Lion-O's Trials

By. Fanficer21

o0o

Disclaimer: I don't always own Thundercats. But when I do, it would be a lot more epic than it already is. Just kidding! I don't own it.

o0o

Am I the only one who hoped the episode had more to it?

Well, I guess that's where fanfiction comes in handy ;P

This one-shot is separated into three parts, because it is so long.

Mostly focused on Lion-O and Tygra's relationship. Gets super fluffy at the end with a moment between brothers.

o0o

Part 1

He was angry because he felt betrayed, because he saw his brother kissing Cheetara, because he thought Cheetara liked him, because of all the mixed signals she was giving him. Namely kissing his cheek and flirting as she encouraged him to move ahead with becoming a great king. Why did Tygra have to get everything that he, Lion-O, wanted and deserved.

Okay, maybe he was being a little immature, but that didn't stop the feelings that rose from his anger. He was the king for crying out loud, he at least deserved to have a happy ending, rather than his brother taking everything.

Sometimes he thought Tygra would be better suited as king. He was older, wiser (sometimes), knew more about battle strategies, and so on. Why was he chosen by the sword instead. Sometimes he felt the only reason he kept going as king was to honor his father, aside from rebuilding a broken kingdom and defeating Mumm-Ra by collecting the stones. That was a lot to put on a young cat's shoulders, especially since he knew nothing about military stuff and whatnot.

His frustration only grew when the Book of Omens pointed up towards large cliff top. How was he supposed to lead his little band of Thundercats when he felt none of them took him seriously. Was he really cut out to be a good king? How was he supposed to lead his people to victory when he didn't have their respect. The build up of emotions coursing through his mind was almost too much as it affected his critical thinking and judgement. Without thinking, he had led his comrades right into Mumm-Ra's trap. He should have listened to their thoughts, their warnings. That's was a king does right? Listens to his people. But he felt too betrayed to listen to a word Tygra or Cheetara said. He didn't even want to hear Panthro's or the twins' input.

How was he supposed to be a good leader when it seemed the only reason his comrades followed him was because he was the king. They had that obligation to fulfill as his subjects. But that isn't what Lion-o wanted. He wanted friends, not subjects. He wanted them to follow him because they trusted his judgement. Trusted that he wouldn't send them blindly into a trap. He wanted to be a good leader, but right now he just didn't know how. His pride wouldn't allow him to learn, not yet anyway.

It was at this point he wondered if they were happy he was pushed off the cliff. Tygra would finally be king, like he always wanted. The others could follow a cat that they trusted wouldn't get them into trouble or killed.

The moment he hit the water, pain coursed through his body from the height he had fallen, not to mention the large rocks that pinned him to the river bed. Fighting to hold his breath, he tried to free himself. But he knew it was a losing battle. He was going to die there, and he would never see his brother or companions again. With that as his last thought, he gave into the darkness as the air he desperately held in escaped.

o0o

Blue eyes opened to see a large stone room. A giant Thundercat's logo caught his eye from a big square stone beside him. He wondered aloud if he were still alive, but was quite surprised when he saw Jaga. The old cat had told him he was dead. Lion-O's mind raced at the news. Losing hope of what was to become of him, he was startled when Jaga told him that he was deemed worthy for another chance at life by the Spirit Stone. He was eager to take that chance until the old cat warned him of the complexity of the situation.

Lion-O had learned that his second life must be earned. But how? He couldn't seem to even earn his companions trust. How was he going to earn another life? Understanding that he either had to chose the trials that Jaga and the Spirit Stone presented to him or death, Lion-O chose the only plausible option. He ran through the glowing door to test his weaknesses and prove he was worth saving.

o0o

1st Trial:

Lion-O found himself in the slums of Thundera, a place he often visited to learn more about technology before the city was destroyed. His heart ached at the sight of his home once again standing, even if it was only like a dream. He was suddenly brought to the attention of someone behind him.

