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He had left the condo in silence, his hand curled around the ring.  He couldn't believe what had just happened.  Why did they always have to fight instead of just talking?  It seemed to always culminate in either her slamming a door in his face or him raising his voice to her, saying things he didn't really mean.

This time it seemed to cost him his future.

The cold metal of the band in his hand reminded him of that fact.  There would be no future for them together now.

He had to pass the theater in order to get to his small apartment, and he wasn't looking forward to facing any of his friends at the moment.  He kept his head down as he walked on by, letting his feet just carry him.

It just happened to be his bad luck that most of the muppets were outside carrying on as the theater closed for the night.

"Hey, Kermit," Gonzo was the first one to notice him passing.  "Didya find Piggy?"

Kermit didn't reply, but just kept on walking.

"Uh-oh." Rowlf said slowly as the meaning dawned on him.  "Trouble in paradise again."

"Wait," said Fozzie.  "It can't be all that bad, Kermit."

Kermit stopped for a moment and looked back at all his friends.  "Thanks, guys, but I'm really not in the mood to discuss it."

"We'll be here when you are." Rowlf assured him. 

Kermit just bowed his head and left.

"That is one sad frog," Floyd observed and looked over to Janice.  "One really sad frog."

"Rully.  Like, I'll go over to Piggy's in a bit and see if I can get her to tell me what's going on."  She said while tossing her blond hair out of her face.

Robin was sitting on the stairs, halfway to the bottom one and sighed.  "Poor Uncle Kermit.  All he wants is to be happy."

They all nodded and watched as Kermit disappeared from view. 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

(Three weeks later)

Kermit stood on the cluster of rocks that served to break the waves at high tide on the beach.  He gazed out at the open sea as the sun finished setting in front of him.  He had come to sit out on the rocks and clear his mind hours ago, and he was still here.

Everything was falling apart.  The ratings on the show had dropped, due to his lack of interest in it.  The other muppets were trying hard, but it just wasn't good enough to keep the show up.  He hadn't seen Piggy since that night, and he felt even more depressed as time went on.

It was Rowlf who had suggested that he come out here.  It was the dog's favorite spot for sitting and composing tunes, so he thought it might help Kermit to come by.

It was still a bit nippy, especially at night, but Kermit went anyway, taking along one of his overcoats with him.  As the evening turned dusky, he realized that it had been a wise choice, and had tossed it on.

The waves did have a somewhat calming effect, he tried to let his troubles roll off him and out to sea, but they wouldn't go completely away.  He knew why, too. 

In one pocket of the coat his hand wrapped around the ring. 

In order for him to move on, he was going to have to sever all his emotional ties to his past.  Which meant letting Piggy go, in his mind and in his heart.

He took out the ring and looked at it again.  What had once represented his joy, now filled him with sorrow.  "I should never have done it," he said to the darkening sky.  "I should never have opened myself that way."

A single tear welled up in his eye and broke free, slowly sliding down his green cheek and stopping at his chin for a moment before breaking free to drop onto the rock below. 

It was followed shortly by another, and then another as he wept for his lost love.  He had never cried like this before, but once he started, he found it very hard to stop.  He found out too late that he wanted and needed someone to comfort him.  Oh how he longed for a shoulder to cry on at this moment.

All he had was the waves, and they weren't much comfort.  They splashed up and crashed against the high rocks, making him feel even sadder.  All alone and miserable, he felt like a total failure. 

After a while, in which the sun finally disappeared from view to be replaced by the moon and a few stars, Kermit's tears eventually stopped and he was able to take a cleansing breath.

"Goodbye, Miss Piggy," he said solemnly as he prepared to toss the ring into the ocean. 

He was just about to release it, when he heard a sound from the beach below.  There was someone else here, and he had wanted this to be a private moment for him.

He was certain that the person hadn't been there when he had arrived, for he had examined the beach. 

Curious who would brave this nippy weather in the evening he climbed down from the rocks and tucked the ring safely away into one of the pockets on the inside of the coat.

Once he reached the beach, he realized that the other person was crying as well.  Low and miserable sobs reached his ears.  He was torn from going any further, or just leaving the person to their own privacy, but then he remembered how much he had needed a shoulder to cry on himself.

The least he could do was offer his shoulder.  As he got closer he recognized who it was. 

Piggy.

She was sitting in the sand, her head upon her bent knees and she was shaking.  Both from the sobs and apparently from the biting wind which had nothing to break it this close to the shoreline.  At least the rocks had offered that bit of protection.

He couldn't just leave her there, not this late, and not like this, no matter how he felt personally.  He removed his coat, glad that he had grabbed his oversized one and walked up quietly behind her.

With a grace he really didn't feel, he slipped the still-warm fabric over her shoulders and said simply, "You looked cold."

Startled she looked up at him and he could see the tear-tracks on her cheeks.  "I'm fine." She said and tried to remove the coat.

"No, you're not.  You're shaking like a leaf." He pointed out. 

"I'm fine," she insisted and then had to turn away from him to sneeze as the wind blew right at her, therefore proving Kermit right.  "Heh-heTshh!"

"Bless you," he said quietly and kneeled next to her.

"Thanks," she said and gave up the fight over the coat.  "Won't you be cold?"

"Nah, I'm okay."  He reached over and into one of the pockets of the coat and withdrew a handkerchief.  He shook it out and offered it to her.  "You look like you could use this as well."

"Oh, Kermie," she said and started to cry again.  "Why are you being so nice to me?"

He felt his heart tear into a million pieces as he watched her.  "Well," he said as he used one hand to wipe the tears still coming out of her eyes.  "It could be because I hate to see pretty women sitting on the beach at night, sobbing their hearts out." 

She continued to cry, and he had to fight himself not to give in to the temptation and comfort her fully.  He held out the handkerchief again and this time she took it and blew her nose gently. 

"Or it could be because I still care," he admitted to her.  She looked up at him now, her nose red from the crying and the cold wind.  "I was doing just this same thing, Piggy.  I know how miserable you are feeling and I want to help."

"That- that is so thoughtful of you," she said and had to take a deep breath so she wouldn't start crying again. 

"That's me, I guess.  Mr. Nice Guy."  He shrugged his slim shoulders. 

The waves continued to crash onshore, lapping at the beach and coming pretty close to where they were sitting.  Kermit watched one break and then turned back to where Piggy was idly wringing the handkerchief in her hands. 

"I didn't mean it."  She said suddenly.

"Mean what?" he asked.

"I don't hate you.  I could never hate you.  I still love you too much to hate you."  She said then let loose a new flood of tears and buried her face into the handkerchief.

Kermit shivered slightly, as a breeze blew over him.  He covered the motion by shifting his weight until he was sitting and no longer kneeling.  "I know you do, Piggy."

That stopped her again.  "Y-You do?"

He nodded.  "Well, I wasn't sure, but now I am," he said and reached over to her.  "Why else would you be out here, risking pneumonia just to sob at the beach?"

