I'm Not Scared
Summary: Halloween comes to Central Park, and the animals don't want to miss out on such an occasion, especially Marlene, who shares this very special night with a certain penguin.
Disclaimer: I do not own the Penguins of Madagascar
Hey guys! I meant to update this during Halloween, but due to some technical difficulties, the nature of which I wouldn't like to discuss, it is now going to be part of our Mass Update. So be sure to check our other stories if you want to! This is a small piece I did. If you like it, maybe I can make some more. Read, enjoy, and review!
Until then, TerraNova (Drunken Tavern Elites)
The full moon smiled at the inhabitants of the Central Park Zoo, her smile so wide and bright, it rendered all the streetlights useless. The remaining visitors left the Zoo in a hurry, with a certain zookeeper shutting the gates behind them. The Zoo was empty of any human inhabitants, only illuminated by the silver-white glow of the unusually large moon hanging overhead. Soon enough, the real inhabitants of the zoo began to stir.
Marlene grinned to herself as she jumped down the hatch that lead to the penguin's lair, but it vanished as her eyes met the rather drab interior of it. She expected to see it adequately decorated for the occasion like what she did to her home, but it was just the same: with the four penguins about their usual business and the four concrete walls yawning blandly at her. Marlene frowned, something which she always found herself doing when she met the penguins … or at least when she met a certain penguin of their number. The quartet looked up to see Marlene standing there, making her feel oddly exposed and uneasy, for she was the only one in the room who was actually wearing a costume.
"You're celebrating Halloween Marlene?" Private asked keenly, continuing to brush the hair of his Lunacorn. "Nice costume!"
"Of course." Marlene replied with a smile. "And thank you Private."
Marlene was dressed in a black long-sleeved dress with a pointy hat and a wig of dirty gray hair adorning her head, with makeup covering much of her face. Her smile grew wider when Private ran up to her and hugged her. Suddenly the door to their left burst open and Marlene inwardly groaned when she saw who strode out of it. Upon seeing her however, his eyes opened wide in surprise.
"Grandmother, what are you doing here?" Skipper asked, mildly surprised. "I thought you were in London?"
"It's me Skipper." Marlene announced as she took off her hat, her eyes narrowing in annoyance.
"Oh, it's just you Marlene." Skipper said, as if she was only worth but a second of his time. "Why are you even dressed like that?"
"Are you kidding me? I'm celebrating Halloween of course! Aren't you?"
"No, we most certainly aren't." He replied plainly.
"Well, why not? It's fun."
"It's far from that. Halloween is only celebrated by hippies and spies, and seeing as you are neither - "
Kowalski then piped up behind him: "Actually Skipper, Halloween is celebrated at the end of October Thirty-first to celebrate the traditional harvesting season of European pagans, as such - "
"Kowalski?" Skipper loudly interrupted.
"Yes Skipper?" Kowalski said, his voice dying down in embarrassment.
"Put a quarter in the Show-Off Jar." He said promptly before turning back to Marlene, leaving Kowalski fuming behind him as he heard a metallic clink on glass.
"Well that's a stupid reason!" Marlene said angrily, taking a step towards Skipper.
"No, what's stupid is the fact that people still celebrate that stupid traditional. In case you haven't noticed Marlene, we're not even from Europe, we're from the Land Down Under, and I mean Way Down Under."
"So? I'm from Asia, and I still find Halloween fun! You can't be so uptight!"
"Actually, I can sister. Besides, who would want to even bother with that when we could just discuss our next operation? In which case, I'll to throw you out, seeing as you are unauthorized personnel."
"Actually I would Skippah." Private said behind him. "Just the Trick or Treat part, so much candy, though…"
Rico and Kowalski nodded in response, and soon their eyes were soon fuzzy and their tongues hung open in longing.
"And yet another reason not to celebrate that Pagan Harvesting Ritual: candy. Sugar is not supposed to be part of our diet sister, it just makes us all hyper and delusional, and a good soldier must always be alert."
At these words, the three snapped out of their reverie and moaned loudly.
"You are unbelievable!" Marlene exclaimed exasperatedly. "What about the costumes, huh? They're fun to wear!"
"Costumes are only for fools, spies, swindlers, actors, and deceivers. It's just stupid, really, I mean, besides those reasons, why would anyone even bother wearing one? They just take up to much time, and do you know how hard it is to get glue off of these feathers?"
"Actually Skipper," Kowalski said pompously. "Costumes are worn due to the pagan beliefs that the boundaries between the so-called spirit world and the real world weaken, thus enabling - "
"Quarter. Show-off Jar. Now." Skipper snapped without even looking behind him.
"Well then." Marlene said curtly. "What about the ghosts?"
"Pffft! There are no such things as ghosts sister."
