by Fuuko no MIko
This is it, or at least I think it is.
My favorite duo has their own chapter, although they do have a bit of explaining to do.
Just to make things clear as well, I don't dislike the Lord of Thundera at all.
I just love Tygra more *_*
Tygra: How can you not?
Be quiet now, or I'm making her dump you at the end of this and elope with one of the elephants.
Also, beware the cheesy romance parts…that's just me. Too many nights reading romance novels in my misguided youth! There's going to be a bunch of them towards the end.
Disclaimer: Thundercats is property of Warner Brothers and whoever, whatever else. I own nothing remotely close.
His world was turned completely upside down.
If that day had begun as a nightmare, this night it has now morphed into a dream.
Mayhaps something better, because one wakes up from dreams.
He did not want to wake up from this one.
The memories of twelve years ago. The fateful meeting at the gates of Thundera. Choosing the prettiest flower in the royal gardens. Her acceptance to the clerisy. The events ran through his mind in rapid flashback.
It all somehow made sense now.
He never believed in fate or serendipity before, not accepting the warnings of prophecy nor the theory of events being written in the stars.
He was a believer that one holds their destiny in their hands that it is up to one's self to carve his path in this life. He's always been a practical kind of thinker.
Today, he thought, maybe he was wrong.
What else would have given him the thought to choose that flower among the hundreds in that garden, other than he thought it was the only one that was as pretty as she was? What coincidence was it that it was his first day of duty and she had to walk by and ask him for directions?
Perhaps the stars did align in his favor, at least once.
When she showed him the heart of the day astrid, he felt as though his luck was changing.
The minute she had put her arms around his chest, he had crossed the point of no return.
You won't be sorry, he thought, as he closed his eyes and put his mouth against hers.
So this is what a first kiss is like.
She doubted that this was the first time he had kissed anyone, as he expertly caressed her lips with his own, but he was definitely her first. She had thought it brazen of her to put her arms around him and ask him for it through her actions, not for once thinking he may reject her. In her heart, and somewhere in her mind, she knew that he felt the same way about her as she does with him.
She figured making the move would at least erase the doubts in his mind about how she felt about him.
Judging by the way he pressured her mouth into parting to accept more of his kisses, she knew the message she was trying to convey was well understood.
He pulled her tightly against him, enjoying the feel of her body against his, his arms drifting from her upper back down to her waist, her supple hair entangled in his claws. He felt her bury her claws lightly against his body, pressing herself in his embrace.
He pulled back to take a breath, although he didn't want to. His glance drifted to her lips that were still swollen from contact. He felt his heart skip erratically hearing her try to catch her breath.
"I've waited for so long."
He raised a hand to trace her cheek, brush strands of hair from her face, his thumb tracing the outline of her mouth.
"Me too." she spoke in between breaths, "You're not the only one, you know."
He buried his face in her hair and drew her into his arms once more.
"I love you."
"I love you too."
This isn't happening.
He stood there for at least a minute or two, blinking once, twice…making sure he was not seeing things.
Enveloped in each others arms.
Locked in a passionate kiss.
It felt as though the ground beneath him began to give way slowly.
She had chosen his brother.
It can't be. It can't.
Words escaped him as he parted his mouth to speak.
Should he ask them to stop?
Or beg her to reconsider?
Or maybe ask him what the hell he was doing?
A betrayal like you have never known.
Anet was right.
Reluctantly, Tygra pulled away from her when he heard footsteps from a short distance.
He didn't know who was more surprised.
The former took off.
The latter sprinted after him.
He turned around to face his older brother, his eye blazoned with accusation. "You want to rub it in my face again or what?"
Tygra stopped a few feet away from the lion, meeting his sibling eye to eye. He opened his mouth and took a moment to speak, "I'm sorry."
"Well that's a first."
Cheetara had followed them, but held back as she saw the two of them staring each other in the eye.
"I didn't want to hurt you."
