WARNING: Contains MILD Skilene.
I've had this idea in my head for a while. I hope enjoy 阅读 it as much as I enjoyed 写作 it. :)
"Come on, Rico! Step on it! We only have seven seconds!" Skipper ordered over the sound of the wind whipping past their faces and the engine accelerating.
Rico pressed harder on the gas, his brow lowered in deep concentration and anticipation. The vibration beneath them increased with the speed and they felt it through their bones. The car whizzed over the finish line and Rico brought the car to a skidding halt.
"Whoo! Way to go, Rico! We shaved two-point-six 秒 off of our best time! High fives! All around!" Skipper exclaimed, exchanging high fives with his men.
"Hey, guys! What's up?" Marlene asked as she approached the front of the car.
"Well, Marlene, there are scattered clouds at approximately forty-one-hundred feet up, humidity is around 63%, pollen count is about four-point-seven-" Skipper interrupted him with a slap to the back of the head.
"She meant 'what are we doing'."
"Right..." Kowalski replied rubbing his head.
Skipper rolled his eyes. "Anyway...we just made a new zoo record." He continued smugly, leaning back in the seat.
Marlene rolled her eyes. "Haven't 你 beat that thing, like, fourteen times already?"
"Eighteen, actually." Skipper replied slipping a smooth low five to Rico.
Marlene sighed. "I just don't get why it's such a big deal."
"Marlene! We pride ourselves on a rapid response. The faster we get to a situation, the faster we can fix the situation. If we're lucky, it involves violence."
Rico smacked the steering wheel. "Yeah! Violence!"
"Hooaha!" Skipper exclaimed jumping up in his 座位 and exchanging a few 更多 high fives with his men.
Marlene simply cocked her eyebrow and hip and crossed her arms to express her unamusement.
When Skipper took notice, he rolled his eyes. "I wouldn't expect 你 to understand. This is business that us men should handle."
Marlene suddenly became defensive. "What do 你 mean 'business that 你 men should handle?'"
"I'm just saying that women are just too feminine to understand men interests. There's no reason to get offended." Skipper answered nonchalantly, relaxing back down into the passenger-side seat.
"I could say the same thing about men to women's interests." Marlene pointed out, standing taller.
"Women interests? 你 mean like arranging bouquets, 枕头 fights, and makeovers? You're right, I don't understand the appeal."
"I say, 你 just don't know how to have fun." Marlene replied crossing her arms; her eyebrows lowered as the corners of her mouth raised to form a devious expression.
"Fun? Sister, I have fun every day. Hard training and vanquishing enemies gives me a great sense of accomplishment. And it's very relaxing, knowing that we're making the world a better place. Right, boys?"
His men nodded in agreement.
"That's not fun! That's work! 你 need to learn how to have some real fun." Marlene argued.
"You mean like a spa day? Eh, sure, we'll take a massage and be on our way."
Marlene scoffed. "You are so-!"
"Handsome? Brave? Smart? Why, thank you. So, when did 你 want to schedule that massage?" Skipper interrupted.
Marlene clenched her fists. "Arrogant and pig-headed!" She finished, now shouting in anger. She began stomping away.
"Oh, come on, Marlene, don't be like that!" Skipper called after, getting out of the car, his men following behind. "I was only kidding! Come on!"
Marlene turned on her heel to face him. "Don't give me that! You'll never understand women!"
"I could say the same about 你 toward men! And I am!" Skipper shot back.
"Oh, I understand men perfectly! You're just too busy throwing yourselves into life threatening danger to care about what us women have to say about it! 你 put yourselves higher than women because 你 think we're too feminine to take care of ourselves! Right?! Right?!"
"It's not that we don't care! It's that we don't know why we should! We've been doing this for years! It's in our blood! Without us, who knows where everyone would be! And yes, I don't think you're capable of taking care of yourself in a life threatening situation!"
Kowalski stepped in between them. "Now, now, 你 two don't have to battle it out like this!"
"She started it!" Skipper 说 jabbing his flipper in Marlene's direction.
"Now, there are 更多 rational ways to work this out. Maybe 你 two should start off 由 going your separate ways to cool off."
"Fine with me!" Marlene 说 turning back on her heel in the direction of her habitat.
"Well, don't let the door hit you!" Skipper called after.
"We're outside, Skipper!" Marlene replied over her shoulder.
"You know what I mean!"
"Oh, no I don't! I don't understand anything about men! Remember?!" Marlene snapped sarcastically.
