The rains continued throughout the coming months, every day the dead Pridelands were being restored to their former glory. With the rains came the herds in greater numbers filling the lands with an abundance of food for the Pridelander's whose strength returned more and more with each passing day. But not all was joy among the Pridelander's, for a rift between the Pride members was still ever present.
In an attempt to calm his Pride's nerves, Simba ruled in favour of many that Zira and her lionesses must partake in the hunting party to be kept under supervision with the reassurance that the cubs would be watched closely at Pride Rock by the older lionesses and Zuri as she grew closer to her due date as Sarabi took over her Queenly duties as Simba had instructed much to Zuri's complaint.
Though Zuri did take this time to adjust to raising cubs while she watched over Nuka, Vitani and Kovu whenever Zira wasn't around, at times she thought the other lioness was far too sweet and wondered why suddenly she allowed the Queen to see to her cubs, but she figured that would change over time. And it was during such time she wondered how any of them could be related to Scar or Zira…they were far more innocent then their parents, especially little Vitani who was often curious as to who Zuri was, which slowly turned too what kind of cub she was going to have, a boy or a girl, and what Zuri and Simba hoped for.
"OW! Queen Zuri, Nuka pushed me in the mud again!"
Zuri raised her head from the tongue bath she was giving Kovu who was nestled between her paws to watch Vitani and Nuka padded toward her, a snicker rose in her chest when she spotted the state Vitani was in. Her usual pale golden fur was now a shade of light brown from the mud that dripped from it, her blue eyes in a fierce glare at her older brother who just marched along side her with a smug grin on his face which quickly vanished when they stopped in front of Zuri.
"Nuka why did you push your sister in the mud?" Zuri cocked her eyebrow as she watched the greyish cub snuffle his paws on the ground and duck his head sheepishly "She started it!" he pointed it paw toward Vitani who glared in his direction again. "I did not!"
"Yes you did. You called me scrawny!"
"That's because you are!
Zuri's head snapped back and forth between the two cubs in front of her and sighed, but a small smile crept onto her face. Watching these two brought back memories of her own cub hood in the Jungle with Jaali and Simba. While watching the two siblings squabble, Zuri climbed to her paws setting young Kovu down on his stomach while he blinked tiredly up at her, her movements catching the attention of the older cubs. "Now that's enough arguing, Vitani apologize to your brother and Nuka, you apologize to your sister."
They both started but Zuri held up her paw to cut them off "No buts, now apologize!"
Both cubs grumbled and turned toward each other and with the same low grumpy voice said "I'm sorry!"
"There now, Vitani come here," hooking her paw around the young she-cub and pulled her toward herself and began to path her with her tongue to rid her fur of the mud before it hardened and became more difficult to get out. Once done, she let Vitani go and nudged her with her nose "Now, run along you two!"
Vitani and Nuka shared a look before the young she-cub gave chase her brother threatening to cake his fur with mud this time. Shaking her head with a sigh, Zuri settled herself down on the ground again beneath the shade of the tree letting out a tired breath while pulling Kovu over to rest tiredly in her paws.
"You will make a fine mother, my Queen."
Lifting her gaze from the sleepy cub in her paws to the elderly lioness approaching her Zuri smiled "Thank you Durra."
Durra stepped herself beside the young Queen and nodded "Though you should take it easy, you need your strengths for when the little ones are born!" she turned her attention to Zuri's round stomach though none of the Pride was exactly sure how many cubs their new Queen was carrying.
"I just wish they would come already!" heaving a sigh, Zuri looked at her swollen stomach where she would occasionally feel her cubs moving within but often she thought it was just one cub for she didn't feel much movement inside. "It seems like it's taking forever."
Durra laughed softly while nodding "Yes that's how it is with cubs, they never come when you want them too!" she sighed and turned her head to gaze toward the south her eyes watching a flock of birds take from the trees in the distance.
"Have you ever had cubs?" Zuri asked.
"Yes. But that was a long time ago, he left the pride just before Simba was born to explore. I haven't seen him since," Durra explained her eyes lowering to her paws before she gazed at the young Queen "Not many males stay with the Pride they tend to leave so it was expected. I still raised him well I believe."
Zuri smiled and nodded nuzzling her stomach where she felt a kick from within "I don't know what I wish for more, a son, or a daughter. Either way I just want my cubs to be healthy but also a cub that could some day become a great ruler of these lands," Zuri raised her head to stare out over the Pridelands.
