Disclaimer: ThunderCats is not my intellectual property.
Summary: Normal warriors weren't supposed to have their fears tamed by their 7 year old adopted brothers. But this…this he could live with. Pre-2011 series Fluff.
Tygra is: 12, Lion-O is: 7.
Cracks in the Sky
Something special is happening tonight, Lion-O decided.
His father was tense with anticipation, watching the sky slowly darken and pulse with energy. The grey clouds masked the excitement behind them, but Lion-O knew what was happening. It was encoded in his instinct, the power of his bloodline, the sure way of defining Thunderian Lords from common Cats.
"It is our ancestors, using the power they have gleaned from the Sword of Omens to fight amongst each other to rule the sky itself." His father had told him that, once when he wasn't sure how to name this phenomenon. "We can feel their strength course through our bodies, giving us the power and the right to rule over all we conquer."
Lion-O clutched the edge of the window. He could feel it, the electricity running though the air, making him want to run and scream and shout until the crashes stop. "Can I go outside? I could spar with someone. Please, Father?"
Claudus sighed, inwardly pleased that his son was finally taking an interest in battle, rather then children's stories. "Only if you can find someone your size."
The cub nodded, then raced away, his toenails clicking against the floor like small echoes of thunder. Lion-O soon found the door to his older brother's room. He knocked twice, because he's a prince who was taught to have manners, and then barged in because he's the prince and can do what he likes.
"Tygra? Are you here?" he walked in the circular room, light from the hallway cutting into the darkness. In the middle of the room, there was a mass of fabric, about as tall and wide as Tygra himself. The striped cub, unbeknownst to Lion-O, was huddled under layers of all types, from thin silk covers to faded wool blankets.
When the young prince didn't get an answer, he proceeded to playfully kick the ball of material. His claws inadvertently caught the first few layers and tugged them off, revealing his adopted brother nestled under them; Tygra, who was shivering despite the warmth of his blankets.
Lion-O was pleased, this was the first time he's ever found his brother when he needed him.
The next lightning strike caught Tygra completely by surprise, making him jump in fear. The storm outside was building, as was the knot of fear in his stomach.
Unaffected, the red-headed cub said, "Father says that you have to practice with me outside!"
Tygra blinked. He knows that it isn't right to hide from the weather, crawling into a nest of blankets just to feel secure. A real warrior shows no fear. He was currently waiting for the other greave to drop. Lion-O should be ashamed of him, angry even, and cast him out of the Royal Family for this. Anyone else would. And yet…
The Crown Prince stood, waiting for his answer.
Tygra blinked again, his hazel eyes full of disbelief, waiting for the cub to catch on. A noble Tiger afraid of water? He'd become the shame of the Royal Line if anyone found out. No one would ever take him seriously. And Claudus…he couldn't let him down, not when he took him in like his own.
Unfortunately, the seven-year-old had no attention span. "What's with all of the blankets?" the Prince crouched down at the nest of pilfered fabric.
This, he felt, was unacceptable. 'No,' Tygra willed, 'Look at me. I'm the one that's wrong. ME!'
Lion-O's ears perked up. "Did you say something?"
It occurs to Tygra that he might have said that last word out loud. He shook his head no. "Huh. C'mon, the rain's not going start for another half-hour. I wanna go practice my swords-manship." The red-head grasped his brother's wrist and began to drag him to the courtyard.
Tygra should have known. This was Lion-O. He was blunter than an anvil, and kinder than a Cat had any right to be. Lion-O would sooner beat him tree climbing than be mean, or even purposefully neglectful. It just wasn't in him. He supposed that he could be thankful for that, at least for tonight.
A thunder clap jolted him out of his thoughts. They were in the hallway. Tygra quickly took his arm from his little brother.
"Lion-O." they stopped, and Lion-O's piercing blue eyes glowed in the darkness, wide and unmoving. Now that he has the attention of his audience…
Crud. What was he supposed to say that wouldn't make him lose his brother's flawless interpretation of him? 'I'm sorry that I'm afraid of thunderstorms, and rain, and the ocean, and any type of water really, no matter what racial stereotypes told you that I'd be fine with it.' came to mind.
He couldn't just turn invisible and run away, either. That was bound to bring up suspicious questions, like "Why can't you teach me?" and "So why don't you just run away every time Father…ohhh."