Skipper grunted angrily and tensed his muscles tightly before turning on his heel and hitting the car. "Let's get back to HQ!" He ordered angrily. The others exchanged glances as they joined Skipper in the car.
Rico took the wheel and started up the car, then turned it toward HQ. Skipper remained in the passenger 座位 with his flippers folded over his chest and his cheeks still burning from the smoldering anger that remained there. A moment of silence went 由 before he noticed Kowalski and Private staring at him in the rear view mirror.
"Somethin' to say?" He snapped over his shoulder, causing them to flinch.
Kowalski and Private looked away awkwardly and shook their heads, mumbling 'no' 或者 'nothing at all'. Skipper turned back around. A moment later, Kowalski softly cleared his throat. "You, uh...want to talk about it?"
"No!" Skipper retorted. Another moment of awkward silence passed before Skipper spoke up again. "I can't believe her...she's so...unappreciative." He scoffed. "She'll never understand what us men do for people like her..."
Marlene stormed into her habitat and plopped angrily into her bed.
"I just can't believe him...he doesn't understand anything that women go through..." She mumbled angrily to herself. "Men...who needs them?"
Then again...Skipper had done a lot for her in the past...she shook her head. Despite anything he'd done for her, he apparently only did it to feel better about himself. She scoffed. "Incapable of taking care of myself, he says...why are men so...stubborn?" She jabbed her 枕头 with her fist.
"Hey, Marlene! 你 in there?" Becky's voice resounded into her habitat.
"Yeah, I'm in here." She answered. Becky stepped into her room, Stacy followed close behind.
"Are 你 okay?" Stacy asked. "We heard all the yelling and the 下一个 thing we knew, 你 were storming into your habitat."
"Ugh...nothing. Just Skipper being a typical male." Marlene answered.
"Ah...we know how that is." Becky replied with a sideways glance to Stacy. "So what'd he say?"
"Oh, just a bunch of stupid women stereotypes, like how we're incapable of taking care of ourselves, and how we don't know how to have fun and a bunch of stupid stuff like that." She answered rolling her eyes.
"Figures. And they're all the same, too." Stacy acknowledged with a roll of her own eyes. Becky nodded in agreement.
"What's with men anyway? I mean, all they do is complain about women's faults but never try to make anything work. And we're the bad guys for caring? It just doesn't make sense." Marlene explained laying on her back.
"They just think they're superior and should have all the authority. And we should just stay out of their way and follow their every command like little 小狗 dogs. They don't care about our needs." Becky 说 leaning against the 墙 beside Marlene's bed.
Marlene sighed. "Skipper will never understand what women like us go through for men like him."
The 下一个 morning was as usual; the penguins awoke and started their 日 with their morning exercises. Marlene went for a swim in her pond. Skipper had cooled down since yesterday, but there were still hints of irritability there.
"You call that a push up!? Come on! Put a little hustle in your muscle!"
Upon his orders, the team pushed themselves a little harder, perspiration collecting on their foreheads and backs in the morning humidity.
"Hello, slap-happy penguins!" King Julien resounded as he entered the penguins habitat. "Rejoice! It is I, your king."
"What do 你 want, Ringtail?" Skipper asked, feeling even 更多 annoyed with Julien within his peripheral vision.
"I am just here to be permanently borrowing your TV."
"No can do, Ringtail. Now, beat it." Skipper replied, he took notice that his men had ceased doing push ups. "Did I tell 你 three to rest?!" The three of them started again without hesitation, not wanting to upset him even more.
"Eh, no. 你 see, I am king, so, 你 must to be obeying."
"Don't 你 have some kind of party to throw 或者 something?" Skipper snapped, becoming really irritated with Julien.
"Sheesh...Marlene was right. 你 don't know how to have fun."
"Wait, 你 heard all of that yesterday?" Skipper asked. The team was also surprised; they stopped doing push ups and got to their feet, unsure of what Skipper might do.
"Well, duh! All of France heard 你 yap yap yapping!" Julien replied making a 'blah, blah, blah' motion with his paws.
"America." Maurice corrected him. "What was the point in all of that anyway?"
"That's the point! There was no point! She's just so stubborn and unappreciative!"
Kowalski piped up. "Skipper, 你 and Marlene have been 老友记 for a long time now. Do 你 really want to throw all of that away over a little disagreement?"