"That's another first. Maybe I should write this all down in case you forget you even said it."
"You've won, I lost. End of story." Lion-O declared. Without looking back he began to walk away.
"This isn't a contest you know."
The lion stopped mid-stride. Tygra took this as a sign his brother was going to listen to him. "She's not a prize to be won." he spoke firmly. He took a deep breath before speaking again. "This isn't like one of our childhood duels. You can't just pick a winner or a loser. It goes beyond that."
Lion-O's gaze shifted to the ground, then to Cheetara. He had questions in his eyes, she noted. She wasn't sure she can answer him without hurting him. "You know I care about both of you." she spoke finally, "Just, differently."
"I see that now." he muttered under his breath.
She approached him, touched his face and lifted it to meet her gaze. "I'm sorry Lion-O."
The look he sent her way was gut-wrenching, "I'm sorry too."
With that, he took off and this time, neither Tygra nor Cheetara dared follow him.
They found themselves laying side by side on the grass, under the stars, gazing into the night sky. Tygra with one arm under his head, and Cheetara on the other. They lay their silently for almost an hour now. No words exchanged, but their bodies communicating what their speech has not. They had mutually agreed to let Lion-O handle his issues without them trying to add more fuel to the fire. At least, for the moment.
His ears twitched, "For picking me? I hope not." he said half-jokingly.
She smiled and shook her head before sitting up and putting her arms around knees, "For coming between the two of you. That's not right."
"It wasn't intentional." he reasoned. "I never thought you were the heartbreaking type."
"Would you be saying the same thing if I had chosen him instead?"
"I thought you already did." He said thoughtfully. "But I don't expect our reaction would be anything similar. Lion-O and I are very different in the way we handle things."
He sat up and for a moment they just looked at each other.
"He's going to be okay."
"I know, it just worries me."
He nodded in agreement. "I'm worried too." he then said thoughtfully, "But knowing him, I know he's not going to do anything stupid. Impulsive though he can be."
An awkward pause followed, with him breaking the silence.
"We're going to have to have a sit-down. " He said before a naughty glint flashed in his eye, "I know what can take our worries away, though."
She wasn't completely prepared when he leaned over and kissed her again. Her mouth was slightly open to speak when he did. She felt a minor invasion of his tongue in her mouth.
Well, two can play that game.
She felt warm all over as he kissed her passionately, experiencing a tingle that started from her mouth all the way to the base of her spine. She felt herself being lowered to the ground as the pressure of his body on hers increased. She just about flinched when his kisses found its way to her neck, gently nibbling on it. His hand found itself invading the side of her body, leaving trails of excitement wherever he touched.
"What?" he pulled back, a mischievous spark in his eye, that trademark smirk appearing on his lips.
"What are you doing?" she tried to act irritated, even if her fur screamed for more of his touch.
"Releasing twelve years of frustration."
"That sounds dangerous."
"You haven't seen dangerous yet."
She didn't protest when he put lips upon her neck again. His touch retracing the trail he made earlier. He had taken off his armor and was dressed in his princely gear. This enabled him to get physically closer to her without crushing her soft frame against him. It just seemed he couldn't get close enough.
Doesn't look like I'm getting any sleep tonight, she thought.
"You best be careful with my baby." Panthro barked as the tiger took the helm of the steering wheel of the Thundertank. "Just because I don't have arms doesn't mean I can't kick your tail."
Tygra brushed him off as he started the vehicle. "I believe it. You didn't become general for no reason." He smirked before shifting the gears and putting his foot on the pedal. The thundertank roared into action, rapidly descending the side of the mountain where the elephant village lay. Screams of excitement could be heard from the back of the tank with the thuderkittens having fun at their rapid acceleration.
I can't look, Panthro groaned as he closed his eyes shut and grit his teeth.
Prince Tygra is going to get a piece of his mind as soon as his anxiety attack wavers.
