Everyone has their First moments, memories, friends, loves, and what are Private's firsts with the team? Drabbles that contain family fluff, a young Private, and misadventures! also available on fanfiction.net as humanized, (this one is non-humanized).
Chapter one, First Day
Private held Kowalski's flipper and hid behind him as each agent came rushing in to greet him...well, as they cooed him, a female frigate bird grabs him away from Kowalski's grip, "you're just the cutest thing, darling" it says, her thick country accent smothered Private's air, each one of the agents and old schoolmates took him into their forelimbs and cooed him like a baby, Private hated it, he was back at the Penguin Academy to be trained by his adopters and he was being treated like a toddler, Kowalski took notice of his aggravation and pulled him away from a pair of komodo dragon lizards which were one of the few men agents that were actually cooing him, Kowalski held Private who was pouting, "aw we was just playing with him." one of them said, and Kowalski rolled his eyes, Skipper was smiling at the pouting Private, "chin up, young Private, they rarely get someone so young here, they don't realize how tough you are yet, give it a while" Skipper ruffled his head-feathers, Private looked at him, "still it doesn't give them the right to treat me like some baby!" Kowalski laughed, he didn't realize how cute he was, with his pouting, to his chubby body and his baby blue eyes looking so innocent it was hard not to coo at him, Kowalski understood why, "Kowalski you don't think I'm a baby do you?" Private asked, still on his side, "of course not, I concur with Skipper on this one, we rarely get someone so young here at the agency" Kowalski then tickles Private who giggles, "stop it Kowalski! stop!" he says through his giggle fits, Kowalski keeps at it, and then Skipper steals him holding him upside down, "put me back right side up Skipper!" Private demands, Skipper smirks, "I'm sorry Private I give the orders around here" he tickles his side and Private pleads for him to stop, "what was that Private?" he teases at him, and lifts him right side up to tickle him still, Private decides to reach out for help, "R-Rico, help me!" he reaches for the explosive expert, "Rico-o!" Rico gives a crazed smile, and holds out his wing, Private grabs it instantly, Rico lifts him up high and plants a raspberry on his belly, Private squeals with giggles.
The other agents smile at the penguins love and care for Private, some said:"he's just too cute", "he is a little young to be an agent...","he's probably not going to be there probably just keeping here for Nigel", "gosh, I could eat him up", and of course Private heard their words, he blushed, he felt embarrassed beyond belief, all the other agents thought he was a baby, a little kid that couldn't take care of himself, he frowned, "Rico, would you put me down..." Rico looks at him confused, he was happy just a second ago, "now!" he shouted, Rico puts him down, "wut 'atter?" he rasped out, now he hears: "look's like someone needs a timeout", "someone's having a temper tantrum", Private's face felt hot, he crossed his arms, this was embarrassment, he didn't like to be treated like this, "you guys are making it worse!" he narrows his eyes to the other agents watching the penguins like a hawk, the team looks to where his eyes are narrowing at and they all sigh at the same time knowing what agitated him now, "don't listen to them, Private" Manfredi said, kneeing down to Private's level, "it's not them..." Private says measly, "you guys aren't helping, you're treating me like what they think I am!" he stomps his left foot, Skipper crosses his arms and said "now you're acting like a baby".
"I am not!" Private objects, Skipper raised his eyebrows as he said this, "I'm just...mad, I thought that my first day would be a lot different than it is now Skipper" he pouts once more, Skipper takes his hand and walks to his room, "it just the first day Private, it doesn't mean anything", he says, Private drags his feet walking with Skipper, "I thought we would be going on a mission by now..." Private began.
Just as Private says these words the frigate bird comes running up to Skipper, "Sarah has a mission for you, she says it's urgent" she says, Private practically jumps up and down when he hears this, this would be his first mission even on his first day to! things seemed to be brightening up for the boy, now he gets to see the penguins actually fight the bad guys, Skipper nods and says "alright," he looks down at Private, his eyes sparkle with happiness, he wants to come along, Skipper looks at Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Rico, they shake their heads no already knowing what he was thinking, Skipper clenched his beak, he had to be the bad guy, "Roxanne," he sighs and looks at Private, god he had to do this for Private's safety, "could you please watch Private for us?" Private looked heartbroken, "what?" he asks, his blue eyes tear up, "but I'm part of the team too Skipper! you said 'never swim alone'" he adds, he crosses his arms and whines about what he was doing, this, was, not, fair, he was part of the team now, why were they treating him like this? leaving him with a babysitter...which was the frigate bird Roxanne...Private could already tell that this was going to suck, Skipper reaches under his armpits to pick him up but he backs away from anger, "Private..." Skipper says, a little sad that he thinks Skipper was the bad guy, "you're not trained just yet for this, but you will be" he adds, Private casts his glance away from Skipper, Skipper sighs he would deal with him later, Roxanne is all smiles, "sure, I'd be happy to watch your little one" she says bending down to pinch Private's cheeks harshly, "he is the cutest thing" Roxanne picks him up and Private strangles from her grip, "Private, we will be back before you know it, behave for us please?" Kowalski tries to make it seem not as bad for him, Private ignores Kowalski's question, he was just as much to blame as Skipper was, it still wasn't fair, Skipper wouldn't have it though, he could be mad at him all he wanted, but Kowalski had done nothing, Skipper warns "Private, you'll answer Kowalski", Private snaps "I'll behave, Kowalski", Skipper looks at the armed crossed seven year old bird, "stay put" he orders.
They drove fast but silently, they felt guilty leaving Private while they all go on a mission without him...they did it for his own good right? then why did it feel so bad? "am I the only one that feels bad?" Kowalski speaks up, "no...I feel bad as it is" Skipper says, changing gears to fourth and notice a speeder behind them gaining on them, "I'm regretting bringing him I-" Skipper started until his cellphone buzzed, "Kowalski, get that, I have to deal with the person tailing us from that explosion, thank you for that Rico" Skipper requests, Rico gives a signature psychotic grin and laughs gruffly remembering the 'boom' the explosion made, "I wouldn't be smiling Rico, I'm going to have to give you a disciplinary for your actions" Skipper warned and Rico's smile faded, Kowalski smiles at this and answers the phone "hello, this is Kowalski", he heard Roxanne shout and speedy talk ring out on the phone, "what? slow-wait? what? Private's gone?" Skipper almost wrecks their speeder overhearing what he had heard, "Johnson, take the wheel, Kowalski hand me the phone!" his anger stings through, he takes the phone as Johnson takes the wheel, that's when gunshots started to rain down, "Roxanne, how the heck do you lose a four year old? you left him alone for a few minutes and when you came back he was gone? not your fault!? it's completely your fault! Roxanne he's smart! hold on!" Skipper requests, he is tired of hearing the gunshots, he rolls down the window of the speeder and pulls his gun from his holster, his blasters aim for the front of the cockpits, he misses the first time but the second time he aims right, the speeder swirls out of control and slams into the nearest brick building, "Roxanne, he must be with us" Skipper says and with that he hung up and threw the phone out angrily, "Skipper, I don't think this is good for your blood pres-" Manfredi began, "Private, you show yourself this instant!" Skipper raises his voice, "don't be mad..." a small voice creped out of the back of the speeder, Skipper looked over to see Private's innocent blue eyes staring at him, Skipper pulled him over the seats just as shots fired where he sat at, the back window of their speeder shatters, Skipper works quickly and clicks Private into a seatbelt, Skipper's eyes look to kill, Private gulps in fear sinking into the seat wishing to disappear, Kowalski turns to Private tucked into the seat, "you can kill him later, but we need to get these guys off our tails" he reminds, Skipper growls, "do not even think that you can bat your eyelashes to get out of this!" he sighs, trying to calm down and adding "stay down, and do not move, Manfredi, open the sunroof to shoot" Manfredi nods and they go to work, each shot they either hit what they were aiming for or miss, which was hardly ever, they would aim at their engines or the driver's heads, "uh-oh" Rico said stopping on a dime, Manfredi almost flies out of the sunroof but Private had unbuckled to catch his leg, Private's eyes look crazed and he jumps back up into the seat before Skipper notices what he done, "Rico, might I ask why you stop?" he asks, Rico points at the three repulsor tanks parked right in front of them, "uh-oh is right, Rico by any chance did you bring your bazooka?" Skipper asks again, he shakes his head, "well, lock and load boys" he finishes, they nod and Private sits looking at Skipper who points viciously at him "you keep your head down, and you are in serious trouble".
"Operation: Take down is go" Johnson says.
The room was quiet, Kowalski had taken Rico to the infirmary after he had been shot in the shoulder, as for Skipper he was furious, Private, his little Private, had disobeyed him, Private watched as Skipper paced back and forth throughout the room only sending Private glances, Private had looked away every time, he fidgets with his wingtips, "I said I was sorry Skipper..." the seven year old penguin squeaks out sheepishly, Skipper stops pacing, "do you know what kind of risk you put yourself in?" Skipper asks and crosses his arms at the child, Private knew what that meant: Skipper was really, really, really mad at him, he had seen this arm crossing before when he got himself into trouble, personally he didn't want to see it ever again, but there it was, it made Private want to vanish on sight...
But it wasn't fair! they just left him here at the H.Q. with all the other cooing agents! and of course the one they leave him with had to be Roxanne! he was trained he could do just as much as Skipper! okay...not that much...but he knew where his limits were in training, they had trained him, especially Skipper, making him prepared for anything...okay not anything, but most things! he had trained, trained and trained! he just wanted to see what it was really like, could anyone really blame him? Skipper could, luckily for Private Skipper had saved his yelling for the team's room, it would have humiliated him otherwise, "Skipper! this was my first day here! I wanted to go on your exciting missions you guys are always talking about!" he pleas to the older bird, Skipper sighs and rubs his face, "listen kid" he says, Private mentally sighs, he was using a pet name that meant his anger was disappearing from the conversation, "you gotta understand that you're not trained on certain things like we are" Skipper adds, Private stood up eyes gleaming with hope, "then train me for these things!" he asks, "no!" Skipper shouts tightening his hold on his crossed arms, so much for his anger disappearing, "Private you will learn gradually, like we all did, understand?" he adds, his eyes glaring down at his little Private who was pouting up a storm, Private slumps his shoulders, "yes sir" he concedes, "now, you're going to apologize to Roxanne for giving her a good scare like you did to us" Skipper adds, Private pouts even more hearing this, "but Skipper-" he began, "Private, don't you dare argue with me! you disobeyed me!" Skipper interrupts, he watches as Private's lip tucks in, "do you know that you could have gotten shot! or that those creatures could have taken you! Private that was such a dangerous stunt you pulled! and if-" Skipper stops his yelling as he hears sniffles and quiet hiccups of Private, Private rushes forward to Skipper's belly, grasping him with his little wings, "I-I'm s-sorry-y, Skipper!" he sobs escalating in his hold, he didn't mean for Skipper to be this mad at him, he just wanted to help out the team, to be of some importance to them, he didn't want anyone angry at him, that's the last thing he wanted, Private gets scared when Skipper shouts, he wasn't use to it, the little boy didn't like getting in trouble with Skipper and the others, "I k-know I shouldn't h-have disobeyed-d, but please don't send m-me b-back to E-England with u-u-uncle!" he hiccups through, "I l-like staying w-with y-you, Rico, M-Manfredi, Johnson-n and Kowalsk-ki!" his small tears stain Skipper's chest, Skipper groans inwardly, Private always did this when his voice was a little...exasperated, he didn't mean to make the kid cry, he just wanted to get his point across...maybe he scared the child more than he made him understand how he had worried him, Skipper looked up to the ceiling as if asking 'what do I do now? I think I got my point across!', Skipper sighed, he wasn't entirely good at being mushy... "Private, were not going to get rid of you" he says as soft as possible, "you scared us...worried us, we don't want you to get hurt and you seriously could have today, I didn't mean to sound so mean...Private, this is one of the first times ever we had someone as young as you come here, this is a whole new ballgame for the team and I, we're trying are best to teach you what you need to know, but you gotta be patient with us okay?" Skipper offers, Private rubs his baby blue eyes and nods tiredly into Skipper's white chest, "o-okay...Skipper?" Private asks, Skipper ruffles his head-feathers affectionately, "yes, young Private?" he asks, "I'm sorry" Private answers, Skipper picks up the small boy to exit the room and finds the rest of the team, Private nuzzles his neck refusing to let anyone see that he had been crying, Skipper rubs his back smoothing out his wrinkled feathers "I forgive you, little soldier" he whispered, with that said Private fell asleep on Skipper's shoulder soundly knowing that his leader wasn't mad, but only caring...
Chapter two, First Appointment
Private kicks his dangling feet back and forth on the medical table, he didn't see what the big deal was...there was nothing scary about this place, Skipper had over exaggerated, as Kowalski said...whatever that meant in Private's thoughts...Kowalski really needed to dumb it down sometimes so normal people can understand him, Private needs to tell him that, but Skipper already tells him enough, "I don't know what Skipper is talking about this place isn't a 'unholy death trap of doom that society is forced into'" Private says to Kowalski who is sitting in one of the chairs reading the Scientific Journal, Private only likes to look at the pictures in it, Kowalski on the other hand actually reads the whole thing!
Kowalski, Manfredi and Johnson are the only penguins that take Private to his check ups at the academy's infirmary, since Skipper refuses to and well Rico can't really talk to the doctor...this is his first doctor visit, uncle Nigel was a bit of a medic, so when Private was living with him he didn't ever need to go to the doctor, but since he's finally staying with his adopters permanently he has to go for check-ups now, Kowalski snorts "of course, it's like what I said before he over exaggerated", he continues to flip through the pages until he gazes over at the British bird, "you do know what over exaggerated means right?" he adds, Private twitches his nose up, he only does that when he's mad, "I know what it means!" he lies, Kowalski raises his eyebrows telling Private to tell him what it means, Private mumbles "I know it means something...", Kowalski only chuckles at him and says "it means to make something appear worse, or better than it is", Private tilts his head and pucks out his beak's lip to think on this, Kowalski smiles knowing he's thinking this through, "so?" he adds, Private cross his arms and huffs, "why would Skipper lie to me?" he asks, he couldn't believe that he would, but he did call the place a 'cage for insanity'...it wasn't so bad, at least not at the moment, the only thing that's happened is the nurse took his temperature, but Manfredi and Kowalski have done that before when Private was sick, he just doesn't see how it could be 'damaging experience', Kowalski rolls his blue eyes which Private guessed he must have said something naïve, "Private he didn't lie" he says, Private narrows his eyes at him and his nose twitches up again, "oh yeah, does this place look like 'the field of pain and regret'?" he asks, putting his hands on his hips, try explaining that one Kowalski!