Wilykat and Wilykit were sitting on a rooftop smiling down at him. He almost thought they were dead as well until they explained they were his first test. All he had to do was steal the key that Kat held.

Thinking it was too easy, Lion-O reached for it, but was astonished when the twins disappeared. They warned him that he needed to keep his eyes open and that everything was not as it seemed, and that only one pair of many of them that just appeared was real. What the heck was this supposed to teach him about being a better king and saving his life?

Deciding to go for the challenge, he lunged at every set of twins he saw without thinking. He was too rash in his decisions and didn't heed the kittens' warning. He soon found out that he didn't look before he leaped and ran in any direction, which only caused him to hurt himself. Though in this strange world, he didn't seem to feel any pain.

It wasn't until Kit mentioned that these weaknesses of him moving forward without looking at the situation that ended up leading him and his companions into a trap, that Lion-O realized she was exploiting his weakness. He defended himself by saying he was only following the book's direction. He couldn't help but feel embarrassed when Kat joined in saying that he can't just follow the book blindly. Instead the boy said that the king needed to follow his instincts, which only made Lion-O angrier.

Charging forward, blindly, he was unceremoniously kicked to the ground before he finally realized what the boy had told him. Repeating the word "instincts" as if the word would give him a better understanding of the situation, he sniffed the air. Realization struck when he understood that he could still move forward, instead by looking with his nose rather than his eyes.

Instead of charging forward blindly now, Lion-O went to each Kit and Kat, sniffing to see if they were real or not. Those that were not real disappeared the second after he smelt them. This was definitely a lot easier than running around and hurting himself.

Upon finding the real twins sitting on another roof top talking to themselves, he quietly reached for the key on Kat's ring at his hip. He was smiled cheekily with success when neither of the kittens noticed him. After standing up, he decided he might as well inform them that he was there and show off the key he just nabbed. He relayed the lesson he just learned from his trial that if his eyes were to be deceived, he could always trust his nose.

With a shout of joy and congratulations, the twins cheered him on as the door to the next trial began. After placing the key in the hole, he jumped in, ready to face his next challenge.

o0o

2nd Trial:

Lion-O unceremoniously fell to his doom as the door opened over an enormous patch of briars. Screaming because he was afraid of being sliced to bits, he was surprised when he only crashed into them, hard, before falling onto the ground. This time, he felt the pain.

Looking up he was immediately faced with Cheetara laying across a large thorny branch. He couldn't help but feel anger rise at the sight of her. She was one of the reasons he was in this mess. He grew more angry when she joked about him taking the hard way down, which didn't help his mood any. Growling that he didn't see an easier way, he was suddenly cut off when she told him there always was another way. An easier way. He just never looked for it, making the boy more angry. He once again defended himself, saying that the mountain pass was the only way the book pointed.

Remaining relaxed, Cheetara simply told him he was the king, and therefore it was his choice how they would get to places. Then warning him about his next trial, she told him that he needed to think carefully. He passed the last trial, how hard could this one be?

Finding out that his next trial was a race against Cheetara, the young king felt he had lost before he even began. To which Cheetara confirmed his feelings, telling him that if that was what he believed, then that was what the outcome would be. Feeling generous, she decided to give him a head start, see if he could prove himself against her. Lion-O, unfortunately, wasn't sure what he should do. Nevertheless, he accepted the challenge as he ran into the maze.

He didn't know which way to go. Everything seemed so daunting to him as he tried to find some sign of the right path. However, he was only met with a dead end as Cheetara shouted it was her turn. Realizing that he needed to do something, he kept running.

A few seconds later, he was face to face with the girl as she taunted him about wasting his head start. Telling him that he couldn't see a dead end if he was running right into it, made the young king even angrier. He was in the middle of retorting, but stopped when Cheetara kissed him on the cheek, telling him it was time to take another path. Once again seeming to send mixed signals.

Once again the king kept running, desperately trying to find an escape. Running into another dead end, he fell onto his back almost ready to give up hope. He stared at the strange bird flying above him, grumbling at its ease of mobility. Until he realized that that was what he needed. Climbing up the maze wall, he jumped onto the bird's back when it neared him. Cheetara said he had to get the center of the maze before she did. She never said he had to stay within the confines of its walls.

