It was a still autumn day on the savannah. The lionesses were out of the Pride Rock den, stretching their stiff legs. One dusty brown lioness however, refused to leave the mouth of the cave. Strong paws anxiously paced outside of the den, treading circles into the platform. She could hear her mate's labored breathing and moaning from inside. A pained yelp made Vitani stop in her tracks and her ears stood erect in both surprise and fear. She couldn't see anything, but she knew her girl was hurting.
"Good, Kiara. You're doing fine." the former Outlander couldn't help but overhear Kiara's mother from inside.
"It hurts," Kiara whined before letting another cry pierce the air. Vitani's heart dropped and she started easing toward the mouth of the den.
"Vitani?" came a voice from beside her. Vitani whipped her head around to see her brother Kovu padding up to her.
"Kovu..." she trailed off. She tried not to show how much fear and anxiety was currently coursing through her. "Um, hey...what's up?" The young lion didn't buy it for a second, but knew better than to press on the issue. His sister was just too damn proud.
"I wanted to check up on Kiara and see how she was doing," he said.
"Rafiki and Nala say I can't come in," Vitani said, rolling her eyes at the memory of the monkey's "explanation" of the birthing tradition. "But she's been in there a long time and I'm starting to think-" Just then, a distraught roar erupted from the den, making it almost impossible for Vitani to find her voice. The air completely stilled for a few heart-wrenching seconds before the former Outlanders heard breathing again in the cave. The lion's concern visibly deepened for his sister when he saw her flushed face staring back at him.
"She's fine," His words seemed as certain as a promise as he nuzzled his head against hers. Far be it from Vitani to admit her moments of weaknesses, but she truly found comfort in the touch of his dark mane. When Kovu pulled back, he observed the dusty lioness and phrased the question gently, "So, how are you holding up?" There was a glance shared between them and Kovu immediately saw the emotions no words could describe.
"I feel horrible," she admitted, turning her head back to the den. "Kiara's hurting and screaming and I want nothing more than to jump right in and make the pain stop...or at least help, o-or just be there in case she doesn't..." Another silence overcame her because she couldn't bear to think about losing her cub and her mate. No. Not again.
"Kiara's strong; it won't happen, Tawni." Kovu said. He offered her a small grin. "And the cub is your cub...it was destined to be a little hell-raiser and I doubt it's gonna give up that easily. It'll be okay." Vitani offered him a weak smile back.
"I suppose." she said. "But...there's just nothing I can do, you know? I'm not used to that." Kovu sat down beside her and sighed.
"I can't imagine how tough this is for you." he said. It was no secret that Vitani was extremely protective of her mate, and being helpless in such a stressful situation for both lionesses, every animal on the savannah knew she was dreading this feeling. An abrupt cry from Kiara sent the other lioness into another fit; she rose and started pacing again, growling quiet curses under her breath.
"Relax, Vitani. It'll be over soon." Kovu purred, trying to soothe his sister. "You know Kiara wouldn't want you to be so angry and stressed out. She needs you to be strong for both her and the baby." That seemed to strike a nerve as Vitani slowed her pace and looked away from the den, gazing into the sky.
"I guess so..." she sighed. Heavy steps gradually ascended the rock and the younger lions looked to their visitors. Kiara's cries and moans became louder as Timon, Pumbaa, and Simba approached the pair.
"Hey, Kiddos. What's all the hub-bub about?" Timon asked, motioning to the den with his thumb.
"Well, don't you remember, Timon? It's Kiara's due date!" Pumbaa chipped in cheerfully. "In a little while, we'll have another baby to play with!" The adoptive grandparents stopped in front of Kovu and started regaling memories and misadventures of Simba's youth while Simba himself sat beside his daughter-in-law. He gave her a careful once-over and she didn't try to hide any of the anxiety she was feeling this time.
"You look like you're going to be sick." he said plainly.
"I feel like it." the lioness mumbled, slumping and looking towards where her mate was. The king offered a sympathetic grin and nudged her with his broad shoulder.
"It's completely normal," he promised. "Worrying so much just means you love her. You should have seen me when Nala was giving birth to Kiara. I went out and hunted...brought back about six antelope, three zebras, and one hippo, I double-patrolled the borders, surveyed the Savannah, I even ran to get item's for Rafiki's tree. I was a total wreck, and everything turned out fine." He chuckled and smiled, remembering the first time he saw his daughter. "Nala was just fine and so was our beautiful Kiara. Kiara will be okay too, and so will the baby."
"Speaking of the baby, have you and Kiara thought of any names?" Kovu asked. Vitani nodded
"If it's a girl, we considered naming her Sarafina or Sapphire." she answered. "If it's a boy, Kiara wants to name him Argon or Kenji..." She trailed off and the four males knew there was more she wasn't telling them.
"Well, what would you want to name him?" Kovu asked. Vitani looked at him with a wistful gaze in her eyes and mustered up a small grin.
"After my father..." she smiled sadly. Kovu nodded respectfully and didn't ask any more questions. Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa cast him questioning glances, but he didn't acknowledge them. The Outland princess's father was a sensitive subject for her, but Kovu knew he meant a lot to her. Simba decided to venture into unknown waters and ask her straightforward.
"What name would that be?" he said. Vitani was about to answer the red-maned king when Nala emerged from the den. The guys stared and watched her but Vitani bounded up to her eagerly.
"Nala! How did it go? Is Kiara alright? What about the baby? Is it healthy? What does it look like? Is it a-"
"Calm down, Vitani." Nala chuckled calmly. Vitani grinned nervously and mumbled an embarrassed apology to the queen. "Why don't you go see for yourself? I'm sure your new daughter would like to meet you."
"R-Really?" Vitani stuttered. "Already? Do you think she'll like me?" Nala smiled tenderly and briefly looked at her mate, who had asked the same question about their own cub may moons ago.
