The official first chapter of "Hear My Voice"; the prologue was a very good indication of what was to come. I'm not going to say much other than; this will be the longest story in the series by far. Keep in mind that this first chapter takes place after everyone comes home and are back in Emperor Land. And I'm sad about the series being at a close…
Hear My Voice
Origins of the Infamous
The entire council of Elders was surrounding the empty area that was to be used to judge the recent crimes of a young and promising Emperor penguin. Never before had one penguin, even this young and encouraged, gotten themselves into so much trouble and aggravation by the dozens of council members who could've very well sent him away no questions asked. A very big and bulky penguin shoved another feisty, futile little Emperor penguin to the center of the area, no one was about to go easy on the youngster, seems he had gotten himself into trouble one to many times. Noah, the head of the leaders of Emperor Land, stood amiss the center of the judges, and he of them all, was sure to give the worst proclamation of them all.
"Why are all of you doing this?" Cried the penguin getting judged, "You are all blind to truth; the nation's ice that you stand upon shall fall, we need help, and I'm the one that can provide it, all we have to do is open up to the…" He was interrupted by Noah,
"Silence infidel, you have no place to speak here! I could be ignorant to who you are and who your family is, but no one shall ever do what it is you have done and get away with it without punishment! You have caused enough ruckus and chaos among us as it is, this is the final straw!" Noah yelled at the accused.
The one being screamed at by the Elders of his nation had no true intension of hurting his nation as they had said. He was being bombarded by questions, accusations, and threatening punishments as to the crime he was said to have committed. There was not a doubt in the penguin's mind that this group would somehow pay for their mistreatment of someone who was only trying to help his home and people. I guess no one else saw it the same way he did.
"For violation of the ancient ways, nearly burning our home up in the fires of hate and anguish, and for betraying the very foundation on which you were raised…I hereby sentence you to…!"
"STOP!" A voice halted Noah's thunderous yelling. The sole penguin that ceased Noah's rage, and saved the small criminal was nothing less than a relief to the adolescent one. He looked up to the penguin who had stopped Noah and a smiled stretched out across his face.
"Oh, Pa…thanks goodness. Please tell them…tell them I had no intentions of hurting Emperor Land, that they lied to me, and that I was only trying to help!" He pleaded to his father up on high.
No one could believe that a penguin like his father, a reputation like his, would lead to the creation of a son like this. The solemn father just looked down in disappointment at his boy, he was the only one who knew the truth behind what the boy was planning, and it wasn't to help the nation. He truly was plotting to make the nation fall, and all he had to defend himself was a group of words, and a few conspirators. The only sad part was, Age couldn't believe his son, not in this case, and after what he almost did, not ever again.
"I'm sorry son…" Age began, and the smiled on his son's face turned into an evil glare, "But I know better than that. There is no way that, in doing what you did, that you were trying to assist us in our struggle. The nation was on the brink of collapsing and you poured in with your attackers and tried to wipe us out. You wound up killing many of us, shattering the foundations of our home, and nearly killing yourself in the process. There is no turning back from this point Jr., you have to face what you've done, for your mother's sake, and for your sister's as well." Age concluded, but his son was quick to retaliate.
"That's a lie Pa! I never had any intentions of killing Mama, or Syrena! That happened by accident, I had nothing to do with it! I told my forces to proceed cautiously and to eliminate the threats to Emperor Society, not to take out innocent women and children!" Age's son cried out to the Elders, but Noah stepped back up and moved next to Age and spoke to Age's son.
"Your father speak the truth young one, you nearly got all of us killed. The ice we stand upon needed help and you went ahead and smashed what little resources and help we had left. But, this is also a family matter, so Pathfinder Age; I will leave the final judgment up to you. Whatever happens to this chick is in your flippers. May the Great Guin lead you down the…" But he was rudely interrupted by Age,
"The Great Guin, why would the Great Guin give me a great problem such as this to bury down on? Would the Great Guin show his mercy on a child and his family who have already endure so much? Answer me this Noah, for these reasons I believe there is no Great Guin, not anymore." He declared at Noah and the council, and then he looked back down to his son. "Junior, you are to be put to death for your attempt to sacrifice our nation to the very force we all sworn to stay away from. This is my choice, and believe me when I say…I disown you as my son." Age commanded down to the terrified little bird who used to be his son.
Age's son thrashed and pulled away screaming as two penguins dragged him away by his feet. He didn't want to believe his own father had just ordered him to be killed. Age on the other flipper had no choice, he swore to protect his home and eliminate all threats, his own chick being one of them. Age's head dropped and the area echoed with his sad song as he began to sing. (Decode-Paramore)
Before his boy was completely out of sight, Age heard him resist one last time, and he ran back into the area and looked right at Age and screamed, "I HATE YOU!" And he was pulled back away, and tears began flowing down Age's face.
How did we get here?
When I used to know you so well?
But how did we get here?
Well I think I know!
Age's face was draining its tears, and he raised his head to the sky and screamed the last line. But from across the other side of life he heard his mate scream at him, "No Age, don't!"
But he awoke with a blood curdling cry to the air above him; it had all been a dream, a nightmare. Age was panting and breathing heavily, Hayley hadn't been awakened by his scream. Age huffed, and got up and walked out of his home as he always had, and Hayley was just beginning to stir. She inhaled deeply at her sudden surroundings, and it wasn't a pleasant feeling. "Age…where are you?" She asked the empty home she was in. Then she saw the footprints leading out into the snow, and sighed. She got up, despite her belly being swollen with the egg within and waddled out to Age. "Age…" She said to him, he was facing down and was shedding tears. "You had another nightmare didn't you?" Hayley asked and walked up next to him, trying not to fall over.
Age just shook his head and chuckled softly, "I can't hide a thing from you can I?" He asked her and looked at her. She shook her head 'no' and then took his flipper in hers and asked him again,
"What was it about this time? You've had them every night since I told you I was pregnant. I'm worried about you Age, and I'm nervous for the baby too." Hayley pleaded to her love.
Age was guilty; his nightmares were scaring her ever since they all made it back safely, except Syrena. The summer came and gone, there was a wild, crazy Adelie party every night and each one was followed by a dream of horrible things from Age's subconscious. It was a time in their lives as mates that tested their bonds. Seems as if they knew that the bonds that had tested their family was only the beginning, and now they were being tested as a husband and wife.
Before Age said anything, he turned to Hayley and wrapped his flippers around her and embraced her, she returned the comfort and Age said, "I was standing in an arena, the entire council of Elders was there, and our chick was being judged for some horrible crime. It was apparently so bad that…I…I actually decided that he be put to death." Hayley heard this and pulled away and stared at him.
"You sentenced him to death? Our own chick?" She asked concerned.
"It was a dream, and whatever he did got you and Syrena killed. Yes Hayley, both of you were dead because of whatever it was that he did." Hayley was already struck enough that Age declared their chick be killed, now she was suffering that her chick had killed her.
"He got me and Syrena killed?" She began to cry, and Age came over and hugged her tight again. "How could he do that? I'm his Mama, I love him, I would never…" She couldn't finish she was crying to hard.
"Know that it must be hard to hear, it wasn't pleasant to dream at all. But I told you before my love, these dreams are occurring for a reason; this reason is still unknown to me, but it's calling out to me and I need to figure out why." Age said aloud while caressing Hayley in his flipper, she was leaning on his shoulder, and she wasn't feeling any better, that was for sure.
"I know my sweet, but this just…it just…can't go on." She said in a depressed tone. "These dreams, these visions, all of them scared me. You know the little one here, they're due any day now and I will have the hardest time laying this egg thinking that…that they'll cause all these problems."