"Oh, Kermie!" she wailed.  "I don't want to lose you.  Please tell me it's not too late to save our relationship."

He looked at her and had to keep from shivering again.  The last thing he wanted was for her to start to worry about him.  "I think that we've tried too many times already," his voice dropped really low.  "I don't want to keep going through this with you every time we disagree.  I'm so tired of fighting, Piggy."

She sighed, knowing inside that he was right.  Every time they had a disagreement, it turned into a major fight.  "Give me one more chance, Kermie," she pleaded. 

He bowed his head low, hating himself for saying the next words.  "I can't, Piggy."

"Do you not love me?"  He heard her voice start to break again and knew more tears were coming.

"Piggy, I never stopped loving you, but this has to end.  You hurt me badly this time."  He still remembered how torn he felt when she had taken his ring and thrown it at him like it was from a bubblegum machine and not a token of his love for her.  It was as if she had torn his heart right from his chest and stomped on it.

She nodded and had to swallow the lump that was rising in her throat.  "Then I guess this is it, right?  I can't see you anymore after tonight."

He nodded, then shivered and this time she caught the movement.  "Why, Kermie, you're cold!"

He had to admit this time, she was right.  He was cold, freezing in fact.  "I think we should move this talk to a warmer location."  His body betrayed him and shivered again.

She stood up and helped him to his feet, but his legs were partially numb from the cold and sitting for so long.  She caught him as he fell.

It took two tries for his legs to grow steady and she insisted that he let her support him.  This time it was his turn to twist his face from her and sneeze.  "EhhKessh! Ehh-aeshhh!"

"Oh Bless you, Kermie!" she said as she led him away from the cold water and colder air. 

He nodded his thanks and let her practically carry him back to her condo, which was much closer than his apartment.  Truth was, he was not feeling very well anymore.  His weeks of depression had weakened his immune system and his own personal release of pent up emotions earlier had drained him.  Combined with the cold, he was now sure he was coming down with something, and that very fact was confirmed when Piggy let go of him to turn on the lights in her room and he hit the carpeted floor, unable to bear his own weight.

She had gasped at the sight, and quickly picked him up and placed him on her sofa.  He had one conscious thought before blacking out completely.  He was glad she had finally cleaned up the feathers before laying him down.  Then he passed out completely, leaving her there very worried.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~


Piggy sat beside Kermit, worriedly touching his face with the back of her hand.  He was hot, and getting hotter by the second.  "Oh Kermie," she said as she tried to wake him. 

This was not a good thing.  She played a vet in the skits but in reality, she had no real experience.  Afraid of what was to come, she got up and made her way to the phone.  She knew someone to call, at least.

She picked up the phone and dialed the number to Rowlf's apartment.  It rang twice before she heard him pick up with a quiet, "Hello?"

"Oh, Rowlf, you've got to help me!" She was watching Kermit from across the room.  If he so much as moved, she was going to drop the phone and run over. 

"Miss Piggy?"  Rowlf questioned.  "What's wrong?"

"It's Kermit," she said and had to bite back her earlier tears.  "He's over here and he passed out on the floor."

Rowlf could hear the edge of hysteria in her voice, and knew how melodramatic she could be.  "Calm down, I'll be right over." 

"Thank you, Rowlf," she said and hung up.

Rowlf stared at the phone as the dial tone rang in his ear.  Whatever was going on, if it had Piggy that worked up, it couldn't be good.  He made a quick call to Fozzie and informed the bear where he was going and to be on standby in case it was something serious, then set out for Piggy's place.

Piggy went and got a washcloth from the bathroom and wet it with cool water.  She returned to Kermit's side, and found him breathing deeply but still with no sign of waking up.  He was also shivering, probably from the fever, so she also went and got the quilt off her bed.  She tucked it around him and then proceeded to wipe him down with the cool cloth.

She could feel the heat radiating through the thin folds of the fabric.  Had he been sick all along and just refusing to show it?  "Please wake up, Kermie," she said quietly. 

There was no response.

It seemed like forever before Rowlf showed up.  When there came a knock on her door, she had jumped, and ran to answer it.  When she saw him standing there, she dragged him inside, forgoing the greetings.

"Oh, Rowlf, I'm so worried.  He won't wake up!"

Rowlf knelt next to the couch and touched Kermit's skin with one hand.  She was right to be worried, for his froggy friend was indeed hot.  "How long has he been this way?"

"Not long," she answered and her breath began to hitch as the tears began.  "We were out on the beach talking and then he said he was cold so we came back here.  He passed out as soon as we got inside!"

Rowlf frowned at her.  "Well, get control of yourself, then.  You can't help him if you're a weeping mess."

The tone of his voice shocked her, and she quickly quieted down. 

"That's better," he said.  "Now I want you to call Fozzie and tell him that we do have a problem and to get over here right away."  He took the cloth that Piggy had been using and wiped down Kermit's head and neck.  The first thing he had to do was to lower his friend's temperature.  "Once you've done that, I need you to call any 24 hour vet you can find.  He needs to be looked at by someone who knows more than I do."

Piggy ran for the phone and followed his instructions.  She came back to see Kermit moving about slowly and mumbling something unintelligible.  It was all she could do not to break out into sobs.  "Kermie?"

"He's regaining consciousness," Rowlf said but didn't stop sponging his friend off.  "What did the vet say?"

"The vet is on the way, as is Fozzie," she relayed then knelt next to the couch to take one of Kermit's hands in hers.  "Can you hear me, Kermie?"

He shifted around, mumbling again but did not open his eyes.

Long moments passed in which there was nothing anyone could do but sit and wait.  Rowlf kept up his cooling down, and instructed Piggy to get a basin of cool water, which she did promptly.  He had started to include Kermit's chest and arms now. 

By the time the vet and Fozzie showed up, Kermit was indeed much cooler but had yet to regain full consciousness.  Piggy had let them in, and Rowlf had relinquished his spot to someone with more experience. 

He explained the whole situation to Fozzie, who was wringing his hat through his hands in worry. 

Piggy stood by the couch and waited as the vet examined Kermit.  She wanted to push the man away, and just hold Kermit herself, but knew she had no experience in dealing with sick frogs. 

The vet took Kermit's temperature, pulse, and asked a few general questions of Piggy and her friends, before finally putting his things back into his black bag that doctors always seemed to carry.

"Miss Piggy?" he asked to get her attention which was focused on Fozzie and Rowlf talking across the room.

She snapped back to reality looking at the vet.  "How is he?  Will he be okay?"

The vet smiled, taking away some of her tension.  "He's going to be just fine, he's just caught himself a very bad cold.  He's going to need a few days of bed rest, and he will probably feel miserable the whole time.  Give him lots of fluids and these pills," he reached into this bag to pull out a small container and handed it to her, "if his temperature climbs again.  Other than that, just try to keep him as comfortable as possible."

