Update 13/7/10: See bottom for announcement.
DiegoRedeemedLover: I've already told you that I love longer reviews! So I don't mind! And I guess I didn't see that theme, so thanks for pointing it out! I can really see how it works. I love the original film, which explains why there are so many references to it in this story. And the herd don't know, but they'd still be a bit shocked, right? And I LOVE that pairing name! It really works! And you seriously need to get an account! I'd really like to read any stories you might have in mind!
LadyLioness: Yes, you can thank sweetheartbuck for the outline. Really helped me out! And I guess with me, ideas come naturally...but like other authors, I do need help some time.
Random Reviewer the 2nd: Glad you liked it! It's gonna slow down in this chapter, but that's mainly because it's a resolutions chapter.
FireChildSlytherin5: Thanks for the review!
pachysam: Do you have an account on here, 'cause I think you'd be able to write pretty good stories. And I'll use some of those quotes if they fit.
goldenpuon: The other sabres are, well, dead, or if not dead, never going to return. But don't worry, it'll all work out in this chapter.
thelonemongrel: Well, I'm not really planning on doing a sequel, so it's happily ever after without any bad guys coming back. All stories have to have an ending, you know.
Paolokid12: Diego does know that Hohots is his brother, which makes the guilt even worse. And I'll try to read your story, but I'm just busy at the moment. I barely had enough time to update this.
Maui Girl 808: That secret was kept pretty well, wasn't it?
sweetheartbuck: That idea is good, but this chapter isn't supposed to have any sort of action in it. Just a sort of apology and forgiveness chapter. And the sabres are pretty much gone for good now. And I'm actually quite honoured that you called my story the best Ice Age story online!
FireflyAndTaylor900: Here's the next chapter for you!
Master Phant: I already have an idea for what Roshan's reaction will be, but thanks anyway!
tatianna: Thanks for the review, and here's the next chapter!
Bobbie: Yeah, if only Fox looked on here more often...
And thanks to DiegoRedeemedLover, the official pairing name for Roshan/Anlegg is Roshlegg. Thanks DR+L!
The journey home was spent in silence. Roshan and Anlegg walked up front with the possums scurrying ahead of them, and Roshan with an arm around Anlegg's shoulders. Behind them, Sid padded slowly along, and behind him came Manny. Diego dragged on behind at the back, his head hung low and his paws sinking deep into the snow. He still hadn't told his friends what he had done, and he was silently debating over whether he should tell them or not. He was already unsure about whether to tell Roshan that he was the sabre who killed his mother; the last thing he needed was the guilt of two deaths eating away at his soul.
Ellie and Peaches were waiting at the den, and when they saw the rescue party approaching, both leapt up and hurried forwards.
"Manny, I'm so glad you're all OK!" Ellie cried, as hers and Manny's trunks became intertwined before their faces pressed together in a hug.
"Anlegg!" Peaches cried out in delight.
Anlegg barely had time to gasp before the little mammoth leapt on top of her like a dog, giving her face dozens of trunk kisses. Anlegg couldn't help but laugh.
"Yes, I know! I'm fine!" she told the young mammoth, pushing her kindly off her.
"What happened?" Ellie asked.
"Well, I distracted the sabres while Sid, Crash, Eddie and Diego rescued Anlegg-" Roshan began to explain, but was interrupted by Sid.
"Yeah, he led them away by sliding on tree bark!" the sloth said, doing a demonstration, which didn't last very long since he fell backwards with a shriek.
"I led them to Manny, who knocked all but four out with a pile of logs," Roshan continued.
"Which was when we arrived, and the fighting started," Anlegg added.
"We all took on a sabre each!" Eddie said with pride.
"Besides Anlegg and Sid, who both made a run for it," Crash added.
"But I felt bad about leaving them, so I used Sid as a sling-shot to fire something at the snow on a cliff," Anlegg explained. "This caused an avalanche, which carried three of the four Smilodons away."
"The fourth one got angry and leapt at Anlegg," Sid continued.
"And that's when Diego knocked him off her, and finished him off once and for all!" Crash finished.
"Really?"Ellie questioned. "Is that true, Diego?"
But when everyone turned their heads, Diego wasn't there. He was standing a short distance away, his head hung low and his whole being showing a sense of guilt. After exchanging confused glances with one another, the herd wandered over to the big cat.
"Is something wrong, Diego?" Ellie finally asked after a short silence.
Diego let out a sigh. He might as well tell them now and get it over with.
"Hohots," he began, "was more than just another sabre."
"When I was captured, I heard that he used to be a part of your old pack," Anlegg remembered. "Was he your best friend, or something?"
"Was he your sister's cousin's great uncle twice removed?" Sid asked.
Everyone – including Peached and excluding Diego – turned to look at him in confusion.
"What?" the sloth asked innocently.
Diego barely even noticed Sid's question.
"Hohots was...my brother."
This shocked everyone. They all stared at Diego with wide eyes and open mouths; dribble began to dangle from the mouth of Crash, and a fly flew inside Sid's mouth which caused him to chock for a few moments before spitting it out, the poor fly now covered in saliva.
"He was your...brother?" Anlegg gasped.
Diego didn't even answer the question; he just began to tell his story like the question hadn't been asked at all.
