A/N: This was inspired by the section "Firebird" from Fantasia 2000 and Bambi. This takes place after the Bambi movie. I would reccommend watching "Firebird" before hand or at least playing it in the background as you read this ^.^
Disclaimer: Not mine!
His father had always told him to take care of the Lady. It was not for him to question the Lady, nor to doubt her power; he just had to awake her at all costs, in all circumstances. Bambi sighed; he wished he had paid more attention to his father before he had assumed the role as the Great King of the Forest. It's not that Bambi had purposefully ignored his father, but in his dad's old age he had begun to say some odd things.
It all started one day as the King was gazing upon Bambi's young ones, watching the twins play in the meadow with their mother Faline. The wild grass pulsed around them in the wind, rich and gold with the summer's warmth. The twins bounded around, testing out their new legs in the sunlight. One of the little ones, the girl, tripped, tumbling head over heel to land in a little creek that rolled through the calm meadow. "The Lady has her own ways," said the King, staring hard at the scene below them.
Bambi chuckled; looking as his mate nuzzled the young doe, encourages her to get back up. "Yes, she does," he murmured in reply, nose twitching in a deer smile as he glanced to look at his father.
The old buck just continued to stare below him, eyes distant to what was he was actually seeing. "Father?" Bambi tried and got no response. He tried again, this time nudging his father on the side.
His father shook his great head, antlers swaying from side to side and turned to stare at the younger buck, eyes piercing. "Always find the Lady, never doubt what she does. Trust her with everything." He looked up to the mountain that shadowed the area, dark and peaceful. "She is powerful, more powerful than even Man."
Bambi stared at his father, not understanding what the King was saying. He had heard rumors of other deer, when they grew too old; they began to lose their way. They saw things that were not really there and talked to friends who were long dead. Bambi never dreamed this would happen to his father, not the Great King. Swallowing down these bleak thoughts, Bambi carefully asked a question, "Where do I find this Lady?"
His father exhaled a slow breath. "You will know where to find her when you need her," and he stalked calmly away, off to inspect other areas of the forest. Bambi glanced down at his wife. She, sensing his eyes and his alone, looked up at him, smiling softly and peacefully to him. Nodding slightly at their silent communication, Bambi followed his father.
The two had many other conversations about the Lady before Bambi's father passed on. Each was random and seemingly unrelated to the scene before them, but each carried the same message. "Watch the Lady, find the Lady, awake the Lady." The King died quietly that fall, wandering off for the final time, bidding Bambi not to follow.
The first winter of Bambi's reign as the Great King was the hardest. Food was shorter than usual; many moved on to find better eating grounds. Bambi's close friends took their families to nearby valleys, traveling further than they ever in order to survive the winter. Bambi sent his young family along with them, but he stayed behind, a feeling tugging in his gut –like he should be doing something to stop this, but he didn't know what.
"What are you going to do, Your Majesty?" asked Friend Owl gruffly.
Bambi tried a little smile; even the harsh winter had not softened the rough owl. At least the hardy owl was too stubborn to leave, but he was one of the last. Even those who slept out the cold, like Flower and Thumper, were awakened by the earth as it seemed to protest the winter, groaning and shuddering every so often. They moved on to find quieter places to live, at least for the time. Feeling the smile slide off his face, he looked up at Friend Owl, his father's words echoing through his mind. "I'm going to find the Lady."
Friend Owl gave a slight nod, letting a small smirk flash across his face, before forcing it back behind his crotchety exterior. "Right, right, of course," he muttered, circling around on his branch before settling back into his hollow, "it is what your father would have done."
Bambi returned the nod, smile returning briefly before he turned away, following the pull in his gut. He walked deeper into the forest than he ever had before, approaching the foot of the mountain. Everything around him was asleep with the winter, the cold bit at his body as he walked, punching a path through the ice-covered snow. His head swayed from side to side, walking almost in a daze, following a scent that did not seem to be there.
Approaching a strangely unfrozen pond, he stopped suddenly, eyes examining a dead, hollowed tree that almost seemed to cradle the other side of the pond. Tilting his head slightly, he exhaled slowly, smelling a mustiness in the air that normally only accompanied spring. Where could this smell have come from in the dead of winter?
He carefully tested the water with a hoof before dipping fully into it. Careful to keep his stance on the bottom, he trotted cautiously across the distance to the hollow, breath rising in clouds around him. Entering the hollow, he unconsciously lowered his great head, ducking to enter the space, and breathed gently up to the roof. His breath warped the air, touching a giant ice sickle, before falling to the ground and settling.