She nodded.  "Thank you, Doctor."

"You're welcome," he said and headed towards the door.  "I'll send my bill to the studio.  Now you guys take care of him."  Then he left.

Now Piggy sat on the couch and lifted Kermit's head into her lap.  "Kermie, I'll take good care of you," she said as she stroked his cheek.

Rowlf and Fozzie approached the couch.  "Don't worry about the theater or the show." He told her and Fozzie nodded.  "We will handle that.  Will you be alright now?"

She nodded, "I think so."

"Call us if you need us," Fozzie said.  "We will be checking on him for the next few days."

"Should we take him back to his home?"  Piggy asked worriedly. 

Rowlf shook his head.  "Nah, I think it's better than he stay here.  His place is kinda nippy compared to this."

She nodded in agreement.  "I'll call you then if I need anything.  Thanks, guys for coming by."

They smiled at her then left.

Piggy looked down into Kermit's still-closed eyes.  "I'll take good care of you, Kermie."

She only hoped that statement was true.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Kermit awoke slowly, his head feeling like someone was pounding upon it with a mallet.  He reached up to brush away the offending object, but found instead a pair of hands touching him gently.

He opened his eyes to see a blurry figure hovering over him.  He attempted to focus his vision, but that only served to increase the pounding sensation.  He groaned and rolled over.  The groaning now advised him that his throat was dry, scratchy and sore.

He wished the blackness would take him away again, but that was not to be the case.  He could feel something soft and warm covering him, and he snuggled into it, grateful for at least this one piece of comfort.

Piggy watched as Kermit struggled, then carefully reached out and caressed his cheek.  "Kermie?"

She heard another groan and a mumble.  "Kermie?" she asked again, not sure if he was fully awake or just dozing.

Kermit licked his lips and attempted to speak, hoping this would work better than his attempt to see.  "Piggy?" he croaked miserably.

"Yes, Kermie, I'm right here." She said as she straightened the quilt covering him.  "Can I get you anything?"

"Water," he said hoarsely, dying for anything cool to quench the burning fire in his throat. 

He heard her get up and leave the room, only to return a few minutes later.

"Come now, I'll help you sit."  He felt arms go around his chest and lift him gently into a sitting position.

He chanced to open his eyes again and the room swam before him.  He reached out one hand to steady himself and soon the world solidified into something he could at least recognize.  He felt the water glass being pressed into his hand and the took a few grateful sips, relishing the coolness as he swallowed. 

"Ugh." He groaned as he attempted to push the glass back into her hand. 

She took it from him and placed it on the coffee table.  Reaching over she picked up the quilt and draped it across his back.  He had started shivering slightly as the cool water had hit his system. 

"Piggy?" he moaned slightly then started to lean over, unable to keep himself upright as the room started to swim.  She quickly sat next to him and let him lean against her, using one arm to hold and comfort him.

"I'm right here, Kermie."  She adjusted the quilt again until he was swaddled against her, nestled in a cocoon of warmth. 

The effort to stay conscious was too much for him and he felt his eyes sliding shut against his will.  He was tired, so exhaustingly tired.  She felt good to him, nice and warm and soft.  He allowed himself to relax against her, "That's nice." He said sleepily.

"Shh." She soothed and rubbed his back until he was snoring against her.  She was content for the moment to just allow him to rest.  There was nothing in the world she wanted more right then.  Just having Kermit near her was plenty.  "Feel better soon, my love," she said sweetly and kissed the top of his head.

Kermit just snuggled closer and continued to dream.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

He awoke again hours later to find himself laying flat on the couch, the pounding in his head replaced with what appeared to be cement.  He found his nose blocked and breathing difficult.

He coughed and winced as the fire in his throat flared up.  He moaned miserably.  "Piddy?"  He tried to call out for the one he knew had to be in the room, but his voice came out as a whisper.  His attempt to clear his throat didn't do much but aggravate the soreness.

He heard a toilet flush and then a door open.  "Piddy?" he tried again, reaching one hand out into the cool air. 

"Oh! Kermie!" he heard her respond and walk over to him.  "You're awake."

He nodded slightly, finding movement a bit easier than speech.  "Wader." He said and pointed to the general direction of the coffee table.

She helped him sit and noticed that his temperature was up again as his heated skin touched hers.  When his eyes opened, she smiled at him.  "I'm right here, Kermie."

He nodded again.  "I see."  She placed the glass of water into his hand and he took a few swallows, feeling a bit like he was burning from the inside out. 

"Kermie?" she said as she uncapped a bottle of pills.  "I need you to swallow two of these.  Do you think you can?  They will bring your temperature down."  She shook out two small white pills and capped the bottle again.

He looked at them miserably.  "I'll dry," he said and then attempted to sniff through blocked sinuses. 

She placed the pills in his hand and watched as he popped them into his mouth and followed them with a gulp of the water. 

It was like swallowing boulders, for the feel of them on his inflamed throat was not a pleasant one.  It took two tries for him to get them to go down and he groaned at the effort. 

"My poor Kermie," she said as she held him close.

He finished up the water and handed her back the empty glass.  "Dank you."

She took the glass from him and replaced it with a handful of tissues.  "Here, honey.  Try to blow to clear the congestion."

He frowned down at the tissues.  Blow?  He could barely take air into his body, let alone blow it out. 

She clucked her tongue as she watched him, then took them from him and pressed the soft squares against his face herself.  "Come on, love.  Blow gently."

He tried, with little results.  He was blocked completely.

"Try again," she encouraged.

He took in a deeper breath of air through his mouth and put forth a bit more effort, and this time managed to clear some of the fluid blocking his small nasal passages. 

"Wonderful." She said sweetly at his effort and wiped the small nose flaps that were on the outside of his face.  "You did great, honey."

He nodded, and was thankful for the help.  He could breathe a bit better, but he still felt like his head was being used as a concrete block.  "Dank you."

"Is there anything I can get you?" She asked him, watching as he swayed miserably.  Sitting up was definitely something he should not be attempting for long periods, she decided.  "Would you like to lie down again?"

Instead of answering, she felt him lean towards her and practically fall into her lap.  "Jusd led me sleedp." He said drowsily and closed his eyes, but not before patting her leg softly.

She smiled.  He could sleep all day and night on her lap.  Whatever it took, she was going to take the best care of him that she could.  She rubbed his back through the quilt and had to smile again.  Nothing felt more right to her than this.  Now she could feel just how good they were together. 

Why did they always have to fight? 

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

"Piggy, you shouldn't be up there!"  Kermit yelled as he watched Piggy climb to the top of Gonzo's high-wire.  "Use your common sense and come back down!"

She either didn't hear him or was ignoring him as she continued to climb until she reached the very top.  Once up there, she took his unicycle and sat upon it. 

