Title: Lost and Found
Disclaimer: I don't own Manny, Sid, or Diego and/or any other characters associated with them. I do however own Nana.
Summary: What if Sid wasn't the only mammal to have been left behind?
It was dark by the time Nana woke up.
Her body ached and it took several minutes for her to know where she was. She tried to get up but her side was paining her again so she slumped back down, head on paws as she counted to thirty in frustration.
Taking a deep breath she tried again, this time managing to stand, though the amount of effort it took left her panting hard and her legs shaking. Trying to throw off her exhaustion she stood quietly for a moment and swept her eyes around the cave, her enhanced vision allowing her to peer through the darkness of the grotto she had been sleeping in.
There was no one there.
Frowning in confusion, she double checked, looking around once more to make sure there was definitely no one else in the cave with her.
Thunder boomed overhead and it started to rain, great drops plummeting from the sky, splattering on the dirt outside. She sighed but headed outside undeterred. Her injured front leg hampered her movements but she moved steadily and soon she was outside, getting wetter and wetter as she stood and looked for her pack.
Her searching became more frantic as she found no sign of them. Nose to the floor she sniffed desperately, trying to find a scent, any scent that the rain hadn't washed away...
At last she caught a faint scent trail and followed it with renewed hope. Ignoring the driving rain she tracked it for half a mile until she reached the top of a deep valley. There was a tiny path downwards to her left and she started to gingerly pick her way down. But it was dark, the path was narrow and the rain had made the ground slick with mud.
Suddenly she slipped.
Twisting her body in reflex as she fell, she just missed the edge of the path and the sharp, painful drop to the valley floor below. She yelped as her injured side made contact with the ground and further bruised her already tender body. Nana groaned and forced herself up again, beginning the slow and tiresome journey back the way she had come. There was no way she could make it down the valley alive in this weather, and it was impossible trying in her current condition. Trying to hold back her ever-increasing misery she limped back to the cave, her fur sodden and muddy as the rain ran in rivulets over her shivering form.
She knew she was in denial.
The scent inside the cave was already hours old and even the scent trail she'd been following had been made the day previously. She searched outside once more, but the rain had washed away any prints and there was no sign of her pack anywhere. Finally giving up she slumped down inside the cave and tried to hold back the tears that were threatening to flow. Failing miserably the sabre toothed tiger gave in and let sobs shake her body.
They'd left her alone…her pack was gone.
Manny was seriously contemplating the idea of beating Sid over Diego's head. As a plan it had several advantages:
1) His companions would be rendered silent, albeit silent and unconscious (though in Manny's opinion this wasn't a downside).
2) The screaming, wriggling baby he held in his trunk would be entertained and therefore silent also.
Manny had just enough patience left though that he was able to restrain himself. He'd try yelling, and if that didn't work, then he'd knock them out. Whatever worked.
The sabre-toothed tiger and the sloth paused in mid argument and turned to look at the fuming mammoth.
"If he's hungry all we need to do is find some food," Manny reasoned, trying to reign in his temper.
A loud thud to their left cut off Diego's reply.
The group turned and there, lying on the ground beneath a nearby bush was a fat, juicy melon, almost as large as the baby Manny carried.
Sid smiled gleefully. "Food!"
Manny reached out with his trunk to pick it up, but the melon was snatched from his grasp by the appearance of a large grey dodo, who glared at them, took the melon in it's beak and then ran off before anyone could stop it.
They had no choice but to follow the bird and get their melon back.
"On the upside," remarked Diego as they walked, "if we can't get the melon back, the kid could always have a couple of chicken legs."
Sid wrinkled his nose. "Do you think of everyone as food?"
"Don't worry, sloth," said Diego, baring his teeth in amusement as Sid shrank away over to Manny. "I'm not going to eat you." He smirked. "Not yet anyway."
"Manny!" Sid panicked, tugging on the mammoth's thick reddish fur. But he wasn't listening, too busy watching from atop the cliff edge as below them marched dozens and dozens of dodos, calling to each other about 'preparing for the Ice Age!'
Sid scratched his head in confusion, his fear dispelling in the face of his bewilderment. He was after all a sloth, and had only room for one emotion at a time. "Ice Age?"
"I've heard of these crackpots," growled Diego.
"Still fancy eating them?" said Manny, trying to hold back his smile. "I didn't realize you liked your food crazy."
"They're not crazy when they're dead," Diego snapped back and jumped down from the cliff face onto a nearby rock, muscles rippling under his pelt.
"Intruders!" screamed the dodo who had taken their melon, eyes widening as Diego leapt deftly down to the ground, scattering birds in his wake. "Intruders!"