"Like all brothers, we were close when we were cubs," he explained. "It was only as we grew older that he started to change; he became more solitary and serious, and would wander away from the pack for hours on end."
Diego took a deep breath, before continuing.
"One day, a cub wandered away on it's own, and I was sent to go look for it. But I heard a disturbance in a canyon nearby, so I followed the noise and took a look round the corner. The cub had, for some reason, followed Hohots, and he didn't like that. If I had gotten there just a few minutes before, then that cub would still be..."
He trailed off, but the others understood what he meant.
"I didn't hesitate to tell the rest of the pack what he had done," Diego continued. "Hohots was banished and told never to come back, but before he left, he vowed to get his revenge on me, and cried that I was no longer his brother. And I guess after seeing what he had done, I felt the same way. But he was still my brother, and I killed him."
"In saving Anlegg," Roshan told him.
"He's right," Anlegg agreed. "It was a life for a life. Me or him. You only did what was right by your conscience."
At these words, Diego realized that she was right. He had made his choice, and he had chosen for Anlegg to live. And he would rather have her alive than killed by Hohots.
"But, that's not all the guilt that I bare," he began again. "Kid, you remember before, when I told you that I was one of the sabres who started all this?"
"Yes?" Roshan said questionably.
"Well, I was much more apart of it than you probably think I was," he continued. "I...I was the one who chased your mother that day. I was the one who cornered her, and gave her the choice to live or die. So in a way, I...I killed her."
He avoided eye contact with the boy. Roshan was silent for a few moments, before Diego felt a hand rest on his shoulder blade.
"Diego, I already told you, just think about all the good that came out of what happened," Roshan explained.
"What happened in the past, stays in the past," Manny said. "You've got to live for today, not yesterday."
"And sometimes, sacrifices have to be made for all the good stuff to happen in life," Sid added.
Everyone turned to him in shock.
"What? I have my moments," Sid explained, shrugging.
"So, you're not angry?" Diego asked Roshan, finally looking up at him.
The boy shook his head.
"I made my peace with her departure a long time ago," he explained. "And I think that you need to, too. But if you feel that guilty about it, then I give you my forgiveness."
Diego smiled up at the boy, the feeling of guilt finally lifting from his gut and setting itself free.
"But what happens now?" Eddie asked.
"Yeah, are you guys gonna stay, or what?" Crash asked the two humans.
Both children turned to each other, and for the first time, saw each other in a whole new light. Anlegg thought Roshan a handsome, sweet and brave boy, and Roshan thought Anlegg a beautiful, intelligent and witty girl. There and then, the two of them decided in silence that no matter where they went, they would always be together.
"Well, we are humans," Roshan answered, "so we probably should be with one of our own."
The animals looked down to the ground, trying to hide the disappointment in their eyes. But the two humans just smiled happily at them.
"So I'll be with Roshan, and Roshan will be with me," Anlegg added.
The herd all lifted their heads up quickly, their looks of disappointment having been replaced with looks of joy. Roshan and Anlegg turned to one another once more, and leaning forwards, their noses touched.
They felt as if they truly belonged with the herd, so that was where they would stay.
In a cave not very far away, the paintings that Manny, Diego and Sid had come across during their first adventure remained untouched. Particularly the one of the three mammoths; but this changed when the spirit of a human woman brushed past it, leaving behind a new picture entirely. The three mammoths were still there, but with them were two possums, two humans, a sloth, and a sabre-toothed cat.
Scrat felt like all the blood was being squeezed out of his front paw as Scratte gripped it tightly, breathing deeply whilst trying to push out the small bundle of joy that was inside her. Scrat's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets when Scratte squeezed his paw even harder, giving that one final push.
Two small cries were heard, and when both parents turned to look, they saw two little squirrels laying by Scratte's feet; a boy and a girl. Both uncurled themselves and blinked a couple of times, before their eyes opened to see the world for the first time. They each made little cooing noises with happiness. Both parents smiled down upon them with pride, before Scratte picked up the acorn – that had been sitting in the corner of their den – and handed it to the little ones. Both gripped hold of it, closing their eyes and pressing their heads against it.
This only lasted for a few moments, before the little girl squirrel snatched the acorn off her brother, and allowed him to fall in a heap in front of her. He sat back up again angrily, and grabbing hold of the acorn also, they began to fight for it, both pulling and tugging it forwards and backwards.
And all Scrat and Scratte could do was exchange knowing glances.
FIN! A HUGE thanks to all those who have read and reviewed this story! Would have been nice for my story to reach 100 reviews, but I guess we can't all have anything! And thanks to those who gave me inspiration for certain parts of the story; you all know who you are!
I wasn't intending to do a sequel, but after seeing the reaction this story got, I'm starting to reconsider. But if I ever do a sequel, it won't be for a while, since any sequel idea I have is pretty rough in my head. If any of you have any ideas for one, don't hesitate to tell me about it!
UPDATE: The sequel is finally up! Actually, it's been up for some time now, but I decided to notify you all via this message. It's called Ice Age 5: Continental Drift, and I hope you all like it! Oh, and I've also done a songfic for this story, called No Way Out. Please read both!
Once again, thanks to all those who have read and reviewed!