"I kissed a girl (And I liked it)"
By: Gabriel LaVedier
Greetings my fine friends. As you may, or may not, know, I love female/female pairings. I can't get enough of the tender, beautiful, touching, often tragic connections between girls in love. And yes, I know this story is named after one of the biggest party-bi songs out there. But, listen, I scrounge for what I can. Before they invented Strawberry Panic and Kashimashi I was digging for subtext in every damn frame of Utena, Card Captor Sakura and whatever else I could find. "I kissed a girl" works for me. Especially since I saw it used in a Lion King video. Here is the beginning. The tomboy princess and the right hand of darkness. They have nothing in common. At all. Maybe.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I have nothing. I claim no infringement.
Chapter One: I kissed a girl
A new day dawned over the Pridelands, glorious and golden as every other day they were pleased to get. The tall grass waved in the slight breeze, imitating water from a distance. The herds stirred and began the task of milling and browsing, ready to spring into action the very moment their kind and benevolent rulers came around to slaughter and eat them.
Kiara, princess of Pride Rock and heiress to all the light touched, plus the elephant graveyard since the exile of the interlopers, trotted along in the company of her guards and companions, uncle Timon and uncle Pumbaa. Being childless, they were most often tapped for babysitting duty. But it was alright. They had a lot of funny stories to tell about living in the jungle, raising Simba.
"Are you sure I can't go see the outlands?" Kiara practically bounced on her paws as she looked out into the barren wastes. Empty wasteland to most, adventure central to her.
"Now Kiara, even though we raised him from a little cub, and gave him everything, and treated him like he was our own flesh and blood, we've gotta listen to Simba. Firstly, because he's king and it's what we do here. Secondly, and most importantly, he could eat us both in a single bite." Timon, from atop his perch on Pumbaa's head, recited his orders, and his reason for obeying his "son's" directive.
"Besides, it's dangerous out there. You could get hurt. Or killed, or eaten by one of those outland lions. Best to just stay away." Pumbaa cast a worried glance over the dusty outlands, and shuddered.
"Alright." Kiara slumped onto the lush grass, looking back over the expanse of dust.
"There we go! All settled. Now, don't you worry, princess. Pumbaa here'll come up with something just right to keep you good and entertained."
"Me? But, Timon, it's your turn to think of something for Kiara to do."
"Au contraire, my porcine praline, if you will recall…" Timon deftly leaped off of Pumbaa's head and landed right in front of his face. "I had all the ideas the last few times. It's your turn."
"It is not! I thought up everything, you just said you did it. Come on Timon." Pumbaa gently nudged the meerkat with his snout, looking to him with big, moist eyes.
"Awww, put away the water works. I'll tell ya what, you do it this time and I've got it for the next few days."
"That's still not fair!" The two settled into a comfortable routine of arguing, always on the edge of a full-blown fight, but equally on the edge of a tender reconciliation. Their temperaments complimented one another and had grown into each other so well they knew just how to fight without truly fighting.
Under the cover of debate, Kiara managed to slip away, checking over her shoulder constantly, until the rise of a hill put her caretakers well out of sight. With the two of them out of the way she dashed off, digging her claws into the scrubby grass on the edge of the outlands, aiming her adventurous heart towards the rising mounds of baked dirt and parched vegetation.
As she ran into the territory proper she could see the change. It was as clear a line as any she could imagine. From live, if dense and scrubby, grass underpaw she found only bare earth and dust shifting under her claws. Instead of the sounds of life and activity, she heard only an eerie silence. And all around there were termites, moving about without hesitation. Kiara thought well just how fearful they would become if Timon and Pumbaa could see the movable feast just crawling around everywhere.
"Hold it, Pridelander." The command was firm, but the voice was soft. The words flowed through silky lips with a gentle purr folded into them; to make even a directive seem like a most beautiful thing. "Just what do you think you're doing?"
