Harmony sighed as she looked at the Caring Mission Roster. She and Brave Heart were paired off for another Mission together. The last time they had been Paired together had been for a Mission to Scotland. It was The Holiday Season. The Isle of Skye was beautiful. The Scones and Scotch Whiskey hae gout. Yes they tasted good until Brave Heart had chewed her out for having a Sip of Hard Liquor. Care Bears were only supposed to drink the much milder Bumble Berry Wine.
Then Brave Heart had whined as Harmony tried to celebrate The New Year with a Lad she met in Portree. Only Brave Heart could mess up Hogmanay in Scotland. Now back in Care a Lot one Year later she frowned as she thought of the Care Cousin Lion she had been raised with. To her Brave Heart was not a Step Brother but merely a Male Lion with whom she had to put up with. They may both be members of the same Family, but they were different Species.
The gap between them had only grown wider when Brave Heart pushed Tender Heart aside as Leader of the Care Bears and Care Cousins. Why should Bears like her take orders from a Lion like him? Then there came the Day they had quite a Spat. It happened when Harmony had hollered at Grumpy simply because he kept whistling. Brave Heart intervened and told her to stop being a Bitch Bear. It would not be the last time she would be called that. She would also hear it from others besides Brave Heart.
Noble Heart Horse and True Heart Bear had been Friends who ended up raising a Family. Most of the Family's Members were not related by Blood. Some, such as Share Bear and Surprise Bear, were. They got along fine as Cubs and still did so as Adults. Some were not Related to any Member of the Family by Blood or Species. Harmony was a Bear, but as a Cub she had been captured by Dark Heart alone. None of her direct Kin had been captured.
It was the same for Brave Heart. None of his Kin had been taken Captive. When he had been rescued by True Heart and Noble Heart he like the other rescued Cubs had to learn to get along. Most of them were Bears who felt a natural kinship. They were also very young. Brave Heart was a bit older. Worse for him he was of a different Species. As a Cub he sometimes felt as if the Care Bears and Care Cousins he was raised with would never be able to understand what it was like to be a lone Lion Cub. Being Feline Proud Heart Cat came the closest to understanding his Feelings. However they were still different Species. As a Male Lion it was in Brave Heart's Genes to rule and conquer. Male Lions are born to fight their way to the top. Some are meant to be Alpha Males. Brave Heart was born with those traits. To the Care Bears and Care Cousins he was raised with those traits made him seem pushy and arrogant.
Harmony should have fit in better among her Adoptive Siblings. She was a Bear as were most of them. However some Female Bears have it in their Genes to be Alpha Females. Harmony was one of those Female Bears. Her Stepsisters such as Share would irritate Harmony just by being too timid. If one such as Cheer Bear did get assertive Harmony would pick a fight. More than once during such arguments Harmony had been called a Bitch Bear.
She argued most with Brave Heart. Their Temperaments and difference in Species and Sex made them Rivals. The others in the Family learned to put up with the infighting. They would often let Harmony and Brave Heart get things their way. It was best to let them argue with one another while the others played some where else. What the others didn't know is that Harmony had more than once overheard them calling her a Bitch Bear. They thought she had a Cold Heart. Her Heart was not Cold, it was Broken. She could not bring herself to tell the others how she felt. She kept her feelings pent up inside. Someday they were bound to burst out.
Now she was once again expected to take orders from Brave Heart at close Quarters. They had not exchanged Gifts this Year during The Giving Festival. "Stupid rotating Duty Roster" Harmony said to herself as read the Caring Mission Duty Roster. It was designed so every Bear and Cousin got to do Missions with different Partners for each assignment. She frowned as she put her Caring Pack in a Cloud Car. As Brave Heart put his Pack in he looked as unhappy as she. Share saw Grumpy actually smile as he watched them pack the Cloud Car. She smiled too. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking" said Share.
"Sure am" said Grumpy. "I hope misery does love Company. Those two are always hard to get along with. They argue with each other. The both of them often irritate me and I know they do the same to you. I hope they drive each other crazy!" Share was giggling as they watched the Cloud Car lift off. "So where are they off to" asked Share. Grumpy frowned as he tried to remember. "In The Fourth Dimension, some place on Earth called New Brunswick, in the Country called Canada." "Oh" said Share. "Surprise Bear has been there with her Human Friend from Maine. It will be cold there this time of year. I hope Harmony and Brave Heart packed some Cold Weather Gear."