"It's not just a little disagreement! She's insulted everything we men stand for! Doesn't that bother you?"
"Not if it means losing a good friend."
Skipper was about to argue, but realized that Kowalski was right, even though he found it difficult to admit.
"Eh, this has becomed a little too mushy for me, so I will be leaving. Come my royal subjects. Let's go make fun of the elephant." Julien 说 making way for the exit. Maurice and Mort followed.
"Well?" Kowalski 说 in reaction to Skipper's silence.
Skipper sighed. "Fine. I guess you're right."
"So, you'll apologize then?" Private asked with a touch of hope to his voice.
"Why do I have to apologize?"
"Come on, Skipper, be the bigger man here." Kowalski pleaded.
Skipper battled with his conscious for a moment, then let out a long exaggerated sigh. "Fine! But I will not say that she was right!"
The team shrugged, accepting that that was probably the best that they were going to get him to do.
Marlene stood in her habitat, stroking the petal of a 花 that was in a vase, deep in thought. She'd been 老友记 with Skipper for a long time now, and she knew he was stubborn, but she'd never imagine he'd be so sexist.
He's probably still laughing at me... She thought.
The sound of Private's voice interrupted her thoughts. She turned to see the penguins standing in the middle of her room. Skipper was turned to his side with his flippers folded over his chest, obviously not wanting to be there.
"Oh, what do you guys want?" She asked, not meeting any of their gazes.
"Skipper has something he'd like to say to you." Kowalski answered pushing Skipper a couple of feet toward her.
"I don't remember saying that I'd like to..." Skipper mumbled.
"What is it this time, Skipper?" Marlene asked turning her head the other way and crossing her arms, ignoring his remark.
Skipper looked at his men, who made 'go on' motions. He took a deep breath and kept his eyes on the ground to his left, opposite Marlene's position.. "Marlene...I came to..." He lowered his voice to a mumble. "I came to apologize..."
Marlene turned toward him slightly. "What?" She thought she heard the word 'apologize', surely she must have misunderstood him.
Skipper rolled his eyes and raised his voice slightly. "I came to apologize."
Marlene let her arms fall to her sides and she turned all the way around to face him. "Really?" She said, not completely sure if she was awake at the moment. Was he really apologizing? Was he not as pig-headed as she thought?
Skipper still would not meet her eye. "Yes...I just don't want our friendship to end over a stupid disagreement."
Marlene's face fell. "That's why you're apologizing?"
Skipper sideways glanced at her. "Yeah...why?"
Marlene scoffed. "Figures..." She mumbled crossing her arms again.
Skipper turned to face her. "What now? I apologized, didn't I?"
"Yeah, you're apologizing so I'll stop being mad at you. You're not really sorry. And 你 probably still think that women are needy and feminine, right?"
"Well, yeah! And I don't get what the big deal is! I thought you'd appreciate the fact that I swallowed my pride to come over here and apologize to save our friendship! But I guess you're 更多 unappreciative that I thought!"
"Unappreciative? I'm unappreciative?" She and Skipper were now face to face.
"Well, thank 你 for admitting it!"
"Oh! 你 know what, Skipper!?-"
"Hey! Come on! Are 你 two seriously going to keep battling it out like this?" Kowalski interrupted.
"She's being hardheaded!"
"How dare 你 call me hardheaded!" Marlene retorted.
"Enough already!!!" Kowalski yelled over them. Skipper and Marlene silenced, but still stared daggers into each other. "There has to be a way that we can work this out."
"We can't work this out until he can learn to understand women!" Marlene insisted.
"Correction: We can't work this out until she can understand men and learn to appreciate what we do!" Skipper shot back.
"Well, then, I guess you're never going to work this out because I just don't see any way either of 你 will understand what the other goes through." Kowalski said, but his expression immediately fell in a way that implied that he'd thought of something ingenious. "Unless..."
Skipper glanced at him. "Unless what?"
"Skipper, I think I have figured out a way to resolve this dispute. I'll be in my lab." He started to walk away, but Skipper put a flipper on his shoulder.
"Kowalski, why do I not like where this is going?" He asked.
"No worries, Skipper. I'll explain in the evening." Kowalski answered pushing his flipper away and exiting Marlene's.
It'd been a long day. The penguins and Marlene's curiosity grew with each passing 秒 that Kowalski remained in his lab. Flickers of light would 显示 beneath the lab door now and then. Marlene and Skipper kept their distance across the HQ. Rico and Private played cards. Finally, around 6pm, Kowalski emerged from his lab carrying a small device shaped similar to binoculars.
