Veterinarian’s Hospital was going to the dogs. Despite their best efforts to pull themselves back from the brink of hilarity, it was no use. Rowlf gave up any pretense of composure and howled with laughter, leaning back on the examining table prop so hard that Gonzo began to slide off the other side. Janice launched herself onto the table, grabbing for Gonzo’s collar, but she overshot. Her hand closed around his nose instead and she landed with a solid thump on top of him. Gonzo looked up at her appreciatively. “So,” he said, “you come here often?” Both he and Janice dissolved in helpless laughter while Rowlf tried to wrest them both upright. “Hey,” Floyd Pepper called from the sidelines. “What do you think you’re doing?” “Ruining my promo,” Kermit muttered. “Piggy, can’t you help them?” Piggy had already begun to wade into the fray to extricate Janice, but slipped on the four-inch heels she was wearing and went down, dragging Rowlf off his feet, who pulled Janice, Gonzo and the prop table down on top of them with a tremendous crash. There was a moment of silence after the percussive noise, then the heap of bodies on the floor began to shake and howl anew with laughter. Scooter rushed onto the soundstage and began trying to restore order. He pulled Gonzo, nose first, to his feet and was reaching for Janice when Floyd interposed himself between them, glaring at Gonzo and Scooter alike. Scooter back away quickly, colliding with Rowlf, but they managed to stay on their feet. Gonzo, Scooter and Rowlf turned to haul Miss Piggy back up on her heels. Floyd lifted Janice to her feet. “You okay, Babe?” “Ooh, like thanks, Honeybunch,” Janice said, still giggling. “We were like, so out of control there.” “What is the matter with you people,” Kermit exploded, waving his arms about his head as was his wont when he was pushed too far. “I am trying to make a promo, which has got to be edited and delivered by tomorrow!” Everyone fell silent and froze in place, but Rowlf and Piggy found they could not look at each other without giggling. Standing between them, Gonzo was trying to get his nose back into shape and was making short honking sounds, which caused Floyd to lose his bad temper and start to chuckle with Janice. Kermit hopped out of his chair, fuming, and paced up and down in front of them. “We are on a deadline!” he said hotly. “We do not have time for this kind of mayhem.” “You called?” Dr. Teeth said, pulled from his reverie in the sound booth. “False alarm. Wrong kind of mayhem,” Floyd explained to his band mate, and Dr. Teeth went back to his board. “We are not a vaudeville act anymore,” Kermit was saying. “I expect a little order around here.” “Lunchtime already?” Rowlf said under his breath. “I’ll have a tuna on wry,” Gonzo muttered dryly. Piggy began to giggle. Kermit turned on them. “You are not funny,” he said irritably. This only served to make them more amused. Piggy had her eyes glued to the floor and was biting her lower lip to keep from laughing out loud. Rowlf was pretending to scratch behind one of his long ears, his mouth clamped together. Kermit stopped in front of them, unwittingly adding fuel to the fire. Piggy was fairly bursting with suppressed laughter, clinging to her composure by a thread. Kermit glared at her for an instant, then shook his head. “Everybody go to lunch!” he said at last. There was a stunned silence for a moment. “It’s ten-thirty,” Gonzo interposed, but Kermit rounded on him. “Lunch!” Kermit bellowed, and everyone began to scatter. “Everybody out before I lose my mind!” “May be too late for that,” Floyd muttered, steering Janice toward the commissary. Scooter was hovering a few yards away, but turned and scuttled away quickly when Kermit looked in his direction. “Well, well,” Piggy said sweetly, taking off her surgical gown and hanging it neatly over her arm. “Look who got up on the wrong side of his lily pad today.” “Yeah, well, whose fault is that?” Kermit shot back, still huffing in frustration. “Moi was home,” Piggy said airily. “It is not Moi’s fault that you were here all night.” She swung her hair out of her face, making Kermit look up, and his eyes widened slightly at her get up. She was wearing a nurse’s uniform, but it looked more like something you’d buy at a lingerie shop. The skirt was short, the top barely covered her navel, and although