Arthur's Note: So I'm a month overdue with an update, but this chapter is almost as big as the other one. This is the final part of the Christmas flashback and next chapter goes back to the present day.
Also, yesterday was International Penguin Day. Nick was suppose to air the Penguins of Madagascar episode The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel, but only aired it in Canada. So now I'm watching Youtube like a hawk for someone to upload it. Nick has been delaying a bunch of PoM episodes lately. One of them is Field Tripped where they actually mention Madagascar and basically brings the whole "Alternate Universe" concept into question. Leave it to the creators to change their minds and wreck a fanfic. So for the time being let's pretend this does take place is the Madagascar proper universe and that Merry Madagacar didn't happen. I'll probably go back and make adjustments later. Anyway, enough of my rambling, on with the story!
Disclaimer: I'm six chapters in, do I still bloody need one?!
Chapter 6: Intel Report 3: A Kiss in New Fallen Snow
The penguins came back at around 10:30. Skipper told Marlene they were going to relax and then eat lunch. After lunch he would come over, at around 12:30. That gave Marlene time to plan everything out. First, she would wait until Skipper came over. She would sit him down and then claim that she forgot to get the peanut butter winky she had gotten for him. This would give her an excuse to go get Julien. She would have to keep Julien quiet by telling him that's the only way to get the present. Once they're both in the same room, she'll have them talk out their problems. Then they'll kiss and make up and everything will be sugar and rainbows.
Yeah right. What was I thinking? This is never going to work. They're both as stubborn as a pack of jackasses. She would have to continue with her plan anyway. It was too far along to go back on now. Marlene just needed to find a way to make Julien and Skipper work things out. Maybe if I lock them in until they resolve things... but my habitat doesn't exactly have a door to lock. And then there's the sewer drain. I'll just resort to drastic measures then.
Marlene walked over to the chip's habitat. She had heard them talk before on how they had some sort of dirt on Skipper. She wasn't sure what it was, but she hoped it was enough incentive for Skipper not to run away when he saw Julien. It would be her last resort. Now the only hurtle left in the plan was getting the chimps to give it to her.
"Please Mason, it's for a good cause."
"I don't care if it's a matter of national security, you're not getting the pictures."
"Aha, so that's what it is!"
"Drats, I suppose the cat's out of the bag."
Marlene had been arguing with Phil and Mason to let her borrow whatever they were blackmailing Skipper with. Right off the bat they had refused. Said something about having made a deal with Skipper never to let it see the light of day. Now she at least knew they were photos.
"Are they really that bad?"
"Well in a way they are. Not so much anymore now that Skipper and Lo-" Mason was cut off by Phil elbow jabbing him. "Oh right, I shouldn't talk about it." Marlene was confused now. Just what is Skipper keeping quiet? Phil signed something to Mason.
"Phil's right. You shouldn't have to resort to blackmail to help out Skipper. I'm sure in time he and Julien will resolve things on their own. Trying to force them to get along might make things worse." He had a point. This plan might backfire and make them fight even more. But they were already fighting more than they ever did. She had to take the chance.
"I still have to give it a try, but with a gentler approach. Their rivalry I could stand but this is just too much." A glance at the clock showed the time as 11:25. "I'll see you guys later. I need to have an early lunch and then get things ready."
"Good luck with that. You'll be playing with explosives." Explosives huh? I hope I'm as skilled as Rico then. Phil signed something to Mason. "I suppose Skipper and Julien are more like volatile chemicals. Well then I hope I have Kowalski's chemical skills too. One wrong move and everything will go boom. She left the chips and walked back home deep in thought. A gentle approach... it could work out after all.
Mort and Maurice were out in Central Park looking for King Julien and his perfect feet a present. Maurice was being grumpy about the cold, but an errand for the King was enough to keep Mort warm. So far they had found a puck thingy like from when the penguins played the game in their habitat, a red glove with a leaf on it, a penny, and an old gift card.
"Mort, can you stop humming? There's nothing to be happy about."
"But it's Julianuary. Every day is happy!" Maurice didn't seem to like that answer. He just keep looking around for a present. Mort keep looking too. Up in the tree, he spotted something.
"Hey look, it's a squirrely!" A brown squirrel was pocking his head out of a hole in the tree. "Hello squirrely!"
"Can you help us find a present?" asked Mort.
"What kind of present?"
"Apparently one that would make a penguin happy..." came Maurice's muttered response.
"What was that? You're going to have to speak up."
"Hey man, you know the layout of this park pretty well, right?" Maurice ask in a louder voice.
"So how about helping us out and telling us where we could find something for a penguin?"
"I dunno. I've never gotten something for a penguin before. Hey, did you know they live in a zoo?"
"I know, that's where we're from."
"Then what are you doing out here?"
"We're looking for a present!" Maurice shouted angrily at the squirrel.
"So why don't you go to the gift shop? I remember one being there."
