It was true that Lion-O needed an heir. The other animal species leaders often teased him whenever they spoke with him. "You don't have an heir yet?" "Every king should have an heir!" "How long have you been ruling? How long have you been married? Four years? Then get a move on!"
But sometimes Lion-O wondered if they knew exactly what they were saying had more underneath the surface. An heir made it sound like it was a recyclable material. An heir made it sound like some sacred jewel he had to keep locked away for safe keeping. But what the other leaders forgot to mention was that an heir was a child; a baby; a person. They breathed, they ate, slept, played, smiled- just like everyone else.
Lion-O would get flustered when someone would bring up the idea of an heir, but it never actually bothered him much. He would dismiss the idea; it never struck him to the core. Maybe that was why when Cheetara phrased it differently it nearly knocked the wind right out of him. "I'm pregnant."
While the term itself could be easily turned into a superficial meaning, such as a 'condition' or other, it shot through his head like an arrow. She was pregnant; she was with child. His child; their child. It wasn't even worrying him in terms of royalty. The cub would someday be ruler of the kingdom- big deal. Right now, he was trying to grasp at being a father and how in the world he was going to balance being a king, a husband, and a father.
He rapped his claws against the rickety wooden table that was his technology work bench. He often retreated to his old work room whenever he was feeling troubled. His guards and servants seemed to forget the room existed, so he wasn't bothered. For this, he was thankful. Thundera forbid someone come bother him when he was troubled; especially since they would figure out why and chastise him for it.
The scolding would go along the lines of "You are a king, an heir is important." And "It's a cub- you should be happy!" He wouldn't say he wasn't happy. But he wasn't exactly thrilled. He was far more worried about the future and raising his child all wrong.
He sighed, setting down his little screw driver and the piece of tech he had been fiddling with. He had to think of the positives. There were plenty of positive things to come from this development. But he just couldn't focus on them at the moment. He wanted to get things sorted out before allowing himself to get excited. But he knew he would look forward to all of this soon. Cheetara had a way of getting him to calm down and look on the brighter side of things. But even without her comforting, and rationalized words, he would still come around eventually.
I rubbed his eyes, trying to refocus his thoughts by refocusing his sight. "This shouldn't be so…difficult." They were financially set and married. They could handle a cub- they needed to at some point. He just didn't realize that 'some point' was now.
"What shouldn't be so difficult?"
Lion-o looked up to see Tygra at the doorway. "Because if you mean ruling the kingdom, then no, it shouldn't be. But it would be a lot easier if you would quit playing around and get back to work." His tone was humoring, which meant he wasn't entirely serious. Lion-o was thankful for that. He couldn't handle Tygra's chiding at the moment, but his bantering was more than welcome.
"I just needed some time to clear my head."
"Yeah. I heard the nurses and some of the servants gossiping earlier." Tygra walked over to where his brother sat and leaned against the wall. He crossed his arms and smirked. "So daddy," His smirk got bigger, if at all possible. "What does it feel like?"
"Kinda like my mind is trying to go in every direction at once, but it can't."
"Hmm, sounds painful."
"That's probably a good way to describe it." Lion-o leaned back in his chair.
"But you know it's not all bad."
"No, it's not." Lion-o agreed. "Just trying to figure things out."
"What's there to figure out?" Tygra asked, "You're gonna have a kid and you're gonna raise it. Simple as that."
"I know." Lion-o mumbled. "I guess I just wasn't ready for it."
"I'm sure she wasn't either." Tygra ran a hand through his hair. "She's probably feeling the same way you are."
When his older brother said that, it made Lion-o feel like a fool. How could he be so selfish and only think about how he felt? Then again, his wife was very level-headed and rational. Not to mention she seemed pretty collected when she told him. But after his reaction, she might have been left worried.
"You might be right." Lion-o ran his clawed hand over his face.
"Anyway- get outta here." Tygra tried pushing Lion-o out of his seat with his foot. "You've got work to do, right?"
"Yeesss." Lion-o groaned, finally getting up out of his chair and trudging out of the room. As annoying as his brother was, he was right at least eighty percent of the time- at least when it came to life problems.
To be honest, when they first told her, she was somewhat nonplussed. She had figured that's why she had been feeling ill lately, but she didn't say anything. She had merely nodded and told the nurse 'thank you' for her time. It wasn't until she had reached their bedroom it started to sink in. She was going to be a mother. Inside of her was a life; a life that would one day walk the same earth she walked and would smile and call her 'mother'.
She lay down in bed and rolled onto her back, placing her hand on her stomach. Nothing felt different. She was still as toned as yesterday. The only thing different now was she knew what was below the surface.
The cheetah smiled lightly and chuckled at herself. She couldn't wait to meet who was below the surface. While the prospect of becoming a mother scared her, she looked forward to being a big part of this little person's life. The first steps, the first words, the first laugh, the first scraped knee, the first smile; she would try to be there for it all. And she knew Lion-o would be there too.
He had seemed a little…shocked? It was hard to say, a mixture of emotions displayed across his face when she told him. But he had business to attend to, so their conversation was cut short. But she thought it would be good for him to get some time to himself to sort things out.
Lion-o did so well with children- well most of the time. WilyKit and Kat sometimes drove him up the wall, but they did that with everyone at least once. But by the end of the day everyone loved everyone again. Tygra and Lion-o often taught Kat combat skills and military tactics, while Kit would sit back with Cheetara and talk about girl things. Mostly about how annoying boys were, or why they didn't make any sense.