Kowalski puts his wingtips up, "well, logically...no" he stutters, Private frowns and asks "see that's lying isn't it?", was Skipper just trying to scare Private? well it wasn't working! he's going to tell Skipper that his trick didn't work and you shouldn't lie! princess Self-Respectra and uncle Nigel say you shouldn't lie, so why should Skipper have a right to? Kowalski shakes his head and smiles sweetly at Private, "Private, did it occur to you that Skipper could be afraid of the Doctor...or more specifically needles? at least that's what I think he said" Kowalski reveals, although he was slightly doubtful of it himself, but Private couldn't believe that at all, Skipper was afraid? no he can't believe that! he's suppose to be the fearless leader! Private shakes his head fast going right to left, "Skipper can't be afraid! he's the leader!" he objects, it wasn't right! he couldn't see Skipper being a scary-d cat, especially being afraid of something that's supposed to help you get better, maybe Kowalski was the one lying? Kowalski crosses his legs to match his arms, "Private" he breathes out, "that doesn't mean he can't be a little afraid, everyone has a fear of something, and sometimes people don't like to show it, I like to think the reason they do this is to keep everyone else brave" he adds, Private twists his head trying to get it, "so Skipper is trying to keep me brave by telling me this place was the 'valley of despair where all your nightmares come to take you'?" he asks, Kowalski breathes out more air, you'd think he would be dead the way he breathes out air more then taking it in, he pushes his glasses (which Private wasn't sure why he wore them when he didn't need them) back in their rightful place, "Skipper has got to stop saying certain things in front of you, I bet you don't even know what despair means do you?" he asks, Private shakes his head, but he does know what nightmares where...he's had them before once or twice, they give him goosebumps all down his arms, "besides the point, that was his own opinion about the doctor" Kowalski meant, Private taps his chin and snaps his wingtips, he had figured it out, "kinda like you and the denti-" Private began, stopping when Kowalski shoots him a glare daring him not to say the words, "okay, the place of 'rotting tools of gut wrenching zombies', better?" Private asks smiling, he was, like Skipper, always over exaggerated, Kowalski nods shortly, "much, but yes like that" he says, before Private could ask there was a knock at the door, a lady dolphin appears, "hi, you must be Private, which is a bit weird" she comments, Private frowned a little, everybody have always considered it a nickname that Skipper gave him on the day Private was born, "I'm Dr. Finn" she adds holding out her flipper to shake, Private reached out and gives a tug, "hello Dr. Finn" he introduces, the chubby penguin watches as she spins around along with her majestic skin to greet Kowalski, whose glasses are starting to fog up, Private smiles, Skipper told him if Kowalski's glasses ever fogged up that it was because of a girl he likes a lot, Skipper also told Private he could embarrass him till he goes 'into a sweet bliss of unconsciousness', Dr. Finn gasps, a little taken back, "Kowalski?" she asks, Kowalski's face lowers in color and his dark blue eyes grow bigger as he sees her, Kowalski shakes, "D-Doris? wha-how?" he stutters, Private felt that he really didn't have to embarrass Kowalski as he's already doing that himself, he sees him bite down on his beak, almost as if he's trying to hold back, "you're so beautiful!" he blurts, then his hands fly up to his mouth covering it to keep him from saying more, miss Doris looks taken back and unsure, "you're a father now?" she asks looking at Private and back to Kowalski, "I guess there's similarities..." she adds, Private blinks at Kowalski who blinks right back, the kid penguin giggles, she thought Kowalski was his daddy! he holds his mouth as Kowalski did before to stop himself from giggling anymore, Kowalski looks at him like Skipper does when he's annoyed with him, Private tries to calm down but giggles just keep coming up his throat, "I-I'm sorry Dr. Finn, Kowalski isn't my daddy" Private corrects, just the thought of Kowalski being his dad was nothing Private could ever see, maybe he could be another uncle or even a big brother (which he kind of is already)! that would be cool having a scientist as a brother or uncle in Private's perspective...though he doesn't want to be a test subject... Kowalski coughs for the pretty doctor to turn to him, "I am his adopter, at least, one of his adopters" he corrects too, her snout nods Private's way and she smiles at him, "still...there's something about him" she says, Private knits his forehead together, what did she mean? he looks to Kowalski for some help, "a good thing about him, anyway I'm rambling, so how are you feeling today...uh...Private?" She asks as she washes her flippers in the nearby sink near the picture with three kittens in a basket, Private kicks his feet back and forth once more, "good, but I don't understand...you don't look like a 'witch from-" Private began, "Private!" Kowalski scolds, Private huffs for being cut off, "she doesn't though Kowalski! she's too pretty to be a witch isn't she?" Private explains, she may have a pointy nose like a witch would, but not the green skin, she had blue-gray skin, a normal dolphin nose (blowhole), and baby blue eyes much like Private, she was really pretty and seemed really nice, she rakes behind her head to her ears with a blush across her face as she looks at Kowalski, Kowalski's face is the reddest Private has ever seen, his mouth is open but no words appear, only a grumble of some kind, he usually talks a lot and most of the time you can't even understand him.
'Wait' Private thought...'did he say that her name was Doris? Doris Finn? the girl that Kowalski is crazy over Doris?' Private thought again, his smile grows, he had heard of a dolphin named Doris whom Kowalski dated once but later broke up, maybe Private could get them back together or be friends again! "oh I do know you! Kowalski talks about you a bunch! he's wrote tons of poems, and made videos for you!" Private blunts, Kowalski seems as though he's dying from lack of air, kinda like the time Private wanted to play with his pet fish by taking him out of his bowl, he kept on flopping out of his hands and breathing really heavy like, then uncle Nigel said that the fish had to go back into the waters it came from...which was weird because it was the toilet he was from... Doris blinks and coughs, "o-oh, really?" she murmurs, Private jumps up nodding his head fast, she seemed excited to hear this, "yeah! I heard he even has a tattoo-" Private began, but his mouth is tightly grabbed by Kowalski's wing, Private tries to tell him to let go but he can't get anything through with his fat hand on Private's mouth, he was just trying to help, why won't he let it? he shakes his head at him...or at himself, Private's not sure, "I am truly sorry Doris, but I think it's best if we leave" he says with his wingtip rung across Private's beak, without another word said he picks the little penguin up in a rush to exit the room and finally letting go of his mouth, "but what about this hospital gown?" Private asks, he was dressed down in a hospital gown, Kowalski rolls his eyes more angrily, "just put it somewhere, as we usually go around naked, and also I'll buy Skipper a good sense of humor along the way" Kowalski answers, he stomps more with each step making Private dizzy, Private wondered if he did something wrong to make him so angry, he was only trying to make him friends again with his long lost girlfriend, he doesn't think he's mad at him though, he hasn't 'lectured' Private on anything he did...Private thinks though Skipper had a role in his anger because Kowalski keeps on muttering 'I hate Skipper' every few minutes or so...Private knew that Skipper was in for it but was happy it wasn't him though, but he did wish for one thing... "does this mean I don't get a lolly?" he asks.
Chapter three, First Field Trip
Uncle Nigel gladly opens the doors for his guests, whom gladly accepted the warm inside rather than the chill October air, Skipper, Manfredi, Johnson, Kowalski and Rico take in the aroma of tea and burning wood, they know that the only place that gives off that scent is Nigel's very own cottage, they all step in and Nigel apologizes "sorry lads, Private just ran off to the school", he knew the boys wanted to see his nephew because it had been over three months since they've seen the little penguin, they hated that it had been that long since they saw the tyke, but duty and work called, nonstop cases kept coming in and on top of that the team had gotten neighbors near their base at their zoo...foreign neighbors, Skipper despised them, well really the only one who drove his patience up the wall Alex, the highness hippy lion, apparently the new neighbors are all hippies, which Skipper hated of them, he hadn't been getting much sleep thanks to Alex and his zebra friend Marty singing "New York, New York" all the time, so the team had to put up with him being irritable, seeing his little soldier Private had made him feel happier than he had been in the past three months, Private brought so much joy to the team he had added to the brotherhood of the penguins ever since they adopted him, he had become a baby brother and in some cases a son to them all, Johnson, Manfredi, Kowalski and Rico were more than happy coming to visit, anything to get Skipper back to normal sleep habits, even if it was just for a week, Skipper sighs disappointedly, he wanted to see how Private was liking the academy's school (even if he wasn't exactly attending it), the kid had wanted to see what the school does a few months back and got invited to at least visit it, he hated himself for not seeing him go on his first day, but thanks to work and incompetent neighbors he hadn't, he felt like he was a terrible older brother and father doing that to Private, Nigel almost chuckles at how gloomy they became, "the lad did rush off the morning pretty fast, I believe it had to do with the class going on a field trip" he guffaws some more remembering the mid-morning rush the boy gave off, "I was surprised that he didn't forget to bathe himself" he added, Kowalski smiles at the thought, "what kind of field trip Nigel?" he asked taking off his scarf and making himself less stuffy in the heated house, "I believe if I'm not mistaken, they where taking the little buggers out to a zoo, one where there are animal agents stationed" Nigel states scratching his white head-feathers trying to recall signing the permission slip, but he forgets as he spots a blue wool coat, "I told the lad to take his overcoat, must of been the pace he was going at" he scowls down at the jacket in his reach, Skipper perks up and rushes to grab the coat, and the door, "I'll be happy to take his jacket to him Nigel" he states and before Nigel could protest at the trouble of it all the door slammed tight, Nigel chortles, "he can't stand not playing daddy can he?" he smirks over at the four remaining to stay, who are smirking back in the process, "alright chaps, I do believe it's tea time" Nigel adds.
The six year old British penguin happily hung his arms over the railings to get a closer look at a snowy white bear swimming graciously in the waters given to him, Private wished he could swim, but even though he is old enough to he hadn't learned, as no one taught him either in England or Texas, Skipper promised he would teach him soon enough before a new summer came around, he sighed, he wasn't sure that the leader was going to keep his promise, the team had been so busy they hardly had time for the small boy, "what's his name Private?" his friend, a young girl olive ridley sea turtle named Jaina asks, she was a student from the gulf of Mexico and of course thought Private's name was strange, she said that didn't make any sense and even offered more normal names she had came up with for him to use but Private refused and ignores his name's weirdness, besides the girl was probably his only friend he'll ever get from the academy, the other students weren't to interested in him, Private smiles a bit, "Ted" he guesses, then he frowns when three other classmates strut forward, they were the three boys (one a wild boar, one a chuckwalla lizard, and one a blue crab) that always got Private into trouble or would pick on Private, "oh no" he stutters, Jaina turns to see what he's frowning at and she starts to frown too, the three boy animals, who are called Zachery, Ron, and Virgil had harassed Private from day one or since the day he made friends with the turtle, Private was brave enough not to run as it would be cowardly to, his penguin team never run away and he wouldn't either, "look here at the nameless private." Zachery taunted, "I think he's the one that needs to be in the cage" he added, the group's laughter made Private anxious at their tactics, Jaina's face scrunches up in anger, "leave him alone! he hasn't done anything!" Jaina can't stand these boys, they never leave Private alone and always pick on him for making friends with her, if there was one thing the turtle couldn't stand it was big meanie bullies, each one of the boys smirk as Jaina defends the helpless bird, "is this your big bad bodyguard Private?" Ron tauntingly asked as he gladly pushed Jaina to the ground, "gonna cry baby?" he adds, Jaina glares at the lizard, Private looks miserably at Jaina and back to the taller boy beasts, "what do you want?" he asks grabbing his book bag straps tightly, fearing what he might have to do to get them to leave Jaina and himself alone, he enjoyed the zoo, he loved the zoo over in Central Park with the team when he moved in it, but going to the zoo with three bullies constantly harassing him, Private did not enjoy it, he wished the others were here to scare the pants off these hooligans, he knew that Rico could just scare them by his scar and the dynamite he can spit out, he knew Kowalski could scare them with his massive collection of knowledge (enough to give them headaches), he knew Skipper could scare them all the way back to their mommies just by his military presence, he wasn't sure how Manfredi or Johnson could scare them but they would anyway, yet he couldn't do a thing for himself but only do as they pleased, the three boy animals look around sneakily checking for any teachers or employees, after thoroughly checking Virgil grabs Private's neck-feathers dragging him along, Private chokes out "where are you taking me?", he tried to stop his small feet from tripping up but he only makes it worse choking him more in the process, the two other boys chuckle evilly behind the poor defenseless bird, "it's a surprise" they respond to him making him shiver in fear, they come to a vacant door, Zachery gladly opens the door, as the two other boys push Private violently into the dark abyss, Private is slammed onto his side on something so jagged that he hears his arm snap, he screams in pain as he watches the door slowly shut with laughter, Private manages to run just as the door clicks with a lock, "no! please please, open up! open up!" he shouts into the steel door, hoping anyone could hear him, forgetting about his injured arm he bangs on the door, he yelps when he figures out for himself that his arm is broken.
"Private, you in there?" Jaina's voice came through, she could get him out!
He mentally cheered as he shouted back, "yes, please get me out!" he prayed in the dark enclosure that he would see the light again, "Jaina! did you hear me?" he asked, he cradles his arm hugging it hoping that this would all be over with, "I can't reach the lock! it's too high!" Private's hope distinguishes in the same moment, "don't worry! I'll get help!" she adds, Private can't seem to say 'okay' back, because he isn't, he's terrified of being trapped here in the dark, it was like his nightmares were coming to life, he didn't like this feeling it was too intense, he felt like it was closing him in...caged like an animal...was he in an actual animal inclosure? Private was really starting to get aggravated with those third graders, besides haven't they heard of 'pick on someone your own size'? he was angry, frustrated and mostly scared in this dark abyss.
Private's blood curdles, something was in here with him, he tries to tell himself not to panic, those boys wouldn't put him in an inclosure that had a rabid animal in it...would they? he gulps as he hears another sound.
"Someone please get me out..." he whispers frightfully as he gets onto his feet scanning the area around him, he squints his eyes into the abyss he is given, "Anyone t-there?" he stammers out, he feels something brush his side and he shouts retreating back on his bum, Private moans in pain when his right forearm was jagged around in the retreat, he bites his cheek to keep his attention away from the pain at hand, he shuts his eyes and prays for a miracle... "I forgot!" Private shouts ecstatically reaching with his good arm into his side pocket, he pulls out a small keychain flashlight that he had gotten from uncle Nigel when he was living with him, he clicks it on lighting up the enclosure and lighting up the face of the new threat Private's faced with.
It growls slowly at Private's flashing light, the light starts flickering losing the battery it holds, Private tries to reach out his hand to make friends with the badger, "n-nice, mr. badger" he stutters, the badger swiftly claws at Private's wing, causing blood to form from the deep scratch, Private yelps from the infliction that the demon animal caused.
Abruptly the steel door opens bringing in the sunlight from the day, "Private?" a familiar voice calls, Private squeezes his eyes from the light but reopens them to see a familiar figure, "Private!" it calls again, Private runs for him, "Skipper!" Skipper catches him immediately, "I don't like badgers..." Private adds, Skipper is unsure to be relieved or angry, when he finally got to the zoo he saw Jaina in a frantic rush and when Jaina saw Skipper she couldn't have been more frantic, he hadn't met her but she had heard of him, she dragged him along to the door and telling him that a few of the older kids threw Private into one of the enclosures, an animal enclosure, Skipper holds Private tighter thinking on it, he puts Private down who whimpers from lack of contact and asks, "did you get hurt soldier?" Private nods, "where?" Skipper asks again, Private sniffles, "my arm...my h-hand too" Private whimpers, Skipper's blood boils at whoever did this, "can I see Private?" Private nods letting him see his hand first that was scratched by the bloody badger, Skipper then gently takes hold of Private's arm trying to expand it out only to cause Private to screech in pain and snap his arm back, "shush shush, I'm sorry, sorry, little soldier, but we're going have to get Manfredi to check it out" Skipper apologizes, Private looks down shamefully, "I'm a wimp..." he mutters, Skipper tilts his chin to him, "you Private, are brave, and you didn't want your friend to get hurt, that's what's true and good people do" Skipper says, Private wipes his nose with the front of his good wing, "r-really?" he asks, Skipper nods answering "really". Private sniffs some more and turns to smile at Jaina, "thanks for finding someone Jaina" he thanked, Jaina gladly accepts the hug that he gives her, "Private, who did this?" Skipper asks, Jaina perks up with her flippers cutely on her hips, "those third graders! Za-" she started but Private shushes her, "why you don't want him knowing?" she stares stupidly at Private, these boys deserved to be ratted out, "Skipper can't we just go?" Private whines not wanting to start World War III with the third graders and their parents, Skipper sternly narrows his ocean blue eyes, "Private, these boys deserve a fine punishment for what they did to you, now tell me their names" he commands, Private puts a pout on, "Private..." he warns to Private who continues to pucker, "you'll embarrass me" Private retorts, well that hurt Skipper's heart, "hoover Dam Private, I would just confront them...and their parents...maybe their principal too...not to mention the schoo-" he starts, Private makes a face, "okay okay, I see your point, I won't do anything" Skipper concedes, though he will be finding out soon whether Private liked it or not, Private grins happily but then frowns, "you know my first field trip really sucked" he insults, Skipper laughed actually this time and pulled Private up on his hip and held a hand to Jaina who smiled and took it acceptingly, "next time I'm being your chaperone" Skipper stated to the boy who was now deathly afraid of badgers.
Chapter four, First Puppy Love
"Private, I have to go" a young girl Bandicoot giggles out from his hug, "tonight was fun" she added, her dark green eyes that could be considered brown shone with happiness, Private's young six year old face shone with the same happiness, okay maybe it wasn't happiness, more of a puppy love kinda look, Private pouts a bit, "will I see you again?" he asks slowly wrapping his wingtip around her head-fur that were curls, "I certainly would hate not to see you again" he bashfully adds, as he grips her dainty hand that jingled because of her charm bracelet, she grips back, she too bashful, "oh, I guarantee we'll see each other soon" she winks, letting go of his hand to push up the back of her fur up because of the chill weather of Halloween's eve, "I would be too sad not to" she returns with a grin bouncing up and down, "do you think you would be up for a party on Halloween?" she asked, Private shoves his hands down to his hips, "it's up to my...er...adopters" he answers, he decided not to get in on why he called them his team, it would be all too confusing, "their..." he looked up into the darkening sky for answers to what to call the team, "...protective" he finishes, but protective of him was right, because right now he was five minutes over curfew and counting, it was worth it though, he met a girl, a pretty, genuine, nice girl and he went on a date that lasted four hours, four hours and five minutes counting, Private was loving every second of it, Gabby, who the bandicoot was named, nods knowingly, "don't I know it, I'm the youngest in the bunch of my siblings, so that comes with restrictions, I'm lucky just to attend this party and right now I'm pushing it further staying out past curfew, especially with a boy" she adds with a giggle, "here's the address, I'll be keeping my hopes up for my knight in shining armor to come" she smiles handing him the address, Private blushes, "I'll be looking for that winged being Gabby, with her arrows to strike me" Private jokes, Gabby blushes deeply deciding to take a chance to kiss his cheek and Private is mortified with joy, "w-what was that for?" he asks, touching his cheek as if it was a precious gem, "for being so true" Gabby answers, she triumphs him and leaves him with that line in her mind.