Looking down, Lion-O saw that Cheetara was gaining on him and bird. It was going to be a close call to who got the key first. Urging the bird to go faster, Lion-O noticed that the Cheeta was running up the tree that held the key. It was now or never to get that key. Deciding on the best course of action, the young king shouted his battle cry "HO!" as he jumped from the bird's back, arm extended to grab the key before Cheetara.

Exhilerated with success, Lion-O didn't care as he rolled down the thorny tree where he hit the ground hard before rolling again. He immediately jumped up with excitement showing the key off to Cheetara, telling her that she lost. Yet, as calm as she was, she told him she still won because she was teaching him a lesson and succeeded. She would confuse Lion-O to no end.

Jumping into next door that appeared, he was ready to face the upcoming trial.

o0o

3rd Trial:

Lion-O walked from the door and into the throne room, unexpectedly seeing Panthro standing in the middle of a ring beside a large hourglass. The panther reminisced memories of when Lion-O was young and didn't want to do his sword lessons, a hint of laughter in his voice. Most of the anger that had built up since before his death died down. Lion-O calmly responded that he didn't want to be king back then, in a way accepting that he was king now.

Panthro told him his next trial was one of strength, to which all Lion-O had to do was get the older cat out of the circle before the sand reached the bottom of the hourglass. A task that seemed more daunting than the maze.

Lion-O trying to figure the best course of action, he charged at the big cat, kicking him and trying to push him out of the circle. The only result was him getting pwned. If he wasn't dead he would have had some serious bruises in the morning.

Lion-O was in the middle of complaining that the task was impossible. He was then brought aware of Panthro telling him that if that is what the king said, then it was so. He then felt strong paws grab hold of his waist before lifting him up with ease before he was thrown back onto the hard floor. Getting up once more, he looked at the sand nearing its end. Realization struck him like a sack of potatoes. He was the king, and his subjects had to follow his orders. A look of authority on his features, he pointed towards Panthro, ordering him to leave the circle.

With a look of utter respect, Panthro placed his left arm across his chest before he bowed to his king with a smile. He walked out of the circle just as the sand ran out. It turned out that the test of strength was not that of a physical disposition, but rather in leadership. That would be his greatest strength, being a strong leader to his people. Taking the key from Panthro, Lion-O opened the next door. He looked back at his friend before entering to finish his last trial. The only other cat to face was his brother.

o0o

4th Trial:

Entering the arena where he failed against Tygra on many an occasion, Lion-O was faced with his brother once again looking down on him from a branch of the tree. All the anger that he thought was lost from the past trials returned with more vigor at the sight of Tygra. He was not happy to complete a trial with his brother, especially after being betrayed by the one he cared for most.

Lion-O's last trial was to beat Tygra in the arena. If he did so, he would get his life back. This would be his most challenging trial yet because of the emotional strain he faced whenever he competed with his brother in this game.

Racing for the top of the tree, Lion-O did his best to catch up to his brother, as well as trying to knock him off the tree. Unfortunately, Tygra was the one knocking him off the tree. Getting angrier, Lion-O began to understand that this trial was to teach him to control his emotions. Something he wasn't very good at, especially when Tygra purposely tried to make him mad.

Letting his anger get the best of him, the teenager released the floodgate and let his emotions loose, telling Tygra exactly why he was mad. Because Tygra always wanted what he had, how the tiger always got everything that he wanted and deserved. The main points of focus in his anger being the crown and Cheetara. Lion-O expressed his true feelings about Tygra not wanting him to be king because the young lion didn't deserve it.

Jumping for the top of the tree where Tygra stood, Lion-O abandoned his previous lessons and charged blindly at his brother. This resulted in the young king getting punched in the face and falling down several branches. With a look of indignation, Tygra shouted from the top that he wasn't the only one who thought Lion-O wouldn't be a good king. Thinking that the tiger meant their father, Lion-O grew more furious. He once again charged at Tygra, who watched calmly, ready to strike his uncoordinated brother.

