Nuka sighed irritably as he stared at the minutely small cub that was his baby brother. Once again he was being commanded to watch him, only this time it was to be sure he went to sleep. Sounds easy right? Wrong. Kovu hadn't so much as yawned since Zira had placed him in the makeshift cradle she had made for him by carving a rock formation until it reached her liking.
The Outlander lioness had left only minutes ago for an inspection of her territory which would no doubt end up with her belting out a hate-speech on her detestation for Simba, and had warned her eldest son that if her youngest son wasn't in dreamland by the time she got back…well, Nuka had already assumed the worst.
Gulping as he decided to come out of those unpleasant thoughts, he turned his attention back to Kovu, who, much more to his annoyance, still wasn't showing any signs of fatigue. The cub was barely larger than the upper half of an average lion's forelimb, and he was barely able to even move. He had a thin tuft of fur on his head and on the tip of his tail, and the most he could do was blink, eat and whine.
As if to make up for this however, he seemed to become completely aware of his surroundings at an impressively early age. Which only increased his popularity and admiration among all the other Outlanders; particularly his mother, who only paid attention to him even more. Nuka didn't know what was more annoying: the fact that he was being forced to care for something he showed practically no fondness for, or that all the work he was doing to care for him would go entirely unappreciated.
Kovu blinked for a moment as he took notice of the larger lion in front of him, identifying it as the one his mother kept yelling at all the time, before he finally comprehended that for some reason, the lion was giving him a nasty look. Quickly becoming uncomfortable, the dark young lion began struggling to get up.
"Would you fall asleep ya little runt?" Nuka growled as soon as his baby brother began moving.
"What's got your tail in a knot?" Came a voice behind him. The teenage lion glanced back to see his younger sister, Vitani, entering into the den. He scowled and looked back at Kovu.
"Mother told me to make sure shrimpy here falls asleep." He leaned closer to the cub's face. "Well I don't see any sleeping!" He finished. Vitani came over and gave her now confused baby brother a loving lick on the forehead, which put the tiny lion's worries at ease, before looking back at her older brother.
"Didn't she tell you what to do to make him sleepy or something?"
"She said to make sure he was comfortable, and I did that. And let him know he was safe, I also did that. And to try to make sure everything's calm. Well I've done everything mother's told me, AND HE STILL WON'T GO TO SLEEP! SEE THIS IS WHY I SHOULD'VE BEEN THE CHOSEN ONE: I LOVE A GOOD NAP!"
Vitani blinked at her brother with a skeptical look before saying,
"Did she tell you to be quiet?"
"Of course she did!"
"Well, are you being quiet?"
Nuka opened his mouth to shout an annoyed reply…before scowling and digging his claws in the ground. Vitani smirked. A moment passed before her older brother looked at her again. Nuka took in a deep, albeit shaking with irritation, breath.
"If he doesn't go to sleep before mother comes back, I'll be…" He trailed off. The female lioness cub nodded as she looked at her brother with sympathy, before walking over to him and playfully shoving his forearm.
"Don't sweat it. I'll go keep mom busy while you and Kovu work on his Z's." Then Vitani walked up to her baby brother and gave him a farewell lick.
"Be good for Nuka, 'kay?" She said as she ruffled his tuft; Kovu's forepaws made some small grabs for his sister, who just smiled before walking off and exiting the den. Finding himself on his own again, Nuka sighed.
"Let's see," he tapped his claws on the ground, "what else makes cub go to sleep? …Stories? Nah. …Warm milk? Yeah like there's anything like that around here. Hmmm…" The teenage lion put a paw to his chin as he tried to come up of something that would make his baby brother go to sleep, and quick; Zira could be back at any moment. As he tried to think though he heard a small mewling noise behind him. Looking back he could see Kovu making tiny grabs with his even tinier paws in a certain direction. Glancing that way, Nuka could see he was grabbing towards the exit that Vitani had used to leave the den. This only caused him to become irritable once more as he looked back at the cub.
"I bet if 'Tani was here you'd go to sleep." He grumbled. As if to get him madder, Kovu let out a small yawn; infuriating his older brother.
"OH THAT'S REAL FUNNY YA LITTLE TERMITE!" He shouted as he lunged next to him. This proved to be a mistake however, as Kovu instantly started bawling. Immediately Nuka flew into a panic.
"No no! Shh! Shhhhh! Be quiet! Please! Mother might here you!" He begged, but it was no use. The small male cub kept weeping out of fright. His teenage brother groaned as he slumped to the ground.
"Aw Nuka, you better think of somethin' quick or you're dead." He told himself.
"Think… C'mon if that yellow bear can do it so can you! Ok let's see: whenever mother used to tuck the little half-pint into bed, she'd always do it in a step-by-step method. First she licked 'im clean, then she told him either a Scar-loving or Simba-bashing story, then she sang 'im a lullaby-" At that, Nuka's eyes widened.
"A lullaby…" He paused as he glanced back at his little brother, but after a moment, he frowned as he waved it off with his paw.
"Aw forget it; I mean what am I gonna sing about anyway?"