Private hums along the park, where he and Gabby had walked for hours thinking only about her, she was so beautiful, and lovely, was this what it felt like when you crushed on someone? "Private" a bunch of familiar voices called, Private snapped out of his daze to see Rico, Manfredi, Johnson, Kowalski and Skipper with their arms crossed, Private frowned and crossed his own arms, "how long have you've been following me? and Gabby for that matter?" he accuses, Private's fantasies about his gorgeous girlfriend ceased when he saw his older wiser guardian's angry faces, so what if he pasted curfew a few measly minutes? that didn't give them the right to stalk him down and follow him like creepers, Skipper's face scrunches and points where Gabby had once been, "do you know who that girl is Private Fishy?" Skipper growls, oh boy using the last name basis was never good for Private, "no, but I bet your going to tell me" Private says sarcastically, narrowing his eyes showing the same anger Skipper was giving off, Skipper seethes, "that's private Gabby! of Team Bandicoots, she's an agent just like us Private!" Skipper shakes his shoulders, "they lie and cheat Private, they lied and cheated on us Team Penguin" he adds, Private shakes his head, "that doesn't mean she's like them Skipper!" Skipper gives a hard glare, "how can you be so naïve? once a friend always an enemy!" Private rolls his eyes at Skipper getting another famous expression wrong, "keep rolling those eyes, your disciplinary actions are going to be much worse soldier" Skipper informs, Private raises his voice, "for seeing a girl! a child who I knew nothing about being a 'cheating agent'! that's not fair!" he complains, he glances over to Manfredi, Rico, Johnson and Kowalski for any support, "and what, are you with him too?" he accuses, Johnson, Manfredi, Rico and Kowalski give apologetic looks but they knew who their leader was, "cowards" Private mutters harshly under his breath, "Kowalski, Johnson, Manfredi and Rico know what went on with those mammal scums, also you broke curfew and was gone for over four hours without any contact" Skipper states, not taking any of Private's rude commentary, "that's grounds for insubordination" he adds, Private groans, "it was only five minutes, Five Minutes" he retorts, he then smiles sickly sweet, "you know why I didn't call you to inform you about my date, because I knew this would be your reaction, just like all the other times, you spy and pry!" he says, ending in a loud shout to deafen anyone, Kowalski pushes his glasses up sheepishly and mutters, "it wasn't that many times...", Private strongly puts, "well it was enough to know" he says, Private turns back to Skipper defiantly and adds, "I'm still going to see her, to be so stereotypical I'm going to go ahead and say: And there's nothing you can do about it", Skipper's fist clutch at his actions and words, "Private Fishy, we are going home right now!" he roars, already reaching down to grab the boy penguin, who recoils back in the process, "so what I can be grounded? locked up? punished? like this prisoner that I am so dearly!" he says dramatically as his arms flare up with his tone, Skipper's glare is as cool as the air itself, "I have the audacity to pull you over my knee right now in front of the public eye, and I haven't done that since you were three years old, defying a high-ranking military officer is not a smart thing to do soldier, not in your case anyway" Skipper threatens Private's tail itself, Private's face is stern and stubborn, "I am going to see Gabby, I am going to that party and I am going to defy you" Private taunts, Skipper kinda blew his top off after that.
Private snuck out, as he promised to himself, even though his butt was sore and he had been locked up in his room as his 'punishment' he still managed to make it, also lucky for him his leader didn't take away the address of the party or his costume that he had in his closet from last Halloween.
Private taps Gabby's door of her dorm of the academy, he could hear the spooky music from inside, the door opens revealing a muscular bandicoot in a Robin Hood costume, he smiles, "you must be Private, I'm Comet, Gabby's brother" he introduces, shaking Private's hand he added threateningly, "her older brother" Private nods frightened as he walks into the loud chatter filled room, Private looks for Gabby in the thick mingling crowd through all the different costumes, "my knight in shining armor came!" a voice squealed Private's ears and heart, Private smiles as a winged, arrow sheathed cherub came flying down the hallway to hug him, "I thought you weren't going to get to come?" she asks holding onto his arms as if he was her lifeline, the armored bird grins and scratches the back of his head, "heh, I might have snuck out" he shrugs, "whoops", Gabby frowns, "Private, I don't want to get you in trouble" she said, "Gabby, your not getting me in trouble, but" Private stops and looks around, "can we talk? privately?" he finishes, Gabby looks around and nods taking Private's hand leading him to the balcony that they had in her dorm, Gabby shuts the glass behind them from the noisy party goers, "what's wrong?" she asks, wrapping her elbow to Private's arm affectionately, "do you not want to be here...with me?" Gabby asked again fearfully, Private looks shocked and shakes his head viciously, "of course not Gab" Private corrects, she chuckles at his new nickname for her, "it's just that it turns out our families are not in the best terms" Private reveals, Gabby let's go of his arm, "how does your family know my-" she began, Private grips the railing holding his anger out of his brothers, "team penguins ring a bell to you?" he asks frustrated, god why did it have to be Gabby? did the universe hate him or was it just his brothers to blame, "yeah but I don't see how this affects..." she begun, her trails of words lead to a gasp, "no way, your our rival?" she asks looking up at the stars practically crying out to them, "out of all the boys in the world it would have to be the one team that my siblings hate the most" she adds, Private nods, "exactly my thoughts," he said, Gabby gulps and turns quickly to the penguin boy, "Private, you need to leave, I can't let them beat you into a pulp" she scours the partying scene to be on the look out of her family members finding them here, Private looks back but then cups her chin elegantly, "I don't care" he says, he puckers his beaky lip out to kiss her, she graciously takes it, it tingles the warmth stretching out to his whole body connecting it to his heart, making it last longer than it should be, "I want to see you, I want to keep seeing you" he adds, Gabby closes her eyes painfully, "so do I, but there's something I need to tell you-" Gabby stops wide eyed at a new scene in the party, "oh no" she points for Private to look.
Private was unsure to be angry or embarrassed, his adopters had came to get him, his big brothers came to get him in the bandicoot's H.Q, were they nuts? well he knew Rico was but come on couldn't they have waited for him to come home to his punishment? he would have been fine with the outcome of that, but no, they had to cause a disruption, and of course it was starting to become a wildfire, it was time to put it out, "kill me" Private mutters under his breath grabbing Gabby's hand for reassurance and he walked back into the wide dorm, he found that Comet was nose to nose with a red faced Skipper, "where's my baby brother\boy?" Skipper growled out, Private had the urge to blush and or cry from the 'baby' part, "what has your sick demented little sister done to him?" Private heard Gabby 'humph' at Skipper's question, Comet keeps his deadly glare on Skipper as he speaks, "I don't even know what you're talking about, so I suggest you leave, now", it was a warning more than anything, Private knew Skipper wouldn't heed it until he saw Private so he could skin him alive, it was time to speak up, he squeezed Gabby's hand one last time and comes, "Skipper we're leaving" he says, Skipper snaps his gaze up at the British toned speaker, "peacefully" said speaker added, Private didn't know how but he was now between Comet and Skipper, he didn't know who would kill him first now, Comet points at him in surprise, "wait a minute, you're the boy Cupid invited?" Comet asks shifting his glance to Gabby, "our rival? really?" he asks her, Gabby nods bravely and steps towards her brother almost fluttering, "yes" she says dreamily to him, or really Private, "and brother there's really nothing you can do about it" she snaps back, Skipper laughs mockingly, "wow, you've parented her so well", Comet raises his eyebrows annoyed, "look whose talking, didn't you say he snuck out?" he retorted, Skipper growls putting a hand on Private's shoulder making him tense up, "yes, but at least he's getting a thorough punishment, unlike doll-face over here, she probably gets a sticker or sucker every time she rebels", Private rolled his eyes, were they really talking about parenting right now in front of the public eye? Comet grits his teeth, "Gabby gets grounded like any other teenager, but you probably lock him inside a cage" he taunts, Skipper was about to tell Johnson, Manfredi, Rico and Kowalski to get into a battle stance to defend their honor but a shout is raised to be surprising to both superiors.
They all turn to Gabby, "Private and I may be children and not adults, but at least we do not behave like this mess that's upon us, besides I can't..." she brings her eyes down not to face Private's and continues "...be with you Private", Private shrugs off Skipper's hand to move to Gabby, "what do you mean? you told me that-" he begun, "it's not that I don't want to be, but sadly we're moving away" she interrupts, Private can hear his heart drop, "that's why we are having this party, as a farewell, I thought that today in the park would be the last time we saw each other, that way I could forget you so easily, now not so much" she finishes, tears are watering her eyes as she reaches for Private's expressionless face, "I'm sorry that-" she started, Private brings down her wrist back to her side, "I'm sorry I never want to see you again" he says, kissing her cheek and leaves running out the door, his teammates follow him but Kowalski turns to Gabby, "he'll be okay, it will take time" he says, he knew from experience, "also if you ever came back, he would want nothing more than to see your face, because of that heartbreak, and I'm not the host of it" he adds, nodding and shuts the dorm door behind him hearing the cries of a heartbroken six year old girl, now on to comfort the same boy who was doing the same, ah love.
Chapter five, First Kidnapping
Skipper had many cases that involved kidnapping, but none of them could compare how personal this one became, it was his little boy and that made it pretty damn well personal to him, Skipper had four other old classmates he hung out with when they were all students, he never communicates with them anymore because like him they all had their own teams now, the real reason behind the spilt was because two of his old friends died piloting a plane on a mission they were all on, that left his boy alone, because one of those pilots was his babysitter.
Luckily not having to go of the trouble of getting the child enrolled in the agency immediately, someone else took up the roll of caretaker, Skipper dodges bullets but he wasn't cut out to be a father, especially with his type of job, even though he did take up the role as 'daddy' since being a kid himself he doesn't know the first thing in parenting, all of them were in the same agency though, so his other friends weren't sure how to care for the boy either, honestly Skipper was pleased with that outcome, he didn't trust Rico or Kowalski with the kid very much anymore, otherwise the kid would have grown up as a ticking time bomb or as a pet lab rat, so here came Nigel to the rescue, he was a clever, intelligent man but he had a soft spot for kids, especially considering he was the uncle of said kid, the role came naturally and their child would be fine, at least Skipper thought he would be safe, apparently his thoughts crumble as he got the terrible news from Nigel which said "Skipper, he's gone", and there they stood, after years of never talking anymore due to unfairly deaths, he saw his two remaining schoolmates, it had been years but the time of how long didn't matter, they were still friends no matter the years, Skipper was mad at himself though, he should have kept in touch, he doubted that Rico, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski would want to be apart in the finding of 'little Private', "he's our child too" Kowalski said pushing his frames to the bridge of his nose, "yup" Rico nodded in agreement playing with his weapons as if they were toys, Manfredi and Johnson didn't even need to say anything, Skipper kept his shocked expression underneath all of his grimness, "good, let's get to it then" he requested, and the search began.
Meanwhile for Private, he wanted the dolphin to put him down, so he screamed, it was rather pointless but it made the big bad dolphin wince, he would giggle, it was much fun making the big angry dolphin huff in frustration, he was a silly dolphin but also a scary one too, he would bend his long tail down to reach Private's face to tell Private no one loved him and he would be trapped in the hole all his life, the hole was the place the mean dolphin left Private in, it was too tight of space, his legs had to be bunched up to the very top of his chin, Private didn't like the way it would echo his cries, it made him feel weak, he didn't like the dark or the way his throat would close, is this what his pet fish felt like inside his bowl? then there was the water, while he was in the hole when the air wasn't so bad to receive, when the dolphin thought his cries were too quiet, water would rush down in the hole freezing his body making his sobs louder to satisfy the dolphin's unhealthy amusement, Private did not like the hole, he suddenly felt a sharp moist flipper quip his feathery head, batting at him seems to be a form of keeping him quiet, Private didn't know where the dolphin was leading him this time but his tummy sloshing around saying that it was not a good sign, it was another turn down a deep hallway, Private could tell by how long his feet stretch on the concrete floor, he could also count the steps, well only to ten, still! he could count to ten! his screams died down as he heard a knob turn, leading him into a lite fire, carelessly the dolphin dropped him, Private could hear something pop and he whimpered, he wanted Nigel, not this scary dolphin, Nigel who would fix his boo-boos with a quick kiss, he needed lots of those kisses right now, Private watched the dolphin sit in his chair silently and stared at Private, he hummed "stupid child", Private frowns, that was a mean word...right? he had a feeling that it was really mean, "little Private, do you want to talk to Skipper?" the dolphin asks, Private frowned for a moment until he realized something, 'Skipper? who was Skipper...wait did he mean' he thought, "Skipper?" he asks happily, Skipper! Skipper! he never forgot Skipper! Skipper always took him on his own little adventures, played tag and drank the nasty stuff in his own sippy cup, he didn't get to see Skipper that much anymore which made him sad, "want Skipper now!" he begs, then remembered the other two who went with Skipper, "Kowalski too? Rico?" he asks, the dolphin smiles giving Private a little own personal heart attack, he didn't know he could smile, "yes-s!" the dolphin laughs, Private claps his hands, he was going to get to see Skipper, Kowalski and Rico again! they would take him back to Nigel or to themselves, of course they would either way, they liked Nigel, and they were the ones who adopted him when his real parents disappeared, better than the dolphin now that had abducted him, "come he-re, and you will see them better" the dolphin beckons, Private hops up on his clumsy little feet and rushes over to were the weird dolphin sat, Private called him weird because he had this weird eye piece that covered one of his eyes, it was weird, couldn't he see without it? Private reached the desk but not without bumping into the wooden frame with his injured 'popped' wing, Private's eyes watered with tears ready to spill out, "oh you clumsy little pan-sy!" the dolphin insulted grabbing the back of Private's head to pull him onto his lap, "Lo-ok the sooner you stop crying the sooner you can see...Skipper" he offered, it sounded like he was embarrassed to say Skipper, but it was his name, he sniffed his tears, he wouldn't miss his chance of seeing Skipper.