Manny rolled his eyes as chaos ensued, feathers flying up into the sky past them. "Come on Sid. Let's go greet the welcome party, before there's none of them left."
Sid winced as one of the dodo's tripped over it's own feet and fell into a large hole that was bubbling fiercely. There was a hiss and then the strong smell of burnt flesh. Sid pinched his nose shut and looked at Manny. "You were saying?"
Manny shrugged and picked a dodo at random. "Hey, could we have our melon back? Junior's hungry and …"
"NO WAY!" squawked a large dodo, scandalized. The bird leapt around as he spoke, getting more and more excited as he carried on. "This is our private stockpile for the Ice Age! Sub arctic temperatures will force us underground for a million billion years!"
Manny raised an eyebrow incredulously. "So you've got three melons?"
The dodo paused and glared at him, for pointing out the fatal flaw in their plan."If you weren't smart enough to plan ahead, then doom on you!"
"Doom on you!" cried the other dodos as they took up the chant. "Doom on you!"
They started to advance and alarmed, the group began to hastily back up. Manny shifted from one foot to the other, trying to avoid the incredibly creepy birds. "Get away from me!" He turned to Diego. "Aren't you going to do something?"
The sabre-tooth raised an eyebrow. "I don't think you'd like my solution."
Sid picked up the melon that had suddenly rolled into his arms; the carelessness of one of the dodo's resulting in it being knocked over in their direction. "Hey guys! I think we can go now."
Manny sighed in relief. They'd gotten what they'd come for and now they could make a quick exit, leaving the weird birds behind.
"Retrieve the melon! Taekwon dodos! Attack!"
Diego rolled his eyes as three dodos leapt forward and headed for the melon. "You have got to be kidding me."
But they weren't. With a sharp kick one of the dodos kicked it from Sid's grasp, passing it to each other as they made off with it... until one of them threw it over the cliff.
Diego failed to hide a smirk as the dodos followed its descent, rushing over the cliff edge, tumbling over in a waterfall of feathers and flailing limbs. "Well that's three down, and we didn't even have to do anything."
Meanwhile, while everyone had been preoccupied with the first melon, Sid had snuck over to a stump where the other two melons were and quietly taken one. Sadly the dodos whipped around and noticed him at the same time that Manny and Diego did, charging forward to attack the helpless sloth.
Again the birds managed to snatch it from him, but as they did the melon bounced and rolled over to another of the bubbling holes that littered the ground there. Three dodos raced for it and managed to stop it from rolling in by the tips of their beaks, only to have themselves and the melon fall in at the last moment as they lost their balance.
There was a hiss of smoke and then they were gone. Only their blackening stench lingered.
All attention focused back to the stump where the last melon remained. Sid swiftly disappeared under a pile of dodos and Diego and Manny watched in despair as the hot, feathery bodies swamped him. As luck would have it though, the last melon popped out and rolled towards the pair. The mammoth snatched it up quickly before the dodos could get it and held it up high with his trunk as the birds switched their attack from Sid to him. They started to leap for it, jumping higher and higher.
Suddenly Manny gave a cry of pain as something bit him on the tail.
The melon went flying, miraculously landing in the arms of a waiting Sid. The dodos that had been hassling Diego and Manny turned back to Sid and started to hedge him in. Even so, he suddenly backed up and charged, ducking his head and pushing through the birds with his free hand, tossing them out of his path as though they weighed nothing. He gave one last final leap and sailed over their heads, managing to finally get away from them, landing in front of the baby and the rest of the group.
Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, Diego even managing a smile as Sid danced around in celebration, jumping up and down with the melon clutched triumphantly in his hand.
In his excitement he suddenly smashed the melon to the ground.
There was a collective groan of disappointment and Diego snarled. "Thanks Sid. Now we've got to find more food!"
The baby on the other hand crawled over and started chewing on a piece of the smashed melon, juice smeared over his lips as he babbled happily.
Manny sighed in relief that at least something had gone right, then glanced up to watch as the last few remaining dodos toppled helplessly of the cliff edge, balanced on top of one another. "Look at that. Dinner and a show."
There was a low snarl of disappointment and Sid and Manny turned to look bewilderedly at Diego. "Hey, don't look at me," he said, shrugging his shoulders. "I didn't do that."
"No," said a voice to their left. "I did."
Crouched in a grassy area near a crooked tree by the cliff edge was a female sabre-tooth. She stood up, glaring at the group, even as Diego scanned the other predator, noting the large scar running up her left foreleg and to her side, a white jagged line running through her unkempt bronze fur.
Diego growled in warning, even as she flicked her tail in irritation, back arched up and fur bristling. She rolled her eyes, bright with frustration.
"Thanks guys. Dinner just became extinct."
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