Indeed Harmony and Brave Heart had packed some cold Weather Gear. Brave Heart packed more than Harmony. She was a Bear whose Fur was made to ward off the Cold. Being a Lion Brave Heart hated the cold. He could never understand how Mountain Lions could like such cool weather. He had also packed some Aspirin in case Harmony's complaining gave him a Headache. As the Cloud Car gained altitude Brave Heart checked the Compass. They were right on course. There was just a few slight bumps as the Cloud Car hit some turbulence. The Cloud Car swayed as Brave Heart tried to gain some altitude. Brave Heart looked over towards Harmony. She was holding a small Penlight and looking at a list.
"Did you pack Booties for your Foot Paws" asked Harmony. "Yeah and everything else we need." Brave Heart kept expecting her to complain about his Flying Skills with the Cloud Car. However she was unusually quiet for her. Her silence worried him. Brave Heart decided it was best not to question her and to get the Mission over with.
They arrived without incident at the Ski Lodge whose Owner was the Subject of their Mission. By the time they were ready to leave his Lodge they had help lift him from the depression he suffered after losing his Wife of thirty years. As they made ready to depart Mr. Dingwall informed them a Storm was fast approaching. It would soon be unsafe to travel by any Means. The Lodge was full of Guests so Rooms were scarce. However he had a small Guest Cabin they could use until it was safe to travel. The weary Bear and Lion gratefully accepted the offer.
After being shown the Cabin the stranded Pair made preparations. Harmony scrawled out a list of Supplies they would need. "Here are some Canadian Loonies" she said as she handed Brave Heart some Canadian Coins. "See if you can get to the Market down the Road before it closes." Brave Heart shivered and headed down the Road. As Dusk settled in he could see ominous Dark Clouds moving in. He felt the Wind swing to the Northeast.
Harmony went over to the Cloud Car to send out a Radio Message Home. She didn't want the others to be worried when she and Brave Heart didn't show up as expected. When the others heard of her Message Grumpy whispered to Champ. "Knowing those two it will probably be as Cold inside their Cabin as it is outside." Champ nodded and laughed.
Harmony was humming as she tidied up the small Cabin. It had a Bunk Bed and a small Wood Stove, a Table and two Chairs. There were several Candle Lanterns and a Kerosene Lamp for Light. There was also an Ice Box for Food Storage. A shelf had several Pots, Pans, Paper Plates, Plastic Forks, Knives, and Spoons. "Hey, let me in" she heard from outside. She let Brave Heart in. He was carrying several Bags and a Jug of Bottled Water.
"I got to the Store just in time. They closed early due to the Storm Warning. Don't worry, I got the Food and Matches you said to get." Brave Heart shook Snow off his Booties and Jacket onto the only Rug. "When did it start Snowing?" Harmony pulled aside the Curtain from the lone Window. It was already dark outside. Her keen Bear Ears picked up the sound of a Gusty Wind.
Brave Heart shivered. "It started Snowing about ten minutes ago. I sure am glad not to be driving a Cloud Car on a Night like this." They both felt the Cabin shake from a severe Wind gust. "It sounds like a Night unfit for Humans, Bears, and Lions" said Harmony. Brave Heart sighed. He was stuck in a small Cabin with Harmony. Trapped inside with her as a Storm gathered strength out side. Well at least they had a warm safe place to weather out the Storm. "Let's get these Groceries packed away" said Harmony.
Brave Heart handed her items as she asked for them. He decided for Peace sakes to let her decide where to store them. Harmony set a Box of Matches on a small shelf near the Wood Stove. "It's a darn good thing you got these, we are going to need them." As they finished Harmony said "I am getting hungry. Stoke up the Wood Stove while I try to cook something for us." As Brave Heart put Wood in the stove he burned a Paw. "Ouch" he said. Harmony just shook her head. "He always was a clumsy Idiot" she thought to herself.
She found a Can Opener and opened a Can of Vegetable Soup. Soon a Pot of Soup was steaming on the Stove Top. She found some Plastic Bowls and placed two on the Table. Brave Heart brought two plastic spoons over. "It smells good" he said. Harmony ladled Soup into a Bowl. She set down a Cup of Tea. "This is yours, eat up." Brave Heart sat and ate his Meal. Harmony quietly ate hers. The silence seemed as ominous as the Storm outside. "Alright" said Brave Heart. "Why the Cold Shoulder this time? You have been silent since we started out on this Caring Mission. Why are you mad at me?"
He was expecting one of her usual outbursts. Instead she hung her Head. "I over heard Share and Grumpy talking about us. They talk like you are an Idiot and I am a Bitch Bear. I also heard Cheer tell Surprise and Champ that I was the most annoying Alpha Female ever. Champ laughed and said that is why Alphas are called Bitch Bears. Am I really that bitchy?"