Once the screaming inside the tank subsided, Cheetara took her hands off her ears. To say that the descent was nerve-wracking was an understatement. She could've sworn he's lost control of the tank and had plummeted down the side of the mountain. She's surprised he hadn't gotten his ear ripped to shreds by the panther for that dive. She's even more surprised that he could drive the tank in the first place. They've gotten so little sleep last night that before this that she was having a difficult time keeping her eyes open.
Across her was someone who had not a single reaction to the dive the thundertank took. Since they last spoke to him the night before, he had been extremely quiet.
She felt for him. She had planned to talk to him after speaking to Tygra, but by some cruel coincidence he had chanced upon them during their intimacy.
She understood if he didn't forgive her. She had a hard time forgiving herself.
She had no regrets having feelings for his older brother. Her regret was she didn't let him know sooner and clarified that although he meant a lot to her, it was not in the way he thought.
Hurting him was the last thing on her mind.
Lion-O was tending to the fire at their camp. It was his turn to stand guard. Other than Panthro who was still up and allowing Snarf to nanny him much to his dismay, everyone else was asleep. He was surprised that his brother didn't sleep closer to Cheetara. They weren't far from each other, but they weren't intimate as he had expected.
I guess he's not missing a sensitivity chip after all, he thought, reflecting on his older brother. He had not seen them demonstrate their affection for one another today, at least not overtly. Other than an occasional look or a few words, they showed nothing to declare to the world how they felt about each other. As brash and cocky as Tygra was, this was quite unusual for the prince.
He would be lying if he said he wasn't still smarting from yesterday's revelation. His brother had attempted numerous times today to talk to him without success. It's not that he didn't want to reconcile. He just wasn't sure he was going to be completely diplomatic about it.
"You okay, my King?" Panthro spoke at last.
He nodded but the panther is obviously unconvinced.
"You know I don't like sticking my nose in your brotherly business." he began, "But I can't say I blame you for feeling like the way way you do."
He turned an ear but little else.
It took a while before the general spoke again. "I haven't been exactly in the same boat as you are, but I know what's like when you end up not being someone's choice."
"I lost my girl you know." he said at last when Lion-O didn't reply.
Lion-O straightened up and was all ears to Panthro. He knew that the panther shared little of his life, so the fact that he's having this conversation with him speaks volumes.
Panthro had a girlfriend?
"To another cat?"
"Nope. Worse. I lost her to the clerisy."
He couldn't help his jaw drop.
"Yep. But this is between you and me your highness." Panthro revealed. "She was younger than me you know. We had a relationship of sorts. She was a cleric."
He could almost imagine the panther scratching his head if he was able to. "Before I left with Grune to search the book of Omens I asked her if she would leave the clerisy and be the mother of my cubs." he seemed a little hesitant to continue, but after a short moment he did, "She said no. That she loved her service to the crown and would never leave." he sighed, "She made her choice, she didn't pick me."
A thoughtful expression then crossed his face, "I didn't want to hear anything she had to say after that, which I regret to this day."
Panthro continued, "I had a difficult time getting over my resentment. I think I may have had better closure if we had spoken before I left to find the book."
The young king nodded. "Later on I realized that things happen for a reason. Sometimes its not always evident why things happen. When I look back and think, well, if she did leave the clerisy and we had cubs, if they had perished in Thundera because I was not there, that would have broken me indefinitely." He explained. "Her choosing to remain guardian of the crown had in some ways, was better for us."
"I wish I was able to tell her that one last time, that I respected her decision." he ended after another thoughtful pause.
No one said a word for the next few moments, with the sounds of the night forest dominating the air. Panthro stood up first and headed to the Thundertank.
He turned his head around, "Any word of that leak out and you're toast, your highness." he added gruffly before continuing to his vehicle.
Lion-O managed a half smile and drew a cross on his heart. "King's honor."
That morning, as they cleared camp and prepared to head to the Berbil's village, the lion approached his brother.
"Hey, wanna race?" he tilted his head towards the thunderbikes.