"Eureka! I present to you, the Gendotizer!" He exclaimed in triumph.
"The what, Kowalski?" Skipper asked getting to his feet and approaching him, followed 由 Marlene, Private, and Rico.
"The Gendotizer! This little device will solve all of your problems."
"And how is that?" Marlene asked, waiting to be convinced.
"The name 'Gendotizer' is derived from the words gender and hypnotize. Meaning, that the Gendotizer will make 你 believe that you're the opposite gender. The only difference is that you'll remember every 分钟 of it after it's over, unlike the hypnotizing you're familiar with." Kowalski answered.
"So...you're saying that if I use that...I'll be a female?" Skipper asked with a grimace.
"No, you'll only think 你 are. And vice versa for females."
"But how is this going to solve our problems?" Marlene asked crossing her arms.
"By experiencing the hardships of the opposite sex for yourselves, 你 both will receive a greater understanding of each other." Kowalski answered smugly.
"I think that's a great idea!" Private exclaimed.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! Me...as a female? No can do!" Skipper refused.
"What's the matter, Skipper? Afraid that you'll find out how right I was?" Marlene challenged.
"No! I just don't want to relive the DNA mix-up experience."
"You mean that time Alice claimed that one of 你 were female and Kowalski's DNA tester malfunctioned? Please! That wasn't an experience as a female! 你 still portrayed the same stupid female stereotypes that 你 accuse me of having!" Marlene argued.
"Guys!" Kowalski called, grabbing their attention. When they turned to look at him, he waved the Gendotizer in the air with a smile. "It's worth a shot, right?"
Skipper and Marlene looked at each other for a moment, then Skipper shrugged. "Alright. Twenty-four hours of this little test, then we'll see who's in the right here."
Marlene looked at Kowalski. "What if it doesn't work?"
"I am 94.8% sure that it will. Besides, what have we got to lose?"
Marlene considered. "Alright. Deal." She held her paw out to Skipper. He spit into his flipper and accepted the handshake with a grin. Marlene stared at her paw in disgust, then at Skipper in anger.
"Um...I think we should get this started before someone says...or does something they regret..." Kowalski suggested carefully examining the hard stares Skipper and Marlene were giving each other. He handed the Gendotizer to Marlene. "Alright, 你 two. Just look through opposite sides of the lenses and hit the button on the top. A few moments later, 你 will be under the influence of the Gendotizer."
Marlene and Skipper nodded in understanding. "Take over until I'm me again, okay, Kowalski?" Skipper ordered.
"Aye, sir." Kowalski replied.
Marlene and Skipper looked through the lenses. It was dark. Skipper pressed the button on 最佳, 返回页首 and a small light appeared in the middle and danced about the darkness. 更多 lights appeared and swirled around them. They slowly began to forget what was happening in their fascination. Their bodies became numb and they couldn't control her thoughts. The lights moved faster and faster through the darkness, then everything went black.
Kowalski caught Marlene as she 迷失 her balance and shook her. "Marlene? Marlene, are 你 alright? Can 你 hear me?"
Marlene moaned slightly and her eyes flickered open. "Whoa...what just happened?" Her voice was a little raspy.
Kowalski pushed her to her feet. "Marlene, how do 你 feel?"
"Bro, don't call me that! The name's Mark. Where am I?" She looked around, unfamiliar with her surroundings.
Meanwhile, Rico had caught Skipper and he had begun to awaken. "Where on earth am I?" His voice had become softer, as did his eyes. He looked up at Rico, who was still holding him from when he fell.
"Hi!" Rico 说 with a wave.
"Get your hands off me!" He 说 pushing off of him. "I want to know what's going on this instant!"
Kowalski tried to contain his snickering at how out-of-character Skipper was acting. "It's alright...uh...miss...you're perfectly safe. You've...uh..." Kowalski tried to think of a story off the 最佳, 返回页首 of his head. "You had a nasty knock to the cranium, as did, um...Mark, here."
Skipper looked at Marlene, who was standing with her arms crossed and brow cocked, not fully understanding what was happening here. "Wasn't I just peeved at 你 about something?"
"I dunno. I was thinking the same thing about you. Oh...wait...gimme a sec..." Marlene belched. "Excuse me." She 说 tapping her chest with her fist a couple of times.
Skipper's face twisted in disgust. "Have a little class, Mark."