"Yeah, there are! Or maybe you're just too scared to admit there are really ghost that exist."
"In case, it hasn't hit you Marlene, but I'm not afraid of anything!" Skipper said proudly.
"Oh really?" Marlene teased, taking another step towards him, her paws behind her back.
"Yeah, really. Nothing." He said as he crossed his flippers across his chest.
"Then why don't you prove it then?" Marlene said daringly, her smirking face but a few inches away from Skipper's own.
"Alright then. What do you have in mind sister?"
"How about this," Marlene said childishly as she began to slowly circle Skipper. "If I even see a teensy, little hint of fear on your face before midnight, I win, and you take back everything you said about Halloween and start celebrating it. But if you do manage not to be afraid, then I'll do anything you ask of me for say, a week. Good enough for you, huh, Skipper?"
"Hah! You can even try by dawn and I won't even break." He said boastfully, grasping Marlene's right paw with his flipper and shaking it. "But it looks like you've got deal sister. So what makes you think you can frighten me?"
"Oh, the night is young Skip." Marlene taunted. "I've still got a few tricks up my sleeve."
"Alright then, let's get this deal underway. Oh, and when the night is over, I'll need you to clean that grimy box behind the heat exhaust."
"What took you so long sister?" Skipper asked as he caught sight of Marlene striding towards him. "I know females usually take a longer time in the john; I just didn't know it took mammals ten times longer than that. What? Did they run out of flowery, pink, scented toilet paper?"
Marlene growled at her companion's comment, before she shook her head irritatingly and just looked away from his smirking face. The animals of Central Park Zoo had the Zoo decorated for the event of course, and Marlene couldn't help but admire the various themes they used for each of their habitats. She thought it was fortunate there was a full moon, which was a decoration in itself, perhaps the centerpiece of this very night. The penguin beside her though, wasn't as amused as she was.
"They're behaving like childish mammals!" He said disdainfully en route to the chimps' habitat.
Skipper was merely following Marlene around, still very much aware of their deal, but was actually more interested in what Marlene planned to do in scaring him. He had nothing to worry about, of course.
"So how do you plan on scaring me sister?" He asked as they walked over to Mason and Phil, the former dressed as a mad scientist and the latter Frankenstein's monster. Their habitat was appropriately decorated as well to make a laboratory, with their tree painted bright silver with metal rings coiled around it to resemble a Tesla Coil.
"Oh, that's for me to know Skipper, and you to horrifically find out."
"Yeah, but seeing as guys are smarter, braver, stronger and fearless-er than girls, then I have nothing to worry about, and you'll be cleaning my sheets for a week."
"We'll see then Skipper." She said before greeting Frankenstein. "Happy Halloween Mason!"
"Yes, quite. Same as well to you Marlene, and oh what's this?" He said, amused and surprised at the sight of her companion. "You brought Skipper with you?"
"Yes Mason, you see, I'm trying to scare him on Halloween." She said with a smile on her face, turning her head slightly so she could see Skipper smiling confidently. "Well you see, he said he was fearless, so I'm trying to prove him wrong."
She turned away from Skipper, and looked directly into Mason's bemused eyes. She winked.
"Well good luck then Marlene, but more so to you Skipper." He said, raising his hand in good-bye, Phil beside him doing the same.
"Don't make me laugh chimp! Luck is for girls, losers and hippies." Skipper said confidently as they turned away to exit the chimps' lab.
"You don't seriously believe that boys are braver than girls do you?" Marlene said, peeved at his attitude.
"Of course I do. Everyone knows that girls are always the first to scream and run away from everything, from bugs and rats to bullies and running out of makeup."
Marlene growled once more at his comment, but it was soon replaced with a smile. She was confident that Mason would spread word of her plan, seeing as how gossipy chimps were and the fact that everyone in the Zoo knew Skipper disdained the thought of Halloween, and each of them wanted to crack that fearless shell of Skipper's.
"We still have a whole night ahead of us Skipper, so it still wouldn't be too late to call it off before you go running off to your grandmother?" Marlene teased, starting to walk to the lemur habitat.
She idly glanced at the clock tower, which read 9 : 45.
"You wish Marlene. You wish. There's nothing to be scared about."