"No, Piggy, don't do it!"  Kermit yelled again, looking frantically around the stage.  Where was everyone?  Why was there no safety net?  He saw Beauregard mopping the floor on the other side of the theater.

"Beau!" he hollered, but the janitor just waved one hand at him.

"Hello, Mr. Kermit." Then he took out a rag and began to wipe down some props, not even noticing the drama unfolding just above him.

"Beau, come over here!" 

Beau scratched his head, puzzled.  Cover the air?  What did that mean?  "I'm sorry, I don't know what you want."

Kermit stamped his foot impatiently.  "Over here!" he pointed towards the spot he was standing on.

Beau still stood, his frown deepening.  Did he miss a spot mopping?

Kermit glanced up, giving up on getting Beauregard to help.  He was on his own now.

Piggy was now fully balanced on the cycle and was preparing to push off for the long ride across the stage and some 200 feet up. 

"Stop!"  Kermit yelled towards the ceiling, trying to make his voice carry over the distance.  Somehow instead of echoing, it grew quieter instead.  There had to be something he could do. 

He ran across the theater, his eyes never leaving the sight of Piggy.  She wobbled with the first few pedals then seemed to balance perfectly as she rode along the thin wire. 

Kermit's breath caught, and he thought for a moment, everything would work out.  But then the unthinkable happened and he was powerless to prevent it.  The unicycle tipped and Piggy tried to counterbalance it, but overbalanced instead.  He heard her scream in terror as she fell off and headed down towards the solid hard oak floor below.

The drop seemed to take ages, and he could see her blaming him in her eyes as she fell.  'This is your fault, Kermit,' they seemed to say.  'Your fault there is no net.'

He leapt forward planning to use his own body to break her fall, but found himself rooted to the floor.  He couldn't look away, couldn't turn from the sight of her picking up speed and impacting with the solid surface below. 

"Nooooooo!" he screamed.  "PIIIIIGGGGYYYYYYYY" and reached out for her...

And found himself sitting bolt upright on a couch, the quilt that had been covering him tangled around his legs and drenched with sweat.  His heart was pounding a mile a minute and his breath came in hitched gasps still full of terror.

It had only been a dream, right?  The room he was in was darkened, with the exception of one light in the hallway.  He tried to take in a breath of fresh air but found he was fully congested again and his head was spinning.  "Piddy?"  He called out for her, hoping she was nearby. 

The room was silent.  He heard the whir of the fans powering the ventilation system but no other sounds.  His heart was still pounding and he tried to calm himself down.  She was safe, she wasn't on any high wire, he told himself. 

His breath began to hitch and he pulled the damp quilt up in time to sneeze into it.  "Heh-Etshhh!  HahTshhh!" 

Where was Piggy?  She wouldn't have left him alone like this, right?  He wiped his nose on the edge of the quilt.  He was going to have to check the rest of the condo.  Maybe she was in bed.  He knew he would not be able to sleep again until he knew she was okay and that it had been a dream.

Cautiously, he moved the damp fabric from around his feet and placed them on the carpeted floor.  The room was spinning and his stomach felt like it was on a roller coaster as he stood up. 

He used one hand to guide his way, holding on to whatever furniture he could find.  The darkness, combined with the unfamiliarity of the place caused him to first bump his shin and then stub his toes. 

He had made it halfway towards the light in the hallway when his sense of balance was thrown off by another ill-timed sneeze.  "Heh ehTshh!  HehKeshhh!" The floor seemed suddenly closer as he fell forward. 

Piggy finished brushing her hair and picked up her robe from it's place on the bed.  As she put it on, she considered what she was going to do for the rest of the evening.  The last time she had checked on Kermit, he had been sleeping peacefully.  She had gotten up and taken a shower, then dressed for bed, stopping once to brush her hair. 

She wasn't sure how well she was going to be able to sleep tonight.  What if Kermit needed her?  Would she be able to hear him from the bedroom?  She wasn't sure.  Just to be safe, she would leave her door open. 

She got up and walked across the room and opened the door.  She would check on him once more before turning in.  As she walked down the hallway she heard something, like moan then a soft sneeze. 

"Kermit?" she said as she crossed the distance of the hallway to the living room and snapped on the nearest lamp.

She almost tripped over him, as he was laying in the middle of the floor, his head buried into one arm as he sneezed again.  "Heh-Eshh!"

"Piddy?" he croaked out towards her, reaching his other hand up.  She instantly knelt and scooped his feverish body into her arms.  He tried to push her away but she refused to let go and he was forced to press his face into her robe as he sneezed again.  "AhEssshh!  HehKesshh!"

"Bless you," she cooed quietly and carried him back to the couch.  "What are you doing out of bed?"

"Didemare," he tried to explain.  "Nedded you."

Piggy reached for the box of tissues on the coffee table and pulled a few out of the top of the box.  "It's okay now, I'm right here."  She held the tissues up to Kermit's nose.  "Blow, love."

He blew and felt the pressure in his head lessen some.  She wiped his nose and then the tears that had leaked from his eyes.  "Whede did you do?"

"I took a shower," she shrugged.  "I didn't know you were going to wake up, or I never would have left you."  She went to grab the quilt and grimaced at the dampness of the fabric.  "Oh now this isn't good."

"No?" Kermit said hoarsely, then sneezed again, barely managing to turn his head aside in time.  "Do blandet?"

Piggy shook her head.  "There is only one more thin one on my bed, I'm afraid."

Kermit hung his head.  "I'm soddy."

Piggy lifted his chin.  "You have no reason to be sorry, Kermie.  You didn't ask to be sick."

"I dow." 

Piggy considered something for a moment then without another word, scooped Kermit up in her arms. 

"Piddy?" he asked her as his head spun again.  Just what was she doing?  His stomach flip-flopped once and for a second, he thought he was going to get sick.  He squeezed his eyes tightly shut and rested his head against her chest while clutching her robe in both hands. 

She carried him into her bedroom and placed him gently on the bed.  "No arguments, Kermie." She said and covered him with the last blanket.  "This way I won't have to keep checking on you, for you will be right here with me."

He was too tired and sick to argue anyway.  He just waved one hand in the air before sneezing harshly.  "Hek-EtKESSHH!  AKEHShhh!"

"Bless you," she remarked.  "I'd better go get the tissues."  She kissed the top of his head once, then left the room, only to return minutes later with his pills, the box of tissues and a glass of water.

After administering the pills and wiping his nose she settled on the bed next to him. 

He felt comfortable in the big bed, much more so than the sofa and he relaxed into the pillows.  "Piddy?" he called out to her.  "I dond wand you do ged sick."

"Shh." She said and stroked his arm with one hand.  "I won't get sick.  But I do want you to let me take care of you, okay?"

Not that he could come up with any better solution, he shrugged.  If she did get sick he would have to reciprocate.  "Oday."

With the lessening of the terror from his previous nightmare and the comforting presence of Piggy nearby, he felt like he could finally fall back asleep.  Knowing better but caring less for the moment, he reached out both arms to her and gave her a good night hug.  "Dank you."