It was the most painful moment of silence for Age, standing here, with his egg on the way, and nothing he could do to comfort or make his loving mate feel better in any way, shape, or form. "I don't know what to say Hayley. I hoped I'd never have to say this…but…maybe this one…was a mistake." Age said, his heart sinking, and almost breaking. He, of all penguins, was starting to regret having a child? This was unknown to Hayley, she didn't want to believe what she had just heard out of her mate.
"How could you say that?" She whimpered, and started crying. "We are here, where we are, everything we've been through, it's all been for love…and for family. We lost our little girl, sent her off into the unknown with some boy we barely even knew just so she could be happy. We had this one…" She said and placed her flipper on her belly, "Because we wanted to fill that void, the void of someone to love, and care for. It was sudden yes, and we didn't expect it…it took both of us by surprise…" She walked over to him, feeling calmer and not crying, and placed a flipper on his neck. "Do you remember; the morning we had this one?" Age grinned slightly and nodded his head.
"Thank you Hayley, it's all okay now. Let's let Syrena sleep, she'll need to get the rest for the trip." Hayley looked confusingly innocent.
"So then what do we do?" Age just smiled at her question.
"I have an idea." Age said as they began kissing.
It was still early in the morning, and the time they spend was only beginning. They finished kissing and rubbed each other's necks, Hayley was so soft to Age, he loved this, and they hadn't done anything like it in a long time. Hayley was also in complete bliss, "Oh Age, this is beautiful, we haven't done something like this since…since…" She blushed and felt embarrassed that the last time she recalled affection like this was right before they had Syrena.
"I know honey; it was a strange thing for me too. It was out of nowhere, and the sensations were phenomenal, but I still enjoyed every second of it, just because I got to be with you." Age smiled and continued rubbing her neck, and she returned it.
"I guess that's how it always happens, out of nowhere." Hayley said and pulled back and giggled, "Wouldn't it be really weird if the exact same thing happened to your Pa and Mama, or maybe even Erik and Bo?" She laughed out, but Age just smiled.
"Love is a crazy thing Hayley, it takes you by surprise, like the sudden winter storm, and once it's here, it's here to stay. The way I see it, all great things come out of nowhere." They were some of the truest words Age ever spoke. Hayley was loving the philosophy, and it inspired her, she felt a song coming on.
"Age…there's a song inside me because of what you just said, care to sing it with me?" She teased, knowing he'd never decline the offer to sing with her.
"Of course Hayley, remember, you're the reason I sung to begin with." They both smiled and rubbed each other's necks again, and Hayley sung out her first note. (Out of Nowhere-Joey "Age" Spyro, I know a song between them is long overdue. That, and this isn't the full song, just the chorus and a few verses)
Hayley: It was a love that
Just came out of nowhere
Deep from within the dark
I saw through the small spark
And then I touch you
For the first time
She never heard this song before, it had just came to her, as did the words, but it was still beautiful. Age jumped right into it, he couldn't wait for his turn.
Age: Love touches us only once
Hearts may move forward
But they can never move on
That's why love comes out
As short as it was, that's really as long as it needed to be. The sun was still barely scratching the horizon line, and their euphoric voices spread across the silent ice. Age held her in his flippers and caressed her; she moved her head along with it, taking in all the wonderful touches that came along with it.
"Oh Age…that feels so nice." She squeaked out, engulfed in the rubbing and the love. He just kept smiling as he ran his flippers up and down her and across her chest. Soon he was drawing his beak closer to her head and was rubbing the side of her neck with his beak. She returned the affection and soon she was growing restless. "Huh…look at us, it's almost like we're performing the mating ritual again." Age opened his eyes slowly as he noticed that she was right, rubbing, singing, and touching each other on the necks and flippers.
"Hang on…" Age said and pulled back, this made Hayley worry, "I think we are…" Age stuttered out and looked over Hayley's body and turned away. She walked up behind him, and put a flipper on his shoulder, she then nuzzled his neck from behind, and instantly was warmed up and smiling again.
"I wouldn't have a problem, not in a million years…having another chick with you." She whispered and walked in front of him. "Whether that time is now or in the future, it'll be something I'm looking forward to." She confessed and walked back up to him and wrapped her flippers around him. She fitted her head into his neck and began rubbing her head slightly. Age sighed and thought he may as well say what was on his mind.
"I do wanna have another chick someday." He said and wrapped his own flippers around Hayley, and put his chin on top of her head. "Maybe…maybe we should…" He was nervous about saying it. "Maybe we should…have them next season." Hayley grinned into Age's shoulder and he felt her shed a tear.
"Or sooner…" She said quietly, and Age closed his eyes and placed his head in front of hers, she backed off, and after they stared at one another, Age pulled her close and gave her a very warm and passionate kiss. Hayley pulled his head closer to hers, and wrapped one flipper around the back of his head. After he pulled away, he was in a state of euphoria.
"Look at us, if someone was watching, they'd say we were gonna have them right now." Age chuckled softly, and looked down. Hayley thought briefly for a moment, and then giggled like a new hatched chick.
"Are we…?" She asked quietly and her smile fading away. Age noticed that she looked like she was really asking, and it caught Age by surprise. He didn't know what to think, but she spoke to him again, and it was words he'd never thought he'd heard out of her. "When we had Syrena, I…I pretty much made you. This time though, it's your choice honey. I love you no matter what you decide, and we both already agree that we want another chick…but…" She was ready to come right out and say it. "If we are…if we are going to have it right now, then that's all up to you. What do you want?"
Age was extremely conflicted in the moments after she asked him the question. On one flipper, if they had it now, he'd be well on his way to becoming a father of two, which was to him even better than being a father of one. He also loved kids to death, and he wished he did have more or could spend more time with them. But on the other flipper, having another chick right now would cause some problems for the couple. It would make traveling to Adelie Land in the morning a little bit more difficult because of the pain she'd feel, and Syrena would have to grow up with her Mama having occasional mood swings, causing her to yell and have tantrums every so often over nothing. It might even cause Hayley to do some rash things while she was feeling depressed or had one of her really bad mood swings. It was all too much for Age, the good and the bad reasons all seemed to balance each other out. After all the consideration that he did, all he could do was look Hayley in the eyes and say,
"I…I don't know. I'm sorry…" He said with closed eyes and walked away, staring towards the ocean and waiting for her response. Hayley was strangely upset, she had no idea why, it was completely out of her control. She didn't expect to feel so sad that Age didn't want to have another chick with her in the moment. But she understood why he couldn't decide, it was a big decision, and it took two to make a decision like that.
"I'm sorry Age, I shouldn't of put you on the spot like that. This is a big deal and I…" She was cut off by him.
"I know…you want it, but I'm not sure." She started to listen, but she didn't want this is come between them. "I guess that…I guess that there's only…one way to find out." Hayley wasn't sure what he was saying.
"What…? How…?" She asked very confused by his solution to the problem. But he just turned to her with peaceful eyes and spoke in a hopeful voice.
"Lay down…" She got very big eyes at his request, but she complied and got on her back. She laid there, and watched Age come over to her side, and he knelt down to her face, and kissed her once more.
After he broke it and pulled away, she sighed and looked right at him, just before he went to kiss her again. "That's your solution? To just try, and see how it feels?" She asked, not wanting to have a chick over this.
"It's not just for me my love…" She suddenly got curious, "Every chick deserves to live. This chick that we'll have, they deserve to live too. And we as its parents have the power to give that to them, I'm not going to deny the chance at life for this one. I already love them too much…" Age declared in a very tender, fatherly voice. Hayley was in tears, and she gladly welcomed another kiss from him, and another and another until…
(Back in the present)
He was overwhelmed with regret, regret for saying that this chick was a mistake. Age had remembered everything that he had said that day and was starting to think that, if he would contradict himself in such a manner, then maybe he wasn't fit to be a father.