They then scaled the wall and into the lemur habitat, which was oddly decorated into a very lush, rainforest. It was difficult to move along the trees, and after a few minutes of walking in the dense jungle, Marlene felt a presence near her. She tensed, and started to grow anxious, she looked beside to see Skipper using his flippers as machetes to cut pierce through the foliage. She felt the presence grow, and it felt sinister. Her hand involuntarily lashed out and wrapped itself around Skipper's flipper. Curious, he looked behind him to see Marlene worriedly looking around. He opened his beak to laugh, but then his sharpened sense caught a faint trace of movement in the nearby trees. He pondered it for a moment in his mind, but then shrugged and released Marlene's paw, and then continued to work his way through the trees. Marlene then felt the presence grow closer, and then felt the trees move around her. It was so swift, and then it died down. Marlene sighed in relief, but before she could complete it,
Marlene jumped in fright at the high pitched 'boo', and instinctively wrapping her arms around Skipper and looking around her in fright. Her heart was pounding rapidly, and she felt it was about to burst. She took a deep breath, trying to calm herself down, and she suddenly realized she was holding onto someone. She looked around to see Skipper smirking at her, his beak a few inches away from her. She then released him, and as soon as she did so, he reached behind her and grabbed something. Her eyes followed his flipper, which held the tiny Mort, whose face was obscured by a giant Tiki mask.
"Like I said: nothing to be scared about sister."
"Mort, there you are!" came a deep voice behind Marlene, who jumped back in fright.
The nearby undergrowth parted to reveal Maurice, also wearing a mask, who then promptly grabbed Mort from Skipper's flipper and placed him on the ground beside him.
"Follow me." He said, motioning with his hand.
The duo followed the aye-aye, Marlene still trying to calm down. She looked at her companion; he didn't even seem the slightest bit scared. In fact, the smirk hadn't vanished from his face. They followed Maurice to a clearing lit by torches and Monolithic Tiki Masks walling the right side. To the left was a bar, which Maurice promptly proceeded to. To the center was a bonfire, and behind it, a throne and a rack of spears. On top of the throne sat King Julien, an ornate crown carved from a pumpkin shell, a few leaves, and decorated with what looked like bones on his head.
"Well, hello ney-boh!" Julien greeted from atop his throne. "Da Sky Spirits have allowed us once again to be celebrating da Night of Terror!"
"Night of Terror? Is that your version of Halloween?" Marlene asked, approaching the throne.
"No, it is when da Sky Spirits to be legally allowing us to be scaring da peoples and looting der homes widout and spreading da terror!"
"What kind of sick Sky Spirits are these?" Skipper asked in disgust. "They're allowing you to be terrorists?"
"Correct silly penguin." Julien said, jumping down from his throne and landing next to the bonfire. He then threw a fistful of powder into it, causing the fire to rise a few more feet. Julien then started laughing maniacally.
"Let da Night of Terror BEGIN!"
"Okay then." Marlene said, cowering at the sight of the rising fire. "Happy Halloween. We'll just go…"
The duo then left, having little difficulty returning through the thick undergrowth.
"Anything else up that sleeve of yours sister?" Skipper asked sarcastically as they cleared the lemur habitat. "Or were you just too busy hiding behind me, you didn't even bother checking?"
She glanced worriedly at the clock tower, which now read 10 : 05.
"The night's not over yet Skip!" She said rather forcefully.
It was a mistake, she realized, as she caught Skipper's condescending smirk grow wider. She knew he sensed she was starting to get worried, and Marlene knew with all her heart that she was starting doubt herself, and began seeing the drawback of her plan.
They visited the Reptile House, which turned into a Horror House, with Marlene emerging shivering in fright and Skipper unfazed. Ted, Joey and Burt all tried to scare Skipper, but were all unsuccessful. The flamingo 'Harpies' all descended upon Skipper, only for themselves to be frightened when Skipper cut down half of their number, and started ripping off their costumes with ease. The Petting Zoo was pretty much a breeze, Skipper actually bursting into laughter at the sight of rabbits dressed as skeletons. The night passed by with pretty much the same sequence: Marlene cowering behind Skipper as each of the animals tried to scare the unflappable penguin, and more than one case (Bada and Bing, for instance), receiving a punch in return, courtesy of said unflappable penguin.
Now Marlene was starting to grow desperate. She decided to take a breather, and left Skipper laughing uproariously at Randy the sheep, dressed as a centaur, with the top part falling off whenever Randy tried to put it back on. She took a walk around the Reptile House, only to see it covered in toilet paper, King Julien's menacing laughter echoing in the distance. She sighed in annoyance, and dared to peek at the clock tower, which then read 11 : 45. Marlene's heart sank, slowly and agonizingly, and she started to picture herself in a maid costume, handing Skipper fish-coffee, laughing menacingly as he accepted it. She felt like she was going to cry at the thought of it, but all thoughts of it vanished when she caught sight of a small figure to her right. Tensing up in fear once more, she slowly turned to see a rather small and chubby 'ghost' walking along the edges of the Reptile House. Sensing familiarity, Marlene dashed to it, grabbed its shoulder, and turned it around. Much to her surprise, it was Private, dressed in a white sheet with two eyeholes cut out.
"Private?" She asked curiously.
"Oh, Marlene! It's just you, I thought it was Julien. It was a nightmare! He was hurling rotten eggs at us!"
