Memphis shivered at the news. He, Mumble, and another penguin by the name of Chase were all huddled around Gloria and Norma Jean. The females had just delivered the news that Norma Jean was going to have another egg. It was the first time since Mumble, which had been four years ago; as they didn't want to risk another 'accident'. Each male held his breath, for none knew how Memphis would react, not even Memphis. He loved that he would have a new thread of gold bonding himself to Norma Jean, but he was also worried. Could he handle it, though? He had been a horrible father to Mumble, and only now were they mending the wounds that had been registered on the younger penguin.
Norma Jean lifted Memphis' drooped beak with her own, gently forcing him to look her in the eyes.
"Daddy, you can do this. Its not an option anymore. I know that you will love this egg and will be good for it."
Memphis looked at her and the happiness filled his eyes completely again.
"Yeah, I will be good for our little Darlin'." He said with a smile.
A WHOLE WINTER LATER
Memphis felt the egg on top of his large feet shake and he let it gently roll off. The shell broke and a little orange beak poked through, followed by a black and white head. The baby giggled and accidentally rolled over on its side. Its big blue eyes widened with fear and Memphis waddled toward the egg with worry clear on his face. But the baby's roll was stopped by another. He was Mumble's friend, Seymour.
"Jeez, I'm sorry, Memphis." Seymour said. Memphis reached Seymour and sighed with relief.
"That's just fine, son. Just fine. I was 'fraid that my egg was gonna get too far away from me." He said. The egg in front of the two males was cracking and a little black and white head popped back out.
"Oh!" The tiny voice said. From the voice, Memphis realized that his chick was a daughter. She broke free of the shell and smiled up at her father. "Hey, Daddy." She said. Memphis' heart filled with pride and love. His little baby was a very dark gray up to her chest, which was white.
"Hey, Little Darlin'." He said. She smiled up at him as she began to shiver. Memphis noticed this and smiled. "Get under me, Little Darlin'." Darlin' did as she was told and looked back at Seymour as her father turned to go and find her mother. From behind Seymour popped another chick. He smiled at Darlin' and she promised herself to find out his name, mainly because she wanted friends.
As Memphis neared the edge of the waiting males, he saw his son, Mumble just in front of him.
"Son!" He raised his voice over the chaos and Mumble turned around. On his feet was a little boy penguin. Memphis smiled. "So this is your boy?" He asked. Mumble nodded with pride.
"He doesn't have a name yet, I want Gloria to choose." He said. Memphis smiled.
"You sure? Last time she named somebody, it was Mumble." He teased. Mumble laughed and looked for the first time at his little sister. She blinked at him with her big blue eyes and laughed.
"She's so...dark." Mumble said the first thing that came to his mind. "Er, and precious." He added, hoping that he didn't offend his father. But Memphis was smiling. His eyes shone with pride.
"Yeah, she is. My Dark Star."
Mumble looked up at his father and realized that this is what Memphis must have looked like when Mumble hatched. The thought brought a smile to his beak and the two fathers turned to wait for their wives.
"Wives, HO!" The sharp sound of Noah's voice broke out and the sea of males rushed forward, Mumble and Memphis gladly getting caught in the fray. Even Noah himself was rushing forward to meet his newest wife. (He was one of the males who switched mates every season). The chick under him was his first successful hatch in seasons, and would most likely be his last. The little male was very light feathered and his black mask only covered the back of his head and a thin strip lead down to his beak. Everything else was light gray and white. He and Darlin' glimpsed each other through the crowd and Darlin' marked down another friend she wanted to get to know.
"Daddy?" The call was soft and Memphis turned. There stood curvy Norma Jean. She smiled and rushed forward. When she saw Darlin' she managed to smile brighter. "A baby girl?" She asked, her voice barely a whisper. Memphis nodded and prodded Darlin' off his feet. She stepped off and walked up to her mother.
"Momma?" She asked. Norma Jean nodded and then fed Darlin'.