Back with Skipper, they had gained a few more operatives to help through the computers and it wasn't long after those computer screens were taken over, it was a face Skipper never wished to see, especially with his little boy, to say the least all of the five penguins tensed up including Manfredi and Johnson, seeing little Private sitting uneven on a villain unhappily, Private brought his face even closer to the screen to were they could see the inside of his nose, "Skipper! why are you in the picturey box?" he asked, Skipper's heart shattered, Private was hoping to see him in person, "hi Kowalski! hi Rico!" he waved, his nose was still pressed to the screen as he greeted them, the dolphin villain, being proclaimed the name Dr. Blowhole pushed him back harshly, "kid, they have to see me too!" Private whimpers, if Skipper's fist could only go through the screen to touch, er, grab Blowhole's neck he would do it in an instant, "kids, what are you going to do with them? well, I few for this one" Blowhole taunts, he pinches Private's cheek enough to cause a bruise, Skipper growls "I swear to god if you touch him one more time...", Dr. Blowhole shimmers with mockery, "or what you'll go through the screen to get me? scientifically impossible, so I can do as I please" Blowhole says as he smacks Private's head, "you know why?" he asks as he slaps Private this time, "because you peng-u-ins can't touch me" he calls them by their groups team name, he twists Private's hand, Private's eyes come flowing with tears, "stop! stop! hurts! hurts!" Kowalski touches the glass screen almost as if trying to comfort the small three year old, Rico yells out gibberish for it to stop and Skipper has to watch in rage, Manfredi and Johnson felt sick to their stomachs, Dr. Blowhole laughs with fun, "aw Private, is that your bad hand I hurt" the dolphin mocks as he stops and Private rubs his little hand more gently, Private mutters "yes-s-s" Private's blue eyes look up hopeful to Blowhole, "k-kiss it better?" Private blinks holding his flipper to Blowhole's face, Blowhole is the one to blink and look at Private this time, "will I what?" he asks, Skipper chuckles knowing what will happen if he says no, Private had done this to him before once too, and the other two as well, Private did know how to get what he wanted, "you better do it Blowy" he taunts, Blowhole looks flabbergasted by the thought of him doing that, "I will not!" he objects, since when was Skipper the boss of him? he would never make his enemy happy, let alone kiss his hand, how unappealing that was how demoting it was, "don't ever think I will, kid" he adds, Private's bottom lip gives way, abrupt sobs echo the walls, "meanie! meanie!" Private yells tightening his fists, even his hurt hand and starts to pound, it was something the whole group knew Blowhole wouldn't be able to stand, a temper tantrum, Private's red face became an unnatural blotchy color, Blowhole closes his ears with both his flippers as the child continues to cry, "how do you stop it?" he pleads for his newly formed arch-enemies to tell him, Private wails louder, "how?" he asks again, Skipper, Rico, Johnson, Manfredi and Kowalski all smirk to say in unison "you don't", Blowhole blinks, "what? I don't think I heard you right" he says, "oh you did, you might as well give in Blowhole, he's not going to stop until you do what he asks, so politely for you to do" Kowalski snapped, poor Private having to deal with the villain's incompetence of a child, "oh for god sakes here!" he concedes as he pecks his slimy dolphin lips to Private's flipper, who instantly stopped crying, "how?" Blowhole asks, his eyebrows frown in confusion, "now I have to go burn my lips thanks to you pen-u-guins, any last things to tell your dear little soldier, cause with that little slip up earn him some more time in the hole" he adds, Private begs him not to, "well you shouldn't have pulled that stunt, should you?" Blowhole mocks, he shakes his head, "you know Skipper, he would be a good soldier, maybe I should keep him and raise him, since you can't" Blowhole adds tauntingly, Skipper's eyes narrow, "Private" Private hears his name, "soldier, I need you to be brave, we're coming, Kowalski, Rico and I are coming, plus with two new friends who are dying to meet you" Skipper says and is planning to say one last personal thing that would mean a lot to Private, "don't let that meanie get your boo-boo kisses, those are for us" Skipper flushes as the whole room smile at his approach with their kid, "can you do that?" Skipper asks, Private nods smiling a bit, Blowhole rolls his eyes and says "heartfelt moment is over" and the screen turns black.
Kowalski shouts "I sure hope someone got his coordinates, if you didn't it would not be pleasant" he shoots Skipper a cheeky look and adds "because we have to go give some boo-boo kisses to a certain little boy, isn't that right Skipper?", Skipper crosses his arms, "shut up Kowalski" he mocks back, they were getting back Private tonight, because no one swam alone in his team.
Chapter six, First Sick Day
Private hadn't been sick in a long time, since he was four years old, sure there had been those times when a cough or a sneeze came his way, but he hadn't been sick, sick in long time and now it hit him, of course Private didn't think anything of it when it was just a little tingle in his throat, that tingle turned into a nasty virus, Private breathed through his mouth, as he walks into his own personal bathroom, the six year old searched for nasal spray behind his cabinet, he finds some and it helps but then the coughing starts, he hacked causing his throat to sear in pain, poodoo he really had it, now the real question was how was he going to get the guys to not notice? Private loved Kowalski, Manfredi, Skipper, Johnson and Rico, they were his guardians, his fathers, his older brothers...every time Private had one little cough when he was little and one of his caretakers had heard it, blankets would become mountains on his tiny body, thermometers would be placed everywhere and medicine of all kinds would be shoved down in his throat, they all went too overboard and when he was little he remembered when he had a simple cold they wouldn't let him do anything, he would be trapped and completely helpless by their overwhelming help, Private had to get away from that, keeping it from them was going to be hard, he could feel his fever radiating off him and his stomach was churning, he gripped the sink from falling over, he paused gaining back his stability, his eyes fluttered, he could do this, he washed away the mucus and sweat from his more pale than usual face, with one quick spray he looked a bit convincing for the boys to see him, "Private, soldier are you up?" Private heard Skipper's groggy morning voice coming through the door, Private nodded opening up the door, "breakfast is ready to go, get changed too" Skipper orders, Private's eyebrow furrowed in, "why? it's Saturday" he stated, usually Saturday's were their day off to do what ever they please with reason of course, that's why Private thought he could get through the day, he would hide out in his room telling the team some reasonable explanation, that way he could take care of himself, Skipper explains what was going on "that would be classified soldier, now hop to it", Skipper strutted down the hall to the kitchen, well this was great, he was going to have to hold himself high all through out whatever they were doing today, Private huffs, tucking in his feathers, man he really felt dizzy...maybe he should tell the guys he wasn't feeling good, what? this fever was really getting to him, what did he mean 'he should tell them' was he nuts?
He tries to walk in a straight path down to breakfast but he fails miserably, his hands glide along the wall to keep himself up, Kowalski greets him with a smile, Skipper continues to read his paper, and Rico and Manfredi are gobbling down their omelets with fish down in record timing, "morning Private" Johnson greets him as he flips an omelet in midair, other than Rico's sushi Johnson had to be the best cook in the group because Skipper could only burn water, "sleep well?" Johnson asks raising an eyebrow, Private knew that look, Johnson was trying to figure him out, Private made it to the bar stool and sat himself up without a scream in protest from his body, "wasn't my best sleep, but it was fine" he lied half telling the truth, he was up all last night with his fever, stomach and an aching headache, he did get some sleep but it was all dark twisting figures that formed nightmares, "soldier, I hope it won't keep you from today's mission" Skipper glanced over his paper to seek out any weariness from his little soldier as he added "right?", Private squeaked a bit lying through his esophageal papillae, "no sir, ship shaped" he squirmed, he felt guilty for telling them myths, it shrunk him down three sizes as they all towered him for answers, 'no Private, don't let the fever make you feel weak' he commented in his own private thoughts, "good then, I don't need any of my men to feel downright shabby" the leader says as he goes back to reading, "Private do you want me to fix you anything? I already made Rico a fish omelet, I could make you some of those pancakes you like" Johnson winks at the young boy penguin, these pancakes he was talking about were the ones with chocolate chips and whip cream, not to mention chocolate syrup, they were his favorite, Private grimaced, he couldn't afford to eat, it would all come up, he couldn't risk that, "I think I'll pass, I'm not that hungry, I think I'll just have a sip of juice" Private declines, Kowalski and Johnson's mouths went agape, the boy knew why he never turned away his favorite plates of food, Skipper even puts down his paper and stares deeply at Private who looks shyly away, "Private" he warns, "you haven't snuck any winkies in your room for a late night snack have you?" he adds, Private mentally sighed that he didn't ask if he felt alright, "no Skipper, I'm just not hungry" Private keeps up, Skipper narrows his eyes, here it comes, "are you feeling alright Private?" he asks, Private gulps but rolls his eyes, "I'm fine" he answers, Skipper, Manfredi, Kowalski, Johnson and Rico all eye him down, "fine, I'll eat something if it stops all of you from staring!" he shouted, which was a mistake in his case as his throat protested in the screech burning up inside, then the coughing started, Rico reaches out in concern to pat his back but Private tears away from the touch afraid that he would touch his hot skin, "I-I'm fine!" Private persists, Kowalski pours him a glass of orange juice and hands it to him to clear his throat, Private greedily gulps it down to stop the throbbing sensation and he finishes it with distress faces, surprisingly Rico is the first to say and or ask "sick?"
Private smacks his forehead, "no, it was just a cough" he clarifies, they all frown, "a cough, that's it" he adds, "yes, a cough that sounded like you were coughing up a lung" Skipper crosses his arms and leers his eyes to Kowalski, "check his forehead Kowalski", Private bites his tongue, Kowalski was gonna know for sure if he lands his flipper on his forehead, Private sprains his spine back away from Kowalski's awaiting cold wing, "there is nothing to check" he objects, he sneezes as he falls back off the stool with an 'umpf', "it's just allergies" he adds trying to convince his guardians from the ground below, Kowalski crouches down to his level on the floor, "since you're obviously not sick you shouldn't mind if I check your temperature" he smirks, Private backs away, "Private would you just stay still" Kowalski asks frustratingly, Private pants, "but I'm fine, what about that mission Skipper?" he asks, peeking to where Skipper's usual spot is, he's gone, "Skipper?" he calls, his glassy eyes search for him but alas he can't find him, until two flippers lift him under his armpits unto a lap, Private attempts to writhe away but the brace is too strong for him in his ill state, "Skipper let go!" Private whines, Skipper's arms had embraced his arms restraining him from leaving, Private starts to kick away, "why can't you just believe me?" Private fears as Kowalski places his hand on his hot forehead, Kowalski shows displeasure in the answer, "he's burning up" Kowalski sighs disapproving Private's attempt to keep this from them, "I'm going to go get the thermometer, I suggest you get him to bed" he adds, Private pouts "I'm not that sick", here comes the rush of his nurses, his overbearing nurses, "I just need some sleep that's all" he adds, Skipper doesn't say a word which worries Private, "Rico take him to his room, and get him lots of blankets" he orders as Private struggled in his lap still, slightly embarrassed but more angry he started to yell, "I can take care of myself! I'm not a little hatchling anymore Skipper!", he breathes heavily, he was so tired he knew very well he couldn't make it to his bedroom on his own, his sore throat was throbbing again, he could feel his voice withering to a point of it disappearing on him, his head was as if it was hit by a brick, Private felt awful, also it didn't help when he turned to lose all of the contents in his stomach, Private measly said "'M'sorry", Skipper let go of him, Private rubs his eyes to keep the tears at bay, Skipper rubbed his back smoothly, "it's okay, we all have those crummy days little soldier" he says, Private felt even worse to how Skipper was treating him after he had shouted at him, "now will you please let us help you? if you don't you won't get better" Skipper adds, Private nods sadly.
Rico who had left the room had brought back a purple blanket that had lunacorns on it, it was Private's security blanket, Private never had the heart to give it up, besides it kept him warm, without a word to Skipper Rico wraps him up cozily in the blanket and brings him to his chest, Private's eyes swoop down as Rico enters his room.
Rico lays him onto his bed and fetches other blankets like Skipper ordered him too, Rico didn't mind the order, Private was his adopted baby brother, it was in his 'brother' description to take care of him, the weapon specialist bird finds the blankets in the bottom shelf of his small closet, after coming back over to were Private was shivering, he puts the blankets on him, Private who was zoning in and out of his dreams would pout and let out a little sniff, Rico shushed him as he pulled his covers over him and on top of him, then Rico finds a chair to plant to the right of the younger bird's bed, before sitting down Rico goes into the bathroom to find a washcloth, he takes his time watering it down to the right temperature for him, when he comes back he finds Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Skipper over him, Kowalski and Manfredi try to coax the little boy into opening his mouth for the thermometer, "come on Private, I have to see how bad your temperature is" Manfredi encourages, Private mumbles feverishly into his pillow, "Private it is essential for me to do this open up" Manfredi huffs at the child's arrogance, "Private if you don't let me put this in your mouth, I'll have to put it somewhere else, and it won't be pleasant" Manfredi warns, Private glares as much as possible when he opens his mouth, "good, now keep it there", Kowalski crosses his arms at the sick boy in front of him, "why in this world did you not tell us you were ill?" he asks, Private knew when Kowalski was worried when he was aggravated, he needed logical explanations to things that he didn't quite get, how was he suppose to tell him? especially when he gave him that look of dispraise, Private huddles in his purple blanket more as the scientist cross examined him, the six year old bird just wanted them to leave him alone now that he was secure in his bed.
Manfredi pulled out the thermometer to check the kid's temp, "one hundred and two Skipper" Manfredi hummed scratching his chin then saying "raise him up, I need to check his throat", Skipper once again helps raises his brother up, "say 'ah' Private Fishy" Manfredi commands him, Private cringes, Manfredi wasn't happy with him as he called him Private Fishy, "sore throat too, along with that he's been puking too, I suspect a virus, possibly the flu in the worst case" Manfredi describes, Private rubs his eyes tiredly at Manfredi who lightens up a smile to him, how could he be mad at the child? he was too sick to function right, Kowalski ruffles his head-feathers gently, "I have some medicine to help, but for most viruses they have to run there course, sorry Private, you might be out for a few days, I'll be back with the medicine" Manfredi says and left, Skipper nods at his sergeant, as he and Kowalski walk to the latter's personal lab, he watches as Private droops forward off the bed, Skipper catches him in time, "alright Private you heard Manfredi, your going to be out for a while, but you can bet your sweet aunt Sally we are not going to leave your side" he offers, Skipper could have sworn he heard a small groan from the fatigued penguin boy, "you will do as we say soldier, we know what's best" he adds, soon enough Kowalski and Manfredi came back with at least three different bottles of the yuckiest kind of medicine anyone could find, Private blinked, he must have been hallucinating as he saw one labeled with a skull on it...or was he? nope he drew the line at this, he wouldn't, he couldn't, it tasted horrible the last time he was sick, how was it going to taste this time? the same he assumed, "no" he rejects falling back into the mound of pillows protecting his white face with the sheets and his blanket, Manfredi pours it out onto a spoon, "here we go the right amount Private" he says as he looks up to Private hiding in his covers, "I know you don't like it but how about you get it over with?" Manfredi offers, he immediately sees the little penguin shake a 'no' underneath, "Private, it will make you feel much better" Manfredi pestered, "the taste sure won't" Private's cracked voice came from the bed, Skipper crossed his arms and warns "Private, I told you you would do as we say, you'll get better faster", Private mumbles softly "will it make you go away faster?", a jab erupts Private's side and Private leaps out of his protection shield, "hey-" he began with his mouth wide open, causing the rotten taste to drop in his mouth, he did not swallow, Kowalski lowered his glasses and orders "swallow", Private groaned but did as he was told, Private mushed his head back as Rico placed the drenched washcloth to his forehead, Private continues to shiver and the other boys notice, Private tries to manage his shaking self but can not, he pushes his fuzzy blanket that he kept to his chin, his beak chatter, he felt so puny and he also felt like a jerk after the way he treated the team, they weren't his team now though, they were his brothers and fathers, yet he had treated them with so many intentions of anger to them just because they cared, they cared so much they were possibly missing the mission they were going to go on, oh the mission, "what about the m-mission?" he croaked, Skipper ignores him for the moment, "Johnson go get more blankets, we need him to sweat this out" Skipper recommends, Johnson nods and left, Skipper sits on the bed running his hand through Private's head-feathers and added to him "the mission is you now".
"But-" Private protested, "Private, rest" Skipper disciplined, "I'm sorry" Private apologizes to his older brother/father now teary eyed, "for what?" the leader asks tucking him in more to keep the cold from him, "being sick" Private answers, "that's nothing to be sorry about, soldier" Skipper objected, "what about the mess I made?" Private informs, "nothing I or the team can't manage" Skipper counters, "what about the hassle of taking care of me?" Private adds, "nothing brothers wouldn't do for each other" Skipper informs, suddenly Private started to feel much better.