"Nuka!" The young lion would've had a heart attack at that moment had it not been Vitani who came into the den.
"Vitani?! You scared the termites off me!" He growled.
"If only." She scoffed. Nuka frowned, before a horrific expression suddenly came upon his face.
"Oh no, is mother nearby?!" To his puzzlement though, his sister's face quickly lit up.
"That's what I came to tell ya about: a gazelle ran into the Outlands. Exactly how nobody knows, but the whole pride's on the other side of our territory; they're gonna be there all night! Including mother." She grinned. Her older brother was speechless.
"Yep. And if you're lucky, she'll take extra time to get our meals."
"Ya mean your meals." He scowled. Vitani merely smiled.
"If that's how it turns out, I'll split my share with ya. How's that?"
"Really?" Nuka asked as the lioness cub walked back to the exit of the den.
"Maybe." She smirked as she looked back, before running out. The teenage lion stared at where she left.
"The whole pride huh? I guess that gives me more time to get pipsqueak asleep. But how? I mean the only thing I can think of is a lullaby: what am I supposed to do with that?!" The red-eyed lion groaned and slumped against a rock.
"If Vitani were still in here she'd have some kinda idea." He stated…just before his eyes suddenly lit up. This was one of those times where Nuka felt as though he was no longer a virgin; because he had just been taken by inspiration. Taking that subject off his mind though his eyes wondered back to his baby brother, still staring at him with wide eyes in the crib. Although instead of whining about the young lion's refusal to sleep, he casually walked back over to him and said,
"Know what, Kovu? You n' me may not always be on the same level, but believe it or not, we do have one thing in common."
As if understanding what his brother was saying, and knowing he was supposed to be confused after he said that, the dark brown cub raised an eyebrow at Nuka's statement. Seeing the reaction, the teenage male grinned.
"No no no; I mean it. No matter what, there's always somebody whose got our backs when things get rough. And y'know who that someone is?" Kovu titled his head.
"I'll take that as a 'no'." And as if by some mystical force, a spotlight suddenly shined upon Nuka as he cleared his throat.
"To you the world's so clear
To me it's full of fear
But at least we got someone near
Yep, someone near…
Someone I fry for
And you to cry for
We have 'Tani
Small like a termite
But with less bite
We have 'Tani
Someone who shares
Be it joy or despair
Depends if mother likes you
Someone who'll share food
Even if you're in a tight spot or a mood
Someone you eat with
While I get the switch
We have 'Tani
Someone to thrive for
Just be alive for
We have 'Tani
Could be, with three, get along so famously 'cause
We have 'Tani
And 'Tani has us two… too!
Someone who hunts more
And who covers for
We have 'Tani
Someone who fights for
Reaches heights more
We have 'Tani
Someone to chat
While you're healing from a spat
Whenever mom's angry
But I guess I've got some head
Considering I'm not dead
Y'know we could do more
With what we've suffered for
But luckily we have 'Tani
So many blunders
So I wonder
Why would she bother?
Could be, with three get along so famously 'cause
We have 'Tani
And 'Tani has us two, too!"
The teenage lion would've leapt about 50 ft. into the air had it not been for the ceiling, which he nearly crushed his skull before he landed back on the rock floor of his brother's nursery. He groaned as he rubbed his head…before catching his breath at the irate sight of his mother.
"Oh h-h-hello mother. H-how was your-?"
"What're you doing in here?! Prancing around and singing like you're some imprudent pridelander!" Zira snarled, almost failing to see a yellow blur scamper past her feet, stopping just at the head of the sleeping Kovu's crib.
"But look mother, Kovu's sleeping like a cubby." Vitani said, motioning towards the sound-asleep lion cub.
"Coming to the rescue once more." Thought Nuka with a sigh. Zira, seeing this, became slightly less petulant. But that didn't change her cross temper towards Nuka who she immediately set back upon.
"I…I sang 'im a lullaby. I-it always worked for you. So I figured, why can't I try it out?" He nervously laughed. Zira growled, though by the look of her half-closed eyes she appeared exhausted. Nonetheless, her lip curled in a snarl as she said,
"Well don't make a habit of it! Next time you think a song will work get Vitani to do it!"
"Don't worry. I'm sure she will." He rolled his eyes.
"And if you must sing for spirit's sake don't dance to it! There's already enough around here who question your sexuality!"
"What's that?" Vitani raised a brow as her oldest brother stood mouth agape, frozen in place while her youngest continued to doze.
"Don't shout or you'll wake your brother!" Zira growled at her eldest son, before bringing in a couple pieces of meat.
"Here's tonight's dinner. Eat while it's still there." And without another word the lioness strolled to the spot where she slept in the den. Nuka meanwhile, was still petrified with shock as Vitani continued to grow more and more perplexed.
"Hey Nuka, what's whatever-the-heck-mother-just-said mean? Is it bad? Maybe I can get the pride to stop thinking it." The young lioness suggested, careful not to wake her still sleeping baby brother. After a moment, Nuka unfroze, let out a long heave, before dragging his paws to his own sleeping place.
"'Tani, there's some things even you can't help me with." He replied, before plopping right on the ground.