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Story [Penguins of Madagascar] Candles (response to prompt, complete)

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by pronker, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    Title: Candles

    Author: pronker

    Era: Sometime after Adventures In Babysitting to which this is a postscript.

    Summary: Love means never having to say you're sorry, but what replaces those words?

    A/N: Written from a prompt on theforceDOTnet to honor Youngest's birthday today. Happy Birthday, darling.


    "Marlene, you've laid an egg. Fascinating."

    Kowalski calibrated his analytical equipment as the words echoed in Marlene's cave. The entire habitat hushed at the astounding news.

    Skipper scratched his neck.

    Private made goo goo eyes at the egg.

    Rico shrugged.

    Marlene exploded. "How? How can this be? It's impossible! I thought it was a little tummy upset this morning and then blammo, I made an egg." She crossed her paws and then uncrossed them. "Did that space squid do something weird when it captured me? What else could it be? Wait, is this a dream?"

    Skipper prepared to fulfill his duty as always. "I'll pinch you --- "

    "Oh no you won't. You've done enough."

    If Skipper had been an unfeathered human, everyone would have witnessed his blush. As it was, his team got terribly busy: Private cradled the egg in tender flippers, Rico crouched over it to coo in his strong brogue, and Kowalski set up a temporary lab on Marlene's bed. With his usual genius for using everyday items to uncover profound scientific principles that he later described in grandiloquent fashion, the items were a cardboard box with a round hole in its bottom and a candle. "Rico, make with the honors, if you please."

    Rico produced a flamethrower.

    "Rico! No!" Three of his teammates plus Marlene shouted at once as they sprang to place themselves between the weapon and the egg while Private whirled one hundred eighty degrees.

    "Pzzzzblblbtgpworrywartz." Rico made a big show of dialing a setting counterclockwise on the device before flourishing it. There was a fwpshpoot and the candle lit. Kowalski turned the box upside down over it. The candlelight was nearly indistinguishable from the ambient illumination in the cave.

    "Rico, douse the lamp."

    Rico seemed past the power of speech at the wonder of it all. He flicked off the stylish red bubble globe hanging over Marlene's bed. A warm glow issued from the hole in the box. In counterpoint to the serious goings on, Rico made whoowhoooooo ghost sounds from the shadows until Skipper slapped him.

    "Hold on, Kowalski, that's my egg. What are you going to do with it?" It was not Marlene who spoke into the gloom, but Skipper.

    "Not to worry, sir. I'm candling it to see development of the embryo. Your and Marlene's egg will be perfectly fine."

    Marlene swayed against Skipper. "Embryo. Egg. Development. Development into --- what?"

    Private found an appropriate term as he rocked the egg. "An otguin, I should think, righto, Skippa?"

    Only those who knew him well would discern a tremble in Skipper's voice as he steadied Marlene against his side. "Yeah." His voice grew stronger. "Yeah! Kennedy's approval rating, yeah! Do it, Kowalski!"

    Marlene's whimper got lost in the followup "I'm on it!" "Yay!" and "'Kipppaaaahfoedawin!"

    Private passed the egg to Kowalski, who balanced it over the candle to Marlene's hiss of alarm.

    Kowalski's baritone turned soft. "'Eenie, I know what I'm doing."

    "O-Okay, 'Ski."

    Kowalski tilted the broad end of the egg downwards towards the flame. He rotated the oval carefully and slowly as he bent closer and closer to it. With a grunt, he reared back to the gasps of all. "Got a little too close to the heat, that's bad for a penguin, you know. Keep calm and carry on, everyone." He stopped his observations as he turned around to squint at their tense outlines. "Sheesh, trust me, will you? When have I ever been wrong?"

    Nobody answered.

    "Scientifically wrong?"

    The cave remained quiet.

    "Morally wrong?"

    "Only that one time when you stole the computer chip from Mort's favorite toy, but it's the exception that proves the rule, mi amigo. Carry on, yourself. That's an order." There was a rustle in the semi-darkness as Marlene detached her grip from Skipper's chest. She stepped nearer the candle.

    "I want to see better."

    Kowalski's grin was in his voice. "Gather round me, little mother."

    Marlene raised a paw to poke Kowalski, then thought better of it. "Oh you kidder. Come on, I'm ready to look now."

    Skipper sat on the bed to the right side of the box and Marlene took a seat on the left. Kowalski bent once more over the box while Rico and Private allowed him elbow room as they stood closer, too.

    "Look, here's a network of blood vessels spreading inside. There, above the clear bottom half of the egg, see it, all of you? That clear part is the air sac. And the embryo is, is --- "

    He froze.

    "Byrd's bunions, don't keep us hanging! Report!"

    "The eyes," said Kowalski. "The eyes. They're in the darker top half of the egg. I'm certain of it."

    Marlene leaned way over the box until her head bumped Skipper's. "Honey, do you see them?"

    "No, I don't, really. Aw, Kowalski, are you sure?"

    Kowalski regained his aplomb. "I am. I'll swear on a stack of pollack that I saw eyes, two darker spots on a dark body. This egg is developing faster than seems possible."

    "Wairzey?" Rico showed more care than he usually did when he got next to Kowalski. No shoves or elbowings aside did he try, but he was not more than a feather's thickness away from Kowalski's side as he gawked at the egg suspended between two scientific flippers.

    "My friend, take my word for it." Kowalski got down to business. He passed the egg to Rico, blew out the candle and turned on the lamp. "And it's best for the egg now if we put it back where it belongs."

    Marlene gawped. "What? Wheweeeee, talk about really impossible --- "

    "Oh come on, Marlene, you know what he means and with my security clearance, I've heard of odder things."