"It has been many years since a Princess was born to the Pride. Yes there is Vitani but still many of us question her parentage, her fur is neither the colour of Scars or Zira's but of course the colour of ones fur can come from any members of the bloodline and then there are her eyes. Blue was never one of the many colours passed in the royal bloodline, but there is still a possibility she's Scar's offspring like Kovu here is…but Zira is a sneaky one!" Durra's voice held loathing in it while she spoke of Scar and Zira but she fell quiet when she heard the laughter of Vitani and Nuka not that far as much as they hated the cubs parentage there was no reason really to blame the cubs for their parents crimes against the pride.
"Well whatever the sex of the cub or cubs are I will be happy!" Zuri spoke with pride as she thought about her little one or ones inside her. Nuzzling her stomach she whispered "I can't wait to see you."
"MOMMY! Mommy's home!" Vitani's cry alerted Zuri and Durra who turned their heads to watch the hunting party make their way up the slope toward the cave. In the lead were Sarabi, Sarafina and Nala who parted to let Vitani and Nuka run by them and toward Zira who was coming up behind them carrying her share of the meal. Sarabi smiled and trotted toward Zuri and Durra with Sarafina and Nala in toe, reaching her daughter-in-law she rubbed heads with her and sat back. "How do you fair? You really should be inside out of the sun it's far too hot out today!"
"I'm just fine Sarabi, thank you, and this shade is just fine for me. I should get use to the sun, I've been used to the cover of the trees in the Jungle for my entire life," Zuri smiled up at the former Queen of the lands who gazed down at her softly when turned her head to Sarafina and Nala greeting them before the lionesses all turned their heads to see Zira approaching with a scowl on her face.
"Afternoon Zira," Zuri greeted the lioness, though Zira had never been anything but rude to her the young Queen thought it was rise to act as polite as she could to her new pride-sister whose cubs she looked after. There was no reason for the whole pride to be hostile.
Scowling, Zira pushed past Nala and Sarafina who growled under their breathes and without a glance at Zuri scooped Kovu up by the scruff in her teeth and began to leave but not before the young Queen saw the heated glare the older lioness gave her. Zuri closed her eyes and sighed while climbing to her paws with Sarabi helping her fully up and sat along side her while the five lionesses sat in a circle.
"She should be grateful that Simba has let her stay at Pride Rock, if I were in charge I would have gotten rid of her along time ago" Durra scowled in Zira's direction before she disappeared out of sight with Vitani and Nuka jumping around her as they followed.
"I think she just needs time, her mate was killed after all leaving her with three cubs," Zuri spoke up having the four other lionesses look at her.
"Why try and defend her Zuri, you've seen the way she treats you as her Queen!" Nala stated moving closer to her friend.
"Yes, but I'm also an outsider, I'm someone Simba brought into this Pride. She just see's me as unfit to be Queen, she's allowed to think what she likes about me I really couldn't care less. It's those cubs I care about and like to see the future of this Pride live!" Zuri explained looking each of them in the eyes, though deep down she feared Zira really, she remembered the look the lioness had given her when she arrived months back as well as the ones she still received from Zira. It was why Zuri never allowed herself to be alone around the older lioness even if she agreed to watch the cubs when they hunted. "She just needs time."
"Zira doesn't need time. She needs to learn her place and accept it or leave!" Sarafina scowled in the direction of Zira's cave "If it wasn't for her I would still have Mheetu!"
Zira and Simba their first month at Pride Rock had learned Sarafina had given birth to another cub shortly after Mufasa's death, a son by the name of Mheetu, unfortunately the cub never made it past his first few months of life he Zira had cut down the young cub's life herself. Too this very day, Sarafina and Nala had blamed the lioness for his death and have never forgiven her.
The other lionesses around her nodded in agreement but Zuri kept silent and looked off toward the cave but her attention was cut short when she heard someone call her name. Turning her head, a smile crept onto her face to see Simba approaching them; Zazu perched on his shoulder with an impatient Simba only half listening to his squabbling rants about his reports in his ear.
Shaking the major-domo from his shoulder Simba passed the other lionesses to get to his mate and greeted her with a nuzzle "What are you doing up, you should be resting!"
"Oh not you too!" Zuri rolled her eyes and smacked him on the shoulder giving him a stern look "I am not a piece of grass I won't be trampled upon if I just walk about Pride Rock for a while!" she scowled.
Laughing, Simba grinned "I know you can handle yourself Zu', but the cubs can come at any time. I just want you somewhere, where the lionesses can keep an eye on you in case I'm not around!" he shot a look over his shoulder at Zazu who had perched himself up on a rock awaiting Simba to hear out the rest of his report. Honestly the young King didn't know just how his father put up with it for so long, he thought the hornbill was annoying as a cub, the reports he gave, though useful were just as annoying if not boring.