Jumping out of the way of attack, Tygra watched as Lion-O fell into the water below. With another shout, he told the boy that their father was not the one he meant. Instead he told Lion-O that the boy didn't even believe in himself. Maybe he was right. Lion-O didn't believe he was king material. The crown was just forced upon him and he didn't feel ready for the extreme responsibility.

Tygra rang the bell at the top, signaling that the trial was over, and that Lion-O failed. Pulling himself from the water, the young king stood in front of his brother. He took the death key that was given to him. Without a word he looked at it, saddened that he let his anger get the best of him. Placing the key into the the door that appeared, Lion-O accepted his fate before passing through.

o0o

Part 2

Upon entering the stone room with Jaga again, Lion-O was metaphorically slapped in the face as Jaga told him that he screwed up his chances of returning to the world of the living. Unwilling to accept that this was the end, the boy argued that his companions needed him. That there had to be another way.

Jaga went on to say that Mumm-Ra had the Sword of Omens and was going to destroy it and the world. Growing frustrated with this, Lion-O wondered aloud why the old cat was telling him this if nothing could be done. He knew there had to be a way to go back. He would give anything to save his people. His friends. His family.

A moment of silence passed before Jaga asked what the young king could offer. Surely not his life, he was already dead. Without a moment's hesitation however, Lion-O was willing to give up his most precious possession for his people, his soul.

Accepting the young king's sacrifice, Jaga told the boy that the Spirit Stone would return him to his body with enough time to save his friends. However, as soon as the sun rose, he would lose his soul unless he spent his time wisely in his last moments of life. If he did not spend his time wisely, his soul would go to limbo and remain there for eternity. Despite the fear and enormous weight on his shoulders, Lion-O stood tall and proud as he accepted the deal. He would save his people and the world if it was last thing he did.

With a wave of Jaga's staff, the stone room disappeared only to be replaced by the watery prison. Feeling air enter his lungs and the underwater current tugging at his hair, Lion-o opened his eyes to reveal the watery depths in which he lay beneath the heavy stones. With a glow of the Spirit Stone, the stones rose from the king, allowing him to swim to the surface, still holding his breath.

Breaking the water's surface, the boy gulped in the precious air he took for granted before making his way to the edge. Looking up at the mountain again, he wasn't sure how he was going to make it to his comrades in time, until he heard a big splash behind him. Looking over, he noticed a big bird looking for fish. Swimming over as quick as he could, he grabbed hold of the bird's leg before it took off. "Maybe I'm finally learning my lessons" He said to himself with a smile.

Once the bird was near the top of the mountain, Lion-O jumped onto the pass where he had previously fallen from. Looking around, he noticed a drawing that looked strangely like Wilykit. Realizing that it was a marker for him to follow, he ran along the path as fast as he could, looking for more markers pointing in the right direction. He would have to remember to thank the kitten later.

The markers led him through a forest and the desert until he finally found Mumm-Ra's lair. He stopped to catch his breath from all the running. How long had it taken him, a couple of hours? After regaining his composure, he looked for the best plausible way to enter the lair without being seen.

Finding a large triangle shaped hole near the top, he began climbing as quietly as he could, doing his best to not alert the lizards of his presence. From the top, he could see the horizon getting slightly lighter than the rest of the night sky.

The Sun would rise within the next hour or so. He had to hurry if he wanted to save his little band of misfits before he died again. Trying not to think about how his demise would come, he only hoped it was going to be painless. He noticed that something small tugged at his chest, more in his lungs than anywhere else.

o0o

Once inside, he looked for his companions, figuring they would be in the prison cells. Hiding around the corner when he heard voices, he saw Mumm-Ra's three Generals passing by, talking about eating the kittens. Lion-O couldn't have that, so he finally made his presence known. Walking backwards into a cell, he taunted them trying to get them to follow. They were too shocked, but also excited to see him alive to realize they were walking right into a trap, literally.

