Chapter 1

My younger brother and I were sitting in his and Dexter's room watching one of our Country Bears videos. It was about the 1991 Hibernation Tour and we were both transfixed. The Country Bears were our favorite band.

Oh, yeah, I'm Danielle Barrington, but I am better known as Danni. My younger brother is Beary Barrington. Yes, we're both actual bears. Beary had light brown fur and brown eyes, but I had dark brown fur and green eyes.

You're probably wondering how much younger Beary was than me. Well, we were both found by the Barrington's when we were cubs, but I was old enough to remember. Beary wasn't. Beary is 11 years old and I'm 18. Dexter was a human and he was between the two of us. Dexter is 13 years old.

"Hey, Beary, Danni!" Dexter called from downstairs.

We didn't really respond at first because we were still in our own little world while watching The Country Bears. Well, actually, we were in two different worlds. Beary was watching The Country Bears as whole, but I was focused entirely on one bear.

Zeb Zoober. Now, I know what you're thinking; out of the four males that were in The Country Bears, I was crushing on Zeb? Yes, I know that he was the unlikely choice to be crushing on, but…no actually, he was the likely choice.

Obviously, I wasn't interested in Tennessee because his heart belonged to Trixie, and I love their relationship, so not him. Ted was so grumpy and ill-tempered, and that wasn't something I liked, so not Ted. Fred was adorable but he simply wasn't my type. So there you go, Zeb was my choice.

Besides that, the second that I saw him for the first time (in a video) I fell for him. And I fell hard. I mean, I'm not obsessive but I do…well…I love him. You've probably heard that one from teenage girls before but I truly meant it. I love Zeb Zoober; it was as simple as that.

"Doofuses! It's time for dinner!"

That time we did hear Dexter calling. I jumped up and pulled Beary along with me after stopping the video. We went downstairs and sat down at the table. I noticed that Beary was sniffing at his fish and then he asked the question that I knew he would one day.

"Mom, are Danni and I adopted?" he asked. I had figured it out a long time ago but I didn't want to tell Beary. He would know when Mom and Dad felt he was old enough.

"Of course not, honey."

…this apparently wasn't today.

Yes you are, mouthed Dexter. Dad whacked him on the head with the newspaper he was reading as he said, "Uh, why would you think that Beary?"

"I don't know," Beary said. "Sometimes I feel different, and I think Danni does, too. Like Dex and me; we don't look the same. Our eyes are different colors, and he has freckles, and I don't…I think."

Dexter looked outraged. "Are you serious? That's why you think you're different?"

Whack! Dad hit him with the newspaper again. I wasn't saying anything because I already knew and Mom and Dad knew that I knew. I had told them a couple years ago that I knew and they asked me to keep quiet about it around Beary, that they would tell him eventually.

I agreed and since then, I had remained quiet.

"You know, um, last week it was casual Friday at the office, and I guess I forgot," Dad said, pointing at his head when he said 'forgot', "and I wore a tie."

Mom and Dad started cracking up but Dex, Beary, and I just watched them, not laughing. I raised an eyebrow…or I tried to. I wasn't entirely sure that I had eyebrows.

"And, boy, did I feel different. Yeah. The point is that it's not unusual to feel different, and…those differences always lead us to our higher purpose."

I rolled my eyes; I had heard this little speech when I confessed that I knew I was adopted. It was nice but personally, I thought it was a load of bull. Probably because I hadn't found my higher purpose yet.

"Higher purpose?" Beary asked. He looked extremely confused. I didn't blame him, he was only a little kid, how in the name of Zeb Zoober was he supposed to know what "higher purpose" meant?

"Honey," Mom interjected. "Even if you were adopted, we would love you as much as we love Dexter."

"Maybe more," Dad said.

I thought that was going a little far. You aren't supposed to love one kid more than the other. Sometime you can't help it, but that didn't mean you had to voice that you felt like that.

"Just remember, son, the people who love you no matter what…that's your family," Dad said.

"Okay…I'm going to go practice."

"Yeah, me too," I spoke up. Both Beary and I played guitar, although I preferred to play electric guitar and Beary preferred acoustic.

We stood up and Beary said, "Did you know the Bears made the only country song ever to be recorded in Polish?"

