Xion the Author: I haven't published a story/chapter in like… a long time. I really should force myself to finish that Buck fanfic. Anyways, here's an epilogue of a story I think I know you all love.
RAISING A CUB: LEGACY
"Eight years… huh?" Diego muttered to himself. He walked alone in the snowy plains after a day's hunt. This year's winter was cold, as always. The frigid breeze blew across his fur, which years had given it a faded color that more suitably fitted the snowy wonderland he prowled across.
He once remembered back then during his youth as a strong vagabond hunter. Now, he could barely deny the fact that he was old. But the years were as kind as they were cruel. Hunting alone for such a long time, he's learned a few tricks to catch a gazelle with straining only a few muscles. That style seemed cheap, but for his age it suited him better.
Diego breathed in the cold winter air. His breath let out a puff of white smoke. The herd, he thought about. It's only been a few years, and they've all changed so much. Manny and Ellie looked old and decrepit as he did – and so did Sid – but the sloth managed to stay as flamboyantly active to his herd mates. The same could be said about the twins, who have both at least managed to have found a girl to bring home. Twin female possums for the twin males, who would've thought a pairing like that would ever come out?
And even the children have all grown up. Peaches was just as big and tall as her parents… and so was Oliver. Oh, the efforts Manny try to keep the two apart just made each other's hearts grow fonder.
Children… huh? Diego thought. In all those years, he still couldn't stop thinking of his own.
He did have a child, after all.
He remembered each and every decision he made eight years ago. He sometimes regretted the decision of closing the entrance to Dinosaur valley. Speaking of which, he also pondered what became of a certain acquaintance. He wonder if that weasel would be dead by now, or if not still trying to keep up with an aged body. Then again, last time they saw him he was taking care of three dinosaurs. He better keep that topic away from Sid. If he ever reminded him, who knows what kind of things he'll say and do.
All those memories he collected. He wondered how his son was doing.
But, he quickly dropped the thought. He shouldn't bother with things that no longer matter. Given all that he had taught the wolf, and the place where he was left at, he was sure he would be doing fine. But a parent can't help but worry about his child after all, yes?
A simple message; a voice to call him out of the shadows - a light that could brighten his nights, even for just a moment. Yes, that was all that he needed.
And that was what came.
Above him, his ears perked up to notice a set of flapping sounds growing louder with each second. He arched his neck up to see a peculiar bird coming forward, intently towards his direction.
"I overestimated myself. It seems the years haven't been too kind. Harder to find a sabertooth than I thought" the bird said as he approached Diego. The bird landed on a branch as Diego went closer towards him. "Are you Diego?"
"Yeah. Who's asking?" he replied.
"My name is Flik – Don Flik –" the osprey introduced. "Really. I'm such a busy man of such a high position, and yet your son insists that I deliver news of him to you myself-"
And the mention of the word "son", Diego widened his eyes. "You know Elias?"
"Yes, we were acquainted way back when I first heard the story that he ran away from home," Flik grinned.
"What news do you have of him for me?" Diego asked, his sharp eyes staring intently at the osprey.
"A vast amount, but before I tell you, may I ask if you happen to live anywhere toastier than here?" Flik said until he covered his chest with his wings as a breeze passed by. "These old feathers can hardly keep me warm. They're more for display nowadays."
Diego nodded as he led him through the woods. He could hardly keep himself from asking about Elias on the way there. But each time he did, the osprey deflected his questions. But certain questions about his relationship with Elias were answered respectfully.
"Your son was a brave one. I was more fortunate to have met him than he had met me." Flik explained. "It was I, you see, who led him to the wolf pack you know so little about. Do not worry however for they are very kind, and on my visits there he always wore a smile..."
Diego felt warmly as he heard about his son. Although it wasn't the news he was sent to deliver about, Flik had already said a great deal that made him both proud and happy.
"...and so we escaped from Ricardo's clutches, and with the help your son Eli brought along with him, we were able to overtake the former Don. And I took his place to lead all the birds of my kind for a bright future."
The saber-tooth tiger never did happen to learn of the adventure his son had before he said goodbye. The tales slowly reminded him of himself when he was young. He felt even more pride in tales he heard.
A few wing beats and paw prints after, they managed to reach a little encampment made in the middle of a forest. Two mammoths were residing beside a camp fire with a sloth warming his hands near it.
"You're not getting fat. Trust me," Manny smiled reassuringly. "It's just your fur. Old age just makes you more… poofy."
"So you're saying I'm old?" Ellie drew back.
"Uh… old is good!" Manny blurted. He cursed the day language was invented in a way that almost anything a man would say would be offensive to a girl. "Old means… experienced."
"Oh stuff it you old lug," Ellie replied before crossing trunks with her husband.