Chapter seven, First Storm
"Rico you're watching Private tonight" Skipper announced after a rousing training exercise, "Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and I are going out, it'll be a while before we get back" he adds, Rico groaned, he planned to go out himself, of course sneaking out without Skipper knowing, now his plans were ruined as he had to watch their little boy while his brothers go to out to have the fun he wanted to have, he looked over at the small five year old penguin who was whining just like him, "can't we go with you Skipper?" he complains, Kowalski sputters at the thought and Skipper clears his throat "er no, it's a classified mission young Private" Skipper refused, Private pouts but Skipper intervenes, "no Private, you can't go, you'll be with Rico" he added, Private and Rico give each a look refusing to obey each other, despite taking him in Rico and Private did clash on a few things, mainly about their interests being complete opposites of each other's, they both tried but it seemed they were both polar opposites, Private was the innocent, sweet, caring penguin and Rico was the rebel, explosive, chaotic penguin and they each partly resented each other's interests, the pair just didn't seem right together but it seems Skipper was going to push them together, "oh come on, surly you two can find something to do together!" Manfredi exclaimed seeing the displeasure of the two hanging out together, Private tries a smile at Rico and says "we could play a board game..." Rico frowns and points at Private "s're loser", now it's Private's turn to frown, "am not!" he objects, "uh-huh!" Rico grunts crossing his arms smirking down at the youngest team member, "you call me that because I know you cheat!" Private fires back glaring up at his mohawked adopter, Rico sneers "baby", Rico knew Private hated being called that, Private knew too what Rico hated being called, "freak!" he fires back, "weak!" Rico retorts, "stupid!" Private retorts, "tiny!" Rico retorts again, "crazy!" Private retorts again, Rico is growling with his fist at his side, Private wasn't going stop and neither was he, but their was one thing Rico new Private couldn't bare to stand, so Rico lets Private have it, "a-" he began, "Rico, don't you dare finish that-" Skipper shouts knowing what was going to come out of his mouth, "mistake" Rico said as clear and loud as possible, Private didn't retort back, taking back in the blow he was given, he clenches his beak, Rico really did it this time, that hurt, he rubs his eyes refusing to let it get to him and breathed heavily, he looked to see how smug Rico was and lost it, Private's small body launched onto Rico's gut pushing him down, "take it back!" Private cried landing a hard punches on his chest and repeating "take it back!", Rico is taken back by Private's fury, he has never seen the little guy this upset...it felt good to get back at him, he won and that's all that matters to him, he allowed all the punches Private threw at him because he didn't need to punch back, because he had finished this fight out with words, "Private!" Kowalski yells grabbing Private around his stomach trying to pull him off of Rico, "that's enough soldier!" Skipper adds as Kowalski managed to wrap one arm around his middle tugging him off finally, "I said stop!" Skipper repeats, he swats Private on the butt who was fighting to attack the weapons expert, Private glares up at Skipper, "But he-" he began, Skipper says sternly "I don't care who started what, that is not how we handle things, that is not how we treat our brothers-", Private whispers dangerously towards Rico "that thing is not my brother", Skipper stood shell shocked after hearing that and he looked at Kowalski, Manfredi and Johnson for help, "Private, you don't mean-" he began, "I do" declares Private from the arms of Skipper, adding "if he thinks of me as a mistake then he can't possibly think I'm going to think of him as my brother".
"Private, I'm sure Rico didn't mean it..." Kowalski trails looking over to Rico where he was rubbing his chest, Rico grunts eyeing Private evilly "meant it", Private sniffs, his blue eyes water, "I hate you Rico" he screams, tears stream down his face, "I hate you so much" he adds, the whole room becomes very still and quiet, only soft sobs from Private who had been put down and the racing of his feet for his room down their dorm were heard, Rico blinks looking at the blank wall ahead of him, his heart hurt more than ever now he pushes on it, wondering how to stop the pain, he didn't have a little brother or son anymore, was that why his heart was aching? Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Skipper both cross their arms down at where Rico was rubbing his heart fiercely, "I take it it's not just your bruised chest that's hurting, but maybe your heart?" Kowalski analyzed frowning at him, "you shouldn't have went that far Rico" Johnson joined, and with that left to go check on Private who was probably locked in his room, Skipper offers a hand up and says "I can't say that I'm disappointed in you soldier, but I am", Rico's heart feels stomped on even more, "Private looks up to all of us, and what you said to him made him see you as some of the villains we face, I'm not saying that Private was right in calling you all of those names or fighting with you...but Rico, you knew that word would hurt him the most, cause he probably was a mistake considering you and I both found him abandoned by his parents" Skipper adds, Rico downcasts his eyes to the ground as Skipper continues, "you should both apologize to each other and make up for what you both said", Rico gravely nods, not sure how to say sorry to something so hurtful to Private, "when Kowalski, Johnson, Manfredi and I get back I want to see you both made up and actually acting like brothers and so forth, is that understood?" Skipper asks, Rico shakes his head yes, "good soldier, I'm going to talk about it with Private now", he finishes, then leaves Rico to his thoughts, he really hated winning now.
Private is present when Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Skipper are getting ready to leave, they were both looking rather dashing in their suits, Private even makes a joke "going on a quadruple date?", they both blush, then Private blushes wishing he never joked about it, because they were both apparently actually going on a 'classified' date, they wish their goodbyes to Rico and Private promising to be back at least around one in the morning, Skipper leans down to Private's level patting his head, "remember what we talked about okay?" he says, Private looks measly at Skipper nodding silently, "good see you later little soldier" he adds ruffling Private's head-feathers to Private's disliking, and they were gone leaving Rico and Private...to bond, Private cringed thinking about it, he still was upset with Rico, Skipper said Rico would apologize to him, but nothing was said in the brief silence that was now given to them both, Rico shifts back and forth on his feet making Private want to do the same, Rico stops seeing Private swaying as well, "food?" Rico tries, Private shrugs, "that's fine", he doesn't wait for Rico to follow with him to the kitchen he treads to, he sits on his normal seat on the bar, he wasn't allowed to make anything on his own after what had happened the first time, the smell of burnt curtains and tuna took a week to get out of his hair, Skipper commanded that he would always have the whole team with him to cook since, Rico strolls in seeing how mopey Private was around him, maybe he should apologize now? 'wait, shouldn't Private be the one to do that?' he thought, then he would apologize, yes that's how it should work, Rico smiled to himself, he would wait for his baby brother/son's sorriness as he asked "fish?" Private shrugs, "your choice", and that's all they say to each other during cooking the food and eating it too, afterwards they both move to the den to the TV, but Private knows Rico wouldn't let him watch the Lunacorns so he grabs his many plushies of the Lunacorns off the couch and plays with those on the floor, Rico watches the TV and Private at the same time, he notices there is no joy when he is playing with his toys like usual, he keeps this blank look on his face the whole time while Rico watches the TV, Private's weekend bedtime rolls around and Rico knows Skipper would be upset with him if he continued to let Private stay up, and they all were going to be upset with both of them knowing they both haven't made up yet and or haven't found any common ground with each other, yep Skipper, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski were going to be pissed.
"Private bed" Private hears Rico tell him from the couch...Private doesn't move, how dare Rico not even mutter a sorry to him, but command him to go to bed without even saying something about today's event! he was upset and he wasn't moving, "bed, Private" Rico tries again but Private keeps on playing, Rico growls under his breath, he should've known Private was going to be a spoiled brat, he knew exactly what Private was wanting, an apology, but why should he be the first to say it? isn't it Private's fault as much as it was Rico's? that was what Skipper had told him, it had been both their faults, "night night" Rico said loudly but Private kept ignoring him, so Rico did what he was suppose to do when the little penguin wasn't doing what he was asked, he made him do it, Rico towered over Private grabbing his sides and throwing him onto his shoulder, Private squealed "put me down!", he kicked his legs trying to throw off Rico and pound his fist into his back to make him stop, Rico didn't stop, he continued to Private's room opening the door, he didn't stop there, he then went to Private's bed, Private yelled from his shoulder, he sat down on Private's bed ready to get him ready for bed, Private stops him as soon as he starts to lower him "I can tuck myself in Rico! I'm not two!", Rico snorted flipping Private off of him onto the bed to leave him, he came back to find Private in bed and snoring away, Rico's job was done for the night so he decided to go play some of their violent video games Private wasn't allowed to play or see, to graphic for a five year old bird enough to give him nightmares but for a fifteen year old bird like Rico it gave him great pleasure.
He played for what seemed like a couple of hours until a large crack of lightening hurdled outside shutting off all the power in the penguin's dorm, Rico sighed as his game wasn't saved properly but at least he got to play, he hadn't gotten to play all that much due to having a baby under the roof, Rico should cut Private some slack as all of the things the penguins did in the past they couldn't do now thanks to Private, a large boom of thunder echoed into the rooms of the dorm, Rico upchucked a candle holder and match from his belly, he guessed he would head off to bed now since there was nothing to do in the dark now, lighting the match he placed the small flame to the candle to see in the dark, he walked past Kowalski's room, and Manfredi and Johnson's who were sharing the same room, then Skipper's when he heard soft sniffles, another pop of thunder and lightening came to shake the house and a whimper was now heard from Private's room, Rico immediately rushed in to make sure he wasn't hurt, but he only found Private cowering in the corner of his room with his wings firmly pressed to his ears, his eyes were shut as tight as his hands were clawing his ears, Rico winced at how painful he looked, then another beating of thunder pounded the walls, Rico could then hear Private chanting loudly "Frère Jacques, frère Jacques, dormez-vous? Dormez-vous? sonnez les matines, sonnez les matines? ding ding dong, ding ding dong", he repeated it twice after hearing another clap of thunder, Rico kneels down to him and sets the candle aside to take his hands to his small brother's shoulders to shake him out of his nursery rhyme, his electric blue eyes were just as shocking as the streaks of lightening outside, Private slung himself to Rico in a panic state digging his wet face into his neck, "Rico, I'm so-" he stuttered, "sorry!" they both said in unison, Private muffles into Rico's neck, his sobs still racking, "y-you are my b-b-bwurther a-and father-er 'ico!" he adds taking his head off his older brother\father's neck to look up at him pitifully, "I wuv you!" he adds again, Rico smirks a tad, Private's speech always slurred when he was distressed, "I wuv you s-s-so much!" Private added once more, Rico stands up with Private in his arms where his younger brother\son has his legs wrapped around his torso and arms enticed to his neck, Rico paces to rock Private trying to calm him down, it was something he had seen Kowalski, Skipper, and sometimes Manfredi and Johnson do many times when Private was crying, Rico spoke trying to soothe him but he knew what really needed to be said, "didn't mean it" he murmurs to Private's tiny ear, adding "no mistake", and Rico keeps repeating it in Private's ear while rocking him and rubbing his back, slowly Private started to hiccup instead of cry and Rico started to sit onto Private's bed, thunder came rolling again and Private whimpered "I don't like s-storms", Rico patted his back understandingly, "Private sleep" he tries telling him to relax in his arms and forget about the weather, Private nodded yawning, exhausted by his outburst, "'Rico p-p-please stay" he asks pulling away from Rico, asking him as another struck of lightening made him jump back into the nape of Rico's neck, Rico stood putting out the candle and carried Private with him to his own room where there were no windows for Private to see any lightening, Rico laid down on his bed and with one hand pulls the covers back for him and Private to get into, he pushed them back on the both of them and encircled his arms around Private, "good brother...good father" Private whispered in his sleep to Rico's chest, where oddly his heart was feeling all stitched up with warmth now, he hugs Private even more, god it was great having a baby brother and son just like Private.
Skipper, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski shook off their jackets and loosen their bow ties, they were home and glad to be too, their dates were quite the annoying couple of girls, giggling drunken words without any true meaning, so they were back earlier then expected to find the power was still out and the storm was still going, Skipper told the others "I'm going to check on Private...I should have stayed, I forgot their was going to be storm tonight, Nigel warned me Private was scared of them, can you guys check on Rico?", the three nod and Skipper softly treads to his little soldier's room, "Private" he whispers into an empty room and Skipper's heart jumps when he sees that his baby brother\boy is nowhere to be found, Kowalski, Johnson and Manfredi come rushing in to calm Skipper, "Private is in Rico's room Skipper" Kowalski says and they all have smirks as huge as the room they stand in, "I think you want to see this" Manfredi adds, Skipper raises his eyebrows, but follows his lieutenants and sergeant to Rico's room, he smiles when he sees the mushy sight before him, Private lays curled near on Rico's chest having his wing slightly in his mouth while Rico held him in a protective embrace, Rico's nose was planted in Private's head-feathers nuzzling him like a teddy bear, thunder boomed again and Private squirmed hearing the bang that frightens him, Skipper was ready to stop the whimper that was coming but Johnson grabbed his arm before he could and says "watch", Rico starts to hum something in Private's ear making him relax and coaxes his arms onto Rico's neck, "Bwuther, father" Private whimpers as Rico shifts Private more onto his chest kissing the top of his head, "wuv you too" Rico murmurs, Private rubs his head smothering his small face into Rico's chest, Skipper smirks along with Kowalski, Manfredi and Johnson with pride, "now that's how big brothers, little brothers and fathers and sons should act" he commented.
Chapter eight, First Goodbye
When Skipper had a solo mission for a long period of time it was hard for Private to let him go, at only four years old Private would miss him desperately, begging him not to go, Skipper was his older brother and the closest thing he had to a dad and Skipper knew why Private didn't want him to go, he didn't want to lose something that was so close to a father, so today was no different from all the other times he had left before.
Private had woken up in the middle of the night when Skipper told Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Rico he was leaving, because he knew how Private would react, so he knew not to say goodbye, Skipper's heart melted when Private's eyes filled tears, as soon as he saw he was packed and at the door, "you're leaving Skipper?" he asks running for Skipper's thigh, "why?" he added looking up so pitifully at his older brother\father, Skipper shut his eyes tight, he had to go the mission was important, and it would get the team some more expenses they needed, he had to go for his team, that's what leaders did, Skipper opens his eyes to see Private clutching his right leg, nuzzling his face in his hip, "Private, you should be in bed" he reprimands him and Private's little bottom lip wiggles hating to disappoint Skipper, "you knew didn't you? you knew when I planned to leave?" Skipper wondered, and then Private gives him those eyes, that swim with sleepy tears, "don't be mad" he requests, Skipper sighs and puts his hands on his hips, he was determined to stay strong against the cuteness before him, a little boy penguin of four years (and Skipper still sees him as the toddler they rescued) pleading and cuddling his daddy to stay, yeah it was excruciating on Skipper's part, he wanted nothing more than to pick up Private and hug him till morning, but his face remains stern unlike his heart that was twisting in pain, "Private, were you up in the vents again listening?" Skipper frowns, as Private nods measly, "I'll make sure that Kowalski and Johnson will know to give you a serious timeout for that tomorrow, you know that's dangerous being up there, those vents could collapse any second on you" he adds, "sorry" Private sniffs and then he sneaks his way to say "you could give me the timeout now", Skipper smirks a little inwardly, Private could be downright clever for a four year old, "you're bound and determined to get me to stay aren't you little soldier?" he asked as Private's small nose rubbed his thigh in his way of yes, he reaches down to smooth Private's bed head as Private speaks "I don't want you to go and forget about me", and Skipper's heart can't take it enough, forget about being stern! his little boy needed a super hug from him, in a single motion he picks Private up and smothers him into a bear hug and tiny kisses, he doesn't let go for a long time and even when he eases up he still finds Private in his arms, "why would I ever want to leave my little penguin?" he asked looking at Private's spectacular blue eyes that seem to glow at night, "how could I ever forget something as sweet and innocent as you Private?" Skipper adds, Private looks away from Skipper and replies, "you did it before! you, Kowalski and Rico got to go here at this place and you left me with uncle Nigel, and I wanted to be with you, my brothers and fathers!", Skipper shakes his head and cups Private's chin with one hand to turn him to him, "now you listen here minster, we never forgot about you one bit when you were with Nigel, do you know why they wouldn't allow you to join with us and had to leave you with Nigel as a baby?" he asks, Private shakes his head, "to protect you, little soldier, the agency couldn't let a baby take part in our work, it was way too dangerous, and your still our baby" Skipper explains, Private crinkles his nose, he didn't like being a baby, "well you are, that's why when we go on missions you have to stay behind with one of the other agents, to keep you safe and that's why you can't go with me on this one, maybe when your older but not now when you're our baby" Skipper explains again, Private blushes hotly on his cheeks, Skipper grins, "one thing is for sure we'd never forget you okay?" he adds and smirks adding on "okay baby?", Private huffs but nods his flushing face and says "okay", Skipper hugs him once more, "now, I need you to behave while I'm gone, mind your team, your caretakers, Kowalski and Johnson are in charge, oh don't give me that look I know for a fact that when I'm gone you love to cuddle up to Kowalski or Johnson because you miss me so much" Skipper jokes, Private's lip tuckers out ready to complain that Skipper shouldn't know that but he adds "and I have you know Kowalski and Johnson don't mind it at all, so cuddle away", Private grins but saddens a bit, "do you really have to go tonight?" he asks, "yes, if I want to catch my flight" Skipper says putting Private back down, Private moves his feet around then asks "can you tuck me in?", Skipper checks his watch but sees that Private could use this, "alright" he concedes, Private holds up his arms, "up!" he beckons, Skipper smiles, how could he say no to that tiny gesture? he lifts him up by his armpits and Private wraps his legs to Skipper's torso, his little flippers fly up to grasp the back of his neck and as for his head it goes right into the nape of Skipper's neck, his little nose digs into his neck for comfort and Skipper realizes how small Private really is, he had just turned four just a few weeks ago but he hadn't grown much, he was more than likely going to be the shortest of them all, right now Private still looked about three and that's all Skipper needed to realize he still was a baby to him.