Once they were all in the cell, Lion-O jumped and knocked them over before running for the outside control panel. Pressing his paw on the panel, the Generals were imprisoned much too easily for their liking. For Lion-O though, he was thrilled that it had been so easy. He continued running in search of his brother and friends.

Upon finding them maybe twenty minutes later, he touched the control panel and released them. Immediately bombarded with a million questions, Lion-O's friends welcomed him back. Kit and Kat both jumped forward and embraced their friend and king. While the others walked forward asking how he was still alive. He told them it was long story, but that the most important thing that mattered right now was getting the Sword of Omens back from Mumm-Ra.

When Panthro mentioned it being a suicide mission, Lion-O couldn't help but agree with a sad face. He knew all too well how doomed his mission was. But as long as his friends were safe, he could die happy. Speaking of dieing, he had maybe a little over half an hour left. The small feeling began to tug a little harder at his lungs, almost like a tickling cough.

Ignoring the feeling with a smile, he stated that he'd understand if the cats didn't want to follow him into battle. But he was happy to hear them say they would follow him anywhere. Tygra even called him "Your Majesty", letting Lion-O know that he approved of the boy being king. Too bad Tygra would be king, much sooner than he expected.

They left in search of the sword together, and Lion-O couldn't have been more happy. They were finally working together as team. Once they reached a large set of doors, he instructed Panthro to blow up the door. The old pather was all too happy to blow something up.

The moment the door exploded, the Thundercats ran into the cloud of smoke billowing throughout the room. The perfect cover as they ran towards Mumm-Ra and the chanting lizards. With a war cry from their king, the cats attacked the lizards, breaking the circle that Mumm-Ra did not want broken. That left Lion-O to face Mumm-Ra alone.

Growling with anger and the authority of a king, Lion-O stood his ground as Mumm-Ra transformed into his bulkier self. He dodged the attacks that the Ever-Living Mumm-ra sent his way, trying to get a clear shot at taking his sword back. With an oncoming attack, Lion-O knelt down and shielded himself with his gauntlet and Spirit Stone. The moment the attack struck him, the Spirit Stone formed a barrier around him, protecting its wielder.

With a sudden idea, the king ran in a circle around Mumm-Ra, the barrier shield still protecting him. Dropping the shield, he immediately ran up the wall and launched himself towards the Sword of Omens, right in front of Mumm-Ra. It was a risky move, but he was on a time limit. Lion-O rejoiced as he grabbed the sword and rolled out of Mumm-Ra's way.

Mumm-Ra, about to charge the king, was suddenly blasted by the sword's power, leaving him defenseless as Lion-O got ready to charge. Unfortunately, fear struck Mumm-Ra. The mummified something that he was ran away from the king. Lion-O was quick to follow him, but was stopped by Panthro who said they needed to get out of there as a group of lizards with laser guns began shooting at them.

Following his companions out of the lair and back into the desert, they stopped a ways away. Lion-O knew the questions would come about his survival, but time was running out for him as the sun was about to peak above the horizon.

The king was bent over with his paws on his knees, trying to catch his breath. Funny, he didn't notice he was out of breath until now. The feeling in his lungs getting more intense.

Staring at the ground as he breathed deeply, the young king didn't notice the worried glances the Thundercats exchanged with each other. Taking another deep breath before straightening his posture, he decided to answer the Thundercats' questions.

"I did die...when I fell in the river. Jaga said the Spirit Stone gave me another chance to prove myself... But I failed." Lion-O looked at his companions' faces, his throat beginning to tighten. "I paid the ultimate sacrifice to come back and save you and the sword from Mumm-Ra, but at a cost. I-It's time for me to l-leave you all." Lion-o closed his eyes, ready to accept his fate.

However, he was broken from his reverie when Tygra shouted at him, taking a step towards his king. "What do you mean you have to leave?! You just came back to us! I won't let you go again!" He stopped though when his little brother smiled at him. A genuine smile he hadn't seen in years, making Tygra choke on words he tried to say, but didn't come.