the very high heels certainly added immeasurably to the overall look, the look was more “fantasy nurse” than surgical nurse. “How like her,” he thought, “to be wearing something like that under the shapeless hospital scrubs.” He shook it off irritably. “I was working--” he snapped. “Every night this week!” “Somebody’s got to do it!” “Better vous than me,” Piggy said lightly. “—trying to clean up the stuff we shot yesterday.” Piggy stopped for a moment, her ears perked suddenly. “What about the stuff we shot yesterday?” Kermit made a rude sound of derision. “Not exactly inspired, was it?” “Well it’s hard to do much when you don’t have a lot to work with,” she shot back. “Maybe if we got a little less hysteria and a little more direction from the director once in a while….” She made to brush past him, but Kermit pulled himself up to his full height in front of her. “Miss Piggy,” he said frostily. “Might I have a word with you--in my office?” Piggy shot him a nasty look, then her mouth set in a pouty line and she stalked majestically toward his office door. Kermit swung around to glare at the gawkers, but they averted their eyes quickly and moved off as Kermit followed her. “I hope he’s not too rough on her,” Rowlf said worriedly. Gonzo shook his head. “I hope she doesn’t kill him.” Piggy was sitting on his couch, arms crossed tightly across her chest and one plump leg jiggling saucily. Kermit ignored her and went around behind the desk. “Is it too much to ask for a little support here?” Kermit burst out. “I’m working my butt off here and I’m not getting much cooperation.” Piggy opened her mouth to speak, then shut it with an effort. She took a few deep breaths, then spoke quietly. “Vous are not the only one working hard here. All of us are dancing double-time to meet these new commitments.” Kermit gave an impolite snort. “Then what was that out there?” “We are tired,” Piggy said with more patience than she felt. “The schedule has been intense. Sometimes you just need a break to collect yourself. Rowlf and Janice and Moi will pull it all together after we’ve had a chance to blow off some steam. We are, after all, professionals.” Kermit gave a “humph” and plopped back into his chair. “You’d never know it,” he muttered. Piggy stopped jiggling and stood up. “What did you say?” she growled menacingly. Kermit knew he was on thin ice, but could not bring himself to back down. “I’m just saying I didn’t see a lot of professional behavior today,” he said defiantly. “Try modeling, sweetie,” Piggy said with some spirit. “No, I think modeling is more your line, honey,” Kermit shot back in kind. “In fact, I think it’s more your line than acting.” “Moi is a supermodel and an actress, and you’d better respect that if you know what’s good for you!” “Yeah, well, I’m the boss, and I sure wasn’t getting the respect I deserve out there from you.” Surprise made Piggy’s mouth drop open, then her big blue eyes narrowed. “You are so not the boss of me.” Kermit met her eyes unflinchingly. “Oh, I most certainly am,” he said hotly. “I’m the director, and that means when we’re on the set, I’m the boss.” “Good thing we’re not on the set now!” “No, we’re in my office—where I am still the boss.” “You’re about to be a coaster,” Piggy said tautly. She took a step towards him, breathing hard, then mastered herself and turned abruptly toward the door. “I am so out of here.” One gloved hand reached for the doorknob, but Kermit crossed the room and put a hand on the door. “When I say so. I wasn’t finished,” he said, and something about the certainty in his voice infuriated her. “You’re about to be,” Piggy began, but Kermit caught her arm before she could swing. As soon as his hand closed over Piggy’s arm, the atmosphere in the room changed. Reflexively, without even thinking about it, Kermit pulled her in close for a resounding kiss, but years of long association and painful experience had given him well-honed survival instincts. He released her and danced out of the way before she could retaliate. It was difficult to say exactly what the look on Piggy’s face would have launched, but it would have been considerably more than a thousand ships. She shook her head to clear it and turned on him again. “Look, you--you frog you,” she sputtered. Her hands were raised for battle but her posture was defensive now. Her hair was