OK, I don't see how I can put an epilogue on this one (though I say that almost every time), so this'll be the last chapter. I think my last two fics have weakened because of the various flashbacks I've been putting in, so I'm hoping the next one I do will be as popular as Son of Fearless Buzz and Someone Like You. Remember, those fics are still up, and I've got An Old Fight up, too. So if you haven't reviewed for those yet, get out there and go for it! Son of Fearless Buzz is almost at the 100-mark! Anyway, I'll be back as soon as I think up a logical plot to use with the kids. Hope to see you soon!

Chapter 12:

Straw passing went around once more, and Pumbaa drew the long straw.

"Your turn again, Pumbaa. What's it gonna be this time?" Ma asked.

"Well... I think I've been holding off the tragic event long enough. I'll tell you what I remember about it," Pumbaa said.

"Whoo-hoo!" Timon cheered as he literally jumped into the air, and then dropped back down and quickly cleared his throat when he received a few glares from the group. "I-I mean, well, if you really wanna share it, Pumbaa old buddy, then by all means." He started to walk away. "Just lemme get a drink real quick."

"Are you sure you want to share that memory, Pumbaa?" Zuri asked as she put a paw on Pumbaa's tusk.

"Well, better to get it out of the way. Besides, this could be the last memory. With all the time that's gone by, I expect Pete to come over anytime and say 'congratulations, Pumbaa, you're a father.'"

"Guess so... and then Timon will stop obsessing over it."

"He just wants to know more about me, that's all. And I wouldn't be surprised if he tried hypnotizing me again."

"Oh, Pumbaa, he's not dumb enough to--" She stopped when she noticed Timon walking back, wiping the back of his mouth with the back of his paw.

"What was that, Zuri?" Timon asked with an arched brow.

"Uh... I..."

"Such a poet." Timon then rubbed his paws together. "I know what went wrong when I tried hypnotizing you earlier, Pumbaa."

"You're not any good at it?" Uncle Max asked.

"Not exactly. Any good hypnotist knows that you need to wave something shiny in front of the victim's-- I-I mean volunteer's eyes. And finding something shiny in the middle of a jungle ain't like finding grubs under tree bark."

"So, you're not trying it again?" Pumbaa asked.

"Nah, not unless something shiny just happens to crawl by." Timon went to sit, but then he saw his son Kito crawl over to a snail, trying to grab onto its shell. He managed to grab it, and the snail ducked back into its shell. "Atta boy, Kito! You finally caught something. Not that you can eat it yet, but still..."

"The youngest grub catcher... I'm so proud," Ma said with a smirk.

Timon went over to Kito and picked him up. "Just imagine when he actually starts walking. He'll be a pro, just like his old man." He then noticed the snail coming out of its shell and started to slug away. He grinned, reached over, and picked the snail up. The snail ducked back into its shell. "Shiny snail shell. That'll work."

"Uh-oh..." Pumbaa mumbled to himself with a roll of his eyes.

Timon set Kito down next to Zuri, who said blinking, "Suspiciously convenient."

"What are you complaining for?" Timon slurped the snail up out of its shell and wiped his mouth of snail slime.

"Timon, what have I told you about slurping?" Ma asked, putting a paw on her hip.

"Uh... don't?" Timon asked with a nervous smile as he wrapped a short, thin vine around the shell. He gave the shell a brief buffing with his forearm. He then turned back to Pumbaa and climbed onto his snout. "Let's try this again, shall we?"

"Timon, it's not gonna work. I can't be hypno--" He paused when Timon dropped the shell from his paw and dangled it in front of Pumbaa. "Oooo. Shiny..."

"Now that I've got your attention..."

"Look away this time, Timon," Uncle Max said.

Timon ignored his uncle and swung the shell in front of Pumbaa's eyes, to which Pumbaa's eyes followed. "When I snap my fingers, you will enter a deep trance and remember that tragic event that happened in your childhood. Do you understand?" Pumbaa nodded slowly. Timon snapped his fingers, and then Pumbaa's eyes closed. Timon stared at him for a few moments, and then grinned when Pumbaa started to snore.

"Did it work?" Ma asked.

"How about it, Pumbaa? Do you remember what happened?" Pumbaa nodded slowly. "Good. So, start from the beginning."

"Which beginning would you like to know about?" Pumbaa asked, his eyes still closed.

"What do you mean 'which beginning?'" Zuri asked.

"The beginning of the universe, the beginning of life, the--"

Timon slapped a paw over his eyes. "No, no, no, not that far back! Pumbaa, by 'the beginning,' we mean the beginning of the day when you lost your family... or whatever happened."

"Oh, that. Well, I lived in a normal warthog sounder with my siblings and mother. My father was a typical male warthog loner, so it was Mom that took care of things..."

6 years ago...

Pumbaa, about 14 months old (which is probably mid-teenager), sniffed around the grass for some grubs, finding only a few small ants. He snorted.

"Mom, are you finding any grubs over there?" he asked a female warthog, who was digging nearby with two other warthogs, the same age as Pumbaa.

"No big ones," the mother said, dropping a tuber into a pile of tubers.

"Good... too many bugs give Pumbaa gas," a young male warthog, Pumbaa's brother, said.

"They do not!" Pumbaa snorted.

"You're right. Everything gives you gas."

Pumbaa mumbled, "I can't help having a sensitive digestive track."

"If you can't find any bugs, we've got plenty of tubers, Pumbaa," the mother said as she began to eat a tuber.