"I don't have a choice Tygra. This is the price I must pay for-" Lion-o was immediately cut off mid-shout when a sharp pain stabbed at his chest, his right hand flew up to grip at his breastplate. The Sun had just peaked over the horizon.

"Lion-O?" Tygra asked quietly, his anger left immediately as he took cautious steps towards his brother. A look of fear on his face. Lion-O just panted as he doubled over trying to breathe, but an enormous pressure in his chest would not allow him to as his soul was being ripped from his body. The boy suddenly fell to his paws and knees.

In an instant, Tygra dashed to his brother's side before dropping to his knees in the sand. Grabbing the young king's shoulders, Tygra pulled him up until he stood on his knees looking into his big brother's worried eyes with labored breaths. Sweat ran down his face as he concentrated everything he had into taking as deep breaths as he could, his eyes wide. So much for a painless re-death.

"Come on Lion-O, breathe!" Tygra growled, his voice filled with fear as he held onto his brother. Quickly unlatching the king's armor, Tygra pulled the breastplate off, leaving the boy in his blue shirt. The constriction gone allowed the boy more room to breathe. Dropping the material onto the sand, Tygra pulled the boy against his chest as he ran a firm paw up and down the fabric on his brother's back, trying to relax the stiff muscles. He was silently praying to the gods of Thundera for his brother's safety.

The other Thundercats didn't know what to do, so they remained in their positions a few feet away. Kit held onto her brother, burying her face into Kat's chest. Panthro and Cheetara exchanged concerned glances before returning their attention to both members of the royal family.

But as the Sun rose higher, the more pain and suffering the king went through. His vision began to blur and he could feel his body going numb, he suddenly began to lean one side in Tygra's hold. His lungs were on fire as he tried desperately to take another slow, pained breath, eyes getting heavy.

Tygra immediately pulling his brother from his chest, he was met with half lidded blue eyes. His brother was barely breathing at this point. Looking up, Lion-O noticed that Tygra had tears running down his cheeks, mouth pulled tightly as if he were about to break down in despair and anguish as his vision went in and out of focus. The king suddenly falling sideways, Tygra pulled him against his chest as if he was holding a newborn kitten (baby).

Looking down, Tygra could see that Lion-O's chest was rising and falling with a lot more effort now. He couldn't help the new tears that fell, landing on his his brother's cheeks. "Stay with me...please!" He whispered desperately, bending over as he rested his forehead against his brother's. He had just lost his father. He couldn't lose his little brother too, he was the only family he had left.

The tiger didn't see the other cats crying for their king as he continued to hold onto any hope that was beginning to falter. All that mattered to him was being there for his brother. Feeling his brother shift in his arms, he noticed the boy reaching for the Sword of Omens. Pulling it from the gauntlet, Tygra's eyes widened at the realization of what his brother was doing.

"No! You can't...you're the king. You need to lead us to victory..." Tygra cried, putting a paw on Lion-O's, trying to stop him. But with one last strained smile, Lion-o weakly pressed the sword against Tygra's chest. Tears falling down his cream and sand colored cheeks as he closed his eyes for the last time.

o0o

Part 3

Time seemed to stand still as Tgyra both saw and felt his little brother's body go limp in his arms. "no..." The tiger whispered disbelieving what had just happened. "No!" He cried louder, throwing the Sword of Omens to the ground before shoving the boy's body onto the sand.

Pulling the shirt open, he pressed his paws against Lion-O's sternum before pushing down as hard as he could. Several compressions later, Tygra tilted the teenager's head back. Plugging the boy's nose, he took a deep breath and pressed his lips against his brother's. Giving precious oxygen as he performed CPR.

Repeating the process several times, Lion-O showed no response. The tiger tried again and again until his arms grew tired and he was out of breath. He didn't stop until Cheetara put a paw on his shoulder. "He's gone Tygra. There's nothing more you can do." Was all she said, looking sadly at the ground. Tygra shook the her paw off his shoulder, staring at his brother, dazed.