"What? Who's there?" Kiara skidded to an ungainly halt, nearly pitching forward onto her face and raising up a small cloud of dust. She took a look around and found the owner of the voice right in front of her.
The lioness who had spoken was a cub, just like her. She looked thin, but tough. Her fur was dusty, darker than coats which were common in the Pridelands. A small tuft topped her head, and her eyes were ringed in darkness. Eyes of a shocking, piercing and almost impossible blue. "Me. What are you doing in the Outlands, Pridelander?"
Kiara blushed, deep and hot, when seeing who had confronted her. "I… I, um… I wanted to see it. To see what it was like here."
"Why?" The stranger leaned in, an eye ridge up, but a pleasant smirk just barely lifting the corners of her mouth.
"Because it's… Exciting. It's new, it's different, it's not home. I want to see everything I can, even out here."
"It's not all fun and games, you know. It's hardly any fun and games." A serious look crossed the stranger's face, her body moving closer, face nearly touching Kiara's. "What is your name, Pridelander?" The question came out as a growl, a quiet menace behind it.
"My name is Ki… Kiara…" A shiver ran through Kiara as she answered. She didn't know why she told, or why she remained. But she was stuck. Trapped there, staring at those eyes. The large, luminous eyes. Right before her. They transfixed her, utterly.
"Kiara…" The purr was back, deeper than before, as the name was rolled through the stranger's lips; it almost sounded as though she was tasting it, savoring the sound of the name. A smile crossed her features, as the distance between the two of them vanished inside of a heartbeat. Cool, calm blue eyes stared into wide, wavering green ones, which could only cross and look down, to try and see the spot where lips met. The kiss lasted only a few short seconds. A brief eternity to the unprepared girl. "My name is Vitani."
No sound emerged from Kiara's slightly-open mouth. Her breath was caught in her throat, her mouth felt like it was filled with sand, and all she could do was stare. "Vitani?" The name slipped out at last, a weak, shivering sound, all that could be mustered.
"Vitani." The other lioness repeated, dropping her front and lifting her hindquarters, giving them a slow wave. Without warning she made a bold leap, over Kiara's head. She landed silently and broke into a run. "Come on! Catch me if you can!"
For a good amount of time Kiara only stared. She had no idea what else to do. The other cub was running around madly, expecting the chase to be joined at any minute, and making certain she was prepared for it. It looked so… Fun. And that was why she was out there. Kiara unfastened her limbs from the ground, shook her head and went for the other lioness. "Oh, I'll catch you! Just you wait…"
They played for what seemed like hours, on that small patch of borderland, inside the Pridelands, inside the Outlands, never caring either way where they stood; They cared only for their game, and for the fun they had together. Soon enough, however, the sun grew low in the sky, and shadows began to cast themselves over the ground. "I should get home. It's getting late." Kiara halted in mid-stride, taking note of a shadow as though for the very first time.
"Are you sure? Maybe no one will notice you're gone." Vitani trotted up beside the other cub, sitting herself down comfortably.
"Oh, they'll notice. I'm amazed they let me stay this long. Don't worry. I'll come back and see you. Tomorrow. Here?"
Vitani nodded to the idea, and smiled her brightest smile. "Tomorrow." She leaned in and made all distance fade into nothing. Her lips touched Kiara's again, while a purr thrummed through her chest. "Here…" She whispered, breath passing over Kiara's trembling lips.
"S-see you then, Vitani…" The young princess turned and ambled, rubber-legged back towards the Pridelands proper.
With a nod and a bright smile, Vitani softly responded, "See you then, Kiara."
"Alright! You forced us to do this!" The next day. Nearly identical to the previous day. The sun, the breeze, the party from Pride Rock going out onto the Savannah. But this time, the princess was watched by the meerkat and warthog pair. Constantly. "Simba really gave us a talking to over you getting away from us for a whole day. This time, we're gonna keep an eye on you. Wait…" Timon started calculating things on his fingers, muttering as he went along. "Make that four eyes. Pumbaa, keep your eyes on her. And I'll keep my eyes on her. And if you have to blink, do it one at a time."