"Oy..." Maurice was not happy. Mort on the other hand liked the squirrel. He was funny.
"C'mon Mort, let's head back to the zoo. We'll find King Julien's gift some other time."
"Julien? Isn't that the guy who wanted to have a fight with me?"
"So I didn't know he was a penguin."
"He's not. He's a lemur, like us."
"Oh, so that's what a lemur is. But you said you were looking for a penguin gift."
"King Julien sent us to find a gift for a penguin."
"I'm no expert in romance, but shouldn't he be finding the gift himself?"
"It's not ro- it's a Christmas present."
"You know what you should do? Go ask Antonio. He knows all sorts of things about romance."
"It's not- why do I even bother?" Mort looked over at Maurice. He was cold and tired. Mort moved closer so they could share body heat.
"Follow me, I'll take you to him." The squirrel came down the tree and started walking toward the pond. Mort waited to see what Maurice would do. Maurice stared on ahead before following the squirrel. Mort then happily followed Maurice.
Maurice and Mort followed Fred deeper into the park until they reached a pond. It had frozen over but there was a small hole in the ice near the shore. Fred stood near the edge of it before cupping his hands together and shouting down into it.
"Hey Antonio, I've got some lemurs here who need some help!"
Maurice looked down into the water below but he couldn't make out anything. He kept starting at it and soon something came to view. The water was covering up what it was, but it was getting closer.
"Here he comes. You may want to step back." Maurice took Fred's advice and stepped back with him. A few seconds later a muscular otter came out of the water and shook his fur dry.
"What is it Fred? Did I hear you say someone needed my help?"
"Yeah, these guys are looking for a present for a penguin, and since you're the romance expert, I figured you could help them out."
"A cross-species romance? Que interesante. Not to worry, I do not judge."
Maurice was getting tired of all this romance talk. This was a Christmas gift errand, not a romantic expedition. As if King Julien would ever get something romantic for Skipper.
"It's not romance! It's a Christmas present. We just want to find something nice."
"Well what does the penguin like? You have to think about what she would like."
"He. And Skipper likes fish, secrecy, military type stuff, and being bossy." Something he and King Julien share in common.
"And which one of you is giving the present?"
"That would be King Julien. He sent us out to look for something nice to give Skipper."
"That simply will not do. Any gift, be it friendship, holiday, or love must be given personally. Having someone else get it for you takes away from that."
"That's what I said. Well, kind of. Minus the fancy words and alluring accent," replied Fred.
Maurice scoffed. "Try telling that to King Julien."
"I think I will. He will only find the perfect present if he follows his own heart. Where can I find this king?"
"I know! He's at the zoo. I'll take you there." Mort happily started skipping back to the zoo. Antonio followed him while Maurice stood watching them leave.
"Don't worry, Antonio is great at helping people. When Marlene broke up with me, he helped cheer me up."
"I hope so, or else King Julien is going to make me come back out here tomorrow. My ass is frozen enough as it is."
Those two were taking forever coming back. How hard was it to find a lousy present? Julien sulked on his throne watching the time go by. The day had only gotten a few degrees warmer, but the cold wind did away with that. His tail wasn't enough to keep him warm.
"I need to have Maurice make me a sweater or something. Something that screams kingly." Another cold breeze blew forcing Julien to curl into himself. "Where are you Maurice?! I am needing you for something!"
"I'm down here Your Majesty." Julien uncurled himself and looked down over the edge of the platform. Maurice, Mort, and a strange tall otter were looking up at him. Confused, he jumped down to investigate.
"Maurice, what's with the otter?"
"I'm Antonio, the otter bachelor of Central Park." Julien looked him over before turning to Maurice.
"Maurice, I asked for a present for Skipper, not Marlene."
"He's not a present. He's here to help you look for one."
"Excellent, now all three of you can be covering more ground."
"No Tu Majestad, I am here to help you find a present on your own."
"On my own? Don't be silly you buff otter. I am king. I have people to do things for me."
"But when you're doing something for someone, you don't get someone else to do it for you. Is this penguin friend of yours not worth the trouble?"
Julien thought it over. Was Skipper really worth the trouble of the king himself going out and finding a present for? Of course he wasn't, but something in his heart told him to do it anyway.
"Okay, I will go find a present for the bossy one." A gust of wind blew by sending shivers down Julien's spine. "After Maurice is find me a sweater or something. I am freezing my lychee nuts off."
"Hey Julien, you can come over now," came Marlene's voice from the other side of the habitat. Julien had forgotten all about Marlene's invitation. She soon came into view and walked over to them.
"Come on Julien, you don't want to keep your present waiting." She smiled a bit too much, almost suspiciously. But then her smile dropped as she stood ogling something over Julien's shoulder. He turned and saw her attention was on the buff otter. He was smiling seductively and gazing back at her. Julien started feeling awkward standing there, especially since the two otters weren't saying anything.
