DISCLAIMER: All characters belong to Disney or are fictional.
You'll Always Be My Brother
It was a bright, spring morning when all the birds sung and life was brought into the forest. Koda looked around and saw miracles all over the place. He saw the raindrops in the spider's web, and he saw little ducklings down by the creek. If he looked around the forest he could see a mother fox caring for her three little babies, and in another direction he could see the porcupines doing whatever it is they do. And then as he looked forward, something hard and fast hit him from behind. "Oh my! Oh my! It's happening! It's happening!" It was Kenai. And of course he was in a panic because Nita was about to give birth to his cubs. "Oh! It's happening! KODA! IT'S HAPPENING!" Koda got up and rubbed his nose that had been pushed into the ground as Kenai crashed into him. "Kenai! Calm down! You'll be ok." Kenai started breathing again, "I'm okay... I'm okay... I'm okay! ... I AM SO NOT OKAY!" Koda made a quick descision and climbed up a tree so he wouldn't get run down again. "Kenai! Take it easy!" Eventually Kenai didn't have any more energy to run around and slowed down outside of the den. "I'm okay... It's no big deal... I'm just gonna be a dad. Oh! I'm going to make a horrible father!" Koda rolled his eyes! He was about to start yelling at Kenai when Nita called for him. All became silent. Koda sat there staring at Kenai, and Kenai sat there staring into thin air. "Kenai! Unless you missed it. NITA CALLED!" Kenai quickly got back to the real world, but still looked like he was half dead. Eventually he got up and peeked his head into the den. He saw Nita, just laying there smiling, and between her paws were two little cubs. "Oh my..." Kenai was speechless and she simply smiled at him. "Say hi to your babies." The panic Kenai was experiencing seemed to go away, and was filled with amazement. "Wow... I'm a dad..." Kenai smiled before running out of the den and yelling out "I'M A DAD!" Koda's face was filled with a smile as he climbed down the tree. Both he and Kenai ran into the den, Koda first with Kenai right behind him. They both smiled when they saw the little ones pick their heads up. "Oh wow! They are cool!" Koda said and went over to sniff them. But quickly backed away when one of the cubs grabbed his face. "Hey! That's my property!" Nita and Kenai chuckled and then nuzzled each other. After all the drama of the morning, it had become a wonderful day.
Two months had passed since the little cubs were born and both Nita and Kenai thought it would be a good idea to get to the Salmon Run so that they could introduce the newest members of the family to the other bears. And so that's what they did. Kenai, Nita, Koda, Sari and little Sitka who had been named after Kenai's brother. So after a long stay at that den, they set out on the same journey Koda and Kenai had made when they first met. And their destination was the same too, the Salmon Run!
It had only been a few hours when they ran into their first pair of animals. It was of course Tuke and Rutt. "Hey Big Beaver! What's up, eh?" Tuke said. "Rutt! Tuke!" Koda smiled and hugged the moose's legs! "It's so great to see you!" Tuke lifted his foot and rubbed Koda's head. "Hey smallish bear! Still hanging out with Kenai, eh?" Koda pushed his head away from the hoof. "Of course I am! He's my brother!" The moose laughed. "That's cool, eh?" Koda nodded. Nita simply gave them a smile while keeping Sari and Sitka nearby. "He-he-hey! Who are these little guys, eh?" Nita and Kenai smiled proudly. "These are our cubs. Sari and Sitka." Rutt leaned down and sniffed Sitka, who like he had done to Koda, grabbed his face. Koda fell over on his back laughing. "Hahaha!" Rutt picked his head up as soon as the baby claws got a hold of him. "Hey! This guy is worse than smallish bear!" Koda kept laughing, Kenai was a bit confused and Nita simply gave them a dirty look. "Well, congratulations you guys. We'll see you, eh?" Tuke and Rutt left quickly. It was almost as if they didn't like Sari and Sitka, which Nita did not like. As soon as the moose's were out of sight, they continued on their journey.
The evening came quickly that day, especially considering Sari & Sitka's young age. The little bear family settled down under a large tree, where Nita quickly gave her cubs a feeding and then tucked them both in as they fell asleep. Koda was tired too, which was new to Nita and Kenai, especially since he kept them up most of the times. He decided to snuggle up with his little nephew and niece and before anyone could say "berries" he was knocked out. Kenai smiled at Koda, and then Nita took a seat beside him. "Big day, huh?" He said and she nodded in response. She didn't seem very talkactive that evening. Kenai decided to let her speak when she wanted to, and it didn't take long before she opened her mouth. "I am so happy that Koda loves Sari and Sitka so much. For a moment there I was afraid of jealousy between them." She looked up at Kenai who stared at the starry sky. "Yeah, same here." Kenai smiled, but was then hit with a wave of worry. Nita of course noticed, and simply replied, "It'll probably stay that way too, hun." He nodded, but it was obvious that he wasn't convinced. Nita didn't know what more she could say. So she simply sighed and then gave him a lick before she snuggled up with Koda and the cubs. Kenai had agreed to stand watch through this first night, and then the next night it would be Nita's turn. That system would continue until Koda was old enough to take on night shifts like the adults, and then it would be more sleep for everyone.