"What happens if I sneeze? My eyes close then, too. I can't just hold it in, or…"
"Don't say it, Pumbaa, I get the picture. If you have to sneeze, tell me. I'll watch double-hard. In fact, if we both watch double-hard, that makes it like eight eyes. Then if we do one-eyed blinks, that's still like keeping six eyes on her at all times. It's brilliant! Yea, I'm a genius."
"Uh, Timon?" Pumbaa lifted a hoof to lightly poke his friend in the side.
"Don't distract me, Pumbaa, I'm keeping careful watch."
"Careful watch on what?" The area was empty, save for the two of them. In the middle of Timon's figuring and Pumbaa's distracted attention, Kiara had given them the slip.
"Ok, here's my new plan. We tell Simba that she found herself a nice, new home and that she won't NEED to come back. That should work, right?"
Away from Timon and Pumbaa, Kiara ran, fast and reckless, tumbling down small hills and through tall grass, to meet her new friend and playmate, the mysterious and curious Vitani. She was so friendly. Too friendly. At least, Kiara thought with a blush, she was playful.
Vitani was there, just waiting for her, her deep, blue eyes fixed on the arriving princess. She ran out to meet Kiara, halting the cub right on the border of Outlands and Pride lands , with another kiss. Kiara remained shocked, but didn't fight it. There was a tenderness to the touch of lips. Something sincere and warm. "I'm glad you came. I was worried."
"W-worried?" Kiara's head swam after the kiss, and she had no idea why. She only knew that it had been beautiful. "Why were you worried?"
"It's not easy making friends in the Outlands. And I want to be friends." Vitani casually sauntered back into the Outlands, Kiara following close behind. "I want to be… Special best friends with you, Kiara."
"I'd like that. You're lots of fun. Maybe sometime you can take me in there, and show me what it's like."
"Oh Kiara… You just don't understand. It's not worth seeing. I live here because I must. We can play on the border, that's adventure enough."
"Oh…" The princess looked down for a moment, scratching at the dry ground. Then she took off, dashing at Vitani, who began to run and dodge the pursuit. "Well… Tell me about yourself! If we're going to be best friends, we have to know about each other. Tell me about your family."
The question seemed to hit the darkling cub like a wildebeest, stopping her dead in her tracks and allowing Kiara to pounce onto her, and pin her down. "… My family… I have my mother. And my two brothers. They're annoying."
"What about your father?"
Vitani's jaw worked several times, but no sound emerged. She looked almost pained, but quickly hid the state by twisting about. "I don't have a father. He died, when I was just barely born. My mother takes good care of me now."
They remained there in silence for a long while, Kiara's warm body pressed against Vitani, who didn't dare try to move. She just savored what she was allowed to have. "I don't have any brothers or sisters." Kiara broke the silence, leaping off of Vitani smoothly. "Just my uncles. My dad is too busy being king to play with me. And my mom is the same way."
"Your father is the king?" Vitani rose to her paws and padded over to Kiara's side.
"Yea. I wish he wasn't, but I can't change that."
"At least he's there, sometimes."
"Yea, I guess… Hey! Let's keep going on the border! If this is as far as you want to go, we can keep going as far as we like." With a scattering of dust Kiara was off, running along the divide between the Pridelands and Outlands. Vitani was right behind her, laughing, as she kept pace with the princess.
They dashed along the winding route that the border took, up and down small hills, Kiara constantly looking back to make sure Vitani was still behind her. She was looking back as they both crested a hill, Vitani catching sight of something that made her inwardly cringe. "Kiara! Look ou-!"
The warning came too late, the other cub crashing right into the figure which had been on the other side of the hill. A dark-toned cub male, with a tuft of black on top of his head, and dark rings around his eyes. "Ow! Oh, I'm sorry."