"Um, Marlene, are you being alright?" He waved his paws in front of her to catch her attention.
"Hm? Oh, yeah. I was just admiring- I mean, wondering who your new friend was."
"I am Antonio, the otter bachelor of Central Park."
"A bachelor? Someone as handsome as you? No way." She giggled after she finished her sentence.
"Si señorita, it is hard finding other otters to associate with, especially ones as lovely as you." Marlene let out another giggle.
"Oh stop, you're making me blush."
"If you guys are going to be all mushy mushy with each other, can I go pick up my royal present?" asked Julien. Marlene snapped back to the rest of reality.
"What? No, I need you to come over and stay for a bit." She looked back at Antonio. "I have to go, but it would be nice meeting you. I'm Marlene by the way."
"It's nice to meet you Marlene. I live by the pond out in the park. Maybe you can visit me sometime."
"Yeah, that would be nice." She was making that far off look face again.
"Yes, yes, a date in the park. Focus Marlene, I want my present!" Julien started pushing Marlene to get her to move. She waved goodbye to the buff otter and finally started walking on her own.
"He's not as handsome as me, I don't know why you are liking him."
"What makes you think I like him that way?"
"You kept making drooly faces at him. They were very gross."
"What? Hey!" She punched him in the arm.
"Ow! How dare you hit the royal me!"
"Just be quiet until we reach my habitat. Your present needs absolute silence."
Julien stayed quiet nursing his hurt arm. The walk was short and soon they arrived. Marlene went in first.
"Okay, I'm back!"
Why is she saying that out loud? Is someone else here? He walked in after her and saw him sitting on the floor.
"Ring-tail?! Marlene, what's the meaning of this?!"
Skipper doesn't look happy to see me at all thought Julien bitterly.
Skipper had finished eating lunch and was watching TV with Private when Marlene came to get him. Everyone was enjoying their time off in different ways. Kowalski was in his lab working on something and Rico was busy taking care of his doll.
"I hope you didn't forget my invitation to come over Skipper."
"Of course I haven't Marlene. I was just about to head over."
"Well I came to get you just in case. We can start our chat early on the walk to my habitat."
Skipper chuckled and got up from his spot on the TV. "Let me know how the show ends Private."
"Will do Skippah."
It was still cold out, but that was to be expected in December. The wind kept dropping the temperature even further. The sky was starting to get overcast and the forecast predicted snow for the night.
"So did you guys find your presents without much trouble?"
"More or less. We had a run in with Officer X, but it wasn't anything we couldn't handle."
"Let me know when you want the presents wrapped up. I've already got a place to keep the presents."
They entered into Marlene's home and out of the cold. She had it decorated up for Christmas. A small tree with ornaments stood in one corner of the room. Stringed popcorn hung on the walls. A red Santa blanket was neatly folded by Marlene's pillow.
"It's a pretty big job guarding and keeping everyone's presents secret," said Skipper impressed.
"I do it for the joy of Christmas." Skipper watched her as she walked over the drainage hole that lead to the sewer. She taped it a few times before turning back and smiling at him. "How about a peanut butter winky?"
Before Marlene even finished saying it Skipper's mouth had already started to water.
"I'd love one. I can never resist a peanut butter winky."
"Great. Wait here while I go one from my secret stash." She left in a hurry without another word. Hm, that was odd. I guess she doesn't want to be out in the cold too long. Skipper took a seat on the floor and let his thoughts wander. Marlene sure is excited about this secret Santa exchange. I better make sure I don't mess it up. I'll just have to suck it up and try to avoid Ring-tail. It's not that hard to tolerate him. An image of Julien commanding him to bow to him flashed in his mind. Okay, maybe it is, but I'll be drunk on eggnog by then. Good thing I'm a fun drunk. An image of him and Julien singing a duet while wearing lampshades flashed into his head, followed immediately by one of Julien taking advantage of him in his drunken state. Oh great, now I'm over thinking things like Kowalski.
Unfortunately for Skipper, the image of Julien taking advantage of him was stuck in his head. They were in the back room of the Zoovenir shop and Julien was French kissing him. Skipper was more than a willing participant if his roaming flippers had anything to say. He felt himself getting a bit hard. No no no! I will not have these thoughts in my head! And I will certainly NOT be aroused by them! He forced himself to think of calming things like drills and procedures. It worked and he felt himself relax. There we go. I don't want Marlene to come back and find me sporting a hard on. That reminds me, what's taking Marlene so long?
The otter had been gone for some time now. Skipper was starting to get impatient. It shouldn't take that long to get a candy treat. He waited for awhile longer before he heard someone coming closer.
"Okay, I'm back!" Marlene came in through the entrance but Skipper didn't see her carrying any winkies. And then he walked in after her. Skipper felt his blood start to boil.
