BONUS Chapter 26,5- Change of Heart
AN: Greetings, Lion King fans!
Wow, I must say I am impressed. I began publishing this story almost 5 years ago, and I never thought it would be this popular! I'm flattered, really. Over 160 reviews, 140 favs, 50 followers... Impressive. I'm really glad anyone is still enjoying this little story after such a long time.
Last time I updated this story was two years ago. I mentioned then that I didn't want to add anything to the story itself, but that there were still some gaps inbetween chapters that could be filled in at some point. I found such a gap close to the end of the story, and today I intend to fill it. As proof for my gratitude toward my readers, here's my second bonus chapter. I hope you will enjoy it!
I went to the ZOO again today and, frankly, I did not expect any progress. For the past two weeks or so I've been seeing the brothers showing nothing but hostility to one another and basically staying in their own corners of the Lion Walk. But today I realized that I've been concentrating on the males' relations so strongly that I have almost ignored their interaction with Laila…
The interaction of one of them with Laila, to be precise. I always thought that Red would become her mate, but now it almost seems to me that she and Black have developed a more friendly relationship… I'm not positive about that yet, but I noticed that both of them usually remain within each other's view throughout most of the day, they go to the stream to drink at the same times, etc. I wish I could observe their nocturnal activity, but the ZOO is closed at night- even to me. Sadly, I have some things on my schedule right now that will keep me away from my lions for a few days, but I'm planning to investigate the subject more when I return.
Scar was especially enjoying this night. Not only did the summer heat make him feel a little bit like home, which helped him fall asleep. More importantly, he dreamt of absolutely nothing- all he saw was darkness, and no dreadful memories from the past or illusions of what could happen in the future. Only darkness.
Until somebody woke him up, that is.
-"You're snoring again" – he heard a voice. But his vision was still too hazy to recognize who was sitting beside him. Only when he inhaled the air and smelled Laila's scent did his anger recede.
-"Oh, it's you" – he groaned, lifting himself from the ground. Then he looked at the stars. – "Why are you bothering me so late at night? It must be several hours before dawn…"
He stopped speaking when the lioness put her paw gently on his chest.
-"It's the darkest time of night, to be precise. And your brother is fast asleep. I checked."
Scar was not enchanted by her charming smile. He was tired.
-"Uh, what do you want from me, female? This is happening much too often. Why can't you come and talk to me when the sun is out?" – asked the lion, making sure he didn't speak too loud.
Laila lied down on the grass, sending him a disappointed look.
-"I thought you liked talking to me… And besides, you sleep during most days! And when your brother is awake, we can't talk about everything we want even when you're not sleeping…"
Scar nodded with irritation. Yes, all of that was true- she didn't have to keep yapping about it.
-"Oh, alright. What do you want to talk about this time?"
A smile appeared on her face which made him lose his stern look. She touched his fur with her paw again. He liked that. It reminded him of something, probably from his cubhood, he couldn't remember what. Probably his mother.
-"I only wanted to see how your wounds are healing, that's all."
With a sigh, the lion lied down on his back, permitting her to examine the bruises of his front leg and side. They still hurt a bit, but she was very gentle.
Scar closed his eyes, permitting her to touch his bruised body. After a while, Laila stopped examining his wounds and simply began to stroke his mane. He would permit her to do that anytime, as long as she would keep quiet… But she couldn't. Not her.
-"Why do you fight with him?" – she inquired after a while in a very soft voice. – "You keep getting into his way and he keeps hurting you. What is that good for?"
The lion didn't want to answer and hesitated for a minute or so. But he knew that she wanted to know, and that she would keep asking until she got her answer. But he also really didn't want her to stop stroking his fur.
-"It's good for nothing. That's the point" – he answered, lifting himself up and looking at her with his green eyes. – "You see Laila, I am cursed. This miserable state I'm in is just my fate, for lack of a better word. I told you what I've been through. There's no way I can run away from it. I might as well embrace it. And make my brother's life just as miserable as mine in the process".
He laid his head back on the ground. Laila took her paw away. She didn't like what I said- thought the male. That was easy to predict.
-"But Scar… That doesn't make any sense" – she whispered.
He looked at her again and smiled.
-"Precisely. You can feel that irritating my brother doesn't make me happy at all. Just like I said- I'm cursed. Misery is all that's left for me."
He could see Laila still wasn't satisfied with his answers. She usually wasn't. By now he'd already ceased hoping that she'll ever be able to understand him. That anyone will.
-"No no, Scar" – the lioness expressed the opposition that appeared in her heart after hearing such a confession of his. – "Any animal, big or small, whatever it does, it always acts for a reason. All things happen for a reason. There must also be one for what happened in your life. Have you ever thought about that?"
Scar rolled over to his belly and gave her a serious look.
-"I've been thinking about that for most of my life" – he said.
-"Well, what is your conclusion, then?" – Laila insisted.
-"I don't know that! Nobody ever does. All we can do is guess."
-"It that case, I want to know your guess. Please, tell me. Maybe that will give you some relief".
Scar doubted if that was even possible. But he did share his speculations with her anyway. At least she wanted to listen and would not condemn him for what he would say.