"Us, what do you mean us?"
"Oh, well, don't tell Skippah, but when he left, Rico, Kowalski and I fancied we'd go on a bit of Trick-or-Treating. Look at how much candy I got!" He announced proudly, holding out a paper bag of candies from beneath his sheet. "So how's the scaring going?"
"Not well." She admitted, her voice stony. "Man, what does it take to scare that guy? I don't think he can get scared!"
Marlene then buried her face in her hands, not wanting to cry in front of Private, but unable to stop herself either.
"Listen Marlene," Private said conspiringly, edging his head closer to Marlene's. "I think I can help you."
"You can?" Marlene asked, still trying and failing to hide the fact that she was starting to cry.
"Yeah." He said, his voice dropping to a whisper
Private poked his flipper inside his paper bag, and extracted a small piece of cloth from it.
"Here," he said, handing it over to Marlene. "It's Skippah's Kryptonite."
Curious, Marlene lifted a small portion of the cloth but then sealed it immediately.
"Private, are you sure about this?"
"Yeah, I am! Listen, I don't want to betray Skippah, but I don't really like the idea of you being our maid for a week, and it's kind of getting late, and knowing Skippah, this might go on for a while."
"You're the best Private!" Marlene exclaimed, pulling Private into a hug.
"Alright then!" He whispered, parting from Marlene. "Good luck then!"
"Oh there you are Marlene! I thought you gave up and ran home crying!" Skipper jeered, still chuckling at the sight of Randy.
"Oh, I'm not yet done Skipper." Marlene said with a grin on her face. "Follow me."
Skipper then took a glance at the tower clock, and his smirk grew wider. "It's five minutes to midnight sister. Face it, you've lost! Now, I usually have my coffee at seven in the morning, six on training days!"
Marlene didn't bother paying attention, but shivered nonetheless at the thought of it. Skipper followed Marlene, realizing where she was taking him: to the Zoo's storage facility.
"The Zoo Storage?" Skipper chuckled, still curious. "Come on Marlene! There's no else left in this Zoo that can scare me! The lemurs' were pathetic, the Reptiles didn't even try, and the gorillas? Don't even get me started! Who else is left?"
"Me." Marlene said.
Skipper then narrowed his eyes in suspicion, sensing some underlying scheme in that one word. It wasn't like Marlene's normal voice, it sounded assured, confident, and mildly seductive. His smirk faltered for a moment, and then parted for a moment as Marlene grabbed him and spun him around so that he would face her. Skipper confidently scanned his surroundings, he was trapped in a corner, but it didn't matter, he decided, as he took a glance at the distant tower clock.
"It's a minute to midnight sister. What are you hoping to do?"
"Oh nothing." Marlene said teasingly, seductively as she buried a paw beneath her robes.
Skipper then felt a surge of happiness overwhelm him, the sweet sense of victory was on the verge of washing through him once again. But it soon turned to curiosity as she pulled a small piece of cloth from her robes and slowly started to advance on him.
"Marlene? What are you doing?" He said, his chuckles faltering.
"Just this." She whispered, almost lovingly.
His eyes jumped to her paws, slowly growing closer, a look of curiosity turning into a look of pure terror as she unveiled from the cloth a –
Skipper's heart started to pound rapidly, all his thoughts blurring and turning into panic. He had nowhere to go, Marlene was directly in front him, and he involuntarily backed into the corner. All his energy was focused into thinking the worst: the pin of death piercing his skin, taking his life with it. He had to run, he had to hide, but it was impossible. Marlene was directly in front him, so close. So this is how it would end, he thought helplessly. He closed his eyes in terror, dreading the worst to come, but as his heart threatened to collapse, he felt a soothing touch on the left side of his face, not of a needle, but of Marlene's paw moving along the side of his beak. He relaxed slightly, but before he could open his eyes, he felt Marlene so close to him, so close in fact, that all thoughts of terror and needles blossomed into pure ecstasy as Marlene's lips met his beak. Taken utterly by surprise, his heart slowed, his breathing evened, he opened his eyes … only to close them again as he returned her kiss. He felt a paw on his chest, the other on his face. He then heard the distant pounding of the clock tower. Midnight.
It didn't matter whether he had lost the bet, or shown true terror in front of a lady, but all he knew was that Marlene was the cure to all that. Her sweet presence turned any nightmare into the sweetest of dreams, she was the cure to all his fears. His heartbeats synchronized with the chiming of the clock; he breathed her smell into him, allowing it to fill him feeling Marlene's presence flow into him, driving away all terror. And after what felt like an hour, a day, an eternity, she parted. Their faces brushed up against each other as his feathers fluttered whenever her warm breath touched them, muttering the words in that sweet, seductive voice of hers:
"Happy Halloween Skip."