"Do you remember that?" Hayley asked him, snapping him back into the real world, "Do you remember what you said about him? He deserves to live, and he needs a good father to be there for him, and he'll need a strong mother too." Age nodded his head while looking straight into her eyes, " Face it Age, winter is near, all the chicks are grown up, and the eggs are due any day now, not just on me, but on everyone. Within the next few weeks everyone will have an egg on their feet and we'll be forced to part ways for the winter. So mine will come a little earlier than everyone else and will most likely hatch a few days or so before, it doesn't matter. What truly matters is that this chick has, and needs a father, are you that father?"
Age recalled everything, and she was completely right about it all. Every little penguin he knew was all grown up and had mates. Even though there was no way he could have known, he was sure that even Syrena, wherever she was with Zev, had an egg as well.
"I am…I am the father that this chick needs. I will be the father this chick needs!" Age declared and stamped his foot on the ice. "I'm so sorry, to the both of you…" He looked at her belly and placed his flipper on it, "To you for being unworthy of caring for you…" He pulled his head up and looked to Hayley, she was smiling, and so was he, "And to you for scaring you, and almost not being the mate that you needed to make it through this."
"I know you better than anyone Age, you're my mate, and you're also my lifelong love, my one and only mate. Every couple has a point in their lives together when they really have to be there for each other, all I did was help you get there, and when I lay this one, you'll be there to help me get there as well."
"You right…I wouldn't miss you laying that egg for the world. If there's ever a time you need me, I'll be there this time." Hayley closed her eyes and hugged Age with very big flippers, and Age returned it with a new found confidence that could inspire a generation. It was still a very cold night for every penguin there, but in their den, everyone was as warm as they'd ever been.
The next day had clear skies and smooth waves, and Age thought it was just like his mind, clear and smooth. As he walked he was bowed to by numerous penguins who were acknowledging that he was a Pathfinder, and he bowed back, just because he had respect for the common penguin. "Thank you…" He'd always reply to the showing of honor, but as he continued along, he noticed a chain of events. First, as he moved closer and closer to the area were the Elders and Pathfinders met, there were fewer and fewer individuals around. Second, as the day when on, less clouds were in the sky, and indication of a storm brewing in on them. And third, he hadn't heard a thing from any of his friends or family members since the day before, he looked but they weren't to be found. Age decided it was best to just shake it all off and go to the council meeting as requested by Noah and the other Elders.
He approached the entrance and when he walked in the whole court got silent, and he wasn't sure why. "Brothers, sisters, what news have you all decided on? Is Emperor Land going to stand by while we allow this threat to wash itself over us?" Age yelled to everyone, but Noah stepped down and walked over to Age.
"You are late brother, we were waiting for you, we haven't decided a thing. Come…" Noah gestured for him to take his spot next to Mumble, who to Age's relief was there at the meeting.
"Hey Pa, sorry I'm late. I had another nightmare last night." He whispered to Mumble.
"That's alright, just don't tell anyone about those dreams. You haven't told anyone right?" He reassured to his son.
"No Pa, of course not." Age told Mumble, and they both got quiet as Noah returned to his post and officially started the meeting.
"Alright, our first and foremost order of business is the new generation of chicks we are having this year. Because of the events over the past summer, we are expecting an increase in chicks than we would normally expect, this shall be an issue with our food supply. Of course, none of us are unfamiliar with food shortages, isn't that right?" And the congregation and they nodded their heads, especially Mumble. "Well then, we must find a way to solve this problem, and I'm open to any solution." After Noah was finished, Age just started laughing and stepped out to speak.
"You make it sound as if you'd accept leaving the eggs out in the snow to die. This is not an acceptable option my friends. We need to just simply find more food, enough to support us, and our children, this isn't the way of things, abandoning our young to keep ourselves alive." Age protested, but like normal, Noah always disagreed.
"A nation cannot survive on food that makes us sick! If there is any more to be found, who will the one to find it? You, and even if you did go off on your own who would go with you?" Noah questioned the thinker, Age always got himself into these predicaments at these gatherings.
"I'm not suggesting that one of us goes off and searches for a new food supply, I'm simply saying that the solution to this problem is easy to solve, but not easy to find."
"Then you've contradicted yourself, who is to go and search?" Noah kept retaliating against the Pathfinder.
"We just send out teams to look around the nearby oceans and see if we can find more schools of fish or an extra swarm of krill, need I remind you Noah that a single swarm of krill could feed an entire group females over the course of the winter with enough left over to satisfy a hungry whale for a number of weeks. Sure we may not like krill, or shrimp, but until we find more food it'll have to be settled for right? Besides, if we go fishing and don't come back with any fish can it really be called fishing? Face the facts my brothers and sisters, the time had finally come for our nation to be tested, our wills are about to be put under stress. Every little penguin we knew has grown up, they are going to have families to care for are they not?" Age thundered throughout the area, and everyone seemed convinced, but Noah was still bordering on a single question.
"I agree that we must take what we can get Pathfinder Age, I know how all of us survived on very little food over the course of the fish famine, but as I asked, who will go with you? There are many dangers out there who would find a weak penguin easy prey, you dare put friends and families on the line?" Noah wondered for just about everyone.
"I will not put anyone on the spot Noah, if they wish to come, then they shall, I will lead the team myself. Who…who among you all shall come with me, or must I go alone?" Age asked to the entire group, and to everyone's surprise, the first penguin to step up was Sic.
"I…" He declared to everyone and looked down to Age and walked down to his side. "You helped me in more ways than one my friend. Besides, I didn't find a mate this year; I've got nothing to lose." Sic winked to his friend, and then C.J. came down.
"For you Age, for saving me, I'll do anything you need me to do." C.J. bowed to Age, and it was a very high honor for a Pathfinder to bow to anyone, even another Pathfinder. And last of course, Mumble grinned and made his way down as well.
"You're my son, and this is my nation, I've done many things to help it, and I'm not about to stop now." Mumble nodded his head to Age and then looked up at Noah. "Is this enough for you brother? Are we as Pathfinders qualified to go searching for the fruits of the sea to feed our children's children?" Mumble yelled to Noah, and everyone looked at him, waiting in response. Noah then seemed like he changed the subject, but Age and Mumble knew how it connected to his answer.
"You yourself Brother Age, you are welcoming a chick into the world this season as well aren't you?" Noah precisely asked him.
"Yes Brother, I am. Hayley and I…our chick is due any day now."
"Do you love this chick? How far would you go for it?" Noah asked in retaliation to his answer.
"I love him more than I love myself, I'd go to the end of this world and the alien one to be sure that he's safe and healthy." Age stunned the group, but C.J. and Sic knew about his journeys and knew fully well what their friend was capable of.
"Him…? How do you know that your chick is a boy?" Noah asked, it was in the interest of the council that he answered, because even Mumble was wondering.
"We just know, it's a parental instinct, it's a boy, we just know it." Age stated loud and proud to Noah. Noah just nodded his head and bowed before the four of them.
"Find then, you shall go search the food in the morning, you are all dismissed." He waved to the four in the center, but Age instantly protested.
"No sir, I can't do that…"
"Why not?" Noah questioned back swiftly.
"Didn't you hear me before Brother? My chick, our chick, he's due to be here soon. I can't leave Hayley, not now." Age reminded him, and Noah understood how he felt.
"Fine…after the summer, then you shall go find our food. We need it, agreed?" And everyone nodded, "Now, the four of you can leave now. We will carry out your inputs later, for now…dismissed." And they bowed to Noah and walked out, leaving the rest of the meeting up to the Elders and the remaining Pathfinders.
Mumble was bewildered, probably the most unsound penguin leaving with the group after they had been dismissed. In all the years that he raised Age, he never knew his son to be so bold and daring, and also risking and heartfelt as to venture off like this. It was confounding his mind so much that after a point of walking, where Sic and C.J. were locked in a dense conversation, and Age was just walking alone, he figured it was time to spring the trap.