"What? It tasted like oysters." Marlene replied.
Skipper rolled his eyes. "Men..."
The 下一个 morning, Marlene awoke with a yawn and a stretch and went outside for a morning jog.
Meanwhile, Skipper woke up and went topside and looked at the sunrise. "Wow, it's a wonderful morning, ey boys?"
The team-who had followed him up-nodded. "Oh yeah...it's...wonderful..." Kowalski answered awkwardly.
"It's wonderful, Sky." Private 说 with a smile. 'Sky' was what Skipper currently believed was his name.
"Well, 你 boys go do what 你 do. I'll go for a walk." Skipper jumped into the pond and swam to the other side before climbing the fence and over.
After walking for a few minutes, he took notice of Marlene jogging around the zoo.
"Hey, Mark! Whatcha doin'?" He asked her with a smile.
"Just a little morning jog to break in the new day. What about you? Aren't 你 usually cleaning something 由 now?"
Skipper rolled his eyes. "For your information, I'm just enjoying the sunrise. It's nice, isn't it?" He asked looking at the orange-white sky as the sun gradually became completely visible in it.
Marlene glanced at it. "Eh, I'm not much for the sappy stuff, but I guess it's kinda nice. I don't really pay much attention." She answered.
"You know, maybe if 你 could take a little moment here and there in life to enjoy what it has to offer, 你 would be a little 更多 happy."
Marlene scoffed. "Sky, I don't have time for all of that stuff."
"Says the man who spends most of his time watching Shirtless Ninja Action Theater and Monster Truck Ralleys." Skipper pointed out.
"At least I don't spend all of my time decorating 或者 白日梦 about boys." Marlene shot back with a playful smile that implied that she was only messing with him.
Skipper looked down a little and mumbled, "I don't know if I'd say that's how I spent all of my time..."
Marlene laughed. "Catch ya later, Sky. Enjoy your sunrise." She 说 with a smile, giving him a light 冲床 in the shoulder before jogging past him. Skipper watched as she left.
"Hey, yo, Alice!" Alice's assistants' voice resounded through her walkie talkie.
"What? I'm busy, here." Alice answered kicking back at her 台, 办公桌 阅读 a newspaper.
"Isn't it about time to feed the 动物 again?"
Alice looked at her watch, which indicated that it was noon. She rolled her eyes and groaned. "Yeah...I'll be out in a minute." She released the button on her walkie talkie and sighed long and hard before setting her newspaper down and getting out of her chair.
She covered her face with her arms upon making contact with sunlight. After stopping 由 Storage and grabbing a variety of bags of foods for the animals, she started her counterclockwise trip around the zoo, throwing the 食物 into the habitats.
"Elephant...check...chimps...check...hating my life...check..." Alice mumbled to herself. A movement caught her left eye and she turned her head. Skipper was still walking through the habitats. She carefully set down the few bags of 食物 she had left, making sure to not make a sound as she crept up on him.
Skipper turned around at the last moment, but was too late to dart away before Alice grabbed him. "Gotcha! I don't know how 你 keep doing this, but it's going to stop." She 说 as Skipper struggled in her grasp.
"Let go! Let go of me!" Skipper cried trying to free himself. Alice started in the direction of the infirmary.
Marlene jogged around a corner and wiped sweat off of her forehead with the back of her arm. She was just about to stop to rest when she took notice of Alice carrying Skipper to the infirmary and she gasped.
"Oh no..." She ran 前锋, 期待 and followed Alice as she put Skipper into a cage and set it on 最佳, 返回页首 of the counter. Hiding behind a trash can, she watched as Alice went to a cabinet and started sifting through its contents. Marlene hopped onto the counter while her back was turned.
"Mark? What are 你 doing here?" Skipper asked in a whisper.
"Sh! I'm bustin' 你 outta here." Marlene answered as she began trying to pick the lock with her claws. She dug her claw in harder, but the sound of the cabinet door closing forced her to hide behind a large cup of tongue depressors.
Alice approached the counter 阅读 the label of a thin, rectangular box. "'This device will remain permanent. Use: Sounds an alarm if subject leaves a 给 radius. Warning: Do not use in 动物 under twenty kilograms. Do not ingest. Directions: Cleanse surface of skin and inject into major artery. The device should take a minimum of ten 分钟 to activate.' Hm. Whatever." She opened the end of the box and pulled out a thin syringe.