The next morning came bright and early. Nita woke the cubs up and before anything Koda was bouncing off the walls again. "So what's for breakfast Kenai? Huh? Huh?" Koda said while running in a circle. Kenai smiled. "Our first concern at the moment is getting Nita some food so that Sari & Sitka won't be hungry. After that we can worry about you and me." Kenai explained. But Koda did not like this answer. He simply ran ahead of everyone else so that if he did come across any food, it would be for him first. It didn't take long before he found some berry bushes and immediatly ran for them. He took a few bites, but then realized that he was going against his brother, and took a few steps back. He swallowed the last of the berries in his mouth and waited for Nita and the cubs. When they arrived, he saw the smile on Kenai's face when he noticed the berries. Koda also observed that Kenai let Nita eat first while he watched the cubs, and that he had no problem watching her eat right in front of his face. Koda gave a low grunt at this. His brother had changed completely. In Koda's eyes, fatherhood was ruining him.
After their stop at the berry bushes, they continued their slow journey. Koda was getting especially annoyed at this. When it had been just him and Kenai, they had gone as fast as possible. When it was him, Kenai and Nita, it had still gone fast. Even when Nita was pregnant it had gone faster than this. As he walked in an obviously irritated way, he wondered why cubs had such short legs anyway. He also wondered why Kenai and Nita weren't carrying their cubs. Kenai saw his younger brother ahead of him, and with the stomping of his paws he noticed that something was wrong. "Hey Koda, anything bothering you?" Koda turned around. "What? Me? No, no, no, no... I'm just making an endless journey through a forest with the slowest bears in the universe!" He said in a very rude way. Nita was shocked over his behaviour and almost wanted to say something. Instead she and Kenai both agreed it was time to carry the cubs a bit. So Kenai grabbed his son with his mouth and began carrying him, Nita did the same with their daughter. It didn't help much, but they did move a bit faster and Koda was happy with that.
The evening didn't come as quickly as the day before, but it came pretty fast anyway. This time it was Kenai's turn to get some sleep. He felt so happy to be able to sleep. He was exhausted. Literally exhausted. He snuggled down with Sari & Sitka, who had enough energy to wake up the entire forest, but after their evening feeding settled in their stomach, they managed to drift off. Koda and Nita were the only ones awake at that time. Koda wanted to sleep, because he was sleepy. But there was no room for him. At least when Nita slept there was room for him to snuggle up. But Kenai only snuggled with Sari and Sitka. Koda sighed as he looked at Kenai, who was smiling in his dreams. He thought back on when he and Kenai had last snuggled as they slept, it had been before Nita got pregnant. It was when he still wanted a brother, when he still needed a brother, when he still loved his brother. A tear came to Koda's eye at the thought of losing Kenai, he had to stop it from happening. He just had to!
The nest morning Koda woke up before everyone else. Nita watched him as he went looking for breakfast and was actually surprised that he had managed to wake up so early without anyone waking him. It didn't take too long before he came back with some wild berries, which he knew Kenai loved. By then everyone was awake and hungry. Unfortunately it wouldn't be enough food for them all. His paws weren't large enough to carry so much. "I couldn't bring all the berries. But if I remember correctly, we should be reaching the river that goes through the Salmon Run. There should be some fish there!" Koda said in excitement. Kenai smiled and took a bite from the berries and then let Nita have the rest. He expected that Koda had eaten when he found the berries, and he was correct. Koda was starving and ate berries whenever he saw them. After their little meal they headed for the river, and sure enough there was some salmon in it. Not as much as at the Salmon Run, but there were enough for the two adults and the matured cub. It was only a few hours after their meal when they reached the Salmon Run.