"Don't worry so much!" Zuri cocked an eyebrow "Might worry yourself to death!"
"More like work myself to death then worry!" Simba muttered under his breath while Zazu flew over landing at their paws. "Sire, we must continue, the elephants are complaining that the giraffes are stealing their food."
The young King nodded and groaned "You think with all the plants around they learn to share…" the lionesses around him laughed softly. Giving his mate a sheepish smile he turned and began following Zazu "I'll see you tonight…if I make it through the rest of the day!"
"Don't you dare die on me out there Simba, I don't want to have to be told my mate died of annoyance from his major-domo that's not a way a King should end his life!" Zuri called after him before he was out of sight, letting out a sign she hung her head. Though Simba had his mother take over any stressful duties from Zuri, he himself was often too busy patrolling his lands with Zazu taking care of any problem that came to mind.
It had been a month since they had any alone time together.
"Don't worry Zuri; Mufasa was the same way when he was Simba's age, and like Mufasa he'll find way's to avoid Zazu. Much like he did as a cub," Sarabi came up to sit beside her daughter-in-law while the other lionesses headed inside the main cave for a share of the hunt.
"I'm not too worried Sarabi, he's just doing his job, I'm surprised he's not complaining as much as I thought he would be. I guess training to be Jaali's Second sharpened his leadership skills, but not by much that it overrules his boyish nature. He's always been one to make me laugh…and annoy me," Zuri explained turning her head from her mate's departing form over the savannah and toward Sarabi. "But tell me, how was Mufasa when Simba was born?"
A soft and loving expression came over the former Queen's face "He was so proud to be a Father; at first he was a little uncertain, concerned with all his duties he may not have time for Simba but he always made sure to make time for his son. He loved his Kingdom, but he loved Simba even more, he was so scared when Simba and Nala almost got themselves killed by hyenas that time just before his death. I don't think I've ever seen him be so scared in his life when he thought he'd loose his only son," Sarabi stared up at the sky, her eyes watching the clouds that drifted with the afternoon breeze through the wild blue yonder.
"Simba often thought Mufasa was too busy for him or that his Father didn't think he was brave enough to go out and help him at times. But in the end…it was Mufasa's undying love for our son that saved him that day in the gorge with the stampede!" the former Queen's eyes closed while a tear rolled down her cheek, Simba had explained everything that had happened in the gorge, things that Scar had left out.
Zuri watched Sarabi closely, over the last few months; she had found herself in most company with either her, Nala or Sarafina. And though she had become great friends with Nala, it was Sarabi she took to the most out of the Pridelander's, seeing her as a second mother and often enjoyed speaking to her on just about anything like she had done with her own mother when she was alive. Though she knew it pained the old lioness to tell her things of her past, she always enjoyed it "Thank you Sarabi."
"For what my dear?" the former Queen turned her eyes to the young lioness beside her.
"For being opened with me."
Sarabi smiled and nodded "You're quite welcome dear, you're family now, there's no need to hide things from one another. Now come, you must be hungry, we should steal some food before they finish it all off, and you're no longer feeding for just one!" turning Sarabi padded off toward the cave with Zuri following slowly behind her.
Heavy paw-steps pounded across the stone, Simba gazed back and forth from the ground to the cave with an impatient glance. It was just before the Great Circle had reached midday when Nala had alerted him that Zuri had gone into labour, the sun now was just beginning to set as evening was upon them and still there was no news of his mate's condition or his cubs.
His mother and Nala had kicked him from the cave when he arrived saying it was wiser for him to wait outside though he wasn't sure what good it was doing he was more worried waiting outside then he could possibly be at his mate's side. Too many thoughts were running through his head, like maybe something had gone wrong with the delivery, it had been far too long. 'That's it I'm going in…'
His train of thought stopped when he heard movement from inside the cave, and sighed in relief when he saw Sarafina exited the cave. Simba took no time in hurrying toward her, his movements alerting the rest of the Pride who lifted their heads to see the lioness leaving the cave all waiting the news, "Is she alright? Is there something wrong with the cubs?" Simba asked worriedly.
The lioness nodded "Yes she's just fine and so is the cub. The labour was long but fulfilling, congratulations Simba. You have a son!" she spoke loud enough for the others to hear.
Excited gasps and murmurs began to spread throughout the Pride at the news of their newborn Prince.
Simba however stayed planted firmly where he stood his eyes opened in shock as he stared past Sarafina toward the cave where his mate lay within and if he listened closely enough he heard the soft mewing of his newborn cub…his newborn son. "Simba?" Sarafina's voice echoed in his ear, but Simba was no longer listening, dodging around the said lioness he hurried himself inside the cave.