But no, it didn't settle, it kept moving. Bambi stared, hypnotized by the movement, as it grew into…something, or rather, someone. The Lady smiled at him, for he knew that's who she was, her green form whipping around in an unfelt wind. He smiled back as she hugged him; she reminded him of his mother, a great alive force that never left him, but also of himself, a curious being. Bambi respectfully backed out of the hollow, allowing the Lady by and she exploded out, her mere presence bursting everything into growth.
Bambi stared on in wonder as everything bloomed. Life streamed off of her in swathes, almost seeming to paint itself across the surroundings, as she moved out of the pond. Her delicate hands formed flowers and spread grass, bringing what was once dead back to life. Prancing slightly, Bambi stopped at a little tree and stared at it somewhat mournfully before looking back at the Lady. She giggled at his face before wrapping the tree in her arms, swirling herself around it before zooming away to bring more to life.
Staring in awe at the tree, Bambi's mind floated back to his first spring, his mother's gentle nuzzle on his face, all the creatures there to greet them. He inhaled deeply and could almost smell her. Happy feelings flooded his mind as spring began to filter back into the forest.
He opened his eyes. The world around him was strangely quiet. Where had the Lady gone? His ears swiveled, trying to pick up the tiniest sound as he approached the foot of the mountain. Bambi was tense for no other reason than that he had never been this close to the mountain before. Things were said about this mountain, that only those very foolish approached it. Surely the Lady would not have…
The mountain suddenly exploded as the earth moaned beneath. The Lady emerged from over the edge, yellow eyes wide in terror. Bambi turned tail and ran, leaping over the hills, feeling the heat of whatever dwelt in the mountain chasing down after him. It was like the fire the night Man tried to hunt Faline, but worse, so much worse, for this fire was alive.
Bambi trumpeted a warning to all who could hear, knowing deep in his soul as the Great King what the monstrosity was. "Run! The Firebird is awake!" The spring that had bloomed at the foot of the mountain had not yet touched the world further along and those who had remained through the rough winter were still locked in its grip. Creatures looked blearily at him as he leaped by, yelling his call, before they too scrambled after him. "Hurry! Hurry!"
Swallowing back the mindless terror that threatened to seize him, he snagged Friend Owl as the bird tumbled out of the tree. "You clear the west, I'll clear the east! Get everyone out of the valley, NOW!"
He did not wait to see if Friend Owl would do what he had been ordered. Hopefully the old owl had kept his head through the whole ordeal. Bambi shook his head, continuing to run and yell; any life that could be spared from the ravenous Firebird was worth it.
Bambi did not know what happened to the Lady and frankly, he did not care. As far as he was concerned she had awakened the Firebird just as she had awakened the tree. Without finding her, it may have been death by starvation, but at least then some may have survived. The sweeping wingspan of the Firebird ensured complete destruction of everything it touched. Bambi snorted. No time to think, no time to feel, no time to worry. Just run and call. Save as many as you can.
He bounded along, dodging flaming trees that seemed to warp with the heat. The very air seemed to be on fire and Bambi panted, edging his way up the opposite side of the valley, calling as he went. A rock slid out from under his hoof and he stumbled, landing on his knees on the hillside. A tree fell to his side, his mind jolting him back to another fire. No. Get up. Run. Now.
He topped the rise in time to see the Firebird gathering its strength above the cowering figure of the Lady. Even though he did not know how to feel about her, his heart went out to her –dying by fire was a horrible way to go. It crashed down as Bambi watched, screeching as it fell, eyes fiercely proud of the work that it had down as it smoldered the valley. Glancing around on either side, he was able to see all the surrounding valleys, land that was once covered in a pure white snow, now smoldered with the remains of the Firebird.
Bambi just stood and stared, mourning the loss of his valley, the place he had always known, destroyed for a second time by the hungry destruction of fire. His eyes scanned the area for movement; surely there were others that survived. He could not be the only one left.
Becoming more frantic as the hours grew longer, he ached to see even one face, but the only movement to be seen was the settling of ash over the barren landscape. His family and friends must surely be okay, the fire had not been that extensive. But no, his eyes swept over to the nearby valley his family had moved to try and survive the winter, and it was as black and as motionless as his own. Feeling heart break as memories of his family – the little twins and his beautiful wife Faline—and his friends—ornery Thumper and honest Flower—flashed before his mind, he simply bellowed, voice echoing across the wasteland that was his home.
He spent the night up on the ridge. He did not sleep, worried that ghosts of those who died would haunt his dreams and yet he could not bring himself to leave, not yet at least. Dawn came weakly through the smoke. Everything had cooled off somewhat, but ash continued to fall like a grim rain. Bambi stared bleakly out at the surroundings, that much more desolate in the morning light, unshed tears that had not fallen through the whole ordeal still refusing to fall.