"I'm sure she'll love you." she assured her. That was all Vitani needed. She dipped her head to the queen before padding to the mouth of the cave. She paused and lifted her nose to the air. There was definitely a new scent in the den. She smiled at how foreign and innocent it smelled before the voice of her mate caught her attention.
"Tawni?" came Kiara's content purr. She could hear the exhaustion in her mate's voice, but would would recognize that loving purr anywhere. The dusty lioness walked into the den and couldn't help but smile at what she saw. Kiara's golden fur seemed to glow even brighter than normal and her red eyes sparkled as they caught Vitani's blue ones. She lay on the den floor with one arm extended and the other drawn into her body. There was a little golden bundle of fur resting between the new mother's arms.
"Come meet your daughter, Sarafina." Kiara smiled. She reached down to lick the top of her daughter's head and the baby began to stir.
"My god...she looks just like you, Kiara." Vitani said in amazement. She nuzzled her mate's head lovingly and licked her cheek. "You did an amazing job. I was so scared...but she's beautiful." It was like staring at a tiny Kiara doppelganger. Kiara nudged the cub gently and she opened her eyes for the first time. Big blue orbs blinked at the sight of even bigger blue orbs and Vitani laughed at her cub's surprise.
"She's got her mama's eyes." the princess purred. "She's a perfect little mix of us."
"Well how 'bout that!" the other lioness grinned. She bowed her head to nuzzle her first-born and the baby squealed with delight, making both lioness's hearts leap.
"You, me, and Sarafina. We're a family." Vitani breathed. She couldn't believe she'd finally have her wildest dreams come true, and it was all because of her wonderful mate.
"Well..." Kiara started. She sent Vitani a smirk that made the dusty lion anxious. "Not exactly you, me, and Sarafina make a family, Tawni." Vitani stared back at her with the most puzzled expression as she stretched out her arm to reveal a second cub nestled between her arm and chest. It's fur was pale brown, splattered with darker brown spot the cub stirred and gurgled as he turned onto his side. Vitani stood proudly over Bato, entranced by his every tiny movement and sound. He wiggled his nose and slowly opened his eyes to reveal two emerald green orbs that shone brighter than anything Vitani had ever seen.
"He's...He's beautiful, Kiara." Vitani breathed. "What's his name?"
"Bato." Kiara said softly.
"You...You named him after..." she couldn't even finish before she felt a tear threaten to escape.
"Yes, I did." Kiara nodded. "When I was trying to decide what to name him, I couldn't help but think of the stories you used to tell me about your father Bato because our son just seemed so bright and curious and I feel like he's gonna make you proud someday." Sarafina was named after Nala's mother and Bato was named after Vitani's father, both very deserving lions. Vitani offered her mate a loving smile and licked her again. Bato stirred once more and both lionesses looked down at him. He stared at Vitani for a moment and then his eyes grew wide as he started to cry and squirm.
"Oh my god. What's wrong? What did I do?" Vitani frowned. Kiara chuckled and licked Bato's face. That soothed the baby and he began to gurgle happily and offered her a toothless grin as he tried to bat at her face.
"I think he wants you to kiss him, too." Kiara said. Vitani leaned down and put her muzzle to the cub's level, but before she could do anything else, he put his paw on the side of her face like he was afraid she was going to leave.
"Hey, Little Guy." Vitani whispered. "What's up?" As in response, Bato placed a tiny lick to the tip of her nose. Vitani's heart swelled and she licked Bato affectionately.
"I love you too, Little Guy." she smiled. She turned her head to give his sister an equal amount of affection. "And you too, my Little Princess." She settled down beside her mate and their cubs and Kiara rested her head on Vitani's paw. "I'm always gonna be there for you." She quickly nuzzled Kiara. "All of you. I promise, no one's ever going to hurt my queen, my princess, or my prince."
"I love you, Tawni." Kiara said. The former Outlander could tell her mate was sleepy.
"Give me Bato and Sarafina. You sleep. You've been through a lot today, Love." she told her. Kiara lifted her head with a yawn and picked their newborns up carefully. She placed Sarafina between Vitani's front paws and then nudged Bato next to her before she laid down. Sarafina made herself comfortable against her mama's chest and rested. Bato looked up at his mom and flipped onto his back, gurgling and trying to bat at her muzzle.
"Someone's a fighter, eh?" She laughed and nuzzled him gently. "That's my boy." Sarafina whined because of Bato's excess movement and kicked him with her tiny paw to get him to stop. He yawned and decided to follow his sister's lead by cozying up to mama as his eyes began to droop. Vitani purred and her cubs snuggled into her even more, trying to get closer to her chest. She brought her daughter and son into her and the sound of her deep purr lulled the cubs to sleep very quickly.
"They're so cute when they're sleeping." she said. Kiara was half-asleep, but offered her mate a grin anyway.
"They really are, but it's not just them. It's because your purr makes them happy" she mumbled sleepily. "I've always loved your purr, too."
"Sleep tight, Kiara." Vitani purred deeper than normal, smiling at her love.
"G'Night, Tawni." Kiara sighed happily. For the first time in a long time, surrounded by her family and people that loved her, Vitani finally felt at peace.
I'M BACK BITCHES! :D Lmao I'm soooo glad I finished this story! I think it's honestly the kickback I needed to start writing again. I really love this pairing and there aren't enough fanfics to do it justice :( BUT hopefully I will change that :D In this fic, we see the more vulnerable side of Vitani and get a little bit of background about her, her father and such, and I thought it was neat to be able to leave room for a possible pre-quel to this story (hint, hint ;D lol) and I had a lot of fun writing it! Review, my lovey readers! You are so wonderful and I do this for y'all :*