"Kovu! What are you doing here? I thought mother told you to stay away from the Pridelands." Vitani seemed unconcerned by what had happened to the other cub, and instead went over to slowly help Kiara up. "Are you ok, Kiara?"
"Yea. I'm fine. Who is that?" Kiara lightly prodded the prone form before her.
"That's just my brother, Kovu. He's really annoying." Vitani leaned in close to Kiara and whispered in her ear, "And mother always liked him best. So don't worry too much. She'll be swooning all over him when she finds out."
The fallen cub slowly lifted his head and gave it a shake, looking up at the two lionesses. "Vitani? What are you doing out here? And how is she?"
"She's none of your business. And I'm out here because I don't have to stay back at home with mother and waste all my time."
"Sorry I ran into you like that. I was trying to watch Vitani and I… Well, you saw what happened."
"Hey, no problem. I'm fine. So, what IS your name? Or did my sister make you swear not to say anything?" Kovu gave a covert wink to Vitani, who seethed quietly.
"My name is Kiara. And I guess you're Kovu. Wanna play with us?"
"I don't think that's a good idea. Mother will get mad if Kovu is away from home for too long. Especially out here near the Pridelands." With a subtle nudge, Vitani attempted to move Kiara away from Kovu.
"Aww, I don't have to worry about mother. She'll forgive me for this. Come on, let's play!" Kovu dashed up to nudge Kiara and knock Vitani off-balance while dashing past the border into the Pridelands.
"I'll get you!" Kiara ran off after Kovu, giggling madly.
"Kovu! Come back here! You can't go out there!" Vitani struggled back to her paws and made a mad dash for her brother and Kiara. Her claws gouged out the ground as she ran, using every bit of traction to propel her along with all the speed she could muster.
Over the low rise of a small hill she found the both of them on the edge of a small water hole, walking over what looked like rotten logs. Perfectly safe, until one of the logs opened its eyes and snapped at the pair. Crocodiles. The whole place was filled with them. "Kovu! Help me!" Kiara shrieked from a small island in the middle of the water, while Kovu made a dash for her along the bodies of the writhing reptiles.
"I'm coming, Kiara!" Both Outland cubs yelled out at once, Vitani pouring on her speed down the hill and making a massive leap into the thick of the action. Kovu, meanwhile, had made his way to Kiara, all three cubs then finding themselves stuck in the midst of the crocodiles. "Nice going, Kovu."
"Hey! How was I supposed to know? I've never been out here before."
"Shouldn't we get out of here?" Kiara started looking around for a way out of the predicament.
"We'll jump. All we need to do is jump over to the back and climb up the vines. We'll make it." Leading by example, Vitani leaped over the snapping crocodiles onto the sloping rear bank wall, pulling herself up one paw at a time using the tangled plants that hung down the bank.
"Well? Go!" Kovu pushed at Kiara, making the young lioness leap for the face of the bank and catch hold. Just a second behind her was Kovu, who scaled the tangle of vines deftly, as Vitani had.
"I can't make it that fast! Help me!" Kiara struggled to pull herself up the vine-covered slope. Her quiet life in the Pridelands had not prepared her for this.
Without hesitating, Vitani leaned over the top of the embankment and grabbed at Kiara's scruff with her teeth. Growling softly and giving a mighty pull she yanked the other cub over the top, much harder than she intended. Kiara went tumbling into Kovu, and the two of them were knocked through a screen of grass into a relatively open clearing. Where a huge, well-maned lion stood, together with a warthog and meerkat. Vitani considered going out to face the lion as well, but she saw her mother enter the clearing, and thought it best to slink back to the termite mounds.
"Hey, Vitani! Back from your little trip?" Back at the mounds, Vitani was accosted by her annoying older brother, Nuka.
"Look at him…" She thought to herself. "Scraggly, half-formed mane, termite-infested fur, perpetual ignorance on his ugly face. Just another sign of what this place is like." "Yes, Nuka, I'm back. I have to get away from here now and then. I can't stand it."