She whispered softly to him, "You're welcome, Kermie." 

That was the last he heard before falling asleep in her arms.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

The next morning Piggy awoke to find Kermit buried beneath the covers, his head off the pillow and laying flat on the sheets. He had one arm tucked under his head slightly and the other one was lying across Piggy's middle.

She sighed lightly. Now this was a nice way to wake up. She could do this every day for the rest of her life. Part of her wanted to reach around and pull him closer, but she knew that might wake him and he really needed his rest.

She reached over and tested his skin with one hand. He was cool. She was glad of that, for now she wouldn't have to wake him to take his pills. As she listened to his breathing, she could hear his congestion with each intake of air.

Well, that wasn't going to change overnight.

She knew today she was going to have to get Kermit to eat a little something, even if it was broth, for he hadn't really eaten much yesterday. He had to keep his fluids up too, or he would become dehydrated.

She felt him shift beside her and watched as he tried to get comfortable. He rolled one way and then the other, releasing his hold over her before rolling back to his first position and coughing slightly.

She gently lifted his head a bit and slid the pillow underneath. He seemed to find that comfortable enough for he pressed his head back and sighed. He also had reached out for her and pulled himself closer to her warmth.

Yes indeed, this was nice. Piggy didn't move at all, preferring to just watch him sleep. She lay there, memorizing every curve of his face, the way he would smile slightly as he dreamed, the way his body was so relaxed beneath the covers.

If there was a Heaven on Earth, Piggy was sure this was part of it. Nothing felt more right to her than being in the arms of the one she loved. She closed her eyes and rested next to him, never wanting this morning to end, but knowing that soon enough it would. About 45 minutes later, he stirred again, this time chancing to open his eyes.

He saw Piggy sleeping next to him and was embarrassed about the way he was holding her. Sure it felt good and he was pretty darn sure she didn't mind, but still, they hadn't made up fully after their last fight and he shouldn't be clutching her like this.

He went to lift his arms up and heard her stir. "Please don't." she said quietly and opened her eyes.

He coughed lightly and swallowed before answering her. "Piddy, dis is nod ridt."

"It feels right, Kermit, can't you tell?" she replied and stroked one of his arms with a finger. The sensation made goosebumps appear on his arms and he shivered but not from cold.

He sniffed some and tried to explain why it wasn't right, although she did have a point. "Id may have beed ridt at one dime, Piddy," he said, hoping she could understand his congested speech. "Bud now, we arndt togeder, we shoudn't be cuddling like dis."

To his surprise, she nodded and let him go. "I know," she sighed. "Just for a moment, I wanted to experience what it would be like. I'm sorry if I made you feel uncomfortable." She moved away from him and lifted the covers as she got out of the bed. "I'm going to get dressed, I want you to relax and stay warm. I'll get something for you to drink."

He was both relieved to see her not fighting him, but sorry that she did give up so easily. He watched her select some clothes from her closet and leave the room.

He wasn't sure if it was his illness that was making him feel so needy but he really wished she had put a bit more effort into the discussion. His side of the bed now felt cold and lonely and he scooted over to the warm spot she had just left. He closed his eyes and could almost feel her again, her warm arms providing the comfort he needed so badly.

"Sdop fooding yourdelf, Kermid." He said to the empty room. "Id is bedder if she knows dow how you feel." The problem was, he wasn't sure how he felt right now. He was sick, and he really wanted to feel better so he could sort out the rest of his feelings.

She came back into the room a bit later, carrying a tray that had some food and drinks on it. He smiled when he saw her, and felt his stomach rumble at the sight of the food.

She placed the tray across his lap, letting him choose from the items upon it what he wanted. She had brought some fresh fruit, juice, toast, and some pastries that he normally enjoyed.

She was happy to see him dive into the meal, knowing that as long as his appetite was good, he was in no danger of getting any sicker. He sipped at the juice then finished another slice of toast. "Aredn't you goidg do ead?"

"Don't worry about me, Kermie," she said. "I had something while I was getting your food ready."

He nodded, then finished off a slice of orange that she had peeled and set into sections on the plate. Once he was done eating all he could, he pushed the plate aside. "Ah, dat was good." He wiped his mouth and hands on the napkin and laid it across the plate. "Dank you."

"You rest now, Kermie and I'll go clean up the kitchen. I'll be back when I'm done to check on you." She tucked him under the covers.

He pulled one hand up and stopped her from leaving. "Pleade, don't be long." He didn't know why he said that, just that he didn't want to be alone in this room.

"I won't," she said and tucked his arm back under the blanket before picking up the tray and leaving.

He was satiated now and terribly sleepy, but he didn't want to fall back asleep until she returned. He passed the minutes stroking her pillow and thinking about the way he had woken up. Sure, he wanted to do it again. Who wouldn't? Having a comforting presence nearby when you woke was much better than waking up in a cold bed alone.

But was he being fair to her? Did he want to stir the romantic pot that bubbled between them? To bring those emotions back to the surface now might be more than he was able to handle. He sighed again and pulled her pillow close to his body. He rested his head upon it and continued to mull over his feelings until, unable to stop it, he fell asleep holding on to what he considered to be his source of comfort and dreaming about her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Piggy came back into the room to find him sleeping again.  She smiled at the way he was holding her pillow.  He looked so cute while sleeping.

She left the room again, this time cracking open the door, and was going to sit out in the living room to watch some TV when a knock came on her door.

She opened it to find Rowlf there, holding a covered pot.

"Hello, Rowlf." She greeted him and stepped aside to let him in.

Rowlf entered and nodded to the pot.  "I've brought you some chicken soup.  I thought it might help.  How's Kermit?"  He looked towards the couch and frowned when he saw it was empty.

Piggy took the pot from him and brought it into the kitchen.  She came back out and indicated that Rowlf should take a seat.

He did, and she sat on the couch, pushing the quilt aside.  "Kermit's sleeping right now, he had a rough night."

"Aw, I'm sorry to hear that.  Is there anything I can do?" he offered.

She fingered the quilt, knowing it would be better if Kermit was kept warmer than the thin blanket on her bed.  "Um, if it wouldn't be a bother, do you think you could take this quilt to be washed?"

"No problem," he said with a small smile.  "Tell Kermit when he wakes not to worry about tonight's show.  We have it all in hand."

"Do you need Moi there?" Piggy asked, knowing that she should at least try to do her skits.

He shook his head and his ears flopped.  "Nah, unless you really want to be there.  I'd feel better myself if you stayed with Kermit."

"Thank you, Rowlf," she said. 

He stood and accepted the quilt from her.  "Always a pleasure, Piggy.  I'll be back soon with this all cleaned for you."

She bid him goodbye and he left.  It was less than ten minutes later when another knock on her door came.  This time it was Robin.  "Hello, Miss Piggy.  Is Uncle Kermit awake?"

