Before and Beyond the Beginning

By Breech Loader

Breech: The hyenas are probably my favourite Disney minions, on a par with Iago. This fanfic elaborates on how I think Ed wound up so crazy, other parts of their early life, will move on to how they met Scar, and include their time in the Pride Lands.

There will be the HELL of a lot of Shenzi/Banzai.

Prologue: Regarding Hyenas

Hyenas are a strange people. Besides the facts, which include them being powerful pack hunters who will eat everything of what they catch, including hide and bone, there are the other matters that have contributed to their reputation – perhaps in some ways deserved, other ways less so – as bad guys.

There is nothing a hyena enjoys so much as the opportunity to stuff themselves until they are violently ill, and considering what they are willing to eat it is never quite certain which end this will come out of. They have an excellent sense of humour when it comes to jokes regarding vulnerable children and school shootings, and they are not especially fond of humans, bar their admiration of our ability to snap the necks of small fussy animals and create useful items such as garrotes and crowbars. Additionally they are related to lions in the same way as rats are related to wolverines and then to Italians, and are on a first-name basis with vultures and insurance salesmen.

They make settlements in the places that nobody else will settle, although it is debatable as to whether this is the cause or result of their presence, seeing as by other species the smell has been described as some large animal having released a series of loose and disappointing bowel movements in the area. Contrary to common belief, they are exceptionally fond of visitors, and welcome them with a similar enthusiasm as one would encourage a misplaced KFC truck.

Hyenic, the language of the hyenas, is a cross between the raucous laughter of a tortured serial-killer, and somebody who plays four-letter scrabble on a professional level.

The male hyena tends to smile in a way that suggests a deep-seated fondness for making obscene phone calls and visiting clubs that have installed floor-to-ceiling poles. Correspondingly, females move in a cross between a woman who sneaks cheap popcorn into movie theatres and one who encourages the wearing of fashions revolving around black rubber, zips and transparent high-heels.

They seem to be cursed with the bad luck of somebody who has turned to making booby traps and loaded dice for a living, and the males especially take a similar interest in their leader as a human who takes an interest in sending unsolicited letters to attractive young women. They are on the level of intelligence as the same kind of person who makes animated banners advertising cheap gambling sites and attractive German girls, then creates ad-blockers.

The leader of a Clan of hyenas is generally the strongest female; the type who enjoys slapping her boyfriend just to make sure he's going to stay in line. Her favoured mate is one who is so well muscled that it extends right into his head, capable of taking down absolutely anybody who he can get the drop on, with a leaning towards a temper as balanced and reasonable as a rabid dog.

So in conclusion, they are without a doubt vital to the Circle of Life in a similar way as meter maids, till-jockeys and garbage-men, and are met with a similar enthusiasm when taking the opportunity to roam on the savannah.

With this knowledge in mind, we will now continue our completely unbiased story...

Chapter One: The Nagging

Sitting on a ridge overlooking the Pride Lands, the young hyena Shenzi growled in anger. Lions... So pushy and greedy and stinky and-

"Shenzi? Your mom wants to talk to you," said a young male behind her.

Shenzi growled again, but got up and headed for her mother's den. Her mother was matriarch of the pack. It sort of made her a princess; not that she thought about it that way. When the time came, she'd have to fight her way to the top, just like her mother, and every leader before her. If any males got in the way... well, the few who tried soon learned the error of their ways.

Banzai, the young male who had given her the message, watched her go, his gaze fixated on her. Gods but she was hot-

An elbow to his ribcage woke him out of the thoughts in his gradually maturing mind, "You can stop staring now, Banzai," Ed told him.

"Ah, shut up," Banzai told his brother. Still, he pulled his gaze away from Shenzi's cute ass. His brother had a point. He and Ed had their own lessons to attend.

"Shenzi?" Kiruu asked her daughter from the den.

"Yeah, mom?" Shenzi asked her.

"I'm getting old, Shenzi sweetie," Kiruu informed her daughter.

"You dragged me all this way for to tell me that?" Shenzi asked, "I know, mom. Let's not talk about it, okay?"

"Let's," Kiruu told her, "I want you to follow in my stead. I may not come back from many more hunts. When that happens, somebody has to take over. I want it to be you."

"I know, mom," Shenzi agreed, grinning, "I want it to be me too. We know all this! Why do we have to talk about something we already know?"

"You gotta be tough, Shenzi," Kiruu told her, "You gotta be strong. When you're in charge, you gotta pick a good mate. Somebody strong. Smart, too. They're gonna be fighting over you," she smirked, remembering how the males had fought over her, "You want your cubs to be strong too, so you gotta pick the strongest."

"What if I don't like the strongest?" Shenzi asked her mother.

"It doesn't matter," Kiruu told her, "I picked the strongest male, and you came of it. I know you can take over the pack when I'm not strong enough to lead. You should pick the strongest too."