The sloth turned his head to hear a ruffling from the woods. "Diego, welcome back!" Sid greeted as he caught sight of the approaching tiger. He then noticed the bird flying above him. "Who's this?"
Before Diego could introduce him for them, Flik quickly opened his beak. "Allow me to have the honor of introducing myself. I am Don Flik, leader of the Cold Feather family – previously known as the distasteful name, the Bloodwings."
"Nice to meet you Flik," Sid said as he reached an arm out to shake hands with. Flik at first reached out his wings with good intentions until a gust of wind passed from Sid and towards him, making him almost regurgitate from the stench. Now alerted of a potential biohazard in front of him, he tipped out a few feathers to shake his hand with.
At the mention of his name, a large figure appeared from the dark of the night. "Flik! Is that you?" she said.
"Fruitbowl- err, I mean, Peaches!" Flik said as he flew and landed by one of her tusks. "My, you've grown quite a great deal! Last time I perched on these tusks, they were roughly one-twentieth the size."
"Well now, look who it is," Crash said as he walked in to the commotion. "What brings an old bird here?"
"Hmm… that reply sounded more mature than I expected being uttered from your diseased mouths," Flik said. Crash wanted to retort back something, but Eddie clapped him on the shoulders and shook his head. They were simply no match to the osprey's natural eloquence. They two possums went to climb up an aged bull as two female possums followed behind and stopped at Ellie's.
"Glad at least to know you've matured for your age," Flik said. "Surprised to see you two with a pair of beautiful women." The women of the herd giggled in response.
"You must be the Flik my brothers and my daughter talked about," Ellie said.
Peaches beamed and cut in. "Yeah! He helped us and Eli find other mammoths and wolves like us. But then, we didn't really find any other mammoths," she said. From behind her, another mammoth made his entrance and walked up towards her.
"Oh really now?" asked Eddie as he looked towards Oliver.
"Honey! This is Flik! You know, the osprey I told you about?" she enthusiastically introduced.
"My, this I haven't heard of!" Flik chuckled with his wing covered over his beak. "You've grown to be quite the woman now Peaches."
"Oh stuff it," Peaches said. "So what brings you here? Is it about Eli?"
"That's right," said Diego, who was curious of it as much as everyone as they heard of his name.
Flik rounded everyone around the campfire. "Ahhh… I heard about the sloth that could make a flame, but I never really believed it." Flik said as he melted off caught snow in his feathers.
"So, come on! Tell ush!" said Sid.
"No need to hurry! Just let me dry up a bit. I'm so glad it isn't snowing today for a fire to be made outside," Flik said as he ruffled his feathers.
"Then how'd you get all the snow on?" Manny questioned.
Flik turned towards the mammoth. "It was an unbelievably long trip. Asked to do this in the middle of winter even! Oh, why couldn't I just ask someone else to do this for me…"
The osprey slowly prepared himself, the others used the stagnant time to do other things. The possums were left off explaining everything to their wives, Peaches was talking to Oliver, and Sid was chatting about with Manny and Ellie. But Diego was impatiently sitting by.
Finally, Flik let out a sigh of relief as all the annoying chunks of snow were off his feathers.
"Okay everyone, gather around. The message was more for Diego, but I think your son would've wanted everyone to hear it," Flik explained. With a smile on his beak, he started it off as if it were Eli's words itself.
Hey Dad! How's it going?
Eli greeted the morning sun while stretching his white-furred paws forward. The early dawn had left other wolves still sleeping in their cozy little dens.
It isn't as snowy here as back home, but I could really get used to the temperature here.
He basked in the gentle warmth of the sun. He wanted to let out a loud yawn, but he had to quiet. No sense waking everyone up just yet.
It's been so long. I wish I could see you again.
The wolf took his time walking slowly. He reached the edge of the plateau to welcome the breathtaking view of the world below being touched by the gentle rays of the giant orb of light. Eli's amber eyes flickered in the glistening light.
I mean it.
"Good morning," a voice greeted behind him. He turned to greet back.
Everyone is really welcoming. They really treat me like one of their own.
"Good morning, pack alpha." Eli said, emphasizing the last two words.
But I still kinda act like a total outsider.
"Oh come on, just call me Nathan! You're married to my sister! You don't have to be so formal, especially to me," he said.
"Keep acting like that to everyone and you'll never get the respect of a real pack alpha," another wolf cut in, deeply emphasizing the last three words as he slowly and surely said it.
And yet I still feel like I belong here.
"And I'd appreciate it better if you didn't brood over my neck after retiring and announcing me as pack alpha, dad," Nathan said, turning around as he swooshed his furry tail covered with the same two-toned black fur he had.
"Good morning, Matthias," Eli greeted.
In more ways than one.
