I.

Faline looked upon her healthy brood within the charred bushes and trees in a little open area of land where her mate and his father could view their offspring. She knew there was no jugdement to be passed. Both sibling fawns were alert and unaffected by what Bambi and many others had thought would affect them so - the harrowing fire before their birth.

Bambi, bless him, had found a nice, quaint little spot where he could keep an eye on his family, but also so Faline and her fawns wouldn't have to settle down in some smelly old thicket... or what was left of the straggly brush. It was rumored that there was no longer any suitable place for raising fawns and many mothers had left the forest altogether so as to journey abroad for a new place to call home, even if that meant they'd encounter Man.

Neither parent was willing to take that chance.

"Spitting image of his father." Friend Owl proceeded to say.

Faline was the picture of patience.

"Congradu-,"

"Two of them!" A raccoon mother suddenly proclaimed.

The night bird chuckled. "Yes, sir. I don't think I've ever seen a more likely-looking pair of fawns." Faline still stayed respectfully demure. "Prince Bambi must be mighty proud."

As the doe gazed up lovingly at the chutting rock podium in the distance, she observed that Bambi's father departed with a final look towards his son. The Young Prince didn't take his eyes off of the Great Prince for a few long moments before holding his head up high and proudly. Whatever their long look had meant there was a permanence to it that Faline read instantly. It wasn't hard to read him. His new posture signaled a new status.

Ergo, Faline and her fawns' new status.

"Who's who?" A child asked. The Princess turned to see it was young skunk Bambi.

"Well, let's see now. That one's a boy..." He pointed a feather finger at the right one and debated only a few seconds on the other one, rubbing his chin thoughtfully, "Oh! And the one sittin' here on the left, gettin' his ear bitten off, is a girl. A'course. No doubt about it."

"How can you tell?" Bambi ventured.

"Oh, well let's see now... um, well, missie, er uh, sonnie..." He stumbled. The child was wide-eyed and took no offense to his apparent lack of insight on gender. "You see my boy." There were curious looks now; Flower didn't say anything. "A fawn with, um, an eye color of um blue is particularly viewed as a female, whereas a male fawn with what you see here, a kind of a... goldish tinted brown is easily identifible as a princely color."

"Thought you hadn't decided yet on who would rule after Bambi," Flower said.

"Well, the Young Prince a'course." Friend Owl folded his arms. "Right, Mrs. Faline?"

She chuckled softly. "Geno is the blue-eyed one, Gurri is the golden-eyed."

Friend Owl nodded proudly with his eyes closed the entire time she talked.

The doe then proceeded to add, "Geno is a boy, Gurri a girl."

His wings dropped.

"Told ya he didn't know everything." One of Thumper's sons whispered to his siblings.

To be continued...

~ Lavenderpaw ~