Shenzi growled softly, "Why do you always have to push me around?" she asked her mother, "Why do you have to control my life like this? I bet if Abasi was still around he'd let me-"

"Abasi?" her mother's face twisted up in anger at the very name of her former mate, "Gods forbid you should pick a mate like him! Weak-willed, weak-bodied, arrogant, and a bully... strength doesn't mean beating the weak; it means taking down the strong!"

Shenzi nodded glumly. She knew her mother was right really. Abasi was a creep. He hadn't left; mom had kicked him out, and now he was a bachelor male, roaming around the pack and trying to use his status as a former mate of the matriarch to catch some tail, "Okay, he was a creep," she admitted.

"And you do need to pick somebody strong," Kiruu told her again, "Please, Shenzi. Somebody who can take care of this pack just as well as you can."

Shenzi hung her head, "Oh, okay mom," she muttered glumly, "I'll pick the strongest... if you insist..."

"That's my little cub," Kiruu ruffled her daughter's bangs. They both started to laugh as they played; a hyena's screeching, cackling laughter, "And you know what else? I think you're nearly ready to start hunting alone!"

"You do?" Shenzi asked, delighted.

"Yes. Tomorrow I'm going to send you out in charge of a few males, and you can try bringing something down. Of course you're still young, so I won't expect you to bring anything big home, but-"

"Oh, I will, mom," Shenzi told her enthusiastically, "I'll bring something really cool home! I'll make you proud!"

"Oh, I bet you will," The mother and daughter continued to play together. Both were too occupied to see the male grinning at the entrance to the den. He snickered briefly, then wandered away.

"Fisadi," the maturing cub woke up at the sound of his name, to see the male hyena at the entrance of their den.

"Father," he muttered, standing respectfully.

Chukizi grinned, "Kiruu is pushing Shenzi to prepare for choosing a favourite mate," he told his son, "And you-"

Fisadi's grin was just as mean and nasty as his father's, "And you want me to be the one she picks," he laughed nastily, then stopped, "Why would she pick me? She's pushy and bitchy and besides, Kiruu's so picky. It's hardly like Shenzi's gonna be pressed for choice anyway..."

"Because if you court her just right, she won't BE pushy," Chukizi grinned evilly, "Besides, Kiruu's getting old. You never know; she might not be around much longer to be so picky..."

"What, is she sick?" Fisadi asked.

Chukizi rolled his eyes, "No, you idiot. It's just that I might engineer a little accident while she's out hunting..." he paused, then glared again, "You're a good-looking male, Fasidi. You get it from me. If you play it right, you'll be on the right paw of the future matriarch."

"And so will you," Fisadi pointed out with a snicker. He didn't like Shenzi much, though he didn't dare say so. She was a popular young female, and he wanted to remain popular. Still, ideas were already passing into his young but evil little mind.

"True, true..." Chukizi admitted, "But don't you want to be the mate of the future Matriarch?" he asked. Fisadi nodded, "Well, you'll need to get in before any of the runts do. And I'll give you some tips on what will really catch a bitch's attention."

Fisadi nodded with a grin, and the father and son settled down to get to some serious plotting.

It wasn't Shenzi's first pack hunt, but it was the first where she had been in charge. She guessed her mother was right; she had to learn to take charge if she was going to lead the pack someday. She was gonna be a big girl soon; others were guessing that she'd grow bigger than her mother. In a few months she'd be hitting sexual maturity, and then she'd have just about every male in the pack hitting on her.

So, Kiruu had arranged for a few males at the same stage to accompany her on her first hunt without her. They were all pretty high-ranking, too. Her mom probably wanted to get her interested in them, though she couldn't say that she thought that they were very interesting.

"So, what's your name?" she asked the male padding quietly next to her.

"Banzai," he told her. He didn't dare to look at her or say anything more; he knew if he did he'd start cracking bad jokes and worse than that, he'd probably blurt out something like how totally hot she was to him. All that female muscle and the hunch of her neck were really... really- Stop right now, you're on a hunt, not a freaking date, he thought.

And she hasn't even hit full adult-hood yet, added that infuriating voice.

Shut up.

Shenzi looked to her other side, "And you?" she asked the male hyena with the wild grin.

The male grinned, seeing his brother slow down so that he was walking behind Shenzi. Banzai was practically feeling her up with his eyes. He, however, had little sexual interest in Shenzi; sure she was hot and a princess, but so what? What he wasn't really thinking about was that he was a little younger than Banzai; at least in the realms of sexual maturity. In age, they were non-identical male twins.

"Ed," he answered, "My ma said it made me stand out-"

"And I'm Fisadi," a third male interrupted, pushing between Ed and Shenzi, "And you must be the princess..." he smirked, "You're certainly beautiful enough..."