The tiger's ears perked up. The expression on his little brother's face was sincere and inviting. "Want to eat dust for breakfast?" he challenged, the usual smirk appearing on his features.
"Let's see who eats what." With that he sprinted off with the tiger not far behind.
That's a good sign, Cheetara thought.
Lion-O figured this was the time to get things straightened out.
Panthro glanced over the cleric, "You want to drive the Thundertank and show those boys whose boss?"
She managed to laugh, "Only with your permission, General."
"Yay! Racing time!" Kit and Kat cheered on.
The Berbils wasted no time in trying to set up Panthro for prosthetics for his arms. They just about nailed him with a hug when his head emerged from the thundertank followed by sounds of shock and bewilderment when they saw his injuries. They scurried about like mice setting him up for his surgery.
"Well, everything seems to be headed the right direction." Cheetara remarked as she watched Lion-O mingling with the berbils and attempting to understand mechanics. He wasn't in the somber mood he was the last 24 hours.
"Yes it is." Tygra agreed. "We had a long discussion."
"I noticed." She turned to look at him. "You were gone for almost 2 hours there." She said, noting that after the race they had this morning the two cats drove off on their own through the forest and reappeared much, much later. She squinted as she saw what appears to be a bruise on Tygra's left cheek. "Is that a bruise?"
He turned the other direction, "I figured he needed to vent so I let him land on a couple of shots on purpose."
"Sure you did."
"I did manage to get a tooth or two of his out." He said, trying not to laugh at the horror on her face, "That's okay, he needed them out anyway. They were beginning to rot."
He then sneaked an arm around her shoulder. "You want to kiss it and make it better?" he winked, pointing to his injured cheek.
She managed to blush a little before shrugging his hand off. "You and your winking! That's not going to get you anywhere, you realize that?"
He raised a brow, "I have a feeling this time it just might work."
She pushed him playfully before walking away. She decided that she was going to have her turn talking to Lion-O later. She had a feeling he was going to be more receptive this time around.
It was Cheetara's turn to stand guard that night. The berbils were good enough to provide them with a huge tent and some bedding. Needless to say the kittens overstuffed themselves with candyfruit again and after enough rambunctious behavior to test everyone's patience, they had the sugar crash. Panthro was still knocked out from the anesthesia given to him during surgery. She and Lion-O had an extensive talk by themselves. She knew it was going to take a little getting used to, seeing her and his brother be a little affectionate, but she was certain he can and will adapt. He is an open minded cat after all.
Tygra had excused himself after dinner, saying he needed a walk to clear his mind. She understood that he may be reeling from the events of the last 48 hours himself, and decided to let him go by his lonesome even if she had wanted to go with him.
Everyone needs their "me" time, after all. No sense being the possessive girlfriend.
After making her rounds through the village and finding nothing suspicious, she leaned against a mushroom tree and stretched. It wasn't until a minute of sitting there that she realized it was the same tree that they had slept under during their first visit to the berbil village.
Déjà vu, she smiled to herself and closed her eyes. All that's missing is some torrential rain and a snarky tiger.
She didn't realize that she fell asleep at the spot from the lack of rest the last two nights, and yes, the rain began to fall.
With her cleric reflexes, Cheetara raised her staff and rapidly stood in a defensive stance when she felt a presence nearby.
"It's me, babe."
She put her staff down when she realized who it was. Reappearing from thin air was Tygra, getting soaked from the rain as he stood under his cloak.
"You know better than going invisible on me." She snapped. "And don't call me babe." She shuddered.
"But you are my babe," he teased, trying to steal a kiss from her when she put her staff in between them. "Come on, I haven't had one all day." He insisted, trying to plant one on her cheek.
It was her turn to smirk, "You waited twelve years, what's another day?" she joked using her speed to dodge his persistence.
She heard a snap and in a heartbeat she found her arm wrapped in his whip.