Koda's eyes widened as he saw all his friends. It was at the Salmon Run that he felt like he was home. It took about two seconds and then Koda was in the water. He was splashing and slapping the fish and having fun. Nita thought back for a second, it was the first time in a very long time that Koda seemed to have fun. At least the first time he was having 100% fun. Kenai looked at Nita and she looked at him. They both smiled and then walked over to where the older bears were. "Hey hey buddies!" Kenai said as all the bears turned around. "Hey! Kenai! What's new?" All the bears smiled and seemed to have their questions answered when they saw Nita and the cubs. "Well, I got a mate, this is Nita..." he said as the other bears greeted her. "...and I also got myself two cubs. Sari & Sitka." Several of the bears became silent when they saw the cubs. No one had expected Kenai to become a father so soon. They still thought of him as a newbie bear. "Well, my my..." a familiar voice said. Kenai and Nita turned around. It was their old friend, Tug. "Tug!" Kenai said and gave him a huge bear hug. Tug smiled before he introduced himself to Nita. "Well, hello there lovely lady. I'm Tug." Nita blushed. It had been a long time since she had been called lovely. "I'm Nita." She said in her girly voice and Kenai simply smiled. It didn't take long before Tug noticed the two young cubs between Nita's paws. "Oh!" He said in shock. He turned to Kenai. "Yours?" Kenai nodded. He was almost a little scared of Tug's reaction. He seemed so shocked. More shocked than the other bears. But Kenai's nerves calmed down as soon as he saw the smile on Tug's face, which was followed by a laugh. "Haha! Well, congratulations!" Kenai and Nita both smiled, this time showing their teeth as they smiled. They were just about to thank him when Koda took over the scene. "TUG!" He jumped up on Tug's head and bit his ear lightly. "Hey there, Koda. How've you been?" Koda smiled and without even thinking of Kenai and Nita being there, he answered honestly, "I've been better. The last few months have kind of sucked." Kenai's face was filled with shock, while Nita was just dissappointed. "Koda! What the..? What do you mean?" Koda turned around and saw that Kenai was getting angry. Koda suddenly felt so small. He even felt like his niece and nephew were bigger than him. He felt alone, he felt like everyone was against him. Tug picked up on Koda's feelings and put a paw around him. Koda shivered as the paw touched his shoulder and just ran off. Everyone watched him run off and the Salmon Run was left in complete silence except for the running river and a few whimpers coming from Sari & Sitka every now and then.
"You should go after him!" Nita told Kenai, who gave her a look as if she was crazy. "Are you nuts? He obviously wants nothing to do with me!" Nita gave him a threatening look. "Oh! Okay,okay! I'll go see what's wrong with him. But if I can't get through to him, then you can try!" Kenai said before beginning to walk off. "Gladly!" Nita replied, this time Kenai didn't respond. He just began to run after Koda.
Koda was sitting under a bush when Kenai found him. And when Kenai saw he was in tears, he knew he had done the right thing by following him. "Hey Koda, what's wrong?" He asked, but Koda wouldn't answer. Kenai decided to go straight forward. "Why did you say what you said? About these past months sucking?" Koda turned around. His tear-filled eyes gave Kenai a feeling of guilt. "Because it's the truth, Kenai." Kenai's face filled with sorrow. He didn't understand Koda at all. The past few months had been the best of his life. He had Nita, he had two wonderful cubs and he Koda as well. "Koda, I don't understand. What's been so horrible?" Koda's face changed from sadness to anger. "You! You have been horrible! Ever since you became a father you have had no time for me! You hardly even speak to me anymore" Through his anger the tears started falling. "Most days I wish those two hadn't been born!" Kenai was now feeling the same anger that Koda was feeling. All he wanted to do was slap him across the face, but he managed to control himself. "Koda. Don't say that. I know you love them." Koda didn't answer, because he knew what Kenai was saying was true. "I remember everything Koda. I remember your reaction to when Nita announced that she was going to have them. I remember you supporting Nita through the entire pregnancy, I also remember you giving all your love to them when they were born." Koda looked away, he didn't want to make any eye contact with Kenai. "So don't you dare tell me that you wish they hadn't been born!" Koda then looked at him again. Understanding his emotions wasn't as easy as before. "You're right. I've given them all my love! So has Nita, and so have you!" Kenai was relieved that Koda was finally communicating with him again. "But you got to know this. I am still a cub and I still need love. I am not as lucky as Sari and Sitka. I don't have a mom, and I never had a dad. All I have is you Kenai. Nita and the cubs are just a package deal with you." Kenai wanted to say something, but let him continue. "But these days... I don't even have you." Koda ended with. The forest was in complete silence. Kenai didn't know what to say. He thought he and Koda had been okay. But thinking back, he knew that he had ignored Koda. "Koda, I'm sorry. I really am." Koda looked at Kenai. His face had a little hope in it. "Look, I am sorry about everything. I am sorry I haven't been with you, I am sorry I have ignored you, and I am sorry if I did anything to hurt you." Koda smiled and hugged Kenai. "I know things have been different Koda, and that things have changed. But you know what?" He looked up at Kenai and asked in his cubby voice, "what?" Kenai smiled down at him. "There is one thing that will never ever change." Koda gave him a questioning look. "You'll always be my brother." Koda smiled and hugged Kenai tighter. For the first time in a long time, things felt right. And things kept on feeling that way until the end of their days.