"Ring-tail?! Marlene, what's the meaning of this?!" To say Skipper was upset would be an understatement. The very last person he wanted to see had just walked in. The lemur looked sad after Skipper shouted out like that.
"I want you guys to stop fighting. You two are going to stay here and work out your differences."
What the hell is Marlene thinking? I'm not going to do anything with Ring-tail except get away from him.
"No can do Marlene. Ring-tail and I have nothing to discuss."
"If the bossy penguin doesn't want to talk, then neither do I. Now give to me my present so I can be returning to my kingdom."
"About that... I lied to get you to come here."
"There is no present? This is unacceptable! I demand a present for me at once!" He stomped his foot and folded his arms across his chest. Skipper was glaring at him from across the room. Marlene was stuck in the middle.
"Will you two please stop acting like children!"
Skipper was surprised by Marlene's angry and frustrated shout. He hadn't heard her this mad since Rhonda was her roommate.
"Skipper, you're a leader, and as a leader you know you can handle a situation one of two ways: by diplomacy, or by fighting. Do you really want to break out into a brawl at the Christmas party?!"
"Yeah, but- I would never..." He trailed off knowing Marlene was right. Tensions with Ring-tail were so high at the moment, they could easily get into another fight at any moment.
"And Julien, you say you're a party king, but what kind of party king will let an argument ruin a party?"
"One that is not being a very good one I suppose..."
"Now I know you're both guys and have a hard time talking about your feelings, but work something out so you can be friendly rivals again, or else I'll be forced to ban you both from the party."
"But, I am the life of the party! There is no party if I am not being there!"
Skipper stayed quiet, planning his options. Marlene had forced him into a corner. He had to attended that party with his men. Being banned from it would set a bad example for them. Denmark was one thing, but being banned from a Christmas party? There was also the part of him that was tired of fighting with Julien. All it did was make the last few days miserable. He had to face what happened sooner or later anyway.
"Huh?" His was brought out of his thoughts by Marlene calling his name.
"I said are you going to talk to Julien or not?"
"Yeah, I will. Could you give us some privacy though? It's a personal matter." Marlene seemed happy with the answer and walked toward the exit.
"I'll be right outside waiting for you guys to finish patching things up. And don't try escaping through the sewer drain. I made sure to glue it shut."
"Um, so what are we to be doing now?" asked Julien. He had moved closer to Skipper, but he still kept his distance. Skipper sighed preparing himself for what he was about to do.
"Listen Ring-tail, I'm sorry about what happened the other night. I shouldn't have jumped you like that."
"Well yeah, you could have been telling me you wanted to keep the k-, the you-knowing-what secret."
"Well now you know. I don't want anybody knowing about it."
"Was it really that bad?" Julien's question caught Skipper by surprise. How would he answer? Could he answer?
"I dunno, I just don't want to talk about it." He didn't fail to notice that Julien had come a little closer. "Let's just pretend it didn't happen and go on with our lives."
"So no more of the running away and ignoring me?" He sat down right next to Skipper.
"No, I won't do that anymore. Running away isn't my style." Julien smiled and wrapped an arm around him.
"I don't like you that way Julien. That was the whole point of the argument."
"What do you mean silly penguin? This is a hug of friendliness."
Skipper rolled his eyes. "Right."
"Uh, Skipper, if you could be having anything you wanted, what would it be?" Well that's an odd question. He even said my name too.
"I want to slap a hippie. They never come to the zoo and I never found one while on an outside mission."
"I am meaning anything you can use."
"Oh, well I guess I could always use another coffee mug or something." Suddenly Skipper remembered about the contract.
"Hey Julien, what would you like me to do for you?"
"Huh?" Julien didn't know what Skipper meant, and his face showed it.
"I had to cover up the real reason you agreed to the contract. I said I had agreed to do something you wanted me to do." A devious smile spread onto Julien's face. "And don't get any funny ideas! I still have a say in what I'll do or not."
"How about a card game every week? Just between the two of us."
A card game? That's all he wants? It sounds fishy but it's a reasonable excuse that the boys will believe.
"Okay, that sounds fair. How's every Saturday night sound to you?"
"It is sounding excellent. I will be seeing you this Saturday night then." Julien leaned in and gave Skipper a big hug. He wonders why the sudden contact is giving him a small blush. Stupid Ring-tail needs to learn about personal space.
Julien pulls away and smiles wide as he looks into Skipper's eyes. Skipper feels his blush intensify under Julien's gaze and he's forced to look away.
"I must be getting back to my kingdom. Mort and Maurice cannot be doing anything without me." He got up and stretched more than necessary; as if he was showing off his body to Skipper. A smile and a wink later, and he was gone. Skipper sat there trying to make sense of what had happened. He didn't have time to piece everything together before Marlene walked in.
"Julien told me you guys made up. Did you?"
"Yeah, I'm even going to play cards with him on Saturday."