"Pardon me Age…" He causally asked to him, and Age spun around and looked at his Pa while walking backwards. "Where did…well…all that come from? You seem different than how you were two seasons ago, and there's no way that it was all because Hayley showed up, there's got to be more than that." Mumble was curious, but he didn't wanna sound pushy, so he tried to ask Age in a very nice way how he was able to try and be so bold.
"Well Pa, believe it or not, but with this chick that I have on the way, there's just something strange about him that makes me feel so protective, like I really need to be a father on this one. With Syrena I was more like a play-mate than a father, but this one is just so…so…"
"Gut wrenching?" Mumble implied, but was nice about it anyway.
"Yeah…" Age said defeated, but Mumble stopped them both and padded Age on his shoulder.
"A good father would sacrifice anything for their children, when you bring life into this world my son; you have to be prepared to give up on your own life, so your child can realize theirs." Mumble was completely right, and Age wasn't afraid to say it.
"Of course Pa, I figured you'd know better than most other penguins around here, you've had to guide three chicks into adulthood. And if I may say, I like how each one turned out!" Age complimented Mumble parenting skills, and Mumble smiled that warmed Age's heart, but the tender moment was interrupted by a comment from C.J. and Sic.
"Well…if we're gonna go off in search of food…" Sic started, and C.J. jumped in front of him and finished his sentence, almost like they rehearsed it.
"Then we gotta throw a going away…"
"PARTY!" They both shouted in unison. Age and Mumble just burst out laughing their heads away and Mumble jumped back into things, despite his fathering of three chicks and being about two and half years old, he still could dance like a mad-penguin and start up a party that could last for days. Mumble took charge then and there.
"Alright, I'll spread the word about the party to everyone, C.J., pick the location and tell everyone that. Sic, you're in charge of music numbers and arrangements; pick out only the best of the best. However, Age…" He slowly said while turning to Age, and was jittery with excitement over the bash already. "You…you're going to be the star." Age's eyes widened by a mile and he jumped with enthrallment.
"I'm going to be the star?" He yelled and began shaking his flippers and twirling his head. The three laughed very hard at his sudden actions, and once they stopped Mumble just nodded and said,
"Yes, you are most definitely the star of this thing. Without your courage, we would be going on this thing in the first place. Go on home son, run and tell Hayley." Mumble encouraged him, and Age didn't hesitate and he sped off. Before parting ways for their separate parts in the celebration, Sic stopped and asked Mumble,
"You think he'll give it his all?"
"Of course, Age treats every party like it's his last. Why should this be any different?" Sic nodded in agreement and they ran off to prepare.
The frantic little penguin scurried home to his mate, rushing past more than enough penguins to make them think the egg was coming, but to no one's avail, he got home and found Hayley speaking to Nicki and the Nurse. Age quickly hid himself, and covered his beak as not to let them know he was there and listened in on the conversation. But he didn't like what he heard from the beginning.
"So how is she?" He heard Nicki ask, the Nurse sounded sad.
"Well…she's perfectly fine; the chick though, doesn't seem to be doing too well." The Nurse carried out, and Hayley beak fell at the note.
"What do you mean the chick isn't doing too well?" She asked suddenly worried for the baby inside her, whom she loved to death.
"Well Mrs. Hayley…the symptoms are sound, and there's nothing wrong with you, so, I'm sorry but…for reasons I can't seems to figure out…" Age closed his eyes tight and kept listening, Hayley and Nicki were holding flippers, "You're losing him…" The Nurse sighed and with a melancholy mood exited the home without seeing Age hiding.
My chick is dying? Age asked himself in his head after he heard the news. He heard Hayley begin to sob hard and Nicki was crying too, Age felt terrible; there was no way he could go to a party knowing his chick was slipping away. He mustered what was left of himself and walked in, Hayley popped right up when she heard him come in and ran right into his flippers causing a miniature waterfall to run down his neck and shoulder.
"I heard…" Was all he could say, and she continued crying.
Nicki felt out of place, and she didn't want to make matters any worse, but she came up to Age, and whispered in his ear, "I heard about the food adventure thing, you still going, after this?" She wasn't trying to make him feel guilty but she had a point. Age just spoke to her while resting his head on Hayley's.
"Kourtney is with Jake, and Atticus is there too. Go somewhere else Nicki, we need to be alone." Nicki walked away with a sad expression like she lost her best friend, and didn't look back.
"I can't say I'm sorry, but I do feel this is my fault." Age told her through her tears, and she stopped crying and pulled back.
"You think it's your fault? How, why would you think it's your fault?" She questioned him in a harsh tone. Age backed away in shame and answered with his head facing down.
"Because, all life needs love to live, and just this morning, I was having second thoughts about this little guy. He must've somehow felt or heard that, and now just love from you isn't enough…" Age was the one who started to cry, Age hadn't cried in months, "He's dying, because of what I said." Hayley stepped back even further and turned away from him.
"You're right…" Hayley couldn't believe what she was about to say, but she knew it had to be said at some point. "You said that he was a mistake, that you regretted it…our son…my son, he's dying because of you!" She turned around and screamed at him causing him to fall on his back and making him stand up and back away. "It's because of you that this little one won't make it to see the world! You killed him before he even had a life…you…you!" Hayley was going to keep screaming at him, but the tears were still streaming down Age's face, she knew that there was no need to scream, she took back everything that she just said, and when she tried to apologize, he didn't want it. "Age…I…" she started crying again herself, but he just walked out and took off, but she raced after him. "Age wait…please…I'm sorry!" She yelled to him, but when she put her flipper on his shoulder he spun around and accidentally struck her in the face with his flipper, he didn't mean it, but he used it. As she laid there on the ground, shocked and in pain, she looked up to him and wondered 'why', just plainly 'Why?'.
"Not right now Hayley, if any time, not right now…" He said and walked off onto the ice's edge and jumped into the water and she didn't see him after that. She waddled over to the water's edge and looked over, but nothing was there, he was gone, and it was her fault.
What have I done? It wasn't his fault at all…it's our chick, not my chick. And now because of me he's…he's… Her thoughts were cut short by a friendly and motherly voice that seemed to appear out of nowhere.
"Hayley…everything will be alright…" Hayley turned back to the ice and saw her Mama, Pathfinder Gloria.
"Mama…what have I done?" Hayley begged her Mama for an answer, but Gloria just wrapped her flippers around Hayley and comforted her in her dire time of need.
"See how the ice moves across the water?" She asked her daughter, and Hayley looked out onto the frozen masses of ice and watched them move.
"Love is like them, you have to watch where it goes or you will crash. True love is true love, and it'll always last forever, but you need to make sure it has as few crashes as possible. The ice hits obstacles many times while drifting through the sea, but it never breaks, just like love. Avoid the crashes, and love will always pull through." Gloria said and stared into Hayley's eyes. Hayley wiped some of her tears away, and nodded her head, a smiled smile creeping on her face.
"Thanks Mama, so what do I do now?"
"He has two important things to tell you, all you can do is wait until he comes around. Age would never hold a grudge, or leave without saying goodbye." Gloria assured her and walked Hayley back to the home and sat her down. "Need anything, just call, I'll send someone over." Gloria said and walked out,
"Thank you Mama!" Hayley called and got settled into her home in a sleeping position. Before drifting away into what was probably going to be nightmares, she placed one flipper on her swelled belly and closed her eyes and tried to talk to her son within. "If you can hear me little one, don't hate your Pa, he was only thinking of me when he said what he did, you're a gift, and a special one that no one could replace. I want to see your smiling face in the sunlight, I want to teach you how to swim myself, and I want to hear your little voice squeak and call me Mama. Whatever it takes, I need you to hold on with both flippers, and if not for me, for your Pa." She concluded and laid her head back and tried her best to get some rest whilst she waited for Age to return.
