Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the series of Thundercats, this belong to Cartoon Network, I think, there's no profit being made from this piece of fanfiction.
Author notes: This is based in the 2011 series, but I'm taking liberties with the characters and the events taking place on it. I'm still working on my English grammar, and surely there are many mistakes in this. Feel free to point them out.
I'm taking this story aside from canon before the Thundercats find the location of the spirit stone. Thus, they aren't going to the elephant village, Grune is still pretty much alive, and I'm afraid that Cheetara wont get to confess her feelings to Tygra. I'm taking my liberties with some other canon facts. Also, I'm totally changing Tygra's story, for the purposes of this story Claudus adopted Tygra when he was three, and the story of his parents is very different.
Chapter 01. A Fluke.
He could not believe this was happening. How could they have let their guards down so badly? The lizards surrounded them quite easily and were beating them with apparently no problem. How? How? How? They were in a rocky cliff with a fine view of the valley and technically no place to hide! How were the lizards able to surprise them? More importantly, why they were being able to drive those stupid big machines, which looked to him like enormous monkeys with tentacles, while they were having problems with the Thundertank?
Tygra was being hard pressured to keep on fighting. He had been shot in the back, too close to where his protective vest had been damaged, and was feeling his blood running down his side. He still didn't feel pain, but that was because he was running on adrenaline. He knew that as soon as he had time to calm down the pain was going to be terrible. On top of that, he was trying to cover Lion-O's back. His brother was successfully tearing the machines apart, but he was offering a small opening on his side when he slashed with the sword. Many may not notice it, but Tygra did, and he was not willing to risk some lucky lizard to hit his brother because of that slight fail in his attacking technique. He kept to his king's side, and shot, and hit, and slashed with the whip.
He had no idea of how bad the wound he carried was. His reflexes were starting to slow down from blood lost, so he wasn't fast enough to dodge the tentacle that came around and grabbed him by the waist. The blast of energy that coursed through his body made him scream in pain. He forced himself to move his arm enough to blast the tendril and free himself. Through the ringing in his ears he could hear Lion-O's frantic calls. He made an effort to get up and continue fighting, even when his vision began to be blurred. They could not afford to lose one of them, or they'd never survive the battle.
Finally, he managed to stand up and started firing at their enemies again. He continued to cover his brother, and was annoyed that the young lion seemed to be more focussed on the other's welfare than in staying alive himself. From the corner of his sight, he spied the Thundertank approaching. It seemed like Panthro had succeeded in putting the damn thing together and the powerful lasers were defeating the lizard's machines quite nicely.
Tygra fell encouraged. All they had to do was continue to hit as hard as they could and with the Thundertank and the sword of Omens combined, they'd make it. He saw the kittens dash inside the vehicle, and Cheetara close to it, finishing off a particularly nasty looking lizard. Only Lion-O was missing.
Tygra looked around wildly to locate his brother. Lion-O was still close to him, but a machine was between the two. When had that happened? Tygra shot the thing and used the whip to get closer to Lion-O. He inserted himself between his brother and one of those pesky tendrils, and got captured instead of the young king. This time the thing didn't give him the chance to use his weapon. It slithered around his upper body quickly, trapping his arms and tightening its hold strongly. Breathing suddenly became a rather difficult task. The same blast of energy repeated itself, and this time Tygra felt he was going to loose consciousness. Far away, he heard his brother calling his name and tried his best to stay awake, to move his hands and shot. He barely opened his eyes, and through the blackness that was surrounding his vision, he could see his brother trying to get to him.
Another painful shock of energy made him scream with what little air he still had in his lungs, and he lost his focus. Whoever was commanding the machine had realized that Lion-O was desperate to save his brother and was using Tygra as bait to lure the Lord of the Thundercats.
Tygra tasted blood in his mouth and couldn't see anymore. He heard the furious roar of his brother as the lion attacked with the full force of the sword of omens. Then came a blast on his injured side and breathing became a bit easier. He felt a hard impact on his back and groaned at the pain, but couldn't for the life of him make any sense of what was happening. Someone lifted him. He felt the movement if not the hands that manoeuvred him. There was worried screaming all around him, and soon the loud roar of an engine going at full march in the background.