"Why not start calling me 'dad' too?" Matthias asked, his used-to-be-white fur now thinned with silver all around. Matthias really did seem like his real dad, being the only other wolf covered in the same color of fur. At least now he could get a glimpse of how his fur would look like when he himself gets old.
"And how come you're not as formal to him as you are to me?" Nathan added.
Feeling so welcome by family. I kinda miss the old one back there.
"I'm still getting used to the drastic amount of change that's happened," Eli answered.
"Really now?" Matthias said. "Waking up this early in the morning, I thought you were thinking about something."
I really miss you all there.
" Yeah, I guess you could say I'm a bit bothered," said Eli.
Nathan flashed his blue eyes at him. "How so?"
I wish there was a way to visit you guys.
"I've just remembered a bit… about, you know, before I came here," Eli answered.
"Ahh… yes. It's no surprise that you would be bothered of it," Matthias said. "You are after all, still young."
"Not as young as you probably think, old man," Nathan teased.
I miss all the games I played with Peaches and my uncles.
"Don't call me an old man, you little brat," Matthias scolded. "You may have been recently made pack alpha, but I'm still you're father."
"All right all right, I'm sorry," Nathan chuckled. "But, I kind of feel for you Eli. Now you've got me concerned about it too."
I even miss the times we get scolded for going too far at a prank.
"You really shouldn't. It's not like there's anything that can be done with it," said Eli.
"Hmph. You give up too soon. Where's that old optimism you had? Don't tell me it's gone with your youth," Matthias said.
"Not calling him young anymore, huh?" Nathan teased again.
"Quiet you," he hissed.
And I miss all the hunting trips we go to…
Nathan laughed it off as his father slammed a fist on his forehead. The blow seemed to have given him an idea. "Hey, how about you deliver him a message?"
"A message?" Eli asked. "How?"
"Yeah… you could ask old Flik to deliver it for you when he comes by," Matthias said.
So I guess the only way to tell you all this is this way.
"Flik's coming by?" Nathan asked.
"Yes. If you didn't know yet, the Don of the renowned Cold Feathers watch over the lives of every animal in the land. Since we are a large part of the balance of this land, the Don himself maintains the peace kept for us. And since the whole pack is affected, it is your responsibility as pack alpha to be aware of this." Matthias explained intently.
I'm doing fine here.
"Err… right…" his son muttered. "…I knew that…"
"You're definitely more suited as pack omega," Matthias joked.
"Hey! I'm doing my best, okay?" Nathan retorted.
Everyone here recognizes me as a capable hunter. I'm like a valuable asset to the pack.
"Maybe I should've just given the position to Elias," he joked even further.
"What? No way!" Nathan blurted. "No way am I giving it up for my little step-brother!" He grabbed Eli by the neck and noogied him.
Well… almost everyone. Not that I mind.
"H-hey! Stop!" Eli clamored. "Stop treating me like a kid!"
It took a while before Nathan stopped teasing him. "Aww, you know you'll always be my baby brother. "
I'm actually glad though. With all that's changed of me and everything.
"I'm beginning to wonder who's the real baby here," Elias joked. "But, you know, that's not a bad idea. I think I might ask Flik – Don of the Cold Feathers." He ended while saying the last few words with a tone of grandeur.
"I wouldn't normally be satisfied with something like that if I were you," Nathan said. "You really don't want to find a way there yourself?"
Makes me wonder how much you guys have changed too.
"I want to, but I don't think that's something I'm supposed to do for now," Eli explained.
"Oooh! Right. You're not a bachelor anymore, after all," Nathan grinned.
Matthias coughed in interruption. "Ahem, yes, let's not talk about that. But speaking of babies, I'd like to see what's become of my grandchild!"
I hope you never did though, even after asking all this change in the first place.
"He should be waking up by now. Let's go see him," Eli said before adding intently, "Dad." It felt a bit awkward, now having almost a total of three dads. First his biological, then his adoptive, and now his step-father. Eli still regarded all as his father in the same way.
"Then let's go!" Nathan bellowed. "I'd like to see who had better children between the two of us."
I'm married to Leah now. Guess that shouldn't be too much of a surprise, but news like that always is, huh?
"I'd like to have a grandchild that looks just like me," Matthias said as the three started to make their way back to the dens. "I don't want this white fur to die out in our pack you know."
Nathan frowned a bit in disappointment. "Dad, now that's just unfair for me! With the color my wife has, I don't think we'll ever have that."
"I'm sure that gene is somewhere in there, Nathan," Eli said, adding the last word carefully.
I even have my own kid now, born just recently.
"You implying I should keep trying for one?" Nathan grinned with a slight chuckle.
"Nothing of the sort," his father quickly said. "If you can't take care of the pack properly, then there's no way you're going to be able to take care of closer people."
Which is even a bigger surprise, right?