Brave Heart was speechless as he saw a tear trickle down her Cheek. He had never thought of Harmony as having a Heart. Now he felt Heartless for having thought so. "Eat your Meal and then we will have a quiet talk" Brave Heart said. Harmony got up as soon as she was done eating. She sat on the bottom Bunk and started sniffling again. "Oh geez, don't cry" said Brave Heart. "I can't help it" she sobbed. Brave Heart put an arm around her Shoulder. He could feel her Shoulders heave as she sobbed.
"I really am what Grumpy and Share said I was, aren't I?" "You can be a bit touchy at times" said Brave Heart in a timid voice. He was still afraid she would go into one of her Tirades. The Cabin shook as a strong Wind Gust pounded the Northeast corner of the outside Walls. It gave Brave Heart a strange thought. "If I can put up with a Storm outside, then I can put up with a Tempest inside. It's now or never to settle our differences."
He took his Right Hand Paw and lifted her Chin up. He stared into her eyes. "I am sorry if you think of me as being inept and over bearing as Leader of The Care Bears and Care Cousins. It is not a fun Job but some Bear or Cousin has to do it. And yes I have often thought of you as being over Bearing and a Bitch Bear. You are an Alpha Female, they are all called that name you detest. I am an Alpha Male. You may call me what you want. I know you have often thought of me as an Idiot."
Harmony stared back with a look of Shock in her Eyes. "I have called you an Idiot before" she wailed. "I am so sorry." She put her Head on his Shoulder. As she sobbed on his Shoulder Brave Heart gently rubbed her Back. As a Snowstorm raged outside a Storm of another type faded inside. For the first time in many Years Brave Heart and Harmony felt like Siblings. The Step Brother Lion and Step Sister Bear felt like true Brother and Sister.
When Harmony had calmed down Brave Heart went to find some Tissues. After he had handed her one Harmony dabbed the Tear streaked Fur around her eyes. "Feel better now?" asked Brave Heart. "Yes" she said. "When we get back please don't tell the others you saw me cry." "It will be our little Secret" said Brave Heart with a Smile. "Every Bear cries sometime. You just needed a good Cry to get things off your Mind."
Harmony's disheveled looks brought back memories to Brave Heart. He thought back to the rough and tumble Days when they were Teen Cubs. "You and I are both always striving to get to the Top. In doing so we have lost sight of the true meaning of Family. You may want to lighten up once in a while and have fun. Adults can have fun too. Look at Share and Funshine. As old as they are they are still Cubs at Heart. Maybe we should both make a New Years Resolution to have a little more Fun in Life, and not to be afraid to show affection for each other. There are some Feelings that should not be kept bottled up inside of Oneself."
Harmony had a strange look in her eyes. Brave Heart had never been able to read her eyes. Now he waited to find out if she were sad, mad, or happy with him. Harmony put out her Left Hand Paw and patted his Cheek. Then she leaned forward. The last time she had rubbed Noses in a Kiss with him they had been Cubs. As she rubbed her Nose on his Brave Heart's Eyes went wide. His Step Sister of a Bear was showing a rare display of Affection for one of her Siblings.
As she pulled her Nose back she hiccupped. "Darn, I cried so hard I gave my self Hiccups. You aren't hic mad at me for rubbing noses with you, are you hic?" Brave Heart laughed. "I was expecting much worse. At least I now know you don't hate me." Harmony was holding her Breath to get rid of her Hiccups. She finally exhaled in a big Sigh. "I could never hate you" said Harmony. "You have always made Life a little more interesting. True Heart and Noble Heart did their best to raise us all like Brothers and Sisters. Right now the others may think we are lost out here. I would be lost without you. I am sorry for all the times I have been a pain in the Butt, Big Brother."
She had stressed the words "Big Brother". Brave Heart smiled. "I am sorry for all the times I have annoyed you, 'Little Sister'." They both laughed and hugged. Together they made a New Years Resolution. It may be a Cold Night outside the little Cabin. Inside the Cabin things suddenly seemed warmer and cozier. "My turn to embarrass you with a Kiss" said Brave Heart. Harmony giggled as his Nose touched hers. Her Step Brother was now more than a mere Lion she had to put up with. He was her Brother, and she would henceforth always love him.