"That's great! See, I knew you guys could work it out. And look." She held out a small chocolate. "I wasn't lying about the peanut butter winky."
"I've got to stop underestimating your underhandedness," Skipper said impressed. "How about we actually have that chat you used to get me here?"
"Sure, I'd be delighted."
Julien walked back to his kingdom to find the buff otter still there talking with Maurice. Good, I will need him for my genius plan.
"King Julien, you're back!" Mort came racing up to Julien with the intent of touching his feet.
"Mort! Not the feet!" He stopped short but still stared longingly at the royal feet. Julien ignored him and walked over to where the others were.
"I have found out what the bossy one is wanting!" King Julien shouted into the air with glee.
"Great, what is it?" Maurice asked from his seat.
"It is mug for the coffee drink."
"There are some in the Zoovenir shop. We can get one after closing."
"No, it has to be a special one. One that will show I am capable of the giving nice things."
"Where are we going to find a mug like that?"
"Hecks if I know. You, buff otter, you said you would help. Where can I be finding such a mug?"
"If it is human things you are after, you will have to look in the stores outside the park." The otter replied.
"I have to go all the way out there? Isn't there an easier way for me to get a mug?"
As if the Sky Spirits were listening to his request, Alice walked by with the answer on hand.
"Could you believe he was ordering Christmas presents online instead of working? And when I caught him he offered to get me a coffee mug." Julien's ears perked up at this. "Well of course I said yes. I'm not going to pass up on a free gift. But he better not be expecting one in return." She walked away as quickly as she had come, giving Julien the info he needed.
"Now we can be getting the mug from online!"
"But Your Majesty, we don't know how to use a computer."
"But you forget Maurice, we know somebodies who do."
"Why do you want to order a coffee cup?" It was a simple question. They were in Alice's office using her computer. Phil was typing while Mason was translating what Phil signed. The buff otter was keeping watch. "You don't even drink coffee."
"There's is being a very good reason for that pansy."
"Chimpanzee," Mason corrected.
"Whatever. Maurice, answer his question."
"Uh," Maurice thought for a second before coming up with something. "That's because he doesn't have a coffee mug to drink coffee from."
"That's a good one Maurice. Yes, I need a mug for the drinking of the coffee."
"Why don't you just use your smoothie glasses?"
"Because they are for smoothies. Do I have to be explaining everything to you?"
"Right." They brought up a website that specialized in coffee mugs. "Here we go, every kind of mug imaginable, and they can all be personalized."
"There is being so many choices." He scanned the page looking at all the shapes and sizes available. They also came in a variety of colors.
"There are more choices on the next page," Mason informed Julien. He clicked the link and a whole new page of mugs appeared onscreen.
"There is being more? How will I ever de-" A mug on the page caught his attention. It was cylindrically shaped white mug with an upturned handle. There was a drawing of a penguin on it. "Oh, that one is perfect!"
"The classical mug. Always tasteful and completely customizable. Perfect for gifts."
"It's like they are knowing what I am wanting. Chose that one." Phil clicked on it bringing up a window with customization options.
"So do you want to customize it or just get it like it is," asked Mason.
"Hm, can you get rid of the penguin and put 'I love slapping hippies' on it?"
"Why do you want to write that?"
"Do not question your king!"
"Okay, okay. Phil." Phil took off the penguin and clicked on the custom text option. He typed in Julien's desired phrase and hit enter. An option bubble popped up asking if he wanted to change love to a heart shape. Phil passed on the information to Mason. "It's asking if you want a heart shape instead of the word love."
"Even better! This computer thingy knows what I want!" Phil accepted the changes and made a few more of his own. He italicized 'slapping' and chose the word art for hippie that included peace signs as the dots over the I's and some flowers surrounding the word. He hit the preview button and an image of the mug showed up onscreen.
"That is perfect. Order it right now."
"Uh, King Julien, how are we going to pay for it?" Maurice asked.
"Not to worry, Phil and I know the passwords to get into the zoo's funding budget. No one will miss three dollars for a coffee mug." Phil signed something to Mason. "That's right Phil, I almost forgot shipping and handling."
"Be sure to pay for express shipping, I don't like waiting."
Julien walked back to his habitat smiling. He had found Skipper's present and it would be delivered tomorrow. Skipper was also talking to him again, and not ignoring him. They were even going to play cards together every Saturday from now on. Life was definitely good for the lemur king.
It was the day of the party and the penguins were helping Marlene get everything ready. The zoo was closed for the entire week so they didn't have to worry about anybody catching them decorating Julien's hut(1). He had volunteered to let them use it since the Zoovenir shop would be too cramped. It was surprisingly roomy on the inside. Rico and Kowalski were finishing setting up the tinsel on the walls while Marlene and Private were decorating a Christmas tree. Skipper was over by the door talking with Julien. They had been getting along better lately and Marlene was happy for that.