He felt the familiar pull in his stomach, the one that had started this whole mess. He snorted and stamped his foot. He did not care what his father said, forget the Lady, he needed to move on or he would die here. Heart aching as Bambi turned his head, he stopped. Awake the Lady, echoed his father's voice. Bambi bucked his great antlers and ran over the ridge, descending into the neighboring valley, ignoring the stupid mantra as he ran blindly.
Coming to a stop suddenly, he looked around panting. This wasn't the next valley over, this was his own valley. How had he come back this way? He had purposefully set off in the opposite direction. Trust the Lady with everything.
If ever a deer could roar, Bambi did. His frustration echoed over the wasteland. He had trusted the Lady and what had that gotten him? Not only did he no longer have a forest to be the King of; he had lost his family, his friends, his home. What more did he have to give to the Lady? He breathed heavily, ash clogging his throat, making it harder to get air. The Lady has her own ways.
Bambi took another breath to let out a roar, but then stopped, letting it rush out in a sigh. What more did he have to lose? He had nothing left to live for, nowhere to run. If the Lady was still alive, she was really all he had left. Fine, he thought tiredly, dragging his feet along the ground, kicking up the settled dust, and finally following the pull in his gut.
After walking through the formless, unrecognizable wasteland for what felt like days, the pulling in his gut stopped and he looked down at the slightly lighter patch of dust at his feet. He breathed slowly on it, kicking up some of the ash into the air and stirring the Lady. She looked weakly up at him, her form a mere shadow of what it once was and Bambi stared back, even though he still lived, he felt like a ghost. She huddled around herself, parts of her almost seeming to blow away in the wind.
"I'm sorry," she murmured, turning her back to Bambi. "This is all my fault. I just wanted life…"
Bambi swallowed back his remark and just stared at her, pleading for something to happen. He sighed, and raised his head, feeling the frail hope he had allowed himself to build up ebb away as he looked at the helpless Lady. Glancing around at his surroundings, he recognized the tree that the Lady had awoken. He remembered the lovely scent that had filled his nose, the scent of her, his Mother.
And an idea struck him. Bambi turned his head slowly back around to face the Lady, lowering it to her level. His blue eyes meet her green-gold ones. "I have faith in you, Lady," he said simply, voice hoarse from the ash. "You bring life to things once dead. You can make this new."
The Lady shifted to look at Bambi, blinking slowly. Then reaching up, she grabbed a hold of Bambi's crown pulling herself up onto his forehead. Bambi slowly raised his head, moving carefully so as not to dislodge the Lady. Every fiber of his being screamed that this was useless, even if the Lady could bring life back to the forest; everyone he loved would still be dead.
Hearing an almost inaudible sound, Bambi realized the Lady was crying. He began to walk as the tears trickled down her face and fell into the air, hitting the thirsty ground. Leaves exploded from where the drops landed and Bambi ran, feeling a lightness come over him that he could not quite explain. The Lady laughed and leaped off of Bambi's head, becoming a great sheet of rain that covered the ground as he ran, life bursting from the soil bigger and bolder than the old growth had ever been.
And Bambi still ran, eyes not believing what he was seeing. Though his heart ached, he laughed, watching as green exploded everywhere. The Lady swept all over the valley, covering even the mountain of the Firebird with her power, the landscape changing from black to a world of colors. Finally Bambi stopped running and he found himself at the foot of the tree, the one that reminded him so much of his mother.
A laugh tinkled above him and he knew the Lady was back from spreading life to everything the Firebird had touched. She came down to him, glowing with a healthy luster that Bambi had not seen even before the fire. Looking at him, broad smile on her face, she touched the tree and it burst into bloom.
The two stared at each other, Bambi still panting from the run, the Lady floating in her radiance. "Thank you for all you've done, Lady," said Bambi politely, eyes flicking away from her so she would not see the pain in them.
"Don't thank me yet, King Bambi," she said lightly. "I'm not finished."
Bambi looked up questioningly at her face. Raising her arms, she let out a joyous laugh before disappearing in a flash of light. Blinking to clear his eyesight, Bambi realized the forest around him, unnaturally silent since the awakening of the Firebird, had burst into sound. Bambi stood stunned at the noise, feelings bubbling around his chest. Could it be?
He let out a whoop before galloping back through the forest to his homestead, familiar calls echoing all around him. There, nestled in the undergrowth, was his wife and children. Bambi approached them quietly, not wanting to interrupt their sleeping forms and settled beside Faline.
"Glad to have you back," whispered the King to his wife.
"It's good to be back," she murmured back sleepily, nuzzling his face before lying back down to rest. Bambi settled down for a nap as well, but not before thanking the Lady, feeling a tear trickle down his cheek.
A/N: I'm sorry this isn't a chapter for one of my other stories, but I promise those are in the works. Anyway, did you love it? Hate it? I don't care, just review it!