"No, Robin, he's sleeping." 

He looked a bit disappointed but held out a piece of paper.  "Well, when he wakes can you give this to him?"

She took the paper and found it to be a hand-drawn get well card.  "Certainly, Robin.  I'm sure it will make him feel better to know you are thinking about him."

The small frog brightened at her words.  "Thank you, Miss Piggy.  I'll go now so he can rest."

She watched him skip off down the hall and marveled at his energy.  Was Kermit ever that bouncy at that stage?  She closed the door and placed the card on the counter. 

It was nice that his friends were thinking about him.  She knew that she was going to need their help as she really didn't want to leave Kermit's side.

Not until he was well.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Over the course of the next 3 days, she did her best to nurse him.  She had to help him with the meals, helped him to and from the bathrooms so he could bathe, she held him when his temperature rose, and comforted him with his nightmares.

She wiped the sweat from his brow, held the tissues for his sneezes, stroked his back and arms when he complained that they were sore.  She whispered words of comfort to put him to sleep and made sure he was warm.

She greeted his friends and accepted what help she could from them.  Gonzo was bringing over copies of tapes of the show, so Kermit could be kept up to date.  He would watch each show while being held by Piggy, nodding and noting that all their friends were doing a good job of keeping the show going without him.  Granted the ratings weren't as high as they could have been but neither were they the lowest they had ever been.

Fozzie brought over magazines, and books to read.  He would stand in the doorway worriedly twisting his hat in his hands, asking about Kermit.  Piggy could tell he was really worried, and tried to reassure the bear that Kermit was indeed getting better.

Bunsen and Beaker dropped by with a contraption that was supposed to keep the air in the room moist and help with Kermit's congestion.  When it was plugged in it did quite the opposite, drying out the air until the room felt like a desert, then exploded, filling the room with black smoke.

Beaker had meeped and ducked down into his lab coat, trying to explain with all his meep meme meeping that she had set it up wrong.  Bunsen had to fan the smoke out the window while Piggy tried to keep Kermit from choking.  Suffice it to say, she didn't bother with the machine after that.


Rowlf was the biggest help of all, as he continued to bring over food and even brought over some of Kermit's clothes.  He would sit and talk to Piggy, even checked on Kermit personally before offering his help again and then leaving politely.

The other muppets contributed as well.  Beauregard kept bringing up flowers until Piggy said that there was plenty of them in her living room and Kermit would not been needing any more get well gifts. 

Suffice it to say after the three days had passed, Piggy was exhausted.  Taking care of Kermit and his well wishing friends had drained her.  The only thing she looked forward to was the nights that she would get to spend sleeping next to him.

Even with the clean quilt, Kermit had not returned to the couch.  He allowed Piggy to keep him in the bed, for it was the least he could do for all her help.  He knew she enjoyed the moments they spent together, curled up in peaceful slumber.

His congestion cleared after the fourth day, and he could get up from bed for hours at a time without feeling dizzy or sleepy.  His cold had been reduced to the occasional sneeze or a cough.  He was feeling much more like his old self.

Which brought up a new problem for him to face.  He was going to have to leave her condo soon, and get back to his life.  He was dreading the moment he had to leave, and he couldn't figure out why. 

At one point he had gotten up out of the bed to check on what was taking Piggy so long to come back when he found her passed out on the sofa, the TV on but unwatched.  He had stroked her face gently, then leaned down, and much like the fairytale, kissed her gently to wake her up.

Her eyes had slid open at the touch, and he smiled at her, then escorted her back to bed where he tucked her down for a good rest.  She had protested until he crawled up next to her.  Then she fell right to sleep.

Once she had awoken from the nap, he guessed it was time for them to have the dreaded talk about the future.  He put down the magazine he had been reading.  "Did you sleep well?" 

She propped herself up on one arm, "Well enough, thank you."

"Well, you certainly needed the rest."  He fiddled with the covers, trying to find a way to broach the subject.  "Um, Piggy," he started to say.

"How are you feeling?" She interrupted him, touching his forehead gently. 

He moved her hands away.  "I'm much better, but Piggy, we need to talk."

She nodded.  "I'm guessing here, this is the part where you tell me that you don't need me anymore and thanks for the help, blah, blah, blah."  She moved away from him to sit up, leaning against her pillow.  "Well, let me save you the time.  You're welcome, I was happy to do it, and when you are ready, you can go."

He could hear the undercurrent of disappointment in her tone.  Was that what she really thought?  "No, Piggy, that's not it," he began, then shook his head.  Who was he lying to now?  Himself, that's who.  "Well, actually its part of it, but there is more."

"There is?" 

He nodded.  "I do want to thank you for being there for me, but I also want to tell you that even though I was sick I enjoyed what you did for me.  There are not many people that would do the things you did."  He scooted himself a bit closer, and gave her a reassuring hug.  "I may have to leave, but I've decided that I don't want to be gone from your life completely."  He took a deep breath and plunged in.  "I'm willing to give you another chance."

She did a double take as her heart speeded up.  It was all she could do not to start jumping up and down with excitement.  "Oh, Kermie!"  She planted a kiss right on the top of his head.  "Thank you, thank you. I'm so happy now."

He could clearly see that.  "Calm down, Piggy.  Just to make sure you understand, we are going to take this slowly this time.  The wedding isn't back on, but we are.  Do you understand?"  He waited for her reaction to this bit of news, pretty sure that she was going to express her displeasure at that.

He felt her settle down.  "Mmm-hmm.  I know.  Right now I'm just happy that you are willing to see me.  Taking care of you these past few days has had Moi thinking as well.  I realize now that I don't need fancy flowers, swans, or expensive cards."  She reached over and took one of his hands in her own.  "What I need in my life is you."

He blushed.  "Aww, Piggy, that is so sweet."

"It's true." 

Now he felt like he had finally done something right.  Maybe this time it would work.  Maybe this time it would finally be the way it was supposed to be between them.  He knew he loved her, and she loved him.  They were supposed to be together, for why else would he have these feelings that ran too deep for him to describe?  He gave her hand a small squeeze.  "And I need you."

The kiss that followed was sweeter than any other he had ever shared with her.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Two months later he stood in front of Fozzie's blue jeep. "Piggy?" He called out to her. "Piggy?"

She poked her head around from the other side of it. "Yes, Kermie?"

"Are you all packed?" He lifted up his sleeping bag and carried it around to the back. "Are you done yet?"

She stuffed her pink sleeping bag into the back of the jeep. "Moi thinks so. I packed the cooler, the blankets, the sleeping bag, extra food, fresh water, ummm" she said thinking of all the things she had already stuffed into the small trunk space.

"Piggy," Kermit groaned. "We are just going camping for a weekend, not a month in the wilderness." He had to twist his backpack to get it to fit. Piggy had packed so much stuff that he was afraid it was going to spill out onto the road if he hit any heavy bumps.