"Okay Private, I think we're done decorating the tree. What should we do next?"
Private looked over at Skipper, watching him smile and have a good time.
"Oh, sorry Marlene, I was just wondering if we should put up mistletoe or not."
"That would be a great idea, but we don't have any mistletoe."
"I have some. I'll go get it if you'd like."
"Yeah, definitely. It's Christmas tradition."
Private left to go get the mistletoe, passing by Skipper and Julien. Marlene saw him slow down as he passed them by. I wonder what's on Private's mind. He's been spacing out all day.
"Curse these tangled up lights!" Marlene heard Kowalski yell from the other side of the hut. Turning around she saw he was completely tangled up with the lights, Rico grinning up a storm as he placed the tree toper on his head. "You're not helping Rico."
"Well don't you look festive Kowalski." Skipper made his way over to the two. "I'll help you out of those. Marlene, could you help Julien out by explaining Christmas traditions to him?"
"Sure, just don't plug Kowalski in. I don't want him out staging our Christmas tree." As she walked away she heard Rico give a naughty chuckle.
"Well what do ya know, he does look better than the Christmas tree."
"I hope you both get coal in your stockings."
Julien was still by the door watching Skipper and Rico try to free a now lit-up Kowalski. He was wearing a purple poncho he had gotten a few days ago for the cold.
"So what do you want to know about Christmas?"
"Oh, Skipper was telling me about how stores were secretly airing Christmasy(2) commercials earlier every year to turn us into the mindless shopping zombies." Marlene frowned. Leave it to Skipper to be paranoid even about Christmas. It was at that moment that Private came back carrying mistletoe.
"Here it is Marlene, where should we put it up?"
"Hm, above the door would cause too much trouble. How about in the corner near the Christmas tree?"
"What's so special about that plant?" asked Julien. That's right, Julien doesn't know about mistletoe.
"It's called mistletoe. If two people are under it at the same time, they're suppose to kiss." Julien's face lit up after hearing that.
"And that is being a Christmasy tradition?"
"Yeah, you don't have to kiss though. It's just done for fun."
"Okay Marlene, I put it up." Private pointed to the mistletoe that now hung from the ceiling.
"How did you get it all the way up there by yourself?" Marlene had only turned her head from Private for a moment to talk to Julien and yet the penguin had managed to put up the mistletoe by himself in record time.
"With a little Christmas magic," he said smiling.
"Maybe your Christmas magic can help Kowalski and Rico." The two had somehow managed to get tied up together in a red bow. Skipper was busy fighting with the now mostly untangled lights.
"I'm afraid I'd need a Christmas miracle for that one."
The hut was packed to the brim. Christmas music played as everyone talked and socialized. The presents were placed around the Christmas tree and soon they would open them. A food and beverage table was located on one end of the hut with lots of Christmas treats. Julien stood in the middle of the hut drinking eggnog and keeping his eye out for a certain penguin. Maurice walked up to him from the crowd.
"I found him. He's talking to Marlene over by the tree. My guess is they'll start handin' out presents soon."
"Good, I want to be seeing the look on his face when he gets it." He took a sip of his drink. "You know this eggnog stuff is pretty tasty. I could get used to this non-me holiday." Soon enough it was time to hand out the presents. Julien was one of the first to get his, but he had to wait to open it until everyone got theirs. He brought the present next to his ear and shook it trying to figure out what it was. It didn't make much noise and it was light.
"Okay, everyone has their present. You can all open them now."
Julien didn't wait a second after Marlene finished talking to open his present. Inside the box was the seat cushion he wanted, but it looked old and used. He took it out to inspect it further. While it was a bit old, it had clearly been washed and smelled of wild flowers. His face had been sewed into a corner and he had to admit it was a pretty good likeness. It was also soft and that was the most important thing. His royal end deserved super comfiness.
"Okay boys, let's open them up."
Julien's attention went to the penguins after hearing Skipper's voice. I almost forgot about catching the look on his face. They had all gathered around the tree and opened their gifts after Skipper gave the command. Ignoring the others, Julien focused on Skipper as he tore the wrapping paper and opened up the box. Skipper's pleasant surprise brought a smile to Julien's lips. A flipper gently grasped the mug and lifted it up into the open.
"I...heart...slap...ping...hippies..." Skipper slowly said aloud. Ah, good. He can read what it says. Skipper suddenly raised his eyes and they made contact with Julien's. Realizing he was grinning like an idiot, he quickly turned his gaze away and pretended to be talking to his subjects.
"...Well I guess this blender will make my life a bit easier..." Maurice help up a brand new blender in his paws. Yes, now Maurice can make me smoothies again! How thoughtful of his Secret Santa.
"Feet..." Mort had a picture of King Julien's feet inside a gold frame. When did someone get a picture of my royal feet? I did not give permission to have them photographed! Mort hugged the frame close to his heart. Better that than my real royal feet, I guess.