Skipper walks down the dark hallway but asks, "how about I let you sleep in my bed, since I'll be going soon, would that make you feel better?" Private mumbles the question and asks "can I get blankie first?", Skipper nods knowing what blankie is, he goes into Private's bedroom fast and snatches where Private's stuff is, underneath the corner of his covers he sees a purple cloth poking out, he pulls it out and hands it over to Private saying "here you go baby", Private's nose wrinkles still at being called baby but he clutches it with one hand to his chest still holding onto Skipper, he says a little sleepy "thank you 'Skipper", Skipper expressed in tenderness kissing the top of his head and continues to his bedroom, he starts to pull Private off him and into the covers but he doesn't budge, "Private" he warns, "come on now, you need to sleep and I need to go" Skipper adds, Private shakes his head and Skipper swats him a tad on the butt to get him off, "little soldier come on now" he pleads trying to pry him off, "sleep wiff me," he begs, now he was starting to say things wrong to make himself more adorable, "then you can go" he adds, Skipper sighed, there was no point fighting it and Private would fall much faster asleep than he would, he gets into bed and pulls the cover down for them both to get into together, he waits for Private to position himself first before he puts the covers back on, he curls up on Skipper's chest on his side where he holds a fistful of Skipper's chest-feathers and his blankie while all still sucking his wing, it was the cutest spectacle to behold but his eyes remained wide open, Skipper pushes the covers up to tuck them both in, Private's eyes glance up to see if Skipper shut his eyes yet, Skipper rolls his eyes, he knew he needed Private to believe he was going to fall asleep then he could escape, so he shuts his eyes knowing Private will too, he was going to make it on time still even if it would take Private a little while to fall into dreamland.
Huh...dreamland, that sounded...
Little snores...little penguin...
...Take care of his baby...
"Skipper!" a harsh whisper awoken him with a tiny start and a whimper is heard from below him, it was Private who is tossing and turning making a fuss, Skipper smiles down at him and soothes him, "calm down baby, shush little penguin, keep dreaming" and he stops his thrashing after that and goes back to nibbling on his wing, "Skipper? you know it's morning?" Johnson asks, raking his messy mohawk away from his forehead, Skipper smacks his forehead, he had fallen asleep with his baby brother\son cradling on him, "Johnson, switch places with me I have to go, I didn't mean for this to happen but the little guy wanted me to..." Skipper began, "wait Private knew? but how..." Johnson began, Skipper interrupts speed talking to explain "crawled through the vents again, so a timeout would be best, ten minutes no later...make it twelve actually, 'cause the little devil knew I'd fall asleep with him cuddling on me like that", he kisses the top of Private's head quickly and looks at Johnson who looks like he is about to coo the affection but Skipper puts a stop to it, "what are you waiting for? switch!" he whispers harshly, Johnson slides in taking his orders seriously and they exchange Private to Johnson's chest softly, Skipper goes on to get the heck out of dodge before Private woke to see his older brother\father does leave, Private begins to make a fuss, "Skipper I want, 'Skipper!" he pouts and his closed eyes somehow have tears coming down, "daddy!" he shouts, Johnson's eyes and Skipper's freeze together on Private who says once more "dad-dee!", Skipper's heart twists with pain but he can't stay, he can't as he has a job to do for the team and for the little boy who just wailed daddy at him, Skipper rushes at the doorknob and Johnson scoffs "you are awful at goodbyes", Skipper pauses, "he makes them awful, I mean 'daddy'? who can say it cuter than he can?" he retorts, Johnson smirks, "that's only because he wants his daddy" he remarks, Johnson then coos at Private's ear "isn't that right?", and Private dips his head yes and Johnson continues to smirk in triumph, Skipper glares at Johnson saying "you know I'm okay saying goodbye to you Johnson", he makes a rude gesture that he hopes Private never sees him do, he is out the door with Johnson in laughter and Private's cries still ringing in his ear, Private's seems to be even louder.
Chapter nine, First swim
It was mocking him, so he glared at the simmering blue pool before him, his reflection glared back at him, so he stuck his tongue out and so did the reflection, the water ripples bubbles pop out onto the surface and soon his reflection disappears...Splash! the water surface erupts out popping a "rawr!"
"Ah!" Private screams crab walking away from the monster infested waters, "Skipper! Kowalski! Manfredi! Johnson! there's a monster in the pool!" he yells and runs for his older brother's/father's legs to hide, "nonsense young Private, there are no monsters" Skipper smirks down at the small five year old bird who stares up at him madly for protection from the beast, "you're just afraid of the water that's all but that's gonna change today" he adds, "sir" Kowalski pokes at him for his attention, "or it could be that Rico pop out and scared Private" he adds and points at the guffawing Rico who stands up in the shallow water where Private was a moment ago, Private let's go of both their legs and marches over to Rico, "that's not funny Rico!" he complains, Rico smirks and pulls out a squirt gun and squirts it in Private's face, "quit it, Rico! Skipper! Manfredi! Kowalski! Johnson! Rico is squirting me with his squirt gun!" he tattletales on Rico and Rico rolls his eyes dramatically and tosses the gun back into his stomach, "Private I can see and no one likes a tattletale, no more of that soldier" Skipper orders, Private nods understanding the warning, Skipper sighs and turns to Rico, "be mindful and behave or I won't let you go to that rock concert tomorrow" he adds to Rico, Rico's dark blue eyes widen at the threat and nods, "good soldier" Skipper expresses.
Private glances at the water, he loved Uncle Nigel but one of his worst mistakes with Private was allowing him to roam free right into the pond out by the cottage they lived in, Private almost drowned and his brothers weren't so pleased that Nigel was so careless so today they were here to make up for his mistake two years ago, he was frightened that he was going to drown once more, he desperately wanted nothing more than to forget this whole idea of teaching him how to swim, it was undebatable though, because Rico, Manfredi Johnson, Kowalski and Skipper didn't want another fright like that again, well he too didn't want to die like that again so why did they think it was best for him to get back into the water that drowned him before? they weren't called penguins for nothing penguins could swim, Private not so much but another reason they were all so stubborn on refusing to let this lesson go was they were afraid one of their enemies would use Private's fear to their own advantage, summed up in Private's head: villains suck.
"Alright let's get your floaties on" Skipper awaits him holding out one of his floaties to put on, regretfully he slide one of them on and then another, Private could tell he was sensing his misery, "today we are just getting you use to the water little soldier, but tomorrow is when we really start to learn" Skipper states, "you mean no floaties tomorrow? I'm going to drown Skipper!" Private flails his arms up in panic, his chest heaved remembering how his lungs filled with water making it impossible to breathe, he chokes on air as Skipper, Manfredi, Johnson, Rico and Kowalski rush over to him, "Private calm down, we won't let you drown" Manfredi offers, "your percentage of death by drowning is low but not breathing properly there is a chance of you dying" Kowalski adds, "no drown!" Rico adds, Private sucks in air once more as the boys sigh with relief, Private's blue eyes shimmer up in fear, "but no floaties means I won't float and if I can't float then I'll sink...just like that ship-you know what I'm saying Kowalski the elementary we watched together-with all those peoples on it!" he sucks his bottom lip in so they don't see him pout, Kowalski puts his hands on his hips peering down at his little brother/son, "Private it's not elementary it's documentary, weren't you supposed to be taking a nap when I was watching that?" Kowalski asks, Private blushes shifting his feet guiltily, "couldn't sleep and smart things that you watch usually puts me to sleep" he looks up pitiful to them all, "I just don't want to drown" he adds, "and you won't if you learn how to swim" Skipper quips out but adds "Private I didn't say you couldn't have your floaties I just said tomorrow we would be teaching you how to swim properly".
"Oh" Private flushes hugging himself feeling embarrassed making a scene and being so afraid, Skipper ruffles his head-feathers making his small waves messy, "alright soldier, let's get into the pool" he bids, Private takes Skipper's hand as Rico, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski jump right on in with a huge splash, Skipper wasn't about to let Private do that, they were going to be taking baby steps to get him to swim, Skipper leads Private to the stairs into the pool, Skipper goes in first and waits for Private to follow in, Private hesitates but puts both feet onto the first step, the water is room temperature sloshing around at Private's feet, this wasn't so bad, he grabs the railing and goes down one step where the water is at his calves, it hasn't hurt him so far so he launches off the steps toward a surprised Skipper, "good job little soldier!" Skipper praises as his heart slows, he didn't think Private would practically jump over to him, he shakes the feeling of fear off him and takes Private under the arms leading him out a little further, "let's go over to where Rico, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski are, it's a little deeper there but you have us and everything-" Skipper started, "can I try to swim over to them myself Skipper?" Private suddenly asks without a lace of fear in his voice like he never feared the water ever, Skipper opens his mouth and says "you can try but know that I'm-" and Private squirms out of his hold and dog paddles slowly over to Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Rico, "-here" Skipper says gloomily not taking a liking to Private being so independent, Kowalski, Johnson, Manfredi and Rico congratulate him on his small swim, Private shines with confidence and looks over to Skipper and calls "Skipper! Skipper! I made it!", he dog paddles over to Skipper who holds him up where his ears are no longer filled with water, "did you see?" the kid penguin asks, Skipper breaks into a smile, his gloom fading, Private was gaining confidence where he needed it most so Skipper shouldn't look at it like it was a bad thing, he keeps his hold on Private, if he kept dog paddling to stay a float better than what his floaties were giving him he would become exhausted more quickly, Skipper kept a hold on him they needed to get through things today, "you took to the water like a penguin would!" he compliments, Private gleams with joy and Skipper's heart fills with pride, "now dog paddling is okay but if you want to swim you have to use your legs and arms, boys show him" he adds, Private watches how Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Rico both use their legs and flippers, kicking the water up into the air splashing Skipper and Private, Private giggles and ducks his head into Skipper's neck to dodge anymore droplets, Skipper wipes his eyes and chuckles along with Private, "alright boys I think that's good! think your up for trying young Private?" he offers, Private salutes cutely "aye Skipper!" he terrifies Skipper once again to shoot off to Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Rico, kicking his legs so hard and stroking his protecting buoys flawlessly he makes it past the four penguin men, Skipper clamps his hands into tight fists and very manly screams "Private!", Private stops as his floaties hold him up in much deeper water where his head is practically bobbling on the water like an apple would, Skipper looks at Rico, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski who are just as dumbfounded as Private is, Skipper commands "grab him! he's too far out!", Johnson gives a him a puzzled look, "sir? he has floaties on so I don't think the chances of him drowning are too...rash" he states, Rico nods and adds "he fine! good! good!", he gives a wing-like thumb ups to Private who smiles openly but this causes a rush of water into his mouth, he chokes trying to spit it out and Skipper freaks out when he sees this, "don't give me lip men! get him!" Skipper orders again and swims trying to get to him first, Kowalski stands in the water taking six steps to pick up Private and places him on his hip, Private coughs out a little more water but is pleasantly fine, "that's bad to drink if you're thirsty 'Kowalski" Private remarks, "that's because you're not suppose to drink this water" Kowalski scolds, "oh" Private mumbles but looks eagerly at Rico, Johnson, Manfredi and Kowalski, "how did I do-Oi! Skipper!" he added suddenly, Skipper without a second thought wraps Private in a protective embrace, "Private you can't just push your limits! if you go out too far your head hardly stays afloat and then guess what? you drown!" he says, his dark blue eyes narrow down sternly at Private, "do you want to drown again?" he adds, Private's shoulders go up and his head ducks in like a turtle, "n-n-no Skipper" he sputtered finding it hard to look up to Skipper, "you act like you do, practically throwing yourself into the water with hardly any teaching!" he continues to yell and Private thinks that his head can't get any lower in shame, "but isn't it a good thing I take to the water?" Private asks measly, "not like that! choking and all!" Skipper clarifies, "I just got a bit of water in my mouth..." Private started, "that made you choke!" Skipper interrupted, "I was doing good! you're just being a paranod!" Private suddenly insults, "Private I was not being-wait, what did you call me?" Skipper's yelling tones down trying to understand what the five year old bird had said, "paranod! what Rico, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski say you are!" he sticks out his tongue and wiggles to be free of Skipper's chest, Skipper gives an annoyed glance to his four followers who flush back at him but he turns to Private squirming, "it's paranoid" he sighed, "maybe it was a mistake teaching you, you're just too little to understand the dangers..." he adds, Private stops squirming, "no no no I'm a big boy! I'm five!" he holds up his whole hand to Skipper's face, "I'm this many and most of this many know how to swim! I'm not that little" he adds Skipper starts to exit the pool with Private held tightly in his arms, "it's not just how old you are, this is dangerous for anyone learning how to swim, you have to be serious, focus and listen to me, which you-" Skipper began, "I did do that! I did what you told me!" Private wiggles in Skipper's strong embrace, he manages to wiggle himself on top of Skipper's left shoulder to call out to Rico Manfredi Johnson and Kowalski, "Rico Manfredi Johnson 'Kowalski, tell him I was doing all those thingies!" he complains to, the demolition expert, doctor, second-in-command and intelligence do not come to the five year old's aid, they did not want a thrashing or tongue lashing from Skipper when he was already pissed as it was, Private's nose scrunches with fury, "scaredy cats!" he hollers at them and they both shrug at Private helpless to what they are to do for him, but Private knows what he has to do, he didn't want to be stuck in floaties when he went to the pool when he would be thirty, besides he had already promised Skipper he wouldn't be married until that age so he shouldn't have to promise another thing he would have to wait for in life! Private became dead weight in Skipper's arms, he had seen some human children do it before, it worked for them it would work for Private, "Private what are you doing?" Skipper tries hoisting him back onto his hip but every part of Private's body went limp making it harder for him to carry the boy, it was like having a huge boulder in his grasp, "stop acting up" he adds, his grip on Private was going down into the cement floor below him, Private tumbles out of his hold and runs for it, tearing off the floaties as he is chased by Skipper, he throws them at Skipper hoping to attempt to slow him down, Skipper's eyebrows twist down and Private gulps internally, he was going to die by swimming or by Skipper's own hands, and with that last thought in his mind he gives a gigantic leap when he reaches the edge of the pool.
Private, not knowing to close his mouth when underwater takes a huge swallow of chlorine water, it fills his lungs and he watches as the bubbles of air that he made fade around him, he was sinking to the pool floor, Private tried to push off with his toes to swim like Skipper showed him, kicking his feet and moving his arms in panic motions, he wasn't getting very far and he was still sucking up water through his gritted throat-spikes, a bullet flew past him no five bullets, no that wasn't right, his eyes were shutting when he realized five penguins were saving him... "...Vate Private" a terrified voiced called to him, "his pulse is back Skipper" another voiced that was full of relief, "Pri'?" an anxious voice that grumbled out, Private coughs, something warm spurts out of his mouth, he reaches up to wipe it away but something soft crosses his mouth wiping up whatever he threw up, he starts to sit up in alarm by who was taking care of him, "shush it's just us Rico Skipper Manfredi Johnson and Kowalski, can you hear me Private?" Johnson asks, "Skipper? 'Skipper?" he blinks slowly as foggy figures appear surrounding him, Skipper sighs in relief and mutters "thank god", he pushes his wet dripping feathers from his forehead, guilt floods Private's heart, Skipper Manfredi Johnson Kowalski and Rico had just saved him from drowning once more, Private shivers more, he would have died, if he hadn't been so stubborn to prove to Skipper this never would have happened, he would have lost everything though: there would be no more tickle fights no more of being rewarded peanut butter winkies before bedtime no hugs and kisses from his brothers/fathers and there would be none of his brothers/fathers there, "oh Rico get a blanket he's freezing!" Manfredi exclaimed, Rico quickly reaches for one and starts to swaddle his tiny brother/boy, Private let's out a sob and holds his arms up to the five of them, "I-I w-want my b-brothers and f-fathers!" he begs.
