Undertow

BY : pronker
Category: +M through R > Penguins of Madagascar
Dragon prints: 1478
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.

"Happy New Year, Marlene."

"Hey, Skipper, yeah it's only Epiphany so I can say that back at you."

Skipper indicated the beach loungey chair next to his.  "Beautiful wintry day, am I right?  Borderline perfecto!  I'll only tell you that no snow this season is a refreshing change so far."

She had to smile.  "You're in a good mood."  She sat to bask in clear noon sunlight.  "Who's home?"

"I am topside, Kowalski lurks in his lab and the boys are out teaching Roger how to throat sing.  He says it'll add to his repertorium.  It'll also let him stay underwater longer than a gator's usual half hour."

Marlene absorbed the term.  "Throat sing?  What's that?"

A gleam sparked from Skipper's soul to his eyes to hers.  "Sure you want to know?"  He patted her knee.  "It's intense."

"Yeah, well, I could use an intense something in my life."  She squeezed his flipper before brushing away his touch.

Skipper shrugged.  "You seemed a little off when splashing triple somersault dives for the kidlets at Kidsmas.  Boredom is the worst thing I hope ever happens to you."

"Dear heart, like Pinkie says, it ain't no thang.  I'll live."  She soaked in more sun in a lazy afternoon refreshingly free from school groups touring to gape at animals.  After a score of minutes, she opened her eyes to find him studying her.  "What?"

"You don't have the gollywobbles by any chance, do you, Marlene?"

"I'm feeling fairly decent, no butterflies in the stomach, thank you.  I had the usual breakfast and the usual lunch, blah blah.  I'm not unwell.  Same-o, same-o, day after d--- "

Skipper leaned over to pucker her lips with a deft touch.  "Breathe in, exhale until you can't anymore, then push up with the diaphragm to get that last bit of air out through your nose.  Get more air through the mouth.  Do it now."  He burned his will into hers as he firmed his grip.  "Now."

She had nothing better to do that afternoon.  "Hmmmmmnnnnnowhihwhihwhihowtch."

"Shouldn't hurt if you do it right, now watch me."  Skipper whistled a breath in deeply, exhaled slowly and closed his beak, diving into her eyes with a piercing stare.  The air kept coming out and coming out through his nostrils but somehow he had more air to continue making the sound that Marlene couldn't describe except as a growl.  He opened his beak to make ooohuhs and hahhahs; the noises resembled Ted grunting as he hauled his 1,500 pounds out on his habitat's shoreline.

Marlene rubbed her stomach.  "It hurts right here."

Skipper placed his flippers on top of her paws.  "Always clockwise, Ms. Otter."

"Clockwise you looking at me or me looking down at me clockwise, I don't get it --- "  The zoo clock chimed noon to emphasize the situation.

"Hush.  Your right side over to your left and then back like this, now relax."  His brawn could be tempered to the gentlest thing, she thought as the griping in her gut diminished.  She didn't want him to stop.

Skipper stopped.  "Better now?"

No, do it till the cows come home, she thought but what came out was, "Still twinging, can you keep it up a minute?"

"Seguro."  He rubbed a timeless time until he jerked back.  "Sorry!  Didn't mean to do that!"

She looked down at herself.  The massage had parted the fur over her third and fourth nipples so they perked upwards like the dimples in the meringue on a freshly baked lemon pie.  "It's nothing, Skipper.  I don't feel anything like what you might think.  But hey, it's better now so thanks."  She brushed her front smooth again.  "How're things with you and Private?"

"We're good.  Well, um, still want to learn if we start over and do it right?"  The zoo had been quiet over the holidays, no crises, nothing weird about Alice to report from Penny or herself, so could he be bored even if in a smoking hot love affair?

She nodded.  "Okay, if it doesn't hurt.  Er, it wasn't exactly my stomach but my diaphragm started to ache.  And you call this singing?"

"Phil found a documentary a long time ago on YouTube showing Inuits in a competition, mostly females of young age, which you are.  Two ladies get really up close and personal.  They like doing it."  He stood and gestured to her.  "Mason, Phil, and we penguins liked watching them do it."

She stood a foot in front of her chair while sighing, "I'm not so young, Skipper."

"Compared to what?"  He stretched left and then right, again jerking his chin at her to do likewise.

A few hardy insects wintering over buzzed on the faux floe in search of sustenance as she mirrored him.  "Oh, I don't know.  A mayfly, I guess, because having to get in a whole lifetime in one day must suck big time."

"Hmmph.  Marlene, get your game face on."  She couldn't until he knocked his forehead against hers in a softened gorbals kiss.  "Wake up, lady." 

Okay, she'd agreed to do this and she wanted to believe it would help her.  "Go for i--- " He advanced toe to toe with her, grasped her elbows and invaded her space.  She blinked as he swayed, pulling her into shifting weight along with him.  She clutched his elbows to keep balanced as she tried again.

"Hooohahhhheeehooo."

"Mmmmmhahahahasssmmm --- "

"Sssshhhllllshshshshs."

Marlene gasped, "Out of air, gotta stop --- "

"Push it out through the nose, lift up with the diaphragm, suck air into the mouth, sing along with me I believe in you and you can do this --- " and then she was.  Sure, she'd hurt later but the intensity of the session made it worthwhile.  She felt alive doing this with him, well a bit more than this morning after a restless night. 

"Dinginginginghuhhuhhuhuhup."

"Huphuphupahpapahhuphup."

"Grrrrrrrhuphuhuhuhuhuh --- "

She got into the spirit and swiveled her hips, angling him back and forth as the music poured out of the both of them.  By the time they finished their half dance, her throat ached and she needed to rest. 

