Word Count: 1,031
Summary: When the going gets tough, agents Donaghy and Lemon retreat to the wild. Or, well. The zoo.
Author's Note: I have no idea where this came from! Seriously, none. I wasn't aware I was even capable of writing anything anymore. Thank you, Jack Donaghy, for randomly popping into my brain. It is muchly appreciated.
Remember that ancient, ancient alphabet fic meme? Yeah, this is for that! The ever-lovely yourmomroxxs prompted "Jack/Liz, zoo."
Here we go!
Also, after having consulted my expert, I am aware that the Jonas Brothers were not actually at the MTV Movie Awards. To which I say, SCREW IT. The Jonas Brothers are where I want them to be. Anywhere, anytime. I've just got that kind of power.
Things are hectic at work, on account of Tracy licking a Jonas Brother at the MTV Movie Awards. Technically, so not a big deal – dogs lick people all the time, and you don’t see the Disney corporation all up in arms over that. Liz is sure Pluto’s tongue has been some less-than-pretty places. Maybe even Goofy’s. That dude ain’t foolin’ anybody with his wily bipedal ways. Still: it’s bad. Big, scary, stressful, bad badness. Even though it was just that weird-looking Jonas, the older one who nobody really cares about. Liz knows nobody cares about him because Jenna said once, after a whole bunch of wine, that she wouldn’t mind inducting the Jonas Brothers into the world of womanly love learning (what?), but the oldest one couldn’t come. Liz’s reactions at the time were as follows: a) gross, b) ha ha, nobody cares about the weirdo Jonas Brother. Well, people sure care now, People Magazine exclusive cover story style. The little bastard probably plotted it all. Maybe he planted Oreo filling on his cheek beforehand, leaving Tracy powerless. Liz knows, theoretically, absolutely not from experience, that if you happen to get Oreo filling on your face, it’s inevitably gonna result in Tracy licking it off. It’s like science.
Still. Why a Jonas Brother? Why couldn’t it have been one of those skuzzy Twilight kids?? (She asked Tracy. Here’s why: “You can’t lick a vampire, Liz Lemon! You’ll catch sparkle disease.”)
When Jack comes into her office, she expects a big hearty dose of lecturing at the least. Maybe the suggestion that Tracy’s tongue be surgically removed. Honestly, it wouldn’t be the first time the notion had crossed Liz’s mind and looked kinda good there.
“Jack, hey, what’s up!” she says, figuring that as long as she stays cheerful and wicked cool, there’s no way that this conversation will steer its way back to their present dilemma. “Lick any JoBros lately?”
“Lemon,” Jack says, his voice at its gravelliest, “you’re coming with me.”
“Eep,” says Liz.
Except then, he takes her to the zoo.
Which isn’t so bad.
At first, she thinks that maybe it’s some elaborate form of revenge. Like, he’s going to make all the animals lick her so she’ll realize just how miserable it is to be Calvin (Kevin? Keenan? No, wait, that’s not right) Jonas. That’s pretty low even for Jack, who knows about her recurring reptile tongue nightmares.
But it stays totally cool, and she doesn’t get licked by any giraffes, and right around the time Jack buys her a backpack shaped like a lemur she decides that maybe this is just a legit attempt at relaxation and buddy time. She’s cool with that.
Maybe a bear will eat her and she’ll never have to go back to work.
They stroll around for a couple of hours, and after awhile, they start playing the Which Animal Would You Want To Be? game. For herself, she thinks about choosing something slinky and sexy, like a jungle cat, or a … zebra. But this is Jack she’s talking to here, so she decides not to bother. Instead, she picks a gorilla. Those dudes have it made – they just sit there and eat and get huge, and instead of being frowned upon or dateless or told by Jenna that they seriously need to work out their priorities in life if they ever want to snag a man even half as good as Matthew McConaughey, they just get hailed as being magnificent. That right there, that’s the life.
Then she turns the question back around on Jack. She’s expecting his answer to be lion, or tyrannosaurus rex, or something, so she’s pretty surprised when what she gets is:
“A penguin? Seriously?” She can’t hold back a little laugh. It’s just – penguins are so cuddly. And sort of girly.
Jack raises his eyebrows at her. “You think that’s funny?”
She fights her smile off of her face. Serious business, this penguin-being. Right. “No. No. Not at all. I’m just … surprised.”
“Really? Why would you be?”
“I was thinking you’d go for, I dunno, dinosaur.”
“Why would I want to be impractically huge and extinct?”
He doesn’t even dignify that with a response. Clearly somebody hasn’t watched Jurassic Park (or The Land Before Time) enough.
“Penguins have it good, Lemon. Maybe better than any of us. Their natural markings result in instant elegance. An eternity of tuxedo-esque splendor. They may be birds, but that doesn’t mean that they succumb to the ridiculous preconception that they have to fly just because of it. They waddle. They congregate. They – do their own thing. They’re nature’s best dancers. They frolic, untouched by the arctic cold, and put their own spin on the fine musical stylings of everyone from Prince to Stevie Wonder to Sinatra. A man who wouldn’t enjoy the life of a penguin is a man who will never garner my respect, no matter how hard he may try.”
Liz stares at him. “How many times did you see Happy Feet?”
He’s so pokerfaced Lady Gaga should write a song about it. “What’s Happy Feet?”
Ehh, fine, she’ll let him have this one. “Never mind.”
He stares with uncharacteristic contentment down at the penguins. They do look pretty frolicsome. After a few seconds, he hums a few bars of something that sounds a whole lot like “Somebody to Love.” Amazingly – improbably – one of the penguins looks up at him, almost like … like it’s reminiscing over the good ol’ nonexistent days when it used to get its penguiny groove on and have its voice provided by Hugh Jackman.
Jack chuckles gleefully.
She can’t help thinking this is maybe the most touching human-animal interaction she’s witnessed since she watched that video on YouTube of those two guys in the 70s going to Africa to reunite with their pet lion. And this time, “Don’t Wanna Miss A Thing” isn’t even here to manipulate her emotions. (Flippin’ Aerosmith.)
She reaches over and pats Jack on the shoulder.
“Careful now, Lemon,” he says. “I don’t want to sustain any injuries from your gargantuan ape paws.”
“Oh, shut up, penguin licker,” she says fondly.