As the minutes turned to hours, it wasn't just Hayley who was beginning to worry about her love and everything that might happen to him. The sky was turning orange with the sky making the daily transition from evening to night, and the party was nearly ready to begin. But every one of our little chicks were adults now, and that means they had problems of their own to deal with, after all, you're only a chick for the start of your life, after that, you have to face the world as an adult for much longer. The little chicks of the Happy Feet family everyone knew were grown, and everyone was super excited that they all had found love and were living their lives happily.
Gab, though he loved Syrena and thought she was the one, was sulking around and wondering if maybe there was another for him. At the time that Syrena had left to go with Zev, he finally accepted that she loved Zev and not him, therefore, he let her go and decided to let her follow her heart. Lots of girls had secret crushes on Gab, for he had a wonderful singing voice, and he was one of the top singers in the class, but they knew that he was depressed about losing Syrena, so they all held back until the day of the pairs, when he would choose who he wanted to sing to.
Believe it or not, but Kourtney confessed that she had a small crush on Jake during a distant party during the summer and soon after, they entered a relationship that quickly spread out to the nation, and they were even selected as cutest class couple. They were happy, no question, young and in love, but Jake's timid nature remained from his paranoid childhood, and this was the only thing keeping himself and Kourtney from having an egg during the upcoming season. Kourtney however respected the fact that Jake was shy and fearful of becoming a first time dad, so she said it was okay for them to remain chick-less until Jake thought he was ready, for that's what a good couple does. (As for Syrena and Zev, you'll hear about them later)
In a den not too far from where the party was to take place, a number of penguins gathered together and made the finishing touches, among them were C.J., Sic, Mumble, Jake, and Noah.
"Okay…someone tell me, is that officially everything?" Mumble asked the group of party planners. A penguin Mumble didn't know stepped up and answered him with,
"I think so, but I think our star is still missing." He said, but Noah chinned in with,
"Brother and Pathfinder Age would never miss one of these events, he's one of the best Emperor Land had to offer, if he won't sing then who will?" Noah sounded reassuring, but Sic didn't seem satisfied.
"Where is Age anyway? I haven't heard from him or Hayley in several hours." Sic pointed out, and only Mumble and Jake knew they answer to the question.
"My big brother Age…?" Jake peeped up, C.J. turned to him and nodded his head, "I think he had a small fight with Hayley about their soon-to-be chick, I'm not sure what it was about though." Jake said to the group. Another penguin unknown to them raised his voice and said,
"I heard it was something about their chick dying because of something Age said. I heard the Nurse talking about it over at the nursery with Nicki." Everyone dropped their heads, but Mumble was shocked the most.
"His chick is…dying?" He could feel the words boiling up from his throat like a pot of hot water. The penguin nodded their head, and he turned to C.J. and asked, "Do you know anything about this?"
C.J. just shook his head and shrugged his shoulders, "I'm sorry Brother Mumble, all I know is what I heard just now, I've been concerning myself with what my little Zev and his Syrena have been doing." C.J. was being honest, he really didn't know. Mumble walked out of the den and Jake followed after him and tried to speak to him.
"Pa…" And Mumble stopped, "Maybe this is an 'Age and Hayley' only thing. We should probably just let them work it out." Jake was nervous about talking to his Pa this way, but he was learning how to speak his mind thanks to Kourtney.
"You don't understand Jake; do you have any chicks of your own?" Jake hated when penguins brought that up, it poked a very sensitive spot on his heart, and he was irritated whenever someone mentioned it.
"No…I don't…yet, but that doesn't mean we should go and get in their business." Mumble shook his head in disappointed and kept walking away, Jake didn't wanna have to play this last card, but he really didn't want anyone getting in their business. "Need I remind you Pa…he's not actually your son…"
"Of course he's my son! I raised him, I watched him grow, we survived multiple disasters together, and he even calls you his brother!" Jake was recalling everything that his Pa just said, "If that's not a son to you then…then I don't think I have to be his biological father, he's still part of our family, no 'if's 'and's or 'but's about it. Can't you see that Jake, he treats us like family, so why shouldn't we do the same?" Jake was feeling more guilty than he ever did in his whole life, he had completely ignored the fact that he and Age had been through so much together as a group that if they weren't considering each other family by this point, someone was either cruel hearted, or blind. (That's what the story, Family Bonds of a Different Kind, was about)
"Oh my word, you're right Pa…he is my brother, he may not be a blood related brother like Erik, but he's done so much for us that he's more than qualified to be one." Mumble was disappointed in his son in so many ways, so much in fact that he left him there to his thoughts and walked off. After feeling so terrible about what he just said, Jake walked back in and everyone turned towards him, "Let's get this done, the right way, for my brother…Age."
Out in the ocean, Age was swimming aimlessly around, just looking for some solitary company. It really didn't matter to him, he just wanted someone to speak to, someone who understood where he was coming from, provided it wasn't a leopard seal or an orca. Swish after swish through the water, his life seemed as though it was falling apart around him. Even the night that he and Hayley had mated and she got pregnant will Syrena they'd never fought like this, come to think of it, Age was circling through his memory and found that he and Hayley had never actually had a real, full blown out fight, this was a first. And the fact that it was over something like this just drove him over the top and back down to the deep. To try and calm himself he tried swimming backwards, since he was alone, he figured no one would notice and or really care. He turned around on his back so his chest faced the surface of the water, and the glimmering sight of it against the setting sun only put in a very melancholic mood on the penguin. He breathed in very deeply to try and settle himself, but he then felt himself run into something on the back of his head. He bent his neck and he was in great pain, but just shrugged it off and rubbed his head and turned around to see who, or what, hit him.
"Hello…? Is someone there?" No response from the water around him. "I'm not mad that you ran into me, I just wanna see you, I'm really not angry." He said to the void he was in, but he heard a small whimper come from behind an ice peninsula sticking out into the ocean, the peep caught his attention, and he swam over and looked around the corner. There was a small, adolescent Emperor penguin, female by the looks of her, quivering and shaking, she had a bruise on her head, so that must've been where she was hit. "It's alright miss, come on out, I'm not mad." Age extended his flipper, and she nervously took it and slowly swam away from the ice wall she was hiding near. "What's your name?"
"…" She tried to speak but nothing came out. Age gave her a smile and tried to be a good companion, and it paid off after another few moments. "My name is…" She was trying to continue, but she pulled back like it was useless.
"What's the matter? Are you shy, nervous about something?" Age asked in a deeply concerned, caring voice.
"It's about a boy mister, you wouldn't understand." She then spun around and saw who she was talking to. "You're Age right, the Pathfinder? Congratulations on the food venture, looks like you don't have to worry about mating season this year." She said and turned back around. She seemed like she was having some horrible boy trouble, clearly she was part of Jake, Kourtney, Syrena, and Gab's generation.
"Worried the boy you like doesn't like you?"
"I know he doesn't, he's been moping around ever since the summer started."
This was not a surprise to Age, he knew after that that she was talking about Gabriel, but he'd never seen a girl act like this about him. "You know, Gab already accepted that Syrena loves Zev, I'm sure he'll move on soon enough."
"But he's been upset his whole life. You're only a chick one summer of your life, I went to Penguin Elementary with Syrena, I know how he feels about her. And he's still hung up on her…" This girl was suffering from a deep heartbreak, almost like it was real love. Age and her were still underwater so Age thought it'd be best to take it to the shore.
"Miss…Gabriel is my nephew…" She turned around and suddenly seemed interested. "Let's talk on the ice…" Age said with an inviting smile and jumped out of the water and stood up on the land. She soon followed, with a little hesitation, but knew enough not to back down. "Before this goes any further, I want to know your name…" Age wasn't trying to be mean, but he was right, after a sight, she gave up.
"My name is…" She closed her eyes, "My name is…is…" Growing impatient, Age cleared his throat and she jumped, "Why don't you just tell me what I wanna hear first?" Being a Pathfinder, it was Age's job to remain calm, so he did.