Skipper squeaked. "Needle!" He choked.
Marlene's eyes widened as Alice started opening the cage and Skipper pushed himself against the back, trying to get away from her grasp. Marlene jumped onto the counter and pounced on Alice's hand, knocking the syringe to the floor.
"Whoa! What in the world!?" Alice cried as she tried to assess what just happened.
Marlene darted into the cage and pulled Skipper out 由 his flipper. "Run!" She told him.
Skipper jumped off of the counter and started for the door. Marlene turned just in time to see Alice coming at her with the syringe and she jumped out of the way.
"Come here, you!" Alice called in frustration.
Marlene waited for the perfect moment; Alice thrust her hand toward her and she dashed up her arm and kicked off of her neck, knocking her out. The syringe fell from her hand and landed on the floor with a clink. Marlene picked it up and examined it. The light danced off the end of the needle and into her eyes.
Marlene looked up at the sound of Skipper's voice. "I thought I told 你 to get out of here."
"I couldn't leave 你 behind. What if Alice caught you?"
Marlene smiled. "I can take care of myself."
Skipper smiled back. "I know. Thanks, 由 the way. You're a good friend."
Marlene tossed the syringe into the nearest trash bin and stepped up to Skipper's side. "I know." Skipper laughed. "Come on, I'll walk 你 to your habitat." Marlene 说 offering Skipper her arm. Skipper looped his flipper through and they left the infirmary together.
由 around 5pm, most of the 日 had slowed down. Private watched reruns of the Lunacorns, Kowalski stayed cooped up in his lab running tests on who-knows-what, and Rico kicked back at the 表 with the latest issue of Kaboom magazine.
"Rico, get your feet off my table." Skipper ordered when he took notice.
"Sorry..." Rico 说 removing his feet as instructed, though rolling his eyes when Skipper wasn't looking.
Skipper returned to his game of chess with Marlene. That's when Kowalski emerged from his lab with the Gendotizer. "Hey guys, check out what I just made. A kaleidoscope." He 说 holding it up with a grin.
Private was confused. "But isn't that your-" Kowalski cleared his throat while giving him a hard stare. Private looked at Skipper and Marlene. "Oh...yes. It's an interesting looking kaleidoscope."
"That's because two can look through it at once. Hey! Here's a thought, how about 你 and Mark test it out. It's pretty neat!" Kowalski urged looking at Skipper and Marlene.
Skipper shrugged. "Sure. What can go wrong with a kaleidoscope? It can't explode, right?"
Marlene smiled and nodded in agreement. Kowalski rolled his eyes in annoyance. Skipper took the Gendotizer from him and he and Marlene looked through the opposite ends of it.
"It's dark." Marlene pointed out.
"Hit the button on top." Kowalski instructed.
Marlene did so and that same light flickered in the middle before 更多 lights joined in and swirled around weaving in and out and around each other. Their bodies, once again, became numb and thoughts became empty. Finally, everything went black. Marlene and Skipper awakened a moment later with the assistance of the team. For a moment, none of them spoke. Skipper broke the silence first.
"So...that was an...interesting experience."
Marlene nodded awkwardly. "Mm-hm..."
Skipper cleared his throat slightly. "Would um...you like to go first? 或者 should I?"
"It doesn't matter." Marlene answered quietly, still feeling slightly uncomfortable.
Skipper took a deep breath. "Well...I think I understand a few things a little better. The reason 你 find what we do uninteresting is because you're 更多 focused on seeing the qualities in life. I've never enjoyed a sunrise like that before. And the reason 你 disagree with us going on missions is because 你 never know which ones will be our last. 你 worry about us because we're your friends." He finished.
Marlene looked down a little. "That's exactly how I feel."
Skipper looked down at himself. "I'm sorry I judged you, Marlene."
Marlene sighed. "No, I'm sorry. I thought 你 meant that 你 only enjoyed helping others to feel better about yourself. But 你 really meant that 你 enjoyed the feeling that the ones 你 care about are safe. That's what makes 你 feel that sense of accomplishment. I'm sorry I jumped to conclusions."
"No, I understand. I'm sorry I was so insensitive. Can 你 forgive me?"
"Can 你 forgive me?" Marlene asked shying a smile at him.
Skipper smiled back. "Call it even."
Marlene smiled and she and Skipper embraced.
"So...how 'bout that massage?" Skipper asked with a grin over her shoulder.
Marlene smiled. "Don't push it."