tousled and her lips were flushed from his kiss. Once again—this time with purpose--Kermit darted in, pressed a soul-stirring smooch on her open mouth, and retreated out of reach before she could respond. Head spinning, Piggy backed up warily. “I am going back to my dressing room,” she said with as much dignity as she could muster, forgetting in her flustered state to use her faux French accent. “I need to run some lines.” Her voice was shaky now, and she knew that her excuse was feeble. Kermit would know she already had her lines down cold. Arms crossed casually across his chest, smiling wryly, Kermit looked at her with maddening self-possession. “You can run,” Kermit taunted softly, “but you can’t hide.” “Alright, buster,” Piggy cried, beginning to be really angry. “If it’s a fight you want, get over here and fight like a man.” She turned on him, panting, and raised her arms again. “I’d rather fight like a frog,” Kermit said, coming in close enough to warrant a well-aimed karate chop. He dodged it with difficulty, grabbed her hand, pulled her into his arms and dipped her almost to the floor while he kissed her with intent. Piggy huffed and wriggled and mounted as good a defense as she was able—managing only to bump them into a floor lamp, which crashed noisily to the floor--but she had no traction in the spanking new heels, and was helpless to right herself. Frogs are pretty good kissers (Where do you think all those fairly tales originated?) and Miss Piggy was no slouch in the kissing department herself. Slowly, almost grudgingly at first, her arms twined around him, her hastily removed gloves falling to the floor. Piggy answered his kisses with energy and the same single-minded determination she brought to everything she did, working out her passion and frustration at the same time. Kermit met her enthusiasm with his own, stopping only when she nipped him playfully on the neck, nibbled sweetly on his shoulder. “Piggy,” he gasped, “that’s not fair.” He tried to secure the upper hand again, but succeeded only in crashing them into an end table and a trash can. Outside Kermit’s office door, sounds of a struggle, Piggy’s karate chop and the crash of the falling lamp had made everyone stop for a moment. More sounds of falling furniture shook everyone out of their reverie. “Ten bucks says the Pig wins,” Floyd said with a laugh. “Ten bucks on Kermit,” Scooter said loyally. Money changed hands and the speculation was fierce for a few moments before everyone turned again to their own business, ears pricked for more clues as to what was transpiring behind Kermit’s office door. “Don’t talk to me about fair,” Piggy panted, pinning her frog down and covering him with kisses. “You re the most unreasonable (kiss), impossible (kiss), pig-headed (kiss)— “Me (kiss)--Pig-headed?” Kermit fumed, wrestling Piggy into a potentially more manageable position. “All I’ve got to say (kiss) is that it takes one to know one (long kiss)—“ “Oh yeah? (kiss)” “Yeah! (nibble)” Piggy stifled a shriek as Kermit nipped her shoulder. Suddenly Kermit shifted, gaining a more intimate purchase on her voluptuous form and causing her to go rigid in his arms. “Ooh,” she mewed helplessly, clinging to him. “Ooh, Kermie.” Kermit made a small “hmm” of satisfaction as Piggy—finally—melted in his embrace. His arms molded her closer still. “So who’s the boss of you now, Piggy?” Kermit whispered into one velvety ear. “Vous, Kermie,” Piggy said blissfully, surrendering at last. “Vous, mon capitan, vous.” “It’s good to be the boss,” Kermit said softly. They were standing just inside Kermit’s office door, arms draped familiarly around each other. Before Piggy could work up a new head of steam, Kermit chuckled and pulled back to smile at her. It was a sweet smile, full of warmth and apology, and Piggy sighed and allowed him keep breathing. “Don’t push it,” she warned, but her eyes were warm. Piggy extricated herself then, regarding him with a mixture of bemusement and exasperation while she pulled on her gloves and brushed the hair back from her face. “Um, Piggy?” “Yes, mon capitan?” He reached for her hand, curving his finger around hers. “Think you could go out there now and help me get this promo done?” Kermit asked hopefully. “I’d really like to sleep at home tonight.” For a moment, Piggy expression softened, then she arched her back