BY : pronker
Category: +M through R > Penguins of Madagascar
Dragon prints: 1604
Disclaimer: I make no profit from this fanfiction set in Dreamworks' Penguins of Madagascar franchise. I do not own its characters, basic premise or settings.

"'Bye, Momma Duck.  We'll watch the kids again as time permits, between missions."

Momma Duck had only a tenuous grasp of their schedule.  It was enough that the team did all the heavy lifting as far as defense and protection concerned her small family; in short, their relationship was on a need to know basis.  Skipper would not have been Skipper without confessing a little curiosity, though.

Skipper assumed that she avoided thinking about her lost fifth duckling because the Snakehead Trout had paid for that outrageous carnage with its life.  She had declined to taste the sushi that Rico chef'd up from its exploded remains, though.  The commander appreciated the way she included the whole team in her next remark, a sure sign of a savvy manager of disparate personalities.  He supposed raising rumbustious ducklings was not much different than leading rumbustious commandos.   "Private and you and Kowalski and uh, Rico, even, did a good job.   No missing feathers this time!" 

Aw, she was joking.  The last babysitting job they did resulted in maybe a few primaries lost and not one secondary feather, and hey, the kids weren't even flight-capable yet!  "Yeh, hee hee, good one, Missus.  Um, well, I've got things to do and Poppa Duck is likely waiting for you all ... "  Now this was fishing.  She'd never mentioned a Poppa Duck or brought him along to meet his benefactors.  He didn't even show up for Kidsmas.  This was angling for intel for no good reason other than nosiness.  Skipper gave himself a mental slap on the wrist, yet awaited her answer anyway.

This was evidently not Momma Duck's first time at the evading-a-trap rodeo.  "Nope, nobody's waiting tonight.  See you around the pond, everyone!  Come along, kids, race you home!"

Eggy edged out Samuel for the lead in the staged dash for their pond while his momma made straining faces as if she were trying her hardest to keep up.  She threw a saucy wink over her shoulder at the penguins as she trailed her power waddling foursome towards the park.  A stray breeze picked up yellow fluff lost in their shenanigans, probably from Ramona and Bradley's gorbals kiss contest.  

Kowalski squatted to the dainty baby down and rolled it into a ball between his flippers.  He dropped it as he straightened again and it drifted back to earth once more, followed by four pairs of eyes.

At this time of night after dinnertime when Alice had quit for the day, the zoo settled into post-prandial stupor at the drop of a herring.  The patter of little duckling feet faded into a deep, restful evening stillness.  From Roy's habitat came a snort and then no more sounds from any of the habitats.

More minutes of quiet than usual meant brooding at the departure of the duck family.  With a grunt, Skipper wiped tenderness off his own face and drew conclusions from surveying the various yearning expressions on the part of his team:  Kowalski's naked hunger for a baby, Private's wistful gaze accompanied by soft sighs, and Rico's impenetrable stare not at Momma Duck's cute tail waggle as usual but at her bumptious crew of ducklings.  

"Think of monster trucks, men," the commander assayed, but none of them were having it as a sugar titty this time.  "You can't always get what you want," he added in a gentler tone.

Kowalski shook himself out of his mood.  "Barry is a frog and frogs can change sex male to female."

Good redeye gravy, from which sludgy mental corner of the smartest penguin he knew had that come?  Skipper hastened to set Kowalski straight as Rico and Private headed down the hatchway.

"Penguins are not frogs, Kowalski.  Rico can never be a frog."  Add this to the short list of 'things I never thought I'd say,' thought Skipper.

"And I would never want him to be."

Kowalski got the look that Skipper had seen on Private's face, the yearning for offspring denied.  "Never?" Skipper asked softly.

"No, never.  He's perfect."  Kowalski sulled up and since now there was defense of a friend coupled with defense of the most inarticulate of their team, Skipper had better watch his step.  Having Rico as partner made Kowalski feistier in some ways; Skipper supposed it was the confidence he exuded now that he had a love who loved him back with no reservations, unlike Doris.  He decided to pursue what they were talking about before Momma Duck had swung by to collect her crew.  

"What makes you think of Private as girly, anyway?"

Kowalski floundered as if he scrolled down his mental screen for a glib reply from Dr. Phil.  "Oh, um, you know, the whole quilting and knitting and clucky over the quackers and collecting tea cozies thing --- "

"That was not my Private!  That was my Private's Uncle Nigel."  Ahah, thought Skipper, an opening.  Parry away any thrusts against his crush, despite nobody on the team knowing he had one.  On Private, innocent sweet adorable sexy --- he stopped the personal litany of Private's attractions when Kowalski looked at him in an odd way.  "Nigel collected the tea cozy doilies or whatever the hell those things are, I mean, and, by the by, I collect, too."  

There!  Even better!  Make this a way to critique the naysayer of a hobby that his commanding officer enjoyed.  Skipper warmed to his subject.  "I collect National Park souvenir thimbles, remember, and even though we've never been to Yellowstone, I shall and will fill in that last slot in my Mattel ThimbleKeeper!"  He was nearly out of breath.  "Soon!"

What the hell was up with his second now?  Kowalski got this absolutely disgusting look of knowing on his smug pan.  He even patted Skipper on the shoulder before Skipper edged out of range.  Skipper felt his brow dip low in an ominous frown that generally spooked the whillikers out of his team, but instead made Kowalski back down and off and away after a rueful shake of the head.  "My error, sir.  He's not at all a twirlabout nancy --- "

"Don't say it even once!"  Yearning for what he couldn't have followed by more yearning of the same kind followed by the defense technique of Routine Thirty-Two: Confuse And Distract managed to make Skipper unsure, which he always hated, er, strongly disliked.  And now his blood pressure shot to the ionosphere without any sort of battle sitch.  What was he doing, getting this emotional about a simple untrue phrase, and and and thimbles?  Buck Rockgut would be ashamed of him; "Regroup, Emo Boy!" he'd rasp.

Okay, Skipper, you're going overboard with the feelings, so shove them into a little ball and swallow them.  Brown Bomber sakes' alive, in another minute you'd lay Kowalski out cold.  You're better at commanding than that.  Skipper hauled in the hawser to drop anchor in a calmer lagoon.  "I mean, um, I guess I should know my own men enough to know that they're one hundred percent Antarctican male, no exceptions."

"Indeed, sir."

"Absolutely no exceptions."


"Of any kind.  Period."

"I agree, sir."

"Shut up and, and go polish something until it shines.  Do I have to give every damn order every damn time?"

"Aye.  I mean, no, sir."

One more thing needed saying.  "And he's going to learn to drink soon, too!  I'll see to it!  Then we'll find out about who can hold whose booze or lose brews, er, uh.  Oh you know what I mean, Kowalski."

"I do know what you mean, Skipper."

Skipper headed for the hatch to avoid another condescending shoulder pat.  "As you were."

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