Like the predator that he was, he slowly reeled her in much to his delight and her chagrin. "I'm guessing I didn't do a good enough job the other day for you to want it, hmmm?" He teased as he pulled her close, his mouth just a few inches from her face.
"I've had better."
He let out a primitive growl before pressing his lips to her and pushing her against the tree. She felt the whip loosen as he pressed his mouth harder. Much as she enjoyed teasing him, she enjoyed his kisses more, whether she admitted it or not. She let out a squeak of surprise when he moved laterally and licked her ear. When he pulled back she noticed his arms were on both sides of her, trapping her against the tree. A fire burned in his eyes, and she was quite certain, in other parts of his body as well.
"Who are you comparing me to?" he raised a questioning brow. "I know I'm your first kiss."
She managed to shoot him a look saying "Or so you think."
"I need to get some shut-eye, if you don't mind, your highness." She evaded the question all together and tried to sidestep him after pushing his arm away. "You wouldn't let me get any sleep the other night."
She felt him tug at his whip and pull her back. She was about to whack her staff at him when he took her hand and put something in it.
"I spent all night looking for one of these." He spoke before she could get a word in.
Cheetara opened her hand.
It was a day astrid.
Pristine, pure and white, exactly like the one he had put beside her over a decade ago.
A smile couldn't help but find itself on her lips.
"It's where we began," he said, "I figured that with this we can renew our commitment to each other."
She found herself staring into his eyes, reading in them his sincerity and his devotion.
"Do you know how cheesy you sound right now?" she said at last.
"I know. I'm just not my smooth, suave self when I'm around you."
She managed a laugh before pulling the lapels of his princely shirt and planting a long, yearning kiss on his mouth. She wrapped her arms around his chest and savored his proximity. She would be lying if she had said she didn't enjoy the feel of his body against his.
The rain had gotten stronger and the wind started blowing but neither of them seemed to notice. All they were aware of was each other.
He took her in his arms and carried her to a sheltered part of the village where they were secluded, where it was nowhere near anyone can hear them. Not that the pounding rain would permit that anyway. Claps of thunder seemed to help their cause by deafening any other noise.
"I love you, my beautiful cleric." He whispered in her ear as he slowly started to unwrap her like a fragile present.
"And I love you, my snarky prince." She replied, giving in to his physical demands.
The day astrid sat on the corner with the prince's rain-drenched cloak, bearing witness to an act of love that took a decade in the making. The following day it found itself split in half, with one half slipped inside a cleric's glove and the other one sewn unto a prince's clothing. That was where it would stay, until the next decade when another day astrid would take its place.
The End, for now
Okay, I hope that wasn't too much on the fluff, corn and cheese, lol. I know I promised some smut, but I will save that for another day.
I figured ending with the astrid would justify the title of the fic, yes?
Of course this is my take on the whole thing. What actually happens in episode 14 is in the hands of the powers-that-be in Warner Bros. Hopefully, they don't break them up just after they get together. Otherwise I would have to add a 6th chapter, which in the great scheme of things isn't actually that bad an idea.
Even before I finished this fic, I already had another one brewing in my head. Also starring my favorite pair, in very different circumstances. Legacy part 2, anyone?
Cheetara: How much did you bribe her to put us in all those makeout scenes anyway?
Tygra: Me? I thought you did the bribing. Not that I mind, by the way.
Cheetara: But I do.
Tygra: Do you know how many other cats would die to be in your place?
Cheetara: Considering everyone in Thundera's under the ground, I guess that's quite a number.
Tygra: I just can't win.
Cheetara: Hey you get to make out with me, if that's isn't like winning the lottery than I don't know what is.
Tygra: Whoa Spitfire! Since when did you get so snarky?
Cheetara: You can not be seriously asking me that question.
Thanks for reading and reviewing. And like I said, this is not likely the last you'll hear from this story, heh.
To quote the mega-awesome Aldo Reine "A-river-day-chee." (Arrivideci!)