Pumbaa stuck his tongue out. "I hate tubers. They leave a bad taste in my mouth." He instead tried pushing a nearby log over, barely budging it. It was a little too big for him. He stopped and panted, then blinked when it was suddenly rolled over, revealing several bugs underneath. Pumbaa stood, smiled, and wagged his tail when he noticed an older male warthog finish moving the log over. "Hey, Dad! What are you doing here?"

The father grinned, "Making sure my son doesn't turn to skin and bones."

"Thanks."

"Now, chow down." Father and son started to chow down on the bugs.

The mother looked over at the two and rolled her eyes. "It must be June," she mumbled to herself. She looked to her daughter and son who were eating tubers. "Don't get attached to having your father around. The next time you see him, you'll probably have kids of your own."

"That's just the way warthog men are. We're loners," the father snorted, and then he belched. He nervously chuckled, "'Cuse me." The mother rolled her eyes again and shook her head. "Remember, our sons are going to be the same way, whether you like it or not."

"Not if I can help it," the mother snorted.

"Mom, Dad, could you try not to fight?" the younger female warthog, Pumbaa's sister, asked.

"We're not fighting, sweetie. We're... arguing. There's a difference." She turned back to the father with a furrowed brow. "I have already been working with them. Our sons are going to be perfect gentlemen, with no help from you."

"Oh, so you're saying if a lion happens along, they'll be so polite, they'll stick an apple in their mouths and say 'I'll save you the trouble of chasing me. Go ahead and have a big luau'?" the father asked sarcastically.

"At least then they'd be socializing."

"But that'd be the last thing we'd ever do, Mom!" Pumbaa whimpered.

"I expect you to be polite, not stupid. If a lion comes after you, you run."

"Run, run, run, that's your answer to everything," the father said, rolling his eyes. He looked at Pumbaa. "Son, don't listen to everything your mother says. There are times to run, and there are times to fight. You'll know the right time to fight and run, won't you?"

"Uh... I don't know, Dad. It hasn't happened yet."

The father grimaced. "Uh... right." He furrowed his brow at the mother. "Teach him how to be polite instead of teaching him how to be smart?"

"I taught him that he comes from a long line of bachelors, that's what I taught him," the mother retorted.

The father was about to say something, but then he stopped. He looked past the mother, into the tall grass, and his eyes widened.

"Dad?" Pumbaa's brother cocked his head.

"Shh..." the father whispered.

The mother noticed his expression and softly asked, "What is it?"

"Run for your burrow. Now."

With that, the three younger warthogs and mother turned and ran, hearing five cheetahs growling fiercely as they leap from the grass. The father stayed behind to fight one of the cheetahs while the other four chased the warthogs. Pumbaa was only looking straight ahead as he ran forward as fast as he could. If he ran long enough and far enough, the cheetah would tire. By the time Pumbaa reached the burrow, the cheetah chasing him had stopped chasing him, panting heavily. Defeated, the cheetah started walking back to find his brothers and what they caught.

Pumbaa made it to the bottom of the burrow, panting heavily. He looked towards the opening, waiting for his mother and siblings. He walked back up to the surface to see if they were coming. He saw nothing. "Did I outrun them?" he asked himself. He looked around, and then he went back into his burrow. The sun had set, and that was his bedtime. He climbed into his nest and decided to rest his eyes. They shouldn't be much longer.

Present...

"The following morning I woke up in an empty burrow. I went out to look for them, out where the cheetahs surprised us. I couldn't find them, and I never did," Pumbaa said, still in his hypnotic trance.

"So you're an orphan?" Timon asked with a saddened expression.

"Yes. I didn't want to stay in that area. Too many memories. So, until I met you, Timon, I was all alone."

"That's all we need to know. When I snap my fingers, you'll wake up." Timon snapped his fingers in front of Pumbaa's eyes.

Pumbaa shook his head slightly, and then looked at Timon. "Like I said, Timon, you can't hypnotize me. I'm too smart for that."

"Uh, yeah. Sure, buddy," Timon said as he jumped off Pumbaa's snout and tossed the snail shell aside.

"Well, should we try to share another memory?" Uncle Max asked as he held the straws up to the group.

Before anyone could answer, Pete came out from behind the bushes. "Pumbaa!"

Pumbaa rushed over to Pete. "Well, am I a father yet?"

Pete dusted his paws off and smiled, "You sure are, buddy. You can go see your son and daughter now."

"Son and daughter? Yay!" Pumbaa cheered as he ran into the bushes where Pete emerged.

"Guess this means I'm an uncle," Timon grinned as he picked up Kito and went to follow him. Zuri picked up Shani and followed. Ma and Uncle Max followed. When they arrived Pumbaa was already observing the two warthog piglets lying next to Jina. Timon and Zuri walked over to see. "You know what's sad? Even as babies, they're bigger than us."

"Yeah, but when they're older, I can tell our kids will be best friends," Zuri said. She looked at Pumbaa and Jina. "What are their names?"

"He's Bango..." Pumbaa gestured to the male warthog piglet.

"And she's Barika," Jina gestured to the female warthog piglet.

"How sweet," Ma said, clasping her paws together.

"I just hope they don't take after their father too much," Uncle Max said as he covered his nose.

"Hey," Pumbaa frowned.

"Don't worry, Pumbaa," Timon said as he pat Pumbaa on the side. "If Uncle Max can't take it, he can move back to the old tunnels."

"Hey!" Max growled.

"Anyway, thanks for sharing all those great memories," Pumbaa said. "I hope the future will give us a whole lot of great new ones."

Timon smiled, "I wouldn't have it any other way, pal."