Shenzi almost blushed. A princess. It was kind of true, with her mother in charge and all. And Fisadi was hot. A lot of muscle, sharp teeth, and a sexy hunch. Then she remembered who was supposed to be in charge here, "Yeah, yeah, I'm sexy to no end," she gave a brief laugh, then became business-like to keep her cool, "Now we gotta single one of 'em out," she looked up at the wildebeest herd. Rush in, and you'd get nothing but a kick in the face and an empty stomach.

Banzai glared briefly at Fisadi. Why hadn't he thought up something smart like that to flirt with Shenzi first? Oh, that was easy – he wasn't smart. And he didn't have the guts; he was terrified of the almost inevitable rejection. Now that creep Fisadi had her attention...

Well, more accurately the herd had their attention. Single one out – even a big one – and the four of them could take it down easy, even with their limited experience.

One of the wildebeest was unintentionally separating himself from the full herd. He wasn't far, but it meant that if they all leapt at once, he wouldn't be able to dodge right back into the herd. The rest of the herd would panic and leave him to fend for himself. And he was a big one, but an old one too. Of course, that often meant they knew a few tricks.

If they brought him down, the hunt would definitely be a success, "Remember, go for the throat," Shenzi told them. It was one of the first pieces of advice a cub was given.

They crept in, the wind blowing their scent away, until they were less than ten feet from the wildebeest. Then...

"NOW!" Shenzi barked. The four of them leapt, not quite as one but it was barely a minute before the wildebeest was down, its throat and belly ripped open, and the rest of the herd was scattered. Without waiting, the four of them began to gorge themselves on the meat.

"Good... good hunt, Shenzi," Banzai told her as he ripped chunks of flesh out of the dying wildebeest. The fact that it wasn't totally dead but only in its agonised death throes was not something that occurred to the hyenas; that was a human thing.

"Yeah, you timed it exactly right," Fisadi pushed him aside and positioned himself next to Shenzi to eat. As the strongest hyena there right now, she was naturally getting the best pick, and being right next to her would mean he got second best. Or better.

Ed stopped eating for a moment and sniffed the air. It was heavy with blood, but there was something else there, "Guys, I think something's up," he muttered awkwardly, worried.

"Shut up and eat, Ed," Shenzi told him, "Or do you want to have to skip a meal?"

"I'll eat your share, if you're not hungry," Banzai offered to his brother with a laugh.

Ed all but shrugged and bent back down to continue eating.

That was when the Lion King leapt.

"Drop the meat, poachers," the lion growled.

"King Ahadi!" Shenzi gasped, shocked. Banzai was so surprised that he started choking on the mouthful of meat he had. Ed whacked him on the back a couple of times, and he choked it up.

"You know hyenas aren't allowed to hunt in the Pride Lands," Ahadi told them, "Too many of your kind hunt for sport."

"'Your kind'?" Ed asked, an angry look coming over his usually grinning face.

"Listen, your majesty sir," Fisadi protested, swallowing a mouthful, "This isn't sport, this is dinner."

"We caught it; it's ours, ya bullies," Shenzi snarled back at them, "Go catch your own meat."

"I said, drop the meat," Ahadi repeated as the two faced off. Then Shenzi looked around at the other three hyenas, and back at Ahadi, and started to back away, snarling angrily. Her mother had always told her she should know her limits. She wasn't strong enough to take on a fully-grown lion like King Ahadi, even with the guys. They caught the meat; for now that would have to be enough for today's hunt, "And get out of my lands," he finished.

Then something happened none of them could have expected – with a snap and a snarl, Ed of all people leapt forward at Ahadi. Shenzi was unsure whether to yell at him for being such a moron or join him to stop him from getting ripped apart. After all, she was in charge of this hunt and if anybody got hurt-

And by the time she had decided what to do, it was too late. Ed was thrown roughly to one side, his body slamming against a rock, head first.

"Ed!" Banzai yelped in horror as his brother slumped. He ran over to the unconscious form. His brother was still alive, thank the gods. But there was a lot of blood on the back of his head, and on the rock.

Stupid, stupid, Shenzi thought. She should have told them all to cut their losses before it was too late. King Ahadi was glaring at them all, not a trace of remorse in his regal, arrogant face, "Fine," she snarled at the king of the Pride Lands, "Keep your dirty meat." She turned to Banzai and Fisadi, "Pick up Ed. He'll be okay," she told them both, though she wasn't so sure of it herself.

Fisadi growled at having to help the strange male, but consented to the order, and the three of them headed back to the Elephant Graveyard, their wounded carried on their backs.

Breech: Kiruu means Anger. Chukizi is another word for Hate. Fisadi means Evil Person. Kiruu, Chukizi and Fisadi are all my creations but pretty much every other character belongs to Walt Disney Pictures. Read and Review! It's not easy to be true to both hyena societies and the movie at the same. PLEASE review. It hurts my feelings when you don't, you know.

And I know the only real change is that it's Ahadi who hit the young Ed, but it will matter.