"Alright, if that is what you wish." He started, "Gab is a very sensitive penguin, not as soft as Jake, but he's real depressed about Syrena leaving. She said she'll come back one day, but she's probably already mates with Zev, by now she'd be old enough. Gab has accepted that, now he just needs a love of his own to make him happy again. If you love Gab so much, then what is the real danger in telling him how you feel?" She didn't want to respond.
"I already know that Mr. Age, I'm just scared. Tons of girls have a crush on Gab, he'll probably think I'm just another one of those crazy girls who likes him for his voice and for his looks." Her flippers were crossed and she looked like she was about to start crying.
"You'd be doing him a disservice if you didn't tell him…" She stopped her welling up and turned to him, "You obviously love him…probably more than anyone else, you even think he's the one…don't you?" She was drawn back, but slowly nodded her head. "Well then…are you going to stand here and wonder what it might be like, or actually try to make it come true?" She turned her gaze back to the ground, and found he was right, she'd been suffering from wondering what would happen if he said 'no', but she never stopped to think of what might happen if he said 'yes'.
"Sapphire…" He was beginning to walk away, but Age turned right around and looked at the teen.
"What…?" Age countered.
"Sapphire…" She said and sniffled, "My name is Sapphire." Age looked closer and saw she had beautiful blue eyes, deep crystal like shade, almost like she was destined to be part of the Happy Feet family.
"That's a beautiful name, come on…Sapphire…let's go find Gabriel. I'm sure he'll be glad to see you." Age and Sapphire both chuckled softly and walked off, equally feeling immensely better about themselves and the current situation.
(Back to where the party was just beginning)
The music was starting and the penguins were dancing, everyone was there, and Mumble was at the helm along with the rest of the party planners. They scrambled on-stage and previously didn't panic, but now they were getting stressed. "Come on, where's Age!" Sic grouched to himself and looked around. Mumble tried to ease him up.
"Easy Sic, he'll be here in no time, he probably is still recovering from that fight he had, that, or he just had to take care of something. Either way, he'll be here." Mumble was right, but at the time, no one saw him, and the crowd was beginning to get restless. Jake was still feeling depressed about before, and he'd never sang or danced in public, but he saw this as his chance to make it up to Age, and to prove something to himself, and his future mate, Kourtney. He took a deep breath and said in front of all the party planners,
"I'll do it…" Normally, everyone would've instantly said no, the members of the Happy Feet family were the most sought out performers in Emperor Land, and Age was the at the top of the wanted list, but it was Jake. The little paranoid penguin who was scared to do anything as a chick, was all grown up, ready to mate, and was about to steadfast and show himself to the public, C.J. was the only penguin who was against it, he clearly didn't understand how huge this was for Jake.
"Jake…" Mumble said astonished, "You really wanna cover for him until he gets here? If he does…?" Mumble asked his son again, just to be sure. Jake nodded his head, and shot the crowd behind them a look of fear, but regardless he didn't back down. "Alright son, if you really want to…" Mumble, Sic, C.J., and the other planners backed off the stage and let Jake face the nation alone. At first everyone was quiet, no one thought this was serious, but seconds later, they were proven wrong.
"Good evening Emperor Land…!" His voice was very clear; Hayley was in the crowd as well with Nicki and the other gals, they also couldn't believe Jake was publically speaking to everyone like this. "Pathfinder…and Brother Age, he's having an issue right now, so until he comes around…I'll be taking his place. But before I do anything, I want to bring forth…" He stopped and thought about it for a second, but then continued, "I want to bring forth…Kourtney." The entire crowd froze, and Kourtney was standing near Nicki, in which she excitedly shushed her daughter to walk up to the foot of the stage, once she got there, all eyes were on them. Kourtney looked up to Jake with awe filled eyes, and he mustered relentless courage to proceed. "Kourtney I…" She was looking in anticipation. "When we were chicks, I was scared of, well, everything. But…you of all penguins helped me through it, and I realized afterwards that, well…I loved you for it. So here I am, I am doing this…" And he gestured to the stage around him, "Because of what you did for me." The backup dancers and singers came up behind him and the music started. (What Makes You Beautiful-One Direction)(Altered for Penguins)
Jake: You're insecure, don't know what for
You're turning heads when you walk through the door
Don't need wash up, to cover up
Being the way that you are is enough
He was singing with his eyes closed, but he was doing it, something Kourtney was very proud of.
Jake: Everyone else in the room can see it
Everyone else but you
His eyes shot open and started dancing with his dancers, and he remembered what his big brother Age told him, Remember this Jake, when it comes to performing, once you start, you can't stop…
Jake with Sic and C.J.: Baby you light up my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hip gets me overwhelmed
But when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell
You don't know, you don't know you're beautiful
If only you saw what I can see
You'll understand why I want you so desperately
Right now I'm looking at you and I can't believe you don't know
You don't know you're beautiful
The singing was dwarfing her into a sate she didn't wanna leave, but her mind was set on asking Jake one final question after he was done. The song kept going and Age and Sapphire arrived at the bash only to find everyone they knew at the back of the crowd where everyone could barely hear Jake sing. Age looked and saw that Hayley was standing with Nicki, Bo, and Gloria, so he inhaled and motioned for Sapphire to follow him. He coughed to get the three girls attention and when Hayley spun around and saw him, she just melted. Tears weld up in her eyes and she slowly waddled over to Age and gave herself to his flippers, to which he returned the embrace.
"I'm sorry Age, I was just mad, I didn't mean any of it." She managed to get out.
"And I should've have struck you, even if it was by accident." Age apologized for hitting her before and turned back to Bo over Hayley's shoulder. "Where's Gab? I have a girl who really wants to meet him." Hayley didn't show any interest, it wasn't her business; she was just relieved Age forgave her so easily. Bo gestured over to a nearby cave and Age broke the long hug. "I'll be right back my love, for both of you." He said and looked down. Hayley smiled and nodded letting him wipe a tear from her face, and then walked off to the cave with Sapphire. On the way to the entrance, Age noticed Sapphire shaking and breathing somewhat heavy. "Why are you shaking so much? You're just going to talk to him."
"That's the thing Mr. Age, I'm going to talk with him, this is it, I'll finally find out if he likes me." She seemed content, and that's okay. They walked in to find Gab moping in his usual position, and he heard the crunching of the snow behind him and suddenly turned around with a confound look on his face.
"Sa…Saphri?" Both Age and Sapphire turned and looked at one another and then to Gab.
"What did you called me?" Sapphire asked him in a very excited voice.
"When we were little and in school, I used to call you that, it was a cute little pet name I had for you." Gab informed her, and she was jumping inside. But Age stepped back in and said,
"So you know her, but that's not why I'm here. Look Gab, you've been living like this for way too long, and everyone wants you to come out of your shell. You accepted that Syrena loved Zev a long time ago right?" Gab nodded, "So then why are you still acting depressed even to this day?" Sapphire wanted to know most of all, but Age was the one that asked.
"Uncle Age…Sapphire…" Gab began his explanation, "I promise you, I got over Syrena and Zev a long time ago, I've been thinking, not moping." Age and Sapphire didn't understand him, so he continued. "I thought I loved Syrena, and when she left I was heartbroken, but it got me thinking, if I wasn't truly feeling love, then I must've been feeling what it's like to love. I've been wondering what it feels like to be loved ever since, and it's caused me to limit myself because I want it so much. I really feel like no one loves me back."
"Well then you're blind Gab…" Age and Gab darted right at Sapphire after her remark. "I…love you. I always have, ever since we were chicks I had a crush on you, and after it grew stronger and stronger I realized it was love. So here I am, putting myself out there to you…" She said and walked up to him and looked right in his eyes. "You wanna know what it feels like to be loved?" She said and pulled him into a hug, rubbing her neck up against his, Gab seemed to be entranced and stood there, letting himself be hugged by this girl, he admitted it, he really liked it, and so he began to hug back. Age shook his head and smiled and walked out of the cave to leave them to themselves, and he returned to Hayley, Bo, Gloria, and Nicki at the back of the crowd.