He wails more, tears streaming down his face making it a hot puffy red, his little nose running making him even pitiful to the eyes of his adopters, Skipper scoops him into a cradle motion up near his chest and bends down planting a kiss on the top of his head, "shush we're here, look Kowalski wants to see you" he whispers softly into Private's ear, "come here my little sugar" Kowalski cooed as Private reached out for his nickname that only Kowalski could say, this caretaker was the first to see what too much sugar had done to him, Kowalski holds him petting his feathers slowly getting his tangles in his curls, Private snuggles into Kowalski's neck more trying to find a good spot to lay his tear stained face, Manfredi wanted some cuddling from Private too so he got it, then Johnson was given the chick, "oh no Rico wants his share of you too" he jokes, Private is tossed to Rico as he whines to be back in a cuddle spot, Rico dips his nose into the baby's cheek nudging him with soft fondness, he wraps Private up in the blanket they had long forgotten and rocks him to and fro, Rico hums into his ear which is harmonizing to Private as he yawns loudly, "bath and bed I think, don't you agree sir?" Kowalski asked enjoying the tune of Rico's humming as Private was slowly succumbing to sleep, "definitely Kowalski, we'll talk about his blatant defiance against me after I give him his punishment-" Skipper began, "Skipper you are to blame yourself too-" Manfredi argued putting his hands on his hips, "me?" Skipper incredulously asked, "Skipper you couldn't hold yourself back from smothering him!" Kowalski declared, Manfredi Johnson and Rico nod too but the latter keeps rocking the smallest of the group to sleep, "it wasn't smothering it was protection!" Skipper counters, Rico, Manfredi, Johnson and Kowalski give him a look, "okay yes, I was too cautious but he is slipping out from under my nest! he's growing up..." Skipper bites his lower lip to keep from saying anyone to upset him, "he's not leaving us anytime soon Skipper, he knows and we all know we are a family that sticks together" Johnson puts a comforting hand on Skipper's shoulder, "the only thing Private wants to know is that he is a part of this team, he wants to be one of us and swimming was a way for him" he adds, Skipper groans "and I shot the little fellow down", he rubs his face in frustration, "is parenting always like this? failure?" he adds, "if anything I think that failure isn't an option for us" Kowalski analyzed, "failure teaches us so technically failure is parenting" he added, "yeah! what he said!" Rico nods franticly but stops when he sees Private frown at his shift in his arms, "whoops" he starts back to rocking the small boy but Private starts to blink rapidly, "Kowalski being inspiration is not your thing but I appreciate the effort" Skipper comments, Kowalski flushes at the praise and Skipper turns to Rico "hand him over soldier" he requests, Rico passes over a drowsy Private to his leader, Skipper takes hold of him with one strong arm and says "swimming tuckered you all out didn't it soldier?"
"Huh?" Private blinks rubbing his eyes seeing Skipper above him, "oh hello Skipper, I guess I'm not allowed to swim ever again..." he said remembering today's events, "on the contrary you are going to learn" Skipper surprises, Private blinks at Skipper imagining he was in a funny dream, "I was too strict on you Private and I'm s-sorry" he adds, Private smiles tiredly and tucks his face into Skipper's chest a little bit more, "I'm sorry too Skipper, that I scared all of you, I'll hear you next time and I'll wear my floaties too" he says, "I know you will Private" Skipper says, his other hand rakes Private's curly untamed head-feathers back, "I trust you will" he adds, Private uses both hands grabbing Skipper's wrist from massaging his scalp anymore and brings it down to hug desperately to his chest, Private knows what trust really means in Skipper's vocabulary, "and I love you too Skipper!" he says, Skipper's heart freezes at the sound of that word and looks over to Kowalski, Manfredi, Johnson and Rico who freeze also, Private said...
Skipper shakes his head, he looks down at his boy and his heart melts from being so frozen, Private's eyes were slowly drifting shut and Skipper kisses his forehead one last time for the day, maybe Johnson was right Private wasn't going anywhere anytime soon, especially since he was in Skipper's loving arms.
Chapter ten, First of Skipper's Girlfriend
It wasn't often Skipper dated with being the leader of his own team, and taking care of each member of the team, he hardly ever went out searching for the one, dating was ridiculous anyway, having to get dressed up for someone you didn't even know yet, what was the point in that? and it was hardly ever he found a girl with the same common interest as him, yet he had found her.
His men, and himself were invited to one of their neighbor's parties. To their surprise it wasn't from Alex since he chose not to return, instead it was a new neighbor by the name of Marlene, an otter. She had just moved in and right next door to Skipper, Kowalski, Rico, and Private. She was wanting to be the friendly neighbor, and wanting to meet everyone in the building that lived with her, she had came over knocking on the door of Skipper's team, and of course the one to answer it was Young Private, who couldn't just say no to decline the party. They all had gotten into their formal attire and all looking pretty dapper for the party, each of his men had spread themselves out when they reached Marlene's party interacting with others at the party. Skipper though hung back out watching his team from afar just in case anything was to go wrong, mostly though he had his eyes on his youngest member of his team, Private. He was just a tiny thing and Skipper was so paranoid that someone might step on him, Skipper knew that was impossible to happen but he worried for the little guy, if anything were to happen to Private he just wouldn't forgive himself, so he kept his eyes train on his little solider making sure he was having a good time, and enjoying himself.
That's when she came up to him asking "is that your son?", Skipper was caught off his guard and turned to see who it was, a beautiful feminine scorpion (with lipstick), her exoskeletal physique would blow you away, Skipper wanted to know how he could have gone his whole life without meeting her, he smiled trying to keep from drooling on her. He then turned back to carefully watch Private, who was now dancing adorably with Marlene herself. He nodded to answer the scorpion's question "he's my little brother, but he is close enough to be my son", the scorpion drunk up his comment and said "that's very sweet, I could tell he had to be yours, the way you just looked at him", she held out her pincer and introduced herself as "Lola", "Skipper" said penguin responded back, he took her pincer and brought it up to his lips to kiss, "pleasure to meet you" he added, Lola's face blushed a little and advert her eyes back to the dancing Private, asking "how old is he?", Skipper dropped her pincer gently and went back to watching his tiny sibling, answering with "his name is Private and he just turned five last month", Lola nods and there is silence before them, except for the music blaring (although Skipper couldn't help remembering the bobble-head named Lola too).
Skipper saw Private glance his way and he gives a toothy smile, he waves for Skipper to come over to the dance floor, and the idea pops in his head, he turns to Lola and asks "would you care to dance?" he offers his hand to the young lady and she smirks taking it, she leads him on the dance floor and Skipper grins widely, he liked a woman that took charge, they danced for a long time talking about their lives, interests and among other things, they really got to know each other during the party and really connected with each other, their night though ended too quickly when a small five-year-old bird came yawning with Marlene beside him practically holding him up on his feet, Marlene chuckled when Private's head bobbled back and forth fighting sleep, Marlene tussles his head-feathers, "I found him sleeping next to the door, I was afraid he was going to get hit if someone opened the door" she informs, Skipper crouches in front of Private, "hey little soldier, why were you hanging around the door? don't you know you could've gotten hurt? you were lucky Marlene here found you when she did" Skipper said and mouth a 'thank you' to Marlene, who shrugs looking as though she didn't mind, Private rubs his eyes and shrugs, "thought it looked like a bed" he admits, Behind him Lola snorts and even Skipper laughs, "do you want to go to bed Private?" he asks, Private shakes his head and says "no, party! party at Marlene's!" he objects except weakly, his eyes droop a bit but he opens them refusing to let sleep take him, he was having so much fun at Marlene's party and he knew his brothers were too, he didn't want them to leave just because he couldn't stay awake any longer, Skipper's heart melted as his boy was exhausted and he refused to admit it, he sees Kowalski and Rico from afar and they looked as though they were looking for Private, that is until they spotted Skipper, Kowalski and Rico both found there way over to where Skipper, Lola, Marlene and Private had position themselves at, Kowalski takes the scene in quickly and calculates what was going on instantly, Skipper could see the smirk that produced when he saw Lola for the first time, he automatically knew that Skipper had a thing for her, Kowalski bends down swooping Private up into his arms, where he can cradle him to his chest, Private whines "Kowalski, I wanna stay" he persists before a huge yawn escapes the boy as he tries to fight off Kowalski in attempting to get down, Kowalski shushes him and says to Skipper "I can take care of this sir, you enjoy the rest of party", Skipper wants to object to him taking Private, Rico and himself, but a pincer is guiding him back to where everyone is dancing, Lola laughs at his stubbornness and Skipper melts on the inside hearing her laugh, before he knows it he forgets about having a team to take care of, he can only see Lola, can only hear Lola and he can only be with Lola, Before he knows it he has fallen in love with a dame.
It had been two weeks and that had been enough for Private to get jealous of the new girl Skipper was dating. Lola, the name made Private want to gag and the way Skipper said her name made him want to upchuck; Lola the ballerina, Lola the dame that stole his heart, Lola the scorpion girl who was taking Skipper from Private, Lola, what was so special about her name? What was so special about her?
Kowalski and Rico could always since Private's hatred for the woman, Skipper was blind when he was in love and tended to forget about the whole team too, for example this morning was exactly how he was acting nowadays, "Kowalski" a small voice whispered at the sleeping Kowalski, "Kowalski something's burning, and this time I don't think it's Rico's fault" the voice added. Kowalski jumped up as the words spilled out of Private, not taking another minute he shoots for the kitchen and leaves Private in his bedroom, when he reaches the kitchen he sees smoke pouring out from the oven and crisp burnt bacon in the skillet, Skipper had forgot to turn everything off before he left to go eat breakfast with Lola, he quickly sped to his lab to grab his own personal fire extinguisher that Skipper had brought him for Christmas and used that to put out the fire in the oven, it didn't take too long but it was going to take a while to get everything cleaned, at least, Skipper didn't forget anything else…"Kowalski?" Private asks again after he takes one step into the kitchen and he groans at Skipper's new forgetfulness, Private was showing off his skills of trying dressing-up without the help of his brothers; both of the shoes he ad were on their opposite feet and untied, a button-up shirt was uneven were he had buttoned the shirt the wrong way it even showed his bellybutton, a tie was hung around his neck like one would wear a scarf, it was an adorable sight for another time but Kowalski's aggravation for Skipper was growing now, it was his turn today to help get Private ready this morning and make breakfast too, "I tried my very best, so you wouldn't be too mad at Skipper" the young penguin sighs as he notices how bad he messed-up his attire, "I'm sorry Kowalski" he adds, Kowalski puts the fire extinguisher away to start working on fixing Private up, "aw Private you did your very best there's nothing to apologize for, and wearing cloths isn't entirely necessary, as for me being mad at Skipper I am a little, but he's in love…" Kowalski answers, Private mutters darkly "with someone who needs to leave him alone", Kowalski's shoulders lower in defeat, Private was the worst one on the team right now who was taking Skipper's new girlfriend situation as a bad thing, Private didn't like that Skipper was now hardly with the team and was always with Lola; the new bobble head, as Private like to nickname her when Skipper wasn't around to hear (and after the real bobble-head of course), the five-year-old bird didn't like that his quality time was being taking away by a girl Skipper had just met, Private was jealous of his Skipper being taking away from him, "now Private, it's been a long time since Skipper dated anyone, a real person at least, and he really likes her this time, we should all be supportive even if Skipper is starting to become a bit of a bobble-head himself" Kowalski told Private as he was finishing buttoning his shirt for him, "but that's love" he adds, "love is really stupid then" Private huffs as Kowalski fixes his shirt and starts on the tie, "Indeed it can be but you'll see when your older" Kowalski says as he flattens Private's collar after tying his blue tie, "Private, I want you to try and be happy for Skipper, also being nicer to Lola would help too" he joins, Private frowns down at Kowalski who was switching his shoes onto the right feet, "I am nice to her!" he retorts, "Really? I didn't know sending glares was being nice?" the scientist counters sarcastically, Private rolls his eyes, of course it was true he was never friendly around Miss Prissy, he always gives her the cold shoulder, never talking to the woman, Private thought around her becomes excessively clingy to Skipper making sure Lola keeps away from his big brother while he was around, he was never good with sharing, especially when it was his family, maybe though, for Skipper's happiness he should try and get along with Lola, "okay Kowalski, I'll try to be nicer" he huffs as Kowalski finishes tying his shoelaces, Kowalski stands and smiles down at Private proudly, "that's all I ask Private", he then ruffles the small boy's head-feathers as he sees Rico has awoken finally, "good morning Rico! seems like you and I are going to be the actual ones to make breakfast since Skipper burnt the first one" he states, Rico blinks seeing the oven covered in the foam the fire extinguisher had put on it, he shakes his head, it was too early for this and without another word he heads back to bed, with Kowalski chasing after him to help him clean up, Private giggles at Kowalski, and Rico there was going to be a fight there and Kowalski was definitely going to be the loser, Rico was a difficult person to deal with in the morning.
Private was about to go see if he could help Kowalski when the front door clicked open sprouting out Skipper, and Lola. Private grins at Skipper who sees him and has his arms wide open for him to jump into, the five-year-old bird kindly obliges him, throwing himself into his brother's embrace, Skipper takes him underneath his wings and flings him up to the ceiling, he catches him quickly and spins him around while giving him a hug, "hello young Private!" Greets Skipper, Private giggles, still in his leader's arms, "aye, Skipper!" he returns, then he tries and does what Kowalski says to show a little bit better attitude to Lola, "hello Lola" he says measly and before she could answer him back he turns to Skipper, "are you going to take me to the park today?" he asks, Private had been waiting forever now to go to the park with Skipper, he had been waiting to show his older brother his new tricks he could do on the monkey bar, he was pretty proud of them because it had taken a long time to get it just right, both Kowalski and Rico thought they were excellent for his age, Kowalski had even said that he was showing more skills in flexibility and limberness then out of anyone on the team did at his age, the only one who hadn't seen him doing his tricks was Skipper, and he knew that if his other brothers thought it was good then Skipper would too, Skipper was beginning to say that he would love to when Lola spoke up first "oh Skipper, what about my show?", Private sagged in disappointment, if Lola was doing her performance today there was no way that Skipper would come to the park to see his tricks, Lola's tricks were much better than his own, she was a professional ballerina (for a scorpion) cause her moves on the floor would never compare to his skills on the playground, Private was ready to hear Skipper say that he would see him do it on another day, but when would that ever be? Skipper was forgetting everything soon enough the team would be invisible to him, Private would be a nobody in his eyes and Private wasn't even sure if he could handle that, "oh dollface, I completely forgot…but isn't that later?" Skipper asked hoping that he wouldn't have to say no to the little guy in his arms, Lola bites her bottom lip as she was caught in a dilemma, "oh, well yes, but I thought I would show you around backstage and maybe we could catch dinner too?" she offers him in a cunning way, the ballerina didn't want to be seen at a park, her dignity was far too important for childish things, sure miss Lola loved children, but from a distance, she never really thought Skipper was that close to Private to begin with, at the party she was making small talk with him, to even grab his attention, because she had noticed at the party before she had finally made her way over to him his eyes were only on the child Private, he was proud of his boy, Lola soon found out, that was all Skipper ever cared to talk about was the small boy and how amazing he was, Lola realized that she had competition with a child, tt was hard for her to believe with the men that she had dated before there was no other girl it was just her, all eyes on her and no one else, maybe that's the way she loved Skipper so much, because he was a challenge to get him to see her fully, either way though, Lola wasn't too keen on Private, the five year old penguin could get Skipper's attention just by doing nothing, Lola couldn't even do that, she wanted that, she should have that from Skipper, she was his girlfriend and Private was just a silly little brother that Skipper had to keep around, Lola though was slowly starting to win him over, she had figured out that keeping him from the team, especially from Private she was gaining his company more and more, soon enough he would follow her around like a lost puppy and wouldn't even know a boy by the name of Private, Skipper smiles at his dame and how sweet she was for planning dates for them both, "aw dollface, we can do dinner any other day, and can't you show me around backstage another day? Private has been begging me for weeks to see him do his new tricks" he states and gives her a pleading smile, and then he nudges Private, "hey little soldier, let's see that pout of yours!" he added, Private giggles and tucks out his beaky-lip, and bats his eyes to Lola asking "please Lola?" Lola chomps down very hard on her mandibles to keep from screaming at the child and says "sure, let's go see your big performance!", Private gives a huge grin at her, "yay!" he cheers and Skipper was going to see how well he had been practicing, "I need to tell Kowalski and Rico bye!" he adds, Skipper puts down Private and says "I'll go tell them for you, you just keep miss Lola here company, okay?", Private looks over at Lola who bitterly smiles at him , he thought to start to say no but Kowalski's words come back to haunt him so instead he nods, Skipper ruffles his head and runs off to find his other brothers, Private then tries to start up a conversation with Lola, "so what are you dancing to miss Lola?" he asked politely, Lola seethes, she couldn't take it anymore, "Private, do you care about Skipper?" she asks, "of course I do! he's my brother! and sometimes father!" Private stated, "then why are you getting in the way of his happiness?" Lola asked sinking down to his level, Private blinked, "what do you mean?" he asks, Lola sighs dramatically and says "oh poor little Private", she takes his chubby cheek pinching it with her claws, "you don't realize your the one making him unhappy, do you really think he wants to watch you perform when he could be watching me?" she adds, "but Skipper said that he wanted to watch me!" Private argued as he chewed on his wingtip becoming worried, "but Private you were the one who was making him want to come" Lola reversed onto him making him slowly believe her lies, "I mean it was your idea, I know it wasn't Skipper's because he's been patiently waiting to see my show", she adds, "he said it was okay though" Private fires back, tears forming in the corners of his eyes, it couldn't be true, Skipper wanted to be around Private, Skipper loved him and Private loved Skipper, Skipper also loved Lola a lot too, a lot, maybe even more than Private, Private winced at his new headache that was forming in his head, it didn't make sense, somehow deep in his mind he knew Lola was wrong, but fear was driving his thoughts about this whole situation, he wasn't thinking rationally like Kowalski was teaching him how to be, Kowalski would do better making this equation equal out better in Private's head, "he's trying to make you happy Private, so that way he can have more time with me, Private I hate to say it, but I'm doing a better job at keeping him happy than you ever were," she states, she cups Private's devastated face, she was breaking into that tiny fragile mind, "I know you want him to be happy Private, so why don't you start working on that instead of being useless okay?" she added offensively, Private nods blinking from crying in front of Lola, "w-will you tell him I don't want to go to the playground anymore? he can watch me do my tricks when he's happier with me" Private requested, "oh don't worry sweetheart, I'll tell him for you" she pinches his cheeks, shaking them harshly, "Private I'm so proud of you for being so selfless, you really do care about Skipper proving this to him" Lola smiled sweetly as she straighten herself up away from Private, she had done it, the brat was going to back down off taking her time with Skipper, Private sniffs heartbroken by the truth Lola told him about, he can feel his eyes getting hot by the tears he is holding back and the dam decides to burst, without another word to Lola he skitters to his room before Skipper could see him like this, in his room he locks the door behind him and falls behind it in a sobbing mess, Skipper hated him, Skipper didn't want to be around him, it didn't seem possible but then there was Lola telling him all of what Skipper was keeping from him, the misery soaks Private as he wallows knowing Skipper didn't love him, while Private weeps Lola stands at his door pressing her own ear to hear the sweet sound of her victory coming from a child whose world had been crushed.