But Cheetara was positive Lion-o would make a great father. Though it was apparent he probably didn't feel the same, or at least that's what she collected when she watched his face go through about twenty different emotions at once. But she wasn't worried.
She had closed her eyes for a moment, but looked up from her spot in bed when she heard the door click open. Lion-o closed the door behind him, throwing off his cloak with a big sigh.
"You got off early." She smiled. It was obvious he wasn't super happy about it.
"Tygra kicked me out of my hiding spot." He ran his hand through his fiery mane. "I kinda forgot he knew where it was." He strolled over to the bed and lay down next to her with a plop. "Then the advisers 'advised' me to quit work for the day."
"Well, I guess that's what advisors are for."
"Yeah." Lion-o sighed again, and Cheetara rolled over closer to him and buried her face into his neck. She savored lying on her stomach, knowing that she wouldn't be able to do so in a few months. It was always her favorite time of day; when they were done with their duties as King and Queen, and then just laid in bed and talked and spent time together. It was calming, quiet, and familiar.
Cheetara closed her eyes. Lion-o would talk about the cub when he was ready, which she knew would be tonight sometime before they went to sleep. He wasn't the kind of person to beat around the bush, but she also knew he didn't enjoy pressure. So she would let him bring it up on his own.
The room was engulfed in silence for the longest time, both of them with their eyes closed, her face in his neck and his in her hair. But the both of them knew the other wasn't asleep, and sleep wouldn't be greeting them for a few more hours.
Lion-o swallowed, suddenly becoming aware of the elephant in the room. "So." He opened his eyes, "You're pregnant." He laughed a little at himself. "Way to start off a conversation!"
"Yeah. I went and saw the nurses today."
"I guess we should have figured." He sighed. "You've been puking your guts up for the last two weeks." He chuckled, remembering one night they stayed up together after she kept getting sick repeatedly. He would have held her hair back for her, but she took off so fast to the bathroom that by the time he caught up to her she was already done.
"I sort of had a feeling." Cheetara admitted. "But I didn't want to get anyone worried or get their hopes up."
"By anyone, you mean me, right?" he pulled his head back and she gazed up at him.
"Just a little." She pecked his cheek. "Besides, no need to worry about something unless it's for sure."
He smiled a little. "You know you could have told me."
"I dunno." She smiled mischievously. "The way your face looked when I told you this afternoon said otherwise."
He chuckled, "Sorry about that." He wrapped his arms around her and drew her close. "It was just kind of…unexpected, I guess."
"I know." She wrapped her arms around his neck.
"Anyway," Lion-o continued "I've been thinking about it ever since you told me."
"I guess…" Lion-o paused, staring at the pillow for a moment before continuing, "I just have mixed feelings." He shrugged a little. "I know it's pretty basic; have a cub, raise it, take care of it, teach it the ropes. But it doesn't feel that simple."
"Because it goes deeper than that." Cheetara reassured.
"Yeah." He figured she'd get it. "But I'm just worried. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be a very good dad."
"What makes you say that?" she furrowed her brow just a little, but still kept her smile. Always the doubtful kind, her husband was.
"In case you don't remember, I've made a lot of bad decisions. I lose my temper sometimes. I'm too competitive. I'm not very patient." He exhaled and closed his eyes. "I screw up a lot. And I'll probably just screw up a lot with a cub too."
Cheetara laughed. "Well, if I remember correctly, you learned from a lot of those mistakes and know better now." She rested her forehead against his and closed her eyes. "And there's no such thing as a perfect parent."
Lion-o's breath caught in his throat when she opened her eyes and stared into his teal colored ones. "I don't know about that. I think you'd do a pretty good job." She laughed at that and slid down to rest her head beneath his chin.
"Lion-o, I'm gonna make a lot of mistakes!" she turned around in his arms so that her back was resting against his frame. "I'm going to forget to do things and I'll probably give it the wrong kind of advice at times." She rolled onto her back to get a better view of her lover's face. "But I'll just learn from my mistakes and keep trying."
"I guess it is sort of a trial-and-error kind of thing." Lion-o chuckled
"Exactly." She said while Lion-o reached over and brushed her bangs away from her face. "So don't worry about that. I think you'll make a great father."
Lion-o leaned down and met her lips with a soft kiss. "Always know what to say." He mumbled in wonder. "How do you do it?"
She just smiled back up at him. Maybe it was years of training with the clerics, or maybe she was just naturally perceptive. But if she knew the person well enough, she could usually figure out what they were thinking under certain circumstances. But she'd never give away her secret.
"Anyways, I'm starting to get excited about all of this." She rested his hands over her abdomen. "What about you?"
Lion-o reached for her hands, wrapping his callused fingers around hers; his knuckles resting against her stomach, "I'm getting there."
Decided I wanted another family fic, so I made a prelude to Title. I really haven't seen many TC fanfictions surrounding this theme. So I decided to make them myself. Hopefully this isn't an insult to the community somehow, like how it's emasculates the show. But whatevs. I'll write whatever I want.
This is also on my DA account, Nina-Reaper. The only differences is I worked out some kinks and typos in this version. Hope you guys enjoy Getting There!