The other Thundercats looked at their fallen king, tears in their eyes. Kit and Kat continuously wiped the tears from their eyes, unable to contain their sobs. They had fallen to their knees, leaning against each other for support. Panthro, grieving in silence, placing strong comforting paws on the kitten's shoulders. He let the memories play through his mind of how carefree Lion-O was when he was younger, unaffected by the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders.

Tygra, silence as his companion, continued to watch his brother's face intently. He looked so peaceful, almost as if he was asleep. But the tiger knew that was too good to be true. With a fresh batch of tears, he choked on another sob.

Pulling the boy's body into an even tighter embrace, the boy's forehead now resting in the crook of his elder brother's neck. Tygra buried his face into the soft red mane. "Why? Why did you do it!? Why..." Tygra wailed into the boy's hair, as if he were yelling into a pillow. His body racked with sobs, almost to the point of hyperventilating. "I-I never wan-wanted to b-be k-king like t-this!"

The paw on his shoulder tightened, letting him know that Cheetara was there for him when he needed her. Tygra ignored it though. The only thing that mattered right now was his brother. Continuing to sob in silence with closed eyes, none of the Thundercats noticed the Spirit Stone glowing slightly, nor the ghostly figure looming over them. Not until a weary voice startled them from their reverie.

"Jaga" Cheetara murmured the name, looking up at her old teacher. The ghostly cat observed all the cats now looking to him for answers, their faces stained with tears and their eyes red with grief. He then shifted his gaze to the boy king in the prince's embrace, a sad smile on his face.

"Why did you take him from us? From me!?" Tygra shouted, suddenly filled with anger. But instead of rebuking the tiger, Jaga simply spoke words that left the Thundercats speechless. "He did this of his own free will. Knowing the cost of coming back after failing the trials, he still chose to move forward to do the right thing."

Everyone looked at him, silent tears still streaming down their faces, until Tygra whispered, "His soul was the cost". Jaga's silent nod confirmed his suspicion, grief digging its way to his heart at the choice his little brother had made. For them.

Sitting in despair, Tygra was suddenly brought to the attention of the gauntlet. The Spirit Stone shined brightly, leaving the others to question the reason until Jaga spoke once more. A touch of joy in his voice. "The Spirit Stone has deemed Lion-O worthy of a second chance as the reborn King of the Thundercats. He has chosen the way of a true king, by putting his people's lives above his own."

When the old cat finished speaking the stone shined even brighter, to the point that the cats had to shield their eyes from the bright light. Tygra buried his face further into Lion-O's mane. When the light disappeared, so had Jaga, leaving the Thundercats to question what had just happened. They looked at their young king expectantly, waiting for something to happen. But nothing did.

Minutes passed, before Tygra and the others began to question if everything they saw was just their imagination. About to give up hope, Tygra suddenly became aware of a slight shifting in his arms. Looking down in disbelief, he heard a soft groan coming from his brother. Looking to the others, he saw that they heard it to.

"Lion-O?" He whispered, gently pulling the boy from the embrace. Lion-O's chest rose and fell, signifying he was alive. His head lulled back before falling to the side, eyes still closed as another soft groan escaped his throat.

If anyone was looking at Tygra, they would have seen the despair melt into shock, followed by more tears. This time, though, they were tears of joy as he drew his brother's slumbering body back into a tight embrace. His face scrunched as the tears fell without end. At the moment, he didn't care how he looked to the others or how the others felt. He just wanted to hold his little brother close to him.

The shifting in his arms grew stronger as the boy was starting to wake up. "Mmm..." Lion-O groaned softly again. Opening his eyes, he was met with darkness. The first thing he became aware of was that his chest hurt. Second, his face was pressed tightly against a strong chest. Equally strong arms were wrapped tightly around his shoulders and one paw weaved its way into his mane at the back of his head.