Nathan grunted. "Now you're just being mean."
"I'm just being strict son. But I'm sure you'll turn into one of the best pack alpha's this pack has ever had," Matthias said. "I have faith in you." The three finally reached the alpha dens, where Eli's wife and child were just waking up. He greeted their yawns with a blissful smile.
"Good morning," Eli said as he went up to Leah, caressing her by muzzle.
"Ohh… good morning," she greeted back. The ruffling under her revealed a small cub who had finished yawning.
And you'd be surprised what I named him.
"Good morning, Diego," Eli said as he nuzzled his son by the forehead. His child was furred with white, like him, and at the edges of ears and tail was painted brown, like his mother. Little Diego clawed out his paws upward. "What a fierce fighter you are."
"For a suitable name, don't you think?" Leah remarked. Eli smiled in agreement.
Life just has too many surprises, don't you think? My turn to raise someone like my own, just like you've done for me.
Diego opened his eyes to reveal a familiar set of orbs. Eli chuckled at the similarity; sharp hazel-colored eyes, just like his father. Although he never truly knew his biological father, or the fact that he again has a new one, Eli knew that in his heart that the father that took care of him, fostered him to become the man he was now, and taught him the values marked on him, was the saber tooth that had a heart of gold.
"Oh ho ho, not purely white, but I couldn't ask for more," Matthias said with sense of pride.
"Yeah, I guess he's not bad," Nathan commented. Leah looked at him with an eyebrow raised. "Okay, I admit, he's pretty cute."
I really wish I could visit and bring him to you. That would mean a lot for both of us, don't you think?
"Ho there! I've heard of great news and came to check myself!" said a voice coming from outside the cave. Eli came out to greet a bird flying from above.
"Flik! Good to see you again!" Eli called out. "I know it's sudden, but can I ask a favor from you?"
So, for now, I just want to say. You mean the world to me, more than you have shown that I am to you.
"And… I suppose that's it," Flik ended. His story caught the entire herd enchanted. Their excitement caught them all in a stir.
"Oh, you're a grandfather Diego!" Sid bellowed. The sloth quickly flashed his eyes towards the tiger. "You musht be really proud!"
"I could all tell you more, since I don't really plan to go back just yet," The osprey explained. "It's alright with me. After all, I do love hearing the sound of my own voice..."
Diego stood in silence for moment, before quickly smiling with a tear of joy he hid from everyone. Pride and joy filled him up to the brim, and overflowed in a rush of emotions that hasn't overwhelmed him since the time they said goodbye to each other. Almost immediately, with the bright glow of the camp fire glistening his eyes, he stood up with an interesting idea.
"Actually, I would like it you could tell us more," Diego said. "But, could you tell us on the way?"
Everyone glanced around with a distinct perplexed look. Puzzled, everyone almost went silent. "What do you mean Diego?" Manny asked. Without Diego answering just yet, the youthful Peaches somehow already knew what was on the old saber's mind.
Diego wore a wide grin across his face. "He can't make it, but there's no reason we can't, right?" he said as he caught everyone's attention. "We're not that old aren't we?"
"That's a wonderful idea!" said the blonde female possum married to Eddie.
"I'd like to see how you're child looks like!" said the auburn-furred possum married to Crash.
"And most of all, see you're grandchild, I bet!" Ellie said enthusiastically. "Travelling, just like the old days!"
Manny stood up with an agreeing smile. "I like the sound of that!"
"I miss Eli so much too! We should definitely go!" Peaches joined in, urging Oliver to come with her too.
"I'd like to meet this brother of yours too," Oliver mentioned, brushing off the long excess of hair that grew from his crown.
"There has to be way there, right Flik?" Crash said.
"Yeah! There has to be!" Eddie shouted.
Flik smiled back at all of them, surrendering to their enthusiasm, and allying to their desire of reuniting with a loved one. "I know these lands like the back of my wings!" Flik bellowed proudly. "Just leave it to me!"
The saber tooth, determination once again planted down to the pads of his paws, walked ahead and glanced towards the edge of the skies."Then what are we waiting for?" Diego asked.
The price just to see each other again will be worth it, no matter what the distance is between us. Not the snow nor the rain can change our minds. With the wind on our backs and our eyes set forward, we'll leave nothing but prints in the snow. And if we ever must part once again, know that in our hearts, we'll never leave each other.
Elias. His son. That once little wolf, now grown up so quick. He'll see him again.
Xion the Author: Took me around eight hours to finish this :D And I hope you all enjoyed it. If you haven't read the story this oneshot epilogued to, you should. It's awesome. See you all next time hopefully with a new chapter of Forgotten Worlds or the finished product of Family Day. By the way, if you're also going to review try to read the story ideas I have written in my profile and tell me what you think. R&R guys.