|Of Silver and Gold
Author: ChestnutBrumby PM
AU Ice Age fic set after IC3. Diego/Shira centric. Diego rescues Sasha, a drowning tiger cub, from a raging river, but he gains a helping paw to do so. How will Shira, the sabre in search of her destiny, react to Diego's odd lifestyle? And will she ever learn to trust him? Please review to let me know what you think, positive or negative!Rated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Humor - Diego & Shira - Chapters: 10 - Words: 15,810 - Reviews: 84 - Favs: 60 - Follows: 55 - Updated: 07-28-12 - Published: 07-01-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8274228
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Shira felt the soaked, terrified cub wiggling in her grip and hastily pulled her up on the log beside her, steadying the little tiger against her flank so she wouldn't fall. Her blue eyes never left Diego though as the relentless current sent him crashing heavily into the end of the log, then swept him around and into the full force of the river. Shira had never seen any tiger fight as hard as he did - the way he had struggled to reach the log, then made the split second but obviously selfless call to save the cub instead of risking them both. Was this half-drowned little creature his daughter? She felt a sharp pain in her stomach at the thought of the cub growing up without her father. After all, though her father was alive, Shira had certainly never had him for support, so she could relate. Her frustration boiled over that she was unable to reach the sabre in the water, and she threw back her head and roared.
Diego had almost stopped fighting. The current was so strong; he had expended so much effort into getting the cub to safety he had none left for himself. But then he heard a roar - not of the water around him but of his own kind. The white tiger, he realized, and catching a glimpse of her through the foaming water, he made one final effort.
Shira stiffened in shock, her jaw dropping open. She had been sure she was about to witness the other tiger's death - but now, to her amazement, he was swimming. Against the tremendous force of the current, no less! Inch by inch he clawed his way through the water, coming closer and closer to the log. Where on earth had he learned to swim like that? And how had he found the strength to keep fighting? Shira let her surprise rule her for a few short seconds, then she burst into action. She grabbed the cub, gently but firmly, by her scruff and bounded down to the end of the log, where it was only a short hop to the safety of the bank. "Stay here!" Shira ordered, turning back for the far end of the log and anchoring herself with her back claws in the wood. The cub stretched up on her tip-paws, her eyes huge as she tried to spot her rescuer. Shira, forepaws close to the water, prepared to make a grab for the other tiger. He was close now; she could see his eyes (green, she noticed, an unusual colour for sabres where she was from) in which burned a fire the likes of which she'd never seen before. His paws slashed at the water fiercely, kicking up spray, but for once Shira didn't object to getting wet.
"Arrrr-ah!" Diego made a final effort and caught the trunk with his paws, and a moment later he felt the graze of the white tiger's teeth over his neck. She grabbed him firmly by the scruff of his neck, the way she had just picked up the cub. Then she pulled with all her might, playing tug of war with the river. Diego panted and kicked weakly, but it became obvious how much he was hurt when he was halfway out. His entire shoulder was crimson with blood. Still, he thrashed for a hold with all four paws, helping propell the pair of them to safety. Ignoring instructions, the cub had run back to the far end of the log and buried her teeth in Shira's short tail, "helping" pull them up. With a flurry of paws and a scattering of river-water, they all tumbled onto the bank.
Shira was the first to recover, about a minute later. Breathing heavily, she rose to all fours and looked down at the pair she had helped rescue. The cub looked cold and scared but also just the littlest bit triumphant. Diego was still panting heavily, obviously spent after his exertions - and he was bleeding everywhere. Both of them had started shivering and Shira cursed under her breath - lying in the snow and wind like this was only going to chill them further.
"Can you walk?" She asked the male sabre, who growled and lurched to his paws. "Y-yeah." He was trying to stop his teeth chattering, though. Shira took a moment to figure out how to pick up the cub, not an easy task with three-inch long sabre teeth to consider. Somehow it had seemed easier during the lightning fast rescue when she didn't have to think about it.
Shira spotted a sheltered hollow by a pile of boulders with a screen of shrubs further up the bank, which looked like the nearest place to get out of the wind. "Can you make it up there?" She asked around a mouthful of cub neckfur. Like all young cubs when carried, the little tiger allowed herself to go limp in Shira's grasp so she'd be easier to carry. Diego looked up wearily as if he were debating slumping back down in the snow, then nodded slowly. He stumbled when he put weight on his injured side and silently Shira slipped around him and propped him up with her shoulder. He glanced sideways at her, surprised by her strength, then dipped his head to thank her. The warmth of her side burned all the way through his cold fur.
They made it to the hollow and Diego immediately slid down into a lying position, groaning softly. At least there wasn't quite so much blood coming from his shoulder wound now. He had never felt so battered in all his life, not even after his fight with Soto. Shira placed the cub between her forepaws and sniffed her carefully. She didn't seem to be hurt, just cold. Shira began to briskly lick the cub's fur backwards, which she had seen a few tigresses do with their newborn cubs to help them breath. Within a few minutes the cub began to relax.
Diego managed to lift his head to watch them. "Are you her mother?" He asked, and was secretly impressed at the attitude she showed when she flashed him a whithering look.
"Of course not! Do we look anything alike?" She snapped. Diego might have laughed if he wasn't so tired. He'd never in his life seen a tiger who was so unique! She had such striking silver markings around her face - and those eyes! He'd never seen a tiger with blue eyes before.
The cub seemed to rouse herself a little at the sound of the adult's voices. "Mama? Da?" She asked in a small voice. Shira's expression softened just slightly. "Sorry, little one. I don't know where they are. We'll look for them soon, okay?"
The little tiger nodded solemnly, but Diego was still thinking about 'we'll look for them' part. Then the cub tilted her head. "Sam?" she asked hopefully, looking between Shira and Diego. Diego shook his head a little. "Sorry kiddo. Don't know any Sams. But my name's Diego."
The cub whimpered. "Me Sasha." She whispered, tucking her head against Shira's chest. The white tiger felt a completely unexpected surge of affection for the little runt at the gesture. She curled her forepaws around the youngster protectively. "I'm Shira." She said, although Diego couldn't figure out if she was talking to him, or to Sasha. Somehow it didn't really matter. The name replayed in his mind like an echo.
A/N Thanks to all my reviewers so far :) The more you comment - even if just to tell me you liked reading it or something equally quick - the faster I will be encouraged to update!
For those of you who are interested; I do proofread - but as I am dyslexic, sometimes I simply cannot make out minor spelling errors, so please don't think me lazy. I don't mind having my errors pointed out [politely] though, it means I can go back and fix them at a later date.
Thanks also to my guest who let me know Shira has ben added as a character in the menu, you're a champion!