and tossed her silky hair out of her face. “Of course,” she said airily. “Moi can do anything. Moi is a professional.” When the green door opened at last, there were plenty of surreptitious eyes on the two figures that emerged. “Is Kermit bleeding?” Fozzie asked, his battered hat over his face. “I can’t look—I hate the sight of blood.” “Well, they’re both standing,” Scooter said sotto voce, “but Piggy looks kind of pouty.” “She always looks that way,” Floyd said and laughed his rasping laugh, but not loud enough for Piggy to hear. “Well, Miss Piggy,” Kermit said formally, holding the door open politely. “I hope you found our meeting…useful.” Piggy drew herself up and inclined her head. Her voice was cool but her eyes flashed a challenge that only he could see. “Moderately,” she said silkily. “I’ll let you know if I need anything else.” “Anytime,” Kermit said matter-of-factly. “Always happy to be of service.” “Just you wait,” Piggy growled without moving her lips, then swept past him with theatrical aplomb. “Everything okay, boss?” Scooter said anxiously, giving Kermit a quick once-over to check that no limbs were missing or in need of splints. “Oh sure, Scooter,” Kermit said casually. “Good. We were…we were a little worried because, you know….” “No reason to worry, Scooter. I hate to call Piggy on the carpet, but sometimes it just needs to be done.” Scooter looked at him with something akin to awe. “How’d she take it, boss?” Kermit was silent for a moment. He seemed to be having trouble with his voice. “Better than expected,” he said at last. “I think things will go smoother this afternoon.” “Good,” Scooter said, finally brave enough to pull out the clipboard. “Cause this afternoon we’ve got a full schedule….” “Hope we didn’t, like, get you in trouble with your man,” Janice said to Piggy while they waited for the tech crew to reset the scene for “Veterinarian’s Hospital.” Piggy smiled in a self-satisfied way and tossed her hair back from her face. “I’m never in trouble with my frog,” she said brazenly, “but sometimes when he is the director Kermit likes to make little changes to Moi’s, um…performance. It makes him feel like he’s in charge.” “Oh, fer sure,” Janice said sagely. “Like, I totally know what you mean.” Rowlf came up then and sidled up to Piggy. “Sorry about that, Miss Piggy. Didn’t mean to get you in an awkward position with the boss.” “No problem,” Piggy said sweetly, batting her eyelashes demurely. “I just showed him how unreasonable he was being and we cleared the whole thing up.” “Well, good,” Rowlf said heartily. “I was hoping—“ But it was time for their call, which—naturally—went perfectly the first time through. Much later that evening, snuggled up together on the big couch in the den, Kermit and Piggy giggled over a blow-by-blow of their confrontation. “I didn’t realize how uptight I was,” Kermit said ruefully. “Lot of late nights, lately.” “You’re taking on too much work,” Piggy said gently. “For all of us, but especially for vous.” “Yeah,” Kermit said with a sigh. “Once we get through all these promos I’m going to send everyone on a week’s paid vacation.” He leaned down and planted a kiss on the top of Piggy’s head. “Think you can put up with me for another week?” She was silent so long Kermit got a little worried, but at last she raised her face to his, and Kermit saw the gleam in her big, blue eyes. “Yes, but—“ She hesitated. “But…?” Kermit asked uncertainly. “The next time you need a little ‘attitude adjustment’ in the middle of the day, just tell me instead of picking a fight, okay?” “But I like the way you fight,” Kermit murmured, baiting her just a little. Piggy surged to life, pinning him back against the cushions effortlessly. Laughing, Kermit held his hands up in surrender. “Piggy, Piggy—I’m just teasing. I surrender, already.” Piggy gave him a long speculative look and Kermit felt his heart begin to thump a little faster. “Just as long as you remember who’s boss.” “Sure,” Kermit said, “I remember.” Piggy subsided, nestling in close to him, and Kermit wrapped his arms around her affectionately. “And Piggy, just cause I’m the boss doesn’t mean you have to call me sir—not when we’re at home, anyway.” “What__?!” Sounds of outrage, giggling, then a gasp of surprise and pleasure. “Piggy….” Kermit entreated breathlessly, but the war had begun again in earnest.