"What's her name, Memphis?" She asked. Memphis let Darlin' snuggle back under him before answering.
"I've been calling her Darlin'. But I'm not set on anything yet." He said. Norma Jean shook her head.
"No, Daddy. It's perfect. Our Little Darlin'."
A few days passed and Darlin' began going to singing school. Her teacher, Mr. Libretto, was young and this was his first class. Memphis liked him, for he knew Libretto's father, Maurice.
"Alright, class. Now, I'm sure you've all heard of the term, Heart-Song." He began. Noah's son, who happened to be named Guin, raised his flipper. Mr. Libretto nodded to him..
"My mother told me that the Heart-Song of an Emporer Penguin is what makes him or her a penguin. Its the part of us deep, deep inside that carries our dreams and desires in song." He finished and he held his light gray head proudly. Mr. Libretto nodded and smiled.
"Exactly. Now, Guin, since you volunteered, do you know your Heart-Song?"
Guin nodded and took a deep breath.
"I know it's late,
I know you're weary.
I know your plans
don't include me.
Still here we are.
Both of us lonely.
Longing for shelter.
From all that we see.
Why should we worry.
Now will care girl.
Look at the stars, now.
So far away.
We've got tonight,
Who needs tomorrow.
We've got tonight, Babe.
Why don't we stay?"
Guin finished and looked around, Mr. Libretto was applauding him and so were all the others. Darlin' looked at him and smiled. She liked his deep voice, which was pretty deep; especially for a penguin his age. Guin looked up at Mr. Libretto.
"Who's going next?" Mr. Libretto asked, motioning for Guin to join the class again. Everyone raised their flipper except for Darlin', who kept her eyes on the ground. Mr. Libretto let as many of the class perform as he could before he had to end the class. But he called out to Darlin' and Memphis when he came to pick her up.
"Why didn't you sing today?" Mr. Libretto asked her gently. Memphis froze. What if his little Darlin' couldn't sing? But Darlin' just shrugged.
"I didn't think of any song." She answered. Memphis looked at Libretto.
"What do you mean, Darlin'?" Libretto asked.
"I feel the need to sing. But there are no words." She explained. Memphis released his breath he had been holding. She just needed to put words to her Heart-Song. It wasn't severe. Libretto nodded and looked at Memphis, sending him a look that excused them both. When they were out of hearing range, Memphis turned to Darlin'.
"Let me take you somewhere." He said. The two waddled all the way to the edge of Emperor-Land and finally found the place that Memphis had been looking for. It was a large ice cave. The same one that Memphis had banished himself to for almost two years while Mumble was missing. Once they come into the cave, Memphis went to the spot he used to stand and slowly die. He didn't step where he used to stand, but he did walk around it.
"What is this place, Daddy?" Darlin' asked after a few moments. Memphis turned back to her.
"This is a special place to me. You see, when I was your age, I would come up here with my Mamma and she taught me all she knew about singing. Then, when I was full grown and hurtin' bad from my mistakes, I lived here so I wouldn't have to shame myself in front of everyone else. Soon after that, Mumble taught me how to dance here."
"Wow, this place is really special, huh?" Darlin' asked. Memphis chuckled.
"Yeah, Darlin'. This place is as much a part of me as ice, wind, and music. And I want to make it more special by teaching you here." He said. Darlin' lit up at that. "Let's get started. I'll teach you my Heart-Song."
"Since my baby left me;
I found a new place to dwell.
It's down at the end of Lonely Street
at Heartbreak Hotel."
OKAY! I'M OFFICIALLY DONE WITH CHAPTER ONE! I HOPE YOU ENJOYED THE CHARACTERS AND ALL THE ELVIS PRESELY TRIVIA. THERE WILL BE MORE VERY SOON, ALONG WITH MY VOCALS TO DARLIN'S SONGS AND MY DRAWINGS OF THE CHARACTERS. PLEASE COMMENT AND REVIEW!