-"Alright then. I suppose you've heard about the Circle of Life and the Great Kings and all of those things my brother loves to talk about so much. Well, if that has anything to do with fact, it is obvious that fate isn't just blind. As you have said yourself, everything happens for a reason. And sometimes when I think about it, it seems to me that the reason for my misery is that… I am being punished."
Laila was looking at him with serious concern.
-"Punished? But for what? No one is ever punished without reason, at least I think not."
Her words amused Scar so much he had to stand up in order to be able to laugh with his full strength. That made the female spring to her feet and try to make him quiet down.
-"Shhh! Scar, what are you doing? You're going to wake Mufasa up!"
The lion, standing in the moonlight, quit his cackling and spoke quietly yet seriously.
-"Laila, you've been here for so long and still you do not know me… Do you really think that I am innocent? I, who have been jealous of my brother since the day I could understand that he would be king and I would not? I, who never missed an opportunity to show him how much I hated him? I, who took a mate out of desire alone, and then left her with our daughter which I never loved? I, who have been dreaming of killing my brother for years, and joined the exiled hyenas from my land in order to conspire to kill his son and heir, a mere cub? And you say that I am being punished for no reason?"
Laila knew about some of the things Scar confessed to her that night. And she didn't know about the others. But what he said neither shocked nor impressed her. On the contrary. She was content that he gave her access to areas in his heart he had been hiding from everyone.
-"I know you are not happy that you did all these things" – she said to him, just as serious as he was.
Scar sighed deeply and lowered his head.
-"I used to be, but not anymore. I told you- my life has turned to nothing but misery. And I learned that making others suffer doesn't help in the least bit."
Scar was strongly shaken by the emotions connected with revealing something he never told anyone about. He lied down again beside her on the cool grass, letting the lioness stroke his mane again. She was taking her time- they remained silent for something that seemed like hours. Only then did Laila decide to whisper something to him, but she did that very gently and very carefully.
-"And have you ever thought of being good to your brother? By now you have no real reason to be jealous of him. Good comes around, as they say. Perhaps then your punishment would end, and maybe you would even be rewarded for your change of heart? Have you ever thought about that?"
Scar did not answer immediately. The female could feel he was carefully deliberating over what she said to him. She could see it in his eyes. Finally, the lion stood up and turned toward her with a mysterious grin. She was more than curious to hear what he had to say. Maybe these late-night conversations turned out to be good for something, after all? – she said to herself in her heart.
-"Laila" – Scar began as if he wanted to make an important announcement. – "Your words have inspired me with a certain idea. Thank you for that. I have a feeling everything might just turn out well for all of us…"
-"Are you going to be good to your brother?" – she asked enthusiastically. – "Does this mean the end of fighting, and all the cuts and bruises, and everything?"
Instead of answering, Scar came up to her and fawned over the side of her head in a very… sensual way. That was the most affection he'd ever shown to her until now, and Laila was surprised- and very happy. Unfortunately, that changed when she heard what he had to say.
-"Darling, I'm afraid what I am about to say will disappoint you. I will not be good to my brother. I doubt that would ever impress him…"
-"I would be impressed" – she interrupted.
All he did was smile, and then he continued.
-"I have realized that my brother deserves something more. I owe him that- a debt I now feel needs to be paid. And this is why I will not only continue to fight with him. I will make him hate me. I will make sure he will wish I never existed- and that he will even attempt to get rid of me for good. That is my plan."
Laila felt as if she'd failed. Not just Mufasa, but especially Scar. She thought he had changed. Was she wrong? Was he really… an evil lion, with no hope of conversion? Thinking of that almost broke her heart.
-"But… why, Scar?" – she whispered sadly. And the look of her eyes caused him sorrow as well. He came close to her and touched her face with his paw.
-"Oh, no need to worry, my dear. Everything will be alright, eventually. You just need to be patient. I need you, Laila. I need you to promise me that you will do what I tell you, no matter what happens."
-"I don't understand…"
-"For now, you don't. And this will all seem madness to you at first. But believe me- eventually, everything will be all right. Do you trust me, Laila? Please, tell me this one thing- do you trust me?"
It was him who was speaking in a soft voice now. And even though she was confused , she knew what went on in her heart. She nodded.
-"I do trust you, Scar".
The lion presented a toothy grin of satisfaction. Then he combed his mane back with his claws and cleared his throat.
-"Excellent. In that case, let me reveal to you the details of my plan. Do you remember the story about a certain bear that used to live in our institution, which Moses had told to my brother some time ago?"
Among the darkness under the stars, a new conspiracy was conceived by Scar. But this time it was to be a different one than those from years past.
AN: So there you go. In this chapter, I tried to describe the development of Scar and Laila's relationship because I thought that this change of attitude came as sort of a huge leap. Of course, during the regular course of the story, it was to emphasize the element of surprise that Mufasa experienced when in the final chapter he found out not only that Scar actually helped him go back to the Pridelands, but also that him and Laila were in love.
In this chapter, we observe the evil brother's change of heart. It was triggered by Laila's kindness and determination, but also by the things that were going on in the black lion's mind. His methods may be shocking, but the later chapters have shown us that Laila's trust in Scar eventually paid off.
Thank you again, everyone. Check out my other stuff, too. I'm always grateful for all of your support.