Coming to an abrupt stop when he finally spotted his mate at the back of the cave, surrounded by Nala, and Sarabi who along with Zuri were cooing down at the little ball of fur that was nestled between her paws. Though he wanted nothing more then to dash to his mate's side and meet his newborn cub, to gaze upon his son…but something was stopping him…and that was the sight of his mate who stared down at their son with loving eyes, happiness radiating off of her while she cooed him and nuzzled his tiny body with her nose.
Something inside his mind told him to cherish this moment, which exactly what he was doing. Cherishing the first sight of his mate with their cub, it was one he would hold dear for the rest of his life.
Shaking his head, he cleared his mind and met the gaze of his mate who was staring toward him "Are you just going to stand there all night or come meet your son silly?"
"Aw Zu' you ruined the moment!" Simba grinned crookedly and trotted his way slowly toward his family. His eyes never leaving Zuri's as he approached her, ducking his head down he rubbed it against her own "Well sorry Mr. King, but if you stayed there for too long you might just become stone and we wouldn't want that!" Zuri laughed pressing her nose against her mate's. "Now meet your son," tearing her gaze away from Simba's she turned her attention back to her cub, rolling him onto his back in her paws with her nose.
It was then Simba looked in his son's appearance, he took notice that among his brownish spots his son had inherited his brownish gold fur, and blackened tips on the inside of his ears much like Simba had inherited from Sarabi, the fur on his paws and underbelly were a soft white. He smiled proudly as the newborn gave a mewing yawn in his mother's paws and squirmed to be closer to her warm fur. The cubs eyes closed and wound be for a few days meaning they would have to wait to see what colour eyes he had.
He was surprised he didn't see a single trait from Zuri in their son but upon close inspection he grinned at seeing the light brown hairs atop his sons head to indicate the colour of his future mane. "He's beautiful!" he whispered eyeing his son, raising his head proudly while the rest of the Pride entered the cave and gathered around the royal family to catch a glimpse at their new prince.
Sarabi stepped around Zuri, making her way to her son's side and rubbed her head against his with a proud smile dotting her face "Congratulation's my son," she smiled with pride hinted in her voice while she turned her attention back to her grandson who was lifting her face up and looking blindly around sniffing the air at all the new scents and listening to the strange voices of the lionesses that were gathered around cooing at him.
"Welcome to the world little one!"
"Aw aren't you the sweetest thing!"
"Hello, little prince!"
"Oh he's going to be just as handsome as his father when he's older. Watch out ladies he'll be a real heart breaker!"
Simba smiled proudly and nodded "Thank you Mother!" he whispered back to her his eyes never leaving his son who as he bent down to get another closer look batted at his nose playfully. Laughing, he pulled back rubbing his nose, "He's got quite the punch. Just like his old man!" he grinned.
"What are you going to name him?" Nala asked moving to stand beside Simba.
Zuri and Simba caught each others gazes and stared at each other for a few moments, they had spoken together about names they would choose for their cub be it a male or female. A silent thought passed between the both of them and they nodded, Zuri gazed down at her son and spoke.
"His name shall be…Kopa!" Zuri nuzzled her son who mewed and curled into her fur. "My little Kopa!"
The lionesses gathered around smiled and opened their mouths to speak in union "Welcome to the world Prince Kopa!" they let out a small roar together but not loud enough to spook the newborn who was beginning to fall asleep in his mother's paws under the loving and watchful eyes of his parents and pride.
Simba grinned and bent his head down whispering to his son "I will never let anything happen to you!" he vowed, settling himself down beside his mate who rested her head against his mane. "I'll protect you my son, I always will and will always be here for you."
While the Pride gathered to congratulate King and Queen and greet their new prince, all were oblivious to the amber eyes that stared through the shadows of the cave resting upon the royal family and more importantly the newborn prince…a scowl crept onto this spy's face as a low growl rumbled in their chest.
'Enjoy this happiness while it lasts Simba…I will take everything you took from me. I promise this to you…Scar…the little prince will fall…and Kovu shall be…KING!'
To be continued…
Thank you all who has read this story, it was more popular then I thought it would turn out to be like.
Please check out the sequel to this story on my profile.
"Mom!" he called, his small frame shook in fear when thunder rumbled over head, his fur was soaked with rain and mud. "Mom!" he continued to call over and over into the stormy night, but there came no reply. Lightning streaked in the sky and there he saw her, her dark brown form sprawled across the muddy ground, crying he ran to her. "Mother!"