"It's the same thing." She told him as she put on her hat. "Moi doesn't want us to have to be without anything we might need."

He finally got his sleeping bag to stay. With one hand he secured the remainder of their stuff and with the other picked up his guitar. His banjo had finally worn out beyond all repair, and he had picked up the guitar after John Denver had last visited the show. He preferred his banjo, but the guitar was not too bad. At least it wasn't electric.

He hooked the guitar on an inside hook and then climbed into the driver's seat. He noticed that Piggy was still standing outside the car. "Well?"

She glared at the car door. She tapped her foot. And glared again.

"Sheesh." He muttered then got out to open up her door for her. She gave him a gentle kiss on the cheek. "Well Moi is a woman, after all."

He shook his head and closed the door then again got behind the wheel. "Can we leave now?"

"But of course!" She waved to the other muppets standing outside the theater. "We will be back soon. Kissy, kissy."

"Kermit, be careful not to scratch the paint." Fozzie said while touching the side of the car. "I just had it waxed."

"I'll be careful." Kermit reassured him. He reached over and turned the key and the engine roared to life.

They waved goodbye and soon were on their way.

"Oh, Kermie, this is going to be so romantic," she said to him, a twinkle in her eye. "Just me and vous under the starry sky, a campfire blazing and nature all around us."

He glanced over to see her staring at him dreamily. "Umm," he cleared his throat, "yeah, that's about it."

It only took him two hours to drive to the campsite, and he parked the jeep. They unloaded pretty quickly, and set up camp. Piggy took care of getting all the food ready, and he set up the sleeping bags and gathered the logs for the fire.

The sun was setting as they sat down for dinner. "You know, Piggy, you've surprised me." He took a sip from a canteen of water.

"I have?" She finished off her sandwich and wiped her mouth. "Why do you say that?"

"Well, because, I really wasn't sure what to expect from you, ever since that fight about our wedding." He passed her over the canteen and accepted a bag of chips from her. "You have been so sweet to me, it's almost like I don't really know you. You haven't tried to make me jealous at all, nor do you try to get me to stick by your side all the time anymore."

She laughed lightly. "Isn't this what you wanted, Kermie?" Her face fell as a thought occurred to her. "Or did I misread you?"

He put his food down and sat closer to her. "No, no, It just feels different is all." He reassured her. "I just feel like I'm seeing another side of you, one that you had never shown anyone before."

She was about to respond to him when a stick landed in her lap. "What the??" Kermit had jumped up and was looking around.

A large brown, white and black puppy came bounding out of the nearby woods. He went to sit by Piggy's feet, his tail wagging eagerly as he stared at the stick. She picked up the slimy thing and threw it. "Ewwww."

He bounded after it and then returned, dropping it at her feet. "Kermit! Make him go away!" She got up and moved away.

The dog followed her.

Kermit had to stifle a laugh. He whistled to get the dog's attention and waved a hot dog in the air. "Want this, boy. Come here, boy."

The dog's ears perked up and he bounded over to where Kermit was. He sat up and begged.

Kermit had to laugh. "Look, he knows tricks. He must have had an owner at one time." He tossed the hot dog down at the dog's feet. As he petted the animal, he saw that there was no collar or tags.

"Well," Piggy was huffing. "Maybe he should go find his owner and leave us alone." She dusted off her shorts. "He's making a mess over here."

"I don't think he has one anymore," Kermit replied as he fed the dog another bite of hot dog. "There is no collar or tags."

"Wonderful." Piggy grunted, not at all happy about their interruption.

"Aw, Piggy, come on. You don't really want him to go away, do you?" It was obvious that he liked the puppy. The dog was now laying across his lap.

"Alright, he can stay." She muttered and sat back down. Once she did the dog as if hearing that, leapt up from his spot and went to sit by Piggy. He licked her cheek once and she grimaced. "Eww, doggie germs."

Kermit had to laugh at that and went to start the fire. The sun was setting and the chill of night would soon be upon them. "We need to give him a name."

"Name? I said he could stay tonight, I didn't say we were adopting him." She picked up a small ball and rolled it towards the dog. He happily used his head to roll it back to her.

Kermit had started to see a wisp of smoke on the logs. He blew on it a few times until the spark caught and the fire started. "We can discuss that tomorrow, Piggy. Still we can't call him 'hey dog' all night."

"What do you suggest then? The only dog Moi has ever had was Foo-Foo." She frowned at the new dog. "You are definitely not a Foo-Foo."

"How about Frisky? He certainly is that." Kermit suggested.

"He's also a pest," Piggy said under her breath. "How about Bandit?"

Kermit shook his head. "Nah, that doesn't seem right." The dog was now finishing up Kermit's bag of chips. "Why don't we just call him Chips?"

"Fine, that works for me." Piggy sighed. Chips was now licking his lips and looking for more food. "No more for you." She packed up the rest of the food. "You'll eat everything we have left."

The fire was now blazing merrily and Kermit picked up his guitar. He strummed a few bars then began to sing:

It's a song that every heart can sing,
It's a voice we all can hear.
It's the song of love, it's the voice of hope,
It's a new world drawing near.
Feel the earth so wise, so wonderful,
As she wakes to make things new.
See the same blue sky for me, for you,
See the same dream coming true.

For an hour. For a day.
We will share the time we can.
All the world, fresh and new,
We will hold within our hands.

When I look through your eyes,
I can see a different view:
All your joys, all your dreams,
That you want the same things, too.

Hope for peace in the world,
Must begin with you and me.
It will spread; it will grow,
Until every heart is free.

The melody tapered off and Piggy sighed. "Oh Kermie, that was nice."

He smiled at her and sang a few more traditional songs, Home on the Range, Grandma's Featherbed and then, as the night fell, he ended his sing along by singing this one song:

May all your dreams bloom like daisies in the sun
May you always have stars in your eyes
May you not stop running not until your race is run
And may you always have blue skies

A dream is something you can make to keep within your heart
To build on when you're sad, or when you're world's been torn apart
A dream is something all your own that no one else can steal
A dream is something you can make come real

May all your dreams bloom likes daisies in the sun
May you always have stars in your eyes
May you not stop running not until your race is run
And may you always have blue skies

You can share a laugh with any stranger you may meet
You can share your money...with a beggar on the street
But you can only share a dream when love has set it free
Please won't you share yours with me.

He placed the guitar down now, next to his sleeping bag as the last strains of the melody lingered on.

Chips was now asleep in front of the campfire, happily snoring away. Piggy got out a bag of marshmallows. "Care to toast a few with me, Kermie?"

He picked up two sticks. "Sure."

She placed the marshmallows on them and he put his arm around her as they reached the sticks towards the fire. He could smell her perfume as they roasted the sticky chunks of gooey sugar in the flames. "I'm glad we came here, Piggy."

"Me too, Kermie," she said as she pulled one of her marshmallows off and popped it in her mouth.

