Ferb asks, puzzled.
“I think I love you Ferb,” Phineas chokes up, and steadily throws his arms around his protective stepbrother. “I’ve been trying to make sense of this for so long,” he continues sobbing.
“Please forgive me…”
“Phineas,” Ferb utters in response. “Phineas…”
But Phin could not let go of Ferb just yet, his one true brother and dear friend.
“Phineas, it’s okay mate,” Ferb soothes his brother, patting and rubbing him gently on the back.
“I love you bro,” he utters in between his tears.
“I know bro, I know.” Ferb says, now a mellow and solemn expression also casting over his face as well.
When there were no more tears left to cry, Phineas could finally break away and wipe away his sniffles and tear-stained face.
“Phineas, look at me.” For the very first time on this day, Phineas could gaze up at his brother, and start to smile a little.
“You are the bravest boy I know, you know that?” Ferb says, holding Phineas’ hands.
Phin had to chuckle at the very thought.
“Yes, yes Ferb. Very much,” as he would softly blush. “But I hope this doesn’t change the fact that we are still brothers,” Phin softly but happily sighs.
“No! No of course not, you dork!” Ferb jeers sarcastically at Phineas, also lightly chuckling too. “We will always be brothers, no matter what,” he compliments Phin with a smile.
“Awwww you!” Phin snickers and replies with a kiss on Ferb’s nose, while Ferb flicks his gently, as a sign of goodwill.
“But no sex…” Phin immediately asserts, raising a finger.
“Oh HELL NO bro!” Ferb says aloud. “Even if we were gay, I would so not be looking forward to that…” as he rolls his eyes disgustingly.
“Agreed,” Phineas replies, still smiling. “But you ARE looking pretty sexy right about now,” he compliments his British bro in a flirtatious manner.
“As do you bro,” Ferb replies, as Phin snickers and blushes again.
“So, do you wanna share some crumpets now?” Ferb raises the suggestion, eyeing the plate on the nightstand.
“That would be lovely!” Phineas laughs in his sarcastically humorous and mocking British accent.
As they both reach over to each take a crumpet in hand, they vow to stay brothers for as long as they live. “Cheers,” the boys would exclaim as they bumped their crumpets together, chewed, laughed, and smeared each other’s faces humorously.
Over the following month, Phineas and Ferb have bonded even closer still, even saying grace with the family at mealtimes, in church, and in their bedroom together. Phineas was no longer intimidated by the thought of his sins eating away at his soul, because he would remember that God, and his father Francis, are always willing to listen to whatever he had on his mind, heart and soul, and that he, his faithful brother Ferb, and their pet platypus Perry are eternally loved and unconditionally accepted by Him. Amen. O:)
And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’
~ Matthew 18:2-4 (ESV)
Phineas also pays his respects at his father’s grave on Easter Sunday.
Inspirations/Acknowledgements: Initially, when I first conceived of a concept for this fanfiction, I wanted to make Phineas a fallen angel figure, who would be left to battle the forces of evil on Earth, but later, decided it was too complicated, and refocused the story on the evil in his soul instead—ergo, what Christians call “sin.”
The opening scene where Phineas gets easily upset in the church service is in fact inspired by a real-life event that happened to me four months ago while attending church with my dear friend, Andrew Kang.
I also allude to the relationship the Biblical figures David and Jonathan have had in the Old Testament towards the end, where Phineas cries in front of Ferb, if you catch it.
Additional acknowledgements to the deviantART users from which I borrow and cite my artwork from, and to Tim Be Told, for their incredibly uplifting music.
Lastly, consider this as my open letter to all gay and bi Christian youth out there, who are struggling to reconcile their same-sex attractions with their faith, maybe even believing it’s not doable or possible, as I have once also strictly believed. If you feel or have previously felt like a church community is excommunicating you because of your newfound confessions and admissions concerning your orientation, I want you to remember: Jesus was rejected and despised on too, right before He went to the cross on Good Friday.
And yet we are still called to be His beloved children today.
To close on a humble endnote, I would like to quote Ash Beckham:
So the next time you find yourself in a pitch-black closet clutching your grenade, know we have all been there before. And you may feel so very alone, but you are not. And we know it’s hard, but we need you out here, no matter what your walls are made of.
Because I guarantee you there are others peering through the keyhole of their closets, looking for the next brave soul to bust a door open. So be that person, and show the world that we are bigger than our closets, and that a closet is no place for a person for a person to truly live.