As they got ready for Bed Harmony laughed Playfully. "Do you want to Flip to see who gets their choice of Bunks?" Brave Heart smiled. "I would but it might hurt when you flip me!" Harmony giggled. "You would probably land of the Floor. You get the bottom Bunk." As Brave Heart watched she unrolled his Sleeping Bag onto the Bottom Bunk. She had just put hers on the top Bunk when she said "Oh no, I have to Pee. There is no Toilet here. I'll freeze my Backside off if I do it out side."
"I have to go too" said Brave Heart. "Is there a big old Pot we can use?" Harmony found an old bent up Cooking Pot. She took a Roll of Toilet Paper out of her Caring Pack. "Turn your Head while I Pee. I don't want you to see me with my Tail Up." Brave Heart smiled as he heard the sound of her Pee landing in the Tin Pot. Soon it was she smiling as she heard him Peeing. She suddenly remembered using the Toilet as a Cub. She and Brave Heart had seen each other without feeling embarrassed. She could picture them both as she sat on her Potty and he standing as he Peed into his. Oh the joyful innocence of Youth. If only they could have stayed forever young.
Snowflakes and a cold Wind Gust greeted Brave Heart as he opened the Door and heaved the Pot's contents out into the Snow. As he went to the Bunk Bed Harmony once again had a strange look in her eyes. "You know what, this isn't so bad being stuck in here with you. In fact it has been a fun adventure." She giggled and leaned forward to rub her Nose on his. Then she deftly climbed into the Top Bunk. "Ha, ha, I kissed you" she said.
"I'll get you for that" said Brave Heart playfully. He reached up and tickled her Toes. As the wind howled outside the Cabin laughter rang out inside. Afterward as they both lay in their Bunks both felt a sense of Comfort and Peace. Later Harmony awoke to the sound of Brave Heart putting some more Wood in the Stove. She smiled as the scent of burning Maple Wood reached her Nose. She grinned and snuggled deeper into her Sleeping Bag. "What a wonderful Lion he is" she thought to herself. "And such a great Brother." She sighed contently.
Brave Heart smiled as he heard her move and sigh. He listened to the Wind strike the Cabin. He was so glad he was not alone in the Storm. He was so glad he and Harmony were getting along. His view of her had shifted one hundred eighty degrees. Never again would he call her that Name she so detested. Any Bear or Cousin who did would have to answer to him. He thought of a Christmas sign he had seen at the Store. It had read "Peace, Love and Harmony". Tonight he had all three. A smile crossed his Lips. "Yes, I have Peace, Love and Harmony twice over." Despite the sounds of the Storm he slept peacefully. So did Harmony.
Grumpy was grumbling as he and Champ shoveled Snow off the Cloud Car Landing Zone. They were both startled as Surprise shouted "Well, who look who's here!" She pointed skyward to the North. They scrambled out of the way as Brave Heart's and Harmony's Cloud Car came in for a Landing. Surprise ran and rang the Caring Bell. Care Bears and Care Cousins gathered 'round to welcome them back.
Harmony and Brave Heart threw their Gear on the Ground. There were the usual questions about how their Caring Mission went. There were no Hugs and Kisses. Every Bear and Cousin knew Harmony and Brave Heart avoided Public Displays of Love. They were all shocked as Harmony said "where are our Welcome Back Hugs?" She gave the very much surprised Grumpy and Champ a Hug. Then she said "what the Heck" and gave each a Nose Rub. As she ran off Brave Heart loved the looks on Grumpy's and Champ's Faces.
"I think you brought back the wrong Bear" said Champ. "What did you do to her?" Brave Heart laughed. "We had a Wild Night in a Snowed in Cabin. We had a chance to really talk one on one. We had a chance to remember what it was like when we were all Small in a Big World. We were reminded of what Caring and Family are all about. We made a New Years Resolution to never forget how important it is to be a part of a Family. Most of all we learned displaying Love for Family should not be a source of embarrassment."
Before Champ or Grumpy could reply Brave Heart reached out to each and tussled the fur between their ears. Then he ran off after Harmony. "I wonder what really happened in that Cabin" said Grumpy. "I guess the New Year does bring new beginnings" said Champ. "What if he is serious about the two of them displaying more Love for Family?"
Grumpy frowned as he imagined Harmony and Brave Heart taking turns Rubbing Noses with him. "Let's get inside before they do. We need to get The Mistletoe down now!" They took off running in an attempt to get indoors before Brave Heart and Harmony. Grumpy and Champ were too late. Surprise Bear got a nice Photo of them both blushing after getting ambushed under The Mistletoe. Peace, Love, and Harmony had returned to the Lives of The Care Bears and Care Cousins Family.