Skipper's voice was raspy.  "Good job, Ms. Otter.  Another time we might pick a theme like, I don't know, the clock or something --- "

"Dingdingdingbuzzzzgetupgetupgetup?"  She matched him for hoarseness.

He smiled.  "Okay."

The sun felt warmer, the insects buzzed louder and oh look, a group of kids on holiday vacation, complete with extended family.  She croaked out, "Catch you later, Leader Man," and vanished down the hatch to check up on Kowalski.

IOIOIOIOIO

Marlene's greeting set Kowalski's nurturing instinct atwitter.  "Sore throat, Marlene?"

"Yeah, a little.  Skipper taught me throat singing."

Kowalski stopped cold from opening a brown medicinal-looking bottle with a red X on its side.  "H-He did?  My stars and garters, did you like doing it with him?"

"Sure.  He's good at whatever he does."  She eyed the bottle.  "Meds for a sore throat, huh?  Dose me, Science Guy."

Kowalski muttered to himself as he opened the bottle.  "Here, take a slug."

Marlene did.  "'S thik.  Whuzinnit?"

"Coal tar."

"Whaaaaaa?"

Kowalski looked smug.  "Coal tar produces acetaminophen, the painkiller.  This is uncut stuff without any fillers, I wouldn't give you anything to hurt you, really, Marlene, you were like whaaaaaaa --- "

Marlene swallowed five times before speaking.  "Okay now.  Ahem."

"Throat better?"

"Yeah, actually.  Thanks."  Marlene zeroed in on the reason for the visit.  "What did you need me for in the last week of Advent?"

The smug look turned smugger.  "I needed your input because I like you better than Pinkie, Shelly, or any five of the spider monkey females put together."

"That's flattering.  I think."

Kowalski led the way to the far end of his lab table and pointed down.

There are pretty, delicate pinks and there are slimy, moldy pinks with no redeeming social value.  Such was the pink of a culture in a Petri dish.  Seven gray brown discs seemed to pulse atop the pustulous bubblegum pinkness as Marlene watched.  She suppressed a shudder.

"Kowalski, are you sure this is safe to be around?  I mean, I can almost see tentacles rising from it --- "

"Marlene, the odds are 96.14 percent against tentacles forming from this culture.  It's only three weeks old.  Give it until five weeks, then you may be on to something."  The scientist replaced the cover on the dish, to Marlene's relief.  He'd sprinkled green dots onto the half of the mass of agar not covered in mold.  "Spirulina, the purest form I could find."

"Why did you ask Rico to gather anybody's spit?  This isn't going to be a hawking contest, is it, because the burping contest was bad enough to give nightmares.  Never again."

Kowalski's grin was of the type known as cheesy.  "You're important to my next major experiment, Marlene.  I am isolating the female principle for intensive study."  He turned back to the Bunsen burner.  "Flame on!" he crowed, to be considered a hip penguin.

Marlene's brow dipped as she ignored his sally.  "That's not possible."

"So they said about all world class scientists,  Copernicus, Edison, and the fellow who invented velcro.  Open your mind, 'Eenie."

The noise that Marlene made next sounded like something Rico produced after cauliflower floret snacks, but it was only a bppppbt between mobile otter lips.  "I will if you promise to keep an eye on the culture with my input in it.  I don't want to be responsible for The Attack of the Fifty Foot Otter."  Kowalski nodded primly and she sighed.  "My mind isn't my problem, 'Ski.  It's --- It's --- "

"What's the matter?  Dr. Phil says to acknowledge --- "

Marlene twiddled with a retort until Kowalski took it from her paws.  She turned the Bunsen burner petcock up and down to make his decoction bubble up until Kowalski slapped her digits and then she came back from wherever her mood had kidnapped her.  "It's taken me awhile to figure out.  I'm done flowering."

"You're a plant?  Now that is truly impossible.  I'm going out on a limb and branch out into a theory tree that, that --- ummm --- "

Marlene chuckled, which was Kowalski's aim.  "You nut.  Haw haw haw, I said nut!  But well, yes, I'm going through a reflective time and when I looked into my pond this morning, guess what I saw?"

Kowalski dug deep for what he assumed his friend needed to hear.  "A pond that reflected a charming otter with lovely waterproof fur that needs an efficient preening by someone like me who knows how."  Marlene turned to him in surprise and he quoted Dr. Phil desperately.  "One side of unhealthy relating is if you are always pursuing or always retreating."

"Oh relax, I wasn't hinting about you and me."  She patted his shoulder.  "But thanks for the compliment.  Nobody has preened me in a very long time."  She looked sideways as his eyes grew round.  "And I know that you know that I know you know what I mean by preened me."

Kowalski hemmed and hawed.  "As your fellow animal past puberty, yes I do.  I'm sor--- "

She placed her paw over his beak.  "Don't be.  It's just one of those things.  I'm done flowering, no new caves to explore, no virgin streams to fish in.  I could go on and on, but Penny said not to because I depressed her since she feels the same way when she isn't working.  She lost her sister, you know the horse who collapsed in the Park with you guys on her?  She gets down sometimes."

"Maybe you want to talk with Private about this?  He's a good listener."  Kowalski turned off the burner until he was again alone in his lab.  Hot subjects and hot emotions made him uncomfortable as hot sulfuric acid in a test tube.

Marlene drummed her digits on the work table.  "I've scalded you with my steam and that's enough venting.  Have fun with my spit, in a scientific way.  If you discover an answer about the female principle, don't keep it to yourself, 'Ski.  Tell me first."

IOIOIOIOIO



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