Lion-O was frantic. Stupid Tygra! Getting himself in the way of those machines to protect him! The king didn't need his older brother to watch over him! He could do just fine on his own, thank you!
Everyone had gasped in unpleasant surprise when Cheetara had removed the bloodied vest and they could see the horrible gash that was at the tiger's right side. How in the nine hells had Tygra got that? That must have hurt like hell! How had he been able to move at all?
Cheetara started to work immediately, trying to stop the bleeding, but even if she succeeded Tygra was going to need more help than what they could give him. Their medical supplies were limited, and the cleric feared that there was at least one broken rib in addition to the blood lose.
Panthro hurried towards the front of the tank and started to drive towards a village that they had spotted from the mountain they had just left. He was hoping that the residents would be able to help them with some medicines, and would want to. He was perfectly aware that the lizards were not the only race that loathed the cats.
They were already close to the main gate, when they were stopped by a small contingent of wolves, ready to fight them and drive them away. Panthro was just about to turn around, they didn't need to get themselves in more problems at the moment, but Lion-O got out of the tank before he could stop him. The young lion wasn't ready to give up that easily. His brother could be dying damn it! He had to get help for him!
The Lord of the Thundercats walked decidedly towards the wolves and asked to speak with the Governor of the village, receiving only snarls and angry gestures for his troubles.
"Please! We need your help!"
"It'd be the end of times before we aid the cats again." Answered one of the first wolves in line, who was undoubtedly of higher rank.
"Please, I'd compensate you in whatever way you want. What'd you want me to do?"
"There's nothing you can give us cat! Your species has caused its own extinction and has doomed us all! There's no way you can possible compensate for that."
Lion-O was starting to get angry. Panthro got out of the tank and joined his voice.
"We only need medicines and supplies for someone that is badly injured. Perhaps we can pay for them."
The wolf scoffed disdainfully, and Lion-O clenched his fists, more than ready to take out the sword of Omens and force the wolves to give them what they needed. One of the younger warriors spoke then to their leader.
"Perhaps we could see how badly injured they are…"
The older wolf silenced him with a glare and baring of teeth.
"It's not any of our business the cat's problem. They can deal with it by themselves."
Lion-O felt his blood boil. They didn't have time for this!
"Maybe you should think that it could be you the one asking for help!"
"Ha! Ask a cat for help? I'd rather die, as I'm sure your partner will prefer."
"How can you possibly know what Tygra would prefer? Neither of you know us! You haven't even given him a chance!"
Lion-O was working himself into frenzy. Panthro was trying to pull him back into the tank. If the wolves weren't going to help them, then they shouldn't be wasting time. They had to find some other village or city to get what they needed. However, Lion-O's words seemed to give the chief warrior pause. His face changed to what Panthro assumed was surprise, but he couldn't phantom why the wolf would be surprised.
The lion was starting into a tirade about the necessity to help each others when a voice at the back of the wolves' lines interrupted him.
"What's happening here?"
The wolves parted, letting Lion-O look at the figure of a much bigger wolf, who had to be the Leader. He walked serenely towards the cats, a frown firmly on his forehead. The lion was baffled for a moment, but recovered quickly.
"My brother needs help. He has lost a lot of blood and we only need some supplies to attend to him."
"Brother?" The Governor narrowed his eyes, a flick of recognition passed through them. "You're the son of that king, Claudus, are you not?"
Lion-O blinked in confusion. What that had to do with anything? He was about to demand some action rather than lose precious time with inane questions when Panthro spoke in his place. The older general suspected what the problem was about.
"He is, but his brother Tygra is not."
Lion-O turned to look at him incredulously. Panthro wasn't affected.
"There is no blood relation between them. Tygra was adopted when he was very young."
Lion-O was about to protest. The blood relation didn't matter. Tygra was his brother! He didn't realize that the alpha wolf's face had changed and was now a bit pale and without the frown. The growl of the wolf surprised the young king, who turned around, ready to defend his point. The wolf however spoke first.
"Adopted. Since he was about three I bet. And no doubt he's a tiger."