His arms and legs felt as if they were coated with lead, unable to move. Strong, shaky breaths caused him to smile softly, thinking he was back home, and that everything that happened was just a bad dream.

"Father?" He questioned softly, wondering what was wrong when the breaths were held sharply, before slowly relaxing. The paw in his mane massaged his scalp tenderly. "No Lion-O. It's me." Tygra mumbled lovingly into his brother's hair, his eyes closed as he breathed in the scent of his brother.

"Brother?" He asked quietly, feeling tired all of a sudden "Where are-" He was cut off when he felt himself being shifted. He closed his eyes when the morning Sun's rays touched them. When he opened them again, he saw his brother's tear stained face above him.

"What happened?" The king asked fearfully, thinking something was wrong. He stopped worrying though when he saw Tygra's heartwarming smile. A smile he didn't see very often anymore. "Don't worry about it little brother. Everything is alright now." Lion-O was content with the answer, for now. Deciding to look at his surroundings, he noticed the other Thundercats looking at him as if he had just won the Thunderian Jackpot.

"What?" Lion-O asked, amused at their expressions. The twins looked as if they held their excitement for too long, ready to ask a million questions. Cheetara looked like Tygra had just proposed. And Panthro had his tell-tale smirk and a twinkle in his eye.

Before he knew it, the twins jumped forward. They thrust themselves onto him, tearing him out from Tygra's grasp with a bemused yelp before his back hit the sand. The kittens rubbed their faces against his, purring happily with their eyes closed. Tygra couldn't help but roll is eyes at their antics, a smirk on his face.

"It is good to have you back with us." Cheetara placed a comforting paw on her king's shoulder. Looking at the woman, he wanted to feel hurt and betrayal, but he didn't. He understood his brother's love for her and decided to drop his petty attitude. He simply smiled back at her.

Kit and Kat were suddenly aware of large paws grabbing their waists. With a gasp, they were pulled off their king like Velcro, despite their clinging. "It's my turn kids!" Panthro plopped the kittens down in the sand before he grabbed his king, pulling him into another tight embrace, making the young king gasp from the pain in his chest. "You gave us quite a scare there kid. I'd appreciate it if it didn't become a habit."

The memories of his trials and Mumm-Ra's lair suddenly came back to Lion-O's mind. He smiled genuinely at his family as they gathered around him, still in Panthro's hold. "I'm sorry for scaring you guys. It was the only way." Lion-O lowered his head, worried that his friends hated him for it.

But instead of a lecture on his choice, a paw lifted his chin making him look into Tygra's eyes. "We forgive you brother. But don't do it again, or will kill you myself." He said with a smirk before ruffling the king's hair.

"Can you put me down now, please? This is a little awkward." Lion-o mumbled bashfully. Panthro only laughed, putting the king back on his feet before letting go. Unfortunately, the king's legs didn't seem to regain their strength yet, and he almost face-planted in the sand. To his rescue and embarrassment, Tygra scooped the boy into his arms bridal style, holding his brother close once more. Panthro went to pick up his kings armor and sword, before placing the sword back into the gauntlet.

"You don't need to carry me! I'm not a child anymore!" If he could, the king would have crossed his arms with a pout. Instead his left arm and legs dangled lifelessly, while his right arm rested atop his stomach.

"Not a chance little brother! You're not getting off that easily after what you put me through!" Tygra said with a big grin, but the other cats could see the pain behind his smile.

With a sigh of defeat, Lion-o rested his head against the crook of his brother's neck. "Fine! Let's just get back to the Thunder Tank. Thundercats! Ho-aw-o..." Lion-O yawned during the battle cry, causing the others to laugh. As his little family walked back to the tank they considered a temporary home, Lion-O closed his eyes, smiling at the gentle kiss that Tygra placed on his forehead. "Sleep well, little brother", was the last thing he heard before slumber took him.

o0o

How did you like it? I hope it wasn't too long or too much?

I couldn't remember is snarf was in most of the episode, so I didn't put him in this one-shot.