Age wrapped his flippers around Hayley's back and she snuggled up into them and they stood like this while Jake was finishing his song to Kourtney.
Jake: Baby you light my world like nobody else
The way that you flip your hip gets me overwhelmed
By when you smile at the ground it ain't hard to tell
You don't know, you don't know you're beautiful
You don't know you're beautiful, that's what makes you beautiful
Kourtney was crying tears of happiness, and the best part to her was that Jake caused them, he actually sang in front of the whole nation, just for her.
Jake stepped down off the stage after the music and everything stopped, and they wrapped one another in each other's flippers, warm and tight. Age saw this from the back of the audience and got a tear in his eye; his little brother had grown up and found love.
"Kourtney…I…" Jake started, but ignored it and pulled her into a kiss for a change, and the crowd exploded in cheers. After the kiss Jake whispered to her, "And I'm not scared about having an egg anymore, do you really want one?" Kourtney shut her eyes and cried many tears of bliss, she didn't know how to answer, she was in heaven, and Jake was the reason. Jake let his head rest on her shoulder as they cuddled in front of everyone, and through the crowd he saw Age holding Hayley in the back, and called out to him. "Age…! Why don't you keep the crowd entertained? I'm a little…" He said and looked at his future mate, "Preoccupied…" He said and returned to embracing his love.
Age caught the drift of what his little brother was saying, and turned to Hayley, who smiled at him, "Go get 'em Daddy." Hayley encouraged him, Age sniffed back another tear and gave her a kiss on the cheek and rubbed her belly and walked around the crowd onto the stage.
"Kick it up a notch you guys…" Age commanded his backup singers, which included Sic and C.J., "And make it special."
"You got it, comrade…" (That was for KevinBlu, you're a great friend!) And Sic aroused the performers and everyone started clapping to the song. (We Are-Keke Palmer)
Age: We are, we are
Not your ordinary family, but we can all agree that
We are, we are
Close as close can be
So it don't matter what it looks like we look perfect to me,
We got every kind of love, I feel so lucky indeed
They can keep on talking, it don't matter to me cause
We are, we are…family
We are, we are, we are
We are, we are…family
And like usual, Age completely stole the show with his powerful and meaningful lyrics that spoke out to everyone.
But the happiness and serenity was short lived, for the anticipated moment had arrived, and no one was prepared for it. A sharp pain blew through Hayley's whole body, and her stomach began to ache in severe pain and agony, Age was singing to loud and the crowd was too nuts, he didn't see her toppled over in the back and scream with stress and pressure. Nicki knew what was happening and quickly sought help.
"Bo…Gloria…! It's Hayley, she's gone into labor, go get Age, I'll bring her home and get the Nurse!" Nicki hollered and helped Hayley up and swiftly helped her back to her home, each step more unbearable than the last with the egg wanting to push its way out.
Gloria and Bo ran as fast as possible to the front of the crowd screaming and waving their flippers trying to get Age's attention. After another minute of performing without noticing, Gloria decided that it was enough and climbed up on the stage and grabbed Age shoulders and shook him, they all stopped singing and the music was ceased.
"Mama…what are you doing?" Age asked in concern and confusion.
"I'll tell you what I'm doing mister…Hayley, the egg…it's time!" Gloria yelled to him in front of everyone, and they gasped. Age's world was locked in that one moment, and he found he couldn't move or breathe for a few seconds, but shook himself back into reality, his mate needed him and so did his chick.
"Let's go then…NOW!" Age commanded and he, Bo, and Gloria ran to his home.
The crowd was left in too much shock to be entertained anymore, and the Nurse was caught by surprise too, but none of that mattered. The whole Happy Feet family rushed their way to Age's home and waited outside for the moment the crying stopped. Inside was Age, Hayley and the Nurse, no one else was permitted in. Age was holding Hayley's flipper and she was looking at him the whole time.
"Age…" She tried to say, and he listened with his heart, "I'm sorry about before, this isn't what I wanted." The anguish she was in was immense, but this was important, so she had to say it.
"I believe you Hayley, and I forgive you…do you forgive me? For hitting you?" Age asked, Hayley screamed again as more pain coursed through her lower half and making her grip Age's flipper tighter. She was laying on her back and facing the ceiling, but the egg was only just starting to show.
"I…forgive you…I love…you…" She said between gasps and strains.
"Push Mrs. Hayley…" The Nurse told her, and Hayley tried with all her female strength, Age was feeling the strain too, and it was a sensation of fear and joy all at the same time.
Hayley screamed again, but the egg wasn't yet halfway out, and the searing was only getting worse, soon, there was nothing she could say, she was too focused on the effort to get the egg laid. Age was leaning over her and soon Hayley wrapped her flippers around him and pulled him tight and close, Age also held her extremely close and hard, his eyes were closed and shut harshly, and his face was buried in her neck. She let out one final, blood curling shriek and the egg slipped out and rolled on the ice. Hayley gasped to get the pain to vanish, and Age quickly went over to the egg and scooped it into his feet.
"Thank you Ms. Nurse…" She nodded her head with a smile and walked out. The whole family all watched the Nurse leave with a huge smile on her face, which put smiles on theirs.
Age waddled back to Hayley's head with the new egg on his feet, and she was still lying on her back, but turned to see the egg on her mate's feet. Hayley smiled, and closed her eyes and inhaled deeply, "We did it honey, now we have two." Age was warped with tranquility and euphoria; this was what he was waiting for. Together, he and Hayley walked out to the family and they hurrahed for the new parents, now a new chick was only one winter away. As every member of the family came and said their consultations, Age noticed Gab and Sapphire in the back, and in seeing this he nudged Hayley to take the egg off his feet.
"Just for a second sweetie, this I gotta do…" She smiled and rolled it on her feet, but her thighs were still hurting. Age gave her a kiss and then walked up to Gab and Sapphire. "So it all worked out okay then?"
"Oh you bet it did, this was exactly what I needed." Gab announced out and put one flipper over Sapphire's shoulder and pulled her close. She then wrapped both of her flippers around his muscular chest and snuggled with him.
"Thanks Mr. Age…you're the best." Age smiled at what Sapphire had just told him.
"So are you two going to have an egg this season, or will you wait?" Age asked the new couple.
"That was the first thing we talked about, and guess what…" Sapphire started, "We're going to wait a season first, and I'm even going to stay behind with him this winter so we can be together. I'm the water will be cold anyway." Sapphire and Gab laughed hard and he heard Jake come up behind him with Kourtney.
"We're doing the same…" Jake said and looked at Kourtney with a hypnotizing smile. "She's staying back, and we'll pass on an egg this time, we wanna enjoy our love first." Jake told Age, Gab, and Sapphire.
"After seeing that…" Kourtney said and pointed towards Hayley and the egg, "I kind of wanna wait, it sounds like it hurts…" Age laughed out loud, as did everyone else, and the winter already seemed warmer.
Everyone was nice and safe in their homes, however there was stress in our couples' home, for the egg was laid early, so it should've hatched by now. Age was watching it day and night, hoping to have it hatch, but the days and weeks went by, and nothing. With blistering winds outside, and bitter illness on the inside, Age and Hayley held on to each other with both flipper, for she had decided it'd be best if she stayed back with her love to care for the egg in their own home and not in the huddle of males outside. The Elders didn't approve of this decision, but the couple was steadfast, so in the end, they agreed. Times were getting harder, and the sun was nearing its return, that meant the egg was due to hatch. Weeks of not eating or drinking any food left Age and Hayley's voices crippled, not a single note could be sung out of them, this was also a loss to them, because their voices were everything to them, they could speak, but still weak all the same.