I could tell Dexter was in a bad mood now because he used his most sarcastic tone and said, "Wow, really? And did you know that nobody cares!"

Dad tried to whack Dex with the newspaper again, but Dex blocked with his spoon.

When we went back upstairs, we both practiced our guitars in our separate rooms. I could hear Beary strumming the tune to "Where Nobody Knows My Name", but I focused on my playing.

I was playing a part from "Straight to the Heart of Love". That was one of my favorite songs by the Bears. I was doing pretty well, and I like to think that Zeb would be proud of me. But maybe that was wishful thinking.

Anyway, I had just put away my guitar when I heard Dexter walk into his and Beary's room and say, "Way to go, doofus. You're like totally wrecking this family."

I walked out of my room and leaned on the door frame of Beary's room, and listened in. They didn't mind and Beary said, "Um, what are you talking about?"

Dex sighed and said, "You really wanna know what I'm talking about?"

Beary nodded and Dex got up and went over to a closet. He reached up and pulled out the box he was looking for. At this point I walked over to Dex's bed and sat down.

Dex pulled out a photo and said, "Okay, this is my baby picture."

He pulled out another photo and said, "This is yours."

"Yeah," Beary said, obviously not getting it. Dexter held up a paper. "See this? This is my birth certificate."

"Here is yours." Dexter held up a tracking device. He handed it to Beary and said, "The rangers used it to track you."

"So…what's your point?" Beary asked. Dexter was quite exasperated and held up his hands and said, "Forget it."

Beary picked up a photo of Mom and Dad holding Beary as a cub.

"That? That's the day Mom and Dad got you and Danni."

"What do you mean, got…me?"

"I mean picked you up, man. You and Danni were left alone. They brought you home, showed you a bunch a Barney videos, and they pretended you were their son. You don't belong here."

"Dexter!" I admonished.

"Well, what? It's true!"


"Did you know about this, Danni?" Beary asked.


"Did you?"

"Yes, I did. I figured it out a couple years ago. Mom and Dad asked me not to tell you. They said that they would tell you when you were older. I'm sorry, Beary."

He looked confused and betrayed but he said, "Its okay. You were only keeping your promise."

Later that night, I was woken up by Beary. He was shaking me and saying, "Danni, wake up. Wake up. Come on, Danni."

"What, Beary? It's two o'clock in the morning, what?"

"I'm leaving."


"Shh. I'm leaving to find my higher purpose. I want you to come with me."

It took me a minute to process what he was saying but then I realized that he was set on leaving and there was no way in hell that I was going to let him go out there alone, in the middle of the night.

"Alright, lemme pack a bag. Give me like five minutes."

He nodded and I got dressed and packed my bag and grabbed my guitar. Within five minutes, we were downstairs and Beary was writing a letter to Mom and Dad.

"Where are we going anyway?"

"Country Bear Hall."

"Alright. May I ask why we are going to Country Bear Hall?" I asked. It wasn't that I didn't want to go to Country Bear Hall, I wanted to very much, but I wasn't too clear on the point.

"Well, I figure, if we're going to find our higher purpose, why not start with a place that means a lot to both of us?"

I couldn't argue with that reasoning, and if I was being perfectly honest with myself, I've wanted to leave home for awhile now. I loved Mom and Dad and all, but I needed to find who I was, and I wasn't going to be able to do that while being smothered by my parents.

"Okay. Are you almost done with that letter?"

"Yeah. Do you want to add anything?" Beary asked me. I nodded and took the pen from him.

I read his note and it said, "Mom and Dad, I've left to find my higher purpose. Danni is with me. Love, Beary."

I thought for a moment, and then wrote this: "Mom, Dad, don't worry, even though I know you will. I'm with Beary and I will take care of him as best I can. We just need to find out who we are. Please don't be mad. I love you, love, Danni."

"Okay," I whispered, "let's go."

We headed out into the night and started walking down the street. I took one last look at our house and sent a mental "I love you" to my parents. We walked for awhile, until we reached a bus stop.

We got into in the bus that Beary said would start us on our journey to Country Bear Hall. As we sat down in our seats, I couldn't help but get excited that we were on our own now.