***Epilogue***

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Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me...
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T'was Grace that taught
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T'was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

-Amazing Grace

Light footsteps padded across tan stone. The sun had not risen yet, so the sky held a deep purple tone. Alex walked carefully down the path, carefully avoiding new green plants that were emerging from cracks in the floor. He walked silently up to the lip of Priderock, not wanting to disturb any sleeping lionesses. He stopped when he reached the entrance to the main cave, Simba and Nala emerged as if on cue. Nala nuzzled her mate and the trio walked to the edge of the rim overlooking the vast savannah. The rivers flowed again, bringing much needed water to the quickly recovering plants of the Pridelands. Leaves had returned to the trees and the hyenas were gone. Several herds could be seen on the horizon, grazing in the growing fields. Alex smiled and looked down at Nala. Her belly sagged low with the weight of an unborn child.

It had been almost a month since the defeat of Scar's reign, and most everything had returned to normal. Simba was performing his regal duties well with the help of his mother and the new queen. Alex rejoined the hunting parties. Though they needed food, they were careful to preserve the balance. It was easier to do so with the hyenas were gone, but difficulties persisted. The lionesses loyal to Scar had left soon after his demise. Alex had gone the day after to retrieve his knife from Zira's corpse, only to find it lying on the stone floor. The handle had been completely burned off, leaving only the steel blade. The expected body was nowhere to be seen; Alex had anticipated some remains from the fire, but none existed.

Alex and Nala continued their morning routines of practice and exercise, but the lioness opted out more and more as she continued later into her pregnancy. She still went with her human brother, but most of the time was spent just watching. Alex lessened his training as well; there was no threat of hyenas and other work needed to be done.

The sun rose, painting the bluish-purple sky a deep hue of red. The birds awoke and broke the early morning tranquility with their cheerful songs. The majesty of the Pridelands was something that Alex would never forget. The beauty of the sunrise was just as good today as when he had looked upon it over a year before. The young man let his eyes drift slowly to the east; a small pillar of smoke rose from the plains. Humans were in the savannah.

Alex had checked them out carefully the day before, and concluded that they were harmless. Judging from their equipment, they were humanitarian aids just passing through. They weren't hunters or mercenaries, only people trying to help others.

"I wish you didn't have to go…" Nala whispered sadly.

Alex sighed. "Me neither."

Simba stared off into the horizon. "You're sure that they're safe to approach?"

"Yea," Alex nodded, "They won't cause any trouble."

Nala looked up at him. "You're doing the right thing. Your family needs you more than us."

"You are my family too you know." he smiled.

Nala rubbed against his leg and Alex took a knee beside her, placing his arm over her shoulder. "We'll all miss you." She reminded him.

"Hey, I'll be back." The human reminded her. "As soon as I get the whole 'back-from-the-dead' thing sorted out, I'll take the first plane back out here." He patted Nala's enlarged side. "I'll be back before the little one's first hunt."

Simba nodded. "You had better be. I'd hate to try to explain to the kid that her uncle couldn't make it."

"I'll be there."

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After saying his final goodbyes to the pride, Alex descended the ramp from the great stone. He gave Nala and Simba a final farewell with tears in his eyes. He stood back, looking at the pride, He would be back. He had to keep telling himself. In less than a year. He pulled his charred knife out of its sheath. He turned to face a nearby tree. In one fluid motion, he stepped and threw the blade into the trunk. It sunk deep into the soft wood and Alex turned back to the pride and smiled.

"I'll be back for my knife." He told them reassuringly. Nala smiled. With nothing more to do, he walked off towards the rising smoke.

Within a few hours he reached the encampment. He watched for a moment before going any further. The crew was packing up, extinguishing their fire and cleaning off the plates from their meal. Alex walked out from the lush foliage towards them. One woman gasped at him.

"Bob!" she called with a British accent.

"Yea, Molly?" answered a lean man whose back was turned.

"There's a kid here!"

Alex found their startled expressions amusing. He had to admit, he didn't look to great. Torn clothing, deep tan skin, and terrible scars along his arms made him look quite unusual. He smiled in an attempt to reassure them. "Hey, I'm Alex." He offered his hand to the woman who looked at him with uncertainty.

The crew greeted Alex kindly, and agreed to take him to the nearest city. Alex learned from them exactly where in Africa they were. He turned out to be right; they were humanitarian workers and they were returning from a remote village from the deep south. Alex offered them some jerky that he had prepared back at Priderock, but they wouldn't have any. It turned out that they were all vegetarians and their meal had been primarily tofu. Alex smiled. It figured. The crew piled into the van and departed shortly.

"So how long have you been here?" asked Bob.

"Over a year, but it wasn't that bad." He told them.

"I would die without human contact for that long." Molly remarked.

"Yea…" Alex stared blankly out the window of the car. "It sucks to be alone…" He gazed at Priderock, now shrinking into the distance. It stood in a sea of green, much like it had been when he first laid eyes upon it. A light tan figure stood atop the great stone's peak alongside a red-maned one. A roar erupted from the place that Alex called home. He smiled and took a deep breath "Goodbye…"

***The End***

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***The Final Author's Note***

Well that's that. This story is complete and I want you all to know that I had a ton of fun writing this. What's more, I am thrilled that you all loved it. Your support has encouraged me and I'm sure that I will be writing again soon. On that note, I know that many of you are craving a sequel to this, and although I'd like to please you all, I will not be writing a continuation. I have some other ideas that I'm working on, so keep your eyes open for different stories, but do not expect a sequel to "Nala's Brother" any time soon.

At this point, I'd like to thank you all for staying with this story until the end. I hope that you all really enjoyed it, and I would also hope that you would share your thoughts on the comments page. Again and as always, review and comment; tell me your ideas.

-Ben