    "Name one."

    "I can't, for the reasons just stated."

    "Uh huh."

    Marlene made a face in the dim light that rendered her eyeroll even more effective and Skipper hurried on. "I made this happen, it was on my watch and I'll take care of it." He lifted his belly up to bare his brood pouch. "Safe and sound, stick it in there, soldier. I'm ready, willing and able for duty."

    Rico began a legal forward pass and lost the egg to Marlene as she took possession. She rolled it onto her white bib of fur as she dared anyone to take it, glaring fiercely. She didn't say "Mine!" as she tucked her head over it, although she might as well have.

    Kowalski put his flippers behind his back and rocked on his feet. Dr. Phil claimed Awareness without action is worthless; this time, he disagreed with the good doctor. "Ahem, Marlene, scientifically speaking, the males of our species take over care once the egg appears --- "

    Private applied Lunacorn philosophy, as always. He stepped towards the otter, flippers outstretched to take the egg. "Marlene, sharin' a chore makes it not a bore --- "

    Rico wisely stepped back from the sitch because he didn't like explosions, well, not of this kind. He found Marlene's guitar standing against a wall and sat down to strum it with minimal skill and the best of intentions.

    "Men, I'll handle this. Routine Four --- "

    The egg slipped from Marlene's throat to roll down her chest as she readjusted her grip. Her voice sounded on the edge of a snarl. "Which is what? Don't confuse me with your routine rumba, Skipper."

    "It's only for you that I'd leak this intel, Marlene, because of what we are to each other. Routine Four means Scout Ahead, I'll Catch Up Later." He gave a non-verbal signal that he didn't bother to identify as his team lit out. Private was the last to leave through the drainage grate, propping up the metal disk as he stood on the third rung of the ladder. He nodded encouragement to the couple, not that they noticed him.

    The disk clanged softly shut as it never had before. Marlene sat on her bed to steady her newfound posture. Head drooping over the egg, both paws supporting it, she looked from under her brows at the penguin who settled beside her.

    "I know what I'm doing, too, Skipper. Mom prepared me."

    "For an egg, Marlene?"

    The egg's ends protruded from either side of Marlene's chin and she cupped her paws around them with a muttered, "No."

    "Then it's best for the egg if Mama Nature has her way, don't you think?" Skipper showed again the special place for any of his offspring. "Our egg will be here if it isn't with Rico, Kowalski, or Private. They love it already and they love you."

    Marlene's voice rose. "I want to take care of my baby."

    "Share care or it's a bear."

    The atmosphere lightened. "A Lunacorns saying from you?"

    "It's my Mimsy's saying to my Poppop. Just because I was a hatchling in his brood pouch that night doesn't mean that I couldn't hear what went on between my folks."

    Marlene drooped. "I dreamed of this moment way before meeting you, penguin." She patted the egg. "I gave up when you and I got together-together."

    Skipper drooped, too. "And it's not the way you dreamed it, with me and not an otter. I'm sorry."

    From under the grate arose a muffled sob.

    "They didn't really leave, did they."

    "I'll court martial their insubordinate tails tomorrow. It had to have been Private's idea, he picked up way more of Manfredi's and Johnson's attitudes than I like --- "

    " --- which doesn't matter, but this does." With a sniffle and straightened spine, Marlene gave over egg custody.

    Skipper stood stock still as Marlene bent to place the egg properly.

    "Feel okay, Marlene?"

    Skipper took three steps forward and then back to the bed, his face working as he adjusted his forthright stride to a shuffle. Marlene clasped her paws and looked down at the creamy construction she and he had made. She glimpsed the tiniest bit of shell through the sheltering blubber, warm feathers and nurturing feet. It looked natural where it was, and she'd feel better when the seventh wave hits the beach after you survived the first six, as Mom would say.

    "I will. Sooner or later."

    "I love your moxie, among other qualities." Seating himself beside her, Skipper swung his feet to and fro. "I'm giving the kid a carnival ride, babe."

    "You would." Marlene found distraction in baby naming. "Private likes otguin, but I don't know, I'm thinking pengotter, what do you say?"

    Skipper pecked her cheek. "I say you're aces with me, even when you don't play with a full deck. Ow!"

    "That's on account."

    "We'll never settle up, you know."

    "I'm good with that."


    The End.

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
    Kahara and WarmNyota_SweetAyesha like this.
  2. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Game Host star 7 VIP - Game Host

    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] How vastly entertaining as Skipper and Marlene have their circle of friends "examine" the yet-to-hatch hatchling ;) Marlene and Skipper are growing /enlarging the family. :)
    Kahara and pronker like this.
  3. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Jun 29, 2004

    For how funny this was, with all your trademark gut-bursting banter, I loved how much heart was in this viggie too! Skipper and Marlene are such dears, both trying to act as Mother Nature intended even when those instincts are at odds with each other. I loved Marlene's confession that this was something she never thought she'd have, so it's even more special. [face_love] This kid is going to be spoiled rotten with it's extended family, and I would love to read more about the little one in the future. [face_batting]

    Wonderful work, as always! [face_love] =D=
  4. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Jan 28, 2007
    + WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Thanks so much for reading - the egg is off to a good start, lucky little thing. We used to raise chickens and candling remained a fun thing for a kid to watch. :)

    + Mira_Jade The two of them never thought this would be in their lives and forge through whatever they need to ... after a glitch along the way. Marlene learns to "share care," a tough lesson for some parents; Skipper has been a commander/father to his men for some time now, and thus it comes more easily to him.[face_idea] If a pengotter plot bunny bites, I'll be sure to post it here! Thanks for reading.