"Age…" Hayley pronounced weakly from her hovering state over the egg. He turned towards his mate, and she was starting to get unhealthily thin. "What if what the Nurse said was right? What if we did already lose this one?"
"We haven't sweetie…" He calmly asserted, and walked over to her. Once he was there he looked down at the white sphere at his feet. "I can feel it…" The words were reassuring, but more days went by and nothing happened, no twitches, no cracks, no signs of movement at all.
It was then that the couple fell into depression. Time and time again they look to the egg to see if it would hatch but nothing happened. Sometimes on the really cold days, Age would waddle over to it and make cracking noises with his beak to try and simulate the sensation, but nothing ever came close. It was on a morning when the sun was just starting to come back on the horizon that Hayley walked out of the home and began to weep. She was so disappointed; she was convinced by this point that the egg really was dead, and Age wasn't exactly there be a comforting husband. Instead he just took it all in stride, but he just couldn't bring himself to laugh it off. At first he tried not to think about it, but after he saw one of her tear drops form like a cylinder in the snow beneath, he couldn't take it anymore. The pain it was causing her was too much for them and he had to be there.
"Hayley, are you okay?" He asked her. She tried looking up from her sorrow but nothing he said worked.
"I'm trying to deal with this inside, but I just I just can't. I'm thinking too hard about everything that happened before the egg was actually laid. We had actually fought for the very first time, you hit me too; I know was by accident… but still." Now that she brought it up, Age realized she was right. Everything that had happened to them all led up to this one blank and right moment before them. It wasn't going to hatch. It was traumatic for them, Hayley resumed crying and Age couldn't do anything but place his flipper on her shoulder and do his best to try and comfort her. If anything right now she needed it.
As Age continued to look down in his own depression, he saw the rays of sunlight; they cast onto the snow and soon enough they hit feet, when he saw that, something forced him to look up. He didn't know if it was instinct or hope but his eyes were drawn to the rising sun over the ocean. The rays of golden topaz, amber, everything; the feeling was washing over his body and filled him with pleasantly commanding states of happiness and perfection, almost like everything was better.
"Hayley, look…" He said very quietly and she managed to pick her head up and stare at the sun with him. It was beautiful. Just the two of them standing there looking at the rising sun. It was the end of one winter and the start of a brand new spring, everything would be better and everyone would be okay. As Hayley looked, she fitted her head underneath Age's beak and she cuddled with him as the two just stared, and as if the moment couldn't get any better… they heard a crack behind them.
It seemed like a miracle, but out of nowhere the cracks grew louder and louder until they heard a peep and they were still too frozen to move, not believing what they were hearing. It also seemed impossible at the time, but they didn't care, it was too happy a moment for them. Age was the first to turn around and he tried to keep a straight face, but as he saw a very small tiny, precious little beak pecked its way through the egg shell, a single crystal clear tear cascaded down his face, and he waddled right up to the egg and opened it up a little bit with his beak desperately trying to help his new child out into the world, for the very first time. Hayley was still frozen. She couldn't do anything about it. Some force would not let her move.
"Hayley…" Age whispered to her, "Look at him…" And she melted the invisible ice holding down her feet and came over to the tiny bird with the broken shell behind him, and she was amazed at what she saw.
Her son, her little boy, their little boy, was pure white, all over his body, flippers, head, beak, tail, everything about him was sleek, snow white, except for his eyes, they shown through and were a solid, hot pink color. Both parents gasped at their creation, and were filled with a falling bliss. His peep, that sent shivers through their spines. "Pa…Mama…?"
"Yes son…that's us…we're here…" Age breathed and held out his flippers so the youngling could crawl under him and get warm, but the chick's sights were drawn to something else. He scurried his way out into the open and stared at the sun coming over the water, and his beak planted on the ground, for someone so young to see something like this, it was blowing his mind. Age and Hayley came out to see and immediately saw what he was looking at. "That's called…the sun."
"I'm the sun?" He asked when he turned around and pointed at himself. Hayley laughed,
"No…you're not the sun, you're…uh…" Hayley stuttered, they hadn't picked a name if it was a boy. She made a confound look on her face at Age, but he walked up to the chick and said,
"Okay, you want a name?" The small thing nodded, "Okay then, say 'you'…"
"No…you." Age instructed.
"J-uy-du-jd…" He had a hard time saying it.
"Here do this instead…" And Age started tapping his feet and dancing as his Pa showed him, and his son started doing it too as if he was having a great time. "This is called dancing, you are dancing."
"Ju…dance." He squeaked. Age shook his head
"Ju-dance, yeah, that's a very strange thing to say, and we don't even have a name for the little guy." But the chick just kept dancing around like a little chatterbox and under the watch of his Pa kept popping out,
"Ju-dance, ju-dance, ju-dance…!" Then Hayley came up behind Age and whispered in his earhole,
"Why not we just call him that? Judas…?" The name sparked a fire in Age's heart, he liked it instantly, and the best part, his son had named himself.
"I love it…" He said and they grabbed each other's flippers and watched their little Judas dance for a few moments and then Hayley looked at the sun again, and with all her remaining strength, sang. (I See The Light-From 'Tangled')
Hayley: All those days, watching from the windows
All those years, outside looking in
All that time never even knowing just how blind I've been
Despite her reckless mistreatment of her voice, she still could sing very well, it wasn't as flawless as it had once been, but she could definitely recover the joy and power in her voice in time.
Hayley: And at last I see the light
And it's like the fog has lifted, and at last I see the light
And it's like the sky is new, and it's warm and real and bright
And the world has somehow shifted, all at once, everything looks different
Now that I see you
She sang as she looked down to Judas, and smiled warm enough to melt the nearby glaciers. Age wasn't about to let her sing to Judas alone, so he stepped in, and when he sang, Judas stopped dancing and noticed.
Age: All those days, chasing down a daydream
All those years, living in a blur, all that time, never truly seeing things
The way they were, now she's here, shining in the starlight
Now she's here, and suddenly I know, if she's here
It's crystal clear; I'm where I'm meant to go
Judas was paying full attention to what his Pa was doing, and Hayley was feeling it was the right time, so she and Age looked right down to Judas and sung the last part, just for him.
Age and Hayley: And at last I see the light
And it's like the fog has lifted, and at last I see the light
And it's like the sky is new, and it's warm and real and bright
And the world has somehow shifted, all at once, everything looks different
Now that I see you
Judas repeated what he heard, and it was the first thing he ever sung.
Judas: Now that I…see you
The family all when back into the cave, and after a great big family hug from Judas to his parents, they all settled down for the remainder of the winter, it was close, the sun was here, so the ice had yet to melt and Judas was ready to meet all of his new friends and family members. This was the dawn of, not just the spring, but for Age, Hayley and Judas, it was the dawn of a brand new family, and a brand new family that was destined for great things, so great, that all the nerves inside Age and Judas' bodies were already starting to cackle with excitement. Judas could sing, that was for certain, and Age was already proud of his son, regardless of what his dream had foretold.
And now…hold on…I need a breather, whew, alright, now for clarifications. Gab has a new love interest named Sapphire, they don't have eggs. Jake is in love with Kourtney, no they don't have eggs either. Judas is an albino Emperor penguin, and his name was not a biblical choice, I'm an atheist. His named was chosen because of what he represents in the story. So…that's chapter 1, 14,000+ words! Crazy right? Whatever, it's fun for me! I realize Atticus and Mary weren't here, but the others will come in soon enough so don't worry! Remember, tell me everything that you think, don't hold back on a single thought, make your reviews nice and long, tell me everything, EVERYTHING! Thank you, this was a lot of work. No promises on Chapter 2 coming soon, but keep an eye out, I'm gonna finish "Better Than This" before I come back to this story. Thank you again and…HAPPY FEET FOREVER!