He said those words between clenched teeth and both cats' eyes widened in momentary confusion. Then Lion-O recovered.
"How do you…?"
The governor turned around, not paying him any attention, and gave the gruff order to let them pass. He was obeyed without protest.
Lion-O was about to refuse. He really was. But the fear of Tygra dying was more powerful than the slight feeling of unease that had appeared at the wolf's actions. And so the tank went inside the wood wall that protected the village.
Tygra was barely conscious when someone entered the tank to aid Cheetara with his injuries. The female cleric had managed to stop the bleeding, but the wound needed stitches and she lacked the supplies and antiseptic for that. The tiger could hear her speak with the newcomer, but couldn't follow the flow of the chat very well. He could only caught Cheetara's anxiety at how much blood he had lost and he seemed to have a few cracked ribs. Nothing life threatening, but certainly debilitating enough to become a hindrance.
He groaned, trying to talk and assure the cheetah that he'd be fine. A blurry figure stepped in front of him and he felt a hand over his eyes.
"You should rest. You'd feel much better when you awake."
Tygra wanted to protest, but a heavy tiredness took hold of him. Unable to fight the exhaustion, he fell into a deep slumber.
Yero, the leader of the wolves' village, waited worriedly in the back yard of his own house for the wolf that had been his counsellor for years to appear. He could hardly believe they were so lucky. Perhaps they were still on time…
"You're worrying too much alpha, it's not good for your health."
The governor turned towards the voice. At the door was an old wolf, covered entirely by a cloak. The hood was over his head, and the only part of the face that could be seen was his nose. He was carrying a staff on his left hand. The alpha was at his side in an instant.
"Kraus, is it him?"
The counsellor nodded and turned minutely to look at the distant trees. Yero sighed, anxious to know more.
"And…?" He prompted.
"He's fine. Not as badly injured as the lion feared. He'd be up and about in three days, less if he gets bored."
Yero waited for two whole minutes, but it didn't look like the older wolf would say more. He growled in frustration.
"What else Kraus?"
The wolf looked at his alpha as if surprised by the question.
"There's nothing more to tell Yero."
"Kraus…" The governor growled menacingly. The other wolf finally sighed.
"There's nothing to do."
That was not the answer that Yero was hoping for. He clenched his fists in frustration and anger.
"Why not? He's the next one! He's still at an adequate age! You can do the ritual when he recovers!"
"The ritual can't be done. Tygra lacks the necessary knowledge to take over the responsibility, or even to perform the ritual successfully."
"But his abilities…"
"Have not developed."
Yero gritted his teeth and cursed. Damned cats! Damn them all, but specially their late king!
"There must be something we can do! We can talk to him, tell him the truth that I'm sure he ignores. You can instruct him, and with luck in a few years…"
"It's too late for that. He should have begun his training since childhood, when his mind was still fresh and open. Right now he has blocked his gift entirely. He never worked with it; it never developed and degenerated instead. He's not going to be able to use it anymore."
Yero gave a couple of steps and took his hands to his head in agitation. After a while he sighed in defeat.
"Is there really nothing we can do? Have we lost everything because of a cat's stupid pride?"
Kraus sighed and looked into the distance again. It would be stupid to not try to remedy the situation. They needed Tygra to take over the role that had been assigned to him since before he was even born. If he couldn't do it the balance would be broken, it was already pretty much disturbed, and it would only get worse. Soon, the first signs of the jewels' power would be evident, and then Mum-Ra would be the less of their problems.
"There is something we could try. It's not ethical and certainly an overstep in the boundaries of nature. I'm ashamed to even consider it, but I can see no other solution. If we fail again, then we're doomed. And we already are short of time. If we do try it, our only hope would rest in Tygra's capability to learn fast."
Yero frowned at his counsellor, but heard attentively as the old wolf explained what had to be done. He didn't like it. He considered his race to be above the cats enough to not need to resort to treachery. But they couldn't risk Tygra denying his role and refusing to cooperate. They needed to get the upper hand, and they were short of options. Besides, the cats had taken once from them using force and treachery. It was only fair that they returned the favour.