He ate one of his. "These would be better with chocolate and graham crackers."

"Oh really?" she smirked at him and then pulled out both of the ingredients from the cooler. "You think Moi doesn't know about smores?"

After the nighttime snack they both snuggled up in their sleeping bags. Chips had crawled between them and was again sleeping. "Piggy, lets do this again sometime soon. I can't get enough of nights like this with you."

She reached over and took his hand as she snuggled against him. "Me either, Kermie. I love you."

The stars twinkled overhead as they fell asleep, under the black velvet of the night.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

{Have you ever heard the saying that tough times test a relationship?  Well, this one seems to have gone through plenty already, right?  Uh-uh.  Not even close.  Yes, it seems that Piggy has gotten over her possessive streak, and Kermit has allowed himself to love, but what happens when you put that love to the final test, when you take away the life work of one frog?  Let's find out.}

(Four weeks later)

Kermit was flying high, both emotionally and physically.  His relationship with Piggy was on a steady keel for once in his life.  He was also throwing himself into the show with renewed energy.  The ratings soared, and they found themselves with way too many guest stars trying to get on the show.  It became a launching pad for new talent too. 

Kermit was proud, and happy.  He had it all, as one would say.  Which was why he was surprised to hear some arguing this day.

He had been in the middle of filming a segment of the show, and trying out a new song, when he heard voices coming from the hallway that led into the small area where he usually interviewed the guests for the show. 

Scooter had been the first to hear the shouting, and had turned the camera away from Kermit. 

Noticing the lack of himself on the video screen, Kermit stopped in mid song, which got the notice of Rowlf who had been playing the piano to accompany him.  "Scooter!"

Snapped back to attention, he refocused the camera.  "Oh, sorry Boss."

Now that the music had stopped, the tone of the argument was carried through the empty theater.  Piggy was shouting something, and it was replied to by Gonzo, though the actual words could not be heard.

Kermit shook his head.  Whatever it was, it didn't sound very good.  "Excuse me for a moment, guys."

Rowlf got up from the piano.  "Mind if I join you, just in case?" he asked, knowing Piggy's anger could sometimes result in Kermit being tossed across the room.  Not that she had done that lately, but you never knew.

"Come on."  Kermit said as he left the stage and walked down the hallway.  The argument was still going on strong, and as he got closer, he could hear the other voices in the room with Piggy and Gonzo.

Fozzie, was shouting something, which was rebuked by Rizzo, and accompanied by Bunsen and Beaker meeping wildly.  The argument became clearer as he stepped up to the door.

Fozzie was now slapping the hardwood table in the room hard.  "Well, I'm certainly not going to be the one to tell him.  It would simply break his heart."

"You have to, Fozzie," Gonzo barked.  "It's the type of news that should come from his best friend."

Piggy chimed up, "I would tell him, but I don't need him mad at Moi for this."

Standing outside the door, Kermit glanced at Rowlf who just shrugged.  "I have no idea." Rowlf said quietly.

Kermit pushed the door open and when it creaked, all the muppets in the room jumped about a foot into the air.  All conversation in the room stopped, and the air was filled with absolute silence when just moments before there had been fighting.

Kermit was sure he could hear his heart beating, it was so quiet.  Mouths that had been opened to argue, now snapped shut with small clicks.  He looked around the table and the people sitting or standing around it.  Fozzie held a few sheets of paper in one hand and an open envelope was face down on the table in front of him.  "Would someone like to explain what is going on here?  Why is it that I heard you all the way across the theater?"

Fozzie tried to discretely hide the papers.  "Um, uh" he fumbled around for something to say while everyone looked to him. 

Kermit tapped his foot.  "Well?"

Piggy stood and tried to get Kermit to take her newly vacated seat.  "Maybe you should sit down, sweetheart."

He glared up at her.  "I don't want to sit down, I want someone to tell me what is going on."  He pulled his arm from her grasp and looked away as a flash of hurt passed over her face.  He would deal with her later.

He nodded to the papers that Fozzie was now trying to stuff back into the envelope.  In doing so, he caught a glimpse of the Henson Company logo on one corner.  "What are those?"  Anything from the company that was providing their main support always concerned Kermit.  Henson had gotten them their first break in the movie and television industry.  Henson still supported them now.  Without their backing, Kermit wasn't sure where the muppets would be today.

"These?"  Fozzie looked at the rumpled mess he was making.  "Uh, these are nothing important."

"Just tell him."  Dr. Bunsen Honeydew spoke up while holding one hand up to stall Beaker's protests.  "He's going to find out anyway."

Rizzo sighed.  "Want me to tell him?  Cause I will.  I'm not afraid to tell him that we have been put on the auction lot."

"Rizzo!"  Gonzo gasped. 

"Auction lot?"  Kermit frowned.  "Give me those papers, Fozzie."

Fozzie took them back out of the envelope and tried to smooth them out before handing them to Kermit. 

Everyone in the room waited while Kermit skimmed over the brief announcement that had been sent to the theater.  When he was done he glanced over the table.  "It says that Henson is entering talks with Disney for the sale of the property rights to the Muppets."  He swallowed heavily.  "The negotiations close next February, and the final sale takes place within 60 days."

"I was telling them that we could fight this, Kermie."  Piggy said carefully.  "We don't have to let them push us around."

"Do you really think we could win against them?"  Gonzo interjected.  "Face it, Piggy, we are done for."

The uproar then started as everyone tried to speak at once to say their opinion on the matter.  It took a few minutes before Kermit was able to yell over the roar.  "HEY!  HEY EVERYONE!  QUIET DOWN!"

The room slowly quieted down.  "Thank you.  Now let's not worry about this right now.  I'll go speak with Brian tomorrow, and I'll find out what is really going on."  Kermit stated plainly.  "Once I get the hard facts on what is going on, then we can all have a civilized discussion on the matter."

"I'm with you, Kermit."  Rowlf said as he motioned for everyone to leave the room.  "We will all be on your side."

This statement was echoed as the muppets filed out of the room until only Piggy, Fozzie, Rowlf, and Kermit were left.

Kermit sighed.  "I hope this isn't true."

"But what if it is?"  Fozzie asked.  "What will it mean for us?"

"It means we are in big trouble."  Piggy said while crossing her arms across her chest.  "Disney is known for backing that ridiculous mouse and that strange duck.  We can't possibly continue to flourish under that management."

"We don't know that, Piggy."  Rowlf said as he paced the floor.  "They have helped us before, and it wasn't so bad."

Kermit stared at the papers he still held.  Could Henson really do this to them?  What impact would it have on their show?  "I hate to say it guys, but I'm really worried."

They all knew that if Kermit got worried, it was never over nothing.  No one had anything more to say, for it was all resting in the hands of their unofficial leader.  Kermit now felt the heavy weight of responsibility land on his shoulders. 

What was he going to do now?

~To be continued

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