"I-I I…" Tygra stuttered, his pride wasn't going down easy, no sir! "I don't really like thunderstorms that well. I can't go outside tonight." He cast his eyes to the side of the hall, forcing himself to try and memorize the stone pattern.
"Why?" Tygra realized that he should've plugged his ears. He breathed in and out, steadying himself to become the collected and aloof brother that he tried to be.
"Because…I'm afraid. It's something that you might not understand now, but you will. So I just can't face it tonight. I'll make it up to you tomorrow, alright?" He placed his paw on Lion-O's shoulder, trying to reassure him.
The prince held a defeated look for a second, but quickly brightened up. "Okay." Then he turned curious, mouth turning into a half-frown. "But what about next thunderstorm? Can you face it then?"
"I can't tell you, Lion-O. These things take time." He wouldn't know. As far as he figured, almost no one in Thundera ever complained of storms. Water, of course, was a different story. But he couldn't show weakness, not for a second. That would be unforgivable.
"But I can help you, right?" Lion-O's face was set with a determined grin, excitement building up behind his eyes.
"Yes…" The striped cub was unsure where this was going…
"So that means that you will go outside with me then! Let's go now!" Lion-O had grabbed Tygra's paw this time, leading him again to the courtyard.
The striped brother stiffened as the ceiling pulled away. Lion-O kept dragging, helped along by Tygra's rather cooperative feet.
"It's beautiful." Lion-O said, stopping in the middle of the courtyard to stare at the dark sky.
"It's clouds." Tygra stated.
"Well, so were the original Thunderians!"
"And where'd you get that from?" He wasn't above a little light teasing for letting his little brother drag him out of bed.
"Jaga! He tells good stories, okay?" Tygra decided to stop there, Lion-O looked very serious (and angry, too) when he said that.
"Okay, okay…" he put his paws up in surrender, "I give up. You win."
Just then, something hit the back of Tygra's hand. He looked, and it was wet where he was hit. His mind turned to panic.
"Ooo…Rain's here!" the red-headed prince said, excited.
He tried to keep cool, he'd swear to himself later. Be a good role model for Lion-O, be the best in everything like a true Thundercat should be.
Another raindrop hit his shoulder. Tygra tried not to imagine it as an arrow from an invisible enemy.
The striped cub unconsciously froze, as if his father was around the corner and would give him a stern punishment if he was caught not sparring with his little brother.
His hazel eyes drifted to Lion-O, relaxed and content with his eyes closed, seemingly drinking in the power of the storm. The Crown Prince looked as any other Cat would look when faced with a sunny spot to lay out in, a full stomach and nothing to do.
A fleeting pang of jealousy wove through him; 'Why can he do this, while I, his elder, can't even muster the strength to go outside alone?'
More and more rain kept falling, on the grass, on the stone path, on the trees…'Be like them,' he thought, 'Stand still and let it the water run off. It doesn't hurt. I'm not afraid. I'm not afraid.' Tygra shifted into a fighting stance, which calmed his nerves somewhat. He repeated this mantra silently to himself, trying not to bolt when his clothes were getting weighed down with rain.
Lighting struck the valley adjacent to the palace. It startled both cubs out of their trances with its loud thunderclap.
Lion-O looked to where Tygra was and wasn't surprised to see him diving for the nearest shelter. The red-head wasn't worried, though.
"We can try again later." he said, unconcerned, face stretching toward the sky. For now, Tygra can deal with his problems alone.
Lion-O just wanted to lay under the clouds, forever if possible.
A few minutes later, a passing servant herded a grumbling Prince inside, chiding him about getting his clothes all muddy.
Life at the Palace continued, marked just as much by the moments passing between two brothers as the sun traveling through the sky.
Author's Note: SO. In the original series, it was Tygra out of all the Thundercats who was afraid of water. I also assumed that Lion-O and Tygra actually had a loving relationship before 'I'm always better than you' came into the picture. This is a demonstration of that relationship, combining the two ideas.
My ages are probably incorrect, but I don't care. Cub!Lion-O is just as adorable as the current one. And let's face it, imagining 2011!Tygra cowering from a bucket of water makes me laugh.
Oh, and Lion-O and Claudus reacting to thunderstorms like that is pure speculation. As is the legend of Thunderians coming from clouds and the lighting battles between ancestors. It just sounded SO COOL that I had to add it.
Reviews help Tygra get proper therapy and Lion-O more time to play outside!