Rico was actually the first to notice Private's behavior, it was fairly obvious in his views, Private wasn't being the happy light Rico always saw him as, it took him by surprise that his brothers couldn't see the change first because it was there, right there, 'in their faces' there, Private wasn't himself and Rico could see right through his mask, he admits that at first he didn't see it but then he took a closer look at Private, they were small things, enough for anyone to barely notice, Private started speaking less, of course he did talk but it wasn't the usual gabble that he had, in addition he had lost his appetite and he was barely eating anything on his plate nowadays, then there was his isolation he was starting to grow near Skipper, he had started to develop a skittish behavior around Skipper whenever he was near him, it was almost a flinch every time Skipper was around and this is when Skipper and Kowalski started to take a small notice, and on top of all this Private asked something that made them all understand that something was wrong, "I want to go back home" Private says pushing his green beans around on his plate, "what do you mean Private? you are home" Kowalski said cutting his salmon up to eat, "I mean home with Uncle Nigel, I don't want to stay here anymore I want to move back with Uncle Nigel," Private asks politely as he hears everyone at the table drop there utensils onto their plates with a loud crash, "may I?" he adds, "little soldier what's wrong?" Skipper asks immediately, "nothing" Private says as he continues to moving his beans, "I just want Uncle Nigel" he adds, "well I'm sure Private we could have Uncle Nigel to visit" Kowalski reasons to his small little brother, Rico nods along to Kowalski's newfound plan, "No go Nigel, 'ome" he murmurs, Private shakes his head vigorously and says "no, I want to go back to England". "Private, you know your Uncle is a very busy man nowadays, it would be impossible for him to take care of you and watch over you" Skipper informs him, "I don't care! I want Nigel!" Private exclaims to his oldest brother, "it's out of the question, soldier!" Skipper objects, "why not?" Private whines rapping his arms around his waist, "I miss home, I miss Uncle Nigel" he adds, "Private" Skipper sighs resting a hand on his head trying to wrap his mind around this new problem, "you haven't been homesick in ages, so what's going on?" he asks, "nothing!" Private defiantly says, "I'm just homesick, Skipper" he lies, Skipper grinds his throat-spikes at his frustration with Private, something was wrong and his little soldier wasn't saying why, he narrows his eyes at Private trying to deduce what might be wrong and then Skipper sees how pitiful he really looks, there were small bags starting to form under Private's eyes making him look weary and he even took notice of Private's feathers being baggier on him, Skipper's eyes widen a bit, how could he not have notice that much difference in Private? Skipper sighs once more, "okay Private, you can go to your Uncle Nigel's" Private blinks at him and Kowalski along with Rico gasp, "but I'm coming along with you" Skipper vowed, "NO!" Private shouts out terrified, silence breaks throughout the room while Private trembles in his seat across from his brothers, "I mean, no, I want to go by myself" he states, Skipper was speechless, why was Private distancing himself away from Skipper? what had happen? did he do something to upset Private, because obviously Skipper was the reason Private was wanting to leave, from the terror that he had in his voice it made it all clear to Skipper that Private didn't want him to go and didn't want him period, Kowalski clears his throat and the awkwardness in the room, "Private, is there something you're not telling us? is something bothering you?" he asks, Private bites his bottom lip, he wasn't going to lie but he wasn't going to say anything either, Kowalski was good on reading when people were telling the truth or not, he skipped the question altogether, "may I be excused?" he requested desperately, in unison all three brothers replied "no", Private fidgets in his seat, eager to get away from the topic at hand, "why not?" he demands, "because you aren't answering any of our questions Private" Skipper answers, "I don't like the questions" Private mumbles, twiddling with his wingtips, Skipper was about to order him to tell him what was wrong but Rico stands up, "Pri' what's wrong? Somethin' up" Rico rasps out, "you aren't you Pri', not eatin', not talkin', no heart, no good" he adds, Rico rubs his throat afterward, that was more of a strain on his vocal chords then he was used to, Kowalski hands him his water to soothe his aching throat, he gulps it down greedily, he nods thanks to Kowalski who looks so shocked that Rico talked as much as he did, Private's lip trembles at Rico, he hated talking because it was so hard for him, and this was such a display to Private's heart, Rico had shown him how much he cared for him through talking, which Rico hardly ever did often ever since he lost his voice, it was a difficult topic for Rico to discuss, which he never had to do, he had lost his ability to want to talk, but he did for Private and that was enough of the wall that he had put up for Lola's sake to come crashing down, sobs racked his body and he found his throat constricting on him as the weeping grew harder, he curls up on his stool hugging his knees and he digs his spine back into the chair, he couldn't do it anymore and act like nothing was bothering him, he couldn't let his misery set any longer, Skipper jumped out of his seat as soon as the first sob racked his tiny body, he goes for his baby-boy and Private through his tears sees Skipper coming for him, Private eyes widen in fear of Skipper and he jumps for Rico who had beat Skipper getting to Private first, Private protects his face as if he thought Skipper was going to hit him, "S-Skipper I'm sorry, I'm s-sorry, I tried doing what L-Lola asked…I know y-you're angry but p-p-please don't h-h-hurt me! just let me g-g-go to Uncle N-N-Nigel's and I'll be gone from t-t-taking your time with L-Lola!", Skipper blinked rapidly, taking all in what Private was explaining to him, "Lola told you what?" he wondered, Private squeaks at Skipper's wrath and hugs Rico's back tighter, "s-she said I-I-I wasn't making you h-h-happy, but she was, that I was u-u-u-useless!", Kowalski takes off his glasses and throws them on the table with anger, "miss Lola, said that to you Private? that you were useless?" he gasps, "a-aye" Private sniffles and Rico takes out his napkin to wipe Private's stuffy nose, " and I k-know that I-I am now t-thanks to Lola" he adds, and just as he says the words Lola comes bursting through the doors with a bright smile on her face, "hello boys!" she exclaims as she shuts the door, she sees the grim status of the room, "what's going on?" she asks, all the team, except Private sent her huge angry glares, Lola suddenly feels two inches smaller, Skipper cracks his neck the first to have a go at her, "oh it's nothing doll face, Private was telling us what advice you gave him" he jokes, "oh?" Lola acts dumb, "yes, and the funniest thing he said was that you told him that he was useless?" he answers, he is inches away from her face now, "isn't that the darnest thing doll?" he adds, "in fact Private feels so useless he's thinking about leaving us to go back to live in England with his Uncle Nigel" Kowalski adds, cracking his knuckles as his face darkens at her, "wha' do you 'ave say 'bout that?" Rico growls at her while Private trembles in his arms, "I-I-I" Lola stutters and glares down at Private as she clears her throat for a vicious lie, "obviously Private is lying, and is just wanting more attention from you all, I would never say those kinds of things to a child" she fakes, Private's lips bobbles on the bottom, "b-but miss Lola, y-you did tell me t-that! you did and I've been good! very good, making s-sure Skipper is h-happy!" Private hops off of Rico to run up to her grabbing the bottom end of her beautiful chiffon yellow dress she was wearing, "a-aren't you, and Skipper happy? I-I'm leaving for you" he says, Lola starts to tug him off the fabric of her dress, "you're a little liar, and let go!" she snaps, she tugs harshly enough to make Private tumble back along with a tear of her dress in his chubby wings, "you ripped my dress! you ripped it and now it's ruined!" she exploded more, Private immediately apologizes to Lola "I'm sorry! sorry!", Lola comes at Private howling "you useless chick! how dare you ruin everything! how dare you lie to my face and to your family's! and tearing my dress to get you even more attention! I tried to be nice to you Private, but it's no use because you can't do anything right!" and as sharp as her voice is, her poisonous barbed-tail comes flying into Private's left cheek, Skipper grabs Lola's stinger before it strikes Private, "Lola may I have a talk with you?" he demanded, he grips her tail enough to bruise it but he comes very close to breaking it, Lola whines "ow Skipper let go", he does slowly and she rubs her tail tenderly getting the soreness out that was forming, "whatever you have to say, I'm sure you can say to everyone" she replies, "we're over" Skipper states, "what?" Lola screeches, adding "why?",.
"Because you've been saying some rotten things to Private, not to mention you almost impaled and poisoned him" Skipper hissed, he looked at Private who hid behind Kowalski and Rico trembling in fear of Lola, "look at him Lola! he's not only terrified of you but he is terrified of me!" he adds, "I only told him the truth Skipper!" Lola pleaded with her boyfriend, or soon to be ex-boyfriend, "a truth that was your own and not even mine!" he bared his throat-spikes at her, "I can't believe I fell in love you, especially a person who knows how much I care about my brothers, but doesn't feel the same" he roars, "Skipper we can work things out" Lola's lip trembles as she spoke, adding "I can do better, I can be better to your brothers", Skipper walks towards her authoritatively, "do you really think you could do that? do you really think you could see how much my family means to me? no, I don't think you could miss Lola, you want to know why I think that? because you scorpions don't know what it's like to have a family"
"That's not-" Lola starts as tears starts to come down her face, "it is" Skipper interrupts her, adding "you don't understand that family is a team and I refuse to ever let my team down, but you happen to let my rule slip and I will never forgive myself for it, because of you my brother, my teammate is hurt by you, and I am too", Lola eyes widen, "S-Skipper, I-" she began, "I don't want to hear it" Skipper hisses at her, "now leave before I think about letting Rico loose on you" he warned, Rico sneers at the arachnid, while petting Private's head, if looks could kill Lola would be ten feet under already, with that image on her mind Lola scurries on her way out the door without another word, Skipper sighs rubbing his face, he thought he had met the one and it turns out she was a total scam, even more, she dared herself on trying to hurt Private or she did hurt Private mentally, with that in his head he turns to Kowalski and Rico who have Private behind their legs, Kowalski is rubbing his back as Rico takes his hand through Private's feathers, while this occurs Private nozzles his face into both his brother's legs for comfort, Skipper winces seeing how fragile Private was, "hey boys, think you would let me and Private have a talk?" Skipper asks, wanting to get one on one with the small boy, Kowalski and Rico nod giving Private a few last comforting pats, but when they try to leave Private has both their feathers in his hold, "NO!" Private cries, adding "no, don't leave me! don't!", Rico tries shaking him off as Kowalski looks to their leader, "Skipper, why don't we all sit down and talk, I think that will set Private's mind at ease" he suggested, Kowalski bends down to pick up Private off his, and Rico's leg, Private raises his head when he feels Kowalski grab him underneath his arms and Kowalski sees how much of a mess Private is, "great galileo, I want those tears to stop Private" he begs, Private sniffles and buries his face into Kowalski's neck, then all four move over to the sofa they have in their living room that fits all four of them, but Skipper decides to stand, as the others take their seats, Private remains in Kowalski's hold with Kowalski placing him on his own lap, Private still nuzzles his face into Kowalski's neck as Kowalski tries to pull Private's face out of his neck, Kowalski sighs "come on now Private, everything is fine now-", suddenly Private's head flies out of Kowalski's neck and responds "no it's not! no it's not! Skipper hates me now I know it! I got rid of his happiness!", his wingtips dig deep into his palms hard enough to cause blood flowing underneath his tips, "it's all my fault, I'm useless-" he began with, "Private Fishy" Skipper growls out Private's full name, which makes Private stare wide eyed at Skipper, He never ever used that name unless Private was in serious, dead serious trouble, Private knew he was going to get it, "don't you dare ever call yourself useless" Skipper ordered, Private blinks, "but Skipper, I am-" he began, Skipper breathes fire through his nose, he would get back at Lola if it was the last thing he done, "Private Fishy don't you dare finish that sentence, and let me tell you how wrong you are" Skipper cuts, Skipper hooks his wingtip at Private to motion him right in front of him, Private gulps turning his head to his other brothers for advice on how to handle Skipper, Kowalski is the first to speak, "go on Private, he's waiting on you", Rico nods at this agreeing with Kowalski, so much for advice from his brothers, Private nods and hops off Kowalski's lap trembling as he nears Skipper's rage, the air in the room seemed hot to him making every step he took harder to put his feet in front of the others, he couldn't even look at Skipper for the fear of his eyes would melt him so he kept them glued to the floor until he met Skipper's three-toed feet, "eyes up soldier, when I tell you this" Skipper requested, Private's cerulean eyes timidly find their way to his leader's, "Lola had no right telling you that, do you hear me? she was very wrong, you are a valid and meaningful member of this team, I will always tell you that no matter what", Private's bottom lip wiggles out, catching some of his tears from falling off his face, "but what about you? I w-want y-you to be happy" Private reminds, he push his hand across his nose to keep from running, "Lola m-made you h-happy, and I to-ok that away from y-y-you" he adds, "Lola has made me very unhappy now" Skipper said, crouching down to the small boy, "she's made you unhappy and afraid of me, afraid of me your older brother the one you should trust the most, Private, as a leader and a brother I never want you to be unhappy, I never want any of my brothers, my family, being unhappy, it's because I love and care for you, Kowalski and Rico" Skipper stated, Private rubs his eyes, they were becoming an irritated red color now, "y-you love me?" he asks, Skipper makes a noise that sounded something to Private like "I can't believe you just asked that", Skipper takes Private by the waist and Private doesn't flinch at all this time, "Private, I love you so much and I know Kowalski and Rico feel the exact same! of course I love you! I love my little soldier" Skipper says, Private has new fresh tears now, but he's smiling, "I was so worried that you hated me, Lola had said-" he began, "Lola is a-" Skipper growled, he would get back at her for Private, "it doesn't matter" Private says wrapping his arms around Skipper's neck, "you love me, you love me!" he adds, Skipper pulls his head back to look down at Private, gently he tilts his head down to put a small kiss on his forehead like a father would to his son, "you are my happiness", he whispers to Private as he hugs him once more, "we all love you Pri'" Rico said quietly from behind Skipper, Private grabs his hand and tugs him down to where Skipper and himself are hugging so Rico could get in on their hugging session as well, Kowalski stood up awkwardly, and coughed for the group hug's attention, "Um, well, sir I'll just being going to the la-" he began, Skipper rolled his eyes and interrupted "get over here Kowalski",
"I'd thought you'd never ask Skipper!" he joyfully said, Kowalski quickly enters the group hug with open arms, Private sighed melting into the arms of his brothers, everything was returning to normal, the healthy normal, he wouldn't have to return to England with Uncle Nigel in misery, he could continue to live with his brothers in happiness without anymore girlfriend troubles, so he melted even more into the trust of his brother's arms, Skipper sighed tiredly, as Private finally relaxed into his hold, everything would go back to normal now that Private knew how valuable he was, Skipper bit his lip thinking how close he had came to losing Private to his Uncle Nigel, ever since Private had been on this team and in this family it's made everything have heart to it, and losing that would be like losing his own heart, so he hugs Private tighter for the fear of him leaving is still in his heart.
To be continued