Julien risked a look back at Skipper. He had put the coffee mug back in the packaging and was now talking with his friends. It was nice seeing him happy and content for once, his usual tough guy demeanor having been put away. It was the perfect time for Julien to initiate phase two of his plan.
"I will be talking with the bossy penguin now. You two do whatever you are wanting." He quickly left without waiting to hear their responses. Skipper was still talking with his fellow penguins when Julien walked over to them.
"Hello my penguin subjects. This is being a nice party, yes?"
"Indeed it is. I got candy, tea, and candy that tastes like tea!" Private grabbed a lollipop and stuck one in his beak. "Mmm, so good."
"I better not catch you eating all those at once," warned Skipper.
"I won't Skippah. I learned my lesson from last time." Private went back to sucking his lollipop.
"That is being nice, but I want to talk to you alone. It is a very important matter." Julien hoped Skipper wouldn't ask why. To his relief, he didn't.
"Sure. I'll be back soon men, don't get into any trouble." He looked at Rico specifically when he said it.
"Who me?" he grumbled. Skipper left with Julien without another word toward the corner of the hut. Julien casually glanced at the ceiling every few paces. The perfect spot. I hope this works. He stopped and flashed Skipper a smile.
"So what did you want to talk about Ring-tail?"
"Oh, I was wanting to ask a question. Do you think all Christmasy traditions should be followed?" He casually asked. Take the bait, take the bait.
"Of course. That's why they're traditions, they're suppose to be followed."
"So you would do it even if you didn't want to?"
"Ring-tail, part of the Christmas experience is doing stuff you don't want to do, like meeting with obnoxious family or shopping in a crowded store during a blizzard."
Julien smiled again and his tail started swishing faster. "That is good to hear."
"Is that all you wanted to talk about? Because if it is I'm going back to my team."
"There is being one more thing. We're under the toe of mistle."
"Under the what?" asked a confused Skipper. Julien pointed one of his fingers upward. Skipper tilted his head up and saw the mistletoe dangling from the ceiling. His beak dropped open for a few seconds. "You son of a hippie, you planned this, didn't you?"
"Maybe... so are you going to kiss me?" Julien lowered himself to Skipper's face level and leaned in close. The penguin put a flipper on his face.
"Not here." He grabbed Julien's hand and lead him through the crowd toward the door. The weather outside was cold, but since there wasn't any wind it wasn't so bad. Snow gently fell from the skies up above. A calm silence blanketed the zoo, save for the muffled music that was coming from the hut. Skipper let Julien go when they were at the side of hut.
"This is the last kiss you get out of me, understand? And I'm only doing it because it's a Christmas tradition."
"Then I will be making it extra special." Julien took the lead and leaned in to press his lips against Skipper's beak. The familiar tingly feeling from the first time returned. He caught Skipper by surprise like the first time too, but this time he kissed back quickly. His flippers shyly made their way onto Julien's shoulders. Taking this as a sign of encouragement, Julien brought his hands to the back of the penguin's head and deepened the kiss. The world around them was nothing but a white blur, the only thing that mattered was the moment they were sharing. The kiss didn't last long enough in Julien's opinion. They slowly pulled apart, both sporting half lidded eyes.
"Um, I think we should go back to the party... People will start wondering where we went to." Skipper looked so cute when he blushed. Julien looked up at the falling snow thanking the Sky Spirits for the kiss. Something on the edge of the hut's roof caught his attention.
"Uh, Skipper..." Julien pointed his finger up again. Skipper followed its direction and spotted the dangling mistletoe.
"You've got to be kidding me!" He glared at Julien.
"Don't look at me like that! I didn't plan dis. But since it is being there, it's your turn to kiss me." He smiled and leaned in closer again.
"No, I said that was the last kiss. You're not getting another one." Skipper crossed his flippers and turned his head to the side to emphasize the point.
"Someone is lacking in Christmasy spirit."
"It doesn't matter. Penguins can't kiss anyway." This confused Julien greatly. Hadn't they been kissing just a second ago?
"But we were just smooching and making the kissy faces..."
"Nooooo, you were kissing me. In case you haven't noticed Ring-tail, penguins don't have lips. We show affection a different way."
"They do?" Julien grew curious. "How?"
"Well, uh..." Skipper was blushing again. His eyes darted pack and forth trying not to make contact with Julien. "We sort of..."
Skipper looked up at him for a second and then took a deep breath. Julien watched him with interest. The penguin closed the distance between them and buried his beak into Julien's neck. He moved it back and forth, tickling Julien and making him laugh.
"Ahaha, what are you, ahaha, doing? That tickles."
Skipper pulled back with a frown on his face. "It's not suppose to tickle. This is how penguins kiss, by necking."
"You birds are so naughty, going straight for the neck." Julien tilted his head to the side exposing more of it. "Go ahead and 'kiss' me then."