"If you hate it so much you can just stay wherever it is you go. More food for mother and me. You're such a pain anyway. No wonder she loves me better."
"She does? Will she still love you when she finds out you lost Kovu?" A smile crept across Vitani's face as she spoke. Nuka's one job, and he had failed it
"I didn't lose him! He just kinda got away from me is all. But I'll find him way before mother finds out anything."
"Way too late, Nuka. She knows, all too well."
"You little liar! How do you know that?"
"Because not only did I see mother find Kovu in the Pridelands, she's coming up behind you." Vitani gave a light chuckle and turned to walk away from Nuka.
"Oh!" Wheeling quickly around, Nuka just caught Zira coming up to him, with Kovu hanging dejectedly from her mouth. "Mother! How wonderful to see you. I caught some field mice for… Your…" His voice trailed off as she stalked past him, and dropped Kovu off by Vitani.
"What were you THINKING!? Your brother could have been killed in the Pridelands! I had to save him from Simba. How do you explain his presence there?" Zira turned on Nuka as soon as Kovu was down, snarling out her rage at her cringing son.
"So, you're alive? That's a shame. I thought you'd be food for Simba right now." Vitani sauntered from Kovu, looking as disinterested as possible.
"Mother was very good at negotiating. And besides, I saved Kiara's life." With a smug smile on his face, Kovu polished his claws on his chest.
"You liar! I'm the one who saved Kiara! You only met her because you snuck away from Nuka and went where you weren't supposed to go!" Vitani snapped her teeth an inch from Kovu's nose, her hackles up and her claws digging into the crumbly dirt.
"But Kiara doesn't know that." Kovu continued to casually polish his claws, looking haughty and victorious. "Kiara never saw who pulled her up. And she fell into me. She thought I did it. So thanks, sister. For making me look like a hero."
"Believe me, it was never my intention. And it is a mistake I will never make again. You did nothing but get us into that danger. You stole the credit for my work and you interrupted my… You… Well, you interrupted me." The fury in Vitani's voice and motions drained away to nothing as she tripped over the last statement. She looked away quickly, and made another attempt to leave.
"I know. Interrupted your DATE. With a GIRL." Kovu's derisive laughter followed Vitani as he did, the male cub trailing close behind her. "What did you think you were going to do, Vitani? Sweep her off her paws with your charm? She'd never like you. Because of what you are."
"What I am? Kovu, I'm just like you! I'm an Outlander too! I'm an outcast the same as you. There's nothing different about us at all." Vitani turned to face Kovu, rage bright in her cerulean eyes.
"There is one difference. I'm a boy, and you're a girl. The only difference that matters." Kovu smiled in triumph, watching Vitani's face fall from an angry glare to a wounded moue. "And you know it. Face it, Vitani, you never had a chance. I promise you, someday, somehow, I'm going to win this. I'm going to sweet-talk her, I'm going to get close to her, and I'm going to be her mate. Not only because she's pretty, and she is pretty, isn't she, sister?" The cub leaned in close to his sister, whispering into her flattened-back ear, "But also, to spite you." With his promise delivered, he walked off back to Zira, putting on an innocent face.
Vitani slumped to the ground, eyes staring sightlessly ahead. She didn't even notice the harsh, unforgiving scenery. She had been drenched in it as long as she could remember. It was part of her. The sun-baked dirt, the sickly plants, the ever-present termites. "This place is ugly. It's so ugly I can barely stand having to know it exists." She started breathing harder, ragged sobs rocking her frame as she looked out on the desolation. The images started to impress themselves on her mind once again, stamping the ugliness once more onto her consciousness. "All I wanted was to get away and find something that was not this place. This place is hard, unfeeling and ugly. I wanted to find anything soft, caring and beautiful. So beautiful." A stream of tears dripped from her bright blue eyes, bathing the parched earth. "So very beautiful. Kiara…"
To be Continued…