The look on Skipper's face was priceless. He was gawking at the sight of Julien's exposed neck just begging to be pecked and licked and nuzzled. Julien could have sworn his eyes held a fraction of lust. The penguin moved his beak back onto the lemur's neck and gently started nuzzling it this time. Julien closed his eyes and enjoyed the tingles and sensations Skipper's actions were causing. A small peck from Skipper caused a short moment of pain, but then his tongue licked the area replacing it with waves of pleasure. Julien opened his eyes until they were half lidded and looked at the penguin. He was engrossed in exploring the lemur's neck, not stopping for a second even when Julien started giving out small grunts. His fur was going to be messed up for awhile and he'd probably get a hickey under it, but Julien didn't give a damn at the moment. Skipper had found an especially sensitive area and was teasing the hell out of it. Julien kept his muzzle shut trying to stifle a moan.
"Who said you could keep quiet Ring-tail? I want to hear every little thing that comes out of that cocky mouth of yours," whispered Skipper seductively by his ear, sending shivers down his spine. Julien let out a quiet low moan. "That's better, now turn your head." Julien obeyed and let Skipper explore the other side of his neck. He could feel the penguin grin every time he found another erogenous area. Julien was lightly panting now, moans becoming more frequent and his groin coming to life. They must have been quite a sight, Julien pressed up against the side of the hut, his arms around the penguin and his tail brushing his feet. When had they gotten into this position? Even Julien didn't know. He cared even less when Skipper grinded their crotches together. A throaty moan escaped him as his body craved more contact. The roughness of a beak against his muzzle snapped his eyes open. Skipper was looking up at him, his eyes fill with lust and longing. He... wants another kiss. Julien obliged and the two shared a passionate kiss under the snowfall.
BAM. "Skipper, Julien, are you guys out here?"
And then Marlene had to ruin everything. Skipper left him in milliseconds and Julien lost his balance and fell into the snow. Nothing like some snow on your privates to kill your horniness.
"Y-yeah, we're just out enjoying the snow fall, right Ring-tail?" I was enjoying our make-out session until the otter ruined it. Julien got up and removed all the snow from his fur.
"Yes yes, the snow is very pretty, like some other things..." Skipper remained quiet to his flirting. Marlene didn't notice.
"It's great you guys are getting along again. Are you coming back inside soon? You're missing a great party."
"Yeah, we were just about to come inside."
"Okay. I don't know how you two stayed our here for so long though. It's freezing." She wrapped her arms around herself trying to keep warm. "But you're right, the snow is beautiful tonight." Skipper walked up to her and led her back inside. Now alone, Julien took one last look up at the sky and noticed the mistletoe was gone.
The rest of the party had been really fun. Skipper enjoyed himself greatly. Someone had spiked the eggnog and a few of the animals ended up drunk. Fortunately Rico had a video camera and recorded Kowalski's duet with Julien singing "It's raining men" while the lemur held a penguin plushy and Kowalski sported a lampshade on his head. Are Christmas parties with drunken antics that predictable? The party ended around one in the morning and the three penguins helped a tipsy Kowalski back to HQ. The lemurs and Marlene walked along with them. Julien was making out with the stuffed toy and mumbling stuff to it. Now Skipper wasn't a religious penguin, but he was praying to the Sky Spirits that Julien wasn't a blabber mouth drunk. Soon they parted ways and went to their habitats. Everyone fell asleep quickly, except for Skipper who was still awake. His mind was on what he and Julien had done.
Why did I go that far? For Grant's(3) sake, I was practically humping him! What am I, a teenager? He rolled over trying to find a more comfortable position. What am I going to do now? Once you neck with a guy, it's kind of hard to ignore it. It wasn't that bad either... He let out a sigh. Life was so much simpler when I was married with a doll... But Lola never kissed me back like Julien does.
"Do you think you'll have a great Christmas tomorrow Skippah?" Private had asked at the party.
"I'm already having the best Christmas Private," he had said while watching Julien hug the penguin plush.
A smile found its way onto Skipper's beak. I guess I can give Ring-tail a try. It probably won't get too serious anyway. Besides, even a soldier needs some loving. Satisfied with his reasoning, Skipper closed his eyes and feel asleep not bothered by the fact he was going to pursue a relationship with another guy. Don't ask, don't tell, right?
1. Private said it was a shed in "All King No Kingdom" but it looks more like a hut.
2. Julien used to say Chrisymas, but Skipper has been teaching him to pronounce it correctly. He now calls it Christmasy because of his tendency to stick y at the end of words.
3. Ulysses S. Grant, Union General during the Civil War and 18th President of the U.S.
Looks like that mistletoe Santa gave Private worked wonders. Next chapter has the return to the present day with Julien planning a party, the penguins snooping into Julien and Skipper's private time, and Skipper doing damage control.
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